Part 19: Life in the Big City Ain't What it Used to BeChapter 17: Life in the Big City Ain't What it Used to Be
Now we've triumphed over that foul beast and saved the town, it's time for backtracking! Yay! Urgh. Well, I got Lucia back. That counts for... something. I guess.
Nevermind it counts for a lot. I take back every mean thing I've ever said about you Lucia.
Perhaps out of pity, Lucia's pretty Thunder Bomb-happy all the way down, too. So the trip back goes by painlessly, at least.
And the town seems cheery too!
: Did you guys have a lover's quarrel? That always happens to people in love! You guys must be really, really, really be in love!
When was the last time Hiro ever said anything?! ("Uuuuugh" does not count!) Look, game, he's a silent protagonist or not! Make up your mind!
: Wipe that silly grin off your face! I'm telling Grandpa Gwyn...
Although the mental image of Hiro running around with a permanent shit-eating grin and staring off into space is pretty funny.
: You need a good therapist to study your fear of commitment... at least, that's my opinion.
And Lucia does not care about your opinion.
: The ground'll be so hot I'll be jumping barefoot like a jumpin' jack... I'll be pickin'... peelin'... burnin'... screamin'... itchin'... feelin'...hot! Hot! Hot!! ... ...but at least there'll be no more of this damned snow!
I can understand being sick of the snow, but when there's nothing like 100 plus degree weather to make you miss sn- eh, no, I can't front. Cold weather is pretty fucking awful.
: What are you talking about? This place is freezing!
: This isn't cold. I think I'm going to go put on my shorts.
: You stupid hicks deserve to live in an icebox!
I know. Fucking Northerners.
Well, at least they think it's getting warmer. That's... something.
: Now I can start to plan how I'm going to invest all of my money... You didn't, by chance, scalp him or get anything from his cave did you? What?! You didn't get anything off him?!
: Oh, I'm so sorry. I was more concerned about saving this little icehole.
: Great! You save us, but you don't bring back any souvenirs! What good is a dead monster if I don't have his head mounted on my wall?!
Well, we killed it. It should be on Gwyn's wall or something... although I suspect he wouldn't appreciate the unannounced interior makeover. It'd clash with the existing design.
Let's go an see if killing the monster helped the mayor's little girl because that's how video games work.
: When I grow up, I want to be just like you...
: At least you're in the running!
Over 15 years later I'm still talking about these characters, but when was the last time anyone thought about Pearl Jam?
Wow, I'm so going to be in trouble that statement.
: My granddaughter and myself thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
: Mr. Mayor, I'm Lemina the Junior Premier of the Magic Guild of Vane.
: I would like to present you with this bill for our extermination services.
: Lemina! You can't charge people for killing the monster!
: Pooh! Where is that written in stone? I'm telling you that they will pay us a ton of silver for what we've done!
Oh give it a rest. Besides, we all know...
: You know, somehow that 'thank you' makes it all worthwhile.
You're totally a softie at heart
: ... The only reason you defeated him was because I softened him up for you!
: Oh yeah, he sure looked like he was on his death bed.
Ah screw this let's bounce.
The game shows up a bit of mercy, as the path to Meribia is comparatively short. The enemies are also the same enemies we saw on the way to Zulan, so there's no much to say about the journey. Hell, I only got into two fights.
By the way, Ronfar's Chance Dice can also mute enemies, which the game represents with... ghosts?! I associate ghosts with casting magic more than anything, but okay. Also the aqua bunnies have no magic spells so that's about as useful as an asshole on my elbow.
: I need to check it out.
Hold your horsies missy! We're finally in Meribia, one of the few locations that returns from the first game. Much like in the first game, Meribia is a huge, bustling city with a LOT going on... so let's get to it!
: If you find out where they are, will you tell me?
Uh, no. Last I checked, there were monsters down there. I have a policy of not sending kids into pits of monsters.
: I wonder why we never hear about that here in Meribia. Oh well, it doesn't really matter. Master Lunn looks out for us.
Kind of odd that one of the cities ruled by the Four Heroes doesn't have any of the culties, but that ain't a bad thing. People are pretty positive on this Lunn fellow.
: He's now decided to take an active part in the cult's agenda! I don't like it... Lunn decided not to allow the construction of a shrine for the Althena cult here. He wanted all the power and glory for himself, I think.
Okay, mostly. Although Lunn is not trying to kill or arrest us, so I can't be too down on the guy, right?
: I'm getting tired of bugging everyone I see and getting the same lame answer!
Wait, two of the little punks looking for the sewers? You cannot be that bored. Find something to do!
: But now bandits are blocking the road to Vane! What will I do?
Hm, I WONDER IF THIS WILL BE RELEVANT LATER.
Despite the item shop sign outside, this really isn't a regular item shop.
It's far too big to be one, that's for sure.
: He's been working day and night to try to make this place a success.
: Good! I want him to earn every silver coin.
It's Ramus's store! In Lunar 1, Ramus was Alex's useless friend who decided that the life of the shopkeeper was for him.
The store did undergo an upgrade inbetween games, though.
Wait, what? Why do I have feeling that we have a sickening JRPG childhood wedding promise subplot coming up?
No, not really. It's pretty inoffensive, actually.
: This store is full of tradition and history. It is rumored that Goddess Althena and Alex and used to come here.
Well, when they were giving me free stuff, yes.
: I'm so scared that I can't even go to the bathroom by myself at night.
Well, this shop was built on top of the entrance to the sewers, and... well, last I checked the sewers weren't filled with ghosts, and besides, we already had our ghost adventure. So, uh, yeah, I don't know man.
: Did ya bring anything that'll <hick> please an old man!
: He's nothing more than a drunken gambler! Kind of like you Ronfar.
First, let's stop to belittle this random hobo. And Ronfar, because Lemina's a big meanie like that
: I haven't <hick> seen you in a long time, Lemina. Did you sneak any wine from the town of wine past Ramus?
: That's Vane Grandpa, and no I didn't bring you any wine! It's kinda weird. Every tenth boy in Ramus' family is named Ramus. They're kinda stuck on the name, since the first Ramus knew Dragonmaster Alex.
Or this hobo is part of the Ramus family. Although, we do actually have wine, and it's just burning a hole in my pocket... but no, that's feeding an addiction, and that would be wrong. Damn it.
: I'm Ramus, the current owner of this store.
: Hi Ramus, how's your little business going?
: Business really looks bleak! This is the worst depression I've seen in years! I'm already starting to think that I should start filing chapter 11.
: Ramus! What kind of business teacher are you? If you can't even take care of this store, how are you supposed to help me?
: Lemina's teacher?!
: He's not my magic teacher. Everyone knows that Ramus' family can't use magic. But they all have a keen sense of how to make money.
: Yeah, it looks like he's done wonders with this place.
: I just haven't been able to think of any money-making schemes lately.
: So it looks like you better just pay up then little man. Cause I'll be able to restore the guild before you turn a profit on this store.
I have to wonder if little economic downturn happened before or after Lemina asked for his help. Perhaps she should have been a little more choosy in her business partners. On the other hand, now we know who warped Lemina into the monster she is. Damn you Ramus mk 2. Damn you to hell.
Sadly, we won't be revisiting all the old locations from Meribia; Black Rose Street is gone. Meribia in this game actually looks a lot like the original Meribia (and it's very similar in most Lunar games since.)
: Back then, the owner was a guy named Grant. He ruined the place's reputation. His son, Ramus the 6th, is trying to salvage the family business. I'm pullin' for him...
And here we have the full story on what's happening to Ramus's store. As you might guess, the drunk not-hobo was Grant.
: I still am not sure that Ramus has the skill to save the store.
Well gee, I'm certain Ramus appreciates that vote of confidence!
: They say there are children amongst the bandits! These days, kids are just running wild! What they need is a good spanking, I say!
Wait, do you mean some of the bandits are children or all of them are? Because if it's the former, a far more depressing picture arises, one that's outside spanking ability to solve. Although the latter isn't a rosy picture ei- okay, it's a Lunar game, and I need to stop thinking.
: You know, the more I hear about these bandits from Taben's Peak, the more paranoid I get! Say, you're not one of them, are you?
: Excuse me? When was the last time you saw a red flying bandit? I don't think so.
: I'm so excited! Now I can practice being one of the Four Heroes!
Aren't you, like, thirty?
Well, if we're going to be talking to emotionally stunted manchildren...
: I heard there is another named Dragonmaster that is even stronger! I've heard that this 'Dragonmaster' is a member of Althena's cult! Hmm... Maybe I should join...
Another mention of this mysterious "Dragonmaster."
: Those bandits at Taben's Peak aren't children! They're evil slaves of Zophar! If you know what's good for you, you'll stay away from that place!
: But... I don't think Zophar is anywhere near the peak...
You know, I haven't actually mentioned it, but NPCs do actually mention Zophar every once in a while. Hell, the cult refers to him as an apocalyptic figure. So we didn't do a ton of mescaline and imagine this Zophar after all, although this raises questions. Since when have people known about Zophar? Is Zophar a malevolent figure in Lunar mythos? That explanation makes the most sense to me, but he is never mentioned in the first game. Eh, you know, retcons.
: In fact, it's said they even steal children that stray near their base!
: Hey hey hey! This sounds like a mega-opportunity to these ears! If we rescue the kidnapped kiddies, I'm sure their parents will be overjoyed. They'll bury us in mountains of cold, hard, reward cash!
Oh Lemina. What an emotional rollercoaster you've taken me on. And I was starting to think you were human.
: Buuud thad's whut I saw! <hick>
: Are you certain? It's very important you remember!
: Haaay laady! Thad's jus' what I saaw! <hick> Promiz!
: Oh dear! He's obviously toasted beyond coherence. He had to be dreaming...
So... he's 100% accurate then? Gotcha.
: I said cower before me! Are you deaf and stupid?! Don't you know who I am?!
So... this Mauri chick is basically Azula? Just throwing that out there.
: How did that look? I'm practicing my form so Master Lunn will agree to train me.
Anyway, look like these kids are pretending to be the Four Heroes. Isn't that cute? Let's hope the kid pretending to be Leo doesn't arrest us.
: Ah! Come back here cretin! I have a warrant for your arrest!
Shit! Spoke too soon!
: Don't you know who I am? I am White Knight Leo, greatest...
Greatest what? WHAT?!
: I hate it when I get stuck playing Borgan. He's nothing but a fat pig.
Aw. That's not nice.
It's true, but not nice.
: ...oh! You're not a salesman? Well then, why didn't you knock first? Really! You know, the bigger this town gets, the more nutcases like you come around! Get out of my house! That's right... shoo! Shoo, I say!
I always find it amusing when NPCs do actually react to you breaking and en-
: Excuse me, but didn't I tell you people to get out of my house and come back? Honestly! What is this town coming to?!
: I'm very sorry we inconvenienced you, ma'am. I'll tell you what! Just for that, I'll give you a great discount on a genuine Vane magic broom! Does nagging housework in half the time! The prototype was featured in a major motion picture!
Lemina, seriously, I think you might have a problem.
: I've got to find them for my boss back on Taben's Peak. If you saw him, you'd know why I've got to do it. He's a dreamboat!
Wait, all these kids looking for the sewers are part of those Taben's Peak bandits?! Well, come on, let's question this girl!
Well, fuck it then. To the shops we go.
Wow. Tons of new stuff here! They're finally selling Dover Nuts (large HP recovery) and Starlights (MP recovery)! They also sell Holy Water, Spring Water, Sunflower Seeds, Purity Herb, and Dragonfly Wings. Holy Water and Sunflower Seeds are new. Holy Water restores status (I'm not sure what the difference between Holy Water and Vitality Vial; both even cost the same amount) and Sunflower Seeds heal Stone. They're not worth bothering with, but it isn't a bad idea to perhaps pick up some Dover Nuts and Starlights if you've got some extra cash. Dover Nuts are 1200 silver, and Starlights are 1000 silver, so it is a steep price tag. I opt to buy nothing, as usual, but you know, it's not a bad idea.
As for weapons, they've got three new weapons in stock. They're the Battle Hammer for Ronfar, the Thunder Staff for Lemina, and the Mystic Bow, also for Lemina. The Battle Hammer is most expensive weapon here, and I'm liking speedy Ronfar, so I decide to pass. However, I can't pass up an upgrade for Lemina's Staff.
And the armor shop also has lots of new stuff for us! Pictured is the Knight Armor, an upgrade for Hiro. That "+3 Transfer" is actually plus three to Range, so I have no idea what happened there. To the left we have the Judgment Robe, armor for Ronfar and Lemina that boosts wisdom, the Graceful Dress, armor for Jean that boosts agility, the Steel Shield, which we've already gotten, and the Iron Helm for both Hiro and Ronfar. On the bottom row they're selling the Fire Ring, the Fresh Ring, and a new item called the Lynx Tail, which increases range. All those accessories are expensive, so I'll be passing on them. But as for the armor, I splurge on upgrades for everyone. And I'm still not broke. I have no idea what's happening, usually money starts being a problem by this point, but I guess I've just been wandering around the dungeons too much. I don't know.
Anywho, we've explored around enough. Let's go find Lunn.
: He's a very busy person, you're in luck! Today he's in the dojo training. If you want to talk to him before he leaves for Pentagulia, you'd better hurry.
Lunn's actually living in old Mel's place. In the first game, Meribia was ruled by Mel de Alkirk, former pirate that became one of the Four Heroes (the old, better Four Heroes), then mayor of Meribia, and then a statue. Lunn must have done some major renovation in the meantime. Let's check out this world-famous dojo.
This training looks harsh.
: Kinda makes you scared hearing me scream like that doesn't it?
I can see why people come from all corners to join this dojo.
: I figure if I work on my screams, I'll deafen the competition! They won't be able to hear anything, which will get them disqualified.
Wait, that gets them disqualified?
: They say that the one who uses Blue Dragon Karate can never be defeated.
Yeah, with Screamo I can imagine your foes are just quaking in their-
: That is true. Blue Dragon Karate is also the most deadly. For you can never let your opponent live...
Of course there's a tournament coming up.
: Others say it's because he got tired of being beaten up when he was a kid. I think Lunn just likes to beat the crap out of people!
That's, uh, some deep character analysis man.
: I'm training so that I can go with Lunn to Taben's Peak. I just want to go with him and watch him beat the snot out of those bandits.
Well we just ran into a kid that was probably part of those bandits and all those kids looking for the sewer probably are too, if we think about it. So maybe ya'll could question them fi- oh why am I trying to bring logic into this?
: He is listening to all of our problems. If you've got a problem, go talk to him.
Like, all of them? You mean to say people are walking up to him and asking, "say, I've got these hemorrhoids..." Man, being one of the Four Heroes is tough.
Ah man, they walled off the way into the sewers. I wanted to steal Lunn's stuff
: I think that if they ever fought, we'd have one hell of a pay-per-view special.
Oh, speaking of which, we should probably go talk to the guy.
Who's up for some questionable dubbing?
: Welcome to my Dojo. I am Blue Karate Master Lunn. Many consider me foremost of Althena's Heroes. I am flattered by their generosity, but I am merely a humble disincline who has much to learn from the Goddess. Mwhaha! I sense you also come seeking that knowledge.
Frankly, nothing I can say can really drive home the weirdness of the really hammy kung-fu movie delivery and the strange lines Lunn says here. It's kind of indescribable.
Psst, Jean. You mean "fluent."
: But I was also taught the Black Karate of Death... I'm sure you're aware that this type of karate was used for assassination.
: Black Karate of Death?! Assassination?! I've never heard anything like this before...
: I know. For the person who created this karate remains a mystery to me. He is a coward that hides behind a mask so that no one may learn his true identity. A long time ago I was enslaved to his wicked group, but I escaped... He calls his devilish sect the Blue Dragon Cult, but his teachings are far removed from the light of the Blue Dragon. He must be stopped.
: Jean, thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. I cannot forgive anyone that would train another in the ways of such evil. I will find this masked man and put an end to his reign of terror! It is rumored that the Blue Dragon Cult is located near Taben's Peak... I believe that these may be the same 'bandits' that are attacking people there. Jean, I would like to make a request of you... go to Taben's Peak and search for a link between the bandits and this 'cult.' Once you find their hideout I will lead an attack on it. Know this: I will bring them to justice. One way or another...
: I will do all that you have requested of me! Thank you Master Lunn.
Wow. This is a lot to take in. Well, let's start with Jean's backstory. While Jean's past has certainly been hinted at, this is the first time we get a clear explanation of what happened to her. The remake added some flashbacks and a lot more stuff about her backstory prior to this point, but in the original the whole thing's been quite hazy. Jean herself has never really talked about this before. Hell, if you don't really talk to NPCs, Jean's backstory will come as bit of a shock.
I like her reticence in this version. It really does paint the picture of someone deep, deep in denial. The fact that you may not even know about the whole assassin past when you get here helps drive Jean's cagey nature home.
: Jean, you do not dress like someone who practices karate.
: After I escaped from the Blue Dragon Cult, I swore never to use karate... I'm still torn as to the path I should take, however.
: You must realize that karate is not evil. Only the weak use karate in evil ways. There is nothing wrong with you using karate as long as you use it correctly. Jean, come - train under my watchful eye...
: ... Please, I need time to think about your offer... But for now I'm going to go to Taben's Peak to find the masked terror!
Hm... this might develop in an interesting way. But for now, we're going to hunt some bandits! Next time, Taben's Peak!