Part 33: Episode XVI: There Was a Hole Here...
New Music: Road to Closure
Well Ill be a monkeys uncle! Its more snow! The paradigm has shifted in this new biome. Lets get explorin.
I dont usually show off the pick-up junk. But Euphoria Pumpkin is hilarious to me for some reason. Especially since I started this recording session while cooking for Thanksgiving.
Despite the claims of this region being the Fridging Mountain Range there sure is a lot of open snow wasteland. Heck, theres even a region called the Barren Plains. Lets see if this one is more eventful than the past throwaway side areas...
Survey says: NOPE! Im not sure what else we ought to have expected. Though, its not entirely without points of interest. A bit to the north we find...
...a small forest, running counter to both the barren and plains part of this area description. And some dude hanging out constructing a massive pyre. So umm... whatcha doing out here, guy?
It carries a faint magical energy... Only those with powerful magical energy can cross the mountain... I wonder what lies across it...
Isnt it... like the Last Lands?
Well, mystery solved. So umm... whats all this firewood about...?
Sinners must be cleansed in the purifying flame.
Well, good luck with that, sport. Gotta go.
Yep. Thats all there was to that area. Im not sure what they were going for with those fields with a single weird NPC hanging out. I think a couple are used in endgame sidequests. But more often than not, theyre for jack shit. Anyway, to the north there is that massive purple barrier nobody seems to bother mentioning. Still can't pass it.
So we will continue further to the north still and reach the next sleepy hamlet that will surely not have any localized drama or conflict requiring our partys intervention to resolve. That would never happen in this game.
New Music: Simple Gratitude
Gatherington, huh? I mean, I guess its a step up from Royburg but not by much. Lets see what the townsfolk are up to here.
This suggests there exists high-pitched voiced lumberjacks and that is clearly incorrect.
I knew itd be colder here, but I didnt think it was gonna be this bad...
Sheesh. Is everyone gonna keel over today? Kir? Setsuna? You all feeling a bit of the vapors next?
...You passed out earlier too.
Yeah, but that was Nidrs fault. Doesnt count.
Julienne picks herself back up...
Are you two from this town? Were on a journey...
Were headin for the Last Lands... How far are they from here?
The Last Lands, eh? Theyre on the other side of Fridging Heights. But youd be best off forgettin that idea, if you value yer life... That mountain can no longer be crossed.
What do you mean?
Youll ave seen em during your journey, no doubt... The distortion in space... We call em blakkols round these parts... Theyre specially bad in the mountains near ere ysee...
...Any of you pick up half of what this hick mumbled just now?
ey! Learn ome manners ounen.
No... hablo... NPC...
He said the mountains are full of distortions in space called black holes.
Oh... Thats a little bit more understandable.
I think they mean the giant barrier we keep running into outside of towns.
...That aint no black hole. It is neither black nor a hole! Literally no part of that description is apt.
When will the distortions go away?
They grow worse by the year... Youd be wise not to hold yer breath, Id say!
Aint there any other way to cross Fridging Heights, then?
I did once know of a cave that led through the mountain...
Its gone now, is it?
*ponders* No... I said I once knew of it. For some reason, I can no longer remember it...
So you forgot where it was?
*shakes head* I do not know... I shouldnt think yer gonna believe this... But a memory that should be there...isnt.
A memory that should be there isnt...?
*sigh* So was there some monster in the area or maybe a mysterious traveler who passed through and suddenly everyone forgot?
*nods* A cave that led through the mountain defnitely did exist... That much is certain.
But how can you know that for certain if you cant remember?
*nods* Many folks in this town say the xact same thing as me... Folks whove lived ere for a very long time... If you think that nothin more than a coincidence... well, thats up to you...
If its somewhere near here, why dont we try looking for it?
You say it definitely existed, so maybe well find it!
You shall do no such thing! There shall be no needless prying!
*jumps* AUGGH! Phew... Dont scare me like that, old lady!
*shakes head* Some things are best left unchanged... Not that you are capable of changing them, anyway...
Gloomy Old Woman walks off...
So that old lady is behind whatever this is, huh?
If no one knows where this path is, our only option is to try and find a way across ourselves. We dont have time to wait for this blizzard to stop, or for the distortions to disappear. Our journey must go on.
Exactly! Aeternas right! Lets find a way across Fridging Heights by ourselves!
Hey old timer, where does your wife or whoever live?
The old woman. The gloomy one.
Oh. She is ot my ife. But she ives at the top of the hill yonder.
Alright, lets explore this town and do the usual RPG thing for a spell. The local pub is the first building in town. As usually, Weppy & Talis merchant has gotten far too drunk and kicked out of the establishment. Well come see him in a minute.
The usually suspects of the Apothecary and Magic Emporium spritnite dealer are camped out here.
It has been two fairly lengthy dungeons since the last time we hit this guy and theres a good 35,000 G in profit to be made dumping all the materials weve gathered off countless dead penguins and snake monsters. And with it, a handful of new Spritnites to equip and seldom use.
Endir has gained a Life spell to resurrect fallen party members. Kir got his shit kicked in during the last dungeon when I tried to tag him in for some levels. That is literally the only death Ive had of a party member in battle. And even then, I just shuffled his corpse to the B-Team roster and went on my way.
Nidr is grabbing another way to slash folks with his massive sword. Unfortunately, Wind is not a real element in this game so its just another whatever physical tech.
Kir is continuing his journey to become a reckless pyromancer and now can summon fountains of magma to pour on unsuspecting foes in the alternate dimension where Serge died and I actually ever used Kir.
And finally, Julienne gets a fairly useful Tech where shell stab folks every time one of her allies stabs someone. Real good team builder, that one.
Leaving the bar, were now flush with smackers, which is good since theres a whole new set of weapons available. Two new weapons, in Juliennes case. Well, we dont want to spoil our newest party member. Plus Endir and Setsuna both picked up new weapons in the previous dungeon. So well refrain from upgrading them for a bit. But the rest...
Aeterna has a new dagger that looks like a prop from a high school drama club production. But it is somehow better in every way from the Chaos Rune Blade, so what are you gonna do?
Nidr has gained a dragons tooth with a hilt attached to it. Which would be cool and all, if it wasnt wrapped up with bandages like that dipshit Cloud Strife cosplaying as Vincent Valentine version of Cloud from Kingdom Hearts.
Kir has upgraded from a magical girl wand to... dude, this is just Sailor Moons wand. That doesnt even make sense for Kir, hes a pyromancer. See, this is why I never use you in battle, Kir.
Finally, Julienne is casting aside her ancient family heirloom lance for one with a fancy ribbon. Despite the description claiming it ought to buff the heck out of defense, it seems to actually buff the hell out of Juliennes attack and barely raise defensive stats. I feel like the entirety of the weapon system was both overambitious and completely rushed.
Anyway, that is about all for this town. Theres a bunch of townsfolk milling about in a village that just follows a slope east up a hill (with the cranky woman from earliers hut at the top) but none of them have much of interest to say. Beyond the weird cave across the mountain that none of them can seem to remember and nobody has bothered to check out ever.
So I guess its up to us to sort out the situation and bravely venture northward to seek out this mysterious cavern...
Music: Road to Closure
Found it! It was literally about a mile outside of town. Straight up the first landmark visible. Good job, everyone. The mystery is solved.
Due west of Gatherington is an unnamed Abandoned Village off a desolate peninsula. Surely, there will be something worth pillaging from the ruined town...
...Youd think that. But nope. This is just another one of those weird locations with a single wandering NPC waiting for the elements to take them or whatever their end goal happens to be. Here we find...
Why must the people of the Village of Sacrifice bear such a burden? No matter what might have happened in the past, the past is just that... the past...
Monsters keep spawning and will eventually overwhelm humanity unless we do the sacrifice. Its *kind* of important.
Why must the people of the Village of Sacrifice bear such a burd
Yeah, youre not getting through to this one. Lets bounce.
Alright, thats all the exploration for this region. Guess were just gonna have to hit the Fridging Caves. Ya know, since its been at least three dungeons since weve seen the cavern template.
New Music: The Strength of Time
Aww shit, son! This ice cavern is glowing purple! This is some next level business going down here. You didnt think I Am Setsuna was just going to reuse the ice cave layout a third time. Yee of little faith.
Fridging (this word feels like someone forgot to use spellcheck on Frigid) Caves is home to the Uppa. Hey, the tutorial boss finally made the palette swapped transition to common enemy. Good for him. These boys pack a fairly meager 370 HP and just kind of swipe at a single party member at a time. Occasionally, theyll Howl to raise their attack and lower the partys defense. But they do have one dire trick up their sleeves...
BEEEEEEEEEES! These bears can pull a REAL dick move and just conjure up a swarm of angry bees to descend upon our party. This hits the entire party for around 50-75 damage and is just plain rude. I mean, its impressive a bear has both gained the abilities of The Pain and done so in the fantasy Arctic Circle. But still... real rude attack.
On the plus side of dealing with a swarm of angry bees, these guys are just a piñata of materials if we get creative with our Momentumd up Techs and debuffs. Particularly, if we use Combo attacks to kill em (pretty much any Momentum buffed physical attack counts as a combo) they drop White Bay Laurel Wreaths. Which are pretty handy as they may lead to the obtaining of a broken ass Spritnite shortly.
The cave itself is rather uneventful, beyond the bears and bees. But there is a new weapon for... Aeterna... Who we just dropped 5300G to get a new weapon like ten minutes ago... Goddammit.
I cannot even get that mad because... well, look at this thing! Its amazing. Its a walrus dagger. Its adorable, dumbest thing and I absolutely love it. Also, murdering all the Uppa in this cave nets us a good 10,000G so its not a big loss. I Am Setsuna is not at all good about rationing new weapons pick-ups. But man. Walrus dagger...
Amazing Walrus Dagger aside, the party eventually reaches a dead end at the back of the cave. Probably best to investigate this, eh?
This is the cave! It is, isnt it?
Nope. I mean its clearly a dead end. You dope.
You think the townspeople would really forget about somewhere so obvious?
*looks at wall* ? ......?
Wait a minute...
Aeterna touches the glowing cavern wall at the dead end of the only path through the cavern and wouldnt ya know... magic bullshit!
So what does that mean?
Most likely, it means that a sealing spell has been cast here...
*nods* I can sense it, too...
It just rippled magical energy through the whole cave. I think we all felt it.
Yeah, we're all magic people. I'm a necromancer now. It's weird.
So this is it, after all!?
*puffs up* I said it was, didnt I!?
No duh, Sherlock.
Hey! But you said it wasnt before.
I was... are you for real? Sarcasm. Thats like, my entire thing... Get with it.
Its hard to get a read on you when youre wearing that mask.
Hey! You were offered the gift of a mask of your own and you cast its splendor down. Now you toil away in the fields of Endir not giving a shit about your opinion and reflect upon your mistakes.
Can we focus here?
The people in that town didnt seem like they were lying, though...
Then the memories of everyone who knew of this cave must have been erased... Except perhaps the one who cast the spell, or anyone who knew it had been cast...
Its that old lady.
Maybe someone here is hiding something...
The gloomy old woman.
Who do you think sealed it off, then!? No one in the town seemed suspicious!
The elderly woman who we met as soon as we entered town.
No, there was one person...
Finally! Someone with a head on their shoulders. Like I said, it was the...
That way he was talkin aint natural. He was hidin something.
No. That was just an idiot accent. The only mystery surrounding that guy was how many generations of rural inbreeding it took for him to end up that way. No. It was...
The wrinkled old woman.
! What!? That old lady!? She wasnt very friendly, but she didnt seem like a bad person or anything...
She may well not be bad... But there is more to her than meets the eye. I too could sense that.
Looks like we better try talking to her again...
Hey, executive team decision. Were stopping by the pub again and loading up on some liquor before we go headlong into another tragic backstory.
Do what you want. Lets just go.
Can... I get in on that?
Mhm. Id buy you a beer but you went the stupid route with the whole Setsuna daughter thing so...
Hm? Did someone say my name?
Welp! Alright then. Back to the village we go! One of these times were just going to encounter a dungeon with a village nearby and simply move on without obstacles. No we wont.