Part 44: Your destiny is to die alone...
I promised you something fishy and questionable...
...and it just so happens that this here's our next recruit.
Your Highness, I'm intrigued by that painting you have with you...
Bastan's a bit of a dick to recruit because he randomly triggers this conversation when you speak to him with a ?Painting in your inventory. You don't have to, and indeed shouldn't actually appraise it, since you'll probably need to talk to him several times before something happens.
That almost appears to be-- Allow me to just take a closer look, if I may...
I guess the thought is that you're supposed to keep returning with any new items you find until it triggers, but that's a pain in the behind.
The composition, the color scheme, the brushwork...! Yes, it must be... Ha-ha, it most surely is!
What's even more of a pain is that you can't even trigger this before you have your castle, even though you have a good source of ?Paintings in the revolving bridge. Stupid picky Stars of Destiny.
This is an Ivanov Painting!
We've talked about Ivanov already. We basically picked up a Rembrandt by beating on some random mech. Fun times!
...should we... leave you alone for a bit...?
...My work, my shop. They're little more than contaminants to the artistic world! Sacrilegious insults to such a painting!
Your Highness, you truly have my deepest gratitude! I've had no right to represent cheap imitations as their brilliant counterparts. I can see that now, because of you.
That. That's. Nice. I guess??
I'll no longer concern myself with the phonies of this town. I would very much like a chance to work for you, Your Highness. Please, may I join you?
We don't get a chance to say no, but then again we have no reason to.
Allow me a short time to dispose of this clutter and close down my shop. I'll meet with you after I'm finished. I look forward to seeing you again soon, Your Highness.
This is an "important item" but we can't actually use it for anything. Still, as long as it doesn't take up inventory space...
Starting today, I will be doing business here. Thank you for the opportunity, Your Highness.
Bastan does what appraisers always do, turn "?" items into stuff we can use... maybe.
All of these are graffiti, however, which sell for .
Well, how interesting! I wonder what I should write...
This isn't even worth the paper it's written on.
We shall BATTLE as soon as you dare to face ME! Come, and taste defeat!
I never have, and I never shall. all those things you saw took place in alternate timelines okay
Here's a Pot of Failure I fished up. It doesn't look that bad this time around, compared to how it has looked in the past, but it's not worth a lot of money.
Here's a Rose Pot, and the greenish one is a Celadon Pot, which is quite valuable. I've also hung a Graffiti on the wall. Those are all the decorative items I have right now. There will be more!
And then we go put Subala in the party.
Next destination, underground!
...Can I have it? C'mon, gimme-gimme!
So we hand him the hammer.
Wow! Amazing! I could really put this baby to good use, human!
Thanks, human! I'll get started on your weapon right away!
Considering level 16 is the maximum, it seems a bit early to get into the double digits, but I sure as hell aren't going to complain!
Boy, workin' with this hammer's sure got the fire burning inside! The only thins I've been able to work on recently have been nails, plates, and other boring stuff! Not one weapon!
Are you thinking what I'm th
Would you mind joining us?
Of course you are!
Wow, join the army of a Prince?! I'd be able to forge as many weapons as I could handle! Man, I'd love to go! But there's a bit of a problem. Master...
Dongo: ...What was that, Master? Oh, yeah, you're right! This sword could really "IMPALE" someone good! I couldn't hear you at first, but you're right! Workin' on weapons is the highest priority! Especially ones that IMPALE!
???: You idiot!
Master, violence is wrong!
???: Shut your mouth! I'm just knockin' some sense into you, boy! You'll need a hundred more years of practice before you can even THINK about workin' on weapons!
Actually, this is a pain because now we have to come down here to get stuff sharpened until we find yet another hammer, which won't be for a while. Still, it's not that far, with Viki's help.
(This is yet another reason why Viki is The Best Character.)
Up the ladders to the right of Dongo is a little dwarf lady with a little dwarf portrait.
...Huh? What am I doing? I'm digging air holes, human. You have to worry about what you breathe in when you live underground. The air gets stale very quickly.
The menfolk don't even think about air! They just dig like crazy, never once stopping to consider the consequences! That's why I have to go around digging air holes all the time! My name's Zunda, by the way.
Hmm. Let's pester her some more.
What? What would a human like you want with me?
Please join us!
You know those other dwarves? Fuck 'em. They can dig their own air holes. Come to my castle and do amusing things with no real gameplay benefit for me instead.
Huh? "Join you"? That's crazy talk. Why would I "join" you, human?
Note to self, look up if "join me" means something dirty in dwarf.
Ah, I see... So, you're the human Prince. But... I'm not sure if I should join you, human.
Ah, I know! Could you show me one of those "wandew" things? Humans call air holes "wandews," right?
...What? It's "window"? Oh, well. I'd still like to see one, human.
Huh? You want to know why, human? We dwarves only know one way to make air holes. We've been doing it this way for a very, very long time. But... It's become tedious and dull. Making a window would be an accomplishment! A challenge! You get it, human? I'd become much more well-rounded if I could examine one of your human windows!
Sure do. So let's get going.
And I don't mean the window of a house made from wood and stone. Those windows won't teach me anything! So whadda ya say? Will you show me a window? I promise to "join" you if you show me one, human.
I think I can manage.
Great! Let's go! I wanna see that window!
I didn't show this last time, but you can exit the camp through these stairs.
There wasn't any reason to go here back then, but now that we can warp from the world map, it's a much faster way to get back home than to run all the way through the tunnels.
I did say I'd have him disrespect your privacy.
...wait, you're in my party right now. I probably shouldn't have said that.
Initiate Operation Bother Zerase! Spare no costs!
And check up on the creeper since we're here anyway.
Quit worryin'!!! I'm doin' great!
This unite is the main reason I brought Subala.
Lun moves to attack...
...but Subala pushes her out of the way...
...and stabs the enemy all by herself.
Lun is just going in the background.
I've no idea how that does more damage than the two of them attacking each on their own, but I'm not about to complain!
Zunda is a picky dwarf. We have to take her to Lunas.
Unfortunately, the enemies around here have been majorly upgraded since the last time we visited. This is a "killer bald eagle" and it certainly lives up to the name!
But it was the only thing I encountered on the way here.
Yes, let's go.
Let's get going, barbarous human. I don't have all day.
Lies. You don't do anything but stand around here waiting for me to come back.
Not just any window will do. It has to be the one in Haswar's room.
Huh... Wow... So this is a window... Hmm.... So that's how they're made... I can learn a lot from this human window!
Oh! And I'll hold up my end of the bargain and "join" you now, human!
I can't leave my work partially done, so I'm going to have to go back home first. Once I'm done finishing up, I'll go right on over to your place, human!
Ha ha ha ha ha! You've gotta be kidding me! I don't see how I could get lost in a forest! I could go through here whenever I wanted! I just have to dig! Right?
...evidently so. I'm starting to doubt the effectiveness of this "sacred elven path".
Speaking of which, I wasn't quite as lucky on the way back. These are Rockadillos. They hit pretty hard.
Viki hits harder.
For anyone who doubts she's The Best Character.
(I haven't even given her the gear that would boost her lightning damage yet!)
Upgraded enemies yield a lot of stuff when killed.
The miniboss from the path to Beavertown has been demoted to regular enemy. It still hits hard, but drops less stuff. Boo.
But here's the real test. This is the miniboss for the area, and he's not a happy camper.
Fortunately, Frey has picked up a new trick! If only he survives long enough to use it.
...that's the nicest thing this guy can do. And he's fast enough to go before most of our characters.
I can give as good as I get, dammit!
First Ray is a base 400 damage Sun elemental column attack. With Frey's A rank, it's 480 damage. Quite respectable, for a second level spell! 'course, this is a boss and he's quite tanky, so he doesn't take quite that much.
Very nice. Very nice indeed!
Salamanders can also tail swipe your entire front row...
...and set you on fire.
Let's give this another go.
Thank you, Viki.
Upon returning from our little side trip, we find a douchebag. Why do I keep attracting all the most terrible assholes in the realm
It's not my problem if you don't know. You're the ones who have to leave, though.
I mean, seriously! Look at this smug fuck.
Soldier: What nonsense! Why should we do what you say?!
Yeah! Tell 'im!
Around here, Frey makes his entrance.
Killey... You sniffed us out. No surprise there.
"I mean the castle is only visible for miles and it's not as if we've been spreading the news about our new HQ far and wide or anything."
Lorelai. You're helping them?
Not by choice. I'm here involuntarily. If you want answers, ask this kid.
You're full of shit, that's what you are!
Prince Frey. Explain yourself.
I have no idea what the hell you're going on about. How about you explain yourself?
???: Prince Frey, you're the one who revived these ruins.
Now what is it?!
I'll introduce you. Zweig, Smug douche. Smug douche, Zweig.
Wait, was that the other way around?
You don't need to know, four-eyes. It's none of your concern.
What did you mean when you said Prince Frey revived these ruins?
Hmph... What is it about the Sindar civilization that draws suspicious characters like this clown...?
I'm researching these ruins due to a purely academic interest. Anyway, rather than a long and boring explanation, I'll just save some time and show you. Let's go back to the sealed room.
Do I get a say in this?
I'll go regardless of what you want.
Thought as much.
First, we'll stop by here.
...The Sindar race? You say they made these human windows long, long ago? They were human, right?
No one knows, and personally I don't care. Ask Zweig.
Oh, you've brought a new window set? Let me have a little a look.
Right now we have access to the default one and this...
...as well as this.
I'll... just go with the second. Nothing says JRPG quite like blue dialogue boxes.
"I see a tremendously annoying person in front of me, but that does not answer my question."
This is... the Dawn Rune?
It's a seal in the form of the Dawn Rune. The Prince has the real thing.
Frey flips him the bird. The glowy bird.
I see... So that's how it is.
No, I'm not satisfied, but there's no need to chase you all out to investigate it.
I'd like to hear why you say that.
I'm not seeking the past.
I think we've found something we can agree on.
There's some new mail. This one's fun.
I'll have to leave it here in its full glory.
I guess Your Highness didn't like the costume I spent all that time coming up with. Well, how about this one?
(There's a drawing here that looks just like a Blade Bunny...)
Better, but no cigar.
Maybe they have cigars in Yashuna. Probably not. They seem to be health freaks.
I still can't believe you fuckers had a lake all these years and never once cared to look down at the bottom.
But on to things that actually matter. Here's a guy we haven't seen in a while!
It's good to see you again.
Likewise! Now join me. You're not a dwarf, so no excuses.
Too bad things couldn't have worked out in the end, huh? Oh, well...
But it sounds like you've been up to quite a lot lately! Good to hear!
It's the answer that gives us points.
Marina? She's here in the village.
In Stormfist, the majority of the people actually supported Lord Godwin. No surprise, really, since their only access to information is through Godwin's official announcements.
It was very difficult for Marina to listen to the villagers when she knew the truth. Because of that, the owners of the inn thought she should move somewhere else for a while. I accompanied her as her bodyguard.
Why don't you come to our castle?
Your Highness... Thank you for your consideration.
But I don't know what Marina will say. I wish to stay by her side.
I'll just have to track her down, I suppose. Now where...?
...Hmm? Marina? She's looking for work in this village. We have enough cash to support ourselves for some time, but she still says she wants to work.
Well that was fast!
Clerk: I'm so sorry, Miss, but there isn't much we can do! We're practically out of business right now, what with the hot water running bad! We may even have to close the inn! I'm afraid we're in no position to hire new help right now.
...Oh. I see. But...
Clerk: There, there, Miss! A cheerful young thing like you, I'm sure you can find work somewhere!
Um... Er... Good to see you... And, um... Well...
I-I'm sorry! If I hadn't done such a stupid thing, and if Belcoot had won... The Queen and Ferid never would have had to endure such a terrible fate...
???: That's not true. The outcome would have been the same in any case.
They had everything planned perfectly, right down to the last detail. They would have succeeded no matter what!
What happened isn't your burden, Marina.
But... But... I...
That's enough! No more ellipses! No more!
Um... You mean... Work in the Prince's castle?
Heavens, I couldn't... I hardly deserve it...
If that is your wish, I fully support you.
Belcoot... Thank you!
Um, er, Your Highness... I don't know if I will be a bit of help to you... But I'll do my best!
Good! Now stop moping and get a move on.
Well, then, I'll go with Marina.
Your Highness, ever since Stormfist, I've been meaning to repay you for your kindness. I couldn't have possibly rescued Marina without your help. Thus, I wish to lend my talents to you as well, Prince Frey.
That's another two down!
Okay! As soon as we're both ready, we'll head to your castle!
Belcoot, um, why don't you come with me?
Of course, my lady.
Well, then, Your Highness... See you soon.
...I thought they'd never leave.
But we're not done with Yashuna yet.
On the top floor of the other inn...
...Okay, calm down. This might be a most valuable opportunity.
...there's a Mysterious Man.
Er, excuse me! I'm a traveling seer, you see...
At this point, his name tag changes to Mysterious Seer, which isn't much more informative.
Mysterious Seer: Your destiny... I must say, you are completely doomed. What a terrifying destiny awaits you!!!
Let's take a closer look at your fortune. Come, right this way! You don't have to pay a thing!
Well... okay I guess?
I can't even imagine where to begin! It's all so terrible!
What part of your appalling fate would you like to hear about first?
Well, we are kind of fighting a war here so...
Mysterious Seer: Oh, you want to know how you'll do in war, do you? What are you, some kind of mercenary?
Oh, my! It's simply unspeakable! I've never seen a person with a more unfortunate destiny in battle than you! Every time you enter a battlefield, the arrows will find you! Every time you use a magic Rune, it will explode! I can't believe you're still alive with luck like this! You could die any time! Maybe today! Tomorrow at the latest!
Huh. What about money?
Mysterious Seer: Oh, I see... You recently did something utterly atrocious to a rich friend of yours, didn't you! That has forever doomed your fortune, I'm afraid. When you said goodbye to that friend, you said goodbye to money! Your coin purse is like a bucket with a hole in the bottom. You make a lot of money, but you spend it even faster. You shall be besought by insurmountable debts! Your family name shall be forever ruined among creditors!
You're... not a blacksmith, are you...?
Wow... What about love?
It is, of course, the least important of the three.
Mysterious Seer: Oh, let's see... Your surrounded by strong women, aren't you? You probably think that's a plus. Well, I'm afraid none of them will fall in love with you. But they'll still jealously guard your affections. They'll never let you get close to a woman who could truly love you! Your destiny is to die alone, without ever knowing the divine taste of true love!
Mysterious Seer: No! Oh, no more! It's too gruesome to go any further! Honestly, I knew your fate was bad, but this is appalling!
Mysterious Seer: Hey, don't look at me like that! There are ways to reverse bad luck, you know!
And... I assume they cost money? I'm sorry, something about a bucket with a hole in the bottom...
Did you say "tome?"
Mysterious Seer: It's all you need to change your luck in two shakes of a hound's tail! With this book, good luck will come your way, no doubt about it! Here, it's yours now! Take it! I'm not in it for the money! I just like helping people! Honestly!
...all right then.
Mysterious Seer: Ah! I can see the book changing your fate already. Long life, children, many fine young ladies... I'm almost jealous! Ha ha ha ha ha! I just love helping people! What a great feeling!
Don't even think of giving it to someone else!
I'd better put it somewhere safe. Don't want anyone stealing my good luck.
I am honored that you would include me among your allies as well!
Belcoot has settled in nicely, and Marina...
...does exactly what we all expected her to.
Prince! Won't you take a break here?
I am getting kind of sleepy.
...I guess I'll continue recruiting tomorrow.
And some art, because I can.