The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts

by The Dark Id

Part 46: Episode XLVI: The Scene of the Crime

Episode XLVI: The Scene of the Crime

Music: Atmosphere - Blow Up

There is a bit of strangeness that only now have they mentioned that man... we're traveling kind of far on the map. It's going to take at least a good month to get that far... The distance between Prague and Rouen is 1177.7 kilometers. So it's only a little over a 100 km further than the distance between Prague to Bistritz. At this rate, World War 1 is going to start up by while the party is walking between map zones.

With that said, let's jump right into our French adventures. At least, after this intermission!

New Music: Castle of Silence
(This sure is a theme for bad dudes hanging out scheming nefarious shit.)

Ahh, you’re back. So, how did it go?
It’s shameful. I couldn’t return with that girl.
She's craftier than she looks. The Toilet Trouble Gambit is enough to ensnarl most.
That is a scheme title you may wish to workshop at a future juncture.

Roger and Olga walk to the center of the room, away from the remarkably poorly wired electric chair.

Oh, yes. That Harmonixer fellow seems to have returned to his normal self and rejoined the party.
<nods> I couldn’t see how far the girl delved into the man’s soul, but… She brought him back from the spirit’s grave.
I'm not sure how she managed any of that, to be honest.
Try not to trouble yourself dwelling on the specifics too much.

The kid doesn’t look like much, but he’s actually quite a troublemaker. We need to get rid of him early on.
Lord Bacon! You can’t tell me you’re afraid of that young boy.
Well, I’m not entirely sure what to think.
He did punch a hole in my head the one time.
H-he did WHAT!?
Quite the irritating lad.

The trouble is that the soul of the Seraphic Radiance remains sealed somewhere deep in his being. Fortunately, he hasn’t yet awoken to his true power. But if he ever does, he’ll be a fearsome enemy.
Let us hope he doesn't have an affinity for the ill temptations that are sidequests.
The Seraphic Radiance?
An ancient god summoned up by an old man in Shanghai -- one of the guardian deities of this planet.
Do you recall hearing of big trouble in little China last autumn?
I heard about Shanghai exploding. Yes. That news reached my ears...
That would be the work of Seraphic Radiance.

No mere human should be able to bring the god into submission, and yet he managed to do it… So what power is it that protects him? That’s what I want to know.
Hmm… <rubs back>
Lord Bacon, she still hasn’t given in yet, has she? She may die if you continue to torture her like this… I think you should warn the inquisitors.
<shakes head> You needn’t worry. She’s not the sort of witch to succumb to this level of torture. If anything, she’s the one with the upper hand. She’s merely toying with her inquisitors who wield the whips.
How about a nice cup of tea in the other room?

The pair strolls off for a spot of tea. Meanwhile...

New Music: But-Dad-Dead-Bed
(This relentlessly sounds like a sleepy town theme from a PS1 RPG.)

I give it like an hour before we find out there's some demon hanging out or the church is haunted or something.
Yeah, yeah... The glow sure has worn off on having you back, kid...

I wonder if Margarete has arrived yet? Well, let’s try the inn.

Everyone begins walking toward the inn. Keith stops and notices Alice is looking at the nearby church and not following them.

Is something wrong, Alice?

Hmm? Oh, nothing.

I'm starting to think Zhuzhen just doesn't know what the words for different sizes of settlements are supposed to be. Rouen had around 130,000+ people living in it by 1914. It's a small city, Zhuzhen. Even if it's only two buildings with interiors, this single street, and an alley as far as Shadow Hearts is concerned. Only one of the townspeople wandering around has anything interesting to say. The woman by the entrance just talks about how her husband is working an honest job and the guy by the inn says he'd never seen you in town. The guy by the church, though...

But, my lad, Father Doyle, who took care of this church, was afflicted with a sickness of the heart.
Too much spicy food, huh? I've been there.
No... deep in his heart -- his soul.
My soul lives in a spirit graveyard.

He's shut himself inside and won't show himself to anybody. Even the church is closed up.

A priest with a proper name who's holed up in one of the only two prominent buildings on the map, huh? I'm certain that won't become relevant in the future.

Unlike Lottery Tickets! Lotteries will ALWAYS have their relevant place in society!

Alice staunchly refuses to let us explore the alley next to the inn here. I'm sure there's no reason for that. Young women are just naturally wary of dark murder alleys. That's just being smart.

Anyway, the inn where Margarete asked us to find her is right next to the alley. So let's pop in there and see if we cannot reunite with the Alluring Spy.

Is she staying here?
Miss Margarete? Please wait a moment. Yes, she is staying here. But she’s out at the moment.
Ah-hah. So she beat us here!
Did she not have a month's head start?
Well, yeah but... Shut it, kid!
Again, I am over four times your age.

<nods> Okay! Guess we’ll be staying here, too! Some rooms, please!
Psst... You all can cover the cost of some room, right? I still ain't exactly flush after a half year of having my brain fried, ya know?
Yeah, yeah. We got it.

<nods> Absolutely. We haven’t had a lot of customers lately, so I can give you a deal! You seem to have a lady with you, so I’ll prepare two rooms upstairs. Use them as you wish.
Yeah, OK. Just make snap assumptions about the group dynamic like that, guy.

<steps forward> Thank you.
Oh?! Are you…? Aren’t you the young lady who stayed here with her father about half a year ago?
I still remember that incident. Such a terrible incident… Oh, that poor priest, rest his soul.
I had to look up what the word "gibbed" meant after reading about it in the paper. Apparently, it is short for the word "giblets" -- you know, the scattered pieces of flesh a chicken has carved off when preparing to cook it. Does that mean it's pronounced "jibbed"? That just sounds wrong...
<mortified stare>

But at least you’re safe, child. It’s a blessing of God. Now, go along and rest in your quarters.

Music: Sweet Pillows

What the...?

Music: Graveyard Moon

Welp. Nothing good ever comes from getting tossed into the Graveyard in the Cutscene Zone™. Yuri refuses to leave until he finds what's up. So let's go hit up the Four Masks to see what the jerks want this time.

Ho... ho... ho...! How foolish! You were on the verge of entering paradise, where you would no longer experience pain or suffering!
Heheh! Well, I see you’re still a bunch of blabbermouths. I couldn’t care less what you say about me!! Hmph!!
I haven't been here for over a month and all you four still do is float around talking shit about me, huh? That's just sad... You guys need a new routine.
Ho... ho... ho...! Oh, don't worry, boy. We've been working on one that we think you will enjoy.

Bwa... ha... ha...! How strange to hear those lines from one who not so long ago was so eager to die! You should be thankful to that little girl!
Yeh.. heh.. heh..! That’s right. For she has taken upon herself the burden of your karma.
What do you mean?
To save your soul from the God of Death, the one who wears the fox mask, this girl offered her soul to us!
What’d you just say?
We're just as surprised as you that she offered it up so willingly.
Tsk, tsk, tsk! All we did in exchange for her soul was open the gate to you. It isn't even that hard to climb over the thing if necessary. She really should have considered the offer more thoroughly. But hindsight and all that... You humans know all too well how that goes.

Ho... ho... ho...! When Malice reaches its peak… we’ll come for that girl’s soul, in place of Fox Face!
Bwa... ha... ha...! There is no escaping from us! No matter where she runs, her life will eventually burn out. Even if she’s within your very arms!!
<swipes at the air> Damn you!! I won’t let you lay a finger on her!!
<kicks up dirt> Your curses are as worthless and phony as a three dollar bill, you got that? Now, apologize!!!
You wish to challenge us? How very interesting!
I assure you, we're slightly more difficult to deal with than a manifestation of latent daddy issues...
No matter how hard you try to protect her, you will fail. All you can do is sit helplessly by and watch this precious life depart.
<clenches fist and shakes in anger> Arrrrrgg!! Now I’m pissed off!! You want some of me? I’ll take you all on!!
Tsk, tsk, tsk! We’ll be watching your vain attempts to drive off our spell.

Yuri turns to leave...

Tsk, tsk, tsk! It is time for you to depart, lad. Your world awaits you!
Be seeing your lady friend soon, boy.
...Gonna toss into a bonfire next time I see you.
Tsk, tsk, tsk. Good luck with that.

So you remember how Malice was no longer a factor for a whole half hour there? Yeah. That's over. Malice is back in play. The catch is that now it only accumulates when Alice is in the active party. The thing is, Alice will pretty much always be in the active party since there is no point going forward where a dedicated healer is unnecessary and the game largely stops stripping us of random party members going forward. Instead of Fox Face showing up at maximum Malice, now one of the Four Masks will start appearing instead. Those guys will completely kick our ass at this point in the game. So we're once more going to try to avoid too much Malice build up.

Anyway, back in the real world...

Music: But-Dad-Dead-Bed

<shakes head> N-no… don’t worry. I just had a bad dream.
I'm just gonna go check on Alice. Make sure she's not... ya know, cursed or anything... Again... I'll be right back!

Alice's room is right next door. So let's just barge in there in the middle of the night like a lunatic. The concept of door locks in hotels hadn't made it to France yet in 1914, you see.

She’s gone? Where did she go by herself?

Welp. Better go tell the others that Alice has either wandered off alone, gotten kidnapped or maybe just fainted again on the way to the bathroom. You never know with her, really.

She wandered off somewhere while we were resting?
We’d better go look for her right away.
I’ll go look for her. But she might come back in the meantime, so you two wait here.
I don't see the logic behind two of us would wait behind and only one would go to search.
Ergh... one of you wait here and one waits in her room.
...Again, wouldn't just having one of us wait in the hall cover that?
No, vampire guy. You'd get in the way of other people trying to get to their rooms! That's rude as hell. Think for a minute, eh?
Ah. This checks out.

Before we rush out to find Alice, Keith moved in that previous cutscene. Which means we can now raid the hotel cabinet of complimentary items like those tiny tubes of shampoo, a bar of poor quality soap and...

Shockingly high-end tea mix. This restores 300 HP and 200 MP and only has a very miniscule chance of causing cancer from latent radiation (do NOT drink it under the light of the moon!) That aside, let's get to finding Alice. Perhaps stopping at the front desk will help point us in the right direction.

Really, the blue ribbon in her hair is the thing you'd identify by...?
Would you prefer the pre-mature gray hair or the unreasonable short skirt?
...Yeah, not gonna give this place a good hotel satisfaction review when we leave. So where did she go?

She said she was going to meet a priest friend of hers.

Nothing fishy about meeting a priest friend in the dead of night. Another person you don't want to meet in the dead of night?

This creep. This guy is clearly stalking us at this point. I missed it, but apparently, you could go to Bistritz after getting Yuri from the Blue Castle and he'll appear in town peeping in someone's window with the heart emote above his head. Wanderer Meiyuan? That guy is not my kinda guy...

A Silent Peddler is also hanging out in the inn lobby. At least that's just a network of quiet weirdo merchants. I'm not creeped out by that. Unless it turns out there's actually multiple Wanderer Meiyuans and we've been seeing a different but identically looking one each time, like the merchant in Resident Evil 4. That's a haunting scenario I don't want to think about too much...

Anyway, only about 3000 more steps until we can claim the grand prize from the Silent Peddler.

More importantly, the Silent Peddler doubles as the Tight-lipped Merchant and functions as the only shop in Rouen. And he's selling a WHOLE MESS of new gear for the entire party. Yuri is the only active member right now and we cannot equip/examine items for inactive party members. So we'll just gear up our Rude Protagonist for now.

Hell yeah! We're ready for Halloween with a slick Thriller jacket. It comes sporting 58 Physical and 55 Special Defense.

Nothing screams hot-blooded shonen protagonist more than wearing a loincloth.

I really wish this game showed everyone's armor on their character models. I want Yuri to strut out wearing nothing but a frilly circlet, a Thriller jacket, and a loincloth when he catches up with Alice and her to completely no-sell his new attire.

We'll need to stop by the Silent Peddler when we're back to a full team. For now, let's try finding Alice. Hmm... I wonder if she's down the alley she didn't want to go down earlier and definitely wasn't where her dad got turned into paste by Roger Bacon.

That definitely won't be the case at the far end of this alley. But there are more pressing issues before we advance too far. For instance, if Yuri goes dumpster diving in this alley, he'll find...

Little known fact that Drunken Master was originally a silent movie released in 1913 and Jackie Chan has been around since the late-1800s. Strange but true. Strapping a 50-liter jug (that's the size of one of those big Gatorade containers they dump on coaches in football games) causes SP to decrease every other turn. That would really only be handy for Alice and even then, ehh...

Speaking of Alice, wouldn't you know it. She is at the end of this alley. You might recognize this spot if you go back to the very first update of the LP.

Hi, Yuri. Sorry to disappear on you like that.

Hey, is this place…
<stands up> Yes. This is where my father died.
(Oh boy... Regretting coming alone now. Should have listened to the vampire...)

Yuri steps closer to Alice.

It’s just as if it happened yesterday. That evening, Father and I were waiting here for someone. But before that person arrived…
<That Man's Voice> I showed up.

Roger Bacon and Arcane Olga teleport into the alley. Yuri runs in front of Alice.

Music: Wind Which Blows From the Dark II

Heh heh heh… Long time no see. I’ve been looking forward to seeing you again. Both of you.
I was a little worried after Shanghai that you wouldn't make it. How did you survive that explosion, dear? You all were out ground zero, as I recall.
Huh... How did you guys live through that?
Ergh... Don't worry about the details, Yuri!

Congratulations on your rebirth, Yuri. Returning from the graveyard of souls is a laudable feat. Though, of course, Alice here had to sell her soul to the God of Death in order to make it happen.
Hah! I’m not afraid of that masked freak!
Oh... Everyone just... knows about all that now, huh?
Ya... we should probably talk about that whole thing later.
...Yeah. Probably.

Well, thanks for showin’ up here. It saves me the trouble of huntin’ you down. It’s payback time for killing Alice’s father!
And summoning that god that blew up a chunk of China. Dick move there, too!
At ease, young man. I have no desire to fight the two of you today. I merely wanted to announce myself.
Hah, don’t hold back on our account, old man. We're ready to go! Or are you afraid?
<That Female Voice> That’s right. I’ll give you a full course on the house!

Music: Blade

Margarete! On the scene! Startling everyone by jumping off a roof and flashing her drawers at the crowd.

Hello, kids! So you’re okay, huh? We’ll talk later. I’ve got lots of questions for you.
<chuckles> Another one of your friends, is it? You youngsters multiply like viruses. Fine, I’ll play along. Step forward, my servant!
...Step forward, my servant...?
<shakes head> Oh! Sorry, Lord Bacon. I spaced out for a minute...

Music: NDE - Near Death Experience

Olga isn't actually going to bother fighting the gang here. Instead, she's going to send a dark color palette swap of Roger Bacon's favorite Wind Shears -- now rebranded to Bifronze. Much like original recipe Wind Shears, these guys are absolutely no problem and will go down from a single round of attacking from Yuri or Margarete.

Much like after Yuri bailed for several chapters, Margarete has jumped up several levels in the interval and even learned a new technique in the process. On Switch -- Drops something hard on target's head.

Yep... That does exactly what it said on the tin. Not sure what poor sod on Margarete's spy network support staff got stuck with the duty of having to lob a bedpan off a roof onto an unsuspecting enemy. But they're clearly quite dedicated to their job.

In any event, maybe delegating the role of attacking the protagonists to your lieutenant who immediately turns around and pawns off the job to some jobbers working under her isn't the best show of force for your dramatic reappearance...

Music: Wind Which Blows From the Dark II

A word of caution. I will no longer be playing along in future fights, so be on your guard.
Yeah same, I'll punch a hole clear through your head next time instead of stopping half-way.
I look forward to seeing you try.
That's a weird thing to look forward to, dude...

Once again, Roger Bacon and Arcane Olga teleport away with nobody making the slightest attempt to stop him. C'mon, at least toss a rock at him as he makes his escape. It's been established Bacon is no match for rogue rocks tossed at his head.

We REALLY gotta do something about that teleportation thing one of these days...
<stares at Yuri>

Music: Rice Field of Light

The bad hair and the ratty jacket and the cartoon gloves look the same, but I'm not sure if...
Whoa! I kinda like that!

Margarete stops her anime shenanigans and jumps back in surprise.

Ahhhh! It’s a ghost!
Alice! Aren't you and Zhuzhen supposed to do something about this kind of thing!? You guys are slacking! Bust this ghost boy!
Wait!! I’m not!!
So, you’re real? You look solid. I guess you’re not a ghost.
At least you're not transparent and you have legs instead of like... Alice, you're the expert. What do they call that like ghost wisp thing where the legs should be?
You know, I honestly do not know. Maybe Zhuzhen would know?

<hardily laughs> Heh heh. Yup, I’m just as ya see me.

<freezes in place>
Well, I’m glad to see you’re alive.
But shucks... I owe Zhuzhen a hundred bucks. I had you totally pegged for worm food.
<turns to Alice> How are you doing? How’s the drunk old man?
He’s doing well. He’s waiting for you at the inn.
He's there with our new party member, Keith.
...Keith isn't a ghost, right?
No. He's a vampire.
Pfft... Heh. You've gotten funnier since the last time I saw you.

I’ve got some crucial information. Let’s head back to the inn!

<walks away>
<unfreezes after a few seconds>
Hmph! You're the cockroach!
Good one! You got me! Nailed it!

Some time later...

Music: But-Dad-Dead-Bed

I sensed a massive cloud of evil descending on the town. So I was a little worried!
Geez, really? You coulda said something before I ran out there by myself before.
...Are you for real right now?

We ran into Bacon again.
You saw Bacon?! Did he try to harm you?!
<shrugs and shakes head> No, they said hello and went away.
Guys, I know I brought this up a few months ago but we REALLY need to do something about all these jerks just teleporting away all the time.
<notices Keith> Huh?

Who’s this handsome man?
Oh, this guy? He’s the master of the castle where I stayed.
<nods> Yes, I’m the one who took care of the moocher here. My name is Keith. Enchanted, Mademoiselle.
I’m Margarete, the moocher’s babysitter. Nice to meet you, Keith.

Hey, I been more of a babysitter for him lately.
Oh... You know how it is. I get him on the weekends. You take care of him the weekdays.
I hate all of you.

<turns to Alice> Why did you go out without saying anything, Alice? We were worried.
<shakes head> I mean, uhh, please don’t be angry with me, and if you’d rather not talk about it, fine. But maybe if we knew about what your father was trying to do, certain details may fall into place.
No need to go into details. That innkeeper up front gave me more than enough. Incidentally, we're not leaving that guy a tip on the way out...
That day… my father and I were supposed to meet with a certain person.
A certain person?
My father said this man was a warlock as powerful as Bacon.

But… my father was working on secret missions for the Vatican.
The Vatican?!
Umm, what’s a “Vatican”, anyway?
It’s in Italy. It’s the seat of the Pope – the leader of the Catholic Church.
Oh yeah?
...Should I know what the Catholic Church is supposed to be?
Again, are you for real right now?
I also dunno where Italy is... So if you could fill that in too, that'd be great.
So you're a lost cause. Alice, you were saying...
<pouts> Well excuse me for not knowing everything ever...

So, did you actually meet this person?
<shakes head> No. Bacon appeared before he arrived.
Can I have your attention, everyone?

Everyone turns their attention to Margarete.

The first person recorded in history by the name of Roger Bacon appeared in England in the 13th century. As a priest in the Franciscan Order, his scholarly training was at Oxford and Paris Universities. His skills as an alchemist and a warlock were superb, and his name was known throughout Europe. At that time, he was branded as a revolutionary, but there were also many who felt he was persecuted. It seems he was very critical of the Church and was even imprisoned for it.
Huh? That guy is 700 years old? So, he’s not human after all?
<shrugs and shakes head> But, as I looked deeper into his past, I began to notice some odd things. Roger Bacon may be a peculiar fellow, but in many ways, he seems like a very upright individual. It seems that for many years he has also aided leading scholars in the fields of medicine and chemistry.
It also said he was supposedly really short. Like sub-five feet tall short. So that seems off too...
<shakes head and waves dismissively> Upright?! Any way you look at it, that guy’s twisted!! Why, then, did he kill Alice’s father?! It doesn’t make sense.
<nods> That’s it! That’s the problem. Finally, in Nuremburg in 1540, something happened that completely changed his life. At the time, all of Europe was caught up in the mass insanity of the witch hunts… Bacon was accused by one of his pupils.
Accused?! You mean he was put on trial before the church?
<nods> A pupil warned the tribunal that Bacon’s research had gone too far, threatening to corrupt society. It finally ended in his exile. After that point, we can only catch glimpses of him throughout history. Such as now, as a force of evil.
<nods> I see. I guess he got sucked down into the murky black depths of sorcery.
There anything on where he got exiled to back in the day...?
<grim look> Yeah... It was... Wales.
<shudder> ...No wonder he turned so evil.
What's wrong with this Wales joint?
It was a great wasteland of evil magicks even in the time before my slumber. Let us speak no further on it.

<turns to Alice> So, the question is, this person that Bacon was trying to prevent Alice’s father from meeting… Who on earth could it be?!
…Wouldn’t it be best to ask that person directly?
<faces Alice> Alice. The person who introduced Father Elliot to this mystery man, it was Father Doyle, wasn’t it?
<steps forward> Yes, but the church was closed and we couldn’t get in.


Music: Wind Which Blows From the Dark II

Ha ha ha… You fools. Lord Bacon spared your life. Yet you still intend to go to the church? I won’t let you! Ha ha ha!
That voice!!
Arcane Olga… She’s watching us from somewhere! Let’s hurry!!

Tune in next time as we hit up the Rouen church and learn more of the Vatican's involvement with recent events as Shadow Hearts continues! It's never a good scene when the Catholic Church starts mucking about in the occult...

Shadow Hearts Instruction Manual Render - Yuri is just going to strike a pose out here with his Fusion Stand in front of the place where Alice's father was brutally murdered while she is menaced by the ghost of Roger Bacon. No big deal.