Part 17: The Man Who BetsPart XVII: The Man Who Bets
As mentioned, we've got a ton of important, and of lesser importance, stuff to do before we continue the plot. First on that list is hunting down one of the special cats, Catstantine the Third. The job board mentioned he was last seen in Trigleph station. Should be pretty easy to wrap this thing up.
Catstantine the Third, I presume?
Don't tell me Marvin's the one who dressed you like this? The old man's been worried about you. You can't keep running off like this.
Hey, wait up!
Looks like they're playing cat and mouse!
Except he's the cat and the cat's the mouse...and... Whatever, I'm lost. We should follow 'em. They're on the train for Duval.
That we should. Gotta get that cat before it runs off into the shadows again.
Gotcha. Nowhere to run now.
Rollo? Hey, Ludger, what're you doing here?
We've been crossing paths a lot lately, huh?
We saw a job posting too and were looking for Catstantine.
Is that so? Well, here, why don't you take the little guy home for me? His owner's old man Marvin. I think he still lives in town.
I've heard of him! He gave a big donation to the newspaper I write for!
How do you know him, Julius?
Let's just say I owe him one. Gramps and I go way back... He's helped me through a few things.
It's a long story. Where should I begin...
Fade for explanation (maybe?), and also Julius leaving...
Great. Looks like story time's goin' on hold for a bit.
And after some tense negotiations, Catstantine the Third is free to add to your cat list, as you can pick him up right after the above scene. However, we're not quite done with this job, or our business in Duval. Case in point: there's a job called Rideaux's Request, that involves bringing 3 Mysterious Beads to Duval's bar. Luckily, we can fulfill that request now, and get a new scene.
We got a job posting for it at Spirius Corp. Aren't you the one who posted it?
Darn it, Jolyne! I should've known she'd slack off.
Why do you want such a disgusting object anyway?
I'm using it to make medicine, if you must know. A special drug to counteract the side effects of aspyrixis.
Wait a minute, on Rieze Maxia the Kitarl Clan uses these beads, but not as medicine... It's a poison they give to suffering monsters to give them a peaceful death.
You don't mean...
Now hold your horses, everyone. I'm a trained medic, remember? A poison and a cure are usually one in the same... It's being able to tell one from the other that makes a doctor a doctor.
So even though it has the power to kill, you believe it also has the power to heal, if used correctly?
Hahaha! Well, of course! That's what makes it all so thrilling, don't you think?! Good and bad, all in one! It's almost symbolic of human nature, wouldn't you say? Unlike the spirits. They only acknowledge the good...
I don't think I like this guy.
Ludger, you know what I'm talking about... More than anyone, you know! You've been at the mercy of insurmountable debt, the whims of the agents...
Don't get touchy now. I'm saying I respect you. Toiling to pay off your debt, no matter how hopeless it seems... And working hard to destroy the fractured dimensions... It's all marvelous! It's a shame your older brother was Julius, of all people. *cough* *hack*
Whoa! Are you all right?
Hahaha... Reality can be cruel indeed. Sometimes, to keep your place in life, you have to be willing to fight for it! And sometimes that means using any means necessary. Remember that.
Well, we'll leave Rideaux to do whatever it is he's up to, and continue to the train station to finish up the Catstantine job.
Ah, my fuzzy little Julius!
Guess he decided to fly the coop. You may want to let him outside once in a while... He was probably just feeling confined in here.
You're probably right. Is the man right, Catstantine? Were you feeling all cooped up in here? I'm sorry, buddy! As long as you promise to come back, I'll let you out more often.
Looks like everything worked out.
I couldn't be happier... I'm embarrassed to admit it, but Julius is my sole pride and joy these days. After losing both my daughters about twenty years ago, he's about all I have left...
Both your daughters? I'm so sorry.
Oh, don't worry about me! There's plenty of folks out there who've have it much rougher than me. I may live with Catstantine here, but I still have a small fortune! And we get visitors! Please take this as a token of my thanks for finding him.
Don't mind if we do!
Wait a sec, didn't Julius technically find him?
Him and Ludger are brothers. He won't mind if we take the reward, right?
So YOU'RE Julius' brother?
This is Ludger Kresnik.
He's a Spirius agent too, just like Julius.
That can't be...
Is something wrong, Marvin?
I-It's nothing. Please excuse me. I'll set your reward up through the agency. I am truly in your debt, all of you. Thanks. (So Ludger became an agent as well. No... Julius, my boy, I wish I was able to grant your request...)
So we'll have to leave that plot thread hanging, because that's the last we'll see of Gramps. Anyway, we've got a new town to visit...
There's a skit just after you arrive in Drellin, where answering with R1 will increase Elle's affection. Aside from that, let's see what this town on the edge of Elympios looks like...
Nice little burg. There's a pleasant little jingle playing, but aside from that, Drellin is only a one-map area, aside from the standard hotel, which is located on the side of Drellin to Ludger's left. There's a cat in there that we'll be getting to shortly. First, however...
A general upgrade in equipment is in order. Buying all the things I ended up buying, I spent about 60k, which is quite the chunk of change, but remember, we have yet to beat a single new Elite Monster, which will more than pay for things. Plus, all those upgrades will make us more effective. Win-win.
Next order of business is to apprehend this rogue Irish pop-singer and songwriter, known as Enya. This cat goes by many aliases, including Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin or Enya Patricia Brennan. Citizens are cautioned that this cat is clawed and extremely dangerous.
Once this cat is captured, please return to Duval's bar. The suspect also is known to wear a Tengu Mask on her person. One final note, is that Enya is the third and final "special" cat that's not carried over via the Grade Shop. So my other playthrough is now back to 100 cats captured.
Now that that PSA has been delivered (can anyone remember the last thread I made a PSA in?), let's check out one more local oddity. Why it's an oddity, well, that would be telling, wouldn't it?
Inside the inn (which is a little hard to find, but it's the door that closest to Enya), there's a cat making quite the unsanitary condition inside the establishment. Let's fix their health code violation for them.
Awww. Anyway, the Catamar Heights here barely deserve a mention, but a couple things are worth pointing out while we're here.
Highlight the first: a cat in a most dangerous situation. Just moments before, I picked up another cat named Euler, from Kanbalar (he's one of the special cats, as you might guess). That brings us up to 47 overall, and we've still got quite a few locations to gather the felines from. Do note, however, you can't get all 100 cats until you get to the final dungeon of the story.
Highlight the second, Lake Epsilla. But...there's no lake here, is there? As you might guess, this location is more important than it may seem, but it would be hard to be less interesting than it is now. Only a couple gathering spots, a treasure chest with Stone Ward in it, and...
Wonder if we'll ever find out what's at the bottom of this path...
But, that's all for the Catamar Heights. We're going to return to Drellin to continue Alvin's story. He's hanging out on the railing of the central fountain.
Crisis at Spirus
Who cares? It doesn't matter.
Yes it does!
You just don't get it.
Neither choice makes a difference, so I went with L1.
Oh, nothing. Nothing at all.
It's definitely not nothing!
Oh, like which market stalls to eat at?
Exactly. I can't stop at all of them. I have to keep my calorie count low.
You know...you don't have to stop at any of them.
You sure love food... Sorry, better get this.
Alfred? Can you get to the Spirius building?
Yurgen's about to mix it up with the Skylark Exchange.
Huh? Yurgen's doing what?
He's crashing some Skylark product announcement they're holding at the Spirius building.
What the hell...
Is Yurgen okay?
Apparently he's decided to pick a fight with one of the most powerful corporations in Elympios.
That doesn't sound like a good idea.
If it was, they wouldn't be calling me. Thanks Balan. I'm on my way. I better go check this out. Don't suppose you'd be willing to tag along?
Our cooperation is implied at this point, don't you think?
Can I go too and write a story about it?
You'd come even if I said no.
Let's hurry to the Spirius building.
Another character chapter without any required fighting. Happening a lot lately, huh? In any case, to the SCHQ we go.
Excuse me. I heard Skylark Exchange was holding a press conference here.
I'm sorry, sir, but it's been canceled. They had some troubles with an attendee.
Troubles? I don't suppose this attendee was wearing Kitarl Clan clothes?
Pardon me, sir, but who are you, exactly?
Well, it's true Alvin doesn't have credentials, it's his buddy who is in trouble, and we're getitng nowhere here. Let's show Alvin we're a man and raise his affection with L1.
We're in a hurry! Ms. Vera will vouch for us!
So, we don't really know where Yurgen IS, so I'll guess we'll start our sweep of the building on the 10th floor.
Deal with the devil
Huh, that was easy.
Alvin... What're you doing here?
Ah, you're just in time to talk some sense into your friend. I've been trying to explain to him that no one has any designs on his business plan.
So the fact that you're using my ideas, my contractors, my shipping methods... That's all just a coincidence?
Precisely. What's that saying you have in your homeland? If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
Holmes really is one of those kinds of characters who most people who know that name know some things about him, but has never read the stories, nor would recognize an immortal line like that at first blush.
A coincidence, huh? Sounds more like business as usual for the Skylark Exchange.
What are you suggesting?
Oh, I dunno. Maybe that you strung Yurgen along so you could learn the ins and outs of the Rieze Maxia market...and then tried to beat him to the punch with his own big idea.
A new business opportunity comes along, and you decide that you saw it first and we stole your idea? Are those sorts of weak excuses "business as usual" in Rieze Maxia? I was under the impression we were trying to unify the two realms through commerce. Mr. Alfred Vint Svent. Will you help us achieve that goal?
You've got to be kidding me.
Think about it. If we assist the fledgling markets of Rieze Maxia to stretch their wings and take flight...it will only bring your goal closer to fruition. The profits from our venture will trickle down into the economy. Everyone in Elympios will win as well.
Even if your little theory holds water, the Rieze Maxians would never stand for it. Your cutthroat business style won't fly over there.
So you're just going to turn your back on Elympios? Watch it wither on the vine?
Let's say I was interested. Is there room in your team for Yurgen?
If you want to join them, leave me out of it. And if that's the way it's gotta be for you and for Rieze Maxia, so be it.
Well, Alvin appreciates L1, as it's not continuing the dogpile here. But this really seems like one of those situations that has no right answer...
Think long and hard about this, Alfred. Who would you rather do business with? A partner who freely shows his hand to a competitor? Or experienced businessmen with powerful connections in Elympios?
Well, I suppose Alvin will make up his mind soon, but for now we need to find Yurgen. I'm just going to go out on a hunch and say he's heading for the entrance.
Partners no longer
About what you said back there... How much of it did you mean?
All of it. Sorry to get you mixed up in this.
I dunno what kind of dealings you had with them...but this sort of thing happens all the time here. Especially after Spirius' sudden growth.
Yeah. These kinds of stories aren't even front-page news in the paper anymore.
Businesses have to play dirty just to stay in the black. Yep, just another day in the cutthroat world of Elympios.
Enough! We have different values. I get it. And I'm sorry for leading you on with this, but...it's just not going to happen.
What's not going to happen?
Rieze Maxians and Elympions doing business together.
So that's how you really feel, huh? I'm sorry.
I'm not looking for an apology! Whatever. Fine.
R1 for one final affection-increasing decision, but I think this is it...
Alvin... Now what?
"Now what" indeed... Well, for us, at least, it's time to head to Duval's bar and finish up the Enya sidequest.
You got my stuff back from that pesky, thieving little cat! You really helped me out of a bind! I'm so thankful! Super thankful! Super-duper thankful! I could almost cry!
All right, all right, enough with the thanks.
I'm so sorry, I've never been good at keeping my emotions inside. But I just can't help it!
I wonder if that's good for business...
Oh, don't worry about that! I've got an ace up my sleeve!
Behold: my poker face!
See? You can't tell I'm blushing right now! I'm calm as a cucumber. Cool as a kumquat. Smooth as a...mango! A bunch o' amateurs like you guys stand no chance against me with my poker face on!
He's definitely got a different vibe about him...
Kind of a creepy vibe though...
How 'bout it? Do you have what it takes to make me show any facial emotion? Ha! I thought not! Give me your best shot! You can't penetrate my poker face! No one can!
I recommend Muzet play for us.
Ah, but my face is already red! You are powerless! Mwahaha!
Hey! You KNOW I meant your face under that mask!
Man, she's gotta work on HER poker face...
That's right! That's right! Give in to your emotions! Display your feelings proudly for the world to see! This will be your undoing! Tell you what, you need this mask more than I do! I'll let you borrow it while you work on your poker face.
So that's the Tengu Mask formally acquired (you actually got it after getting Enya), but the most important result of that scene is now you can play Poker against the guy. Well, you're not *actually* playing Poker against the guy. You play Poker by yourself, and win chips depending on the hands you get.
But to get started, first you need to buy chips from the bartender. Oh, and also, my cats returned from Drellin just after that cutscene and got me a new cat, Ivan. That's 48.
10 gald per chip is pretty pricy, so I would advise you buy 1000 to get started. In addition, since there is a save point in the bar, you can very easily save scum Poker. 5000 is a bit too much, I think, and 10000 and "Buy as many as possible" is right out.
The rules are simple, friends. Poker seems to be a thing in Namco games (it's also in the Xenosaga series, at least the first game in that series), and I'm honestly surprised there's no iDOLM@STER betting game at this point. In any case, in addition to all the standard rules, there are Joker cards (featuring Elle and Ludger, no less).
Here's a good trick for making a lot of chips fast: never bet under 100 chips per hand, no matter what (that's the max bet, you see). See, the thing to remember here are the laws of probabilities are very much in your favor in the long run. When you start getting a comfortable chip amount, you can eat any number of losses, because eventually, as long as you keep playing probabilities, you'll make more chips than you lose. Of course, this rule is *not* absolute, but no man is above the law, I'm afraid.
Once you get any hand higher than 1 Pair (which results in a Draw, where you get your bet back), you'll get a chance to double your money up to 10x.
In the double-or-nothing phase, you have to guess whether the next card will be higher or lower than the card the computer flipped over. In this phase, Jokers become a bit more volatile. If the AI turns over a Joker, ALWAYS bet lower. The Joker will act in whatever way will result in you winning (except in the event of a tie, which I'll explain next), but the key point is the Joker is the only card that is considered higher than an Ace, for some reason.
However, if you tie the card the AI flipped over (so if I turned over a 7 in this situation), you lose, no matter if you picked higher or lower. In addition, for the purposes of this part of the game, Ace is considered higher than King, and will never count as less than a 2. In terms of playing probabilities, 7 and 8 are your worst cards, because the odds are nearly even between the next card being higher or lower, or in the event of the dreaded tie.
It was hard to walk away on that double-or-nothing Straight I got 64,000 chips out of (which I could have gotten a max of 256,000 out of), but this early in the game, the point is to get a comfortable chip amount so you can bet almost entirely freely from now on. 64,000 is more than enough where you can eat enough losses and STILL almost certainly make more in the long run, especially when one big payday can wipe out your losses and make a huge chunk of change at the same time.
One final note about Poker is a Pair should be your default hand, even if you end up getting nothing out of it. This does not apply if you think you're close to a Flush, of course, but this way you can substantially cut the risk of losing a lot of chips and possibly clean up on 3 or even 4 of a Kinds.
Oh, also, in my entire history of playing this game, I've gotten 5 of a Kind all of once, I believe. It was a glorious day.
So why are we doing all this shit? Well, the bartender has some really nice stuff for us, and is your only infinite source of affection points, in the form of Friendship Potions you can buy for 20,000 chips, as well as Kitty Dispatch time reducing items like Gummy Fishies or Kitty Crisps, and Royal Feasts (for 3,000 chips, which substantially increases the chance of your cats finding rare items). For now, though, picking up the first eight items will be very much to your benefit. 1 of those Extractors is Light and Darkness, two of them are 3-element, and the last two are 4-element, which you should be snapping up as soon as possible.
You can also buy a bunch of synthesis materials, but until you actually need them for making new items, it's not really important right now. Well, if you want to see Sylphid The Card Shark in-action, turning 1000 chips into more than 230,000 in the space of 12 minutes, here you are. After my Poker-playing session, I also got a funny new skit.
Oh yeah, and a little history of casinos in Tales games. I remember spending a lot of time in Abyss' casino in Keterburg (where all the games were crap and made no money except for, you guessed it, Poker. However, the first casino in this series is I believe in Symphonia, which technically did have a casino in the original GameCube release (but you couldn't do anything there. It was just for decoration). This was changed, however, in the PS2 version when you could actually play Poker there for fabulous prizes.
You know what we haven't had in a while? A good ol' fashioned Elite Monster. This is why I'm headed back to the Fezebel Marsh to fight the Dark Teagle. First of all, time to take out this Bacura, since they give some nice rewards.
They're really quite boring fights, I must say. But they are worth the time investment. Oh yeah, and after I loaded up my save to begin this recording session, Petunia was retrieved from the Nala Lava Tubes. 49. Anyway, the Dark Teagle.
The Dark Teagle is...pretty hard, actually. He'll start off with a little goon to help him, and has the chance of calling in more reinforcements, but the number of enemies on the field will never exceed 3. The boss cat has two really dangerous attacks. One is where it'll stop and brace itself, then rush forward with its mouth open to scoop up its target. This attack is powerful, and will hit even if the target blocks. You'll just have to dodge it, preferably with a quick step.
The other one is this, where it jumps up and crashes back down. The crash itself does damage, of course, but if a character gets hit by it, they'll also get Stoned. Note that this attack is a bit long-lasting, and if you run into the area, you'll also get Stoned, even if you didn't get hit by the initial attack. A devastating attack.
As far as vulnerabilities go, he's weak to Wind and Darkness, which is why you'll find in the video I'm spamming Azure Edge. Wait until you find out how I screwed myself over this fight!
Lucky Cat is a pretty awesome Linked arte. Note this one of...I think three different cats that can fall from the sky.
After entirely too long, I finally brought down the Teagle. Now, in most situations where you fight multiple foes, with one powerful and a few weak, you want to take out the weak first. Not so in this case, as the Teagle will quickly replace the losses (except for the translucent dog), and the more time spent attacking his comrades, the less damage you're doing to him. Once the Teagle is down, simple mop-up operation.
And yeah, I got quite a few things out of this fight... (that's not even all the skills Ludger got).
Now, here's how I screwed myself over: I didn't equip Power Charge 3, even though Ludger et. all was level 40 going into the fight. The length and difficulty I had with that fight is entirely my fault.
Returning to Kanbalar to turn in the Dark Teagle's head, I went way over the line in terms of needed money, so here's Nova to let me know what's next.
However, it does seem she's in a spot of trouble. Pity, that. I'm sure whatever it is, it can wait as we continue to wrap up business here and in other lands. The next-to-last order of business for today's update is the last Kanbalar cat. Now, the job request mentions that the cat is in the residential district, and is near a snow pile. However, close investigation will note there are no cats near snow piles in the residential area. So what the hell?
If you head to the Temple, instead of going into it or on to Xialen Woods, head to the path to the temple's right and up the path.
You'll end up on the rooftops surrounding the city streets. It's a completely linear path until you get to your destination.
Oh yeah, and Gaius usually busts this line out sometimes after you kicked the ass of the last boss enemy you fought. I don't know if I'd say I kicked the Dark Teagle's ass, but evidently the game disagrees.
Your destination, of course, being the cat. Now, Breezy is the 50th feline I've apprehended, so it's time for a skit, where you learn a terrible secret of Jude's.
Question: was this path in Xillia 1? Answer: yes, it was. You had to use it in the second act of the game when Exodus broke the dimensional barrier and occupied Castle Gaius. At this point in the story, the party had allied itself with the Chimeriad to reoccupy the castle to provide a staging base for an attack on the ESS Zenethra. And the rest, is history.
After acquiring the cat and taking in the nice view of Castle Gaius, we have one final business to attend to. It requires taking Karla's request for 3 Migrant Plumes, and heading to Kanbalar's inn. She'll be standing toward the back of the lobby.
Wait... I remember you!
That's right. You quizzed us back in Xian Du.
Elize is referring to Karla's little sidequest in the first game. She first appeared standing beneath a statue to the party, without anyone knowing her last name, at the time. You learn more about her and her brother's ascension to power via sidequests.
Of course! Elize, right? Looks like you and your friends are doing well.
And you're the same as always.
Well, what can I say? Though it seems my brother's got a greater burden than before.
Karla is Gaius' sister, you know.
What do you intend to do with the Migrant Plume?
Wouldn't you like to know? Let's make a game of it, shall we? Here's your hint: "It's something you use in school."
Will you make something to tickle students who fall asleep in class?
Bzzt! Wrong answer! Second hint: "Leia has one too."
Ah-HA! I know exactly what you're gonna use it for!
A pen? Am I right?
Bing! We've got ourselves a winner! It's said anything written with a quill made from a Migrant Plume won't fade for a thousand years. That would make it just the thing for writing a memoir.
Memoir? You mean...
Yep! I'm going to write a biography about my brother.
And those sort of leaders can go down in history as either a hero or a villain... It just depends on who's telling the story. I don't want to focus on his political life and his impact on history, one way or the other! I mean to write the sort of memoir that only I can write... I'm going to tell the tale of my brother, Erston Outway.
You've changed, Karla... I like it!
Tell me, you think my brother will mind if I tell the world he can't handle spicy food?
Oh, I think it'll be just fine.
Looks like you got some competition in being the first to get the scoop on Gaius, Leia!
Oh yeah? You need more than a fancy pen to beat ME to a story!
Well, Leia and Karla's war is just gonna have to wait for next time.
Update 17 victory compilation (Gaius and Alvin's Demon Fang competition is one of my favorite victory screens in the game)
Update 17 alternate choices compilation