"Ni no Kuni" Walkthrough: Porcine Palace
Leaving Hamelin a little happier than it was when they arrived, Oliver, Drippy, Esther and Swaine are suited up in pig armour and ready to infiltrate the Porcine Palace. They get past the front guards easily enough, thanks to Swaine's obvious knowledge of the Prince of Hamelin, but will the rest of the trip be quite so simple?
Once inside the palace, Swaine makes it abundantly clear that the group must make it through the hallways without being seen by any guards. The disguises aren't much help anymore. You'll have to walk incognito from here on to avoid detection. Drippy also points out that the guards won't be able to detect you unless you're right in front of them, and that there are niches in the walls you can use to hide. Sounds good.
Sneak Around the Castle
Start by running to the intersection directly north of the starting point. There's a guard ahead of you, and he'll patrol halfway down the hall towards you before turning back north. Wait for him to turn, then dash down the hall and into the niche to the guard's left. Wait there for him to pass by, then keep going north and around the corner. Head west to the end of the corridor.
To the south is a guard that patrols the central block on the map. Wait for him to walk out of sight, then run west and south. The next bend in the corridor, from east to north, is patrolled by a guard who takes a very long route before turning around in the north-east corner of the corridor; follow behind him until you hit a niche, hide in the niche, and wait for him to turn back south. Once he does, and once the guard patrolling the northern hallway has turned back west, dash for the door and go through. Enter the manhole inside. The team will come out in a huge, ornate chamber—
—and immediately have to face off against a well-armed, highly-mobile tank. Time to battle Porco Grosso!
This can be a painful battle if you've neglected your magic. Porco Grosso is resistant to all physical attacks, and is too fast and hits too hard (and too often) to engage up close. Your best bet for surviving this fight is to bring out your best defensive character and have them draw all of Porco Grosso's attack. (If you still use it, your Mite is great for this.) Have one of your other characters, preferably one with electrical magic or attacks, blast away at Porco Grosso from a distance. Don't underestimate this thing's speed - Porco Grosso can cross the arena in an instant, and when that speed is coupled with an attack, it really hurts. Beating Porco Grosso will earn you a Hog's Cog.
The battle will earn you naught but the attention of pig guards, who are now on their way. Head east out of the room in a bid to escape. A cut scene will ensue, and, as the team escapes the guards, they'll intrude on the Prince's chambers. Turns out he's the Great Sage they wanted—or, rather, his father was. The Prince himself has no magical power, and he's crippled by a heartbroken attitude that leaves him despising his looks. The Prince needs a dash of Belief to get out of his funk.
Head out into the large room again. Walk into the middle of the room and the area will become hazy . . .
. . . and then, in a surreal moment, fog will filter into the room. The team will find themselves surrounded by soldiers—and addressed by an emperor. Have you gone through time? Bizarre. The emperor doesn't seem to believe the story of his younger son eventually succeeding him—and when news comes that the emperor's two sons may be in danger, Oliver, Esther and Swaine spring into action.
The Weird Flashback
Leave the palace and head back out into the streets. Hamelin looks the same, but the people are quite different—they have no masks. Talk to whomever you wish in this weird flashback, but there's nothing here that you couldn't find in the Hamelin of your own time (even less, in fact—you can't get bounties or errands). Save and heal at the Cat's Cradle, then head out of town.
Help the Two Princes
To the southeast, along the mountain range, you'll find a small train tunnel in the side of the rock. Touch it and you'll find a small interior area where the two princes, Gascon and Marcassin, are trying to fight an Earth Ogre. They're in trouble thanks to out-of-control magic, however, and need some help. Oliver and company leap in to help. (Don't worry about the fight, it's a piece of cake.) The older brother will then forcibly take the lead in 'escorting' you back to Hamelin.
Return to the Palace
Return to the palace. Gascon and Marcassin will leave the party, and you'll learn some more about the royal family's interpersonal problems. The conversation ultimately boils down to a legendary spell that can send Oliver's team back to the time from whence they came—and said spell, along with its wand, are found on nearby Tombstone Trail. Sounds cheery. The Emperor will give Oliver the spell Arrow of Light, which will come in handy in killing ghostly bad guys.
Hmm. Breach Time. Mornstar . . . why do those names sound so familiar . . . ?