Part 40: Episode XXXVII: No Wolf Zone!
Episode XXXVII: No Wolf Zone!
"Oh, it was truly magnificent. There are no words, really."
"Let's go back to Popola. She'll probably want to know what's going on in there."
No, Nier. Fuck that noise. It is now time to finish up any and all outlying side quests as entering the next dungeon marks the dreaded Point of No Return for Part 1 of NIER. So, it's now or never if you want to continue with your completionist streak despite Cavia's best attempts to break you of the habit.
Unfortunately, just about all remaining sidequests take place in the far off nation of Facade. And of course, several will be a rather esoteric pain in the butt.
We're only doing a couple of sidequests today because I am being roped into getting drunk, watching action movies, and playing Bulletstorm later tonight. To be honest, those are all things I'd prefer to do than more sidequesting. But, contractual obligations and all... Anyhow, the Blacksmith of Facade will provide our first errand.
Sidequest: The Littlest Hero
"You always start conversations like that?"
(I'm sorry! ...I'm sorry. I'm just so angry and worried right now. Please forgive me. You see, my son has gone into the desert by himself. He's trying to build a name for himself so he can become a true Man of the Mask, or what you outsiders call a soldier.)
"He must be a reckless child indeed to venture into the desert alone."
(I need someone to bring him back before he hurts himself. Could you please help me out?)
"I'll take care of it."
(Oh thank you so much.)
Hey...HEY! I remember how this story went! Everyone died and Europe got the world's biggest blackhead! That ending made shit for sense! The kid pulled that whole story straight out of his ass.
Huh... Oh, that was just the "Little Hero"...? Oh... Ergh... Right, then. Carry on...
This sidequest actually requires a bit of prep work. We could just wander out into the desert right now and find the newest in the long line of missing teenagers straight away. However, a brief side trip to the King's Mansion is necessary for a step following locating the wannabe soldier.
Over at the King of Facade's pad is yet another fella with an IMPORTANT PERSON word bubble. Word bubbles denote sidequest clients, plot advancement folks, and very rarely people of interest with helpful junk. This is one of those uncommon instances.
Long story short, the Man of the Mask thanks Nier for helping out the King and hooks him up with the Royal Compass. This little trinket allows our party to navigate the sandstorm maelstrom to the north of the Desert without a guide or an obnoxious message booting us to the beginning after a few steps due to poor conditions. It is quite easy to overlook this gift early on, as it only triggers after completing the Barren Temple business and departing the desert fully once.
Speaking of which, let's go check out the very most easy to overlook minor feature in all of NIER.
Entering the King's Mansion...
Nice Buster Sword, kid. I bet Brother Nier would bust a nut.
The King of Facade and his Advisor are hanging out on the roof overlooking Facade. We want to speak with the Advisor. Having a brief chat with him will permit access to the Desert's "sandspout wells" as thanks for protecting the King. The hell does that mean, you ask?
Well, remember that sand fountain thing we saw way back when first venturing into the Desert? Those are sandspout wells. This is Facade moonspeak for "quick travel system". They must all be traveled to and manually activated, but the wells act as a fast travel network between Facade, the Desert Entrance, the Graveyard, and the Barren Temple. It isn't all that useful, to be honest. But, there you have it.
While we're in the neighborhood, let's say hi to the King.
"You sure you should be tossing the Royal Mask around like that?"
(I'm not 'tossing it around!' I'm spinning it. And this is serious business!)
(My liege, the mask was not meant to be spun in such a manner! ...Oh, dear.)
"I suppose one cannot expect a man to change his ways overnight. ...Even a king."
While we're up here, it is worth noting that it is actually possible to jump from the balcony and run around the very uppermost rooftops of Facade. Is there any reason to do so, you ask? Well, far, far on the other end of the city is a solitary NPC who...
...has absolutely nothing of interest to say or do. But, Cavia knew you'd waste your time running all the way over here just to be sure.
Right then, it is time to track down the newest in the series of runaways in NIER. He's quite simple to find wandering around in the desert by the great northern sandstorm. I've got to be honest, with a side quest title of "The Littlest Hero", I was expecting err...not this person...
(My dad sent you to take me back, didn't you?)
"Yeah, and with good cause. This is a dangerous place."
(No! I'm not leaving! I just found a wolves' den. If I go right now, I could take them all out and be a hero!)
"That's not happening."
(I can't be a Man of the Mask if I fear for my life! I shall slay these beasts for the sake of my homeland!)
The littlest hero (that is taller than Nier himself) runs off into the sandstorm... This is why we needed that compass. I had a hell of a time figuring out what the hell to do here the first time I played the game. Anyway, the trio discusses the situation before giving chase.
"He just wants to protect his city. I think it's great."
"Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's really great."
"What? Weren't you the guardian of your village, Kainé?"
"Yeah, but... Look, all I'm saying is... Don't talk to me."
"Is your mouth too full of sand to formulate a crude response!?"
"Book, do you wanna die?"
So, the sandstorm is a bit of a bitch to navigate. Not due to the poor visibility or anything. You've got a mini-map for a reason. No, it is mostly due to the fact that an infinite number of wolves will continuously seemingly erupt from the desert sands from all directions. Great if you want to farm wolf parts or just hate wolf kind in general. Not so much for just legging it somewhere. Luckily, there is seldom reason to go out here again. In fact, if you entirely ignored sidequests, you would never once have to enter the sandstorm after the first visit.
A sandy trip northeast later...
The Wolves' Den is none too hard to find. It has a staircase in good repair and an automatic mechanical gate at its entrance. I think those wolves are hiding something...
The runaway boy has a brass set of balls and is already charging in to stomp some wolfen ass. I hope wolves aren't your favorite animal. Next to sheep, their kind is definitely the highest up on Cavia's animal shit list.
About two dozen feral canines must be slain in order to clean out the den. As usual, Dark Phantasm makes it a trivial affair. The soldier boy just kind of flails around uselessly but at least he cannot be killed, as far as I know.
Many, many dead wolves later...
"Damn kid could have been killed. He doesn't look like he even understands the danger he was in."
"That is youth, I suppose."
"Heh. To some degree I envy him."
Some time later...
I will summarize the conversation.
"A lie about how your son is a big damn hero."
(Boastful proud statement of exploits.)
(Calling of your bullshit and suspicion the burly guy and his magic book probably did all the work. Stern disappointment of retarded actions.)
(Begrudging acknowledgment son has grown a pair of balls and permission granted to go join the army.)
And that's a wrap folks. One more kid for the military meat grinder for a middling pay check. All in a day's work...
The second anti-wolf quest we will be completing in Facade today involves a trip to the good ol' Strange Things Store vendor. It seems he is having wife problems...
Sidequest: Apology from a Fool
"Wow. You sound pretty low there."
(I've been cheating on my wife, and she found out. Then she kicked me out of the house.)
"I hope you don't want sympathy from us!"
(No, no. I know I've been a selfish idiot. I just want her to take me back, so I was hoping to give her a present. I want to make her a coat from wolf hides, but I don't know where to find them.)
"So you want us to hunt some wolves for you?"
(That's the idea. Can I count on you?)
"I don't know why I'm helping you, but...all right. Family is important."
(Thank you. I just need ten wolf hides.)
Well, ten wolf hides doesn't sound too bad. I must have killed and harvested like 30 today alone. Let's take a look at Nier's stock.
Guess what comes next...? The material store across town sells hides for...1,100 Gold a pop. I...think we are going to need to do some hunting to come out in the black here.
Returning to the desert...
"It does seem rather materialistic."
"Are you guys for real? When someone gives me something for free, I'm happy as a pig in shit!"
"This world would be a great deal simpler if nothing but Kainés lived in it."
"I'll pretend that's a compliment."
<insert twenty minutes of farming in the sandstorm's infinite wolf generating winds>
Returning to the Strange Things Store...
(I can't believe you'd help a scumbag like me. Anyway, thanks. Here's your reward.)
"Do you think your wife will like the gift?"
(I don't know. Whenever I approach, she starts throwing things at me.)
"That's going to make it tough to give her the present."
(Could you... Listen. I know how lame this is, but could you maybe go talk to her for me? She's on the floor just above us.)
Despite the guy saying he gave us our reward...we don't actually get paid until we talk to the pissed spouse...
A couple minutes of actually getting to "the level just above us" later...
(That son of a bitch! I bet he sent you here with some pathetic apology gift, didn't he!?)
"Urgh...that obvious, huh?"
(Ha! That man's worthless. And those other women of his are just toying with him. Men are so stupid. They know they're going to get caught, but they try to sneak around and get something on the side anyway. He shouldn't have gotten you involved. He'll be hearing from me about this. I promise you!)
Later that day...
(Anyway, thank you. I couldn't have done it without your help.)
"She's a good woman. Stop taking her for granted."
(Oh, I won't, I swear! I'm even going to stop going to the tavern!)
(...As much as I used to.)
(Maybe just twice a week or so!)
And that's over half of of Facade's sidequests completed. The Strange-Things merchant has the right idea... Well, the boozing part. Not the cheating on the wife thing... Unless she starts parading around in a KKK mask. Then there may be issues...
Wolf Sidequest Discussion