Part 32: Semi-Justly Accused
"Anything yet, Ragnar?"
"No, not yet.. wait! There is tower of missing children. Burland is on south bank of river."
"Is that normal?"
"Cannot say. Ragnar has never traveled on Burland river before."
"Yep. You're looking at them."
"We're about a quarter of the way there."
"Ragnar does not remember. Was Alex sleazy merchant or bread thief?"
"The.. bread thief."
"Sleazy merchant? What do you mean by that?"
"Only stands to reason since there seems to be a key for every other kind of door."
"They say the queen of a certain castle has it. What? A queen means a woman king!"
"And a princess is a female prince. Want to make something of it?"
"More to the point, what country is ruled by a queen? I can't think of any but I've only been to the castles we've been together and Branca."
"I can't think of any either, and I've been around a bit."
"You can have a strange dream anywhere, can't you?"
"Not anymore, he doesn't.."
"When did everyone suddenly start talking about nothing but the Zenithian stuff?"
"Ragnar thinks believing in Master Dragon is better than not believing, even if it is old man talk."
"That's incredibly dangerous.. now that he's reached the pinnacle of evolution he'll pass that off to all of his descendants!"
"It's written that Master Dragon, fearing the evolved monster's incredible power, imprisoned him underground."
"Now the Ruler of Evil is about to resurrect."
"We must inform Master Dragon immediately!"
"We'll get right on it..you'd think he'd have put him somewhere he could keep a better eye on him."
"This man has an excellent point. Luckily we'll be in his neighborhood once we find all the Zenithian equipment."
"Ragnar might not seem like it, but he is very popular with the ladies."
"What's your secret?"
"Ha! Joke is on you, Steve. Ragnar has gone and found the hero and come back with new armor and a great axe."
"I'm kind of surprised that the King didn't hand this seed collection off to you."
"Ragnar hates to admit this, but the key was lost after four guards died trying to cross barrier and find out what was in the chests."
"A volcanic eruption blocked the cave with lava."
"That's a very interesting factoid about a place we have no interest in visiting."
"It's an obscure place with an obstacle blocking the path that we just so happen to have the key for. Whether we really want to or not, we're going there."
"And we're not even going to take advantage of the fact that it's a totally isolated market, are we?"
"Ragnar has succeeded in his mission, but suspects His Majesty was holding out on him."
"I learned recently that the Zenithian Shield was once in this castle."
"It seems that in my grandfather's time the shield was given to the Queen of Gardenbur."
"Gardenbur is the Castle which rises from the heart of the eastern mountains."
"What were my grandfather's intentions? I wonder..."
"I don't. On the plus side, if we need someone to schmooze an elderly woman in order to get hold of something I have a candidate in mind.."
"If you say so. Anyway, before that let's check out this mysterious dream in Izmit. Ragnar, lead on!"
"Everybody's having the same dream? That really IS odd."
"Something like that happened to my father, right before everyone in Santeem disappeared..
"But he had a special gift to see the future.. everybody in this town probably doesn't have that."
"Thank you! Ragnar is wiping them out one monster at a time."
"Yes, but Ragnar understands that you might not recognize him in after growing strong killing many monsters."
"Ragnar, has your country always had undead lancers and dinosaurs running around the countryside?"
"No, but Ragnar has never been prouder of his homeland."
"Trust me. It could be worse. Alright, let's take a look at this dream."
"Easier said than done. Most people can't sleep on command."
"Okay, this is certainly weird enough.. when did the world start having patches of darkness in the corner?"
"That's pretty deadpan..wait, Saro? Necrosaro? THAT's what he looks like?"
"Until my ambition is fulfilled, you stay here.."
"People were right. That is a weird dream..did everybody else dream about Saro promising some elf girl that he was going to exterminate humans and end the world?"
"Pretty much. A real charmer, that guy.. going up to see a girl in her secluded tower and all he wants to talk about is genocide."
"And he just comes out and says it, too. No explanation at all.
"Ragnar thought that he was bad at making romantic small talk, but Saro is in very different league. Can we go looking for shield now?"
"I don't see why not. It's not like we know where this place is or where Saro is right now either."
"Does that look like a blocked pass to anybody else?"
"Not much else it could be."
"I've got this."
"Hey, look over there! Get it get it get it!"
"Aww.. too fast."
"A beautiful woman, you say? I think I might have to take Cristo's spot.."
"We close the gate at night for safety. Come back tomorrow."
"Wait, you mean you're going to have a group of travelers out wandering in a monster infested wilderness come up to the only shelter for miles and you're just going to tell them to come back in the morning?"
"Pretty much. If you couldn't handle it you wouldn't be here."
"Well, I've never seen a bunch of chickens do that.."
"Ragnar did once in guard barracks when someone tried to make whiskey chicken and it went very wrong."
"Stupid guards... not letting people in.. there's flaming chickens out here, you nutcases!"
"Does that mean you came in third place?"
"As an expert guard, Ragnar acknowledges your guarding prowess."
"Hmm.. not much of a potential for exporting."
"Maybe, but that leotard is calling my name."
"I feel a lot less annoyed about carrying these around now that I know what they're worth."
"Really? But he's a monster... how do you know he'd be in to human girls?"
"Why does the Ruler of Evil HAVE to be male? You're saying the Ruler of Evil couldn't be a woman?"
"Bless your heart."
"Ragnar approves of this line of thinking."
"That depends on how popular you are."
"What about the merchant out there? Or does he not count since he's a visitor?"
"You don't have to tell me twice."
"This is going to be pretty humiliating. We didn't even get anything."
"Ragnar is supposed to be putting people in jail, not being in jail."
"NO! We never even saw the thing."
"The prophetess says she saw you steal it."
"Even if we had, we wouldn't have had time to stow it away. You can search us and we're not going to have it. Besides, we're not going to steal the third place medal for prophecy."
"However, I'll have to keep one of you as a hostage."
"Soldiers! Put one of them into jail!
"Go find the thief now!"
"Can't we talk about this a little bit more?"
"Please hurry. Ragnar does not like jail."
"Don't worry Ragnar, you'll be out of here before you know it. I have an idea."
Meanwhile, in the wagon..
"I just got a bad feeling, like something just walked over my grave."
"Whatever. Just hurry up and bet."
"This is almost too easy."
"There's a lot of people in the tournament at Endor who had the same problem recently."
"Well, it's either that or he went to Burland. Either way it shouldn't be too hard to find him."
"In Ragnar's experience evil is like water and flows downhill and into holes."
"The resurrection of the Ruler of Evil... the prophecy of the maturing Hero who shall defeat him.."
"Master Dragon in Zenithia.."
"And the baby born to a celestial nymph in Branca..."
"I'm beginning to understand the meaning of all these stories..."
"Then you're way ahead of me, because I have NO idea."
"Get accused of theft just once, and people won't leave you alone about it."
"She would have enjoyed a commoner's life if she hadn't been born into the royal family. I feel sorry for her."
"Oh, cry me a river. If you can't find a way to get some joy out of being royalty you don't deserve a throne."
"I feel really, really nervous about doing this."
"What do you know, a convenient cave just a bit south of Gardenbur."
"See! Ragnar was right!"
"Wow. Quite a spacious cave."
"Wow, Ragnar was more right than he knew."
"Ragnar has profound understanding of the nature of evil."
"This guy is a lousy thief if he's leaving this much cash sitting around in here."
"You're not kidding, there's a lot of them sitting around here. Can anybody swim?"
"With things like that in the water, I wouldn't even try it."
"Oooh. Ragnar likes."
"Go ahead. I'm going to hold out for the Zenithian shield."
"Geeze. He's not trying at all."
"Just goes to show that you can't trust a minstrel."
"Alright, wake up you thieving bastard!"
"Ow! Stop that! Ragnar will punish you for being put in jail."
"Okay, I've had enough."
"Have you always been able to do that?"
"Not always, but I haven't had a good reason up till now."
"She instructed me to offer assistance if necessary."
"Where were you a few minutes ago, then?"
"I'll take him to the Castle."
"Lamarck, you return to the Castle. Bye!"
"Pretty tricky. She held a hostage and went the extra mile of having us followed."
"It's probably because she knew I was thinking about just leaving Cristo."
"Once again, I'm left wondering if we could have just asked for it and gotten what we wanted."
"Also, take the Zenithian Shield from this Castle's basement. It's yours."
"My people told me that you're on journey to defeat the Ruler of Evil."
"If you knew we were good, then this whole thing was just getting us to do your guard's work for them. Ragnar could have given them advice or help without being thrown in jail."
"I also heard monsters used to live south of here in Rosaville."
"You may find out something there. I suggest you visit Rosaville."
"I can't even imagine what you're saying. Unless maybe you mean as a pet.."
"I've heard of prisoners starting to feel fond of their captors, but the reverse is a bit unusual."
"Halfway there. I like this even better than the helmet."
"Let's get down to Rosaville. It might be important based on that dream we had."
End of Update Snapshot
With the top of the line equipment in the party, Lamarck is becoming incredibly difficult to take down and can do some crushing damage. The Sword of Miracles helps with survivability, and she's got plenty of MP to play around with the powerful attack spells she's getting.
Ragnar's still slightly catching up with everybody else, but he's made up a lot of ground He's lagging behind in equipment and his agility is hurting his case a bit, but he's very solid and reliable.
Alena's become our primary means of dealing melee damage, even though her attack power isn't quite as high as Lamarck's we'll be fixing that pretty soon. Her stats are unbelievable for combat, especially since she's not wearing a Meteorite armband.
Taloon is still our highest level character, but his weapon and armor selection is starting to hurt him pretty badly. He's going to have to get some major upgrades to stay relevant, but his special abilities are still situationally useful. As we're becoming more powerful overall, however, they start to be less game-changing.
Cristo's coming along pretty well, although we haven't seen him for a bit. He's approaching the point where he's going to start getting some really useful healing spells and has already started picking up his death spells as we speak.
Nara's a bit behind in equipment, but that's easy enough to fix as soon as we can get some Metal Babble Armor. At this point her slow leveling is starting to tell, but her AI is going to start to have advantages over Cristo's. Despite that, her spell selections are going to be a problem.
Mara's still got HP like a front-line fighter, but her defense is very sadly lacking at this point and it's not going to be easy to fix. She's also coming up on some great spells that can really turn the tide of a battle.
Brey is also coming along nicely, and has started to catch up to Mara a bit in the durability field. It's still pretty much a toss-up between the two of them, but he could be a very viable choice by now. The Magma Staff is also a great tool if you can get the AI to use it.
Just to keep things fresh, it's time to change things up a bit in the party. The rules are pretty similar this time:
Must be 4 people
Must include Lamarck
Must not be identical to this team.
You have until this time tomorrow to make your choices.