Part 19: The Big Decision.: Ummm... Simon? Why are slimes and goblins waiting for us outside? Is this an ambush?
: Oh, no, no, that's just the gang. I tame monsters now. Come on everybody, Bianca's going to help us get the water ring!
: A pleasure to have your company, Madam. Simon has told us all about you.
: I'm... not entirely comfortable with that.
Now that we have Bianca along, we can get past the last obstacle between us and that water ring.
: Let's see... There!
: Actually, I just noticed there's a spot to land on that island to the west. Let's check that out really quick first.
: Wait, what? I thought you were in a hurry!
: This'll just take a moment, don't worry!
: Just roll with it, lady.
: I should have known!
I take my time getting to the next area, just so Bianca has time to get some levels under her belt. She is a bit rusty, after all!
Sleep is your basic crowd control spell. It works on a group of monsters, so it can save you some pain if there's a big mob, but I just don't find it all that useful.
: I thought I recognized this area! We can have a quick rest at Ruraphin before we sail into that waterfall. I knew we'd be coming back to that sooner or later!
: That cave gets awfully narrow awfully fast. I don't think we can fit the boat in there.
: I do not believe there is even room for the wagon!
: Yeah, you're right. OK, monsters stay here and guard the vehicles. Bianca, Puckle, care to relive our childhood?
: It reminds me of back when we were kids... when we busted those ghosts...
: Yeah, that was pretty great. Except we didn't bust the ghosts so much as helped the ghosts.
: Oh, yeah. They even gave us a pretty golden ball to thank us! Hey, whatever happened to that, anyway?
: Gema's a dick.
This, right here, is one of the best spells in the game. It doubles an ally's attack power. Physical combat is already the most reliable way to put the hurt on stuff, and this provides a MASSIVE boost. The only drawback is that some monsters, especially bosses, like to wipe all buffs off the party, but whatever. I love this spell.
: This cave is nice. Such a relief after trudging around in lava in a volcano.
: And it's just the two of us...
: You mean three of us, don't you?
: Why does the cat look disappointed with me?
: Gosh, it's been so long since I've seen anything so beautiful... I didn't have time to relax... with my mother's passing and all...
: ... ...
: Hunh? You look like you're waiting for something.
: ... Let's get moving.
: Oh, uh... hello.
: 'Course, if a man like me can't find it, I doubt that a pretty boy like you stringing a girl along will be able to... Wa ha ha!
: ... You think I'm pretty?
: That man just pinched my bottom!
: ... You mean the man that's like 30 feet away now? Either he's a telekinetic or Puckle's screwing with you. Bad kitty!
: Hmmm. Two ways we could go. Well, the right path is obvious.
: Go down the stairs like a normal person?
: Of course not! Hold on tight!
: Wait, what? Aaaaah!
: See, no harm done. Hee, stairs. Don't you remember anything from our adventures?
: Is this what you've been doing for the past 10 years? Jumping off things?
: Partially, yes! Isn't this fun?
: Oh god...
: And this is why! Here, Bianca, I think this robe would look nice on you. Try it on!
: ... Um. ... Here?
: Sure, why not? Oh, and I've got this silver barette that I, um, legitimately obtained that I think you'd like, too.
: Why, Simon, I... see you've already turned around. Rats. I mean, um. Thank you.
It sure sounds like the Robe of Serenity should have a neat special power, doesn't it? Nope. It's just armor. Still a good upgrade from the stuff Bianca's had since she was a kid.
: It's called the water cave. What WERE you expecting?
: OK, so maybe I haven't been getting out enough...
Firebane is the leveled up version of Firebal. Not too shabby.
: Wow, that must be it! This is so exciting!
: Don't get ahead of yourself. This could be a trap, or...
: ... or someone left their prescription here.
: Odd... It wasn't the Water Ring? It must be around here somewhere...
: Maybe in a hidden room or something...
: I said maybe in a hidden room or something...
: Yeah, yeah, I saw it.
: NOW we can go to the "secret" room clearly visible behind the waterfall.
: Is... Is that it? It's not an illusion, or a trap, or an ambush?
: Only one way to find out. Go pick it up!
: I'm just kidding! Seriously, keep your eyes open for an ambush, though.
: ... Nothing? Hunh. I accept!
: Way to go, Simon! Now you can get married to... Flora...
: Hunh? Is something wrong?
: Hey... urm... Simon...
: What is it? Monsters in the water? Did I miss a trap?
: You missed something, alright... Urrmmmm... sorry, it's... nothing... Besides, if you marry Flora, you might get the Zenithian Shield... And that means you'll be that much closer to your goal... oh well, let's go!
: With pleasure!
: Man, we could have used that spell as kids, huh? So, Bianca, how do you like adventuring?
: It's... not exactly how I remember it.
: Well, I think you did great. You're just as welcome by my side as any monster!
: Umm... thanks.
Back at Salabona, word has already gotten around that Simon has retrieved the second ring.
: Which means... you'll marry Flora very soon! Way to go, stud!
: Bianca, you know more about weddings than I do, not growing up in a slave camp and all. Is all this questing for rings and ordering veils from distant lands normal?
: I don't think anything in your life will ever be normal, Simon.
: Good show! This proves beyond a doubt that you're the man to marry Flora! As I promised, Flora's hand in marriage is yours, Simon! To tell the truth, I've already made preparations for the wedding! Wa ha ha ha!
: Oh yes. You need to leave the Water Ring with me awhile.
: Woah, mood swing.
Simon handed the Water Ring to Ludman!
: You'll get the two rings back during the wedding... the priest will hand them to you. Flora! Surely you won't object to this marriage if your groom is Simon?
: Oof. She really is pretty. I bet she's sweet and kind, too. I hate her so much.
: But... who is that woman over there...?
: Oh crap did she hear me? Huh? Me? I'm Bianca... I'm just, urm, an old friend of Simon's... At any rate... I guess my work here is done, so I'll just be heading off...
: Bianca? Really? But, I... really?
: And Simon... You care for Bianca as well...
: Of course I do! I just never thought... Oh God, I'm so confused now.
: How can I make you marry me like that, Simon... you'll only live to regret it if you do...
: Now now, Flora. Let's calm down and not go jumping to conclusions. Let's say we do this... For tonight, let Simon decide... let him choose whom he wishes to marry: Flora... or Bianca... I'll have them prepare a room for you at the inn, Simon, so you'll stay there tonight. And Miss Bianca? You will stay at my second house... Well? Is that understood, Simon?
: I don't think I understand anything right now.
: Good! Simon... think carefully... and follow your heart!
: Oh, God, I did not think this through.
: I mean, I love Bianca like a sister. I didn't know she felt any differently about me...
: Why didn't she say anything?
: I don't even know if I'm ready to get married at all!
: But then again, I felt something with Flora... There's something when she looks at me, and my heart skips a beat...
: After all, if you marry her you get that heirloom shield. And you probably won't have to worry about anything ever again.
: Can I even let my own feelings affect my decision? Shouldn't I do whatever I have to do to find the legendary hero and save my mother?
: If you don't want her, maybe I'll hire her to work as a barmaid!
: Oh, God, what kind of life can I promise either of them? Wandering the world, no place to call home.
: I mean, the girl's getting married too... what about her feelings? Of course, you seem pretty sweet, so you probably do care... *sigh*...
: Does Bianca really want to marry me? I mean, I'm not the same person I was as a kid. She doesn't even really know me now. How can she be in love with me?
: Bianca's a tough girl, a little stubborn, but she's so outgoing... On the other hand, Flora's honest and kind... a good old-fashioned wife...
: Would Flora love me? Or would she resent me for winning her like a prize?
: No one ever prepared me for this. Life was easier when all I had to do was escape slavery and survive a hostile monster-filled wilderness!
: If you truly love the one you choose, than God will fully give his blessing to you.
: Maybe I should just walk away.
: Andy will be devastated though... But you've earned the right for her hand... I hope you're both happy...
: I could just leave tonight. I'd still have Puckle and the monsters... No. No, that's cowardice. I don't run from my problems. I don't. And... and I do care for them. Maybe I don't know what love is, not really, but if I leave now I think I'll never find it.
: Oh! Oh, I didn't realize I'd wandered in here. I've been lost in thought. Mm, yeah. Complicated. How did we get to this?
: But don't you worry about anything. You go ahead and marry Flora... It's what's right... Me? Don't worry about me. I can take of myself... I've been doing it for so long now...
: Even I can tell you don't mean that, Bianca... ... You know, remembering the fun we had as kids got me through some very dark times. Whatever happens, Bianca, thank you. For everything.
: ... Now you go on to bed. You've got a busy day tomorrow, Simon... But I think I'll just stay here for a little longer. I just can't seem to sleep...
: I like you a lot! Even if you decide not to choose Flora... leave the wedding details to me...! I paid for a wedding and by God there will be a wedding! I already took it upon myself to send out invitations to your friends... Let's see, it was to Reinhart's Henry and Maria... right. Just in case you were thinking of skipping town, boy. Nothing like the threat of shame in front of friends to motivate a marriage! Well, I guess I'll get to bed then.
: ... That man frightens me sometimes.
: Flora... You could be marrying a total stranger tomorrow. ... I didn't think you'd be able to sleep. But you don't look worried at all... Do you already know what I'm going to decide?
: Actually, my plan is to just quietly scream into my pillow until morning.
: Oh yeah? Then sleep tight!
: Oh, man. I hope I'm ready for this...
: Everyone is waiting for you... please, this way...
: I'm so nervous. I wish Henry was here. He'd... well, he'd probably just laugh at me, but I'd feel better.
: I can honestly say I've thought of nothing else all night, sir, and I believe I've made my choice.
: I see... I know this is no ordinary dilemma... but you can't marry the both of them!
: I... ... shit. There goes Plan A.
: So as we agreed, you must choose a bride! Who do you love? My daughter, Flora, or Lady Bianca? You must propose to the one your heart chooses...
: Can I, um, just talk to the girls for a moment first?
: Well... of course... Flora is much better suited to you than I am... *sigh*
: Could you still marry me despite having me as a burden...? Of course you couldn't. Besides, Bianca will be a great asset to your heart and your journey.
: Augh! It doesn't help me choose if you both say to pick the other!