Might as well start here. Unfortunately for the people here, the oasis remains as dry as ever.
|Hmm, you returned the seed to the temple,
yet the water isn't back... is it because
the power of Mana has grown so faint?
|The seed hasn't brought the
water back. Mana's growing
|But I've heard of a sea hare's tail
that could call back water even
to a bone-dry well.
But where could such a thing
Our country is still done for...
|If only we had a Sea Hare's
tail..! Without one this
realm is finished.
Incidentally, a sea hare is not a hare at all but a category of sea slug.
|King Amur: You've returned the
Fire Seed to the temple?
Thank you, thank you!
|AMAR:You've brought back
the Fire seed! Thanks!
|: ...how strange, though.
There's no sign of water
returning to the oasis?
| But our water still hasn't
Well... we'd like to help, but how? And where should we go next, anyway? Anyone?
|Little by little, everyone is leaving the
country... with how things are, should I
just give in and move to the Empire?
|Everyone's moving away...
I think I'll move to the
|I hear the cannoneer started making
secret launches to the Empire!
Must be for spies...
|Now even Cannon Travel has
a route there!
Sure enough, cannon travel now offers the Empire as a destination. Since we have literally nothing else to go on, we might as well give it a try, even though we have no reason whatsoever to believe we ought to be going there.
This is where we start getting into parts of the game with a definite "content was cut" feel to them, starting with not knowing why we're going to the Empire.
|: When you're in the Empire, keep your
head down and try not to stand out!
| Keep a low profile while
in the Empire!
Since when does that ever work out? We should probably start thinking up escape plans right now...
At least there's another cannon on this end in case we want to leave the area. Imperial towns have their own music (track 2 不思議なお話しを / "[Tell] A Strange Tale"), which to me sounds active and peaceful enough, but not what I would call cheerful. An undercurrent of discontent, perhaps?
The item shop has some new armor, but consider holding off unless you have money to spare, since the next town is coming up soon and has better options. Which seems odd. Our last armor upgrate was all the way back in Kakkara, but then the stuff here becomes obsolete almost immediately?
|This is Southtown.
It's not as big a city as Northtown.
|Southtown's not as big as
That's an understatement. RPG towns tend to be unrealistically small to begin with, but the only actual buildings in this one are the inn/shop in the southeast and a single private residence in the northwest. Pretending the rest of the town is hiding somewhere out of bounds works well enough in many cases, especially where games explicitly depict areas extending beyond your reach, but here I think that's asking too much of the player. The city just feels incomplete.
|You can't discuss it openly, but lately|
none of us can understand what the
emperor's thinking in the slightest.
He talks about unifying the world,
puts heavy taxes on us, and just
keeps building up the army.
Rumor has it the army even has
monsters...... and they say the
castle is full of monsters, too.
|These days the Emperor has
such bizarre thoughts...
Seeking peace, he prepares
for war. He even has a force
of monsters in the castle!
|Marict, who lives on the outskirts of town,
is an oddball. It's best not to have too
much to do with her.
|A woman named Mara lives
here. She's a nut case!
|Old lady Marict always carries a little
box around with her. Is there a valuable
treasure or something in there?
|Mara always carries around
a little box...
There's an older woman outside the sole house who heads inside as we approach. That's probably her. Let's investigate.
|: ...ee hee hee hee... I know
about you people.
: You know Gemma, right?
I'm actually a Tasmanican
spy. Ee heee hee!
: It used to be my husband who was,
but during his escape after getting
an imperial secret...... *sob*...
: I'm getting vengeance for him!
So I'm following in his footsteps
and lurking in an imperial town.
: You can get in the sewers from the shed in
the east of town. It's a secret Resistance
passage to the northern castle town.
: Give the man standing guard the secret
number, and he'll let you through. The
secret number is 634!
I know who you are!
MARA:Jema's friends, right?
See, I'm really a
So was my husband 'till he
I'm continuing his work.
Enter Northtown from the
east of here.
Give the guard this
secret number: "634".
It makes sense that there's a resistance group where there's an evil emperor, but it might have been nice for someone to at least mention them before this.
Sure enough, there's a man beyond the inn who falls back to a grate in the wall when approached.
|あんしょうばんごうをいってみろ！||State the passcode number!||Try the secret number!|
| 『 ６ ３ ４ 』
| 『 6 3 4 』
: ! All right, go on through!
| " 6 3 4 "
The guard steps aside.
: Shh! I get it, already!
Shh! Not so loud!
The sewers are the only way in and out of the town outpost other than cannon travel. We caught a glimpse of a river flowing by and into a large lake nearby on the way in, but there's no sign of any way to access either one. Nor are there any roads leading to Northtown, or anywhere else, for that matter. Sneaking through the sewers to avoid a security checkpoint on the main road would make sense, but there is no main road, and there's no trace of any other connecting route at all. Mussolini was said to have made the trains run on time (though that was more propaganda than truth), and the Roman Empire of old is still famous for its roadways, but this Empire can't even seem to manage a basic dirt path between its two main settlements.
"The Boy Heads for the Wilds" plays in the sewers, which feature uncomfortably brownish water. Garfish await just inside, and should be no threat by this point. However, there are also more dangerous Killer Fish (Dinofish) further in, along with quite a few Blue Bavarois and even a lost Duck Soldier.
Curiously, although we're supposed to be heading from Southtown to Northtown, our progress through the sewers runs mostly north to south.
Unexpectedly, the passage leads directly into the heart of the Resistance base. "Orphan of the Storm" plays inside. Several people are already here and immediately turn to confront the intruders. One of them, the apparent leader, has a distinctive, likely military-inspired, appearance featuring spiky blonde hair even messier than The Boy's, yellow utility pants, and a green headband, shirt, and gloves. She questions them.
|: Hey, who goes there!?
Spies for the Empire!?
『N-no! 634, 634!
634! The answer to all our troubles! It's kind of a shame that panicked response didn't make the cut in the localization.
|Kriss: Oh, are you the boy Sir Gemma
mentioned, with the Holy Sword?
Welcome to the Resistance base!
|KRISSIE:Jema told us about
you! Welcome to the
Her name could be romanized any number of ways. It's also plausible as a feminine Japanese name (Kurisu), but that seems out of place in this setting.
The Boy steps forward and nods agreement.
|『[BOY]だ！よろしく！||『I'm [BOY]! Glad to meet you!||[BOY]:I'm [BOY]!
How do you do?
The Girl crosses her arms and looks annoyed.
|『‥ナニさ！カッコつけちゃって！||『...hey! Quit trying to act cool!||[GIRL]:Wow!
I always thought her English version line seemed at odds with her body language. On the other hand, it makes The Sprite's jab that much more scathing.
|[SPRITE]『Keh keh, jealous, much?
[GIRL]『Who, me!? I only have eyes
[GIRL]:Knock it off!
I'm Dyluck's girl!
|Kriss: Dirac! You know Dirac!?
[GIRL]『Of course! Why?
Kriss: There are ruins east of town
they say have been there for ages.
: A man called Dirac appeared there
recently... he's draining the vitality
out of one person after another.
『Just like in Pandora!
...but why would Dirac...!?
Kriss: ...maybe he's just being
controlled by someone?
We'll investigate, too.
|KRISSIE:You KNOW Dyluck?
KRISSIE:A "Dyluck's" been
draining people's energy
at the ruins to the east.
[GIRL]:Like in Pandora!
But why's Dyluck...
KRISSIE:Something must be
We'll check on that.
Everyone goes back to what they were doing. Kriss doesn't have much to say, but the rest of the Resistance helps fill in some backstory.
|クリス「がんばってね！||Kriss: You can do it!||KRISSIE:Good luck!|
|あたいたちのリーダーはクリスよ。||Our leader is Kriss.||GIRL:Krissie is our leader.|
|Kriss's father, Saag, was the leader
of the Resistance. But, in a battle
with the Empire......
To keep us from falling to pieces
with the loss of our leader, Kriss
succeeded Saag as leader...
She's still only 18, yet works so hard
for everyone. We all rely on her.
|MAN:Krissie's dad founded
When he was caught, she
kept us together.
She's only 18, but she's
Another name with no apparent meaning or obvious equivalent. Also note that his fate is left vague, but it's likely that he's dead.
|Our Empire was once a peaceful country.
But something just hasn't seemed quite
right about it since around 15 years ago.
|All the trouble started
about 15 years ago.
Upstairs, the base looks more like an ordinary cafe, with mostly nondescript people milling around.
|Kriss is at that age when she'd probably
rather be having fun like a normal girl...
|Krissie had to grow up too
|The Empire has a special force
called the Elite Four that reports
directly to the emperor.
Their leader, the Dark Knight Shiek;
the Machine Rider Gestahl; Faunach,
the lone woman of the group......
And the Mage Knight Thanatos...
I still haven't been able to get any
detailed information on that one.
|The Emperor has some
Sheex, Geshtar, Fanha,
and Thanatos. They're
capable of anything!
Faunach (ファウナッハ, faunahha) ends in the same throat clearing sort of sound as words like "Mach".
こういってん (紅一点, kou itten, a single point of red) is a common shortening of a line originally from a Chinese poem about a red pomegranate flower making a striking impression in a sea of green. The phrase has become an idiom for anything that stands out from an otherwise largely uniform group, and in particular for a single woman in a group that's otherwise all men. Surely that's not Faunach's only significant characteristic, though? Come to think of it, I don't recall it being a particularly significant characteristc at all. I'm not sure I even realized she was supposed to be a woman until translating that line.
|The emperor is apparently using
his soldiers to search for our
|The Emperor's using his
troops to find us.
|There's been a lot of traffic to the
ancient ruins east of town lately.
It never used to be like this.
|People are sure busy in
the ruins over there.
Um, I'm standing guard so the
Empire men don't come.
|It's fun playing war.|
|It's a cafe as a front, but this is the
secret base of the Resistance!
|The Resistance's base is
|I've seen miss Kriss crying when
she's all alone!
|I've heard Krissie crying
Outside the base, Northtown, in stark contrast to Southtown, is possibly the largest city in the game, to the extent that there's slight but noticeable slowdown. "Tell A Strange Tale" plays, as in Southtown. The item shop has the best armor that's going to be available for a while, and Watts has set up shop in the basement of the inn.
|Watts: This town positively reeks of
weapons. They must be getting
ready for a war or something.
: So, anyway, do you have any
weapon power saved up?
|Watts:This town smells
Found any new weapon orbs?
As mentioned, soldiers are looking for the Resistance base, if not very effectively.
|The base of the Resistance that opposes
His Imperial Majesty is supposed to be
in this town... we'll find it!
|We'll find the resistance's
Let's check whether the townspeople have anything more interesting to say.
|I lost my father in the war with
the Republic 15 years ago.
|We once fought the
|Besides this town and Southtown
to the south, the Empire's territory
includes Gold City on the Golden Isle.
|The Empire consists of this
town, Southtown and the
Just the towns? Is the rest of the continent so utterly devoid of content, even in-universe, that they don't think of it as part of their territory?
|I hear His Imperial Majesty is fixing to start
a war with all the nations of the world......
They say there's nothing to worry about......
But having such a large family makes
me that much more worried......
|Why's the Emperor taking
on the world..?
I fear for my family!
|Ho ho ho, what would I wear if there
were a party at the castle today?
|Oh dear, I must dress for
the castle party!
|They've stopped having parties at the
castle lately, so my big sister's wearing
her dresses around the house!
|There AREN'T any parties!
My sister's going nuts!
In the English version, this little incident comes across as a symptom of the weirdness going on with the townspeople, but it turns out the young lady is well aware there aren't any parties anymore and is just dressing up at home for fun. This does suggest recent meaningful changes at the castle, though.
|Them at the castle were talking about
some preposterous something being
sunk in the coral reef to the south.
|Something's hidden under
the coral to the south!
Some dialog is more immediately concerning, like from this child wandering around.
|I got candy from someone called Pamela
earler. She said I can get more if I go
to the ruins on the edge of town!
|Phanna gave me some candy.
I can get MORE if I go see
her at the ruins!
And this old woman by the road to the ruins is displaying unpleasantly familiar symptoms.
Like Southtown, Northtown also lacks any access to the surrounding countryside, or anything resembling a dock or any other potential way to leave the area, though there is a peculiar little passage through the trees on the south edge of town that doesn't go anywhere you can't already reach. However, a road to the north leads to the castle, and another to the northeast connects to ruins similar to those outside Pandora.
At the moment, entry to the castle proper is walled off, so there's nothing to do in that direction except fight an Armored Knight (Armored Man) or three, which is at least handy for grinding spell and weapon levels if desired. That leaves the ruins as our only option, and all available clues point in that direction anyway.
|Ancient ruins near Northtown|
The Northtown ruins use the same eerie track, "Ritual", as the Pandora ruins, though here it starts playing in the courtyard rather than waiting until we enter the ruins proper. Unlike in Pandora, no one is outside except for a familiar blue-haired girl.
Pull yourself together!
Pamela: ......shut up!
: I'm not leaving! I've made up my
mind to live here with Dirac!
: Hu huhn! It's your fault for always
talking about Dirac in front of me.
I'm not giving him back!
|[GIRL]:Phanna! Wake up!
Are you okay, Phanna?
PHANNA:Dyluck and I are
happy here! We just love
"Soul of the Night" starts playing as The Girl reacts, shaking her head.
You're lying!! Pamela!
Pamela: Ha ha ha ha! Serves you right!
PHANNA:Don't you wish!?
The Girl runs up and hits her. Pamela collapses. That presumably wasn't The Girl's intent, as she reacts with evident shock and dismay.
|Pamela: ! Ugh......!
I, I...... I......
|[BOY]『......let's head back
to Kriss's place for now.
|[BOY]:Let's get her to
[SPRITE]:Come on, [GIRL]!
Just then, Kriss walks up from the direction of the town.
...I'd like you to look after this
girl for a while. You see......
Can you help her?
|Kriss: ......got it.
We've got a doctor I'll have
look at her. She'll be fine!
|KRISSIE:No sweat. I'll take
her to our doctor.
|Kriss: No need to worry!
Now, you're going to save Dirac,
right? Keep it together!
Go help Dyluck!
The Girl nods, and Kriss leaves with Pamela.
Pamela can be found with the doctor in one of the houses in Northtown at this point. She's walking around, but otherwise unresponsive.
|わしが、その いしゃ じゃ！
|I'm the doctor!
Pamela seems to be suffering
from psychological damage......
Not to worry, though.
Pamela is sure to get better if we
untangle her mind little by little!
|DOCTOR:I examined Phanna!
her vital signs are
Don't worry, though.
She'll be okay.
For now, though, those ruins need investigating.
The imperial continent appears to have been hit particularly hard when the game content was pared down. Aside from certain things feeling lacking even in-game, such as the absence of any wilderness areas, Southtown being literally just two buildings and a wall with sewer access, and nothing but a single brief dungeon separating it from Northtown and the significantly better armor there, in-progress screenshots and promotional material also suggest a more extensive and detailed region. Note in particular the large open areas around Southtown on what's dubbed Map IIb (which existed late enough into development that it's actually printed in the Japanese manual), with cannon travel a considerable distance south of the town itself. Similarly, several promotional screenshots show a town that resembles Northtown, but is clearly not Northtown as we know it, and may have been an earlier, more fleshed-out version of Southtown.
Anything beyond what appears in the images is mere speculation, of course, but here's my take on what likely would have happened in this chapter of the story if the game hadn't been scaled back. First of all, I expect that we would have been given some concrete reason to go to the Empire in the first place. It could be any number of things, but we haven't seen Gemma in a while, and Kriss has been in contact with him recently, so perhaps he would have turned up with news of troubling developments in the Empire and sent us to assist the Resistance. Which would also mean that we'd have heard about them in advance.
The cannon trip would have landed at the old cannon position well south of town, placed to reduce the risk of detection, thus leaving us to make our way into Southtown on foot. Whether the landscape would have been noticeably different from the Gaia Lowlands region is anyone's guess. After fighting through the wilds, the inn would have been much appreciated, and the new equipment would have come in handy when attempting the road to Northtown.
Of course, the overland path would prove pointless. I'd expect a boss fight along the way, with the way becoming impassable afterward, similar to the golem fight that destroys the bridge in Trials of Mana. That would result in some runaround trying to find an alternate route, which would eventually lead to the helpful spy providing the password to go through the sewers, but only after a sidequest or three. And she'd probably be a little harder to track down in the first place.
The sewers might have been more extensive and elaborate, but with another boss or two and the sidetracking I'm assuming would have come between reaching Southtown and finding the sewer route, it wouldn't really be all that necessary. Maybe it would have another boss towards the end of it? That seems like enough content to justify getting a whole new tier of armor in Northtown, too. (Seriously, the last new armor before Southtown was at least two full dungeons and three bosses earlier, yet Northtown offers a greater improvement in armor quality over Southtown than Southtown offers over the previous set).
I'd also appreciate it if you actually went north when going to Northtown. Were the ends of the sewers accidentally connected the wrong way around?
In any case, here are Southtown and the surrounding region in the preliminary and final maps for comparison:
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