Part 36: Update 28 Part 2: The Thief and the MantisUpdate 28 Part 2: The Thief and the Mantis
SYSTEM: However, you will not be fooled again. You realize immediately that this is no ordinary guard! You ready your weapons, and the man disguised as a guard darts back to the bushes!
We're ready for yeh this time, yeh bastard.
Heh heh hyeh. Not bad, not bad! I guess you're smarter than I gave you credit for, but your luck won't save you this time!
SYSTEM: The man swiftly brings some kind of pipe to his mouth... It's the flute that controls the monsters! The sharp trilling echoes through the Labyrinth, and it is shortly answered by the roars of monsters and quaking ground!
SYSTEM: You can scarcely believe your ears... The man intends to set the monsters on the city itself!
SYSTEM: You recall that troops are posted to defend against the monsters... but there's no guarantee that they'll make it in time! The outlaw blows the flute once more, and the monsters howl in anger and malice. They turn swiftly, and run towards town. They're mere puppets of this man, but if they are not stopped here, they will advance on the city and wreak havoc on his behalf... You must draw your weapons, and defeat the monsters that this outlaw controls.
Not even a giant scorpion?
HP: 356, STR: 31, TEC: 24, VIT: 26, AGI: 16, LUC: 23
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Even Quona could've killed one of these ants.
It's an ant with no skills and 356 HP. So threatening.
Another ant later...
SYSTEM: The outlaw disappears into the buses, and you hear the flute's trill again from the stairs leading up. Monsters roar in answer...
Ants are the most boring animals in existence. Why does this guy think they're scary?
Positioning myself here means I can just go to where the thief is without fear of the ants reaching Lagaard.
SYSTEM: The thief whips the flute to his mouth, and plays a keening, discordant melody that pains your ears to hear...
There we go, that's more like it.
SYSTEM: It seems the monster sees you as mere food...it stares with bloodshot eyes, and lets out a gurgle of anticipation. To protect the peace of Lagaard, you must destroy this monster!
HP: 4071, STR: 41, TEC: 30, VIT: 30, AGI: 27, LUC: 30
- Torment Barb: Uses the legs. Deals 60% melee STR-based Stab damage to one row. Attempts to inflict Paralysis on and bind the legs of hit targets, with a 70% chance. Has an 80% speed modifier and 99 base accuracy.
- Execution Barb: Uses the legs. Deals 200% melee STR-based Stab damage to two random targets. Attempts to instantly kill, petrify, and inflict every status ailment on hit targets. Infliction chance isn't programmed in--how the game handles this is unknown, but the instant death chance is extremely high. Has an 80% speed modifier and 60 base accuracy.
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A scorpion being controlled by heartless bandits. It is eager to do its master's bidding.
Unlike the ants, the Livid Butcher is no joke. It hurts like hell thanks to having 41 STR, and Execution Barb is pretty much guaranteed death if it hits--if not to the damage, then to the instant death. Even Phoebe isn't going to be much help here since the thing will hurt even through Front Guard.
Probably the one time I'll actually get some real mileage out of Shield Protect.
Same setup as always.
Shield Mastery! While the whole "chance to block physical attacks" thing, on average, reduces damage by the same amount that Shield Mastery used to passively give in earlier games, admit it, it's much more fun to watch this than know your Protector took 15% less damage from an attack.
You'll notice that I'm holding off on Force for now. You might think I'm crazy, or underestimating the enemy like I did with the Snow Swarm, but believe me, this'll be worth it.
I rag on Shield Protect a lot, but for situations like this where an enemy is outputting large amounts of damage even through Front Guard, it's useful enough.
Well, it's about 17.5% of the thing's HP.
As is that.
How shockin', heheh.
And Tyler helps, too.
That stinger's not gettin' through this shield.
I swear to god, Head Pierce is prone to rolling for statistical improbabilities.
Imagine how long this would take without Milly nearly doubling everyone's damage.
Screw it, I'll eat the early penalty, I need this thing dead soon.
Decent, and it put the Livid Butcher in the red.
Hey-hey-hey, no touching, and definitely no stinging!
Hm? What was that? And why's there a big hole in my chest?
Uh... Realga's going to have to look at that after we're finished...
Jesus fucking christ, Phoebe saved Ranger from certain death.
That scorpion doesn't even belong down here anyway.
SYSTEM: With that bitter parting shot, the outlaw darts up the stairs.
'Ey, get the hell back he--
SYSTEM: ...There must still have been monsters driven mad by the flute's song. Being chased, the thief could not use the flute's song against them, and will likely meet his end at the hands of his own thralls. It would seem the request is complete.
Welp, that's the end 'a that. Let's go tell Cass, th--
Are you dumb? Think about it--that guy's wanted in four countries, including Lagaard. Think about the bounty if we bring him back alive!
Our guild could use some extra buffer for its coffers...
SYSTEM: ...However, if you wish to save the outlaw, you can choose to go up the stairs. However, you must be cautious...from the sound of the roar, the monster would be a fearsome foe. You must act quickly. If you go to a different floor, or head back to town, the outlaw's fate is sealed. You can choose to go save the outlaw, or choose to go back to the bar to report.
We have an actual choice here: either we fight the monster in the hopes of getting a bigger reward, or we go back to Lagaard and get the original reward.
Do I really have to say what I'm doing here?
I'm loathe to do this, but I use an Amrita on Ranger to ensure he'll have TP for the next part. Better to use these things rather than hoard them.
SYSTEM: You follow the monster's gaze, and see the outlaw sprawled and unconscious. His legs are beyond saving... The monster passes a brief glance in your direction, but returns to the fallen thief, fierce eyes locked on him... The monster doesn't seem to take notice of anything other than the thief, and seems not to bear you any ill will. However, if you wish to save the thief, a fight with this monster will be unavoidable... If you are prepared to fight to save the thief, then steel yourselves and confront the monster before him!
For, uh... For money. Yeah.
HP: 8337, STR: 47, TEC: 35, VIT: 36, AGI: 30, LUC: 36
- Charge: Uses the head. Increases physical damage on the next turn by 100%. Has an 80% speed modifier. A monster that has used Charge can be stunned by a Blast Grenade.
- Scythe Slash: Uses the arms. Deals 100% melee STR-based Cut damage to one row. Has an 80% speed modifier and 99 base accuracy.
- Execution Scythe: Uses the arms. Deals 100% melee STR-based Cut damage to one target. Attempts to instantly kill the target, with a 15% chance. Has a 60% speed modifier and 99 base accuracy.
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The Indignant Mantis is an even bigger threat than the Livid Butcher, mostly thanks to Charge over there. Thankfully, if you have some Blast Grenades, the thing becomes manageable.
In the interest of time and because nothing interesting happens in this fight, I'll just show you:
Why do monsters always disappear right in front of me?
...Not gonna say anythin'.
SYSTEM: It still appears conscious, though... Feebly, it drags itself--scarred and bleeding--towards the thief, little by little. What could be driving this monster forward, even with its injuries...? You follow its gaze to the thief's flute... Could it be that the monster's target was not the thief, but the flute, this whole time?
Okay, enough. This asinine business ends here.
SYSTEM: You take the flute from the thief's hand, and shatter it with a ceramic crunch, ending its song forever. The monster stops, seeing the flute shatter, and gazes at you with peaceful eyes. Its wish granted, it shuffles away into the forest...
...Did that giant mantis just thank us?
SYSTEM: As the monster fades from view, you hear a groan of pain from the outlaw. Now awake, he raises his hands in surrender to you.
...If there's one thing I learned from all those stories, heroes don't turn their backs on anyone. Ever. Includin' blackhearts like yeh.
The "justice of a Highlander" stuff?
Yeah, sure, let's go with that. Never learned what that actually means though, heh.
Justice? Justice...hee...hee heh heh hah... Hah hah hah hah hah hah hah! You're...ngh...you're completely insane! I was saved by this pack of lunatics and their "justice..." God, I'm so angry...so angry I'm gonna be sick... Justice...ngh... It's too late.
SYSTEM: At that, the thief quiets down. A guard soon arrives, having heard the preceding chaos, and takes him away.
Oh, yeh're back safely. Heard from the guards that yeh finally settled the score with that scumbag. Plottin' to set monsters loose on the town... I can barely believe it myself. Sounds like somethin' out of a nightmare. Thanks to yeh, though, we got through it without a scratch. The monsters couldn't even get near the city!
Well, there's a reason we've gotten as famous as we are.
...Speakin' on behalf of Lagaard, thank yeh. Yeh did a damn fine job! As expected of Lumen. Since it's a special case, the Palace put together a special reward for yeh. It's for protecting the city, and its people. ...I dunno if it's worth the trouble yeh lot went to, but take it anyway! Haw haw haw! Here, this is yer full reward, including the stuff from the palace. I'll see yeh next time!
But wait, there's more.
Yeh usually save the people who tried to kill yeh? Me, I wouldn't even give him a last meal. Still... I guess yeh're a different sort.
Aww, you're too nice, Cass.
I don't give a crap if he had a troubled past, or whatever! Still a criminal. Doesn't deserve any sympathy, least of all yers. The stuff he's been doin', the people he's hurt... that stuff ain't just a bad upbringing. That's somethin' yeh're born with. Anyhow. The countries that had bounties on him sent in the prizes. Go ahead.
WOAH WOAH WOAH, what?!
That is quite the large sum... That's at least triple what we currently have in reserve...
Hmm... How much steak and apple sauce can I buy with that?
Haw haw haw, yeh thought it'd be more? These countries ain't too well-off, and the exchange rate to ental is a real killer. It still ain't anything to sneeze at, though! So don't go turning yer nose up at it. Awright, my job is done.
Next time: more quests. Maybe a tiny bit of Ginnungagap, I dunno.