I had intended to have this part up sooner than I did, and I apologize for that. It's just that I was sick for a week or so around the first of the year on top of the fact that I had forgotten what order a few things happen in, and it turns out this part is a real pain in the ass.
So, in order to get to this Scande place everybody's been talking about, you need to get a ship in a town called Auria. Getting there is the first major pain in this. There's a cave south of where you fought the Talon to get the first set of dragon morphs, and you'll need to have Bo on point to get to it.
Along the way, you'll see a patch of cut trees and some other oddities in the forest. This is because of some dude cutting the trees to sell the wood to the Dark Dragons. The dude got a spell put on him by some fairies. Once you get to Auria, you'll find the dude's mom. Talk to her and go back to the area with the fairies and the dude, and they'll set him free.
Of course, as soon as you enter Auria, some soldiers put you in lockup for no apparent reason other than that you're outsiders. There's a sleeping guy there named Karn who'll let you out and then go back to bed if you talk to him. Once you're out, go to the town's pier, to the left side of town, and talk to the guy by the ship. He'll tell you that if you want to use the ship, you need to go talk to a guy named Ross who lives in the north part of town. Find Ross in the biggest house in town, and he tells you that his kid's locked in the safe, and he'll let you use the ship if you get her out.
Now, the safe's in the basement, naturally, and of course, it's just as locked as Ross said it was. Sadly, Ross is as dumb as he is rich, which explains why he doesn't just have a spare key or a special combination around that he could tell you to find and use. This means you're going to need a thief to get you in so you can save the kid.
And this is where things really get to be a pain in the ass. To get a thief in your party, you've got to go to the neighboring town of Bleak, which is pretty much nothing but thieves. One thing you're going to want to do before you go to Bleak is get yourself a gold bar from the fish shop in Auria. I know, it doesn't make any sense, and it costs a ton of money, because the fish dude running the item shop wants 65000 gold for the gold bar. There are a few ways to come up with that kind of cash. One primary source is to find the handful of folks around Auria who will fork over gold like nothing if you do things for them. One of them was the lady who's son had been enchanted by fairies. There's also a guy who needs something to swallow to make his hiccups go away. And there's also an old man who coughs up 20000 gold for a massage from Nina. Between that and the gold you should already have at this point, it should be enough to get the gold bar. In my case, it wasn't, because I got stupid and spent some of the money on equipment, but I'd also managed to save up about 10K gold in storage because I knew this part was coming, which, when added to my selling a few now-useless items in storage, was enough to put me over.
This whole mess brings up something I might do a normal blog post about later. I'm sure that a good many of the folks reading this have been playing video RPGs for at least as long as I have, in which case I'm sure you've noticed something that I have as well. It sure seems that the monsters in a lot of the newer games, especially those made for the PlayStation and newer, drop a lot more useless items from battles than the monsters in older games like this one. It's something I keep forgetting about until I run into a situation like this one when a higher drop rate would be nice. Otherwise, I guess it's a good thing that I don't have to worry about my inventory constantly getting flooded with useless items. But like I said, I might wind up doing a normal blog post about this later.
Anyway, once you've got the gold bar, it's time to head off to Bleak. The tunnel under the mountains between Auria and Bleak will become a fairly straight shot once Karn is in the party, because he can unlock the locked doors. Make note of one in particular, because there's one in particular that's going to be important later in the game. There's a chest behind it that's got a gold bar in it. Fortunately it's locked, I suppose. Otherwise, I might have been writing a pissy section about being able to find a free gold bar after going to the time and trouble to get the 65K to buy one before.
Outside the tunnel on the Bleak end, it's always night, just like in the Auria area, it's always day. This'll factor into the game in a bit, but for now, it just means that the enemies around Auria are the wimpy sort from around Drogen, where the game began, and the monsters around Bleak are actually halfway challenging.
The people of Bleak are, for the most part, all thieves. The only real exceptions to this are the people running the item shop and the storage place. Generally speaking, though, there's only a few that will actually take your money or items if you talk to them. The inn guy is one of them, but if you need to use the inn after the trip from Auria, there's no way around having him jack your money while you sleep. In one case, it's worth it to give up a little gold, because there's a Street Fighter character who makes a cameo if you talk to the right person. Just a cool little Easter egg that, far as I can tell, has no real bearing on the game.
But anyway, the only thing that really needs to be done right now is to talk to the village elder, who lives in the northernmost building in town. He'll tell you that he knows someone who can help you. It's that Karn guy who was in the klink with you. The Bleak elder somehow knows that Karn has decided to get off his ass and break out of Auria's jail and go to a place called Krypt so he can work on his thieving skills. To get to Krypt, you'll need to go through a desert, for which you'll need something called the Icicle. The elder will trade you one for the gold bar you paid so much for back in Auria.
With all this in mind, I'm gonna call this issue done with and start the next one with the trip to Krypt. So, I guess I'll see everybody next time in Issue Number Seven: Search For A Kryptkeepr!