Part 31: Follow that pigeon!AUDIO: Dark World
Meryl hesitates for a bit, but she has a good feeling about the left path.
And only the left path.
Not the right path at all. Ha! That would just be silly, there can't possibly be anything interesting down that way.
After a long walk, she finds a city. Nikeah survived the end of the world just fine, and appears much the same as before. However, as we enter, we're molested by a guy you certainly won't remember if the last version you played was the SNES edition...
I don't know if there's anything I can do for you now, but I did hear something you might be interested to know...
Apparently, four espers escaped from that Magitek Research Facility not long before you guys snuck in there.
There's no way of knowing if they're still alive, but if you could find them, I bet they would lend you their power!
Hmm, I smell bonus material! But we won't be hearing anything about these four for some time yet, so let's get on with that whole "kicking Kefka's ass" thing... I guess.
Because of things like this.
Well, worlds come and worlds go, but some things remain constant. It's good to have some stability in one's life.
There is also something of particular interest in the weapon store here...
"Holy shit, SOLD! Come to mama!"
Note that this is up five points from a weapon that already boosts magic by +2. In other words, this one offers +7 to magic! For a measly 10000 bucks! Words cannot describe Meryl's glee.
It looks like she's stuck here, though. Well, we have a whole +7 to persuasion now ("do as I say and I won't set you on fire" is remarkably effective) so let's take a look at these... crimson whatever.
(See, it's safe because there's no way Indy would call himself a "robber".)
...the fact that it is the only way to get between the two towns wouldn't have something to do with that?
Here's a bunch of generic dudes. We're going to have to talk to all of them.
2 By some freak chance, the dungeon ended up right next to a sandworm nest when the castle stopped.
A crack opened up in the wall, so we crawled through and followed the worm tunnels back to the surface!
3 We lost our old boss that day... he's feeding the sandworms now. We met Gerad here in town. He's our new boss!
That's a quick promotion.
4 We're gonna get into the castle through a secret cave that nobody else knows about!
"Knew" about. Past tense.
You complete and utter moron.
All right, let's go!
So they head for the ship.
Meryl is not invited. But what about this "Gerad" guy...?
Hey, this is new.
Aren't you... Tim?
"Gerad" runs off. Meryl follows. Because plot.
I have no idea what you're talking about...
I'll take this, too, kid!
Look, I'm kind of busy here. I have to get ready. We're leaving for Figaro on the ferry soon.
It's almost as if he wants us to follow him!
Don't play dumb with me! Tim? ...You didn't lose your memory, did you?
Nah, he has enough similarities with Geralt already.
Listen... It grieves me to have to disappoint such a beautiful lady, but I've been Gerad since the day I was born!
I've never met anyone else who'd flirt with a "lady" he was trying to shake off his tail...
He is very suspicious. So Meryl sneakily follows him.
Ho-ho-ho, do we ever!
Then lead the way in. I'll take charge once we're in.
...he's used to being in charge.
By which I mean "making other people do all the work and then taking the credit".
No one will spot us here!
And by some miracle, we get on a boat and it doesn't sink! Again! This has to be some kind of a record!
South Figaro is also pretty well off, all things considered.
NPCs are still mind-bogglingly stupid.
you may want to
STOP TELLING EVERYBODY YOU MEET about your secret plan
...Wait, does that even make sense?
No, but you're an NPC, so I'll forgive you. For the same reason I don't kick retarded puppies.
We still can't steal it.
Damn it all.
This is possibly the only interesting information NPCs will feed us. No one ever dies! Unless it's on camera.
Edgar is waiting on the second floor of the inn.
You are Tim, aren't you?
Case of mistaken identity, my dear. Give it up!
Like hell we will! You're going to look for treasure. Whether you're Tim or not, Meryl is following so she can beat you up and take it for herself when you find it.
That seems unpleasant.
I don't understand this bit at all. We only know one little girl and RPG logic dictates that this information be relevant. On the other hand, I don't think Robin was in the habit of stopping by South Figaro for a pint.
...then again, it is Robin we're talking about.
These people got lucky. Just a little to the right, and that hole in the ground would have gone straight through town! The cave has moved closer, which is convenient; less encounters that way.
Meryl is not a fragile flower and she will kick the nasty vile monsters' behinds so hard they'll be tasting her boot.
...that is a nasty vile monster! So vile, in fact, that it's completely harmless after Meryl casts Vanish on herself. Free XP!
Remember that treasure chest we didn't open way back in the beginning of the game? Remember how the treasure changed of we let if sit for a while? This is the final evolution of that treasure.
Fuck diamonds, this is the real deal.
We find the band of daring rogues near the exit, which has now collapsed - there's no way out. If we had tried to get through this cave before now, we'd have been forced to backtrack.
Not that I'd ever do something silly like that.
How 'bout that, eh?
Used to have me a pet turtle...
So Ali Baba and the rogues jump on the poor turtle's back and use him to cross the pond (which, sadly, will no longer heal us).
And then this guy follows them.
Meryl has little choice but to do the same.
There's a bunch of empty chests inside and I almost had a heart attack before I realized that it's just this guy looting them, not that other guy whose name I won't mention.
The path ends in one of the cells in Figaro Castle. How conveeenient!
There are people scattered all over the place but they all say the same thing.
The enemies in here aren't anything special, just the same stuff we've already seen in the caves. The treasure isn't anything special, either; the rod is crap and Meryl has put on her robe and wizard hat and needs no equipment that doesn't offer extra fireballing power.
This thing is somewhat interesting, though. If only we knew someone with royal blood...
The destination here is the engine room, which is a mess of... stuff.
Boss! What should we do? Our treasure is in the storeroom back there!
I'll keep this thing busy! You guys go get the treasure!
But... boss! That's awfully dangerous!
Just get moving!
And they do.
...Tim stops fucking around.
Tim! It is you!
Just in time to participate in the boss fight.
Of course there's a tentacle monster in Tim's basement. It's how you know it's a Japanese game we're playing.
The tentacles are dickbags. They like to stun people, then grab them and... suck their blood. I guess.
It's a pain in the arse, but I accidentally put some Hermes Sandals on Meryl before this fight started, so now she can't be stunned and thus also not grabbed.
They also like to cast Bio, but I seem to have just as accidentally given her a reflect ring as well so it's basically a massacre.
I'd heard Figaro had run into some kind of trouble.
I wanted to help, but how was I supposed to get here with the castle stuck beneath the sand?
Then I caught wind of a rumour that those guys had escaped from the dungeon...
Tim is kind of dumb. That's all nice and well, but nothing that requires messing with Meryl's head like that. You're lucky she is in need of a meatwall.
So you used them...
Bingo. And obviously, I couldn't let them find out I was the king of Figaro...
...Because they'd just escaped from your own jail.
I'm not sure I agree with their definition of the word "hide", but these guys being NPCs and all, they completely fail to spot the party standing out in plain sight.
That monster must've gotten him...
Poor boss... didn't even last as long as the last boss...
Oh well... Let's go.
I can't dislike these guys.
More generic dialogue!
I couldn't care less about treasure. What we need to worry about is Kefka.
Those guys haven't done anything wrong... not really.
Well I care about treasure! I need more things to beat Kefka's face in with.
So... you'll come along?
Yes, he will!
And so will this, the only things the thieves missed in this room.
It's very tempting, but it would involve A, attacking physically (no) and B, sacrificing the +7 magic from an Enhancer (also no) so it'll just sit in my inventory for the rest of the game.
Tim auto-equips from the inventory when he joins the group, using Optimize. The Royal Crown is one point weaker than the Crystal Helm, but I'd still say it's better due to higher MDEF and various stat boosts.
And so we've saved the kingdom. All in a day's work.
We're going to take the opportunity to buy this with Tim's special discount, although I've never seen it work properly...
...and then take the castle under the ocean and hope like hell we don't hit water somewhere because that is going to take a lot more work than filleting a tentacle monster.
Kohlingen, too, is still standing, though somewhat more gloomy than we may remember it.
It's so idyllic I could just puke.
So, in other words... you find where that treasure's hidden, and that's where you'll find Indy!
This freak is still around as well, much as I had hoped otherwise.
I think he said he was headed for Maranda...
There's a Hint here...
...What, am I sayin' it wrong?
...and another one here.
But what we're looking for is somewhere gamblers like to hang out. Like a bar...
So, you survived...
Come with us! We're going after Kefka.
Hmph... I just don't have the drive to do that kind of stuff anymore.
Gambit liked saving the world before it was popular. Now it's just too mainstream, man.
What are you talking about!?
I'm a gambler... My world has always been one where a man's spirit could soar free...
Not anymore. I feel like the weight of this world is crushing me. It's just too much to bear...
And on top of that, I've even lost my wings...
Meryl sighs and makes a note to have her job description hacked to "therapist".
That couldn't have been easy either, but you seemed to bear that just fine!
Really, all he did was ferry you idiots around on his airship. It was the little girl with the paintbrush who did all the work.
That was then... All my dreams are gone now.
If you need a dream to chase after, then why don't you find yourself a new one?
Like taking back our world.
Because it's only a dream right now. Maybe if you can find someone useful again, you'd stand a chance...
Heh-heh... You know... maybe you're right.
"Wait, that actually worked?"
"I mean... of course it did."
...You'd chase after it with me then? My new dream?
...I think it's time to pay a visit to Darill's tomb.
Angst averted, gambler collected. Not bad!
Then they show you the next destination on the map because this is a jrpg and they all assume the player is a moron.
I splurge 26k on double viper darts for Gambit. They may not be playing cards, but they're still pretty good. I also blow another 10k on an Enhancer for Tim, for Flash.
Yeah... She was really something.
The world could've turned inside out and she'd never have even flinched.
...Oh, so, kind of like what just happened a year or so ago?
And then Meryl and Tim disappear into Gambit.
Before moving, you can swap party members around and they'll all take the same stance. It's weird but harmless.
Darill's tomb is short but sweet and by "sweet" I mean full of fuck.
Here's a thing. We can carve something on this, but we don't know what yet.
Marlboros! If you've played a FF game before, chances are you're familiar with these. Bad Breath inflicts multiple status ailments as usual. Here Gambit is a sleeping, poisoned, blind imp.
Gambit demonstrates the viper darts' special ability! On the wrong enemy, because this thing is undead, and while it can be "killed" like this, it will immediately come back to "life" again, making it rather pointless.
There are several treasures in here, but nothing really all that interesting. One is behind a secret passage on the B2 level, right where the stairs come down. The chest holds a Growth Egg, a relic that doubles XP gained. We don't want to use this - or at least not yet.
There's a bunch of running around here. You need to flip several switches which will open doors and raise water levels, then ride turtles around to get anywhere.
Here are the hints we need for that gravestone.
How about now?
...naturally, the reward is useless because I already have the stupid egg and won't be using it anyway. Square
Like, cowabunga, dude.
Here's a save spot! This usually means something...
...and sure enough, the left chest is an Angler Whelk. This guy looks familiar, somehow... and just like his cousin Ymir, he has two drops, one from each part.
Unfortunately for him, the party has a few more tricks up their sleeves than back in the mines of Narshe.
Nothin' to it.
The other chest holds a Man-Eater. No one cares. To the bag with it!
It doesn't look like Gambit had this place built, given all the skeletons around here. So he buried Darill in a pre-owned tomb. Classy!
What, you didn't think we were getting through this without a boss fight, did you?
Dullardhan is a huge bitch. He shifts between ice and holy magic, and he's immune to phoenix down. At this point, Blizzaga and Holy both do about as much damage as my characters have max HP, so that's... annoying. Also, beat on him for a while and he starts using even more annoying attacks.
...but most of his stuff can be Runic'd.
Which is not to say I'm going to let Meryl waste time on absorbing shit when she can be breaking flame rods in this guy's face.
He goes down way before he gets to start his second attack pattern.
Beyond the tombstone is a flight of stairs...
What are you trying to prove by pushing your ship to its limits? It's pointless!
The stairs continue.
You can't be serious!
When I take the Falcon from you, it'll be because I left you a mile behind in a race!
Until then, I'm not letting you out of my sight!
Ha! Good luck with that!
This wild ride across the pre-ruin world map loses something in screenshot format...
How long do you plan on hanging back there? Aren't you gonna try to pass me?
Or are you too entranced by my lovely behind...?
I like her! Why couldn't we have traded in Indy for the kickass airship pilot...?
All right, it's time to get serious. I'm gonna break the records!
I'll fly past the clouds and see the stars closer than anyone ever has before!
Be back by sunset! I'll be waiting for you on our hill!
The Falcon flies away...
...but the story doesn't have a happy ending.
Even though it's a bit... uplifting... in the end.
holy shit, that was bad
So, this is the Falcon?
...I can't very well be the world's fastest pilot if I can't even fly.
I need you help... Falcon!
AUDIO: Searching for Friends
And so he flies the airship up through the ocean.
Don't ask me how this works, I just play this thing.
Now we'll be able to get up to the top of Kefka's tower!
If we land up there, we should be able to get inside to launch our assault.
That's going to take a lot more than what we have right now...
And we'll be able to look for the rest of our friends...
...and Gambit is well aware of that.
Right. First things first. I'm finally starting to feel like we have some hope!
That bird... Could it be...?
I have no idea what makes this one particular bird so special.
But the camera follows it...
I'm asking myself the same thing.
I'm not sure... But... something inside tells me it'll lead us to our friends...
Oh, that is so much bullshit it pretty much has to be true.
God damn jrpg logic.
So the flyboat mk 2 follows the pigeon (...) to another town...
...and that's where I finally gain control.
Which, naturally, means that our next destination is anywhere but here.