The Let's Play Archive

Mother 3

by Maple Leaf

Part 13: Chapter 11

Big ole' update! I was more than halfway through this thing before I decided to just finish the whole chapter, which is a contributing factor as to why it's so late. Now with 300% more scene changes.  That goddamn tank took me six tries to beat. Salsa, I love you, but you're a terrible fighter  

They arrived back at the room shortly after their work in the stone field was done. Salsa took his spot near the rear wall, where he had slept earlier, before Fassad could give the command. It was his way of trying to show obedience.

A loud chime rung a few times, startling him at first, but it was quickly silenced when the thing pulled some kind of device from another hole in its ornament. It brought the device to its ear, and began speaking to nobody again, like it had last night. "Yeah, it's me," it said plainly, to nobody Salsa could see. "What is it? Did you find it?

Why can't you just kick them out?" it asked angrily, turning away from Salsa. Whatever it was mad at, he was just relieved it wasn't mad at him. "What do you mean, 'they're too tough'?! What did we train you guys for?!"

There was a bit of silence before it continued speaking to nothing. "Alright. I'll be right over once I'm done here. But until then, make sure that you find it!" Done with whatever it was doing, it placed the device back into its ornament, then faced Salsa.

Go deliver them to everyone whose names you took earlier. Abbot, Abbey, Isaac, and Biff. Those four people." Salsa could see a flaw with this plan already. "I have no idea where they live, so tough luck for you. And don't even think about trying to run away. When you're done, you will come straight back to this room.

I'll zap you until your fur turns black with soot, you got me?" Salsa bowed submissively, but Fassad was unconvinced. "Just to make sure the message gets through,

Salsa was hanging on every word Fassad said, but now he was practically standing at attention. This whole time, he knew his girlfriend would be in danger if he ever did anything to gain Fassad's doubt, but being told it specifically was all the more incentive to follow its command to the letter.

Even then, it still pulled out the small piece of silver and shocked him.

"Then get to it already!" it said, but before Salsa actually could, it kept talking. "If you can finish delivering them all in less than 22 minutes, I'll give you a banana or something. You've worked hard and you're probably hungry, so be grateful...if you can pull it off." It finished with more of that grunting noise.

With everything that's happened so far, Fassad has given him no reason to believe anything it said. While his ears were deaf to Fassad's promises, his belly was not. At the promise of food, he took off like a shot to get the deliveries done in the time it gave him.

He made for the cemetery as quickly as he could, remembering that they had passed through it on their way to the 'in'. The ground looked a little different than he remembered it when they first entered the village...

...but he had other things to worry about at the moment.

The greyed dirt all around it wasn't any less dreary in the day than it was at night, but he at least had an easier time seeing where he was going.

Near where they had come out of the ground when they first arrived were four brown boxes, each adorned with a cute, if unrealistic, heart drawn on their front. These were probably what Fassad wanted him to retrieve.

The biggest challenge was delivering these heavy things to the thing they spoke to earlier. He had no idea where any of them were; he just knew that he had to give these boxes to them.

His stomach was grumbling, though, so he hefted one box onto his back and made his way back to the village. He'd have to make the rest of it up on the fly.

Once he made it back to the village, he made his way to the first door he saw and, with a little trouble, he managed to swing its door open without dropping the box. Inside, however, were more things he had never seen.

They were pretty rude, too. Clearly, this wasn't the living space he was looking for.

Thankfully, the next one over held things he did recognize. Two of them, in fact. That would make delivering the second one easier.

The one with the large accessory on its head turned to see who was at the door, and looked a little surprised to see a monkey there. But it quickly recomposed itself, recognizing him immediately. "Oh, you're..." it stuttered, trying to remember the name, "...Salsa! The monkey with that guy peddling 'happiness'!" Salsa showed himself into the place, heaving the box with him dutifully. "Honey! Our box of 'happiness' is here!

Thanks, Salsa!" it said, taking the heavy box from his arms. He was glad to have the weight off his back. "Phew," it said when it lifted the box itself, "happiness sure weighs a lot," it joked.

The other thing living with it jumped in to help the first, taking some of the weight off its arms. "You ordered one too, Abbot?" it asked. The first grunted positively as they moved it to a table in the corner of the house. The first quickly unwrapped the box, and pulled another, smaller, pinker box from it. "I guess we don't need two, then, do we?" It turned to Salsa, bending at the knees to bring itself to his level. That was a very generous gesture; nobody had done that for him before.

Well, hey, bonus. Only two left for him to haul around. The biggest challenge would be to find where they lived.

Another uneventful trip to the cemetery, and he was lugging around another of those heavy boxes, wandering the village in an attempt to find one of the other two things that said they wanted one.

In his quest to find one of those things that wanted the box, he came across another small, white box with red around it, like he and Fassad had found in that hot place a little while ago.

Whatever was inside it was small and shiny, so he decided to keep it. It might come in handy some time, and if not, well, it was shiny.

It was a little harder to find one of them this time around, but with some diligence and a little luck, he found himself on a farm at the outskirts of the village. There was a simple farm there - not many crops, but lots of animals good for all sorts of things. By now, though, his arms were tired and his back was aching: he just wanted to drop this thing somewhere and be done with it. His stomach continued to growl, the reminder that Fassad had promised food still top priority.

Outside, just near the single building in the area, was one of the things that raised its hand at Fassad's show earlier. Salsa recognized it by its long, greasy orange hair and its gangly appearance.

It happened to turn his direction as he approached, and it recognized him right away as well. "Oh, it's that monkey from this morning," it said, pleased with the delivery. "I didn't expect you to be here with my, um, 'happiness' so soon, but

It lifted the box from Salsa's arms, and immediately, he felt as though he was light enough to float away. His cramped muscles stretched back into place and the joints in his bones all snapped back together once the strain was gone. "This might sound a little dumb," it began, heaving the box to the ground, "but for some reason, knowing that I have this thing, I really do feel a bit happier."

He felt glad for the thing, but knowing its feelings didn't help his own. He had wasted a lot of time trying to find this one, and there was still one box left to deliver. He had scoured the whole village; he had no idea where to look for the last one. And beyond Fassad's promise for food, it also promised pain if he was late...

He hurriedly made it back to the village, deciding that finding the last person before he carried around that heavy box would be a better plan. Just as he was about to make another trip around the well, he heard a loud bark just to his side, startling him. "Hey, there, stranger," something asked, causing Salsa to stop. The thing speaking to him was a smaller thing; a bit more relatable than the larger ones he had been working for lately, with all the fur and a more bestial appearance, but it was still a stranger. "What's your rush?"

"I'm in a bit of trouble," he replied, feeling he could speak more casually to this thing than to any other thing he met so far. "I gotta find one of those tall, hairless things, quick, and if I don't, I'll get-" Salsa, frazzled as he was, nearly took off again without finishing his sentence.

"Whoa, hey there," it barked again, jumping ahead of Salsa before he could get far. "I know anyone that's anyone in Tazmily. Do you know their name? Lemme help a fellow critter in need."

Maybe staying and listening to this thing would be the better seemed to where everybody lived in this village, and he could use the help. "The name," he hummed, scratching his head in an attempt to jar his memory. "Um...I already met those two that were named the same...Ab...Ab-something..."

"Abbey and Abbot, you're thinking," it replied.

Salsa's expression lightened; that was them all right. Maybe this thing could help him. "The other two I need to visit...uh, one was really short., Bee..."

"Biff?" it asked, its head crooked to the side. "You just came from Biff's place by the farm. Are you sure that's who you're looking for?"

"No, I'm done with that one," Salsa continued, desperately racking his memory for a name. "The last was really tall, really wide. Had a thing on its head, and some fur on its face. Its name was Eyes-something."

"Oh, that's obvious," it barked knowingly. "I know who you're talking about is Isaac.

"What's a forest?" Salsa asked.

"It's a green place with a lot of trees."

"Oh, a jungle. It's called a jungle."

"No, it's called a forest," it stated again, crooking its head to the other side. "Well, whatever it's called, take a left at the big, grassy field just past the gate, and go into the second, the second," it emphasised, "building you find. The people will get really, really mad if you try to go in the first."

Salsa was already halfway towards the gate at the direction. "Thank you!" he shouted as he ran, heading back to the cemetery for the final box.

Hefting the last box in the cemetery onto his back, and feeling his body creak to accommodate it, Salsa did as he was instructed and made a left at the fork in the grassy field, after aligning himself with the village to his back.

It was a little walk from the field until the first building he saw, but just as promised, he saw one. And just as he was told, he ignored it. It looked pretty fancy and important for a building, anyway, compared to the ones he had visited so far. Avoiding it was probably the smarter move.

The dirt path suddenly crooked to the side shortly after the first building, leading into a shaded, green place with lots of trees everywhere. It was considerably different than the jungles he was used to - the humidity wasn't nearly as bad, and all the sounds he had to listen to for nearby predators were nowhere to be heard. The trees were vastly different as well: their leaves were smaller and thinner, and their barks were a whole lot rougher.

Still, Salsa didn't let his guard down - walking along the 'forest' floor with such a heavy thing on his back, he was wary of everything that could potentially hurt him.

Thankfully, the only thing that was any aggressive to him right away wasn't much larger than his paw, and was stepped on easily enough.

The cool atmosphere was otherwise pretty relaxing to Salsa. It didn't look like any place he'd want to live - there didn't look like a lot of places he could easily nest in, and he had no idea what he could do for food, but it was still a nice place to visit, under any other circumstance. His muscles were burning from all the walking, and, after too long, another building came into view in the middle of the woodsy place.

Salsa showed himself in like he had before, and, just like the furred thing had said, there was the exact thing he was looking for. Isaac, it was called. At the sound of its door opening, it turned to see who it was, and recognized the monkey just as quickly as the others had.

"You're that monkey from this morning," it announced, reaching for the box on his back.

With a heave, the thing took the box from him, lifting the last weight from his shoulders. Before standing back upright, Salsa stretched flat on the ground, getting all the knots out of his muscles. "Yeah, it must have been heavy for a little thing like you," it said, bringing the box to the corner of the room easily. It carried it around like it weighed nothing. "Be sure to give mister Fassad my thanks for his generous gift." It unwrapped the brown box, and like the couple he first delivered to, pulled out a smaller, pinker one from inside. "Whatever it is."

At the sound of Fassad's name, Salsa ran back to the Yado 'in' as quickly as his tired, hungry self could - he was practically salivating at the idea of getting something to eat, and not getting hurt by the collar on his neck was another perk he was desperately looking forward to.

Just as he managed to swing the door to the room they were staying in open, he saw Fassad-

-delightfully eating a banana.

"Twenty-five minutes," it chided, the corners of its lips curling up once more. The expression seemed a bit more demeaning this time than all the other times. "Nope! Too bad!" It took a painful amount of...glee in its words. "I was thinking of giving you one of our special bananas from our plantation, if you had done it all quick enough...but I guess you just didn't want it that badly." Just then, Salsa's stomach growled loudly, more than loud enough for Fassad to hear. It made some more of those odd grunting noises.

Fassad pulled out the small piece of silver. "But I did promise this, if you were too slow." Salsa, as heartbroken, famished, and angry as he was, still had the sense to brace himself for it.

It almost hurt less than his hunger.

"Don't stay down for too long," it taunted, pushing him roughly with the toe of its foot. "We gotta run to Osohe castle. Something's come up, and I'm needed over there right away. Just keep going straight after the cemetery; not even a dumb monkey like you could miss it."

Once he regained feeling in his body, Salsa reluctantly obeyed. His walk was slow and slouched in defeat, however, dragging their walk on longer than it needed to be - until Fassad gave him a not-a-suggestion to go faster by kicking him in the back once more.

Just beyond the cemetery was a very large, dilapidated building, clearly showing its years. The ground looked unnaturally disturbed near where the building's bridge met the cemetery, and the sound of an odd rumbling replaced the earlier ambience. Just beyond the building's front gate was more of those machines like they had seen underground, as they zipped by in the 'bean' they rode in.

"Inside the castle, monkey," it demanded behind him. Salsa went forward, entering the large stone building. It's look made his fur stand on end; he was getting a lot of really creepy vibes from it. He hoped they were just going to be in and out quickly.

Just past the front door were two figures he recognized immediately: they were the same things that had captured him and his girlfriend, and they were there at the hot place when he and Fassad met. They both appeared to be resting on their rumps, heaving soundlessly, their scary, uncanny mouths unmoving and their large, black eyes unblinking.

At the first sign of Fassad, though, they whipped themselves into position, quickly doing the same dance they did back at the hot place and making that peculiar squeaking noise.

Did you find it?!" it demanded, raising its voice. They made some more squeals, and Fassad suddenly became visibly upset. "You still haven't found it?! An entire army of our best and brightest were outsmarted by some outback hicks?! Just who are these guys?" Only the left one continued to make the noises, apparently answering its question. "An old man and a guy with a gloomy feel about him?" It doubled back, making sure its disbelief was well conveyed. "Him?!

Where are they now?"

The other two creatures looked at each other, then back to Fassad, then back to each other nervously, silently debating their answer. They were in enough trouble as it was - Salsa knew the feeling. Finally, the right one answered the question. "They're headed for the top floor?" Fassad confirmed, its irritated tone crystal clear with the two. The two creatures answered positively.

As though they were kids caught in a corner, they both tried looking away, or stepping back, or fidgeting on the spot, anything, to lessen the tension on them and drive away Fassad's anger at them. "Whatever you two do," it yelled, its paws raising and bunching into balls, shaking furiously at them both, "do not let them get there first! We'd be set back years! We'd have wasted millions! We need that item!"

Without giving him a chance to scold them further, they ran farther into the building, intent on catching up to the supposed intruders.

"As for us, monkey," it continued, looming over Salsa menacingly, its stress and frustration clear. "Those intruders got what we want. They're on the top floor, so that's where we're heading, you got that?" Salsa, having never seen Fassad this mad and worried what it might do to him if it got madder, only followed the two other creatures, going into the building.

There were other creatures like the two at the entranceway - some of them were scouting the area, keeping it secure from any other would-be intruders trying to take 'their' stuff. On Fassad's command, though, they didn't pay much attention to the others; they were intent on just reaching the top of the building as quickly as they could, before whatever item they were looking for was gone for good.

However, the way farther up from the parlour was blocked. The building was falling apart, it looked like, and some of it had collapsed onto the stairs in front of them. "Back to the parlour, monkey," it demanded. "I saw a ladder going up in there. We can take it to the next floor."

On its command, they turned around, and sure enough, there was a ladder in the wall leading up to the next floor. The prongs were fairly smooth and shiny, like they were placed there very recently. At least it was all very sturdy on the way up.

But once they got to the top, they came across another obstacle they hadn't expected.

"Imbeciles," Fassad cursed. "They find a way farther up this blasted tower but they forget to leave a way for others to follow. What did we train them for?" It spoke louder, addressing Salsa. "Monkey. We have to find another way up this tower. I don't care how; I'll make you climb up it from the outside if I have to. We're going back."

Salsa wasn't looking to that at all, and he knew that Fassad wasn't bluffing. They began to run back down the tower and to the base of the building, when the device in Fassad's ornament began to ring again. It grunted in frustration, figuring that it was just more bad news that it had to endure.

"What" it asked into the device flatly, all sense of humour and patience gone from its voice. There was a pause as it listened to whatever the device was telling it.

And they have it with them?!" Compared to just a few seconds earlier, it almost sounded chipper. Maybe Salsa wouldn't have to climb any buildings, if he was lucky. "Alright, I understand. We'll try to cut them off from here." Placing the device back into its ornament, Fassad turned back around and hurried Salsa forward. "We're heading to the basement now!" it yelled, picking up the pace. "We're looking for a way down, into a cellar or something. We have to find it fast, monkey!"

It sounded a lot more energetic now - although the intruders had their item, apparently them getting lost in the basement was a good thing. As far as he knew, though, as long as Fassad was happy, he was safe. They backtracked to the building's first floor, back to the foyer with the other creatures.

"Check that first door, monkey," it demanded, and Salsa complied. They approached the first pair of mouldy, broken doors on their left and Salsa managed to push them open easily.

Other than some peculiar, small machines that floated just off the ground, there wasn't much of worth to Fassad in this room. "Nothing," it spat. "Let's try the next one."

The next room held even less.

"You better hope there's something in the last room, Salsa," it said lowly, agitated with their results. The fact that it called him by name sent a cold chill down his spine. He could do as it suggested and hope.

Thankfully enough, the next room, containing lots of old foodstuffs all over the place, also held a trap door right in the centre of the floor, leading into the ground. Salsa heaved a relieved sigh, thankful that Fassad would stay its paw for his punishment, at least for now.

"No time to waste, monkey." Without any warning, Fassad shoved him down the hole with another kick to his back. The fall down wasn't very far, thankfully, and he managed to land on his paws, but the sudden impact caused each of his joints to ache. Fassad was close behind, opting to take the ladder down than simply jump.

It was a peculiar room - cubes and cylinders made of wood lines the walls, and a simple stream of water passed through the centre and underneath a simple stone bridge. It was very...unique, for lack of a better word.

Some peculiar creatures unlike Salsa had seen before ran amok in the damp underground, but they were fairly passive and didn't try to get in their way.

The next room over was very simple: just a straight line between the heavy stone walls. At the end was a strange face carved into the stone, frowning angrily at anybody standing directly before it. On the walls themselves were drawings - very simple drawings, of a creature just like himself (or maybe more like Fassad, it was difficult to tell) in all manners of positions and poses.

Why anyone would want to do this to themselves, though, was beyond him for the most part. Maybe it was some kind of game?

Alarmingly, there was no path farther into the basement of the building: the hallway simply stopped at the large stone face. He didn't want to think about what Fassad might do now that they had another roadblock to deal with; it was pretty mad was it was. As they approached, it took the lead and inspected the stone face, looking across its surface, trying to find a way to open it, or perhaps remove it, or something.

"We go through here," it said suddenly, turning away from the face. "There's a clear breeze coming from this.

Fassad only continued to ask the impossible from him. Those wooden doors with the shiny metal orbs on them were tough enough to open, but this didn't even look like a door. Still, he had to do something, or else risk getting zapped by his collar again.

At an absolute loss right off the bat, Salsa tried poking and clawing at the stone, seeing if there was something he might do or push or twist that the face might react to. Nothing was happening, and Fassad was growing even more irate, so, out of sheer desperation, Salsa did a back flip in front of the door.

It was clear that the effort was lost. "Don't be an eyesore!" it chided, and, to make an example of him, Fassad pulled out the small piece of silver and gave him another shock.

But right away, that got him to thinking. 'An eyesore', it said? He was supposed to do something pleasing to the eye?

Taking a moment to reflect on that, Salsa thought about what he could do that might be aesthetically pleasing. He could dance, of course - maybe the drawings on the walls were more important than they seemed. Were they trying to tell them something? Maybe they were...instructions?

Fassad was about to shock him again, when he decided to see what Salsa had in mind this time.

Beyond the stone face was a simple circular room with a hole in its centre, and a ladder going straight down. Fassad was feeling in higher spirits now that they were making some progress, although its urgency hadn't gone yet. They still didn't have the item it was looking for.

At least it didn't push him down the hole this time. It looked quite a bit deeper than the last one.

It was difficult to say exactly where they were - were they still even inside the building? They had entered some kind of deep underground cavern that stretched out in all directions. There was very little light this far below the surface, and neither of them could make out if there were any walls or if there was any end to the darkness all around them.

They could still see the path laid out for them, though, so they didn't have to worry about making a misstep and falling forever. Fassad was still pushy and insistent, but even it recognized the caution necessary to continue.

Bones lay skewed across the ground occasionally. There was no smell of rotting flesh in the air, so they had clearly been there for quite some time.

However, it seemed, they still weren't quite dead.

The pathway was very straight, curving little aside from the occasional rise and dip, making its only real threat is lack of sides. They found their way to another ladder going even farther down, and before it was simple metal door.

There wasn't much they could do about it, though, so they had to move on. They needed to go quickly - whatever Fassad wanted, there was a chance it might pass them by if they dawdled.

The caverns were occupied by large, colourful, but not the least bit docile creatures. Fassad was frustrated and in a hurry, though, and they didn't stand much of a chance against its devices and techniques.

They felt their way along the continuing path, and eventually it bridged over a pool of water just below them. There was a lever jutting out of the ground just on the other side of the bridge. But there was no clear label or indication of what the lever might do.

Fassad hummed to itself, looking over the lever, trying to decipher what it might be used for. "What's it for, I wonder?" it asked itself, searching along its base and its back for something like an inscription or whatever that might give it a hint. It stepped back, looking to Salsa expectantly; if the lever did anything bad, Fassad wanted him to be the guinea pig, clearly. "Pull this lever!" it demanded.

Whatever it did would probably be less painful than the collar on his neck, so he obeyed. It wasn't like he had a choice anyway.

There was a massive rumbling all throughout the cavern, knocking them both off their feet. In another instant, the pool of water below them began to gurgle to swish to life, eventually forming into its own powerful underground stream, running out to who knows where. A large wall just beyond the lever began to lift up and out of the water, letting the dammed water flow freely.

The lever controlling the dam was a surprise, especially since they hadn't seen the dam before.

But they certainly hadn't expected people to come rushing out with the water. Along with some other kind of softly-glowing sphere rushing behind them, its light a little obscured by the water but it was still easy to make out. They each tumbled along with the rushing water, eventually disappearing into the darkness of the cavern ahead.

"It's them!" Fassad shouted, leaning over the edge of the bridge, trying to keep its eyes on them as they vanished with the water. "They fled into the waterway!" Salsa hoped it wasn't going to suggest he go in and chase after them...

Just as the intruders vanished, he and Fassad were joined by two more of those pink creatures with the stiff faces. They immediately began more of that honking and squealing, and more of the same awkward dance. "What?!" Fassad asked, and they did the exact same thing again. "Yes, you numbskulls, I could see they escaped with the item!

No, wait," it recanted, realizing its mistake, "they're still inside. Corner them, is what I said! Do that! Contact me the instant you find them!" With their orders, they made some more squeals, and then ran off. Fassad grunted in frustration. "There's not a single useful person here!"

It turned back to face Salsa, its expression sour over how everything has turned out so far. "We're heading back to the Yado Inn for now, monkey. Maybe a nap will put all this behind me."

It was a long way back, but the trip back was easier than the trip there.


Just as they exited the building and was about to cross over the moat surrounding it, they came across a peculiar scene between two more of those creatures. They moved erratically and aggressively, like they were mad at each other, and two of their large machines were parked directly on the bridge, preventing anybody from crossing it.

They both stopped their fighting to face Fassad, realizing that a superior was talking to them. Right away, one of them turned to the other and began barking its own orders at it. "You heard mister Fassad!" it shouted, speaking words Salsa could actually understand. "Fall back!"

"He was looking at you when he said it!" the other retorted, not backing down. "You fall back!"

Fassad, mad enough at everything that had happened the past hour, cleared the confusion between them.

I don't give a damn about any of that!" it roared at them both. "Both of you get out of my way, now!" Salsa had never seen them move so quickly before; in a matter of moments, they crammed themselves into one machine each, and they were both moved out of the way, parking the machines back onto the building's front lawn.

Even in front of a furious Fassad, neither of them seemed to get that they should just be quiet. "It's all your fault, you idiot!" one said.

"He was looking at you when he said it! So you're the idiot, you idiot!"

"I know you are, but what am I?! You idiot!"

Fassad had had just about enough.

Without another word, they both ran off.


The cemetery and the grass field separating it from the village were totally alone, making their walk thankfully uneventful. When they past the north gate to the village, however, there was a loud raucous near the well. There was a great big crowd, and voices were being raised. At least one of them - Salsa recognized it, it was the same one he and Fassad met at night when they first arrived - was almost hopping mad, but it was also cowering behind one of the taller, lankier ones.

"Besides," it shouted over its human shield, "I bet you were the one who let Duster get away in the first place!" Another thing, having a hair colour nothing else had and wearing a long, blue ornament over its whole body, turned to face the first. It immediately began hiding behind its shield again.

"I have done no such thing," another said, approaching the first. It looked older; most of the hair on its head was gone, and it had creases all along its face that told its age. "Nor would I have any need to."

Fassad clearly saw an opportunity to raise its own social standing with the villagers among their squabbling. Turning around to fix its face a bit - trying to relax himself from the bad day he's had so far - it approached the crowd in high spirits and confident strides, putting on the same facade as they had earlier that morning. "My goodness!" it said, almost jovially.

Perhaps it's true, then." It began to sound a little sad, like it had made an unfortunate conclusion. "Perhaps this village really is starting to become cursed..." Taking a place with the thing with the colourful hair, Fassad addressed the whole crowd. "We can't allow Tazmily village to become a dismal hive for evildoers to run amok.

Come, little Salsa," it said, clapping its paws together to get his attention. "We must retire to the Inn for now. I will think of some way to help this poor village after some rest."

Salsa approached Fassad, but was too engrossed by the thing with the colourful hair to move to its side immediately. There was...something about it that drew him to it. From the look of its eyes, it seemed to feel the same way about him.

For just a moment, he felt that they were somehow...communicating with each other. Without any words or noises, Salsa managed to let out all his pains, cries, hungers and frustrations to this thing in the span of a few seconds, and it listened and sympathized to them all.

The moment passed, and suddenly his mind cleared. This thing could understand him? He knew it was a silly thought; nothing, aside from that furry quadruped earlier, could understand anything he said or did at all. But still, the thought-

"Oh? What's this?" Fassad asked, breaking his trance. "Are you fond of the nice lady there?"

It took a moment for him to respond, but he eventually tore his eyes from the thing and back to Fassad. "Come now.

That was a laugh. The moment he was pulled away from the eyes of the crowd, the familiar shock from his collar rang through his body once again.


"Hey! Stupid monkey!" As if it still needed to grab his attention after that. "It seems like you still don't understand the situation you're in! I don't know how many times I need to make it clear to you, but if you ever disobey me or try any funny business in the slightest, not only will I zap you so hard you'll feel it yesterday,

Remember that!" It walked over to the bed in the corner and flopped down crudely across its sheets. "I've had enough of today. Only three boxes; the item is gone; I can't do a thing to those trespassers as long as they're in the village' and insubordinates everywhere. Go to sleep, monkey! Maybe the message will have gotten through your skull by the morning."

Salsa's time with Fassad had been very grating on himself as well, not just today. In a flash, his old life was gone, and now he had to slave away with this cruel thing that threatened to hurt his girlfriend at every turn. He's been beaten, his muscles are almost always twitching from the constant shocks, but the worst was having to pretend that he was happy all the time in front of the others.

Just as his belly growled for the umpteenth time that day, Salsa couldn't help but just cry. It was the first time he had the opportunity since the hot place so long ago.

Salsa had cried himself to sleep a few hours ago. Thankfully, this time, his sleep was dreamless, allowing him to rest for the day ahead.

He was awoken, however, by the sound of a voice. He blinked his eyes open groggily, trying to focus on the sound. It was a fair bit different than Fassad's voice - and from how it kept laying there, the sound of its offensively loud breathing still booming through the room, it was clear Fassad was still asleep.

"Hey," the voice said again. It was very hushed, trying to whisper to him without waking the lumbering oaf on the bed. Salsa managed to lift his tired head, looking around the room for where the voice could be coming from, but it was only them in the room. He heard quiet knocks on the wood, and Salsa turned, looking towards the windows. Their shutters were closed, but the knocking was definitely coming from them.

Looking at Fassad, then back to the window, Salsa took a chance. As quietly as he could, he stepped onto the small wooden table on the corner, boosting himself high enough to reach the window above. Carefully, he spun the shutters open - and on the other side was that thing from before. The one with the colourful hair that he felt some kind of connection to. "Hey, monkey! We're here to rescue you!

Worriedly, Salsa turned back to Fassad. It was still laying there, sound asleep. Hadn't as much as moved an inch. But knowing that it still held all the power, even when it was asleep, Salsa hesitated. What would they do to his girlfriend if it woke up and Salsa wasn't there?

He knew what she would have said to him, though. 'Worry about yourself!', she would have chided. And for once, Salsa had to agree - he knew it was unlikely that Fassad would ever let them go, and that it would probably work them both to the death. If he was presented with a chance to run, he had to take it.

"Dunno how you got involved with that lie-spewin' fraud," said the one with the colourful hair, "but you must've had your reasons, I guess. Poor li'l thing."

The older one turned to face the other. "Princess. This is a great deed you've done." Salsa felt worlds better now that he was away from Fassad, if for however long, but at least this little bit of freedom was enough to rejuvenate his spirit. The older one said that the younger one's name was 'Princess'? He'd have to remember the names of his saviours. "Now let's go find that lazy mor - I mean, Duster - and the egg he has with him. I know he's alright;

"Yeah. We just gotta find Duster and the egg." Princess turned back to Salsa, looking him in the eyes. "But even we still gotta free this monkey. Even if we're away from that phony, this guy's still not free." It walked to its side, and began fiddling with the tough collar around his neck. He allowed it to, although he was a little afraid it might go off with too much pressure. But, nothing it did got it off him.

"No good on this end," Princess concluded. "Geezer. Go steal that zapper gizmo while that lyin' freak's still asleep."

"Oh, right," Geezer agreed. "I should've swiped it earlier. My mistake. I'll be right back." Leisurely, it turned right back around and walked back to the open window at the 'in', effortlessly and soundlessly slipping in.

"You'll be free in a minute, monkey," Princess soothed. And in his happiness for finally being away from Fassad, he dared to believe it. "You must've had it rough. That old geezer's the best at what he does; it's just a little bit longer."

Salsa couldn't wait. He couldn't wait to be done with all the kicks to his back, and all the starvation and abuse, and he most certainly couldn't wait-

-for that to stop happening.

Geezer climbed back through the window after only a moment, apparently already done with what it needed to do. "Hey, monkey," it said apologetically as it approached him and Princess. "I stole the doohickey. I accidentally bumped it on the way back. Are you alright?"

The sooner Salsa was done with this thing, the better. He shouldered that last zap; compared to when he first felt it, it was hardly anything at all by now. Geezer withdrew the small piece of silver with the red circle from one of the holes in its own ornament. It was unquestionably the same one Fassad used time and again. Slowly and carefully, Geezer placed it on the ground between them.

"Here, monkey," Princess began, the corners of its lips curling up like Fassad's did sometimes. But this was comforting to look at. "You destroy it."

He was glad to.

Except for that last part. But he was happy knowing that it was the last one he would ever have to feel.

"Alright, monkey, you can go wherever you want now. You're free." Salsa had never heard sweeter words before. But his girlfriend's well-being had never left his thoughts - if he ran, she would be at Fassad's mercy, and it'd probably treat her a lot worse than him. He couldn't simply do what Princess was saying; he had to somehow make certain that she'd be free, or at least okay, before he could. "You got something keeping you from running away?" it asked. "What is it?"

Salsa didn't know how he could explain it to them...he knew what he needed to get across, but there was a language barrier between them.

Before any of them tried to say anything more, Salsa felt that connection between him and Princess once more. It only lasted a moment, just like last time, but he still felt as though he was telling it his whole predicament: the whole story, from when they were captured in the jungles of Tanetane, to the last time he saw his girlfriend. He had no way of knowing for certain, but he felt that it was somehow understanding every 'word' he was 'saying'.

"Your girlfriend's been kidnapped?" it asked, mostly to fill in Geezer. "Or 'monkeynapped', as I should say?

"Oh, did you call for me?" Salsa froze on the spot, his fur standing on end. A chill ran down his back - that was the last voice he wanted to hear, now, of all times. Less than a minute after his freedom. "I happen to be that screwed-up, cheap bastard you speak of!"

Fassad approached the three of them from the southern gate, backed by at least four of the same pink creatures with stiff faces. They were very stealthy, having managed to regroup without any of them noticing a thing.

It made some more of that odd grunting noise. Geezer approached Princess, its eyes never off the others, while Salsa began to visibly shake in fear in front of Fassad. "You stupid monkey! Did you really think you could get away from me?!"

Salsa knew what Fassad was capable of, even without the small piece of silver. Panicked, he dashed behind Princess, relying on it for his protection. If it could free him, maybe it could keep him free. "He can!" Princess answered for him. "And we're gonna let him!" For all its big talk, they were still clearly outmatched, and Princess knew it. They backed up against the well, trying to put distance between them and Fassad.

"Geezer. Monkey. Are you two ready?" it whispered, its eyes still defiantly on Fassad. "One...two...three!"

Got it?" When it didn't get a response, it turned around, noticing that Salsa and Geezer already had a huge start on it. Alone and vulnerable, the others began to close in on it quickly. "Damn, they're fast," it noted, before finally turning around and making a break for it itself.

"After them!" Fassad commanded its league. "Don't let them escape!" The four creatures behind it broke into a sprint after them, while it quickly retrieved a device from a hole in its ornament and brought it to its ear. "They're headed your way!" it urgently said to nobody, then waited a moment for a response. "I see. Then remain there on standby. I'll be there shortly." Replacing the device in one hole and digging in another, it retrieved a banana, and took a single bite off its top before throwing the rest to the ground.

Past the north gate, just onto the grassy field, they found the north pass into the cemetery was cut off by another of those massive machines Salsa had seen at the castle earlier. "We gotta escape into the forest!" it yelled over its rumblings. "We're screwed anyway else!" Thankfully Salsa knew exactly which way the forest was, and he couldn't agree more. Running off the path and cutting through the fields, they made a dash for the forest's entrance.

But Fassad's group had apparently thought ahead and were ready to meet them there.

It was dispatched quickly, though; Princess just waved a paw at it, and suddenly, a bright flash erupted from its claws. A string of lines, like he saw in the sky sometimes when it rained, arced from its paws and into the creature, knocking it still immediately.

He had never seen a creature manage to do that so easily. Just what was Princess capable of? First, being able to 'speak' to it in a way he couldn't understand, and then this?

Their machines, like he had seen in the building with the cavern, roamed the forest looking for them as well. They didn't stand any better against Princess's awesome magic.

They continued running deeper into the forest, trying to find any sort of salvation from Fassad's group. But it was pretty clear, as they went farther in, that they had somehow anticipated all their moves and they were cutting them off at every opportunity.

Until ultimately, they were surrounded.

This post-update update is pretty late, I know. Had some auditions to do yesterday, but this is no excuse! There's not a ton I need to talk about, at least.

No new music tracks. Lil' Big Bro uses the same as Big Bro, which uses Dry Guy. Cheery Skeleton also uses Dry Guy, but sped way the hell up. Nothing new or exciting yet.

So! Chapter 4 will mark the beginning of the actual game, in the sense that we're moving on to the purported main character of the story. After eleven updates and two bonus updates, we'll finally be changing our focus to everybody's favourite blonde-haired crybaby Lucas, and we won't be switching away from him for the rest of the game. Looking forward to it! Also looking forward to not having to use "it" for every gender-specific pronoun, but I thought it would add character to Salsa's third-person narrative.

For anybody who happens to be playing along and hasn't skipped past Salsa's part of the story, though, there's a half-decent amount of items that you can find as him. As he's armed with pathetic stats and only one half-decent skill (Monkey Mimic, which I think reflects 100% of any damage done to Salsa on that turn plus his own attack stat. A good kamikazie skill but far too situational for anyone's worth), stocking up on items is the best way to go. You'll probably notice that I was armed to the teeth with Bug Spray in the Pork Tank video; in retrospect I should have tossed them for more Thunder Bombs, but what's done is done and I won't ever have to fight that tank with Salsa ever again for this LP ever.

Anyway! Go to Thomas's Bazaar and speak to Mike in the corner, as long as you're not carrying a Happy Box.

Just do anything, and he'll give you a cookie. But only one!

Thomas himself isn't as giving.

Go to the westernmost house in the village square and talk to Caroline in the back. Do the same thing, and she'll make you some bread.

Much more useful than a cookie, but they can both still be useful in a pinch. And as Salsa...'ll find yourself in one more often than not.

The scene with Salsa talking with the dog was inspired from this:

The pigs are as secretive as ever.

If you're like me and you're hurting for something to make Salsa something of a useful character, you might have tried to head north in the Sunshine Forest as soon as you were able. The Soot Dumpling offers 1000 experience, and even Flint could only cause 1 damage at a time, so Salsa could really, really benefit from beating that thing up a few times.

NO. Salsa will STAY sucky.

Ever wondered why, at the four-way junction in the grass field, I never went east? That's because there's nothing there; it's just a big ole' cliff. But once you're set off to deliver the Happy Boxes, there's something new there waiting for you.

And inside...

But...they all only contain nuts. Two contain Nut Bread and one contains a Rotten Milk. The two Nut Breads are, in this picture, the middle and the right boxes in the group of three in the lower left hand corner. Just take those and don't bother with the rest, unless you happen to need recovering right then and there. And you can't make them into Nut Breads or Cookies either, since nobody knows monkey-talk and they can't understand what you want.

Finally, pay a visit to Hinawa's grave, to find a mourning Alec there.

Talk to him for one last Nut Bread.