Part 28: More sidequestsAs long as we're here, we may as well check out the Forest Road.
Isn't that the foreigner we met before?
Whew.... This foreigner started talking to me, but I can't understand a word he's saying!
Leave international diplomacy to Kiryuu.
Poleeze lissken too mee. Con yoo unstans hat I sie?
It's rough, but vaguely intelligible.
I lock foor feemas pulace. Cold "Kimomimizu Zura". Iz own sis rood?
His Japanese is actually worse than my translated English. He mixes up letters, and with Japanese having so few, it comes out pretty funny sometimes. For example, in this case he wants directions, but it sounds like he's talking about pregnant koalas.
No, it's not.
Hut? I hoarde Kimomimizu Zura iz hist hay, fery kuloze. Iz otter oway?
Zo I goo rait I fond dere? Sankyuu berry, misto! Fer yoo!
Received [Foreign Coin].
Got 1000 Experience Points
The quest is complete, but you can find the foreigner at Kiyomizudera if you go there afterward.
Kimomimizu Zura iz bootfowl! Nesto tame I goo Kingakkuri!
He means he's going to Kinkakuji:
Zis iz bost bakoshun I ebaa half! Buh-bay!
I hope he has a great time before he gets deported.
Our next stop is the Riverside Road.
Our little apprentice from before is still here.
Master! You're looking well today.
..... It's you.
Please help me train today! I am your apprentice, after all.
(I guess I don't have a choice. What should I teach him?)
Alright, let's get started.
Thank you, Master!
A brief fade to black....
I think that's enough for today.
Thank you for teaching me, Sensei!
[VOICE OFFSCREEN]: Huh? Is that that poor kid, Shuutarou?
That's him! I could smell the farm on him a mile away!
Whoa! I never would'da believed it if I hadn't seen it myself! Is he trying to be a swordsman?
That was definitely a sword technique. Where'd you learn something like that?
Aha ha ha! Where'd you learn a back-country move like that? It's perfect for a loser like you!
Don't talk like that about my teacher!
You even talk like a farmer!
When he gets mad he looks like a stray dog! Ha ha!
The bullies wander off back toward town.
Who were they?
They're some rich kids who live in that big estate over there. I bet they're on their way home from some famous dojo.
Wouldn't you be better off studying there too?
No way! They don't study the true Way of the Sword! I want to really learn to be strong! Master, please train me again tomorrow!
He runs along, but we didn't break any noses yet so the quest can't be finished. We'll head back to Rakugai.
Just inside the gate there's our apprentice talking to another samurai.
Say that again!
I'll say it as many times as you like. Your teacher's nothing but a big fake! Only a man from a good family like mine can be a real swordsman. Where's your master from, huh? I barely caught a glimpse of him and I couldn't stop laughing for hours! There's no way a rough-looking man like that could teach you anything!
Don't talk about my teacher like that, you jerk!
You should realize what happens to people who insult a swordsman.
That's enough. Get out of here.
So you're the "Master" I've been hearing so much about. I should punish you for your student's insults!
Uhh.... You're too strong....
Looks like the only thing you're really good at is running your mouth. Get lost.
He runs away, of course.
I knew you were great! That was amazing!
You're pretty cheerful for someone who almost got killed a moment ago.
Um, excuse me?
That was really impressive!
Shit yeah, Kiryuu's a wizard, breaking the laws of physics like that.
Could we be your students too? We'll pay you a monthly fee! You can come to the dojo and stay at the mansion too!
Why not? It'd be a lot better than hanging around this dirty brat, wouldn't it?
This is my apprentice. Do you have any other insults you'd like to sling at him?
Kiryuu cracks his knuckles.
Our deepest apologies, sir. Goodbye!
They run off too.
Don't be so reckless next time. It would be foolish to throw your life away.
Answer your teacher when he speaks to you!
(I guess it's not so bad having an apprentice after all.)
Got 1500 Experience Points
As mentioned the last time we encountered Kiryuu's apprentice, the real-life Musashi did have one of his own and fiction usually depicts him as a teacher to at least one student. In this sidequest Musashi is seen by other swordsmen as a dirty country ronin who couldn't possibly understand swordsmanship, and then surprises everyone, including his student, when he turns out to be great. This depiction originated in the novel, when Musashi's initial apprentice, Joutarou, himself a poor boy nobody wants, joins Musashi because he thinks he's weak and a coward and that's why the two of them are a perfect fit - rejects together. Then he's shocked and amazed when he actually sees Musashi fight.
Furthermore, fictional works depict Musashi as frequently running away from battles when he deems it the prudent thing to do - i.e. "live to fight another day", which his student doesn't always understand. While this is a game and running away or turning down a fight wouldn't make for interesting gameplay, you can see a reflection of that in the last part of his dialogue here with Shuutarou.
On the topic of running away, it should be noted that, despite the current popular image of the samurai, running away, sneak attacks, backstabbing, ganging up on one's opponent, poisoning, psychological warfare and all other forms of "stacking the deck" were entirely acceptable and honorable. The battle began long before the swordsmen met on the field - and often before the challenge was even formally declared. Mastering that aspect of warfare was just as important to the master swordsman as mastering the katana.
Back to the Riverside Road for a particularly onerous sidequest. (Onerous for me, not for you, thanks to the power of editing.)
Two women are gossiping on the north end.
Look there! That's Osaki, isn't it?
It is. And she's wearing another beautiful new kimono today. That obi looks like one of Benten-san's designs.
Wow. Rich people just live in a different world from us, don't they?
I wish I could wear a kimono like that just once.
But you know there have been some scary-looking guys hanging around Osaki lately.
You don't think they're kidnappers planning to hold her for ransom, do you?
Oh! It must be so hard being rich with such concerns!
Well, if other scary-looking guys are stalking her, Kiryuu might as well join the crowd.
We ove down the road a ways and see Osaki being harrassed by two men.
Just give it up already, lady.
No! Get away from me!
Calm down. We're not gonna kill you or nothin'.
Huh? Who're you?
It doesn't matter. Leave the girl alone.
We've got business with this little lady, and it's none of yours.
She's the one causing us trouble, not the other way around.
We can leave them alone, but we have to fight to complete the quest.
I'll take the lady's word over a couple of low-lifes like you two.
Now let her go.
We're not gonna do that. You'll have to make us!
New HEAT action this time!
We didn't do nothin' wrong!
Don't lie to me! You were going to kidnap this woman, weren't you?
Huh!? Kidnap? You asshole!
I guess we came off a little rough. We aren't trying to kidnap anybody. This woman owes us a lot of money and we came to collect is all.
What? You mean this rich girl here? She looks like she's from a good family.
You're kinda jumping to conclusions there, buddy. She's not some noble's daughter or anything. She owes a heap of cash to our shop!
And not only us! She's got debts all over town.
Hell, even if we did kidnap her it's not like she'd be worth a single coin to anybody.
Is all this true?
We're just doin' our jobs here. If you got a problem with somebody it oughtta be the girl. You get it now?
Wait! I'm just....
We're faced with a choice again. We can let them get back to shaking her down, or we can stand up for her anyway.
Against all logic, seeing as how this is exactly the kind of work Kiryuu usually does for a living, we need to do the latter.
Eh? Are you serious? Have you got a thing for this girl or something?
What's going to happen to her if she can't pay?
If she's got nothin' else then she'll have to pay with her body. She's still young so we can get a good price for her at some shop or another.
..... Couldn't you let her go just this once?
Huh? No way! If we don't make the customers pay up how are we gonna have any kind of business?
Well, in that case....
C'mon! If you want us to back off then it's gonna take 2 ryou right now! Give us that and we'll let her slide awhile longer.
The simple guide to Yakuza sidequests is "never pay, always fight." I guess this is an exception because not paying just makes us give up and walk away.
Alright, I'll pay.
Handed over [2 ryou].
You're a generous guy to pay for her like that. Well, as long as we get the money either way. But remember this is just one payment. We're still gonna want the rest later.
Let's get going. If you don't want to see us again you'd better come up with the rest soon.
Um.... Thank you. But why did you pay for me?
I was worried. Do you really have that big a debt?
That seems strange to me. That kimono you're wearing looks quite expensive. It's new, isn't it? You should sell it off as soon as you can and give that money to pay your debts.
Or else what are you going to do when those two come for you again?
Why don't you tell me what happened?
My name is Osaki. My family used to own a huge shop. But about six months ago my father passed away and we couldn't run the shop without him. Since then the money has been running out and now I'm left with nothing.
That's too bad.
I just wanted to feel good about myself again, so that's why I bought this kimono. But what I really wanted was to see him again.
The young master of the Fuugetsudou, Kisuke-san. I don't think he's too well-known in Kyoto yet, but he has a huge shop in Edo. He moved up there to start his business, but when he was living here we were always together. If only he'd come back I would be so happy. But if he's become a big success I don't know what he'd want with me anymore. I'm so ashamed of what I've become. I don't want Kisuke-san to see me like this.
Then you have to do all you can to pay off your debt.
You're right. But I just wanted to recapture the feeling I had when I was the beautiful daughter of a wealthy shopkeeper. I wanted Kisuke-san to see me that way too. I know I should give up that life and work on paying back what I owe, but I can't give this up until I see Kisuke-san again.
So she's so incredibly vain that she won't sell her beautiful clothes, even to keep herself from being sold into slavery, on the off chance that her old boyfriend might see her when she's not in her most presentable state. I guess it's true that psychosis takes many forms.
At this point you might not know what to do. Well, you have to run all the way to Kawaramachi.
There you'll find the same two debt collectors bothering another miscreant.
(Hm? That's the same pair that was after Osaki.)
Hey! Man up, here!
Sorry. Please just give me a little more time.
This is your last break! Next time we'll take it out of your hide!
The collectors leave, giving us a chance to talk to the debtor.
Hey, about those two guys....
Oh, you overheard? Well, it's true. I owe them a lot of money.
Really? You don't look like the kind of man who has a lot of debts.
Unless that yellow vest is actually solid gold he looks just like all the other nameless randomly generated NPCs around town to me.
Ha ha. Well, unfortunately I do. Until recently I had a business going in Edo, but not now.
Edo? You wouldn't happen to be Kisuke of the Fuugetsudou, would you?
H-How did you know that?
I have my ways. But if you're so broke why are you wearing such expensive clothes?
It's just for show. I know it's stupid, but I just can't give up the lifestyle.
I'm from Kyoto originally, but when I was still young my parents moved us to Edo to pursue business. At first it was great, but then sales fell and the shop ran into trouble. Eventually it went bankrupt and I moved back here by myself.
I see. But that doesn't explain why you need those flashy clothes.
To tell the truth, there's a girl whose family runs a successful shop here in town. Since I've been back all I've wanted was to meet her again. I saw her once and she was even more beautiful than I remembered and I wanted so much to call out to her. But I don't have a mon to my name. There's no way she could settle for me.
That's why you took out a loan and used it to buy that outfit?
Yes. But I'm still too afraid to meet her. What if she finds out the truth? I know I can't keep going on like this, but I'm not ready to give up on her.
You're no different than she is.
Nothing. Look, I want you to come to the little shrine in the middle of Rakugai right away.
Just do what I'm telling you. If you don't come you'll regret it later.
....okay. I'll be there.
Instant teleportation kicks in....
Eh!? Meet at the shrine in the middle of Rakugai?
Don't worry. You'll see when you get there.
....alright. I don't really understand, but I'll be there.
For some reason we don't get teleported this time and have to hoof it.
Stepping out of the litter, we can see Kisuke has already arrived.
(Good, Kisuke's here. I need to make sure nobody sees me.)
He's not here yet. Well, if he's not going to show I'm going home.
I don't see Kiryuu-san anywhere.
There's a sparkly on the ground.
They're noticing the treasure, not each other.
They rush toward it, heads down....
Oh, that hurt!
What was that all about? I must have tripped over a branch. I certainly don't need to pick up filthy coins off the street.
Oh, me either, of course! This old street is just full of divets and imperfections.
As you can see I have all the money I need. That little coin doesn't mean a thing to me.
Ha ha! I know just how you feel.
What the hell is wrong with you two?
You both know exactly what your problems are, but you just go 'round and 'round trying to pretend they don't exist.
What do you mean? I don't have any problems!
Nope, me either. Not a one!
Cut it out! This charade is disgusting.
Shape up. Trying to show off for each other isn't going to make either of you happier.
He turns to Osaki.
He's right, Osaki-san. Since the last time we met I've lost everything. I'm poor now.
Eh!? But you're the master of a huge shop!
It's all gone. I'm not the master of anything anymore. That's why I came running back to Kyoto.
But you're dressed so nicely.
I knew you were still living here. I couldn't bear the thought of running into you dressed in shabby clothes. I wanted to look like the kind of man you deserve, even if I had to go into debt.
But I'm not going to do that kind of thing anymore. I need to face the truth. Goodbye, Osaki-san. I hope you find happiness with a man worthy of you.
Wait! I.... I'm in the same situation as you.
Huh!? What do you mean?
I wanted to see you again, but I didn't want to let you know how poor I've become, so I took out a loan....
Good, good, congratulations. Whew!
Kiryuu-san, thank you. You're the only reason we were able to be together again. Image isn't everything. You helped us realize that.
Thank you, Kiryuu-san.
You've done a great thing for us. Please take this as a token of my gratitude.
Received [Antler Netsuke].
If you don't know what a netsuke is it's a little decoration attached to a wallet or an obi. The modern day equivalent would be those cutesy baubles girls (and some guys) in Asia seem to love attaching to their cell phones.
And this is from me.
Received [Jade Obi Clip].
Are you sure?
Yes. We don't need those kind of things anymore.
But you could get some money to pay on your debt by selling them.
True, but now that Kisuke-san is by my side I'm sure we'll make it somehow.
She's right. I know we can make our dreams come true.
You taught us that. Thank you again.
Here's to a new life together!
Got 1500 Experience Points
Holy SHIT that was a lot of in that sidequest! Plus, aside from that one teleport, you have to run your ass between two pretty distant places several times, which seriously sucks.
One more thing to take care of here in Rakugai.
Near the Gion entrance we can overhear a couple talking about something unusual.
Have you heard the story that there's an amazing swordsman living in Rakugai?
You haven't heard anything yet, though. He's actually blind!
A blind swordsman? But how does he sense his opponents?
He has some kind of sixth sense. He must be a real master!
I see him all the time on Higashiyama Street.
This is an obvious reference to Zatoichi, a popular character around whom countless films and TV series have been based. Zatoichi (the character's name is actually just "Ichi") is a blind swordsman of mysterious origin who has various adventures in Edo Period Japan. Kitano Takeshi (a.k.a. "Beat" Takeshi) directed and starred in a 2003 film of the same name, and the early '90s Rutger Hauer film Blind Fury was a western adaptation of the story as well.
Well, Kiryuu will definitely want to check out this mysterious samurai. He could be a master even greater than himself!
Hey! Keep your hands to yourself, pervert!
Oh, sorry! I'm blind, you see. I heard a cat crying over this way and thought I'd see if it was okay.
How could you mistake my behind for a cat? They're nothing alike!
I'm very sorry. Please believe me.
Oh, just get out of here!
Some "sixth sense" for a blind swordsman.
Did you see that? I don't think for a minute that pervert was really blind!
If we wander around town a little more we'll run into him again.
Hey, cut that out! Stop damaging my produce!
Oh, sorry, I didn't see you there. I'm blind, you see. I'll just get out of your way.
You're full of it! You knocked those over on purpose!
Don't be so mean to a blind man. I'm trying my best.
Are you saying I'm hurting your business on purpose or something?
I didn't mean it like that.
I think you owe me an apology!
Let's see what the produce-seller has to say about that.
Did you see that? He knocked over my whole display! He said he's blind. I'm sure he's that swordsman everyone's talking about.
One more stop. In the northwest of town we can see him going into a house.
(Hmm.... That's the guy from before. Maybe he lives there.)
Sparing no thought for academic notions such as "private property rights", Kiryuu boldly enters the man's home.
Wow! Hanamaru-chan! You look amazing!
I called, but you didn't answer.
Oh, ha ha. What is this I have here? Is it some kind of art, maybe? I can't see, you know.
It looks like pornography. I thought you were blind?
The word Kiryuu uses is shunga - Edo Period pornographic wood block prints. Yes, Japan had anime porn before it had the printing press.
Oh no! Here, I'll give you 2 ryou! Just don't tell anyone about this, okay?
I gave you a chance!
He's a complete pushover.
Ah! Let me go!
You're the "great swordsman"? You're terrible!
It's true. But when people thought I was blind they were so impressed by what I could do. I liked the attention, so I just kept playing it up. But I'm getting tired of living like this. My whole life is a lie. I've decided what to do next. I'm going to leave this town and become a wandering swordsman, learning new skills wherever I go. And one day people will call me a "great swordsman" again.
Here. This is for you.
Received [Pornographic Picture].
Got 1500 Experience Points
There weren't a lot of sidequests this update, but man some of them were LONG. There's also that bounty to take care of around town though.
This guy's in Gion. The running yuujo from that second job this update actually ran right past him on every lap.
What are you doing here?
What's a kakemawari want with me? I'm minding my own business.
Are you Yotarou?
Cat got your tongue? I asked you what a killer like you is doing in a place like this.
Shit. You know me, huh?
Your face is up at the police box. C'mon, let's go.
Then I'll have to drag you there.
Ha! Tell that to my matchlock!
The fight's not as interesting as you might think, since we can't use our swords here. Just stay in his face and grab him a lot.
(What a scumbag, firing that thing in the middle of Gion. I need to call the magistrate.)
Yes, that's definitely Yotarou. Thanks for everything. Here's your reward.
Received [1 ryou].
Got 1500 Experience Points
In the video we picked up three bounty notices and fought one. Yotarou makes two, but the third won't be around until next chapter.
So that's all sidequests for Chapter 8. Now we're going to the blacksmith to build some fancy new weapons.
For reference, the (cursed) [Beckoning Sword] we've been using has 70 ATTACK and 100 POWER.
This piece of crap is the [Brittle Katana], available from the Rakugai weapon shop for 6000 mon, plus another 1000 to upgrade it to max. The base stats are a lot better than the starting swords', but still pretty awful. After it's at max level, we can make....
....this. The [Soul Tachi]. Now this might look like a good deal since you'll probably be able to upgrade it and maybe even turn it into something else later. It's not. This is a dead end. It has five rather expensive levels of tempering, topping out at 60 ATTACk and 50 POWER, and it's not used as an ingredient in any other weapons. On top of that, you can find it for free in the final chapter if you just need to fill out your completion list.
However, we can also make this from the same base:
It costs 5000 mon, and uses a piece of [Iron Ore] and [Lapis Lazuli]. Looks a lot crappier, doesn't it? But this sword is the first in a long series of upgrades in the category of [Treasure Swords], the crafting book for which came out of the storage lockers in Chapter 6.
After a few upgrades, we can turn it into this:
It costs 15,000 mon, a [Fine Iron Ore] and a piece of [Quartz]. Still doesn't come close to what we've got. But let's try it on just for kicks.
A few upgrades later, and the next step:
Now it's 20,000 mon, a [Superb Iron Ore] and an [Agate]. It's this latter ingredient that we couldn't get until this chapter, but now the Tengu Pharmacy in Gion is selling them cheap. We're getting closer.
Sadly, upgrading this [Superb Steel Treasure Sword] to the maximum level is as high as we can get for now. With 80 ATTACK it's slightly better than what we started with, but its 80 POWER is significantly less. It's still got a SPEED rating of "fast" and 80 should be enough to guard break any enemies coming up that 100 could have, so this will hold us over for now.
Here's Kiryuu decked out in his new equipment.
This would be the final step in the chain and well worth the cost, but it requires [Mother-of-Pearl] and a [Giant Clam Shell], available in Chapter 9 and Chapter 10, respectively. By that time there will be better things out there.
Now let's see what we can do with some other materials.
This is the [Iron Club]. It's a metal version of a bokutou and comes from the weapon shop for 6000 mon. This is the basis for the [Irregular Swords] that we can craft thanks to that bounty in Chapter 6, Umeyasu. Adding some other kinds of steel to it, we get:
Some more metals later, and:
This is a lot better than what we're using and on balance better than the [Beckoning Sword] as well. The only problem is it's blunt, so all of our Single- and Dual-Sword heat actions are disabled. All you can do is the one you saw over and over in the Chapter 7 training video against Shibusawa's students. However, it's pretty strong so I might whip it out once in awhile.
That's all for crafting for now. We'll be back here next chapter with a better upgrade.