Part 12: Chapter 10This update is brought to you by Turok: Dinosaur Hunter for the N64.
There wasn't much to the inside of the dome - it was just another small room, much like the one he was in when he was first brought to this hot place. Once the thing following behind him stepped into the dome and closed the hole behind it, it fiddled with something just on the wall nearby, and suddenly the room rumbled to life. He felt a force lifting him off his feet, but soon the sensation was over.
One of the walls opened up again, allowing them to step out. He had no idea what magic had just happened, but the hot climate with the rough dirt was completely replaced with a dark, dank, cold hall. It didn't give him the best of feelings, but the cooler temperatures were refreshing against his body.
The way in was crudely lit with artificial suns lining the walls periodically. The entire place was littered with more of the same silver, but it was all very dirty, and some of them had browned over time and the elements. Large ropes ran along the walls and into the ground, sounding as though they were funnelling something from their inside.
It was infested with some of the largest insects he had ever seen. They were normally walking snacks for him and his kind, but these types, he wasn't so sure.
They followed the corridor until it came to its end, opening into a much larger room with fewer ropes, more space, and a large, floating pink pod, much like the flying silver one but much smaller and with more aesthetics attached to it. "Hey, stupid monkey, look here," the thing following him said.
We're going to take it to an unbelievably uncivilized village called Tazmily. Walking there would take forever, but with this Pork Bean, we'd get there in a blink of a 'Nwehe'!" Salsa figured that last word was made up, but he didn't know for certain. "Understand?" He looked to the thing and nodded: take this 'bean' and go to a place called Tazmily. Easy enough to understand.
Its paw dug into another opening in its ornament, and Salsa immediately flinched, expecting the small piece of silver again. But it instead withdrew a long, curled piece of parchment, unfurling it and looking it over quickly. "We are at this red dot, monkey," it said, showing him the parchment.
"And we need to be at the blue dot. It won't take long with this." It curled the parchment back up, and then walked to a tall standing device in the corner. It was adorned with the snout of a boar, although it looked softer and more colourful than anything he saw in the wild. "This wonderful device here is called an Instant Revitalizing Machine," it said, reaching for a handle and pulling one side of the device open with a whoosh. Salsa approached curiously, but warily, careful not to do anything to offend the thing.
Under normal circumstances it'd be wasted on a stupid monkey like you, but I need you to be able to put on a good show, so I'll give you special permission to use it for now." Salsa understood that it wasn't an invitation, and that he should get in. It was a little cramped, even for a small, flexible monkey like him, but it held him fine.
Just like the thing had said, only moments after stepping into the device, he felt an uplifting sense of energy all through his body. His earlier muscle cramps and bruises from fighting that wolf earlier were gone in an instant: it truly felt as though he had slept hours in there, after only a few seconds.
Once Salsa was done in the device, the thing pulled him down and dragged him to the 'bean', pausing just before they entered it. "Get in. I'm driving," it said, opening the hatch for him to crawl through. "No way am I letting a monkey at the wheel."
Inside were some peculiar stools for them both to sit on: they formed peculiar shapes, much like some stones he could find in the jungle, but they were very soft and plush. Salsa crawled onto one once he saw the thing take a seat on another, just in front of some weird peddles and a wheel rising up to about its chest.
Once they sat themselves down, it began to touch and spin some of the devices, and suddenly, the 'bean' they were in began to move.
At first, Salsa was pushed into the cushion he was sitting on by some unseen force, but he quickly adjusted to it, and was able to sit properly on it, watching out the invisible wall at the front of the 'bean'. He couldn't understand it: he put his paw to it, feeling along its cold, smooth surface, but it looked as though nothing was even there. It showed him the outside of the 'bean' as they went past, he could figure out that much, but how he could see through something so solid was beyond him.
The dreary walls of the long tunnel they were traveling through came to a sudden stop for a small portion of the tunnel. From there he could see a sprawling forest; different from the jungles he was familiar with, but the sight of healthy green trees was enough to remind him of his home, and rejuvenate his spirits.
The tunnel was largely clean of any other life in it at all...
...with some exceptions that the 'bean' happened to simply cruise over occasionally.
After only a short cruise, the tunnel opened up once again, and the first thing Salsa saw was some larger machines he had never seen before. Although by now that was not a sensation he was unfamiliar with.
Large machines, shaped a little like the 'bean' they were in, but still vastly different. He had no idea what the large snouts at the tops were for - maybe as a point of entry and exit?
The continued until the very end of the tunnel came into sight, its large stone wall closing in on them quickly. Salsa was about to panic, when the 'bean' came to an abrupt stop, roughly over the red square on the ground nearby. The thing sat up from its seat and commanded him to follow, opening up the side of the 'bean' and stepping out into the new area once more.
"Up the ladder, monkey," it said, following close behind him once again. Salsa looked around, spotting the only ladder in the area, and made his way towards it. It rose up pretty high, but he had climbed trees that were much taller before.
It was a little dirty, though.
It must have taken a while longer in that 'bean' than Salsa had thought, because wherever they were now, dusk had long since fallen. The thing behind him was following closely, and once they were both out of the hole in the ground, it turned around and resealed their passageway.
It looked around, getting its bearings, before it spoke to him. "Just south of this cemetery is the village we're looking for," it said.
That's where we're headed now." How was he supposed to know where this "Yado In" was? And what was it 'in'? Something called a Yado? But nonetheless, he complied; he figured which way was south by looking about, finding a set of lights off in the distance. If they were from the village, that was probably where they wanted to go.
There were other things here like the one following behind him, but they were of a greenish colour and were as thin as sticks. They slept in the ground, too. Salsa just shrugged it off, thinking it was normal, although the thing following him seemed to think otherwise, reacting oddly to the new things and pushing him to go faster.
Just beyond some large black gates was an open field. Its soft dirt and cool, bristling grass was a welcome, natural feeling on his paws; a sensation he missed far too much already. Just a little bit farther than that was a large, artificial arch, opening into another open field, this one made of stone with a large, almost showcased hole in its centre.
Before they passed under the arch, however, they met yet another thing just off to the side of the main path. How many of these creatures were there? Salsa was about to walk right on past, not wanting any more trouble than he was already in, but the one behind him pulled them over to speak to it.
"Why, hello there," it said, almost jovially, getting a nervous reaction out of the other thing. Salsa had never heard it take on that tone before. It was almost pleasant.
Is it to your liking?"
This other thing was shorter, but much wider than the one that's been with him the whole time. It was practically admiring a smooth bag of some kind of soft, durable material with a knotted top before they interrupted. "Oh, it's you, Mister Fassad," it said. Was 'Fassad' the name of the thing following him? Or was its species a 'Fassad'? "Don't scare me like that," it huffed.
Fassad made some more of that awkward huffing that he had done shortly after they met. "Just be very careful it doesn't get swiped by any thieves," it replied. "But we really must be going, Mister Butch. Please enjoy your gift." It walked ahead, gesturing to Salsa to follow behind, for the first time in their journey. It was acting so peculiarly - was this what it meant by them being a 'performance duo' earlier?
Fassad wasn't watching where he was going; its eyes were on him, expecting him to follow. Just as they passed under the artificial arch high in the sky, it bumped into another thing like it, both of them walking into each other at a casual pace. They both stuttered, but neither fell.
"Oh, pardon me, I wasn't paying attention," it said, his breath a little ragged, probably from the collision. This one was tall and thin, and it had some fur growing out of his face where the others didn't. Salsa could relate to this one right away.
Come now, little monkey," it clapped delightedly, "we must be off." It began to walk south before him, expecting him to follow. His own safety in mind, he did as he was told, but he had to get one last look at the guy before they left.
He knew how he looked - beaten and ragged, his shoulders slumping - and he hoped that this new thing could understand his sorrow and his abuse. It looked back at him, and without another motion, they both turned about and went their separate ways.
Fassad, up ahead, ducked behind the large structure built on top of the hole in the centre of the village once it confirmed they were alone. Salsa stood, head crooked to the side, when it reached forward and pulled him close, concealing them both behind the structure. "Don't make a sound," it instructed meanly, its grip tight on his arms.
They waited for a small while; Salsa was wondering just what it was Fassad was trying to do behind this thing. After a minute or so of sitting and waiting, they began to hear a voice. A familiar voice; it belonged to that 'Mister Butch' they had spoken to just recently.
I don't want any ignorant people taking off with it, so I'm gonna hide it in this well here," it said loudly enough for them to hear. Salsa couldn't tell who or what it was speaking to. There was a moment of silence, before they both heard what sounded like something large splashing into water inside the hole.
Then they heard two pairs of footsteps, both very close by, but then quickly moving away in two directions. Fassad waited for a moment, making sure that they were absolutely alone, before it released him. It then made that same weird grunting noise. "That Butch kid is pretty dumb," it grunted. "We'll leave that for now, though. Monkey, that building there is where we're headed." It pointed to a larger building just behind him. "We'll be going inside."
He was still relatively new to the concept of 'buildings' and whatnot, but if this one was anything like the dome in that hot place, this had an opening in its side that they could enter somewhere. It wasn't too difficult to find, thankfully.
Once inside, Fassad took the lead once more, directing him to a large wall off in the corner of the building's insides. The wall went far over his head, but it was only up to Fassad's belly or so. "How much is the lodging fee, my good man?" it asked, but Salsa couldn't see who it was speaking to.
There was a moment of silence before he heard another voice. "Oh, uh," it stuttered, trying to respond. "Fee?" it asked, clearly confused.
Another thing, that had been milling about the building up until then, quickly joined Fassad, speaking to it directly. This one's voice was considerably different than the others: every other one he heard had a deeper, more...stern voice, but this one's was much lighter and softer. It looked considerably different than Fassad, but then again, they all did, so Salsa couldn't tell why its voice was so different.
It turned to this new one with the different voice. "Oh, I see," it replied. It reached into one of the holes in its ornament, and Salsa began to tense again - he wanted to flinch, but he didn't know if that would make things worse with all the new things around them.
"Still," Fassad hummed, and pulled out something different again, other than the small piece of silver. It was a bag, like the one Butch had, but a bit smaller. It placed it on top of the wall just next to them.
"I guess it's okay, then," the new one said, apparently uninterested in the gift but appreciating it anyway. "I'll kindly accept your offer. It might make a good doorstop or something." It glanced over the wall for a moment, reaching for something past the wall, and handing it to Fassad. "Your room is the one in the middle. Please make yourself at home, and have pleasant dreams."
"Thank you very much," it answered, taking whatever the second one was offering. It turned to him, its expression soft, but Salsa could see right through it. "Come, little Salsa, where's your 'thank you'?"
He was put on the spot immediately; he knew Fassad wanted him to do something, but he wasn't positive of what. He thought back to the hot place, and how they rehearsed some of their instructions a little bit before setting off - he just picked one of them and hoped it was enough.
"How cute!" the second thing said, and to his relief, Fassad seemed to approve of the act.
"If you'll excuse us," it said, letting out a yawn and sounding fatigued. "We've had a long day. And we got a bigger one tomorrow!" It stepped out in front, expecting Salsa to follow behind. "Come, little Salsa, let's show ourselves to our room."
It didn't wait for Salsa to catch up, leaving him alone in the corridor with those other things. He didn't know what it was planning with him, but at the moment, there was nothing between him and the door. He could run.
But he reconsidered. He had no idea where in the world he was; the jungles of Tanetane could be an hour's walk from this village, or a day's, or for all he knew he was on a different planet where Tanetane did not exist. And Fassad mentioned that the ring around his neck could reach him no matter how far he ran - if he did, and unless he could get it off, he would know nothing but pain until he returned.
He had no choice but to return to the thing that made his life miserable, and knowing that he had to twisted his belly into knots.
Fassad was waiting for him in the middle room. It had removed some of the heavier ornaments on its feet, placing them next to the bed in the corner. An indescribable smell permeated the room.
Wasting no other words, he walked to the bed and simply flopped down on top of it, laying across it sideways. "Now go to sleep!" it commanded, and soon it was out like a light.
As much as he hated Fassad, the day had certainly done a number to him as well. There were no comfortable spots for him to sleep on the hard floor, so he picked a spot near the back of the room and sprawled out, trying to get as comfortable as he could before sleeping.
Salsa had never managed to fall asleep. He was tired and his muscles were all aching for a good nap, but with everything on his mind, he was just too stressed to do it. He tossed and turned for a bit, until he heard the sound of footsteps - light ones, trying to be as quiet as they could, but they were still clear enough. They started at the bed and went to the door, before silencing all together.
He took the dare and opened his eyes, letting them adjust to the darkness. Fassad was not on the bed - in fact, he was alone in the room completely.
He wondered if it was another test, like just a few hours ago. He already knew the answer to it if it was, but this time, he felt an urge to try and run anyway: maybe Fassad was bluffing, and if he managed to run far enough away, the small piece of silver would not be able to activate his collar.
It was risky...but it would be worth it if he managed to get away.
Just as he passed the gate leading towards the centre of the village, he heard a loud chiming coming from somewhere, which was quickly silenced. Just next to the large hole they hid behind was Fassad with its hand to its ear. It sounded like it was speaking to someone, although he didn't hear any responses, as though it was just talking to itself.
"You've arrived at Osohe castle?" it asked. "Good. Wait until dawn, then storm the place." A small pause. "Everything's progressing smoothly here. The monkey's slow, but it's cooperative."
Salsa quickly took cover, concealing himself before Fassad noticed he was standing there.
Another small pause. "That's it? You only saw him? Then leave 'im be. He's probably just some villager who got drunk and got himself lost.
He's got brown hair, a gloomy feel, slightly bad breath, and looks kind of like a bum? Yeah, don't worry about him." Another pause, lasting a bit longer. "Yeah. Okay, I leave it in your hands. Stay alert!" It stopped talking all together. The quiet air was soon replaced with the sound of water sloshing about, followed by a thump of some sort.
Whatever Fassad was doing, it sounded like it was just wrapping it up. It might head back to the room at any moment.
Peeking around the corner to make sure it was looking the other way, Salsa dashed forward, reaching the other half of the village square. Fassad was standing right there, and it was impossible to get by straight through the centre.
Salsa looked around, trying to find some way around without catching its attention. There was a small alleyway between two buildings nearby; if he could squeeze through there and making it out the other end, he might just be able to get away from Fassad.
He tried following it...but somehow Fassad must have seen him, because before he could leave the alley, all he felt was pain.
When he finally regained control of himself, Fassad was standing in front of him, its left paw angrily gripping onto the small piece of silver. Before he could react to anything happening to him, it pressed the red circle on it again, and he was shocked once more. It only lasted a second, but that didn't make it hurt any less.
Zap. "...you could run away from me?!" Zap. "That's why...!" Zap. "...you're such a stupid monkey!" Feeling that its message was clear enough, it replaced the small piece of silver and spoke to him directly.
My business is my own; don't you snoop around me when I don't need you!" Salsa looked back into Fassad's eyes, doing his best to stare his own daggers into it. "What's with that look?" it demanded, reaching into its ornament and withdrawing the small piece of silver once again, although it refrained from using it just yet. "Laugh!"
Noting that one of its fleshy, flexible claws was hovering perilously over the red circle, and still feeling the sting of the last four shocks, Salsa reluctantly obeyed.
"Now get back to the room before I really make you regret it!" it fumed, its claws still very near the red circle. He knew the risks, but he also knew the rewards; he was just careless this time. For now, though, for his own safety, he obeyed, running back to the room in the 'in' and cowering in the corner, Fassad in hot pursuit. He did his best to make himself fall asleep after that.
Salsa had a dream that night...
...more like a nightmarish recap that he had to watch. And practically experience. That last shock that Fassad had given him before his dream had ended...it was so real. The pain crawled all over his skin and his muscles. It hurt. It hurt a lot. It hurt so much that-
-he could still feel it.
"How long do you plan on sleeping?!" Fassad chastised. "You stupid monkey! Wake up!"
Waking from one nightmare into another, Salsa slowly crawled himself upright. Today was the second day he would be with Fassad, and so far it was too days far too many, as far as he was concerned.
"Listen," it began again, its tone a bit softer, although he wasn't falling for it. "Today is the day we work. Just keep doing your tricks all happy-like, just like we rehearsed.
Do a good job, and I'll set you free, just like I promised," it continued, the corners of its lips curling up once again. Salsa wasn't falling for that, either. "I'll even take you back to that girlie monkey of yours."
As solid as a face Salsa was trying to put on, he couldn't help but falter a bit at the sound of his girlfriend. A part of him dared to hope that Fassad was telling the truth. His biggest concern, over all else, was her safety, though, and he would put up with Fassad as long as it took if he was somehow guaranteed her physical safety.
You'll get an extra heaping of punishment! Am I clear?!" Salsa only lowered himself submissively, trying to convey that he understood Fassad's order. "Now let's go. We're going to the well in the centre of town."
It was a brisk walk; the well was just outside the building. Once they were there, Fassad began to raise its voice, drawing as much attention to itself as it could. It yelled things like 'good news!', and 'happiness is here!'. Salsa, knowing his position in the arrangement, did nothing until he was told.
After only a moment, Fassad was drawing quite a crowd, getting up a decent amount of people to gather around it and listening to what it had to say.
Salsa didn't know what Fassad was saying or why it was saying it, but he knew from earlier that they wanted as many people to stick around as they could. For his sake, and for his girlfriends, he had to put on as good a show as he could, even if it made him feel rotten on the inside.
"Come, one and all, fair citizens of Tazmily!" it cheered, waving its arms and speaking as upbeat as it could. "Congratulations are in order for the hard work you put in every single day!" Fassad looked to Salsa and dropped its arms, expecting something out of him. Just as they rehearsed, Salsa began to laugh.
"I've come here today to give you all wonderful news...about happiness!"
Already, they had lost someone's attention - a larger thing with a lot of hair on its face, carrying a massive stick on its shoulder. Fassad tried to keep the crowd by having Salsa dance.
White clouds. Bountiful crops. Stout livestock. Happy families and kind-hearted neighbours. This village is filled with so many wondrous things!" So far, Salsa's dance was working well enough - nobody else was leaving yet. They all had some pretty downtrodden looks about them, like something drastic had happened to them all recently.
"But there's still something missing," Fassad continued.
It approached one of the things at the front of the crowd, addressing it directly. "Is this really how things should be?!" it demanded. "Shouldn't we be living much more comfortable, enjoyable lives?!" It changed its focus, turned to another thing standing on the side of their semicircle display. "It's only natural to harbour such suspicions."
Another of the things, farther in the back, turned and left out of boredom. It looked smaller, and less mature than the others, but a loss was a loss. Salsa tried his best, coming up with other moves to keep them entertained.
And giant balloon-like objects soar our skies!" Almost angrily, it turned to another thing in the corner. "What's going on?! What's happening to the world we live in?!"
Fassad approached the well, keeping his back to the audience, trying to make things sound dramatic. "And that's not all! Not by a long shot! The word on the wind says that in the very near future,
The first one that it talked directly to immediately scoffed at the idea. It was absurd! Lightning, always falling, even on sunny days? Fassad was quick to catch it, and approached it once more. "You laughed at that, didn't you? You thought to yourself, 'get real! Something like that would never happen!'. But I truly, honestly believe this will soon be a reality."
The lost another one, with yellow, wavy hair, also in the back. Without any other command, Salsa just kept on dancing. "And in times like this," it continued, "isn't it human nature to want to be happy? To live with a smile on your face?"
Fassad turned to Salsa, and made a gesture towards the sky. He knew what it wanted - it was a little tricky, but back flips were still doable.
That got an impressed response from the crowd, calming Salsa's nerves a bit. A little back flip was enough to get a decent response. "You can obtain happiness very easily," Fassad continued. With another gesture, Salsa was made to dance once again. "Just look here! Even my cute, adorable Salsa is dancing so happily. The reason for this, you see,
Yet another gesture, and Salsa laughed, going along with Fassad's commands just like they had gone over. It clearly wasn't enough, though: three more of the things weren't buying the charade, and decided to leave.
All those who are interested, please raise your hand boisterously. Who wants to be happy?!"
After an unimpressive pause, three of the things raised their paws into the air. Another, in the middle, hummed and thought about it, before raising its paw as well.
"Okay! Little Salsa!" Fassad cheered happily, apparently appreciating that enough people had responded. "Go and ask the nice people who want happiness their names. Folks, please keep your hands raised."
They hadn't trained for this part...but all he had to do was approach the things that had their paws raised, right? Shouldn't be too difficult. He started with the one closest and made his way around that way.
I'm not really sure what this is all about," it admitted, "but if I can get something out of it, I'll give it a shot."
"Alright, Biff!" Fassad said happily. "You've made a great decision today! Happiness is closer than you think, just for you!"
Salsa moved on to the next one. A shorter one, with long, straight brown hair on its head, wearing some oddly different accessories than the others.
There's nothing bad about having too much happiness, is there?" it asked.
"Of course not!" Fassad guffawed. "Soon you and your husband will have all the happiness you could ever ask for!"
He moved on to the next one. A larger, burlier thing, wearing some kind of fluffy cap on its head.
I just wanna see if it's really that easy to be happy," it said simply.
"Oh, dear Isaac, I can guarantee, it'll be the easiest thing you've ever done! You have Fassad's promise on that, friend!"
Salsa approached the last one. It also wore something on its head, although its size and colour were much more grand than the one on Isaac. Beyond that, though, it looked fairly small compared to some of the others.
I've been an avid collector of things ever since I was a boy," it told. "It's hard to explain, but just collecting stuff...it somehow makes me happy. And, I guess I'd like to see what happiness looks like too, y'know?"
"Abbot, you say?" asked Fassad happily. "Lovebirds with Abbey, am I right? Don't you fret, neighbour: if happiness means collecting things, then before the day is out, you won't have enough space for all the things you'll get."
Salsa took another look around the crowd, to be certain that he hadn't missed anyone. When he was sure he hadn't, he returned to Fassad's side. "Everyone! If even just one more of us can achieve happiness, all will be right with the world!"
It looked about the semicircle, eyeing everyone that hadn't raised their hands. "For those of you that didn't raise your hands, please, think it over later,
Taking a breath, Fassad decided that that was enough for the day. He raised his hands to the sky in celebration. "Well, that's all for today's show!" it said. "May happiness come to this village!" Salsa, taking the gesture to be a command, did another back flip for the crowd. "Take care!" And to finish it off, Fassad had Salsa laugh once more for the crowd.
Not especially fond of the beginning of this update...I was trying to convey how Salsa is so new to everything and how it's all a mystery to him, but it's tough to do that and still make it seem interesting without it dragging on. In this update, I've covered maybe 10 minutes of game time :/
No separate post-update tracks - all the new tracks have been plot relevant, and the only new things I fought (the pillbug and the gooey goos) used old tracks, so.
A little something separate from the update, though: when you eavesdrop on Fassad by the well, you can choose to run back to the room in the Inn, beating it there before it realizes you're missing. If you decide to do this, Fassad will come into the room and just sort of really creepily stand next to you for a bit. If you don't press anything, it'll eventually admit that you didn't try to run while it was out.
In a backhanded way, of course.
If you decide to try and make a break for it, Fassad will always catch you and you'll always play the same scene over. But it also always says this:
[But you know, if you really wanted to run away,]
This is my third playthrough of the game, and I've never quite understood this. Does this actually mean anything? Is the game trying to give you a hint, that you could actually have squeezed by him if you followed his advice? There's a clothesline nearby that you might be able to raid for a disguise, but every time you inspect it, the game just says "no", basically. Ramming it does nothing, either.