Part 27: So, Now What?
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, the imperial civil war came to an end. Felgorn sacrificed his life attacking the Republic forces and forced them to flee, the Herzog soldiers surrendered to us, and the Kingdom agents have left following the death of their ally in the Empire. Now that that conflict has been dealt with, it's finally time for us to get back to the original reason we came to the Empire: to find out more about the demons of legend and learn if there's anything we can do to stop them. But since our only hint is that the Havali are somehow involved with the Awakening, where are we even supposed to start? It's time to find out.
We begin this update in Hilbert and Joanna's new digs in the Herzog castle, apparently some time after the previous update.
If you need anything, you could ask the castle servants. They'd get it for you straight away.
It's not just about getting certain things. It's nice to be outside, among other people.
Hmm. Now that I think of it, you've been out a lot lately.
Well, it's because I have a hard time getting used to living in a castle. But don't worry, it's not like I don't like it. I never even dreamed I'd be living in a place like this.
Both of you are together? That's unusual.
Hilbert, we need to talk.
You using that tone is unusual too. What's wrong?
It's been three weeks since Wilhelm took the throne. We all needed a break and I'm not complaining, but...
You mean after this?
If there even is an "after this". We've found a safe place here, and we know its people are good. If we wanted to, we could stay here for the rest of our lives. Don't tell me you never even thought about that?
Well... To tell you the truth, I haven't really thought about the future at all. I guess I naturally assumed we'd have something to do next.
It's not that simple. Were you planning on going after the Kingdom? We can't just blindly attack them. The Empire can't help us at this point beyond protecting us here.
Yeah, I know that's not a good idea.
Are you having doubts about that?
No, it's not like that, not at all. It's more that... I'm already being treated like a hero around here. But I'm still the descendent of Alexander. People have even been trying to control me. That must mean I have more potential. If possible, I want to do more. We may need it if another war like 300 years ago happens again...
Yes, that's something to think about. That still doesn't mean we shouldn't be careful about what we do. Anyway... forget about that for now. That's not the main reason I'm here. Lorenza didn't come with me for nothing.
Yes. Do you remember? When we first came here, I went through the tunnels under the city with Thorve. Down there, I had this odd feeling, as if something was calling out to me. It was the same feeling I later had at the ruins near my old home.
You mean, the place you thought there were demons sleeping?
Sure, I'll come, if that's what you want. What about the others?
Thorve will come too and Ethan said it was fine with him, so I guess we're complete.
Okay. We still have the key to the tomb, so we can go whenever we want to. Joanna, I'll see you later.
Yeah, I'm sure this is going to be barrels of fun.
Anyway, control is now returned to us. Our current objective is straightforward, but before we head back to Alexander's grave, we might as well take a look around. The entire castle is now open to us (and repopulated with NPCs), and there's a few new things to check out in the city as well.
First order of business is to check the door immediately to our left, which is where Valentin is staying.
Now that I have this kind of opportunity, I was thinking I might go into politics. Of course I have no idea if I'd be any good at it, haha.
Despite the hordes of new NPCs now appearing here, most of the rest of the castle is fairly uninteresting. Almost all of the new NPCs have generic comments about the recent war and how awesome Felgorn and Wilhelm are.
That said, there is this guy in the library on the east side of the castle who has some interesting information.
It was he who became a legend because of his noble sacrifice and his leadership, but he wasn't alone. There were three other warriors who made up his close friends. However, little is known about them. All we know for sure is that their names were Xolon, Lucius, and Durile.
But the main reason to talk to Julian here is because he's a Hex player, and he carries...
Dude. Come on. We're not in third grade. You can't just draw someone's face and write some stats on a blank Hex tile and expect me to believe it's real. Be serious here.
I'll just take that tile for myself, to... make sure you don't use it again. Yeah.
In all seriousness, what we've just done here is obtained our first character Hex tile. There are twenty of these scattered throughout the game, based on various characters in the story, and they're all one-of-a-kind, meaning that the only way to get multiple copies of them is to do a New Game+. Each one poses an interesting dilemma, because while they're all very powerful tiles in their own right, they also can be exchanged at a trading post at a rate of "one for fucking awesomeness." Wilhelm here trades for thirty Serpent Eyes, which is an absolutely incredible reward even at the end of the game. I'm going to keep Wilhelm for now since he's the most powerful tile I've got and Serpent Fangs still do the trick for us, but I'll definitely be trading him in later once I have tiles strong enough to replace him.
That's about all there is to see in the castle, but it's also worthwhile to take a stroll around the city, as all of the shops have seen a substantial upgrade since the last time we visited. The spellcard shop has Heal and the second-tier attack spells up for sale now, as well as several other cards we've seen elsewhere, but nothing new.
The weapon shop also boasts some new stock that is better than what we currently own, but it's actually a good idea not to buy anything here, for reasons that will become clear next update.
And the armor shop has seen its own upgrade, but we've already been over why there's no point in buying armor.
But despite all of that talk above about not needing to buy anything now, there's still a small bit of shopping to be done. We head downstairs to the accessory shop, which has consolidated most of the accessories we've seen into one place.
And we buy three Knight Shields, meaning we now have enough to cover the whole party. Why do we need these? Reasons. You'll see.
Also, I don't know if I showed this girl on our first visit, but she previously spent all her time gushing over Felgorn.
Now then, let's head on over to Alexander's grave.
There are actually still monsters here, but they're the same ones we saw when we first ran through this area all those updates ago. We can strike them down now with a single hit.
Once we reach the point where Lorenza collapsed, a scene begins.
Yes, it was right here. I'm sure of it.
How about it? Do you sense anything?
It's hard to tell... I need to concentrate.
No, wait... It's not one being, there are more. They're all calling out to me at once.
Can you describe what exactly they're trying to tell you?
Hmm... It's hard to say... It's only a faint feeling. I can feel their presence, but I don't think it's something I can pick up because I'm special.
So you're saying, there's nothing that could tell us more about them.
It's hard enough to describe as it is. There are no words or thoughts.
Interesting, but not very productive. I have another idea. I want to run a few geological tests here. Lorenza, I will need your help for some of this. It will take a while, so the rest don't have to stay.
That's fine with me, but to the Empire this is almost like sacred ground. I'm not sure if we're allowed to do any testing.
Don't worry, I won't do anything that could cause damage. At least not without permission. I'll report my findings to you once I'm done.
Fade to black...
We certainly made some progress, but don't get your hopes up too much. By running some tests, I was able to estimate the depth that those calls were coming from. Unfortunately, it appears that the sleeping beings are around 50 meters underground.
That deep? Does that mean the tomb was built on top of something?
I'm quite sure of it. I ran some seismic tests, and they suggest an open space at that depth. There appears to be a tunnel complex underground, probably man-made rather than a natural cavern. It's all very interesting, but as Hilbert said earlier, we can't just dig a hole inside Alexander's tomb.
Dig a hole? Are you seriously thinking about disturbing that place? Did you forget that we're talking about sleeping demons here? You don't know what'll happen.
Yeah, Matilda's right. We wanted to -prevent- them from awakening. We shouldn't do anything that could accidentally wake them up. The damage would be enormous.
Now, now. Calm down. Don't just blindly accuse me of doing something rash. I thought this through very well. Let's look at the facts and be rational. According to what we know, Lorenza has the power to awaken the demons. Her father told her so himself. This is further supported by the sleeping demons calling out to her, as it were. Moreover, the Kingdom as well as her own people are looking for her. You're afraid of what would happen if we disturbed the resting place of the demons, yes?
Randolph makes a good point. Everything suggests that Lorenza is required to cause the Awakening.
Yes, I believe so as well. Only one of the elder's bloodline can do it, and I may be the only one left. It's possible my grandfather is still alive, but he is very old. Maybe he's too weak to perform the Awakening.
Regardless, I see no harm in investigating this further, as long as Lorenza stays at a safe distance. Much the opposite, it would greatly help us understand what we're up against.
But even if it's important, can we really get permission from the Emperor for this? To reach that place, we'd have to overturn the whole area, including Alexander's final resting place.
Once again, I'm one step ahead of you. No, getting permission would be impossible, especially considering the risk to the capital.
Of course! We could go back to the ruins north of Nolan Vale. There was something just like it there. We weren't willing to go any further last time. There may be something we missed.
Exactly. Shall we go, then? I think even Lorenza should come with us. There won't be any issue as long as she doesn't come too close.
Hold on for a moment. I'm fine with going back there, but we'll need transportation.
... but I just wanted to help you guys. Don't leave me
After all we've done for the Empire, they could at least lend us a ship. That's what you're saying, isn't it?
Exactly. There's no way they would refuse.
Fade to black...
Seems simple enough. We can find Wilhelm and Grauss in the private chambers at the north end of the castle. Grauss is now occupying Helga's old room, and Wilhelm has unsurprisingly taken the larger one.
There are just so many things to think about. I still have to appoint a prime minister too. When the empire is more stable again, I'd like to talk to you some more, Hilbert.
Well, that was unproductive. Let's try Grauss instead.
It doesn't have to be a large one. As long as we can cross the sea with it, anything's fine.
I will arrange a worthy vessel for you, with a good crew. Supplies will be taken care of as well.
Thanks, we owe you.
Don't say such ridiculous things. What we owe you can't be repaid with just a ship.
All right then. We could head over to the port now and grab our new boat, but I wanted to end the update with that and doing it now would lead to this update being really short. So before we shove off, we're going to be taking care of a few last things we can do here in the Empire.
The first of these things involves us heading to Neuberg.
That's because Saraswati has shown up here, and it's time for us to challenge her again.
I seek to attain that power. Will you aid me? Good. We are destined to be rivals, you and I. Will you take my challenge?
Okay I think you're starting to scare me Saraswati. I'll just take that Fire Elemental of yours and be on my way...
Perhaps the Kingdom holds new secrets. I heard of a secluded coastal town that may be a good start.
That's nice. I'm leaving now. Next we're going to head across the Kaiser Pass.
The Kaiser Pass is completely open to us now, so we can just walk on through. There's a soldier with a unique sprite here that turns out to be a Hex player, but he doesn't have any new tiles.
Anyway, beyond the pass we find our major destination for this update: the Tower of Punishment. This is a completely optional dungeon, and we're still a little under what I'd consider to be a good level for this area, but we should be able to manage at this point. Let's do it.
The exterior of the Tower is a short maze without any random encounters. Simple enough.
Once inside, we quickly find our first obstacle in the form of a closed door. As you might expect, our goal for this dungeon is upstairs. But there are some open doors nearby, so we'll be heading left first.
There's another closed door behind the left one, but there's also a pathway leading to the right.
But before we can head that way we hit our first encounter. These are Spectral Mages, and they're assholes. Like their little brother Wandering Mages, Spectral Mages spend all their turns casting powerful second-tier attack spells for 200-230 damage, meaning they'll two-shot anyone in the party. But that's not what makes them assholes. What makes them assholes is that they're immune to all elements, and that means that Matilda (with her new Crescent Moon) and Lorenza (with her Zephyr Rod and elemental spells) can't damage them. That said, if you survive three of their spells they run out of MP, leaving them with only a 50-damage regular attack, so they're easy to deal with afterwards.
A few steps later we find a Possessor. Possessors are weird. Their regular attack does about 100 damage, which isn't too bad, but they have some scripted behavior. If a Possessor remains alive for three turns, then on its third turn it will display the message "Possessor is reaching out" instead of attacking. Then on the following turn, they will use Repossess, which instantly kills a party member, but also deals 9999 damage to themselves. This sounds annoying, but we still get EXP if they kill themselves this way, and they never show up with other enemies, so really all that ends up happening is that we end up having to burn a Soul Essence after the battle. And since we can buy 99 of them without breaking a sweat, this isn't really that big a deal.
Anyway, the room we just entered is filled with pillar-pushing puzzles. I wonder what we have to do here?
We earn a Charged Jet for our trouble. This is actually our second one, but if you've forgotten, the Charged Jet is an attack item that deals moderate dark damage to one enemy.
A little to the right of the first puzzle is a second one. Starting to sense a theme here?
But before we can get to pushin' we run into OH FUCKING HELL THESE GUYS.
These guys are Mind Flayers, and they're the last thing we want to run into at our current level. Like the Brain Leeches before them, Mind Flayers have scripted behaviors. On their first turn, they will use Drain MP to steal about 25 MP from a character. Annoying, but not too bad. But on their second turn...
... that happens. Any Mind Flayer alive on its second turn will use Ocular Laser, so if there's two of them left alive we're looking at a straight-up party wipe. The only reason this wasn't one was because Lorenza is still wearing that Reflective Jacket of hers. Needless to say, I get the fuck out of this battle right away and will be running from all Mind Flayers for the rest of this dungeon.
Anyway, we push the second set of pillars into position, but the room beyond is empty.
Following the second set of pillars is a third one, with a very worthwhile reward. This Key Tablet goes to Ethan.
As we're leaving the treasure room we run into the last enemy type of this dungeon, the Grendel. Despite their imposing stature, Grendels are probably the easiest enemies in this dungeon. They can bite a character for about 135 damage, they can use the technique Trample to hit the entire party for about 100, and they can use Poisonous Breath to inflict 90 damage and poison on a character. But they're always alone and even slower than Matilda, making their damage easy to keep up with.
At the end of the room we find one last pushing puzzle. This time there's no markings on the floor, but it should be easy enough to figure out what the pattern is from the previous puzzles.
Behind the last door is a long hallway leading back to the west.
And at the end of it we find the switch we could see earlier, which opens a way back as well as the central door in the entrance area.
Of course, we still haven't gone through the right-side door, so we should probably do that first.
The right side of the tower is much smaller than the left side, and only contains one simple puzzle.
The reward for this one is the Blood-Red Cape, an accessory that grants the wearer a +7 boost to all stats except LCK. Sounds fairly decent, until you realize that all of our characters currently have stats reaching into the 200s. Hopefully this'll be worth some money.
Anyway, we head through the central door. There's a long stretch behind it that eventually leads to the final pillar puzzle of the dungeon. Like the previous ones, however, this one is pretty simple.
But before we take care of that, we're going to head to the east and grab some free Serpent items.
Afterwards, we push the pillars into the correct spaces...
... and then everyone puts on a Knight Shield. There's no reason for this at all, I swear.
Behind the puzzle is a long staircase that leads to a couple of doors. One of them is still closed, but I guess we'll just have to figure out what to do about that later.
The open door brings us to the pinnacle of the tower, where there appears to be a large key floating above a pedestal. Well, might as well take it and...
BOSS FIGHT: Key of Punishment
... right. So apparently we're fighting a key now. Sure.
Given that we've come here at a lower-than-recommended level, the Key of Punishment is arguably the toughest boss we've seen yet. It has a boatload of HP, very powerful attacks, and no weaknesses, so we're going to have our work cut out for us here.
The Key is faster than everyone except Hilbert, and it kicks off the battle with Anger Wave, dealing heavy damage to the entire party. What this screenshot doesn't show is that Anger Wave also inflicts berserk on everyone it hits. This makes Knight Shields on the entire party a virtual requirement for this battle, unless we want our party wasting their turns attacking the Key while it pounds us into the dirt.
The Key then follows up with Crippling Wave, which is virtually the same attack but inflicting enfeeble instead of berserk. Enfeeble is still an annoying status, but thankfully I brought some Energy Drinks so that Matilda can continue bringing the pain. The Key always uses Crippling Wave after Anger Wave, with a few turns of respite between Wave sets.
When it's not using Wave attacks to put statuses on your party, the Key is quite fond of using Spinning Attack, a powerful three-hit combo. Ethan and Lorenza can easily be two-shot by this if the RNG decides it doesn't like us.
And finally there's the plain regular attack, which is also quite strong but probably the easiest attack to deal with.
I'm not gonna lie, I had to give this guy a couple shots before I won. How do you deal with him? Well, Laser's crisis spell Shell is a good start, since it grants M-Shields to the entire party and makes the Wave attacks much easier to deal with. Energy Drinks are also highly recommended to deal with enfeeble, as well as Gold Dusts and a bunch of Soul Essences to keep everyone on their feet. Having a Heal spellcard on Hilbert is also very helpful, in case some emergency healing is necessary before the Key's next attack.
And as sacriligeous as it may be for me to say, the Key's steal really isn't all that worth it, so it might be worthwhile to pass it up if you're in a pinch. The Crimson Cowl is a fairly strong mage helmet, but it doesn't have any special characteristics beyond granting lots of RES.
Even then, this is a very RNG-dependent fight at our current level. If the Key decides to attack our squishier characters, we'll end up like this.
But keep on plugging away, and eventually the Key will fall.
The Key doesn't give any rewards aside from lots of EXP and gold, but it's still worthwhile to defeat it, as we'll soon see.
Following the battle, the screen flashes and we land ourselves the Key of Punishment as an item. It's listed in our inventory as a key item ( ), and is described by the game as "a large, bright crimson key." At the moment, though, we can't do anything with it.
But the real reward for defeating the Key is that it opens the nearby door, and there's some damn good treasure behind it.
In addition to a Luck Capsule (which Hilbert pops) and a Sacred Orb, we find three new spellcards, all of them attack spells in elements we haven't yet had access to. They're all fairly good in their own right, since even their regular spells hit all enemies, but Landslide is probably the one that'll be seeing the most use, if only for its Crisis:
Gale (32MP): Deals moderate wind damage to all enemies.
Crisis: Sandstorm (36MP): Temporarily raises the entire party's DEX by a large amount.
Stat changes: -2% STR, +2% SPD, +3% DEX
Landslide (32MP): Deals moderate earth damage to all enemies.
Crisis: Guardian (47MP): Temporarily grants the P-Shield status to the entire party.
Stat changes: +2% max HP, +3% VIT, -2% DEX
Waterfall (32MP): Deals moderate water damage to all enemies.
Crisis: Brilliance (25MP): Temporarily raises the entire party's INT.
Stat changes: +3% INT, -2% VIT, +2% LCK
Now then, that's about all there is left to do on the Empire's continent right now. Let's go see our new boat.
We find a new face at the north end of the docks.
Yes, I'm Hilbert. Is this the ship that General Grauss arranged for us?
Yep, that's right. She's all yours. I'll take you wherever you want.
Thanks. Now it won't take long to go back to Nolan Vale. But I'm surprised. The general got a ship ready for us faster than I expected.
Haha, he's a crafty one, that Grauss, even though you wouldn't think so from talking to him. He knew I had a cousin in Fardorf who got saved by you guys. I couldn't refuse to help out.
I humbly offer this island to you.
Some say that I made a mistake, that a man barely thirty years old is not fit to lead an army. Surely your victory here will silence these voices for good.
It's all just because I rose above them at a younger age. I'm not worried about their petty jealousy.
At last... It's been fourteen years since my father lost this island to the Republic rebels. He died shortly after the war, his dreams of a strong, united Kingdom shattered. When I took the crown, I swore that I would reclaim what they stole from my father, no matter how long it took. You, Castor, have made this all possible. You are more than worthy of the trust I gave you.
Pargon Island is only the beginning, your majesty. You can't be satisfied with just this island.
Yes, with time. But first, we have to subdue the people here. I heard that there've still been attacks on our forces?
Nothing but desperate actions from a few stubborn enemies. They'll be destroyed soon enough.
Either way, I am charging you with taking care of the Pargon province until peace has returned here.
Next time: So, it turns out that the historians chronicling the Demon War might have gotten one or two things wrong...