Happily the government official is a huge dick or I'd feel a lot worse about this. ... Well. No I wouldn't. I'M a huge dick. *cheerful* Karol is weirded out by just how BIG the mansion is, now that he really looks at it. It really is a palace. Are Council members THAT important? They are basically "the Interests of the Empire". However, the place is surrounded by a wall and it's hard to get in, says a voice from offscreen.
Oh. Hey, it's that guy. You remember when Yuri was in prison and he got some information from the dude in the cell next to him? The dude who got led off by the commander of the guards somewhere in this update? Well it's THAT guy. Estelle nearly screams, and he quickly shushes her. She relaxes instantly. "I'm sorry, who are you?" He's old friends with Yuri! ... who denies even knowing him. Ouch.
Yuri can at least dimly recall the voice from jail, and the scruffy man introduces himself as Raven. For now.
Rita: "For now? Who the hell does this guy think he is?"
Yuri: "Well, Raven. It's been lovely seeing you again. Now buzz off."
Raven offers to help the group get into the palace. He trucks on up to the front gate, points the guards at the party, then runs inside. ... Uhm. I think we just got -played-. Rita sets the guards on fire and... well, the gate isn't guarded NOW. Yuri distrusts the front door, but there are some elevators around the side.
Raven ducks in one and goes up, the party hops in the other and it goes down to the basement... a disgusting place, full of bones and nasty smells. Ragou must be raising monsters down here. Proven correct when monsters attack the party. The party hears someone yelling for their mother and father behind a door... Okay, it's time for the group to hero up. Through the door, cowering in the corner, is a young boy who claims that a "Scary old man" brought him here when mommy and daddy couldn't pay taxes.
Estelle and Yuri tag-team comforting young Pauly, and then work to keep him protected as they fight their way on out of the basement. On the way, Minister Ragou shows up and is casually smug about his "hobbies", like "kidnapping people to feed to monsters in his basement". This is something only people with truly refined tastes can enjoy! Holy hell what a dickbag.
Yuri lets slip that the group already "took care" of Rhybgaro, which I keep wanting to type as Rhubarbgo. THIS pisses off Ragou. Estelle demands to know how he can call himself a servant of the empire. While he's gawking at Estelle and realizing who she is, Yuri knocks him flat on his ass. He runs off, and the party gives pursuit. Rita starts to set the place on fire, but Yuri stops her. It's still too soon for that. Find the evidence of further criminal activity first, THEN commit arson. Pillage, THEN burn.
Tales of Vesperia is a 100% accurate simulation of the tabletop RPG experience.
Looking a little deeper into the palace, we find an enormous blastia set up as the centerpiece of a room. Rita darts off to the middle of the room and starts accessing the core, muttering under her breath.
Rita: "Strihm, laitos, rockra, fleck... They've just patched together blastia with different formulas. This COULD manipulate the weather... but how could they use them like THIS?! They don't have the SLIGHTEST respect for what they're working with!"
Estelle and Yuri get antsy, but Rita's busy analyzing. Still, they need her to create that "emergency" they were talking about earlier, now that they've found clear evidence of kidnapping and of tampering with the weather systems. Estelle cheerfully suggests they just start breaking things that won't be missed. Goodness she's come a long way since the palace. At that suggestion, Karol starts pounding a support column, and Rita (unable to concentrate over the noise) gives up and starts whipping fireballs towards all corners of the room.
Ragou has naturally come back with some mercenaries, which is probably the best response to someone casting fireball in your living room. There's a quick brawl and then Yuri decides it's -really- time to get out of there. A little too late, as Flynn helpfully bursts in the front door to offer his assistance. It looks bad for the group, no matter which way they jump something's gonna give.
Then a rider on a dragon bursts through the plate glass window at the front of the room, destroys the blastia core, and flies off while Rita -rages out-. How DARE anyone destroy blastia?! I think Rita actually invents the tracking fireball just to deal with this, but it still doesn't connect as the dragon rider swoops back out the window. I... guess when you've written yourself into a corner, "have someone come in the window on a dragon" beats the hell out of "a guy with a gun comes in the door".
With Flynn and company blocked by fire, Ragou tries to make a break for it out the back door. Our crew is on the right side of the divide to chase him down. They take a couple of moments to send off Pauly back home and discuss the dragon rider (or "Dragon Freak" as Rita dubs them) before getting back to running after him. He's about to escape on a ship as the party sprints up the docks and springs on board. (Rita has NO idea what the hell she's doing, involved in all this.)
On the ship's deck is a huge chest full of blastia cores. HMM. Rita can't believe her eyes. They don't even have that many at the research labs. None of the group can figure it out, because the dude back in the ruins mentioned the ringleader was a "huge guy with one eye". That -really- doesn't sound like elderly, aristocratic Ragou. While they're pondering, though, Blood Alliance mercs like the ones back at the mansion attack. With them swatted aside...
A huge man with one eye missing storms out of the cabin of the ship. WELP. He uses a sword roughly the size of Yuri. When Yuri manages to dodge it, he's actually impressed. Ragou demands that "Barbos", the huge man, dispose of the group... but Barbos isn't getting paid to do that, is he? Instead Zagi comes out to play. Oh god. Zagi. AGAIN. And he is NOT pleased to see us.
Zagi: "I'VE GOT TO KILL SOMETHING!"
The fight with Zagi is pretty messy. He loves to spam attacks where he's flying around untouchable. However, after the weird plantwolf back on the Hill, nothing's really HARD. The "Secret Mission" here is launching Zagi over the side of the ship, and in spite of airjuggling him over the rail for a straight minute he never does go over. Dude would be GREAT in Smash Brothers.
Anyway, when the fight with Zagi is over the ship explodes. Possibly because of some sensible reason, possibly because exploding is just something that happens when this group is around. Zagi is blown overboard by some exploding machinery... Oh, FINALLY... and then the party dives overboard. Everyone is briefly concerned when Yuri isn't among those floating in the surf, until he pops up from underwater with someone else who was on the ship: A blonde guy named Ioder.
It's just then that Flynn shows up to save the day in a much bigger ship. Thanks, Flynn. Everyone is back on dry land in no time, and Flynn agrees to meet the party at the inn for debriefing. We're now in port Torim, exactly where we wanted to be. Port Torim is a lively, bustling place, with a giant-sized novelty fish alongside the docks... Wait a moment. That's no ORDINARY giant-sized novelty fish! That's... THE WONDER CHEF! He cheerfully passes on the recipe for "Fried Chicken and Fries" and departs.
Now I can make extremely crunchy unhealthy delicious food any time I want! Thanks, Wonder Chef!
The party briefly ponders if they've seen the last of Zagi. Nobody fished him out of the drink, after all.
Yuri: "Common sense just doesn't seem to apply to those kind of people."
Karol: "Man, I really don't want to see him again!"
Rita: "Well, even if we do, he'll be gunning for Yuri, not us. I've got nothing to do with this."
Rita, poster girl for solidarity.
Karol also explains that Torim is the headquarters of the Merchant's Guild, Fortune's Market. Thus why the town is so well-kept: Money can solve an awful lot of problems. For example, it can buy me nearly 4000g worth of ingredients. Cooking is EXPENSIVE, y'guys. Off to the inn... where it's Flynn, Ioder, and... fucking Ragou?!
"Have we met somewhere?" Ragou innocents. Rita very nearly sets him on fire before Yuri intervenes. Flynn points out that the Magistrate's crimes are impossible to deny. They've all seen everything. But no, Ragou claims that someone stole his identity and has been trying to ruin his reputation. Dude, that shit doesn't fly on Facebook, why would it work here? Unfortunately, if it comes in front of the council... the council he is a MEMBER OF... well. Ragou walks.
Sigh. After Rita finishes griping loudly about the injustice of this, she turns her attention to Ioder. And just who the hell is THAT?
Estelle handles the introductions: "This is His Royal Highness Ioder, candidate for the Imperial throne."
Karol snickers. "Right, Estelle. Good one."
Nobody else is laughing. Ioder admits he's only -one- of the candidates. But he was Ragou's prisoner for a time. If he can reform the council from the throne itself...
Well. That's not something that Yuri actually cares about. He's long stopped caring about the Empire. All it does is watch people suffer.
Flynn counters, "What have you changed, by turning your back on the Empire? We NEED just laws, laid down by the government, to ensure people can live lives of stability and peace." Yuri points out that those laws let Ragou casually stroll out the door just now. But Flynn insists that's why he and Yuri became knights. They have to CHANGE things like that. To gain honor, and trust, and fix the Empire from inside it.
Yuri: "So to get ahead in life, I have to stand aside while somebody feeds little kids to monsters? You want me to look the other way while people are being bled dry by taxes? I can't do that! That's why I quit being a Knight."
Flynn: "But has anything changed because you quit? How is anything different now, than it was when you were a Knight?"
Yuri just gives up and walks out on the whole conversation. Flynn quietly facepalms and sighs. The rest of the party decides to head after Yuri, particularly Estelle. Flynn nods. As long as Estelle is with Yuri, he knows she's safe, because he has faith in Yuri.
Just outside, Yuri is punching a brick wall. Damn, but Flynn knows exactly what buttons to hit. The hell of it is, he's right. Nothing HAS changed since Yuri left the Knights. He's got to start doing something...
...but what? This blastia core smuggling ring... it's bigger than one thief stealing from the Lower Quarter. It's time to get serious about investigating that. Out on the street, Yuri spots Raven and grabs him. There's a brief argument about who troubled who...
Yuri: "You need to see a doctor about your tendency to unconsciously cause trouble to others."
Raven: "Ya might see if you can get that FOUL MOUTH of yours checked out too."
...before Raven lets slip that the Blood Alliance or someone rough-and-tumble like them was last seen off to the northwest. Raven shrugs. He can't help. He's looking for a particular type of super-strong core called an "apatheia". Anyway, it wasn't there. A few moments later Rita spots him and gives hot pursuit... but Raven slips off into the crowds.
Karol: "Why'd you let him get away?!"
Yuri: "He says he's terribly misunderstood."
Karol: "...What does THAT mean!?"
Oh well. That lead ("The northwest") will take us to the ruins of a city destroyed in an earthquake. Yet again it's time to chase a band of blastia thieves. And for -that-... I'll see you next time.
This entry was originally posted at http://xyzzysqrl.dreamwidth.org/332359.h