Part 15: Tolbi
Tolbi is a gambling town. Throughout the game we've been getting inventory-filling tickets when we buy things and medals from every alternate barrel that have lacked any use other than gambling, so the combination of having an absurd supply of worthless collateral and the ability to save anywhere essentially guarantees that you'll win whatever completely useless trinkets you can.
Lucky medals are used for this game where you throw things at turtles until a dragon statue launches out at you and prizes materialize out of thin air. PETA was initially dismayed until they realized this was proof of spontaneous generation. Or a god who really dislikes turtles.
Dice is the second game. You roll dice. Exhilarating.
It costs 160 coins to roll the dice. Getting a single pair between four dice wins you this same amount back. Anything better than that causes your winnings to climb even higher. A pinnacle of capitalism this town is not.
The unpictured final game (yes, there are a whopping total of three) is what uses up game tickets: the exact same slot machine that every other game includes as padding. Tolbi lacks the gold-plated statues of Las Vegas in part because it's incredibly easy to win at this as well. Tolbi does not lack the obligatory djinn-in-plain-sight because what if you aren't getting disillusioned about the length of this game quickly enough?
Speaking of, lest we go five whole minutes without collecting one, we can now walk back across the sea we spent last chapter crossing and get behind this dirt that blocked an entire pilgrimage.
Just let that sink in for a moment. Got it? Good.
At some point in your exploration you run into these guards. They wave a picture around to see if random tourists know what their ruler looks like in a way that makes Mischief Makers bosses seem competent, then decide to look for him in an alleyway or maybe behind a bush while waving their arms and exciting as much panic as possible without asking you for clarification on where you saw him or when. This is a fantastic strategy.
At this point in my playthrough I went straight to the cave where I'm supposed to find him, but pretend I went to Babi's palace which is where I should have gone. Pretend it looks like this:
Only more bland.
Iodem, Iodem! We went to Altmiller Cave, as you commanded.
And what have you? What news is there of Babi?
Altmiller Cave is an evil place. If Babi went there alone, a monster might have...
I followed Lord Babi once...I was certain he had gone into Altmiller Cave... After he entered the mouth of the cave, I followed him... but he had vanished, leaving no trace. I tried following him several times after that. Each time, he vanished within seconds of entering the cave's mouth.
Then he should be back soon, right?
Every time Babi vanishes he goes to Altmiller Cave. Babi has vanished, probably to go to Altmiller Cave. We've realized the place is dangerous, making it exceedingly likely that Babi could die in Altmiller Cave. As guards specifically hired to protect Babi, I think we should wave his picture at tourists, stir up a panic, and then do nothing except calmly wait for him to get back from Altmiller Cave.
Something else I didn't do but will pretend I knew about is that we can have our first encounter with Sheba. She looks like Tetra from Wind Waker. Only more bland.
Babi is holding me hostage in order to complete his lighthouse in Lalivero. When shall I ever be able to return to my homeland? Even if I escaped Babi Palace, my power could not get me to Lalivero. It would be impossible for me to make it through the deadly Suhalla alone.
As everyone who's played the series knows, Sheba is going to abruptly become the most important character in this game bar none with absolutely no indication as to why. This is the only time you can pick up clues about who she is, like that she fell from the moon and was then kidnapped by Babi and used as a hostage so that he can force everyone else to build monuments to him. Babi is presented as one of the most sympathetic characters in the game.
Speaking of, this is him. The entire rest of the game is suddenly about him because Camelot did not plan anything out ahead of time.
I ran out of my draught and collapsed here. I'd like you to get my draught for me.
Get it? Where is it?
Deep in this cave...
What, is there a pharmacy down there?
While Mia's sudden sarcasm (or continued bland idiocy) and knowledge of a completely out-of-context pharmaceutical distribution system are noteworthy, far more noteworthy is that this implies a reasonable question that is never addressed. Babi's routine existence seems to involve periodically abandoning his city to wander into a cave full of monsters and traps so that he can obtain a bottle that allows him to live.
He could keep this bottle in a cabinet instead, but I suppose the current strategy adds a bit of excitement to an otherwise boring day of not getting mauled.
First, you'll have to go deep into the cave. You'll find five rocks sticking up out of the ground. Rotate the rocks on the left and right sides. When you turn the rocks in the right order, five colored lights will appear. There will be five colors: blue, green, white, yellow, and red. Turn the five rocks in accordance with those colors. If you do this correctly, a hidden door will open.
A door? Somewhere deep in a cave? Who put it there?
That is by far the most appropriate question to ask in light of the revealed information. Good job, useful and dynamic party members.
An ancient civilization, long since vanished. Ohhh! Please hurry!
Ancient civilizations tend to have poor priorities. I can see why using magical engineering to build color wheel rock doors in caves might have been a good hobby, but at some point they probably should have buckled down to treat cholera.
By this point I can surmise that needless clarification in moments of extreme distress is just the normal way people communicate in Camelot-land. "Help! I'm having a heart attack! Call 911! When you call 911 they'll send an ambulance which will take me to a hospital. This hospital will be staffed by doctors who are likely capable of treating this problem. In order to dial it you'll need to apply pressure to the corresponding buttons on the numeric keypad. Hurry! Also you'll need to do this using a phone."
Here's a cave. It's a maze.
Specifically, it's another maze where you can't see, unlike all the other caves which have apparently been equipped with very well-concealed streetlamps.
This is used entirely as an excuse for dick moves like forcing us to take a circuitous path around more gravel. This game could be over in minutes if we just gave everyone pogo sticks.
It's around this point in the game that Camelot realized how easy the game was and promptly increased the stats of every monster by an order of magnitude or so. This has absolutely no effect on difficulty outside of increasing the number of required button presses and thus magnifying the risk of acquiring carpal tunnel.
And there's yet another djinn (for those keeping track at home, this is the seventh one in three updates, meaning that the last hour of gameplay has given us a quarter of the djinn in the game. I remember when having djinn meant something; by this point I'm surprised Isaac isn't just buying them in bulk from general stores.
The eventual "puzzle" that is literally just blindly following directions in an inexplicably no longer dark chamber causes the wall to explode into Dippin' Dots.
Now that we have this draught we can retreat to the dungeon's entrance, using the exact same effect and exploding into the same Dippin' Dots. Good on Camelot for trying to save space on particle effects.
Oh, thank you! You've saved my life.
I'm going to pretend that Mia and Garet made an off-screen bet a few chapters ago to see who could make the most banal and useless comment at the least appropriate time. Babi is winning.
Ivan long ago made a bet to see how long he could trick people into thinking him useful by mind reading people and stealing their monologues. This is actually exactly what everyone does anyway albeit without the mind reading part.
This is Babi, the ruler of Tolbi! And that wasn't Psynergy he was using to conceal himself...It was the power of an ancient civilization!
I said nothing of the kind! How can you know that? Have I finally found true Lemurians!?
Why would you want to find these Lemurians?
Every year, I grow older and more frail...This body's had it.
Keep in mind that Babi was openly thinking about how Lemuria is not the source of psynergy and that psynergy is distinct from the power of this ancient civilization. Because this is his introduction, Babi's personality and knowledge base are going to completely contradict this established distinction from this moment on. At least Camelot is consistent in how inconsistent they are.
Wait a sec, Isaac! Kraden said Alchemy could thwart death itself!
What was that? Did you say you know Kraden?
What Garet's talking about is the Stone of Sages, which you might remember was thrown into an earlier conversation more or less at random probably around the time somebody worked it into this scene. Going with my "Kraden killed an actual alchemic sage and is just making things up" theory, I'm going to add as a corollary that Kraden read a Harry Potter book once and somehow convinced Babi to go around kidnapping girls to live out his Fisher King-esque fantasy. This interpretation does not substantially change Babi's competence or level of sympathy.
We've been searching everywhere for you, Babi!
Come see me at my palace once the finals have ended. I would like to speak with you further. Say, I have an idea...Why don't you enter the finals? You have some interesting powers.
But, Lord Babi, they have not cleared the trials.
And you don't think that saving my life qualifies as a suitable trial? I look forward to seeing you battle!
What, did you think there was an actual leadup for the sudden tournament arc? What kind of game do you think you're
Next time, we're going to be suddenly added to the ranks of a highly respected gladiatorial tournament that we're going to explicitly cheat our way through, essentially the equivalent of the IOC letting you run the 400 meter dash in a car because you gave a judge some water when he needed a drink. This will entail Babi, having abandoned his city to get killed in a cave, blatantly playing favorites and disregarding the legitimacy of the biggest event in the world, risking the lives of the teenagers who saved him, and using the experience to rope you into helping him achieve immortality through slave labor and holding children from neighboring villages hostage until the members of said village build him things. Babi is supposed to be a sympathetic character.
At least there's a plot again, I suppose. And at least it's better than using chi from a line.