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  -Part 1 :: [02.22.03]
  -Part 2 :: [05.23.03]
  -Part 3 :: [02.01.04]
  -Part 4 :: [08.17.04]
  -Part 5 :: [02.17.05]
  -Part 6 :: [02.17.06]
  -Part 7 :: [08.06.08]
  -Part 8 :: [08.28.11]
  -Part 9 :: [05.17.13]
  -Part 10 :: [11.26.13]


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Lunar: Silver Star Story : Part 8
By Sam
Posted 08.28.11
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5
As soon as Faux!Statue!Mel disappears, Alex, Nash, Mia, and Squeak return to normal. Well, that was nice while it lasted. When her minion disappears, Royce appears in its place, hissing "Curse you!" She tells our irate heroes that she underestimated them and will not make that mistake again. Did she really? If not for Kyle realizing at the last second how implausible it is that someone towed Mel all the way out here just to depress his daughter, they would all be statues and Ghaleon would be receiving some wonderful news while eating his morning danish. Royce thinks Kyle broke her spell "with a primal scream," which sounds as sexual as Royce probably intends it to be. Of course, Kyle responds, "Wait until you see what I can do with my tongue!" He is so straight, you guys. Chicks.

Even though it would be laughably easy for Royce to kill them all right now, petrification spell or no, she decides to taunt them and leave instead. This plan was stupid as fuck anyway--she arranges a perfect ambush for the last potential Dragonmaster and his dippy friends, and the best she can do is surprise them with an easily defeated golem that looks like Jessica's dad? Royce and her bitchy sisters are apparently masters of disguise, so she could have put anything there to confuse or entice them. Why use the one person they know who is by far the least likely to be there?

What should Royce have used instead of Faux!Statue!Mel?
Lemia. At least it's possible for her to be there, and Mia would have immediately started freaking out that her junkie mom was having a relapse and wandering around the wilderness looking for a fix.
A gift basket full of hair products and bath salts for Nash.
The White Dragon Wings. I would have beelined to that like a moth to a bug zapper.
Gams, tied up over a pit of boiling oil. Okay, I admit I just want this to happen.

 

Once Royce is gone, Jessica and Kyle share some awkward talk about how they obviously like each other but are super uncomfortable saying so, even though Kyle just broke out of a powerful enchantment using the power of his feelings. Boring. At least Kyle says, "And besides, it felt good to beat up your dad!" Heh. Squeak says they should shut up and get moving, because they still have to find their way "out of this forest." Squeak, the entrance is right fucking there. Calm down. The kids do as he says and are back on the world map three seconds later.

It only takes a few moments for the gang to reach Damon's Spire. Inside, they are immediately confronted by the man himself. See, Damon likes to ensure that all entrants to his home are "worthy" of gaining all his hard-earned knowledge, so he regularly puts them to tests. Even here, in the goddamn foyer. "Those who seek the Guardian of Knowledge must have a special knowledge first..." he says. Squeak deduces that this information must be in the notebook. It had fucking better be, for the trouble they went through to get it. Mia flips through it until she finds a passage: "Intelligence is the ultimate strength, and wisdom is the ultimate power..." Even though he just watched Mia read this dime-store philosophy out of someone else's notes, Damon decides that they possess "the cornerstone which can become the foundation" and allows them to enter. Stepping on the red tiles, he tells them, opens doors. What he doesn't add is that stepping on red tiles doesn't necessarily open the doors those particular red tiles are in front of. Just what I was hoping to see today: puzzles!

The first floor of Damon's Spire holds no monsters, but does have a ton of NPCs, almost all of them prospective members of the Thieves' Guild. So our heroes had to journey all the way to Meryod just to get a fortune cookie proverb scribbled into a notebook, but for all these guys to have gained entry, there must be at least a dozen other assholes running around the Marius Zone with this intel. Why couldn't Kyle have been asked to find the guy who was just hanging out in Reza? Anyway, not one of them has managed to move past the first floor, since they are apparently too dumb to find the door. It's understandable if one of them alone never figured out which tiles to step on to open the door to the stairwell, but there are enough of them in here that you'd think one of them would have accidentally stepped on the right one when another guy was in front of the right door. But to their credit, all the treasure chests on this floor are empty, so at least this pack of failures successfully looted the stuff they could access.

 
Tidus?

While I'm sure there's some silly puzzle logic dictating which tiles open which doors, it's also not worth trying to figure out, when randomly walking over all the tiles until the proper door opens isn't that hard, despite what all the thief NPCs on this floor tell themselves to make themselves feel better. Sure enough, within a few minutes the gang is standing before Damon and the locked door to the second floor. "I, Damon, have granted you the privilege to tread within these sacred walls," he drones. "However, if you wish to proceed any further, you must answer my question... What is the origin of our world, created at the hand of Althena?" No one present, not even Nash, is enough of a smart-ass to note that Damon's question answers itself and reply, "The world's origin is the hand of Althena." Instead, Kyle and Squeak just sputter about wanting Damon to talk sense. It's not a riddle, morons, it's a question. Jessica goads Nash into providing their answer, since he thinks he's such hot shit. Squeak thinks Mia should answer, because Nash is not, in fact, hot shit. It is left to Alex to decide. This is a theme of Damon's Spire--two or more party members will want to provide a solution to Damon, and Alex has to pick which person is the least retarded. Fortunately, there is no real punishment for being wrong, so Alex, though he's not sure why, goes with his wild inner urge to choose the wrong person whenever possible.

"Nah, Nash says he can do it..." Alex responds, and everybody awaits Nash's surely correct answer. "Alex, every once in a while, I'm reminded of your great wisdom!" Nash replies, smug prick that he is. He rushes ahead with his answer: "The answer is the Magic Guild! Now let us pass!" Okay, I don't need to be the Almighty Keeper of Knowledge, nor do I even need to have played the game already, to know this is a stupid and incorrect answer. The Magic Guild is the origin of the entire planet? Well played, Nash.

Predictably, nothing happens, and Damon just continues to stand there and stare expectantly. Nash is convinced that this is because he didn't speak loudly enough into Damon's elderly, failing ears, so he repeats, "I said...THE MAGIC GUILD!" Oh, Nash, you sweet fool. As gently as she can, Mia tells Nash he's actually wrong--she knows the answer, naturally, because her mom told her. "The answer is magic!" she declares, without any context. So essentially, the correct answer is, "A wizard did it," and Nash was at least close to the answer. Damon confirms that a wizard did in fact do it, opens the door, and disappears. "Mia, if you knew the answer, you should have told us sooner!" Squeak says, but Mia replies that she really thought Nash knew it. If Nash had any sense, he would see that Mia is saying she's hugely disappointed in him for performing below her expectations, but he decides that this means Mia was showing him respect, unlike Squeak and everyone else in the universe. Also, he knows that Mia just doesn't like to boast of her intelligence, to which Kyle replies, "Too bad you can't be that way butt brain..." Butt brain? I know preschoolers who could do better than that. Nash, in response, calls him an "over-tanned shoplifter." Is Kyle over-tanned or just dark-skinned? Nash may be a racist.

Jessica tells them to shut up and put away the rulers, and with that it's on to the second floor. Since none of the shitty thieves ever managed to get this far, the treasure chests still have stuff in them and there are monsters lurking around. The monsters on this floor have a theme, one that will be driven home by Damon shortly, using anvils: brute force is not always the answer. These monsters--mostly bats with knight helmets and mummies that spin themselves in drunken circles--are immune to physical attacks but weak to magic. Why Damon considers "force" to encompass swords but not lightning bolts and fireballs (and thematic anvils) is beyond me, but it's his house. Thus, Kyle, Alex, and Jessica spend every battle on this floor cowering like frightened housewives who just saw a mouse, while Nash and Mia handle everything.

Once they've Thunder Bombed a lot of bats and mummies to death and picked up a couple of Star Lights, the party finds the door leading to the third floor. There, they are stopped by Damon again. He must not get guests very often, because he is trying way too hard to socialize with our heroes. He may as well have a tray of canapés. "To proceed further, you must demonstrate your mental fortitude by answering my question," he tells them. "People who rely entirely on force shall ultimately be destroyed by force." Kyle jumps to the conclusion that they "can't use force" and gets very upset, I guess because he's almost out of roofies and force was all he had left to him, but Jessica hushes him again and asks Damon to continue. Damon, clearly frazzled, goes on, "Ahem...but the person who controls force can avoid it altogether! What controls force?" Kyle and Nash, taking the time to insult each other some more in the process, beg Alex for the right to answer this time. Who died and made Alex boss, anyway? Oh, right. Dyne. Anyway, Alex already gave Nash a chance to not be a screw-up and that didn't go so well, so against his better judgment, he gives Kyle the floor. "Ha! You see that, Nash? Us real men stick together!" Kyle gloats. Never mind that Alex, in physique, is as much of a skinny twink as Nash. But now that he's earned his precious Alex's approval, Kyle provides his answer in non-verbal form, namely by lunging at Damon. Yeah, I'm sure the correct answer is the one that would put the owner of the tower in physical danger. Or possibly in danger of being kissed.

Of course, Damon easily repels Kyle's attack and sends him sprawling to the floor. As if getting schooled by a geriatric wasn't bad enough, Jessica condescendingly says, "Are you starting to understand what Damon said about force?" Yeah, honey, I don't see you volunteering an answer. But Nash still is, and he doesn't even bother waiting for Alex to grant him the privilege to speak. "The answer, Damon, is skill!" he says. "Skill controls force!" Damon agrees and disappears again. So everyone agrees that Kyle has no skill? That seems to be where we're going with this. He sulks and mumbles threats from the floor as the ladies fawn over Nash for not being useless for once.

This is the only time he'll ever hear that.
 

The third floor, in a shocking twist, is the reverse of the second: the monsters are immune to magic but weak to Kyle and Alex's stern sword pokings. For the record, the only monster type on this floor is a hulking, gray-skinned brute named, oddly, Rufus. Rufus's only garments are a loincloth and manly black leather wristbands with metal studs. Kyle is taking notes. Atop his head are two twin horns that glow when he's about to attack. No, not in rainbow colors--sorry to disappoint you.

 
Well, I hope I never need her help.

There are several bookcases on this floor, but Alex is unable to read any of the books, probably due to some wizard shenanigans. After killing dozens of Rufuses, looking away while Kyle looted their corpses for accessories, and finding another Star Light and some Sage's Clothes for Jessica (because she's the sage one here), it's time for the puzzle leading to the fourth floor. Instead of encountering Damon, the party finds a man with a blue beard. No, not Alex. The man with the literal blue beard is standing in the corner near the door, but our heroes fill in the details that sprites cannot provide: he is doubled over in pain and is clutching his stomach. While Kyle and Jessica have a truly inspired conversation about Jessica making cookies with Ex-Lax--oh, Working Designs, you scamps!--Alex frowns and sprays the screen with ellipses for no discernible reason.

Jessica stops talking about "chocolate chunks" long enough to check on the man. To her surprise and disgust, he turns out to be a jerk who snidely rejects their help. "Well, excuse US for caring!" she responds with a scowl, even though she probably doesn't really care in the first place. Proving me right, she turns to Alex and says, "Don't worry about this guy, Alex. If he says he's okay, then he must be okay, right? Besides, there's already a staircase! So let's go!" Classy, Jess. I mean, even if she hasn't picked up on the fact that this is another of Damon's tests, that's still pretty shitty behavior. Blue Beard then asks if Jessica is a priestess, to which she replies, "Well, yes...only a priestess of the Goddess Althena is allowed to wear these robes." Even when she skips more classes than she attends? Just wondering. But Blue Beard now knows that Jessica is obligated to help him: "It's your job to help people in distress, isn't it?! So use one of those healing spells they teach you! Quick!" Jess gets her hackles up at his tone and is more reluctant than ever to dirty her healing hands on this homeless vagrant who said he was fine a moment ago. "That was then and this is now!" he snaps at her. "Let the healing spell fly, sugar!" Jess snits, "Until I know the cause of your pain, I don't know what kind of magic to use..." Oh, bullshit. What's going to happen if she uses the wrong spell out of her one-page spellbook? He's not going to die. Nevertheless, he pointlessly says it's his stomach that hurts, leading Jessica to believe he has food poisoning just like Nash guessed five goddamn minutes ago. "What should I do, Alex?" she asks, because healing the sick is Alex's area of expertise. "Help this guy out or just get back to finding the next door?" As she herself just pointed out, the next door is a foot away, but whatever. This time, Alex decides to go with the obviously correct answer, not because he cares all of a sudden, but because I wasn't paying attention and hit the X button too quickly. Alas.

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