Part 44: Vangogh
Chapter 30- Vangogh
The detour Odie's old friends led us on actually proved somewhat helpful. We learned some very interesting things about what was going on here. Plus there were hotpods. There sure were.
Kryukuku! (We're home!)
Gahryahgrah! (Hey, look who we found!)
Those voices... lordy lordy, it's Rockum and Sockum!
Looks like you made it back in one piece. You run into any trouble?
Of all the places to hide from me...
Dio...? Mister Dio, is that you?
Well I'll be... how ya doin'?
You finally stopped with all that 'Master Dio' business, did ya?
Good, good, glad to hear it!
I got sick of carrying around that damned name you gave me. I ain't that 'Gestahl' fella. It's Vangogh!
That suits you much better.
No, no. Just Vangogh's fine! And this here's Rockum and Sockum!
Grahgrya! (Good to meet ya! Again...)
Krukyuru! (I was so sick of that stupid name.)
Hey, um... Vangogh... y'know...
We went into Vangogh's house. The polite word for it was 'cozy'. It was a dump. But that didn't matter one bit once I saw what was IN it.
Man... looks pretty delicious.
Hey Vangogh, do you grow hotpods?
You got it! We've been farming this land for generations now.
Course, these days, the government's taxes the daylights out of us for it.
We barely have enough to pay for tonight's dinner, and still they want more.
I tell ya, life's tough. The land here's dried up, so most of the farmers have left.
Oh, that's awful! Now that you mention it, the farms we passed on the way here did seem quite barren.
But hotpods are real simple to grow.
I left the farm to the old lady so I could go look for work.
Well... people fear it, okay? I figured anyone who heard it would just give up and save me the trouble of fighting.
I didn't realize...
I guess I went too far from cultured civilization. Nobody knew who Dio was!
Why did you leave me? Wasn't I paying you enough?
Oh, yeah, sorry about that. I didn't mean to leave without sayin' somethin'.
I found out the old lady was real sick, so I panicked and just ran home, fast as I could.
Sorry about that. Didn't mean to leave ya high and dry.
This must be it!
Vangogh! Tell me true... is this what I think it is? The Hotpod Supreme?!
I dunno nothin' 'bout no hotrods & cream, but the fella that gave me that hotpod said it were somethin' special.
The riddle of riddles... the legend of legends... I never dreamed I'd see such a sight. It's beautiful.
Oh, well, uh... glad ya like it!
But, y'know, back in the old days you could find wild hotpods just like this one all over the place.
Now people have started adding all these chemicals and stuff to make it grow better in the dusty soil.
No, no, that's no good either! If you don't care for it, you'll miss telltale signs of disease or insects.
It's up to us farmers to watch over 'em, then get outta their way when they're ready to sprout.
If they need water or anything, they got ways of tellin' ya. We don't gotta do much besides that.
Why you so interested? You plannin' on growing your own?
Oh, no, of course not. I'm sort of... a cook.
Of course, with everything that's going on, I don't get many chances, but...
Well heck, why didn't ya say so in the first place? I got all kinds of little secrets I could show ya!
The ones with the yellow near the roots are nice and ripe. Eat up! The hotpods exist to be eaten, ya know.
Alright! Okay, kid, let's go!
But before we could get to eating, another earthquake hit. You know, if you would save the damn world faster we could stop having these earthquakes happen when I'm trying to get my hotpod on. Shut up.
Oh, I'm so sorry. We must be intruding.
We really should excuse ourselves.
No, no, it's okay! We feel better when we have people around.
Thanks to the government, everyone had to leave. They even took our phynx! It's been pretty lonely since then.
Speaking of which, about the guys chasing those phynx...
Oh yeah, thanks for bringing them back to us.
See, some phynx are good for farming and manual labor... and some are good for riding into battle.
But the government's pushing their military pretty hard, and they've started taking all the farming phynx.
So they were drafted, huh?
What kind of king does that? I should go snap his neck!
Itching for another coup d'etat, are we?
The new queen took the throne just a while ago, and I'm sure she's doing the best she can.
But we just can't go on like this much longer.
At first, she hiked up taxes, saying it was 'for the good of the nation'. But they were so harsh, there was a revolt.
Yeah! Now that's how ya get things done!
Maybe. But it was a miserable time.
Why such hazardous use of your power...?
Huh? What's everyone staring at?
The Dio line has been the strongest family of wizards for over 300 years.
And the only reason Dio got to take over the family name was because...
He... he got lucky, that's all!
Anyway! Those two beasts and the man Gestahl that follow Dio didn't just come out of nowhere.
Every generation, whoever inherits the Dio name also inherits them, as well.
He also gains access to all the family techniques, treasures, and secrets.
Here's a hanky.
*sniffle* Thank you.
Anyway, they say that nobody who goes up against him ever comes back alive.
But what do you care what they do? Looks like you're aimin' to stir up a whole mess of trouble.
Whatever it is, good luck. They could use a good kick in the keister.
We stayed around for a bit longer, then started out of the slums. We weren't going to make Orviska by nightfall, but I didn't want to stay at Vangogh's if we could help it. If the Orviskans were looking for us, I didn't want to bring trouble to him.
But it looks like they've forgotten the beatdown I handed them in the war 200 years ago.
Heh. Even I forgot about that until we heard that story.
Hell, I bet even that hag Layna could smack him around if she wanted.
Well... she did manage to beat you.
Hey, that's off-limits. C'mon, show a little class.
She had another soul hidden away. That doesn't even count!
Forgot it. Just shut up and gimme some more of those hotpods!
Speaking of which, I do believe Orviska is Lady Layna's homeland.
It was also once the base of operations for Layna's father, Lord Median the Conqueror.
Hehe. Yeah, I know all about that. I had my own little place set up here.
Is there something special here?
But even then, the land's strength still isn't enough. It'd need a powerful sorcerer... and sacrifices.
Honestly, though, I'm amazed you people didn't already know. Doesn't school teach you anything these days?
That must be what Cuthbert meant when he said Orviska was their best customer.
So they buy slaves from Yesterwind and use them to keep the monster sealed...
But that's... that's horrible! That's what this Dio guy does? He's a jerk!
But if Dio was the one who sealed it...
Yeah. We'll have to get Dio to unseal it again somehow.
But would he even agree to do that...?
Hey, why don't we just ask that Layna friend of yours to do it? Didn't you say she was more powerful anyway?
I won't say she couldn't do it. But it'd be better to talk to Dio first, considering his experience with it.
Trish? Is everything okay? You look like you want to say something.
*sigh* I know this is sudden, but... I have to stay here.
I... I didn't know about any of this.
About the people living like this... These people who stand up for themselves only to be stomped back down...
Maybe it's too late, but I finally see why Shauna said I could never understand.
Hmph. You're embarking on a fool's errand, you know.
And fools work best in groups. I'll say, too.
What kind of uncle would I be if I left a young girl alone in a strange place like this?
Oh, you know I'll be fine on my own.
At least, that's what I'd like to think. But I don't want to cause trouble for Mr. Vangogh.
I mean, who knows when the army might show up again and try to take away his phynx, or his land.
I'd sleep much better at night knowing you were here with me...
Heh. You're no longer that stubborn little girl who insisted on doing everything by herself.
You, Sepp girl.
Oh! O-of course!
I'm not happy about leaving everything to a Sepp, but you're the only one I can count on.
So don't mess this up.
I-! You-! Someone's actually relying on me? What's next? Hotpods falling from the sky?
That's a pretty stupid thing to say.
Hey you in there! Shut up! You think I'm not smart enough to make fun of myself? Well I am!
Wait, what? That wasn't him... Did... did you say that?!
What? What'd I say?
Hmm. Maybe I shouldn't leave you alone, if that's true.
Nah, don't worry! Just leave everything to me!
Somehow, that doesn't make me feel better. But I guess I have no choice.
So, Levin... looks like Trish is staying here. With that in mind, what are you planning to do?
Wh-why are you talking like that/ What's any of this got to do with me?
Wh-why not ask Sluggo what he's gonna do?
Hm? Me? Yes, this is a most problematic... erm, problem.
I want to be here for my friend in his troublesome time... but if Dio's at the heart of all this, I must pursue him.
If you need me during battle, feel free to summon me.
You should get going now. Take care, everyone. Good day!
G-good day... Trish.
What a mess. Between the love triangles, cows, weird people, and Gig there's just too much crap going on. We'll be hitting Orviska tomorrow. I'd hope Dio's not a freak who's going to be really annoying to deal with, but I just can't believe things could be that convenient any more.