Bowl

Black-and-white photo of Yara holding a metal dog bowl

Yara likes to carry things.1 A particular favorite is Eli’s bowl.

  1. Shepherds are very oral.

DQII #6: Unexpected Side Quest

We can’t nab the shiny equipment at the Holy Monolith until we’ve found Erdrick’s Token, so instead we continue exploring.

Since the dude here didn’t kick us out, we can use the travel door on the other side of the pedestal. The animation change for the warping in the remake makes me queasy. I suppose it’s intended to be an improvement from the possible seizure-inducing flashing screen from the NES, but initially I thought my console glitched out.

The travel door at the Holy Monolith transports the party to the Fire Monolith

There are quite a few of these warp points scattered about the world. I haven’t bothered showing them before now because they all were dead ends. The Holy Monolith’s travel door brings you to the Fire Monolith where there are two other travel doors.

From the Fire Monolith we can get to this very similar looking monolith. An old man here tells us to seek the aid of the spirit with regard to Hargon’s illusions and the guy just outside the monolith explains that to fully use the travel doors we’ll need the golden key. Of course, we needed that anyway.

Exiting the monolith we find ourselves transported to a new continent. The enemies here are a step above those around Tantegel Castle, but they aren’t too tough. There’s only one direction to go and it brings us to Beran.

Quite honestly, I don’t know if this is just supposed to be some crazy random guy or if he actually is referencing something.

A man in Beran wishes for Hargon to be divinely punished

In the NES version this dialogue was rather randomly censored to asking for the time.

Chiefly among the many clues to gather here in Beran are locations of two crests.

Rested at the inn, which was apparently A Very Bad Idea because the next morning Kain wasn’t in my party.

Inexplicably, Kain has been cursed by Hargon. He randomly tells us to go on without him because he’s going to die. My reaction to all of this is a gigantic WTF?!

Turns out the remake has an additional side quest!

Obtaining a leaf of the world tree

I didn’t have the slightest idea what I was supposed to do, but thanks to the Internet I discovered this was actually a fairly simple fetch quest. Talking to people around town you’ll learn about the leaf of the world tree, which revives a fallen character. I was already planning to swing by the little island the world tree is on and snag one. This extra quest just meant I’d have to do this twice because you can only have one in your party’s inventory at a time.

The trip to the island utterly and completely sucked. The encounter rate on the boat was pretty awful and every battle included at least one enemy that had some type of sleep effect. Almost every battle we were put to sleep. Several times we were put to sleep turn after turn after turn while sea slugs and the like whittled away at our HP. I’m sure it’s only thanks to the adjusted battle mechanics and difficulty of the remake that we didn’t die time and again on this journey, but in any case we got to the island and nabbed the leaf. I am so glad that I always carry a spare wing of the wyvern because that return boat trip would have probably made me break things in frustration.1

Back in Beran Kain makes a rather anticlimactic recovery thanks to being force fed some ground up leaf of the world tree.

Kain thanks us and apologies for his earlier out-of-character plea to leave him behind. He joins back up and I very gladly take a break from the game.

  1. Only Kain has the Return spell.

Adventures in Dog-Sitting

When Dad and Keith went to NYC a few years ago, the dogs spent the entire time moping about, being incredibly despondent. So, I’m happy to say they’ve reacted to this trip far better. Yara has been pretty much glued to my side since I arrived, while Eli and Uschi have been tearing up the house in an endless playtime.

Honestly, not much has happened. The shepherds definitely know they outnumber me and seem to have combined their efforts to drag me out of bed as early as possible. So far they’ve forced me to brave the below temps at 4 a.m. two days in a row.

Mealtimes have been delightfully uneventful. Everyone has eaten their respective meals with absolutely zero issue.

The weather unfortunately has still been far too cold to let them have some good outdoor fun, but the weekend is supposed to warm up a bit. So, perhaps we’ll get a chance before we get dumped upon by yet more snow.

Dog-Sitting

Uschi and I are at Dad’s for the next week while he and Keith are in Florida. Given the horrendous cold weather we’re having currently I am more than a little jealous. But for their part the dogs seem thrilled. Yara’s been practically glued to my side since we arrived and Eli and Uschi are playing as hard as ever.

I brought my camera, so hopefully I’ll get some fun photos to share. And if the weather cooperates, perhaps I’ll get some time outside with the dogs. They all certainly enjoy all that white stuff out there.

DQII #5: Exploring Alefgard

We have a ship! The world is now ours to explore.

The music that plays when you’re on the ship makes me feel like you’re dancing across the water. Unfortunately, the reality is more like you leisurely chug along because, unlike Final Fantasy, you don’t travel any faster on the boat. However, you can dock it anywhere you can access land and it’ll magically follow you when you cast Return.1

Since these are royal children we explore in baby steps and sail not even an entire screen away to Alefgard.

Tantegel Castle was changed slightly from the NES version in the DQI remake. This particular remake sticks closer to the original, though. I’ve no idea why that is. Anyway, a hundred years have altered things a bit and the town of Brecconary has been folded into the castle. On the west side are the usual shops and inn.

It’s not much more to go on than we had before, but at least we know there is some indication of where the sunken treasure lies.

Of course, I already know where the spot is, which is very handy because it wasn’t very easy to spot in the remake. Though, to be fair it does actually sparkle in this version.

Back in Lianport, the man will gives us the Echoing Flute in exchange for the ship’s treasures. Because there’s no context, we can safely assume it’s important.

DQII193

The Alefgard area is definitely the best grinding spot at this point. The enemies aren’t too tough and they give decent experience and gold. There’s a save point inside the castle. And, just like in DQI, there’s a man here who will restore your magic so you don’t have to bother with an inn!

My priority at this point is to get the available upgrades from the weapon shop. I don’t bother with Roto’s equipment because (a.) I’ll be finding a new weapon soon and (b.) I got an iron helmet as a random drop.

Sailing from Tantegel Castle to Charlock Castle

After I finish grinding, we sail the short distance south to Charlock Castle.

The first floor of Charlock Castle is in ruins

Inside, Charlock looks like the first ten minutes of Flip This House. As you might expect the castle is crawling with enemies. They aren’t endgame hard this time, but they are still pretty tough for my party at this point.

The lower levels have a layout similar to that of the previous game right down to the chest with Erdrick’s Sword. How it ended up back here is anybody’s guess. After nabbing the sword I warp out to heal and save.

On my return trip I head to the bottom floor where the Dragonlord’s great-grandson is faithfully imitating his ancestor by doing a whole lot of nothing. He tells us about the five crests we will need to collect to receive the power needed to defeat Hargon. In other words: time for a fetch quest.

Map of the world

Behind a barrier on the west side of the bottom floor are a bunch of chests. There’s really nothing too important in there, though, one does have a world map. Inventory space is at a premium so I’ll toss it in the vault at the next opportunity.

Group of seven metal slimes

Back outside I head east across what I presume to be the Rainbow Bridge and run into a group of metal slimes. They beat me up quite thoroughly before all running off. What do you bet I won’t be able to find any once I have the ability to actually hit them?

The Holy Monolith is at the southern tip of this island and, proving it’s just the Southern Shrine with a cooler name, inside is a guy demanding to see Erdrick’s Token. He isn’t very friendly, but at least he doesn’t throw us out of the monolith.

  1. You can also retrieve the boat from inside Lianport where it will inexplicably always be docked.