Part 6: Soul's Graveyard
After getting the crests from Gepetto, we talk to Karin to get things moving again.
We set out along the only path, but Karin soon stops in her tracks.
What's the matter?
Uh-oh... Be careful, everybody! Here come some monsters!
With that, we're thrust into a fight. For some reason, the game seems to like to have the first fight in each area scripted to occur at a certain place. After this, the battles will be random. Ardennes Forest has three monsters wandering around: Death Snail, Skeeter, and Zosim. As long as we're looking at the library, Nicolai and Lenny now have entries in the 'Character' section.
You're the one that's drawing the monsters to us, you know!
It seems that Holy Mistletoe curse had a bigger influence on you than we thought, Yuri.
Yeah. It's a curse that works on your mind and spirit. I bet you can't do fusions anymore, right?
Your soul has become unstable, and it's emitting waves that draw the monsters.
So, Yuri is a walking eldritch pheromone emitter. That's...actually a better explanation for constant random battles than most games give.
You mean they might be able to kill me while I'm like this?
Let's see, you've lost 60 levels and all your special powers. Yeah, you could be pretty screwed.
That's about the size of it. The Malice that fills the world and the Malice that's trapped in your soul are both growing and creating hatred.
In the Shadow Hearts world, Malice is an active (and possibly sentient) principle caused by negative emotions. It can spawn monsters, and when Yuri killed monsters in the first game, he would take in their Malice along with their souls. The counterpoint to Malice is human Will. It's like the two sides of the Force, without all the philosophical, pseudo-religious babble.
What can I do about it?
The only thing we can do right now is concentrate on staying alive.
With that, we're on our own. Meanwhile, back at the campsite...
Funny enough, no matter how long you run around Ardennes Forest, or even if you go back here, you never run into Lenny or any of his men.
Anyway, the path through the forest can be a little confusing. There are a couple of hidden paths that you have to hug the edge of the trail to find, and in some places, the trail loops around in a circle. You can reach the exit from either side, so as long as you keep heading north (the mini-map's north - the screen perspective will change), you should make it out all right. The above is a highly simplified, if crude, map. I've marked the places of interest.
1. There's a chest at the end of this fork with a Mana Leaf.
2. The chest in the small alcove holds a Key Item, the Battery. This will come in handy further down the trail.
3. There's a chest here in the hidden section in the middle. This one is very easy to miss, but you need it because it has the Barbatos Crest. This crest has the spell Air Edge, which adds Air-based damage to a character's physical attacks.
4. There's yet another chest a short distance to the right.
5. Following the path on the left, we pick up a Pure Leaf.
6. At the end of the path, we come to an elevator. There's a Soul Benediction hidden behind the sign on the fence.
Unfortunately, the elevator is broken.
I wonder if this battery would work?
Only one way to find out!
That'll get the lift moving.
Ride the lift?
No, I went through all this to turn around and go the other way.
There's a save point at the bottom of the elevator, and if we follow the path south, we'll get to the boss area. We don't want to go there yet, though, so instead we'll ride the elevator to the top level.
7. There's a Tent hidden by the fence, and a Leather Cap hidden in the back of the shallow cave. The cap goes on Yuri. Now, we go down to the middle level and retrace our steps to follow the right-hand path toward the boss area.
Along the way, we find another hidden path.
8. The hidden item is a Hit Area Expand.
9. Further up, there's a short branch in the path on the left with a chest holding another Soul Benediction.
10. Eventually, we reach a dead-end.
How about those levers? They might lower the bridge...
Levers? What levers?
Oh, those levers.
Our first puzzle of the game. This one is simple - we need to get all the levers in the "ON" position on the bottom. From the left - pulling the first lever moves it and the right-most lever, pulling the second lever moves all three, and pulling the last lever moves it and the middle one.
To solve the puzzle, you simply need to pull the right lever, then the middle, then the left one.
We also find a Hit Area Expand in the middle of the bridge as a reward. If we had kept pulling several levers without solving the puzzle, Yuri would have gotten pissed off and kicked the controls. The bridge would have dropped, but there wouldn't be any item on it.
With everything picked up, we continue to the large open clearing near the exit. As he walks across, Yuri starts staggering and eventually stops.
No, I'd say he's had a pretty rough time of it.
Hang in there. We're almost out.
*pant, pant* Lemme take a little break. I'm so...sleepy...
After passing out, Yuri finds himself in a very odd place.
The Graveyard...the one in my soul...
Looks like someone's been redecorating.
For anyone who's played the first Shadow Hearts, the change in Yuri's soul is shocking. In the first game, it looked like an actual, albeit creepy, graveyard. In this game, well, it's more like an empty tomb.
What the hell...?
Oh, yeah, there's also this fucking huge tree that wasn't there before.
There's a tree here... Whoa! What's going on here inside my soul?! Something strange is happening! Is it...because of that Mistletoe thing?
Huh? Wh-what the...?!
I'd like to echo that sentiment.
That's me growing there...
Hey, hold on! What the hell does this mean?! What's going on here?! Are you alive? Are you?! ...This is bad. I'm starting to feel sick.
You've got a tree with your fucking doppelganger stuck in the middle of it growing inside your soul; if I were you I'd be curled in a ball and weeping by now.
What do I do now? I can't do soul fusions anymore, either.
*sigh* Guess I'd better have a look around in here...inside my soul...
Oh, stop being so melodramatic. It's not like this is your first time here.
That "me" growing in the trunk is breathing slowly, like it's sleeping or something.
That's creepy. You're creepy.
There are three exits from this area (well, four, if you count the one that leads back to the real world, but we can't go through it right now). This is the door directly behind the tree.
What's that mean? You get lost if you go through? He he. Sounds like fun.
It doesn't budge.
Pretty thick door...
Awww... The only thing here are two doors that we can't open yet.
This door is to the left of the Mistletoe tree.
Instructions from heaven, maybe? What's that all about?
Hey, I know! I bet their presence has something to do with why I can't do fusions anymore! He he! Guess I'd better take a look!
It seems that the curse has sealed away each one of Yuri's fusions; we're going to have to unlock them one by one. The doors to three of them are behind the 'Heaven' door: Light, Fire, and Wind.
On the right side of the Mistletoe tree, there's another door that leads to the rest of the fusions: Dark, Water, and Earth.
Instructions from hell, is it? What in the world does that mean?
I just told you. You never listen to me.
We can only unlock one fusion on this trip, and you've probably realized that there will be a boss fight immediately after. Fire and Earth, as the physically strongest fusions, are solid choices to start with. We're going to go with Earth.
All that's left of the gravestones is a chunk with the element's seal. That curse really did a number on him.
Hold your hand up to it?
The nice thing about Covenant is that Soul Energy can be used to unlock any fusion, unlike the first game where you had to collect souls of the same element as the fusion you wanted to unlock.
Yuri's been falling down a lot lately.
Unh! S-something is flooding into me!
Trust fills your heart once again...
Just like the first game, we get little messages when we unlock new fusions, but they're generally more positive this time around.
You got a Vastitas Soul!!
I got a fusion power back... Okay, I get it. All I have to do is beat monsters out in the real world, collect their souls, and come back here! If I revive the other classes the same way, I can do fusions with them too.
At this point, you can watch a tutorial on Soul Charge, but it's really short, so I didn't bother. Basically, there are three tiers to each fusion. We can spend soul energy at their altars in the Graveyard to unlock the first two tiers, although the third tier needs special items we won't get for a while to unlock. Each fusion also has 10 levels. You spend soul energy in Yuri's personal screen to raise a fusion's level. Doing so makes the fusion slightly stronger and you learn new skills. Certain skills will only be learned by 2nd or 3rd tier fusions. Levels carry over between tiers. I usually prioritize getting the 2nd tier of all the fusions before I start leveling them up.
All of Yuri's fusions have been redesigned. The first tier look somewhat like Yuri in very elaborate costumes, but the higher tiers are much more, hm, unique.
When we try to leave the Graveyard...
Woman's Voice: ...Wake up!
Whoa. Deja vu.