Part 50: Oh goodie
Put your reading pants on, it's time for NPC conversations.
Thanks... could you please let us know of your customs? We don't want to offend any of you.
The old Ryudo would've been hellbent on offending all of them. I liked him better.
Yes, please teach us your customs so that we may respect them.
Villager: Do not worry of such things! Our only custom is to obey one's heart.
Villager: One could say that the custom of this village is to do as you think or feel.
One must remain faithful to one's heart. That fundamental faith is what dictates the actions of my people.
The building with all the equipment out front is the general store. It dawns on me that nobody in this party uses a shield. They just take a defensive stance and grit their teeth through getting smacked, stabbed, eaten, frozen and having their soul crushed or whatever it is Avenging Claw does to people. Remarkable.
Tens of hours in, there's still Tutorial Guys. I'm still not talking to them.
There's also little environmental bits that react to your presence even this far into the game, so that's nice. That shield falls over.
Fun things available in this store include:
Silence Sword - Magic block on hit, otherwise terrible.
Golden Flail - "WAY too heavy." I wonder if anyone out there makes a point of giving Elena heavy staves and +STR skills just because you can.
Plague Charm - Because only the Eye of Valmar gets to have a genuinely scary status effect.
Baobab Fruit - Restores 100 SP
Runner Mushroom - +2 MOV in an area, so a better but slightly less convenient Runner. There are ones for ATK and DEF as well, which aren't very good, as well as one for ACT which was patched out by the hard hack for being a little too good.
Are you all right? Please do not trouble yourself on our behalf. Please, rest. Take it easy.
Argo: Oooh... How embarrassing. I hurt my back all over again when I went to the Great Rift the other day.
Yeah, the sheer cliff leading to a tornado that extends to the heavens. This dude is hardcore.
Are you STILL investigating the Great Rift? That area is about as predictable as a cornered badger. You know that, Argo.
Argo: Mareg, I know the Great Rift is dangerous, but that is exactly why I have to keep an eye on that place.
Argo, you refuse to change. Just be careful.
Hey, Mareg. Just what is the Great Rift?
It is called the Forest of No Return. Inside, all senses are deadened. You become lost, unable to find your way out.
None of these things are even remotely true.
The wind told you? Do you mean that you and the wind talk with one another?
Villager: No, no. I mean that the wind has brought Mareg's scent to me.
Villager: Mareg! Were you able to dispatch the demon that ravaged our village? I have worried about your well-being.
He has been defeated. However, my journey is not over yet. I still sense trouble on the wind.
You sense something? What do you mean, Mareg?
The wind carries scent and sound, but it also has a voice of its own. One must learn how to listen to the world around them.
Why do you need so many? They all look the same to me.
Child: They're not the same! This one's for washing clothes, this one's for smashing nuts...
Rocks that may look alike are, in fact, different. And each has a different purpose. So it is with people.
Ah, so this child's purpose is facilitating metaphor. I think I'm getting the beast-man way of life.
Child: I gather stones for everyone to use! That's my "purpose"!
shut up kid ill put you in the presser
Child: Mother cooks, father hunts, and I gather stones!
I understand now. In this village, each does what they do best. In this case, rock gathering.
Correct. The land is but our Great Mother, we, her children. There are no unneeded things, or people, in her great arms.
For a quick break from dialogue, we can check out Mareg's sweet bachelor pad.
This pan flips over when we walk near it and by Granas Almighty I am going to point it out.
Gonna go ahead and say Mareg picked the wrong halberd to take on his journey.
Next up on the list of things that react to the party's presence, these little bugs skitter out of some of the pots lying around. Would you like to know more?
Then let's check out the Weaving Hut.
Weaver: I found you!!! Whoops. Wrong again. It's an orange Sadie. Oh, dearie.
Each Miya worm produces a different colored silk. Even an expert has a troublesome time finding the right worm for the right color.
Weaver: Come out, come out, little Julie. Hmm... It looks like I'll have to use my secret technique. Heh, heh.
What? You know something the others don't?
Weaver: Watch and see. Oh, Juuuulieeeee!!! COME OUT, COME OUT, WHEREVER YOU ARE!!!
Oh, you startled me.
Weaver: There you are, Julie! It's OK! Come on! YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE AFRAID!!!
Damn! Your voice is enough to scare the evil right out of Valmar!
Oh, my! It IS lovely! So colorful and lustrous!
Weaver: The silk that one of these worms produces varies in color and luster depending on its mood.
Weaver: Taking care of Miya worms is quite a chore. I have to keep them in a good mood all the time...
Weaver: When these little fellers are in a bad mood, watch out! You'll get enough different colors to put a rainbow to shame!
Weaver: Did you see that big Miya worm on the roof of the shed? That's the mother. This shed is a cocoon she made.
This shed is a COCOON?! Wow, that's bizarre.
Weaver: A mother Miya worm's silk isn't soft and shiny, but it's thick and strong. She uses it to make a cocoon to protect her young.
This little one crawls up to its mother if we walk by and scare it. I think that's all I can say about these things without making a Bug Count joke, and nobody wants that.
There is no deity worship in my culture. This pillar is simply carved out in our likeness, not that of a particular God.
I... do not understand. It does not resemble you at all.
Me? Do I smell strange?
Villager: Oh, no. You SMELL different... but not strange. I sense... instability...
Villager: We beast-men can sense a person's emotions in that person's scent. But only simple emotions.
Villager: The SMELL of the girl's emotions is not strange, but it does suggest some sort of... instability.
I could not be emotionally unstable, because I lack emotions.
I'm sure I'll eventually have things to say about Tio and her interactions with other characters other than "Haha, Star Trek". As it stands, her character is already well-established (mostly because there isn't much to it) and Mareg's attempts to help her "remember her heart" aren't allowed to make any headway unless the plot dictates it. Counselor Troi here isn't going to be the one to facilitate that breakthrough, I bet.
Haha, Star Trek.
Tio. You are incorrect. You DO have emotions. I, too, smelled them when we first met.
Villager: Don't worry yourself about it, young lady. You're just a little different, that's all.
Everyone seems pretty friendly. Usually such isolated villages fester with paranoia.
Villager: We live here because our way of life is different, not because we hate outsiders!
Villager: We live in harmony with the forest - we protect it, and it protects us. We are naturally shielded from the outside world.
Villager: That, however, does not mean that we are disinterested in what happens outside our village. We welcome all visitors.
I've always liked the change of pace that Nanan (and previously St. Heim) brings to the village-in-distress pattern established by pretty much every other place we visit. Particularly since they got Valmared just as hard as, say, Garlan - they just had the strength to recover from it before we got here.
There are many of this village that travel outside the great arms of the forest, as I have.
Villager: Our hunt has netted bountiful game. We will prepare a feast in your party's honor.
Villager: Long ago, our ancestor, Simcam, lived in solitude, in a place just ahead.
Villager: One year, a drought came, killing many... Simcam was terribly saddened. So Simcam dug a well. He dug and dug until his hands were raw.
Villager: But he hit bedrock. He tried to crack through it, but couldn't. He was defeated.
Villager: Seeing his suffering, the clouds cried. Then, those tears became Simnam.
Villager: Simcam and Simnam combined their strength. They broke through the rock and reached water!
Villager: The spring's water saved many creatures. Even today, it nurtures us. That is the story of the Spring of Love.
Little devil? Master? What does this person mean by that?
Villager: "Master"? Mareg, is that what you make her call you?
No. I have asked her repeatedly to address me as Mareg, but she insists still on calling me "master."
Villager: Tio, why do you call Mareg "master"?
Oh, did you SMELL her name on the wind, now?
Why? Because Mareg is my master. That is why.
Villager: Yeah, but you and Mareg are friends, right, Tio? So you should just call him "Mareg."
Villager: All living things are friends! Not just people, but plants and animals, too. We all help one another.
Does that mean that everyone is equal? No one is above the rest?
Elena's mind being blown as we speak.
Villager: Precisely! That's why I think no one should call another "master."
It looks like an ordinary hut to me. What's inside?
Wag: Something dangerous! The Village Elder will grant permission only to those brave enough to meet their fate.
Wag: I doubt even Mareg would make it out of there unscathed. THAT is how dangerous it is in there!
We'll be checking it out momentarily, don't you worry. Before we do that, though, we need to talk to the Elder, as Mareg suggested.
Good. But the danger of annihilation is not yet past.
That is not necessarily so.
What!? What do you mean?
It is a long story.
I see. Come inside. Your companions may also enter.
Why do you seek that sword?
... Perhaps because... I did not really know... anything.
What do you mean?
I've spent my life running from my problems, hiding behind my sense of duty. I've never had time to stop and think things over.
So, I decided to stop running. I decided to start... feeling what's going on around me. I've been numb for far too long.
We too believe that life must be FELT. Perhaps you also feel that not all Light is good or that not all Darkness is evil.
You have probably felt alone. You are not. My people rejoice not in the gods, but in the blessings that come from a strong heart.
No Darkness? No Light? Feelings? I cannot understand...
Valmar is trying to bring destruction to the world! Of this I am absolutely certain!
Elena! You're not in church here!
I... I am sorry. I misspoke myself...
Elder, things which are beyond our understanding even now grow restless, seeking to enter our world.
In many places have I smelled the stench of coming nightmare. We must not turn a blind eye to this. Ryudo will not, and I will not.
I see. You ought to help them, then. Those in need must help each other.
You speak truly. I wish to see this purpose to its end.
I don't mind.
Good. It is just about time to prepare the feast, and it would be a shame were you not to attend.
Mareg, you have done your job well. You have lifted us from our misery. This feast shall be in your honor!
We need invitations?
If you are Mareg's friends, then you are our friends as well. Come, have a good time.
Hmm... Oh yes, I wonder if I may ask a small kindness of these two.
Can I help out as well?
No, no. Mareg, invincible as you are, you are not suited to all tasks. Please, go to the village square.
As you desire. I shall await your presence there. Tio, we shall walk together.
No one in the village can perform this task, otherwise I would never ask you two.
It's fine with me.
Yes. I would be happy to help as well.
Fine. Glad to hear it! I'm counting on you!
Villager: Of those who have entered here, many have perished.
Other Villager: As such, we only ask help of those strong in both mind and body... and luck...
Villager: But, I have faith in you.
Other Villager: Your resolve must be unwavering to enter.
Ryudo, will you please do us this honor?
He asks with such sorrow...
Sure. Can't really say no...
Thank you, Ryudo, thank you! Then, please - enter the Forbidden Room.
As you might guess, pretty much everyone in the village is all kinds of cryptic about what's actually inside. Mareg hasn't been here in a long time, so even he doesn't know what the hell. Oh well, how bad could it be?
Villager: Are you ready?
Figured there'd at least be some monsters or something...
I wonder what we are here for?
Villager: Are you ready?
You okay, Elena?
Yes, I think so... Only a little startled.
Place gives me the creeps. What we supposed to do in here?
Look! Ryudo. I see some light over there!
What is it? Probably should check it out. Nothing better to do.
Girdle your lions and saddle your horses, we're about to step into the most ridiculous room in the game.
The thing on top appears to be a large... Carro...?
Here we go. There's an inscription. "He who seeks the Blessings of the Earth must be tested in the arena of trials." ... I'm guessing it's to the right.
"Bring here the Walnuts of Light and the Door of Blessings shall open." ...Walnuts of Light... No comment.
What could that mean?
Yep, more Grandia I music. This time, it's from the deck swabbing minigame and it's positively adorable.
Ryudo immediately grabs the one nut needed to succeed, continuing this game's tradition of forcing you to acknowledge its minigames but not necessarily play them.
What the minigame boils down to is you can move Ryudo between those three openings and press the action button to grab a nut. The pillars move up and down - you can only grab nuts when they're sort of between shin and neck level. Any higher or lower and Ryudo will step forward and sit there for a second doing nothing. This wastes a bit of your allotted time, but more importantly, when replaying the minigame, little Miya worms occasionally drop from the ceiling. If you fail to grab a nut and one drops on Ryudo's head, he gets stunned for like 5 seconds.
The number of walnuts you need to grab goes 1-4-8-12-16-20-24 and stops there, though the rewards are randomized after the first five. The speed at which the pillars move increases as well.
Here is a video of the minigame at its hardest, as well as the little dance the Carros do for you after you win.
These Walnuts of Light are food for the little Carros!
This is the "Blessing of the Earth?" Pointless.
It's a pretty good item though. Full SP restore.
How odd. Why would the people of the village send us here on such an errand...?
Ouch, ouch, ouch... Not again? Just what is this stuff?
Ugh. This moss reeks... It smells like Skye when he opens that beak of his.
Eeeeuuuw... It is getting all over me.
Jeeze, let's get outta here!
Yes. It seems like a rather poor joke.
I hate thiiiiis!
Ah, wonderful! Thank you so much!
This SMELL is just... just, heavenly to us...
Great. We went down there for beast-man catnip.
Villager: This crop of silvervine moss is superb! Ahh... it smells like a vintage year!
Villager: We wanted you to go get the sap from this silvervine moss. Ahhhh.
You see, when any of us goes in, the SMELL saps our desire to come out again...
Villager: We haven't had such glorious fragrances in years. Please accept this as a token of our gratitude!
"Ring of Guarding" acquired.
Yep. Ridiculous. Back on the subject of the minigame, the rewards are as follows:
1 nut: See above. It gives +5 DEF and resistance to every status effect save move/magic block.
4 nuts: The Bloody Saucer, a weapon upgrade for Tio that has 10% lifesteal.
8 nuts: The Miracle Scales, an item that permanently doubles all gold drops for the rest of the game.
12 nuts: A Platinum Feather, the best of its kind. Instantly brings the whole party to ACT.
16 nuts: The Book of War, which we can't afford to miss, as it contains the fourth and final Life Up.
20+ nuts: Consumables, to my knowledge selected randomly. I only did it once for 20 and 24 but it gave me some permanent stat boost seeds, so that's pretty great.
Optional runs through the Hut of Trials are fairly similar to the first time, though there is some new dialogue, for success...
...as well as failure:
No thank you. We cannot accept this, as our work here has been far from successful.
What the hell are you thinking? Candy apples don't grow on trees, princess. This is the real world - you take what you can get!
NO! Accepting payment for our failures would be stealing, Mister Geohound!
This rock is here every time we visit the stupid nut pit after the first, so as not to force us to get dropped into creepy goop every time. That should be pretty much everything.
Smell. Come. Let's see what they're so damned happy about. Though I guess we already know...
OFFICIAL ART: Nanan NPCs