Part 34: Episode XXVII: And They Were Never Heard From Again...
Music: Simple Gratitude
I dont think I am Setsuna has any sewer dungeons. But really, are cave levels much better in the long run?
Lets ponder that as we return to Gatherington to shake down an elderly woman for information at the first sign of shortcomings. Just another day in the life of JRPG protagonists.
We didnt explore much of Gatherington as there isnt much of interest. If theres anyone offering new food recipes, I aint got the stuff required. The town itself is just the pub, two NPC houses with nameless characters hanging out (I think we looted some Athenian Waters out of one) and finally the old womans house is to the northeast.
Approaching her domicile...
Music: Shrouded Fate
Julienne collapses into a heap again...
Anyone got the receipt for this one? I think shes defective.
What? Her whole spiel was she was only traveling with us until she reached something or other. Maybe that pile of snow was her destination. I personally feel it would be disrespectful to keep propping her up every few hours.
The gloomy old woman leisurely walks up to the middle of our group...
*looks at Julienne and shakes head* Very well... Come inside.
Granny Mystery walks off towards her house...
Lets wait and see what happens.
I stopped by the pub and filled up a flask in anticipation of whatever sob story is incoming. But I like to stay professional and wait until sundown before I begin drinking, ya know? Maybe Paladin Naptime will come around in a bit.
We dont know whats causing this, so we cant just leave her...
First of all, lets take her inside, then well wait and see what happens.
Ah... So we can ditch her in the old ladys care if shes not able to go on. Smart thinking, Setsuna! About time you pulled some weight with the good ideas.
Julienne is out of the party. And just when I started using her since her second weapon jumps her attack ability enough to hang with Endir and Nidr.
In any case, lets get out of the snow and check out what The Gloomy Old Woman and the Case of the Forgotten Tunnel entails.
The carpet there?
No. Dont be a fool.
That pile of... what do you got there? Cacti? Why do you have cacti out here? Well, your ho
On the bed!
Ignore him. Hes just like that.
Endir and Nidr flip Juliennes body on the bed.
Setsuna pulls out her head ornament chakram with frilly bow accessory.
*nods and takes the chakram*
*nods and returns weapons*
*begins to stir*
Julienne sits up...
You suddenly collapsed and lost consciousness...
Turns out youre a narcoleptic knight or something. You probably should have mentioned that before tagging along.
I assure you that is not the case.
Mhm. Just what a narcoleptic knight would claim. No wonder youve started hanging in the battle B-Team with the secret cannibal kid.
*turns to old woman* This lady healed you.
Is that so... Then I am in you debt, good woman. If I may impose, would you kindly tell me your name?
...I am Sayagi, the healer.
By the way...
You dont think it could be the path through Fridging Heights, do you?
*shakes head* ! What!? This cannot be! You found the entrance!?
*sweats* Huh? Uh... Yeah, we did... Werent we meant to?
It was the first cave just outside of town. At the end of the literal only path through the cave. And it was glowing. And resonated with magic energy when you touched it. You like... literally couldnt miss it if you tried...
Seriously, there are treasure chests in half-assed tutorial zones more hidden than that was.
So you know something, after all...
*rolls eyes* Were all very proud of you, Endir...
Sayagi... Who on earth are you...?
Sayagi doesnt answer Setsunas question. But an oversized hair ornament chakram on the wall decides now is a good time to sparkle and draw attention to itself. We probably ought to continue to intrude on this womans belongings and investigate, like good JRPG protagonists.
Please do not touch it...
This is... Its the same as mine... This is a chakram that may only be carried by those chosen as sacrifices...
Wait, hold up a sec here... Back it up. They *make* you use that ridiculous hair hoop chakram deal for this journey? Thats like part of the deal?
Oh dude... I have gained a lot of respect for you. I thought you like actively thought that whole thing was a choice weapon set to go on some perilous journey. I didnt know you had that dumbass thing forced on you.
*frown* Oh... Yes.
Tch. Hey wait... What about your whole... outfit here. Is that like some traditional sacrifice garb or something? Cuz your aunerrr! I mean... Ive seen that get-up before.
Yes. It is the sacrifices traditional uniform. Is there something wrong with
Oh boy. Man... You just got a raw deal here, huh? Man. I had the wrong idea about your whole preparatory skills. Didnt know you were weighed down by dumb traditions. Woof. Sorry...
*looks at outfit and frowns* It... is okay...
Dang. Alright, so old lady...
Were you a sacrifice, too?
I was... but then again I wasnt.
Aww geez... Here we go...
What does that mean?
No! You DIPSHIT!
What did I do?
Ugh. There goes the sappy music. Now were gonna have to listen to her whole tragic past. I cant believe youve done this Nidr!
Oh... Crud. Ive made a mistake.
*tips back flask* Your damn right you did. I aint sharing this now.
Did you reach the Last Lands, Sayagi?
This is not somewhere that the sacrifice was supposed to pass through... We were to travel by various ships, and arrive close to the Last Lands... However, shortly after leaving Nive, our ship met with bad weather, and we became shipwrecked here...
*takes another swig* Oh poor you. Our ship got attacked by a sea monster like twenty minutes out. Its taken us like two months to get to this point.
A... sea monster...?
Yeah you missed that part, sleeping beauty. And the airship engine that exploded. And the village of the gremlin elves or whatever tail boy is supposed to be. Pfft.
Please let her continue.
We intended to reach the Last Lands by crossing the mountain on foot...
So why did you end up staying here?
Where did you mess up?
What? Its a fair question. We all know where this is goin. She didnt make it to the end of the journey cuz... well... sacrifice. Still alive. Nope! Fission Mailed. So howd your party get wiped, lady?
No matter how much I wish to forget, it remains seared into these old eyes of mine. The tragedy in the Fridging Caves... The monster that makes the Fridging Caves its home is of fearsome size and strength... Even my mighty guard did not stand a chance against it... I too received a grave injury, and was on the verge of death.
So if youre here, does that mean the pilgrimage didnt succeed?
No, another became sacrifice in my place... My twin sister... My sister, the younger twin, had accompanied me as part of my guard.
Wait... you can just swap out sacrifice candidates like that? Is there like an instruction manual for yall? I feel like Im missing a lotta details suddenly...
However... after I was gravely wounded by the monster, she ended up taking my place as sacrifice. And so, in order to lure the monster away from her... I acted as bait, together with the last surviving member of my guard. It worked, and my sister reached the Last Lands. From that year on, the number of monsters declined, showing that she had indeed succeeded...
*turns away* And I was left here, alone.
What about the member of your guard? Arent they here in this town, too?
*shakes head* No. He is no longer in this world.
Yeah, RIP... *takes another flask swig*
*punches in the arm*
I respect that wasnt my drinking arm.
In order to prevent the monster inside the mountain from causing any more harm... He sacrificed his own life in order to seal off the entrance to the cave leading through the mountain. As a result of the spell... The cave was hidden from view, and the townspeople had its location stricken from their memories.
So you threw a blanket over the problem and pretended it didnt exist.
So how come we could see it?
Maybe its because we possess greater power than the one who cast the spell...
I respect your sacrifice in your short journey... but what were you all? Level 5 by that point?
Yeah, that was just a tragic backstory waiting to happen, huh?
How ironic it is indeed... My twin sister and my companions gave their lives to protect everyone... I, who was originally supposed to give my life as sacrifice, lived on... And here I am now. An old woman, ravaged by time. What an utter waste of a life... Do you not think?
40 long years wasted away...
Why was it a waste? All life has meaning.
Endirs right. Listen, lady...
Yours is to give us some token so we can move on past this trifling obstacle.
...Endir was right until then.
Pfft. Im still right.
Your sister gave her life to protect this land, and you spent yours protectin this town... Dont you ever say that was a waste, lady. Whatd all the people of this town think if they knew?
That they should stay the heck out of the cave nearby with the deadly monster?
*nods* Please, Sayagi... I want you to place your faith in us... Your hope... We carry it with us to the Last Lands.
If I unlock the seal for you, you will have no choice but to defeat the monster that lies within... Do you have the determination and the strength that will require?
Then I shall say no more.
Thats just senile old timer talk for a tape recorder, isnt it?
This shall remove the seal.
As the young folk say these days duh.
*nods* Thank you, Sayagi.
After sealing off the cave, just before he breathed his last breath, he... my guard gave me this. As he handed it to me, he turned to me with a gentle smile on his face... Sometimes even to this day, I wonder what that smile was... What it meant...
*hic* He probably wanted to jump your bones.
Geez, Endir. Cmon...
What? Ask Nidr here, he knows all about that kind traveling companion.
*glares* No idea what youre talkin about.
Perhaps people smile when they pass on something thats very precious to them...
Yeah, cool story. Lets go smash this thing into that wall and wax that trash mob so we can move on.
Julienne crawls out of bed...
Welcome back... Do we need to go grab a smelling salts Spritnite for you or do you have your shit together?
That will not be necessary. I am healed.
Mhm. Better be.
Alright, Julienne is back in the party after her five minute departure. Nothing to worry about there.
Music: Simple Gratitude
Heading back into town, everyones dialogue is now speculating what the party is doing poking around and how its strange Sayagi just kind of popped into town one day plus nobody really recalls when that was... Or questions it. Yeah sure, there's area of effect mind fuckery magic present in the world. No big deal! This must be some sort of retirement community since everyone would have to be in at least their 40s to remember whenever that pilgrimage took place.
Before we return to the cavern to face whatever creature wasted Sayagis party, lets stop by the Magic Consortium one more time to offload some materials we gathered from those reskinned bearmen. Remember the White Bay Laurel Wreath I mentioned last update?
I dont mention much Support Spritnite I obtain and stick on the party, since theyre all just passive buffs like filling the ATB gauge quicker or making certain elements do slightly more damage. The White Bay Laurel Wreath (thats a mouthful) drops are the final component in obtaining the Gagnrath Support Spritnite. When equipped, this little number will regenerate MP from killing enemies. So if we stick it on Nidr and Endir, theyll now top off their MP after most battles, becoming an unstoppable wave of high damage techs mowing through dungeons with even greater ease. Ill take it.
And hell, while were in the area we might as well just get the rest of those weapons on offer at Weppy and Tallis since who knows when well hit the next village. Lets see what weve got...
Pfft. Ancient ore crafted in the deepest of mountains in a frozen furnace able to sunder time itself? It pales in comparison to some good Hanzo Steel.
Setsuna now has a sensor tapped directly into her scalp to detect nearby enemies. Its probably best Setsuna had the Ribbon Chakram for that previous cutscene and not this or the spiked time crown when handing it over to the frail old woman.
Finally, Julienne now has a water elemental polearm. Which has been a bit of a detriment when using her thus far, since it turns out quite a few creatures in a land covered in ice and snow are rather strong against water/ice magic. Whod a thunk?
Regardless, resupplied and with the plot token to proceed, were now off to try again at the stupid cave to finally make it to the lousy Last Lands. Sure, its just smooth sailing from here on out for the gang, right?