Part 3: Interlude
Last time we went through the "Clashing Grounds"/"Frozen Sky, Scorched Earth" area and obtained a ring for Escher. Along the way a number of things happened, most notably Olgar killing the now partnerless Alto and the Agent doing more or less nothing about it. Musiea is still intent on killing Escher for attacking the monastery where she was living and killing all priests and sisters. He does not seem particularly remorseful about that.
In any case, we are back in the main hall.
Before we go and talk with our competitors, though, let's have a visit with Piu-Piu.
You know, I really hate the agent!
At first, I though we'd be able to get along well and I treated him in the same gentlemanly way that I treat all my friends.
I may be a little self-absorbed, but I am also a highly social creature who doesn't easily get stressed out.
But that jerk took one look at me and said "This thing is not fit to walk the halls of this divine and holy place."
And then he confiscated my top-secret super-awesome collection. Can you believe that? I mean, seriously!
Then he said I could only bring one box of my "stuff". Stuff? That "stuff" was my painstakingly gathered treasure!! Then on top of that, he went and scattered it throughout the dungeons.
Now, why would he do that? Even if it is just "stuff" to him, that's littering and he knows it.
Anyway, if you find some of my collection, could you bring it back to me?
I'm not asking this as a favor; I'm willing to shell out some serious cash! That's how important they are to me!
Especially those 3D ones... Once you try those, believe me, you can never go back!
Okay, I'm counting on you, friend!!
No you are not imagining things, he is really talking about his porn collection, though not in so many words. However, this actually a useful hint, as we really can find various "Piu-Piu's Collection" items in chests scattered in dungeons. They have no other use to us except for the fact that they sell for quite a bit of money, which will help us in the beginning of the game (i.e. now).
In fact, I already found a couple of those items in previous dungeon! As you can see, they sell for 5000 OZ which not insignificant at this point in the game! So now I can buy new and improved equipment for Escher and Musiea.
A new (unimaginatively named) sword for Escher...
...and a new rapier for Musiea. Espada ropera is a kind of a sword developed in Spain in 15th century, very similar to a rapier.
Also some new clothes...
And finally two Garnet rings, one for each of our characters.
Equipment in this game only has influence on stats as shown on the purchase screen. There are no hidden abilities or anything like that. A sword is just a sword, the only difference is the attack power. But some of the equipment has cool names.
You may have noticed these cardboard cutouts of women around Piu-Piu. Let's up the creepiness factor by about 1000x by asking him about that...
My little butterflies here will catch you, no matter where you go.
They're like pitcher plants. They may look great and give off amazing aroma, but once inside, they'll melt you alive...
Anyway, let me introduce you. This is Catherine, and this is Jodie...
But these are papier-mâché...
Whoa! Escher! I get it. You want to get your hands on my leftovers, right?
Thanks to my generous nature I don't have a problem with that, but the girls are all "We don't want narcissistic pretty-boys who like to dress in black and think they're cool stuff when they're clearly not!"
Sorry friend, but it's out of my hands.
But... But, these are papier-mâ...
Well, as expected, this was incredibly creepy, but possibly worth it for the "pretty-boys" line!
Anyway, we are finally done with him/her/it, and we should say hi to our competitors.
She is the princess of our country.
I am... a stablehand that works for their family.
Interesting, wonder why that little bit of hesitation there?
(Hope I don't end up having to fight Escher. He looks like he'd be a tough oponent.)
(Musiea looks like she'd understand what I'm going through.)
Back in the central area, we find Eluca and Zhamo.
A female warrior, eh?
No, here I am the partner. He's the warrior.
Zhamo will be the next king of our country.
Eluca is the head warrior. Don't underestimate her because she's female. She's the best warrior of our country.
(This timid kid was chosen as one of the strongest warriors around? Eluca looks like a much more capable fighter.)
(I can't believe I have to fight for my life with these people)
(Escher and Musiea... These two look like they'll end up killing each other without any help.)
And finally right next to them, we find Olgar and Vahti.
You two are...
That's quite an axe. You know, bigger isn't always better.
I didn't choose this weapon; it chose me. I can't imagine using anything else.
(This guy is dangerous. Definitely going to be the hardest opponent. There's no doubt we are going to end up fighting him in the last battle. Vahti looks like she's a bit stronger than Musiea too.)
These two seem just as mysterious as always. Oh well...
And then, we are again interrupted by the agent.
We need to get one more ring, for the second half of the couple.
The new dungeon has quite a cheery name, "Ancient Path of Death". But we have no choice but to go there.
Also note that next to the "Clashing Grounds" we now have two stars filled in, but the other two are still empty. We'll see what that means although not for quite a long while yet. This game is many things, but nobody can accuse it of being short!
We are definitely going to up the enemy levels this time; we have gained a few ourselves and need to start leveling up faster. As is typical for a JRPG, every subsequent level requires more EXP to reach.
And so here we are. Despite the name, it looks a lot more inviting than the previous one.
The Japanese text in this one, "死に至る太古の道" actually means the exact same thing as the English text, so no issues with translation here. However, they still managed to mess it up a bit. The dungeon was called "Ancient Path of Death" on the selection screen and here it is called "Ancient Path to Death". Unfortunately, the English localisation is occasionally a bit sloppy with silly errors like that. There is one particularly hilarious mistranslation of a weapons name from Japanese and I'll make sure to point it out although that too is in the distant future still.
I had my reasons.
That's not an answer.
Tell me. I have a right to know.
...You don't know what your priest really was. He pretended to take war orphans out of kindness, then turned around and sold them as slaves.
That's what he was really up to. Needless to say, the sisters were in on it too.
How dare you! How dare you insult their memory like that!
I was hired to take care of them after they betrayed someone they shouldn't.
Apparently your greedy priest broke his contract without telling anyone.
You expect me to believe that?
I have no reason to lie. You must have noticed other children suddenly disappearing.
They didn't disappear! They left because they had been adopted!
...So you believed everything they told you without question?
So. Next time, we'll explore the new dungeon and find out what new weird things will happen. Also, new puzzles (yay!).