Part 19: Lo Pheng and the Insufficiently Distracting TittiesLo Pheng and the Insufficiently Distracting Titties
When we last left our heroes, they were deciding how to deal with the murderous drunkard Fisk. Goons unanimously voted to negotiate.
So we do.
Seriously? We get 300 bonus gold per fight with the magic purse Krieger has. We got 2k gold last time. We pay it of course.
We just got away with murder for a pittance!
I won't lie, I legitimately left Fisk here on my first playthrough. I didn't particularly want a murderer on the team and I thought Vegen and co had a legitimate grievance. This apparently pisses your party off and you take a 10% morale hit.
HELL TO THE YEAH! IT'S MOTHERFUCKING LO PHENG!
Also, I guess I was wrong about the chapter structure.
Checking in the camp reveals we only have our main man himself.
Just Lo Pheng on the open road.
I'm going to have us reminisce for now. Depending on the vote, I may have us undo this.
: To free someone of pain, one must understand its nature. What wounded you in Wodan? The children among the prisoners looked at you with terror-and curiosity. Pointing their fingers. Even smiling. It's how your brother looked when you came for him, before he knew of the fate awaiting him.
: Your younger brother didn't know that you were brothers no longer. All Shadow Clan warriors are equal. There are no brothers or friends-no notions of age. You are the building blocks of the Shadow Temple.
Yes, this is Lo Pheng's deal - Lo Pheng isn't emotionless because he's just reserved or quiet, but because the Shadow Clan conditioned him to be a monster. The prose actually works here - Lo Pheng describes the violence in a calm, clinical matter because he's so desensitized to it. He doesn't want to describe what he actually did to the brother - because he's ashamed of it - but as we're about to see he's pretty desensitized.
We'll give the ladies a warning. It's only polite.
: You raise a hand to the fugitives, indicating they should not follow you. The women stand still, but are in no rush to disperse.
This is the one frustrating thing about the Lo Pheng sections - his choices are somewhat obtuse. If you're being generous you could argue that this is to mimic his alien mindset, if you're being cynical you can argue that this is the dev's love of bullshit choices. This is not the last we see of this, oh no.
: A Frisian detachment intercept[sic] you before the tunnel. You address the officer. "I need to get to Gellia. Start the machine. Neither of us want needless deaths here."
Note that it doesn't even occur to Lo Pheng to just tell the officer that he's on a mission from Pelko Soturi and that the officer should let him through or answer to the powerful count. He could even handwave the women away as being for Soturi or something.
: You gather that you shouldn't be too pushy offering the guards their lives. Suddenly, you sense unnatural heat. Something glows in the redhead's hands. Could these be magic battle cars? The woman is full of surprises.
Fanart contest: draw Lo Pheng with a duel disk.
: There is movement at the tunnel entrance. You can't let the Frisians start the machine before you get to it. It's time to remove an obstacle. The fugitives draw their weapons and stand beside you. Whatever happens, they chose it.
We get all of these lovely ladies here to help Lo Pheng. Let's talk about what they do, shall we?
: As befitting a powerful sorceress who can use magic music, Reet has several unique abilities. Her Inspiring Song ability heals all units adjacent to her, her Fire Storm spell can hit a 2x2 area at range, but you really want to use her for her Foresight ability which rewinds the battle state to the end of the last rou - ahahahaha, I can't say this shit with a straight face. She's an archer, the same as Brett and Flitt from Thorn's party. She picks up an impressive array of cutscene abilities, but fuck you for expecting such an important story character to have a unique class!
: Swarty here is our second archer. As such, she's better than 99% of the cast but still blows off half her health by shooting a bow.
: Bolla here is a spearman like Fisk.
: Kendi here is a class we haven't seen before, hammerman. Her abilities involve stunning people, knocking them back, and lowering their defense. It's actually a pretty good class because you can set people up to wail on a boss for tons of damage. In case you were worried, Thorn gets a hammerman later.
: Shannet here is an assassin, like Hode, but unlike Hode has actually trained as an assassin with poisons and stuff.
Naturally, we send Lo Pheng out alone, because that really is the optimal way to play his chapters.
New cards! Vulnerability we've seen, but the rest are new.
The Exchange of Souls: Swaps health and energy of all combatants on the battlefield, and usable on turn two. This is abusable as fuck - you can drop someone's energy to 0 and instant kill them. In fact, I will be abusing the hell out of this because I don't respect this game's combat.
Deadly Balance: Reduces Health by 50 to a random enemy and by 50 to a random party member. Fuck this card. It's shit, especially when your optimal play is sending out Lo Pheng by himself. I suppose you could nominate one of the girls to be an unlucky sacrifice, but
a) You're an asshole
b) It's not guaranteed to hit the girl of your choice, you sick fuck.
Berserker Rage: Stuns a random party member, increases their attack by 5 and reduces defense by 30. This is...kind of usable, as Lo Pheng won't stay stunned for long and you can combo it with Cloud Tower, but there are easier cards to buff attack with. It's shit.
Vampirism: Reduces Health by 20 to a random enemy and 20 to energy to a random party member. You can actually use this. Lo Pheng will build his energy as he attacks, so what you want to do with him is get his energy high, and when his health is low Exchange of Souls.
Lo Pheng does what he always does. I certainly didn't fuck up a prior run getting cute with cards, no sir!
Let's talk with the weird women who are following us.
We are polite and choose to answer Kendi.
: You can tell that the dark-skinned woman has had martial training. "An oaf might break a priceless sword... or hurt himself with it", you say. "Think twice before walking on a precipice. A gust of wind might blow you off the edge."
I love this reaction.
: "I thought that Eikons were tight-lipped," Shannet says with a caustic smile. "A word to the wise, the talkative ones are usually impotent. Trust me, I know."
: Shannet turns away and starts climbing the machine. You give her fair warning: "If you do break the machine, I will kill you."
Lo Pheng is gonna keep using his smooth talking to win the ladies' hearts.
: The woman waits for a word of approval, perhaps something more. All she gets is a cold warning. "If you aid me, expect no reward or glory. Most importantly, do not cross me."
Lo Pheng...that's...not how we impress women my dude.
The developers described Eikons as a cross between Jedi Knights and Unsullied. It's an apt comparison, but it's also the most blatant theme of the 3 storylines: What makes a man a monster? It's not much by literary standards, but having something to say elevates it over the other two storylines in my opinion.
: Who was the machine set up for?
: The frightened Frisian can barely speak. "It waits for your master, Eikon. You serve Pelko Soturi in Wodan... or no longer? You shall not escape vengeance!"
: You press the tip of your sword to the official's chin. "Answer my questions. Speak no hollow words."
That official is more right than he knows, and for that we slice his chest.
: A single quick cut is enough to slice open the Frisian's chest. Whimpering in pain and clutching his bleeding wound, he collapses to his knees.
: You life the official's chin with the tip of your sword again. "What shall I find in the tunnel and beyond?"
: Heed Reet's words.
: You size up the redhead. She has just had a close brush with death, and here she is, pitying a Frisian who would never do the same for her. Her words echo in your head. "This is the Frisian way. Pain for pain's sake. It's Frisia's foundation."
: Finish off the Frisian.
You can proceed with the torture and Reet will mercy kill him. Girl has massive balls.
: You swing your sword for the third time, and the Frisian keels over. Clenching his sliced throat, he jerks in agony.
: Reet wipes the sweat from her brow. "To be less human than a beast is to have lost all humanity. It's pointless to question those who will not answer", she says under her breath. "I hope you'll find me worthy of a painless death."
: You wipe your sword clean and return it to its scabbard. Reet's face is drawn. She awaits her deserved death, though few ever find the nerve to confront a warrior of peace.
Keep in mind that the last Reet saw of Lo Pheng was him stabbing a Reaper repeatedly until it died. She's willing to give her life for some random Frisian after all the shit she's been through.
Whatever, to the workshop.
: You walk up to the hut where the mechanics are hiding and knock on the door. Four Frisians cringe. They have nowhere to run. Judging by their faces, they saw the outcome of your conversation with the official.
: You look the mechanics up and down. "Whichever one of you starts the machine and takes me to the other side of the tunnel may live".
We're just threatening right now, I don't want to kill any more than we have to -
Goddammit Lo Pheng. I guess we were going to kill the rest anyway, but still...
: With two more stabs of your sword, two more Frisians tumble dead to the ground. You address the surviving mechanic, who is now pale with fright. "Dume, get the engine ready to start. Do not attempt to fool me-you cannot hide from the Shadow Clan. Remember that you have chosen to live."
We have more ladies to talk to. We'll start with Reet, as she had quite a bit to say about our recent, erm, activities. Maybe we can get her to sing for us again?
Damn. As far as I know there's no way to stop Lo Pheng from butchering his way through the area here.
: Reet looks you straight in the eye. "What would you do had I finished off that wretched Frisian? The one you tortured beside the machine. Would I pay with my life for standing in your way?"
: Reply to Reet.
: Something makes you reply. "I will kill you if you stand in my way. However, I do not relish pain for its own sake. Do not meddle, and we shall part ways peacefully."
: Reet shrugs. "Why choose the worst? Evil inclinations infect you with evil. You can slice bread with a dirty knife, but it won't be good to eat."
: "You can eat bread sliced with a dirty knife. Some eat the flesh of their foes while they still live." With this, you leave Reet to her thoughts.
: Bolla puts an arm around the other woman's shoulders. "It's going to be all right, Swarty. The worst is behind us. We weren't nailed to the scaffold, tortured to death or sent to lands unknown. It's all in the past now!"
: Turn and eavesdrop.
Once again, Lo Pheng proves himself a true goon.
: In a loud whisper, Swarty continues. "Did you hear what the inquisitor said about the Eikons? They'd cut even a child to pieces! But only if they're paid to! Or something like that... I was out of it by then."
Remember, Swarty isn't stupid, she was literally awaiting torture and execution.
: Bolla chuckles. "You've been out of it since the night we got rounded up in the Gordinn square. I told you that something bad was bound to happen. There were many signs!"
: Bolla lowers her voice. "Did you not hear the Temple servants? The Temple of Divine Wrath requires blood. Lots of it. Reet expected them to drive us to Berkana and told us to wait till we got there. She hoped to escape in Berkana, but the executions began in Wodan. This Eikon's our only chance!"
: You climb into the carriage and take a seat with a perfect view of your surroundings. Just as you expected, the wenches followed. They procured some supplies. The rumbling of the engine makes them wince.
: Dume shows up carrying several oil lamps. "The tunnel is dark," he shouts. "We'll need lamps. There'll be an outpost halfway in; we'll have to negotiate passage."
: You silently signal Dume to start the engine. There has been too much talk already, but you will have to speak to the women sooner or later. They are stuck with you until you reach the tunnel's exit.
And thus we continue our extremely fucked up episode of Thomas the Tank Engine.
Oh we are reminiscing right now. Want to know more about Lo Pheng's extremely fucked up childhood? Here you go!
Oh, but it gets worse.
: Then came the foreigners' turn. They did the same to adults and children alike. Torturing and murdering. Staying cool and composed. Torture and murder. Leaving behind revulsion and bloodlust. Rising above horror and hatred of their teachers-rekindled now, after so many years of calm.
: You're a warrior of peace. When the river of life bends-you go with the flow.
: Dume shrugs and gets to the engine. The engine noise is soon replaced by the squeak of the wheels. A dim light appears ahead.
We keep chugging on.
Then we reach an altar.
: Dume scratches his head. "That's odd-not a single watchman in sight. They're either gone or assembled in the cave where they store the wood and water-it's the only sheltered space. I wonder why no one came out... They should've heard us coming."
: You look back to your companions, and they are already coming-weapons drawn. You need not say a word.
We level up Lo Pheng first, making his AoE cost less health.
: Their sergeant steps forward and looks you over. "You're an Eikon, right? You serve Pelko Soturi? Give him our best regards... wait! Was a different official not supposed to come with you? Do you know where he is? Since you're here though, it matters not."
: It's clear as day that someone has paid the local guards to kill the person in whose stead you came. Such are Northerners-if they did not squabble among themselves as much, they would have conquered Berkana long ago. However, this is not your concern. You face a different debacle. At your command, your Warrior Wenches file into the cave.
You know what? For the hell of it, let's have the girls back Lo Pheng up.
The plan is to advance up the left, leaving the barrels in the middle between us and RIght Frisian Squad.
So far so good. Shannet picked off that guy after Lo Pheng weakened him, and Reet's opening fire on the guy in the back.
Bolla shanks a dude while Kendi moves to cover her.
Lo Pheng takes another life.
Reet shoots this guy down.
This guy goes after Swarty...
Only to die at Bolla's hands.
Shannet and Swarty kill the last guy to end the battle.
Time to talk to everyone again.
: Why did you follow Kendi?
: You're a smart one, Eikon. We all followed Kendi because she acts like a warlord. Always making the right decision. Keeping her word. Now, Kendi followed Reet. You ask me why. I tell you-every warlord needs a king. Or a queen.
: Who picked you?
: (Chuckling) Yes, the ladies are a fine bunch. Even Swarty, wimp that she is, is good with her bow. A hunter's daughter she is. Like all of us, she's had to kill. It was a long way from Gordinn. We got to know each other. Those able to stand up for themselves sort of stuck together.
: (In a detached manner) This is not enough. You would not have made it through the tunnel without me.
: What are all of you going to do now?
: We all have our own plans, but we'll stick together until we find a place where they don't pull harlots off the street to torture them for a festival.
: (Indifferently) If this is indeed a Reaping, there will be no safe haven.
: Be on your guard, Shannet.
: I'm always on my guard, Eikon. Those who aren't are already dead.
: (In a detached manner) Every dead man was once alive.
Well that was cheery.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: You leaving?
: Yea, we're all gonna die, handsome.
: Why's Kendi your leader?
: Hasn't been wrong yet. She defers to Reet though - Reet's a queen.
: Why are you all traveling together?
: We're just hookers taken off the street to be tortured for entertainment. We stuck together because we're all survivors.
: You needed me to get through the tunnel!
: Meh, whatever.
I'm leaving this next narrated part entirely in screenshots, without commentary.
YUP. Lo Pheng is just too cool a cat to be distracted by boobs. Sorry lady, but not even titties can get between a man and his Black Lotus. I believe the earlier localization had her referencing "Boobs! Boobs!" or some such nonsense.
: While we walk together, we share in everything.
: What do you share with the others?
: (In a calm voice) I am not good at sharing. I am greedy...taking on all the Frisians practically by myself. These cards are weapons. Use them, do not hoard them.
We get 20 strixes and the cards here. Score! Bolla, you're alright.
: What do you want?
: I want to remind you of the Eikon warrior code: "Never ask a woman about her desires".
: I shall quote the same code: "Do not ask a wise man to reveal the source of his wisdom."
: What is "not entirely true"?
: You did not kill him. He will return.
: Are you courting trouble to study it? Will you die if you wish to explore death? Is this what brought you to Frisia?
: Do you expect me to aid you?
: I merely hope that we can be travel companions. If your destination is the Isle of Shadows, we're headed the same way. We could be of use to each other.
: Are you saying that it is not possible to kill a Reaper?
: You should use a different word-destroy. You merely disembodied the Reaper, he will come back for revenge. It is practically impossible to destroy one completely, but there is one person who knows how.
: We will, of course, meet this person?
: How did you come by the magic cards?
: You should know that these cards were only crafted by the Qimra in the last seven hundred years.
: But the cards came with the Reaping! The Enses brought them. Between Reapings, they are useless!
: An able sorcerer will always have a use for them, especially during a Reaping. As for the Qimra, the blood of both Enses and Berkana flows in our veins. This should explain much.
: I need to consider this.
: The machine's clanging makes it hard to think.
: Not much farther. The tunnel ends soon.
Reet, he never used that word.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: If you like what you see, can you talk to me instead of starting like an awkward twelve year old?
: Uh...shit...play it cool Lo Pheng...what do you want?
: Your own warrior code says not to ask that question. Oh, by the way, you didn't kill the Reaper, nearly inconvenienced him.
: What the hell is wrong with you?
: Just a girl trying to get home. Anyway, can I come with? We're headed in the same direction and I can be pretty useful to have around.
: I doubt it.
: I know a shortcut that leads past a man who knows how to kill Reapers.
: Sold! How'd you get the cards?
: I'm a witch descended from Enses. Anyway, looking forward to working with you.
Might as well talk to Kendi next.
: I need your help.
: (Surprised) Did I hear you right? I thought we're all a burden to you.
: A blanket does not make one's load lighter, but it does make the nights warmer.
: Calm down.
: We will follow the tunnel to its end together. Maintain order and do not permit your companions to loot. Watch them-one might be a spy sent by Temple servants.
: If that's your opinion, why don't you kill us all? No burden, no suspicion!
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: I'm a strong independent woman and don't need a shoulder to cry on!
: I need your help actually.
: WTF? Is this a euphemism for fucking? I'm gay and that's why Frisia threw me in jail.
: Do me a favor and keep the other women from looting. Make sure we don't have any spies.
: Why not just kill us all?
: We fought side by side.
: Is he dead now?
: As dead as they come. I'm surprised he came round at all. He was mumbling something about Pelko Soturi and some job.
: Does it worry you?
: Well, I have nothing else to worry about-no family at all. I kept putting it off... now I'll have to take a Berkan wife... If I make it to Berkana at all.
: I just have one question. No matter where you go, there's only one way to the Vale of Mercy. Will you let me come with you? I fought in the Bahldarian war and put my sword skills to the test many times!
: Only if you fight beside me.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: I wasn't with those guards! Crap! Now I'm a wanted criminal and they're going to kill me!
: Are you worried?
: Suddenly, no. May I come with you? I fought in the Backstory War and have Warrior levels.
: Sure, but you have to be in the battle party.
: Cool. Can you hook me up with one of those fly honeys you travel with?
: And on that note, it's time to leave.
Refueling the train lets us continue through the tunnel. We get more Lo Pheng reminiscence.
: The pain didn't go away, even when he was dead; when the priests cut the sacrificial stones from his body and removed his head to put in a ritual vessel. You looked at the warrior and saw yourself. The pain you felt was as if someone very close to you had given up his life on the altar.
: Then it was your turn to lie on the bloodstained altar. The priests cut your skin and inserted a clean strix meant to harbor your soul like a vessel... until one day, it would leave you in the exact same way.
This is the secret of the Eikon's skill and power - they can pass down their life experiences to younger warriors via dying. Naturally the Shadow Clan abuses this in the most assholish way possible.
: Nod to Dume.
: Dume is clearly trying to please you, so you nod. You still need him, not least of all for stopping the machine, when the time comes.
: Dume chuckles approvingly. "Gods willing, we'll manage. I have my own bone to pick with those guards-they treat us mechanics like dirt. I've had enough!"
: Kendi calls out to you. "Hey Eikon! You can rely on us. We're ready to fight!"
Lo Pheng and Dume level up offscreen. Lo Pheng gets a movespeed and health boost, Dume gets health.
Oh, goddammit Reet. You had to go jinx us.
Decisions lie before us!
Do we help the Viking?
I have two more decisions as well.
Are we going to embrace our memories and try to act more humanely, or stick with the law of the clan and emotionlessly slaughter? Major decisions will still be up for a vote.
Should Reet and the gang fight with Lo Pheng, or should Lo Pheng solo everything?