Part 15: I'll slap your forehead 15 times!
Princess Marlene has joined us as a noncombatant. It's a shame she's not a proper party member, but I'm sure that even if she wanted to fight, Rosalyn wouldn't allow it.
Music: Theme of Tenel
We kick this chapter off by visiting Tenel Village once again. Now that Marlene is accompanying us, there are several new scenes.
I was thinking of reconsidering for a little while.
Well, speak up? Who is she?
This is a Princess.
Well, you don't have to lie. If you don't like me, just tell me. All along I thought you had a crush on me... You don't waste any time, huh. I leave you alone for a moment and you fall for the first girl you... (sniff) So you're that type after all. I was wrong about you.
The very fabric of human nature is evil. Evil and egotistical.
Ari, why are you doing this? Why do you need to play tricks with your shadow? I told you, I don't like that kind of man!
Play tricks with your shadow!? Grrr, these villagers here, they conspire to infuriate me!
Say, you, Ari is not the kind of person you described. You've known him long enough to know that, right? And it's true, that she's the Princess. You've got to believe what your friend tells you. Right?
I don't want to hear any excuses.
......I give up.
I do not comprehend. What is this country girl so upset about? I have not a clue.
You have no right to call me a country girl!! ......Ever!!
Julia storms off.
Ari has quite a lot going on, it seems. Got quite a busy social life here, huh?
If by "social life" you mean "sometimes I hang around people and they ignore me," then yes.
We continue down the road and speak with the first person we see.
How rude! This is Princess Marlene, here. Geez! The villagers here don't even know what the Princess looks like?
Loitering Villager: Wha...? Princess? You mean the Princess of the royal family? Oops! Please do excuse me. Forgive my rudeness. I apologize.
Hm. I give you pardon. You seem the type not to know better. I have just learned how to "cook" from Ari's mother. I am in a very good mood. Besides, I do not like formality. As long as people do not look down on me, it is alright with me. But you, Ari. You are different. Obviously, you are my servant.
You only own one third of the rights! Don't you change the figure!
Oh dear. The Evil King and the foolish Princess... Oops, not! The Princess and you foolish Evil King, stop this nonsense! Poor Ari, he's at a loss...
Don't worry about me.
It's out of my hands...
Loitering Villager: I feel like I'm completely left out... I guess that's how a Loitering Villager gets treated...
Next, we enter the bar.
Gulp Inn Hostess: Oh? You have pretty ladies with you, eh? You have roses in both hands.
Mind you. Stand back! This is Princess Marlene here!
Gulp Inn Hostess: What? Oh, now I remember... Excuse my rudeness, your Majesty.
It is nothing. I do not mind it at all. I hear that the lives of the commoners are plain. But why, it is not that bad at all. And you said roses. Where are the roses?
Gulp Inn Hostess: Uh, um... Princess, you are the rose!! You are as beautiful as a rose!
No need to flatter me. Hmm... So I am a rose... Say, Rosalyn. She said that he had roses in both hands. Good thing you're a rose, too.
Uh, oh, ahem... Please, don't. I could never be regarded as equal to the Princess.
Marlene leaves, and Stan comes out.
Proof that humans lie!
Shut up, you stomped-on weed!
I look forward to Stan and Rosalyn's arguments just to see what bizarre insults they come up with next.
We head across the street to the Tinker store. I totally forgot to show this place off before we left Tenel for the first time.
Cousin of the Blacksmith: On the other hand... The boss is depressed. He put his spirit into hammering a sword for ya, but he doesn't seem to like the outcome... It's hard to say this, but it seems like he lost his touch... Blacksmith's block. Tragic. But, once he's out of his slump he'll start to make great swords again. Sorry you came here for nothing today.
Blacksmith Shop Owner: Here at the blacksmith, we make and sell weapons and protective gear. Well, this might not be the place to find items for every occasion. Hmm, let's see. Ah, this "Fruit Knife" should do. Take this! Great for eating fruit!
Ari has acquired the "Fruit Knife"!
Blacksmith Shop Owner: Sorry it's not something cooler... Oops, I've got to get going now. Back to work!
I'm pretty sure we could have collected this before we left Tenel, but it doesn't really matter when you get it.
We enter this L-shaped house next.
Skinny Boy: Ari, what's up? Oh... Who's that foxy lady there? Hey, she isn't... Grrr! Why aren't there any girls who'll go after me? God, it isn't fair!
Hey you! This person is not what you think at all! How absurd... How could you say that to the Princess...
Skinny Boy: Princess? Whaaat? You mean THE Princess? The Princess who came to Rashelo? Whaaaat? Are you serious?
What is it? Is there something on my face?
You, Ari. Tell me, why is this one so excited?
Because you, the Princess, are beautiful.
I do not like flattery. But somehow when you say it, it does not feel so bad.
Skinny Boy: I don't know why, but Ari gets all the luck now... It wasn't like this before.
Hey you. Watch your language in front of the Princess.
Skinny Boy: There's only one thing to do. I'll find new romance. Right now, right this minute!
Okay, not a single villager here knows what the Princess looks like, somehow. I wonder if Ari is embarrassed at how ignorant everyone from his village is.
Let's get Stan's opinion on things.
You are too easy on them! I hate you slave!
You know, I originally said that calling Stan is a way to remember what you're supposed to do, but he pretty much never actually has anything useful to say. We check the Map o'Evil Kings, instead.
A sheet of paper with power will open the way.
Is this really a map? It's more like a bizarre fortune telling device.
Anyway, the City of Steel would be Madril, so we head that way.
Using the Stone Circles, we get there more or less instantly. More RPGs need to give you an easy way to warp between cities right at the beginning of the game, instead of making you deal with not being able to teleport for 20 hours.
Music: Theme of Madril
The only real information we got from the Map o'Evil Kings was that the next one is somewhere in Madril, so we just start talking to every person we see.
Guy with Frowning Face: On the other hand, look at the other heroes... Well, you've heard of the Heroes' Club, right? Rumor has it that they've got a cozy relationship with Mr. Big, Inc. Do you know what I mean by a cozy relationship? Well, it means that they are doing bad things by sticking together. The problem is that this Mr. Big, Inc. is run by ghosts. You see the problem too, don't you? Doesn't it reek of evil deeds? I smelled the rat right away. They're symbiotic, like an arsonist and a firefighter. They seem to be using each other to exchange information on artifacts, precious stones, etc. Do you know what this means? It means that ghosts and heroes, who we think are enemies, are working together to extort money from us. I don't like this one bit. No, I don't.
Guy with Frowning Face: Oops! That's right, I forgot about this guy. So this guy's not a cheap trick or anything? Why, you, boy... So you're in it together with a ghost, too?
He's not a ghost!
Don't you mix me up with lowly beings such as those ghosts!
Guy with Frowning Face: My, this ghost's got an attitude. What's going on, boy? I was just beginning to respect you, too. Tell me what the heck's happening!
Stop! Like the boy says, this guy's not a ghost. This guy is, well, how should I explain this...
Guy with Frowning Face: Never mind! I don't want to hear any excuses. I'm disappointed in you, boy. Well, so long. Man, what a let down! I guess I can't even trust my own instincts anymore!
Well that guy sure did give us a good lead. Might as well continue our information search by dropping by the town hall/Heroes' Club.
Good Citizen: Come out, whoever is in charge! I'll slap your forehead 15 times!
Examplary Citizen: Or else I'll slap both of your wrists 23 times each!
But how many times will you kick it?
Town Hall Manager Who Just Woke Up: It had to happen while I was dozing. I mean, not paying attention. This is outrageous. Why do these troubling incidents keep happening to me! I thought all of my troubles were over last year. I hear there's already an uproar in front of the club. If that's true, there's no stopping it from becoming major news. Bad rumors will be spread about this town. That's something I want to avoid at all costs. No matter what the consequences! Especially in light of my election!
Town Hall Manager Who Just Woke Up: No, I mean, um... This is because I was deep in my thoughts! Yes, certainly, that's it. So everyone, please keep this a secret. Oh, yes, let me give you this. My name card. Come see me if you need me for anything. Let's deal with this in a positive manner. We'll keep it confidential. OK? OK?
Ari acquired "Eh, it's ok Card"!
We continue into the Heroes' Club.
Hurrying Clerk: Why, I'd like to find out myself! Help! What do we do? Leader! Leader!
I never noticed the windows in the Heroes' Club say "The Royal Brave Heart Salon." That is fantastic.
We're done in town hall and the Heroes' Club, so we head down the street and check the bar.
Music: At the Bar
Mr. Know-it-All: Did you hear about the Club's cozy-relationship scandal?
Yes, I heard about it.
No, I haven't heard about it.
Mr. Know-it-All: What? You've already heard? But I bet you don't know the whole story. It's like this. Until now, the ghosts had a scheme, stealing numerous treasures from the general public and important cultural artifacts from the town. And it was the heroes who took those treasures back as they punished the ghosts. The Club oversaw the heroes' activity. It distributed rewards among the heroes so that they could have a steady income. But that all turned out to be a mere front. The heroes had always dealt with the ghosts under the table, playing a fixed race. Oh, this is outrageous! Everything was a trick to fool us, the general public. It really hurts to see people who should be virtuous take a fall. Ah, it hurts! Ooo, it hurts! How it hurts! I didn't think that having information could be this painful.
Stan, don't come out now.
Mr. Know-it-All: Did you say something? I expect you to explain yourself if you call yourself a hero, too.
I can't explain myself without evidence. But I will find out the truth. I will, no matter what happens. I can't just sit here while the good name of heroes is being disgraced and tarnished.
Mr. Know-it-All: If proof of the heroes' guilt or innocence is found, I will take it upon myself to spread the word all over town.
Bewitched Man: Linda's the best! Linda's popularity is rising! Oh, Linda. Oh, Linda. Oh, Linda. All right! Hooray! Now I'm one step closer to my dream! One day, I'll wave a fan for her on stage! I'll wave it really hard! I'll scream! I'll wave 'til my arm drops! I'll scream my head off! Oh, Linda. Oh, Linda. Oh, Linda! Awooooo! Oh, Linda, all the way!
Sometimes, people become obsessive fans only during someone's up-and-coming period.
I see. Maybe there's something I could learn from this to attract attention from humans.
You're not so cute, so I don't know if that'll work for you. What about you, Ari? Do you have a teen idol you like?
Um, not really.
I'm not interested.
Oh, you're not being honest. Well, that's OK. Keep your true love to yourself.
Well there's nothing else to get from this bar, so we leave and continue exploring Madril's first floor.
Music: Theme of Madril
Greasy Man: Ghu, hu, ghu, heh, heh. You guys are heeeroes? Must be tough, with all the ruuumors. I hear the ruuumor got started by Mr. Big, Inc. itseeelf. Whooo would've guessed? But this is top-seeecret information. Ghu, hu, ghu, heh, heh. I don't belieeeve ruuumors. I only belieeeve what I see with my eyes. So that's sooort of why I say that there aaare UFOs and aaaliens. I beeelieve because I saw. It's veeery substantiated. Ghu, hu, hu, ghu, heh, heh.
What a weeeirdo.
Next we enter Madril's store and talk to the assistant boy inside.
Assistant Boy: Oh, my... Hey, boy, where did you get this? At the blacksmith's in Tenel? I see. Hey boy, do you realize how incredibly valuable this stuff is? The curve, the crest... No mistake that this is the work of Kumagoro IV, aka the "Vanguard to Sword Smithery." It's been 10 years since the genius that led the "Post-Modern Smithery" movement disappeared. So that's where he's been! I'll pay you 300 sukel for this! Sell it to me!
I won't sell it.
Assistant Boy: Ummmm. That's too bad. Come again if you change your mind.
We immediately talk to him again.
Assistant Boy: So what do you say? Change your mind? Fine, I'll splurge and pay 400 sukel for that Fruit Knife! Sell it to me!
I'll sell it.
Let me think about it.
Assistant Boy: Great! Here is the money.
Ari acquired 400 sukel!
If you turn him down again, he won't go over 400 sukel.
That's about it for the first level, so we head up to the second.
Recall the fourth cyphertext.
"No <- Station -> Yes"
The Madril station is the only station we've seen so far, and there happens to be a man standing to its right.
Man from World Crypto Organization: Like they say, help the righteous ones... I offer you this.
Ari acquired Cyphertext 5!
While we stew on that, there's a couple buildings up here I skipped the last time we were in Madril.
Researcher: You sure don't look it. And what? Is that you? Prof. Kisling? No, it couldn't be!?
Ha ha ha ha ha. So you've found me out. You're right. Gutten Kisling, 45, greater than any being above or below, standing on his own! How do you do?
Are you really that famous? Like, seriously an important guy?
Oh, well, yes... Thank you, thank you.
Researcher: Oh, my goodness! I'm meeting the famed Prof. Kisling himself, acclaimed for his Kisling Squid Ring theory. Prof. Gutten Kisling, welcome to our research center!
Oh, well, yes... Thank you, thank you.
Researcher: Oh? My, my, my... Is this the professor's current research project? Then, does this mean that you have already completed your research on that dualistic theory?
What do you mean, calling me a research subject every chance you get! You humans cannot possibly figure moi out! Do you want me to end you!?
Hush! Be quiet.
Umm, I'll let him go for now, since it looks like they're into evil doings here at the center.
Well, what can I say, the path of a researcher is a long and rugged one. Yep, it's a tough life. It's hard to get support from people for the type of research that I do.
Researcher: I know what you mean. A life devoted to research is a life of endurance. So, Prof. Kisling, I have a favor to ask of you.
What is it? Is it my autograph? It's limited to three per person, you know.
Researcher: Well, um... I'm embarrassed to ask you, but... Not only are we low on moral support, but lately we've been short on research funding as well. We'd really appreciate it if you could offer us a donation.
Er, um, well, let's see, um, hmmm... Being an academic person, I have little attachment to monetary matters and would like nothing more than to give you a donation. However, my own research requires money and I wouldn't mind having more, either. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.
I can give 50 sukel.
Researcher: Oh, thank you! You look like a smart boy. Would you like to devote your life to research at our center in the future? At any rate, thank you, thank you. We can now afford to proceed a bit further with our research.
Um, don't mind it. I'm happy for you.
Why are you responding to the thanks? It was Ari who actually donated.
Hmm. What an evil research center, soliciting money from my slave. The center certainly has promise.
We can continue to donate here to get rewards, but I'm dirt poor right now.
There's also a researcher in front of the next door over.
Gloomy Researcher: You can't come in unless you've got business here at the research center. Or are you saying that you have some business? Hey, is that you? Dr. Kisling? What are you doing here?
Ha ha ha ha ha. Sometimes my fame is too much. They just won't leave me alone. Everyone figures out who I am right away. You're right. That's me. Gutten Kisling, 45, a spirited man you'd want to write home about. How do you do?
Are you really that famous? Like, really, really an important guy?
Gloomy Researcher: Oh my, I can't believe it. I'm meeting the famed Prof. Kisling himself, acclaimed for his Gutten Batten experiments. Prof. Gutten Kisling, welcome to our research center!
Oh, well, yes... Thank you, thank you.
Gloomy Researcher: My, my, my. Hmmm. I see. So this dark think is your present research subject? This is great, Professor. It really stands out. Fantastic research.
What do you think I am, calling me "This dark thing," and "this thing" every chance you get! Do you want me to end your miserable existence now?
Hush. Keep your comments to yourself.
Umm. I'll let him go for now, since it looks like he's presently into evil doings.
Well, what can I say, the path of a researcher is a long and rugged one. It's a tough life. Currently, I'm studying ghosts. In addition, my research subjects include the flutters of my own heart.
What? I thought you only studied ghosts.
You don't get anything, you washbowl woman!
Oh, shut up.
Gloomy Researcher: That sounds like very fun research. I look forward to the presentation of new papers.
Oh, yes, please be on a look out for it. Ha ha ha ha ha.
Gloomy Researcher: Oh, yes. If you would, please, visit us here at the research venter when you make your presentation. Here is the Chief Researcher's name card. Take it with you, pleez.
Oh yes. A name card. Why, thank you.
Gloomy Researcher: The Chief Researcher would appreciate it, too. So long and good luck, Professor. Good luck to everyone, too.
Alright, we've totally combed over all of Madril. Tune in next time, when we track down the truth about the rumors!