Part 20: King of Monsters '89 (Part 2)Chapter 15: King of Monsters '89 (Part 2)
See, Dente? Your cooking's so good, it was predicted by scholars thousands of years ago!
Friend Dente looks better! Happier than has seen. At least two heads are smiling!
Trog, my friend, I feel as if the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders.
Hey, what's this last book?
"Blowing Things Up for Fun and Profit."
Man, they're handing out doomsday weapons to anyone these days.
Well, this looks ridiculously important.
Brace yourself. Here comes the crazy.
Oh? Oh! This is actually really nice!
Trog hear of flowery place where heroes go. Is maybe it?
The Elysium Fields? It's... possible, though there's a distinct lack of deceased.
Well, might as well poke around a bit. Never know what you might find.
Looks like somebody lives here after all.
Let's go pester them!
Why not? It seems to have worked out so far.
Eh? Visitors! Did you...
Hiya, old dude! I'm Rezen. This is Trog.
Hello! I am Trog.
Er, you don't look so good.
I'm six hundred and forty nine years old, you whippersnapper! Of course I don't look good!
Yikes. Cranky, too.
*cough* *hack* Kids these days. No respect for their elders.
Is apologizing, Honored Grandfather. Friend Rezen come from different place. Is not customed.
Apology accepted. Hmm. You're a well-mannered young man. How long've you been climbing?
Has been long! Took longer because Trog went wrong way first.
Ha! I like you, son. You're got moxie.
Trog is hoping not contagious.
And you're as kind as you are strong. At long last, the moment I've waited for all these centuries for has arrived. Here.
...a hero from the tower. You've finally come. My duty is fulfilled.
Is sword. Trog... uncertain.
I know how you feel, son. I was the same way when I was young—superstitious, didn't trust anything but my own hands. But this sword... it's pure. Forged in Avalon and tempered with the finest mithril. It would never let an evil man handle it, let alone enter it. *COUGH COUGH*
Grandfather! Needing medicine!
Don't waste your time, there's nothing that can heal me. It's alright, Trog. The world's in good hands now. Everything's... going to be... alright.
Trog? Are you crying?
Trog is not understand. Barely knew Grandfather. But, gave Trog life's legacy. Why affected so?
Sometimes, it's the small gestures that touch us the most deeply.
Grandfather was wise. Trog can trust this sword. Will wield in memory.
Foul creatures! Witness might of purest sword!
OH NO HE SWUNG TOO HAAAAAAAAAAAARD
Well, here's XCaliber! Because you knew it was coming eventually.
Besides the nifty little earthquake effect, XCaliber is one of the harder hitting swords in the game. You don't really get it a feel for it here because phantoms have O-Physical, so double the damage shown and there you go. Trog actually hits harder punching people, which is quite frankly terrifying. However, Old Dude spent his entire life waiting to pass on this sword, and we're not about to spit on his legacy.
RIP, Old Dude. You handed over the hell out of that sword.
I am so sick of stairs right now.
Even the treasure's starting to get repetitive. Oh well, what do we have this time?
It's funny. You wait your entire life for one perfect moment, and when it's finally here, you can't think of a pun.
Ah, sword of glass! Is finding stone house to swing at?
The Glass sword is probably the second goofiest weapon in all of RPGs. (First goofiest, for the record, is the Excalipur.) When you equip it, it says it has 50 uses. And when you swing it, holy . It does a shitload of damage, more than either Rezen's psi weapons or Trog's punches.
Late Edit: Deathwind and UmbreonMessiah both point out a hilarious bug: due to some poor programming decisions, the Glass Sword actually doesn't break. It says it does, but it hangs out in your inventory anyway. That's right, you get 50 swings of a ridiculously powerful sword! Thanks, lazy programming!
Wow, this area's a lot more open than the l—
You know what? I'm not even surprised anymore.
Well! Here we are, one last time.
Above is the final floor of the tower. But...
This is where our journey together ends. I can't go any further.
Yeah, and I know why.
C'mon, stop playing dumb.
We found the DOORS unit.
That's how you've been getting places before us. You search each world for displaced tower climbers, get the next coordinates, then jump ahead of us whenever we break a seal.
It seems my tricks are exposed now. I take my hat off to you, miss.
Strength has finally carried day, friend Hat Guy. Nothing of shame. Was almost winner.
But, to victor go the hugs!
Not... Not necessary!
We should be careful not to become overconfident. We haven't won anything yet. We still have to confront Ashura.
I'm afraid I don't have any tips for you, either. Where you're going, no one's gone before.
Why are you hiding behind me?
Trog going to hug yoooooou
Does he have an off switch?!
At ease, Trog.
Bah. Trog will get next time.
Guys, we gotta get going. We want to get the jump on this jerk, not the other way around.
Copy that. We'll be back, Hat Guy—hopefully, in one piece.
You better be. I'm looking forward to that dinner.
Heh. A little secret? Just between you and me?
I prefer red wine to white.
Then it seems we have something in common already.
How do we even get up there?
Sphere signatures detected. Ashura Labs Tractor Beam engaged. Please step into the light.
Ah! It's about time one of these transport devices made itself plainly known.
I guess we just step into this spotlight, then?
Sure, why not.
Tractor beam engaged.
Hey, while we're on the subject, what's a tractor bea—
You have arrived at your destination. Thank you for choosing Ashura Labs.
When this is over, remind me to become a Luddite.
Phew. Guy decorates like an arch-field, alright. Spikes, flames, grandiose corridors, fish statues...
...wait. Fish statues?
At least we finally know who's responsible for these.
Was demon fish whole time? Trog did not see twist coming.
I think you're taking the wrong thing away from this.
I got this one, Trog.
Has learned much. Trog have confidence in friend Elly.
Archfiend Ashura! Your days of slaughtering innocents is at an end! We bring justice to your—
What the crap? Isn't this the same floor we started on?
It seems the archfiend has more than just physical tricks.
This is just a straight-up dick move. You see Ashura, you're pumped up, you're ready to rumble with the big boss himself. Too bad, you made the mistake of stepping on the square directly in front of him! Now you've been teleported back to the beginning of the floor.
The hike back isn't arduous, and the fights along the way aren't too big of a deal. (Except for wights. Fuck wights. They're too fast to run from, and there's like a million of them.) The only reason this exists at all is to give you the middle finger right before a humongous boss fight. It's the biggest troll in the world, and for that, game, I salute you.
Eh? You're back already?
Teleporter. Long story.
We're fighting him for reals this time, though. Promise!
Well, good luck. Again.
Please step into the light.
Oh, no you don't. Not this time.
Okay, all that stuff I said earlier? Pretend I just said it again.
Welcome, mortals. You've come quite a long way to visit me.
Actually, we're here to kick your butt.
Oh, no doubt. But, why don't we settle this like civilized beings instead? Surely we can come to some sort of arrangement that avoids unpleasant physical confrontation.
That is the first sensible thing I've heard from any of our opponents.
Is archfiend. Perhaps trusting not so smart idea.
Meh, might as well hear him out.
Thank you. Now, I know you've come all this way for Paradise. I'll level with you. It doesn't exist.
I understand why you'd doubt me. But, take a moment to reflect. You've seen the tower's pocket worlds. And, as you've climbed, you've seen how these little stories and misunderstandings magnify into epics and legends as they filter down through the tower. Maybe even you, yourselves, have become the subject of such legends.
So, let's dispense with the silly notion of a magical fairy land where no one has any problems. Even if it were real, it'd hardly be a satisfying end to your long and arduous quest.
Yeah, okay. You've got a point there.
Let's make the most of here and now. With my fiends now defeated, I can harness my power to give each of you control over one of the four major worlds. Rezen, you can bring light to Base Town. It will become a safe haven for the disaffected and orphaned. The Equipment Wars will end, and peace will reign throughout the kingdom. No longer will you be a freak, but a beloved queen.
Dente, Ryu-O needs an advisor now that Sei-Ryu is no more. Who better than you, the greatest of my children, with your infinite patience and deep wisdom?
Trog. Cloud World already reveres you. They need someone to guide them now, to help rebuild the damage that Byak-Ko caused. You wouldn't even need my help to assume leadership—just a small contribution of resources.
And Elly. Dear, sweet, steadfast Elly. The people of Neo-Atlantis need a protector. You can shepherd what's left of mankind out of the apocalypse and into a new Golden Age. The people will see you, not as a lowly grunt soldier, but as their guardian and savior... an inspiration to every generation thereafter.
You see? No tricks. No traps. This is your chance to undo all the misery you've seen. I can make all of that happen.
My liege. Would you suffer me a question?
What do you know of the World-Eater?
Ah, my finest prophecy. Let's not hide the truth any longer. It's you, Dente. You will be there to consume the last atom, alone in the vacuum of what used to be time and space. You shall then create a new world—a perfect world, in line with your wishes and dreams. You will become the new Ashura, as I did before you. And I could not be any prouder.
I've met Ashura. Ashura spoke to me. He saved me from a life of meaningless slaughter.
You, sir, are no Ashura. You are a charlatan and a demiurge!
What? You would turn against your king?!
Yeeeeeah. Not buying it, pal.
Have seen book. Read prophecy. Tells of monster who prepares delicious meat!
The real Ashura would've known the prophecy of the Worldly Eater. What was your next sentence after our acceptance? "All you have to do is swear fealty to me, now and forever?"
Ahahahaha that big stupid voice! It sounds just like him.
Why, thank you!
HOLY CRAP IT'S LIKE SOMEONE STAPLED THREE UGLY GUYS TOGETHER AND THEN GLUED ON MORE UGLY
Ha! You prove your deception readily enough! Elly, merely say the word, and we shall spring forth into action!
Oh my god. He's not breathing! He's not breathing!
But, I am! I'm right here! Hullo?
Archfiend has kill friend Dente!
...ah. I see.
Ashura. Hooooo boy, Ashura.
First, some background. As you may have noticed in previous chapters, the difficulty curve in SaGa games is traditionally a bit... uneven. One moment, you're bopping around, slaughtering the local monster population without a care in the world. Then, you go up a floor/tower level/cave floor/whatever, and you immediately get pasted. Most of the time, you can pick your fights, learn what monsters have which attacks and how hard they can hit, and then adjust your tactics. Once you carve out a comfortable niche and start making money again, you can trade up your gear, buy some powerups, and get back to owning everyone.
All of this works great until you get to the endgame boss fights. And then, the difficulty curve busts right out through the ceiling and soars off into the night sky, never to be heard from again.
Ashura is nasty. Unless you've grinded into unstoppable supermen, you are in for a huge shock. You'll notice Dente took well over 800 damage from one hit from 3Heads.
Trog avenges! HYAH!
Oh, and you know what's really cute about this fight? Ashura has O-Physical and just about every elemental resistance under the sun. Most of your attacks already do half or zero damage. In what must necessarily become rocket tag, this makes life... a bit more difficult than it needs to be.
What to do? Well, first of all, Ashura Labs, Inc. has already been kind enough to provide us with our opening gambit. What? You don't remember it? I'm not surprised—it got quietly stashed in our inventory when we read the dead guy's journal. Now, I'm not sure how you'd hide this particular item in a diary, but with that being said...
You killed my friend. You unleashed Su-Zaku. You've been feeding us lies since we met you, and you've pushed me one step too far.
Oh, I'm positively trembling in fear. What're you going to do, fire your Hyper cannon at me? I invented those. Do you honestly think I wouldn't program in a failsafe?
Nah, I kinda figured the Hyper wouldn't work. But I have something else that does.
This is Gunnery Sargent Myra Elsom, Neo-Atlantis Marines, 12th Division. Requesting delivery of Fat Man to coordinates Alpha-Bravo-Tango-Oh-Niner-Six.
*bzzt* Sargent Elsom, what is your authorization code, over?
Sierra-India-Omega, a triangle, and what looks like a couple of squiggly fish.
Copy that. Fat Man is en route.
What the heck was that all about? Who was on the other end of that gizmo?
You guys might want to take a few steps back.
That's right, reading the journal stashes a tactical fucking nuke in your inventory.
The N.Bomb lacks the "instant win" nature of the Hyper cannon, but it makes up for it by shelling out 550+ damage to everything you're facing. It's not exactly high art, but it gets the job done. Of course, you only get one shot with it, so make it count. Also, while it's enough to put away fiends and large enemy groups, against an archfield, well...
He's still standing, Elly.
I can see that, Rez!
He's still standing why is he still standing
Good hit. Real solid.
I'm okay, Rez. I can still fight. I can...
You killed Dente! You hurt Trog and Elly!
It's stabbin' time
Esper technology? How?! I thought that race was extinct!
You thought wrong, jerkwad!
And who carries the day? Why, unassuming little Rezen, of course! Her spells may not be helpful against Ashura, but her Psi Sword is a mana attack, and that cuts right through O-Physical. Unlike the rest of our fighters, she's dishing out a cool 300 damage on top of the atom bomb we just set off. And since Ashura only has one attack per round, with Armor engaged, she can actually take hits! Go, Rezen, go!
HYAH! *swing* HYAH! *stab*
She's quite the warrior. You wouldn't know it by looking at her.
Indeed. The stoutest heart I know—well, knew. With all due respect, sir, I remember your appearance being different last time.
You change forms all the time, Dente. I don't know why you thought I couldn't.
C'mon! Get up so I can knock you down again!
*pant* Your armor won't last forever, child. I know the weaknesses of your race. And when it goes away... so will you.
He's right, I'm afraid. Her protection will wear out before his lifeforce does.
No! Is there nothing to be done?
Nothing Rezen can do. However, if someone else were to get involved...
Ow! ... Oh crud. Not now! Not the one time I actually need it!
I will give you this: you've killed all of my fiends, made it to the top of the tower, and wounded me badly. You're stronger than any that came before. A pity it ends this way, but it won't be a complete loss. My scientists may yet find something useful in your leftover parts.
Ugh, my liver. How do you even break your liver? How is that possible?
He doesn't know you're here. Now's your chance.
Wait, he doesn't know I'm here! Now's my chance!
(C'mon, legs, work with me here. Ugggggh)
What's wrong? Have you finally run out of inane commentary?
... Nooooo! Not like this! *swoon*
Oh, yes. Exactly like this. This is the end of your journey, Esper. Die now, knowing that you failed so close to your goal.
And that we failed everywhere else!
Oh yeah. Caused a power vacuum in Base Town, destabilized Cloud World, left a pile of corpses in Neo-Atlantis. We pretty much failed our way right up the tower. We've gotten pretty good at it!
Why are you still telling jokes?! I'm about to kill you! You shouldn't be telling jokes!
Wanna know what else we've gotten good at?
Distracting fiends for each other.
You don't lay hands on my little sister, asshole.
How are you guys holding up?
Better. Glad we stocked up on all those elixirs.
Trog is preferring cherry. *burp*
What are we going to do about Dente?
I dunno. Pack him into Paradise with us and hope there's a House of Life?
They raise an excellent point.
Ah, but I think you underestimate the resourcefulness of your friend.
Hee hee hee. About that...
What is that look for? What are you up to?
Remember that lab we visited? The one where Trog punched everyone's face in?
Remembering! Was better times back then.
It was like four hour ago!
Well, with everyone rolling around and holding bloody noses, there was no one keeping an eye on their experiments.
So I looted the place!
Oh, Rezen. Always the kleptomaniac.
Hey, I thought it would be useful! Anyway, check this out.
"Ashura Labs, Inc. Prototype Revive Serum." Huh.
Let's dose Dente up with this stuff and see if he comes back!
As himself or a slobbering zombie?
Meh, either one.
It appears our time together is at an end, Dente D'Antaine.
But I have so many questions left!
How do you even work this thing? I mean, do you inject it, or...?
And, as always, you'll have to find the answers yourself. Besides, you have much work left to do...
Trog will help! *heave*
Hi, Dente! Are you a zombie?
It... doesn't appear so, no.
Then maybe you should keep eating bwa ha ha ha
...wow, nothing? After all the trouble I went through setting that up?
Ah. Ha... ha! Ha.
I don't need your pity.
Well... here it is.
We made it. I can't believe it. Where so many others had failed, we succeeded.
Trog worries. What awaits in Paradise? Is good? Evil? No one knows!
Y'know... this was my idea, guys. You don't have to go through with it if you don't want to. I'll understand completely.
The hell we don't! We didn't kill four fiends and shoot that six-armed asshole in the back of all three of his heads just to turn around and leave you here!
Agreed! Trog swore loyalty! Will never break oath.
Oh, you guys. You're just the best.
Elly? Can I hold your hand?
You bet, kiddo.
Can be holding mandible?
Let's do this!
Next Time: Bonus Feature A2—Alternate Ending 1