Part 12Update 12
We're moving in to the final chapter now, with an appropriate chapter title. In fact, all of the chapters titles are accurate enough to nearly qualify as spoilers in their own right. On the other hand, Salvation could apply to just about anybody.
"Yes. My sister ?"
"She's over at Icorina's. She's Axs' uh.. friend, I think. I think she might be sitting this one out."
"Thank you. I'm so grateful to you "
"That's what I'm talki.."
"My father, King Wagnall, is now deceased. I have been put in the care of Darwin. But many years ago, Galneon "
"What year do you think this is? All of that happened years ago."
" wait, what year is it? Things have been kind of fuzzy for a long time."
"You also quite literally stabbed me in the back."
"And I'm really, REALLY sorry about that. Oh Darwin, so glad you're back!"
"So, Darwin, how was it?"
"So did we actually stop the plan? Weren't they supposed to turn into monsters or something?"
"I don't actually know. It's not like the apocalypse came with a guide."
"It will take time for it to be fully implemented."
"Is there anything we can do?"
"If we can get the Crystal Sword, the Enchanted Jewel, and the Spirit Sword back from Galneon there might be a chance."
"Oh, is that all? We'll be done by lunch."
"You say 'should', but that means you don't actually know for sure. Eh, what the hell. Let's go!"
We're back in the castle town, with enough money to actually make a dent in equipping our team. Teefa comes in at the same level as Rooks, and if we hadn't already sold her original equipment it'd be ridiculously outdated. Teefa and Salah have slightly different equipment lists as well.
"Wait, isn't that a good thing?"
"Only as long as it doesn't mean that something worse is living there."
"There is something strange about that tower. I wonder if the Evil Empress might not be stirring?"
"Am I the only one who didn't know about that?"
"Bartenders are usually incredibly well informed."
"Wait, you can't be talking about King Wagnall. Can you?"
"Okay, now I feel a bit better. Well informed my ass."
Going shopping, 60K seems like a lot of money but we can blow through that in no time flat. The saving grace we have is that the Golden Sword is worth 15K and the Rococo Armor is worth 25K. It's a nice difference from most games, which would have had those as some of the best equipment in the game materials be damned.
Leaving town actually gives us a little shot of the group coming out of the town and walking into the castle that's all of a couple of pixels away. It's over almost too fast to be captured.
"I see that you guys used the same interior decorator as in the top floors of the Tower."
"Yeah, we actually got a huge deal on the paneling."
"I knew it!"
"I think we found out why the monsters aren't coming around."
"I think dragons count as monsters. Pretty sure about it, actually."
"Not really. We kept them out in the gardens."
"And probably went through a dozen gardeners a week. When the King started to lose it, how did you even notice?"
"In retrospect, it seems like we probably did miss a few warning signs."
"My darling Desiree, I've missed you so much! Come here to me!"
"Wait, so all those times you cried about your lost Desiree you were talking about "
"You actually thought that he was talking about a woman?"
"A lot of things just started making sense."
"I promise, we'll never be parted again!"
"You two are getting your own room when we go back to the inn. And by you two, I mean you and the sword."
"Speaking of my father, the court wizards might have encouraged him in a few of his wilder ideas."
"I'm not even going to ask how many court wizards you had. I'm just going to start thinning the numbers."
The upside of the difficulty spike and the sheer number of monsters is that we're raking in the experience and gold hand over fist. We're going to need it.
All of the dragons can cast their respective elemental spells at the highest level. It adds up to quite a bit of damage across the party, and it's worse if they hit a weakness in one of your spirits.
"I can't believe nobody snatched these up these are perfect for me!"
"I'm regretting all the money I spent on gear for you guys. I'm taking it all back, selling it, and going on an epic honey binge."
"The fact that you're using the word binge represents a sort of progress."
"Okay, seriously how many dragons can you fit into a single palace? Have you ever considered hiring an exterminator?"
"If you want to be the Royal Exterminator, we can probably work something out "
"I'll think about where the hell were these guys hiding? We took ONE step!"
"Hidden passages, maybe?"
"Rooks, I'm not feeling so well "
"You're not the only one. Alright, back in 3, 2, 1 "
The initial castle section is at least six wings with a large maze like area in the back. It's pretty much guaranteed to require multiple trips. Heading back to near where we left off "
"I am Ariel's apprentice, Karul. Rooks, I thought I'd have a look at you."
"Well, here I am. Look, are you gonna be cool about this or not? I'm kind of in a hurry."
"I don't know what Galneon will do."
"Probably kill you in a fit of rage or just because he forgot who you were, actually."
"Just telling him you're Ariel's apprentice probably won't help. There were a lot of us."
"But please defeat Ariel's enemies!"
"Sounds great, we'll get RIGHT on tha..."
"Oh dammit, fine. You want to do this? Let's do this!"
"Ooh, decisive have I told you lately how much I like that in a man?"
"Why are you even attacking us? We're practically on the same side!"
"I don't think he could help himself once we started walking away."
"It's not like Ariel chose his apprentices for their stability. Marid, take a rest. We've got this."
"You mean that I've got this, right?"
"Sure, if that's what makes you happy."
"Why did they ?"
"Yeah, you'd think that they'd have kept that close by instead of just handing it over to one of Ariel's many apprentices."
"Cruel, isn't it?"
"Don't lose your nerve!"
The final dragon type, the Cloud Dragon, is a bit rarer than the others. It's also hard to get a good look at it, since it tends to be hidden behind a bunch of front line troops.
Repeated trips means repeated levels, and more spells. Call Wind Spirit is part of a series that we'll touch on later, and Attribute 11 is pretty much the ultimate group attack spell. It can do up to about 180-190 to every enemy on the screen, helping enormously in clearing random encounters.
"Is that a staircase?"
"I don't know, I can't see past yet another dragon's gigantic ass."
"Rooks! I know it's a dragon, but you should never refer to a lady's ass as gigantic. Assuming it's a lady."
"It's kind of hard to tell with dragons, but that is a staircase."
"A Tunnel? Is there a B Tunnel somewhere?"
"Only one way to find out, since asking the architect isn't really an option."
"It's going the right way to get us into the tower, and that's all that counts."
One thing I didn't mention is that Rooks can use the Crystal Sword as a considerable upgrade. It doesn't quite match up to Desiree in Darwin's hands, but you can't beat free in either case. Teefa actually has a respectable attack now as well, although she's usually much better off casting spells. It's been a bit, but I believe this is prior to Rooks going on his promised honey binge.
The spirits are coming along slowly but surely, and in some ways are beginning to pass our party members outside of Rooks in terms of stats and durability even with their lower defense. Next update: A Tunnel. Well, what else did you expect?