Part 51: Bandit-like activitiesAs promised, we're going to Sable.
And I'm bringing my tortoise.
This formation becomes available when necessary. Note that it's the only one we can use at this point; we'll get a couple of others that work with large-sized characters as the game goes on, but they can never be part of regular formations. This'll bite me in the behind several times during this episode since being in the front row with a M-range weapon makes Lyon's accuracy kind of suck.
Genoh cannot equip anything other than accessories. His offensive and defensive stats will grow at a higher rate than human characters' to compensate, but he'll never be particularly strong - especially since he only gets one rune slot, and it's permanently taken up by the Parent Turtle Rune, which has a 50% chance to protect the party from negative status effects.
The regular Turtle Rune has been around since the first game and would completely protect the wearer from status ailments. This one is considerably less useful, especially as it comes at the cost of being able to put something, anything, that doesn't suck in that one slot. It's sad, really.
Finally, before we head out, Taylor has a new issue of the Dawn Times ready for us.
The Dawn Times - Issue 2 posted:
Front Page - Prince Living Double Life As Bandit? posted:Rumors have been circulating that the Prince has been spotted in Sable performing what are described as "bandit-like activities." This news has caused much consternation among the Prince's forces. However, there are conflicting reports that state the Prince was in Lelcar at the time.
But an eyewitness from Sable who requested anonymity is sure the culprit is indeed His Royal Highness. "I seen him with my own two eyes," the witness said. "He was walkin' all regal. Ain't no doubt it was the Prince." Perhaps not even an official denial by the Prince will put an end to these suspicions.
Back Page - Yashuna Village Hot Springs Dry Up? posted:"The Dawn Times" has learned that Yashuna Village, a tourist resort famous for its hot springs, is experiencing a strange and sudden reduction in the amount of hot water coming from its subterranean source. The proprietors of the hot springs are at their wits' end.
Adding to the stress and heartbreak for the citizens of Yashuna is that no one can pinpoint the cause of this mysterious drop in water volume. "None of us can figure out what's gone wrong!" and inn proprietor tearfully exclaimed. "If something doesn't happen soon, we'll be out of business!"
Serials - Portraits of the Enemy: Zahak posted:As promised in the previous installment of "Portraits of the Enemy," "The Dawn Times" will share what we have learned about the traitorous Queen's Knight Zahak. To begin with, we must mention that Zahak is of noble birth; he is actually a distant relative of the Godwin family.
In fact, it was Lord Godwin who first discovered Zahak's talent for swordsmanship and recommended him for a position as a Queen's Knight. Zahak's first real taste of battle was during the Armes invasion eight years ago, where he proved himself among the strongest of the Queen's Knights.
Zahak is known for his quiet, measured disposition, but he's actually more cold and unfeeling than calm and composed. Those who have worked closely with him reveal an almost megalomaniacal personality -- one who would do absolutely anything to achieve his goals.
"Portraits of the Enemy" has uncovered the reason Zahak turned his back on the royal family. According to insiders, Zahak is firmly convinced that Lord Godwin's iron-fisted methods are truly the best way to make Falena into a more powerful nation.
Zahak's unwavering devotion to the strong-arm tactics of Lord Godwin is probably the reason he set Lelcar ablaze. In Zahak's judgment, this tactic was the best way to put the Prince's forces in disarray and secure the Godwin faction's rapid evacuation, even if it put many innocents at risk.
Former comrades of Zahak now say that htey won't put anything past him in the future. "I was surprised at the time, but now that I think about it, that's just the kind of cold, calculated maneuver he'd make in battle," former Queen's Knight Kyle said. "I was a damn fool not to expect it."
Fun times! We will, of course, be looking into the Yashuna hot springs mystery later, but there's nothing we can do there right now.
Party properly outfitted, it's time to head to Sable. As you may recall, this checkpoint lies just east of Lordlake. We couldn't get through it earlier, but now that we've been sent on a mission...
...we shouldn't have such probl-
Sentinel: Hey! It's the bandits! Cease, bandits! And cease your bandit-like activities as well!
actually no obviously it isn't going to be that simple and I'd honestly be more surprised if you told me you weren't expecting this.
Sentinel: Ooooh, and in broad daylight, too! You guys are getting gutsy! But it all ends here, you banditing bandits, you!
Two more guards come running in, because that's really going to stop a (bandit) prince and his giant tortoise. (music)
No, wait! You have it all wrong!
This is the real Prince!
Sentinel: Oh, no! Not that trick again! Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice... er, and you're asking for it!
Does Sable hire comedians to watch their borders? I thought these were the serious, boring and honourable warrior guys.
Sentinel: What he said! Prepare to die!
That's my line. Iodine in hell, comedians!
As expected, four Sable multiclassed comedian/border guards are no match for four protagonist/asskickers and a giant mutant tortoise.
Dammit! Beaten by a horde of bandits! A greater shame, I cannot imagine!
Well I could have knocked you out and drawn a crude penis on your face. I imagine that would do it.
Sentinel: I can! Being beaten TWICE by a horde of bandits! Call for reinforcements!
I am the reinforcements!
Sentinel: I'm on it!
Fortunately (for the reinforcements), someone stops him before it can get to that.
You're lucky you got here when you did! Another five minutes and you might have lost your entire army. (music)
Lady Sialeeds and Lyon are with him... Yep, that's the real Prince!
Are ya hurt at all, Prince?
Come on, you know me bet-
actually these days I'm not so sure about that, so no.
Frey actually nods, for some dumb reason.
...Ah, that's a huge relief! Sable's got some of the biggest, baddest soldiers in all the land!
All of them are a head shorter than you, but they are indeed some of the baddest soldiers I've ever seen.
Sheathe your swords, men!
Sentinel: But, General Dinn! These bandits--
Silence! These are no bandits! This is His Royal Highness Prince Frey! Stand down, now!
Sentinel: ...As you command, General Dinn!
Sentinel: I'll do as you say, General Dinn... But I still don't trust these guys! He looks just like the bandit leader we spotted the other day! If he really is the Prince, then... maybe the Prince is just a bandit!
You don't actually need this guy, right...?
Sentinel: No disrespect, General Dinn, but maybe he has you fooled, too. You don't have any proof, right?
Well I fucking well have! Do you assholes want me to drag the entire population of Lelcar over here to testify that I was saving their miserable hides at the time? Because I totally could!
You're right. I have no proof. I can only ask you to trust me, men.
Is there REALLY that much of a resemblance? I mean, the Prince isn't exactly... average-looking!
I couldn't believe it myself if I hadn't seen it! But even if the Prince were standing right next to the bandit, I'd have a hard time telling 'em apart! I'm tellin' ya, all you guys would be fooled, too! ...Maybe even the Prince himself!
...I need to see this bandit for myself! There's no way he looks THAT much like the Prince!
Your Highness, please forgive my men. They mean no disrespect.
Like hell they don't! I should beat them up again for their insolence.
With the constant threat of Armes, and now this roving horde of bandits, they are a bit on edge. Please understand.
Apparently Frey is a lot more forgiving than the one pushing his buttons, because he nods.
I guess that's why he's an RPG protagonist and I just play one on TV.
...Thank you, Your Hihgness.
Boy, this is even worse than I thought! Now I really feel like giving that imposter a good slapping!
Please meet with our leader, Lord Raulbel, Your Highness. He awaits you in Sable.
Well, maybe he can shed some more light on things...
Both Dinn and Boz join the party. Boz is useless because he does nothing but take up place, and Dinn is useless because he has a first level weapon. Curiously, this track plays here after the scene. It seems a bit out of place.
Sable is just east. We've seen this on the map before, from the area around Beaver Lodge, but this is the first time we can actually visit.
Sable also gets new music.
Looks... okay, I guess?
That's more than I can say for the townsfolk, though.
Townswoman: The Prince?! Why, he's nothing but a no-good bandit! Oh, why is General Dinn even being SEEN with the likes of him!
Townsman: Were he not with General Dinn, I'd beat the Prince to within an inch of his life!
Boy, even the Godwins are more cordial than this...
I am deeply, deeply sorry, Your Highness. Please stay strong, and try to ignore their taunts.
Whatever. Take me to your leader.
So Dinn does that.
I've brought His Royal Highness Prince Frey with me, my Lord.
Your Highness, Lady Lyon, what a pleasant surprise! Solis Raulbel, Lord of Sable, at your service. I bid you welcome!
Hey, a sensible person! I see why you're in charge.
Also, I'm going to have problems not spelling your name "Solid." Thought you'd like to know.
Ah, it's been quite some time since last we met, Lady Sialeeds. I apologize it had to be under these circumstances.
Indeed. Sorry for all the fuss.
No, my Lady, it is I who should apologize... To come all the way to this remote outpost, only to endure hostility from the townspeople... Please forgive me.
One quick fade later...
For one thing, what reason could His Highness have for resorting to banditry?
I like this guy. He's clever. Can I keep him?
Unfortunately, there have been many witnesses to the imposter's crimes.
Yeah, about that...
See, I went out with Dinn and his men to go root out the bandits! I wanted to get my hands on this "Bandit Prince" and wring his neck with my own two hands!
After hours of searchin', we came across the damn bandits layin' waste to a caravan. My eyes went straight to the ringleader. And he looked just like the Prince! JUST like him!
Many soldiers saw what happened. The rumor that it was His Highness the Prince spread like wildfire.
...And that rumor reached the townspeople. Now, all but a handful are against His Royal Highness.
Although the entire thing is pretty stupid in execution, the idea behind it is still rather clever. Smearing my good name just when I need it to look the cleanest! I'm a bit disappointed that Gizel hasn't sent any of his disposable ninjas after me (the entire country knows where the damn castle is by now, so he doesn't have any excuses) but this is at least something a little more intelligent than throwing more NPCs into the invincible protagonist death squad meat grinder.
...So, it was your fault, Boz?
...Yeah, I've been blamin' myself. I feel so awful about it!
Please, do not blame Lord Wilde. If he had not shouted at the ringleader first, I may have done it myself. The ringleader really does resemble His Highness that closely.
Hard to believe...
Personally, I've wanted Sable to ally with your cause, Your Highness. I believe it's in Sables best interest. And more importantly, I'm confident that justice is on Your Highness' side. However, I cannot enforce a policy that the people do not agree with, even if I am their leader.
Here's a thought. How about we put you in charge of the country?
Looks like our only option is to catch this imposter.
Much to no one's surprise.
If Frey could catch the ringleader himself, that would clear things up!
Prince, let's do it!
I'm doing it!
Please allow me to accompany you as well, Your Highness.
Whatever. Just stay in the back and don't make a mess.
We believe the bandits' hideout is on Ranro Mountain. Let's start there, Your Highness.
No, let's start by exploring this new, exciting town!
Lord Raulbel has some goodies. This is another level of magic! Though I won't use it now, because that would involve Zerase and ugh.
(He also has an epic skill, Fate Control, lying about; it combines Attack and Technique. Now that we have Elementary Magic, we could start learning magical epics. You know, if we had any.)
He even has a family.
Upper-Class Lady: Ah, um, pleased to make your acquaintance, Your Highness. I'm Solis' wife, Melissa.
Salisha: I hear you're going to take care of the bandits. Do be careful, Your Highness. If Dinn's with you, I'm sure you'll be find, Your Highness.
I shall do my utmost, my Lady!
Salisha: How many times do I have to tell you to just call me "Salisha"?!
Hands off my Stars of Destiny, lady! You two can elope when I'm finished with him.
Though good luck convincing him to stop being too boring and honourable to go through with it.
Melissa: Ah, um, I must apologize on behalf of the people of Sable for all the trouble they've caused you, Your Highness. You must believe that they're all good people, really! Please try not to be angry with them.
I'll do my very be-
no sorry changed my mind, I still think they're jerks.
Townsman: ...Huh? You say you're the real Prince? ...Well, you may say that, but there's really no way to tell you apart. Well, whatever! Don't talk to me! I don't want anyone thinking I'm friends with bandits!
WHAT WAS THAT BUDDY
YOUR GOOD FRIEND THE PRINCE CAN'T HEAR YOU IF YOU MUMBLE LIKE THAT
Old Townswoman: We want to believe you. We really do. It's just that Lord Barows was cutting some secret deals with the Armes Army, right? So that's made everyone in Sable nervous and suspicious.
That actually is a pretty good excuse, but it still hurts, you know?
You should be ashamed of yourself! Queen Arshtat and Lord Ferid were a thousand times more regal than you! If General Dinn wasn't with you, I'd beat you to a pulp!
WAIT WAIT WAIT HOLD IT
Viki! Emergency delivery! One protagonist to Dwarfville, and step on it!
Excellent! I'll be the best dwarf who ever did smith with this baby!
He's the only dwarf I've ever seen smith, so I can't comment.
I can't argue with the results, however!
Woo-hoo! Not a shabby job, if I do say so myself! Master can't say I'm just a "pretend weapons master" anymore! No way! Not after I've forged this baby!
Will you join us now?
That sounds great, human! I'd love to!
???: Dongooooo! Come here, boy!
Damn! Master again...
He disappears in under the tent.
???: Don't you get it yet, pretend weapons master?! Shut up and get goin' on those nails, boy! That's all you're good for!
Dongo: ...I'm no "pretend" weapons master!
???: Silence, boy!
Master, violence is wrong!
???: Violence is wrong, is it?! Yet you want to forge tools for killing, eh?! Well?! You do, don't you?!
Dongo: That's not it! I just enjoy the work!
???: Bah! Improve just a little and now you're all cocky! Well, I don't need anyone like YOU working under me! You're fired! Fired, I tell you! Go to the Prince's castle if you want! Go anywhere! I don't care!
You think my skills have improved? Thank you, Master!
???: Idiot! I just fired you, and you're happy?!
Dongo: Master! Thank you for everything you've taught me! I'll make you proud!
???: Aw, get outta here, boy!
Dongo: Yes, Master!
And so he does.
I better get ready! I'll head straight to your castle as soon as I'm all set! See you there!
Dongo's presence is going to make our lives a lot easier. We can also bring him along and have our very own blacksmith-in-a-can! It's nice if you know you're going to pick up a new character and want to start using them right away.
Now, where were we...
It wouldn't help his relationship with Lady Salisha, either...
...oh yeah, I was looking through Sable.
Lady Salisha, has nothing to do with this matter. Can you not refrain from this mindless gossip?
Townswoman: Oh! General Dinn! I'm so sorry!
No you're not! I can tell, because
Townswoman: Pfft, who cares about bandits? I just wanna know all the hot gossip about General Dinn and Lady Salisha!
you say that when I talk to you again.
Old Townsman: Sorry about everything, Your Highness! Of course, I believed in you completely the whole time! I mean, a prince has no need to become a bandit! Royals have access to all the gold and jewels they could ever need! But, as usual, people believe what they want to believe... A good story will always reel the suckers in!
Some of the people in Sable are actually sensible.
Sentinel: I don't like the idea of General Dinn being taken in. I prefer to reserve judgment.
There's more than one of them! Shocking, I know.
And these have an excuse.
Boy: Hey, Bandit Prince! I'm gonna beat you to a pulp! C'mon! Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam!
Pardon me while I run screaming in terror.
Apart from the silver hammer, this place, up the stairs at the inn next to the kids, is the most important thing in town.
Innkeeper: It's all right. I know Your Highness is no bandit! I'm sure it's all a Godwin plot, Your Highness!
...Excuse me? Him? He's an Armes soldier. Am Armes general by the name of Jidan Guisu allied with Lord Barows and invaded. This man fought under General Guisu. He nearly gave his life to ensure his general's safe retreat. Apparently, he fought heroically... and brutally.
Although he's an enemy, he's an honorable soldier, so Lord Raulbel and General Dinn asked us to treat him. But he's been asleep since he came in. That makes it difficult to determine how he's doing...
He looks pretty tough, but we can't recruit people in their sleep, that's just uncouth. We'll have to come back.
Innkeeper: I hate Armes scum as much as anyone... But I don't think I'd be able to live with myself if I refused to treat a man in need.
You're okay, innkeeper.
You can get up on the walls from the inn, but all we get is more abuse hurled at us. I'm leaving.
The mountain is up around to the north.
Looks like a pleasant place! (music)
And... oh, good grief.
Sentinel: General Dinn!
This is the real Prince. He is no bandit.
Sentinel: But that's exactly it, General! We suspect that the Prince IS the bandit!
His Highness is here to prove otherwise. Stand down, men, and let us pass!
Sentinel: ...As you wish, General Dinn. I shall obey your order, even if I don't agree with it...
You'll thank him later.
I'm sure I will, as long as you leave some for me.
I'll be doing a lot of climbing. I don't like climbing, but at least you can't get into battles while you're doing it.
And most of the enemies aren't anything we haven't seen before. Now that her weapon's up to scratch, Nikea one-shots the killer bald eagle.
Some treasure is sitting around the place. It's Technique + Agility.
And then there's this, which I can't show off because there's a giant tortoise in the way. Maybe another time.
These guys are new. They're about as threatening as the guards we fought before, and they like to drop questionable paintings.
And I don't mean the type with naked ladies on them. I'm pretty sure I'd be able to identify that without help.
Finally, at the top of the mountain...
...there's a bunch of loons.
...Uh, who're these guys, Roy? Oh, must be new members! They look a little old, though, 'specially the lady in b--
Bandit: You idiot! Roy's inside, sleeping! Remember?
He is? Then... who's that?
Why do you have a bird on your head?
Who do ya think?!
Bandit: It's the real Prince!
We have you now, bandit scum! Surrender now, or forfeit your lives!
Hmph! I don't think so, Mr. Big-Shot!
Then you leave us no choice!
And take Duck Man with you.
No, seriously. Why do you have a bird on your head?
Dammit! Where's Roy when ya need him?
So, this "Roy" is the imposter? And he lives in that cave?
Uh, no, wait! You can't go in there! ...It's, uh, haunted and stuff!
Shall we? Lady Sialeeds, you want to slap him first, or shall I?
If you lay a hand on Roy... I'm gonna make you wish you hadn't...
I'm not going to. Sticks, maybe. Hands, probably not.
Owwwwwww... Don't bother helping me up... It hurts too much to even stand... Roy said the real Prince would be a wuss... Man, he had it all wrong.
He sure did. It's what you get for having a bird on your head and refusing to explain why!
Now on to that stupid imposter! Hmph! No one messes with the Prince and gets away with it!
...the little tyrant has a new line after that, too.
The cave is pretty small. There are three rooms, two of which contain chests.
The encounters are much the same as before, except now they're indoors.
And in the third...
Aw, man. Guess the jig's up, huh?
We find Roy. (music)
That... is pretty good, I have to admit.
Well...! Looks like the real thing showed up, huh? Aw, a lotta people told me we looked alike, but jeez, we're like two peas in a pod! Kinda scary, huh?
Being a character in a JRPG sounds scarier. Maybe that's just me.
Yeah, I'm pretty shocked, myself. No wonder Dinn and Boz couldn't tell you apart.
Really? I don't think they look all that much alike.
Hmph! Ain't YOU a sweet talker?! Yeah, so I'm a thug from the slums. My whole life, I've had to crawl around with other lowlifes of society. Unlike the Prince here, who's been pampered like a little baby! No wonder we look different!
But we still look an awful lot alike, so don't you think it's unfair our lives are so different? That's why I thought I'd do something about it. Get a little taste of the rich life, ya know?
And, man, it was fun! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!
How dare you!
Do you really think that just because you had a tough childhood, it gives you the right to steal and hurt people? There are plenty of people who grew up without parents or money but still live good, honest lives.
Hmph! You givin' me a lecture?
I wouldn't waste my time.
But there's one thing you should admit. You're just doing whatever you feel like doing. Stop blaming your bad behavior on your childhood and grow up! How dare you even think about defacing the Prince's image!!
Listen up, sweetie. You dunno a thing about me, so don't pretend you do.
I was gonna go quietly, not tire myself out, but you had to go and get me all fired up. All right, "Your Highness." I'll take you on one-on-one! If you win, you can kill me, punish me, do whatever the hell you want. But if I win, that'll prove I'm a man of higher caliber than you! Then I get to take your place as prince!
Your Highness! Don't give in to his taunts!
He'll be fine.
The Prince won't lose.
I'll hold you to that!
...what happens in the real world is that everyone gets their faces re-arranged.
I don't think I like the real world.
One of 'em's on the floor! But which one?
Wait, fuck, that's the wrong prince. (music)
Frey! Open your eyes! Can you hear me?!
???: Indeed. It seems the Godwins are overjoyed at the Prince's supposed death.
???: I thought this day might come, but not so soon. Very well.
???: Make sure to stay in contact with our allies.
How is the Prince today?
Still unconscious. Same as always.
His wounds from that fight with Roy have healed, but yet he sleeps. I have no idea what's going on.
Salzburg Castle has fallen. Roy was killed while defending the castle, but many of our allies managed to escape the battle. With their help, I'll form an underground group to prepare for the inevitable showdown. I want to be ready to fight when the Prince finally awakes.
I've been thinking...
How... can you say that, Lady Sialeeds?
Yes, of course. Forgive me.