Part 22: Hostage
Video: Giacomo and friends
All right, it's time to escort Ladekahn back to his castle. Normally we could go straight through there, but upon reaching the Cloud Passage, the game insisted that I enter instead of bypassing it. I wonder what awaits us there?...
Don't get careless. The havoc we wreaked ought to warrant at least a pursuer or two.
Gib, I'm going back to Elnath. I need to mobilize the Knights of Diadem as swiftly as possible. I won't let the Empire do as they please with my kingdom!
We'll accompany you to Elnath, Your Majesty.
Thank you. We can talk more about Quaestor Verus's proposal at the castle.
I ran forward a little more, still waiting to see why the game forced me to go through here, and...as it turns out...
Music: Chaotic Dance 2
I hear you made quite the stink in Nashira. Muahahaha! Nervy little sneak.
Again? Didn't you learn anything form the stomping we gave you in Mintaka? Please step aside.
SILENCE! This time I will win! Prepare to die, Sagi!
Well, Giacomo is back, and this time he has a couple of friends. They can be pretty dangerous on top of Giacomo's already nasty attacks, so we definitely want to get rid of them quickly.
Milly and Guillo did a Relay Combo to kill one of them off almost immediately, so that was a relief. The other one took a little longer.
Giacomo can still tear off over half my health with one attack string, and he can still tack Thrashingale Redux on top of normal hits. It might just be me, but he seemed to use his special more often in this fight than the last.
The point I'm getting at here is that this fight is hard.
The good news is I have that Warrior's Scarf from the Coliseum. Guillo made great use of this for part of the fight to keep standing up when Giacomo would ordinarily have stunned it. This is crucial, since every action you take in this game matters and losing actions can very well mean losing battles.
I also have to say that one thing I kind of love about this game is how a fight that looks like its in the bag can go all wrong if you let your guard down.
What I DON'T like about this game is that, like it's predecessor, reviving characters can be a royal pain. You have to discard magnus until you get a revival magnus, then use it to get the fallen ally back, and then immediately heal them lest they just get knocked out again. Sometimes enemies will sneak attacks in between the revival and the healing and kill the ally off again anyway. It can be very frustrating, especially in boss fight when you not only need everyone going to win the fight, but also want to make sure everyone gets that delicious boss battle EXP.
And of course, while you're trying to revive one character, your conscious characters are getting beaten on, too. And just when you revive one, the enemy may decide to go all out on another and knock them unconscious, putting you back in the same predicament. Fortunately, Guillo managed to survive this onslaught and I got everyone back on their feet..
I'm not ashamed to say Giacomo beat me on my first try. Fortunately, this run went a little better.
Curses! Why am I not strong enough to beat them?!
Giacomo, hang in there!
And so Giacomo once again skulks off in shame.
Come on, King Ladekahn, we should hurry.
He's getting away.
That's OK. I'm sure he's learned his lesson this time.
Those military types sure have it rough. My heart goes out to the guy.
Sagi, something's coming.
Faster, Celsica! If we let the king get away again...Oh, let's not even talk about that.
Y-Yessir! I'll go faster! I'll try to go faster, sir!
Whew, the old man's ticked off now. Look, Kahn he's doing that chin-stroking thing. Pop's lethal when he starts doing that.
Don't tell me these things, Gib. Sorry, but I'd better make my exit while I've got the chance. I'll see you at Elnath, Sagi!
Ladekahn and Gibari jump down the nearby cloud vortex.
Someone's in a royal rush. Well, I think I'll be heading back to my hideout. Who knows, maybe we'll meet again. Farewell for now!
More ninja poofing. Is there a more correct way to say that?
Argh! Why can't he sit still! Where does he think he's going at a time like this?
Well, there's no need to get worked up. Just go back to Elnath and you can see him! He said he'd go straight there.
You don't understand. I'm worked up for a reason! It's just like you said, Sagi. Baelheit's men have started something at the Cloudvents!
There, too?! Nashira's under Empire occupation as well we just got back from the village.
What? Nashira?! Imperial hounds! I'll teach them to belittle the Knights of Diadem! Sagi, I must hurry back to Elnath. Please join me as soon as you can.
Sir Rambari, would you mind giving us a ride in that boat of yours?
I'm sorry, young miss. It's considered bad luck to allow anyone other than knights on the boars. You'll have to walk back.
And so Rambari and Celsica run off as well.
Ex...cuse me? Him and his old wives tales...King Ladekahn and Gibari must put up with an awful lot.
Oh, really? I think Ladekahn and Gibari are the bigger handful by far. Little rascals...A prancer wouldn't act that way if you gave it an open feedbag.
You know what would be funny? If there was a game with a superstition system where doing certain acts affected your character's luck stats. I wonder if such a game exists?
Anyway, the game is nice enough to deposit us automatically at the other end of the Cloud Passage new. Before we progress, I wonder if we have any new mail?
***** IMPORTANT *****
GREAT NEWS for you Dark Servicemen out there! We have an EXCLUSIVE offer just for you! No Dark Serviceman worth his rock salt goes anywhere without his trusty PARAMACHINA! Have you been taking good care of yours? Inferior oil can lead to unwanted rust and rot! That's why you need special SUPER-GOOP (RM) high-concentration machina oil! Go on, make your paramachina purr! Don't hesitate, try it today!
Do you think Guillo is OK without any SUPER-GOOP?
oh my god that just made my day
Dear Sagi, You did a splendid job with the investigation in Azha. Quaestor Verus must be proud. I am ashamed to say it, but injuries I sustained during that riot have prevented me from returning home. I intend to rest up in Azha until my strength returns. It is discouraging to think I must remain in this village of thieves, but I have little choice at the moment. I've informed the quaestor of your magnificent performance here. Please continue to aid him well. A comrade in justice, Lyuvann.
Ugh, what does Almarde see in this guy?
SaGi Tik SaGi saGiSaGisaGiSaSaGisaGiSaGi TiK
Dear Sagi, this is Mom. Tik insisted on writing you a letter. He's still learning. Right now he can only write your name and his, but he's really giving it his all. Let him know how well he's doing!
I'm not really one for cute kid stuff, but I have to admit this is kind of adorable.
Dear Sagi, How are you? Lately Wacho and Tik have started imitating you. They've done their homework. Even I was surprised at the likeness! They've been showering me with affection all week. Remind you of anyone? Love, Mom.
Gena's still pretty much amazing. I like how Sagi and his mother have such a close relationship, as opposed to most games where parents are either sources of angst or basically (if not literally) nonexistent. It's really quite heartwarming.
Okay, now that that's done, let's proceed to the castle.
I know, Uncle Ram. I am thinking like a king...in my own way.
A king is supposed to bind his people together, not sow anxiety by running around wild! And what would you have your people do should your life be taken? Gibari, you're just as much to blame! A knight's duty is to protect his king, not goad him into taking unnecessary risks!
Don't go blaming Gib. It's not his fault. I wanted to go.
I'm not done yet! You're in your twelfth year, sire. You know the saying -
Yeah, so skip it. Didn't you say there were imperial soldiers in the Cloudvents? If we don't hurry -
A soldier runs into the room.
Kind Ladekahn. Sagi, emissary of the Empire, is here to see you, sire.
Oh, it was no trouble. So Baelheit's Machina Vanguard is here?
Yes. They've moved in on the Cloudvents, the source of all the clouds that blanket Diadem.
Kahn, what are we waiting for? If they take control of the Vents, Diadem is finished!
Wait, Your Majesty. If someone has to go, let it be us.
Relax, the Knights of Diadem are unbeatable.
I'm sorry. I don't mean to doubt the knights' strength, but Baelheit has weaponry you can't even imagine. Besides, I want to talk to them first. Maybe they can be convinced to stop promachination.
...All right. I'll give you a head start. But that's all. I won't sit by and watch while they tear apart Diadem. We'll be going in after you. Fair?
Seriously, this is the greatest throne. Also...
The Machina Vanguard is in Diadem, sir. They've seized the continent's nerve center. I think they're setting up to promachinate everything.
Can you stop them?
I'll try, sir.
Don't do anything reckless. Your goal is to secure Kind Ladekahn's assistance.
I know, sir. But I can't just sit by and watch them take over Diadem.
You're right. Well...it's in your hands. But don't neglect to contact me if anything happens.
Music: The Knights' Cairn
So, the Cloudvents...I used to really hate this dungeon, but playing it now it isn't really that bad. The gimmick here is that the wind is strong enough that it will push Sagi backwards when it's blowing. It blows intermittently and somewhat randomly, so getting where you need to go can be kind of a pain, but it's generally good about not blowing you back a screen or anything like that.
First, we need to head all the way to the left, through a screen transition and then left even more.
We'll need this later on.
Now, time to start heading to the right a bit. I'm going to make a bit of a loop around to grab some items.
This one is good, of course (I really need to get back to Sedna sometime soon), but...
This baby, back at the entrance, is delightful. I can now heal 680 HP a pop. It may not sound like a huge step up form the Middle Potion's 500, but believe me, it makes a difference.
By the way, there are only two enemies here. One is a generic Imperial bot (we saw them but didn't fight any in Nashira's storehouse), the others are these guys. They are quite weak, but appear in groups of four and can inflict blindness. Not really a big deal, but they can be kind of annoying all the same. I only got into one fight here to grab a good picture.
Now back to the screen I got the Gust Boulder in. This alternate path holds another copy of Guillo's flashy upper level special. Nice, I guess, but as I said before I don't bother with multiples of special attacks. Now, let's head to the exit in the upper right of this pic.
This is the only place where the clouds can push you back a decent ways (this effectively returns me to the beginning if I screw up). It likes to do fakeouts, stopping for just a second and then starting back up again. Other times it gives you a good five seconds of time to get across. It's kind of mean.
This is where all of the vents exit. The wind here is far too powerful to cross through and never lets up...
...so we block it off with the Gust Boulder. I'm not sure the logistics of that make sense, but it stopped the current and we can get across so yay I guess.
Oh, I didn't document it, but there is a Fire Element to the south. Whatever, already got one, thanks anyway.
Are you guys ready for this? I'm not sure I am.
Video: Everything is Horrible in Diadem
I'd normally just transcribe those lines, but I figured I'd show full shots to introduce new characters. Meet Heughes and Nasca, the two other members of the Machina Vanguard.
Shanath, isn't there some way I can stay behind?
No, Heughes. You should know better.
Are you that worried about your baby brother?
Keep out of this, upstart.
Whatever you say. But don't forget I was the one who got your brother his new toy.
...I appreciate the gesture.
That's enough of that. It's time to leave. Nasca, look after things here, if you would.
Oh? What a surprise. If it isn't the quaestor's lapdog.
Explain yourself! Why is promachination so important to you? Why do you have to go invading other lands?!
Didn't Verus tell you? It's simple. By turning the world to machina, the Empire can conquer it.
You'll start a war!
Why, yes. Isn't that the whole point? Don't be so dense. I don't have time to pursue this conversation. Heughes, Valara, Nasca! Show our guests a little attention.
Heughes and Nasca ready their magnus, while Valara takes a second to chat before readying hers as well.
Every time I turn around, ghost boy, you're sticking your now where it doesn't belong. It's so unbecoming. You should learn to play with kids your own age, before you make the grown-ups mad!
Music: Evidential Material
Well, here it is; Origins' Trio Battle. This is a major roadblock for many players, much like the Trio of BKEWLO was, for a few reasons.
The first is that you NEED to get rid of one of them as soon as possible. If all three are standing, Valara can use a combination attack called Machina Formation, which basically boils down to all three using their special attacks at once. As you can see, it's pretty lethal, dealing upwards of 700 damage.
Of course, they're more than happy to use their specials individually as well for a good two or three hundred damage.
The important thing is to get rid of Nasca. He's the frailest, and he can inflict Blind with his Stun Bomb (shouldn't that be Flash Bomb?). Since knocking him out also means stopping Machina Formation, it's best to unload with the offense as much as you can until he's down.
Don't let your guard down, though! Heughes and Valara are still powerful enough that they can rip you up without Nasca's help if you get careless.
Ideally you'll switch to Heughes at this point; he and Valara have similar offense but Heughes has less HP. Sadly, I slipped up and never changed targets, so I went after Valara instead. It's not damning to do this, but it makes things harder than they really need to be.
Oh, and that finisher Giacomo dropped involves Sagi being on fire, so that's pretty badass.
I really can't stress how hard this fight can get. I also cannot stress how hard it can be to get back on your feet once your party gets beaten on too badly. See how Milly has 50 HP and Guillo's down?
And when I finally got Valara knocked out, Heughes made a comeback and got me to this. TWO HIT POINTS. I told you I've survived battles on less that 5 HP before. If Guillo fell here, I probably would have lost. The RNG can be kind sometimes.
Phew! That was a tough one.
Nasca...Get the Machina Arma.
Hell yeah, Guillo!
Suddenly Ladekahn shows up with Gib, Rambari, and Celsica -
Sagi! Did you get 'em?
...That was terrible timing.
Music: The Edging Away
I don't feel good about this...
Try anything funny, and His Royal Prepubescence dies. ...Actually, let's just skip that part, since there's no reason to keep him alive, really. A dead king suits us just fine!
No you don't!
Rambari charges Shanath, knlocking Ladekahn away...
...and ends up with the blade run through his body.
Shanath pulls out a gun and starts firing at Rambari.
But, despite his bold words, Rambari's body finally crumples to the ground.
No! Sire Rambari!! Oh, nooo!!!
Please don't do this to her-
Bah, why now?! Even Malpercio should know there's a time and a place. Has Nasca's arma been deployed?
Nasca shows back up in a giant tank machine. I guess Guillo stopped holding a spiky hand to his head at some point during the chaos.
All I have to do is kill it, right?
Valara, Heughes! We're leaving!
The tank opens fire, and the umbra...Celsica...falls.
Oh, no! Don't tell me, Sagi...Not now!
(-turned to magnus-)
(the power of their own hearts-)
(Where did the Sky go?!)
Ready...? What am I getting ready for again?
Cujam, of course! Did you forget we're going to see Wiseman?
Cujam...Wiseman...I get it. We've been sent here again.
Ven, Marno! Hurry it up or we'll leave you behind!
Oh! W-Wait, I'm coming!
Here...again...Dammit! Celsica's in trouble! I have to go back!
Calm yourself, Sagi. When we go back is out of our control. As long as we're here, we'll just have to let matters run their course.
Gibari and Ladekahn are best friends.
> BEST friends!
> Eh, they don't seem that close.
Is death painful?
> No, it's peaceful.