Part 44: YOU CREATED A TIME PARADOX!
Because blatantly fucking with causality is ALWAYS a good idea.
Anyways, weve got some re-introductions to the plot to do, because this chapter is all really just setup for what happens in the next chapter, so I spiced it up a little with some of my patented hackneyed narrative bullshit.
AREA MUSIC: The Archduchy of Faria (Game 2 OST, Track 2)
Orren: Why, gods, fucking WHY?
Leonard: Orren! There you are! Ive been looking all over for you. Where were you?
Orren: As far away from you as Id ever hoped Id be.
Leonard: Man, that was a wild night last night, huh? We sure whooped that Banana Zell something good, didnt we?
Orren: What? I just got here, you rube.
Orren: Are you talking about that fool Cisna replaced me with? What was his name? Marcus something?
Leonard: Not ringin any bells, no.
Orren: Of course not. Hes dead, isnt he?
Leonard: Maybe. But wait, Orren, if youre here now, where have you been since Since How long have you been gone?
Orren: You. Dense. MOTHERF
CUTSCENE MUSIC: My Town (Disc 1, Track 16)
In a quiet nook in Frass Chasm, away from the Greavers and Papitaurs and somehow beneath the notice of the rampaging hordes of Yshrenian soldiers lies the settlement of Orrenstown.
Founded one year ago by the young man known as Orren, the land the town sits on was bought from the Papitaurs of Baccea for a hefty sum of money, which its founder had come into after an ordeal of some sort which he vehemently refuses to speak of.
What began as a modest settlement built by hand quickly grew over the last year into a prosperous mining town which attracted a number of settlers from all across the world.
The towns headman, Mayor Orren, has spent the past year living in peace and calm, building a town to be proud of. It is said by all those who come and go from Orrenstown that the mayor is the nicest, calmest, most well-mannered man anyone could ever hope to have running a town this far out in the wilderness.
Orrenstown Citizen: I just want to tell you again mister mayor, how happy my children have been since we moved here from Balandor. Im even going to be talking my cousin from Greede into moving here too.
Orren: Thats wonderful Louis, Im incredibly happy for your family. Count Caesars stopping by next month, you know. Maybe we can discuss things with him to help ease the transition for you counsin.
Orrenstown Citizen: Oh thank you, mister mayor. Youre the best.
Trouble it seems has found the peaceful little hamlet.
Orren: I sense a presence, one that I havent felt since
Cisna: Well well Look what weve got here. Am I interrupting something, stretch?
CUTSCENE MUSIC: U-TIC System (Disc 1, Track 21 Xenosaga Episode I sountrack)
Orren: NOOOOO! GODS! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! GODSDAMMIT NOOOOOOOO!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Cisna: Calm the fuck down, Nouveau Riche. Theres no reason to start screaming yet.
Orren: No. Get out. Get out. Get oooooout. Get out of my town, you crazy bitch. I dont care what youre here for, just leave and go fuck yourself while youre at it.
Cisna: Really? Youre going to just tell the most powerful woman on the planet to leave? And you expect me to do it?
Orren: Wheres the idiot?
Cisna: Faria. Sent him there yesterday.
Orren: Then why are you here?
Cisna: Because I want you there too.
Orren: Ive been to Faria, got the t-shirt. Too neon. Thanks though. Now get out.
Cisna: Again, you seem to think I have any respect for the authority you claim to possess here. I dont. Though Im flattered at your attempt to convince me otherwise.
Orren: Youre going to need a lot more than two guards to get me to go with you.
Cisna: Oh, of course. So thats why I brought an army.
Balandor Army: Yo!
Cisna: So this is what were going to do, ye pitiful excuse for an unreliable narrator. Im pretty godsdamn sure the kissass Replacement You I sent to Faria with Leonard
Orren: Saying that name is punishable by death in this town. Ask the three kids whose parents had to rename them when they moved here.
Cisna: Have you not learned a fucking thing about how much a hate to be interrupted, you jackass?
Orren: Oh, I know.
Cisna: Well, ANYWAY, the long and short of is I have like zero faith in that group of idiots after, well, all of last year. So Im sending you to get them back on schedule.
Orren: Then why didnt you round me up before you sent him to accidentally re-murder Archduke Dalam or something?
Cisna: Youre a hard man to track down.
Orren: And if I refuse to go, then whayoure gonna burn this place to the ground, arent you?
Cisna: Not even anywhere on the boarder of close. Still, it is a lovely little town youve built here Orren. Good to see so much of my Kingdoms money being spent wisely. Im just picturing what this place is going to look like after that big horse-sized bomb I had Framboise build for me that Im going put riiiiight over there blows up if you were to... fail in your duty to me.
Orren: You are evil personified.
Cisna: And thats why Im going to win. Now
Cisna: Bend the knee.
Orren: And THATS why Im going to legit fucking murder you when this is all over.
Eldore: Oh, shut up, Niles. Weve got some time travel to do now.
Orren: THE FUCK?!
And now back to stuff that actually happens in the game.
After trouncing Nanazel at the Numenshrine, youre given the opportunity to explore the Archduchy of Faria proper before activating the Retrospecticon.
Just like the other towns, Faria has all your basic gameplay-furthering essentials: an armour shop, Adventurers Guild, Binding Post, Incorruptus mechanic, general store and accessory shop. Its also got a whole swath of new NPCs to chat with and pick up Errands off of.
This is the point where you should be stocking up on healing items, getting the latest armour and weapons for everyone, save at a Logic Stone, and maybe binding what you can, which as weve discussed already is pretty much nothing if youre playing the game straight. You can also duck out into the Lost Forest and level up a bit if you feel so inclined.
Faria itself is the only new town in White Knight Chronicles II, because Level-5 is all about in this game, and they blew their load for the game with this place.
Fun fact: though the design aesthetic of the city is clearly feudal Japanese in origin, in-game dialog from the various characters claim that the Farian capital was modeled after the old Athwani capital from the Dogma Era. It makes sense in a way, since, as we now know, Faria, or the nation that became Faria was an ally of Athwan and Queen Mureas and Father Yggdra were personal friends, so of course there would be some cultural bleed-through there.
It just makes no sense that it would be something that has such a blindingly obvious real world design analog. But whatever, even when this game is being smart, its still incredibly dumb.
Also, before we go, I just want to share with you another Great Moment In Leonard Stupidity. This one comes from the Live Talk that plays out as you wander around Faria after clearing the Numenshrine sequence:
Yulie: Father Yggdras something else, huh?
Eldore: Hes been alive for millennia.
Leonard: Yeah, and he didnt cheat and skip any of it either no offense, Eldore.
You fucking Okay, lets unpack that little moment of hapless jackassery on Leonards part. Yeah, it was meant as a playful ribbing to show that Leonard a) has something resembling a sense of humour, and b) has developed a joking comradery with Eldore. But, holy shit, dude, youre talking about the time he made a body-and-soul-rending DEAL WITH DEATH ITSELF after the man lost everything of worth in his life. I got a feeling it might be a bit of touchy subject for the man, seeing as how he hid it from his travelling companions until they sat him down and forced it out of him.
Also, YOU SKIPPED ALL OF IT TOO, YOU DUMBASS!
But lets not keep the lady waiting, shall we.
CUTSCENE: The Retrospecticon Activates
Eldore steps forward and produces the Retrospecticon while Scardigne and Lorias watch (probably in mounting horror, given Leonards track record of being Leonard).
Eldore: Ready for some light reading?
Yulie: Uh huh.
Orren: Kill me now.
Eldore cracks the book open, and I get to pretend for a moment that Charles Shaughnessy is playing The Doctor or something before reality comes crashing back to me.
Yeah, Im pretty sure there isnt a fictional universe out there where getting a face full of green light is good for your health, but whatever, lets roll with it and see how far this rabbit hole goes.
Were treated to a shot of Retrospecticon itself opening up for whatever reason, and I swear to god that theres more fluidity in the animation of those pages turning than there is in all the character models in the game combined.
We also get to see the inside of the Retrospecticon itself, which seems to be drawing heavy inspiration from the legendary Book of Kells.
Much like the map of the Lost Forest in the previous chapters, its entirely too beautiful to really be a part of this game, so its only on screen for like three seconds.
And off we go through space and time.
Orren: Oh gods!
Orren: I dont think this is supposed to be happening
Orren: What theAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!
CUTSCENE: Back To Before
CUTSCENE MUSIC: The Troupe Appears (Disc 1, Track 9)
We come out of the timestream back in Balandor. The fireworks from Archduke Dalams LOOK AT ME PEASENTS parade are roaring in the distance and weve apparently been kicked back right to the start of the first game.
Though I dont remember it being cloudy out the first time around. God, Level-5s so terrible at consistency that they cant even get the WHEATHER right any more.
Eldore: Were in Balandor
Maya: "With this coupon theyre a steal!"
Get it? Meat balls, for a meet ball?
Fun fact: this woman doesnt actually hand out these fliers. She just waves them in peoples faces, taunting them with the prospect of eating slightly cheaper processed meat for their last meal before Belcitane murders half the city with Pyredaemos later tonight.
AREA MUSIC: Balandor Castletown (Disc 1, Track 4)
Miu: This is the day Grandfather visited Balandor!
Eldore: Interesting. Weve been sent here to save the Archdukes life.
Orren: Cutting it a bit short, arent we? Could this damn book have sent us back like a week earlier maybe? Just saying.
Leonard: Then well need to find a way into the castle.
Yulie: Yeah. Anybody got a hundred gallons of wine?
Eldore: Perhaps asking around town would be faster.
Ah, Yulie. The hits just keep on coming.
But seriously, cant we march Miu up to the front gate and use her to see Dalam? It shouldnt be that difficult to pull off. A group of people claiming to be here with the Farian Archdukes granddaughter and heir should draw some kind of official interest.
Then again, if theres one thing you know this game is all about by this point, its bullshit padding. So we decide that were going to pay passing lip service to temporal causality and the Doc Brown Rule and try to be as surreptitious with our attempt to alter history on a global scale as we can.
Maya: "Yeah, um, no. I dont know anything about that. Go ask someone else."
Hank: "If you really want to know, you should talk to an actual thief and stop bothering honest citizens with your accusations!"
Hank: " Actually, there was a thief who got caught breaking into the castle once and then escaped. But thats all I know. Good day!
Gaston: "I was sure the king would sack all the guards, but the warden resigned and saved them all the embarrassment."
Gaston: " Huh? No, sorry. Thats all I know. You should ask a soldier if you want more dirt."
Leonard: (I should probably ask the soldiers about it.)
So much like the Search for Medius back in game 1, we need to do a little detective work by asking around and finding some more information to pinpoint where this errant ex-warden has wandered off to in order to sneak into Balandor Castle tonight for reasons.
Again, they dont ever explicitly invoke the Doc Brown Rule (ie: never come face to face with your past/future self), so theres really no good reason for this kind of skullduggery. Outside of the inherent and obvious universe-ending potential of having two Leonards in direct proximity to one another, of course.
NOBODY wants that to happen.
Royal Guard: I thought the king would be all, I want your sword and your badge!, but he was really understanding.
Orren: And youre gonna pay the price for that in a couple of hours
Royal Guard: Of course, that didnt stop poor Lucius from resigning anyway. I wonder where the poor guy is now ?
Leonard: (I bet one of the other soldiers can tell us where he is.)
Royal Guard: Its no wonder he resigned in disgrace and ran away with his tail between his legs.
Royal Guard: What? He screwed up. He deserved to be sacked, says me!
Royal Guard: Anyway, I dont know what happened to him after that. But Im sure if you ask around, someone else will know.
Leonard: Well, weve got a lead.
There arent any more soldiers in the town square, and you cant access the noble quarter and the approach to the palace right now despite the fact that you could walk right up to the front door of the castle when you played through these events in game 1, but whatever, PLOT CONTRIVANCE.
So we need to head down to the city gate and see if we can scrounge some more details on where Lucius might have ended up.
Royal Soldier: The whole thing was just damn unfortunate I was really sorry to see him sacked over it.
Royal Soldier: Id like to tell him myself, but Ive no idea where the guys wandered off to.
So yeah, youre getting the general impression here. All the soldiers you talk to except for one dont know where up Satans anus Lucius has buggered off to.
Luckily, the next guy I talk to does
Royal Soldier: Yeah, he left the guard and moved to Parma.
Leonard: Lets go see this Lucius guy.
Orren: Better yet, lets go kill Setti before he turns into Grazel. I mean, shit, his house is like right over there.
Leonard: Sorry, no time for that.
Orren: Oh, bullshit. Here, come on.
Orren: Hey! Setti/Grazel! Open up you silver haired twat! Ive got a present for you! And by that I mean MY AXE! IN YOUR FACE!
Yulie: Just give up, youre not actually going to change anything, you know.
Orren: The hope that I could makes this all bearable though.
Before we go to Parma, however, Leonard decides to tempt fate and visit Rappaci, even though him and Orren have already left for Parma by this point in the original timeline.
Rapacci: If I ever catch wind youre slackin off or belly achin, why, Ill give ya something to belly ache about!
Orren: Some days, when Im alone with my thoughts, I kind of miss the three hours I actually worked for you.
Rapacci: Just dont push yourselves too hard, ya hear?
So yeah, this is where Level-5s tireless dedication to comes shining through again, as when you visit Rapacci in the past he says the same thing to you that he says when you visit him post-Balandor Castle attack.
Now, either the man is secretly clairvoyant in addition to being wicked bipolar, or Level-5 was too lazy to write a brief script for the remote possibility of you visiting Rapacci Wines in the past. I mean, shit theyre usually good with updating the scripted dialog NPCs have after various plot events. So why not add a little What the hell are you guys doing back here? line or two for Rappacci?
Oh, right, because Level-5 just doesnt give a shit any more.
Fuck it, off to Parma!
Orren: If we run into ourselves on Balastor Plain, Im killing you, then killing myself so I never know the full extent of your brain-dead incompetence.
Leonard: Were going to save Arch-duck Dall-um! Yaaay!
Miu: I immediately regret coming with you people.
OVERWORLD MUSIC: The Continent of Nadias (Disc 1, Track 15)
So what you immediately notice when you jump back on to the world map is that the only three places you can visit right now are Balandor, Balastor Plain, and Parma. Everything else on the map is grayed out and when you click on it, it says currently inaccessible.
You can however play whatever online Avatar quests you have either unlocked, or bought, or downloaded via the 1.01 patch.
On the one hand, its nice the game gives you the opportunity to level grind and item farm if you need to; the downside is, however, that its a slog to grind and farm in this game, perhaps even moreso than in similar JRPGs.
AREA MUSIC: Parma Village (Disc 1, Track 6)
Here we are, welcome (back) to Parma.
Miu: We need to find this man before nightfall.
Orren: Leonard took four hours to get a drunken Papitaur you could lift with one hand into a wagon Or is that will? When are we, exactly? Eh, anyway, what Im saying is dont get your hopes up, your worshipfulness.
Speaking of Leonards first official act of utter incompetence, hey look its that giant whatever it is that was hauling the wine on the other side of the town from where you find it in game 1, because fuck consistency.
Anyway, we need to play the talk to every NPC in town game until you talk to the right one and they give you the next Plot Coupon that lets you move forward again.
In this case, its either Daisy or Lloyd, both of whom you can find wandering around the back half of the town.
Daisy: Well, hes out on Balastor Plain just now. Just take the east exit from here to Balastor.
Daisy: Now go away or whatever! Im working on a plan to leave this one-horse town.
Her plan will be thwarted the next morning when Johann takes said hose and follows the party out to Sinca Village.
Im not kidding about that last part: if you visit Parma after the attack on Balandor Castle, you can actually interact with Johann, the travelling merchant to sells you all the best store-bought equipment in game 1 before you head into the Dogma Rift.
I learned that completely by accident by just randomly visiting Parma instead of going on to Greydall Plain just for a lark.
Lloyd: I thought about going with him, but theres a lot of monsters and stuff out there, so it seems safe to stay put.
Lloyd: Anyway, he cant have gotten far. Just take the east exit out of town.
I think we need to go to the east exit. What do you think guys?
Eldore: This Lucius sounds like a righteous man.
Leonard: A former soldier of Balandor
Oh yeah, you can also go into the bar and find Raus in his natural habitat: getting shitface drunk. In this case, hes getting a little pre-drinking drinking on, because remember we find him in game 1 practically buried under pile of empty wine bottles. Ya know, in a way Im sort of impressed by Raus, hes apparently the only creature in existence capable of surviving with a double digit blood alcohol level.
Raus: Hrmm Ill take nine of those cakes, please Zzzzzz
Raus: Eeek! Oh, dear me! Did I doze off again? Please dont be man, Miss Yulie! Im so sorry!
Raus: Let me just Hold on Ill be right there
Orren: Long time no see, boozer. Here, I got something for ya.
Raus: But Ive never met you before in my
Orren: [ROUNDHOUSE KICK]
Orren: Sleep THAT off, you drunk jackass.
Orren: Can we stay here? Please? Ive got a whole list of people I want to pre-emptively kick in the head.
Miu: Such as?
Orren: Well, lets see: Kara, Don Phibianaci, his crazy wife, every Toad in Albana, Shapur, Belcitane, Setti, Sarvain, Von Dietrich, Past-Eldore, Rocco, Osmund, maybe Von Dietrich again after Karas done with himtell you what, Ill get back to you on that one.
AREA MUSIC: Balastor Plain (Disc 1, Track 5)
This time around, we dont have that far to go to find Lucius once we exit Parma. Hes just standing out in the middle of a field with this big star marking his location on the map.
Leonard: We cant give him any reason to distrust us.
That thought is about to be shot to shit in 3
Lucius: Wait. You came all the way here through monster-infested territory, just to ask me how to break into the castle?!
Leonard: You trust us now, right?
Orren: [ROUNDHOUSE KICK]
Lucius: Yeah, you know what? Ive got better things to do than help you with a little B and E.
Lucius: Right now Im trying to track down a group of suspicious looking characters that have been spotted in this area.
Yulie: Well congratulations. You found them.
Lucius: I found some of their belongings scattered about, but theres just too much ground to cover.
Lucius: Say, you know what? Maybe you can help me track them down. Then I can help you with your little problem.
Orren: I applaud the lack of fucks you give, good sir.
Lucius: Anyway, lets see if we can find their tracks. Theyve got to be around here somewhere.
So instead of splitting up and using the party to cover more ground, as is implied in Luciuss pitch to us, he instead joins the party as a guest character so we can cover the exact same amount of ground as he could have before, only with more people doing it.
Lucius is an idiot. But then again, what were you expecting from a guy who let the one and only criminal Balandor has apparently ever had under Valtos reign escape from the dungeon?
Also, right on this righteous man, to quote Eldore, for agreeing to let this group of strangers in on perhaps a vital security lapse in Balandor Castles infrastructure without questioning their motives, provided they help him hunt down and possibly kill a few suspicious people.
I suppose if you wanted to Devils Advocate this thing, he maybe recognized and trusted Yulie because she actually lived in Parma full time managing the supply side of Rapaccis business, but then why didnt SHE realise who Lucius was or that he lived in Parma?
I dont have the heart to call Yulie dumb, so Ill just call it bad writing and move on.
Okay, so now the Enforced Escort Mission that is damn-near half of this game is compounded by yet another character who nets you a Game Over screen if he died.
Lucius is leveled about level 38 to 40, which is comparable to where you should be by this point after a few hours of traipsing around the Lost Forest and kicking the tar out of Ban Nanazel.
Lucius has a Knight Sword equipped, and is wearing what appears to be the same outfit Rapacci wears. [Insert pedantic haha, youre wrong Crow quote here with accompanying comparison screenshots]
Standard gameplay practice for all of these escort mission sections is to have everyone with a healing spell of one level or another (the higher the better) somewhere on their command bar, and set everyones AI tactics to Heal First, if they arent already like I told you do to in the first goddamn update of this LP.
Lucky for you, Lucius (and Miu, for that matter) is not in any real danger for the time hes in the party. True, the enemies here are leveled to be at equal strength compared to you in order to make it challenging and to let you use them to level up, but guest characters are programmed to take their sweet time wandering into any battles you end up fighting. So by the time they even enter combat mode and get close enough to attack an enemy, you (or in rare cases, your party if the AI scores a rare perfect RNG role) will have taken them out already anyway.
It looks like they lead into the forest.
Eldore: Lets see whats going on in the forest.
Miu: Theres someone here with us. I can sense it.
Yulie: Why am I so creeped out? Its not like Im in strange territory.
Leonard: Relax, nobody knows Balastor Plain better than us.
I know the saying ignorance is bliss, but is it truly possible to reach a kind of moronic zen wherein you become so stupid youre bothered by nothing? Like how Fry got so buzzed on coffee one time on Futurama that he accelerated to the speed of light?
Head into the forest and follow the footprints!
Leonard: Lets find this suspicious figure!
Miu: Whatever they are theyre not monsters.
Im so excited! What are we going to find?