Part 14: Who's This Asshole?
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, we decided to help Lorenza find out more about her people, and traveled to the place where she and her father used to live in seclusion. Although we found no clues there, we visited a nearby ruin that her father used to visit frequently, and in its deepest room Lorenza felt the same presence that she felt in Alexander's tomb. What that presence is, we don't know, but Thorve surmised that it may be one of the demons of legend, and we decided to leave and come back later when we had more help. On our way back, we ran into Zawu, who seemed to know Lorenza, and offered to take her back to her people. But before we could accept, an unknown person interrupted Zawu and called her out as a liar. Who's this asshole? It's time to find out.
Oh hey, it's the cloaked man we saw last update. Pity we don't know a single thing about him.
But... no... that's impossible! I thought you were dead!
Damn, the dude's had less than a minute of screentime and he's already tossing out the s like it ain't no thing.
Wait, who are you?
Listen to me! You'd better not trust this woman. She'll only lead you to ruin!
Don't listen! This man is only trying to delude you!
Should I tell them everything about you and I? Would that be enough to convince them who's the liar here?
Zawu backs away, towards the cliff face.
... You're not leaving me any choice. I was keeping this in case of emergency, but I have to use it now. Hilbert, your destiny won't change. If you come to realize that I'm on your side, we'll meet again.
This won't be enough to kill you, but it's enough to allow me to escape. Goodbye, Hilbert. I wish you well.
And abruptly we're tossed into the menu to prepare, with a new party member in tow.
Ethan is the all-around character Hilbert wishes he could be. With great STR, decent INT, a good MP pool, and SPD that's just behind Hilbert's, Ethan can take on pretty much any role without issue, and if you don't need him to do anything special he can still dish out some fantastic damage with his regular attacks. Now that we have Ethan, our party is too big to have everyone active at once, but with Ethan around, honestly there's really no reason to put Thorve back into the party until late in the game when he can actually serve as the magic tank he's meant to be.
Ethan's weapons of choice are axes, and he comes with a free Body Guard, which prevents enfeeble, amnesia, and slow. He also has a nice little spellcard attached to him that is going to be supremely important in just a second:
Laser (13MP): Deals minor non-elemental damage to one enemy, ignoring enemy RES.
Crisis: Shell (25MP): Temporarily grants the M-Shield status to the entire party.
Stat changes: -1% SPD, +2% RES, -1% SKL
This goes straight to Lorenza for the time being. Once we're ready...
BOSS FIGHT: Riftgate
The Riftgate is an asshole. Assholes are kind of a theme of this update, if it wasn't already obvious.
Anyway, this is an extremely gimmicky fight, as the stat page should make clear. The Riftgate is immune to every element under the sun, and its supreme VIT means it may as well be immune to physical attacks as well. Its method of attack is also heavily scripted.
The Riftgate's main attack is Atomic Incineration, which it will always use on the first turn. This deals heavy damage to the entire party, but also uses all of its paltry 20 MP.
On its second turn, the Riftgate will bite someone for moderate damage.
And on its third turn, it will use Mana Channel to restore its MP and ready another Atomic Incineration. Then it will repeat the cycle.
As mentioned, physical attacks are useless against the Riftgate due to its VIT--even a critical from Matilda only does 20 damage. Its elemental immunities also mean that pretty much every spell we've seen in previous updates will do no damage at all. So really, if you want to win this fight, there's only two options.
The first option, and the one I think SCF expected, is to slap your new Laser spellcard on Lorenza and fire away, feeding her Serpent items as needed. The other is to use attack items such as Grenades, Molotov Cocktails, and Frag Bombs, which also carry no element and can therefore pierce the Riftgate's defenses. Since the rest of your party can't really do much else, they should simply focus on keeping everyone alive and keeping your Laserer's MP up. Although Atomic Incineration's damage is heavy, it's infrequent enough that you can easily have everyone healed up by the time another casting rolls around.
Oh, and don't forget to grab the steal as well, as Healing Orbs are still pretty rare at this point in the game.
Also, I may have lied a bit when I said there were only two real ways to damage the Riftgate. I solemnly swear that I didn't know this would work going into the fight and only tried it to fuck around, buuuut...
... it turns out Limit Break works too.
Winning the battle nets us another absurd healing item in the highest class of MP restorative: a Serpent Eye, which restores 400 MP to a character.
But by the time we're back on the field, Zawu is gone.
Damn it, Zawu.
Uhm... Thanks for the help, I guess. I'm Hilbert.
What's going on?
I can't tell you.
What? Why not? You were just saying that you were going to tell us everything!
That was all bluff. There's not much I can tell you. I've lost my memory.
At least now we can finally put a name on that random dude in the cell we kept seeing. Unless it turns out that this is actually someone completely unrelated.
I forgot who I was, why I was there. I forgot many things. All I know is that I was betrayed.
To the north? You mean this facility is in Rosehart Kingdom territory?
That woman was after Lorenza, just like those soldiers in Lunei were. They were all from the Kingdom. That's no coincidence.
Lorenza, you said you have the power to cause the Awakening. It's no surprise that people would be looking for you. On the other hand, she was saying that your power can actually be used to free your people. I don't think that was a complete lie...
I don't know... My father died before he could tell me everything. If I could meet my grandfather, then... But, I'm afraid. What if I'm caught by those people? My father was hiding out here just to escape them. What should I do? Can I really continue going out in public?
It's fine. We'll protect you! All of us will, right?
That's right. You're one of us. I won't let anything happen to you.
It wouldn't be safe to leave you alone now that they're searching for you.
I... I don't know what to say. Everyone's being so kind to me.
Don't worry about it! We're friends, right?
Fade to black...
And with that, control is returned to us. It's time to head back to Nolan Vale, but there's a few things we can do before we go there.
First, the tree in the southeastern corner of this screen can be walked through, and behind it...
... is a Reflective Jacket, a body armor that nullifies light damage. Yet another item for the "would've been great a half-hour ago" pile. Lorenza puts it on anyway.
Also, I make a quick stop back at the Ether Well to get Key Tablet Is for Matilda and Ethan, who haven't received one yet. With that, we head on back to town.
The game automatically teleports us to the inn once we enter Nolan Vale.
We've discovered a number of things, but none of them give us a concrete clue on what we can do. Moreover, although we were searching for Lorenza's people, it seems we may be better off avoiding them.
First of all, I think we need help. Right now we're all by ourselves. If our enemy is a whole nation, then we can't do this alone. If someone really wants to awaken the demons, I'll have to do something. I think... those people were trying to control me, because I'm the descendant of Alexander. Maybe Zawu is one of them. But I won't let them take advantage of me. It's my destiny to help the world.
Anyway, there's one thing that concerns me... Lorenza, you said you felt the same thing in those ruins as you did in the tunnels under Herzog? Does that mean there are demons sleeping underneath the Empire?
I... think so. I don't know why else I would've felt that way.
I'm worried about it. Why are they sleeping in a place like that? If they awaken, it would cause massive chaos. Furthermore, we don't know how many more of these places there are.
That way, we can look further into this. Maybe we can even find someone there who can help us.
Help us? Did you forget that not long ago we were trying to assassinate their emperor?
But it's different now. We're not working for the Republic anymore. It's not like everyone there knows it was us.
He may be right. This conflict was most likely not even the Empire's fault. We just have to be careful and avoid the capital for now. I never intended on going back there, but in this situation, I have to admit it's our only choice.
So it's decided? We'll try to get help from the Empire?
If we're going to do that, there's one thing we should be doing first.
We should go back and ask them to come with us, to Lunei Village for example.
Yeah, you're right. If we don't do it now, it might be the last time we'll get to see them.
There's a magical-sounding noise as Ethan pulls a stone out of his pocket.
I'll hide my identity for now, so I can determine what they're really trying to do. ... Are you there? Answer me if you can hear me.
Oh great, now who's this asshole?
(Since some people have mentioned getting annoyed at all the ~mysterious~ characters, I should point out that this guy is the last one. Also, since you guys probably haven't been paying that close attention to what armor the soldiers of each nation wear, the soldier in the center of the screen is from the Kingdom.)
Yes, General. We couldn't find him, but we did capture the man who helped him escape.
What a pain... What about this accomplice? Where is he now?
He was taken to Grandmaster Ortas, General. It was a special request...
Hmm... So Ethan's gone, and Zawu failed in her mission... Haha, it doesn't matter. I already have a much better plan anyway. Send a message to Number Two and Number Three. Tell them to proceed with the orders I gave them. They should be at a small town in the south of the Republic right now.
Oh, and I've told you before to stop calling me General. I hate that title.
Everyone's fighting amongst each other. It's all for the better. They'll only weaken themselves while I grow stronger. It's so easy to make people hate each other. When the suspicion is already there, all they need is a little push.
As much as I enjoy Last Scenario as a whole, I really don't like the timing of this reveal. Not just because we have no idea who the fuck this guy is supposed to be yet, which makes the reveal carry no weight, but because it also makes an upcoming scene feel very different than what was probably intended. I'll explain that when we come to it, as it'll be later this update.
Back with Hilbert...
All right, we've got ourselves another task. But as before, we've got something to do before we get moving.
And that is upgrade the weapons of Hilbert, Matilda, and Ethan. Normally we wouldn't have had enough money for all of this, but I went ahead and sold the Purple Herb we were carting around for a good 5000 gold. There wasn't much point in keeping it, in my opinion, since it'll be hours before we'd want to use it over a Green Herb (which are also full heals at this point). Might as well get some cash out of it. I also sell Matilda and Ethan's old weapons to get the money for the Ivory Bow.
Now then, it's time to get moving.
This... this changes everything. You lied to me, Castor. You told me he was dead.
Yes, come in. It's about an important matter.
What's wrong? Did you find out who was responsible for the assassination attempt?
Oh, it's much worse than that. Felgorn, you know we are sworn to protect the Empire. Not just the ones in power, but the nation itself. If the future of our country is in jeopardy, it's our right - no, our duty - to expunge the infection.
What do you mean? The Empire is in danger?
Yes... but I dare not say it out loud. I assure you that I refused to believe these reports myself at first. However, we can't ignore the truth that's in front of our eyes. We must take action.
Tell me! What is wrong?
It's pure madness, Felgorn. He's become afraid of dying without having accomplished anything. He feels the end of his life approaching, but he realizes that his reign has been rather unremarkable. And now, before he passes on, he wants the Empire to conquer the world so he can leave behind a lasting legacy.
No... that's not possible...
I'm afraid it is. But... there's no way he could find support for such a ridiculous goal. That's why he's resorting to deceit.
Once the Republic declared war, he could freely attack them under the guise of protecting the nation. I've even heard rumors that the assassination was carefully staged to increase support for this war.
I... I can't believe it. Has the Emperor really become like this?
And right here is where the earlier reveal with Castor causes this scene to fall flat. Even if we hadn't known that Castor was behind the Farin Island attack, we would've probably suspected Augustus of having an angle, and we'd likely be a bit wary of believing him. But at least in my case, knowing for certain that Augustus is lying causes my reaction to Felgorn's words here to change from "Well, I don't know..." to "NO YOU GULLIBLE IDIOT". It's true that Felgorn has no way of knowing if Augustus is speaking the truth, but I feel like I'd look a lot more favorably on him if the game hadn't told me literally minutes before that Augustus is playing him.
As an aside, one of the things I'm kind of sad the game doesn't explore is why Felgorn has such absolute trust for Augustus in particular. I don't believe we ever really find that out.
They're all convinced their positions are secure. They're not concerned with the people who are dying outside. But we can't allow things to stay this way. If nothing is done, the Empire is doomed. You understand, right, Felgorn? Someone has to take responsibility.
Back with Hilbert...
We return to Lunei to... find someone already waiting for us, apparently. Wait, what?
Haha, I thought I'd find you here. I heard about what happened... I figured you wouldn't be coming back to Stonewall anymore. Lorenza told me about this village before, so I knew you'd come back here eventually.
You fool, what if we weren't coming? What were you going to do here by yourself?
All right, all right, I get it. I'm sorry. Are you really okay with staying here?
I don't mind. It seems like a nice place. You're going to leave again, aren't you?
We're in the middle of things right now. As soon as I find a safer place, I'll let you know.
Yeah, you too.
And... that's about all there is to do in Lunei, actually. Now we just have to head back to the Republic and pick up Joanna.
And after a hilariously easy romp through the Redhill Pass, we arrive back in Whitelake.
Huh, she's out again? Oh well... Come in everyone, we'll just wait here.
No, my Lord.
Oh... Why are you here, then?
F-Felgorn? No, wait! What are you doing!?
I am bringing an end to your deceit.
I-I don't understand... Why...
I understand, Augustus. Someone had to take the responsibility. I'll be the one to bear this sin. It's all for the good of the Empire.
Back with Hilbert...
I asked around, but no one else knows where she went either.
Maybe she's gone to another town for some reason?
I don't know...
Fade to black...
If you can hear me, please respond.
Finally! I've... Wait... You're not Phantom. Who are you?
It's you, isn't it, Ethan? Do you remember me? I am Ortas, Grandmaster of the Havali.
Ortas!? Then Phantom was...
I'm not here to talk about him. There's something I want you to do, Ethan.
Fade to black...
Yes. It was for you, Hilbert.
Hold on. How did you get this message?
I found some device on me that they used to contact me. It was probably a tracking beacon for prisoners. I already destroyed it to be safe.
Well tell us, what was the message? It's... it's about Joanna, isn't it?
... Yes, you're right. It's about her.
No way... We were too late...
I should've known it. They want to get their hands on Lorenza at any costs. Damn it! How could we have let this happen!
Where is this trade supposed to take place?
Not far from here, in an old mine.
What are we supposed to do now?
Wait! You can't do that, Lorenza! It's your powers that they're after!
It's not fair that an innocent woman was dragged into this because of me. Even if they capture me, I won't help them. I'll do what I can.
No! I can't let you go!
Hilbert, we all feel the same way. I don't want Lorenza to go either, but what do you suggest we do? Your sister's life is at stake here.
I'm supposed to be a hero. If I can't even protect my own sister, then how could I save the whole world? I promise I'll bring her back safely.
They're definitely going to be expecting this. Are you sure about it?
I can't ask you guys to come with me, but I have to do it. I'll go by myself.
Listen to yourself. You think you can do this all on your own? You think nothing can hurt you? You're sounding just like me now. I tried to do everything by myself too. I thought it was better to put myself in danger than to make my men risk their lives. But I'm starting to realize... that it just doesn't work out like that. And that goes for you as well. We're a team. We'll do this together.
You guys... All right. Lorenza should stay somewhere safe while the rest of us go.
Actually, I think it'd be safer if one of us stayed behind with her, just in case. Otherwise, she'll be on her own if they find her here.
Hmm, maybe. But who's going to be the one?
Are you okay with that, Ethan?
So, it's decided. Matilda, Thorve and I will go and save Joanna. Lorenza...
If... If anything happens to us... Just run away. Go somewhere they'll never find you. Don't worry about us.
Next time: It's time for a rescue mission.