Let's Split Up, Gong!
As we exit Hanon Hills...
Waltz upbraids Tuba for thinking our party was Andantino. Tuba apologizes. Waltz doesn't think he needs to tell Tuba it's his last chance. (Of course, in saying so, he says so.) He charges Tuba with finding and eliminating them all immediately. Tuba takes the order and starts leaving, but Waltz decides he wants the guardian of Agogo Forest brought back alive, as it's the will of the people. (Yeah... killing a cute little 8-year-old girl would sort of make for bad PR, no matter how abrasive she can be.)
Back in Fermata, Allegretto asks Frederic why he's making the trip. Long silence.
Back in reality, October 17th, 12:16 AM, the woman says Frederic's name. The physician says he's on a journey on which he'll have to face himself. It is uncertain whether that journey will end with his return or with his acceptance of death. The woman asks him to come back to them.
In Fermata, Frederic is uncertain. Allegretto wonders about that. Frederic thinks he'll be able to say when the time is right, but he has yet to sort out his own feelings about it. Allegretto figures it's okay if he doesn't want to talk about it.
Suddenly, we see Frederic, but with black as a background instead of the walls and floors of Fort Fermata. He's not sure if the world is a dream, and thinks it might be real. He wonders if the world he knew was a dream instead. But if that's the case, do Warsaw and Paris not exist? This jolts him back, as he's as sure they existed as he's sure his own name has gone down in history as a famed pianist and composer. He is now more grounded in the belief that the world he's in is a dream, no matter how unquestionably close to reality it is. (Because, of course, they can't both be real at the same time, right?) But then he wonders about his own chose of words, how it can be that ambiguous. He wonders what will happen if he becomes unable to tell that a dream is only that. He considers it a horrifying prospect. (Well, um, as I've mentioned, it's pretty normal to forget that you're having a dream while you're having it; in fact, it can be hard to stay asleep once you realize it, and it can take practice to do so, and take advantage of this knowledge. Or so I hear.) He wonders if a person who can't tell that a dream is a dream would be able to tell that reality is reality. (Eh... depending on the person, this confusion can leak into reality, but I understand that it tends not to last long.) He doesn't think they would be able to, and wonders why there should be a need to recognize that reality is reality, as it's usually pretty self-evident, so you usually don't think about it. He compares it to noticing the presence of air. He wonders if something's ability to be recognized is tied to its existence. Frederic realized he's being tested, and feels there's something he's meant to realize. He feels that Paris and Warsaw are irrelevant. If his dreams and reality are mixed already, then he's got to do his best to live life in the merged world.
The walls and floors and Fermata are back. Beat asks Frederic if something's the matter. Frederic says it's nothing. Viola says they're almost there.
I save at the Save Point, because that confusion of ideas is something I don't want to listen to until next
Anyway, I use the key to get back.
They're walking through the central part of Fort Fermata. Falsetto asks if they know why Fermata was built. Allegretto thinks it was to protect Forte from things like Baroque and pirates. Falsetto calls that "the official reason". Claves asks for the real reason. Falsetto reveals that it was to keep the subjects of the king of Forte from escaping. Beat doesn't understand. It turns out that there was a king of Forte called the Sage King. His honesty and benevolence earned him the reverence of his subjects, and they were so willing to work hard for him that the whole kingdom was energized. The combination of labor, culture, and technology contributed to its prosperity. But the king decided he wanted to keep his admiring subjects close, and so he built Fermata, as he couldn't stand to lose the love and respect of even one. When it was finished, they couldn't leave. The people were willing to stay for a while, but it wasn't to last; discontentment led to rebellion, and the king was dethroned. Viola finds it sad. Allegretto thinks he got what he deserved. (Well, sure, but in his desire to retain love and respect, he did something that lost him both, and the throne. And a whole lot of people were cooped up in the process who would otherwise have continued to love and respect him. That is
sad.) Jazz thinks he thought it was the only way to protect himself; that he wanted to be well thought of, and praised and admired forever. (And he might have been, but...) He ignored his faults and lived a fantasy, and had the fort built to keep it from slipping away. In doing so, he lost the friends who might have helped him grow by making him aware of his errors so he could fix them, or at least avoid them in future. The important thing, Jazz says, is for us to accept both our strengths and weaknesses, and believe in ourselves without fear of the judgment of others. We learn from our mistakes and grow from them; the saddest thing is that the king failed to do this. But that's all in the past. (But it still hurts?)
Before I save at the Save Point, I check out my current party. I give Beat a Star Cookie, as he's going to need it. I swap him with Salsa for reasons I'll explain.
I save at the Save Point, and leave.
I start back across the Cabasa Bridge. Viola says something was about what they expected. Beat didn't get it. Salsa claims to have understood it, but suggests they explain it for "the little guy". Frederic explains that the lack of taxation on mineral powder means that everyone will continue using it. Falsetto adds that a side effect is people being able to use magic. Jazz adds that when they go mad and become mindless warriors, they can be made into soldiers. Viola adds that this will increase Forte's army many times so they can defeat Baroque. Allegretto points out that only the dying can use magic, and when they do kick off, there go the soldiers. Claves says that means they have to flood the market with the powder so they can maintain the army. Polka realizes that floral powder will sell less and less. (Yow, that's a mild side effect of the whole operation compared to everything else...) Frederic says that the more mineral powder is sold, the more soldiers there'll be, causing a never-ending spiral leading straight to Hell. (Well, weirder than that, it turns out, but we'll see that later.) Beat thinks that if they keep building up soldiers for a war that might not happen, then there won't be any people left at some point. Viola thinks he's got it. Falsetto figures it a complete waste, and says Waltz realizes it, and is therefore trying to strengthen the mineral powder. Frederic realizes that the Count understands that if he can add soldiers to the front line whenever he wants, Forte's military might will be limitless. Claves says they need to mix glowing agogos into the mineral powder to do that. She also repeats Falsetto's earlier joke. Salsa doesn't remember any such thing as glowing agogos.
A voice interrupts the conversation they had while not advancing across the bridge at all. It's Sousaph— I mean, Tuba, who's glad for their babbling, as it means he could find them more easily. Beat recognizes him as the man who locked them away. This time, Tuba means business, as his life is on the line.
Tuba says that even if we run, we can't get away. Beat says he'll get Tuba back a hundred times for before.
See, if we don't have him in the active party already, he automatically replaces a party member. So instead of letting the computer choose who he replaces (I really don't know how it decides where to put him), I made the decision for it, replacing Salsa.
The battlefield here is all light, except when a stray cloud drifts across. After some battling, he finally falls without much trouble. I win the Crescent Blade.
But as before, Tuba is not simply willing to accept defeat: he leaps into the air and slams the bridge, sending everyone falling into the river!
Chapter 3: Fantaisie-Impromptu
There's a campfire burning. It's been four days already, and Allegretto is hoping that "Polka and the others" are okay. Viola picks up on his subconscious decision to name the prett— er, Ill Girl
over his little buddy. Allegretto wants her to voice what she's pointing out, as if he didn't know. Viola is sure they're doing fine; after all, they're managing. She points out that Arco is saying to cheer up, as well. She asks Jazz the name of the river they fell into. Claves answers instead, saying it's the Fusion River, which carries rainfall from Mt. Rock to the Blues Sea, carrying rich earth which helps crops near the river. Jazz, however, says that since Waltz started mining, things have changed a lot. Falsetto finds human beings to be masters of destruction. Everything they do effects the environment, and it comes back on human society, as well.
Jazz says there should be a small in beyond the swamp, and once they make it there, the rest shouldn't be a problem. Heh. I don't believe that for an instant. Claves says they'll need to be up early.
The swamp we're in is called Adagio Swamp.
Adagio: Slower than andante, faster than largo.
(Tune: Field No. 20: Silence and Life. It's pretty.)
I save at the Save Point. I know we've only fought one thing, but we had a lot of cutscenery, and I'm bushed. I'll pick up from here...
Next time: Our party is swamped!