Part 51: Chapter L: Maybe SoLet's finish this.
Huh, place seems deserted.
: "But what is this? These...mortals thou hath brought with thee have no business here."
Maybe this whole "strolling right into the villain's throne room" plan was a bad idea after all.
Well, at least he didn't kill them outright. Maybe there's hope for him yet.
: "The time hath come for us to unite, that we may become a true god at last! Discard that shell of flesh thou wearest and free thy spirit! Join with me!"
: "Then...then, we shall bid farewell to this wretched world."
The world was a happier place before I discovered Ryu/Fou-Lu slash fiction. Now I can't watch these scenes without cringing just a little bit.
Fuck you for reminding me!
Wait, the sword just fazed right through him. The fuck is this David Copperfield bullshit?
: "T'would appear that thou hath lived among the mortals far too long...Ryu."
: "Untangle the paths that hath tangled...I shall await thee, Ryu, in the place where this all began."
Using projections to communicate in order to avoid getting stabbed in the face? Cheating!
: "I was so scared, Ryu - I couldn't move at all!"
: "So...was he really here at all? Or was that some kind of projection?"
: "She says that Ryu has become too caught up in this world, and with mortals...he was unable to merge with the Emperor."
: "Well...I guess we've got no choice but to keep on going. Let's go."
Behind the throne is a rather cool hallway.
Seriously, pretty awesome design.
Taking this block brings you down/up to the final area of the game.
See? Both times you ride the block down.
This, by the way, is the exact point of no return. Once you walk up these steps, you activate the final sequence.
That ring of green trigrams is a Primordial/Earlier Heaven bagua. "The fuck is that?", the average goon says. Bagua means Eight Symbols in Chinese, and is an important diagram in Taoist philosophy. It represents the flow and structure of reality, with the trigrams representing parts of reality along with elements of yin and yang. Going clockwise from the trigram at Fou-Lu's feet, they are Heaven, Wind, Water, Mountain, Earth, Thunder, Fire, and Lake. They are also associated with seasons, cardinal directions (with Heaven as north, just like the compass says), emotions, concepts, families, and a whole bunch of other stuff. They're also an element in feng shui, used to map out the house to be in balance with creation and affect the owner's life. There's probably a metric shitload more symbolism here than I'm aware of (especially with the western symbol looking a lot like that Bangla script Om discussed in the previous symbolism update), but the fact that Fou-Lu's standing on Heaven while you approach him from Earth isn't exactly subtle.
One minor goof, though: according to how we approached the platform, I think the elevator should be to the group's left instead of its right.
: "An interminably long span of time as mortals reckon, but a brief twinkling for us...to this earth a god was summoned. But as the summoning was not perfect, that god was cleft in twain, split asunder into two bodies. 'Tis strange, to meet one's self in this fashion...thou knowest what I am thinking, dost thou not, Ryu? I can feel thy thoughts...I see...I see thy memories of thy journeys with the mortals as clearly as if they were mine own. Hear me, Ryu, thou who art me...they are nothing compared to thee! They be caught up in thy path, nothing more!"
Boss Video XXII: Fou-Lu
Nina heals Ryu as the rest of the party approaches.
: "Dost thou truly think this world be worthy of thy protection? Thou hast seen it with thine own eyes! The mortals' joy and their anger...their mirth, and their grief...their lives and their deaths. But thou doth not understand the truth, Ryu! All that...all they are...it is of no consequence to us! We are Endless! What be these things to us other than petty diversions?"
The scenery fades out as Truth and Dreams plays, and the camera begins to circle the two.
: "They...the mortals art ignorant, prideful animals...they doth lie to one another, injure themselves and their fellows, and they kill each other and all around them for sport! Their folly is immeasurable."
...yeah, Yohm kind of was a prick about trying to hunt you down and kill you. He was doing it at the whim of a power-drunk emperor, and threw countless innocent lives into the fire just to try to slow you down. Dude knew it probably wouldn't even work, either.
To be honest...
...we've gotten into most of our messes because of Cray's single-minded devotion to finding a woman most of us barely even knew, and the whole deal with Ludia was them trying to throw us to the wolves because they were terrified of their reputation being hurt in front of the Empire. Morley even put his political career and ideals above saving the woman he was engaged to!
...yeah, they have been. Even the lowest chain of Imperial command was completely fucked up. They send a fop to try to find a god, then he goes and massacres a village of children for kicks. He even rubs it into Ryu's face and taunts Nina for not being a jackass. This isn't even getting into some of the other assholes we've met.
...we met a man who made a biological weapon out of the kindest woman the world has ever known, specifically to kill all she loved slowly and painfully. He was the one to drive Fou-Lu insane. He kept summoning gods when the first result he got was a screaming, undying severed head. Despite all that, he didn't seem to understand when Cray wanted to kill him.
I'd call that foolish.
: "Thou understandeth, dost thou not, Ryu?"
: "Ryu! Ryu...I like this world the way it is...the way it is with you in it. In spite of all its problems, and all of what's wrong with it, I want to believe in my world!"
: "Be that the best ye can do? Thou sayest thou believeth in this world? That thou dost find it favorable and pleasing?"
: "They mean nothing. Come, Ryu. The time hath come for us to become one god at last. Thou knowest in thine heart, dost thou not, Ryu? They be unworthy of our guidance."
You know what, Fou-Lu?
I think you've got the right idea after all.
In this ending, we affirm the actions of a few can outweigh the many.
We declare that the world is inherently broken beyond repair, that any attempt to salvage it or find value in it is doomed in failure and pain.
We reject the notion that humanity can be a positive force, that anything that it has done can make up for how they and their world work.
We surrender ourselves to a will greater than ours, the one that has suffered the most, that has seen what suffering this world's parasitic dependence on false gods can wreak.
A world that depends on the suffering of unwilling deities and allows evil to thrive cannot be called good or moral. No matter how altruistic a man may seem, when his back is on the wall, he will betray his fellows to serve his own interests.
I am simply repaying them in kind.
In this ending, we behold this grotesque construct, and burn it to the ground.
: "I am that which was once Ryu. I am also that which was once Fou-Lu. And I am neither. I am."
: "But which one is dominant? Was Ryu absorbed into Fou-Lu!?"
: "If he was?"
: "We won't let you get away with what you're planning!"
: "If there's even a little of what was once Ryu in you, then there's hope!"
Boss Video XXIII: Infini
And nothing of value was lost.