The people of Bledavik will never forget the day that the Beloved Slacker blew into town. If you face him, may God have mercy on your poor, unfortunate soul.
We then inform the nun of our plan: Fei will fight in the tournament, using his awesome martial arts to get the attention of the guards. While he's doing that, Bart will sneak into the palace through the waterway.
The next day, we begin Operation Rescue Margie
. I will never trust Citan to come up with cool names for plans.
Upon entering the waiting area for participants, I make note of three of them: Big Joe, Dan (who's here to get revenge on Fei), and a strange man in a cloak that covers his entire body and a truly bizarre mask. The last guy talks a bit about Fei's relationship with Dan, then calls Fei by name despite the fact that he used an alias.
Well, that can't be important at all.
I cut back to Bart at the hotel, getting ready to enter the waterway. I choose to enter through the west well instead of the east one, for a very specific reason.
After that, I immediately cut back to the tournament, where Shakhan is making a generic patriotic speech. Ramsus and Miang then enter the royal box, but Ramsus "does not have time for such gay revelry". Miang, however, is interested in watching the tournament.
So, to the first tournament fight! Taking more time in the tournament will give Bart more time to sneak around, so stalling and using combos is a good idea. My first fight is against Gonzalez, a big hulking guy with grey skin and a giant club. He can counter Deathblows for significant damage, so the strategy here is to build up a decent combo, activate Iron Valor, and beat the tar out of him.
I then cut to Bart, who must contend with ever-changing currents in the waterway by mashing Circle. On the way through it, he grabs a Gold Nugget, a Rosesol S, and an Aquasol S (skipping a SurvivalTent because it's too far out of the way and totally useless).
After a while, I enter Fei's second battle, which is against Big Joe. His attacks are Grrreat! And dynamic! However, they only do one point of damage. His groupies are significantly more dangerous, able to throw tin cans at Fei for more damage than the last guy was doing or heal Joe significantly. Once defeated, he gives out a single, solitary experience point along with a Metal Vest (which Fei equips).
On the second turn with Bart, he enters the castle and sneaking music
starts playing. I meet the senile old man who runs the waterway, then head out into the castle itself. The Aveh Guards I fight here are reasonably dangerous, but nothing I can't handle.
While I'm looting the place, Fei has to fight his third opponent, Scud. She throws knives and summons bees, neither of which are very threatening. However, she can also use various pills to even the odds: Strong Pills that boost her stats, Strange Pills that lower Fei's stats, and Happy Pills (yes, really) that restore her HP. A decent combo will end it easily enough, though, granting me a lock of Samson'sHair, which will significantly boost the user's Attack (of course) for the duration of the battle where it's used.
The items in the castle include four sets of Iron Mail, some Hob-Jerky and Hob-Meat, a couple of second-tier healing items, and most importantly, the Cobra Cracka whip. This thing poisons its target, and any status effects in Xenogears are absolutely guaranteed to happen to anyone weak to them. It's also a point stronger than the Iron Whip.
Also, as an aside, each battle Fei does removes a few sets of guards. After enough fights, Bart will barely have to put up with any resistance at all.
After Bart manages to completely screw up the stealth mission and attract the attention of an entire conga line of guards (who he kills), Fei has to fight Dan in the semifinals. Dan's attacks are decent, and he can perform the Gear version of Guided Shot (!), but simply not attacking for long enough causes him to just throw Alice's wedding dress at Fei and run off. The WeddingDress offers the same amount of Defense as Bart's Red Mail, along with five points of EthDef. Also, it's not female-exclusive.
A bit more sneaking leads to the finals, where Fei must fight Wiseman (the guy in the cloak). However, none of my attacks can hit him
. After a while, he starts asking Fei about his reason to fight before forfeiting.
After that, I head to the room where Margie is being held. She's happy to be rescued, of course, but she doesn't let me leave without first taking a strange pink stuffed animal. I save at the save point in her room, then begin the escape.
Unfortunately, it doesn't take long at all for us to be accosted by Ramsus and Miang. Some trash-talking ensues, as Miang reveals that she knows Bart's identity.
Also, Bart hits on Miang.
Anyway, I have to fight them. Miang will heal Ramsus, and he has an ability called Mirror Stance that counterattacks, but Margie's also healing Bart. Furthermore, each attack made using the Cobra Cracka will poison Ramsus, causing Miang to cure that instead of healing the man's HP.
After a while, Fei shows up and hits Ramsus. Ramsus notices something familiar about Fei's attack pattern, and we see a red-haired guy beating up some Gears on foot. I then have to fight Ramsus again. This time he's got more HP and Miang heals 100 at a time, pretty much forcing combo abuse.
After having the crap beaten out of him enough, Ramsus remembers something and lets his guard down. Margie then proceeds to summon a bunch of rats out of nowhere to cover our escape...
...right into the Gebler base.
Fortunately, we run into Elly, who helps us hide. Bart doesn't trust her, though. Elly then proceeds to explain how she was responsible for the disaster at Lahan, because she didn't know that Fei already knew about her involvement.
She then leads us to the Gear hangar, where she gives us the universal password for Gebler Gears (presumably "swordfish"). Fei tries to get Elly to come with him, but she refuses due to still being in the military.
After we escape, Ramsus intends to follow in his Gear, until he gets a message from Hyuga. Reading it, he stops his pursuit.
Following that sequence, we're back at the Yggdrasil, where Margie explains why she headed into Bledavik: she heard that the nuns who were captured were still alive. This music
plays as she reflects on the truth, then we prepare to return to Nisan.
That'll have to wait until next time, though.