Part 17: A Link To The Past
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, we headed to the southwest of the Empire to meet with Prince Wilhelm. In a turn of events we probably should have expected, however, the soldiers there wouldn't allow us to just walk up and see him. Since the prince is a known scholar, Thorve had the idea of traveling to the nearby Geo-Science Station and meeting with a man named Randolph, whom Wilhelm was sure to have met and who could introduce us to the prince. But while Randolph was willing to help us, he all but demanded that we go and clear his new excavation site of monsters first. So today, we're going to be taking care of that little detail. Let's get to it.
The excavation site is the little shrine-looking thing on the world map that we briefly looked at last update. Let's see what's going on there.
It's too dangerous for us to go inside. It's not just monsters that have made these ruins their home. It also seems like there's some kind of defense mechanism built by the original constructors. Maybe it was meant to deter robbers, and that would mean there's something worth protecting inside.
All right, but what exactly are we looking for?
There is supposed to be some kind of library deep down here. It would help us greatly if you found it. Please bring back all intact writing you can find... but handle it carefully.
Okay, I got it.
Oh, and one more thing. You'll need this to access the inner parts of the shrine.
All right, seems simple enough. Let's take a look.
The Altar of Memory's entrance is taken up by this large podium and pedestal, the latter of which is where the Sun Orb that Rudi gave us goes. I guess SCF really wanted us to make sure we talked to him. But there's an open door on the left, so let's check that out first.
We get attacked just before we make it through, by a Ghost Warrior and Ectoplasm. The Ghost Warrior on the left is nothing to write home about, possessing a physical attack for about 35 damage and a technique called Blade Fury that... does less damage. Odd.
The Ectoplasm on the right, however, is the real asshole of this dungeon. Ectoplasms have the same supreme VIT we saw on the Riftgate, meaning physical attacks are essentially useless against them. Fortunately they don't have the elemental immunities the Riftgate did, but they are still major MP sinks since it usually takes three basic spells to take them down. That doesn't sound like too much, but this is a long dungeon, and when you're blowing 12 MP across your party per battle, your MP pool dries up quick. And aside from a 25-damage regular attack, they also have an incredibly annoying move in Disgusting Touch, which also does 25 damage and inflicts poison and chaos simultaneously. Fuck these guys.
Anyway, behind the left door we find this hallway. Hang on, what's that behind the pillar on the left?
The hidden switch opens this door at the north end of the hall.
Inside we find a bunch of treasure, including a rather ornate-looking chest.
There are some powerful healing items in the regular chests. The Panacea, if you've forgotten, heals all status effects on one character. The ornate chest, on the other hand...
... is a trap.
Opening the ornate chest leads to a battle with a Watch Disc. These guys are regular encounters in this dungeon, but they're rather rare. If you still need some, they carry Key Tablet Is for the stealing.
Watch Discs have no attacks of their own. Instead, every turn they are alive, they will declare "Intruder Alert!" and summon a Guardian Pillar into the fight. Fortunately the Discs have low enough HP that you can usually kill them before they summon more than one. Which is good, because Guardian Pillars are rather strong. While their regular attack only hits for 20, they're quite fond of using the powerful Blinding Beam to inflict 70 light-aligned damage and blindness.
Once the battle is over, we receive a Red Sphere. This goes into our inventory as a key item and is helpfully described by the game as a "small crystal sphere that glows red." Thanks game, never would have figured that out on my own.
Now then, it's time to enter the dungeon proper. Placing the Sun Orb on the pedestal in the entrance room causes the central door to open. The door on the right remains closed for now, and actually won't open for a while. Just keep it in the back of your head that it's there.
The central door leads to a fork, and if we head north from there, we find the main puzzle room of this dungeon.
This room contains the main path onward and a hint on how to open it, but we're going to need four spheres to progress and we only have one.
Fortunately, one of the spheres is hiding behind a pillar on the right side of the room. Like the Red Sphere before it, opening this chest leads to a battle with a Watch Disc, and the other sphere chests will as well.
On our way back to the fork we hit a Ghost Warrior backed up by two Phantasmals. As is customary for recolors in this game, Phantasmals have a moveset very similar to their little brother Ghosts: they can bite a character for about 25 damage, or use Life Steal to drain that same amount. They've also got a new trick: Nightfall, which hits a character for 50 dark-aligned damage.
Heading west from the fork spits us out in a very large room. In addition to the door to the south that we entered from, there are exits to the north, west, and east in this area.
First, we head up the stairs to find the Green Sphere (and another Watch Disc).
Next, we head west from the big room. This leads us to another fork, though the way out you can see in the northeast of the last shot just goes back into the big room.
We head west from the fork and run into an impassable pit. Except...
... we can knock down this pillar.
Across the pit we find the final sphere and Watch Disc fight, but there's still one more place to check out before we head back to the room with the pedestals.
And that is this room. A second Talisman, which prevents petrification and instant death, is always handy, and the Wizard Hood is a mage helmet that goes to Lorenza because why not.
Now then, let's take care of this puzzle. The hint is pretty straightforward, but the solution is a bit tricky because of the hint's sentence structure. Instead of placing the orbs in the order Fire, Earth, Water, Air, there's a slight difference.
Because Fire is born from Earth, that actually makes Earth first.
And born from Earth, Fire turns Water into Air.
Behind the door we find a very long staircase, and at the bottom of it is a treasure room.
Ethan gets the Skill Capsule because he has the lowest SKL among our characters who will physically attack regularly, and Matilda gets the Speed Capsule because she's about as fast as molasses.
To the south we find a new area. Since it won't come across well in screenshots, we're now in the northwest corner of a grid of roughly identical square rooms, 3 across by 2 down. Most of them are empty, but...
... the south-center room has a closed door at the north end, and...
... the northeast room contains another closed door, a save point, and a switch.
The switch opens both closed doors in this area. We'll be heading through the one here first.
Behind that is a long hallway, and at the end of it is...
Well, maybe there was nothing to find here after all. Those scientists just -assumed- there would be something here. They could've been wrong.
It looks more like a hallway. Was a section of the building closed off?
What was that?
Look out! It's another trap!
BOSS FIGHT: Wall Sentinel
The Wall Sentinel is actually a three-part boss. In addition to the main body in the center, the Left Face and Right Face are also their own targets.
And three targets means three steals.
The shared water weakness also means we can start the fight by finally tossing out the Blue Coral we've been carting around.
Anyway, as you might expect, each of the faces of the Wall Sentinel has its own role in this fight. The Left Face is a supplemental attacker, and spends all of its turns casting Electric Surge. I think that's its only attack.
It also has the lowest HP of the three, so it gets taken out almost immediately. I don't manage to get the steal before it dies, but the Power Gauntlet is an accessory that only gives +15 STR. I think I can pass on that one.
The Right Face is the support specialist, improving the other faces' STR and INT with Force Booster and Mental Booster, granting Shields, and healing. Fortunately we now have Disenchant, so if a worrying amount of buffs start to build up on one of the faces we can just remove them all.
The Wall Sentinel itself is the main damage dealer, possessing a number of powerful attacks. First up is Forgetful Breath, which deals moderate damage in addition to inflicting amnesia.
Hammer does similar damage, but doesn't have a status to go along with it.
But its most dangerous move by far is Eject Debris, which deals a major chunk of damage and can quite easily KO characters if you're not expecting it. The fact that it can use this technique without any warning means that you're going to want to ensure that all of your characters' HP is topped off at all times, especially Lorenza's.
The steals I do manage to get aren't that great, but they're not bad, either. Gold Dusts are always helpful and the Laser spellcard will probably get sold for some cash, since I don't see any reason why I'd need two.
Also, the requisite Limit Break. Sadly I couldn't end the fight with this one.
Anyway, the Wall Sentinel can be dangerous while the Left Face is still alive, but once it's down, the boss simply can't do enough damage to really be a threat if you keep everyone healed up. Just put someone on permanent healing duty and the battle shouldn't be that much trouble.
While the boss's steals aren't that remarkable, its drop definitely is. The Sacred Orb is Last Scenario's ultimate panic button, restoring full HP and MP to the entire party. Naturally, this means it'll never get used because what if I need it later???
Yes... this definitely looks like the remains of some kind of library. However...
Yeah, I'm not sure we'll be recovering much from here.
It doesn't look like much of it is left. The whole building here collapsed down on it.
What are we going to do? Should we just bring back what little we can find?
Yes, we'll just gather everything that's in decent condition. There's nothing more we can do.
Fade to black...
Following the scene, we're once again forced to leave a dungeon by walking all the way out.
There's at least a shortcut. If we head through the other formerly-closed door in the grid of identical rooms, we can head up a staircase and come out of the right-side door in the entrance hall. Once there, it's only a few steps to the exit.
Hmm... I see. Oh well, it's better than nothing. Please take all of it back to the Chief.
All right then, not much to do but head on back.
We find Randolph in the room where we originally met him.
So this is all that was left? The rest was destroyed? That's a great shame. I was hoping that with the contents of that library, we'd be able to decipher the language it's written in. You see, so far we've only been able to translate a very small fraction of what we've found. Ah, well... you can't expect a miracle.
So... will you help us meet the prince now?
Eh, this soon?
Well... you did say you'd help us if we found these books for you.
Oh shit, we're about to get roped into a lecture, aren't we?
These records are at least five hundred years old. Wouldn't you want to know what's written in them?
Randolph, the past won't go anywhere. We're here because we have to deal with the present.
Oh ho, I see. If only you knew what I know. I said that those ruins were five hundred years old, yes? We're fairly certain about that. But according to history, this entire continent was only discovered three hundred years ago. There were people living here before we did, and they had an entirely different language and culture. So I ask you, what happened to these people? Why do we know nothing about them? Did they completely vanish before we even arrived? Were they assimilated without a trace? It's a mystery!
Did this land have something to do with the demon war?
Ah-ha! I see I have your attention now! You are on the right track, young man. Doesn't that pique your curiosity? There's more to it too. I'll show you. Come, follow me.
We follow Randolph into the hallway. We could have come here before, but the door Randolph is standing in front of would always be locked.
At first we thought it was something artificial, but further study disproved that theory. Its structure and vast size suggests it was something that naturally occurred in the deeper layers of the planet. The reason we found this rock was because it actually emitted energy of its own.
Uhm, you were going to tell us about those ruins...
Oh, I'm getting to that. Just wait. The point is, the energy of this rock is very similar to healing magic. To a geologist, or really any scientist this is a great discovery, but you may wonder why I'm telling you this? You see, as I was studying this phenomenon, I was reminded of something I'd heard long ago.
As a matter of fact, we do. It was rather incidental, but we heard this from several NPCs in the Empire.
This interested me greatly. Was this somehow related to the mysterious rock? That's why I expanded my investigation beyond geology. Come into the projection room, and you will see.
(This is also the music that plays on the title screen, since I don't believe I've mentioned it before.)
Through the location we found it and other sources, we estimate it to be about 280 to 290 years old. This supports the theory that this land was undiscovered up to 300 years ago. Now, I went around the continent, and even abroad, in order to collect historical information. You must realize that historical accounts vary from source to source. You can't just open one book and get the facts. Everywhere I went, I heard slightly different things.
Could you, uh... get to the point a bit faster?
Oh, I was trying to make this easy to understand for you. I'll cut out some of the unnecessary explanation.
Fade to black...
You remember the legend of the demon war, right? Have you ever wondered where these demons actually came from?
Here? You mean the demons were living right here?
It all makes perfect sense if you don't look too far into it. The discovery of this land matches up exactly with the Demon War. Why? Because if this was the demons' land, we discovered it because they attacked us! Once the demons were annihilated, we took this land for ourselves, and that's how the Empire was established.
Hold on. What you're saying makes sense, and obviously those demons had to come from somewhere. But what about those ruins? You said they were older. Are you saying those were built by the demons?
Very good, Thorve! You're asking the same questions I did when I discovered this.
Fade to black...
This last screen looks like a heavily edited page from a real book. Looking at the title I can make out the remnants of "TO THE READER". I wonder where it's from?
The demons of legend were savage, and probably did not have an organized enough society to have built the ruins. Then where did these structures come from, if they predate human presence here? And more importantly, how did the home of the demons become known as the "Holy Land"? And what about that elusive rock? Does it have anything to do with the demons?
Er, hang on, I thought you said the scrolls, the strange rock, and the history of this continent were all tied together somehow. As far as I can tell you haven't connected them at all.
You see here one of the more intact scrolls we found from those ruins. If only we could read them... I'm certain that once we've fully analyzed this language, we can find out the secret of this civilization. Ahh... but so far we've only been able to make out the very basics. "year... fifth..." We don't have much more than that.
Yes, yes, exactly. Something like that.
Where are you from? What do you know about all this? Can you answer my questions? Where do your people live? This is criminal! This is absolutely criminal, withholding this information from me! I want to know! Tell me everything!
... her in Lunei Village, where she was about to be captured by--
Oh please. You saw what I did to that one guy. He was lucky he got close enough to grab my arm before I fried him.
Like I was saying, she was ABOUT TO BE CAPTURED by Kingdom...
It's amazing that you've made it here in one piece, isn't it? I understand now why you're looking for help.
But what about my people? Are you saying that they used to live in this area? I'm just confused by all this.
Hmm... Yes! I've got it! Brilliant! It's all coming together now! Your people... what did you call them again?
Yes, yes. The Havali.
Furthermore, it's likely that it was they who first named it the "Holy Land" and we took it from them. Now, eventually something happened. The demons appeared. Where from, I cannot say, but it seems like they chased your people off this land and took it for themselves. We did not find this continent until the demons attacked us, so we never knew of your people's existence. By the time we defeated the demons and claimed this land, little remained of the Havali cities but buried ruins.
If this is my people's home, maybe that has something do with that presence I felt beneath the capital.
That's very well possible. It explains much, except...
Is there still something missing?
Clearly, they moved elsewhere, where they remained for over three hundred years without outside contact. It seems strange... if this was their homeland, why abandon it entirely? You were very young when you ran away with your father, weren't you?
Yes, far too young to clearly remember where we lived. I'm certain there were many of us, though.
Well, it looks like we still have a mystery left unsolved. Young lady, can I ask you for a favor? It would help us all greatly if you would translate the texts we've found. Oh, it's not all that much, and we mostly just want to know if there's any new information in them.
I'd love to help. I want to know more myself too.
As for the rest of you, I promised you all that I would put in a good word for you with the prince.
I will ask Rudi to go through these texts with you, while I accompany the others to the fort. Is that all right with you?
I don't think I'm needed right away, am I?
We're only going to talk at this point, so that would be fine.
Excellent. Let us depart immediately.
... You want to speak to me?
Come on, don't look so frightened. It's only for a moment.
Fade to black...
Fourteen years have gone by. I understand you've changed, but you've barely said a word to me. Are you afraid of me now or something? Speak up!
Eh? What's that all of a sudden?
I ran away after what happened. It was my fault, I couldn't do anything.
Thorve... That's what you're so sullen about, after all this time?
Next time: Finally, someone who displays the proper response when Hilbert flashes Alexander's seal...