Part 13: Daddy Issues
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, we made our way back to the Republic and reported to the Colonel about the failure of our mission. Unfortunately, Tazar's report had come back first, and it contained a blatant lie to explain why it wasn't his fault: a half-baked story about how Lorenza was an Empire spy. The Colonel ordered Matilda to hand Lorenza over, but she refused, and the meeting ended with Matilda sticking her lance in Newick's face, demanding some answers, and then fleeing the city. We're safe for now, but where are we supposed to go from here? It's time to find out.
We begin this update in Melende's inn.
It's my fault this happened, but... Lorenza's not a spy. It wouldn't even make any sense if she were. I don't know what Tazar's trying to do, but I will not play along with it. I guess my career's over. It's not how I thought it'd end, but it's too late to change it now. But Thorve, Hilbert... You two can still go back. I'm the one who's responsible for this.
If what you say is true, then I have no desire to return either. But, what should we do now?
I'm so sorry about this... I know I've done nothing wrong, but this still happened because of me.
At this point the game briefly hands control back to us. We can talk to the rest of our party to get their thoughts on the situation.
There's no way we could stay near the capital, but most other towns should be fine. They'll be searching for us now, but soon enough it'll all be forgotten.
I never thought about what to do if I ever left the army. In fact, I never even thought about leaving.
I'm so sorry about this... I know I've done nothing wrong, but this still happened because of me. I'll have to continue traveling further, I guess.
Attempting to leave the room triggers another scene.
I... don't know... There has to be something we can do.
Like what? Some way to clear our names? Forget it. It's impossible if they don't want us to be innocent. We're being used as scapegoats for the mission's failure.
There's really no solution. We won't be able to return to the army. We'll just have to go our own ways.
Give up on it. There's no place for heroes in this country. You want to go back to the Colonel? Go ahead. But he'll only use you because of your heritage. With things being like this, it's best to just forget about being a hero.
You don't understand!
What are you talking about, Hilbert? Just get it out of your head! I've put my life on the line for these people for over a decade! You think you're the only one who has to give up something!?
Hilbert... Are you hiding something from us? Why don't you tell us? Maybe we'll understand you better if you do. Don't you trust us?
I'm not supposed to tell anyone about it... but... I don't want our team to break up. I wouldn't know what to do on my own. It's true that I need to become a hero, but it's not just for the Republic or for any country. It's for all of us. A great war is going to happen. I don't know when, but it's going to be soon. The demons that were defeated 300 years ago are going to awaken again, and... I'm the one... I'm destined to defeat them, just like Alexander did before.
Where... Where did you get that from?
... said I'm destined to be a hero and my first thought was, "I'm gonna join the army!" I dunno, it made sense at the time. So I headed north but there was this asshole guard who...
It's a very strange story. All of this was told to you by some woman you've never met before?
But the seal she gave you was real, wasn't it? That means she had to be serious. I agree that it's strange, and I can't say that I readily believe it, but we can be sure it's not a joke.
Okay, so that seal is real, but demons? An awakening? Becoming the hero to fight them? I'm sorry, but that's too much for me.
Lorenza? Are you sure? When?
I'm not sure... A long time ago. ... My grandfather? I don't remember it very well... but I'm certain I've heard it before.
Can it be a coincidence? Or is it...
All right. I'll believe you for now, Hilbert. But aside from that... What will we do now?
I wonder, is it really as bad as it seems for us? When I think about it, if the Republic is really in this bad a state, maybe this was meant to happen.
But... we can't just sit here and wait, can we? Maybe we're on our own and we can't make a big difference at this point, but there's one thing we can still do. We can help Lorenza find out more about her people. What she said just makes that all the more interesting.
It's certainly better than staying in this country. What do you think, Captain?
I'm not a Captain anymore. I'm just Matilda now. Like I said, I never thought about what to do if I left the army. I don't know what I should be doing right now. I just don't know. I'll go with you.
Thank you, all of you. You've all helped me so much already. But... where do we go? I don't even know where to start looking myself.
For now, we should go back to Lunei Village and ask around. Maybe there's something we've overlooked.
Fade to black...
All right, that seems like a doable enough goal for the time being. Trying to enter Stonewall will just force us to flee like with Herzog, so let's head on over to the port.
As always, we'll be turning to Luther to get to Lunei, but there's another familiar face nearby.
Is it true what I heard? Did you really threaten to kill the colonel?
And what if I did? Are you going to try to take us in?
That wouldn't be a good idea, would it? After all, I'm on my own and there's four of you. No, actually, I'd rather congratulate you for doing what a lot of us can only dream about. It's a shame to see you leaving, Matilda. Most of the other officers wouldn't like to admit it, but you're one of the best we have.
I'd advise you to leave too, Major. You're too good for this bunch.
No, thanks. I'm not made out for civilian life, and being a defector doesn't suit me. Besides, it's the same everywhere. The Republic started out honestly too, when they were fighting for their independence. Then again, we were both young at the time. Maybe we just didn't know better. Well, I'll be seeing you, Captain.
I'm starting to like this Drakovic guy. Anyway, we're back in Lunei. We have no idea who we should be talking to, but the best candidate would probably be the person who was letting Lorenza stay with him. Let's see what he has to say.
They came again, those Kingdom soldiers. They searched the whole village for you. I just told them the truth, that some travelers saved her and that she left town with them. Who knows if they believed it. At least they left us alone.
Well, that was unhelpful. Maybe the mayor?
No, he still has the same dialogue as he did the first time we were here. Who else?
In actuality, the person you're supposed to talk to here is Eva, the spellcard shop owner. Not exactly the first person I would've guessed, but whatever.
Yes. I don't remember a lot from before I came here, so I was hoping you could tell me something.
I don't know much myself either. After all, you're the only one of your kind I've ever met. But if you're looking for a place to start searching, why not go to where you lived with your father?
I'd like to, but I don't know where that was, or how to get there.
I'm not so sure myself. I know there was a village nearby... No... Noval? Nowan?
Yes, that's it! You remember! Nolan Vale... I don't know where it is myself, but at least we have a name now. Maybe Luther knows where it is. He could take you there.
Thank you, Eva. I'll ask him.
Okay, look, Luther. Giving us free rides wherever we want is one thing, but now you're offering us a journey to a village whose location we don't even know, and which could easily result in us being lost at sea. And you're getting fuck-all out of this. Does this not bother you?
Apparently not. To Nolan Vale!
Fade to black...
Well, that was quick. Let's see what we have here.
Nolan Vale is a small village built around a river, and there's quite a few new things available here. First, let's check out this building on the southeastern corner of town, which contains weapon, armor, and accessory shops. The armor is the same selection that was available in Herzog, but the weapons...
... are quite an upgrade, in addition to being so expensive that we can't afford a single one. All of the 3000-gold weapons are improvements on what our characters are currently wielding, including the gem and staff.
Also, there appears to be an axe hidden away at the bottom of the inventory. Who's this for?
The accessory shop only has one new thing for sale, but boy is it a good one. The Knight Shield prevents both Berserk and Chaos, probably the most crippling statuses to a physical attacker at this point in the game. I buy one and put it on Matilda.
The inn in town is the standard fare, but I found it a bit funny that it appears to have a butler.
In the north of town is this woman who gives us a hint on where we should be heading. Admittedly this isn't really necessary for reasons you'll see in a moment, but it's something.
There's also a few NPCs nearby who let us know that we're in Kingdom territory.
The woman in the house is a Hex player as well, and I take a Flame Imp off her hands.
There's an item shop in town with nothing new, and our last stop is the spellcard shop. This one does have a few new cards for sale:
Bolster (8MP): Temporarily raises one ally's STR.
Crisis: Limit Break (20MP): Deals non-elemental damage to one enemy proportional to the amount of HP the caster is missing.
Stat changes: -2% max MP, +3% STR
Hurry (6MP): Temporarily raises one ally's SPD.
Crisis: Timewarp (13MP): Temporarily raises the entire party's SPD.
Stat changes: -2% STR, +3% SPD
I pick up a Bolster and give it to Matilda. Bolster's a decent spell by itself, but the real gem here is Limit Break, as it gets hilariously powerful when its user's HP gets very low. The high MP cost, situational use, and the fact that it's a Crisis spell means it won't get used all that often, but oh lordy will we have some fun when it does.
Anyway, that's about all there is to see in the village, and we head out to the world map. As you can see from the minimap, we're a significant distance from anywhere we've been previously.
As one of the NPCs hinted, our destination is the hills north of the village, but it turns out that the hint was entirely unnecessary as it's the only place we can go. The rest of the area is simply surrounded with impassable mountains and forests.
So it's time for another "point A to point B" dungeon.
The Nolan Hills are probably the simplest dungeon we've seen thus far. There's little more here than a straight path.
And monsters, of course. This deer/elk/moose/whatever thing here is a Kurat Vol, and he's actually somewhat dangerous. In addition to being healed by lightning (which led to both Thorve and Lorenza healing him on my first turn, the prick), the Kurat Vol has a couple of nasty techniques. First is Great Thunder, which deals about 40 lightning damage to the entire party, and the other is Maddening Howl, which deals 40 damage to a single target and inflicts either Berserk or Chaos. I couldn't tell which, because he only used it on Matilda and her new Knight Shield blocks both. If you feel like stealing, they carry the Rubber Boots we saw in the Hex trading post last update, which halve all incoming lightning damage.
A little further in we run into some goblins: Hill Goblins (red) and a Goblin Shaman (blue). These guys really aren't any threat, as their physical attacks only do about 10 damage. Similar to the regular Goblins before them, Hill Goblins will counter physical attacks with Counter-Attack, but while it's more accurate than the regular Goblin's Clumsy Counter, it only does 5 damage or so. The Shaman will also occasionally cast M-Cure to heal everyone, but none of these guys last long enough for it to matter.
Anyway, the Nolan Hills are a very short dungeon, and we come across a save point after just a few screens. We all know what this means.
Oh. Or maybe not. We just get dumped on the world map again, next to a house. Let's check it out.
It's far away from the town, but... this place is really pretty. I don't think I'd mind having to live here.
In any case... what we're here for are clues. Lorenza, now that you're back in the place where you were raised, are any memories coming back to you?
Yes... My memories seem so much more vivid here. When I look at this place, it feels like I only just left.
What I'm mainly wondering is if there was some specific reason why your father came to live here. Why this particular area?
Fade to white...
Why do we look different from the other people in the village?
Meodar here doesn't have a portrait, which always struck me as rather odd since this won't be the last time we see him in memories and the like. Since it was mentioned rather offhandedly, I should probably remind everyone that he died some time ago.
Your ears! No one else has ears like us! When I'm in town, people always look at me!
Ha ha... You're wrong, dear. We're not any different.
So, we're normal people?
We are the Havali. But we are still normal people.
Ahh, I don't get it! Daddy... If we're Havali... why aren't we living with the other Havali?
Fade to white...
I just remembered something. There's a place my father visited frequently. It's not far to the west of here. He never told me what he was doing there, but it seemed important to him.
Well, let's check the place out then. West of here you said?
Fade to black...
All righty, let's just take a quick look around before we head there. The house is unsurprisingly empty, though the top floor can be used as a free inn.
There's also what is presumably Meodar's grave nearby, but it can't be interacted with.
The place Lorenza mentioned is basically right next door, so let's get moving.
Well, the name doesn't really tell us much.
There's a treasure chest next to the entrance, though the gap that allows access to it isn't that obvious. The Spectral Cloak is an accessory that grants +25 DEX.
Anyway, there doesn't seem to be anything on the surface, but there's a staircase in the back that leads underground. Let's head in.
Or we could cut to a dude we've never seen before running through the mountains. That works too.
Are these the Nolan Hills? She's here, somewhere. I know it. I have to find her!
Fade to black...
Well, that was informative. Time to get down to investigatin'.
Almost immediately we run into a closed door. We'll be heading right first.
In the next room we hit the first monsters of the dungeon. These fellows are Yin (white) and Yang (black). They always show up as a pair, unsurprisingly, and both of them are status specialists. Yin attacks with light-based spells such as Blinding Flash, inflicting 35 damage and blindness on the entire party; and Anti-Magic Ray, inflicting a good 65 damage to one party member, as well as both silence and amnesia. Yang's techniques, on the other hand, only deal about 20 damage or so to one party member, but all of them inflict much more debilitating statuses: Touch of Decay inflicts poison, Touch of Paralysis inflicts petrification, and Touch of Insanity inflicts chaos.
And if that weren't bad enough, Yin also knows Revitalize, so even though Yang would normally be my priority target, I have to ignore him at first because Yin will just keep bringing him back. These guys are easily the most annoying enemies in the dungeon, but thankfully the others aren't so bad. Yins also have Key Tablet Is to steal, if you don't mind keeping them alive while they pound you.
Anyway, we continue on and find a button, which opens the door we saw earlier. But as you can see from the last shot here, there's a treasure chest down the other path, so let's go grab that first.
On our way back we run into some Brain Leeches. Brain Leeches are also highly annoying enemies, though fortunately they're much easier to kill. They're scripted to alternate between two techniques: Drain MP ( ), stealing 7-9 MP from a character, and Eye Beam, which hits the entire party for around 40 damage. There's not much that can be done about the MP stealing if you hit a group of three, but their HP is low enough that you can usually take out all of them with magic before they get a chance to fire off an Eye Beam.
Oh, and just for future reference, MP damage is shown in blue. MP healing is still shown in the same green as HP healing for whatever reason.
We head down the left path to find a new spellcard:
Purge (5MP): Cures blindness, poison, and silence for one ally.
Crisis: Shadowcast (15MP): Deals minor dark damage to one enemy.
Stat changes: +1% VIT, +2% DEX
Following that, we head back to the middle room to head through the door, but we hit a few new enemies before we can pass through. The Light Stalker in the middle is fairly lame, with nothing but a physical attack for about 20 damage. The Sylph on the right is a recolor of the Air Elemental, which is fitting, since it's basically a straight upgrade. Like their predecessors, they can attack for 10 damage or use the technique Vapor Chain to hit everyone for 20.
Through the middle door is a passageway which takes us to a large central room.
We check out the sides first. The door on the left is closed, but the door on the right is open, leading us to a room with a bit of treasure.
They hold a bit of free armor for Matilda, and a grinder's dream: the Siren, an accessory that doubles the encounter rate. I won't be touching it (the encounter rate is high enough, thank you very much), but it does have its uses.
Anyway, we head through the northern door in the central room to find another locked door and a save point. This door here is our goal, but we're going to need to find a way to open it first.
There are a couple of choices of paths down the stairs. We head right and right again to reach the treasure room again, but we can't progress any further. The tileset here doesn't do a very good job of showing elevation, but presumably the green tiles are supposed to be higher up than the white ones, as we can't walk from one to the other.
Nearby, we find a switch. Pulling it causes a quick fade to black, during which part of the floor shifts.
This allows us to head across the room to a button, which opens the western door in the big central room.
And as we're heading back, this happens.
So uhhh, yeah. This fellow is the Rolleyes, and he's a rather rare encounter in this dungeon. He has no regular attack, instead using a single technique called... Attack. Which deals about 35 physical damage. Okay then. He's also highly evasive and has a resistance to pretty much every element, which makes him a pain to kill, but he's not really what you could call a threat. Killing him nets no gold but a boatload of experience.
The main reason you want to run into a Rolleyes is for their steal. The Ruin Mask is a helmet which does this:
Pretty nice, huh? Well, there's just one problem...
... the wearer is stuck with a poison status that cannot be dispelled. Also it's worth 1 gold to sell. So I might've lied about "wanting" one.
Anyway, we head back to the central room and enter the western door, which leads us to another button. This one opens the northern door which I said was our goal, but there's one more thing we want to check out before we go there.
The other exit in this room leads to the other side of the room with the save point. There's a shortcut underneath the elevated area which allows us easy access to the staircase.
First, though, we're going to head back to this room, where the northwest door has now opened.
The four chests on the sides of the room contain attack items, and the fifth...
... is a trap, though not much of one. These are just regular enemies.
The reward for the fight is a Lightning Rod, which casts not Lightning but its higher-tier counterpart, Thunderbolt. It's extremely powerful at this point in the game, but like the Frag Bombs we have, we'll probably be saving it for a desperate situation.
Now then, we've done pretty much all there is to do here, so let's head through the northern door.
When we reach the middle of the room the door shuts and suddenly everything gets very bright. We know what this means...
BOSS FIGHT: Sentry Pillars
Well, it's kind of a boss fight, anyway. I wouldn't really call this a "boss fight"--it's more a fight against a group of moderately powerful enemies.
All of the Pillars have the same stats (and no drops or steals ). They also have only three moves:
The first is a decent regular attack...
... the second is Bright Glare, which does a bit more in light-aligned damage...
... and the third is Absorbing Light. Which doesn't actually appear to do anything at all. (It's not a setup for Bright Glare either; the Pillars can cast that whenever.) So individually the Pillars are rather weak. The threat is that the initial onslaught of six attacks a turn can bring characters down fast.
There's not much of a strategy for this fight beyond focusing on one Pillar at a time to take it down quickly. The surviving Pillars don't gain any stats or new moves as the others die, so the hardest part of the fight is the beginning. If you can survive that, you'll have very little trouble bringing the battle to a close.
For the hell of it I give Matilda an opportunity to try out Limit Break. Even with more than half her HP remaining, it does roughly double the damage that Lorenza is capable of with one of her spells. It'll only get more ridiculous at lower HP levels.
The last Pillar falls not too much later.
We don't get any items, but we do gain a good chunk of experience and gold. That's something, I guess.
Fortunately, the door opens after the battle, and there's gotta be something interesting back there, right?
Those sentries in the other room weren't there for nothing. There has to be something they were guarding.
But maybe whatever was here before is long gone now.
I didn't want to tell you before, but... When I was running through that tunnel back in Herzog, I felt the same sensation. It's as if... someone is calling to me.
Someone... or something?
What do you mean?
"The Awakening is close at hand." That's what you were told, wasn't it, Hilbert? Lorenza, is it like you're feeling the presence of some being, sleeping beneath the surface?
Thorve... you're not saying that...
He may be right. My father was talking about the Awakening as well. That can't be a coincidence.
I... I don't know for sure.
But it does seem like your father was living here in order to watch over this place. Maybe he came here to make sure that whatever's down here would never wake up?
Fade to white...
Why aren't we living with the other Havali?
Only we can awaken them. Only we have that power... But we can't use it. No... not while that man is controlling our people. It would be for the best if they just continued sleeping for now.
What do you mean? I don't understand at all!
Lorenza... I will explain it all to you when you're older. Don't worry about it. You'll be safe here.
Fade to white...
If there's really a demon buried here, then what should we do?
Right now, I don't think there's anything we can do. What do you think, Lorenza?
Yes... If we don't know what we're doing, we might wake it up.
But still... can we really leave it here?
We don't know how powerful these demons are, but if the legends are true, we can't fight them by ourselves. It's better to let them sleep if we're not sure we can stop them.
Yeah, I guess... We can come back another time, when we've found more help.
Fade to black...
Well, that was unproductive. Might as well make our way back. The scene dumps us right outside the room, so we need to walk all the way out of the dungeon.
Following that, we make our way back to the Nolan Hills. We'll have to walk all the way back through this area as well.
But as we head east, a scene suddenly starts.
And would you look who it is.
... Zawu? You're... showing yourself in front of everyone? Are you no longer keeping my mission a secret?
No, it's no longer necessary. The situation's changing fast. They're allowed to know.
Oh... Well, actually... I already told them. I didn't have a choice. We were on the run from the Republic army, and we just lost hope.
It was probably destined that way. It doesn't matter anymore.
So, you're this oracle that I've heard about? Even after everything I've seen recently, I have a hard time buying into this. Demons that will awaken, and a destined hero who'll defeat them? You say you got all that from visions? How do you expect me to believe that?
I'm not expecting you to. These things are hard to accept. They even were for myself. But what's important is that Hilbert knows I'm speaking the truth. Everything will depend on him.
You know her!?
Yes... The tribe she is part of is known as the Havali. I've recently made contact with them.
You know my people!?
Wait, what about us? Can't we come too? And who are these people anyway? What do they have to do with us?
That's not up to me to decide, Hilbert. The Havali do not want contact with any outsiders at this point.
... Why did you come to take me back?
Lorenza, don't you want to return? Your grandfather misses you very much.
... No, I...
What is wrong?
... My father warned me.
Lorenza... is that true?
I'm sorry... I remembered it earlier, but I was afraid to tell you...
You're wrong. There's nothing to be afraid of. Your grandfather is the elder of your people. He wants the best for you. You're frightened because you think your power is something evil. That's not true. Your power can help free the Havali.
Hilbert, do you trust me? You know the seal I gave you was genuine. I've always been helping you. Do you really think I would lie to you now?
... Maybe you're right... I...
Next time: Who's this asshole?