Part 74: A War of Words
Remember the friendly rivalry between Tressa and Ali? That's not enough to satisfy our dungeon/boss quota, so let's get into some deeper conflict.
...Illegal though your business may be.
And who're you?
Music: An Ill Omen
Ahem! That I most certainly do.
You may own all the gold, but these were just dusty old rocks until I polished them to a sheen.
That pompous attitude will get you in trouble someday, boy.
As of now, that includes the trading of your little rocks.
Does it now? That seems awfully arbitrary, if you ask me.
Or weren't you aware, Mr. Morlock? You see, the price of gold...
It's exactly the time. They're deceiving honest, hardworking people just to line their pockets.
Omar, teach this little desert ant what happens to pests who try to stain my good name.
I'd like to see you try.
Music: Battle II
"Ali, the One-man Army" they call me in the south. The mere mention of my name strikes fear into the hearts of any who would wrong the common man. I've killed more people than I can count, and all with one hand.
Then you'll make a fine opponent.
Hah... A merchant's weapon is his words... We don't stand a chance on a real battlefield. My fight was lost the instant we came to blows.
Music: An Ill Omen
Hm? Looks like your wares aren't selling so well. Don't worry, I'll take them off your hands.
...If you're so determined to have them, though, I'll let you be my little worker ant. I'll be in my manor. Come find me if you want a real job.
Morlock and Omar leave, dragging Ali with them.
How dare he take advantage of people to line his own pockets! That's just dirty!
I might not agree with everything he does... But I do agree with what he said to Morlock.
I have to save him. Morlock said he'd be in his manor... It's time to pay him a visit.
Always looking for a bargain!
This opens up a couple more banters.
Music: A Settlement in the Red Bluffs
Calm yourself, Tressa.
He's going to pay, do you hear? Don't try to stop me!
...I shall not. But at the very least, allow me to help you. Better two than one, yes?
It was only the quickness of your temper that has allowed me to control mine.
Oh! Well, then you understand how I feel after all. Thank you, Sir Olberic.
You need not thank me. We are comrades on this journey.
Olberic and Tressa are probably the most straightforward characters of the bunch, and they both want to ensure justice is dealt to those that deserve it. And boy, does Morlock deserve it!
That's the plan.
I thought he was your sworn enemy in the trading business.
He was...and is. But only in business. He hasn't been good for my sales, but it's not like I hate him as a person, you know?
Maybe that's how thieves work, but not honest traders! He gets on my nerves, for sure, but what's the point if I don't beat him fair and square!?
She's got some steel in her bones, this one...
Hm? Did you say something?
Tressa and Therion have one of the most interesting pairings, because naturally they're the two characters who have the least in common and are really the only two characters to have actual reason for conflict. Naturally, Tressa has no respect for Therion's line of work, while the other characters don't seem to really care, and of course Tressa's whole personality and outlook on life doesn't mesh with Therion's. It's probably one of the most fascinating pairings to watch develop, as they slowly grow a grudging respect over the game, even if they still never do like each other that much.
This is my party. I opt Alfyn for the last banter, and Ophilia since she's my lowest-leveled character. I'm still rolling all eight jobs, but that's gonna change next update once I start throwing in some thread gimmicks since, well, I'm back to steamrolling boss encounters.
There's a short jaunt to the actual manor.
A couple new foes along the way, nothing too exciting.
And today we finally get another manor dungeon!
Music: Forbidding Corridors
Like all cave and forest dungeons, all manor dungeons look the same.
It's just that instead of looping and winding paths, you have rooms and a couple floors to bounce between. So they end up a bit more linear, but it also means it takes longer to actually get to the boss.
Some of the fodder we dispose of.
Protects against Unconscious. Handy to have since it's such a nasty status effect!
The Purple Chest here is a Hasty Helm. Defense-wise, it'd be one of the better helms I have access to, with both defense stats in the 50's, but it also gives a very nice 78 Speed. Probably worth revisiting with Therion for!
Otherwise, I get some easy loot and fight through some easy enemies until I reach my goal.
Music: Creeping Dread
Overflowing as always, sir. And I expect even greater profits with those stones.
As if I wasn't wealthy enough already, to think those dirty rocks would prove more valuable than gold!
Those rocks...belong to us...
Let me remind you that this land--all of it--belongs to me. So even if little ants like you manage to dig up something beneath the surface, it's mine.
Between the mines and the stones, my profits will continue to grow. It's only a matter of time before I'm the wealthiest man in the realm!
At this point, the rest of the cutscene is now voiced, and thus this is where the below video starts.
Video: The Mercenary Omar
I'd sooner eat those rocks than work for you!
You're as much of a fool as the boy is, then. To think two self-styled merchants would be so averse to making money... You should know that I pay my loyal men quite well. Everyone has a price.
There's nothing that money can't buy.
On second thought, never mind. You're Maruf's whelp, aren't you?
He made a fortune scamming gullible sops with fanciful half-truths.
Saddled with debt, poor Maruf ended up bankrupt. A sad tale, no?
There's no room for emotions in business.
...Say that one more time.
My father was a good, honest man! He sold his customers what they wanted, and his words made them happy!
Your father was nothing but a lousy, lying dog!
Those with money make the rules, boy! Second-rate peddlers like you and your old man should shut up and die like the paupers you are!
You son of a...!
You won't sell for much, but it's better than nothing. Gahaha!
Music: For Treasure
Oh? Go on.
You cheat your workers out of their hard-earned money and monopolize their profits!
It seems you've forgotten your own manners. Omar, let's help the girl remember her place.
Video: Boss - Omar
Music: Decisive Battle II
We'll be going up against the mercenary Omar today, and boy, is he huge!
You know the drill, find the weaknesses and roast the adds.
My Warrior Alfyn strat is to make him a physical attack magnet using Incite.
Between his high evasion and massive HP pool, he excels at the job.
Not that I really need him with all the tools at my disposal.
Hey, if Morlock can pay good money for good help, so can I!
The adds go down with little effort.
Omar only uses physicals, but he hits like a truck. He has a boost attack that does huge damage and inflicts Unconscious, too!
But I never give him an opportunity to use that.
Omar's big gimmick is that after break, he adds +2 to his shields, to a max of 9. This would be an issue if he weren't weak to polearms and thus could get shredded by Thousand Spears.
On the next break round, I just so happen to be in position to give everyone max boost.
The poor sucker "only" has 35k HP.
The big mistake is this uses up a turn for him, a turn he could be spending doing damage that I could effortlessly heal away with Ophilia or Alfyn.
Instead I immediately rip through the majority of his shields again.
Hell, I could've done it in one round if I wanted, but if I wait until next round, I get two full rounds to wallop him!
Not that I needed that much time, of course.
It's decent, not as strong as the Viking Axe but still barely in triple-digit weapon power, with a good Accuracy boost to boot. Not the best, but not bad for free.
Give up, Mr. Morlock. You've lost.
Good. I take it you'll be leaving this town, never to return?
You need to know when to cut your losses.
And so the plucky eighteen-year-old merchant struck fear in the heart of the cold businessman and his powerful mercenary. Merchants aren't fighters, indeed...
Tressa's the best.
Now to find someone honest to run this town!
She's certainly no longer a Green Pea.
Video: The Merchants' Fair
Music: Enveloped in Kindness
...I owe you one. And a merchant always pays his debts. You have my word.
Hehe. I'll hold you to it.
But it was a lie, spread by competitors who were jealous of his talent! And while it's true my father was deceived by his friend, and forced to take on his debt...
Our words have the power to make our customers happy.
It's the greatest auction in the realm, held each year in Grandport. The wealthiest and most influential people the world over come to feast their eyes on treasures beyond your imagination.
That sounds incredible!
I'm going to go there and make my dreams come true.
You really do have a way with words, Ali.
Music: Tressa, the Merchant
I was hoping you'd say that.
Hehe. Well, we still need to have our rematch. And what better place to settle the score than the Merchants' Fair?
I'll bring my best treasure. If you think you stand a chance, I suggest you do the same.
Good. Once you have it, come find me at the Fair.
They won't stick around for long after I get there.
See you at the Fair.
After we met, all I wanted to do was forget Ali. But he sure knows how to make a lasting impression. Now, I think I've found a good rival in him. Funny how things turn out, no?
For now, I'll follow in the footsteps of the nameless traveler and make for Victors Hollow.
Tressa has a new frenemy, and a new goal: to find the greatest treasure in the world and present it at the great Merchants' Fair for the world to see. If she can accomplish that, then she'll definitely have succeeded in being a merchant!
But for now, let's close things out with one last banter.
Nice? What's nice?
Makin' a new pal like that.
"Pal"? Surely you're not talking about Ali, my archrival!
Hah! Who else would I be talking about? Sure, you don't see eye-to-eye about everything.
And you got off on the wrong foot with a little spat. I get it. But you both eat from the same bowl, and ill fortune that hurts one of you hurts the other... If that's not a foundation for friendship, I don't know what is!
There's a 99% chance that Alfyn was drunk during the time of that banter.
We're diving into the back half of CHAPT TOO! A dumb question, but one that needs asking regardless: Who next?
Next time, we'll tackle some more Side Stories and possibly some side dungeons.