Part 35: The Demon World
This is it. The family is finally reunited, and they have one final goal: To enter the Demon World, destroy the Demon Lord Mildrath, and free Simon's mother. No sweat.
Let's take a look at our team.
Bianca's fallen behind, seeing as she's spent almost the entirety of this act as a statue. She'll catch up in levels quickly enough, but unfortunately she'll never really catch up as far as equipment and magic. She's not useless by a long shot, though! Since I'm not worrying out maximizing my power, there's no way I'm going to separate Simon and Bianca now.
The siblings are both still awesome. Erdrick is one of our heaviest hitters, and he can cast Healus, which is basically the bread-and-butter combat healing spell now. Lola's attack magic is strong, which helps burn through random encounters, and like her mother she casts the vital Bikill for boss fights.
Our loyal friends. While they haven't gotten the screen time that the nuclear family has, they've been with us through thick and thin. Not like that Pippin fuck.
And two monsters to round things off. They're not the absolute best monsters in the game, it's true, but Curie is a great healer, and I just can't bring myself to give up Pierre.
Now, there haven't really been any specific clues about where to go next, but on the other hand we've explored every inch of the world, and there's only one door we haven't been able to go through, so it's time to revisit it.
This is the cavern that led to El Heven.
Presumably this door was built by the inhabitants of El Heven to seal the Demon World away forever, or maybe to keep tourists from wandering into the Demon World by mistake, or something like that.
In any case, we can pass through now.
: It looks like it's waiting for a ring.
: But the only rings we have are... oh, no...
: Oh, honey, they're just rings.
: Yeah, but... can't we just go buy some cheap rings for the statues?
: Do you really believe that would work?
: ... No...
: What we have is stronger than any little piece of metal.
: I don't need a symbol to remember how much you love me. Just being here, alive, because of you is all I need.
: This ring doesn't mean anything to me anyway.
: Umm. Mom? Dad? If you'd like to stop crying on each other for a moment, I think something is happening...
: What is that? It looks like... a hole?
: Eek! It's sucking us in!
: Hold on!
: Where are we?
: I have no idea... Let's go take a look around.
: Simon... you have become so much stronger than I could ever imagine... So I can no longer tell you to turn back. All I can do right now is to believe in your strength... And this is all I can do for you right now... Accept this gift from your mother... I beg you...
: Honey? What's the matter? You look like you've seen a... huh? What's this?
: ... We have to move fast.
Martha's gift, the Sage's Stone, is useful as all hell. Used in combat, it heals the entire party by a modest amount. For free. As often as you want. Relying on the stone can save you a LOT of mp in the long run.
: What's wrong with the sky?
: Daddy, I don't like this place...
: We're not going to stay here any longer than we have to, sweetie.
: Is this the demon's world?
: Well, at least the map still works. Somehow...
The demon's world isn't much bigger than what's shown on the map, which for some reason shows a zoomed in local region unlike when you're in the normal world.
: Ow! Oh, no, I'm just holding you guys back...
: Dear, you've been a statue. Just take your time, you'll be back up to your fighting weight in no time.
: Who builds a town in the middle of a maze?
: ... Minotaurs?
: That's quite a wall they've got there. They must be trying to keep the demons out.
: That means they're probably on our side, right?
: Only one way to find out.
: A whole world of monsters, and a single city can stand up against them?
: Well, the maze of walls helps. It's all about where you set up the towers.
I'm not sure, but I suspect the town's name is a reference to Gehenna, the abode of the wicked in hell. I don't think there's any huge symbolism here, it's just one of those 'throw judeo-christian themes at our jrpg' things.
: The water that surrounds this place is a sacred water that was brought to us from the Surface by Lady Martha. Lady Martha is this city's savior.
: I guess so? There wasn't like a ladder or anything...
: Ha, no, that would be utterly impossible. More likely, Lady Martha's strength has freed you from an evil soul. Good luck with becoming a great human being.
: Hey! Daddy's the best great human being!
: Back then, my existence was filled with battle and betrayals... But because of the Lady Martha I've become a well-rounded individual. See? I've gotten so much more rounder around the waist!
: That's an Uncle Sancho joke.
: Even as we speak, Lady Martha's spark of life grows weaker and weaker with each passing day. Oh!! There must be someone who can help!
: We'll find her, honey, don't worry...
: He is great and reigns supreme! Even the Legendary Hero's power cannot even come near that power of the Great Demon Lord!
: Hey! Well, you're a butthead, mister!
: I maybe have become human, but even today I respect the power of the Great Demon Lord.
The last weapon shop in the game. Nothing here is a real must-have, though.
The last armor shop has some pretty solid upgrades, though. Except I'm basically broke. Oh well!
: I hope my friend, Slimey, gets to be one and soon.
This is as explicit as this town's story gets: All of the residents are repented monsters that have turned into (or are turning into) humans, by the grace of Martha's something something. So basically, Simon's Mom is Monster Jesus, sacrificing herself to redeem the wicked.
: A Zenithian here? He doesn't look so good...
: Unnnn... uggghhnnn.... L... L... Lord Master Dragon! The Great Demon Lord's power rises steadily every passing day... If... if this continues, surely the Great Lord himself will break the ward that forbids him entrance to the Surface Lands...
Of course there's secret stuff if you go exploring. Alllll the way around the walls.
Don't really need any more of these, to be honest.
And then there's this guy, the last of the Kandar Henchmen.
: But I'll not give up this treasure without a fight!
: Yeah, we've heard it before.
: Dad? Why do I feel like running on the walls?
This item could have been the centerpiece gimmick of another game. When used in battle, it resets the fight to the beginning. It's a neat idea that they didn't really do much with.
In any case, Jahanna is really just a rest stop on the way to the last dungeon.
: The Great Demon's fortress...
: God... it's the entire mountain!
: The gate is wide open. Look, we can even fit the wagon through there!
: This is his world. He doesn't think he has anything to fear.
: Well, we'll prove him wrong, Daddy!
The first floor is covered with spikes everywhere. You can't avoid them all, the best you can do is find the shortest route through them. Or just cast Stepguard, I guess.
The monsters in here, as you might imagine, are all demonic themed. They can be rough; if you're not careful you can easily find all your MP spent on healing magic.
: Phew, look at the size of this cavern. I can't even see the ceiling in here.
: Everyone stay close, this would be a hell of a place to get lost.
: Can't say I'm a fan of the interior decorating. I can't tell if that statue is supposed to be menacing, or silly.
: Is... is that...
: Lady Martha is busy giving prayer to the Demon Lord Mildrath... Those who disturb her shall be destroyed!
: Seriously? No. Just no.
: Get the hell out of my way. Your sword swing is really improving, by the way, dear.
: Mother? This isn't another trick, is it?
: I... I have wanted to see you, my dear son... Not a day has passed since I was kidnapped that I did not think of you...
: We never stopped searching for you... I'm sorry it took so long.
: Simon... My... how strong you have become... To be able to finally see you... to touch you... Oh, it's like a dream... There is nothing I could wish for that would make me happier than I am now... But you must go...
: What? But...
: But I... on my life... I will attempt to seal such power for good...
She means "forever" not "the opposite of for evil", I think.
: I am your child... and a child of El Heven! Mighty God, I beg you! Take my life... and in turn, seal away Mildra-
: Mil... drath's... p... power...
: Can Mildrath be that... power... ful...? *cough cough*
: Mother, just hold on!
: Oh... God... my... God... For my son... for my dear Simon... give me... this... strength...
: Oh my God...
: That is enough, Martha. You have done all you can...
: It seems that our children have become much stronger than we ever were... Let us allow them to determine their own fate...
: Oh... my love...
: Let her go, dear... you know they belong together.
: ... I couldn't save her...
: Oh, Simon...
: Daddy, no! You're wrong!
: You did save her! You set Grandma Martha free! Didn't you see how tired she was? Didn't you see how happy she was to go to Grampa Papas?
: Yeah! Grandma can rest now, 'cuz we're here to finish what she started! I'm the Legendary Hero, you know!
: ... Yes. It's time to finish this. We have to hurry; if Mother isn't holding Mildrath back any longer, we have to defeat him before he can leave the Demon World.
: And kids...
: Yeah, Daddy?
: I'm so proud of you. Thank you.
This room looks more obnoxious than it actually is. If you step on one of those arrows, it drags you along like a conveyor belt. Fortunately, the area isn't all that large, and the path isn't very complicated, so it's pretty easy to follow it to the treasures.
: What the hell is this?
: ... What?
This crown, that only Simon can wear, is even stronger than the Zenithian Helm. Supposedly it helps protect against status effects, but details are fuzzy.
: Oh, is THAT what this is? ... Wait, what? Mother, is that you? I thought you passed on...
: Well, I'm not so dead that I can't tell my son the proper way to use a Sacred Pitcher. Chamberpot! Honestly, child!
: Puckle, what are you do... No! Bad kitty!
: Well, at least it put the fire out. Smells like burning cat pee now, though.
: ... You know what, no more ghost advice for you.
: Sorry, mom.
Nothing terribly exciting in this stretch, it's just big and empty except for random monsters and a few chests. That one's just a mimic.
This, on the other hand, is the strongest helmet in the game, and anyone can wear it. It doesn't have any special effects besides raw defense stat, so the Sun Crown is probably still better for Simon.
: Urm, those faces on the wall are watching us.
: Yeah? Well, they're welcome to come down and start something if they have a problem. Eh? Eh? Yeah, I thought not.
Oh, man, this room. It's hard to get this room's gimmick across in screenshots, and it's not interesting enough to video. Basically, there are 8 mini-rooms arranged in the 3x3 grid. Stepping on the button in the center of a section makes that section slide into the empty space, if possible.
The idea is to clear a path to the exit at the far north. Just to make things more complicated, the pathways between sections don't always line up, so if you do things wrong you'll end up with a blocked path.
A little trial and error, and maybe the occasional drop down that pit to reset the room, and it's not TOO hard to get through. Eventually.
: Hmm, bridge over a deadly chasm, followed by a creepy shrine. We must be getting close.
: Yeah, there's no way this isn't trapped. Let's get this over with, anyway.
: ... That was not what I expected! You wouldn't happen to be Mildrath, would you?
: No, I suppose not.
Why is the last treasure of the game a weapon upgrade for Puckle? And why do you need to get it in order to progress? (You can't go through that door until the Hellbattlers knock it down). It does make a neat setpiece, though!
: I'm sure that by now, you are fully aware as to who I am...
: Well, yes, but don't let me stop you. Go ahead and get your monologue out of the way while you can.
: I am the King of the Demon World, a King amongst Kings... Mildrath. And over days and years, decades and centuries and millenias... I have become something even beyond a God!
: Yeah, I've met God. He's a ditzy dragon that cosplays as a bartender. You're just an old man with delusions of grandeur.
: I no longer need the weak powers of the fools of El Heven to break my bonds! Come to me, if you dare. I will show you the true power of the Demon Lord...
Click here to watch the fight.
Mildrath is pretty much like every serious boss fight in the DQ series. He does two things:
Pelting the party for large amounts of damage and-
dispelling all the party buffs. Sometimes both in the same turn.
: Just hold together, everyone! So long as we have each other's back, no demon can stand up to us!
: Bah! Foolish mortals! Your powers of love and friendship are no match for my mastery over minions! To me!
: Clown minions? Seriously?
Sometimes Mildrath will summon a couple allies. They're not exactly speedbumps, but they're not too dangerous, either. Still, it takes time to kill them, and that's time that could have been spent buffing up or beating Mildrath into the dirt.
Especially when they do this. (No, you don't have to worry about them reviving Mildrath.)
: No demon gods! No demon masters!
: Feeble? Who just cover your ears children beat the shit out of you and your dumbass minions?
: But how unfortunate for you... Your strength was indeed... impressive... but because of that, you will now taste my true power!
: Oh, would you just die already?
: Cry if you wish. Scream if you must! Your fears and your cowardice are like prayer to me! Legendary Hero!
: Huh? I wasn't paying attention.
: You will die by my hand... NOW!
: Well... shit.
Next time: Everyone dies horribly. Maybe.