Part 31: Chapter XXX: I Sure Hope You Like Rooting For The Villain
At least we know what those glowing pillars mean now.
Looks like the Empire is still scouring Sonne to find Fou-Lu.
Fou-Lu: King of Stealth. He hops down to a nearby path and sees a villager, who looks away.
: "What of the woman!?"
: "She let herself go and be arrested so's that you could get away! If she means anythin' to ya, ya gotta get outta here! Get! If them soldiers find ya, all o' us are gonna get in trouble! Ya gotta leave - go on, get!"
: "That's all I can do for ya. There be an old shrine, like a sanctum, on th' other side o' the woods. I hear that if ya goes inside it, it leads to some town or somethin' somewheres."
Alright, but what's this bangle thing?
Remember how I said Fou-Lu had a lot of trouble getting health back because he had so few healing items? Those days are over. We're pretty much completely unstoppable now.
So, let's go to this old shrine. Technically we could have visited here any time we wanted, but nothing would have happened.
: "Humph! Methinks this be a false god, one that doth borrow the name of a true god, that it may cower mortals into proffering unto it that which it would otherwise be unable to have..."
Turning to leave, Fou-Lu spots a familiar...er, snout?
It smiles happily at him.
: "Hold...t'would seem to be the very beast that hath been changed by falling under the shadow of my power. Thou...hast followed me?"
The same music that plays during Ershin's death starts playing.
The little beast charges headfirst into the stone slab, blood flying from its head. It backs up, and slams into it again. And again. And again.
With one final slam, the creature squeals, collapses, and lies still as the slab moves aside.
: "Why? Why wouldst thou sacrifice thyself for me? Humph! T'would appear that regardless of mine own desire, I affect the lives of innocents, pulling them along with me as if caught up in some mighty river's current...verily, a river...for is it not the nature of the Endless to shape the course of the world itself?"
Poor pig thing. It wasn't your fault you got caught up in all of this. Good night, sweet prince.
Inside the new cave we have a new and annoying enemy, the Cyclops. It swings with Risky Blows until its club breaks, then uses Spirit Blast on you, an attack that ignores your defense entirely. It's possible to learn it here, but no way in Hell was I going to farm it with one person.
Deeper in the cave, we find something interesting. And sorta horrifying.
: "Do mine eyes deceive me? No! 'Tis a dragon! One whose shell hath faded with the years, leaving its very essence only..."
This is the last major dragon fact: they aren't entirely immortal. They may be the Unfading Ones, but their bodies aren't so good at the unfading part. Thus, our dragon forms are the stolen essence of dragons who have fallen out of human memory and worship, shriveling away to a mote-soul trapped in crystal. The area this one is in implies that this dragon was once worshipped as a god, but worship of it fell away, leaving it to rot in its sacred caves.
It's like I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, only somehow worse because this is our way of getting new forms. We're eating the souls of forgotten dragons for fun and profit. This game gets really, really grim when you think about it.
This is the Serpent's skill list. Pretty pathetic, but at least Waterspout looks cool. There's absolutely no reason whatsoever to use Serpent, though, because Ryu getting the Kaiser form gave Fou-Lu something incredibly tasty.
Meet the Tyrant Dragon. If Fou-Lu didn't have a magical I Win Button before, this is it. It's absurdly, unfairly, stupidly powerful. It also serves as a preview of Kaiser's true power.
You see, Kaiser is accessible from this point on as Ryu, but until you get all of the powers from the elemental dragons, it's berserk and will just spam KaiserBreath over and over. While this is usually a good thing that will win you battles, sometimes he decides that punching his teammates until they explode is a better win condition.
Tyrant, however, needs no such fetch quests. It's at full power when you first get it, having A) the strongest breath attack in the game, B) a stupidly powerful Holy damage physical attack that ignores defense, C) the Level 3 Earth, Wind, and Water dragon spells, D) a Death spell that actually hits most of the time, and E) Sanctuary, a spell that removes all buffs and debuffs from everything on the battlefield.
It's pretty much impossible to lose battles in Fou-Lu's storyline from this point on.
Demonstration of Dark Wave and Waterspout
Let's keep moving, shall we?
Yep, this sure is a forest.
Shadows are douchebags. Disembowel is an instant-kill move that temporarily lowers the user's max HP by 10% as if they'd been knocked out, while Target always hits but hits for half damage. Waste them immediately.
The forest is nondescript and short, and ends in a cutscene.
Video Version Here
: "What is this sense of foreboding that assails me?"
Oh God. Oh God no. What have they done to her?
Fun Fact: Lord Yuna is the chief designer of the Carronade, and personally oversaw Mami's torture in the manga. It's heavily implied he enjoyed it.
The screen fades to black as he leaves, and Mami's bell jingles.
: "Very well. Prepare the Carronade! Target..."
The Dream Team of hideously evil and infuriatingly pragmatic villains prepare their slam dunk.
That didn't just happen. We were supposed to save her from the Carronade at the last moment like a big hero.
That's how these things go...
: "'Tis a hex!"
Holy shit, he's alive!
: "The mortals... wouldst use this against us?"
Holy shit, he's puking blood!
: "A weapon so powerful...that simply using it dost place them in jeopardy...? Verily...their folly is greater than even I hadst thought..."
Guess what that is. Just guess. Here's a hint: it jingles.
Well, congratulations, guys. You've just driven your immortal God-Emperor utterly insane.
Way to fucking go.
We bring you now to an adorable picture to try to wash the horrible taste of Yuna Assholery out of your brains.
: "He's back to normal. He's sleeping for now."
: "What are you planning on doing with that dragon? Are you going to use him to go war on the Empire!?"
: "Is that all you Imperial types can think about!? I hate to burst your bubble, but we're not like you! We have no interests in fighting with you..."
: "Is that so!? I've heard that the only reason there is no permanent truce between us is because Ludia keeps arguing over the details!"
: "So? Nothing's wrong with that! What about your friend Rasso did, huh!? Torturing innocent people...and the way he was chasing after Ryu and baiting him like that, it's no wonder he went berserk! I don't care what you say, there's no way I'll let the Empire get a hold of a dragon!"
: "Cray...I've been thinking about what happened..."
: "I wonder...is it because he's not whole? I mean, maybe because of that, he's...I don't know, unstable or something. So maybe if he were to meet with the other Ryu, the one in the Empire..."
: "Are you saying we should just hand Ryu over to the Empire!?"
: "No, not hand him over...I mean go with him into the Empire ourselves! We were told that it is Ryu's destiny to meet with the First Emperor, right? If that's true, then why don't we seek him out instead of waiting for him to come to us?"
Nina kneels beside Ursula.
: "Besides, if we say we're going to go peacefully, then we won't have to fight with you anymore, will we?"
: "Well...I guess you've got a point. Let's see what the Abbess has to say about this. There's just one thing...what are we going to do about her?"
It may be hard to tell, but Scias just cut the ropes around her in half. She actually flinches a little bit as they slump down.
I fucking love you, Scias.
: "Um...right...anyway, let's get back to Chek. Do you think Ryu can move, Nina?"
Nina nods, and heads off.
Born as a commoner in the Empire, an imperial general passing through the town she lived in recognized Ursula's talent with magic and recruited her into the army, where she quickly rose through the ranks to Captain due to her magical aptitude, skilled gunplay, and the ability to command under pressure. Haughty, a touch arrogant, and more than a little self-assured, Ursula is rather humorless - which often leads to unintentional hilarity. Her role in the party is interestingly mixed. Her magic is mostly fire and debuffs, but her truly unique point is that she's the only member of the party that has guns. Pistols tend to be +1 hit weapons, while shotguns can hit all enemies at once with normal attacks (which carries over to some physical skills!)