Part 38: Episode XXXIV: Revisit
Welp, with our party bolstered with a new little Martian buddy we're free to continue our journey. Now is as good a time as any to see the differences in the relatively alien "Home World" we're stuck in for the time being.
Though, speaking of alien...returning to Sky Dragon Isle and speaking with the NPC that flipped its shit when MegaStarky showed up will result in yet another awful picture frame we'll never ever use.
In any case, let's have a little return tour to El Nido. After all, we never really fully explored the place in Another World. In the southwestern quadrant of the map is Gaea's Navel. This is the only other utterly inaccessible region at the moment. We'll need to employ giant mosquito mounts in the distant future to eventually reach the sheer cliff face of the world's belly button.
Music: Home Guldove
Unlike Termina, Guldove is virtually unchanged as far as its physical make-up goes. And by "virtually" I mean "literally copied and pasted from before with rearranged NPCs."
Doc is still the village physician and still a fucking terrible emo mess that sucks horribly at this job.
Our rotund culinary expert from our dream prologue premonition is now running the local tavern. Kind of step down from a blonde with pig tails and cleavage hanging out, if you ask me. But, hey...whatever keeps the booze flowing...
Macha is still doing her middle-aged mother thing. She's still friendly to Lynx but doesn't particularly feel like volunteering her oversized ass into Lynx's services at the moment.
Korcha is still an insufferable Speedo wearing fuckface no matter what the dimension.
Home World's Guldove seems to have different policies on seeing the resident dragon sage. Mostly, anyone who's not local can go get bent. Well...this was a waste of a trip. The local Element store has some pretty spiffy (if pricey) elements on sale. But, other than that there isn't much to see here.
To the north of Guldove rests Earth Dragon Isle. How much you wanna bet it's a desert shithole...?
Music: Earth Dragon's Island
Check it out! I am Nostrafuckingdumas! There is a small expedition scouting the island to little success. But, we might as well check out what they've found at least.
"The only possible entrance I can think of is this sand boil hole, but once you go in, you get shot right back out. The only place left is the quicksand..."
So, of course, the proper entrance to the island is taking a dip in the quicksand. Duh!
The catacombs beneath the sand are home to the penis shaped cousins of Tonberries from Final Fantasy. Though, instead of slowly stalking up to their victim to violently stab them in the face...
...they instead employ sentient bob-ombs that countdown to detonation instead. Very progressive.
At the very bottom of the quicksand filled cave system is some manner of rock...turtle...thingamajig... Despite the party's best attempts, the obstruction won't budge. Hmph... Oh well. We might as well inform the explorers and hope they brought some TNT or the like. They are humans, after all: All about destroying the environment and all that.
A nearby sand knot will blast the party back to the surface, scaring the shit out of the surveyors in the process.
"So the quicksand is the entrance and the sand boil is the exit... Now why couldn't I figure that out?"
"Tch... You don't even have a character portrait. You're lucky you're not walking in place, drooling, and remarking about how it's hot out over and over."
"So there was something blocking a pathway, you say? OK, let us take care of it. It may take some time, though. Let's see, now... I need to assign some men to investigate and prepare explosive to move that rock... Would you mind coming back in a little while, it's going to take some time to prepare."
"Yeah... Sure... Whatever..."
"Just don't touch any treasure boxes you find or we might have a problem on our hands..."
"Urgh... S-Sure thing..."
Back to the boat...
Despite how poorly our previous trip there went, the party can make their way up Mount Pyre again and have a return visit to Fort Dragonia for fabulous prizes. Hopefully once which do not involve people being gutted, becoming furries, or dimensional breaches.
Music: Ancient Dragon's Fort
Unfortunately, seeing as this is an alternate dimension and all, Fort Dragonia is completely locked up once more and all the trial puzzles have to be redone to gain access to the useful parts of the citadel.
Luckily, this is far less taxing this time around. Mostly because all the puzzles are identical. And also because the Dragonians failed to place any guardians in this version of their stronghold. So, it's more or less a cake walk to fire the place back up to full speed.
It is highly useful to drag Sprigg up the mountain for this revisiting as it's pretty full of decent monsters for her to assimilate into her Dopplegang storehouse. The old golden Cybot monsters are particularly badass to add to her arsenal. Though, it's worth mentioning they've all gotten a decent boost in strength this time around.
Also present in Home Fort Dragonia are a variety of pretty damn decent Elements free for the taking. You can never have enough firepower.
In any case, our ultimate goal here is to reactivate the elevator and take a gander at the basement level of the fort.
This time around the derelict incubators are fully functional and ready for service. Do you remember that egg from forever ago back in Fossil Valley...?
That's the one! You see, it turns out this oval mystery isn't exactly a dodo egg. If Lynx lobs this sucker into the incubator for a couple minutes, out pops...
...a baby dragon! Aww...unspeakable ancient evils that have immolated thousands in the past are just the cutest when they're babies, aren't they?
"My big brrrotherrr... My big sisterrr... My kid brrrotherrr... And my little sisterrr... Where did dey all go?"
"I heard something about this angry quiet guy rolling through the area a few years back... REALLY wasn't a fan of dragons... Or non-humans... Or soldiers... Or really anything in general... But especially dragons. Which was weird because he rode a friggin' red dragon... Anyway umm...hope you weren't a closed knit family..."
"Urgh...? Are you talking to me...?"
"Rrrreally? You wook more rike a fatherrr to me..."
"Look...kid... I look like a cat... This means I ain't gonna be anyone's mom or pops anytime soon until I fix that... Or at least find a chick that is in to some freaky business... Sorry."
"Wherrre is everrrybody...? Dey must be arrround somewherrre..."
<sigh> "Haven't we already reached our cutesy crap quota...?"
"Non, Monsieur Lynx! There iz always room for more. Jest look at zat little face! How could you sey no?!"
"Tch... Fine fine fine... Sure, we'll help you find your parents."
Daaaw... The little fella could crush the shit out of pretty much anyone in the party if it landed on 'em. That's just precious.
Welp, that's it for Fort Dragonia. The upper levels are all accessible. But, they are utterly devoid of both enemies and anything of interest to do.
Trekking back to the boat...
Next up on our grand tour is this anomaly out in the mid-point between the main island, Dead Sea, Water Island, and Marbule. This landmass lacks any indicator of a place to land. But, attempting to do so will cause a temporal distortion which leaves the party...
...in the void outside time and space. Welcome to the "Bend of Time". Not to be confused with the "End of Time" from Chrono Trigger. Completely different things. The Bend of Time has only a single resident...
"...monsters travel across dimension to gather. You can battle monsters that you may have missed..."
So, as the strange green octopus suggests, entering any of the nearby pillars of light will instantly transport the party to a random battlefield against assorted enemy encounters previously fought. Each pillar holds certain enemies from different legs of the game. This makes it a very good area to farm for material for equipment or Sprigg's Dopplegang forms. More pillars and battles will become available with further progress in the game.
There is also a locked door at the far end of the room leading to points unknown. Unfortunately, it shall remain locked for the duration of the game. A very special boss battle with some...familiar faces...is available back there in New Game +. But, that is a story for many moons from now.
Back to the boat...
The fairies of Water Dragon Isle will allow Lynx to enter Fairyville. But, they've all since turned into xenophobic assholes and pretty much tell him to immediately piss off. We can also revisit the Water Dragon, but it's taking a nap and tells us to come back later. Oh well...
Hermit's Hideaway is significantly less burnt to the ground in this dimension. The problem is there aren't any hermits actually living here.
What is here is some manner of vegetable wiggling about in the ground. Unfortunately, Lynx cannot be arsed to track down a shovel to dig the thing out of its hole and apparently "Human hands cannot possibly dig it out". So, we'll just have to leave it for the time being.
More nautical navigation than Wind Waker...
Alright, that's about it for our tour of Home El Nido. The Isle of the Damned has absolutely nothing of interest other than a handful of treasure so it's not even worth mentioning yet. Let's finish procrastinating and see what Marbule has to offer.
Music: Home Marbule
Ah...trans-dimensional beings stuck on a different plane of existence. But of course! It seems Marbule is overrun with these non-corporeal monsters trotting about aimlessly. They cannot be interacted with in any way and indeed they don't seem to even notice we're present. Marbule itself is all but abandoned save a semi-familiar face from way back at the beginning of the game.
Toma here and his assistant are the only corporeal folks to be found in the supposed village of Demi-Humans. The Great Explorer is more than happy to
"What's the deal with this village...?"
"Demi-humans were originally located up in the northern region, but after Porre's colonization, they were forced out of the mainland and ended up here. But their bad luck continued. Marbule, with its rich Element resources, became the target of Element hunters. With nowhere else to go, most of the demi-humans left the village to work on the Cruise Ship - S.S. Zelbess -. They work as laborers and are treated like dirt. I feel really bad for them. Anyway, that's why you have this ghost town here. The rooms are still furnished, so feel free to spend the night if you're tired. Use the hut right by the entrance."
Huh... So Elements are basically the same as Materia from Final Fantasy VII. I guess that's one gameplay mystery-that-nobody-asked solved.
"Well crap... I was hoping to ask one of 'em about the Dead Sea. Know anything about that shit Mr. 'Great Explorer'...?"
"I don't know the details, but I've heard that the place is cursed by the most hideous dragon! Everyone's afraid of defying this Dragon God, but being the great explorer that I am, I plan to make an expedition there someday."
"Good for you, champ. So, you know any way to actually get *inside* said Dead Sea...? Or is it just a pipe dream you have?"
"Oh? So you wanna know how to get inside the Dead Sea? Rumor has it, there's only one way... 'Death's Door'... The entrance is out there, somewhere... Unfortunately, even I don't know where this door is. Hmm... Let's see... Who might know...? Oh yeah! Why not ask the sage aboard the Cruise hip -S.S. Zelbess -?"
"You don't say..." <grumble>
"Know anything about these trippy ass monsters?"
"You can see them, but they have no substance. You can't touch them, nor can they touch you. So there's no way to communicate. I think people call them 'The Black Nightmare.'"
"Good thing minorities only come in the freakish mutant variety or someone might get offended..."
"I guess they're like a bad dream. Maybe a song would wake them up? Hah-ha... Just kidding... Anyway, there's nothing we can do about 'em. Don't worry about it."
"I wasn't losing sleep over it, chief. So err...what's new...?"
"Oh yeah, I heard a rumor that you can hear a woman crying at night. People think it's a ghost. I've been several days now, but I've yet to encounter this ghost."
<eyes spectral beast walking through a wall> "Uhh... I'll be going now. Thanks for the help..."
Well, since we're in the area we might as well squat in one of the abandoned (yet immaculately kept) cabins for the night.
Some time later that night...
Lynx will awaken in the middle of the night after hearing voices coming from outside the hut. If he goes to investigate he'll see a mermaid crying on the bridge to the north.
Should Lynx approach, the mermaid will decide it's pretty fucking silly for a sea dwelling creature to be standing around on land alone just so people know it's shedding tears and will retreat back out to sea. Well...that was a thing...
"I saw a mermaid standing around making a ruckus. And not the hot Little Mermaid redhead with seashell bikini type one either... Like the scaly 'I can't believe anyone would want to bang that thing' sort of mermaid."
"A mermaid? A homecoming, maybe?"
"Well, she was crying and crap. So I guess it was less of a happy homecoming and more of a 'oh geez my village is full of pan-dimensional shades' sorta one..."
"Oh... You say she was crying...?"
"Actually, it could possibly be that mermaid who lost her singing voice... Mermaids are known to have a beautiful voice and sing about love and happiness."
"And life under the sea and throttling dudes on shore?"
"But mermaids are forbidden to sing songs about holding grudges against humans. If a mermaid breaks the taboo, she will lose her singing voice."
"So that's why I've never heard mermaid rap..."
"I don't blame her though, for all that's been happening in this day and age... Anyway, you're heading to Zelbess tomorrow, right? You should get some sleep. Oh, and don't forget to give your regard to Captain Fargo when you get there. He can be devious, so keep an eye on him."
Lynx and Toma return to bed...
The next morning...
"You talkin' to me?
"Will yoü be boarding the Zelbess? Täke me with yoü."
"Sheesh, is everyone gonna railroad me to this cruise ship joint? What's next? Time shares in Medina?"
"Let us gö."
The mermaid swims off...
<grumbles> "Something stupid..."
Draggy Official Art - Sure, he's cute now. Just wait a few years when he's torching peasants, devouring the flesh of the living, and making pacts with sociopaths.
Earth Dragon's Island
- Draggy's Japanese title was the rather unoriginal "Dragon Puppy". Yeah...that's all I've got.