Part 8: Victims of Heroism
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, we infiltrated the Imperial fortress known as Fort Walstein and freed the beasts that the Empire was training there. While we were making our escape, however, a group of researchers begged us to save them from a particularly vicious beast, and Hilbert refused to leave them behind, claiming that a hero would never do such a thing. While we were able to rescue the researchers, the delay gave the Imperials time to discover the ship that had transported us, and they attacked it and forced it to leave before we got back to it. This of course pissed Matilda off to no end (and rightly so), and now our priority is to find a way back to the Republic. Our only hope now is to cross the Voldon Mountains and hope we can find someone willing to transport us in the independent lands east of there. So let's get to it.
Following the scene at the end of the previous update, we're given control back at our campsite. It's time for another mountain pass dungeon.
I barely take a step before random battles kick in and we find ourselves facing a Hermit. Appropriately, these guys only ever show up alone, and can smack us around for about 15 damage.
But what makes them far more dangerous is their Mystery Curse ability, which inflicts a random status ailment on a character. This can be anything from the mundane, like blindness, to the heavily debilitating, like Chaos, which causes the character to attack allies and enemies at random. These guys can be pretty annoying.
We quickly hit a crossroads, but the path to the south just leads to the cliff where Hilbert was sulking last update. So let's head north.
A little further in we encounter some Red Kobolds and a Goblin. Red Kobolds are pretty weak, with only a regular attack for about 5 damage and low HP. Goblins aren't much better, dealing 9 damage with a physical attack.
However, Goblins have another trick up their sleeve: they have a high chance of activating Clumsy Counter whenever they're hit. Clumsy Counter deals about 6 damage to a character, but true to its name, its accuracy is shit and it'll end up missing more often than not. I really like the design of this: it's a nice way to introduce the fact that regular enemies can have automatic counters, without immediately punishing the new player for not anticipating it. In any case, as regular enemies, both the Red Kobolds and Goblins go down fast.
There's a bit of treasure on a small island in the center of this area.
First up is a Steel Longbow, a weapon upgrade for Hilbert...
... and an Obsidian Shard, an attack item dealing earth damage to all enemies.
As we're heading back across the bridge we run into a Wandering Mage, probably the most dangerous enemy in this area. Although they only ever show up alone, Wandering Mages will spend their turns casting Spark, Frostbite, and Lightning on us, and unlike the Imperial Soldiers, their spells are actually quite strong, dealing 30-35 damage on average. If they focus on Thorve they can take him down in two hits.
There's a chest hidden behind a tree as we continue on, containing another healing item that's a bit overpowered for us right now. Green Herbs are the step up from Brown Herbs, restoring 400 HP to a single ally.
If you're not one for early-game grinding, like myself, then the next screen contains the most important treasure chest in the game. Why?
Because this baby is in it.
Steal (1MP): Attempts to steal an item from an enemy.
Crisis: Pillage (4MP): Simultaneously launches a physical attack and attempts to steal an item from an enemy.
Stat changes: +2% SPD, +1% LCK
I equip Steal to Hilbert immediately. Every time I've played through Last Scenario, I've always felt that Steal is best equipped on Hilbert. This isn't because he's a better thief--Steal's success rate isn't affected by stats, actually--but because it simply felt appropriate. Whatever the reason, Steal is going to be taking up one of Hilbert's spellcard spots for a very long time.
It's also useful the moment you get it. Hermits in this area carry Serpent Tongues, which are extremely useful, and Wandering Mages also have another important steal, the Thunderball.
The Thunderball is a gem for Thorve, and while it gives him a pretty decent STR boost, its real use lies in the fact that it deals lightning damage, not physical. This isn't that helpful now, but it's going to be a very nice thing to have in an update or two.
As it turns out, the Voldon Mountains are a pretty short dungeon. We find another save point only two screens in.
Of course, that doesn't mean we're done quite yet. The screen starts shaking violently as we head up this path.
BOSS FIGHT: Earth Golem
And it's a boss fight out of fucking nowhere.
The Earth Golem is another boss with a weakness we can't exploit. Unlike with the Amphisbaena, though, I'm not sure it's actually possible to have a source of water damage at this point in the game.
Now that we've got Steal, it's going to be customary to open a boss fight by swiping the boss's personal item. The Soul Elixir is a stronger Soul Essence: while an Essence will revive a character with a small amount of HP, the Elixir will revive a character to full health.
The Earth Golem, as you might expect from its appearance, is a very slow enemy, even slower than Matilda. Most of its turns are spent punching people in the face for ~25 damage.
Occasionally, however, it will skip its turn and display this message instead. The message on its own does nothing, but...
... it's a warning that on its next turn the Earth Golem is going to use Seismic Shockwave, dealing a fair chunk of damage to the entire party. Of course, it also adds a fair chunk to everyone's Crisis bar, so an M-Cure isn't far off after one of these attacks.
Late in the battle, the Earth Golem also busts out its other trick, Wall. I'm lucky that it waited so long, because Wall is a very annoying move that grants the P-Shield status to the boss. P-Shield is a buff, and it halves all incoming physical damage for the character.
I'm pretty much out of MP at this point for my characters with attack spells, and attacking a P-Shielded enemy with regular attacks is an exercise in tedium, so Hilbert tries out the Mystic Fan for a bit of damage...
... and Thorve finishes things off by tossing a grenade at the boss's feet and blowing it to bits.
Winning the battle lands us another new Hex tile and a Plate Mail, a heavy armor. Matilda puts it on for a decent VIT boost. While it's not that helpful in terms of damage reduction right now, there is at least a little bit of a return, as Matilda's PDEF is now at 10%. Not much, but it's something.
Following the battle, we're immediately given control back. There's no discussion by the characters of the boss or the fight they just had--the game just continues on as if nothing had happened.
So we continue on and find ourselves on the world map again.
As with the area around Fort Walstein, there's only one enterable location in this area of the map apart from where we came from. So we head inside.
The folks around Lunei Village are an awfully trusting sort. "Oh, so you're a random guy who just came out of the mountains? Sure, stay at my place for the night! That's not a problem!"
I'm not sure why the farmer bothered pretending there was no inn in Lunei, though. His house acts pretty much exactly like one.
As we head to the eastern part of the village, we transition into a scene.
I'm not interested in anyone else. Hand her over and we'll leave you alone.
She's one of us! I won't let you take her away!
Get out of the way, you peasant.
That armor... Those aren't Empire soldiers. They're from the Rosehart Kingdom!
The Kingdom!? But what would they be doing all the way here?
I don't know either, but it looks like they're here for that girl. What do you think? Should we stay out of this?
This is a neutral village. Those Kingdom soldiers are acting like they own the place. I don't like it. Come on, let's find out what they're doing here.
Uh... are you sure we need to intervene here, Matilda? The girl looks like she can handle herself...
Who the hell are you?
That's what I was going to ask you! What is the Kingdom doing here!?
That's none of your business! Get lost!
I just made it my business! If you've got no good reason, then leave that girl alone!
You think you can threaten me, woman!? Kill those three!
And it's time for a brief battle with two Kingdom Soldiers. Lorenza has joined our party for this battle, and as you've probably guessed from her appearance and HP/MP, she's a spellcaster.
And what a spellcaster she is.
The soldiers are just normal grunts, there's not much to say about them. The battle ends in a few rounds.
The two soldiers just kind of fade out of existence following the battle.
Y... Yes, I'm fine. More importantly, I should thank you people for helping us. Please, come inside.
Fade to black...
My name is Wesling, and this is Lorenza.
I am Captain Matilda, from the Pargon Republic army. My men here are Thorve and Hilbert. Do you know why those Kingdom soldiers came here?
It's because of me... But... I don't know why. They just came here and told me to come with them.
I know what you're all thinking. You're wondering why Lorenza is different from the rest of us.
No, even aside of that, you have a different air around you than other people. It can't be a coincidence that those soldiers were specifically looking for you.
Lorenza... is just a normal person. We don't treat her any different. I don't understand why the military would be interested in her. And a foreign country at that.
Even if she's been accepted in your village, she was not born here, was she?
You're right. I only came here a few years ago.
It was a sailor who brought her to the village, not someone from around here. He picked her up on one of his journeys and was looking for a place that could take her in.
Where did you live before that?
My mother... I only have vague memories of her. She died a long time ago. When my father passed away too, I was left all by myself. That's when the sailor found me and brought me here.
You lived alone with your father your whole life?
No. I have memories of living with my people... but that was a long time ago. My father never spoke of it.
Havali, huh? Now where have we heard that name before...?
Ah, that's right. Zawu doesn't look like a Havali to me, though...
Update 4 posted:
I don't know...
Wesling, I heard about what happened. Are you hurt?
No, no. We're all fine, thanks to these people who came to our aid.
I see, that's good to hear. Wesling, this is a very grave situation. The townspeople came to speak to me about it. Although I don't like it myself, we must think of the future of Lunei.
W-what? But... I don't understand. Why?
Those soldiers are dead, but do you think their army is just going to give up now? They want something from that girl. I don't know what, and maybe she doesn't even know herself, but that won't change anything. What would you do if they come back with more next time? We're just a small village, we can't stand up to them. As the Mayor, I have to do what's best for the village, hard as it may be. She has to go.
That's easy for you to say! You're a soldier! We don't want any trouble with the Kingdom! Besides, this girl isn't even one of us. We've been kind enough to let her live here for so long.
Listening to you is making me sick. It's people like you that let tyrants like the Emperor take control. Are there no real men in this whole village!?
Please, don't fight. I-I'm sure there's a better solution, if we just stay civil...
I don't want to cause any more trouble for all of you. The Mayor's right. They'll come back for me eventually. It's best if I leave.
Lorenza, you don't have to go. We can...
Mr. Wesling, thank you for taking care of me all this time. I... never wanted to stay in this town forever. I want to travel and learn more about my people. I owe so much to you all, so I was afraid to leave this place.. but now I don't have a choice.
I won't be too much of a burden. I've studied magic, so I can make myself useful.
We came to this village looking for transportation. I can take you with us to the Republic. You'd probably be safe there from the Kingdom.
Thank you so much. I'm sure someone will be willing to take us on their ship.
Lorenza... I'll miss you. Please come and visit me when you have the chance.
I'll never forget all you did for me, Mr. Wesling. I'll come back some day for sure.
If she's trying to find a way back by herself, it'd probably take longer than this. And maybe she's not even coming here. For all we know she's still waiting for us to come back.
Hey, Selene... What if she's...
How can you even think something like that!? I already told you, this is the captain we're talking about! And the Lieutenant's with her too. Those two would never give up.
There, you're looking better already.
That's no joke. I'm not a child anymore! When I heard Hilbert talking about how he wants to become a hero, I realized that I felt the same way. Just wait! I'll surpass all of you! Even the Captain!
Ha ha, now you're sounding even more like a kid. But don't worry about it. It's good to have dreams!
If I didn't know better I'd think you were making fun of me.
What was that? Hey! What's going on?
Fade to black...
All right, we've got a way to get back to the Republic, and from the looks of things we may want to get back there fast. But before we do that, there are a few things we should probably check out around here. And the first is our new party member.
Lorenza, as you've probably already figured out, is Last Scenario's pure mage. Her INT and MP pool are by far the highest in the game, and she also has fantastic RES, though I think Thorve may beat her there in the long run. She's also decently agile, making her a much better healer than Thorve, who usually can't get a spell off until enemies have attacked. But, as should be no surprise, Lorenza's STR, VIT, and SKL are complete shit. If you are using her to physically attack, either she has no MP left or you are doing something wrong.
Lorenza's weapons of choice are staves, and in addition to a Keepsake accessory, which prevents Amnesia, and a free Lightning spellcard, she also comes equipped with our first purple spellcard:
M-Shield (8MP): Temporarily grants the M-Shield status, which halves all incoming magical damage, to one ally.
Crisis: Purify (3MP): Cures all detrimental status effects on the caster.
Stat changes: -1% VIT, +3% RES
We also take a brief look around town. To the north of Wesling's house is a spellcard shop, with a few new cards for sale:
Rocksmash (1MP): Launches a physical attack that deals earth damage.
Crisis: Wall (4MP): Temporarily grants the P-Shield status, which halves all incoming physical damage, to one ally.
Stat changes: +1% max HP, -1% SPD
P-Shield (6MP): Temporarily grants the P-Shield status, which halves all incoming physical damage, to one ally.
Crisis: Empower (5MP): Temporarily raises the caster's STR.
Stat changes: +3% VIT, -1% RES
I make sure to pick up a copy of P-Shield. Both varieties of Shield are enormously helpful throughout the game, especially once we start getting more powerful spellcards that allow us to place Shields on the entire party at once. For the time being, P-Shield is probably the more useful of the two flavors, since physical attacks are much more common from enemies right now. But that doesn't mean that Lorenza's free M-Shield won't be getting a workout as well.
The shop owner is also a Hex player, though the only new tile I can get out of her is the Sky Dancer, which is... not very good, I think.
There's also this woman in the southeast of town who functions as an item shop, but her selection doesn't include anything new.
Now then, it's time for us to get moving. This fellow on the docks has our ride.
The least I can do is give you a free ride. Where do you want to go?
Our first concern is getting back to the base. We'll show you where to go.
Fade to black...
Lorenza, stay here while we go inside to report. No, on second thought, it'd be best not to leave you alone here. We'll go together.
Allrighty, let's just head into the base and--
--oh. Oh shit.
An attack!? Quick! Look for survivors!
Tazar's office is empty, but the eastern room...
She's still alive! Thorve!
... Jord? Where's Jord?
He's... He's fine! He'll make it! That's why you have to pull through as well!
These wounds... I can't do this with magic. I'll need time.
Selene, who did this!? Was it the Empire!?
It was one man...
One man!? That's impossible! How could one man cause a massacre like this?
There is one who can.
The hero of the Empire...? He did this on his own? This... is a hero's work?
What happened to him? I didn't see him anywhere.
Commander Tazar did!? Selene!
Her blood loss is severe. I...
You're useless! Do something! Selene! What's wrong!? Help her!
She was wounded badly. I can't stop the internal bleeding...
Answer me! Selene!
I've already tried everything I could... I can do... nothing...
Selene... We... We have to go back to the capital. The Colonel needs to know what happened here. We must report to him.
Next time: ...