Part 28: XXII: Pages of Inescapable Fate, Part 1Chapter XXII: Pages of Inescapable Fate, Part 1
Yep, big plot update this time. But first, couple of events to get through in Arklys. How to cheer someone up
Father Benon...?! What's wrong--... It's about Eva, isn't it...?
Yes. You see, Eva hasn't been herself lately. I'm certain there's something going on...
Yes, well, actually...
I see... So that's what happened... I knew about the Brauglass Family. But...that's beside the point. The most important thing right now is our family... And right now, Eva is hurt.
Father... You're absolutely right...!
Yes. We have to come together as a family when one of us is hurt and in trouble. And so, since you and Eva are so very close, I think you should be the one to be with her right now.
I was thinking the same thing... Leave it to me, Father Benon! I promise... I'll bring a smile back to Eva's face!
Yes... If I leave this to you, everything will be fine. Time to head home. I'm counting on you, Lulua. *leaves*
She is an irreplaceable member of my family. I have to support her in any way I can. Though honestly, I don't know where to start... Hm... Hmmm... I got it!! If it's the orphanage we're talking about, there's only one thing...! All right, I better put all of this down in the Riddle. Hehehe... I've got to do everything I can to help Eva!
*several hours pass*
Yes! I got it! I know how to make Eva feel better! I poured all of my feelings and skills into it... The most impressive curry I've ever created. I will call it...
If she eats this curry, I'm certain it will get Eva back to her old self! Alright! Now I need to make it and get it to the orphanage!!
This scene does remind me that I need to start making the curries at higher Quality to begin working on the Curry Ending, and curry is important for another reason I bet you're not guessing right now. But that's for another time. One more scene. Youthful love
Um? What's wrong with you, Refle?!
Ahaha, I'm joking. I loosened up, like you asked me to.
Definitely thought that was her talking in her sleep, but no, apparently that was just her being relaxed.
Hahaha! Refle, you doofus. You scared me for a moment there.
Hehe... So, Lulua. Is there anything I can help you with today?
No, not really. I didn't really come to shop, just wanted to talk with you. I thought it might be nearly your break time.
Haha, you're right. So nice of you to remember. I'll lock up and we can have some tea. I have received some really nice tea leaves recently.
Oh, great idea! I brought some sweets with me.
Ooh! Thank you so much! I'll go heat some water!
Don't mention it. Oh, Lulua!
Um... No, it's nothing.
...? I wonder what that was about.
Aw, such a sweet girl. It's not too late, Lulua, just saying. But I think it's time to head back to Arland and preparing to meet Mana at Orthogalaxen. Seems like she'll finally spill the beans on what her deal's been.
Well, "romantic" in a very particular sense I suppose.
And here we are with a larger Orthogalaxen. Well, "larger" for this game, but it was much larger in Rorona where it had like 16 floors. Luckily her daughter won't have quite as much of a hike to get to the depths of Orthogalaxen where Mana awaits us. In Rorona, this place was good to grind levels (for the Adventurer Ending) since it was only one day's walk away from Arland, as well as finding rare materials since anything, including Dunkelheits, could spawn in the chests there. Here it's not nearly as valuable, but it is another location to 100% if you're into that kind of thing. The bears around here are pretty dangerous, but as you might guess, they are not invulnerable to insta-death.
Guessing that speck on the lowest platform is Mana. No Iron Giants in sight...
I don't mention the Iron Giant lightly, since this is the exact same spot where Rorona fought it. I know that because of the teleporter in the back. That teleporter wasn't in her original game, but it was added to Rorona+ where it led to Orthogalaxen Depths, a small dungeon added to the post-game of that game. The girl's truth
Hehe, there you are. Did you bring it?
Yup, sure did! But, Mana, did Stia tell you? We made the key, but we can't use it! What should we...
Hehe, don't worry. I wouldn't put you through all this for nothing. When you don't the authority, it simply needs to be granted. ...And the only one left who can do that is me.
Huh...? Mana, what are you saying?
The time came for me to tell you, Lulua. Why I know so much about the ancient civilization.
Hehe. Sorry to surprise you. This is my true form. I am "Mana Orthogalaxia". The Operator of Orthogalaxen.
Operator...! So you're...like Stia?!
No, we're not the same. Mana is an Elite Operator.
That's correct. But further more, since I have also inherited Sharm's authority... I currently am the Operator with the highest rank.
Operator with the highest rank?! You, Mana?!
Yes. Incredible, right? Now, Lulua. I will transfer my authority to Stia. Because, with each Galaxen control unit, its native Operator is the most knowledgeable about its functions. It'll be best for Stia to go to the control room. But, there's a little something I need your help with first.
Of course, but... What do you need us to do?
It's simple. You must defeat me. Transferring authority takes all kinds of effort. The fastest way is for me to become "weakened".
You mean... We have to fight you?! We can't do that! We might hurt you!
Hahaha. It's all right, Lulua. There's no need to worry. She is also known under her other name... "The Machina of God". When the ancient civilization thrived... She was the most powerful machine.
Wh-whaaaaaaaat?!! The most powerful machine?!
Machina of God?! That's...!
Yes. It does ring a bell... So, it's you!
Based on Sterk and Rorona's reactions, it is indeed true that we've seen Mana before. Do you remember the Makina Domain DLC from Meruru? The final boss was named the Machina of God and the whole time we've seen Mana this game, that's been it. I guess you were supposed to pick up on it based on their somewhat similar color schemes. That's uh...quite the connection to make. Never underestimate the webs Gust is willing to weave.
Hahahaha! Now that that's settled! I'd say I'll go easy on you, but I'm not very good at that.
Music: Alas de Luz: For Lulua
Yep, we even got a remix of Alas de Luz (Spanish for "Wings of Light"), which was the boss theme for the Machina of God and one of the few boss themes you couldn't alter from the Meruru OST changer option.
As for Mana here, thankfully she doesn't have the same insane parameters she did in Meruru, nor the absolutely devastating abilities the Machina of God possessed. On the other hand, though, she has a ton of HP on Very Hard to the tune of 34,854, it goes down slowly, and you can't use any abilities to create weaknesses like you could with most every regular enemy in the game. This somewhat limits the usefulness of Rorona and Sterk here, but not by a whole lot. Rorona's Item Interrupt ability alone guarantees her relevant status no matter what the difficulty of the enemy. In addition, Spinning Synthesis Classroom! completely nullifies a lot of the damage Mana can deal, but she can still Stun and inflict stat debuffs even if she isn't doing any actual damage.
As far as attacking, avoid Mana's resistances of Earth and Lightning. Lightning in particular, as she'll completely nullify Lightning damage taken, but any other attack types, go hog wild.
She'll move twice in a row every time she's up to bat, and her most common attack is this: Star Sword. Low damage, single target. Not a big deal.
As you might expect from an Elite Operator, highly resistant to debuffs in general. To the "Don't even bother" point, but certain debuffs, like Slow, can still get through. You're just better off going straight damage-dealing.
Galaxy Profusion she'll throw out every so often. Much more dangerous, does quite a bit of AoE damage.
Sterk and Aurel make for a good frontline, with a Primal Skill that increases physical damage and prevents turns from being knocked back.
And yeah, don't bother with Lulua's ultimate attack. If you can't open up those weaknesses, no point.
This is where a good Omega Craft really really starts to come in handy.
Finally, Mechanized Blade. Probably her most dangerous attack, especially since it comes with a DEF debuff. Thankfully, pretty rare.
Music: Scarlet Rain
Since you'll definitely have time to build up the Ultimate Gauge, worth considering who uses it. Obviously Lulua is out, so Eva makes a decent choice with her Ultimate, which does good damage and activates a time card that does infinite stun damage (shown here). Alternatively, you can save up to 200% for Aurel's Ultimate, but he probably won't be doing enough damage to justify that kind of investment.
If you're looking for some good damage, Sterk's Astral Caster is very good. Does magic and physical damage, which is two sources of pain, and it only costs 50 MP.
Eva's Flare Bastard is also legit. Basically, anything with two sources of damage, as long as one of them isn't Lightning or Earth, is good at piling on the damage.
You just couldn't be defeated with this dramatic move, could you... I had to finish her off with 50 HP by bopping her with Lulua's staff.
Certainly a lot less difficult than last time... If you're lucky enough to get a Rare Drop, you can get some neat stuff, but definitely not worth fighting her multiple times for. Handing over the reins
*pant...* *gasp...* R-Really...? You looked like you could keep on going...
Oh no, not at all? A real battle! It's been so long! I'm satisfied! Right. It's time to take care of business. Stia, come here.
We-well... Um, I... This is my first time... Look. I'm only a low-level Operator... So, um. You'll be gentle, right?
Don't be silly. Here I go. OPERATION, Authority Transfer. From Code... "Mana Orthogalaxia". To Code... "Stia Fellsgalaxia".
Start Process. Sequence 1. 1, 2... Complete.
Amazing, this is the transfer of authority...?! So warm... All over!
Sequence 2. 1, 2... Complete. Sequence 3. 1, 2... Complete. Final sequence... Complete. Check. System... All Green. Authority Transfer ... Complete. OPERATION ... End.
Aw, now Stia's even picking up on that finger rotating thing.
Huh, it's already over? Couldn't it have lasted a little longer...
Uh, maybe on your own time.
Don't be silly. What are you waiting for now? Go on! You can use the Authorized Key now. Get to the control room. You are the only one who can prevent the collapse of Fellsgalaxen, Stia. When the time comes...no. ...Nevermind.
No, I know. Worry not. Thank you, Mana.
Sorry for making you wait. The transfer of authority went perfectly...somehow!
Ahaha! Nice work, Stia! You sounded just like Lulua!
Hehe. I tried to imitate her. What do you think?
I'd say... A passing mark. Heh.
Ahaha, I'm glad. Well, shall we get going? To Fellsgalaxen's control room?
Oh, right... (Something is strange about Stia... Feels like she is trying too hard? Why do I have a bad feeling... I hope I'm just overthinking it...)
Hm, doesn't seem we have a happy ending to look forward to anytime soon... But we'll know the full story at the control room. Meanwhile...
This is part of why Orthogalaxen feels quite small in this game. A substantial part of it isn't even available right now. So don't worry about this place. We'll certainly return to it before this thread is done.
Lulua sure is broad-minded. An asset, to be sure. Let's head back to Arklys... Old "friends"
Hey, what's with the dark face?
Ahh!! Lady Mana?! Wh-what's wrong? Is th-there some problem?!
Nope, everything's fine. Actually, I did want to tell you one small thing. Ficus. You're...free to go.
Huh? Doesn't that sound more like a big thing...? And why now, all of a sudden?
Oh come on. The only reason we're in this mess is because I was being reckless and nearly beat you to a pulp... Besides, I'm sure you've figured out what it is you want to do.
Hmm... Well, I guess you're right. That's also thanks to Lulua.
Is that so? Heh... Lulua is pretty interesting, huh?
Yeah. You're not wrong about that. I guess that's why I was pretty surprised back when you told me to keep a quiet eye on her.
Hahaha! I couldn't miss a chance like that! It seems like Lulua's done better than expected so I'm more than satisfied.
Haha, sure thing. Thanks for everything, Lady Mana.
No, I should be the one thanking you. You've been a great help.
Wha... WHAAAAAT!? That doesn't sound like you're setting me free?!
No, no, no, I said you could live as you please, didn't I? It's just that sometimes I may force you to do my bidding. Hahaha! You didn't think I'd let go of someone so talented this easily, did you?
*sigh* Haha... Sure thing, Lady Mana.
Well well, being a (former?) Elite Operator sure has its way of keeping people on a short leash, it seems. And it seems Mana has been looking after Lulua in her own way for a while now, and that Ficus chancing across us was no chance at all. We'll have to do our best not to disappoint her, no matter what happens.
Heading back to the depths of Fellsgalaxen, I used my Craft against the Draconius to see if it, too, was vulnerable to IK. It was not. Terribly sorry to disturb you, sir. Terribly sorry... Let's just get to the control room.
At long last...
Right... Lulua, may I have the Authorized Key?
Oh, sure... Here.
OPERATION ... Unlock. Code ... "Stia Fellsgalaxia".
Finally... We can go forward. Thank you, Lulua.
Huh? ...No, don't mention it.
Hehe. All right, let's go. The control room is just ahead.
Pretty fancy digs... Hard choice
This is... The control room...?
Yes. The control unit and Fellsgalaxen's core.
The core...! Hey, Stia! That's where we can learn about Fellsgalaxen...
Yes. You can have access to complete information here. Including the rate of damage to each layer... In other words, whether Fellsgalaxen is about to collapse. *walks over to terminal* It seems the control unit is still functioning, thank goodness. First things first, let's check the current status. *taps at computer*
Wh-What do you think, Stia?! H-How is it...?
...Far worse than I imagined... Because I neglected my duties... The damage to the foundation is especially bad. At this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if it collapsed at any moment. Even right now...
Whaaa?! We have to do something! But what...?! Reinforce the tower with alchemy or...?!
It's not that we can't... But gathering materials and synthesis would take too long... If we don't know when exactly it will collapse, it'll be better to find another way...
OK... OK... How about a controlled demolition? it's not like we have another choice, right?!
That seems... A bit unrealistic. First, we'd have to find a way to destroy such a massive object. And you said "controlled", but how do we do that? Bits of it would still fly off.
Uhh, uhh...! Then what should we do?? At this rate, Arklys will be destroyed!
Well, while there's always the option of simply abandoning Arklys in its entirety, just based on what Stia and Mana have lamented about the collapse of Ehtogalaxen, it seems there's a lot of unintended consequences with simply minimizing the human casualties. Not to mention it is her hometown, and such an evacuation is based on something that is going to happen at some undetermined point in the near future. Could be a tough sell.
Don't worry, Lulua. There is still one way left.
Huh, there is?! Really, Stia?
Galaxens are equipped with a self-repairment function. If we use that, we should be able to prevent it from collapsing.
Really? Ahaha, oh, I see. So it's going to be fine, right? Ahhh, we were worrying over nothing. So, if we use that...
Mana?! In exchange for Stia...?! What are you saying?!
The self-repairment function is the last resort. To use it, the Operator must merge with the control unit. Once merged... That's it. The control unit and the Operator become one.
...! But, that means...!
Yes. If you use the self-repairment function... You'll never be able to talk to Stia again.
...?! No! That's...! That can't...!
(There, we faced another crisis. The collapse of Fellsgalaxen was upon us. And the only known way to stop it was impossibly cruel. To never be able to talk to Stia again... I couldn't imagine it. But, with time running out, there was no other way. Save Stia? Or save Arklys? Fate had thrown me the hardest of choices... And so marks the "Chapter of Truth". In which I was brought face-to-face with the cruel reality...)