Part 90: Episode LXXXIV: Mr. SandmanEpisode LXXXIV: Mr. Sandman
91% Quest Completion. We're getting there... Thankfully, we're past all the really bullshit grind oriented quests. Well...mostly... There's one more, but it's pretty simple.
Anyhow, if you couldn't guess, the final destination for sidequest completion is the desert metropolis of Facade. We barely scratched the surface of their sidequests during our first outing. Though...Life in the Fucking Sands is enough to turn anyone off from doing many more good deeds in that region... Oh well, that's in the past. Let's finish up the last lot of 'em.
Music: The Prestigious Mask
If Nier and the gang take a ferry from Seafront straight to the Desert, just beyond the docks they will come across a rather out of place Man of the Mask gazing out into the wastes. The soldier has got a quest bubble above their head, though. Let's see what the deal is...
(Oh, just tracking wolves. They've been on the move lately, so I was curious.)
"Oh. Well, uh...be careful, all right?"
Well, I guess nobody informed this soldier that wolves made the extinct species list last month. Odd since this person only pops up after Roc and his wolf pack are adorning greasy t-shirts in the sky. Despite the quest bubble, no actual sidequest is triggered following the chat. The masked warrior just returns to staring off into the distance.
We've actually met this particular Man of the Mask before. Or rather, Woman of the Mask...
"Yeah. It's the girl who was almost killed by her lover."
"There can be no reason for her to be wandering alone in the desert!"
"I'm sure there's a reason. ...Grown-ups always have reasons for stuff like that."
"Mmm... A bit of a simplistic analysis, but perhaps true nonetheless. I shall bear that in mind the next time something seemingly meaningless occurs."
Speaking of extinct wolves, the Shades have stepped up their game and overtaken the wolves' old territory along with bolstering their numbers roaming the deserts they already controlled. In addition, a new late game foe has entered the field: crazy ass witch Shades.
Witch Shades are really annoying, mostly since they are the only aerial common Shade in the game. Aerial enemies have the innate attribute of added annoyance due to their very nature, after all. Witch Shades attack by circle strafing the area with energy orbs and being a general bother. Since they're floating around in the air, they can easily follow Nier around the entire desert without falling behind and pester him the entire journey.
The biggest pain in the ass with Witch Shades is the fact they're really agile to the point that knocking them out of the air requires leading the target a decent tick to actually land a shot, even with Dark Lance's time slowing effects. They're infrequently seen enough that there is never really a chance to get very good at the timing for this, making battles with 'em more aggravating than difficult. Dark Blast is a pretty good alternative with its homing abilities of the charged shot but meh...I honestly have the easiest time just following them around and waiting for Emil or Kainé to lob fireballs at the thing then follow up with stabbing it to death when it hits the ground.
Anyway, back to Facade... There are about a half dozen sidequests floating around town. Most just involve treks around this region. But...there is a solitary one that demands a bit of legwork to other areas. Let's tackle that one first, mmm? It's found near the King's Mansion by one of the Masked Men.
Sidequest: A City Reborn
"...What is it?"
(The wolves have dealt our city a devastating blow, and we are just starting to rebuild. However, the scale of the destruction was massive, and we find ourselves running low on metal and wood. We need to acquire twenty pieces of iron ore, twenty pieces of clay, and twenty logs. Please, O mighty one! Please aid us!)
"Yeah, all right. I'll do it. Just stop calling me mighty one."
(Thank you for lending an ear to our plight!)
Sonuvabitch! What happened...!? Did the wolves start using suicide bombers in Facade when I wasn't looking?! Ugh... Well, at least I'm flush on one out of three... That's a start.
"They were attacked by wolves and their queen lies dead..."
"Everyone in the city really loved Fyra, didn't they?"
"We should help them if we can. They're earned that much."
"You're right, Kainé."
Logs are easy enough to retrieve back in The Village, if a bit pricey for so many. How the hell is Nier going to lug all this crap back across the desert...? Now iron ore is a fairly common drop all over the fields but feh... I am so over material farming. And I have nearly half a million gold in the bank with nothing left to spend it on so...
Dropping 19,000 gold on Gideon will fulfill the rest of the required material farming for this quest. I'd normally be against putting a 29,000 gold investment to do another quest. But, it's the end of the game. I've bought every single weapon there is to buy, my inventory is fully stocked with supplies, and dropping a few thousand gold to bypass an hour of grinding seems like a nice luxury to me.
Back to Facade...
The Man of the Mask happily takes the metric ton of crap of materials we've supplied him with and pays Nier 50,000 gold for his services. Hey! We still came out in the black after all. Nice!
The next pair of sidequests is held by the two Men of the Mask guarding the front gates of Facade. Fine work with the whole keeping the wolves out from the wedding ceremony a few weeks ago. Bang up job. Queen Fyra sends her regards...
Sidequest: Nightmares and Dust
"That's not good. You have any idea why?"
(No. The soldiers have investigated, but they didn't find anything.)
Huh... Missing people in the swirling eternal sandstorm that was full of roaming murderous wolves just a month ago? Can't we just mark this one down as "too stupid to live" and move on to the next quest...? No... Oh well.
Music: The Lost Forest
With the death of the wolves, random Shades have begun hanging out in the sandstorm region. Not too many though. I think the Shades are just scouting to see what the hell the wolves were even doing out here in the first place. I'm still kind of mystified about that point myself. Wolves are weird. Anyhow, Nier and the gang need to travel toward the center of the sandblasted region to find the source of the disappearing dumbass Facade citizens. Spoilers: It's a big ass Shade!
"Is this it? The Shade that appears during sandstorms?"
"Look out! You can't see a thing in here!"
<cough> "Ugh! There's sand in my mouth!'
"This is quite an ordeal."
<hacking> "We gotta get close enough to kill him..."
"Let's get this over with."
This is the same mid-boss Shade from way back during our revisit to The Lost Shrine during the beginning of Act 2. It pretty much just spams an endless stream of energy balls of unusual size. Flanking behind it and stabbing repeatedly will quickly spell its doom. Get used to seeing this dude. Facade's sidequests seem to love this enemy type...
A dead, sandy Shade later...
Simple enough. You know what would be simpler though? Staying the hell out of the utterly barren region with nothing but sandstorms in the first place! Just a thought...
Returning to the client...
Nier fills in the soldier on what transpired in the sandstorm. The soldier thanks him and hands over 30,000 gold. Everyone is happy. The end.
Sidequest: A Shade Entombed
"What is it?"
(We've received word that bandits are breaking into the Barren Temple. However, the rules prevent us from entering the temple and dispatching the intruders. Therefore, we would like you to eliminate the thieves in our stead.)
"Finally! A job with some killin'!"
(Please be careful. It's bad enough that the bandits are in our most sacred place, but if they were to touch the seal...)
(Legend tells of a powerful Shade that has been sealed away in a section of the temple. If they stumble across it during their search for treasure...)
"Mmm, yes, that would be bad. ...And for the bandits as well."
"Okay, so we have to hurry. Got it."
Ugh... I knew we'd get roped into going back to the damn Barren Temple at some point or another... I should have known the lack of dungeon crawling in Facade's main quest was too good to be true.
"We've not the time to worry about random bandits!"
"The temple is really important to the Masked People, you know."
"Then perhaps they should station some guards at the entrance!"
"There's probably a rule about that. Hell, they can't even go inside the place."
"And thus my headache."
"Stop bitching and get moving."
Hey, look who's back wandering the wastes... Looks like she's heading back to Facade. That's cool, I guess. Let's see what's up.
(No, I've moved on to Shades. They've been pretty active lately.)
"...Huh. Well, be careful, all right?"
And the woman returns to staring off. Toward Facade, oddly enough. I think Shades would be in the other direction. Oh well...still no sidequest. Nier and Weiss discuss the odd woman after they get out of earshot.
"You sure it's not just your imagination?"
"Are you kidding? She was on the far side of the desert before!"
"But I fear that is not enough reason to detain her."
Look, she's probably just stoned or something. She was already a space cadet if that old quest had any indication... Nothing to worry about. Let's get to that temple.
Crossing the desert...
Huh. Well, the Masked People other than the King aren't allowed here. Must be one of the bandits. Let's see the thieving jerk's story.
"You one of the guys trying to bust up the temple? Why should I help you?"
"Th-there's a huge Shade inside! We were just looking for treas... I mean, um... Anyway, it's HUGE! I made it out, but my fellow thiev... I mean, um... But my friends are still in there!"
"It seems the worst-case scenario has come to pass."
"Screw these guys. They made their bed, now let 'em shit in it."
"If that Shade is as big as they claim, it's too dangerous to let it live. Let's go in and take care of the Shade."
"That Shade's got my friends! You gotta help 'em out!"
"They had it coming, I'd say. And if you try to run, I'll have my friend Kainé show you what pain really is. Got it?"
Alright, time to clean up these chucklefucks' mess and take out this sealed Shade in the Barren Temple. Thieves not named "Garrett" are the worst.
Music: The Temple of Shifting Sands
The Barren Temple itself hasn't changed much in the last five years. Some Shades have moved in and taken up residency (and thankfully squashed all the gigantic Webspinner spiders in the process) but that's about it. That is, until these dumbass bandit goobers started fiddling around where they didn't belong.
Thanks to their breaking into prohibited parts of the temple...all the rule trial challenges have been reactivated... I really hope the rest of those jerk-offs died horrible, messy deaths...
Mercifully, since the gang defeated Shahryar in their first visit here, the block puzzles themselves have not re-spawned. The rules now merely serve as conditions for defeating the Shades in the old trial rooms.
In order to make it to the entombed Shade's chamber (that long corridor to the northeast), Nier only needs to complete the Stationary Owl (i.e. never stop attacking!) and the Racing Wolf (i.e. equip a spear and never stop charge dashing!) Every single trial other than that can also be re-done with the new battle conditions. But, no reason to do that today. No worries...we'll be back here tomorrow...
The quest objective room itself holds a new rule: Time-Forgetting Monkey. This translates from Masked People Trialese to: "THREE MINUTE TIME LIMIT! GO GO GO!"
The corridor where the sealed Shade is hanging out is just choked full of dozens of Shades. I guess they were all having a block party or something and then some prick King of the Masked People just locked the door, threw up a magic glyph, and laughed it up before returning to Facade and making a rule where underwear cannot be washed on any February that falls on a leap year.
Anyhow, the boss Shade the gang needs to slay within the time limit is located at the very rear of the hallway. The big mighty feared sealed Shade itself is...the exact same mini-boss we killed hanging out in the sandstorm a few hours ago... Okay, this one is a slightly beefier variant. But still, color me disappointed. There's another mid-boss in one of the trial rooms and it could kick this thing's ass.
It's worth mentioning that if you poke around back where the mini-boss is loitering about, you can see the bandit's buddies mashed into a fine pulp along the back of the chamber. What a shame.
A big old Shade dead within 180 seconds later...
"That was intense. No wonder they sealed that thing up."
"Still, it should not have been our fight in the first place."
"True enough. Let's grab the surviving bandit and take him back to Facade."
Welp, job's done... Back to the entrance...
"Oh ho! I'm afraid you came up with that brilliant scheme a little too late!"
Seriously, we'd been in there for like over twenty minutes. The time to make a break for it and head for the hills was 19 minutes ago... You are terrible at this criminal thing...
And then something astonishing happens. It turns out this bandit may be utterly incompetent at his unsavory trade. But, he is one ballsy motherfucker! He actually decides to take on the party. Four against one. A burly muscle-bound guy with a sword bigger than he is, a magic talking book, a half-naked chick that would appear to be more than slightly unhinged, and a crazy talking skeleton mage with a grinning beach ball for a head...and this dude decides to roll the dice and take 'em all on.
Needless to say, this goes very, very poorly for the courageous yet clinically retarded fellow.
"Oh, knock it off."
"Shut up, you!"
And despite getting five fireballs to the face, multiple kicks the dick, and being straight up stabbed with a spear a few times...the crazy bastard chugs a health potion and tries his luck a second round.
Another brutal ass kicking later...
"Hey, asshole. There's a kid back in town who wants to play marbles, but he's two short. Think you can help?"
"Eeeeek! Keep her away from me!"
"That was some excellent restraint on your part, hussy. I expected a foul-mouthed tirade of epic proportions!"
"Cram it up your index, book."
"You guys done? Then let's tie this guy up and report back."
And they do just that...
Welp, the more brave than intelligent bandit gets locked in jail. You do not even WANT to know what a Facade prison is like... Turkey ain't got shit on the Masked People. In any case, the client is happy, and Nier earns 20,000 Gold. Nice...
And that brings us to over half of Facade's quests taken care of now. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel...
Desert Shade Banter Killin'
Alternate Kainé Costume Concept Art - Apparently an early concept was that she'd be a rather mellow, bookish sort until a battle broke out in which she'd start calling people fuckface assholes and threaten castration and the like.