Part 23: This isn't really very plausible at all.
: This is eerie. There's no city, no village, just a castle. It doesn't look deserted, though... What kind of country is this?
: A trusting one, I guess. They don't even keep the doors locked.
: Wow. I guess we found everyone.
: They stuck the entire city in here!
: Our past King Papas was such a great King. To keep his people safe, he built this city within the walls of his palace.
: That sounds really... awkward. How do you grow food and stuff?
: See, even as I close my eyes, it's like I can see noble King Papas standing before me.
: Er, your eyes are still open, sir.
: For the longest time now, our King has been on a quest and we have endured quite some time now without him. Oh, we waited for him to return, though. But many years passed and he never did...
: I think you may officially be the last person to receive the bad news...
: A few years ago, Lord Ojiron had no choice but to ascend to the throne.
: Wait, you spent almost twenty years with no one leading the country? How did you even survive?
: We're really good at waiting.
: I hope that by the time my child grows up that peace will have come to this land...
: King Papas had a dream... he had some sort of vision. But now, no one will ever know what that dream was...
: Doot de doo, don't mind me, just helping myself to your barrel of miraculous brain food here.
: and you sir, need to go around the counter.
: Only ten thousand? I can make more than that on a long walk! This kingdom must be having financial troubles since Dad left...
: He used to come religiously to church for prayer, but now...
: I wonder if he's getting too old...
: Then again, he DID only just get back a little while ago, so it doesn't make much sense for us to be talking about his regular habits or lifestyle changes!
: But now, with this news of King Papas' death, what will become of all my research?!
: ... How were you supposed to report your findings to Papas while he was away?
: I, uh... figured he'd come back for it.
: Can we afford that Falcon Sword yet?
: So very, very close...
: The past King Papas was very kind and took very good care of me. If only such a terrible thing hadn't happened to Lady Martha... King Papas would still be... No, I mustn'y say that. I can think whatever I want but it'll do no good now.
: What are those things on the sides of her head? And does she have... wings?
: The text box is obscuring my vision. I used to be a pet kept by Queen Martha, years back.
: Well, now we know where you get it from, Simon.
: I'm... uh... the new janitor?
: Keep walking, buddy.
: And you're telling a complete stranger this because...? It's not my problem. ... Naw, just messing with you. I'll talk to her, straighten this right out.
: But when my father became King, they forced me to become one! *sigh* I wish I had a more exciting life than this...
: Well you could always
: She can NOT come with us.
: *ahem* You could always take up a sport? Anyway, hang in there. Maybe the true heir to the throne will turn up and you can go back to being a... what do you call the cousin of a king, anyway?
: What a coincidence!
: Are you trying to tell me you are of that line? Wa ha ha ha. Now that's a good joke.
: No, seriously. Papas was my father.
: There's no way you're Papas's son. Just look at you. You're wearing pants.
: And then one day I saw Sancho's figure in the distance! There was never a moment happier than that for me. But as much as I squinted, I could not see the figure of King Papas beside him. And then, when I heard Sancho's tale, the world fell apart for me.
: I... well, sorry to bother you, I'll just--
The nun hastily gets the hell out of the house.
: Sancho, you dog. So that's what those ladies meant about you "coming to church religiously."
: Hmm? Do I know you?
: Wait for it...
: Hmm? Wait...!
: Here it comes...
: Could it be...? Goodness, it is! Young master!
: In the flesh!
: Oh it is the young master! There's no mistake about it! You're... alive... You truly are alive...!
: Oh, come on, man. No crying! Ah, jeez.
: Ahh, how strong you have become...
: Hmm? And who might this beautiful young woman be?
: Oh, Sancho! It's me! Can't you tell, you silly little man? It's Bianca!
: Oy!! You're... little Bianca? You've become so beautiful!
: Hee hee, we got married, didn't we, Simon.
: Yep! Dug some magic rings out of caves, got some rich guy to pay for the wedding, and then ran off with his antique shield and his ship! That's normal, right? I've been worrying about that for a while...
: That's exactly how your father married your mother. So... you did, did you? Ahh... I don't know what to say... So many things...
: What did I just say about crying!
: Oh... Sancho...
: At any rate, I must report to King Ojiron that the young master has returned! You may have known this already, but your father, Lord Papas, was this country's great King.
: Yeah, I picked up on that. How come I had to learn about that from total strangers, Sancho?
: That was your father's idea, sorry. Now, Lord Papas' younger brother is the acting King of this nation... Please, young master, if you would kindly follow me.
: Lord Sancho? That just sounds weird.
: I have matters of extreme urgency that I must discuss with the King. I need to pass immediately!
: Yes Sire!
: Sancho? Are you... important?
: My liege...
Sancho walks up to the King to whisper into his ear, saving me from having to transcribe the whole story again.
: What?! Papas... my brother's son, Simon is alive and well?!
: I'm sorry it took so long to return home. I was... delayed.
: To think... a child the last time I laid eyes on you... and now... a grown man... Excuse my manners... I am your father Papas' younger brother, Ojiron. And who might your beautiful companion be?
Bianca staggers backwards a step, and then collapses to the ground!
: Miss Bianca?!
In a panic, Simon helps carry Bianca up to the royal bedroom, while a nun is summoned for medical advice. I'm tempted to end the update here, but I think we've had enough fake worry cliffhangers lately.
: What were you thinking, traveling in that condition?! From what I heard, you already collapsed once before... What were you planning on doing if something terrible had happened?
: Is... is it that bad, Sister?
: It's very good, silly!
: Wh... what?
: Oh God... I think I see where this is going!
That is the funniest Yes/No prompt I have ever seen in my life.
: Of course you're surprised. It was rather sudden, but...
: You don't need to be sarcastic, Sister.
: Yes, that's right. Lady Bianca is quite pregnant, you could say! Seriously, how did you not notice?
: I didn't know what to look for!
: Oh joy! The young master and Miss Bianca's child! What an adorable little baby it will be!
: Well, my work is done... do take care now...
: I can't believe it... After all these years, the boy I thought dead shows up at my door... And married to boot with a child to come any day now... I... I... I've never been so happy in my life... *sob*
: Oh, Simon, I'm so sorry that I kept it hidden from you... For nine months. Also, I love you for never once calling me fat. I thought that I might be pregnant, but I thought if I told you that you would just put off your quest for me... But I won't be selfish anymore. I won't insist on traveling with you anymore. I have to take care of my body so I can have a healthy baby. I love you, Simon.
This is the most adorable and implausible plot development imaginable.
: Honey? What are you doing?
: I loot when I'm nervous. What's a bisuche, anyway?
: Just who are you people?
: It's a secret!
: Now please, our King awaits you below.
: Oops. I hope he's not going to ask where his frilly dress went.
: Hmmm... Now, Simon, since you're here... I have something to ask you... come closer...
: I was just taking it out to be dry-cleaned, I swear!
: You see, Simon... I am thinking of giving up my throne to you...
: It's starting to amaze me how many rulers don't want the job.
: I'm aware of that, Chancellor... but this is how it should be... After all, all I am is a good-natured fool with a lucky inheritance. I wasn't born to rule. Now that Papas' son has returned, it's only logical that he take the throne... Don't you agree?
: Well I... suppose... But for generations now, it has been tradition that our Kings have gone to the Cave of Trials.
: But Chancellor, generations ago there weren't monsters in that cave.
: A Cave of Trials that isn't full of monsters? That doesn't even make sense.
: Tradition is tradition, Sire! It must be kept, under any circumstances!
: But I didn't have to go to the Cave of Trials.
: Those were different circumstances.
: Hmmm... I suppose you do have a point... Simon... You heard the story... I want nothing more than to give the throne to you... Hear me! Go to the Cave of Trials and return with the Symbol of Royalty! And when you do, I will have no objections to your becoming King! The Cave of Trials lies in a forest East of here. Of course, you must be tired. Rest for now. You will leave tomorrow morning, so sleep well tonight!
: Shouldn't you be back in bed? Maybe with about a million doctors and nuns handy just in case?
: Me? I'm fine! I feel a lot better now! It's still hard to believe that you're this country's prince. If you happened to become King, I guess that would also make our son a prince.
: What if we have a girl?
: She can be a prince if she wants to. Not that I care about something like that. I am just so happy the way things are.
: But don't worry, while you're gone I'll take good care of your wife.
: Huh? I don't care about that...
: Besides, the Chancellor also told me quite strictly not to tell anyone...
: What, does he think I won't make it back? Hah!
: We do not know what awaits you in the Cave of Trials... Just in case... we mustn't give the citizens false hope...
There's a little bit of extra looting we can do before we leave, now that this soldier lets us into the barracks.
: I'm sure this room won't be important later.
: I believe it with all my heart!
: Why would anyone just wander into the Chancellor's room and rifle through his drawers for treasure? Excuse me...
: But he told us that his journey was too dangerous for him to ask us to risk our lives for... In the end, he took only his young son and Lord Sancho and set off. The rest is history.
: Haha. Too dangerous for a dwarf, but not for a newborn baby.
: That's just mean...
: It is said that she was kidnapped because of that.
: Even here, in the heart of my homeland, you vex me, door. I will have my day!
: But sometimes I think that it'll get him into trouble.
: King Ojiron... all he does she bow down to the Chancellor! You can't even tell which one is the real kind sometimes! *hick*
: I... think I understand what you just said. Sort of.
Before we leave, we should check in with Sancho. Maybe he has some advice for us.
: Holy crap I didn't realize how tall you are.
: But, young master, all of a sudden you started to cry as if all hell had broken loose! And so, he had no choice but to take you along... But in taking you along, he had to be most cautious in the event of tragedy. "No one must know that he is a prince until he returns to the palace safely", he said...
: Wow. It makes sense that he would try to protect me, but it didn't work out, did it? Gema never knew who we were, and he didn't care, and still... I don't want that for my child. No secrets this time, Sancho, whatever the future holds.
: Oh young master! I am so sorry that I kept this hidden for so long now! I beg you, please forgive this old fool! And please, accept King Ojiron's proposal and become King! If you do not, I fear I will not be able to ever make it up to your father in heaven!
: You know, it never occured to me not to. This is my home. I will make a safe place for my wife, for my child. When I find my mother, I will bring her back here to our family.
The Cave of Trials
: Well, this looks pretty generic so far.
: Hm. Well, I'm sure we'll take each path sooner or later, so let's just pick one.
: Oh. They all lead to the same room. And it's a dead end. Great. Maybe I should try a different door?
: Well, that's a little different, anyway.
The trick is to keep going through the door indicated by that bird emblem on the ground. Eventually....
: Ah, good. I've passed the Trial of Basic Pattern Recognition.
: Congratulations, sir!
: I suddenly feel better about this trip!
: Get it! Get it! Get it!
Like their cousin Metal Slimes, Metal Babbles are worth a shitton of experience...
... If you can catch them...
: OK, this is a little gross...
: Hey! Quit copying my cat! Rude!
: That's an awfully big door...
: Um, sir, I don't think you should...
Another puzzle. This time the trick is to push a rock over where it will block you from being swept away.
: Glack! Pbbt! This isn't much better! Oh, well. That's the Trial of Hugging a Rock down.
: Wow. This is metal as fuck.
The Swordedge Armor, in addition to being pretty strong, also sometimes reflects damage to attackers. Right now, only Pierre in the party can equip it, which I totally forgot to do!
: OK, I guess this is the Trial of...
: Stepping on the Obvious Floor Tile. Right.
: One of these things is not like the others, doot de doo.
: And, the Trial of Pushing the Button. They sure are proving my worth to rule!
: Oh, my. I have power over life itself. I decide who lives and who dies.
: But only with a 50% success rate, sir.
: Yeah, but it still beats walking back to a church.
This panel appeared when Simon pushed that button. He's too distracted by his ability to cheat death slightly more than he could before to be sarcastic about it, though.
: Say, Puckle, how do you think Bianca will like being a Queen? All sitting around at fancy dinners, entertaining foreign dignitaries, waving in parades, that sort of thing.
: Ha ha! Yeah, I can't imagine it either.
: Hmm, what are we going to do with you, though?
: You're going to be the Royal Panther, after all! That's a heavy responsibility.
: I'm not sure you're taking this entirely seriously, sir.
: Gasp! How could anyone have followed us here? Only the royal family could possibly push the right buttons to OK never mind, come out here so I can beat you up.
: So if yas don't mind... I'll take that Symbol of Royalty from ya!
: Mm hmm. I suppose this was inevitable. Don't suppose you'd mind telling me who the traitor is, would you?
: Errr, at any rate, give that to us!
Hey, it's a callback! Kandar was a recurring boss in DQ3. In this game, he's little more than a speedbump.
: Yeah, it's going to take a higher class of thug than that to keep me from my home.
: Yeah, sure, let's rock. Say, I've seen a lot of orcs claiming to be kings. What kind of government is that?
: Eh, it's more of an honorific than a job description.
Orcus has some decent stats, can equip decent gear, and gets decent spells, but isn't a superstar.
: You signed on with the right man, Orcus. I'm going to be a king, you know. Job description, not honorific.
: Aren't you one of Sancho's little acquaintances? Why don't you ask Sancho if you can spend a night with him... then try and come back tomorrow.
: ... OK, so I'm going to be a king starting some time tomorrow. Still!
: Why not just cut those guards down where they stand?
: That's not really the proper way to start a reign.
: Sounds right to me.
: That old fox knows that you are Lord Papas' son and still he orders such?! Well... what can we do? Please stay here tonight...
: Thanks, Sancho. I hope I'm not putting you out. Wouldn't want to keep you from your "prayers."
: *ahem* Uh, no, I didn't have plans tonight. It must be more than ten years since we last spent the night under the same roof... Rest well, young master...
Next time: I don't think the chancellor's evil, do you? Naw. Couldn't be.