Part 9: Thick as Thieves
I'm not really sure what to say... What happened to Hinawa was a terrible tragedy... I can't say I know how you're feeling.
Lucas has been crying at her grave ever since. His poor little heart seems like it's about to break in two...
Welcome to Chapter 2! For this chapter, we're switching over to Duster as our lead.
Remember the whole "Thief" stuff tossed about in the first chapter? It's actually going to get addressed now.
No, this is not something we have been looking forward to. I had hoped the time WOULDN'T come, if at all possible. But you and I have been constantly preparing for this day, in the event it did come. So it appears you finally have a chance to try out what I've taught you.
Saying no gives a bit more backstory, so I refuse to prepare.
Perhaps we would have been better off born in a different era.
Or at least that's my vague recollection of it.
It's all my fault... or so I seem to remember. If you want to hold a grudge against your father, grudge away. If that'll make you happy, you can begrudge me all you want. But... you don't get a choice in this matter.
This is an order. Duster. I am now going to give you a mission.
There, you will find a "certain important item" and bring it back here. As for what this "certain important item" is... No... There is no need for me to tell you. If a thief can't determine the value of what he steals, he's a disgrace to the profession.
Of course I do!
I will say no more than that.
Well, whatever. Take them with you. They will prove useful during your battles with the enemy.
And so we gain control of Duster. If you talk to Wess again...
Back when the king of Osohe still lived in the castle...Yes, I believe that's when it was. Anyway, back then, I hid this treasure where no one would ever lay eyes upon it. I felt it was too much for even the king of Osohe to handle... or so I recall, anyway.
Under normal circumstances, this would be a job that calls for me, but... Duster... I feel confident that I've hammered every technique I know into you. So try to accomplish this mission yourself.
I've hidden another Mystical Thief Tool-like item there.
I refill the box every once in a while when I feel so inclined, so always keep that in mind.
So Wess, despite his apparently bad memory, is having us use our thief skills to rob an important item that Wess himself planted there for some reason. Sounds fun enough, so let's start!
Take the Slightly-Less-Than-Seven Tools in the basement with you!
There are only five tools in the basement, though Duster still has his Wall Staples from before to count as his sixth tool.
These tools are Duster's whole gimmick. Duster doesn't have access to PSI powers, nor is he smart enough to fix and use powerful items like Jeff and Loid in the previous games. Instead, Duster uses the items available to him to mess with the enemy. Basically, Duster's role in the game is debuffing enemies, and considering he can use his tools as many times as he needs with no penalties, he's pretty good at that role.
So, how about those new toys we'll get to play with?
The Hypno-Pendulum puts an enemy to sleep. Sleep seems to last one turn less than the Wall Staples' stun, plus attacks will wake an enemy up, so by all accounts the Hypno-Pendulum seems less useful than the Wall Staples. However, the Hypno-Pendulum has one extra trick that makes it pretty useful.
The Tickle Stick debuffs the enemy's defense, and the Scary Mask the enemy's offense. Useful for boss battles, of course.
The Smoke Bomb renders an enemy into tears, which reduces their accuracy. I don't think it wears off, so it can be pretty handy against some foes.
The Siren Beetle turns a monster around, just like if you got a surprise attack on them. I think it stops their current turn as well if Duster's fast enough to go before them.
It's time to go on our mission! But of course, it's not a bad idea to do some exploring first.
The Thunder Bombs from Chapter 1 are still here, and they still respawn as soon as you reach the crossroads area.
Oh, if it isn't Duster. I see you still enjoy your nigttime strolls.
I'm not even going to bother asking what you're off to do this late at night, but you do know that Osohe Castle's drawbridge is up, right? That means you can't get inside. But there are rumors of an underground passage that leads into the castle. I bet Nippolyte the gravekeeper knows something about it.
Of course getting into the castle won't be that easy. But we're a thief so no big deal.
(Say, what do you do for a living? Don't tell me you're actually a...)
All the houses and shops are closed, though the inn's still open.
I heard about that wall-climbing stuff you did in the Sunshine Forest.
I think my favorite is Tazmily Mystery No. 3: "Tall Mr. Beanstalk of Cross Road". Yeah, that's actually the entire story.
Lighter and Fuel are staying at the inn for now since their house burned down and all.
After all, there are four of us, and only one bed...
We used to live there and mooch off of them, you see. But this place is nice and comfy, too. Plus, Tessie is here. Heheh.
That... and I wish I could've been useful somehow.
I gotta start thinking about how I'm gonna rebuild my house now.
Though everyone's either at the inn or asleep, Lucas is outside.
I'd suggest counting sheep, but there's only three so it probably wouldn't work so well.
They say that on Tanetane Island, across the sea, is a world of dreams and nightmares. But they also say that nobody knows the real truth about it. So then how do I know about it?
Alright, let's get to that whole thieving thing.
Oh, pardon me. I wasn't paying attention.
Come now, little monkey. We should be off.
That monkey gives us one last curious look before setting off. That's important, you see.
They take up the middle room that's currently rented by the frog. I bet that frog isn't happy to have room mates. Or maybe he is, I don't know how frogs feel about room mates.
Further up we see Butch, who we saw talking with the mysterious man last chapter.
If you promise not to tell anyone, I'll let you in on a cool secret.
"Money"! There's "money" inside! Ever heard of money?!
After all, we've never had it in Tazmily before. But apparently an "era of money" is about to start! Huh? What's an "era of money"?
This doesn't actually get answered, and we end up segueing into a new line of conversation instead.
Oh, a traveler gave it to me in exchange for some pigs! Yeah, he took a real liking to my pigs. And then asked me in tears if I'd trade them for this.
He's definitely a friend worth having!
I don't want any ignorant people taking off with it, so I'm gonna hide it in this well here.
...You're not very good at this thieving business, Duster.
Alright, so FINALLY we'll head to the castle and
Looks like Osohe Castle's got more visitors.
I ignore that and instead go the forest path because why not. Gives a good opportunity to check out Duster's various new tools!
Where to begin?
Again, better on bosses or very buff enemies.
Smoke Bomb in action.
Again, versatile and simple in what they do.
Now, as I said, the Hypno Pendulum is kind of a worse version of the Wall Staples, except Sleep has one additional effect.
It lets you hear the enemy's "heartbeat." More accurately, it lets you hear the beat of the battle music, which is supposed to help you score music combos better.
As far as I know, every battle theme in the game has one, and the rip I'm using has 57 different heartbeat themes, which should tell you just how much work went into the battle themes for this game.
I'll try to include heartbeat versions of enemy battle themes the first time they pop up from this point on for those curious to hear the beat of each song. Can be educational!
Alright let's finally get to the cas-
I want to live mooooOOORE!
Oh, my! Gggg... Is that you, Duster?! My, how you've gggggrown! Why, there's so much of you that I could eat for three days and three nights and still have leftovers! Gggeh ggeh ggeh!
The tricky part about this battle is the number of foes you're facing. Once one of the enemies die, the other Zombie Man will jump in.
The Zombie Ladies have slightly less HP, but otherwise are pretty much just as tough.
The easiest thing to do is lob a Thunder Bomb at them to weaken them and kill a couple outright, then Wall Staple the rest before going to town with kicks.
The zombies have weak attacks and struggle to walk, but still, damage can add up and Duster hasn't had time to accumulate healing items yet.
That damage was 2HP away from killing the Zombie Man, and exactly enough to kill the Zombie Lady (with the other one also dying).
The other Zombie Man jumps in after the first Lady dies.
Otherwise, a pretty easy battle if you use a Thunder Bomb, and slightly less easy if you don't.
10% chance drop from both types of zombies. Something you probably shouldn't eat, but it has its uses later on.
Anyway, zombies are no big deal, let's check up on old man Nippolyte.
You sure do love to walk around *huff* at night, you do.
Welp, that's not gonna work.
(From nowhere in particular, you hear a voice. And that voice is mine! Watch where you're steppin', will ya?! I'm, like, standing right here! I'm an ant! Don't you dare step on me!)
(Fights are all about rhythm! You know, like "boom boom boo-boom boom, boom boom" and stuff! When you're in battle, there's a very specific rhythm that matches the enemy's beat! Pick up on that rhythm, and victory will be yours! If you're really good, you can even pull off 16-hit combos!)
Duster isn't as careful about ants as Flint has raised his family to be, so he almost killed this helpful ant that has just taught us about attacking to the rhythm in battles, in case you hadn't learned about them yet.
Meanwhile, Nippolyte has returned to his home. Our way to the castle lies in there.
But we've got new enemies to face!
I actually didn't bother fighting the front-facing version of the Zombie Dog since I just put it to sleep and beat it to re-death, so here's a sprite of its gruesome visage.
Mobile Graves are actually scarier than they appear.
And they look...kinda scary.
They can hit for a third of Duster's health.
I actually managed to run away before dying. Thanks again, rolling health meter!
Offense Down probably would've helped a lot, though the Mobile Grave also has a lot of HP and high defense, so it's not really worth fighting.
And Zombie Men and Ladies will also spawn, but we already beat them up so eh.
Alright, let's get to the castle already.
Duster loves cheese, so he gets a nice 60HP recovery from this.
Push the bookcase to advance...
We've got a couple more enemies along the way.
Detached Leeches are simple and weak, and another one of those monsters that often appear in groups to make up for their fraility.
Spineless Lobsters are fun, in that if you stare them down on the map, they'll eventually turn chicken and run away.
They have a decent offense, but usually you'll have the drop on them so they're no issue.
I manage to get a drop on a leech, preventing the other two from joining it. Pretty nice.
We make it out of that short tunnel and end up right where we need to be.
(Allow me to discuss one of the main tricks to fighting. How you and the enemy come into contact can give you the advantage or disadvantage in the battle that follows. The truth is, you won't always encounter the enemy head-to-head every time. If you manage to sneak up on the enemy from behind or the side, you'll have the upper hand. The enemy will be facing backwards when you enter battle, you see. Conversely, if the enemy sneaks up on you from behind or from the side, YOU'LL be facing backwards at the start of the battle, putting you at a real disadvantage. When the upper hand is yours, you'll see the things in front of you turn green before battle, and when the enemy has the upper hand, you'll see red instead. When you're on equal terms, everything will seem blue-ish, for lack of a better term.)
(So there you have it. Now to end this with a sparrow-like...chirp chirp chirp!)
So one of those things I explained awhile back? Here it is explained in-game.
You made it through that underground passage without being done in by all them monsters? That's really somethin'.
The gate's locked, and *huff* won't budge at all. Only way inside now is to climb up the walls.
If only we had a way to scale walls...
Meanwhile, Nippolyte's using the castle courtyard as his own personal garden. Better than the zombie-infested graveyard, I guess.
Alright, this seems like a good place to end this-
(Watch where you're steppin', will ya?! I'm standing right here, you know! I'm an ant! Don't you dare step on me!)
(To really grasp a rhythm, you gotta learn the enemy's beat. Wait. You didn't know you can hear the enemy's heartbeat by putting it to sleep?)
(...Don't worry, though. You can still fight just fine without doing any of this rhythm stuff, of course.)
And with that, the update's over.
No, really, it's over. You can leave now.