Part 26: Chapter XXVI: Sweet Dreams Are Made Of StrippersIn the interests of keeping it intact if Viddler and my computer explode at the same time, here's a screenshot/text version of the video that concluded last update.
Fou-Lu awakens in Mami's house, and heads outside to explore.
He finds himself in the tiny village of Sonne, a rural farming community similar to the many others that make up huge swathes of the Empire.
He also sees a giant crack in the back of Mami's house. After wandering around and learning that the Capitol is far to the east of the village, he's confronted by a huge jerk.
Mami sees the confrontation and comes over to defend him.
Fun fact: in the Japanese version, Mami calls him Ron. Not only is this an actual English name, it's the Japanese way of pronouncing both Ryong (the Korean word for dragon, used here) and Lung (the Chinese version). Layers of connotations! Also, I like the idea of Fou-Lu getting the nickname Ron. It amuses me for some reason.
The two return to the house once Mami explains that Fou-Lu is actually her brain-damaged cousin from the military.
In the house, Fou-Lu asks if she'll get in trouble with the landlord for being found out, but Mami assures him it'll be all right so long as he just rests.
The action cuts back to the Ryu Crew getting final confirmation of Fou-Lu being Ryu's other half, and back to Fou-Lu telling a story about how he was summoned to do the impossible: make humanity happy and solve all their troubles. Mami says she can't bear to see him so sad as she kneels by him, and the screen fades out with her bell twinkling.
There, we're all caught up now. Let's head out and go across that dirt bridge the landlord was guarding.
We find Mami hard at work in the fields, but she rushes down when she sees us.
: "I must journey to the capital...to Chedo. Wert thou wise, woman, thou wouldst have nothing more to do with me! Thou shouldst not involve thyself in mine affairs!"
: "B-but...if'n I didn't want t'be...involvin' myself with you, I wouldn't've helped you in the first place!"
Running around the fields has the farmers tell us that "the beast" is back. Sounds like we got some murderin' to do.
Let's just check out this forest, I'm sure it's full of happy smiling woodland creatures.
Boss Video XII: Nope, It's Not
That's right, I whooped it so hard it became a baby.
: "but in truth a normal beast of the field. Mayhap this is a result of exposure to the powerful aura of The Endless..."
Another symptom of getting too close to one of the Endless appears to be crazy amounts of mutation. Maybe Ershin will mutate into a giant robot or something. That'd be awesome.
Let's go back to the villagers.
: "You the fella that Mami's been takin' care of, ain'tcha? I heard you's still lied up in bed all hurt, but looks like you're better now, eh?"
Mami rushes up, bell jingling like mad.
: "Not necessarily. If he also is one of The Endless, he would not die so easily, and certainly not simply by the passing of years."
: "So...where can we find him?"
: "Even if she knew, Ershin has been asleep ever since she finished eating."
: "Doesn't that beat all..."
Those of you who played Breath of Fire III or followed SA2k's Lets Play of it are probably going right now. He glances to Ryu.
: "That kid's turning out to be more trouble than I thought. Maybe more than he's worth..."
: "Cray! I don't think of Ryu as trouble or anything like that! Ryu is very special...and we've just gotten caught up with him, that's all. I don't know how to explain it very well, but...the reason I'm here with Ryu right now is...it's because I want to be! That's all!"
: "...Well...no matter what, we need to find out more about what's going on, and the only way to do that is to talk to Ershin some more. Let's go - she should be awake by now."
God damnit you fat bastard.
: "Looks like she ain't getting up for nothin'!"
: "Well, there is a way to wake her, but...forcing a god to awaken is not the safest thing to do. Were she to wake up in a bad mood, the results could be...unpleasant for us. She can be woken the same way you freed her - simply travel into her dreams, and wake her from there."
This never ceases to feel like a terrible idea.
And so we're whisked away to Deis' dreams once more.
The layout is different this time, of course, and she has some...interesting items in her head.
Exhibit A: chloroform spray.
Oh yeah, she also has some new undead around too. Spectres are annoying but the AP drain rarely works.
Here's Exhibit B: Manly Clothes. I hardly think these two items being in her dreams was unintentional.
So this is where she's spending her time in her dream.
Oh, I'm regretting this already.
Wow, pretty place. Very idyllic. Wonder where Deis i-
There are no words. Aside from "best setpiece in the entire game."
Seriously, what other game has an exposition dump in the dreams of a bored goddess who surrounds herself with buff strippers in Chippendale's tuxes?
: "You humans have the worst manners...!"
: "Uh, I'm sorry, Ershin. There's, um, something we wanted to ask you..."
: "Sigh...let me guess - 'Oh, mighty goddess, tell us what we should do!' Am I right? Humph! That's always the way it is, isn't it? You can't figure it out for yourselves, so you come pester us!"
: "I...I'm sorry..."
: "What's up with this world, anyway? I've never heard of a world where they needed to summon gods in the first place..."
Deis also teleports around during the conversation.
: "Why do you have to drag us all the way here to do it for you!?......I guess there's no use complaining about it...what's done is done."
: "Um, it's not that we don't know how you feel...it's just that we're kind of at a loss as to what to do, you know?"
: "I bet you are...I guess I would be too, what with two incomplete gods following you around. But understand this, my striped friend...what happens to you is tied up with what happens to your little friend Ryu there. Ryu is the missing half of the Emperor...he was meant to become one with the Emperor and use his power of the Empire's benefit."
: "If the Empire manages to control a god, it'll mean another war! We can't let them have that kind of power!"
: "What will be, will be. Still...
: "That means that part of Ryu is in the Emperor. The two halves will meet - that destiny cannot be changed. However, if Ryu is as strong as the Emperor then..."
: "...If he's as strong as the Emperor, you mean he might be able to stop the Emperor from doing what he wants?"
: "Something like that, little bird."
: "But...what do we have to do to make Ryu stronger?"
: "Don't worry, there's a way. For that, though, I'll need to wake up."
: "I can't wake up as long as you're in my dreams."
The best part of this place? You get to talk to the dream strippers. Here's the highlights.
: "We can pose like this as long as we want and not get tired!"
: "Since she was trapped for so long, Deis is kind of letting herself go in her dreams."
: "Deis is so beautiful! She's like something out of a dream!...Come to think of it, so am I! Ha ha!"
: "Ha ha ha ha! I'm better looking than you! And I've got more muscles!"
: "What? We all look alike, you say? That's because this is the kind of man Deis likes!"
Alright, that's enough goofing off with phantasmal beefcake. Let's head back outside.
: "But I guess there's work to be done. Well, then, shall we go?"
The group looks at each other, confused.
: "What did I just tell you? You're going to need help if you want to get through with this. There's a shrine around here you use to summon The Endless, right?"
: "What?...Oh, yes. The Yorae shrine."
: "OK, Ryu, that's where we're going. We have to call the other dragons. Dragons were once gods, just like us. You could say we're distant cousins. We'll call them, and ask them to help you out."
: "Does this mean that you'll help Ryu as well, Ershin?"
: "I suppose so. It's not like I've got anything better to do...by the way, you can keep calling me Ershin if you want, but my real name is Deis."
: "Ershin is what that armor called me. I think it means "Master" in the language of the Empire. Anyway, we need to be getting to the Yorae Shrine."
That's how they keep the original version's pun in the English version, but it's a bit slipshod as the Empire doesn't appear to speak another language.
On the way to the newly appeared shrine on our map, we get a plot point!
I always wonder where Scias goes in these conversations. Probably off drinking.
OH SNAP! Ershin zooms up from behind.
: "Why are you leaving Ershin behind?"
: "Oh brother...you mean you can still move?"
: "It would appear so."
: "This is the armor I was trapped in, see? Some of me...my power must have rubbed off on it, enabling it to move and talk by itself."
: "Hee hee...heh heh. I am saddened by the fact that you have left, Ershin."
: "Oh yeah? I couldn't be happier now that I'm out of there. Good riddance, I say!"
: "Um...Ershin? I mean, Deis? Are you sure you want to just leave him? Don't you want to take him with us?"
: "Are you kidding!? You want me to get back inside that tin can!? Forget it! You...you can just stay where you are. You're a suit of armor - start acting like one!"
Deis walks off.
: "Huh? Ummm...well..."
: "I see...heh heh heh heh! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!......it would appear that was an inappropriate time to laugh."
: "Nina...what should I do in order to act like a suit of armor?"
: "Um...well...let me see...armor is meant to protect the person wearing it, right? If you ask me, that's what acting like armor means. For now, Ershin, I think you should wait in the village until we get back."
The group walks off, leaving Ershin standing motionless and the player feeling like shit.
Oh yeah, new monster in this region is the Bilbul, and I honestly don't know if I've ever seen them actually use Howling (which confuses all enemies.) It could just be my bad memory, though.
So here's the ruins!
Exploring them is going to have to be in the next update, though. Expect traps, loot, and a quirk of gameplay that means I could just sit here and level to Level 99 if I wanted to.