Part 35: Episode XVIII: Tiger Uppercut
What is a Fridging, anyway? It sounds akin to some poorly censored cursing in an R-rated movie being broadcast on TBS. Are we going to find out what happens when you meet a stranger in the Alps? Did Nidr end up with those scars on his face from eating pineapple? Is the boss gonna be Mr. Falcon?
Well just have to head back inside and see. The early parts of the dungeon are the same thing as before: icy platforms with buffed out black bear versions of the tutorial boss turned common rabble. That is, until we draw close to the barrier from earlier. Here we find...
Oh, for Christ sake... Not th
Music: The Last Mountain
...Yeah. What he said.
The party all draw their weapons...
It looks like this time even he hasnt managed to recover yet...
? Ymean... Cant he move?
If we want this journey to succeed, we need to finish him off here an now... Even if it might seem spineless.
The motion has passed. Lets finish him.
No. There aint a single reason why we should sympathize with this guy.
Only reason we aint killed him outright yet is cuz he keeps runnin off every time we beat him. Shoulda warped away further if he didnt wanna get got.
Setsuna walks between the party and Reaper...
New Music: The Lone Reaper
Oh... Gimme a frikkin break. You are not gonna do some oh dear we cannot murder him, all life is precious morality garbage right now. Thats not happening... Im gonna start drinking again if so...
Dammit! What are you doin!? Get outta the way!
*shakes head* No. I wont get out of the way.
I do not... understand you...
*sweat* Me neither, Setsuna! Whyre you protectin him? You do know hes tried to kill us all several times now!?
*nods* Yes. I havent forgotten... But even then, I couldnt sense any aggression from him.
! Whaddya mean, you couldnt sense any aggression!? He keeps trying to kill you!
Im fairly certain attempted, premeditated murder is an act of aggression severe enough that people are, in fact, placed into prison due to said aggression...
Mhm. There are entire countries down south I cannot enter again cuz there are warrants for my arrest due to that kinda aggression...
*shakes head* Yes, I know... I dont understand it myself, either... But I couldnt sense any animosity...
What is it youre fighting for? What is it youre trying to find out...?
*sweat* Whats gotten into you, Setsuna!?
Shes gotta bad case of martyritus. Shes gonna die so all life is now precious and beautiful. Next shes gonna be feeling sympathy for some writhing tentacle monster cuz its got kind of a sad sounding wail while dying, despite all the people its stuck vines down unwanted orifices.
But I dont play that kinda game. Life is cheap, dirty, and can be ended for a reasonable price in my book.
Lets finish him off.
Step aside. Ill make it quick. Wanna test this new blade anyway. I betcha I can cleave his head off in one swipe.
Oh. You want it to be drawn out? Right to the gut, good disembowelment. Yall gonna need to step back. The blood spray from those kinda wounds can get real messy.
No, Endir. Were not go
Oh... Huh? You wanna go the savage route, huh? Take off all four of his limbs but suture the wounds so he doesnt bleed out, then let nature take its course with one of those bearmen wandering the cave descending upon him and ripping him open like a meatbag? Thats a bit cruder than I usually operate. But this guy does kinda deserve it...
Were not killing him!
Endir, let me try...
Setsuna... What is it that you can sense?
*shakes head* Im sorry... I dont know...
No, dont indulge her dumbass streak... I thought you were somewhat smarter than that.
We need to keep moving and Im trying to expedite the process, alright?
Then use that fancy Charge move of yours and put a knife in his jugular.
Im not doing that with Setsuna in the way.
And now were back to square one!
I just get the feeling that hes suffering... That hes all alone...
...Yeah, thats called be goth. Most people grow out of it past their teenage years. Dracula Fanclub here didnt get the memo.
One thing I do know is that if we dont kill him now, he sure as hell aint gonna thank us for it later... He aint the sort of being who has emotions like that. Any mercy you show hims gonna come back to bite you in the face.
I think the expression is in the ass, not face...
Face or butt...
*nods* I dont mind.
If he doesnt die here, he may choose a different future... Death closes all those possibilities shut. If were able to communicate... then whether its a monster, or whoever it is... I want to place my hope in them... In their future...
*sheathes Hanzo steel* This is tremendously dumb.
*puts away walrus knife* Undoubtedly.
*coils magical girl wand back around tail* The dumbest.
*reluctantly puts sword on back* Cant believe were doing this...
After you have... witnessed the deaths... of your comrades... Including... that masked man...
Oh, whats that? No, I dont hear any animosity at all in this discussion. Nope. I hear someone choosing a bright, new stunningly brilliant future for themselves!
*growls* One where I fuckstart their face by slowly peeling their dipshit mini-boss goth tryhard scalp off while theyre still breathing and crafting a crude but stylish mask for Kir here out of your pelt.
*sweats* I-Im good...
Im looking forward to it!
Im looking forward to the guy who has lost three out of three times hes tried to fight us suddenly have a comeback story in the end. You always like to hear that!
Yeah, Endir is right! Were here to make sure that never happens!
Im not on board with like... ANY of the rest of the stuff he said...
Speak for yourselves.
Julienne approaches Reaper and seems intent on stabbing him in the face...
The masked mans threats may be barbaric...
Its psychological warfare.
But the intent is correct.
Heh... You sure youre on the right... side...?
... *winds up to strike*
Nidr walks up and stops Julienne from killing him...
*withdraws lance* This is foolish.
Yeah... But its what Setsuna wants and its her show. If he comes back again, well be sure to finish em then. Lets go.
Music: The Strength of Time
Well, that was real dumb! Reaper has no further dialog. Hes just going to chill by the cave entrance until we inevitably fight him again at a later time. Spoilers. Theres nothing of note between Reaper and the previous obstacle of the cave. So lets just skip ahead to...
Yo for real, Im stabbing that clown in the throat if we have to return to town a second time cuz this doesnt work and hes still there...
Please dont. It should...
*jumps and fist-pumps* Open!
The party briefly celebrates then heads on through...
Once we get through here, the Last Lands will be right before our eyes.
The Last Lands...
Then it seems we only have one option...
Fighting more trash mobs. The second half of the cave is home to some palette swaps of the squirrels with comically oversized snowballs. Theyve got a mean throwing arm and seem to have given up their showboating evasion skills for pure aggression. But nothing we cannot handle. Especially since Endir and Nidr are topping off their MP every fight to keep the Tech gravy train running and more than funding our next expedition to our final destination with all the materials dropping.
The second half of the caverns is just a big narrow route curving south, where it splits horizontally to the east and west. The eastern path is blocked by one of those pesky time distortions... black holes... spatial anomalies... Whatever the hell theyre callin em. Theres big purple barrier and we cannot go that way.
Westward, on the other hand, leads to a save point. And you know what that means. Were gonna go back to the A-Team of Endir, Nidr, and Aeterna and do some prep here. Endir needs Aura and Life at the ready. Nidr definitely needs to have the Provoke ability and Counter isnt a bad option. Aeterna has to have Protect. And everyone with decent offensive Techs. Scarfing down a food item that raises Evasion or reduces physical attacks aint a bad idea either.
Cuz this next boss is actually kind of one of the hardest bosses in the game! Sayagi wasnt just spinning a yarn about her party getting wiped by a particularly fearsome Pengy.
Music: The Last Mountain
No maam... We gotta real contender here.
Its a spatial distortion.
Im not calling it a black hole. That is straight up incorrect terminology and its irresponsible to use.
I see... So those distortions in space weve been seein all around the mainland... You think this thing is whats causin them?
*sweatdrop* Yikes! If it is, that means this guy definitely isnt just some small fry, doesnt it...
Pfft. I ate a whole bag of burritos once in a single sitting and I started shittin out time and space as well. Tore the very fabric of a toilets reality asunder. Im not impressed.
...Thanks for sharing, Endir.
This things kinda big, isnt it!?
I dont think kinda is the word... But why, though? Its changed... It definitely has...
? Changed...? Youve seen it before?
*nods* Well, yeah... A long time ago.
What are you like twenty? What qualifies as a long time ago.
Nows not the time.
Cmon, thats enough chitchat! We need to finish this thing off before it finishes us off!
Be careful, everyone!
Music: Reckless Advance
Time to take on the Aurorean Tiger! This guy is kind of a huge fucker! Ill go ahead and let him show why as he starts the battle with initiative and first attack.
The Aurorean Tiger just did a nine-hit combo that took off 279 HP of damage to Endir the second beefiest character in the game. The thing that makes this boss difficult is every round of attack, it does that combo to a single character for 250-300 HP of damage.
The beast does actually have three flavors of this combo. Gale Rush is just pure physical (Null) damage. He also has Scorching Rush, which adds additional fire-elemental damage. And Glacial Rush, which does water-elemental damage, but only hits twice (still for like 150+ HP of damage.) The problem with this fight is we need to actually survive and have time to attack. Unless youd power-leveled unreasonably, Kir and Setsuna straight up cannot participate in this fight, cuz theyd get one-shot constantly and its already difficult enough with this party.
The first order of business should be upping the survivability of the party. To that end, Aeternas Protect Tech is super handy as it at least mitigates the damage from approaching 300 HP of damage to a worrying, but not quite as dire, 150-200 range per attack. Optimally, we want our party members able to survive two rounds of attack before desperately needing a health boost.
Endir is pretty much on constant Aura duty every second or third turn. But in a pinch, Aeternas Flawless Blow with Momentum will fully heal her while doing a bit of damage. Some deal with Nidrs Stone Strike. But having Momentum in this fight is a tough undertaking since big boy is surprisingly fast for such a massive enemy and charging up Momentum is a tall order.
Since Aurorean Tiger only attacks one character at a time, its not a bad idea to have Nidr use Provoke to draw aggro since he can tank far more than anyone else. Plus Provoke beefs up his Physical Defense stats (still doesn't do much to the fire or ice versions of the combo though.) Protect doesnt last especially long, so its more for breathing room while Endir and Aeterna go for Techs or heal.
Blowbeat is still a decent option to let our attacks hit a bit harder, but Aurorean Tiger almost immediately shrugs off the more debilitating Paralysis and Stun effects since hes such a speedy boy.
The classic X-Strike actually does a darn good amount of damage, even without Momentum. Aurorean Tiger only has 2318 HP (what ARE these numbers) and X-Strike hits for around 700+ HP a go. That aint bad! Its just risky to pour Endirs MP into beefy offensive techs since he can run out of MP pretty fast and we dont want that at a bad time.
Speaking of Techs, Aeterna and Nidr actually have a real useful Dual-Tech for this fight: Phantasm Break.
Phantasm Break is just an all-out attack by the two jumping and slamming their weapons into this creatures dumb face. It only does 200-250 HP range of damage. But the key thing about it is it lowers attack power substantially. To the point where the Gale Rush only does around 100+ HP of damage. It only last for maybe two or three rounds of attack before wearing off.
But combine that with Protect and the damage drops to around 70ish range. Thats manageable! Especially in a fight that is entirely about not dying from a constantly berserking all offensive jerk.
So thats the Aurorean Tiger boss battle. Even knowing it was coming, I still almost got wiped here. And it definitely gave me some trouble the first go around too.
Music: Moment of Respite
All in a days work. Which horn do you think we broke off of the thing and how much is it worth?
*jumps and fist-pumps* Legendary monster? Hah! It was no match for us!
You really like celebrating for battles you didnt participate in, huh?
Im giving moral support.
Is that whatcha callin it now?
Ugh... Do not turn this into a boss rush, game. You were good about that so far...
Music: Deadly Gamble
Aurorean Tiger climbs back to its feet and starts farting purple vapors all over the place while roaring its head off.
Hey... Julienne... Are you OK...? Is she OK?
RIP AND TEAR! RIIIIIP AND TEEEEEAAAAARRRRR!
Music: March to Rebirth
Haa... haa... haa...
*sweats* Wh-whats wrong, Julienne...?
Julienne... Dont tell me youre still...
I was going to say... Nevermind.
The Last Lands... The power that dwells there...
*stops glowing* I must see it with my own eyes...
*limps forward* ...I must continue on.
Hold that thought just a moment.
Turns out the one buffed out tigerman giant hanging out in the back of a cavern was, in fact, the source of all the energy fields carving up the continent and barring passage all over. Weird...
So that huge monster was what was causin them, after all.
*shrugs* Let us hurry on.
? Yes, I am fine... Why do you ask?
*shakes head* Never mind... As long as youre all right...
So, your whole outlook is just kinda eh... its probably fine... now that were reaching the end, huh?
Alright then. So goes our trek out of the Fridging Caves and onward toward Fridging Heights and The Last Lands. And feels like our journeys end is right around the corner!