Part 25: When did this get so metaphysical?
Time to hunt down a terrified child. Let's try the closest option: the shed.
alright i give up lets shoot the shit with the townsfolk
NO CHOICE?! What do you mean, no choice?! That kid will DIE!! How can that sit well with you?
That's right. There's no option. People value themselves above others, so it doesn't matter if some kid has to die.
Villager: ... Right... We've got no choice. If that child is not purified, then what will happen to my own daughter?!
Okay, actually, let's not. They haven't changed one bit and while Millenia is a huge dick to them, it's more depressing than funny.
Ah, the one with the "Eye" grows in strength... She has been doing this for quite some time now...
What?! What the hell are you talking about?
The consciousness of these people has been stolen by the "Eye." They have to be freed of its grasp soon, otherwise they'll die.
Gradually, they're sleep talking less and less, right? When they cease talking completely, they cease living.
Ryudo! If Miss Millenia is right then we cannot afford to waste any time! We must find Aira!
Guess we should check the most obvious place for her to be.
Uh-uh, she's here. Just wait a little.
That graphical effect is 90s as hell.
Here...? What is this place? Where's Aira?
This is the entrance... into her soul.
When did this get so metaphysical?
She's escaped within herself. Probably hugging her knees right now...
Once we enter the world within her soul, we won't be able to get out until we... settle this. You ready?
The 'yes' option here is "Let's rock." It feels a bit inappropriate for invading a small child's soul.
Right on! Time for a little soul-searching of our own!
While I'm not sure that I believe any of what just happened, we're back in gameplay town, so let's go over what I've acquired lately. First up, the Book of Warriors dropped from the Eyeball Bat fight.
Life Up (+50/100/200/400/800 HP)
Toughness (+10/20/30/40/50 VIT, meaning DEF)
Speed (+10/20/30/40/50 AGI, meaning ACT)
Abandonment (Increases dodge chance)
Defensive (Reduces IP damage)
Two of these are exceptionally good. A second copy of Life Up affords Millenia the ungodly levels of HP previously enjoyed only by Roan, while +50 AGI is an incredible buff to how quickly a character acts.
This pretty much bottoms out my Special Coins. On the Magic Coin side of things, I start upgrading Zapfire Chant. Once they have two maxed out fire chants, whoever has the Chaos Egg will have the pleasure of firing off instant double damage Burnstrikes. I also leveled up Crackle so Roan can provide some support damage, but we don't have any ice chants yet.
Lastly, Millenia's actually gained a new Special Move since she was last in our party - Starving Tongue (55 SP) is like a weaker, cheaper version of Fallen Wings that has the added benefit of healing her for all the damage she does. Personally, I'd rather spend the SC on upgrading Fallen Wings.
HP: 1500 (from 720)
Abilities: Power Press (~220, Cancel)
Immune to , Weak to
Six enemies that can cancel you would be scary as hell if they didn't have really low stats to compensate. Their overworld behavior is pretty cool, though - they can teleport around to surprise you.
The first part of Aira's Space looks pretty much entirely like this. There aren't very many distinct landmarks, so you might get turned around if you're not very good at navigating through people's minds.
This bridge is where you want to be. I don't think the bridge wants to be here, though. It keeps flickering in and out of transparency. Bug Count: 19
Wait. We're inside someone's mind. How can we pick up gold? Are... are these bitcoins?
mister whale please take me away from this place i think it is hazardous to my mental health
mister whale this place is worse.
you are a bad whale
The second part of this area features combined packs of ogres and hammerheads. They're a lot more respectable together than apart. Also, there's this thing:
The lever turns on its own and bubbles pop out. I don't understand and I don't feel okay. Let's get out of here.
HP: 2333 (from 580)
Abilities: Wow!, Burnflame (~360 damage)
Resistant to , Weak to
Concept Art: Here.
They're beefy, they hit hard, they've got AoE magic and they don't come alone. Their elemental affinity is really inconvenient as well. In case I haven't talked about their spells before, Wow! is +3 ATK on one ally, while Burnflame is AoE fire damage.
Also they look so weird.
The area is divided by rivers of blood-tears which you can cross using these bridges, once you destroy the eyeball on top. I can't believe I just typed that sentence.
Also there are spike traps because why the hell not. Interesting loot in the area includes equipment that increases dodge chance and a combat item that gives +5 ATK to someone - probably the only ATK buff worth using.
We have hit maximum weird.
Also, maximum rude. These eye-pillars lock you in and spawn hellhounds right before you can touch the save point.
Save point means boss fight, so I make some last-minute preparations. I've accumulated enough SC to max out Ryudo's Tenseiken Slash, which gives it the incredibly useful property of activating almost instantly. Timing Cancels is now much, much easier. I've also kept pumping up Millenia and Roan's spells, and equipped a whole mess of resist. We should be ready.
This is our destination. The Room of Solitude.
I know... Believe me, kid, I know... Come, we'll take you to your mother.
You're lying. I know it. You're afraid of me too. The girl with wings... just wants to eat me!
It must be a lie... even my mother asked you to kill me, right?
... You're wrong, kid. See...
HP: 12000/8000/8000 (from 10000/6000/6000)
Attack: ~450 (on tendrils; main body does not have a melee attack)
Abilities: Spew Pollen (~350 AoE damage, Confuse), Crackle (~900 damage if you have no resistance), Spellbinding Eye
Heal (~1500), Runner (a special version that has double the effect)
Tendril Abilities: Seed of Sleep, Seed of Poison (both AoE)
Peyenapple. There, I said it.
Video: A Harrowing Experience (Apologies for the choppiness)
If there's one fight everyone remembers from this game, it's probably the Eye. Even in the normal game, it was a sudden difficulty spike - on Hard Mode it can be a showstopper. Having three parts of its own and an escort of four Eyeball Bats, it can output as much as 3000 damage in one cycle of turns while dumping as many as three different status effects on 2-3 people each.
I beat it on my first try this run, but I've essentially been preparing for this fight the entire game:
I have at least 2-3 of my characters protected against Sleep and Confusion;
Similarly, almost everyone has some level of Blizzard resist so as not to get clowned on by Crackle;
I've spent upwards of 3000 MC pumping Burnstrike so Millenia could kill the Eye before running out of MP;
I've also spent the 3750 SC necessary to get Tenseiken Slash up to max level;
Finally, I have a battle plan:
Killing an eyeball bat to disable Delta Burst greatly reduces their damage output, so I open with a few Snoozes or Sleeping Harps (available in Mirumu) to take the bats out of the fight for a while. Then, I focus one down with everyone except Ryudo - he'll be spending all his SP canceling the main body so nobody gets wrecked. Once one bat is dead and Delta Burst is disabled, you can either stack Runner or ignore the other three and start killing the main body. One way or another, your MP and time are both limited, as your healer will be bled dry very quickly by 600-900 damage Crackles and AoE seeds. If you did everything right, the Eye should go down before this becomes a problem.
If you're lacking in even one of the areas on the list above, you're going to have a much tougher time. Funnily enough, its signature skill Spellbinding Eye is the least of your worries - it causes a super-paralysis that can't be resisted, but a turn spent using it is a turn not spent wrecking you with abilities that actually do damage.
As for the matter of the Seven Deadly Sins, there's a pretty good argument to be made for Sloth. The villagers are all passive, spineless followers whose curse is to sleep themselves to death, contentedly wasting away.
Don't you know by now? I won. She's mine now!
Stop! Where else do we look? There's a way to save the girl! We just have to find it!
I said there ISN'T one. Either I devour her, or she devours me. And I'm no one's dinner.
Didn't we already go through this, Ryudo? She's only going to suffer. Nothing else we can do.
... So this is the Garden of Dreams!?
(listen to thiiiiiiis)
I never thought you were a monster, even for a moment...
Oh, I'm so glad. So you don't hate... me... right?
Look... this is the Garden of Dreams you told me about, mother. Isn't it pretty?
... You, the girl with wings, please... take out this eye... Mother smiled, so I don't need this eye anymore...
I understand everything now.
Please! Leave her alone... Please! She... she...
Mother, don't worry... I have to get rid of this or I... might make more trouble for everyone.
Mother, I love you so...
If I were as able to save her as I was to shoot my mouth off... I'm sorry...
I wish to thank you. It was because of your words that I had the courage to come here.
In the end, you saved her. Look, she's smiling, right?
... She was the light of my life. Now tell me, how can I make my life worth living again...?
Millenia!? You bloody wretched little...!
Hmmm... I see. Look! Over there!
(for once I've edited the soundtrack myself, because linking the full song would ruin like five different things)
Aira might come back if enough of those flowers bloom to fill this place. Though there's no way that'll happen.
Yes it will! I'll make it happen! I'll turn this whole place into a garden!
Miss Millenia! So little Aira will come back!?
Those things you said to Sandra... Were your words meant to give her streng-
Huh? I don't know what you're talking about.
Don't play dumb. Then were you lying when you said that there's hope for Aira?
You DID say that there was no way to save her. On numerous occasions.
Um, well... uh, yeah... Oh, never mind that.
I AM the Wings of Valmar, Ryudo. I could care less about the petty antics of these miserable little humans.
She'll be okay. I know it. A kind girl like little Aira cannot end up like this...
As the raven is born of its own, so does kindness beget kindness. There will be good even in this.
... Well, we should be going. Don't lose hope in Aira. We won't. Take care, and thank you for everything.
Yes, but I'm really hungry... Hey, where's Aira?
... Aira's still sleeping. Sorry.
Aw, and I wanted to come over and play... No fun!
Be nice to little Aira, will you...?
Huh? Of course. We're friends, after all!
Thank you for all your help. Please take care...
Official Art: The Eye of Valmar - closed and open.