Part 79: Valley: Stray Boss: ThageTo those who understand the truth of the world, life and death are meaningless concepts.
- O. Vermiis, The Librum Vespera (Valdian translation)
The Dark Angel of Zalis
We were stuck in a strange space between Strata again today.
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Indeed. Not only is Besek a pathway to other worlds, but it itself is comprised of a number of domains.
Unfortunately, Besek establishes trials for us to overcome before we may proceed.
Trials? What kind of trials?
Now that is a mystery of its own.
Perhaps youre forgetting that this is Besek, and Besek will be the one to decide our trials.
So the Majin will test us here?
That doesnt sound like much of a trial.
Oh, no, the Majin only test our strength.
I believe the real trials are given by a living, breathing person.
You must learn patience, Hero.
Only you can release the chains that bind you, with your own hands.
Whats that supposed to mean?
???: Ive found you.
Thats where we found her.
And youre ?
No, you look similar, but you cant be
Im Thage. Im here for the Eternal Poison.
Did you say Thage ?
Do you recognize the name from somewhere?
What business do you have with me?
Im no fool.
I know youre after the Eternal Poison, too.
I cant let you get to it before me.
Sorry, but youve been misled.
Youre still standing in my way.
Howd you hear about the Eternal Poison?
You think I would tell you that?
Tell me everything you know about the Eternal Poison. Where is it?
Im not sure why shes looking for the Eternal Poison, but she was sure I knew where it was.
Be careful how you speak to my master.
I dont know anything about the Eternal Poison.
Thage, would you like me to bite his head off?
Hahaha, I think I should show him what happens when someone defies me!
So though Id rather not, it was time to fight.
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Standard mercenary mix, this map is way too harsh to try and fuck around now.
Thage and Ranunculus are joined on this map by a mix of Majin hailing from the three final maps of the Second Stratum, specifically three Acrida, two Armatus, and two Uro Lumen. Lets take a look at the versions of Thage and Raki we have to fight.
Rakis class still says Guiding Sage, but hes basically a Storm Seer as far as his skills go. Hes got serious melee power and Steel Roar is never to be underestimated. Luckily hes very vulnerable to Pierces and isnt particularly resistant to physical status.
Likewise, while Thages class still says Witch in practice shes more like a Hellcaller. Shes got some serious business Dark attacks and is of course totally immune to anything that is a Spell. Physical attacks chew through her, though, and fortunately since shes got no support magic she doesnt end up as crazy aggressive as Ashley/Persona are in their maps.
We start with a pretty broad and reactive front, this map is deceptively nasty because the Majin on it are much more mobile than anything weve seen on a map like this before. They can pretty much ignore those walls and charge right into us if were not careful.
Dont underestimate me.
Be careful, my dear hero
She is indeed different from other humans.
And the Majin with her is Ranunculus, the Silver Wolf.
They will both prove to be exceptional adversaries.
Hmph. Well see.
Time to teach this brat a lesson.
Ill make you regret those words!
We start with a cautious advance, which proves smart because the Armatus and Uro Lumen are close and both crazy aggressive and crazy mobile. We quickly have an Armatus threatening the back of our lines and an Uro Lumen preparing to come from the front. We buff up and start hitting the Majin where applicable.
To witness the true power of the famed Silver Wolf
It is an honor indeed.
Weve got the opportunity to do some serious damage here soon, and were going to do it.
Im not playing around.
Im just teaching some stubborn adults a lesson.
After a led cast from the Count, Rondemion puts the Uro Lumen that was advancing down. I then snap it up really quickly to avoid any possible problems with it being killed by a stray shot. This opens Vivian up to a shot from an Armatus, and Alexei catches an Aero II from an incoming Acrida as well, while on the other side another hits Rondemion. Vivian gets revenge on the Armatus with a Meta II, which confused it. We then quickly heal up our wounded warriors.
I already told you I dont know.
Hahaha, I wont fall for our tricks.
Now I starting winding up to drop the Armatus, which will allow me to go wild on some Acrida. We drag it down to low health and are ready to smash it.
Interesting, so YOUVE been chosen this time
What are you babbling about ?
Alexei and Rondemion Combo it down with brutal force, and Alexei levels up from this. An Acrida casts on us from each flank now, so its time to deal with them.
Im terribly sorry, My Princess, I have my reasons.
IF you stand against me, youll regret it.
Alexei starts the show by Fracturing the Acrida on the left with a spear through the wall. While we throw the majority of our firepower into that one, Velnor shoots at the one on the right. Acrida are pretty fragile, so we expect to cut through them quickly.
Oh, do my powers intrigue you?
Well, it beckoned to me as a child, in the darkness.
We keep the pressure up on the two Acrida were fighting as we get people into position to flatten them. We also start getting another from the center and an Uro Lumen from the left, so we need to hurry.
Then lets give them a challenge.
Ill follow your lead.
Nena comes over all awesome, putting the Acrida to the right to sleep. This will let us murder it at our leisure.
Im full of surprises, arent I ?
Would you like to see a few more?
I suppose thats for the people who foolishly just played this after finishing Ashleys or Olifens Tale. Anyway we unleash a Combo on the left Acrida, letting us move on to the Uro Lumen. Rondemion also levels up to 20.
Dont worry, Count, Ill punish you for it right now.
Ah, such a defiant spirit. How admirable.
We start hitting Uro Lumen hard, though it responds by slipping past and hitting Vivian.
He calls all women that.
Not all, my dear. Only those I hold in the highest regard.
Well then, maybe Ill command you to crawl around on all fours.
We keep dragging Uro Lumen down, which is going to allow us to drop it with brutal force.
Do you want to talk or do you want to fight?
She died when I was born.
Rondemion and Alexei smash Uro Lumen trivially. Meanwhile, Velnor has executed the sleeping Acrida and heads up to the middle to join the rest of the party, who is getting ready to engage the Armatus on the right, the center Acrida, and Raki. Raki charges in and is quickly beaten down by a brutal array of attacks, being Bled, then Fractured, then defeated. With that done, we start weakening Acrida and Armatus as well. This is good, because Thage has come in and started casting on us. She can nearly kill anyone who is vulnerable to Dark magic in a single hit, so we need to be careful. We weaken both Majin, and Acrida falls to a Heroic Slash. Then Armatus is destroyed by a Combo from Alexei and Rondemion, and Thage to a Combo from the Count and Rondemion. Its actually sort of irresponsible for me NOT to use Rondemion in every Combo, since his level is what counts here. Anyway thats the map.
What did you say to me!?
You dont know when to quit, do you?
Hero, please, she is but a child.
Acrida Lv 16 x 2
Armatus Lv 16 x 2
Uro Lumen Lv 16 x 2
It seems this was never really about the Poison.
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Thage, I think theyre telling the truth.
I knew that already.
I know your journey has a different goal than mine.
Then why did you attack me!?
I needed to see how Id fare against the Hero of Legend.
It was about something else.
Morpheus!? Where is he!?
Ha, youll find him eventually, Im sure.
Thats assuming you live long enough.
Live long enough ?
Enough. Leave this place.
I think I will. Lets go, Raki.
But before I go, I know youre dying to ask about my name
Lets just say, its not a coincidence. Goodbye.
Her resemblance, her name Is she ?
I confess, Im completely lost, but I know that look in your eye. Are you going to chase after her?
What are you talking about?
Besek began to shake again, ending that terrible conversation.
Weve been granted the right to proceed deeper into Besek
It seems that knight Irina looked into the Count before she came here.
Irina: Before coming here, I looked into the background of Count Duphaston.
There have been many unconfirmed suspicions about him. Do be careful.
The Koona seem to be worried about us.
Ossa: Gnineppah lla siht syhw, Rondy. Rondy?
Drah krow lli! Nioj I nac?
Daeha deeps lluf-f-f-f-f!!!
Everyone seems pretty concerned about what the next Stratum may bring.
Velnor: Only uncertainty awaits us there
We must be prepared to take on any adversary!
The Count continues to act like nothings going on.
Isnt my old friend Iryths cooking simply superb?
Its quite popular among the travelers who stay here, and for that I am proud.
Why dont you and Eriel join me at her place for dinner sometime?
Nena: Eriel is scared of the Majin, so why does she keep going back out there?
I dont have that kind of courage yet
I need to become strong like Eriel
I realized I hadnt asked Amelie about Morpheus yet.
You need something?
Amelie: Why did you come to Besek?
Eriel said shes looking for the Eternal Poison, but what about you?
Oh, right. I havent told you yet
Im seeking a Majin named Morpheus. Have you seen him?
Hes gold and covered in bones.
Amelie: Hm, no I dont remember seeing a Majin like that.
They captured me almost as soon as I entered Besek, so I didnt see much.
Dont worry about it.
Kuni also doesnt trust the Count.
Kuni: So ya know that fancy guy whos always with ya?
You mean the Count ?
Kuni: Yeah, that guys shady!
Even you think so ?
Kuni: Dont underestimate animal instincts!
Kuni: Im tellin ya, that guy smells funny.
Ive smelled him somewhere before, but I cant remember where.
Youre basing this entirely off his smell ?
Kuni: We use scent to tell our friends from our enemies!
Yer smell is suspicious too, but not threatenin.
That guys a whole nothing story I cant even describe it.
Just be careful around him.
I already am, but thanks for warning me.
Misty is still looking into Morpheus it seems.
Misty: Eriels been worried about you.
She said you seem a little on edge.
Children are good at sensing things.
Misty: Are you stressed out about something?
I was just thinking about Morpheus.
Thats reason enough for me.
Misty: I see
Well, I still havent found anything out about him.
Focus on your situation first.
No ones seen your master yet.
Misty: Oh, yeah! I forgot.
Dont have a good memory, huh?
Nolstein needs to go.
Nolstein: Your daughter is quite noisy. You should do a better job of raising her.
Eriel isnt my daughter.
She followed me into Besek because she wants to find the Eternal Poison.
Im not some lazy parent.
Nolstein: Oh no, youre just taking a young girl into a perilous place like Besek
I didnt know you had compassion for others.
Nolstein: Is that a joke? I am firmly against endangering children.
Im not like some other brainless nobles who care only about themselves.
I am a decent, thoughtful human being two qualities you sorely lack!
Okay, NOW youre joking, right ?
I managed to talk Marion into going home, this place is getting more dangerous by the day.
Marion: Sorry, its just a habit to call you that!
Irving is missing, and youre after the Eternal Poison.
Marion: Huh!? How did you know ?
Well, whatre you planning on doing about the situation?
Marion: Im going to find Irving, and together, well find the Eternal Poison.
I heard things are getting worse in your country
Irving could be on his way home, for all you know.
You should go. Your people need you. Leave Irving to me.
Marion: Alright, if thats what you want me to do Uncle Rondie.
Youre a good girl, Marion.
Marion: Oh! Take this. Youll need it more than I do.
Feinnes Notes: Valkyrie is an awesome female only spear, which makes it great for Ares. Since were not using her, its not so useful this run.
Marion: Ill return to my country now, Uncle Rondie. Good luck.
I wonder what other surprises Besek has in store for us