Part 16: Love and Death in Ark Arena
Previously, Eluca and Zhamo finished the whole "ring-gathering" business. In the end, it turned out that the Warrior's Ring belongs to Zhamo and the Companion's ring to Eluca, contrary to the expectations. Of course, now it is time for the first round of fights, and our opponents are Ayuta and Mana.
But first, let's get Piu-Piu out of the way.
I'm sure there's lots going through your mind now, but in the end... all you can do is fight.
And that means, you have to prepare yourself for whatever consequences that may bring.
I'll be honest; I like you guys. So go out there and win.
If you are not confident in your chances go back to the dungeons and toughen yourselves up.
I think we are quite tough enough, thanks.
And of course, you can always buy more equipment from me.
Skill's not enough to get you through a fight like this; you need lots of luck as well.
But if you've worked even one iota harder than your opponent, that'll make the lady of Luck that more likely to smile on ya.
Ok, so let's see about equipment.
We're not going to be buying the weapons because we already have better ones that we found (as usual).
But better clothes can be useful:
I have included all four of these because I love how when you put together all the equipment names (including the ones from before) it actually more or less tells you what happened to these two before they were brought to the Arena (at least in this timeline, we know that it may not have been quite the same in the other one that we've seen so far). I think that's quite a nice touch.
And two Topaz rings, of which I have absolutely nothing at all to say. They just increase your speed and luck and that's the beginning and the end of that.
Now, Escher and Musiea are standing right here, so we may as well talk to them.
Aren't your scared, Escher? I mean, you are going to be fighting Olgar.
He's so strong, I wouldn't be surprised if he could defeat the Agent by himself.
I'm a mercenary, and I'm proud of that.
For us, it makes no difference how scary our opponents may be.
And frankly, I don't see where a brat like you gets off telling me who's a better fighter.
As I see it, Ayuta and Eluca are about evenly matched. You and Mana will be the keys to getting through this.
Yeah, about that. How is Ayuta such a skilled fighter anyway?
Can you handle it, Zhamo?
I just want to make sure I don't get in Eluca's way. But...
...What you need is resolve.
All the way to the other side, we find seemingly uninterested Olgar and Vahti.
Perhaps fighting is the only way I can truly express myself...
(What is this expression Olgar occasionally reveals? What does he know?)
However, there is no point to any of it if the strongest couple do not win... That is beyond doubt.
She does seem very calm about the whole thing. But then again, they've done this before.
Finally in the central area are our opponents, Ayuta and Mana.
If we cannot defeat the Agent, I have no qualms about fighting you two.
But if we join forces and fight him together...
It's too dangerous. This way is much safer.
That can't be...
I'm sorry, but it's true. Even your partner has come to the same conclusion.
Although... No doubt for different reasons...
There was no exit to the outside to be found anywhere.
The places that appeared to be forest and ocean all turned out to be fake.
It's like a huge diorama has been built in an enormous sealed-off room.
Anything that can create something like that would not overlook a possible escape route.
Which means that... fighting is the only way out of here.
Now that it's come to this, all that is left is to wait for the Arena.
What value is there to life if it must be preserved at the cost of another?
Princess Mana means everything to me.
Even if I lose everything else... I will have no regrets.
...arena it is, I guess.
But I will do whatever I have to protect Princess Mana.
...There is nothing else left to say, Zhamo. Let us all fight our hardest.
(Why was it Zhamo and not me that was chosen as warrior?)
(How am I inferior to him...?)
And with this the fight starts.
As you can see, in another nice touch, quite appropriately for her position Mana is using a bow and arrows to attack (in case you were wondering if she's going to turn out to be wielding a giant axe or sword, like Olgar and Escher)
Unfortunately, this is another one of those fights that will be over before they even begin. Ayuta and Mana are level 12 and 11 respectively, but Eluca and Zhamo are actually level 20 at this point. As before, I didn't really do any grinding, I just never ran away from random battles and I fought the highest level enemies that I could and this is where they ended up after two dungeons. It's difficult not to be overleveled in this game.
And of course the first attack already does ridiculous damage.
They are not doing much to us, on the other hand.
Next attack on Mana does 0 damage. But we've seen this before: the game is preventing us from killing the enemies because in a couple of turns there is going to be a cutscene.
Looks like Eluca has overestimated herself a little bit...
Basically Zhamo goes into overdrive mode and all his stats are boosted, as you can see with the little indicators next to his HP/MP. The stats are the same ones we've already seen many times: attack, defence, speed and luck.
After this, the battle is over quickly.
If we had met in a different time and place... I think we could have been great friends...
Yes... I think so too.
I am but a mere stablehand, yet I let myself fall deeply in love with you.
It is my fault that you were involved in this...
It is unforgivable that you have gone all this time without telling me how you feel.
Why... Why didn't you tell me sooner?
As always, we learn our opponents' skills (not that we have seen them use them in this battle, but...)
Asura Lotus is a multi-hit attack (3-5 when solo, 2-3 when in pair), but it takes a ridiculous 200MP to use, so basically I will never use it (Eluca and Zhamo do not have the 1/2 MP skill at this point). Critical Pierce is passive skill that increases critical damage by ignoring the defence stat (this is again similar to a mechanism that exists in some Final Fantasy games, notably FFX), this one is certainly useful. These two skills are for the Human Warrior Gene plate. The other two skills are for the Human Mage: Moonlight Shadow makes you take 0 damage once, and Recover MP every turn does exactly what it says. Neither is especially interesting, although perhaps Moonlight Shadow can have limited use in some situations. Its usefulness is limited because in most of situations where casting it may make a difference you could instead cast a Healing spell, or use a healing item--there are no enemies with insta-death moves and if they are doing too much damage to you then you won't be able to keep up anyway and need to level up.
So, again the number of characters has been halved and you can see above on the screenshot who won the other fight...