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Crossing the bridge between dreams and reality - Let's Play Eternal Sonata!

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)
Verse 3-3: The Haunted Cemetery

Hello and welcome back to Eternal Sonata! Last time we traveled through a poisonous grove on our way to Andante, and today we’re going to take a look around the place with Falsetto, Allegretto, and Viola while Claves and Jazz are off doing other things.



♪♪~ Endure and Resist

I’m pretty sure this tune has the most extensive use of acoustic guitar in the whole soundtrack; it really gets a workout, and that plus the percussion makes this one of the livelier town themes in the game.



“Don’t tell anyone about this place.”

Wasn’t planning on it!





Seems like Andantino are doing pretty well for themselves here.



Viola: “Wow.”
Falsetto: “It’s nothing special on the inside, really. Anyway, let’s go on in.”

I dunno, I’m inclined to disagree. Not many people can say they have their homes carved out of a cave system!



“To make them take notice, we target only their important facilities. We make sure that no civilians are hurt by our actions.”
“We will continue our campaign until Forte changes its ways.”

Uh, good luck with that; you might be waiting a while if Count Waltz is anything to go by. Anyway, let’s check out the place right next to him.



Man, the citizens of Andante have absolutely nothing to worry about where water is concerned. There are waterfalls all over the place here!



Delicious.



Chaconne: “What’s the use of freedom if it costs you your life? A world of freedom is meaningless to me without him.”
“I just hope he doesn’t do anything foolish.”



Etude: “I have great respect for Jazz and this organization he’s built.”
“I’d give my life for Jazz’s sake.”

That’s great and all, but I don’t think he’d want you to do that.



Probably best not to poke around through people’s food any more than we already have…



Onward to the next room.



Right. Wouldn’t want anyone going on a magical rampage…



Allegretto: “Mineral powder produces fast results, but causes heavy side effects. Floral powder takes some time to work, but has no side effects.”

That tracks with what we’ve seen/been told before.



Doctor: “In an organization like this, it’s not unusual to see patients with serious injuries. It’s my job to patch them up before their young lives bleed out of them.”
“Lately I’m seeing a lot of youngsters glorifying the idea of becoming martyrs for the cause. You can’t build a future if you’re not alive to do it. Death is not glamorous.”

That’s a great point, but it sounds like people are getting caught up in the excitement of fighting for the cause. Hopefully Jazz can keep things under control…

If you talk to the doctor again you can rest up for free in the infirmary, but we’re fine at the moment. Let’s head back outside.



“He’s calm and composed and has the wherewithal to charge forward without losing sight of his objective. And he’d never abandon his comrades. It’s because we have a man like him as our leader that I’m willing to pledge myself to Andantino.”
“Brother! Let us lay down our lives for the sake of true freedom!”

Man, the doctor really wasn’t kidding earlier. Y’all need to chill just a little bit.



Ooh, there’s bound to be something useful in here.



“I sure hope having our top brass in love with each other doesn’t affect their objectivity.”
“I’m sure Falsetto is none too happy about it. Why’s that, you ask? It’s because she’s…. Well, anyway, there are a few reasons.”

Uh, this rather complicates the whole “possible spy” thing. Jazz must be feeling pretty conflicted right now. In fact, I bet that’s what he and Claves are talking about… we’ll have to deal with it later, I’m sure, but for now let’s just keep looking around Andante.



No need to be so cranky about it!



Sullen Melody: “What the heck was that? Now I’m really in a bad mood!”

Playing our second Score Piece with Sullen Melody gets us a B-Rank, which is the best we can do until we find more.



We still have a bunch of these, but they aren’t really useful anymore except to top off a character’s HP in between battles.



Allegretto: “Oh, it’s nothing.”

Well dang. Let’s check the other side.



Nice! It won’t get us an A-Rank with Sullen Melody, but I’ll gladly add another Score Piece to the collection. Now then, back outside and across the bridge leading south.



“There are also lots of women who oppose the government. But most of us don’t take part in combat. We stay here to guard our children and homes. Though we may not go out and fight, our thoughts are with the men.”
“Falsetto and Claves? They’re special cases. Falsetto’s been a member since the organization was formed. She’s Jazz’s right hand man. The women go to her whenever there’s a problem because she’s kind and dependable. Claves joined only recently, but she’s a great swordsman, so she moved up in the ranks quickly.”
“All the women fight in some way.”

I guess that makes sense, but it seems kind of misguided. Let more mothers and wives punch monsters to death, Jazz.



Anyway, let’s head down the bridges and stock up on supplies. With Jazz and Claves elsewhere we only have to shop for three people, and the huge payout from Trick or Treat should let us buy everything we need.



I don’t usually buy it, but I figure since I have so much extra Gold lying around I might as well try out the Dragoon Blade; this actually works out in my favor later on. The Monkey Bow is just a straight ATK upgrade, and the boost is large enough that I finally replace the Swallow Shooter with it. The Power Stroke is the best weapon here, since it carries a chance to inflict Slow with each hit; Falsetto won’t be replacing it for a long time.



As for armor, I buy the Tiger Armor for Allegretto and the Silk Dress for Viola.



I also pick up a few Time Feathers along with the usual consumable purchases; more on these and the status they heal later.



“The training menu is written on the board in front of you. 500 push-ups! 500 sit-ups! 500 back lifts! 500 bunny hops! 500 sword swings! 500 weight lifts! 500 head butts! 500 nose hooks! 500 toilet cleanings….”
“One! Two!”

Uh, we’ll just be going. Let’s see what’s happening in the room nearby…



♪♪~ No music

Soldier 2: “Jazz is overly cautious.”
Soldier 3: “Yeah. We’re just going to have to take matters into our own hands.”
Soldier 1: “Right. It’s time to put our plan into action!”
Soldier 3: Shh! Keep your voices down!”
Soldier 2: “But can we really pull it off on our own?”
Soldier 3: “Yeah, it’d be nice if we had someone to back us up if things go sour.”



Soldier 3: “Etude practically worships Jazz. You really think he’d go along with this?”
Soldier 1: “I’m sure of it. Knowing him, standing around doing nothing like this is probably driving him nuts. That’s the kind of man he is.”
Soldier 2: “Sounds good. All that’s left is to pick a time to enact the plan. According to intelligence reports….”



Soldier 1: “F-Falsetto!”
Soldier 2: “Nothing, ma’am.”
Soldier 3: “Well, we’re done cleaning the room. Guess we’ll head back now.”
Soldier 2: “Yeah."
Soldier 3: “Please excuse us.”



Well that wasn’t alarming at all. I hope for their sake that they don’t do anything stupid…

(I forgot to check if Etude’s dialogue changes if you talk to him after seeing this cutscene, but I don’t think it does. I’ll check later if I get the chance to.)

Now that those soldiers are gone, let’s poke around the meeting room and see if we can find anything of interest.



Allegretto: “Hmm. I don’t understand any of this.”

Complicated logistics and whatnot, I’m sure.



Allegretto: “Hmm. This seems pretty simple.”

Well now I’m curious. How discerning a palette does Count Waltz have? Does he have beef Wellington on a regular basis? Will a sandwich suffice for lunch? Truly these are questions for our time.

Anyway, that’s actually everything in the meeting room, so we’ll head back outside.



“For example, have you heard the stories about the test subjects that took it before it was sold? They say it fried the brain of the first guy who tried it.”
“We now know the mineral powder was developed at the cost of those victims. I don’t think Forte’s citizens know about that. If they did, there’s no way they’d buy it.”

Yikes. The more we learn about mineral powder the worse it gets. No wonder it causes people to eventually lose control of themselves if the early tests were so bad.



Interesting find here. You might have some trouble finding the specific stone pillar this note mentions, since there are a bunch of them throughout Andante…





But it turns out you have to backtrack to the entrance to find the other note, resulting in another Score Piece. Don’t mind if I do! With that out of the way, let’s return to where we found the original note and investigate the room nearby.



♪♪~ No music

Father: “It won’t help to cry about it.”
Younger Sister: “Y-yeah, b-but….”



Father: “Oh, hello, Falsetto. Well, take a look at this.”



Viola: “But it looks like it’s wilting.”
Father: “Yes. We don’t have any water for it.”
Allegretto: “Water? There’s tons of water right outside.”



Father: “If you give them ordinary water, they die in no time.”
Allegretto: “Then you just need to go get water from that spring, right?”
Father: “Don’t be ridiculous! To get to the spring, you have to go through the cemetery! I don’t want to go to that creepy place.”
Allegretto: “You’re her father, aren’t you?”
Father: “But they say monsters live there. What if they eat me?!”
Younger Sister: “Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”
Older Brother: “...”



Allegretto: “Ah, man.”
Viola: “The poor thing. Allegretto, how about we go get that water?”
Allegretto: “What?!”
Viola: “Think of it as your good deed for the day.”
Allegretto: “Since when are you so nice, Viola?”



We then get deposited outside the residence, but I’m going to head right back in to look around before we leave.



♪♪~ Endure and Resist

Allegretto: “It’s full of photos of his daughter. Hey, what’s this?”





Doing so lets us acquire our second character-specific accessory. More ATK for Viola is always a good thing in my book.



“My son’s run off and my daughter won’t stop crying.”

We’re working on it, dude.



Well hopefully that won’t be a problem for much longer.



That’s what we’re here for!



“The training is rough, but only in the beginning. And you’ll get used to waking up early. Don’t worry.”
“Feel free to ask me anything. Just follow my lead and you’ll be fine!”

We’ll pass, thanks…



“When we first came here, flowers bloomed everywhere. Simile flowers. They glow in the dark and are really beautiful. But as the town grew, they gradually decreased in numbers. You don’t see them anymore.”
“We know why the flowers are gone. Apparently, the water that flows through here is no longer good for them. Back when the flowers still bloomed, I tried watering some once. They wilted in no time. I was shocked. They say it’s because the water from the Simile Spring no longer reaches here.”
“I’d feel terrible if it turned out that the flowers all died because we came here.”

I don’t want to poke fingers at anybody, but that kind of sounds like the case, or at least like it was a factor.



“Most people believe in and fear those kinds of things. That’s why we built our hideout here.”

That makes sense. Andante is really well-located, I gotta say. Poisonous grove on one side, haunted cemetery on the other – y’all are set for defenses!



Huh, another small scavenger hunt before we enter Lento Cemetery, I guess. If we head back to the halfway point between the two bridges leading into this section of town and hop across the gap there…





Allegretto: “...”



...Let’s just pretend we didn’t see this and be on our way.
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)


♪♪~ No No I Don’t Die Noooo!

So um, did anyone else notice an immediate atmosphere change, or was that just me?



The surrounding environment definitely just got way more purple, at least.





I can see why people think this cemetery is haunted; I’m gettin’ real bad vibes just standing here.



But we don’t have time to stand here all day. Let’s go find that boy and the Simile Spring.

I have no idea why they went with that title for this track, but the music itself is suitably spooky for a cemetery. It’s easily the most dissonant/atonal tune in the entire game; there’s not really a melody, and in fact there isn’t a lot going on besides atmospheric strings and background choir. I like the change of pace, though – not many pieces in the soundtrack focus on pure mood/atmosphere like this one does.



There are a bunch of branching paths that split off from the main road, but I think we should stay on said road for now.



It’s hard to tell, but that’s the boy we’re looking for way off in the distance there. Let’s go talk to him.



Falsetto: “It isn’t safe here. You should go straight home.”
Older Brother: “But I can’t! Somebody’s got to get that water for my little sis!”
Viola: “You’re a good brother for thinking of your sister. But you shouldn’t make your father worry about you. Just hurry home. And don’t worry, we’ll get the water for your sister.”
Older Brother: “But it’s not easy to get to the Simile Spring. See? With that fog there, the way to the spring is blocked.”



Are y’all ready for a puzzle explanation? Because we sure are about to get one.

Older Brother: “My father says it’s something called the Goblin’s Grudge, but I don’t really know what that means.”
*Allegretto tries walking through the fog, but is pushed back by an unknown force.*
Allegretto: “Whoa, it’s true! I can’t go a single step further! What do we have to do?”
Older Brother: “See that candlestick over there?”



Allegretto: “Hmm. Hey, wait. If the candle is lit, why isn’t the fog disappearing?”
Older Brother: “Look. You see that other candlestick there? When there are two candlesticks, you have to light both candles on them, or the fog won’t disappear.”
Viola: “Okay, got it. So we just need to light a flame on this candle.”



Older Brother: “The candle won’t light if the flame’s not the same color as the candlestick.”
Viola: “So that means we’ve gotta find a green flame to get rid of this fog.”
Allegretto: “Hmm. Well, since we’ll need more than one flame, let’s start by taking this red one.”



Older Brother: “There should be other flames somewhere in the cemetery.”
Allegretto: “Okay, got it. We have to find the other flame to get rid of the fog and pass through.”
Older Brother: “You really think you can do it?”
Viola: “Oh, absolutely! It’ll be no problem at all! If there’s a cute girl involved, this guy’ll find a way to make it happen. Right, Allegretto?”
“Allegretto: “...”
Older Brother: “I don’t want my sister to be sad. She’s kinda cute, so please do whatever you can!”
Allegretto: “All right! All right! I promise we’ll help her. Just go home and wait for us there.”



The cutscene spelled out the puzzle gimmick for Lento Cemetery pretty clearly – find some flames, match the color to a corresponding candlestick, make some fog disappear.



This is the key difference between Lento Cemetery and other areas up to this point in the game; instead of there being a straight shot to the end with some small branching paths scattered throughout, Lento has a central hub that connects to four smaller areas, and we’ll have to explore all of them to find the green flame we need to open the fog door to the north.



We’ll start things off by heading to this fog door right by the save point.



We light the flame, causing the fog door to dissipate, and head on in…



To the Blockheads’ Boneyard.



The four graveyards that split off from the main area of the cemetery all have similar layouts to this one, being arranged in sort of a grid pattern. There are also plenty of enemies floating around, like that one up at the top of the screenshot here.



♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

The battlefield for Lento Cemetery is almost comically large compared to what we’ve seen up to this point. It’s also almost entirely in darkness except for those spirits you see in the image; some of them remain stationary, while others will float around randomly, somewhat hampering your ability to use light specials with any consistency. You can alleviate this by equipping a character with the Brilliant Brooch we found earlier, if you feel the need to.



Because the battlefield is so large, you might not actually see where the enemies spawn in a given encounter. Luckily you can change the camera angle with the L2 button, which lets you switch between the standard view, this zoomed-out view, and an overhead angle that is almost entirely useless. The Speed Shoes are a great help for closing the distance on enemies here; I give them to Falsetto, since Allegretto at least has Phantom/Fire Wave for long-distance attacks.



And of course, because you often start out a battle so far away from your opponents, Viola’s arrows can one- or two-shot enemies if your aim is good enough.



Scourgers are the next step up from Maledictors, and have the same general moveset (including a long-distance attack that they strangely don’t use that often). Honestly they aren’t too much of a problem with this specific party composition!



As an added bonus, Scourgers happen to be dark-aligned monsters, so Allegretto’s new sword makes short work of them. It should be noted that they don’t drop any items, though.



Here’s a shot of the overhead view I was talking about. It might just be me, but I find that using this camera angle kind of throws off my timing, so I tend to ignore it.



Moving on, we find a blue flame at the other end of the Blockheads’ Boneyard. Not quite what we need, but we’ll get there eventually.



Let’s be sure to grab the red flame on our way out; we’ll need it later.



Our next stop is the fog door to the right of our eventual destination.



Time to hunt down some more flames.



While looking around, we come across the other new enemy of the cemetery.



These weird floating torches are Light Antiques, one of the stranger enemies in the game. Note that they project an aura of light around themselves, so you can use light specials against them if you get in close.



They don’t have much HP (even less than the Scourgers), but you shouldn’t take them lightly. Their basic attack – where they kind of slash you with the pointy bottom tip of their body – comes out very fast and is hard to block as a result, and their specials aren’t anything to sniff at either. Soul Stab is just a powerful attack on one character, but Soul Circle is way worse. You do not want to get hit by Soul Circle; more on why later.

Light Antiques technically have an AoE attack called Soul Fire that can cause knockdown if not blocked, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen it be used before. They also sometimes drop Floral Extracts; we still can’t buy those, so it might be a good idea to farm these enemies for a while if you’re having trouble with this area.



A look at the Power Stroke’s handy Slow effect in action. Makes the Light Antiques much less of a hassle to deal with.





Continuing on, we find this weapon for Falsetto. It would technically make the Light Antiques easier to fight since they’re light-aligned monsters, but the Power Stroke is just too useful right now. I’ll hold onto this anyway, just in case we find a use for it down the road.



Over on the northwest end of Old Age Acres we find and dissipate a red fog door…



Leading to another red flame. That done, we head back out of this area, taking the blue flame with us…



And go over to the northwest area of the cemetery, the Warrior’s Burial Ground.
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)


You know, there are an awful lot of graves here. I wonder how many of them belong to former residents of Andante, versus whoever lived here before Andantino set up shop. It’s not a question that the game will answer, but it’s potentially interesting to think about.



Anyway, over in the northeast end of the Burial Ground we find another blue flame. That makes two each of blue and red, but still no green flame. Maybe we’ll have better luck in the southwest section of Lento.



Speaking of which, let’s head over there now. I’ll just light the flames real quick...



Dang, that’s kinda grim.



Spookiness aside, at least these are some cool-looking graves. “Spiffy” isn’t the right word, but they’re definitely unique.



We find this fog door in the northwest corner, but we can’t actually do anything behind it, so I’ll leave it be for now.



Instead I’ll head over to the northeast corner to the nearly-identical fog door there and open it…



Which leads to the back road of the cemetery.





From there we’ll go down the long, long pathway…



And eventually reach this chest. The path leads off to the east, so let’s keep going.



Oh hey, nice! Maybe we can just bypass finding a green flame entirely?



Well, not quite – all our blue flames are being used elsewhere, and we still need one to open this final fog door.



But hey, at least we finally found the green flame! Now we can return to the main road and get past that fog door… or we can eventually, at least.



See, now that we have the green flame, there are a couple extra items we can pick up, and we definitely want them. To get the first we need to head back to the Blockheads’ Boneyard.



In the northeast corner of the Boneyard, if we get rid of this fog door…



We find this other fog door immediately behind it that we can only dissipate with the green flame. Do this, and we get…



A new set of armor for Allegretto. Lovely!



The other item we can get requires a slightly more complicated series of steps to reach it. First we need to go back to the Gone Too Soon Graveyard.



Once there we need to dissipate the fog door in the northeast corner (the one that leads to the Back Road) without going through it, then exit the Graveyard, taking back the flames at the entrance.



Then we need to finally open the fog door that required us to run around Lento in the first place.



From there we need to circle back around through the fog door that we left open earlier…



Close it again…



And open the fog door in the northwest corner.



Right behind it is another fog door that requires the one flame we still have left. What does this get us?





Why, a fantastic new weapon for Allegretto! Only a few characters get a weapon that grants permanent Burst status, and this is the earliest we can obtain such a weapon. We’ll have to be careful using it during boss fights in the future, but it should help regular encounters go by faster.



♪♪~ Well-Done

Falsetto: “I mustn’t hesitate!”

While I was running around lighting candlesticks, Falsetto hit level 25 and learned a new special! I don’t get a good chance to show it off this update, but we’ll see more of it later.



♪♪~ No No I Don’t Die Noooo!

Back at the entrance to the spring I make a quick save. It’s time to finally get that Simile water!



...Oh. Guess we’re fighting that thing first, huh? Let me just make some quick adjustments to the Item Set, swap some accessories around…
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)


Click to watch the boss fight and the cutscene afterwards



I guess this… whatever it is, is the guardian of the spring. Doesn’t seem to happy that we showed up, either.



♪♪~ Opposition Resignation

Boss: Death Crow, Light Antique x2
HP: 250,000
Exp: 26,000 (Xbox 360)/15,000 (PS3)
Gold: 300
That is hands-down the strangest crow I’ve ever seen: You and me both.



Allegretto: “You better back off!”

The Death Crow has the potential to be pretty challenging, but we have three things going for us: Allegretto’s new weapon, Falsetto’s ability to quickly build up Echoes, and Viola, like, just in general.



You’ll want to start out by getting rid of the two Light Antiques that come with the boss, since otherwise they’ll pester you and keep you distracted from the main target.



This is somewhat complicated by the fact that Death Crow will almost always immediately revive a defeated Light Antique with Warder’s Call. However, this ends up actually being a good thing, since time spent reviving Light Antiques is time spent not attacking your party, and since they’re only revived for 10,700 HP you can more easily take them out again on your next turn.



Death Crow has a few other attacks you need to watch out for, like Sweeping, which hits a single character twice. Strangely, the boss has to face away from you to use this attack, but it’s otherwise pretty easy to deal with and the least dangerous move in its arsenal.



Well this is a problem! If you don’t block the Light Antique’s Soul Circle attack, that character is inflicted with Stop, the worst status effect in the game. While Stopped, the affected character cannot move or take any action for the first two seconds of their Action Gauge.



It wears off after four of their turns, but it’s much better to either a) not get hit with Stop in the first place, or b) bring a couple Time Feathers to cure it as soon as possible, like I did here. This did not stop me from immediately being hit with it again, but thankfully it only happened twice right at the start of the battle. Which is good because I only brought two Time Feathers with me!



Falsetto: “The shadow of the flower falls on the vortex and knows no fear. Imperial spirit!”

It is so satisfying to line up multiple targets and hit them all at once with Night Fist. Death Crow can be kind of hard to hit since melee combos will only reach the bottom-most part of the boss – requiring you to be very close to it – which makes this even better.



Death Crow’s standard attack is to lash out with both of its weird arm-things. I brought along a Lion’s Mane to help boost Allegretto’s defenses a little, but it won’t do much if I screw up the guard timing like this.



Of course we can dish out the damage right back to it. Hellstriker is a pretty great weapon, y’all.



Do be careful when attacking up close, though – Death Crow has a melee-range AoE called Intake that can deal big chunks of damage if you aren’t expecting it.



Now that we finally have a turn without Light Antiques harassing her, Viola can start dishing out damage with her arrows and mark the boss with Hawk Eye.



Death Crow does try to fight back; Curdle is a very dangerous breath attack that can inflict Stop on everyone in its line of fire if you don’t block it. Unfortunately for the boss…



Hawk Eye plus Hellstriker means we’re putting out absurd damage with each hit. We’ve effectively sealed Death Crow’s fate. It manages to resurrect a Light Antique one last time, but, well…



Allegretto: “Float adrift into boundaries of nothingness!”

The poor thing never stood a chance.



Allegretto then gets rid of the last Light Antique in short order. Thanks, Allegretto!



♪♪~ Well-Done

Allegretto: “Huh! Not much to you, huh?”

I’m pretty sure this is the first boss we’ve fought that didn’t result in a level-up afterwards. Not a big deal, we’re plenty strong as-is, plus we just got a new weapon for Viola.



♪♪~ No music

Viola: “You know, we did kind of just barge in here all of a sudden. Now that I think about it, it may just have been protecting the graveyard against intruders.”
*Short pause*
Allegretto: “Well, I’d feel kind of bad about that then.”
Falsetto: “Don’t worry. The spring guardian is a spirit, so even if it’s gone temporarily, it’ll go back to normal soon.”



Good idea.

So, this next series of cutscenes will close out Chapter 3. I have some opinions about them, but I’ll wait until after the update is over before sharing my thoughts so as not to break up the pacing. After this point I will present these scenes without any commentary. See y’all on the other side.
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)
*Meanwhile, in Andantino’s cabin base...*



Click to watch the rest of the update (recommended viewing)



Jazz: “Claves, what do you think of Falsetto?”
Claves: “Huh? What do you mean?”
*short pause*



Claves: “What?!”
Jazz: “You don’t think she’s been acting strange lately? She’s being oddly combative. Especially toward you. Think about it. She never used to be like that.”
Claves: “Well, it could be that Falsetto is just jealous of us.”



Jazz: “Even so, there is definitely something she’s hiding from me. I’ve known her since childhood, so we can tell almost everything about each other.”
*quietly, to herself:*
Claves: “Everything….”
*She gets up and starts pacing through the room.*



Claves: “Remember, our plan was to infiltrate the dungeon directly through the secret passage.”
Jazz: “Yes, that is true.”
Claves: “It must have been a coincidence. I can’t believe Falsetto is a spy.”
Jazz: “Yes, you’re right. Thanks, Claves. That’s a relief, I was just about to lose my faith in Falsetto.”
*He gets up from the chair.*



*He starts to leave the cabin.*
Claves: “Yes, that’s a good idea.”



*Claves notices something and looks up just as the scene transitions to outside the cabin.*



*Jazz hears something behind him.*



*He turns back around and resumes returning to Andante. Back inside the cabin...*



♪♪~ Strategy

*Claves clutches her chest in pain as she faces her attacker.*





Rondo: “Falsetto has suspected you for some time now. I suppose sooner or later, they were bound to find out.”



*Rondo takes her leave as Claves collapses to the ground.*



*The music fades out as Claves lies on the ground.*



*Cue flashback...*



♪♪~ When We Are Together

Falsetto: “Well, they do taste good in soup.”
*[...]*
“I don’t know about that. I seriously doubt he’ll be attacking Andantino any time soon.”



Falsetto: “It’s nice to have things shaken up every once in a while. It’s okay with you, isn’t it, Claves?”



Falsetto: “Everything we do has some effect on the environment. And ultimately, that ends up affecting human society as well.”



Claves: “I guess I’m a failure as a spy.”



♪♪~ A Faint Light Grasped in the Hand

Claves: “Why did I… why did I say those things to him?”



Jazz: “I sincerely hope that’s all it is. Even so, there is definitely something she’s hiding from me. I’ve known her since childhood, so we can tell almost everything about each other.”
Claves: “Everything….”



Claves: “As a woman, I just didn’t want to lose to Falsetto. I wanted to fight for him fairly and have him choose me!”
*short pause*
Claves: “What a joke. A fair fight? That’s the last thing anyone would expect from someone as deceitful as me. And yet, after all that I’ve done….”



Claves: “Remember, our plan was to infiltrate the dungeon directly through the secret passage.”



Claves: “Maybe Rondo was right.”
*She puts a hand on the floor to steady herself and starts trying to push herself up to a standing position.*
Claves: “If I had just made her out to be the spy, my job and my love life would have been easy. But it’s strange. I don’t regret it at all. For once, it actually felt like we were on equal footing.”



Claves: “It must have been a coincidence. I can’t believe Falsetto is a spy.”
Jazz: “Yes, you’re right. Thanks, Claves. That’s a relief, I was just about to lose my faith in Falsetto.”



♪♪~ Pyroxene of the Heart

Claves: “I wish… I wish I had grown up with Jazz. Then just maybe I would have led a life better than the one I did. I truly envy Falsetto.”
*A dove flies in through the cabin window.*



*It lands on Claves’s arm, and she puts a rolled-up slip of paper into the messenger pouch tied around one of its legs.*
Claves: “This will be my final gift to both of them. Now go. Fly! But your destination isn’t Forte anymore.”



*As the bird flies away, the music abruptly stops...*



*Claves lies on the ground unmoving for several seconds.*



♪♪~ Your Circumstances

Claves: “I wonder if they’ll ever figure out who the spy was. That it was me?”



Claves: “Were my feelings real? Or was it all just some kind of illusion?”





--------------



♪♪~ Fantaisie-Impromptu in C Sharp Minor, Op. posth. 66 (recommended listening)

“This is a beautifully flowing melody in C-sharp minor composed around 1835.”



“In fact, it’s possible that he had asked his friend, Julian Fontana, to burn the score after his death.”



“Chopin might have been aware of that fact and refrained from publishing the piece to avoid such criticism.”



“This must have been very difficult for Fontana.”



“or if it was really right for him to keep this masterpiece from the rest of the world.”



“If he had not published that score,”



“There might have been other compositions that were threatened with destruction just like this one. Though Chopin’s request might have seemed reasonable at the time,”



---------------​

Next time: The start of Chapter 4.
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)
Glossary of musical terms

Chaconne – A type of musical composition popular in the Baroque Era that was essentially a vehicle for improvisation; it consisted primarily of a short, repeated harmonic regression with a repetitive bassline that would allow the performer to embellish upon the piece however they saw fit.

Melody – Technically speaking, a melody is a linear succession of musical tones that the listener perceives as a single entity. They often consist of one or more phrases or motifs that are repeated several times throughout the composition. Different musical styles will use the melody in different ways, but generally speaking it’s the thing you’re singing/humming along to whenever you’re listening to a given song.

Simile – A musical direction to perform the indicated passage of music in a similar way as the previous passage.

Lento – One of the slower common tempo markings, used for a section or piece of music that is played between 45-60 bpm.

Rondo – A musical form wherein a principal theme appears and alternates with one or more contrasting themes. A famous example would be Beethoven’s Für Elise, which is written in ABACA form, with A being the main theme. If you want a more energetic example, Hocus Pocus by the Dutch progressive rock band Focus is also a rondo.
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)
So, about Claves, and that scene in particular.

I think it’s a compelling idea to have one of the characters in your party secretly be a spy for the main antagonists, and actually now that I think about it I’m hard-pressed to think of more examples of this in other RPGs. (And of course the trouble with asking about that is that you’ll unavoidably be spoiled on key plot twists for the games in question.) The main problem here is that I think the twist happened too early.

We only just met Claves the previous chapter, and we didn’t learn much about her before her death scene. We know that she’s a capable fighter, that she joined Andantino relatively recently, that she and Falsetto have sort of a rivalry going on, and that every time she was asking a dumb obvious question she was actually memorizing information to feed back to Forte. Hell, if you missed the incidental NPC dialogue in Andante, the player will only find out she and Jazz are a couple the scene right before her death. That’s not a whole lot of time to get attached to a character, so the scene doesn’t hit as hard as it could have. (Credit where it’s due, at least, to Tara Platt, who really does an admirable job selling the emotional weight the scene should have had.)

Plus the scene is just badly paced. Beyond, arguably, the initial set of flashbacks from the previous chapter, the rest of the flashbacks to the previous scene that literally just happened really didn’t need to be there at all. They just bog down the pacing and I’m not sure why they were included. For all the rewriting the PS3 port brought to the game, I really wish this whole subplot had been reworked even a little bit, because as is it’s one of the weaker aspects of the game when it really doesn’t have to be.

To end this post on a more positive note, Chapter 4 has some of my favorite scenes in the game, and there’s an entirely new section in the PS3 port, so y’all have that to look forward to. See you then.
 
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Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
FF6 tries briefly to frame Celes as a spy, but it's not at all convincing.
 

Vidfamne

BB (10) > 3^^^3
I think it’s a compelling idea to have one of the characters in your party secretly be a spy for the main antagonists, and actually now that I think about it I’m hard-pressed to think of more examples of this in other RPGs.
I can think of a few: Harle in Chrono Cross, Arete in Cosmic Star Heroine, Safiya in Mask of the Betrayer (in so far as the Founder is an antagonist, and "spy" is admittedly pushing it), Selina in Serpent Isle (not that she stays for long at all, but I suppose neither did Claves; e: rather not a "spy" so much as an assassin)

e: And I think Elanee in base NWN2 was a spy for the corrupted Circle of Druids, who are at least linked to Black Garius. Not that anything about NWN2 is worth remembering.
 
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spines

behold my godlike
(she/her, or something)
there's an extremely prominent example in another game this team worked on which i won't name at the moment
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Oh, I suppose there's Hrist and Arngrim in Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria (besides nearly-too-obvious-to-mention Lezard Valeth), if we're counting garden-variety betrayals.
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)
Somehow I had completely forgotten about the FFVI and Chrono Cross examples. It has been ages since I've played either game, I suppose.

Anywho, it's time for more art:





I'm not a fan of the weird half-skirt, but I do like the rose motif Claves has going on. She's also the only left-handed character in the playable cast, which is neat.
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)
Music? Music.

Chopin - Fantasy on Polish Airs in A Major, Op. 13

Steve Reich - Eight Lines

The "Fantasy on Polish Airs" is one of six pieces that Chopin wrote for piano and orchestra, almost all of which (including this one) were written while he was a student at the Warsaw Conservatory. Much of the music is based on traditional Polish folk melodies; orchestration wasn't Chopin's strong suit, but there are still some nice-sounding passages here.

Steve Reich is a contemporary American composer, best known for contributing to the rise of minimalism in the 1960's, along with other composers like La Monte Young, Terry Riley, and Philip Glass. Reich is a classically trained percussionist, and that background often heavily influences his music, which tends to be highly rhythmic, built on repetitive figures, and (depending on the piece) calls for many percussion instruments. He's one of my favorite composers, so expect more of his music in the future.

The piece linked above was originally titled "Octet" and published in 1979, but Reich made some revisions to make performance easier and republished it as "Eight Lines" in 1983. It's one of my favorite pieces of his, and one of my favorite pieces of music ever.
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)
I would have posted this next installment of looking back at Motoi Sakuraba's career yesterday, but time kind of got away from me and I didn't get the chance, so today you're getting that and an update.

After releasing Gikyokuonsou in 1989, Sakuraba joined Wolf Team, a game development company and subsidiary of Telenet Japan, as a resident composer. Near as I can tell, his earliest credited work on a game soundtrack is on Arcus II: Silent Symphony from the same year, an RPG for the PC-88 that was ported to a few other computer systems; he co-composed the music with Masaaki Uno and Yasunori Shiono, two composers he would often work with in his early days at Wolf Team. There's not an organized playlist of the soundtrack on youtube that I can find, but I can link a few sample tracks:

Western Kingdom
Lady Thief
Charge!!

There's also this video that has the whole soundtrack with no timestamps or annotations if you want to try wading through it for specific tracks, I guess.

Sakuraba also worked on the Zan series, which is an interesting outlier in that it's a series of strategy games, rather than the RPG's that he's mostly known for. There are a few games in the series, but I'll be linking to the soundtrack for Zan: Yasha Enbukykoku, which I think is the earliest soundtrack he composed on his own (please correct me if I'm wrong on this!). You can tell that Sakuraba wrote the music, but it's a different, more contemplative side of his style that you don't hear too often. Some sample tracks:

Player Phase
Battle Phase 2
Ending 1

He worked on a lot of games in the late 80's and early 90's, but my two favorite soundtracks from this early period are for Granada and Sol-Feace, both shmups released in 1990. The former was an exclusive for the Sharp X68000, a Japanese home computer with one of my favorite names; he co-composed this soundtrack with Masaaki Uno. Full playlist here, and a few sample tracks:

Heavy Line
Marching Way
Bumpy Road
Beat

Sol-Feace was originally developed for the X68000, but was ported to the Genesis as well as the Sega CD. This was a solo affair for Sakuraba, and while the other two versions are quite good, the Sega CD soundtrack really shines; the percussion arrangements in particular are some of the most bombastic in his career, which is really saying something. Playlists for the Sega CD, Sharp X68000, and Sega Genesis versions of the soundtrack, and some samples from the first:

MISSION 1: Cosmic Illusion
MISSION 2: Cilius Moon Weapon Factory
MISSION 4: "Glacier" - An Enemy Cruiseship
MISSION 6: The Amalthes Moon
BOSS 2

This is just a small sample of Sakuraba's early work, but even here in the beginning of his game music career there's a lot of variety and an immediately recognizable style of composition. Next time we'll start looking into the more famous stuff, the work that people tend to think of when they hear the name Motoi Sakuraba. As for the next update, expect that in the next couple hours or so; it's going to be a long one, so get comfortable!
 
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Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)
Verse 4-1: Pirates!

Hello and welcome back to Eternal Sonata! Last time Allegretto and co. made it to Andante, and then uh, some bad stuff happened. Hopefully there will be less of that in the immediate future.



Chapter 4 is one of my favorites in the game. There’s some good stuff in here!





Click to watch the cutscene

♪♪~ No music



*She notices Beat and smiles in his direction.*
Polka: “Oh. Hi, Beat. I’m sorry about that.”
Beat: “Hey. Are you thinkin’ about Retto and the others? You don’t have to worry about ‘em, I’m sure they’re all okay. Besides… Retto’s not the type to croak from just falling off a bridge.”
Polka: “You have a point there. I’m sure you’re right. Thank you, Beat.”
Beat: “Still, we were pretty lucky back there, don’t you think?”



Time for an extended flashback! This will very nearly last the entire rest of the update, in fact.

*A few days ago...*





Polka: “Is there any way we can repay you? You did save our lives.”
Beat: “Yeah, you’ve already done so much for us. Is there anything we can do to help out? This little squirt here can wash dishes for you or something.”
*He gestures at Salsa with his thumb.*
Salsa: “Hey! No fair! You can’t start calling me ‘little squirt’ just because my hat washed away!”



I’m not sure Beat agrees!

*The blond man chuckles.*
Blond Man: “At least it sounds like you’re all in good spirits. But I’m afraid there’s nothing you could help with. Really, you should probably all just get some rest.”



Beat: “Huh? Cre-Creshe-Cresh-Creshendo? Gee, that’s kind of a tough name to say. Couldn’t we call you something else? Something easier to say?”
Polka: “Beat, please. Don’t be silly. Besides, I thought you said you were good at remembering people’s names.”
*short pause*
Frederic: “I must say, you’re very young to be the captain of a ship.”
Salsa: “You’re a captain?”
*She gets up and walks over to Crescendo.*




*She goes back to her seat, throwing him another disappointed look on the way.*
Beat: “I’m sorry, Captain. I apologize for her rudeness. Hey, maybe I’ll just call you Captain for now. I could remember your name no problem, but you need to show respect to the ship’s captain.”



*Crescendo chuckles again.*
Crescendo: “Feel free to call me whatever you’d like. Really.”



*She gets up as the scene fades. A short time later...*



I haven’t been pointing it out, but we’ve seen this script that looks like musical notation here and there throughout the game. I don’t think there’s even enough of it to make an alphabet cipher, but it’s a lovely detail that I appreciate anyway.



Also, it seems like these guest rooms are quite festive!



And Salsa is conked out, surprising no one.





Good idea, after we poke around a bit of course.



♪♪~ A Buffer for Quiet

Let’s “talk” to Salsa before we head out of the guest room.

I like that the Baroque ship has its own unique track – the developers could have easily reused, say, An Inspection Which Values Harmony, like they did for Mandolin Church back in Ritardando, but this helps give the ship its own identity. Honestly it kind of feels like Sakuraba is flexing here; the ship isn’t all that big, but the theme here sounds quite grand.



Salsa: “Snort!”
“ZZZZZ….”
“A lady like myself can’t eat a cake that size.”
“You’re not going to eat it, March? Well, I guess I’ll just have to force myself.”
“Mmm, the cake is soft and warm.”
“The fish are dancing.”
“I can see something red.”
“Something’s simmering.”
“Huh?! It’s fried fish! Ugh! Get it away from me!”
“Aaaaaaaaah! Ugh.”
“Urm. It’s only a dream. It has to be a dream.”
“M-mm… zzz….”

Yes, those really are all separate text boxes. It’s kind of funny just by sheer volume. Anyway, that done, let’s go take a look around the ship.



I think we’re good, thanks. I do dig the snow-globe of the faux-Christmas tree nearby, though.



“You’d have been in trouble if you’d drifted out toward the ocean still clinging to that wood. After dark, the temperature falls and beasts increase in number. It was very fortunate we came by when we did.”
“You’ll be fine now that you’re on this ship. Please relax and get some rest.”

We’ll take a nap later, geez. We’ve only just started looking around the ship! Speaking of which, let’s go see what’s in the other bedroom to the left.



Including this shot only because the cute snowman in the foreground would otherwise be blocked by text boxes.



You got it, boss.



Indeed!

Nothing else in here so we’ll head back out.



Could be that your Item Sense is tingling. That’s all there is to see down here, so let’s take the stairs to the deck.









It may not be very big, but it sure is fancy! You can see Frederic near the starboard bow in that last shot, but we’ll talk to him in a minute.



Fair enough.



Oh good, I can finally sell the photos I took way back in Chapter 2. (I could have done that in Andante, but we didn’t really need to.)



With a photographer in the shop, we can sell these photos of standard monsters for quite a bit of cash! But all our photos of Tuba are C-ranks, meaning we’ll only get a pittance for those. However, there’s an easy fix to this: if you fully exit the shop menu and talk to the merchant again, the photographer will leave, and you’ll get better prices for C-rank photos.



It’s still not great, mind you, but if we had sold these with the photographer still in the shop we would be lucky to get like, 10 gold at the most.



Anyway, with that taken care of we have more than enough gold to upgrade our equipment and stock up on supplies. I buy Jonas’s Parasol and the Hoolurge Gun for Polka and Beat respectively; Frederic already has a Buffalo Horn so there’s no need to get that one. It should be noted that several of Frederic’s weapons received minor boosts to their attack power in the PS3 port, making him more useful as a frontline attacker. The Buffalo Horn is one such weapon, increasing Frederic’s ATK by 43 points instead of 35 like in the original game.



I also buy a Leather Jacket for Frederic and a set of Sparkling Clothes for everyone else (since he can’t equip the latter). This merchant is also the first place we can buy Floral Extracts (300G apiece), and I make sure to pick a few of them up for emergencies. That should do us for the next little while.



We came up on deck from the port-side staircase, so we’ll go down this one next.





This is a battle item that costs 1 point to put in the Item Set; it heals a little bit of HP, but more importantly temporarily grants the user a status effect called Air Body. This is the most interesting of the three Body statuses – while affected, a given character doesn’t cast a shadow, and their specials aren’t affected by an opponent’s shadow either.



“Ship status normal! Nothing to report!”

At ease, sailor. There’s another guest bedroom just offscreen to the right…



“Onboard a ship like this, we don’t really have extensive medical supplies, so I was rather nervous. I’m really relieved.”
“I’m just glad that you’re all safe and sound.”

You and me both!



Looks that way. You’ll note that there’s a bookshelf in the corner of the room. If we examine it…

Polka: “Oh, there’s something between the books.”



That makes seven! Let’s go check out the guest bedroom on the opposite side of the deck.



Beat: “The worn out fishing boats in Ritardando are nothing like this!”
“Is Salsa asleep already? The movement of the ship doesn’t bother her at all, huh?”



Beat: “Yawn~”

I don’t recall if this yawning animation occurs anywhere else, hence why I’m showing it here.



Who knows, maybe we’ll see it at some point in our travels.



Back up on the top deck, let’s see where these two doors lead.



If we look at the end table in the corner…

Polka: “It’s full of liquor. I feel dizzy just smelling it.”



That’s all there is to be found in here; let’s go look in the other drawing room.





Crescendo sure knows how to sail in style, I’ll give him that.



Up the stairs we go!



“You have to have strength to make it as a crewmember. You should eat up, too, and build up a muscular body that can stand up to the rough waves!”

Uh, maybe later.



“The waves ripple in the gently flowing wind. Will this steady melody that beats upon the ship guide me to the kingdom of darkness?”

Geez buddy, sounds like you’re having a rough night. We’ll uh, just leave you be.



Now that we’ve looked at the rest of the ship, let’s see how Frederic’s doing.
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)


click to watch the cutscene (recommended viewing)

♪♪~ No music

*As she looks at Frederic, Polka whispers to herself:*
Polka: “So the world is all just Frederic’s dream.”



*She giggles, and Frederic turns to look at her.*
Frederic: “Oh. Hello, Polka. Are you having trouble sleeping?”
*short pause*
Polka: “Yes. I’m still worried about the others.”
*another pause*



Frederic: “About the way everything in the world slowly fades away gradually losing its color. But, since I’ve come to this place, I have begun to feel as if that is somehow being reversed.”
Polka: “What do you mean?”
Frederic: “Well, compared to when I first came to this world… now, when I look around, I feel as if everything in the world is becoming more vivid. More clear.”





*Polka doesn’t respond.*
Frederic: “For example, I find myself wondering about whether the others are all right.”
*He turns to face her again.*
Frederic: “Not long ago, I wouldn’t have cared what happened to them. Why should I, when none of this is actually happening? But now, I’m genuinely concerned. I don’t know why, but I feel a strong sense of solidarity, a connection with the people of this world.”
Polka: “Well, I think that’s a perfectly normal way for you to feel.”



*short pause*
Frederic: “You know, before I had this illness, everything around me seemed so dull and ordinary. But since I found out my life would soon be over, even little things seem to shine with an inner light.”
*The camera cuts to a view of the night sky.*
Frederic: “Like the sound of wood crackling in a fireplace. The smell of a campfire. Leaves slowly floating down a stream. The gentle sound of falling snow.”
*The camera cuts back to Frederic.*
Frederic: “Now that I think about it, I probably only feel that way because I am approaching death myself, and have begun to fade more rapidly.”



Polka: “Emilia?”
Frederic: “My sister. She was only fourteen when she was struck down by tuberculosis. The exact age you are now.”
Polka: “Oh. Your sister was my age when she…? I see.”
*The two of them stand in silence for a bit.*
Frederic: “How terrifying it must have been for her. Forced to accept an inescapable fate. She must have had so many hopes and dreams.”





Frederic: “Taking away even her chance to live. Poor Emilia….”
*Short pause*



Polka: “It’s just that for some people, like Emilia and me, it happens a little bit earlier. That’s all.”



♪♪~ Walk of the Heart

*Frederic turns to face Polka again.*
Polka: “She lives on inside your heart, Frederic. And she lives in the wonderful music that your heart creates. She also lives on inside all the people of the world whose hearts are moved when they listen to your music.”



Polka: “I think that’s wonderful. Frederic, do you need any more proof that part of her still lives on, than the thought of that?”



Frederic: “It’s almost as if Emilia is saying the very same things to me.”
*He walks past Polka and turns toward her.*



*He turns and takes his leave as the music fades.*



♪♪~ A Faint Light Grasped in the Hand

Polka: “And since I met you, my way of thinking has changed quite a bit.”



Polka: “Because thinking about the future is just too painful when you know you’re going to die soon.”
*Long pause*
Polka: “But you told me when we met that this whole world existed inside your dream, right?”



Polka: “And now I realize that believing in you is really the same thing as believing in the future. That’s especially important for someone like me, who uses magic. You help me be more positive about the future. And what I need to do.”



I like this cutscene a lot. If you haven’t been watching the accompanying videos, you should really at least watch this one – I think Erin Fitzgerald and Patrick Seitz do a really good job in this scene, and the nuances of their performances won’t really come across in text transcriptions.

However, it’s not quite over…



*CRASH*



Something just shook the whole ship! Whatever it was, it can’t be good…



♪♪~ Seize the Artifact for Tallness

Polka: “Oh, look what’s in this barrel.”

Before we go see what the deal is, there’s a couple items we can grab on the starboard bow.





The Piercing Shell is a slight upgrade over the Lead Slug, raising Beat’s ATK by 8 points instead of 5. And that Score Piece makes 8 for the collection.



Alright, what the hell’s going on?





(Crescendo is saying this line, to be clear)

click to watch the cutscene

Beat: “That’s a big ship. What is it?”
Crescendo: “It’s a pirate ship. They appear out of nowhere sometimes and attack vessels that travel up this river.”



Frederic: “That’s terrible.”



Frederic: “I agree. But whatever we do, we have to move quickly or those people will try to board this ship.”
Crescendo: “It’s far too dangerous. These pirates, even their underlings, are very strong.”
Beat: “Hey, that’s no way for a captain to talk! Don’t worry about a thing. Just leave it to us!”
*From offscreen, Salsa walks into the scene:*









Salsa: “Ooh, and I’ll bet they have a lot of treasure!”
*She takes off running for the pirate ship.*
Beat: “Hey! Wait!”
*He runs after her.*
Polka: “Beat, don’t! Oh, not you, too!”
*She runs after the both of them. Frederic looks on in stunned silence for a couple seconds, then starts heading after them.*



Crescendo: “Right. I’ll do everything I can.”



*He heads off as the scene ends.*



Right then, guess we’re raiding a pirate ship now! If you want to head back to the Baroque ship to rest up or resupply you can talk to this sailor here:

“Heading back to the ship?”

But I stocked up on items and such a few minutes ago so we should be a-okay.



Let’s go!
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)








The cutscene music linked earlier keeps going here, because it’s also the dungeon theme for the pirate ship. I’m glad, because it’s my favorite dungeon theme in the entire game. Just listen to it! It does not slow down for anything. I love the string melody, the brass stabs, the percussion fills, all of it. The track name will make sense later, but until then enjoy the rockin’ tunes!



As soon as we step foot inside the ship we’re rushed by this pirate here. That saves us a bit of running since we’re already taking the fight to them anyway.



♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

The battlefield inside the ship is interesting – it’s pretty big, but more importantly there will be anywhere from two to four overhead lanterns swinging back and forth, complicating your ability to use light specials. There’s always a light by the door over on the east end, but you don’t want to trap yourself there if you can help it.



These pirates don’t have much HP, and we manage to take out both of them before they get a turn. I’ll show off their capabilities later, since this battle was more of a warm-up than anything.




With that unsuccessful ambush out of the way, we can start exploring the pirate ship in earnest. Let’s poke our head into this door right by the entrance.



Hmm, no items in here but there are some stairs leading down to the next deck. I’ll hold off on moving between floors until we’ve thoroughly explored the one we’re on.



Moving into the cabin on the opposite side from the first one, but there’s nothing in here either. I can at least talk about the pirates some more since there’s one right there. (I wasn’t able to get good screenshots of their attacks until near the end of the dungeon, so apologies for the slight continuity errors in the next few screenshots.)







Raider Pirates are the basic enemy of the pirate ship. Their normal sword combos aren’t a big deal, but Cruel Cutlass can be potentially dangerous; it automatically deals critical damage even if you block it (albeit less so if it is guarded), and the four-hit attack can hit characters next to the main target, so it’s important not to bunch your party up all on one side. In addition, if you fail to defeat one on your turn, there’s a high chance the Pirate will use Rising Power on himself, healing him and putting him into Burst status. As mentioned earlier, Raider Pirates don’t have much HP, so you should be able to one-round them if you build up at least 8 Echoes with a given character.



At the far end of the cabin is this pit we can jump down to reach the next floor, but we’ve only just started poking around this one so we’ll avoid it for now.



Continuing on, there’s nothing in this cabin Polka is facing, so we’ll keep going…



click to watch the cutscene

♪♪~ No music

*The above screenshot looks odd because Polka trips pretty much as soon as the cutscene starts.*



Frederic: “Are you all right?”
*Salsa notices the stone that Polka dropped and picks it up.*



Beat: “Hey, Polka, why are you carrying around this weird stone?”
*Polka gets up and dusts herself off.*
Polka: “To be honest with you, I don’t even remember how long I’ve had that stone. According to my mother I was already carrying it around with me when I was just four years old. She would tell me to throw it away, but I wouldn’t listen to her.”



Salsa: “Huh? You had a boyfriend when you were four? Wow, you were really precocious, weren’t you?”
Polka: “I don’t know why, but for some reason this stone feels very important to me, and I’ve never been able to throw it away.”





This scene is new to the PS3 port. That stone is kind of odd, but we’ll worry about it later, preferably when we aren’t raiding a pirate ship.



Nothing in the room next to that cutscene but some bunk beds and a poor unsuspecting pirate.





At the far end of the hallway we find a Very Odd Chocolate inside this cabin. This is an upgrade to the Odd Chocolate, decreasing a single enemy’s ATK by 10% instead of 5%, but it costs more points to put into the Item Set (4 instead of 3). Very handy for certain bosses.



There’s another set of stairs leading down in the opposite cabin. That’s the first deck fully explored, so we’ll head back to the pit we saw earlier and take it down.





Doing so leads to this chest we couldn’t reach otherwise. Wormwood is the next step up form the Poison Whitecap; it has an 80% to poison an enemy and costs 3 points to put in the Item Set. Also handy for tougher bosses. Raider Pirates also drop these sometimes.



Hopping down from the ledge and exiting the cabin reveals that the rest of the deck is blocked off by these boxes; we’ll have to return to the first floor and take the stairs at the north end.



♪♪~ Well Done

Polka: “Good!”

While on my way to do just that, Polka picks up a new special! More on that later.



♪♪~ Seize the Artifact for Tallness

Polka: “That one sounds fun.”

I am 99% sure this is a One Piece reference, based on a.) pirates, and b.) sheer length, but don’t quote me on that. Anyway, we’ll move up these stairs here…





Return to the far end of the first deck and head down those stairs, reaching a different area of level 2, another set of stairs we can’t get to yet, and a new enemy.



♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

Warrior Pirates are the lieutenants to the Raider Pirate’s foot-soldiers. They have more HP and higher stats but are otherwise identical (although Cruel Cutlass is instead called Splintering Soul). Still, you should prioritize them in mixed encounters since their attacks hurt more. They sometimes drop Floral Extracts, as well as Lion’s Manes.



Dang, we can’t reach that chest, either. We’ll have to find a way around these boxes at some point.





In the meantime, we’ll leave the pantry and grab this Floral Powder at the north end of the deck.



Directly across from where we first entered the hallway is this cargo hold, with another set of stairs we can’t reach from here.



It’s not much, but I’ll take it anyway.



Heading down from there…



Into a cabin with some stairs leading down to the third deck. I haven’t fully explored this floor yet, but I’m going to break my own rule and go down anyway because… reasons??? I don’t know, I record the footage for these updates weeks in advance, who the hell knows what my reasoning at the time was.



There is at least a save point down here, letting us know we’re about halfway through the dungeon.



Directly across from where we came into this floor is another cargo hold with yet more stairs we can’t reach (I’m starting to sense a pattern here)…



And a fantastic new item! Goddess Bouquets will revive every KO’ed character in a battle at once, rather than one character at a time like Angel Trumpets. They’re more expensive to put into the Item Set – costing 5 points instead of 3 – and we don’t have enough points for us to really make use of more than one at a time, but towards the end of the game they’ll be invaluable.



While I’m in here, let’s look at Shooting Star. Like the name might suggest, it’s the light version of Shade Comet; it still only hits once, but it does deal more damage than Shade Comet, and of course powering it up with Shadow Silhouette will let you snipe a pirate from anywhere on the battlefield.



This isn’t especially important, I’m just showing off the detail on the Raider Pirate’s character model here. You can see the tattoo on his arm if you look closely!





Moving south from the cargo hold, we find another pit in this cabin. Let’s not jump down it just yet…





Further south we find a staircase leading to the fourth deck. Not taking those quite yet either.





Back up at the north end of the deck we find this poor man who’s apparently been captured and left here.

Captive Conga: “Huh? A score piece? You’ll help me out if I play a session with you?”



Captive Conga: “Don’t know about that one. It might be a tough call.”

Playing Score Piece 3 with Captive Conga here nets us an S-rank and a Dark Brooch, which grants permanent Darkness Body to the wearer. It’s not immediately useful here, but it’ll be handy for later areas with lighter battlefields, especially for Salsa; she still only knows one dark special, and having permanent access to Shadow Silhouette would be quite handy in certain fights. Before we leave, let’s perform another session:

Captive Conga: “That’s it! I’m going all-out this time!”





Captive Conga: “That was good! It was totally perfect!”

Score Piece 4, meanwhile, gives us an EZI Scarf, which increases the wearer’s SPD by… 1 point. Uh, thanks?? That done, we’ll take our leave; I’m sure he’ll be able to escape on his own once we give the captain of this ship a piece of our mind.
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)




On the opposite side of Captive Conga’s cabin is a stairway leading to this familiar pantry on the second floor.



Oh finally, a new weapon for Salsa! This puts her ATK on par with everyone else, making her way more dangerous to these pirates.





There’s also a convenient pit near the chest that takes us back to the third floor.



I then head down the stairs in the cabin to the fourth floor, again for… reasons!





Across the way from the stairs is another Goddess Bouquet, to be held onto for a rainy day.





And further south from there is this Fish Incense. There’s also a staircase leading up to the third floor that’s just barely in frame here; let’s take it.



This takes us to the other side of this cargo hold that we couldn’t reach earlier.



On my way over to the north end of the cargo hold, this absolute mess happens. This is why you don’t want to let the Warrior Pirates hang around for too long if you can help it, but that’s easier said than done in a battle with three of them at once. On the plus side, this should make for some good photos!





Moving on from that, we’ve reached the other side of the other cargo hold.







Taking the pit at the north end drops us all the way down to this chest on the fourth deck, giving us a key…



To open that door at the back. But I’ve missed a few items, so I’m going to save unlocking it for later.



First we’ll grab this Floral Powder partially hidden by the bunk bed there.





South of that cabin are some more sleeping quarters hiding Score Piece #9.



Further south and on the opposite side we find some new armor for either Polka or Salsa. Polka needs it slightly more, so I’ll give it to her.





Directly across from the armor is a ledge that we can’t reach from here; we’ll have to drop down from the third floor on the east side.







Backtracking all the way to this pit we saw on the third floor leads back to the ledge and a baton upgrade for Frederic. There’s a slight name change here; in the Xbox 360 original this weapon was called the Harmonic Wind instead.



That’s everything, so let’s see what’s behind this door.





It turns out to be a long back hallway leading to what’s almost certainly the captain’s quarters. Let’s steel ourselves and step through the door…



click to watch the cutscene

For future reference (it doesn’t come up often), the two men to Dolce’s left and right are named Bass and Guitar, respectively.

Salsa: “Look, Beat! It’s a real pirate captain with an eye patch and a hook and everything!”
Beat: “Well, just because she has an eye patch and a hook doesn’t mean she’s the captain. I thought pirate captains were, you know, supposed to be grizzly old men with scraggly beards.”
Salsa: “Don’t stereotype! Who says they have to be men? Plenty of women are pirate captains!”
Beat: “Well, eye patches and hooks are stereotypes, too, aren’t they? These days, pirates can pretty much wear whatever they want.”
Salsa: “That’s not true! Eye patches and hooks are a pirate’s trademarks! They’d be naked without them! They can’t help it if it makes them look stupid!”
Polka: “Okay, you two. Stop bickering.”



The screen actually shakes here.

Guitar: “Yikes! The skipper’s gonna blow her top again!”
Dolce: “You like hooks, do you? Well, then I’ll give you a taste of this one!”







Boss fight time! (recommended viewing)

♪♪~ A Flicker Which Divides Light and Darkness



Boss: Captain Dolce, 1st and 2nd Lieutenant
HP: 141,080
Exp: 17,000 (Xbox 360)/10,400 (PS3)
Gold: 500
This pirate captain sounds kind of familiar: Captain Dolce’s voice actor goes uncredited for whatever reason, but I’m dead certain she’s voiced by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, who you’re probably familiar with from… any number of things, really. The pre-fight cutscene is unvoiced, but you’ll hear it if you listen to the battle dialogue.



Dolce: “Oh, I’ll hang you very slowly.”



Salsa: “You better get serious soon or I’ll pound ya!”

Captain Dolce here is pretty infamous among people who’ve played this game as a potential brick wall in your playthrough; she’s a significant difficulty spike compared to previous bosses and she will wreck you if you don’t take this fight carefully.



For starters, she’s very fast in multiple senses of the word; she out-speeds everyone except Salsa, can run over to her chosen target pretty quickly, and her standard combo – repeatedly bopping you on the head with her musket – is the fastest we’ve seen from an enemy yet.



Fortunately, she has an attack called Tempest Swirl that, while it can hit multiple targets, requires Dolce to turn around to use it, leaving her open to attack on your next turn.





Her lieutenants act like powered-up versions of the Raider and Warrior Pirates we’ve been fighting throughout the ship, with an additional ability called Guts that lets them revive each other if one of them is defeated. For this reason you want to either separate them as much as you can, or try to take them out at around the same time.





Polka can handle Bass by herself, and I can take advantage of Guitar and Dolce standing so close together to attack both of them simultaneously and build up lots of Echoes in the process.





You have to be careful around Dolce, though, especially when she uses Dead Man’s Tale; it’s her strongest attack, and if you get distracted by her musket-twirling you might press guard too early and eat the shot like I did here. This is why I brought a few Star Cookies along – with my ability to use light specials being limited thanks to the swinging lanterns, some emergency spot-healing is helpful. You could put the Brilliant Brooch on Polka or Frederic for permanent access to their healing specials, but I didn’t want to give up my dark specials in the process.



That takes care of Bass, and with Guitar down as well (thanks to a powered up Mirage Blow) we can start focusing on Dolce.



Using this Very Odd Chocolate to help take some of the sting from Dolce’s attacks…



But unfortunately I accidentally skip my turn while moving Salsa into a better position, leaving her open to attack. Dolce is much more likely to attack a character from behind than other bosses up to this point, so you really want to avoid situations like this if you can.





Dolce: “Time for beddy-bye. Nighty night!”

Burning Spindle is a pretty bad attack to be hit with – it hits twice, can affect multiple targets, and carries a chance of knockback – but it isn’t as nasty as Dead Man’s Tale, and I’d much rather be hit with this than the latter.



Unfortunately for her, Salsa has just powered up the entire party; there’s no way she’s surviving more than a turn or two.





Frederic: “Dance amidst the darkness, amidst the shadows!”

Indeed, Frederic just blew straight past her “critical HP” phase and defeated her outright. Thanks, Frederic!



♪♪~ Well Done

Frederic: “Continue your sleep.”

That… actually went much better than I thought it would! I guess I’m better at this fight than I give myself credit for; heck, I didn’t even need to use any Angel Trumpets. As for the items we received, I’ll go over them later.
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)


click to watch the rest of the update

♪♪~ No music



Hot dang!

Polka: “Oh, wow. It looks like what Salsa said was true after all.”
Frederic: “Yes, so it would seem. Amazing. We’ve actually managed to find the pirates’ treasure.”
*From offscreen:*
Salsa: “You see, it’s just like I told you! I knew we’d find it!”
Polka: “But wait. Is it really okay for us to take it?”



Salsa: “Come on! You’ll never become a big shot if you say silly things like that! Taking this much treasure is no big deal at all.”
Frederic: “I’m quite sure these items were all stolen in the first place, so I doubt anyone will complain.”
Beat: “Yeah, exactly! With a huge pile of treasure like this in front of you, nobody would be interested in any of this other junk.”



Drum roll, please! (There actually is one in-game.)







*Cheesy synth fanfare*



Polka: “Oh, poor Beat. I guess now you go back to being the short one again.”
*short pause*
Frederic: “Now, then. I think it’s time for us to be heading back. We should hurry and let Captain Crescendo know everything that’s happened.”
Salsa: “That’s fine with me.”







*Beat sighs in weary resignation, and we finally return to the present.*



Polka: “What’s wrong? Did something happen?”
Beat: “It’s nothing. Never mind.”





We’ll have to find out what Beat’s talking about later, because I’m calling this update here. It’s been long enough as it is!

Next time: Further adventures with Frederic and co.
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)
Glossary of Musical Terms

Samba – Both a musical genre and a style of dance from Brazil with African origins. This single throwaway reference has a ton of rich cultural history behind it, and there are many different varieties of samba traditions, but the link is an okay place to start.

Dolce – A musical direction to play a given passage of music “sweetly” or with sweetness; literally comes from the Italian word for sweet. Probably used ironically in reference to Captain Dolce.

Conga – A tall, narrow drum from Cuba; also called the tumbadora. Originally used in the musical genre of the same name with a musician to a single drum, but it’s now more common for one musician to play two or three congas at once. Played with the hands.

Bass – Can refer to either low-frequency sound in general or one of several instruments in the bass register (bass clarinet, double bass, etc.). Nowadays it probably most often refers to the electric bass guitar.

Guitar – A family of fretted instruments that usually (but not always) have six strings. Played by strumming or plucking the strings with either a pick or one’s fingers/fingernails.
 

yama

the room is full of ghosts
The pirate's name probably refers to the bass guitar, considering his companion. There's another Bass in the game.
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)
Indeed.

Anyway, here's Salsa:



I love that her immediate reaction to getting attacked by pirates was "hell yeah let's kick their asses and steal their treasure".
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)
Apologies for the wait; next update is taking me longer to complete than I thought it would (and also my sleeping schedule has been hot garbage lately). It should be ready by tomorrow. In the meantime, some music:

Chopin - Waltz in A Flat Major, Op. 42

Fanny Mendelssohn - Easter Sonata

Chopin only published a handful of waltzes in his lifetime, but even so, the two featured in this chapter are among his more famous pieces.

Fanny Mendelssohn was a German Romantic-Era composer and pianist, and older sibling of Felix Mendelssohn, himself a famous composer and pianist in his own right. Despite writing over 460 pieces of music, the ambivalence of her family (aside from Felix) towards her musical ambitions and prevailing social attitudes of the time kept her from publishing the vast majority of her work in her lifetime, and some of what was published was done so under her brother's name. Her work has thankfully received more recognition and reappraisal in recent years.

The Easter Sonata linked above was at first incorrectly attributed to her brother Felix, and it was only in 2010 that this error was fixed; despite this, it's a beautiful piece of music.
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)
Quick message before I post the next update:

So I seem to have bitten off more than I can chew with this update (which tracks, given that the original recording for it is a bit under two-and-a-half hours long), and it ended up too big for me to be comfortable posting it all at once. Instead I'm splitting it into two parts; the first half I'll go ahead and post today, and the second half will be in two days if all goes well. I'll save all the usual bonus stuff until after posting the second half.

Cool? Cool. See y'all in a bit!
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)
Verse 4-2: The Royal Mirror, Part One

Hello and welcome back to Eternal Sonata! Last time Frederic, Polka, Beat, and Salsa were rescued by Crescendo, captain of a Baroque ship, and then they were all attacked by pirates (much to Salsa’s excitement). Having successfully dealt with that ordeal (acquiring a sweet hat in the process), we return to somewhere in Baroque a few days later:



♪♪~ White Mirror

Beat mentioned some kind of event happening soon, but we’ll poke around in this side garden just a little bit first.



I’m surprised this tiny little flower can survive in the cold like this. There are some species of flower that bloom in cold weather, granted, but it’s hard to tell at a glance if this is one of them since it’s so small.





Handy! We can’t buy these yet, so this is a nice find indeed.



That’s all there is to see out here, so let’s head on inside.

---------------



Click to watch the next two cutscenes

♪♪~ Grande Valse Brillante in E Flat Major, Op. 18 (recommended listening)

“This is a work composed in 1831, when Chopin was twenty-one years old. In Chopin’s homeland of Poland, the insurrection that had started in Warsaw in 1830, had ended in defeat.”



“In the commentary of ‘The Revolutionary Étude,’ it was explained that Chopin received the news of the fall of Warsaw while en route to Vienna, in Stuttgart, Germany.”



“At the time, Austria was opposed to Polish independence.”



“Because of this, living in Vienna had been difficult for the Polish Chopin.”



“is something of a contrast to Chopin’s other works. It seems to reflect the atmosphere in Vienna at that time.”



“In order for the Polish Chopin to live in the adverse winds of that time, he might have made an effort to be popular.”



“It is said that after these performances, Chopin returned to his room and played his piano furiously.”



“forced to suppress his true feelings, put on a mask, and perform music to please people.”



--------------​







(There is music playing here, but it fades out as soon as people start talking in this cutscene, so I’ll link to it after the scene is over)



Beat: “Yeah. And wow, I never knew Frederic was that good, either."
Polka: “Huh? Good at what?”
Beat: “At the piano, of course. Weren’t you watching? Didn’t you see him playing? The way he played was just so amazing! Way better than any piano player I’ve ever heard before.”



Hehe.

Polka: “What? Are you saying Frederic was playing that music? I was watching the people dancing the whole time. I didn’t pay any attention to who was playing the music.”
*Suddenly, Salsa comes running in from offscreen:*



Beat: “See the captain?”



Oh! Well that explains the fancy ship he owns.

Salsa: “I’ll bet the captain’s going to have a feast prepared to thank Frederic for playing the piano! It isn’t fair if they get a head start!”
Polka: “Oh, so Frederic has already gone to join Prince Crescendo?”
Salsa: “Yeah, and if we don’t hurry up, they’ll eat all the food.”
Beat: “I wonder if they’re gonna feed us something really good? Come on, let’s go! I don’t want to miss out on that!”



Neither does Salsa, it seems.



♪♪~ An Inspection Which Values Harmony

It’s nice to finally hear this track in its proper context. It’s very dignified-sounding, fitting the nature of a huge fancy castle (and the harpsichord helps convey this feeling a lot). I especially enjoy the faint backing vocals, and the subtle use of organ throughout, one of the few times in the soundtrack that instrument is used.

Before we go see Frederic and Prince Crescendo, let’s explore the castle first; there’s bound to beat least a few things to find in a place this size.



“She’s so beautiful.”
“She’s an exquisite flower. But I know she’d refuse me if I asked her to dance. I can’t even bring myself to talk to her, much less make such a request. I feel so pathetic just standing here watching her.”



“This always happens when I come to the ball. If they have business with me, I wish they’d come and talk to me.”
“It makes me very uncomfortable.”

Yikes. Dude needs to either get over himself or just leave.



“You’re Mr. Chopin’s acquaintance, aren’t you? Could you please convey my feelings to him?”

I mean sure, but I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere. Just a hunch…



Fancy woman: “Mr. Chopin is simply marvelous.”

Indeed!



Attendant: “Please don’t hesitate to call on me if you need anything.”
“The Prince is currently in his room on the second floor.”

Duly noted.



It is fancy, I will admit. Though I find myself wondering what the wings on the back are for besides making it more ostentatious.



“Soft and gentle. They felt as if they would melt away if I were to squeeze them too strongly.”
“She promised to dance with me again. I’ve died and gone to heaven!”

The height of Victorian romance right here.



“Amidst this great ballroom, you are like an elegant peony, the purest lily.”



“Please, stop flattering me. It’s embarrassing.”

I’ll just leave y’all to your conversation.



“I stepped on her skirt again and embarrassed her. I’m so stupid.”
“Idiot!”

Aw, don’t be so tough on yourself. Dancing is hard!



“It certainly is getting late. I should really be going myself.”



“I’m going to be in a good mood all the way home.”

Good music has that effect on you.



“What in the world are they doing?!”

We’ll just uh, be going over here now…



“At the masquerade ball, the women ask the men to dance. The opposite of what’s usually done. Doesn’t that sound fun?”

It does! I don’t think we’re going to be around for that, alas.

That’s everybody in the ballroom; time to check out the rest of the castle.



”Hey that would make a pretty good desktop background” count: 13

That is a damn impressive main hall. Just look at the size of it!



Other guard: “This is the audience chamber, but today it’s serving as a ballroom.”

Not much to see here, just guard things.



Makes sense; we can look around the city later anyway.



It probably connects to the garden we started the update in, if I had to guess.



Since we’re nearby already, let’s see what’s in the eastern hallway here.
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)




Impatient Pizzicato: “That was close! It was just missing a little something. We could try again. But hurry up!”

Playing Score Piece 2 or 9 with Impatient Pizzicato results in a B-rank, but we can do better than that:

Impatient Pizzicato: “Ah, you want to try again? That’s the spirit! Now, hurry up and get out your score piece!”





Impatient Pizzicato: “I never expected to hear a sound like that. Well, I guess that kind of thing makes these sessions interesting!”

Using Score Piece 3 gives us an S-rank and a free Angel Trumpet. Thanks!

Let’s check out the nearby door:



Ooh, fancy.



Good luck with that I guess?



Time for the next door.





That makes ten!



“Speaking of Forte, I hear they sell mineral powder there. It’s supposed to cure any illness or injury. Does something like that really exist?”

Technically yes, but the trick is they don’t tell you about the unpleasant side effects.



One last door to go through in this hallway.



Way ahead of you, ma’am.



I looked it up out of curiosity, and it turns out that poker has been around since at least 1837, so it’s entirely possible that Polka has played it before at some point. Just a neat thing I learned, and now you all know it too.



Onward, to the western hallway!



I love all the different ways this game uses light. The developers didn’t have to have a little shaft of light shining on this save point, but they put it there anyway. Thanks, devs!



“All’s well! Nothing to report!”

How on earth do you see out of that helmet?? Come to think of it, the guards in Forte were wearing similar headgear. Is that just the default helmet style in Frederic’s dream world? Not being able to see two feet in front of you?

Minor questions aside, let’s go through the door nearest the save point.



There are literally hundreds! Which still boggles my mind a little when I think about it, considering they’re all made from the same plant.



Cool coat of arms on the wall in the back there.



“The King is suffering from a serious illness. He is out of the country for treatment. His wife is with him. Prince Crescendo is handling the management of the government in his absence.”

Thanks for the info I guess, but jeez talk about conversational whiplash. We’ll just be going now.



Hell yeah, we whooped some serious pirate butt last update.



That’s the first floor explored, now it’s time to head upstairs.



At ease, soldier.



“I’ve developed a reputation for my accurate predictions!”

Is that so? I wonder what sort of fortune we’d get if we drew a card. More importantly, let’s see what’s inside that door behind us.



“From Forte? That’s quite a journey. Here, have some hot floral tea.”

Ma’am, you don’t know the half of it.



“I used to ask for candy all the time when I was young. I wasn’t allowed to eat too much, though. They said it would give me cavities.”

You wouldn’t happen to have any Very Odd Chocolate on you, would you? No? Dang. Let’s go next door.



Nothing else of interest in here…





Appropriately posh for a princess’s room.



Not sure how that works, but it does look cool. That’s all there is to see in here; time to head back outside.



“The man who runs that place is studying magic. I don’t know what he does in there, but I doubt it’s anything good.”
“Sometimes purple smoke leaks out of the doors, too.”
“I think the castle is granting that man research funds. Sure, he says he’s studying magic, but I’ll bet he’s just embezzling the money for himself.”

Magic research, you say? I’ll bet there’s some super interesting stuff going on in there. Let’s go check it out.





Uh, or not, I guess. So much for that idea!



Celebrity Marcato: “I have some experience with score piece sessions, myself. Would you care to perform with me?”

Absolutely.





Celebrity Marcato: “I’ve never experienced such a spectacularly elegant session! You are marvelous truly marvelous! I’d love to have you as my partner at my next presentation!”

I jump the gun a little on accident and get the A-rank first with Score Piece 1, which gives us the EZI String Phone. This is a weird battle item; it costs 20 points to put into your Item Set, and deals exactly 4,000 damage to one enemy. Not really worth using, like most of the EZI items, but it’s one more for the collection, and who am I to say no to that?

There’s one more item we can get from performing with Celebrity Marcato:

“Let us refine this beautiful sound to complete perfection before my next presentation!”



“That was unfortunate. I was hoping for a more elegant sound.”

Sorry for the disappointment, but thanks for the Club Clover! (Score Piece 7 or 9 will get you this item and a B-rank.)



“Doesn’t looking at beautiful flowers warm your heart? The Prince seems troubled lately. I hope these flowers can cheer him up.”

And I hope you aren’t the only person assigned to this job. This is a pretty big castle after all…



“But my dance instructor is really mean. I don’t want to do this anymore!”

Oof, sounds rough buddy.



Probably an uncomfortable amount of time if I had to guess…



White Coat: “Oh, that’s nothing. How about we play cards next? You won’t find it so easy this time. Cards are my specialty.”



One last hallway of rooms and then we can go see Prince Crescendo.



“His Majesty is out of the country for medical treatment right now. I’m praying for his quick recovery.”
“Let me share with you a stanza from the poetry anthology I always carry with me. ‘For as long as you breathe, for as long as your ears can hear, I will continue to sing, with all my voice.’ Can you hear the way the words just flow? Isn’t it a beautiful piece of verse?”

I tried googling it, but I couldn’t find a source poem for this quote, so either one of the game’s writers was just flexing and wrote this line themselves or I didn’t search hard enough. Either way, I don’t have much experience with poetry but I think those are some pretty good lines.



That’s everything in this room, on to the one next door.



“Well, actually, Daddy isn’t all that strong. But don’t tell him I said that.”

My lips are sealed!



“But I’ve been slacking off on my sword practice for a while now. Actually, I’m not very confident about my fighting skills. Luckily, this castle has lots of knights and guardsmen, so I’m thinking of learning to fight again.”
“Yes, that’s it. I’ll start training right now.”

I’m sure Frederic could show you a thing or two if he wasn’t busy going on a long, existential dream journey. That baton packs a punch!



I’m guessing the fancy blue door with the guard stationed in front of it leads to Prince Crescendo’s room, so let’s look in here first.





That makes eleven!



“I am keeping watch over Prince Crescendo’s room to make sure that nothing happens.”

Alright, let’s not keep him waiting any longer.
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)




click to watch the cutscene

♪♪~ No music





*Minuet barks, and Beat leans over to whisper to Salsa:*
Beat: “Hey, what’s going on here, Salsa? They’re just talking about boring stuff. I don’t see food anywhere.”
Salsa: “Well, I just thought they were probably gonna eat all the good stuff before we could get here.”
*Short pause, and then Crescendo addresses the group:*
Crescendo: “There is something I wanted to tell all of you, about the position Baroque is in right now. Count Waltz is using mineral powder to convert his population into soldiers who fear nothing, not even death, to create an unstoppable army.”



Crescendo: “However, if Baroque were to preemptively challenge Forte, many innocent civilians would surely get caught up in the resulting all-out war.”
Frederic: “The suffering of innocents is one of the greatest tragedies of war. It’s appalling.”
Beat: “So, what are you gonna do now?”
Crescendo: “Well, I thought that the solution to the problem would be to find a way to assassinate Count Waltz to avoid any other casualties.”





Serenade: “And if we were to do that, would it not be the same kind of evil for which Count Waltz is responsible? History always repeats itself. Even if we managed to succeed in assassinating Count Waltz, another Count Waltz would appear, then another. The problem itself would still remain.”




Frederic: “I see. And you’re correct. Looking back on history, mankind does indeed repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Someone else with evil designs will surely appear to fill the void.”
Beat: “If it’s really as important as all that, how can people just forget about it?”



Frederic: “Like letters written in sand and then blown away by the wind. They’re all forgotten.”
Polka: “But there are some things we must never forget. No matter what. Tragic memories that we have to carve firmly in stone, so that the wind can never blow them away.”
*short pause*



You could say that.



Serenade: “No matter how much of a tyrant Count Waltz may be, there is no way we can be absolutely certain that he will ever attack us. If we were to make a preemptive strike against him, it would be a classic example of man’s suspicious nature leading him to war.”
Crescendo: “Serenade. I know in my heart that everything you’ve said is correct.”



*There’s a really weird sound cue here that I’m not sure how to describe, and Crescendo hesitates.*
Salsa: “What is it, Captain?”
Crescendo: “It’s nothing.”
*short pause*
Crescendo: “We must achieve true piece, not simply the appearance of it. But, because of the current situation with Forte, there is no way I can leave Baroque at the present time. Besides, if I were to be seen making contact with Andantino, that very thing alone could act as a trigger for war.”





Beat: “What do you mean, exactly?”
Frederic: “You want us to inform Andantino that Baroque can no longer provide support for its actions?”
Crescendo: “I know that it’s selfish of me to ask this of you.”



♪♪~ Journey to the Projective Mind

Beat: “Frederic?”
Frederic: “Up until now, you have been providing Andantino with support, is that correct? Denying them that support because your opinions have changed is rather irresponsible.”
Serenade: “That may be true. But you must understand, we have come to realize that the actions we have taken up to this point have been mistaken. Regardless of the criticism that we may face later, should we not correct those mistakes?”
Frederic: “I imagine it won’t be difficult for the two of you to shake off any criticism.”



Crescendo: “Of course, it wasn’t our intention for the people of Andantino, or Forte, to suffer. And yet, as the Prince of Baroque, I have a duty to put the welfare of my people above all else in any decision.”
Frederic: “Then, Prince Crescendo, do you admit that you were merely using Andantino to push forward the interests of Baroque?”



Serenade: “That is not true! Prince Crescendo would never do anything like that.”
Crescendo: “That’s enough.”
*The music stops, and there’s a brief pause.*




♪♪~ A Faint Light Grasped in the Hand

Polka: “Really? I didn’t know that. But then, why is Jazz living in Forte instead of here?”
Crescendo: “Are you familiar with Mt. Rock? It’s a mountain rich in ore located on the Forte border.”
Salsa: “I know all about it! Thanks to all the digging Forte’s been doin’ out there, Agogo Forest is in big trouble!”
Crescendo: “Jazz is originally from that area. And through its history, Forte has always maintained very strict control over that place. Oppressively strict. Many people have opposed their cruel treatment of the miners, as well as their utter disregard for the delicate ecology of the mountain.”
*short pause*
Crescendo: “Unlike me, Jazz was always a passionate leader. Since we were young, he’s always had a talent for making decisions and taking action.”



Beat: “So, what happened in the revolt?”
Crescendo: “Forte’s forces showed the miners no mercy. Much blood was spilled. By the time Baroque intervened, it was over. After that, Jazz never returned to Baroque. He founded Andantino to continue his fight against Forte.”
Frederic: “And that’s why you agreed to cooperate with them.”
Crescendo: “Even though I shared his feelings when we were younger, there was nothing I could do then to help his cause. But now….”



Crescendo: “Believe me. Even though I can no longer support Jazz directly, I haven’t forsaken that bond of friendship. With Serenade’s help, I am hoping to find a peaceful means for both our countries to live happily, side by side.”



Frederic: “Yes. Now that you’ve explained it, I can also understand your point of view. We’ll make certain to convey your feelings to Jazz.”
Beat: “Great! Then we can get goin’! I’ll bet Retto and the others’re all looking for us anyway. If we can get back to Ritardando somehow, I’m sure we can find Jazz and everyone else!”
Frederic: “All right. Then let’s return to Ritardando. If Allegretto and the others are all right, I expect they are on the way there as well.”



It has been a while since we’ve seen March, but I’m sure she’s probably fine.

Also, call it a hunch, but I get the distinct feeling that Jazz is not going to be happy when he hears about this. Friends or not, losing their main source of financial backing is going to put a serious obstacle in Andantino’s path.



♪♪~ An Inspection Which Values Harmony

Crescendo: “Please be careful on your way to Ritardando.”
Serenade: “Please be careful.”



Who knows! *shrug*



So, in the original release of Eternal Sonata, we would head straight out of the castle and move on to the next part of the game. But here in the PS3 port there's a new scenario that happens right after the cutscene we just watched, and in fact it's big enough that it's the reason why I'm splitting this update into two parts. Strap yourselves in, because we're going to be in Baroque Castle for a while yet.
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)


click to watch the cutscene (recommended viewing)

♪♪~ No music

*Further down the hallway, two guards can be seen moving a large mirror:*



Salsa: “Come on, Beat! We’re gonna leave you behind if you don’t pick up the pace!”



*SMACK*



Polka: “Salsa! Are you okay?”
Salsa: “Aw, man! That hurt!”



I keep telling y’all about the helmets, but nobody’s listening to me!

Guard: “Are you all right, miss? Are you hurt?”
Salsa: “What the heck? What’s with the gigantic mirror?!”
Guard: “Oh, this? It’s one of Baroque’s royal treasures, passed down through the generations.”
*From offscreen, the door to Prince Crescendo’s room can be heard opening and closing.*



*She immediately notices the mirror.*
Serenade: “Oh, my. What have we here? What exactly were you planning on doing with this huge mirror?”
Guard: “Ah! Princess Serenade! Uh, well, you see, um….”



Crescendo: “I requested that it be moved up to my chamber.”
*He walks closer to it.*
Crescendo: “I’m told my grandfather would often stand before this mirror to think. Pondering what the future might hold for our country. In his day, Baroque was surrounded by much stronger nations. The responsibility of protecting Baroque must have been an overwhelming burden.”
Serenade: “Prince Crescendo….”



*Bark!*
Salsa: “Mirrors are shiny things that show your reflection. Silly dog. Nothing’s gonna come out of there, no matter how much ya bark.”
*Minuet, being a dog, keeps barking at the mirror anyway, and Salsa turns to leave, when suddenly:*







*CRASH*
Crescendo: “No!”



Salsa: “She… she got flattened!”
*The guards quickly move to lift the mirror.*



Salsa: “Huh? What the…”
Serenade: “But she was….”



Polka: “What could have happened?”
Crescendo: “The blinding flash of light we saw. It can’t be!”
Serenade: “Prince Crescendo, do you know something that can explain this?”
Crescendo: “How could it be possible?”
*He puts a hand up to the mirror to touch it, and...*







*Everyone is engulfed in the flash of light.*







That is a very good question, Polka. Also, where is everyone else?









♪♪~ The Royal Mirror

Oh. Oh. Well that answers the question for us at least, if not Polka.



Welcome to the PS3-exclusive story dungeon, Lament. It’s pretty big and there’s lots to see, so let’s not dawdle for too long.

This is one of my favorite tracks in the entire game. It’s pretty sparsely arranged – just piano, harp flourishes, occasional backing strings, and some flute here and there – which lets each element really stand out and shine on its own while adding to the whole. It’s a real shame this tune isn’t on the official soundtrack (since it wasn’t written for the original version of the game), I think it’s one of the highlights of the whole thing.



First, we should make sure Polka is properly outfitted for the road ahead since she’s by herself at the moment. The Torn Umbrella we won from Captain Dolce is a good choice since it boosts her MAG slightly, and the Darkness Body effect from using it is actually a good thing because Nether Wave is her most powerful offensive special. The Power Ring will boost her melee combos, and the Recovery Gloves will give her some HP regen in the event that I screw up guard timing. We’ll have to rely on items for healing, but we have plenty of them so that shouldn’t be too big a problem.



Alright, let’s go! I spot a new enemy off in the distance to get acquainted with.



♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

The battlefield for the first section of Lament is moderately-sized and mostly in light, with a small pocket of darkness up in the northwest corner. The enemies unfortunately grouped right next to Polka are called Petite Fatties (yes, really), and uh…



We’re kind of too strong for their own good. The equipment setup we have plus Polka’s naturally-high MAG stat means we can take them out in one turn even with just 4 Echoes; this is good because their specials really hurt to compensate, but more on that later. They sometimes drop Star Cookies, letting you stay relatively stocked up on items if you’re having trouble fighting them.



Moving on, we continue along the path that seems to be made from shattered glass…



And snag this.



It’ll be more pronounced later on, but the developers really went all out on the visuals for this dungeon. Check out that crack that’s just floating in the air! It’s hard to see because it happens to be just above the path in this shot, but little shards of glass fall from the crack, too.



Just above that is this chest with a Floral Extract, saving me 300G down the road.





This area of Lament is actually pretty small; we’re almost through it already. But I think it makes up for it with sheer coolness of concept alone.



The final chest of the area contains this set of armor. It’s not as good as the Sailor’s Uniform that Polka is already wearing, but maybe another character can make use of it once we find them.



Soon after picking up the Elegant Clothes I get blindsided by one of the Petite Fatty’s specials. The trick about it, and indeed all of their attacks, is that the guard timing is really finicky, and you have to wait till the last possible second to hit the button or you’ll eat the attack. Glitch in the Box is the least threatening of its specials if you do mess up, but it still hurts, and can take off around 1,200 HP. It can also hit multiple characters if they’re grouped together, which isn’t relevant now but will be later on.



After the battle, we come to what appears to be the end of the line – there isn’t anything here but another mirror, which is a weird thing to say when you’re already inside of a mirror to begin with.



Well, that’s technically how we got here, so I don’t see the harm in trying it.



We’ll find out what’s on the other side of this mirror next time. See y'all in a couple days!

Next time: Journeying further into the weird mirror dimension
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
There are literally hundreds! Which still boggles my mind a little when I think about it, considering they’re all made from the same plant.
Herbal teas are not made from the tea leaf, and that notably includes such teas as chamomile, which is a floral tea. Who knows if the floral teas in this game are the same, though?
 
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