Part 34: Old Allies, New Enemies
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, we made our way to the second seal protecting Entalar. And after a brief detour involving crystallized energy, an old colleague of Randolph's, and some rather awkward conversations, we succeeded in infiltrating the volcanic island where the seal was located and destroying it. Now that we've done that, only one seal remains: the one somewhere in Kingdom territory. How are we going to take care of that little problem? It's time to find out.
We begin this update on the bridge of the Brunhild. Like the first seal, we had to walk out of the dungeon to get here, but again, not really worth covering.
But if it's in the middle of the Kingdom, will it be hard to get inside, Ethan?
I can't tell from here. The complex itself will be heavily defended. After all, that's their strategy, to protect the last seal. I haven't been there in years, so things may have changed.
That's why I like you, Matilda. Always thinking.
We stand a chance. We may even make it to the seal. But as soon as the alarm is raised, thousands of troops could be sent in. We wouldn't make it out alive.
So we need to get in without being noticed.
If that's at all possible.
We should at least go see if there's a possibility before we give up. Where is it?
Yes, it'd be best if we checked out the area first. If we're trying to get close, the nearest city would probably be Lawshire.
Lawshire, huh? I've heard of it before, but I'm not sure where it is.
Hey thanks, random navigator NPC! As a reward you will now be relegated to complete irrelevance and probably not have a single additional line.
There you go. Good work, Griffin. Well, anytime you're ready. Just give me the word and we'll go look for it.
All righty. We head on over to Lawshire via the coast at the north-center of the Kingdom continent.
The path to the town was previously blocked by some of the energy crystals we encountered last update, but we've got the power of now, so we can waltz on through.
Sadly, there's nothing in the world map area beyond the crystals except Lawshire itself, so let's head inside.
Lawshire's theme is one of the better tracks in the game, in my opinion, though it's awfully depressing. Even its filename is "Sorrow".
But unless there are any people here who've fought us before, they won't recognize us. We should be fine as long as we don't attract any attention.
Welp, might as well take a look around, then. Lawshire is fairly small and is shaped like an upside-down T. There's a Hex trading post right next to the entrance, so we'll start there.
As usual, there are several new trades available, in addition to those for the three character tiles we've obtained. And among them are a few items we haven't yet seen. The Core Piece is an attack item that casts Landslide, the Smoke Mirror is an accessory that grants resistance to dark, and the Phantasmal Coat is a powerful armor that also imparts a +25 DEX bonus to its wearer. The most interesting new trade is probably the Shielding Wand, a staff that has an STR bonus of 0 but casts M-Shield on whomever it hits. Its usefulness is debatable, however, as a) I generally want Lorenza casting attack spells instead of buffs and b) I already have the means to cast M-Shield on the entire party with Laser's crisis, Shell. So once again I'm going to be passing on trading. Come to think of it, despite all my Hex-playing I haven't done any trading yet, have I?
Anyway, as usual, there's a woman here who will play Hex with us, but she doesn't have any new tiles.
There's also this guy. Hmmm, I wonder who this mystery foreign woman could possibly be?
To the east of the entrance is the spellcard shop, whose selection consists of all of the second-tier attack spells plus Laser and Treatment. We've got a copy of all of these already, but if you missed one of them, pretty much all of these are worthwhile purchases.
There's also a passage out of the city to the east covered by a few guards, but...
... Hilbert decides it's not worth the effort to try to leave that way. So no world map exploration today.
In the northern part of the city is the equipment shop, but it only sells armor and, well... yeah.
And at the north end of the city is another building, where the game briefly takes control away from us as we enter and focuses on a woman talking with a soldier.
Let's go after her. I know that woman.
Well, there's not much to do on the ground floor of this building (the blue-haired dude is a Hex player with no new tiles), so let's do as he says.
Oh, I see... you've been promoted to Lt. Colonel. It's been a while.
Don't you recognize me?
Hold on... You... You're Ethan? But that can't be... You...
Died? Yes, that's what you were supposed to think. In truth, I was imprisoned, and used in an experiment. That's how I came to look like this.
I can't believe it...
There are many things you don't know. You are now commander of the forces here, aren't you? But, do you know about the building nearby? The seal?
That's classified information. I don't need to know. It's some sort of defense mechanism, that's all I was told.
That's not what it--
Quick, hide in the next room.
Important matters. Colonel, you've done excellent work in restructuring the military operations in the area. Efficiency has gone up, costs have gone down, and you are rated highly by your men. However, while I can't fault your administrative skills, your combat experience is lacking.
I do what I can, sir.
Don't misunderstand me. You are one of our most valued officers. But it would be a shame to have your reputation tarnished by something you are not fit to handle. If what I'm about to say has you worried, I can send someone else to take your place here.
I appreciate your concern, but what exactly is the matter?
They're highly dangerous professionals. We should not take them lightly.
A... A terrorist attack? Sir... What -is- that seal for? I don't even know exactly what its purpose is, and yet it's being targetted by terrorists...? I can't help but wonder, why would they choose a location like that?
They must've heard rumors about it being vital to the nation's safety. Even if they don't know the specifics, they think that destroying it will severely hurt us. Colonel, this is what happens when such information leaks out. Do you see the importance of keeping it secret? Access to information should be limited to those who absolutely need to know.
Yes, sir. I understand. I have no more questions.
Now, I'm afraid we don't have much time, so it would be best if you'd give me your decision right now. I can't stay here myself, so I'm leaving this matter to you. Will you transfer elsewhere or not?
I'm still a soldier. I'll stay here and take care of it.
As you wish. Once I've finished my own business, I'll come back to see how things are proceeding.
It can't be a coincidence that you're here right now. You are the one who's trying to destroy the seal, aren't you?
So you really turned against us...
As I said, there are many things you don't know. I left because I found out what they are. That man whose orders you follow now is the one who sold me out. He can't be trusted.
But you -did- betray them. From his point of view, reporting you to his superiors was the right thing to do. Helio is not a bad person. He's only doing his job. He's always treated us well. And no matter what, you're still alive. That's what's most important.
Alison, that seal, it's not for the Kingdom's own protection. It's...
I'm necessary here. I wouldn't even know what else to do.
Do you think I'm lying to you, Alison?
No, I don't think you are. We've just taken different paths. I would like you to come back to us, but... I know that's no longer possible.
I need to leave now.
The captain right outside is preparing for a delivery to the place you want to go. I'm doing you one last favor in return for coming back alive. But only one more. After this, we'll be enemies.
Be careful. You'll have to face responsibility for this.
Even if I didn't help you, I know you'd find a way to do it. This way, at least, I can prevent you from getting hurt. Farewell, Ethan. I don't think we'll meet again.
Ethan, what should we do?
Just like I'd expect from her. She was always one of my best men...
Fade to black...
Sweet, looks like this'll be easier than we thought. The closet we hid in is empty, so that's all there is to see in Lawshire. Let's do this thing.
We're an inspection team, we need to get some work done on the seal. We were told you'd take us there. Here, we have a formal order from Colonel Alison.
Hmmm... All right, get in the back. I'll warn you, it won't be a comfortable ride.
The game is kind enough to give us a means of backing out if we're not ready to go yet, but we're set, so let's get moving.
Fade to black...
And as we fade back in, we find ourselves in the seal building.
Unsurprisingly, we have no way to leave at the moment. Guess we're just going to have to do what we came for.
There are a couple of rooms we can visit, but most of them are empty or contain an unimportant NPC.
A couple of guys here seem to be wearing the wrong armor, though. Isn't that an Empire soldier? I'll just come out and say that there's no conspiracy between the Kingdom and the Empire, so this is probably just a mistake.
This guy, too. I'm just going to use the Kingdom soldier sprite portrait for him since it makes more sense.
If we try to enter the room, Miller here will call us out.
Oh, we're here for inspections. We were sent directly by Colonel Alison.
I wasn't told about any inspections. I can't just let you in.
Didn't you hear us? These orders are straight from the Colonel.
I'm here under direct command of Sir Helio. His orders supersede the Colonel's.
Look, we're not here to play around. Haven't you heard? Terrorists are trying to destroy this place.
What!? That's ridiculous. No one could just sneak in there unnoticed.
Are you 100% sure of that? Do you want to bear the responsibility if anything happens? You think you can safely hide behind your orders? You'll still be taking the blame if we're right, you know.
Fine, fine, I don't want to be responsible if anything bad happens. You can go inside, but I'm coming with you. And don't think I won't report this.
There's a save point right outside the seal room. There's not going to be a surprise boss here, is there?
Not this time, it seems. We have full control as we enter the room. There's nothing in this room besides the seal and the soldier, so let's talk to him, I guess.
And then we kill him.
I'll get to work right away.
Ethan. I want you to know that this is nothing personal. Whatever path you choose in life is your own business. But my loyalties lie here. If this is the path you chose, that makes us enemies. I won't spare any effort to carry out my orders to stop you.
Of course. You were never about the personal side of things. I know it's pointless trying to talk to you. Besides, we don't have the time. I was Number One long before you. There's no way you can stop me.
BOSS FIGHT: Flynn
Well, we've beaten Number Three and Number Two. Now it's time to take on Number One.
As her rank indicates, Flynn is far and away the most powerful of the Omega Team. She's fast, she hits hard, and she has strong defenses against both physical and magical attacks.
As usual, Hilbert kicks off the fight with a successful steal, swiping Flynn's hat. Though, hang on, didn't we see one of these elsewhere?
Update 15 posted:
As a matter of fact, we did, back in Fardorf's armor shop. Well, they're not the same thing--suffice it to say that Flynn's Black Beret isn't your run-of-the-mill headwear. It's got pretty good VIT and RES for a helmet, and grants its wearer immunity to enfeeble and slow.
Flynn's moveset is actually extremely limited, but all of her techniques hurt. Brutal Stab inflicts heavy damage and blindness.
Her only other attack at the beginning of the fight is Comet Strike, a strong two-hit combo. 260 damage twice is nothing to sneeze at.
Oh, and she's also quite happy to Bolster herself, though fortunately we have Disenchant to get rid of this.
Flynn isn't too hard to deal with when the battle begins. But things start getting really hairy once she's lost about half of her HP. In the latter half of the fight, Flynn will stop using Comet Strike and replace it with Starlight Flurry. This is also a combo and does slightly less damage per hit compared to Comet Strike, but whereas Comet Strike hit twice, Starlight Flurry hits five times. Without a P-Shield up it's nearly a guarantee that Starlight Flurry will KO at least one party member, and Flynn has no qualms about using it several turns in a row.
You're likely to be picking yourself up off the floor a lot in this fight, but there is at least the bright spot that all of Flynn's attacks are physical, so Guardian can be a huge help. Regardless of whether you use it or not, there's no fancy tricks to this battle--it's just a good old-fashioned slugfest. Make good use of the 99 Soul Essences you should definitely have at this point, keep on the offensive, and you'll prevail.
Nothing new for a reward this time, but a Purple Herb is never bad.
You're not even as strong as you used to be, and still... I still can't win?
This is our chance! Let's go!
Now we'll have to carry out the plan sooner than expected.
Fade to black...
And as everything starts shaking and some awfully dramatic music starts playing, we abruptly pan over the island with that strange desert area we saw when we were first touring the world.
The camera then zooms in and pans over the desert itself. You know, I think we just found out where Entalar is...
What? What happened?
There was an electric storm just now. Damn thing broke some of our machinery.
An electric storm... that must mean that the shield was destroyed. Sorry for that, Captain. I hope the damage wasn't too bad.
Eh, nothing we can't fix. But really, I had no idea you were doing such dangerous things.
The most dangerous part has yet to come.
After the trouble we went through to take down the shield, you'd better not be having second thoughts.
Of course not. I'm anxious to see what that underground city is like.
And this Ortas we've heard about, it seems like he's the mastermind behind all of it. He set up all countries against each other. I hope we get to meet him so I can drive my fist into his face. Oh, and Lorenza, maybe you'll finally get to meet your grandfather again.
Wait. About that... I've been thinking about it for awhile. It's hard for me to say this, but...
It's too dangerous. They're still after you. It's better if you stay here where it's safe.
Yes, I agree. We'll run a great risk if we take you along with us.
What are you talking about? Can't you see how badly she wants to go with us? You think that after everything we've been through, you can't even protect her?
Please, let me come. It's very important to me.
Damn straight. Lorenza's no damsel in distress.
Thank you. I'll do what I can to take care of myself.
Now that the shield is gone, they'll probably ask the Kingdom for help. But even if they do, it will take time. We have to get inside Entalar before any troops arrive.
There's nothing in our way anymore. I say we go to Entalar right away. Ethan, you know its location?
It's on an island, straight west from here. It's not hard to find if you know where to look.
We should fully prepare ourselves before we go.
Finally... we'll meet the people who lived through the great war.
Fade to black...
All right. Just as Thorve said, we need to make sure we're fully prepared, so I top off our item supplies with the shops in the Brunhild and also make a stop in Gleston to pick up a bunch of Gold Dusts. After that, it's finally time for the work of the last three updates to pay off.
But as our party makes its way through the desert, something stops them.
Or more accurately, someone.
Our last meeting has only made things worse. I am torn inside. Between the past and the future. Between how things are and how I wish them to be. It's your fault. But in the end, that means it's my fault. Hilbert, I can't solve this matter on my own anymore.
I don't understand what you're saying.
Are you the hero you wanted to be, or are you the hero Ortas wanted you to be? That's the question. This is a test. Everything will be decided here and now.
BOSS FIGHT: Zawu
(no music change; Destiny continues playing)
I suppose this had to happen sooner or later. This battle has always registered as one of the most memorable fights in the game for me. Maybe it's because of the music choice.
Zawu isn't quite as strong as Flynn was, but she makes up for it with several other factors, the most important of which is her speed. Zawu is lightning-fast and will be moving before all of our party members every round, making her a very unpredictable and dangerous opponent.
Though you wouldn't guess that from her opening move. Zawu kicks things off with Infuriate, inflicting berserk but only light damage. But this actually is quite dangerous for another reason.
See, Zawu has a fair (though not guaranteed) chance of countering any physical attack, and her counters hit hard. Her strategy mainly seems to consist of baiting our party members into hitting her and then killing them on the counterattack. That makes Knight Shields and other anti-berserk items extremely helpful in this fight.
However, her counters don't apply to magical attacks, so I take the time to use Enlight. Characters with the Enlight status glow purple, as you can see, and it's hard to overstate just how good the status is to Lorenza and other magic-focused characters. With it active, Lorenza gains 27 MP (10% of her max) every round. That's more than it costs to cast Fireball, Iceblast, and Thunderbolt, and only slightly less than the other second-tier attack spells, making her MP pool virtually infinite as long as the status persists. And if her MP ever does run low, she can use its Crisis, Brainstorm, to restore her MP to full for free. It's crazy useful, and at only 5MP it's a fucking steal in terms of MP cost.
But infinite MP only goes so far against a boss like Zawu. Eventually she starts using real attacks instead of Infuriate, the first of which is Blazing Light. This is a powerful magical attack against the entire party, but it's her only technique that hits everyone.
Her only other technique, Last Breath, is a doozy. You might look at the above shot and think I just got very lucky, but what you're seeing is actually the technique's intended effect: Last Breath sets the target's HP to 1. Since Zawu always moves first, this can be a death sentence for anyone who's set to attack normally that round, what with her chance of countering physical attacks.
Like with Felgorn, this is definitely a fight where you'll want to bust out the powerful healing items. Even Gold Dusts are no longer sufficient to keep up with Zawu's damage, so if there was ever a time to burn a Diamond Dust or Sacred Orb, it's now.
This is a battle where strategy isn't so much important as the whims of the RNG, since Zawu's speed allows her to instantly derail any plan you have for a particular round. If she kills the person you were going to have use a healing item, or Infuriates the wrong party member, or starts getting counter-happy, this fight can go to hell very quickly. I was lucky enough to win this fight on the first try, but I would definitely say there's no shame in having to attempt this battle multiple times.
Once again, there's nothing new from winning the battle. But I also stole a Healing Orb, which is always useful.
Even using the shield's last bit of power, I can't...
Are you happy now? Is this what you wanted?
You still don't understand, Hilbert. I was not just fighting you to win. Now, I...
Goddamn it, haven't we had enough screen-shaking for one update?
Ugh... Is this an aftereffect of the shield going down?
The ground, it's...
Haha... hahaha... So that's where you've been hiding. Finally, I've found you. I'm coming for you, Barasur!
Fade to black...
Fade to black...
Fade to black...
Next time: We meet the Havali.
Zawu, Guardian of Entalar