Part 112: Episode LXXXVI: This is a Story About Competitive Partnership NegotiationsEpisode LXXXVI: This is a Story About Competitive Partnership Negotiations
Only two months later? And not even a training montage to show for it? Pfft... Get back to me when you exceed 1,312 years if you want me to be impressed by some text time skip garbage.
Verse 4: The Final Test
For the final leg of Michael's trials and Zero's Prologue, we'll be returning to the Shrine of Sands for undoubtedly a boss fight throwdown. Or a wave based gauntlet of imps. I... think I'd be okay with the former option and never seeing imps again. That previous mission was the final instance of imps in the LP and I'd like to keep it that way.
...but this dank shithole really takes the cake.
Hmm? Is that fear I detect? From an Intoner?
No, Zero. You shut up. Everyone knows the word "dank" has been corrupted beyond repair by internet chucklefucks. You cannot use it anymore. It's off bounds unless you're making a shitty meme joke.
There's a few chests full of weapon material and gold scattered about the dire waste of space that is the non-boss arena portion of the shrine. But we're far beyond such material possessions at this point. So let's soldier on to the final test of this mission down below.
This will be your final test of strength, Zero.
Who do I fight now?
Me! Prove your strength by besting me in combat! If you are so able, I shall grant your wish. I, Michael, the strongest of all dragons, will become your friend and companion, and together, we shall overcome every obstacle the flower sees fit to place in our path!
How many times have I told you to knock off the formal bullshit? ...And I never asked for a friend.
Music: Prevolt Battleground
Well, this is happening now... The final boss of Zero's DLC is Michael the Dragon. Which is to say they just kind of tweaked Mikhail's AI to make Zero a hostile target and sort of hacked it into a boss battle.
I didn't ask for this! Besides, you aren't the strongest of anything! Stupidest maybe, but not the strongest.
Enough of your insipid prattle! If you don't want to die, then raise your guard!
Son of a bitch... Isn't this a little sudden?
On the ground, Michael behaves exactly as AI Mikhail would the few times he stomped around on the field in-game. Mike has a forward lunge attack that he'll be kind enough to give Zero ample warning beforehand by standing up and roaring for a bit prior to the strike.
If Michael can close the distance between himself and Zero, he'll perform a patented dragon tailspin. To avoid this it is best to just stay the hell away from Michael until he finishes an attack as all his animations have long recovery times and the attacks themselves have weird off hitboxes. Like the tailspin actual extends several feet beyond even the wind swirl effect past his tail.
They didn't just put the stomping and tail spinning ground version of dragon AI to the task for this fight. Michael can also take flight and hover for a bit to lob fireballs for a good long, gravity defying length. Mikey's accuracy has definitely improved since his initial meeting with Zero. But nothing that staying mobile wouldn't fix. However, our future dragon sidekick takes his sweet time coming out of this phase of attack and there is something we can do about it.
Like parrying! Michael's fireballs have an unusually lackadaisical speed to them and are extremely easy to parry and smack back in his direction to swat him out of the sky and away from this phase of attack. Just tapping block with the shot even a few feet away from Zero seems enough to do the trick. Sadly, we cannot Zandatsu the dragon. That would create a time paradox and we are already crossing the time travel and alternate dimension streams. No need to add further complications in the prequel business.
Parrying Michael's fireballs will not outright stun him after he hits the mat. But it will bring him close enough to being stunned that a good follow up pummeling will daze him almost immediately after he recovers from the initial drop. That strongest of all dragons business is ringing a bit hollow here, Mike.
Hey, it's kinda tough to get motivated all spur-of-the-moment like this.
Do not insult me like some baseborn human! Attack me with all of your might!
A bit of attacking Michael with all of Zero's might later...
You always hear about how no one can live alone. And according to Michael, it was the same with dragons. He once mentionedalmost casuallythat for him, being alone was no different from being dead. I found it hard to believe a dragon could ever feel such loneliness. But I guess they can. ...Or Michael could, at least. He was too stupid to lie to me about it. And it was clear he wanted me to feel the same.
Bringing Michael down to 50% health...
You... You all right?
Never show mercy to your foes! You have five sisters left to kill! How can you accomplish such if you cannot even finish this task!?
I know that, all right?
Bringing Michael down to 25% health...
After losing all that I loved and believed in... All that remained inside me was loneliness. I thought I would never speak to another person again. But as for why I desired to be with Zero, I cannot say. Perhaps I was... expecting something from it. A release from the eternal cycle... that bound me to the world for all time.
Once Michael falls under 50% health, he'll periodically take to the skies to bombard Zero's position. His previous incarnation clearly has less issues with rooms full of pillars than the Mikhail version. There's little to be done here but haul ass and hope that the camera cooperates enough to evade Michael's fire. No parrying to stall out this phase of attack this time, I'm afraid.
In any case, despite his best efforts Michael eventually falls to Zero's prologue wrath. Sheesh. Dragons are only worth 1 XP per year they're alive, huh? Kind of a raw deal.
Nnngh... Y-You... have done well...
You humans are a truly annoying lot. But, as promised, I will fight alongside you. It might even prove to be... simulating.
And that ends our adventures with Michael. And now for a completely different framing scenario because... fuck it! Why not? This DLC is already kind of a hacked together and held with duct tape and glue mess.
...By the way, when did you get here?
Oh, I wouldn't worry about it.
So now we're telling Accord, the inter-dimensional time lord that has been watching and narrating our entire adventure, the story of how Michael and Zero met. Sure... that makes sense. Was she also telling Accord about the time she told Dito and Decadus about the time she told of her dragon partnership origins? How many levels deep does this flashback within a flashback go?
In any case, we can talk to Accord a few times for some mysterious chatter and possible Foreshadology.
Well, we actually don't know yet.
You don't know, but you came to warn me anyway? What are you, stupid?
There's never any harm in gathering information, is there? Observing and recording are our job, remember.
Michael is so boundlessly fascinating to me! He tries to act dignified, but he lacks the intelligence to pull it off. Is that perhaps stimulating your maternal instincts, Zero?
No, not at all.
You realize that getting too attached to a dragon could cost you later.
No one asked you. And I'm not attached to him, all right?
Yes, but looking at our observation records... I see you've been smiling more since making contact with Michael.
I don't pay attention to shit like that.
We must avoid a Full Collapse, no matter what.
Alright, I think we've heard enough. Let's blow this popsicle stand and moonwalk our way out of this lackluster final piece of DLC.
But I WILL put an end to this flower.
Understood. However, if you fail to destroy the flower... We will be forced to eliminate the singularityin other words, you. And then... seal off this branch forever.
I'm not here to fail. So just stay the hell out of my way. If you mess with me, I'll kill you. Got it?
Such confidence! Are you sure you can trust Michael that much?
I don't trust him at all. But he... He wouldn't lie to me. He can't. He's too stupid for it to even occur to him. And no matter how many times he fails, he'll keep his promise... and kill me in the end.
Sooo in other words, you're trusting him after all... right?
He was just an idiot dragon with a knack for saying things wrong. Why would anyone trust someone like that? We were always screwing with each other, you know? It was a lot of fun.
Music: A Better End
The night he chose to fight the Intoner, the dragon had a dream.
The boy was a friend, one he fought with long ago.
The dragon was shaking. Shaking with the fear of yet another battle. With the fear of yet another loss.
As the dragon headed for a broken world, the boy stood silent
Err... Alright. Don't ask me what the hell that ending was all about as I have no answers for you because Drakengard! 3! Regardless, that brings Zero's Prologue and the last of the Intoner Sisters' DLC to a close.
Before we depart, if you're wondering about the reward for completing Zero's Prologue: There is no special weapon. Zero is still using her default sword so that's obviously out. Instead, Last Year's Garb is awarded as a costume option. It just makes Zero have her two armed and sans-flower eyepatch prologue look while in-game. It also doubles Intoner mode time, which isn't a bad deal. At least you'll be able to hear the vocal versions of musical tracks for a whole half minute now! That's something!
We're actually going to be holding off on Zero's Memories of the Intoners as it is set some time after Ending D. And I may need some outside help with its art project side. We've got one more short story to tackle and then it's on to Drakengard 3's Branch D endgame. Buckle up! We're almost done!
Video: Zero's Prologue Verse 4 Highlight Reel