Part 9: Wherein Skepticism is Encouraged
Welcome back, dear reader. Last time on Kyrandia: The Hand of Fate, Zanthia spent a lot of time putzing about Highmoon trying to secure passage on a boat. Our situation can be summed up thusly:
- We need to get to Volcania, from where we can get to the center of the earth.
- The only means of travel that goes remotely near Volcania is the mustard barge.
- The ship captain and the mustard clerk have both been tranced by whoever stole our equipment and can't be interacted with.
- There is a pub full of weird pirates that care more about poetry than plunder, and a gambling octopus.
We don't really have any leads on what to do to address the trance situation, so we might as well have a chat with that red many-armed monstrosity in front of us.
Video: Shell Game Octopus (Youtube)
Just find the pea. What could be easier?
Double your money! Care to play?
Even if we wanted to gamble with a giant red octopus thing, we can't right now. We need something valuable to bet first. Besides, we don't really have any reason to, so let's just grill him for information instead.
My favorite kind of customer.
Gamblers who disregard actual statistics.
Hey, it's free advice.
I... really don't know what's going on with this little bit of dialogue. Zanthia is as confused as I am. I don't think "trance" is slang for anything within the context of gambling, so this guy is really just saying whatever. There's really nothing for us here right now, I just wanted to show the guy off because, well, he's kind of hard to ignore.
Before we try to plan out a course of action for untrancing the townsfolk, we need to get back into that bar, because there's a bunch of items in there we neglected to pick up. Fortunately, the door remains unlocked after doing the Simon puzzle, so we can just go back inside.
You wouldn't recognize iambic pentameter if it bit you on the butt!
Oh? And I suppose you're a haiku expert?
Minor oddity: The first pirate actually says "arse", but the text says "butt" for some reason. I guess you couldn't say that in videogames back in 1993. Either way, the pirates have gotten themselves into a little kerfuffle. Clicking either of them at this point will mostly just annoy them.
Interfere and I'll slit yer gizzard!
Humans don't have gizzards, silly. If you keep clicking on the pirates, eventually one of them will break free and...
... punch the other guy in the mouth, liberating one of his gold teeth. I'm sure he won't mind if we take that, right?
No dice. He'll spot you and take the tooth back if you try to click on it. It sure would be neat to have a gold tooth though...
It's time to explore another feature of the alchemist's magnet: just like you can turn lead into gold, you can also turn gold back into lead. Clicking the pirates some more causes history to repeat itself, and the pirate to lose his tooth once more. Once it's on the floor, we can use the alchemist's magnet on it, and...
With the gold tooth now being a lead tooth, the pirate doesn't mind or doesn't realize we're swiping it.
We could turn it back into gold, but we're in no hurry. While we're here, let's pick up that tankard sitting all on its own on the table.
Don't they ever wash these things?
There's a conspicuous barrel and tap in the top right corner. Let's have ourselves some grog!
... or root beer, I guess. Man, pirates just aren't what they used to be. We can get an infinite supply of root beer from the barrel if we want it, so let's try chugging some of it.
Excuse me. I couldn't possibly drink any more.
Nonsense! Keep drinking.
Too much sweet stuff!
Strangely, the root beer does not kill us. One more item in here we need before we move on.
The barrel on the left has some suspicious-looking taffy. Eating it has much the same effect as the root beer.
Yvmmmph phnnd. I'd better not eat any more!
There is one more location we have yet to visit: whatever lies on the other side of that chasm. Last time, trying to swing across didn't go so well. We'll need some way to grab hold of that rope without just leaping out into the void and grabbing it in mid-air.
Remember this? Looks like the seahorse has something stuck in its mouth.
Hey, that stick again. Are you following me, Mr. Stick?
I suppose it's meant to be the same stick that we dislodged from the waterwheel earlier. With this, we can have another shot at that rope.
I'm not sure how that worked, exactly, but the good news is we made it across! What's over here, anyway?
I'm not sure if this is the altar I'm looking for. Is this the Arc d'Gullibilitie?
Interesting. Okay, we've been everywhere we can go right now, and it's time to start thinking about how we're getting out of here. It's pretty clear we need to break the trance spell on the townspeople, but the game hasn't really given us any clues on how to do that. Figuring this one out more or less requires you to pay attention to all the stuff you've collected and make an educated guess about which among the many things you have is relevant. In this case, note the name of the location we are in: it's the Altar of Doubt. Where have we seen that phrase before?
Right here. The recipe for a Skeptic Spell includes visiting an Altar of Doubt. Now, personally, I think this part of the game is kind of weak. It's kind of meta-gamey in that it relies on you assuming that the Altar is there for a reason, and that reason is that you need to make a Skeptic Spell. This assumption turns out to be correct... but it really would've been nice if there was some other clue to the connection between a Trance Potion and a Skeptic Spell.
For this one, we need a lucky horseshoe, a rabbit footprint, some sweet-and-sour sauce, and lizard tears. Well, we already have a horseshoe, so that's 1/4 of the recipe already.
You might recall Zanthia terrorizing this poor animal earlier. Well, we need its tears, so we need to do it again. To wit, we start by giving the dragon its bowl back...
... only to steal it again.
Way to be a total dick, Zanthia. At least one good thing comes out of this little episode of wanton animal cruelty:
Two out of four. Next, we need a rabbit.
I guess this sort of qualifies. To take its footprint, we have two options: we can either use the taffy we collected from the bar...
... or we can grab a handful of mud from the puddle next to the rabbit statue.
As far as I can tell, the items are interchangeable. Either one will do. The last item we need is sweet-and-sour sauce. Well, that's pretty simple; all we need to do is mix some sour vinegar...
... with something sweet, like root beer. If we hadn't used the taffy for the footprint, that would've worked too.
Time to mix. Chuck the sauce, footprint, tears and a horseshoe into the cauldron.
Now, horseshoes are associated with luck, as you might know. But did you know only an upwards-facing horseshoe is actually considered lucky? Supposedly it acts as a bowl to contain all the, I don't know, horse luck juice. We have two varieties of horseshoe in our inventory, but only the one that faces upwards will work.
There we go: Skeptic Serum! Serum? Yep. As specified in the recipe, we're actually only halfway done. The serum needs activating at the Altar.
It's pretty simple. Fill a bottle with serum from the cauldron, place it on the altar, and presto: Finished skeptic potion. We only have two bottles, but that should be enough to wake up the mustard clerk and the ship captain. Let's go try it out, shall we?
Hey! Where'd everybody go?
Somehow, the Skeptic Potion undid the Trance Potion. I don't know if there's some logic to why this is exactly, but at least it worked.
How much for a ticket on your boat?
We charge three gold coins for a ticket to ride on our ship.
Three gold coins! That seems awfully expensive!
Does it? Our only standard for comparison is Brueth, and we were about to pay him an entire anchor made of gold.
Couldn't you put this on the Royal Mystics account?
Oh, are you one of the Mystics?
Yes sir. I'm Zanthia, the Alchemist.
Why did you even ask, then?
Our mustard cruise does not include Volcania.
As you can see from the map there, Volcania is actually not on the route between Highmoon and whatever that other little island is. But it's the best shot we've got, so we better do our best to find some gold. By the way, the mustard guy is kinda snarky.
The closest thing we have to gold is that lead tooth. We could turn it back into gold... but it still wouldn't exactly be a coin, and I don't think the mustard company accepts dentures in place of legal tender. Is there any way we could make it more... coin-like?
Smash. We now have a vaguely coin-shaped lead slug. One slap with the magnet, and voila: one golden, vaguely coin-like object.
However, we need three. There are two ways to go about this: one slow, boring way and one faster, funnier way. The former, which we won't be doing, involves giving the clerk the not-coin, then going back into the pub and having the pirates brawl it out some more until the poor guy loses yet another tooth. Repeating the entire procedure twice more will satisfy the clerk's demands. We have a better way, though:
Remember, kids: gambling always pays off!
I knew you'd want to try your luck... keep your eye on the pea.
Pick a shell, any shell.
I've got a good feeling about the rightmost one!
Aww, too bad.
Nuts! Okay, nothing a little save scumming can't solve. Let's reload and go for the left one instead.
Double nuts! This isn't working. No matter which shell you pick, you'll lose. There's no way to win this one honestly. So let's cheat!
First, let's get another one of these. It's important to get one of the upwards-facing ones; remember, those are the only lucky ones.
After surreptitiously dropping one of them next to the octopus, we'll give this one another go.
This time it doesn't matter which shell we pick - with the lucky horseshoe, we're guaranteed to win!
You lucky scumbag!
Two coins, one to go. Actually, that other one looks identical to the one we had. Are they both teeth? Let's pocket one of them, and put the other one straight back into the shell game.
I just really like how the octopus can't believe our luck.
Now that we have our three coins, we can go buy a ticket! Further gambling doesn't work, by the way. Any more attempts to give money to the octopus will result in the same line.
Forget it lady, I'll go broke with you around!
With some money in hand, we can finally go back and buy that ticket. With this, we should be able to secure a ride... however, the barge doesn't actually go to Volcania. We'll need to figure out some way to redirect the boat. Furthermore, we aren't quite done with Highmoon yet. We'll finish all that up next time.