Part 24: Mediocrity!
After Gizel's Puppy-Kicking Hour, we head back to Rainwall.
And some good news.
Their commander will be here to see you soon. Let's meet with him downstairs!
If the guys we faced last time were any indication, I won't be needing them.
But I suppose we have to at least say hi. (music)
Indeed, we are in the presence of one dauntless General Dinn! He is from Sable, a fine hamlet in the south!
Appropriately, Salum is hamming it up as usual.
I was ordered by Lord Raulbel to assist you, sir. I came here with some of our troops as quickly as I could.
The man seems determined to out-Sephiroth Zahak, and he appears to be winning, too.
Ga ha ha ha! You're gonna be a BIG help around here!
Sable's close to the border with Armes, so they've always been at each other's throats! But I've heard Armes has been shakin' in their boots ever since Dinn took command down there! Heh, heh, heh!
No, Lord Wilde. I'm afraid your compliments are undeserved. The reason Armes has been docile lately is because Their Majesties Arshtat and Ferid were so skilled at diplomacy.
Oh-ho! This is most helpful to our cause! What's more, volunteer soldiers have been pouring in from every region! My, my! The day we thwart the Godwins' scheme is indeed nigh!
I wish I could believe you, but again, that would make for a very short game... although to be honest I've beaten the original Suikoden in less time than it took me to get here, so I guess everything is relative.
I'm sorry to say it, but our military strength hardly seems a match for theirs...
Yes, yes, I'm afraid you're right. We could certainly use many more allies...
So! That brings me to you, Your Royal Highness!
I fucking knew it.
Do you think you could please persuade Raja to have Raftfleet join our cause?
You want Raftfleet?
Absolutely! They may not be the strongest of fighters, but one doesn't fight a war with force alone! We're desperate for scouts and messengers! And we need help transporting soldiers and provisions! With their profound knowledge of the Feitas River, they'd be perfect for jobs such as those, yes, yes?
One of these days. One of these days you'll say or do something really stupid, and then I'll be able to go back to hating you again. I can't wait for that day to come.
I dunno, though! Raftfleet doesn't like taking orders from anyone. They don't like taking sides, either.
Indeed. That's exactly why I want His Royal Highness to meet with them in person!
Don't want to give him another totally non-canon opportunity to call us a coward again, after all.
Oh-ho! You'll do it? I heartily thank you for your cooperation, Your Highness!
Your Highness, Lord Barows... If it's not out of line, may I offer a suggestion of my own?
I don't have any reason to hate you yet, so why not?
"But... they're peasants!"
Hmm... After getting scorched by the Sun Rune, I dunno iof they want anything to do with the royal family...
But if we can get THEM on our side, we can get anyone on our side! It'd be great for your cause, Your Highness!
If Boz thinks it's a good idea, it must be a good idea!
Well, I don't really see how that's even remotely--
What's the matter, Lord Barows? Do you have an objection?
Gonna need a Salum version of
No, no, not at all! But, one must not... dilute one's resources when it comes to recruiting, yes? Let's concentrate on Raftfleet first. We can think about Lordlake after that, can we not? And on that note, Your Highness, we shall leave the rest up to you!
...you all know what this means, right?
If you guessed that it's time to go around picking up optional recruits and all the salt, you would be correct! But first, the usual rounds.
The Sun Rune, Nether Gate... Guess Godwin's got all kinds of nasty stuff to throw at us! Lord Barows has gotta think it over very carefully. Come up with some kind of clever plan, like he usually does.
Me? Well, I've never been much for clever plans! Grab a weapon and kick whatever asses need kickin'! That's a Boz Wilde plan! Ga ha ha ha!
Boz is a pretty great dude, but despite what he says, and despite charging at the Godwin soldiers with a fuckhuge battleaxe in the battle yesterday, he is not available as a party member in normal gameplay. I can't really say what they were thinking with this. It's terribly disappointing, either way.
Oh, Your Royal Highness! There's something that has been worrying me, besides the strength of our army! Can you possibly guess what it is, o wise Prince?
Indeed, Your Royal Highness. Oh, it's an absolutely morbid story, but did I ever tell you I had another dear son, before Euram? He... lost his life during that dark and terrible battle over the succession of the throne. Killed by the bloodstained hands of the abominable Nether Gate Assassins! Godwin's wife was murdered by the same group, and yet he still uses those inhuman beasts! His thirst for power knows no boundaries! It bears no sense of common decency!
So! You no doubt see that I, Salum Barows, know all-too-well the horrors of which Nether Gate is capable. I'm doubling the guard around the manor, but I fear that even that may not be enough...
What about the Sun Rune?
Well! That's worth thinking over, certainly. If they used the Sun Rune, we'd be no match for them! However, I suspect Godwin wouldn't dare use it against us, yes, yes? Our lush and beautiful land is the breadbasket of Falena, yes? Were our crops destroyed by the Sun Rune, the entire land of Falena would be crippled by famine! Godwin is clearly planning a grand campaign. He can't risk weakening our nation now, yes?
What's more -- and no doubt Lady Sialeeds already knows this...
The legends have long claimed that only a true Falenan Queen can bear the Sun Rune! So! I certainly don't think that Godwin will use the Sun Rune against us!
That's convenient. Let's see what Sialeeds has to say about it.
Did Salum tell you about the Sun Rune? That only the true Queen of Falena can bear it? Well, that's just what the legend says. I'm pretty skeptical, myself. Why would the Rune care about its bearer's rank?
Arshtat probably had the same doubts, and that's why she chose to bear it. It was the only way to keep it safe.
Fat lot of good that did us
Everyone in Sable, including Lord Raubel, is deeply offended by Godwin's actions. Rest assured that the people here well understand which side is just.
I see you're going for the "honourable and boring" thing. Fair enough, we haven't got any of that yet. Welcome aboard.
Sorry, but you'll have to go to Raftfleet by yourselves.
I shouldn't be seen with you for a little while.
What?! Why not?
Because that bastard Godwin has everyone convinced that I assassinated the Queen.
You'll have a hard time finding allies with the most-wanted man in Falena by your side. Once we've got more people on your side, we can let them know the truth.
Come on, don't look so sad.
You're the future of this country, Prince! Now stand up straight and act like it!
It's not easy being the protagonist in a Suikoden game.
I'll be in charge of taking in all volunteer soldiers. If you know of anyone trustworthy, please encourage them to join us, Your Highness. I'll handle the rest.
From now on, I think you'll need your own allies. Not just those you "borrow" from my father, if you understand...
I really can't see the family resemblance.
That was a lot of words, but I'll make one more sweep before we leave.
Hey, Prince! Estrise, the town I'm in charge of, isn't too far east from here! If things weren't so grim, I'd invite you over for a visit! Well, maybe some other time!
I think we have our next destination, don't you?
What Lord Barows says has the ring of truth to it, but Lordlake worries me. I'd like to go see the place in person, but I can't just leave behind all the soldiers I've brought with me.
That means I'm going to have to do it, doesn't it...
That old buzzard can't boss us around like that! He's up to something, that's for sure. I'd better stay here and keep an eye on him.
Translation: I'm lazy as fuck, so count me out of the active party for the time being.
We can also take a look in Euram's room on the upper floor.
The curtain rolls up to reveal...
...the last thing I wanted to see on Euram's wall.
Those contemptible Godwins are going to pay a price most griveous for laying their hands upon her!!!
I... oh, fuck, I'm actually agreeing with Euram. Someone stab me before I make a habit out of it. Let's get the hell out of here.
You wish to change your traveling companions, do you?
Well I would but
all our dudes are being lazy assholes and no one is prepared to go with us
Euram's always so... well, flamboyant, if you catch my drift. But Luserina's as as serious as they come.
...We'd be in for a tough time if someone like Luserina was in charge.
So we'll go outside. NPCs aren't getting any smarter.
Old Townsman: Who'd have thought it would come to this? But Lord Barows wouldn't go to war for no good reason. We have to trust his judgment. So we're right behind you, too, Your Highness! Make sure you put up a good fight for us!
I think I'll put up a good fight for my dead parents and kidnapped sister but feel free to imagine whatever helps you sleep at night.
Right of the mansion, there's this nice little garden. The path off to the left we saw before leads to the town's appraiser, but there's nothing interesting over that way.
First person to mention the name Silverberg gets pushed in the river.
That's what my daddy calls you! He says Lord Barows has to do everything for you!
could you maybe introduce me to your father
i need to inform him that he has an urgent appointment with my fist
and also the river
Old Townsman: Queen Arshtat's father -- your grandfather --- was from Rainwall, you know.
Am I supposed to be proud of that or something?
Yes, all of it! What part of "all of it" do you not understand?!
We make our way down the stairs, and...
...run into something very unwelcome. Sadly we can't run in these fountains the way we could in IV, because otherwise I totally would.
I don't mind, really. I mean, I love all the attention! But it does feel a bit... creepy.
I want out of here.
Rich people in this town only care about serving their own interests, no matter what they might tell you to your face. Lord Barows is no different. If you're not careful, you'll just end up being used, and it won't be pretty.
...Look at what happened to poor Lordlake.
So basically people here are assholes, Hitlers and/or perverts just like in Stormfist and Sol-Falena. Same old.
Townswoman: I really don't like all these soldiers and horses being camped our around town, you know. Ugh! How uncouth! I want things to go back to normal. Back to my comfortable old life!
what a coincidence
so do I!
But clearly the most interesting person in that shot...
...is this guy.
Thank goodness you've arrived safely! Her Majesty the Queen and His Majesty Commander Ferid...
...These are utterly tragic time. By His Majesty Ferid's wishes, I attempted to concoct an antidote to the Dark Arcanum. Though it appears to have done little to help.
Anything you need, Your Highness. I've been trying to assist the wounded here ever since I heard about the battles taking place in the area. But, Your Highness, please understand that I remain neutral. I'm here to care for the wounded, not to take sides. Therefore, I will not be able to enter your territory or become associated with your army. I mean no disrespect by this.
Well, fine. Be a professional, then. See if I care.
Girl: Sometimes, a really weird boat docks here! They say it belongs to a detective!
Better than being defective! We'll have a look.
And sure enough, there's a new boat parked where we stepped off when we arrived.
And it's occupied. (music)
Woman: A client?
Man: Hmm? Client?
Aw, who cares? It's just some brat!
Rude! There happens to be two of us, you know.
Don't you realize who these people are? This is Prince Frey! And that's Lyon, one of the Queen's Knights!
Actually, I'm still just an appr--
What? He's the prince?! Ugh... What a pain!
Shigure... Try to show some respect! Sagiri! You need to be on your best bahavior, too!
They're not very friendly.
But the short lady with the ginormous hair is.
Swift investigation, privacy guaranteed, nothing but the straight facts. My name's Fuyo, and I take care of all the behind-the-scenes work, administration, accounting, and so on. These two are Sagiri and Shigure. They're our investigators.
Nice to meet you two!
We are incredibly honored that Your Highness and a Queen's Knight would visit our establishment!
Like I said, I'm still just an appr--
Wow! I had no idea that the Prince and a Queen's Knight would even know about a little place like ours! Our reputation must precede us! That's clearly why you sought us out! Our investigation skills are second-to-none!
...Years ago, I was just another client seeking Detective Oboro's help. The sheer brilliance he used to solve the mystery moved me so! I just had to seek employment here! Oh, my... I feel so embarrassed!
...maybe a little too friendly.
Your Highness. Our boss is out of the office at the moment. If you have some business, please come back later.
Unless you feel the need to hear Fuyo talk more, you should leave, then.
Well, we do have things we need to do...
Oh, really? Well, have a good time!
Thank you! We'll try.
...Uh, are you talking to me?
I was just thinkin'... You're kinda cute.
Shigure! Mind your manners! This is a Queen's Knight!
Ugh... Like I keep TELLING everyone, I'm still an appr--
Well, sorry for buggin' ya, cutie. Catch ya later.
Uh, yeah. We'll definitely be excusing ourselves now!
What could His Highness want us to investigate, anyway?
Even if he had something, I'm sure he'd have forgotten what it was by now.
Frey and Lyon are alone on the world map, which now contains the most fabulous killer chickens you've ever seen.
There's a town south-east of Rainwall, but the river is in the way and we won't be going there for a while. Instead, we're following the road east.
Windmills! Where's a Knight of Maximilian when you need one...? (music)
Lord Barows is known to take advantage of the gullible -- I hope he's not trying to rope Lord Wilde in!
Estrise is located well away from the fighting and is entirely optional at this point. There's just a little bit of backstory and some loot to be found here.
Yes, he invented the windmill. But look at his house! Or the revolving bridge! I mean, that's not the work of a sane man!
There are however some things that will become important later on.
I hope he'll do everything he can to help you settle all this trouble, Your Highness.
Hasn't disappointed me yet!
Most notably, the place has an actual seaport.
We're not allowed on board the ship, but... if you don't mind, I'm quite happy with the river. Salt water gives me flashbacks.
This is nice! Will be a lot nicer in 40 hours when I pick up the last piece, though.
Turn around, man, turn around! It's what the ocean is for!
And since the price of soybeans has gone up again, I'm selling off all the ones I bought before for a tidy profit.
Frey refuses to climb that ladder, so this is as good of a look as we're going to get of that tower. I bet there's something really neat on top.
But we'll have to make do with the chests in town. This won't see use for a good while, either.
I can't read a word of that.
The nicest thing about Estrise right now is this guy. That's another two levels, and a noticeable increase in our potential.
But it's pretty much impossible to go anywhere with all the fighting that's going on.
Oh, trust me, it's for the best. You don't want to go to the Kingdom of Obel. It's a silly place.
Boz has a nice big house in the western corner of town.
Boy (2): Hi, Prince! Nice to meet ya! I'm Keith.
And a family.
Do you remember me, Your Highness? I wouldn't be surprised if you've forgotten. We met so long ago.
My apologies. I'm Donna, Boz's wife. I hope I can be of service to you, Your Highness.
Boz, dude, seriously, you married an NPC? No, no, I'm not judging you or anything, I just think you could have done better.
Donna: Has my husband been causing you trouble, Your Highness? As you've probably already noticed, he's not what you'd call a prudent person. I really worry about him sometimes...
Well I suppose she's okay. For an NPC.
Sure, Estrise is beautiful now... Things were looking pretty bad when Armes invaded eight years ago, though! But Her Majesty the Queen and Commander Ferid drove those barbarians out and helped rebuild the town after the war. Just look around! You'd never know this place had been invaded, would you? That's why the whole town's behind you, Your Highness! It's our way of showing our gratitude to the royal family.
They may be behind me, but they're also fond of being behind other things. But the interesting thing here isn't the NPC, but the door you can see above...
...which leads to the town's first player characters.
Welcome to Professor Babbage's workshop! The Professor's the greatest inventor in all of Falena! His work includes such engineering feats as the revolving bridge and the windmills of Estrise! Oh, and I'm his assistant, Sorensen! Nice to meet you, Your Highness! You're free to look around at anything you like! Just be careful, Your Highness!
We don't have anything we need a professor for yet, so it won't even let us try to recruit them.
A third odd-looking individual comes in when we try to leave.
Hmmmm? Hey, noob! Are you some new apprentice guy for Professor Gear?
I think this is going to be one of those love-or-hate things. I can see both sides, really.
Oh! Professor Gear's here himself, so never mind noob!
WHAAA...?! Lu! Not again! What did you do to the Professor's masterpiece?! Look, I'm glad you've shown so much interest in these things, but you've got to be more careful!
Blah, blah! Maybe Professor Gear will think to make it cute-little-girl-and-"dink-dink-dink"-proof next time!
Most cute little girls don't treat their gadgets like you do! He doesn't have time to fix everything you break!
Sorensen, that's right, I don't have the time, you take a look, I'm sure you can take care of it, hmm?
P-Professor?! D-Do you really trust me to handle one of your marvelous creations all by myself...?
...O-Okay, Professor! I'll use everything you taught me to try to fix this! You won't be disappointed!
That's right, Apprentice Number 1! Bang-bang-bang on that thing till it works again!
Hey, don't you have anything else? Like something with gears that go "click-click, vrmm-vrmm, whooooosh"?!
Er, no, Lu...
No "click-click"?! No "vrmm-vrmm"?! No "whooooosh"?! Aw, man, what a bummer. You better have something that's all "vrmm-vrmm" next time I come by! I'll even take something that goes "whrrr"!
She lives nearby and comes by often, but she's a bit, well... unique. She's not like other girls, in other words. She's harmless, really --- well, so long as you're not a gadget -- so please be understanding of her... eccentricities.
I think I need to go dunk my head in the river.
After fleeing Estrise, it's back to the world map again. Peckles is a regular enemy here, and naturally doesn't drop all the nice loot he did back when he was a boss, but it's okay; we have more runes than we know what to do with right now.
The boss for this area is...
It has well over 1000 HP and hits hard - it's probably a bigger challenge than the boss fight we were allowed to lose, especially if you fight it before sharpening your weapons.
It doesn't even drop anything particularly nice when you kill it. Boo.
But enough about the terrible mutant wildlife, let's go look at the terrible mutant town. (music)
This house was empty last time, but now...
DoReMi elves are another staple of the series; they've been around since at least the second entry. We're forced into a battle, but they're quite weak as you can see.
That doesn't mean I'm not going to enjoy this opportunity to beat on some elves! Eat it, you pointy-eared little fuck!
The Wind Amulet is an interesting item - it ups your Wind affinity and reduces your Fire affinity by one step. Sialeeds might like it, when we get her back.
But it's not as easy as just walking into someone's house and killing all their elves.
Turns out the owner isn't very happy with us!
Oh, I'm sorry!
Oh, you say you're sorry, do you? And you think that'll just fix this whole atrocity?! Have you any idea how hard I, Cornelio, had to work to form the DoReMi Elf Symphony Orchestra?!
No, but if it involved getting elves to do something I can't imagine it was easy.
You still deserve it, though. Because elves.
Bah! Your simpleton eyes mock me, as if to say, "How can there possibly be a DoReMi Elf Symphony Orchestra?!" I know exactly what you're thinking! You don't have to say it! It's written as clear as sound on your face!
Your mind reading needs work. All that's going through Frey's head right now is the sight of DoReMi elves exploding into little puddles of gore, over and over again. It's the happiest he's been for days.
How dare you reject that which you fail to understand?! Your mediocrity is anathema to all artistic endeavors!
Bah! Why am I wasting time preaching to a mere mediocrity?! You have ruined my magnificent orchestra, so now you must assist me in collecting DoReMi Elves!
Behold! Witness a true musical genius at work! Observe his inspiration! Marvel at his perspiration!
So anyway, we can actually kill the thing here, but we'll hold off this time. (Don't give me that look.)
Using the first level spell from Cornelio's personal rune...
...we can conscript unique DoReMi elves. It won't work on generic ones (we'll be fighting more of them) but we will, if we ever care enough, be able to gather Cornelio's orchestra for him.
Now, then! I need four more! But my musical genius tells me no more are nearby!
This is your maestro's command, then! Find me five of them, even if you have to search every last inch of Falena! I'll be sticking around until you do, living off your coin! So don't even think of shirking, mediocrity!
Our very first optional recruit!
This plays any time you recruit a character. Listen to it!
Now, I'm told one of Cornelio's elves can be found in the forest south of Rainwall, but I couldn't find the one I was looking for...
...but this thing showed up instead, so that's good, I guess??
C to the O to the N, CONSCRIPTION!
The elves start at a low level, but as always in Suikoden, that means they shoot up several levels after every encounter until they're close enough to the rest of the group. I've gained lots of levels just running around looking for this stupid thing... The elves aren't Stars of Destiny; they're optional in the way the squirrels in II or the dogs in III were. Still, we don't exactly have a lot of people to put in the group at this point, so I suppose it can't hurt to have them.
Next... we'll actually go do what we were supposed to!
Sorensen and Babbage concepts.