Part 46: Dance with me, brotherWell, this update ended up massive. You can watch the first (voice acted) chunk of it, including a few clips of fighting Melfice, in video form. "Video ends" to skip screenshots, though you may want to scroll down to the wall of text I wrote about the fight first, if you're interested.
The time has finally come... You will pay for your deeds with your life!
I'll escort you to your funeral! Let me give you a taste of this idol's incredible power!
This sword is the ultimate power those village idiots believed in... The power of justice!
Ryudo, are you sure? Really?
Yeah, you're going with that? I mean, geez.
HP: ~40000 (from 19000)
Special: All -1, Lifesteal, on hit
Abilities: Wailing Soul Slash (~5000 damage), Demon Horde Slash (2000-2400 damage to all), Tremor (~1600), Def-Loss, Shhh!, Poizn
Regenerator Abilities: WOW!, Diggin', Runner, Speedy, Stram, Gravity
Sword Abilities: Allows Melfice to occasionally perform a normal attack out of turn.
I have a lot to say about this fight, so I figured a good way to do it would be to list his main abilities in descending order of threat and mention how to deal with them.
Demon Horde Slash "I'll show you the dangers of your inexperience."
Hooooooo boy. Demon Horde Slash is a great big "You must be this tall to ride" sign hovering over your head like a guillotine if you don't have the health to withstand it. If you've skipped too many enemies and are below level 37 or so, it's an instant party wipe. I want to say you need to be around level 39 to make sure you can take a hit from it. If you're not underleveled, it's merely an instant kill on anyone who doesn't have Life Up equipped (so Mareg) as well as anyone not at full health. Droplets of Life is your reset button for this, since it's the only way to heal and revive multiple party members at once.
Idol Sword "At this rate, you'll never beat me."
Melfice's normal sword attacks pack a decent punch, but more importantly they lifesteal - every point of damage he does with a normal attack gets added to his health. Combine that with the sword itself, a separate entity on the IP bar that grants him extra attacks that share this property, and his HP easily ends up recovering faster than you can whittle it down.
The solution is Runner, of course. He barely gets any hits in once you get three or more stacks of it up. Once you do, the sword's extra attacks are actually beneficial - they will pause Melfice's proper action, which may well be Demon Horde Slash.
Wailing Soul Slash "This is why you are no good."
This move knows what it wants, and it wants you. Wailing Soul Slash hits for a good 200-250% of any given party member's health - it's only survivable if blocked from near-full HP. It comes out faster than Demon Horde as well, so it's less likely that you'll get your Cancels in. Losing one party member is nowhere near as bad as what Demon Horde can do to you, but you still have to spend a few turns reviving them and getting their MOV buffed again so Melfice doesn't just feed on them for health.
Shhh! "You cannot even touch me!"
His silence move gets a mention for dictating half your party's choice of accessories. You simply cannot afford to spend the time it takes to cure it. The Mars Talisman is a great choice for Tio, on the off chance that she eats a normal attack which could disable her moves as well; Elena gets a standard Magic Block Charm.
Speedy "So you think you can beat your big brother?"
I haven't talked about the Regenerator yet, so here's the long and short of it: It's a creepy cackling face on his shoulder that casts support spells. It knows all four stat buffs, but the worst of them is the ACT buff. Melfice is pretty fast to begin with; +5 ACT Melfice is nigh-unbeatable. The solution is Cold, the corresponding ACT debuff - bringing him all the way to -5 ACT gives the party enough time to recover after every Demon Horde Slash while also getting a good chunk of damage in.
Why haven't I used it before, you may ask? Two reasons: Firstly, Melfice is the only Valmar fight so far where (assuming Runner stacks are up) only one part actually does damage to the party. Secondly, the hard hack increased its MP cost from 7 to 40. It's very good in this fight, though, so I maxed it out on two eggs to prepare.
Poizn "I'll spoil everything."
Finally, Poizn gets an honorable mention for crashing my goddamned game. Those of you reading this LP in the marvelous world of tomorrow will already have seen my edits to previous updates indicating why this was happening, but back then I ended up fixing the issue by replacing the FMV that plays when the spell is cast with one corresponding to another spell.
Overall, Melfice is up there with the Eye and Claw on the difficulty ladder. There's an element of luck to it, unfortunately, as he could just decide to throw out so many Demon Horde Slashes that you eventually fail to recover from one in time for the next. You're also gambling quite a bit if you fight him even with a party even one level too weak. That said, assuming you aren't underleveled or exceptionally unlucky, it's a pretty fun fight.
EDIT: I missed a few things about this fight - you can skip ahead to this post if you want to read about them now.
Stay away, Ryudo!
Ryudo... I gave in to Valmar... No-- to my own greed... I am nothing but a weak man...
Smile for me, Ryudo.
Melfice!? You're back to normal!
For what did I try to become strong? Just what have I been doing until now? Everything has been in vain...
Ryudo, I'm glad I got to see you again... My beloved brother... listen closely.
The Divine Sword you are searching for... is to the east along the Granacliffs...
For saving me... from this... vile... curse... Ryudo... t-h-a-n-k you...
Fade. Video ends.
Melfice... you are able to damn yourself no further. May your soul find rest. Perhaps now we may find rest as well.
No... you don't see... Melfice is dead, but this doesn't change a thing! Not a damn thing!
We were never free from danger! We only felt that way because Melfice was here to "protect" us. We thought we were safe as long as he was here.
But, you see... We forgot how to rely on ourselves... We gave up the responsibility for our own lives!
The villagers hang their heads in shame.
And when we lost the one we depended on, we blamed all of our problems on him - Melfice. Yes, it was Ryudo who ran away...
But we have been running away every day since! Our lives have always been OUR responsibility. And now we must see this!
... But the legend of the idol was wrong, and it was really Valmar... What should we believe in...?
FOOL! You haven't heard a word I've said! Can't you do anything without depending on something else?
We must think for ourselves and make our own decision! Only then will we be truly free! Ryudo is still fighting now!
This is dangerous. It may be necessary to exterminate Ryudo now, before the Darkness has the chance to grow.
NO! I will not allow this! Ryudo must not die.
... Why? You wanted to kill Melfice, why not Ryudo as well?
The danger pressent is the same.
Life, Tio. Life must be honored. It alone burns brighter than a thousand suns through this eternal night. It alone is our hope.
Melfice I hated, for he despised life and thus wasted his own. There is no honor in a wasted life, for hope soon withers and dies.
I... do not understand.
You will understand soon enough, Tio. Soon enough.
Voice acting starts up again, video here. "Video 2 ends" to skip screenshots.
... Even if we are able to remove the Horns of Valmar from you, your soul will be destroyed forever... Aaah...
If you lose your soul, then everything I am doing... The whole world... will become meaningless!
How can I, a follower of Granas, pray to Valmar...?
No-- to Millenia. If you can see into my soul, you will understand! Millenia! I have a favor to ask. Come out!
Please, listen to me! Please, understand how I feel! Please, save... Ryudo!!
I don't care what happens to me! Or what happens to my body!
Listen Miss Prissy, I am the Wings of Valmar. My only desire is to devour the Horns possessing Ryudo!
Stop it, Millenia!
I have no one else but YOU!
I want you to come back. I want you to come back as you are...
Where... am I?
I'll be the bait to distract the Horns. Elena, listen to me, that is your cue to rescue Ryudo's soul!
Millenia? ... What... is this...?
Ryudo is fighting! This is our only chance! GO!
Mi-Millenia! ... What should I--
Ryudo, where are you? Come back! Ryudo!!
Video 2 ends.
Yes. I'm Melfice's brother after all.
I'm not gonna give up, even though Melfice is probably going to get picked to be the Idol Guardian! Power rests in a pure heart!
And without a pure heart, you can't have justice, but you need to be strong to be pure!
So, first you gotta be strong, and you gotta keep training or else you can't be pure, and then you can't fight for justice!
Wait, Gatta. Strength isn't everything...
I gotta get stronger 'cause those guys who talk about justice this and justice that, but can't do anything are cowards, really.
Wait, Melfice! Meeeelfice!
Reena was possessed by the idol! Possessed by Valmar!
How else can you defeat Valmar? Even you...
NO! I was trying to save...
The only way to remove Valmar is to kill the host.
How can you say that?! Didn't YOU seek the power of Valmar?!
Ryudo! That is no longer your brother! Don't be fooled... the Horns are in control, not Melfice.
I find it interesting to note that throughout this whole thing, the Horns are the only ones that suggest Melfice might not have brought this upon himself. Even he admits, in his one moment of clarity, that he wanted power - whether his murdering Reena was a mercy killing, an attempt to sieze the Horns for himself or if he'd simply already gone off the deep end by then is up for debate. Anyway, back to Ryudo's crazy fever dream.
Yes... it was necessary that I be sacrificed, for Melfice became more than human... or perhaps less...
NO! I will not accept that!
I agree with Ryudo. There must have been some other way.
Were people to quietly submit to such sacrifice - to think it necessary - they would be nothing more than slaves.
Power is only a means to an end, Melfice, or have you forgotten this as well? No, my brother. I seek justice.
I seek to protect that which you have abandoned, for true power serves - it does not enslave.
Dammit! Valmar! Again and again you deprive us of our hope... For this I call you evil, and I will take back what you have stolen!
As long as you resist temptation, the Horns of Valmar will remain dormant within you.
Valmar cannot be destroyed by any mortal power. Yes. You can only rely on the power of the divine.
Ever was I desperate to possess the power to destroy evil - to destroy Valmar.
But in doing so, I gave myself to the Horns and bartered away my soul.
Man was not meant for such power... what use would we have for it? What purpose?
To be ever cautious of power - to be just in its use... this alone is important.
Lord Granas, I know that I betrayed you and relied on Valmar's power, but I do not care what happens to me... Only, please save him.
Ryudo? You're awake!
Hey... what's with the tears?
Millenia! You did it! Thank you...
Fine. Looks like I'm okay after all. But the Horns... are still in me... What happened? Elena, did you do something?
Millenia used her powers... The power of Valmar is what saved your life...
I was helpless... I could only watch... Millenia sealed the power of the Horns inside of you.
You will be fine as long as you do not succumb to the Horns... You need to stay strong, Ryudo.
Strange... I thought I heard your voice, though, Elena.
Tio, so you stayed as well...
Of course, Ryudo. We are family now.
It does take power to save people, but that power must be used in the right spirit and with a clean heart. This I begin to see...
We are the ones who ran from responsibility. We blamed Melfice for our own lack of will - a devious trap of our own devising.
It was we who tried to find escape, little realizing that we had built our own prison, and our jailers were none but ourselves.
Ryudo! I'm sorry! I was the coward! Please, forgive me... Strike me now if you wish!
I as well sought escape from my burdens. I as well sought release in every place but the place I should first have looked.
The world offers no comfort, no relief. Freedom is only in ourselves. I alone can face my past. I alone can make my destiny.
Ryudo, take this... a token of my promise to become a stronger person. Keep it with you! I swear upon it... No man will think or act for me.
"Friends Necklace" acquired.
When you return, you will see that I have kept my promise.
Yeah. Sure thing.
Ryudo! I'm serious.
Miss, now I see the truth in what you said. Ideals will survive if people keep believing in them. No one can take them away.
Official Art: Ryudo and Melfice