Part 11: Gypsies, Tramps, and ThievesChapter 9: Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves
Now that we're blocked by some mysterious vines, let's make friends with these carny folk and see what they know.
: We have no worries. We take life one day at a time. This path blockage is our only problem. ... Okay! So it's a big problem! As if you don't have problems!
Not that much, apparently.
: Then step right up! I've got the best set of cards in the business. You'll love my friendly, quality service. I'm even endorsed by a former star of Miami Vice.
But you can't see the future well enough to prevent your troupe from getting into this mess... and also, come on! That joke was dated when the game came out!
: They all want to come and weave their names in my chest hair.
: Pshaw! That's nothing, sonny boy. I've had women tattoo my name all over their butts!
: I'd tattoo Hiro's name on my butt!
...let us forget this conversation ever happened, yes?
Perhaps we could ask about this Jean lady. What's her deal? And how does she wear a skirt like that and not panty-shot people like crazy?
: We were on our way to the carnival in the Madoria Plains area. But we seem to be unable to exit from this part of the forest. We've just been stuck here practicing for a carnival we may never reach.
: Is that was Jean was doing? Practicing? It was awfully good...
: Oh, you saw Jean dancing? She's the best dancer we have. Whenever she creates a new dance step, she puts on a show for us. That's what she was doing earlier.
Madoria Plains is the next world map area. It's actually right outside the Illusion Woods. Although looking at the map, they've still got a long way to go.
Well, we already knew Jean was the star dancer here. Anything else?
: I met Jean when she was a scared and lonely young lady. I've raised her as my own daughter since she was found. I think dancing is the only thing that keeps her from her dark secrets. I've grown quite attached to the girl... don't know what I'd do without her...
Interesting... she seemed cheerful enough, but I guess we've got another case of angsty backstory. Will she get a melodramatic sepia flashback too?
: I know we'll win. Jean's the best!
Despite her shady past, everyone here seems to love her.
: I will admit that sometimes, I get a bit jealous of Jean's talent. Usually it's when people are gaga over her and ignoring me. I hate myself for it, but hey! I'm only human...
Well, maybe there's a hint of jealousy.
: Before she came, I was the best dancer in our caravan! Then we had to go and rescue that stupid girl! When we found her she was just a poor urchin in torn karate rags! Hah! I wish she had never joined us. Then I would still be the best!
More than a hint. Wait, karate rags?
: I don't think I could live with myself if anything ever happened to her... I remember the first day I saw Jean. She looked as if she was dead. Her clothes were torn and bloody. It was several days before she even had the strength to open her eyes. Jean has never told me what she ran away from, but I know it still haunts her. It was rumored that Jean used to be a trained assassin... But I just can't imagine dear Jean hurting a fly...
Going to trained assassin to dancer... hell of a career move.
: Okay, so she's not my real sister, but we were raised together. One day, I want to grow up to be a strong karate fighter! I've asked Jean to teach me karate, but she always gets sad when I mention it. I wish I knew why she did that...
Okay this is starting to get a little depressing. Let's move on to happier subjects.
: Ever since I first saw your flowing skirt rise in tempo to the music... I knew. I don't care that your past is shrouded in secrecy. I can live with your sins. I want to be with you, to hold you... to... to... rub warm goat's milk on your...
Happier subjects, damn it!
: Whew! Is it getting hot in here? I think it's getting hotter in here. You know, I think this Jean gal needs to be warned about this guy.
: Warned? Why? Why would you have to warn Jean of the depth of my love?
Because you say shit like-
: Have you said this stuff to Jean's face? I bet she'd slap it!
Consider what we've learned of her, I think she'd remove it. Not that I'd begrudge her for that.
: I just love to sing. It does something to my spirit, my soul... But the head of the Althena Cult doesn't allow any songs in his shrine! I thought that was strange, since the Althena of legend was known for her singing...
That is indeed strange... Song was a major motif in the first game, as both the hero and the love interest were musicians. Hell, if you donated enough to the church they'd sing for you. For the church to forbid singing is pretty backward; it'd be like going to bible study and being forbidden from praying.
: But what is the purpose of song? I don't understand.
Huh. It's clear that Lucia is like Althena in some important way, but doesn't seem to share her love of music. Or rather, probably doesn't know what music is.
What in the hell is that?
: It's called a magic arrow. It'll be one of our most popular attractions.
: Attractions? Looks more like an accident waiting to happen to me!
: Oh no! It's quite safe, I'm certain. I've got it all worked out on paper, and we've already sent monkeys up in it! Aside from a little brain swelling, they're fine. Besides, I think I've fixed the thing that caused that anyway...
Oh yeah, I remember when the circus came to town and riding the space rockets. Seriously, what the hell?
: I don't think I've ever seen anything like this before. What is it?
: Uh, hello Lucia? It's a bird. Just a dumb old bird. Sheesh!
Let's poke it some more!
: Ruby, it can talk! It seems like it's frightened of something...
: Oh man! It looks like it's going to freak out any minute now!
...well that was odd.
We've talking around enough. Let's go actually talk to the person we've been talking about.
: And this is the most rag-tag party I've ever seen... A weird flying creature, a lady in a strange red dress, and a card shark.
: I'm not strange! Why don't you take a look at yourself!
: I'll show you what I really want to be remembered for. It'll just take five minutes...
Five minutes? Man... Ronfar's reputation as a lady's man really is unearned, isn't it?
: ...What's wrong with my... dress?!
: Hey, relax! I wasn't making fun of you! I was just making an observation...
It was just kind of a bitchy observation.
: Anyway, you're free to stay with us as long as you like.
"Because you can't go anywhere else."
Jean actually has a lot to say, so we're going to continue talking to her.
: Hiro, where are you and your companions headed? What? The Holy City of Pentagulia! Are you going to go see the Goddess? I thought that the Goddess was just a legend... I wonder if she really does exist?
: Why do so many people doubt the existence of Althena? It is so very strange...
And Lucia points out the thing most of us were thinking. In universe there is a perfectly good reason for skepticism, since Althena hasn't been around for like a thousand years. It's just that after the end of Lunar 1, where Althena was quite real (and scantily clad) it's really weird to hear people debate her existence.
: We were passing through this forest, but were stopped by the thicket over there. I don't think there's a way around it. To make matters worse, we have heard a terrible noise coming from the woods. It sounds like a terrible monster... perhaps the one that made the thicket. Some of the performers are getting really scared.
: Oh great! This is the part where she asks us to help her... Just watch... I know it's coming...
Actually, she won't ask at all, but we can't leave either.
There actually is another way out of this place, although these guys can't see it because of the magic trees thing. So perhaps we can find the source of the problem... or find a way to run away from it. Either works for me.
I'm pretty sure Hiro and Ronfar could jump over that with little difficulty... hell, Lucia could probably do it! Oh, whatever, let's go back.
: I just know it's some sort of terrible monster...
: I heard those voice, too. Come on Hiro! Let's find a way outta this place!
: Hopefully... it's not too late...
Right on cue, there's a loud growl.
: Oh no! There it is again! I've gotta get outta here!
: Ronfar, the sound seemed to be coming from the enchanted path in this tree! But these people can't see it because they don't have the woodsman spell.
: If that creepy sound was coming from there, that monster has got to be somewhere nearby...
Let's go get that mons-
Oh. Wow, that was fast.
I think it's pretty obvious, don't you? Although that (tiny) gap is still an issue... I guess we ask around again?
: If I didn't have diarrhea, I'd be able to show Jean my brave skill!
: Um, yeah... right. Diarrhea. You should try anyway. Maybe you could immobilize the monster like one of those sticky-foam guns. It could be your secret weapon. Hehe... or better yet... your stinky weapon...
You are fucking gross Ruby.
: Maybe then, I could find the monster and get back the kidnapped...
: What did I say?! Looks like they need our help. Say Jean, the voices are coming from the hole in the eastern tree over there.
: ...What hole?! I... I don't see any hole in the tree over there...???
: That's because it has a magic spell on it. Only we can see it.
: Hmmm... the magic must've been cast to keep outsiders from finding it. Show me this hole... perhaps with your help, we can defeat this... this... beast!
: Of course! We should be able to make short work of this thing!
And we have Jean! Before we take a look at her stats, I should mention that there is a fair bit more going on in the remake's version of this scene. Jean actually fights off the monster (doesn't prevent the people from being captured) and has to overcome her reluctance to fight. Here, though, she seems pretty gung-ho to get her buds back from the get-go.
Also there is a bathhouse scene that's kind of dumb and it really doesn't add much.
Holy crap look at that HP! And she's only level five. And her attack power is equivocal to Hiro's, but she gets three of 'em! (Okay, it's only two by default, but her weapon gives her an extra attack.) Also has some stupid high speed and decent range. She's freaking awesome!
And she's going off with only her fan and a dress. That's strangely badass.
...and this is her downside. Jean only has two skills are they're... not terrible, but not all that good. Now Butterfly Dance sounds good; it's an area of effect spell, and except for Lucia, we don't have one of those yet. Except it doesn't quite work that way. It hits one enemy, and the rest get inflicted with poison. Now at least it does do damage (which is better than the status spells in the first game), and it's an okay amount, but it's not great. Needle Step, her other ability, does damage and inflicts freeze on one target. It does slightly better damage, but no where near as much as Poe Sword, and it's a crippling 10 MP! Jean has a lot of MP, but that's still ludicrous.
Also her dance spells require leveling up! Joy. Unlike Hiro's Wind or Ronfar's Chance skillsets, we will want to level Jean's Dance skills. They do get a bit better, and furthermore, there is a skill she gets that we kind of need. Also, that's the only skillset she has.
But we're still going to have a much easier time with another fighter along. So let's get to rescuing-
Oh right that.
: Wait a minute... maybe there is a way. Sit tight!
That is both completely logical and kind of stupid at the same time.
Past this point, there is a fair bit more of the dungeon to go. So we take our new companion for a spin.
Jean's fan has an interesting property in that it is a long range weapon. In the remake the user didn't have to move to use a long range weapon at all, but here Jean does have to get within a certain range. She is still insanely mobile.
Because her attack power is roughly around Hiro's at the moment, she'll kill a Golbin in 2-3 hits. Since she gets three attacks, this does guarantee she'll kill one in a round without using MP. That's nice.
Speaking of MP, let's test out some of her spells.
Sadly this doesn't kill the Goblin King, nor does it freeze it. But it, uh, looks cool?
The Butterfly Dance doesn't do the trick either, although the King was defending at the time.
Once you're out of the passage and outside again, you'll want to enter the tree to the left.
Because you get a free update for Hiro's weapon! It doesn't make him drastically stronger, but a small boost is better than nothing!
Anyway, go back outside and enter the tree to the far right to continue on.
Now this passage divides into two, and both do take you to different places. The one on the bottom, though, just goes to a unprofitable dead end, so just go straight right.
Along the way, we pick up some Spring Water. Spring Water cures Freeze. While Freeze can suck, it's questionable whether it's worth it to clog up your character's inventory with it. Eh, I'll keep it for now.
The next outdoor area is legit pretty confusing. There are four different trees you can enter, not counting the one you come from. The upper most two loop into each other and are a waste of time. To one to your immediate left is where you need to go.
The one in the middle here, though, is where you want to go.
Because we get a much-needed upgrade to Hiro's armor. This will definitely help with his survivability. Jean, however, cannot equip his old Scale Armor, and Ronfar already has one, so the old armor goes into the "to be sold" pile.
Once we head back out and then to the left, we're on a straight shot to the end.
Which you might suspect is going to contain a boss. Hope you've been careful with your MP!
What the hell is- oh look, treasure!
Oh cockblocked again! Or... ovary blocked?
Plantella is the first real boss of the game. The strategy is pretty simple; Hiro does Poe Sword (which he will do in every boss battle) Jean does Needle Step until her MP runs out, Ronfar heals, and you pray to the RNG God that Lucia casts.
Which she did in the first round!
Ooooh! In comparison, Hiro does about 100 damage with Poe Sword, and Jean does 60-70 with Needle Step. Plantella has 1450 HP, so that's not a bad chuck of damage from Lucia at all.
Of course, she will proceed to be unhelpful for the rest of the battle.
Plantella responds with a pathetic bitch slap.
Now I think Plantella was preparing an attack called Bad Seed, but what ended up happening at the end of the round was...
Plantella transformed into a lady! Normally triggering the second phase of the fight takes a bit longer, but since Lucia helped us knock her out of this phase quicker, Plantella didn't end up using the Bad Seed attack at all.
In this phase, Plantella really likes to use vines to choke two party members at a time. And of course it when straight for the two girls. It did 46 damage to the both of them, which doesn't really put Jean in any danger. Sucks for Lucia, but I don't care about her.
No, Plantella will not turn into a different woman or Shigeru Miyamoto or something. Plantella turns pink when it's about to unleash Thorn Shower.
It's a party wide attack that does a little less than the vines. And if you notice, Lucia was prepping to do another spell. But she died before she could. Oh well.
By and large this fight is not hard at all. All of her attacks will take at least three to kill Ronfar or Jean, so as long as you're healing up every round you will never be in danger. However, Plantella will 2-shot Hiro, and he's the one doing the damage. You're also probably going to run out of MP for Jean, at least if you blew her MP on random encounters like I did. I elected not to waste the Starlight and just have her attack, even though her attack did pretty much no damage.
But there is one reason to be a bit paranoid... in this version, during long battles, turn order messes up sometimes. Characters that shouldn't go before others do. It's usually not drastic, Jean will always go first, but Ronfar is slow enough that it's worth being paranoid about it. Ronfar never went after Plantella after this fight, but I was so paranoid that he would that Jean wasted a lot her herbs just so Hiro would not die.
I almost came down to the wire with my MP, but I pulled through. And look at that reward! Hiro gained two levels.
And a new sword skill!
Ronfar gained another two levels, and Jean gained four!
: ... Those dance steps I knew worked pretty good in combat. I don't think we could have taken that beast without it.
Yes, without you Jean, that battle would have... taken about 2 or 3 more rounds.
: Hey, and don't forget the power of my lucky dice, babe! I was rollin' thunder back there!
In full disclosure, I actually did have Ronfar use his dice. Once. It raised my defense slightly. So... go Ronfar's dice, MVP of the battle.
: Yeah, and I was rollin' my eyes, you arrogant boob.
Now, what's odd about this picture is that Lucia has 9 HP, despite knocked out characters being restored to 1 HP. What happened? Well, you see, Lucia actually levels now, and she levels with Hiro. When he gains a level, so does Lucia. And that's why she doesn't actually need experience.
Oh and treasure is an Herb. Whoopdie do.
Fortunately, the exit behind Plantella is a shortcut back to the caravan, so no backtracking!
: All of the carnival members have returned safely. And the best part is that the thicket disappeared! The exit is now clear!
: That's good news indeed! We were successful in part because I was able to modify my dance steps for combat... but... Giban, the time has come for me to...
: Jean, what's the matter? You seem troubled, dear...
: I've decided that I'm going to leave the carnival for a while. I've got to face some problems I've been running away from. I wish I could tell you more... just know it's something I must do.
: Jean, I know your demons haunt you. If the time to face them has come, so be it! You'll never be at peace until you put an end to what's troubling you. Perhaps karate master Lunn in Meribia will help you through this.
: Jean, we've all done things in the past that we wish we could change. You've been given a chance at redemption. I pray that you do not waste it.
: I don't know what to say...
: Just tell me that you'll return in one piece. Now get out of here...
And with that, Jean has decided to tag along for good. You think maybe we should tell her that we're being hounded by one of Althena's Guard? ...nah.
Although Giban implored us to leave, let's say our goodbyes.
"I thought we were all dead meat back there, Wiiilllburrr!"
: Why do you keep calling me that?!
: I think it thinks it's a horse, of course.
: Ronfar, that's ridiculous! Where'd you ever get that idea?
I didn't think you could get a bird to eat peanut butter.
: What were you waiting for? The monster to eat me?
: You seem a bit ungrateful for what we did, don't you?
: I just love the whole underground cave thing. I wish I was still there.
: Uh... I'm sorry... I think...?
Hello requisite ungrateful jackasses.
: Yeah, just like you foretold that the end of the world was coming five years ago. And the time when you said that I was going to meet a handsome stranger...
What, Face Tattoo and Mullet McDrunkard aren't good enough for ya? Picky picky...
: It would have been a travesty if a body like this were destroyed... Now all womankind will once again be able to shudder at the sight of perfection...
: I'm thinking I should've let the monster eat you.
...the monster didn't take him. I looked over the footage. He actually has a line after the attack. You can't fool me mister...
: Jean... sweetheart, come to me so I can hold you close.
: Excuse me? Do I know you? There must be some mistake.
Nor did the monster take him. We could only wish.
: It starts out like this... 'Welcome to the jungle, we got weeds to tame/if they stoke your allergies well, it's the price you pay.' What do you think? I just made that part up! I'll work on the rest...
: I can't put my ringer right on it, but that sounds awfully familiar...
At this point, I don't know if I should show all the pop culture references in this game... there are so many!
: I need you to stay so you can teach me karate!
: Don't worry, little brother, I'll be back soon to teach you what you need to know. But I won't teach you the aggressive karate of death, only the defensive moves. That's all you need to know to become a strong defender of our troupe.
Oh c'mon, now that you mentioned it, Jean, what kid wouldn't want to learn "aggressive karate of death?" You could get a kid to want to learn algebra if you called it "algebra of death."
: ... But, you saved our caravan, and I owe you my deepest thanks. I've been jealous of your talent. I want that to change. Jean, I know we haven't been the best of friends, but I'd like to try.
: Oh! That's so good to hear from you! I never wanted to be rivals anyway. From now on, we're nothing but the best of friends!
: Jean, you know that you can always come with us... I know, you have to take care of your past. Just hurry back...
: ...Thank you, Giban.
Ain't that sweet.
All right, we've dawdled long enough. Let's get this show on the road.
We are now in the Madoria Plains. Before we go, I'll end with everyone's current stats.