Showdown with Doppleo!
The Mayor of Mustache Enters the Fray

After somehow setting off a volcano by trying to free a sea creature but it didn't work, we now have a new Wu Xing weapon, and there's not much left to do in the Thranici Province. I did go fight the battles in the other "Killer Stone" things but it didn't seem to advance or change anything, and the people of the nearby cities like Elhuacan don't seem to care that their town has been overrun with lava.

So, we're heading off to explore around again.

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After traveling a bit, entering Nekwa, we run into the mayor, who thanks us for dispelling the nightmares from the people of the city. Leo comments that his attitude toward us is completely different now (if you remember, he attacked us before because Doppleo stole some stuff and we got framed), but still asks if he has been able to sleep well now. Leo is concerned about the cute mustache guy :)

But apparently he hasn't been able to sleep well himself, as he's still having the nightmares. But he figures they'll be going away any time now. I don't know if this is supposed to imply that we didn't actually solve the problem before, or that the Mayor himself is a special case, or if he's just having regular nightmares.

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But as we leave Nekwa, we can see Doppleo again, this time standing outside the Boat House. He sees us and runs for it, and then we see him taking a boat across the river to the east.

Liz and Leo seem determined to catch him this time. We head to the Boat House and Hot Boat Dad is there, and is confused because he just got done taking us across the river in one of his boats. He shrugs it off as a dream and asks us if we're ready to cross the river now.

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When we get to the other side, Daddy tells us that we can just call on him when we're ready to go back. There's not too much here -- this little patch of land is surrounded by water on three sides and impassible mountains to the south, so Doppleo couldn't have gotten too far.

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There are a couple of monster hoards here, but they're not too much of a challenge. One is an Easy and one is a Normal, and they're both just some common small fry that we're able to dispatch easily.

The only other place here is a cave in the southeast, so that must be where Doppleo went to hide out.

And Doppleo is indeed there, and we have him cornered now! We finally get to confront him! Liz demands that whoever he is, he show his true form.

And so he does. He turns into... a Peggy. And says Leo and he are brothers. He says we'll fight to see who is the best.

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Leo wonders if the Peggy is some kind of god or something, but accepts its challenge anyway. The Peggy is named "Servant of Maligan" and does attacks like "Maligan Cut," so... I have no idea what this is supposed to be????

The Peggy was not hard to defeat -- just a regular old Peggy with a different name. And instead of "Penpen" in its attack names, it was "Maligan." Though Maligan was the church that gave us the thing to protect against the nighmares, so...??? I don't know. It just... ends here.

We defeat the Peggy and Leo says it's settled once and for all. We head back to the boat; Dad takes us back... that's it.

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Going back through Nekwa to get into Rhonicum, we find the mayor again. He seems very appreciative and keeps thanking Leo -- we stopped the thief, stopped the nightmares... Leo just says "Don't mention it." and he thanks us once again.

Then entering Nekwa once again, our friendly mayor appears once more...

And this time he says if there's any way at all he can help, to please call on him.

And Leonard... ASKS HIM TO COME WITH US.

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This was... a difficult moment for me, because we just got a cute mustache mayor in our party, but on the other hand, we're so far in the game that making party changes now is... quite obnoxious. He'll not know very many arts at all, and have to rank them all up and stuff once he glimmers them...

So I wasn't really sure what to do. His stats are fairly rounded, with good Speed and Endurance, but sadly he didn't come with any levels in Bow, and I already have Lewis and Lamar using Hammers and Axes and stuff. Spear wouldn't be terrible, but ... I really wanted Bow.

So I figured I'd throw him in some easy battles and see if I could get his Bow level up, and just use him as a backup for Liz if I needed to.

And his name is given as something that I have NO IDEA how to write. Mwadanite. Maudeknight. I have no idea. This doesn't sound like a name, and trying to search for it, I just get results about this game, so... his name is going to be The Mayor (of Mustache).

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Wandering around some more, the girl from Lug also seems to want to join our party. Like for no reason. "Join us." "K." People are so... willing to just up and leave their entire lives to run around with some band of weirdos looking for a fairy tale city. Even if they have important jobs like... being the mayor of a major city...

Also, I stopped by the Maligan Temple and it was as if nothing happened. Despite having a Peggy in service of the church running around as our doppelganger for like more than half the game.

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Since we're here, we head over to that Iyajg Bog place that we never tried to visit before. Inspecting the weird ghost knight standing there just initiates a an easy battle, but after clearing that battle, a thing called Drear Rock pops up. The ghostly knight thing is still standing there, too.

Inspecting the stone, Leonard says that there's a weird stone here (lol). Then he says that if this stone is here, that must mean the earth is decaying...???

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And then we're just... in a fight. With this super weird looking thing called the Guardian of Drear Rock. It isn't particularly difficult to defeat, so it's not a very good guardian.

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But once we defeat it... we're sucked into another surprise battle! Now these things look like real guardians. Even though their entrance shows only three of them, there are four of these guys.

And damn are they difficult to fight!

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They have a few different abilities, but seem to love using Reserve arts. The problem is, they seem to have multiple types of Reserve arts, and you never know if they're preparing to Counter or Interrupt or what. You can try to shoot one with a bow to cancel the Counter, but it can trigger an Interrupt... It's safer to just not attack at all when they're all preparing a Reserve...

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But then you can't really do much damage because they're constantly doing that. And when they decide to do normal attacks, they have stuff like powerful lasers that can damage the whole party... so it really seems better to take them out as quickly as possible...

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A bit into the fight I started to get the hang of juggling their Reserve arts, plus with less of them on the field, they were a bit easier to manage. But I was only scraping by.

It got down to just the final golem up against Rico standing alone.

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While Rico has Counters of his own, the Golems seem to only use indirect attacks like lasers and energy cannons that won't trigger a Counter. And Rico's only indirect art is a ground attack, which doesn't affect the golems because they are floating.

So the only thing he can do is just use his strongest attacks and hope the golem is preparing a Protect or Interrupt, and if it's an interrupt, pray that it doesn't kill him...

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But instead it used a counter, negating all the damage the Rico could have done and killing him instantly :(

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Afterward, though, we're not given the option to rematch. Instead, we go back to the bog area, and an undead starts talking to us. What is it with talking monsters in this region...?

It tells us that the Malice has been calmed, but not defeated. Next time maybe even stronger monsters will appear. But for now we can rest.

And, uh, that's it. I have no idea what it was talking about. But maybe if we would have won the battle, we would have gotten some more information. We're not able to challenge the Golems again or talk to the undead again, so it seems we've done all we can do here.

Sometimes I just kind of stare at this game like 8) because I have no idea what is going on.