Part 57: The True Mirror
Video: Baelheit (contains just about the entire update, but with an abbreviated boss fight involving The Apotheosis.)
Baelheit! Turn Tarazed around right now! Leaders of the other nations are prepared to stand with us. Your plan has failed!
I love that Turn Tarazed around right now! I can just imagine Sagi following it up with something like or you won't get any dessert, mister!
Sagi's right, Father! If you stop now, the other leaders said they're willing to write this incident off as an internal dispute. Please, this has to end!
Failed? I think not. Everything's gone exactly as I hoped. Once I've disposed of you, Sagi the last of the malideiters I won't need to plan anymore. This was I've been fighting can finally come to a close. Milliarde, I have you to thank for everything. You'd done well bringing Sagi here to me.
No! No, no, NO! Father, you are so wrong! I'm not someone you can just tell what to do anymore. I came here because I wanted to. Not because you said I should! What you're doing is wrong, Father! Don't you see? I came here because I have to stop you!
I see...I was wondering why you hadn't reported in. And now I know. You've been poisoned by the venoms of your own heart.
I know, because of my travels with Sagi. All the people I've met, all the experiences I've had...Each one came as a shock to me, because I'd never been anywhere but the mansion. I learned more with Sagi than the School of Magic could ever teach! King Ladekahn's devotion to his friend Gibari; Rodolfo's courage in defending his homeland; Queen Corellia's noble compassion for the world...
Uh, did we meet the same Corellia?...Or the same Rodolfo, for that matter.
Gena's unfaltering love for her children. They all believed in their hearts! And now...I believe too. These feelings in my heart...the feelings I have for Sagi...I won't let you take them! I can't let you! What's the point of machina if we have to give up our hearts for it!
Machina...Machina!! That's what the world doesn't need!
Baelheit quietly considers Milliarde's words...
...And shoots his daughter through the chest.
How about now, Milliarde? Do you need machina now?! The power of machina saved your life, and you dare reject it?! Fifteen years ago, when the afterling tore your little body apart, what gave you a second chance?! Machina that's what! Am I wrong, Milliarde?!
Ah...I'm sorry...Sagi. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I...I did it again. I lied to you again...My father's telling the truth. Most of my body is made of machina. I owe my life to it. But believe me! My heart is still my own. It's always going to be my own...
Don't talk, Milly. You don't have to say anything. I told you before: I trust you. Just stay still...
I'm sorry...I'm sorry...
So let's get something straight. Baelheit just shot his daughter simply so we could see that she's a cyborg.
What an ASSHOLE.
I won't abide it! Sagi, look after Milliarde. I will put this craven in his place!
Guillo charges at Baelheit...
...and gets lasered to the ground.
Impertinent little scarecrow!
Blast it all! My body...won't do as it's told...
Stand up, Sagi. Let's finish this business, you and I. I will defeat you, and fulfill my destiny.
...Did you say destiny?
That's right, DESTINY!
What are you talking about?!
Come, Daimon! With this battle we can end it all! Lend me your strength!
Daimon...wasn't that the Guardian Spirit someone was talking to way back forever ago? So Baelheit is a spiriter?...
Indeed he is, and it's evidenced by...
Music: The True Mirror
Time to have a one-on-one fight against Baelheit. I both love and hate this battle for one reason; it's a solo fight in a game that's built around having a full team.
It's easy to write Sagi off as wildly superior to Guillo and Milly, and that's not necessarily untrue. Sagi does have far and away the best damage output, ever since I first got True Heaven's Glacier back toward the end of Diadem's arc or something, and that gap only widened with The Apotheosis. Guillo still maintains presence thanks to Frigid Queen's Parade and the Book of Mana, and Milly is...um, also there, but Sagi really steals the spotlight.
But this fight really accents how...well, it's not that Sagi is ineffective on his own; he can still hold his own, and he should since he's the world's only successful malideiter. But it accents how much LESS effective he is by himself. Without Milly's extra long combos to drive up the MP gauge and dead turns discarding, Sagi isn't able to use his devestating anger attacks, and without Guillo to aid in chipping damage and healing, Sagi has trouble staying alive. Indeed, if you are underleveled this fight can be a real bitch.
I am the light! Dispeller of darkness!
Hell, even at a high level, Baelheit can rip off around half of Sagi's HP perhaps more with Seraphim Soul, which I assume is a callback to Kalas and Legion's Shining Seraph attack, and which animates similarly to The Godling's Rapture.
As it happens, I tore off almost all of Baelheit's HP with my first attack string (971 out of 1000). I should have just used a weak attack to finish him off, but I decided to play defense until the Flameking sword popped up again, which was entirely unnecessary. Oh well, I wound up pulling a win anyway.
What did you expect? Don't underestimate what Meemai and I are capable of!
What you're capable of...Such an apt choice of words. I never thought our experiment would yield a success story, a complete specimen.
You're talking about the malideiter experiments...the ones Shanath mentioned!
That's right, the very same. Would you like to hear about them? You do have a right to know. It began fifteen years ago, when Olgan approached me about conducting research on the afterlings...
Wait, are you seriously stopping your boss fight just to exposit-
Music: Tears of Compassion
That research became the foundation of today's magna mixtures.
Practical application is just beyond our grasp. Right now we're able to attain 99.9999 percent of target output. That leaves a .0001 percent chance that unknown matter will spawn due to compatibility issues between the magna essences we're fusing.
Well, I would say that's a negligible margin of error, wouldn't you? Start putting it to use.
But, Your Magnificence, there's a real possibility that any number of accidents could occur!
I said I don't care! My people are waiting! This technology will place us at the forefront of the world!
But what about -
Not one more word, Baelheit! Just see that the magna mixture research is concluded. I have a new project for you. Wait until you see what we found during the expedition to Hassaleh.
What did you find?
A piece of Malpercio's body.
The legends say pieces of the god were scattered throughout the world. What's so fantastical about finding one? The real surprise is that the pieces are still living!
Begin researching ways to house those pieces in humans. Even just one piece contains immeasurable power. I want you to bind it to a human heart and create an artificial spiriter!
Is that even possible?
You'll make it possible! There's no limit on funding. I will give you any clearance you need. Get started immediately.
To house a god inside a human...I did have my reservations about such an outlandish request...but still I could not quell my curiosity as a researcher. And so the project began. Surprisingly, everything went smoothly, even the infusion of the afterling. But then...
Not yet. We won't know until the subject wakes. What sort of rejection signs will he exhibit?
Researcher: The subject's waking up!
Subject: Where...am I?
Researcher: Listen, do you know who I am?
Subject: What...are you...saying?
Researcher: This is the Empire's magnus research center. Do you understand what I'm telling you?
Stop! Don't aggravate the subject!
Subject: Where am...I? What are you saying? Whyyyy did yoooo vring bee heeeeeeereee?!
A dark miasma appears, and the room begins to shake...
Star almighty! Seal off the research center! Now!
When the emperor learned of the project's failure, he halted it completely. The remaining subjects were quietly released.
And one of them was me.
So that's why you said destiny. You want to make up for your failure. What egocentric twaddle.
Oh, if that were all it were. But my story's not over yet. When the afterling ran amok, the entire research center was destroyed...including my wife, who resided there. And Milliarde you ended up losing most of your body. My wife was gone, my daughter on the edge of death, and any culpability for the incident was on my shoulders. I placed Milliarde in a life-support unit and fled the Empire. I ran away from everything...as far as I could...
Man, I'm thirsty. I should have refilled my tea before I started listening to this guy...
And now I no longer have the will to go on living...
I wanted to die. I was ready. And then-
Who's there?! Who's speaking to my heart?!
Don't die?! Who are you!
Oh, I remember that floral swirl from when we bonded to Kalas! That's cool to see again.
A man waits for death, and instead he's handed the wisdom and power to sway the world's future! But despite all my doubts, my spirit was just as the legends said. She gave me just the knowledge I was looking for: machina! As soon as I returned to the Empire, I dove into machina research. I knew I could save the world!
What couldn't I do? With machina, I could even trump the afterlings' power! That's my destiny as a spiriter! I don't do it out of some cheap sense of guilt! Now do you see? That's why I fight! That's why I have to destroy you!
How can you call that a reason? That doesn't explain why you have to take people's wings of the heart!
Heart-wings are remnants from the age of the gods. Relying on them will only lead to another tragedy. A thousand years ago, our ancestors became infatuated with the power of their hearts. And what happened? They started a war that befouled the world so much that they had to raise the earth into the sky! And afterlings! Our hearts will just make more! Am I wrong?! Tell me, Sagi!!
And this is why Sagi is the best JRPG protagonist ever. I knew I loved you, man.
It's self-righteous crap, Baelheit! All of it! You can keep your excuses!!
You're making all these wild assumptions based on how you see things! Stop deluding yourself! Take the afterlings! They wouldn't have run amok if you hadn't messed with them! And you think we'll fall prey to the power of our hearts? How do you know?! The past is just the past! We don't know what will happen unless we try!
Don't be a child.
People are just like water. They pool in the pits of the world until they overflow and drown each other out. I say, control the flow! Daimon and I can do it!
How? You're a person just like everyone else!
Sagi knocks Baelheit on his ass, who slowly rises and regains his composure.
Guess again. I won't let Sagi and Meemai die. Not on my watch!
Or mine. I still think you're wrong, Father. I believe in the human heart. If I don't, how can I ever believe in myself?
Do what you want. Even my own blood won't stand between me and my duty to the world. I'll destroy you all if I have to!
Come on, Meemai! Everybody, stand together!
Music: The True Mirror
Video: Baelheit Versus Electric Milly (just the main boss fight, sans The Apotheosis)
All right, so in my initial recording run (linked at the start of the update) I basically murdered Baelheit in two or three turns with The Apotheosis. So I decided to do something a little different and redo the fight again, using Milliarde as my main damage dealer. I'll describe that in a sec, but first...
I am the fire! Hear my voice!
He hits a little harder than his underlings did back in the day, but not so much so that he's really any more of a threat. Of course, then ten or fifteen levels I've gained since then is probably helping me in that regard.
So anyway, I've been talking about how Milly's damage output has fallen to hopeless levels, and that's only sort of true. If you really, really want her to, she can do some solid damage, which is why this fight is not stupidly tedious. She just can't do anything even close to comparable to what Sagi and Guillo can do.
Instead, her primary role is what I mentioned before; she uses her long combos to charge up the MP gauge super fast, and subsequently is the basic reason why Sagi and Guillo are able to do what they can do. She has several EX Combos that use her + attacks instead of (or alongside) her special attacks, and the sheer amount of hits she gets can give her some damage output, but she just doesn't have a super death murder attack like The Apotheosis or Frigid Queen's Parade. Indeed, she has no level IV special attack at all.
Baelheit beats on my characters a little, but Hellfire is really his only dangerous attack and Guillo's got that covered with the Book of Mana. Instead, I take the time to set up Milly's "ultimate combo.
Weak Attack B
Medium Attack A
Strong Attack B
Open Your Eyes
Lightning Turkey II! Cluck!
edit: I've been informed that she has a better one, Empyreal Thunder!
Open your Eyes
So if you're going for maximum Milly devestation, try that instead of what I did.
So between her and a weakish attack combo for Sagi, I pulled 8423 damage (I'd project that about 6500-7000 of that was Milly). Sagi's Apotheosis can do 14000+ damage. So Milly can do damage, but she's definitely lagging behind in that regard.
It was a fun experiment, and I think this particular fight was a fun time to try it out, but I think Milly is probably best off leaving specials out and sticking to support/defense this late in the game. It might be worth letting her have Vajra the Indestructible just so her MP building attacks still do okay damage, at least, but I probably won't.
I started prepping Lightning Turkey II again, but Milly won the fight with an incidental attack. Tee hee.
Wrong...? Is that some kind of joke? Answer me, Daimon!
You weren't listening to reason anymore. She must've seen that...and decided not to help you make it worse.
Is that true? Daimon! You think I'm being selfish?
Father, please. Let's just start over, OK? That's another thing our hearts are good for making a fresh start.
A fresh...start? For me?...
I see you've defeated Baelheit.
...But I'm happy to say you've finally come through for me.
Music: Into the Spiral Tension
Why, from the look of you, you're just the same as any other dying man.
Aren't YOU a spiriter?
Hee heh hah hah hah! It certainly helped to have people think so. Just the word spiriter drew the world's admiration! At least, until this wretch came along!
Verus kicks Baelheit off of his sword and onto the ground.
But then, sustaining the illusion of talking to a spirit all the time takes a lot out of a man. I was almost looking forward to retirement.
You always struck me as disagreeable. Now I know why.
The quaestor knew what he was doing. Obviously this was his way of bringing peace to the world. Were you only as humbled as I by his tremendous foresight and vision! Now the world can finally be at peace. Well done, sir!
Peace? Spare men, Geldoblame. I have no such peace to give.
What?! What do you mean?
I will restructure the world as it's new leader in keeping with Baelheit's legacy of machina and warfare. Peace? Why, that would only lift the people's spirits. That's too taste a morsel to squander. No, I believe I'll start by eliminating the senatorial riffraff that refused to elect me.
...Followed by all the obsequious fools who opposed me! Hee heh hah hah hah hah!
Sagi, you were a pawn. Just the one I needed to stand against promachination. A real spiriter would have been better, but I knew a malideiter like you would still prove useful in exterminating the other afterlings.
A malideiter...So you knew.
I ought to. I was the one who recommended you for the project fifteen years ago. Your mother Gena, was it? She was one of my servants. I informed Olgan the moment I heard you were with child. So...there you are. As long as I'm spilling secrets, how's this? I was the one who had that whore's wings pulled out. Baelheit had won over the people by fending off the afterlings, so I thought I could smear his good name by drawing out the afterling within you right there in front of him!
Then that means Shanath -
Just another pawn on my board. Like you, except useful.
You son of a...
Verus releases a dark shockwave from his sword. I never did understand the whole energy wave from sword thing...
Relax. I'll kill you nice and slow when I get to it. First I need to put Tarazed back in order.
Wait! Quaestor Verus! I'll go with you!
I don't think you understand. I have everything. I don't need you or anything else now.
You're going to abandon me...sir? But I've done everything for you!
You were beautiful once but not anymore. Old toys are a waste of space. What else would I do but throw you away?
If you'll all excuse me. Hee heh heh heh! Heeeee hahahahaha!
Verus descends down an elevator, while Geldoblame leaves the other way. I'd tell Sagi to employ the emergency hugs for Geldoblame, but I guess we've got bigger problems right now, like Milliarde's dying father...
Music: Tears of Compassion
Milliarde...forgive me. I'm so sorry...
No! Stop apologizing! You're not going to die!
Sagi, don't think badly of my daughter. I made her do all of those things.
I know...I know.
Goodbye, Daimon. I'm sorry we never got to see the end of your...sto...ry...
Don't pretend it didn't happen. It's OK to cry.
I'm...I'm fine. There'll be plenty of time to cry later. Right now, I, I can't-
All right. You can cry once this business is done with. And I mean buckets. You'd better not let me down.
Nyaah! Like I'd ever cry in front of you!
That's the spirit.
...Well, we'd better go. Verus's probably heading for Tarazed's core.
OK! Let's hurry!
The elevator on the right can take us back to Vega's port. But for now, let's head in deeper.
Music: Terrible Technology
Well, if it isn't Sagi. And how is Baelheit feeling? Tell me, did he die a spiriter's death?
Hmph. As intrigued as I am by the thought of dead spiriters...I'm afraid I'm far too busy to stick around and hear the grisly details. Surely you understand. I know it's not quite the same, but I've called in a few friends to greet you in my place. They aren't big on conversation, but I'm sure you won't be bored.
A few turrets descend from the ceiling, and Verus descends down an elevator while we fight them off.
The big machine in the middle is another remnant from the later coliseum battles. He's nothing too dangerous, and his allies aren't too bad either. The battles here can be legitimately hard, but since I inadvertently gained a bunch of levels feeding Pac, they're mostly just annoyances right now.
It's a little suspicious, but fortune favors the bold. Should we press it?
Sure, why not? Maybe it'll bring that elevator back up for us.
Dancing afrobot traps are the best traps.
Since the elevator is inoperable, we have to jump down the pipes here. It can be kind of awkward to figure out which flight icons send you up or down, but there are only four or five jumps so it's not too terrible.
Otherwise, the dungeon is remarkable straightforward, and there's really not much to say about it besides that we can encounter the enemies from the final coliseum championship battle.
Here it is. The final save flower in the game.
Join me next time as we take on that jerk of a quaestor, but first I have a few more things to show you guys real quick.
Sagi, didn't we promise? I want you to take me to Quaestor Verus's guardian spirit chamber.
Yes! He left if unguarded!
Yo! How you holding up, Sagi? I think I finally found my purpose again! I'll pick up where pop left off, and become a great fisherman. I heard from Palolo that Kahn is doing a great job as king. I'm happy to hear it, but also kind of sad. Next time you see him, pass along this message for me, OK? Tell him, Knight or not, I'll always defend my king.
From the Master of Mischief!
Dear Sagi, How's it going? Thanks for showing me that cool trick before! I never expected you to hop up to me looking like THAT! Even I, the Master of Mischief, was humbled. So, what? You use that little trick to hop in the shower with Milly, or what? You perv! Palolo II, Master of Mischief.
The waterwheel is finally done! Thank you for everything. I owe all of this to you! I hope this waterwheel will go on turning for years to come, watching over Opu as a new village symbol. Maybe it will even change somebody's life someday.
Dear Sagi, Word of your exploits has reached Azha. It's heartening to hear you've been such a help to the quaestor. As for me, I'm fit as a fiddle now. I'm ready to return to active duty. For some strange reason, though, I can't bring myself to do it. I feel like staying here a while longer. The things I said about the people of Azha...Maybe I was wrong. Forgive me, this is turning into a very poorly composed letter. I pray for your success as does the desert girl who nursed me back to health. -Lyuvann
Dear Milliarde, Promachination's influence continues to grow, but I hope this finds you as cheerful as always. Me, I'm doing well. No, better than well. Almost too well! I'm in love. He's...Well, I can't say, but we're serious. I've decided to nurture these feelings between us. And now the whole world looks different. Take my advice...Don't let Sagi get away! -Almarde
What?! Are you planning to capture me, Milly?
Ugh, Sagi! You can be so dense sometimes!
To my daughter
To my beloved daughter, Did you see, Milliarde? In Tarazed, I have given humanity a new home. Mankind is doomed if we continue to rely on the power of the gods. There is no future for us as long as we cling to these islands precariously poised in the sky. This is a new start for us all. I promise you'll never have to endure another lonely moment. Together, you and I and Daimon a friend you must meet will be happy. Your mother would have wanted it that way. I can even make you a better body with today's machina technology. I am sorry for the pain I've caused you. I await you aboard Tarazed Your loving father.
Who is Sagi's favorite?
> Milliarde, of course.
> Guillo, same as everyone.
> Lolo, the fourth point of the quadrangle.
> His beloved mother, Gena.
> I don't know.