Part 21: Episode XVII: I Am Concerned With Your Progress
Music: Enchanted Sanctuary
We are done with the whole Hiddbury arc. Yeah, I guess that dunk in the Spritnite vein and fledgling magic by Kir earlier healed Setsuna right up. Shes fine now. Dont worry about it! Its a good thing Kir secretly just wanted to become a sick pyromancer to go on an adventure. Hed feel kinda dumb if he just powered up to augment his healing ability and whoops... turns out Setsuna just needed a nap to recover fully.
Before we depart, its going to be a while before we hit another active town. And we did just get a new party member and had another rejoin us after a chapter and a half of forced suspension from the team. Perhaps its a good idea to stock up on supplies before heading out. The fight against the Timeslave and all the creatures at the Spritnite Pillar gave us a nice cache of materials to turn an easy profit on. And also a few new Spritnite techs.
Millennial Meltwater sounds like the title to some idiot think-piece about global warming and how young people are somehow responsible for it. Regardless, it helped net Nidr Double Back, which is basically a parry for magical attacks. Yeah... Ill get back to you on ever using that properly.
Kir picked up Bio, which... doesnt actually cause
And now that the new chapter has begun and weve got some journeyin to do, I suppose we can stock up on some new weaponry for the party. And buy that old one for Setsuna now that she can actually equip the damn thing. Kir... you joined ten minutes ago. You can wait. Im not made of money!
Other than the overly ornamental hilt, Endirs new sword is considerably more mundane after the twisted lump of metal that looked like a relic to unseal some ancient tomb. Its got innate fire damage now, cuz why not?
Apparently Sailor Moon fell on hard times and had to pawn off some of her weaponry. Luckily, Setsuna snatched it up at discount prices.
Aeterna has gone from a one-of-a-kind dagger made out of enchanted ice from a deadly mountain range far to the north to uhh... a basic ass dagger with a cumbersome wrist guard. Not really a coherent escalation of weapons on display here...
That thing was too big to be called a sword. Too big, too thick, too heavy and too rough. It was more like a lump of iron.
Weve already seen Kirs Firebrand rod from the Snow Chronicles update. But heres the kids base stats with it equipped as a reference point. LP Canonical Kir actually leveled up from that fight with the Timeslave. But I had to go back and re-record the immediate aftermath, such as buying all this junk. And to do so I just benched Kir and did it in half the time. So this is the factory stock Kir stats.
Side note: Turns out you actually can avoid that Blowout attack from the Timeslave before it dies. You just have to perform an Exact Kill (come within I think 20 HP of its total remaining HP with the final blow) to finish it off. Good luck with that.
Music: Walking the Walk
In any case, were done with Hiddbury. Kir mentioned we need to continue heading westward to hit another mountain range trek but ehh... Lets take a quick detour first.
Setsuna and Kir, youre both lagging behind the A-Team by 3-4 levels and I cannot have that. You both need a remedial session with our old friend the Glowly-Poly back at the Morbrise Mountain exit. Its 1000 EXP a pop and the only strategy is to just have everyone spam their basic ass physical attack (preferably with Momentum so theres two chances to strike per turn) until someone gets a lucky RNG roll and one-shots the thing.
It takes 10-60 seconds a go with about 30 seconds to run out and run back in to respawn it for a rematch. Hell, Kir got lucky and immediately killed the thing twice. I got our two casters within two levels of the rest of the team. Not that we need it or anything since stats are primarily dictated by equipment.
I just like my numbers orderly.
With the remedial session of like ten minutes of grinding behind us, were free to get back on track and head west to the Twallusk Mountain range. Err... just looking at this map, it looks like it would be worlds easier to head southwest through that gap in the mountains and circumvent the entire snow swept mountain range. But what do I know?
Music: The Secret Passage
Welcome to the Twallusk Mountains! It is... pretty much the same goddamn mountain as the last dungeon we did. Just with narrower paths and now those fox-girl enemies have been added to the rotation. Ill be glazing over most of this area. Theres no area boss. Its mostly just 20 minutes of filler.
There is, however, one huge dick move right near the start of the region. Soon into the Twallusk Mountains, we come into a crossroads. Weve got no map or indication of which is the right path. There is a Versa to the north. I see no reason to avoid taking it on, right?
Music: A Fantastic Encounter
Wrong, fucker! These are actually the Spritnite Eaten variant, the Silvara. And theyre here to kick your entire partys ass. Each of them has 1500 HP a pop and attack power out the ass.
Silvara have a single attack: Freezing Gaze. This does 100-150 HP of damage. It can do nearly 200 HP of damage if it criticals.
But more pressingly, it inflicts a new status ailment: Freeze. In which a character is err... well, theyre frozen. This is basically I am Setsunas equivalent of petrification/stone in many other RPGs. A frozen character is, for all intents and purposes, dead until they are unfrozen. They can still be hit by follow-up Freezing Gaze attack and become actually dead from HP loss. Which is preferable to being frozen, as we can just pick them up with an Athenian Water then. Endirs Aura with Momentum is the only way to deal with Frozen status right now.
And if hes Frozen? Welp. Were fucked. Indeed, if the entire party is frozen, which with bad luck can literally happen before we get a chance to take more than a single turn, its an instant Game Over. Same if any combination of party members is KOed with the last one being frozen.
Unless youre absurdly careful with details on trash mobs and notice these particularly fox girls have a different colored tail, its real hard to tell theyre a different enemy type. Especially when weve only encountered two battles against their common enemy cousins up to this point. Real shitty move, game!
It is entirely possible to kill the Silvara at this point by munching down one of the stored dishes we have on hand that doubles the critical hit rate. I think I ate the salad that buffs that and evasion too. If we can get off two Blowbeats with criticals, we can ice the lot of em in two-three turns. Just surviving that long and getting lucky with Freezing Gaze failing to inflict frozen is a tough order. It took me ehh... five tries to finally get the stars to align here and beat em.
Were not meant to fight these enemies so early on, but doing so nets us more EXP than most previous boss fights in the game so far combined. As well as a truck load of Materials to pawn off the next time we see the Magic Consortium stalker, setting us on funds for at least a couple chapters.
On the downside, now Kir and Setsuna are lagging behind 4-5 levels again... I will... just have to live with that for a while...
Music: The Secret Passage
Back to the dungeon at hand, the rest of the area is a breeze of manageable fox girls and slightly more irritable penguins. That one three story golem is feeling increasingly out of place...
Eventually, after passing through another no-clip hidden mountain path, the party decides to take a brief pit stop for no particular reason. Here, things get a little bit strange...
I wish to speak to you in private. Please come alone... I shall be waiting up ahead.
*turns and looks at Endir* ?
Up ahead where? Uhh... I mean... The thing is...
I feel a little unwell.
Are you all right? Its not like you to say that sort of thing, Endir...
Yeah I umm... I guess I... Err...
You didnt get hungry and snack on something you shouldnt have, did you?
*snaps fingers* Yeah! Thats it. This kid back in the village, he gave me some soup he was keeping behind his back. Ugh. Shouldnt have chowed down on that stuff...
Well, I guess Endir is only human, too... The waters different in different places... This sorta things bound to happen on a long journey... It is funny imaginin you in a cold sweat underneath that mask of yours, though...
Yeah, its a real hoot. Look, Im gonna go... I feel it percolatin inside of me here... Just... gimme a few minutes to drop a deuce. In privacy. I cant go if anyone is watching.
No one wants to watch that, Endir...
Go on, hurry up and do what you need to do!
*nods and walks north*
Hey, Old King Allant from the end of Demons Souls? What are you doing here? Err... wait... No. Youre Mysterious Man from the tutorial. Fancy meeting you here...
Music: Shrouded Fate
*shakes head* I must say, I could not believe my own eyes! Are you waiting for a chance to execute your mission? You are not going to tell me that you have switched sides, are you? Depending on the circumstances, we may end up having to cross swords... I would advise you to think carefully before answering this question... Why have you not killed the sacrifice?
Geez, be a bit more melodramatic, why dont you?
Ill kill her eventually.
*shakes head* Eventually is not good enough. If she is not disposed of immediately, I shall be unable to face my master.
That sounds like a you problem. Our contract, which you signed and agreed to, required no time frame or limit to the assassination, other than I kill the sacrifice myself. And I will. Its just complicated. If you have problems with the terms of our contact, maybe we shouldn't have drafted it in the middle of a forest at midnight...
Were you reluctant to commit the grave crime of sacrifice murder? Is that it? Or perhaps you have developed a personal attachment to her...
Oh god no! Waif with a martyr complex and the personality of a wet paper bag? Ugh. Gag me. I think its the other way around, personally. For some reason... But on the first point, you didnt say dick about her having guardians or the entire town being pissed when I tried to take her out. Thats a MAJOR briefing detail to leave out, bub. But now Im neck deep in this crap, so Ive gotta ask...
Why must the sacrifice be killed? What meaning will killing her have?
Because my master has ordered it... That is all I can say. Even if I myself were reluctant... I cannot go against my masters orders.
Same with me and my contract. Ill get the job done. You just need to chill. Which... judging by where we are, you seem to have been doing... What are you even doing out here?
It was the safest spot I could contact you in private.
Wouldnt that forest village have been simpler?
*scoffs* The urgency of this meeting didnt require me to step foot in a degenerate gremlin settlement.
...Theyre not actual gremlins, as it turns out.
It does not appear that you are daunted by your task. However, that only makes me wonder all the more why you have not yet killed her...
Well, Id aggro all those twits Im traveling with right now, for one. But beyond that...
Shes already destined to die.
I mean, youre the one paying to have her ganked but... Gotta say this feels like itd play out the same either way.
*nods* Perhaps that is indeed true. The life of the sacrifice is destined to come to an end in the Last Lands... Her death is inevitable, regardless of whether or not we take action... Even if we do nothing, the sacrifice will die. Thus, there is no need for us to go out of our way to kill her. Is that what you wish to say, Sir Endir?
I probably would have just summed it up in half as many words, but...
It is certainly true that whether or not we assassinate her, the end result shall remain the same...
*looks up* I came to you with this mission, Sir Endir, because I was ordered to do so by my master.
However, it is certainly true that if the young lady is already prepared for death, then why...
Yo, I really dont care about your vague master's wishes. But youre not thinking about backing out of the contract, are you? If youll read the fine print in Article 3, paragraph two: my severance package for a client annulling the contract while the limits of the contract, of which you failed to set any, are still in effect are... substantial. Plus you'd get blacklisted by the entire Masked Mercenary tribe after I leave a terrible after-action review. I'd not recommend that.
*shakes head* No, no... Please, pay me no mind... Let me ask you one last question... What do you intend to do next, Sir Endir...
I want to grant her wish.
She gets to the Last Lands and dies there. My contract is fulfilled. You and your master get a dead sacrifice. Everyone goes home happy. Its a roundabout pain in the ass, but Im still keeping up my end without having to waste a whole village or have a bunch of collateral damage. Thats bad for my reputation. Ive got to have standards.
Hah... You speak with such sentiment. But I suppose that is truly how you feel...
Dear me... Even if it was on orders from my master, I am loath to do this sort of thing...
*nods* ...Very well. I shall keep the matter of the sacrifices assassination to myself. However, please remember one thing... You and I are now complete strangers, Sir Endir. Even if we should meet again, our lips shall remain tightly sealed.
Hey, Im big on client confidentiality. As long as the paycheck clears...
Now, if you will excuse me...
Music: The Secret Passage
That was a long trip... You didnt get attacked by monsters while you were washin your hands, did ya?
Nah. Just ugh... you dont wanna see the mess that was coming out of me. Woo-boy. Its a rough scene over there. We should go...
Finally! Im sick of waiting! Come on, lets go! Move it!
*approaches Endir* Endir... Is something wrong?
*shakes head* Its nothing.
Oh, I see...
Whats the matter?
Aha... Endir said somethin to ya, did he?
Guy, youre within earshot...
*shakes head* No, its not that... He didnt say anything. Nothing...
All right, break times over! We dont have time to be hanging around like this.
Thats fair. Alright, lets boogie. Theres absolutely nothing else of note going on in this mountain range. That whole scene actually transpires only like a third of the way through the dungeon. Well just go ahead and skip past the 12 minutes of battles and walking in-between now and the exit.
Music: Walking the Walk
We find ourselves on the far side of the mountain following that little excursion. I really do like the look of the mountains on the world map, even if their actual content have been universally dull. They did manage to make a nice 2D look with 3D models there.
Continuing past a bridge and deeper into the Northern Frontier, we come upon this M.C. Escher Nightmare Fortress stretching what seems to be several hundred feet above. Uhhh... Excuse me?
Approaching this structure reveals this is apparently the Apparth Ruins and we unlock the Realm of Sealed Hope achievement for having stepped in them. Uhh...? Kay.
All that is in here right now is a locked door with a strange glowing sigil. Looks like well have to come back another time to discover the mystery of whatever in the flying hell is going on with this... Nobody in the party has the slightest comment to make about the whole deal...
Returning to the world map and continuing to follow the coast south, we eventually reach a path leading to the Floeberg Waters. Seems a good a place to enter as any...
Music: Flowing On (This is a really nice track)
True enough to the name and the appearance on the world map, we come to an ice flow on the freezing sea. But theres just one problem...
Weve got no guarantee it wont crack... and if we fall in the sea, were done for!
Ive been here once already...
Did you make it across?
*shakes head* I fell in the sea and almost died... I gave up after that, obviously.
*nods* A wise decision, Id say...
So did you just go all four directions from your village getting owned and turning around to try another direction?
N-No! I was just getting a feel for the lay of the land!
Its gonna be hard for anyone to get across here unless they really know what theyre doin.
There should be a village near here... Royburg.
*snorts* Really? Thats its name?
Yes. Whats so funny?
...Nothing. Its fine.
Maybe well be able to find someone there who knows how to get across safely.
Lets just cross over by ourselves!
Cmon, it cant be that bad. We can ford this bad boy.
Well, you can caulk and float that boat oar you call a sword if you want. And you can still see my mouth even with this mask. Its not hard to see if Ive got a straight face.
*shakes head* We didnt come all the way here just to risk everything for no reason, did we?
Lets just head to the village and look for a guide. Dont you think, Endir.
Fiiiiine... Why does it feel like all my choices dont matter...?
Probably because theyre mostly stupid.
All right, its settled. Lets head to Royburg.
Welp, its settled because were given no choice in the matter. Tune in next time when were undoubtedly suddenly entrenched in some regional conflict it will be up to the party to resolve before we can continue on our journey!
Setsuna Concept Art EVERY MOMENT FEELS LIKE MY ENTIRE SCALP BEING TORN FROM MY HEAD. I PUT ON A BRAVE SMILE, BUT INTERNALLY PRAY FOR DEATH...