Part 50: Ultimatum
Well, we still have some sidequesting to do, but I'm going to go ahead and progress the main plot a bit so that I can get my shiny new Excalibur. I believe I mentioned that the character subqeusts (saving Gena, visiting Duhr, and visiting Nekkar) are mandatory. Once you do those three things, this scene plays upon returning to the orphanage.
Music: Ancient Homeland
Video: The Man-Made Island
What's with you?
It's terrible! The Empire! They've finished building their footrest!
You mean a fortress?
Uh-huh, it's called Tarazed. There was this merchant guy from the Empire who said it was Bael...uh...whatever's trump card! And, uh...oh yeah..that he's gonna use it to rule the world! Is that true, Sagi?
Sagi's phone beeps.
It's me. We need to talk. Can you come right away?
Oh, hey Verus! I was worried you didn't want to be a part of the plot anymore.
It's about Tarazed, isn't it, sir?
So you knew. Well, that saves some explaining.
We'll head back to Alfard immediately.
Good. The sooner, the better.
We have to return to the Empire. The quaestor wants to talk to us about Tarazed. Wacho, Tik, take care of Mom for me.
Don't worry, she's in good hands!
All right, we're off. Ready, Meemai?
Music: Parity of Light and Dark
That's right. It's finally reached completion. Now that Baelheit is emperor, he'll probably try to step up promachination efforts using the fortress as his base.
Fortunately, Tarazed's engines remain silent. That would imply it isn't fully functional yet.
Quaestor, this is our chance we have to infiltrate Tarazed now, sir!
We should strike before it's operational that much is obvious.
I agree, which is why I called you here. Will you do it?
As I'm sure you've noticed, Tarazed is nothing short of gargantuan. Don't go unprepared.
I understand, sir.
All right. Come speak to me when you're ready to go.
Despite the game's warning, we can actually turn around and leave Tarazed whenever we want, so we might as well go ahead and advance further. Talking to Geldoblame again triggers a new cutscene...
Music: The Dead-End Creatures
What is it?
Tarazed...It's, it's taking off! Please, come outside!
Look...Look at that!
It's enormous! As big as a continent!
I can't believe it...How could the construction have proceeded so quickly?!
Why HOW is that fortress able to fly?!
It was designed to be a floating fortress from the beginning. That's what Tarazed really is. A fortress that can stay aloft with machina alone...and never rely on the power of the gods. But I never expected something of this magnitude...
I can see it. Calm down, if you call yourself a knight. Unce Ram is watching from the next world.
Ahem! Yes, sire.
That's no machina...That's an island. A man-made, floating island...Baelheit, when does it end?
Look at it...it's huge! Maybe crossing the Empire was the wrong move after all.
The minds and hearts of men, machina, and a twisted god are set to crash together...
The camera switches to show the Celestial Tree...
I know. You're crying, too. I should have known the moment I saw that boy. One of the gears that keeps our world turning has gone awry. Just one loose gear can derail the entire works. Once a god has lost its power and become man...what will that man seek to find?
It would need some other kind of power, no question...
Let the other nations deal with their own problems! Now when are you gonna finish the waterwheel?
Oh, r-right! Sorry! Sorry...
Gena, there you are!
Come on, you know you're not supposed to be out of bed. Let us walk you home.
I'm sorry, boys. I just wanted to get some fresh air. I didn't mean to worry you. We can go back now.
Milliarde, do you know?
No. What could Father be thinking?
Wait...look up there! Baelheit? It's some sort of projected image!
I, Emperor Baelheit, come to you today with a declaration! The Alfard Empire hereby renounces its continent, and takes the floating fortress of Tarazed as its new mainland! The imperial capital shall be relocated from Mintaka to the city of Vega inside Tarazed. Henceforth, the Alfard Empire shall be known as the Tarazed Empire!
What?! Relocate the capital? That's absurd! What is Baelheit planning now?!
The Tarazed Empire will never rely on the tenebrous power of a god, power that could fail at any moment! Our continent is powered by machina, mankind's own creation! This supreme power promises an unsurpassed quality of life and level of security to all people. There are no plans to limit immigration to Alfard-born. People of all lands are welcome. The only condition is that you surrender your wings of the heart. Tarazed offers a home only to those strong enough to free themselves of their heart's grip. I would also like to take this opportunity to announce the Tarazed Empire's first policy: All continents held aloft by the power of the gods including Alfard shall be destroyed! That is all.
Baelheit is an effective villain. It seems like every scene he's in has left me wanting to barf and shit at the same time.
Music: Emotional Blackmail
Why?! Why, Father?
He failed to promachinate the continents, so now he's going to destroy them. He's like a child.
We can't let him get away with this! We have to storm Tarazed and settle things once and for all!
Baelheit is Milliarde's father. Are you sure you have it in you?
We've mowed through his underlings with little concern. I doubt killing him will be that much harder.
I don't see any other way.
Do it, Sagi. There's no other way to defend the world.
Wait! Father isn't an unreasonable man. Let me talk to him first! That's OK, isn't it, Sagi?
Of course. As long as you understand what we may end up having to do.
...Yes. I understand.
Oh boy, I bet I know how that conversation's going to go.
All right, so how are you going to get in?
We'll take the Sfida. Most of Alfard's citizens will be moving to Tarazed. We'll sneak in during the confusion.
That should work.
Then let's go.
The fate of the world is on your shoulders. And I'm not just saying that for effect.
So long as you're the only ones able to stand against the machina arma, you really are our only hope.
Then we'd better go, sir.
Best of luck to you.
Well, I don't know about you guys, but I'm sensing a final dungeon! Don't worry, though, I'm not starting it for real until we've wrapped up some other stuff.
Fortunate for us. We should be able to sneak right in.
OK! Here we go, then!
Music: Azure Canopy
Welcome to Vega, the capital of Tarazed. I assume it's one of those cases where the capital and the entire country are pretty much the same thing. Vega is about what you would expect; grey, sterile, and boring.
I don't think I mentioned the dungeon by name, but this place is where Sagi was locked up before. You know, the really dark dungeon with the mushrooms where we obliterated Shanath.
Anyway, this elevator is broken, so we have to talk to a mechanic in a restaurant somewhere nearby to figure out how to fix it. Sounds simple enough.
Outside the restaurant, we see some prototype machina arma. I wonder which one would win in a fight?
We get the info, and return to the elevator mechanic and tell him what to do...
...and get this as a reward.
You have to do this to progress. I think this is just the game's way of making absolutely sure you have at least one Book of Mana going into the Endgame, since the one in Seginus' mind is technically missable.
There's a guy who trades Magnus in the room where Shanath died. I thought this was cool looking so I went for it and actually got it with little hassle. I may add it into the deck and have Milly start playing defense. We'll see.
Time to shop! I'm glad I made it before my tree withered away.
Just wanted to show that I managed to get a second Arondite through dumb luck. Cool?
As you can see, Excalibur does have strictly inferior stats. However, I switched it in for the Flameking anyway, and overall I have to say that the auto-critical effect seems to grant it superior damage dealing potential anyway. So I think I'll go ahead and use it instead of Laevateinn for a while if not for the rest of the game.
I also looked into upgrading the weapons I got form Heughes and Nasca to see if they could rival Excalibur or Milly and Guillo's current weapons.
Eh...freezing is cool and all, but I'm not sure it's really worth the inferior stats. Then again, as I use Milly for her offense less and less, it might be best to give her a status inflicting weapon over a powerful one.
And this is the upgraded weapon for Guillo. Again, the status effect is kinda neat but I don't think it's worth the lower stats and the lower durability, in particular is rather off-putting.
And now, for mail!
WIMPY WINGS GOT YOU WORRIED? ** NEW ALL-NATURAL HERBAL SUPPLEMENT! ** INCREASE THE SIZE OF YOUR WINGS OF THE HEART! PUT THE PRIDE BACK IN YOUR GLIDE!
...I'm pitching this one.
Sagi, You did magnificently in driving the Empire's forces from the Veinroots. As my country remains neutral, I cannot offer you official thanks for your efforts. However, the people here will not soon forget how you saved our precious Celestial Tree. I look forward to a day I might spend a quiet afternoon with you all beneath her branches. - Queen Corellia
Hey there, Sagi. Those pests finally hightailed it out of Nunki Valley. It's about time. I was just telling my steward here about how he's got you to thank for that. But I'm afraid the valley's lush forests are gone for good. The Empire will pay for that, believe you me. Rodolfo Pherkad's Lord-to-be
Sagi, I'm at a loss for words in expressing my thanks for driving the Empire from the Cloudvents. It is my plan to deploy a group of knights to the locatoin for a follow-up investigation shortly. May the swords and clouds of Diadem never waver. Sincerely, Ladekahn, King of Diadem. P.S. - Thank you so much, Sagi! Words really aren't enough! Come visit us all in Diadem soon. I'm sure I've still got a long way to go, but I want to be the best king I can be. With my knights at my side, I promise I'll always defend my people. Watch and see, Sagi!
From the registration lady
Good day, Mr. Sagi. This is the Coliseum registration desk. I hope this finds you and your companions well, sir. I'm writing to inform you of an emergency summons. Mr. Panie has requested you report to Vega right away! I know the situation is dire, but please do take care of yourself. Good luck, Mr Sagi, and safe travels.
Well, it looks like we have our mission to get to rank 5 and/or get booted out of the Coliseum forever. I guess we'd better take care of that.
Panie: Thanks to that, my carefully planned scenario has fallen all to pieces. But there's little point in dwelling on it now. You ignored my admonishment and returned to the Coliseum. I'll take this to indicate you don't mind me making public the fabrication of your registration. Return again to the Coliseum, and I suspect you'll find the conclusion to this scenario you've chosen.
Suuuure. Tell you what, I'll go back there right now and show you that I get to keep fighting stuff for some reason. Just you wait and see.
You didn't take the entrance test, you didn't even go through entrant registration...
Sagi, this is truly a disappointment. To think you hadn't followed rule one since the day you got here...
Everyone: Ban him! Ban him! Ban him!
An old man walks down the stairs...it's Lance, the man we helped out in Nunki Forest with the bad directions!
Lance: Sagi, are you going to let this stop you? You made a promise with my granddaughter, Elle, didn't you? That you'd become the next Champion?
Lance: And you all. Weren't you Sagi's fans? Is that any way to treat the person who brought you joy, brought you hope? He isn't registered? He doesn't have a sponsor? Oh, please! If such things were really important, I would never have opened this Coliseum. Why does this place exist? What did all of you come here to see? Brave warriors, monsters, and the life and death struggle between them, that's what! If people are going to make a fuss over those silly rules, I'll take Sagi in myself. Sagi is my entrant. I assume no one has any complaints with that?
Lance: Now, Sagi. Elle isn't the only one with high hopes for you. Fulfill your promise and go win that championship.
So as a reward for being nice to Lance and Elle, we get to keep killing stuff in the coliseum! That's right Panie, you can go get set on fire or something. I hear there's a Masked Maneater on the prowl who likes deep-friend aristocrat.
Music: The Valedictory Elegy
Music: The Valedictory Elegy (for guitar)
Rank 5 is probably the most fun rank, since it has the largest pool of enemies to draw from (Anuenue, Zaurak, Vega, and the character subquests). Awakening is simple enough, but it has these spider things and I cannot for the life of me remember where I encountered them. Zaurak, maybe?. Oh, and they start the fight asleep because apparently that's a thing that happens in the Coliseum fights sometimes.
Extreme Chaos is a bunch of soldier types followed up by a fight against serpents and cats. I don't know what's so chaotic about that, but okay.
Nukerz is unremarkable other than that all of the enemies are from Vega or earlier and thus it's a total cakewalk.
Unbeatable Armor is...actually sort of tough. One wave is against four of the cats that can summon more cats, so Guillo and its hit-all attacks are vital. Then there are these armored balloonas which pop up with a healer monster. The armored balloonas take negligible damage for three or so hits, then their armor breaks and their defense becomes reasonable again. However, they can re-equip that armor at any time. As such, it can take a while to break through and damage them enough to kill them (or you could use The Apotheosis).
Fantabaloney is another unremarkable one, but...c'mon, it's called Fantabaloney, how can you not like it? It's also easy and offers a lot of Rank points, so I'm good with grinding it for a while.
Join me next time as we take on the Championship battle, get a bizarre reward, and maybe just maybe take on an eldritch horror or two! Dramatic plot revelations may occur despite the lack of plot progress. See you then!