Part 36: Episode XXIX: To Zanarkand
Music: The Strength of Time
Alright. Weve cured the time-space anomalies plaguing the land by murdering a giant tiger man. Lets blow this ice cave and continue onward to the final leg of the journey.
*nods* So that one damn monster was blockin peoples paths all over the mainland... Lucky we got rid of it...
Were lucky the cave didnt collapse on us too.
...Why would that kinda thing happen?
It was a load-bearing boss. Those things trigger mine collapses, castle crumblings, and tower toppling all the time.
That is actually a thing...?
You bet your 3:00 minute timer it is, pal.
Yes, indeed... Come on, lets get out of here.
Rudely, there still is about a quarter of the dungeon to navigate, despite the defeat of the boss. Its mostly just additional encounters with earlier enemies.
Though the dungeon does pull a real dick move in sticking a Spritnite-Eaten Monster palette swap of the bearmen roaming this area just before the exit to the cavern. The Uppa are mostly black with white trim fur.
This here is Southpaw. Hes mostly white with black trim fur. Totally different! Mostly in the fact that it has 3024 HP and will absolutely fuckstart our partys faces almost instantly if we try fighting it right now. Thats it hitting Endir for 303 HP x2 or nearly one and three-fourths his maximum health for its basic attack. Its only other attack is a limited AOE that will hit TWO of our party members for roughly that much damage.
Were just gonna go ahead and keep our distance from Southpaw and exit this cavern. That back end of the Fridging Caves leads us to...
Music: Road to Closure
The world map! Against all odds, its still snowy out. Too bad that demon tiger wasnt the source of the bad weather, too.
This valley in the mountain range continues to the south for a ways, but there is a trail leading to west. That goes...
...back to Gatherington. With the spatial distortions gone a shortcut back into town circumventing the Fridging Heights dungeon has opened up. Handy. A couple areas have opened up in the world thanks to the purple barriers carving up the land having been knocked out. For instance, theres a new dungeon to the north of Gatherington we briefly spied from afar when exploring up that way. But, theres not a whole lot of reason to go off the beaten path. Not when were so close to the endgame!
But since Gatherington is within spitting distance, we will head back into town to dump all the materials we gained from that previous expedition and stock up on any new spritnite. We get a good 12,000G haul out of the deal. And on top of that...
Endir gains an ability that fills up everyones SP gauge instantly. I like to think he realizes a really bad pun that has been in front of his eyes this entire time and it gets him so fired up that the entire party rallies. Like the time a good friend of mine who is a big Dark Souls fan got a kitten and named it Siegmeyer of Catarina (just Sieg to not be insane.) Took me the better part of a year to get the Siegmeyer of CATarina part. Goddammit... I'm still mad about that pun. I know you read my LPs. I'm calling you out on that cat pun name!
From Fossilized Snow, Endir can now prank enemies by sticking their finger in an electric socket. Its childish, but it gets the job done. As I remember, this is kinda an ehh ability that feeds into a couple dual-techs. Not to self: actually check if weve gotten any new dual techs at the end of this chapter.
Setsuna learned about planking. Enemies just kind of groan and ignore her. Its in direct contrast to Nidrs Provoke, wherein he makes dated memes and dad jokes to infuriate his enemies.
Speaking of Nidr, his role as the partys tank solidifies even further with an ability that straight lets him absorb an attack that rightly ought to have killed him. Of course it burns a turn in the process and wears off next turn so... very situational.
Juliennes gained the ability to flip her shit and murder things even harder. Its just a risk/reward buff/debuff. We dont lose control of her like Berserk status in many other games.
Finally, Julienne has already upgraded to the second tier of Ice. Theres been at least one enemy type in two of the last three areas that has had an immunity to Water Elemental in this, The Land of Snow. In contrast... I dont think theres been any other immunities of elements beyond that. So uhh... Its not the greatest affinity to have.
Anyway, were up to date on everyones Techs (sorry Kir and Aeterna, youre SOL) and ready to move on with the journey.
Heading back the way we came and continuing southward, we come to a path leading into the Fridging Heights mountain range. The word Fridging is still bothering me. Its dumb. Its a dumb word. It sounds like what some overly religious suburb housewife would say when venting frustrations about the colored folk moving in down the street and how theyre ruining America. Tell me you could not see a racist white mom saying fridging instead of fucking.
Music: The Last Mountain (The track title would suggest this is probably where this song ought to play when not moonlighting as Reapers theme...)
From the summit, well have a clear view of the Last Lands...
*nods* So here we are...
*folds arms* Mm...
When you say we can see the Last Lands at the summit, do you mean it in like an I can see my house from here kinda way or is the place just over on the other side of the mountain.
Its not right next door. But were close enough.
Do you think I could *actually* see my house from up there?
Frankly, I have COMPLETELY lost sight of where were supposed to be on the continent. Why didnt any of us ever buy a map...?
Excuse me... All of you have been journeying across the land without a map...?
Oh youre just now realizing you joined Team Wingingithard?
Aeterna, you look a little pale... Are you all right?
*shakes head* Im fine, Im just a little tired.
*looks down* I see...
Are you all right, Setsuna?
*nods* Im fine. My minds been made up ever since the moment we started this journey.
*looks down* And anyway... Youre all here... I dont have anything to be afraid of.
*nods* So thank you.
Our journey isnt over yet.
Dont get me wrong, I cant wait for this to be over. But cmon. You all know there is gonna be some real BS at the top of this mountain. And theres gonna be some BS catch about this whole Last Lands business. Lets not get premature with our wrap-up party, eh?
Arent you optimistic?
*shrugs and shakes head* Have you paid attention to literally *any* part of this journey? Its not a matter of if there will be some BS ahead. It is when there will be some BS ahead.
That is... yeah. Yeah... *sigh*
*shakes head* Sorry... I guess its too early to be saying thank you... Its just that it took us so long to get this far... Youre right, Endir. Our journey isnt over yet. I still have an important duty to fulfill. Lets hurry on... to the Last Lands... Ill be counting on all of you for a little longer!
Alright! Lets do this thing! Welcome to Fridging Heights. It is... not a particularly memorable dungeon. Its basically just a snowy path leading north that zig-zags across bridges over a stream in the center. Its kind of like that forest where we met Kir, just a lot grayer. I dont have too much of a problem with this games combat heavy areas since they all have the decency of lasting no more than about twenty minutes, minus the boss fight. Xenogears is still king of the shitty dungeons in my book of JRPG LPs.
As far as enemies go, a new version of the oversized hermit crab critters has appeared: the Armonite. They actually put effort and made an entirely new model for this revision. Aside from the completely different shell with a cape draped over it, theyve now got lil helmets theyre wearing. Theyve still got the Attack/Defense buff attack and just kinda charge with their shells. Albeit for around 150 HP of damage now. But, nothing really new going on beyond the redesign.
The mega-walrus enemies have gotten an edgy redesign for Fridging Heights. Their Tremor AOE attack has been upgraded to a full on Earthquake and hits the whole party for around 150 HP of damage. They can also counter physical attacks now. Not so much with Techs. And Nidr/Endir are still riding the MP restocking gravy train. So good luck with that.
While we trek up the mountain, there are also a couple new weapons to outfit the party. In the first half of the region, we find an upgrade for Nidr.
Nidr has gained a huge serrated blade. Its full metal and made by an alchemist. Very powerful.
This dungeon is divided into two halves. The second half just has less bridges and more snowy fields and upward slopes. Still not too noteworthy.
In part two of the dungeon, a new version of the Puff-Puff has appeared. In direct contrast to the Armonite enemy and the effort put into updating its look, the Fiery Puff-Puff looks like a shitty texture mod thrown up in Steves Wildlife Reskin upload on the Steam Workshop. Fiery Puff-Puffs, in addition to doing much more damage when exploding, can now enter a suicide pact in which all members of their race in a battle will cause a Chain Reaction of detonations all together. Can be a real issue when theres two or three near an unsuspecting party member.
Threat of seal suicide bombing victims aside, Kir can finally give up his brief affinity for dead magical girl staffs in exchange for... a stick. Supposedly its a magic stick. But still... its a stick.
Past a dozen or so battles against detonating seals, edgelord walruses, and knight crabs we finally reach a save point near the summit of the mountain. I do appreciate this game giving a clear indicator that yeah go take a piss and grab some water, theres either a boss fight/plot/a combination of boss fight and plot incoming! Especially after Final Fantasy Xs love of walking five feet and jumping into eight minutes of cutscenes at random.
Save point indicator aside, it turns out Aurorean Tiger was the big disc end boss for this story arc. Theres no boss in Fridging Height. Just a straight path leading to the summit.
This is finally it. We get to see what all the fuss is about with The Last Lands...
You said that what we can see up ahead are the Last Lands, right, Aeterna?
*twitch* Sometimes I hate always being right...
So how are we gonna get there...?
Music: Feeling of Unease
Really? I thought youd be more upset than that...
Im trying to stay professional and not scream all the obscenities that are racing through my head at the moment...
*continuously shakes head* What... This cant be possible... Why? Why has this happened?
What were seeing in front of us... Is this some sorta illusion, or what?
Whats going on...? The lands... gone.
Its gone... The land has vanished... Whats... whats going on?
Wait. Did the land disappear or did it just take off flyin?
I dont think that distinction matters... Unless any of you could fly all this time, I think were kinda boned...
Youve seen the Last Lands before, right, Aeterna? Whats going on!? Cant we get there anymore?
*shakes head* Wait... There must be a way...
Yeah, sure... An airship! Oh wait... We blew the only one we saw up. Half a continent away... How did that happen again? Oh right! Fighting that dipshit goth dork we didnt kill earlier for some dumbass reason. *glares in Setsunas direction*
*stares off into distance*
But... what the hell are you plannin on doin, exactly...?
Yeah, Aeterna. What now? Youve been miss go-go-go! Gotta get back to the journey! Well... *motions to floating island and makes fart noise*
Well... Well... Umm... You see... Well...
Ive heard better plans...
Aeterna falls to her knees and starts glowing...
! Aeterna!? There IS something wrong with you, isnt there!?
Yeah, alright. If you like ACTUALLY sprout wings and can fly us over, you have free reign to dunk on anything stupid I say for the rest of this trip.
Oh! Wait! Or a super jump. You have a super jump, dont you? Ah. That explains the whole frog hoodie. It all makes sense now!
Please... Dont give up hope...
Now Aeternas vanished as well!?
Did she just like... die?
I dunno uhh... maybe?
Was she a ghost the whole time...? Kir, was she a ghost like your undead gremlin brother?
I dont knmy brother wasnt a gremlin either!
Ive accept that youre not a gremlin. But Im sorry. That ghost brother was DEFINITELY a gremlin.
Now aint the time for this.
*shakes head* What the hells goin on here!?
Speaking of now not being the time...
*readies lance to attack Setsuna*
Unless youre planning on using that lance to baseball bat Setsuna over to that island, I suggest you fridging chill out, lady!
Julienne! You aint cured at all, are ya!?
She isnt!? Y-you dont think shes planning on attacking us, do you?
*glances over shoulder* Could you do me a solid and maybe, I dunno, back up from crazy tits here trying to kill you! Cyclone, the big ol sword spin? Thats kinda my signature move. Dont wanna take your head off too prematurely. Itd kinda be counter-productive...
*winces* Setsuna... Stay... back...
We can travel together... no further... Please forgive me... Setsuna...
Why...? Why are you saying this?
*looks over shoulder* Really...?
*silent look of fatherly disappointment in idiot child*
I can no longer... remain myself...
Julienne puts away her weapon and starts limping back down the mountain. Setsuna attempts to follow...
Please... I do not wish to harm you... Please understand...
Julienne leaves the party. Setsuna falls to her knees. Real bummer day for everyone.
Both Aeterna and Julienne are gone... And the Vanished Land is blocking our way. What are we gonna do?
For starters, were not referring to the missing landmass as the proper noun Vanished Lands. That sounds real dumb.
Can we not do this right now?
We cant change whats happened. All we can do now is try an think what to do next... Right, Endir?
Lets go back to Gatherington.
Standing on this mountain aint gonna do us any good right now. We need to find a way across.
*nods* Yeah, right...
Maybe... Hmm... I dunno. A catapult?
A catapult. What if we got or... I guess wed have to construct it up here... a catapult.
What would we do with a catapult?
We could set it up and fire Setsuna to the Last Lands on that.
...That is. No, Endir. Were not doing that. How would we protect her when we got there?
Tch. Dang. Yeah... Thats a factor huh?
*rubs chin* Hmm... Hm. Oh... OH! Yeah, totally. Youre right. Launching Setsuna would be irresponsible. What we need is a rope ladder too. A really long one.
We tie it to the back of Kir, we launch HIM on the catapult, and then we he lands then he can fasten the ladder to something up there, roll it over the edge, and BOOM! Whole party is in the Last Lands.
WHAT?! NO! You are NOT launching me on a catapult like that.
What? Are you worried about carrying the rope ladder? Dont worry, well tie it to your back and face you the opposite direction so you land on it. You wont have to worry about the weight and itll break your fall! Its genius, really.
No... no it is not, Endir! No part of that plan is genius!
Whats wrong with that plan...? I think thats a solid strat!
Yknow. Lets just go back to the getting off the mountain part.
Yeah... were gonna need to gather up some supplies for this operation. Lotta wood. Lotta rope. Its gonna be a pain. Lotta grinding involved.
Before we do anythin else, we need to get everything thats happened sorted out in our heads.
Setsuna... Shall we go?
Oh boy... Is she havin a time...?
*glares* Be. Nice.
Setsuna! Stand up!
Yeah, Aeterna phased out of existence and Julienne is possessed or has an evil split personality and took off but... I mean... at least nobody got kidnapped! And no fight against that Reaper clown. Thats something, huh? Setsuna? Could be worse, right...?
Endir... Youre right. Im sorry...
Setsuna rises to her feet. Well... if she actually had feet...
I need to think about what there is that I can do.
Thats the spirit. You were kinda out of it. Did you hear my catapult plan?
Y-Yes... I will... consider it...
*nervous glance at Setsuna and Endir*
*looks at Kir, makes cringe face, briefly shakes head and makes pass motion*
And so thats how Aeterna and Julienne abruptly left the party.
Well, shit... On that note we close this chapter. Tune in next time when Setsuna and the gang deal with a third of the party taking off and the final area being held aloft by the Master Emerald. It's always something...