Part 11: Wherein Zanthia Journeys to the Center of the EarthHoo, boy, it sure has been a while. Apologies for the delay - the holidays collided with some other things, and, well, you don't care, because we've got stuff to do in the magical old land of Kyrandia!
This is where we left off, on the sandy - er, sunny? Hot. Let's go with hot - beach of Volcania, an ominous-looking island off the coast of Highmoon. We suspect we may find the entrance to the center of the earth here, and ultimately, the anchorstone that will save Kyrandia from disappearing into the void. Or, at least, that's the plan. What's more, we lost all our inventory again, though we've retained the Alchemist's Magnet.
What a lousy knapsack.
Well, let's have a look around. Volcania is, as you can see, a pretty desolate place. The game calls it a "Beach", but this particular location is mostly just weird purple rock, miscellaneous molluscs, a worrying pool of lava and what looks like a hot steam vent. That vent looks interesting. Maybe we can just, y'know, jump down?
Oh well. At least it didn't kill us. In that case, let's continue onward to the right.
More of the same here. Weird rocks, pointless aquatic life, more lava.
The lava is actually not immediately lethal, which is kind of funny considering how quickly everything else in this game will kill you. Stand around for a few seconds in it, though, and...
Smokin'. Other than burning ourselves to a crisp, there is nothing to accomplish here, so let's keep walking.
Oh, hello. This is different. An old man, a sleeping old lady, and what could be a very promising door to the underworld. But first, let's pick up that flask. It's probably ours anyway.
Let's take the rock, too, for good measure.
Now then, let's have a conversation with this odd pair. Maybe they can help us get to the center of the world?
Take this promotional pen.
That's nice, but the word "promotional" is kind of worrying. People who use that word tend to want to sell you something, and we're out of money.
... our map to The Altar at the Center of the World.
Augghh I knew it. On the upside, it looks like we're in the right place. Also, sand dollars? Kudos on the pun, but as an aside: When I first played this game in my younger years, I had no idea what they meant by "sand dollars", because that's not what the animal is called in my native language. Of course, the game will tell you once you start poking them, anyway. Looks like they've got an invertebrate-based economy going here on Volcania, which is pretty weird but we're not choosy about how we're getting this job done. We'll keep in mind that we need six sand dollars while we keep exploring the place.
The old man has nothing interesting to contribute.
The next location is more of the same. Rocks, steam vents, lava.
So is the next one.
That's a lot of lava. How is that starfish not broiled by now?
There's no end in sight. More stretches of beach, more marine wildlife, and more lava.
Speaking of which, for some reason the pathfinding thinks it's a great idea to march straight across the pool of molten rock rather than take the safer, more circuitous route. Part of me thinks the only reason the lava isn't instant death is because they couldn't be arsed to fix this.
Oh, hello. This is different.
"Department of Anchor Guidance."
Looks like mom and pop back there have some competition. Personally, I think that guy looks pretty creepy, though. Like some kind of bureaucrat, or possibly vampire Hitler. So yeah, a bureaucrat.
For our pamphlet describing The Altar at the Center of the World.
Of course there is. So, this guy wants seashells rather than sand dollars, but the deal is mostly the same. We'll keep that in mind too.
The next room is just more Volcania. Volcania is not an interesting place.
No lava here.
The lava is back. Credit where credit is due, though; the featureless forest area in the first game re-used its backgrounds several times over, but each room in this game is unique.
The geology and fauna here is pretty weird.
All that smoke can't be good for your health, either. Probably chock full of sulfur and ash.
Oh, hey, another guy, and another door. What are the odds this guy is going to try to sell us something, too?
I love how absurdly excited this guy looks. He reminds me a bit of Marko.
Nice. Finally someone who won't charge us right off the bat.
There is a small two starfish charge, of course.
Well, two starfish sounds pretty cheap, I guess. Who knows with this crazy economy of yours.
The next location is even more "beach".
We've almost looped back to where we started now. Immediately to the right is the location where we washed ashore. Hey, what's that down by the water that isn't a disgusting marine echinoderm?
I think he is. We'll grab the stick and that rock, too, for good measure. Okay, so we've seen everything the island has to offer - besides rocks, steam and lava, there are three people promising they can help us reach the center of the world. Personally, I think if you want quality service, you've gotta pay for it, so we'll be supporting the good old mom-and-pop business even though it costs extra. There's plenty of sand dollars to be picked up along the beach, so it's just a matter of walking around until you have enough.
While consorting with shellfish and other lowlives, we run across this colorful character out of the blue.
My name is Zanthia. I'm here from Kyrandia.
Pleased to meet you.
Looks like another poor sucker who got roped into doing field duty for the local pile of wizards.
Rain of frogs. Happens every summer. Disgusting, really.
Found the path yet?
I would want to leave as fast as I could, too. That's all Jessica has to say to us at the moment, so let's continue our shell collection.
A little while later we run into her again.
Vents and rocks. The head mystic back home said I was supposed to do something with rocks and vents... but I had no idea this is what he meant.
That's a clue for later. Right now, we've got an ecosystem to fuck with.
A little while later, we've collected all the sand dollars we need. This map better be good!
Now, in order to actually register you for an Anchor Stone...
Lousy surcharges. Well, all right then... I guess I trust you guys. I mean you are an elderly mom-and-pop type couple and I'm sure you wouldn't try to pull anything.
A few minutes later, the additional fee has been paid, and...
You are almost ready!
I... but... okay. In for a penny, in for a weird invertebrate, I guess. But this better be worth it!
All right, babushka, spill the beans. I know you have a door to the center of the world behind you there. Let me in.
That's just great. Now tell me, how do I get down and get one of those anchor stones?
For the actual trip down to the center of the world...
Aughh not more fees
What. That's it? But. Guys, I think that parrot might've been trying to warn us about this all along. What's more, we tried jumping down that vent earlier and it didn't work. What did we do wrong? Well, the simple answer is that we're just too light and will just get blown away by the steam. Or at least, we were - unwittingly, we have already collected the key to making it down to the center of the world.
Specifically, keys. Those two rocks are all we need, and all we ever needed. With a little extra junk in our trunk, we're heavy enough to just... jump down the vent. We could've gone to collect the rocks from the very moment we set foot on Volcania.
Before we go, though, there are two more things to show off. First, it's time for some girl talk with Jessica!
Of all the people to have the hots for, you choose Brandon?
Is your hat in the ring?
Brandon! Ha! A little young for my tastes.
We're never actually told how old Zanthia is, but if you'll recall, she did make a reference in the first game to having changed Brandon's diapers. I guess that's the kind of thing that can put a damper on the romantic tension, unless you're into that sort of thing. I'm not judging.
One of the famous Royal Mystics?
The royal mystics collectively consist of Zanthia, Darm, Brynn and Brandywine. Which one of these exactly are you implying Zanthia might be into?
Wait, Marko is your boyfriend now? When did that happen? Unless you mean Faun, which... ew.
What do you mean, your boyfriend is acting weird?
He's not my boyfriend. Just sort of, you know.
Ah, a secret romance. How very sweet.
This exchange is pretty weird. Zanthia has not expressed any affection towards Marko so far throughout the game, but she's unwilling to outright deny having anything going on with him in this conversation. Is the game trying to, uh, imply something here..?
Please. So, you might have noticed we haven't brewed up a potion yet this update. There is in fact a potion you can make in this location. Sadly, that potion is entirely useless and just seems to be there as a red herring, but we'll make it anyhow to show it off. First, we need to talk to the slick salesman who waved that pamphlet at us.
Give him the starfish he asked for, and he'll give you the pamphlet - and, like the other frauds, ask for more marine animals for further service. This item is called a "leather folio" in your inventory. Does that sound familiar?
The "Shoes, Flying" spell requires red leather, a feather, and some hot air. The leather folio is nice and red, and that quill we got could qualify as a feather of snipe in a pinch. There is plenty of hot air coming out of the steam vents, and the game even gave us a bottle to capture it with. A little mixing later, and...
Voila. Shoes in a bottle. Just like the sandwich spell, we can liberate the flying shoes by using the bottle on Zanthia.
Using the shoes on Zanthia again lets you wear the shoes.
Unfortunately, all it does is change her sprite and walk animation. She doesn't even bob gently in the air or anything. It's also actually counter-productive for getting to the center of the world, as the game won't let you enter the steam vent while wearing the shoes regardless of how many rocks you're carrying.
Speaking of which, it's time to blow this joint. All we need to do is have two heavy stones in our inventory and not be wearing the winged shoes. Click on the steam vent, and...
This looks like a totally safe mode of transportation! Where will we end up? Have we finally reached the center of the world? Will we find the anchor stone we've been so desperately searching for? Find out next time.