The Let's Play Archive

Ephemeral Fantasia

by LJN92

Part 12: Days 17-20 - Professor Ano and the Golden Pen

Days 17-20 – Professor Ano and the Golden Pen

Where we last left off, we endured the tedious torture that was the labyrinth on Ghoul Island, ending with us rescuing Kyte and sending a message to Mouse’s friends, Beak and Fang.

Now we shall, as you guessed from the title, recruit Ano. As it happens, of the list from the intro, only Ano and Gallhint remain unrecruited.

Ano’s recruitment method is possibly one of the more arcane sequences in the game. We’ve already dealt with cryptic and unhelpful bullshit left and right, and while Ano has nothing on Kyte’s sidequest, he sure has his share of bullshit to deal with.

Before we do anything, I use the funds I got from Ghoul Island to upgrade everyone’s weapons to maximum (that being Mouse, Rummy and Claire’s weapons). As you can see, this nearly cleans me out (I had nearly 80K after that dungeon), highlighting the importance of getting money if you want to be in top shape.

Now, let’s go see if we can recruit Ano, shall we?

He has nothing to say to us. How helpful. How about after 12PM today?

Nope. Still nothing.

He will have something to say to us….on the 3rd day of the loop, after 12PM. Why? No idea, but that’s the arbitrary goalpost the game has set. You would only figure out when actual dialogue was available from him by feverishly talking to him at every possible time period in hopes he would eventually have something to say.

Or you could just use a walkthrough and spare yourself all the tedium, like me.

Research Worker: “It’s a special made one of a kind item that can only be obtained at one place on the island.”

This information appears worthless to us, since Ano’s pen doesn’t seem to be relevant to anything just now. But this is the information we need to work off of. There’s a pen merchant in town, and he won’t talk to us unless we’ve spoken to this guy about Ano’s pen.

Fruser: “Oh, I’m sorry. That’s a special item of Professor Ano’s from the palace, right? What? You must have the exact same pen?! Hmm…Since you insist, I’d love to help you. But…That’s impossible right now. I just can’t get a hold of the feather from the golden bird that’s necessary to make the pen. I’ve asked the hunters to find them for me, but so far they’ve only come back with the one feather Professor Ano has. Lately, the hunters have reported seeing the golden bird, so I might be able to get a hold of one in 2-3 weeks.”

(You want us to wait 2-3 weeks?! On this island, that’s impossible! I guess we’ll just have to go find the bird ourselves.)

That’s our objective: find the bird so that we can recreate Ano’s pen.

As Fruser mentioned, the hunters are on the task, so maybe they can help us. And where are the hunters? Hunter’s Village, of course. Although to find out there was a village with hunters in it, you’d either just have to explore until you found it, or sift through all the banal NPC dialogue until one said something like “THERES A VILLAGE OF HUNTERS OUTSIDE THE CITY”.

Anyway, lets head on over and see what we can find out.

We can deduce that the golden bird shows up in the graveyard at night. What they don’t make clear is that it won’t be there at any time of night, but specifically after midnight. If you show up anticipating it at 8PM when the game turns dark, you’ll be disappointed.

As the military has blocked off the graveyard, this means you can’t recruit Ano until after recruiting Bagoth. While you need him to get the guard to let you in the first time, once that’s done, you can Power Jump back to town and grab your real party members if Bagoth isn’t one of your regulars, then jump back (or walk if you haven’t learned Power Jump).

If you’re in the graveyard past midnight on any given day, you’ll see the golden bird flying in. You have to wait for it to roost before you can do anything though.

Now Playing – Combat

The bird is something of a gimmick boss. It has jacked up physical defence, to the point that even if you’ve Gameshark’d your attack to maximum, you’ll only do 1000 damage to it per hit (with that kind of power you’d usually do 30000). Physical attacks barely scratch it, but spells can be devastating. Turns out I could have ended the fight real early if I’d just had Claire lob her ice spell from the start.

For defeating the golden bird, we receive “Golden Feathers” as an item. This is what we turn into Fruser.

However, as we’re rather far from actually needing Ano’s pen, I decide to do a little exploring in the meantime.

In an area prior to the Woodcutter’s Village, shortly east of the swamps, I encounter Lilac, another “old lady” daughter. She is just like her siblings.

Heading further east, we find Almeria. Now we’ve met all of the “old lady”’s daughters. Almeria has the square of map that corresponds with the Holy Gem shrine, being divided from that area by a cliff. If you’d been trying to get all the map pieces before now, this one likely frustrated you due to its unavailability (especially since the Holy Gem Ceremony is tied to Bagoth’s recruitment).

That peacock looking thing with the weird head is called a “Wide Feather”. The small bird between the “Elf”s legs is called a “Chick”. It looks more like a kiwi bird to me.

Neither enemy is a threat. This game is full of enemies that stop being threats with a few weapon levels.

Further east of Almeria’s house, in a forest with a sign warning of bandit activity…

Click here to see the Gallhint gang in action.

Zenne: “Imagine running into the infamous Gallhint Gang in this secluded spot! Hand over all your money right now!”

We are thrust into a confrontation with no say in the matter.

Zenne and her bandits, like all the worthless enemies we’ve been fighting thus far, are no threat to us. The most damage Zenne does is 58.

When we win, the fight music does not stop…

Zenne: “Now I’m going to destroy you!”

Now Playing – Cute Recorder Sound

(I assume they mixed up the title with what Rinna played when we picked her up at the docks)

Zenne: “Gallhint! Why are you stopping me?!”

“It’s dangerous! This is the kind of guy that’s really dangerous, Zenne.”

Small aside, but Gallhint is the only character mentioned in the intro that doesn’t have a place on the cover art of any Ephemeral Fantasia box, nor has any individual art made of him. I had to get his portrait from the cover of some magazine. Small spoiler, but he’s far more significant to events in this game than most of the others on the boxes and that have art of them.

“Haven’t I told you that over and over again? Don’t ever take on someone stronger than you.”

“I won’t mess with you. But, this forest is our headquarters. Stay away from here.”

Gallhint starts walking away.

“You idiot! Didn’t you figure it out fighting him? We’re in the same business.”

(This guy seems like a cunning fellow.)

And the cutscene ends there.

Gallhint mentioned this forest being their base. Despite his request to stay out, what if we poke around some more?

“You’ve got guts, buddy! You know this place here’s the bandit’s hideout. As long as you don’t get in the way, I don’t care if you drop by. I mean, we’re in the same business after all.”

So despite his request, Gallhint doesn’t care a lick if we hang around his fortress.

This guy is offering us a minigame. What minigame?

Did you figure it out yet? Is it clear?

If your guess was some kind of card game, you’d be dead wrong. Because this is Dominoes. Literally just the game of Dominoes that you would play in real life. If you’ve never played it and want to know what it’s about, I’d suggest just googling it.

Now Playing – Domino Minigame

In Ephemeral Fantasia, you have to bet half your money on any game of Dominoes. Win and you get 1.5 your current funds, lose and they’re halved. Simple enough, unlike the terribly translated rules. You can make a good bit of G if you win a lot.

Click here to see an example of Ephemeral Fantasia’s dominoes.

In the other building here, Zenne is sitting at a table with nothing important to say, and Gallhint is relaxing on his bed and flat out will not respond. Gallhint, like Ano, is a dreadful example of how annoying Ephemeral Fantasia’s time system is, forcing you to check at arbitrary intervals to see when he’ll say anything to you. Suffice to say we’re not recruiting him now.

After 6PM on any 3rd day, Gallhint and his gang set out for the palace attack. Naturally, the fortress will be empty and you won’t be able to play Dominoes or talk to anyone.

Behind Gallhint’s fortress is a line of treasure chests, all “taken by the bandits”. The one I’m interacting with above has a Revive Potion in it. The rest are empty, save one with a pathetic amount of G in it.

Now that’s enough of Gallhint. Let’s get back to Ano. As I said earlier, on the 3rd day at 12PM…

“You want to talk to me? Oh, all right. I’m off the clock now, so what do you want to talk to me about?”

”…so there you have it, Xelpherpolis is an evil bastard with time magic.”

“Maybe you should be a novelist instead of a musician? But it’s so inconceivable. And there’s no basis for it. Magic that causes time to loop is nothing more than a myth. First of all, your theory has a big hole in it. OK, let’s just suppose there’s some being who can cause a temporal closure. Well, putting aside that you have said that it’s Xelpherpolis…this being has to control the magic that manipulates time. Do you have any idea how much magic, how much power it would require to do that? My calculations of magic use a measurement called MP.”

Now we’re really getting meta.

“That’s 12,000 MP. That’s 12,000. 1, 2, 0, 0, 0! From my research, I have concluded that even the most powerful life form can store at the most up to 999MP. Thus, such a being is unimaginable. Do you understand?”

”I mean, yes, but-“

We pester him again.

”What if, like, a bunch of people got together to do time magic? Xelpherpolis has at least three flunkies!”

“Definitely. If a number of beings come together, and through some ritual, combine magical forces, it’s not absolutely impossible but…Do stop with these bizarre tales. When the wedding is over, we can sit down and talk about this in depth. Goodbye, um…yes, that’s right, Mr. Mouse.”

Scene over.

Talking to him again accomplishes nothing. We have to leave.

Pattimo’s comment doesn’t really point us in the right direction.

There’s no hint at all as to what you’re actually supposed to do after talking to Ano. This is technically by design, but if you don’t want to waste time, you’ll likely need a walkthrough to inform you how to proceed.

As we already know what we’re doing, let’s go turn our feathers into the merchant.

Fruser: “Please let me have this. Now I will be able to make a copy of Professor Ano’s pen, just as you have requested. Come back in 6 hours.”

Now you just have to wait 6 in game hours, and…

Now what do we do? Go show Ano we got a fancy pen just like his? Well if we want to elicit a cutscene response from him again, we’ll have to wait until, say, 8PM on the 4th day, or any time he’s in his room after that.

In the meantime, I happen to talk to Rinna’s father at the inn.

Given Rinna’s father was never relevant to anything other than her recruitment, you’d probably never guess he has anything important for you. On top of that, this item only shows up after recruiting Claire, for reasons that will be apparent later.

In order to do more with this package, we have to go into our room at the inn.

“So, it’s a watch…”

Now Playing – Letter

‘This watch has been passed down through the royal family. It was broken a long time ago and has never been fixed. Ever since the island’s temporal closure long, long ago….I don’t know why, but I wanted you to have it. It’s not clear why, even to me. I want you to have it. Don’t let the break in time defeat you.

“”Don’t let the break in time defeat you.” Hmm. She probably thought you might just be the one who could put the island’s time back to the way it once was. That’s why she gave you the watch. It’s coupled with her hopes and desires. Wouldn’t it be best to have something like this handled by a watchmaker? Let’s go to the watchmaker’s shop.”

As Pattimo suggested, we head down to see Claire. She needs to be removed from the party to see the following scene.

“You want it repaired? It’s going to require a lot of work, but…If you’re not in a hurry, I’ll do it.”

And that’s it. This won’t be followed up on for a while.

Now, let’s finally go get Ano recruited.

Click here to watch Ano get recruited.

Naturally, we have to pester him again.

”I’m afraid I must insist that you understand that Xelpherpolis is pure fucking evil.”

“The future is determined by my judgements. Not everyone can understand that!”

Either this is some atrocious mistranslating, or Ano is pretty far up his own ass.

“If they knew, they wouldn’t have to suffer so…!!”

“I can’t use this anymore. I did have a special pen I liked…”

”Need a pen? Got you covered, buddy…”

“It’s not possible that anyone other than me would have one.”

“You were right!”

Mouse moves to shake hands with Ano, but…

“Is this it?! Is this really it?! Is this the “time manipulating enemy” that you spoke of?!”

”Yeah, that’s one of them.”

“This is most interesting! Show me how you’re combating this!”

Zenoru is actually a unique encounter, unlike the random battles we experienced recruiting Kyte and….guh, Plosi. While it doesn’t go down too quickly, it isn’t really a threat either.

Ano is exhausted, despite doing nothing at all.

We get the option to put Ano in our party right now. Even if I wasn’t extensively using my current allies, I wouldn’t really want to use Ano. While he’s not as bad as…eck, Plosi, he’s still not all that useful. He has an attack that hits all enemies, but his low strength means it’ll never be very useful. He might get better with time, but we have better characters to use.

Now, if you want to fill out the Monster Chart, Ano’s your man. He has the one skill that allows you to make entries by scanning monsters. But I don’t really care about that, especially since encountering all this game’s monsters would require you to play as unintuitively as possible due to the level scaling.

Obviously, the intent here is that you experience Ano’s cutscene in one loop, and then try to anticipate his pen breaking in the next. That’s not so bad, at least from the perspective that this is what they intended. However, getting to this point in the first place requires you to constantly pester Ano in hopes that you’ll trigger a cutscene at some point. That is where the true tedium and frustration lays in Ephemeral Fantasia.

Also, you’d think that by this point, we could use the myriad allies we’ve gained to convince people. Ano might find Mouse saying this absurd, but what if we had the Captain of the Royal Guard (Rummy) and the General of the entire army of Pandule (Bagoth) come in to corroborate our story? Maybe he could dig in his heels and think it’s a big prank, but it’s worth a shot.

With nothing else important to do, I spend the rest of this loop grabbing map pieces.

That shall be all for today.

Join me next time, where we change Gallhint’s life forever.