Part 49: ARC V Part 4: Over and Under.ARC V Part 4: Over and Under.
A track named Jungle Village plays here but the file has no information that could help me identify it and I don't recognise it.
Never been to the jungle, eh?
Hmm... Neither have I.
Oh snap. Someone write down the date. Gino doesn't know someone in a town!
Time to make friends, I suppose. See you boys around!
Deeper into the jungle. We walk straight through town and then we can navigate through the maze.
Well, guess it's time to go for the maze. There's two directions we can go right now. To the left...
We eventually find this guy!
A gunslinger, eh? A man of my own heart! I'm Finley... The Fantastic! Perhaps you've heard of me.
GONZO: Can't say that I have.
His real name is Finley Donner, if that helps.
GONZO: Oh, okay! Yeah, I know that name! Pleasure to meet you, buddy.
GONZO: I've made some improvements on your family's design. Want to see?
Improvements?! Our design is flawless, sir!
GONZO: I beg to differ... but I suppose there's only one way to find out.
A duel! Hell yeah!
And we set up for the duel...
Hell yeah. First try too.
North of Gonzo's is another bridge leading to the town of Undermoss proper.
A third man explains there's another town in the mountains called Overmoss and that Undermoss sends them herbs and supplies in exchange for minerals and whatever. However, the last convoy that was meant to arrive, hasn't.
I do think this game might have been made by pinko scum.
And Gino's conned his way into working out of an armour shop, as usual.
There's some incidental conversations in town, but nothing super interesting, and we can leave via the other side of town to loop back around to the beginning.
There's nothing to do here, so as Marin said, let's go on through--
MAN: Sure thing. You take care now!
Oh come on! We're in the middle of nowhere! You think The Hand would follow us out here?
Don't even say that name, fool! Their agents may not be here, but this island has always been home to dark forces. Don't invite trouble we don't need.
Didn't know you were so superstitious, B-Man. I'll try not to break any mirrors, too.
All right, enough. Let's get moving.
When you take one step forward though...
We can't leave till we talk to this guy, so.
MAN: Why, that's Voyd. A real hometown hero. Why, he--
MAN: Yeah. That's his name. Went on to do great things as far as magic goes. And he still makes sure to visit once in a while. Great chap.
You okay there?
We'll have to talk later.
MAN: You look agitated, fella. Take a load off, relax.
Thanks... I'll do that.
Now it's time to navigate that maze!
Tigers?! What kind of place is this for a house?
I got into the habit of feeding them fish... they know me, but not the rest of you, so be careful.
He's not kidding. I can sense hunger all over the place.
Anyway, the first thing I do is do the opposite of what Marin said and go right to get some loot.
So I'll point out there's no random encounter bar for this dungeon because this place works like Solik's dungeon did, except tigers jumping out of bushes instead of things coming out of cells.
The tigers are pussies though.
After this I walk past a couple branches that go into the maze proper, following Marin's instructions.
So it would seem... But take a look between those two big tree roots.
It was never meant to shelter this many people, fool.
So where's that book?
Make sure nobody has followed us, and I will retrieve it.
Finley goes to the door and opens it.
Though if Voyd recognized me for any reason, keeping watch won't do any good.
He's in The Hand...
She's... correct. Though I had never seen him in person until today.
Yes. One of the highest ranking officers, in fact.
But you didn't know what he looked like? Even after spending all that time in their organization?
No... I had met the other two lieutenants, Dican and Cleon, but not him.
Didn't know Dican was ranked so high...
It seems Danika replaced him. She said something like that when we encountered her.
Voyd is a shadow mage... and from what I understand, some sort of prodigy when it comes to the magic of teleportation.
Well... if you never saw him, perhaps he never saw you.
With his abilities, how could I ever know for sure?
If it makes you feel any better, I sensed no suspicion towards us. He seemed preoccupied with his friend.
You've also changed your appearance since then, judging from what you told us in Artagel.
Yes... Hopefully that will be enough.
Good... we'll leave tomorrow morning. Hopefully that will be quick enough to get us out of The Hand's sights.
But why would they come here? There's no way they could know he hid this copy in this place.
People like them... There are plenty of other things on this island that could spark their interest.
You keep saying stuff like that. What are you talking about?
Forget it. I'm going for a walk before bed.
Bones leaves the shack.
And Laurel follows.
Voyd drops his invisibility.
Oh, I beg to differ.
Sparrow keeps moving away from him.
Enough. I know what to do.
"He arrived and found that you were running that operation quite smoothly on your own.
He spoke quite highly of you. None of us could figure out why at the time. Frankly, I find your whole persona to be rather ghoulish, and I'm not alone."
Good for you.
We've done some research on you, however, and it makes more sense now. I was surprised to find that you have some of the same abilities he did.
It may be more common someday, but for now, it's still quite rare.
Do you ever stop talking?
Certainly. My whole profession relies on my silence. I'm grateful to take a break from that when I have a chance.
What are you getting at?
There could be a place for you within The Hand... if you were interested.
*chuckle* Not a chance in hell.
Hmm... Pity. Well, think it over. Perhaps you will change your mind. I shall let you go about your business for the time being, but we shall speak again soon.
Cut to Bones and Laurel walking through Undermoss. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhpXXvaWQiE 'Laurel's Theme' Baby's Lullaby by Ed Van Fleet.
"As soon as possible."
They walk in silence for a few moments.
"I'm just annoyed at myself for having to find this out the hard way."
Hee hee! Is that really the most productive use of my skills?
Yes. I haven't looked at my collection here for some time. Though it seems you aren't much of a reader.
I read, man! Whenever the new issue of Guns Monthly comes out, I'm there!
Hmm... I'm not familiar with that.
Probably not much historical value there.
Alright, I'm gonna go check out those crates.
Ha ha! Not at all, unfortunately. It's tremendously intimidating. I think the hardest part is starting at all.
I -think- I've seen somewhere that Volrath got a book published. Or self-published an ebook?
Oh, yes. I spent many hours simply staring at a blank piece of paper. When you're about to begin something you know is going to be of a great length, it can be like standing at the edge of the proverbial cliff. If the first sentence isn't right, it's difficult to continue.
Perfectionist, huh? I can get that way about some things.
Yes. At some point, I had to remind myself that this information had to get out there... and that was more important than my style concerns.
Though I still have doubts about whether the writing is any good... silly when so much is at stake, isn't it?
Kind of... but understandable.
I'm too tired to read this tonight. Hopefully I can get a chance when we're back on the ship tomorrow.
Cade... There are things in that book... that you likely aren't aware of. Things I have not had a chance to tell you.
What do you mean?
Finley runs out of the crate room.
What? But it's not fiction...
He's probably right, though. Might as well wait until I see it in print.
Hmm.. I suppose one day won't make any difference.
Perhaps one of the ultimate examples of tempting fate right here.
Anyway, we get an intermission screen here but... let's continue on a little more.
Your mission has changed. Cole Marin was sighted in Undermoss yesterday. I need you to track him down.
That's poor management. You sent me here to watch Solik, and I've been seeing him skulk around since the sun first started to come up.
He's going to make his move any minute now, I can tell.
We'll deal with him later. Marin is a much higher priority. Now get to Undermoss before I get upset.
Poor management... I suppose you would know, working for Don Kovak.
*chuckle* That was good. Danika will like that one.
That's not that great. Anyway, Voyd teleports away too.
Our heroes are departing when a guy runs up to that guard, but they pay it no mind and begin to board...
MAN: At first, I couldn't find the people who usually greet me at the entrance of the town... then I looked all over the place for someone to take the supplies and there was nobody! Nobody in any of the houses!
GUARD: That doesn't make sense... A whole village doesn't just disappear.
What's he talking about?
Overmoss... The town north of this area. It's apparently deserted.
The man and the guard run off.
Damn! What should we do?
I don't see a choice. We should investigate this... We can catch another ship later.
Wait, you all aren't coming?
Don't worry. Galdar will keep you secure... and once you get there, have him send someone to Rellenia to fetch another copy of the Just Commission's report.
SAILOR: I got a schedule to keep, you know!
It's one of the safest places you could be. Don't worry, we'll catch up soon.
That safest place is Harrol, if you've forgotten. Mina Lolian's hometown that Arius, Galdar(!) and co. saved from necromancers during the Gallian Wars. Well, Mina also saved it from necromancers once herself, and that's how she was recruited by Seth.
Anyway, Marin and the sailor depart after this and we're left to our own devices.
Just what could a necromancer plotting to change the world's course be doing with the population of a whole village. Hmm. HMMM.
Well, this updates long enough, so we'll have to wait to find out. And as Laurel and Bones foreshadowed, we'll be seeing a LOT more of Stoic's backstory in the updates to come. I've always been pretty fond of this arc just for that.