Part 113: The Calm Before the StormUpdate 22: The Calm Before the Storm
I'm gonna start off this update by covering this quest. And no, there's no new dialogue for it in Story or something. So why am I doing this? Because Ragnar messed up this quest in his playthrough, so I'm playing cleanup for him. So let's get this started.
Oh, that request. I knew yeh'd see that one. The fella who put it up was kinda... skittish, but it sounds like he found out about some kinda treasure in a cave on the 12th floor. Seems the farthest depths of the cave are full of stalactites. Yeh know those, eh? Big sharp icicle-lookin' stones on the ceiling? Anyhow, nervous guy like him didn't wanna tromp around in a dark, dangerous cave. So he came back here. But the fella couldn't get the treasure off his mind, of course, so he's puttin' in a request to find it. Doesn't even want it for himself! All he wants is to know what it is. Beyond that, he ain't askin' for anything else. Might be dangerous, but as long as yeh go in the cave and see what the treasure is, yeh get it on top of the reward. Sweet deal, eh? Almost too good to be true. Feels like there might be a catch... but nothin' ventured, nothin' gained! Besides, yeh can handle it. As for the place, it's on the 12th floor to the west. The fella oughta be waiting for yeh there, so get goin'. Keep an eye out! Can't be too careful, eh? G'luck!
Interesting info. Probably best to keep all of it in mind.
You remember that you've accepted a request to investigate the truth behind the treasure in the back of a cave. Did this guard put up the request? You confirm to him that you're here to fulfill the assignment.
Ah, nice. I've been waiting for you. The client had something big come up, so he gave me a message for you and headed home. I was a little worried nobody would show up. Good to see you. Sorry to skip the chitchat, but lemme get the message... See that thick clump of trees? Take a closer look - the cave's hidden over there. And I guess the treasure's in there somewhere.
Indeed, there seems to be a dense copse nearby. Within, you can faintly make out a cavernous maw, and a road leading in...
You'll be investigating this area, huh? Well, since I've been waiting here anyway, I could stand guard if you like. It's no problem for me, and safer for you. Oh, did you have any questions?
You must decide whether you will ask questions of the nonchalant guard, or begin exploring the cave.
Might as well find a bit more about this quest.
Tell me about the client.
Huh, lemme think. Well, he was looking down the whole time, so I couldn't see his face, but he seemed kind of a pushover. Kinda quiet guy. Couldn't make out much other than to tell any adventurers that the treasure was in the cave... So I did. Treasure's in the cave. There you go. Sorry, but that's all I know.
The guard shrugs amiably, and asks you if there's any other questions. If you want to know anything else, you can ask now.
Did you go inside the cave?
Oh, no. No way. You kidding? These kinds of places with hidden treasure are usually pretty dangerous. If you're going, make sure to be careful. Getting wrecked by a falling stalactite would just be embarrassing.
The guard laughs heartily, assuring you he'll answer any more questions you have. You seem to have the full story, but if you want to ask or clarify anything more, you are free to consult him.
Hmm, that was very interesting info.
Enough to make the guard untrustworthy.
Huh? I was just going to be a lookout, and it's not a bad offer, even for you guys... Why are you refusing my offer?
Something the guard said doesn't match up with the info we've been given.
I don't trust you.
I guess I see where you're coming from, but do I really seem that shady?
And we'll prove it right now.
When you were asking questions, something the guard said did seem odd, and out of place. Whether he was mistaken or lying, you can't be sure, but you can't shake off the feeling that he may be trying to deceive you...
I see. I'm sorry if anything I said made you feel uncomfortable... Well, then, what did I say that was out of place?
How could he have possibly known about the stalactites if he never went into the cave in the first place!?
The stalactites? Why, is that a weird thing to... Ggh!?
According to the client's information, the stalactites exist deep inside the cave. None can be seen in the shallow entrance. In other words, it would be impossible to see any stalactites from the outside... So how does this guard, who claims to have remained outside, know about the stalactites in its inner depths? The man must have ventured deep into the caverns, and witnessed the stalactite formations himself! When you confront him on the matter, he meets your gaze, replying with a brief chuckle.
Haha! That's an interesting deduction. Are you guys detectives or something? You've been reading too many mysteries! Look, I think that's enough messing around. You've got a request to do, right? Why don't you head in and get to work?
Nah. I'm enjoying our chat too much.
At your words, something in him finally snaps, and the smile finally drops from his face--replaced by a murderous glare. Sensing his sudden aggression, you prepare your weapons, and he reacts quickly. With a tut, he darts his hand into his pocket--
You don't know who this guard might be, but he must be after the treasure inside the cave. Judging by his pressuring you to enter the cave, it's possible the way ahead is very dangerous... If you feel continuing would not be worth the risk, you can go back to the bar and report your findings. However, if you will stop at nothing to acquire the treasure, then you should enter the cave.
Not entering the cave will end the quest immediately, and isn't what you want to do.
You decide to enter the cave in order to retrieve the treasure and complete the request.
Further through the winding caverns, you notice a small hole in the limestone walls, and draw closer. Something is inside... Could this be the treasure in question? You reach in to pull out the object, but your reach falls just short of it... However, you stretch your arms as far as you can... and manage to grab hold of the cylindrical object. Pulling it out, you examine your prize. It appears to be a metal flute, colored a muted sky-blue... As you examine the flute, a loud din sounds from the entrance of the cave. It sounds like the crunch of heavy impact against stone. It grows closer by the second. Sensing danger, you tuck the flute away and press to the wall, holding your breath. Shortly, a monster with a hard carapace appears from the way out, steps heavy and unsteady. It roars in pain... Its body is bloodstained, and its shell cracked and scarred. It seems the monster has been crashing into the cave walls... It moves abnormally, and it seems to be running away from something. It limps desperately, hitting against the walls. After several thuds against the stone, it falls to the ground with a resounding crunch. The cave shakes and rumbles... The time has come to leave! You rush to the cave's exit, hurrying to make it before the cavern collapses on you!
Surrounding you, they open their jaws with horrific creaks. With no time to recover from the cave-in, they surge upon you!
This battle is the same.
While composed of metal, the flute's design reminds you more of the beauty of nature. It seems to calm you just to look at it. Some dirt remains on it, perhaps from the cavernous hole, but it has no cracks, and it still produces a clear and gentle tone. After all that, you have obtained the treasure. All that remains is to report to the bar to complete the request.
This would have been destroyed if you couldn't expose the guard's ruse.
Anyways, let's hand in our quest report.
Oh, yeh're back! So, yeh find the treasure? Hmm? A shady-lookin' guard, yeh say? Tell me a little more about it.
Fade to black.
...I see. I get the picture... He was a thief disguised as a guard. The monsters were a part of his plan all along... Pfeh, he put up the request to make fools outta both of us. Heh! Probably realized yeh were too sharp for him, and took off before yeh could pin him down. And when yeh went after his treasure, he panicked and tried to get rid of both yeh and the prize... somethin' like that. Well, glad yeh came out in one piece! Gonna take a lot more than that to shut yeh lot down. Haw haw haw! Ah... well, about that reward... I left the store for a bit, and when I got back, the reward was gone. That's my fault. That weasel's probably behind this, too. Rrrgh... I won't forget this! Things're personal now... My reputation's on the line! I can't have rewards just disappearin'! ...Here, take this. It's comin' out of my own pocket. Sorry it ain't exactly what yeh wanted, but don't look so down, eh?
Even if you don't get the flute, the rewards stay the same. However...
Getting the flute gets us an extra bit of dialogue.
Yeh might be the only people in all of High Lagaard who love cash as much as I do! Hell, maybe more! Haw haw haw! So in the end, yeh got yer treasure, right...? Oh, it's the flute? Huh... Lemme take a look. C'mon, don't give me that look! I ain't lookin' to snatch it off yeh. Settle down and lemme see! ...Hrm. Got some weird designs on it... Doesn't look like it's worth a ton of cash, though. Why would a thief go after this? ...Yeh mind if I hang onto this for a little while? I ain't gonna sell it.
Why do you want to hold onto it?
Somethin' about that chump goin' after a simple flute like this... doesn't smell right to me. So I'm gonna ask the Palace, and see if I can get anyone else lookin' into the whole thing. Don't worry, I'll give it back later.
C'mon, don't just shut me down! Somethin' about this feels off, right? Why would he be after a little flute like this? So I'm gonna ask the Palace about it, and ask others to look into it for me as well. Don't worry, I'll give it back later.
Yeah, it's a but thou must. You have to leave the flute with Cass. No way around it.
Ah, I knew yeh'd come around! I'll look into this flute business, and I'll let yeh know if I turn up anything weird. Well, either way, good work, folks. I'll have more jobs for yeh later!
And that's it. Back to the actual Story Mode content.
Moreover, this time there is a monster flying above the ice. You check to see if you sense any special power within the monster, but this one also seems unremarkable in that regard. As you perform your duty, Chloe stares at the monster.
This might be a problem. We'll slip all over the place on that ice, but that thing won't have the same problem.
I wish I could fly...
Uh... that's a nice wish, but let's get back to reality, hmm?
It is true that no amount of wishing will cause you to sprout wings... You will have to keep a close watch on the distance between you and the monster as you go if you hope to avoid it. You keep this danger in mind as you plan your route through the room...
Was that... a cry for help!?
Something's under attack over there!
You look towards where Flavio is pointing and spy a raccoon cub being assaulted by a forest monster! If you rush over now, you may be able to save it, though you can see no profit in doing so.
If we don't rescue the raccoon, it'll become a snack for said monster. So uh, let's not do that.
Reason and rewards do not matter when a life is at stake! When you rush in between the cub and the monster, the little raccoon uses that moment to dart into the brush.
Thank the heavens it wasn't injured... The poor thing should be safe now.
It's touching that you're worried about the little baby raccoon, but shouldn't you be more worried about us now?
The monster, furious at losing its prey, glares at you in anger! The life you wished to protect is now safe, and the time has come to protect yourselves!
Wait wait wait. Why does an elephant want to eat a raccoon? This event made a lot more sense in the original when it was a bunch of wolves trying to feast on the cub. Then again, those did get upgraded to FOEs in this game. Anyways, I beat it down.
You turn to see the raccoon cub you saved peeking its head out from the brush. When it sees your faces, it gives a somewhat plaintive squeal before slowly wandering out.
Huh? You came back? What are you doing? It's dangerous out here.
He has something...
The raccoon cub is skillfully carrying something with its front paws, which it drops at your feet. You recognize it as a rare material found in this forest...
You dropped this.
You nudge back the rare item that the round-eared creature carelessly dropped. Yet the raccoon cub insistently pushes it towards you...
Ah, unless I miss my guess... I believe it wants you to accept its gift.
If the cub won't take it back, you see little choice but to accept the material and put it with your belongings.
After the raccoon cub witnesses you accepting its token of gratitude, it disappears into the brush.
In the original game, you didn't get a reward if you rescued the cub. You know, I kind of miss the events that don't have a direct benefit for doing a good deed. I found those to have more flavor.
The grateful raccoon, huh. Sheesh, it didn't have to do that on account of us.
Hehe... I'm glad we could save it. It's a cute little thing.
Mm. I'm glad Mr. Raccoon is okay.
After you see the raccoon cub off, you return to your exploration.
As you search for a way through the area, Bertrand stops abruptly. What seems to have given him pause is a large block of ice... and a monster some ways beyond it.
What's the matter, old man? Don't tell me you're spacing out.
Oh, uh... You notice how that guy's lined up juuuust right? It reminds me of a game I used to play.
You search your memory for any sort of game that applies to this situation...
The impact is sufficient to knock the monster from the air, killing it instantly!
Alright, nice shot!
If we push these chunks of ice at the monsters, we may proceed without fighting...
Pretty handy, don't you think?
You mark what happened here, in case it proves useful later, before proceeding on your way.
And that's pretty much it for this floor.
Now that we reached a new floor, let's go back to town.
Claws...? Ah, I myself prefer the fluffier animals with soft paws!
Sorry, Missy, I think yeh completely missed my point. But anyways... yeh lot sure are carefree as usual, aren't yeh? Listen here--yeh lot are the signature guild of my bar now. Y'haven't noticed? People in the bar are craning their necks to get a look at yeh! There's even folks that're starting their own guild 'cause they were inspired by yeh. Gotta act yer part! I sure am acting mine! Haw haw haw!
Hm...? Oh it's you. It was a shock to hear that you've reached the 14th floor Almost everyone in town knows you now. Ask anyone in High Lagaard. They'll tell you Guild's a well-known group of veteran explorers. Ha, I'm sure it's a little strange, given what you're actually here for. ...But fame brings its own share of stresses and temptations. Try not to get distracted, and focus on your task. Well, that's all I have to say for now. Try to avoid any unnecessary risks.
This is the Lagaard Chronicle, a record of the history of this country--from its origin to what it has become today. As long as our nation exists, the Chronicle will be written. Our great Duke's works are also recorded in this... Splendid, isn't it? I must say, it's rather flattering that one from Midgard would show interest in this. You would be able to find it in the Grand Duchy's library. If you're curious, why not take a look through it? ...Oh, I apologize for keeping you for this long! I look forward to your safe return.
And that's all the new dialogue in Story Mode for this floor. I feel like taking another nap.
As you sit there, you hear a knock at your door. Who could it be at this hour...?
And dead last with absolutely no votes was Arianna.
Despite the late hour, you hear someone knocking at your door... Judging by the tenor of the knock, you suspect it to be Arianna.
But I wanted to show my thanks for all the help you have given me. I brought a small something for you to eat.
It's an apple pie... Would you like a slice?
Did you bake this?
Yes! Hanna taught me how. I think it came out rather well!
Eating with you like this reminds me of my days at the Midgard Library... So many memories from that time come rushing back when I talk with you, Sir Knight.
Would you like to talk a bit longer, Sir Knight? Any subject is fair game. Please...?
E-Er... could you slow down a bit...? So, the first principle of gripping a sword is not to hold too tightly... And during the swing, you must mind your wrist and elbows, while never taking your eye off the enemy...
I'm sorry, trying to absorb all this is proving too much for me.
Your life at the Midgard Library:
...... ...... Studies, running, swimming, swordplay... You have all the training of the a true Midgard Library Renaissance man. And you grew up alongside Sir Flavio?
Ahahah... I take it that you have been good friends since you were small.
Her apple pie:
Wh...What!? You... enjoyed it, then?
Oh, th-thank you. But I must credit Hanna for her excellent tutelage.
I think I'll retire to my room for tonight, but I'd like to do this again sometime. Is that all right?
Alone again in your room, you have only the silence for company. It is late, and you decide to rest in preparation for tomorrow...
Yeah, that one wasn't too interesting. How about we go back to the Labyrinth?
After tackling this quest first. This one takes place after the Just out of reach quest. And since we got the flute, a bit of dialogue is different. I'll just skip ahead to that point.
You tense, sensing movement behind you. Weapons at the ready, you turn to confront... a lone guard.
Hey. What happened? I heard a ton of noise from over here, but it seems like you're all okay.
You can't see his face behind the metal visor, but he seems to be friendly enough. You tell the guard of your quest from the Grand Duchy.
Whoa, sounds pretty tough. You must be pretty thirsty after all that. Here, why don't you all have some of my water?
Arianna thanks the guard, takes the water skin, clearly winded and parched from the tough battles. Something belatedly dawns on you... Didn't Cass tell you that there were no guards posted on the 13th floor? If that's true, then... what is this guard doing here all by himself? You look to the guard, and notice that he is watching Arianna about to drink, with a malevolent grin on his face...! Something about his demeanor unnerves you, and instinctively you knock the waterskin from Arianna's hands! Astonished, Arianna demands an explanation... but staggers as a burning pain fills their throat.
It's clear the water had been poisoned, and despite your quick thinking, it seems that Arianna drank a small sip... You move to protect Arianna, who is on the ground gagging in pain, and draw your weapons! The guard nimbly steps back, hastily slipping out of range of your weapons.
Tch, so you saw through it again, huh...? You think you're so slick... Just like last time, you've completely ruined everything!
The guard drops all pretenses in his words, and makes no attempt to hide his malice towards you. Everything becomes clear now--you recall the amiable guard you encountered during the case of the treasure hidden in the cave... The man in front of you is the very same guard, and you almost fell victim to his lies a second time!
You bastards must have been the ones who took the flute from the cave, too... yeah, you've got the damn thing, right!? I thought I could dispose of you and the flute in one fell swoop... How did you survive the cave-in and the monsters!? The monsters around here are pathetic. They can't even kill you... rrrgh, damn you! Just die already!
The guard spits these words as a parting shot as he vanishes into the forest.
You don't know why the guard was here, but the request is complete. Visit the bar when you can, and report your progress!
Ahh, there yeh are. How was it? Find any good treasure? Eh...? What, that thief again!? So it was all just another scheme of his, eh? I've been askin' around a bit since that last incident. That bastard only just came into town recently... but I heard he's an infamous robber. I heard the treasure yeh managed to get last time was a flute that could control monsters...? Well, seems like the flute yeh grabbed is used to calm monsters down, so it ain't gonna cause us any problems. But the flute has a twin. The other one can turn the beasties berserk, and make 'em fight even if they don't want to. Only works on a couple beasties, but it still ain't good. If I'm right, the owner of the second flute is none other than that thievin' bastard... and that must be what yeh heard. He must've been planning this all from the start... So, to make sure his plan worked, he must'a been tryin' to snag the other flute. He couldn't get ahold of the other one, but he still went ahead with his plan, and drove the beasties mad... I'll keep lookin' into things, so keep yer shirt on. Oh, and about yer flute... The Palace is still doin' some research around it. I know, I know, I told yeh I'd get it back to yeh... it's kind of a pain, but it'll help yeh out in the long run, eh? Ah, and I can't forget yer reward, of course. Yeh killed the monster, so here yeh go. G'luck!
And that's it for cleanup. Let's explore the 14th floor for real now.
Is this a bird's egg? Might it have fallen from a nest...?"
If Arianna is right, it stands to reason there is a nest nearby. You look around the area... Something fitting that description can be seen high up in the trees.
Man. I'm surprised it didn't break after falling from all the way up there.
There aren't any cracks in it... But it's not safe out in the cold.
We'd better return it to its nest, huh?
However, the nest is quite a ways up, in a snow-capped tree. Climbing it will not be without its risks. You mull over whether to return the egg to its place in the nest above you, or to leave it be.
Let's return it. If you don't, you'll get into a fight with some very angry parents.
You cannot simply leave this egg, knowing what fate it has in store if you do, and so you decide to return it to its nest.
Gracious... the nest is quite high. Will we be able to return it safely?
The snow looks slippery. I don't think I can climb the tree.
Welp, just leave it to me. I'll have that thing up there in no time.
I'm sure Flavio can handle this. (There's no gameplay difference between Knight or Flavio handling this.)
Alright! Watch and learn why they call me Flavio the Climber!
Flavio carefully tucks the egg into his jacket before climbing the tree with flair.
Huh. He's got the skills to back up that confidence.
They don't call him Flavio the Climber for nothing.
While you are talking, Flavio accomplishes his task and shimmies back down the tree.
That was amazing, Sir Flavio! Oh... You have something in your hair.
What, this? I found it in the nest. I think it's the mama bird's feather, and I thought it looked pretty, so.
Hehe, isn't it cool!?
Mm... not really?
Satisfied at returning the egg safely to its nest, you return to exploring.
Hm? That monster over there... It's moving a little strange.
Its gelatinous body slowly oozes across the slippery ice without any trouble...
How does it not slip if it's gooey?
Ah! If we prepare gelatinous footwear, might we be able to walk freely on the ice as well?
I highly doubt it.
Oh, while I'm thinking of it... Knight? Are you sensing anything from that monster?
You gamely focus on the monster to see if it seems like a likely candidate for the power you require... But you sense nothing from it, and your friend scratches his head sadly.
Aww. I thought maybe we could get that power with no problem.
Well, let's try fighting it.
Whaaat? Hmph... I'd rather ignore it and hurry on ahead.
You consider the option Bertrand presents, though you have not yet discounted challenging it to a fight.
Or we could just smash it with an ice block.
Mr. Jiggly is strong.
You will clearly not defeat this gelatinous creature with the ice blocks. Adding this to your knowledge of the Labyrinth's denizens, you proceed with your investigation.
However, it is mostly buried, preventing you from discerning what it is.
Hm? Did you find something, Knight?
You may pick up the shining object or ignore it and continue forth.
You pick up the object, glinting in the snow.
A necklace. Could someone have lost it?
Hard to believe someone would drop a
necklace like this by accident...
Huh? You hear something?
You listen carefully for any sound, and hear a low rumbling echo from somewhere...
Okay, that's not good! That sound--it's snow sliding down the mountain!
By the time you try and brace yourselves, it's already too late! All you can see before you is a solid wall of snow approaching you at top speed!
Your guildmates are swallowed into the moving wall of snow and slammed into the ground!
Is it over...?
You whisper dazedly to each other as you look about, but there's no sign of a secondary avalanche on its way.
*sigh* I thought I was gonna die. I guess the lay of the land here makes it easier for avalanches to happen.
Might it be that the necklace's owner...?
You speculate that there was an explorer who passed this way and lost their life in an avalanche. You take relief in your survival and quickly leave this place, lest another avalanche strike on the first one's heels.
You hear Bertrand grumbling as you walk through the flurries of snow.
You mean our hopes and dreams?
Hey, don't be rude! Even this old man has his dreams, you know!
No, I'm talking about that monster. The one you're supposed to get power from.
I concur. Though I'm certain we'll find it if we delve just a little deeper...
I hope so. ...This forest's freezing. I just wanna deal with this monster and get outta here as soon as we can.
Because of your age? I don't mind the cold.
Is Sir Bertrand that old...?
Mm-hm. Trand is pretty up there.
Can it. Your higher body temperature just shows you're still a kid.
You try to coax Bertrand down from his foul mood as you keep up your search for the monster...
Yet you do not see Artelinde, his constant companion. When the white-haired man notices you, he gives a short, stern exhalation.
Most unfortunate, Guild Guild. I had hoped to never cross paths with you again... I will ask once more. Go no further past this point. I do not wish to see you perish in this forest.
We can't agree to that.
Hrm... It was folly to make the same request again, knowing that it would be in vain. Seems Der Freischutz's age is catching up to him.
With that bit of self-mockery, Wilhelm lowers his hat and reaches for the guns at his side.
You suddenly feel as if his presence itself lashed out to strike you!
If you are intent on proceeding onward, then do as you will. But make no mistake. If we meet in the frozen halls of the 15th floor... There will be no more words. Only gunfire.
Why does he harbor such hostility towards us...?
He *really* doesn't seem to want us to go any further.
I was worried about this for a while, but I think those two really are taking out anyone who tries to go further in.
...When we meet them on the 15th floor, that'll be it. They'll fight us, and they'll fight to kill.
We... must fight the Esbat guild...?
If they attack, then we'll answer.
There's no way around it. Knight has to find that monster to gain this power. Anyone in the way of that has to be removed. ...Fighting them is going to be in our best interests.
The woman looks to you, troubled. You acknowledge her gaze and all it entails as you proceed onward.