The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts

by The Dark Id

Part 16: Episode XVI: Sea Mother

Episode XVI: Sea Mother

Music: Sea - Highnoon Fish
(Hey this title is appropriate now.)

Me, too… I can’t believe we made it in one piece…
It's crazy we all got flung out, skipped along the water and managed to land safely on the dock.
It's amazing luck, really. I'm not even wet.

I-I never dreamed we’d CRASH! Never in a million years! Who woulda thunk it, huh? What a… what a GUTLESS plane that was!! I thought we’d at least get past Dalian. Oh, ho ho ho!!

Alice and Yuri stand up.

Lady, I've known you for all of half a day and I've been blown up THREE times in that span.
Tch… I'd classify that last one more of a violent vehicle malfunction leading to catastrophic integrity loss…

Don’t glare at me, you two! That’s not very nice! C’mon, look on the bright side… we’re all still here!


Sure, we're still here. Welcome to the port of Dalian. It's all of two screens large back in 1913 as filtered through a JRPG. Today it's a major port with a population of 6.7 million people. It's also home to a Lottery Ticket on the dock we'll happily pilfer. Beyond that, there's not much happening on the docks aside from one man guarding a fenced off and seemingly empty portion of the field. Let's see what he's up to…

Is there anything I can do…?
> I'll help if we trade something.
Really?! Please, look for it!! I'll definitely get something for you!!
No worries, I'll kick that turtle's ass.
What!? No… Just find it for me!
To clobber, right?
No!! Why would you… who'd do something like that!? It's my pet!
Oh… That's way lamer than what was in my head. Fine, I'll still do it.

We're now tossed into a mini-game. There are about twenty hotspots in the field that will make an appear above Yuri's head. Clicking the action button on it will cause Yuri to investigate and see if the turtle is hiding in the clearly recently mowed and quite short grass. If not, he'll get annoyed and we'll have to try again. The mini-game ends when Yuri finds the turtle. The turtle's location is randomized, so no cheating. Depending on the number of attempts to find it, we'll get a different prize.

I got quite lucky and found it on my second try which yields the best prize. But if I hadn't done so, we would have just reloaded the game and tried again. We really want first prize.

<hands over the turtle>
Thank you so much! As thanks, please take this!
<receives a Lottery Ticket>
Thanks, I was so worried. Oh yeah, if you come here again tomorrow, something good will happen!
Turtle soup?
N-no! What is WRONG with you!?
Just today? Got blown up in a terrorist bombing, fought an evil puppy, had a voice in my head yelling at me about something or other and was in a plane crash.

See ya tomorrow then.

Welcome to Dalian port proper. It's just this town square. As I said, it was a tiny village in JRPG filtered 1913. May as well chat up all eight town residents to get the lay of the land in our new locale for this chapter.

But since this ghost trouble, it's come to a standstill. Of course, that's made a lot of people happy. They don't want to see their precious port turned into some steel monstrosity…
…Did you say, "ghost trouble"?
Oh yes, quite a spot of bother.
'Kay. Just checkin'.

That's one way to put it…
Take my advice. You get yourselves to an inn before the sun goes down, then stay in your rooms.
Get some sleep, eh? I've heard of the concept…
…Why, you say? 'Cause the port of Dalian's under a curse!! An evil spirit's been preying on us!!
<rubs chin> Pretty sure, you can punch ghosts… Definitely feel like I'm gonna have to see if that's true soon…

You may wanna consider a name change.
Heh. If you can't dry fish, you shouldn't be called "Fish-drying Woman", right?
<puzzled look> My name is Meili.
Oh… well, I thought because it said on your—you know what? Forget it...

Yeah like someone named "Sea Mother" ain't gonna have a pro-sea bias.

She comes with the mist and brings monsters... So many have died by her curse... Who's it going to be tonight? Lord, have mercy...
This is a nightly ghost haunting curse thing?
That's right, sonny.
But there's like... thirteen people total living here...
Mhm. Bad omen.

It's a little bit hard to see, but to the right of that Old Man with Bad Back, behind some shelving, is a treasure chest Yuri can plunder to gain a lovely tea set and a complimentary sampling of sacred tea leaves. Brewing this up and consuming it in battle will restore 75 HP and 50 MP. A touch underwhelming for going to the trouble of setting up an entire tea set, honestly.

There are two buildings we can enter in Dalian. The first is a restaurant near the docks – the Sea Turtle Restaurant. We cannot order any dinner here. But there are a few items of note.

<shrugs> Yeah, I get chills just thinking about it...

Who is Li Li, again?
<shrugs> Yeah, I get chills just thinking about it...

Another colorful hourglass consumable is hiding in a chest behind the table with Drunken Ron. I'll never remember to use these kinds of things in battles.

She knows way more than we do. I'm pretty sure I saw her walkin' toward the inn... She probably went to see Yen Yen... Poor kid...
I should see Sea Mother to learn about Li Li and she's in the inn to see Yen Yen.
Yep yep!
OK, OK...

The Helpful Owner of the Sea Turtle Restaurant is, in reality, running an item shop. Of particular note, this guy is selling next tier of basic protective accessories. Casual Belts to replace Leather Belts and Leather Caps to replace Bandanas. We're doing well financially at the moment. So, we'll go ahead and purchase three of each for our party.

So, you're saying a shitty port town is offering multiple hats made from horsehide from the 1200s. And at such low prices!? What a steal! Especially when it is providing +4 Physical Defense.

Nothing like a belt that sucks at being a belt. But hey, +4 Physical Attack is what it is.

We may come back here to purchase a couple more things later. But for now, let's head over to the inn and see about this Sea Mother and ghost curse business... As soon as we approach the building, we're stopped by the Fish-Drying Woman.

Fine, but don’t bother Sea Mother.
<turns away> She’s the only person we can depend on now.

Gonna put an early bet down on this Sea Mother being evil and behind the curse right now...

The party enters the inn.

My guy, you really gotta work on your sales pitch to new guests...

<nods> Yeah, looks like it…
Also... she looks weirdly familiar...
Now that you mention it, yeah... But I can't place where.
Bah... Cat's caught my tongue. Can't think of it.

<writhes in pain> Aaah... uggh... I-it hurts... Brothers, ask... Sea Mother to...
Hang in there, Yen Yen! Don't give up! You're gonna be all right! Please, Sea Mother! You’ve got to do something! He’s the only family I have!!
The curse can't take him too! It already took my mother, father, our two sisters, our younger brother, uncle, two cousins and the cat!! Even the cat is gone!!

<stops praying and shakes head> Yen Yen… I can’t help you.

…You fought very hard. You’re a brave, brave boy…
You can’t say that Sea Mother!! Oh, God, Yen Yen!!
<shakes head> I’m sure it was very difficult, but it’ll soon be over. I do not possess the power to eliminate Li Li’s curse… Forgive me, Yen Yen.
<shakes> Ugh, ughh… Gurgle, gurgle…

Cursed and killed by someone’s hate…!
Hey, don't be all gloom and doom. I don't think that guy's dead ye—

BARF! <dies>
Yen Yen?! Yen Yen!! NO-O-O-O!!
Okay, NOW he's dead. Kinda underwhelming, huh?
Yeah. Curse just kills 'em dead? I thought he'd like dissolve into a gross goo pile or blood would shoot out of his mouth like five feet in the air or his head would explode. Frikkin' lame.
You have issues, sonny boy...

Sea Mother turns around and faces the wall.

Spirits in the heavens. Our proud fisherman will be coming under your care. Please be good to him.
<approaches Sea Mother> Thank you, Sea Mother… At least I won’t have to worry about Yen Yen losing his way…
<returns to his brother's side> Damn you, Li Li…!! How can you be so unthinkably cruel to our village…?
<walks out of the room>

Sea Mother makes her way out of the inn, but not before stopping to look Alice over suspiciously before departing. Nothing sketchy about that.

And my father told me there'd be no money in being the town coffin maker. Everyone in Dalian lives to be old, he tells me. Settle down and run the inn, he told me. Thanks for nothing, father!
Hmmm? Are you guests? I’m sorry, but please, leave me be…
Again, you really gotta work on your hospitality pitch, guy...
These are tumultuous times. Why don't you take a look at the weapons and armor downstairs?
...That's an OK recovery, pops.

Sure enough, there is a weapons shop downstairs – the Underground Armory. One day someone will inform video game developers than most coastal structures can't have basements due to the water table. Anyway, this guy is selling entirely the same junk as was available back in Fengtian. Though, strangely he is selling a Hexagonal Staff that nobody in the party can currently utilize. Weird. I'm sure nothing will come of that...

Another chest can be raided in the corner of this inefficiently spaced basement containing another Seal item. This one raises MP by 3-5 points. I didn't realize this until starting the LP and looking it up. It turns out using Seal items in the menu will always result in the minimal value of bonus points (i.e. +3 MP.) But they can also be used in battle and only there will it potentially provide the potential 3-5 spread of points. The game doesn't provide the player with that information. Those kinds of items are usually outside of battle only items in most RPGs I've played.

There is another chest inside the weapon shop itself. Unfortunately, the Innkeeper's Son's Son (I think they call that a grandson) is barring the path now. We'll just keep in mind that chest is down here for a later time. Perhaps once the villain of the day is defeated things progress in the area.

New Music: Angel Heart
(Very moody.)

Departing from the inn, the sun has since set, everyone has evacuated indoors, and the atmosphere of the town has changed dramatically. If Yuri and the gang step further into the town square, they'll get alerted to someone on the far end of the village and rush over to investigate.

Glowing in the dark is a cool trick and all but kinda paints a target on your back, eh?
I don't think people are supposed to glow. That seems sinister. Like with that evil dog...
Hmm... Now that you mention it...

<steps forward> Th-that voice! You… you must be Li Li!
…That’s right. Tee-hee-hee, what a pretty voice! My voice used to be like that, too. Even prettier, maybe… <creeps toward the party>
<jump back from Li Li>
...You had an English accent?
No, of course not!
Alice has an English accent?
I'm from London, yes.
Huh... Weird.

<motions toward the ghost> It’s you, isn’t it?! The evil spirit that comes out when the sun goes down!
<motions dismissively and shakes head> Hmph. I thought I smelled a monster!
Or rotting fish... Maybe both. Doesn't matter!

Yuri puts up his dukes.

Tee-hee. What’s the point? I only have business with her. So, the sacrifice for tonight… <looks at Alice>


Alice collapses unconscious. Yuri runs to her side. Meanwhile, Li Li teleports atop a fence post.

All you can do is sit by and watch. How glorious… She’ll be in agony until the very moment of her death. The same agony I tasted…

That's it. I'm gonna bash your face in so hard your dad's ghost is gonna feel it.
Tee-hee-hee… <laughs and fades away>

Yuri runs over and tries to punch her as Li Li vanishes.

<checks on Alice> Alice!
<punches the air> God damn it all to HELL!!

Yuri runs back to Alice's side.

In just the last three days, Alice has been taken into custody by the Japanese military, nearly abducted by a warlock, attacked by wolves, sucked into a cursed hell dimension animal demon infested village, blown up in a terrorist bombing, blown up by a plane bombing, had her puppy turn out to be a Chinese sorcerer, involved in a plane crash and now cursed by a vengeful ghost... Alice Elliot is not having a good week.

Sea Mother trots out of the Sea Turtle Restaurant and notices the party having a time.

S-Sea Mother?! Help us! Please!!
Didn't we JUST watch her completely fail to fix this curse and have a guy die on her watch!?
Do you have a better idea?! Can you fix curses!?
Didn't think so. So shuddup and let's get her help!

I-it can’t be! But… it is! That sound… You saw Li Li, didn’t you!? The girl is in grave danger! Bring her inside!! Hurry!!

Yuri and Margarete nod at each other and carry Alice inside the restaurant.

Music: Sea - Highnoon Fish

<swipes the air> But what can we do, Sea Mama?! There’s gotta be something!! Please!!
Calm yourself!! I’ve called upon a warlock more powerful than I. He should arrive soon…
A warlock...? It's not an English guy named "Bacon", right?
OK. It's not a talking dog either, right?
Are you daft? No. It's a professional from the region I trust.
Look warlocks have been a bad scene for us, lately. Especially with Alice! I don't have time to beat up another one.

Sea Mother walks over and examines a wall scroll.

You lost your beloved father, did you? In a foreign land, far, far away. Poor girl…
<steps forward> Did Li Li lose her father, too?
Yes, but under different circumstances. Fate has dealt them both a terrible hand indeed…
I don't think Alice will come back as an asshole ghost. Preferably, she won't be a ghost at all...

Why did she turn into a ghost, and why is she menacing this town?
Did someone squat a deuce on her grave or something?
Curious, are you? About her tragic tale? Yes, I suppose you should hear this… Indeed, it seems to me that Li Li may have drawn you here. Hee hee hee.
<side-eyes Margarete> Naw... Unless that ghost curses planes too, I don't think she can claim that one...
Aha! I knew there was something afoot beyond my control! <nods>
...That wasn't an out for you crashing the plane.

<shakes head> …It will be a long story, though.
Fine, go on.
I'm not trifling with the length of this tale. Perhaps you'd like to order a sandwich as I tell it.
Just spit it out, grandma. Sheesh.
Don't say you were not warned.

Fifteen years ago, there was a sudden tornado that sank many ships, Li Li’s father was on one of them. He was her only blood relative. She stood on the docks, praying fervently for his homecoming…
<turns to the party> She waited and waited, but still her father would not return. So she called out to the stormy sea. “Blue Dragon! God of Fishermen! Anyone! Please save my father’s life. I will do anything!”
<paces> At that moment, a massive bolt of lightning struck the water, and the ocean suddenly became calm. Her father’s ship returned safely, but the gods were cruel… They had taken away her voice.
<shakes head> But that was not all. Her voice had become switched with her father’s. His rough, fisherman’s voice. The father now spoke in Li Li’s sweet, dulcet tones; from that day on, he refused to ever speak again.
That's a really lame curse.
Don't interrupt!

<looks away> Sigh… That year, a traveling theatrical troupe visited the village. Such bad timing, it was… Li Li fell in love with one of the actors… I tried everything to get her voice back, to no avail. The only way was to kill her father.
...That's quite the leap in logic.
That's curses for you.

One fateful night, Li Li came to me, speaking in her father’s voice. “Sea Mother, give me that dagger. The blade you use in your rituals. I’ve made a decision…”
<walks away and faces the wall> It was shameful, but… one look into her eyes and I froze completely.

So, the true Shadow Hearts experience is listening to Sea Mother's entire story. All that just now? Pfft. That was just setting the mood! Here's the actual Li Li origin story. It is voice acted. Indeed, this scene is a quarter of the total voice acted scenes in the game. Sea Mother is a VERY dedicated storyteller. Grab a plot dump sandwich, sit back and listen to her tale...

Shloooop... Shloooop...

Video: Sea Mother's Tale
( Mandatory viewing! )