Part 62: Part Sixty-Two: Up NorthPart Sixty-Two: Up North
Here's our party for today's trip.
Just as soon as I bounce the junctions around so that Selphie has the HP instead of Zell.
The next story destination is Trabia Garden, way up north here.
But of course, we're not headed there directly. First we have a stopover to make on Winter Island.
While I'm here, I decided to make some changes to junctions, too. Enc-Half is out, Mug is in.
I also remembered that we have a new GF.
Which reminded me to do the rename.
Now, let's look at Mega Maid. Spd-J is the first thing to see in that ability list. It's not a common one, and it's pretty handy in the long run. Learning this also unlocks Spd+20% and, eventually, Spd+40%, so it's a good place to start.
Absorb is a command ability that lets you attack while absorbing HP. You can get a similar effect by junctioning Drain to status attack, but uh, Absorb also exists.
Initiative is also on here. Just like with Nigel, it's useful for certain things.
Now, let's explore this weird insect dome.
Weird-lookin' place, and whatever it is, it's playing the dungeon music.
Well, at least the door's open.
Also, I think this screen is neat, with the shadows from the dome.
These guys are just here to be in the way.
Greeter: If you wish to go to the village, take the front elevator to the bottom level.
Despite the foreboding music at the entrance, this place isn't a dungeon, just another optional town.
Gotta pay, huh? Man, I dunno.
Okay, yeah, I think I can afford a go. (Also, note that the area is called "Desert Village." I suppose it's a cold desert, okay.)
I checked everyone's Magic, and it looks like Squall's gonna be the one doing the drawing today.
Because, yes, I absolutely do want to use the draw point.
I like the choices on this one. I wanted to see if the guy would say anything interesting.
This is probably the easiest place in the game to get Ultima, since the draw point refills and isn't in a dangerous place. The only obstacle is that it would cost a fortune to draw 300 spells off this thing.
Also that Quistis is full up on magic, since she's got the dump set.
If you were wondering, yes, they will let you pay to use the draw point even when it's empty.
Now, let's check out Shumi Village proper, see what's goin' on.
In the window at the back, you can see the earth go by.
On the way down, a hologram pops up.
Hologram: You have been specially permitted here. We hope you enjoy your stay. The elevator will reach the village entrance shortly.
Well, here we are.
For being basically in a mine shaft, the Shumi Village is pretty lush.
Hey, what's up?
Here's something neat: Shumi tend to use their titles in place of the pronoun I.
Specialist: This is our negotiation table. This is where we exchange minerals with outside traders.
: You mine for minerals?
Specialist: Of course. You think we built a village 323 meters underground just for fun?
Hey, it's important to have hobbies.
There ya go.
Over here is the inn.
Note: I did not hear the music, but according to the wiki, it's the same song that Julia plays in the first Laguna sequence.
Over here, Squall starts hallucinating.
Just kidding. The inkeeper here just likes to hide for some reason.
I have no idea what difficulty he's trying to overcome. He's just a weirdo.
I think the inn here might be free, but I'm not sure.
It does, though, contain the only save point in Shumi Village.
And this Moomba doll.
Which starts rotating if you interact with it.
We can't get into the next building.
Shumi Village looks pretty nice, I think. Verdant &c.
We also can't get into the big building here, since there's a Moomba in the way.
Over here, we can get into a place.
Artisan: Most of us here don't have a good impression of the outside world.
The Shumi are pretty isolationist.
Artisan: But Artisan knows there are some good things about it.
We've actually heard of Artisan here before, from the Grease Monkey in FH.
Artisan: That alone, the fact that there are people like them in the outside world, makes your world worthy.
Given who's around the place, it's probably a good thing for Artisan that he ended up in FH.
Artisan: Since then, the artisans have had a major influence on my work.
Hey, nice truck.
Speaking of, this truck reminds me of Laguna's truck that was dummied out of the final game:
I wonder if it's supposed to be the same truck.
Talking to him again, he drops a model of the Garden car.
Interacting with the car doesn't do anything, but there's an issue of Timber Maniacs there that I picked up.
And one of a Deling City bus.
For some reason, Artisan thinks Squall is an artisan. I don't know why.
This is his last line for now.
Here's the last stop on the Shumi Village tour, the workshop.
This guy is always busy. I don't think he has any other lines in the game, he's just busy forever. Keep on keepin' on, guy.
Hey, that statue looks kinda familiar.
: ...Looks like Laguna.
The sculptor is very surprised to hear Squall say this.
Yeah, you know, we go back in time and...actually, don't worry about that.
: Well...sort of.
Sculptor: This is Laguna Loire. Long ago, a Moomba found this man lying near our village, covered with blood, and carried him to our village. It appeared that he had fallen off a cliff. We took care of him until his wounds were healed.
Laguna does not have a good track record with cliffs.
We should probably do that, yeah. Shed some light on things.
But I mean, we're pretty busy, you know?
Okay, let's talk to the Elder.
This really turns the guy around on foreigners.
Sculptor: Sculptor will tell the Moomba guarding the entrance to let you pass.
That explains the building with the Moomba earlier.
: You raise Moombas in this village?
Time for some Moomba lore.
We heard something about this back in FH, from the boatman.
: Final form?
In a reincarnation-type situation, Shumis are reborn in a new form.
Sculptor: It's common knowledge. Sculptor is surprised you didn't know.
: Ooh, are you worried about becomin' a beast?
Selphie's really put her foot in it this time.
Sculptor has extreme feelings re: Moombas.
Love to learn with friends.
Now he just wants us to fuck off.
There's a chance to talk to the party members here.
Some are more tactful than others.
There's also a Firaga draw point.
Over at the big house, the Moomba has moved.
He doesn't do much if you talk to him.
Spells are always sort of useful, and if you're gonna get elemental magic, it might as well be high-tier.
Now, let's visit the Elder.
Yeah, no problem.
We're vaguely aware.
Elder: Thank you for coming. Allow me to talk about Master Laguna for a moment. It was about 17 years ago when we found him injured.
So, that explains why Laguna ended up leaving Winhill.
And that explains the talking Moombas back at the prison. Well, the talking, at least.
Squall doesn't understand why you would try to teach an animal to speak.
This makes some sense. Laguna was a writer, after all.
Elder: Perhaps, we don't need words, either. Even Master Laguna was not very good with words. His communication skills were horrible.
Yeah, sounds like Laguna.
Elder: His eyes, more than his words, told us this. That's all I have to say.
: Why are you building a statue of him?
Elder: You find it strange, yes? I doubt you will understand.
It seems like everyone in the world likes Laguna except for Squall.
Elder: We still don't know what it is, so we decided to build a statue of him. We felt that we may come to understand why Master Laguna is so special by doing this.
Just in case you were wondering if Squall's thoughts on Laguna had changed recently.
That's the end of the conversation about Laguna. The other party members also left.
Still a couple filler lines to get, though. Also, Attendant is the last character to meet here, so you can see that none of the Shumis have names, only titles. Seems NORG was an outlier on that one (the all caps thing was also weird, apparently).
Elder: But in Shumi, one must work to earn anything. This is our way.
Well, nothing's ever easy.
Elder: I have an idea. Please assist my attendants in the workshop so that I can present you with a gift.
: Where is it?
Squall's brain damage is apparently acting up, as we were just at the workshop a few minutes ago.
Elder: It is where you saw Master Laguna's statue. We want to finish that statue as soon as possible.
Well, it's not like we were doing anything else.
Right, of course.
So, let's hit the workshop.
Yeah, great. Love a great honour.
Sculptor: Okay, shall we get to work? As you can see, Sculptor has the very big responsibility of making this statue.
Man, Squall is not an artist. I don't know how we can help you on this one.
Dude, go get your own stones.
Sculptor: Sculptor understands... That's too bad.
This is not a sidequest you can lock yourself out of by being an asshole.
So, now we need to gather the five stones.
: We don't know anything about stones.
Nothing! I don't even know what a stone is, my man.
Sculptor: Also, there's a specialist in the village who can help you.
Alright, let's get this show on the road.
The blue stone is not hard to find.
: Hey, don't tell me this is the blue stone.
Squall's annoyed about the stone.
Sculptor: Oh! Oh! Sculptor completely forgot! Sculptor already had it. Well, that's 1 down and 4 more to go. Ok, next please go find some wind stones.
Well, I guess we're on to wind stones now.
If you come back to Sculptor during this quest, he'll just tell you how far along you are.
Specialist, over by the elevator, has hints about the stones, like Sculptor suggested.
As an added hint, Squall has a prompt when you get close to a stone.
: There's a breeze coming from it. I guess this is the 'wind stone'.
Well, that was easy.
If you come visit Specialist after you find a stone, he just says this. Now, back to the workshop.
Sculptor: Yes, that's the wind stone. Ok, 3 more to go. Next, sculptor needs some life stones.
Life stones, eh?
Life stones are actually super easy to find, since you pass this screen on the way to talk to Specialist.
Like I said, easy.
Sculptor: Yes, that's the life stone. Only two more to go. Next, Sculptor needs some shadow stones.
Alright, shadow stones.
This one's a little harder, but if you've been reading closely you should have already worked it out.
All we have to do is pop back topside.
I hit the draw point, too. It's not a bad idea.
The shadow stone is just over here.
: More stones... Looks like the shadow stone.
Like I said.
Sculptor: Yes, that's the shadow stone. Wonderful. Lastly, Sculptor needs some water stones.
This is another great line if FFVIII side content.
I read this like he's disappointed cuz Specialist called him stupid.
Water stone, in the water, yeah, checks out.
Sculptor: ...No. This is a stone we put by the pond. Lastly, Sculptor needs some water stones.
But, the water stone is actually a trick. This is the hardest one to find, unless you've worked out the pattern already.
Also, Specialist is playing dumb.
The actual water stone is in Artisan's place.
: Could this be it? Do you mind if I take this stone?
Artisan: Go ahead. Artisan only uses it for washing.
And that's it, the real water stone!
Sculptor: Yes, this is the water stone. Congratulations! Your job is complete!
Another job well done!
Sculptor: You may go see the Elder now.
Before we do, though, let's have one more little chat with Sculptor.
: You're kidding?
Turns out, we've just been given the runaround.
Sculptor: We don't need any of these stones to finish the statue.
: You're kidding!? Why!?
: Perhaps they wanted us to get acquainted with the village.
This is the pattern I was talking about. Looking for the stones does in fact take you all around Shumi Village.
You have to hit every screen except the inn. If you aren't the type to look around everywhere, this would force you into Artisan's house.
: You pretty much gave it away in the beginning with that blue stone. There's no way anyone can miss that. Look at how big it is...
Seems like this might be a semi-common Shumi prank.
This is a pretty Shumi thing to do.
Sculptor: It was definitely fun watching you go around our village.
: Good for you.
I think Squall is a bit chafed at being fooled, even though it didn't hurt anyone.
: This was like that game we used to play at Matron's house. It was fun.
Ah, the old classic, hide-the-stone.
: I guess we had some fun for a change.
We all enjoyed ourselves and had a little chance to relax.
Sculptor: Sculptor is very pleased to hear that. You know, we don't do this all the time. Please understand that we went through all this trouble because we wanted you to like our village.
We're finished with Sculptor now, we've worked out all his tricks.
Let's go get that reward.
Elder: For your services, it gives me great pleasure to present you this.
Elder's Attendant: Umm... Elder, Attendant is having a hard time seeing it.
This is seeming more and more like a metaphorical gift.
Elder's Attendant: ...Ahh, isn't it amazing!? When he holds something in his palm, you cannot even see it. Such is the power of the person who has attained eldership.
: So, what's the gift?
Basically a perfect answer.
Fuck! I knew this was a metaphor!
I hate metaphors!
Quistis and Selphie, having been thoroughly wowed, leave.
Well, I think we've all learned something today.
My dude, you are sendin' mixed messages.
Elder's Attendant: Here you are.
Naturally, this is the real reward for doing the thing with the stones.
Outside, Selphie is very excited about souvenirs.
And Quistis is just pissed.
Nothing happens if you just let it go, so let's have Squall explain it to everyone.
To do this, he has to take a few steps forward. Classic speech making.
: ...I think it's true. He's kept his hands concealed since we met him. Judging from the place, they're pretty advanced, so they can't be stupid. They probably knew that the silly hand thing wasn't going to impress us.
Nobody was taken in by the hand thing.
Here's Squall's theory.
This is, by the way, the first warm welcome we've really gotten. Of course, this is mainly due to the fact that we travel primarily to commit crimes.
Squall's explanation has turned the ladies around on the whole situation.
: Funny, the Elder humbly concealed his hands. NORG on the other hand showed them off.
Since we're in the Shumi Village, Squall brings up the main Shumi we knew, NORG. NORG was an asshole.
And, following Squall's explanation, we get a cutaway to the Elder and Attendant.
Elder: Of course.
The Elder knows damn well that the SeeDs weren't fooled for a second.
Attendant doesn't quite understand what happened.
Squall was basically right about what went on. This little bit highlights, again, the difference between the Shumis and the outside world. Overall, this was a nice little sidequest and a good chance to take a load off.
Attendant still has some things to learn in life.
Elder's Attendant: Yes?
For the record, the yellow text is flashing in-game.
Attendant isn't too happy to hear this.
Elder's Attendant: Wait a minute. Y-You misunderstood me, Elder. Please! Mercy!
He's not gonna be able to talk his way out of this one, and he realises pretty quick.
: What was that?
Well, wouldn't hurt to check it out.
The Elder doesn't actually tell Squall what's up.
But Attendant is not happy about this.
Sculptor's a bit more into it.
Sculptor: Attendant is a candidate to become the next Elder, so it's very encouraging to receive his help. We should finish in no time.
Well, I hope that works out for y'all.
Before we go, there's one last chat to have with Specialist.
Specialist: Sad thing is, there's nothing out there, either. They haven't found anything. Instead, they've lost touch with themselves, with who they are.
This isn't just what happened to NORG, I think it's a more general statement about life. Sometimes, you go looking for something and you don't find it.
Instead of staying in Shumi Village and living peacefully, NORG turned into a greedy asshole and got killed for it.
Specialist is more zen about the whole thing.
You don't find yourself by looking outwards, but by looking inwards. That's what I think he means here. This is also, of course, relevant to Squall, who spends a lot of time looking for external guidance and approval rather than taking things into his own hands.
And, since the draw point is currently empty...
We are out!