Part 11: Hell's Gates
"Tell them to hold off a minute, I'm watching this guy climb down the mountain. I know he's going to fall off any second."
"How in My name did a scroll end up there?"
"Picked up by a migrating bird?"
"Might as well take it all, at this point. We're running out of places to use things."
"I'm just impressed by how everything the people find is something that we can use almost immediately afterward."
Despite several alpine lakes, there is no water use at all that occurs in Aitos. You'd expect some kind of trout fishing or the like.
"It's always in the last place you look, isn't it?"
"That's because once you find..."
"Don't even finish that sentence."
"Like a clock, with crisis and disaster as the hands. Let's see what it is this time."
"Well, that's certainly more dramatic then the last few. Don't exactly know what to do about an erupting volcano, actually."
"It's either virgin sacrifice or finding and killing the biggest monster in the volcano, my Lord. And I don't think you're much for accepting sacrifices."
"That and I have realistic expectations about actually finding a virgin in any of these towns."
"A foot stomping monster? That's definitely a new one."
"Aren't you going to help them, Master?"
"First thing's first. If anybody asks about the earthquake, we blame it on the volcano."
Next level: 4100. We've got only two more levels to go at this point, and none of them will occur here.
"It's really coming down out here, isn't it? Amazing how it keeps just missing the buildings."
"I refuse to bite on that attempt at compliment fishing."
"Fine, if you won't indulge me I'll just go kill something then.
For preparation we're taking our new magic. Against enemies who come in close to you it does superiors damage and it's guaranteed to hit any given enemy on screen at least once and often many more times.
"Somehow this isn't the stupidest thing I've ever done."
"Oh Master, it's not even anywhere near the top ten."
By the Earth's Blood
So we're actually in the middle of an active volcano. This is one of the more dangerous areas, since falling into that lava is actually pretty easy and is invariably fatal.
Logically, the area is full of platforming areas where you have to leap from one narrow platform to another.
Enemies like this popping out of the lava when you're jumping don't help matters. You have to hit them very quickly or else they explode in four chunks that fly in straight lines away.
These platforms go up and down on a regular rhythm, with only the two far right actually being above the level of the lava at their lowest point. Somehow this was much, much easier on a console.
For variety we've also got fire archers with collapsing bridges in front of them. Luckily they won't run away although one wouldn't expect them to, since they're made out as Samurai.
The final significant passage is down a vertical shaft full of fire breathing giant heads. One of them has a full apple right at the edge of the flame to troll the player a little bit.
"Wait a second he doesn't even have feet! How could they hear him stomping around?"
"Excuse us, sir. We must have the wrong monster."
The boss of Aitos is the Fire Wheel, which is actually a Wanyuudou, a Japanese demon that is said to guard the gates of Hell and steal the souls of those who get too close. He will usually shoot up to the center of the room and shoot out projectiles, then roll rapidly back and forth along the floor before repeating the cycle. He can be difficult to hit consistently while rushing around, which is why magic is very useful here.
Aura in action. Each of those orbs will make a crossing pattern on the screen, eventually covering every inch of it. It's more effective the closer you are to an enemy, which given Fire Wheel's habit of charging you means it's particularly effective against him.
Two to three uses is enough to put him away for good, with very little injury.
"Well, they certainly wasted no time in improving their buildings once it was all said and done."
"The roofs are probably fireproof, my Lord. Just in case."
"Thank you for taking care of us. We can now take care of ourselves."
"So that's it? No show-stopping problems or sudden disasters that are going to require me to run all over the world collecting one of a kind herbs or mystical artifacts? Well, if that's how you want it "
And with that, we max our fifth town.
Next update: Up north where the land is cold.