Part 17: You Can't Go Home
"Are you sure about this? I mean, a leather dress is kind of.. well, what's wrong with robes?"
"You've got to learn to trust me on these things, sis. A leather dress is just the kind of thing you want to wear when you're going from the big city back to visit your backwoods home town."
"You know, I never thought about it before but it really is kind of odd that they have a sign pointing the way here."
"Well, it is kind of picturesque if you look at it just right. Maybe they were hoping for tourism?"
"Say, didn't Edgar have another pupil? Orin.. that's his name, I think."
"He was terribly injured too. Where is he now?"
"Orin.. Orin.. oh! That guy! I'd almost forgotten about him!"
"I can't see how. You followed him around like a puppy for three weeks after father took him in as a student."
"Hey, I was a naive young girl back then. I prefer more sophisticated men now."
"Somehow we hadn't lost track of how long it's been, seeing as we're his children."
"And considering how quickly dogs grow up and how long they remain adults that's an extremely unspecific span of time anyway."
"Not as much as I would have thought, actually."
"Although I have really missed being able to spend time around horses. It's just not the same in the big city."
"What is it with you and horses, anyway?"
"It's something an impure woman like you who spends all her time thinking about men would never understand."
"Well you could stand to spend a bit more time thinking about.. hey, they've got some new stuff in the store here!"
"I was wondering why nobody seemed to care about our outfits. I never should have let you talk me into this.. although those hats actually look really cute."
"Wow, when they say he grew up he really grew up. That's a lot of dog."
"By the way, this is a secret..."
"Orin, Edgar's other pupil, is hiding in the cave west of this village."
"Orin may know Balzack's whereabouts..."
"Sis, I think we're going spelunking."
"Even the name sounds disgusting, but I'll try anything once."
"This place has really gone to hell since we left."
"I'll say. Was that black stuff always all over the floor?"
"Are these still good? I don't even know how to check.."
"Can't say one way or the other, but I think at this point we've seen everything. What do you think of hat shopping before we leave?"
"If it weren't for the fact that most of of these things were murderous hell beasts, I'd feel bad about slaughtering living creatures for fashion."
"They might not always be murderous. I mean, look at this little guy. He'd kind of be cute if he weren't trying to rip our faces off."
"I don't know about that, but I suppose since he seems to be scooping up all of the young girls it's about the same for most guys."
"But he made an extraordinary discovery, Ah.. the Secret of Evolution.. that's it."
"Somehow I think things would have worked out better if he'd ironed out the gold-making thing."
"Have you considered tax evasion? I hear it's the new 'in' thing this year."
"This might just be the saddest thing I've ever seen."
"It came up a few times. People would probably have had an easier time accepting it if he'd just stolen something instead of breaking down the doors and leaving."
"Speak for yourself. I was in the bath at the time."
"You're such a sweetheart. If you ever go down to the city tell the man at the theater that Mara sent you and they'll set you up with some good seats."
"Are you ready for this?"
"As much as I'll ever be.."
"Oh. This isn't so bad. Why didn't you tell me spelunking meant wide, dry, nicely paved corridors?"
"Because I didn't know! This isn't what I thought the old man meant when he said Orin was hiding in a cave."
"Creepy monsters, now that's more like it."
"Why does that thing look like it has breasts?"
"No.... no we hadn't. Can you tell us a bit more about it?"
"I've come from Monbaraba. I think you'd better give up."
"I just can't find a way downstairs."
"I think we'll figure something out."
"The funny thing is that he knew there was a floor below but couldn't find it. If I couldn't find a way down no matter how hard I tried, I'd assume I was on the bottom floor."
"You've got me there. Maybe these things flew out of a hole somewhere and made him think that?"
"Sis, I'm kind of disappointed in the loot in here so far."
"At least the decor is nice. That dragon is pretty impressive."
"As long as that's not a hint about what's at the bottom."
"How could that Merchant no find this? It's a big gold-colored panel on the floor. You'd think he'd have seen it from a mile away."
"Mid-cavern snacking. Now this I can get behind."
"Are you sure those hadn't gone bad? You look a little green around the cheeks."
"I think that's because of something else entirely."
"On the plus side, we can use some of the money to buy you an antidote when we head back to town."
"Yaaargh. Oh god, it's like a hangover that refuses to end."
"Loot first, or Orin? That's not even a choice."
"Great. For all that hard work, we get a lamp to decorate our non-existent home."
"It looks kind of magical. Maybe it's got some kind of special powers?"
"That's a bit obsessive and creepy, to be honest."
"Balzack allied himself with the evil ones and gained great magic powers."
"But the Sphere of Silence should help you overcome his magic powers!"
"Well, that would work pretty well.. any idea where this Sphere is?"
"Not a clue, but we shall find it and then we shall have our revenge!"
As you can see, Orin's a hireling rather than a permanent character. For an alchemist he's a brick wall of HP and strength, which is something we've been seriously missing in this party.
"How're you holding up, sis?"
"I've.. been better. Don't you know an antidote spell?"
"Afraid not.. and even if I did, I don't think I could manage a spell right now anyway."
"What are we stopped for?"
"There's this stone door in the way, and we can't get it open."
"Is opening it necessary for our revenge?"
"Then step aside."
"Hey, what do you know? It's that sphere thing you were talking about."
"That's great and all, but sis.. is that one of those duck-billed abominations only green?"
"Yep. Why do you ask?"
"I was worried that the poison was making me halluc..."
"In retrospect, I should have seen that coming."
"Sis..? Please learn an antidote spell."
End of Update Snapshot
At this point some of the shortcomings of these characters start to become clear. Nara hasn't gotten much better at all, and she's decidedly average in most stats.
Mara's as bad or worse, considering that some of her spells can take 4 MP to cast. Once she runs out of juice she's not much help in a battle. If they hadn't included Orin, this chapter would be absolutely murderous instead of just moderately murderous.