Part 38: A form of energyAs usual after a big dungeon / plot point, we've got a lot of optional dialogue to see now - enough for two updates, in fact! In addition, we can also visit Hemble and keep playing the arm wrestling minigame for fabulous prizes. Let's start with that, shall we?
These are not weird things. They're sensor antennas.
They're... what!? Those are so freaky, I'll bet they're the latest fashion, eh?
No, they are part of my body. They have nothing to do with fashion.
Eeewwww! I don't believe it! Those crazy wires sticking out of that cute little head!
Oh, so you think she's cute, do you?
Quiet, buster! Unless you want to come try to beat me at arm wrestling!
Are you ready? The first one to win twice wins the match! OK, let's start!
To refresh you on the mechanics of the minigame, whoever has the higher Power at any given time slowly pushes the other's arm towards the table. Holding down (or, more efficiently, tapping) the right trigger increases Ryudo's Power while draining his endurance, while mashing the action button recovers his endurance.
Speaking of endurance, that's basically the only way to win. Hemble has a set pattern of maybe 30 seconds of medium to high power, followed by a permanent drop to low power. You don't actually have enough endurance to beat him before he tires out, so the trick is to stay in the game until he does, then replenish your endurance to full and spend the whole bar pushing him back.
You can play 5 matches against him. The more you beat him, the higher his power goes before he tires out. The trick to beating the hardest ones is alternating spending/recovering endurance - if you mash the action button for about a second and then pull the R trigger, Ryudo's endurance continues recovering for a bit even after he starts pushing.
The rewards are, in order:
- a Revival Gem
- a Hero's Elixir (Revive and +5 ///)
- the Silver Freeze (+80 ATK, Blizzard-elemental, can be used to cast Freeze!)
- a Gold Feather, which advances the IP of party members in an area, essentially giving them a free turn
- a pair of Glass Slippers (+10 MOV, +20 ACT) which I give to Tio
All of them pretty cool. Talk to you never, Hemble!
Ok... I'm not arm wrestling with you anymore, sad as it is... I just can't win against you!
Speaking of rewards, we also got some swag from the Claws of Valmar:
- Another set of Demon's Tears to increase Mareg's combo length
- A Mana Insignia that drops all MP consumption by 15%
- The Book of Gales:
Dash (+10 to +50 SPD, meaning MOV)
Stormcloud Chant (Powers up /)
Northwind Chant (Powers up / magic)
Aim for Counter (sometimes allows for a free attack after dodging)
Skilled Item Use (speeds up item use)
Another Skilled Item Use is always handy, as is an ice chant. Aim for Counter is mostly good for speeding up normal battles.
Finally, someone asked for a summary of the party's current condition, so here you go. If you're not interested in that, skip through this post until you see Valmar's crest.
Ryudo's pretty much fantastic. He has naturally high strength and fairly good agility - with skills equipped, he's the fastest and strongest physical attacker on the team. Hell, he even has slightly higher base magic than Elena.
As for his moves, he has level 5 Tenseiken Slash and that's all he needs. Its instant speed and cancel property make it leagues better than his other moves, regardless of their damage scaling. His job in any serious fight is to throw out Tenseikens until the boss stops moving.
The Mist Egg he's had equipped for about fifteen hours now has seen basically no use outside of Runner. Ryudo isn't that bad of a caster, he just has better things to do.
Elena's honestly not that great. Her standout stat is Mentality, but magic defense isn't really something you can build a character around. She's also happened to duck out of basically every major boss fight so far.
I've spent a little SC on her regardless, for Droplets of Life. She's actually going to stick around for a few hard bosses in the near future and it's a great panic button.
Millenia basically has Elena's stats if her Mentality and Magic were switched around, and is an immensely stronger character for it. Elena in the above screenshot had a skill equipped that was giving her +40 MAG, so Millenia has a full 60 more than her naturally. Thanks to this and her maxed out fire chants, she does about twice the damage anyone else could ever hope to. Unless she needs to cast a buff or debuff, her job is to set people on fire every chance she gets. This is also what I have Elena do, she's just worse at it.
This is Grudging Claws, by the way. Single-target damage tends to be more valuable than AoE on Hard Mode, so it's probably a better use of her SP than Fallen Wings. I might level it up at some point as an alternative to her magic, but Special Coins are still pretty scarce at this point in the game and I have greater plans.
The Chaos Egg Elena and Millenia have been sharing is the star of the magic show thanks to Burnstrike. There's a lightning and explosion spell that are technically 'stronger' single-target damage spells, but they don't have as many chants as fire does and are prohibitively expensive. I'll be showing every spell off in a bonus video towards the end of the game, when I'm swimming in Magic Coins - as it stands, I can't afford to be fancy.
Mareg is a slab of beef. He's basically Ryudo if you chopped off all of his magical competence and added it to his strength. He also has more health and more SP, though he's a bit slower. He's an equally good choice for primary physical attacker / canceler, but he joined the party relatively late and I've neglected him as a result. As it stands, he's most valuable for the Skilled Item Use I gave him, which lets him toss revival elixirs at people with remarkable efficiency.
He only needs 2000 more SC to max out his Beast-Fang Cut and start being a huge canceling dick with it, though. Once he has that, I might throw him a few better skills.
His Gravity Egg, as it turns out, has actually had about as many levels pumped into it as the Chaos Egg. I... don't recall doing that, nor why - it might have been to learn Halvah so I can cure Plague and stat reduction now that Roan's not around. It's a pretty solid support egg now, so I put it on Ryudo since he gets more turns. We'll see if it ends up getting any use.
Roan isn't traveling with us anymore, but we might as well look at what his stats were before he left. He's sort of a middle ground between Millenia's Magic and Elena's Mentality, while also being a little faster and better at physical attacks. When Millenia wasn't in the party, he was actually the best mage we had, but I couldn't really be bothered to give him the keys to Burnstrike since we never fought any major bosses without Millenia.
I leveled up his Golden Hammer and Vitality March to 3 stars each, which was probably a mistake. He did use them a few times, but now that SC is sunk and not doing our current party any good.
Finally, our new party member, Tio, is the best character. Her stats are similar to Roan's, with somewhat lower magic in exchange for very high agility - assuming no skills are involved, she's the fastest character in the game. More importantly, however:
This thing, right here. Note the writing in the red box to the left of the move description: Enemy Line. That's right, her basic cancel skill hits in a line in front of her. Under the right conditions, she can cancel every enemy on the field in one turn. It'll take 2000 more SC to make it instant, but it's a good candidate for best special move in the game. Only Droplets of Life can even try to contest that title.
Magic-wise, I've given her Roan's old Holy Egg and the water/ice chants to support Alhealer and Crackle. Her SP's a bit too low to build her entirely around her cancel skill, so she gets to be Better Roan for now. I might be tempted to switch her and Ryudo's role once we get a skill that increases maximum SP, though.
As far as equipment goes, everyone just has whatever gives them the highest numbers and the most status resistances - only accessories are a meaningful choice, really. Currently, Ryudo and Mareg both have Demon's Tears to speed up normal fights while Elena and Tio have +ACT accessories because getting more turns is great.
That should be everything - let's get back to the talky words.
I have to wonder - do most people know that that's Valmar's crest? I sure hope they don't, because I can't help but worry about what people think of Cyrum proudly displaying it all over their fortifications.
Man: I'm a descendant of the People of Darkness. My future is bleak. I don't know what to do anymore.
Man: Oh... I'm not attractive to girls, because I'm a descendant of the People of Darkness.
Some people have had a... strange reaction to the sudden revelation.
How does being a descendant of the People of Darkness relate to attracting girls?
His problem lies within himself. He is concerned about his heritage and that paralyzes him. There is nothing we can do.
Man: I understood what the new King said, and I want to try to be free of the past, but it's hard to adapt so quickly.
Woman: I've grown beyond being dependent on men! I want to become a strong woman who can help this country achieve its destiny!!
Sweet, feminism! I knew there should've been women at that speech!
It is you who governs your own destiny.
Woman: I'll start small and build steadily! My idea is to do what I can, bit by bit, to help this country have a great future!
You look so happy. What did you buy? ... Oh, a pin, is it? Hey! The picture looks just like Roan!
Girl: Yes! A pin with Roan's picture on it! I got the last one, too! I'm so happy!
Ah, the true purpose of having a royal family - lucrative merchandising.
He is crying... That is what people do when they are sad... Are you sad right now, sir?
Tio. It does not take a hurricane to sway the branches of a tree. Tears may flow for reasons other than sorrow.
Yeah. There are MANY other occasions for tears... like when you rack up a gambling debt... or when you botch a job...
Man: To think, I've lived in this country for so many years, and I never knew we had such a past. [sob] [sob]
Tears... Excuse me, but are you deeply moved by something now? Are you in debt? Did you lose some money?
... Tio. Sorry, I didn't mean to mislead you, I was trying to be funny.
Actually, Roan was not attempting to deceive anyone. He-
Hee hee. Yeah, I know. He had some special situation, right? Whatever. I don't need to know about it.
I always thought he seemed too refined for his age... It turns out he's a prince! No! A KING!
Too bad you guys didn't figure that out. You coulda been court dancers! Ha!
Ha! Even if we did dance for the king, do you think living in a castle suits us? We're natural born entertainers!
We travel as we must... to entertain!
Still. We worry about the boy. King or not. We'll take care of him here, Ryudo, don't worry about that.
I stopped worrying about Roan a long time ago. Anyway, it's probably good for you to be associated with the King, right?
Hey! We have a special show we've been saving for a special occasion. You can't leave the country until you've seen it.
Agh. This noisy festival seems endless. This special show of yours, when are you planning to perform it?
Heh. Just as soon as Risotto and Carpaccio get here... any minute now. ...What in blazes is taking them so long?
Yeah, about that...
Uh, yeah. He snuck the whole royalty thing right by all of us as well, so don't feel too stupid, big guy...
Being da king must be fun. You get to fill your belly with kingly food and best of all you got no boss yelling at you.
Uh, guys... Some important stuff, uh, a stage and some tools... We, uh, sank dem in da ocean...
How are you planning to dig yourself out of this one?
Could you ask da boy to announce dat "no one could get mad if somebody else weared Paella's clothes?"
Uh, I don't think THAT'S giong to happen.
But if Paella finds out I borrowed her clothes and ruined dem, she'll beat da daylights out uh me...
How about if da boy outlaws da beating of people with really bad burps...?
I don't THINK so!
We'll be a four-man troupe, working to help the young new king. This'll make us more popular than ever!
Was that "help the young new king," or, "EXPLOIT the young new king...?" Hmm?
We can do all kinds of skits about Roan! And all of them will be true stories!
You mean stories about how Roan uses his wealth and wisdom to overcome crises?
...But if we do that, we won't have any parts to play... Aw forget it! We can't dramatize that stuff!
Did you not just say that these skits would all be "true stories?"
Friends...? Master, what does he mean by "friends?"
Friends are the people that stand by you and support you, through both happy and sad times. They are essential...
Essential for survival... So, are they a form of energy?
Yes, Data... I suppose you could say that.
Are you uncomfortable about having a child as your king?
Man: Oh, no. His proclamation is so reassuring. Glad we'll have him to lead us into the future. I'm so impressed with him.
Man: I'm gonna take the king's advice and try out some new things... things I've never done before.
Sticking with the same routine gets boring after a while... it's always good to change things up - keep them fresh.
Man: Anyway, ya can't make big changes off the bat, so I'll start with something modest. From now on, I brush my teeth every day!
But, ma'am, remember what Roan said? You need to look ahead and live for the future, not the past.
Old Lady: Yes, that's true, but... I'm old and I don't have much future left.
Old Lady: I was born and raised in this country. And this makes exactly 100 bazaars that I've seen in my life.
Old Lady: I'd looked forward to having a lot of good memories today, but... instead I've got to face an awful one.
Even though our ears are different and he has no tail, we get along fine... After all, he's a great friend to my son!
You are quite right... Despite all the "People of Darkness" stuff, everyone is really pretty much the same.
There is no reason for everyone to NOT get along. Tribes and nations should never matter. Not ever.
He and my son have bonded through song and dance.
Songs and dances, which we of the Mau Tribe take pride in, are able to bring souls together. Isn't that just wonderful?
Bring souls together? If you put two souls together, would not that make one big soul?
No, he speaks of the bond that can form between two people. Their souls intermix, so that they may understand each other.
This guy's actually working now, so let's have our fortune told.
Fortune Teller: OK! Here... we... go...! Hmm... yes... Your future is...
Fortune Teller: Oh! No answer! Something awaits you, but the snake can't tell what it is, so be very careful, OK?
Oh, is that so? I appreciate the warning.
Hah! What a con artist! Don't go buying into his scheme, Mareg!
We can also ask him about the future of Cyrum.
Fortune Teller: That cannot be foretold. It's because this country's future will be created by all of us.
Fortune Teller: The same goes for your individual futures. Don't complain if your predictions are wrong. Each one of us creates his own future!
Hey, how about that? Finally the psycho spouts some sense.
Goldfish Lady: It's very simple: you use this special fishing line to catch goldfish in the tank. Pretty easy, eh?
I use this line to catch goldfish? And what is the benefit of that?
What is the benefit...? That's not a relevant question, Tio.
Goldfish Lady: Let me explain something about goldfish and fishing. It's a contest between the fish and the fisherman. A thrilling game--
I do not understand. The way you explained it, "goldfish fishing" seems kind of pointless to me.
It's supposed to be pointless... Now that you mention it, Tio, I feel kind of sorry for the goldfish guy.
Aaaaand nobody informed the translator for this bit of dialogue of the goldfish lady's gender. Game localization done by larger companies often has this sort of problem, where the people translating incidental dialogue get raw text to translate with little or no context.
Ha! And what's so special about THAT juice?
Juice Seller: The juice itself is palm juice. But it comes in a special cup bearing an illustration of King Roan♥
I think that's enough NPC dialogue for now, especially since I have an entire post's worth of dinner conversation lined up for the next update. Look forward to a whole bunch of Tio.
Official Art: Early designs for Mareg, some of them really weird. Also Melfice and Hemble.