Part 19: Chapter XIX: Actions Have Consequences!?Shorter update than usual today, for the sake of pacing and also because there's a good hunk of plot.
: "If you're a friend, come up by the fire! If you've come to steal something, you won't find anything here!"
What kind of bandits would be raiding the Golden Plains? This place is in the ass end of nowhere.
: Don't see many people riding whelks around here...in fact, the only place you could get one would be Worent. Did you come from Worent?"
Ryu nods and begins talking as the screen fades out.
The whelk is playing around with the horse, but the horse doesn't appear to appreciate its antics. It's funny how even random animal gets a decent amount of characterization. Shame this is the only little part of the game this whelk is in, because it's kind of adorable.
: "Considering what's happened, I imagine they'll execute him."
: "Hey, I was just kidding! If they really did execute him, it'd mean war between Ludia and the Woren, and I'm sure they wouldn't want that. It might take some doing, but I have a feeling that one way or another, we'll be able to work something out. I'll try and think of something, but it's late now...you should get some rest. Go ahead, use the tent."
Ryu nods and heads into the tent. Tarhn follows shortly after.
: "I suppose that's not surprising, considering how he got here. Most people can't ride whelks that far. It's good to know Cray's got friends like that..."
Fun little note about Tarhn that you may have noticed. Tarhn is Cray's mother, and she was the wife of the last chief of Worent. However, look closely at her sprite and portrait, and you'll see a distinct lack of fur, cat ears, or a tail. Tarhn is a normal human, and thus Cray is actually only half-Woren. Surprisingly, the game never actually makes any sort of fuss over this like you'd expect. It's just a quiet background detail that implies the Woren don't really give a damn about whether you're a Woren or not, even to the point that they let a human marry their chief and the son of the resulting union is their current chief, and they approve of the thing he had going on with Elina. Speaking of that...
Meanwhile, in Ludia:
: "With whom we currently have a truce, I might add - but you are caught doing so and deported. I ask you, is this conduct becoming of a warrior, one who claims to lead the mighty Woren nation!? Not only have you shamed yourself - and us - but I am told you have lost the King's Sword, the symbol of the Alliance..."
: "Do you have any idea what your rash, thoughtless actions will cost us and the entire Alliance in our dealings with the Empire? Do you!?"
: "All you're worried about is your dignity and pride! How can you just sit there like that, when a member of one of the Alliance's royal families...when Elina has been kidnapped by the Empire!?"
Prince Morley slams his fist on the table in front of him.
: "We have a greater responsibility to protect the members of the entire Alliance! We can't afford to worry ourselves over one person, even if she is a princess!"
And thus, we continue the fantastic trend of making authority figures competent, logical people who actually act like you'd expect. Think of it: some moron who happens to be the leader of one of your neighboring states goes with a few other people, including the only remaining heir to the Wyndian throne, into a restricted zone in the Empire who is itching for any excuse to get back to killing you. Not only that, he breaks one of their most expensive pieces of infrastructure that will take God knows how long to repair. Not only that, he steals the symbol of the entire Alliance to use as a weapon and somehow loses the damn thing. If Morley knew Cray had actually given it to Nina, who gave it to Ryu, who broke it while trying to kill an Imperial officer in peacetime on Alliance soil, he'd probably execute Cray on the spot.
The Empire's basically in a position to completely buttfuck the Alliance in treaty negotiations, and it's all this one moron's fault because he couldn't keep his dick in his pants. Oh yeah, I forgot to re-iterate one fact that makes both Cray AND Prince Morley come out as assholes in all this, one that you can only catch if you pay attention to optional dialogue at this point.
Princess Elina is engaged to marry Prince Morley.
On one hand, Cray is madly in love with, and is chasing after, a woman who's already called for, which makes him look like more of an impulsive idiot, despite the fact that he knew Elina since childhood and the marriage with Morley is political. On the other hand, Prince Morley is basically writing off his fiancee as kidnapped by the Empire, likely dead, and not appearing to even give half a shit. Either he's good at keeping his composure, or he's one cold son of a bitch.
We now return to our regularly scheduled blue-haired protagonist.
: "Have you thought of something we could tell them about that would get Cray out of his predicament?"
Dialogue options! Let's talk about the Princess first, since we're already on a roll with that.
: "Hmmm...Princess Elina, huh? It's true that Prince Morley is engaged to marry her, but he's the kind of person to worry more about Ludia and her standing with the Empire and other countries more than about any one person. Bringing up Elina probably wouldn't do much good..."
So, confirmation that Morley is just a stone cold asshole. Let's talk about how we killed Imperial soldiers!
: "What!? You were in a fight with Imperial Troops? What were you thinking!? If you tell them that, it'll just make Cray's situation worse!"
Good point. How about the King's Sword?
: "The King's Sword? You mean Cray lost that? That explains a lot then...that sword is a symbol of the Alliance - losing it wouldn't exactly make him popular. [Ryu interjects and says something.] What? He didn't lose it? You broke it!?...Wait a minute! That's it! If the sword, which was supposed to have been lost, was to turn up again, that'd be one less thing they could hold against Cray! It'll work! And I know just the person to help us!"
: "There's a smith that lives inside the mountain. He could make us a copy of the King's Sword! Someone back at Worent should be able to tell you how to get to Mt. Glom. Will you go?"
God damnit woman, you LIVE here, you should know damn well how to get to the great big volcano at one end of the place.
Yep, we gotta go back to Worent and ask for directions. I love this game, but it really does have some bullshit arbitrary gameplay lengthening at times.
Oh hey, more plot! (Ignore that shrine to the east, I stumbled across the zone line to it on accident.)
: "With that, we might be able to help Cray get out of trouble. Thank you, Ryu! I'm sure someone in Worent will be able to tell us how to get to Mt. Glom. Let's get back to Worent as soon as we can!"
This was actually just a stealthy excuse to give you your party back without doing it invisibly and arbitrarily.
Back in Worent, a few dialogues have changed, but there's one that's particularly interesting.
: "Tarhn takes care of it. She's also a priestess of Ch'o Ryong, the grass dragon."
Ch'o Ryong, eh? I do believe this is the first time we get the name of one of the dragons. Those who are fluent in East Asian linguistics might notice something funny about the name. It's the first of many, many, many Koreanizations in the English translation. Ch'o Ryong is the Korean way of reading the Japanese kanji for...well, Grass Dragon. Lots of names, especially stuff relating to dragons or old stuff, got translated to the hanja readings, WAY too many to not be significant. Cross-referencing original enemy/place/etc names with the English versions underscores a very deliberate theme that's pretty spoilery to talk about this early on, but suffice to say there's a metric ton of it and it's all relatively sneaky. It blew my mind when I first read about it.
As for directions, we talk to the elders, who pretty much tell us to go to the rock in the center of the plains, turn south, and head for the huge volcano. Real classy, Capcom. Way to take ten minutes out of my life.
So now we actually do have to go through the Golden Plains on foot. I can't really tell if we move any slower than when we had the whelk as the plains are pretty featureless, but at least we have the whole party again to deal with the Nut Men. Let's cut out the travel time, shall we?
Here's the entrance to Mount Glom.
Inside is a whole bunch of lava. Stepping on it hurts, naturally.
This place is very visually busy, and also pretty to look at. It also has a lot of items you have to go out of your way to get, so assume I'm doing that.
But first, the Fire Ward. Very nice piece of equipment that lowers the amount of fire damage you take.
Here's our new enemy in here, the Drake. The other enemies are Wyds and Firewyds. Drakes get significantly stronger when you attack them with fire magic, and can use Flame Strike. They also drop a pretty good sword.
This room is...interesting.
Whenever you finish a random encounter, the room pulls back, the ground rumbles...
...and the platforms all shift. This means to get through it, you have to get in a lot of fights. Getting all the items means even more fights. I'm glossing over this because I am merciful.
This side cave, though, has something freaking AWESOME.
But first, a demonstration of another reason why Scias is awesome.
When he drops to critical (yellow) health, he automatically uses his unique move, Rakhasa. It's the same thing as Last Resort (a move we haven't seen yet), meaning that it converts all of his defense to attack. He's unlikely to survive a hit unless healed (and maybe won't survive one IF healed), but his already prodigious damage skyrockets even further.
That wasn't a critical hit. That was just his normal attack with Rakhasa on. But now, for an awesome item.
Rocket. Propelled. Drill. Fists.