Part 124: HarpuiaUpdate 33: Harpuia
There's no way to reach Harpuia from here, so we have to go down to get back up.
There's an outer and an inner ring that we have to travel through. Not much happens in the inner ring, so I'll skip most of it aside from the events.
What a breathtaking view...!
Look how high we've come. Man, this is a sight to see.
Flavio? Why are you holding back? Come up and see.
N-Nah, I'm good here...
Your guild collectively rests their weary fate, enjoying the splendid view. As you do so, a thought comes to mind... It must feel very refreshing to let out a good, solid yell in such a place.
You give into your rising impulse and shout at the top of your lungs!
Waaah! Wh-What was that for!?
Your voice quakes the air as if it could reach far into the heavens... It then slowly melts away into the sky. After having to mind every breath while traveling the forest, it is quite liberating to yell in such a carefree manner.
Knight, that was loud... Ow.
Haha, but I can understand the impulse. I imagine it feels good to shout out when you're as high up as we are.
It did seem enjoyable .
Sir Knight! Might I try one as well?
Ooh, if you're gonna do that, then why don't we all yell at the same time?
If we went together, I bet our voices would carry all the way down to High Lagaard.
You may try it once more if you wish, or go back to your investigation.
This is totally a good and safe idea.
Alright, then let's do this!
Yes, all of us at once!
Oh dear... What a pain.
You look to each other to synchronize the cry, and all yell to the heavens on a count of three! You discover that yelling alongside your guildmates feels even more refreshing than when you did it alone...!
Ahh... That was exhilarating! I've never shouted out loud like that.
Me either. I could get used to it.
You hardly ever talk to begin with. Why don't you make this your hobby?
Don't joke around like that, old man. A hobby of shouting would be a problem if she did it anywhere but here.
As you playfully banter with each other, you hear the echo of a loud roar...
Huh... did that sound to anyone else like it came from close by?
You hesitantly turn around, and are met with the glare of an enraged monster!
M...Might our whooping have angered it!?
You regret yelling carelessly not once, but twice. But it is too late for regrets...! The monster blocks your escape--you must face the furious beast as it charges for you!
Really? That's it?
I kill them easily.
Hey... Isn't that Canaan?
You look up and indeed, it is Canaan, chief of the winged ones with whom you spoke earlier.
We meet again, members of Guild. How astonishing for those without wings to have advanced this far... The will of the Star truly rests with you.
We were just lucky.
Yet that luck was arranged by the Star as well, no? You earthbound ones say such strange things.
Canaan smiles in sincere respect for your victory over the Labyrinth's hardships.
I will do my duty and tell you of what lies ahead. Beyond here was our sacred ground, where the Queen of the Skies now nests. You will find the path to the heavens there. If the Star's will is with you, you will vanquish this terrible fiend. But you have come a long way. Is there anything you would know? I will answer what is in my power to do so, as chief of the winged ones.
Canaan falls silent in anticipation of your first question. Upon consideration, you know surprisingly little of these winged ones. It may be best to ask some questions before venturing forth.
We are those of whom you speak. We live by the will of the Star, and are the sons of Father Son and Mother Moon. We are born in this forest, and die within it. Our people live according to the will of the Star.
What else is needed?
Canaan holds his head high as he speaks. You doubt you can learn anything concrete.
After every question, you'll have the option to ask more or just skip ahead. I'll ask every one.
Hm? Do the earthbound ones not know of the will of the Star? How to explain...
Canaan looks up into the sky and composes his thoughts before responding quietly.
The will of the Star gave birth to us all. It dictates all that happens. We live and die in accordance with the Star's decree. Its will is our law, and is absolute.
I guess I understand... but that seems like an odd way to live. Isn't there something that you want to accomplish, Canaan?
Something I want...? I do not understand your meaning, earthbound one. We all live in accordance with the Star's decree. Everything happens as it should. Nothing deviates from that. Though I might wish it mightily, the sun will never rise from the west and set in the east. The will of the Star is the same.
And you accept that?
There is nothing to accept. It is as it is.
Canaan's voice is nonchalant as he continues his explanation.
One of our oldest commands is to escort those who bear the pact to the heavens. In addition, we are told to carry the injured earthbound ones to the heavenly castle.
You carry the injured to the castle? Does this Star being treat them?
That is beyond the bounds of what has been revealed to us. We do not know.
So you carry them and just leave them there? Well, that's not very responsible.
That is the Star's decree. It is not for us to know its will. You may as well ask why the rain falls, no?
Canaan falls silent. He seems to truly have no interest in the subject.
So they carried people to the castle. No one came back?
Yeah. If anyone had, we'd have known that the castle in the sky really did exist...
The way those taken there never returned leaves you with doubts, but Canaan offers no answers. Though you doubt he has any to give... There is unlikely to be any use in asking further on the matter.
It is where we go to heed the Star's voice. It is said to be the place nearest to the Star.
The Star... you mean like the ones in the night sky?
Of the multitude that exist, we exalt the one in the center of the heavens. But a star is just an effigy. Our Star is that which exists at the center of all the stars which attend it.
I... I don't really get it. So it's a star... but a different star?
Indeed. I am glad that you are so quick to understand.
Canaan nods with satisfaction before falling silent again, as if there is no need to say any more on the matter. He seems to have no particularly useful information for you...
The Queen of the Skies appeared before us suddenly, out of the blue heavens. We know nothing else of it. It descended upon our sacred ground, laying waste to our brothers and sisters who had come to hear the Star's voice. It was so sudden... Many of the people of the skies fell victim to the foul bird that day. It has since taken the sacred ground as its own, driving my people out.
Though Canaan speaks of the loss of his people's sacred ground, his expression in doing so is calm and unworried.
Isn't that frustrating for you?
Canaan repeats your phrase with a quizzical expression.
It was a serious event. But all is dictated by the Star. We had no strength to repel the demon bird. That is all.
Y-You say so rather dismissively...
Your qualms about this are foreign to us. If the holy land is deemed necessary by the Star, then one of our number shall eventually rise to slay the demon bird. All we can do is sharpen our fangs and talons to obey the decree that will come someday.
The chief of the winged ones says so with quiet indifference, though you detect a subtle menace to his words. They must believe in the day that will come, and are confident that they can slay the demon bird on that day.
But before we received such a decree, it seems that you will be challenging the demon bird. It is disappointing that it was not given to us to take our sacred ground back. But we trust in the Star's will.
Pictured: One of the few times in the entire series where the games warn you about an aspect of the boss you should prepare for. Fear protection is probably the most important thing to bring for the fight.
After delivering this warning, Canaan blesses you and promises to pray for your safety.
We're done here.
With no further questions to pose to Canaan, you thank him for the information. Canaan raises a hand in response to your thanks, and then points to the stairs behind him.
Ascend those stairs to meet the Queen of the Skies when you are ready to slay that demon bird. If it is the Star's will that you will return to the castle in the heavens, then you will find yourselves victorious. If the Star wills otherwise... then so be it. So, Guild. May the Star bless you...
That sounded pretty casual for how scary it actually was, right? Was it just me?
So if we're not 'fated' to get to the castle in the heavens, we'll end up dead?
The winged ones sure don't mince words.
But it's easy to understand.
I cannot be sure that the mandate they speak of is with us.
But there is nothing to be done for it than to charge headlong into the fray!
We'll win, no matter what!
You are free to challenge the demon bird awaiting your arrival, or head back to High Lagaard first.
I actually did not mean to go this way first. There was one more event I was looking to show off.
Huh? A fish...?
A fish? Don't be ridiculous... we're in the sky. Are you sure you didn't just see a bird?
Yet this is the Yggdrasil Labyrinth... Is it so hard to believe that such exotic fish might exist here?
Both Bertrand and Arianna have a point. If you wish to confirm this unusual creature's existence, you might try casting a fishing line.
Let's take a better look first.
Could a fish that swims the skies truly exist...? You take another look at the sky beneath your feet. The sky continues for miles, and the branches below you sway in the breeze that blows from time to time.
Hm... that might have looked like the outline of a fish. Chloe, you're sure that's not what you saw?
No. It was fishier. I think.
If you trust Chloe's account, then you might try casting a line into the sky.
Well, let's give it a try.
You each cast a line into the sky that spreads beneath you.
I've never held a fishing rod before. Might I truly catch a fish?
We should have a contest.
A fine idea! Be warned, Dame Chloe, for I will not lose!
They seem enthusiastic... but are we really going to catch anything?
There's no water to feel on the line. What are we doing?
Indeed, it feels a bit awkward to cast a line straight into the sky... ...... As you wrestle with that uncomfortable feeling, to your surprise, you feel a powerful pull on your line! It seems a fish of the sky has taken your bait...!
Wait, seriously!? There's really a fish!? Hang in there, Knight!
Don't let it snap the line! Move the rod along with the fish's movements!
The pull is heavy, and the fishing line sways left and right You patiently keep pace with the fish's movement until the line stops moving, and then quickly reel it in! But at that moment, you hear something snap, and the weight on the line mysteriously vanishes. Without the counterweight on the other end of the line, you stumble backwards!
Are you all right, Sir Knight...? What happened so suddenly?
Hm? Is this what you caught...?
As Chloe cocks her head in puzzlement and pulls up the line... you see a tree branch on its other end.
No wonder it was heavy... the hook must've gotten snagged in a tree.
What a huge catch...
It seems that what you struggled against was a gigantic tree that would easily dwarf you on land! When seen in that light, the heavy pull is understandable.
You're quite an optimist, huh...?
You ignore Bertrand's exasperated mutterings and check to see what it is you reeled in.
This is Bloom Wood. Aren't these rare?
I guess we came away with something, at least.
Thank you for your valiant effort, Sir Knight.
You carefully stow away the rare material before returning to your journey.
Okay okay, now back to the Queen of the Skies deal.
We've seen it once before, but... it's not any less daunting up close.
It doesn't seem bothered by us.
Still, I am anxious to approach it...
You sense no palpable menace from the demon bird, but Arianna is correct in that there is an eerie tension in the air.
Don't let it unnerve you.
You tell your guildmates not to let the monster's unhurried attitude rattle them.
Right. We won't know what it's capable of until we start fighting it, so it's best to be ready for anything.
You nod to each other, to shake off the fear constricting your movements. Now, prepare for battle! A powerful enemy stands before you to be defeated!
Here's my setup. I was holding back on the game before, but now since things are going to be easier, I figured I would go all out on these fights. No mercy.
ENGAGING MURDER MODE!
- Shrill Cry: Uses the head. Attempts to inflict fear on the party, with a 60% base chance. Has no speed modifier.
- Claws of Despair: Uses the arms. Deals 2 instances of 150% melee STR-based Cut damage to random targets. Can hit the same target multiple times. Attempts to inflict paralysis on hit targets, with a 20% base chance. Has an 80% speed modifier and 99 base accuracy.
- Storm Feather: Uses the arms. Deals 110% melee STR-based Stab damage to the party. Attempts to inflict blind on hit targets, with a 20% base chance. Has an 80% speed modifier and 99 base accuracy.
- Feast: Uses the legs. Deals a variable amount of instances of 80% melee STR-based Cut damage to random targets. Can hit the same target multiple times from the second cast on. Attempts to bind every body part of hit targets, with a 10% base chance. The number of hits Feast deals varies based on how many times Harpuia has casted it. In order based on number of times: 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21. The number of times a target can be hit also scales based on number of casts: 1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Has a 40% speed modifier and 99 base accuracy.
- Chaos Scream: Uses the head. Triples the chance of all party members being afflicted with ailments and binds for 6 turns.
100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 125%
0% 75% 25% 25% 25% 50% 0%
0% 0% 10%
75% 25% 25%
In the original game, Harpuia was pretty much a complete joke, especially compared to the terror that was Scylla. Things... haven't changed much in the remake. Harpuia is pretty much a joke here too. She's pretty predictable and her moves are very easily countered. Her most threatening move is Shrill Cry, which is easily dealt with by wearing Scorpion Plumes. Also the game warns you about that ahead of time. Feast does get deadly if the fight lasts for too long, but you would have to take an incredibly long time for that to happen.
Harpuia will always cast Shrill Cry on the first turn, so I'll just have Bertrand smack her with his sword.
I don't see this fight lasting long, so I activate Flavio's Force Boost.
Unfortunately, Harpuia is immune to Blind, so I have to make do with Paralysis instead. Not counting the 9 LUC disadvantage Flavio has, he has less than a 27% chance of landing this, which isn't ideal but there's not much else he can do.
There's a couple of buffs that I really want to waste as little time as possible setting up.
Less than 27% wasn't that great anyway.
Since Shrill Cry is her main skill to worry about, since it has the highest infliction rate out of all the skills, and Fear really sucks to be hit by. Of course it's easily dealt with through Prevent Order, or Scorpion Plumes.
Man if that Paralysis landed, this would be doing so much damage right now.
The waves are Knight's best form of damage, but they are expensive at level 20. With Knight's TP pool being as small as it is, they'll run him dry after a few uses. This is why I had him the Force Energy passive. It restores quite a bit of his TP, 2% of his max TP from levels 1 through 19, 3% at 20, on top of a static amount. This is also why keeping him Transformed as much as possible is important, it'll reduce the amount of TP he spends, or just flat out restores some since it's possible for the TP restore to outpace the amount of TP Knight can spend.
And Bertrand's pretty much gonna Front Guard for the rest of the fight. Exciting.
I'm setting up an AOE Prevent Order to deal with something later.
That all you got?
And that's a 10th of Harpuia's HP gone.
Finishing up the combo with a Blade Recoil.
And she's already lost that much HP in 3 turns.
At this point, why not? Harpuia's not that much of a slog.
Once Harpuia's HP drops low enough, she'll use Chaos Scream at the end of the turn, which places a debuff that triples the chances of her ailments landing. But it has an additional effect. Remember those Luminous Birds on this floor? If you didn't kill them or lure them to the outer nests, they'll head straight for you once Harpuia uses Chaos Scream for the first time. You have 4 turns to finish the battle before the first bird joins in. Fortunately, I solved the floor puzzle, so I don't have to deal with that.
Also Prevent Order counts as a resistance buff, so it will block or dispel the effects of resistance debuffs.
Gonna prepare for a little something here.
Head binds lower the target's TEC stat, so they take more damage from TEC-based attacks. Unfortunately this doesn't affect Ailing Slash since it's calculated against the target's VIT.
Feast ended up not doing much, and Arianna just shrugged off the damage thanks to one of her Grimoire effects.
Now Arianna will join in on the fun.
That was over 3000 total damage. Offense isn't really a problem anymore for this team.
And here comes the assau-
Are you serious!? The head bind wore off that quickly!?
I'll just have to hope I can reapply it.
AHAHAHA! And now Harpuia can't do anything as long as she's Paralyzed.
Bah, the head bind didn't land again.
So here's a little trick you can do with Accelerate. If you have Force Charge at a high enough level, you can cast it at the start of the turn to get an extra damage boost. It saves TP and increases your overall DPS more than just casting offensive skills 3 times. But if Force Charge's level is too low, you'll lose out on damage instead. The overall damage boost at each level would be as follows.
- Levels 1 through 4: 6.66% damage loss.
- Levels 5 through 9: Break even. Saves some TP though.
- Levels 10 through 14: 6.66% damage boost.
- Levels 15 through 19: 10% damage boost.
- Level 20: 13.33% damage boost.
Now that Harpuia is Paralyzed, I'll have Flavio spam Multi-shot instead. I would have loved to spam Hazy Arrow, but given that Harpuia is immune to Blind, that wasn't really a viable strategy there.
Those numbers would have been even bigger if that head bind stuck.
Oh and it turns out the reason the Paralysis food doesn't say always unable to act is because there are a few skills in the game that are scripted to go off even if they're Paralyzed. Even though they can be disabled through other means.
Now it's back to this again.
And I've got that conditional drop in the bag.
Poor Harpuia didn't do anything for the rest of the fight once she got Paralyzed.
Oh wow, talk about insult to injury. I got an extra copy of her normal drop thanks to a Grimoire effect. That only had a 6% chance of happening. So yeah, a pretty easy boss, even for Story.
You have defeated the dreadful tyrant reigning over this Stratum!
Damn, but that was one nasty monster. That fight took a lot out of me...
Yeah. Sure was a tough fight.
You could work harder, you know.
Boy! Think you could be a little harsher on an old man? Yeah, yeah, I'll keep working harder...
Hah... To hear those two bicker, you'd never think we just pulled through after a tough fight.
I find it endearing. Particularly since we did emerge victorious, after all!
Don't you think at least a smidgen of celebration is warranted?
So should we celebrate too?
I say we do just that!
As you shout for joy in celebration of your victory, a figure descends from above.
It would appear you have slain the Queen of the Skies, Guild. I was unsure whether earthbound ones would have the strength to do so... But all is clear now. It was the Star's will that you would reach this place.
Canaan seems impressed with you, and gives a pleased smile.
We have recovered our sacred ground and you have reached the path to the heavens. Everything has gone as it should. Just as the almighty Star decreed. The path you seek is ahead. Please proceed, those favored by the Star.
With that, Canaan spreads his wings and flies off into the sky.
...He's gone. I would have liked to speak with him more...
He didn't lend us his wings...
True... Perhaps 'lending us his wings' was a metaphor for his services escorting us through the Labyrinth.
...A bait and switch. I was really looking forward to it. I wanted to fly.
Now that you've seen the chief of the winged ones off, you are free to proceed further in or return to town.
You pause before a pillar of light which rises into the sky. You look up, but the hazy air above blocks your view of the heavens.
We've finally made it. We sure took the long way here, huh?
A lot happened.
Too much, if you ask me. When we first came to the forest, trying to reach the floating castle never entered my mind.
I thought about it...
Even though that's not why the Library sent us!?
Wow... just don't let the Professor hear you say that.
As you exchange banter with each other, you look up once more at the path leading to the heavens.
Yet the Guild guild stands here now, with a full complement. Since you have foregone the long-lived ritual to seal the Calamity, you must forge onward to find a way of destroying it. You address your guildmates once more before proceeding with newfound resolve.
Now, let us go bring peace to this world.
You all nod to one another and take a step onto the path into the heavens.