Part 32: Bonus Feature B6: Hope ActuallyBonus Feature B6: Hope Actually
Wielding a sword that glowed like the heart of a dying star, Hope struck at the reborn turtle-beast and sent his soul crying into the darkness. She could have used more conventional weapons, but the outcome would have been been the same just slightly more protracted.
He tasted of exorcised spirit, something like chicken, and a bit like turkey. Hope had once heard that there were 9 kinds of meat on a turtle, but only found one.
The Blue Dragon of the East awaited Hope at the top of a stairway suspended from the coral floors of the tower, which looked far too porous to keep the water inside the tower. Such poor design was indicative of unintelligent design being propped up after the fact by a poor loser.
What worked before would work again. For enemies that had been defeated once before, no regard was due.
Other than culinary regard, of course. Of the three Sacred Beasts that Hope had tasted, Sei-Ryu was her least favorite and that remained true with his conversion to undeath.
Behind his re-corpse Hope found armor that was a substantial improvement on the Dragon Armor she had worn since Byak-Ko's world. Hope left her old armor where it fell, having no further need of it.
The next series of escalators was noticeably faster than the previous two, so fast indeed that before Hope realized it...
Her new favorite sword was already embedded in Byak-Ko. Much to her surprise his spirit must have been stronger than the others as he survived a single blow only to fall to the second.
He was bitter in flavor as well as name; Hope had never eaten such a predator, and was now long past caring about such petty things as a creature being endangered.
The fact that Byak-Ko had evidently been a shoe collector was one secret that Hope decided she would not reveal to the world. She put them on, as fighting in high heels seemed an interesting challenge.
Instead she proceeded forward to the fourth beast, who was probably considerably startled by her initial move of jumping directly on to its back.
Unfortunately, it did not have time to process that emotion before Hope finished their battle.
Four large meals in such a short time were making Hope sleepy, but she knew that she must persevere and move forward. With Ashura gone, there was nothing halting her climb except for her own indolence.
Her interest was briefly revived with the beautiful sword she found near the remains of Su-Zaku, which she took for the sake of collection if nothing else.
Knowing that whatever was at the end of the road was just ahead, Hope took a moment to arrange her equipment for whatever came next. (180 Str, 255 Agl, 750 HP)
A final elevator awaited, rising above the clouds a different set of clouds than those of Byak-Ko's world, somehow more natural. Instinctively Hope knew that these clouds would not bear her weight if she were to leave the platform.
On a blank white plain the man in the hat waited. Hope stood in front of him, puzzled by his reference to a game. She was not alone in her puzzlement, as both Hope and her spirits imagined games to generally involve teams and scores and goals, none of which she had.
A lively conversation broke out around Hope as she and the Hat-Wearer looked at each other thoughtfully. The gears turned slowly in Hope's mind as she considered his assertion.
Had all of her actions been planned by the man in front of her? Both those that she had done intentionally and those that had appeared to be happenstance? Still, a wish sounded nice
Except that Hope somehow didn't think that this player of games would be inclined to grant the wish that was growing in her heart.
First Hope tested out her newest sword, and found that it wasn't quite what she had hoped for although, all in all, it could do the job. The Creator was less than impressed as well, as he completely ignored Hope's attacks.
Second, Hope tested the sword that had worked so well against the various undead beasts, and found that the Creator was definitely not of the same type and kind as those she had previously struck down so easily. A pity, as that would have simplified matters..
Finally Hope returned to her favorite sword, the Sword of Glass, and watched it bite deep into the Creator's supposedly (and demonstrably not) invulnerable flesh. This was her tool, and as she cut again and again the Creator began to strike back with increasing ferocity.
To no avail, for Hope had grown faster than God and nearly as strong, and as the Creator's left and right arms flailed at her and flares burst around her body she carved away at the Creator's flesh until at last he fell before her. And so Hope was left with her companion spirits, wondering what was the greater blasphemy: what she had just done, or what she was about to do.
After all, as I have said before our Hope was a hungry girl.
Going up the final stretch of the tower there's no reason to engage in any random battles, and once you know that the Sun Sword can kill all the fiends in a single blow not much point in fighting them seriously either. It's just a waste of time and resources, and the only change would be having to use an elixir or two on the way up. For a single character it's just more hassle you don't need. I did find it amusing that I got meat from all four fiends on the way up the tower when I had absolutely no need of it.
With the Creator I decided to try out the various weapons before deciding that the Glass sword was the option to go with. At this point it's very much a damage race, so there's no other option but to go all out. If I'd had a CatCraw, that would possibly have done even more damage. I could have ensured that I would win if I'd had more HP, but since I only went to 750 Hope was actually in serious danger of losing and came within a single Flare spell of dying. It all worked out in the end, and I don't think I could have changed it very much if I'd just used the Glass sword from the beginning since that would have just combined the first two rounds. You could probably cut it closer by managing your damage a bit more closely than I did so as to minimize his uses of Flare.
I could also have gone with the Saw with this character, but I wanted to see if it was possible to win in a straight up fight, so I'm glad I went in that direction.