Part 29: Episode XXIX: FirenzeEpisode XXIX: Firenze
Music: Town of Twilight ~ European Town
Carla, we all know this is patently a lie and the next area is going to be several hundred miles away from Florence at the bare minimum. Don't even try with that shit making like that it's just a short stroll down the block.
Despite the elaborate furnishings, there's nothing to actually do in Carla's Divinazione studio. So let's exit and take a walkabout around Florence. There may be a few sidequests furthered just by being chatty.
Or at least, you know, the whole block of it we're allotted to in Shadow Hearts: Covenant. One of these days we'll reach another town that possesses more than two maps again. I mean, not any day remotely soon or anything. But... one of these days. In any regard, there are the usual suspects of loitering NPCs we can chat up around town. Let's see what the word is in Italy.
I mean, he's not wrong. But with a name like "Occult-hating Matteo" I have to think all he does is complain about and denounce fortunetelling no matter the situations? The Russos down the block just had a child and it's a boy? Yeah, no thanks to those lousy fortunetellers. Having a discussion about the ramifications about the ongoing war? Well, those hustling fortunetellers have nothing to solve it. Lost your job due to your employers going bankrupt? Yeah, I bet one of those goddamn fortunetellers couldn't have predicted that! All day, every day with this guy and the fortunetellers. And don't even get him STARTED on the fake news that is random battles against demons. Old wives tale all of that!
Tch! Low-poly NPC? What does that even mean?!
A likely tale...
...That the artbook has an illustration to confirm. Why not?
Florence is a town with a long and distinguished history, loved by the artists for centuries.
Plus it's been under the protection of the Assassins since 1499 when they beat the Pope in a fistfight. No Templar would dare step foot here to this day.
...The what and huh now?
I see we are already besieged by the boorish and ignorant.
Nah, Practical Claudia. Florence kept out of any of The Great War's sphere of influence. ...Bad news about the sequel, though.
Oh yes... I got this to use for my paintings, but I don't need it. I think it's horrible. Here, you have it.
"Iberian Red Tornado" makes me think the Siberian Red Cyclone Zangief is going to show up in one of these cards. Which would totally check out. Incidentally, if you have a Shadow Hearts 1 save profile on your memory card, you'd receive this card alongside Mr. Sommelier back in Gepetto's Apartment. I got a more recent update of the emulator I was using to work out a bug in Shadow Hearts 2's performance. Which unfortunately made the old memory card saves incompatible thus we didn't receive it. But... I feel it's best to space these out anyway.
Know what she told me? "You'll never marry." But why the hell not?! I've got plenty of money! Ah, here! Have this if you want it! It won't fetch much money.
Unless I'm mistaken, this is the guy we saw have a less than optimal fortune during Lucia's introduction scene. How repugnant is he if he cannot score a loveless marriage with his wealth? I mean look at the current US President. He did it like three times if you don't count the affairs.
More importantly, he forked over another Nibelung opera scene. This one bestows Karin with Geuschbenst, a 20 MP non-class physical damage attack that for 12 hits. We'll take a closer look at that when we inevitably end up in some manner of dungeon to get this wayward flower for Carla.
Milan? Rome? Naples? Toss those cities in the trash where they belong.
But these days, when you say "city of flowers," I guess people think of Paris, though...
Don't worry, the second World War will sort that out, kid. You'll probably be old enough to fight in it then. Uh-oh...
This random corner of the central square fountain nets us the Vepar Crest with its rather erratic spread of elemental magic. We'll equip that when we need it. Don't need to overload anyone's Dominance Capacity Points with frivolous abilities, now do we?
Some things never change.
Lynch this heinous motherfucker that says a hamburger isn't food!
Straw? You want straw? How about this?
I can't believe this is a thing I'm actually gonna involve myself in...
Ah! You've got some! And it's shriveled up just right! You've gotta let me have it!
If you really want it...
Are you sure?! Wow, thanks so much! It's not much, but I want to repay you. Here, have this! It's a movie made by a friend of mine. I haven't got a projector or anything fancy like that myself. You watch it! Ah, I love straw craft. It's great! What can I make after I finish this hat...?
Jesus CHRIST! This man just handed Yuri the first anime! My dude, throw that into the sea! SAVE CIVILIZATION!!
Oh well, as a consolation prize there is another Lottery Ticket in the stoop of a café right behind history's greatest monster.
Speaking of anime, we should probably do something about this wolf glaring at Blanca in the middle of the square. No preparation is necessary here. This fool doesn't know Blanca has been through a dungeon that went on for twice as long as it should have or two boss fights since the last guy.
Awroo? Awroo. (Being kept by humans? You're hardly in the position to be so snooty...)
Awroo... Awroo? (And let's not even get into that haircut. Did your human mother do that or was it all your own styling?)
Awroo. Awroo... (Ah, a haughty one. I don't relish touching a stray, but fine...)
Awroo. Awroo. (Oh? Worried you'll break a nail?)
Awroo, awroo! (Consider this an honor. Today, I'll lower myself to fight you personally.)
Awroo. (Fine. Bring it on.)
Music: Soul Comet ~ Spirit of the Wolf
And I'll show you that schooling and pedigree don't have any meaning in the real world, pal.
Music: Glint of Light ~ War of the Hungry Wolf
Time another Wolf Bout. Our opponent, Jerome, is a Water elemental foe with 256 HP gained from his posh Florentines upbringing.
Our first order of business is to immediately use Gale to speed up Blanca. And we want to do that immediately not because it's totally necessary.
But because Jerome will immediately use Seal to lock down all of Blanca's Special Abilities/Magic for the duration of the fight. Rude as heck but we'll make do.
Like all wolf adversaries thus far, Jerome is capable of the identical, albeit a weaker version of Blanca's physical attack string. But the Italian wolf also has access to Splash for some water elemental damage to mix it up. Both do in the ballpark of 30-40 HP of damage per turn.
But other than that, well... Blanca can only spam physical attacks so there's not much else left to be said. It's another damage race that Blanca handily succeeds in.
Music: Result ~ Victory
Well, OK he barely scraped by and if that turn didn't defeat Jerome then Blanca would probably take a dive. It's worth mentioning that losing a Wolf Bout is not a Game Over. Blanca will just get taunted by his opponent and can try again/come back later. But we're not doing that.
Hmph. Kept in a cage like a pet bird! All they want you for is show...
Music: Town of Twilight ~ European Town
Alright. That's one row of Wolf Bout paw prints filled and another boost to Soul Comet. We're getting there.
Awroo, awroo. (If you can't stand admitting defeat, you shouldn't fight.)
Awroo. Awroo! (Go home and be a family man!)
It seems Gerard and Pierre have made their way to Italy as well. It's almost like they're following us... We'll get to them in a minute. First, there's a treasure chest to loot containing...
I mean... that's those are clearly pills, not a potion. But if you say so... As the description implies, having Joachim wolf down an entire bottle of these pills will instantly jump him to Bat Form if we so desire. The thing is, he's actually currently in Bat Form again following Lenny's defeat. Maybe one day we'll have a use for these. For now, let's chat with the Magimel Brothers.
Oh, my! Welcome, welcome!
Almost all of the inventory in the shop remains the same. No upgraded weapons just yet. There is, however, a new set of armor that only women and Blanca can wear for... some reason. Neither of them have gotten an upgrade in some time so let's spend some cash.
Did they know UV rays were bad news on your skin back 1915...? Well, regardless this provides +26 Physical and +30 Special Defense which is a decent step up from both Karin and Blanca's previous armor sets.
For completionist sake, I went and bought Gepetto's newest weapon. And by new I mean we could have bought it back in Southampton but neglect to do so because I was not going to use Gepetto. Likewise, after taking a screenshot of it I reloaded mysave and then neglected to buy it because... naw, Gepetto. You're only getting new equipment if it comes for free out in the wild.
Someday, I'll be a top designer too, with a fashion line that'll be famous all over the world! Don't you agree?
Of course! So make me a dress!
And by "me" I mean Gepetto's creepy doll.
Fabulous! Did you bring me what I want, then? My hot little heart's desire?
...Why am I the one handling trading cards of beefcake smut to get dresses made? Where is that old man? He should be doing this!
Continuing down the line of elements it's the Wind Element's turn. I'm glad the dress is longer in the final design than it is in the proof of concept sketch... Anyway, Wind Cast is now unlocked for Gepetto if that's your kind of thing.
That's just about all there is to Florence for now. However, we're not going to be able to leave town with a couple interrupts. First off...
<jumps back in surprise> We smell?! Really?
I don't know about you but I haven't had a shower since that rainstorm back in England.
My muscles gleam with sweat!
You figured us out pretty quick... Who are you?
Sorry, I'm Rooney. I don't want to brag, but I'm the president of the World Fitness Walking Society.
The World Fitness Walking Society... Not another weird club?!
Look, lady. We're already juggling a half dozen different collectibles already.
I say we don't get involved!
I just saw that you were explorers, and wanted to ask you a favor, that's all.
Hey, remember the Pedometer mechanic from Shadow Hearts 1? It's back! This thing takes up an accessory slot and will begin tallying the number of steps taken by the party. But ONLY regions with random battles count so no cheating by sticking a rubber band on the end of the controller and having Yuri run in place against a wall in the middle of town like a lunatic for three hours to cheese it.
It's a device to count how far you're walked. It's called a Pedometer.
I think someone in my old party had one of these equipped. Hmm... Who was, again?
...Oh. Right. Alice... I don't think I'm getting that one back...
I just wanted to ask you to wear one as you go on your travels. Of course, I'll give you something in return. I've got different prizes depending on how far you go.
Prizes, eh? This all sounds a little too easy! What's in it for you?
For me? Nothing! I'm not that type of gal! I just want you all to know how good walking can make you feel.
So... if we just clock up some distance and tell one of your club members, we'll get a prize, right?
What do they all wear funny hats or bright red shoes? Or am I just going to have to bother everyone until they suddenly reveal themselves like those Lottery jerks?
...Not quite. I'm sorry, but I'll have to ask you to come back to me for the prizes.
What? How come? That'll make it such a pain.
Well... um... it's a little embarrassing to admit, actually...
I'm the only member of the World Fitness Walking Society! So you'll just have to come back to me, okay?!
Huh?! You're the only one?! And it's a society?! Ha ha ha!
Hey you all! I've started up the Monster Punching Enthusiasts Society? Does anyone want in?
OK! Now we're up to two members. Ha ha ha!
D-don't make fun of me! I'm sure I'll get more members once people realize how great walking is! Go on, then! Get walking! You've got to collect up those steps!
OK, so we pretty much HAVE to have this thing equipped on someone for the duration of the game unless we want to do a bunch of grinding later. We'll task Blanca as pedometer steward for now. He MIGHT be doing some extra walking in the near future.
Returning to Healthy Rooney will let us cash in our steps. There are prizes for 500, 1000 and then every 1000 step interval after that up to the grand prize of 10,000 Steps. Though honestly, we're only going to save up for the 10,000 Step Prize and probably never touch the rest. Like in the previous Shadow Hearts, one of the ultimate pieces of equipment are locked behind the Pedometer sidequest. In this case, Karin's ultimate armor is the 10,000 Step prize.
We'll be back to sort this out in like... 50 updates from now, probably. But for now, let's exit Florence and head to... Wait, Carla never actually gave us directions where to go... Ah well, I'm sure it'll work itself out.
Upon exiting town we treated to a scene in an undisclosed pub. A bunch of generic NPCs are having lively conversations over drinks.
Oh, and these two chucklefucks are just hanging out at the bar after clocking out from a hard day's work of secret cult scheming and the general 9-5 villainy grind. Geez, Nicolai and nearly forgotten you were in the game.
And so it just slipped out, did it?
Well, they must be in Italy by now, I suppose...
<rubs head> Uhh... yeah... uh...
You couldn't have just said Italy and left it at that...? I'm glad you stopped just short of giving them the exact street address and room number...
It's a good thing for you, Lenny, that we already moved the old man. We'll be all right, but no thanks to you.
I-I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I won't do it again. I promise!
You haven't had to face to the guy, so you don't know. I'm telling you. There's something wrong with that guy! He doesn't listen and right away he's ready to use his fists! And then he plays his mind tricks on you.
Plus now he's got a bunch of weird friends now. Like that girl that was with you before and now she's dressing all sexy now and that threw me off. Plus they've got this guy with a weird puppet that moves by itself! And a wrestler guy that is nearly as big as me! And a wolf! That guy just has a wolf that hangs out with him! It's not right, I tell you! Not right at all! A WOLF! It bit my leg and then shot ghosts at me!
<hangs head> *moans*
Forget it. I've had some problems on my side too.
That old man, he appears senile but he's a tough nut to crack.
He keeps asking me if I have any lottery tickets or pornography magazines. I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean...
Old man? You mean Bacon? That old skeleton face?
<nods> That's right.
What do we have to worry about that guy for? What do you and the Master need him for anyway?
That's none of your business. The Master has his own plan for things. As for me, it's just a matter of simple curiosity.
<cups his hands> Simon and the godslayer. They're somehow connected to each other. Which means, well, there are plenty of ways I can use that connection...
Nicolai stands up.
Lenny, get the airship ready! We're leaving soon.
And with that, so ends our chapter in Florence. Tune in next time as we hit up another dungeon. Shocking, it's one that has colors besides brown shades, actual puzzles and plot relevance! It's a revolution!
That was another short chapter but we did meet a few new faces.
For some reason, Roger Bacon gets added only after we enter Florence even though it feels like it would make more sense to have it pop up in Wales. That said, I'm kind of disappointed he went back to his monk robes look of his Koudelka days and gave up the dapper suit he was wearing in the first Shadow Hearts.
It's shockingly rare to see the Anime Shrinking Old Lady Syndrome in the west but it's really rough when it does hit anyone.
Lucia joins Lenny in the profile throwing shade at their intelligence level club, I see.
Video: Episode 29 Highlight Reel
Carla's Fortunetelling Concept Art - Whoever drew up this was in a hurry compared to the last few areas.
Florence Concept Art - Tag yourself. I'm the stick figure standing on a railing like a jerk.