Lunar: Silver Star Story : Part 6
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It's been exactly a year since we checked in on Alex and his beard, so to refresh your memories: in the last
fish- fun-filled installment, Alex got to exact judgment, of the blood-spilling variety, on one Zoc, a wannabe Dragonmaster who took his live-action role-playing fantasy a wee bit too far. But his Flamboyant Striped Bandana of Dragonmastery +1 and his excellent reflex saving throws were no match for Alex's rage at someone trying to take away his chance at the coveted Dragonmaster Earflap Hat.
I quit the game immediately after Jessica left the party to check in at the Shrine of Foreshadowing, so the rest of the gang is still in Lann. Speaking to the old man NPC who has stationed himself outside the house of the local songstress, the group finds out that the singer has gone missing! Oh noes! The geezer blames it first on the "evil Dragonmaster," but when Squeak informs him that Zoc just got his ass kicked and therefore had an alibi, he backpedals, saying maybe the girl went to Meribia to pursue her singing career. "But it's very odd that she would leave without saying goodbye..." he trails off. I don't know. If I lived in this town and wanted to move away, I'd probably steal away in the dead of night, too. But a girl as sweet and pure as Lann's La-La-La Girl wouldn't dream of leaving her fellow citizens without saying anything, so we know she's definitely been kidnapped. Who could have done such a thing?! I am simply dying to find out. But that'll have to wait--Alex and his friends first must return to Vein and report to Ghaleon (the good, the great, the heroic!). Besides, this whole kidnapped singer thing is surely just an isolated incident.
Nanza and the mountain pass to and from it are completely unchanged, and nothing new is going on at the Shrine of Foreshadowing, either (though Jessica seems to have already bailed on the joint again), so Alex, Gams, Squeak and Nash get back to the Magic City of Penises without incident. Fresh off the teleporter, Nash runs off to give Ghaleon a "full report." Assuming everything is on the level with Nash (and hell, it's obvious even now that he's hiding something--obvious to us, not to our clueless heroes), you'd think even a "full report" wouldn't go past "The guy wasn't a real Dragonmaster, and we shellacked him thoroughly." But whatever--he probably just wants time to kiss his sexy boss's ass in private. He adds, "Why don't you meet me [at the Magic Guild] after you've had a chance to look around the city?" Translation: "If you were so broke on your first visit that you didn't buy any new shit for Alex, this is your last chance to do so, because there's an annoying dungeon just around the corner."
Happily, Alex has all the latest, hippest gear (Gams? Let's just say I'm not that worried about her), so it's straight to the Magic Guild. Nash's "full report" to Ghaleon seems to have taken as long as I thought it would, because he's already at the entrance waiting for them. "Lemia is ready to see you," he tells them. "Wait for her at the rear of the Grand Hall..." Nash provides no explanation for why Lemia would want to waste her breath addressing a backwater nobody like Alex, but as he's beelining for a door off the right side of the screen, he does warn Alex that he'd better be on his very best behavior in front of the head honcho. Because, as we have all seen repeatedly since the game began, Alex is the rude member of the group.
Well, screw Lemia--Alex would like to know where the hell Nash is running off to in such a hurry. The party tracks Nash upstairs. He's not in Ghaleon's office, nor is he splashing around in the pool in the back with Ghaleon (hawt!). Alex and Gams finally find him in a separate wing of the guild, sitting in front of a coffee table and having a nice chat with Royce the fortune teller, who is looking as Hot Topic Goth as ever. Nash is naturally furious that they're down here nosing into his business when they're supposed to be in a meeting, but he disguises his selfish pissiness with non-selfish pissiness regarding keeping Lemia waiting. I'm sure she'll live, Nash. Royce, meanwhile, still enjoys "predicting" stupidly obvious things. "I have seen your journey to Lann was a great success, Alex," she says with a straight face, like Nash hasn't been sitting here dishing to her all about it. She then says that she predicts success for Alex here in Vein, whatever the hell that means. He could find twenty silver on the street outside and Royce would be up in his grill, all "I predicted this! I'm psychic!!!"
Now that Alex has successfully interrupted Nash and Royce's gabbing session--maybe that's the success Royce predicted!--he has nothing left to do but go meet with Lemia. Mia and Ghaleon are already in the guild's great hall, along with several pansy robe-clad NPC mages. Mia is fretting over Lemia calling for this meeting, like she's afraid her mom's in the throes of some nasty hot flashes and is about to kick them all off the island. And that's a long drop. "I'm sorry it's so sudden..." Mia tells Alex and Gams, "but she seems to hold every conference like this lately." I don't really see the inconvenience on their part--in fact, the timing was rather perfect. But we needed another anvil before the meeting begins that Lemia hasn't quite been herself lately. On the other side of the red carpet leading up to Lemia's pulpit, Ghaleon tells us that he got a "full report" from Nash about Lann. Yes, we got the memo. You know, it's hard enough for me to keep from comparing Nash's speed in report-giving to his speed in other matters, and bringing it up again is not making it any easier. And now I'm stuck with a mental image of
Alex Ghaleon Squeak Mia telling him, "Wow, Nash, that was faster than your Thunder Bomb!"
Ghaleon goes on, "There is great power within you, boy...as much power as Dyne possessed in his youth." Alex briefly wonders if Ghaleon's coming on to him, before Ghaleon clears his thoughts with more painful thwacks to the temple with the Lemia Is Evil Hammer. He mentions that he, Lemia's right-hand man, has no idea what the meeting is about, and that "She seems to prefer consulting her fortune-teller to consulting with me these days, I'm afraid..." Oh, isn't that precious. Ghaleon's been bitten by the jealousy bug.
The sounding of trumpets--though there were no trumpeters in the room--announces Lemia's arrival, and Ghaleon shoves Alex, Gams and Squeak into line on either side of the carpet. Lemia ascends the steps to her pulpit, accompanied by Royce. This is just exposing Nash as even more of a bullshit artist--obviously, Alex was in no danger of being late for his meeting with Lemia, if the meeting wasn't going to start without Royce. Lemia looks ready to deliver her address to the group, but she is a new character, and as a newbie her words can only be expressed via the magic of anime. "Step forth, Alex of Burg!" Ghaleon shouts, so we know that in the cut scene Lemia is talking to Alex, since it's yet another first-person hentai game special.
The nonexistent trumpets become more persistent that they do in fact exist as the anime opens on Lemia's middle-aged face. For the record, she looks nothing at all like her daughter. She also looks like she probably hasn't eaten so much as a piece of toast in the last five years. But I guess if Mia aged a few decades, acquired an eating disorder, bleached her hair, started habitually squinting, tweezed the shit out of her eyebrows and drank a few gallons of scotch a day to fuck up her voice...okay, then there might be a family resemblance. "I am Lemia Ausa, governess of the Magic Guild," she tells Alex, like he doesn't know. "I have heard you seek the dragons. I see the strength of your will in this regard in your eyes." Ignoring the clunkiness of this statement--because I can't decide whether it's shitty writing, Lemia's awful voice actor, or a combination of both--it's yet another reference to Alex's Green Eyes of Destiny. Sigh. As the camera zooms in on Lemia looking shrewd, she drops her voice and adds, "And I sense something else. I sense...evil. You seek to destroy the Magic Guild, and Althena!" Her earrings glint in the light as Lemia makes absolutely sure her pencil-thin eyebrows are cocked in an unmistakably evil fashion. The earrings even make an evil chink noise to close out the cut scene. How can earrings sound evil? Don't look at me--I'm not the foley artist clanging away on Satan's Triangle.
After waiting for maybe a nanosecond for some kind of response from our mostly mute hero, Lemia shrills, "You see? The boy says nothing...because he cannot deny what he knows to be true!" Yeah, it couldn't be that he's so floored by this ridiculous accusation that he's at a loss for words. Squeak and Gams freak out as Lemia orders the guards to throw Alex in jail, decreeing that he's to be executed for treason the next morning. Dude, harsh. "Keep the girl here for now..." Lemia adds. "I have special plans for her." Mia jumps between Alex and Lemia, but the guards come to get Alex from the back of the room, so she may as well have stayed where she was. Gams screams for Alex, as Ghaleon deftly immobilizes her with the old upper arm grab. "Screaming will achieve nothing, [Gams]," he tells her. "Here in [Vein], the word of Lemia Ausa is law..." Lemia tells him to shut up and take Gams to "the appointed area." That's right: Ghaleon had no knowledge of the reason for this meeting, but when Lemia says something about taking Gams to an appointed area, he knows exactly what she means. Ghaleon sure is lucky he works with a bunch of morons, or someone might actually see through this farce.
Alex runs to Gams before being pulled away by the guards, Gams screams for him again, blah blah true-love-in-peril-cakes. While everyone else is distracted by this unexpected show, Squeak silently floats up toward the ceiling. His sprite actually moves higher than the pillars in the room, so unless the pillars aren't actually attached to a ceiling...whoops, sprite graphics!
A Black Screen of Prison Sodomy later, Alex is all alone in his dank jail cell. Beating on his bars doesn't do any good, but he does overhear a lady two cells over babbling like a junkie. The woman is wearing a gaudy purple mask that hides the top half of her face, but the dark blonde hair streaming out from underneath the headgear is very familiar. In a "we saw it two seconds ago" sort of way. The lady shrieks, "I...I...I don't know! Le...Lemia...Ausa... Uh...uhhh! Ahhh!!" Alex somehow has access to anvils in his cell, and hurls one in my general direction as he notes how familiar the woman's voice is.
A few moments after Junkie!Lemia shuts up (or at least lowers the volume of her muttering below Alex's hearing), Mia and Squeak enter the jail. Mia immediately unlocks Alex's cell while Squeak brags about spending some quality time hiding out in Mia's bedroom. Oh, that wacky Squeak. Mia's Look of Abject Horror clicks on as she moans, "This is such an awful place...please forgive me, Alex!" Good thing you're begging for forgiveness, Mia, because Alex was just about to say how all of this is totally your fault. Jesus. She goes on, "My mother used to be so warm and wonderful...but now..." In the next dialogue box, Mia says, "[Sob!] [Sob!]" Sadly, this is not followed up by ":(" or even by the more anime-friendly "T_T"--either could have really helped bring Mia's emotions alive in this scene. Alex says nothing, because he's no good at this comforting girls stuff, but Squeak speaks for him, as usual: "Don't cry, Mia! Of course Alex forgives you...now let's go find [Gams]! Please!" I think what he's trying to say is that neither he nor Alex give a shit about Mia's feelings, because Gams might be getting pawed up right now by an albino gay man and Mia's psycho mother. Why, she may be looking sad and angsty this very minute! And what if her backup singers aren't around to help her?
Mia has something to show Alex. No, not her boobies. I think she has the sense to know she'd be barking up the wrong dead-guy-lovin' tree. She gives Alex an item called Althena's Mirror. "This mirror shows things as they really are, Alex...it reflects only the truth," Mia says. She's been wondering lately if there's something different about her mother. I mean, dogs know there's something wrong with Lemia, but whatever. "I was too afraid to know the truth," Mia says sadly, "so I couldn't use this...but I'm ready to use it now." She asks that Alex bring her along on the Gams rescue mission, so she can bust out the mirror on Harpy Mom. Never mind that she just gave the mirror to Alex, so he could use it instead of her. The point is, Alex allows Mia to join the party. It's not like he has to kick anybody out to make room at this point.
Meanwhile, no one present has any idea where Lemia took Gams. Mia says her mother disappears to unknown locations all the time. As Alex, Squeak and Mia are all pondering this head-scratcher, Junkie!Lemia screams, "Ahhh!! The Vile Tribe!" She babbles that she saw the Vile Tribe "over there." Mia also says the voice sounds "very familiar," which makes me want to throw things because it's her freaking mother's voice and you'd think she would immediately recognize it for exactly what it was. The three of them amble on over to the woman's cell, Squeak noting how bad she smells. Junkies sometimes forget to shower, Squeak, so don't be a Judging Jane about it. Mia, though, takes notice of the garish mask and identifies it as a forbidden device used to suppress memories. What it actually seems to be doing is rendering Junkie!Lemia braindead. She's now yelling incoherently about not only the Vile Tribe, but the Magic Emperor as well. Mia asks her if this was done to her by the Vile Tribe, which gives Squeak a convenient opening to ask what the Vile Tribe is. Just in case I, the gamer, was too lazy to peruse the bevy of library books on the subject. Ignoring the smelly homeless woman for a moment, Mia explains, "My mother told me that they are a race of evil creatures... The Goddess Althena banished them to the edge of our world several hundred years ago." But, she adds, she has no idea who this Magic Emperor person is supposed to be. Though probably unintentional, this is one of many references we'll get throughout the game to Mia Ausa being one incredibly sheltered girl, since leaving her fucking bedroom would probably result in her being deafened by Magic Emperor rumors.
Once Mia mentions the words "Magic Emperor," Junkie!Lemia starts up again, mentioning the Magic Emperor in conjunction with a place called the Star Chamber. More exposition opportunities for Mia! "My mother forbade me from entering the Star Chamber..." she tells the others. "She scolded me the last time I even mentioned it to her." Squeak has heard enough to know where they should be heading. But Mia suggests they bring the crazy woman along, since it'd be mean to leave her here alone. Never mind that she's been here alone for, presumably, quite a while anyway. Actually, there are a couple levels of stupid going on here. Let's examine:
1) It is absolutely beyond the pale to expect us to believe that Mia does not recognize her own mother simply because of the Slave Crown Lite on her face. Mia can see the woman's hair, complexion, mouth, clothing, height, weight and general build, and has also heard the woman speak. Please, writers, do not be so insulting as to suggest that Mia needs to see her mother's eyes to know it's her, or even to suspect it's her.
2) Not only is it stupid to think Junkie!Lemia shouldn't be left alone, when she's already been down here this long, but it's quite astonishingly stupid to think it's a good idea to bring her into what at least Mia must know is a dungeon full of dangerous monsters. If Mia were thinking about the woman's safety, she would leave her here in jail. The fact is, Junkie!Lemia is coming along purely so she can conveniently be there for the big reveal. Certainly Mia has no reason to think this woman needs to be there to help get to the bottom of this mess, since she is apparently thick enough to think the suddenly abusive, nasty woman in the Star Chamber is her mom, and that this imprisoned woman who looks and sounds exactly like her mom is just some unfortunate stinky mental patient.