Part 25: Relm, Destroyer of WorldsChapter 25: Relm, Destroyer of Worlds
After a relatively uneventful walk, here we are at the Esper Caves. It's probably the shortest dungeon in the game, so much so that it doesn't even have a distinct theme.
Music: Mt. Koltz
The place sure tries to make itself look big by offering multiple paths, but the top and left forks just loop back around to each other and offers no treasure besides.
In the chest there, you'll find a Heal Rod, which cures people who you whack with it. Since Strago's still lagging on the spells, I give it to him so that he'll make himself useful.
As we work our way through the caves, we're stalked by a mysterious figure in red, but we can't figure out who it is. Or at the very least, the party doesn't comment on it.
The enemies here are all recolors of enemies we've seen before, though they've picked up some new tricks. For instance, this enemy here uses Pearl Wind, a spell that Strago can learn.
Lore-Pearl Wind: Heals the entire party for an amount equal to Strago's current health. Not max health, current. Which means that when he's at low health (you know, the condition that would require healing) this spell is absolutely useless. Still, it's a healing ability that gets past Reflect status, so that's something.
Hey, this looks important.
: Say, old man, what else can you tell us about these Goddesses?
: They quite literally created Magic, as we know it.
: So, they're the Goddesses of Magic, then?
: You could say that.
: I can feel their power...
: The Statues are the source of all magic. It's said that the Espers made these images, and put them in a very special place. These represent power beyond all comprehension...
: Say, old timer, what happened to the Stone Goddesses?
: Legend has it that they're hidden somewhere beyond the reach of humans. I'd say they're beyond the sealed gate...
: I wonder if the barrier that protects that place is generated by those stone Goddesses? If the Espers were attracted here by these Statues, they must be around here somewhere!
The game immediately draws our attention to the only other doorway out of this room besides the one that we entered through.
: I think it's worth a look.
Before we go, each one of these statues has a portion of a very boring story, and I'd be remiss if I let you guys miss out on it.
"Those unlucky humans who got in the way were transformed into Espers, and used
as living war machines..."
"The goddesses finally realized that they were being laughed at by those who had
banished them here. In a rare moment of mutual clarity, they agreed to seal themselves away from the world. With their last ounce of energy, they gave the Espers back their own free will, and then transformed themselves...into stone. Their only request was that the Espers keep them sealed away for all eternity."
"The Espers created these statues as a symbol of their vow to let the goddesses
sleep in peace. The Espers have sworn to keep the goddesses' power from being abused."
Intriguing. This is the only backstory we'll get on this game's major plot device, and with the exception of the little spiel from the party members at the start, it's completely optional.
Suddenly...Ultros. Can octopi stick to ceilings? I think I'd remember reading about something like that.
Ultros: G'heh, heh... These shiny statues are all mine! These will get Ziegfried's attention! Oh! They're glowing!! They're... beautiful!
Sigfriend's still got naming problems, I see, and apparently he's gotten himself into some sort of rivalry when we weren't looking. Why doesn't the game flashback to stuff like that?
Ultros: Uh, well they always said I was a slow learner...but I eat FAST!!
Music: Regular Battle Theme
Ultros: I've more lives than I do arms!
Ultros' main arsenal hasn't changed from prior encounters. He still uses tentacles and ink, and he still talks up a storm. The main thing he does now is he slowly sneaks up to the party, and if you let him get too close, he does either Aqua Rake or Magnitude 8. However, if you hit him three times, he'll shrink back, making this gimmick something that only occurs if you're actually trying to make it happen.
If you hit him with too much magic though, he'll power up and start countering Fire, Ice and Bolt with their level 3 equivalents. Naturally, if everyone's got reflect on, this next part of the fight might be even easier because he'll just start nuking himself to death.
All that stuff sounds way too complicated though, so I just Vanish-Doom him to death, getting 3 GP out of it.
: I suppose it wouldn't hurt to have you along.
: All right all ready! If you insist...
: That's better!
I feel like I'm missing something here.
Okay, fine, I'll kill him the way the game wants me to.
You see, Ultros has 22,000 health, but he's scripted to do certain things after he goes down to a certain level of health. When he drops below 15,360, he'll cast Haste and Safe on himself, and when he gets past 10,240...
Music: Relm's Theme
Seeing as my commentary for this entire sequence would just be me pounding my head on the desk, allow me to summarize:
Relm flirts with Ultros and wants to paint his picture. Ultros says no, Relm pretends to be suicidal, and Locke and Terra scold Ultros until he says yes.
Relm's Sketch ability is similar to Gau's Rages. If she succeeds at drawing the monster, she does the monster's attack to the enemy group. In the case of Ultros, it also causes him to have an existential crisis.
Ultros: How can this be? I...I'm nothing more than a stupid octopus!
Alternatively, you can just wear down the 10,000 or so health he has remaining and kill him that way, but Relm will still take all the credit.
Relm can Sketch all sorts of monsters, but most of them aren't really worth the time. Just be careful about what you Sketch though, because...
Well, let's just say you should never try to Sketch an invisible enemy. Characters will vanish or be twisted in weird ways, items will spontaneously disappear and appear in your inventory, save files will be erased, ocean tides will rise, inflation will skyrocket, spiders will eat your children, and you might have to load state.
Anyway, enough of that, let's continue on with the dungeon.
Those holes will deposit you on different platforms. You're supposed to take the left one, but the top and right ones will take you to places with...unique treasures.
Strago and Relm are the only ones who can wear the Chocobo Suit, which coincidentally also protects against poison. There's also a Tabby Suit, which I throw immediately onto Strago, because the idea of an old man dressing like a cat amuses me to no end.
Relm, being the sweet little moron that she is, immediately gives away the fact that we're here.
Naturally, this turns out to be a very bad idea.
: I didn't think they'd look so...
: Gramps, take Relm and clear outta here!
Not happening. Fortunately, before the whole thing gets too far out of hand...
Some guy named Yura: HALT!
A gray-haired Esper who we're probably supposed to recognize from Maduin's segment pushes his way through the throng.
And then he and Terra start...glowing at one another.
: What is it?
: I sense some immense magical power in Terra...It...frightens me...
: I wonder if she's gonna go ballistic again!?
They glow at each other for a while, and there are a lot of sound effects. This is surely symbolic of something, but I don't care to find out what.
: You're the Espers that fled through the sealed gate?
Yura: As a rule, we are not allowed to visit your world. We few had gathered near the gate, and were wondering how we could save the Espers that had been kidnapped. It was just a coincidence that Terra appeared when she did...
: I felt... your presence... through the gate.
Yura: We bolted the moment Terra opened the gate. But once in your world, we lost control of our powers. We completely leveled a city...and took some innocent lives...
: That's what happened to me! I lost all control of my power...
: You must use caution while in our world...
Yura: We are deeply sorry to have caused you humans such suffering and pain.
: The past is history. The Empire seems to want to talk peace with you. Why not come with us?
Yura: They would forgive us so easily?
Next Time: The humans and Espers discuss their specific issues with one another and come to a mutually beneficial agreement that will last for thousands of years.
Yup. That's totally what happens.