Welcome to Khalibad. This should probably be "Khalilabad," which is the name of a handful of cities, most of which are in Iran. One of the gentlemen here tells us that we need to be careful and gives us...
This is a pretty nice jump in damage from using our fists, not that it ever becomes clear since we only ever fought the crawler with our fists. Although now...
Random battles are a thing! The encounter rate is mercifully low, but you will end up bumping into enemies starting now. My first random encounter was when I walked into the big temple on the map, and I thought it was a scripted fight, but no.
This little guy is Magic Ghost. All he can do is use the Bump Rump attack or scream "Your momma!" at you (no really) so he's not something to be worried about.
This guy is "Puddin taine" which I'm pretty sure is a localization used by the translator. He's also potentially dangerous because of that "Pleasant Dream" attack which can inflict sleep. Thankfully his accuracy is as hideous as everything else around here so just mash A and you'll be fine.
Cocatrix here might be different than Magic Ghost, but I've always killed him before he did anything other than bump rump and insult our mother.
Paranoia doesn't waste any turns hurling insults at you, and instead uses the attack "Spikes!" over and over again. Still has terrible accuracy.
The buzz devil is the lowliest of a line of devils. At this point it's not noticeably different from anything else, but later models will be something to fear.
Ok, let's check out that temple!
"Mystery of the Cosmos. Universe cycles, stars die to be reborn. Man also shares this fate."
First Russia and now Iran preaching reincarnation at us? The people of TAO seem to have reincarnation as mostly a given. Let's see what else is going on around here.
Huh, ok. Aside from more people telling us about how reincarnation is a thing and we should be mindful of it, residents continue to tell us that animals have been going missing. Mysterious! Let's leave town via the southern exit and see what's going on!
At the very bottom is indeed a water treatment plant, but the guard just tells us we need a pass. The tower is "Ridley's Tower" and belongs to some billionaire. If we go there now however, there's just a monk who tells us the tower reaches to the heavens.
One of the two houses contains this lady, who FINALLY actually knows where these animals have been going. Apparently a tornado took them! But...if that's been happening all over the world, well, the weatherman has some explaining to do.
The other house is a massage school. For 40 coins we can learn the secrets of massage!
...yeah it's a timed minigame where you mash the A-Button. As if they realized all this button mashing was excessive, sometimes the teacher will yell out "A-Button Breaker!!" This minigame is incredibly hard to win legitimately, but if you have turbo buttons you can beat it with nearly 10 seconds left on the clock. The reward is your skill points going up by about 50 or so. Skill affects how good you are at not getting hit and how good you are at damaging things, so it's not bad to get a couple boosts here.
Anyways, let's go back to Khalibad but exit from the left! (this is like, the only town where the direction you exit from matters, by the way.) Doing so takes us to a large, mostly empty place with some palm trees and people.
"See turtle rock at safari end."
While most of the people complain about animals being gone or talk about souls and reincarnation (we get it!!) this guy tells us about Suzaku's counterpart, Genbu of the North, and says that we can find a turtle shaped rock nearby.
Hey I wonder what's up these trees...
"Lightning struck and the Earth trembled!"
Racism is in the trees! On a serious note though, the odd Chinaman is awesome, as you'll fully appreciate later, and he is reminding us of some info we got in Angolmois about storms covering the Earth lately.
To the south we find Turtle Rock, let's see if we can search around here!
Oh god no lion!
Actually he's not bad at all. The Three-Eyed Lion has 528 Power, 2 Attack and 2 Speed. He's twice as fast as most of the things we've been fighting and more likely to hit us, but he still hits like a wimp and his HP is nothing to speak of. He uses the "Grr! King of Lions!" attack.
"The 3 eyed lion was hunted by poachers."
Well, getting a flask is way better than you turning into a crotch demon. Plus nobody who looks like that curator has been around, maybe things are finally looking up for us...
More importantly this girl mentioned poachers, and that seems like a WAY more likely reason for disappearing animals than rogue tornadoes. Let's explore the area more closely.
Yeah this tent seems like a good place to look.
Holy shit you better believe I'm using the "take" command right now!
The other "boss" of this area, the Poacher has 528 power, 6 attack and 1 speed. He'll do pretty decent damage if he hits you, but otherwise he's not much to worry about. Sadly winning does not give us any of his cash beyond the typical 20 or so coins he drops.
What does this even mean? TAAAAAOOOOOO!!!
Since I've played through the game I'll explain. Professor Yabahama has been paying off this poacher. What for exactly? We'll want to check on the professor, but first let's check out our awesome new friend.
"That foolish hunter!"
Woah man, little quick to judge there aren't you? What if someone like, really needed that money? Massage classes won't pay for themselves you know? Hey, stop looking at me like that, s-stop...I, I just, FINE!
At least YOU understand me Dinosaur!
Back in Angolmois we check out the meteor crash site.
Did he say anything about starting an illegal poaching ring?
"I don't want it."
"He began a new venture in Khalibad."
The "Omega" there is actually the Greek symbol. And yeah I guess the professor did mention that he was going to start poaching. Also dude, why did you give us a priceless artifact? You are the WORST archaeologist!
At this point it's really not clear what you have to do next. But you need to talk to the mountain witch again.
Somehow, for some reason, this unlocks the next train location.