Part 38: The Awakening
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, we learned the truth of the Demon War from Alexander, Ortas, and Barasur. Following the lengthy tale, Ortas came to Alexander's cell and took him away, but after he left, Matilda, Thorve, and Randolph entered the cell and joined up with Hilbert and Zawu. According to Matilda, Ethan stayed behind to try to rescue Lorenza, and they had to follow quickly in order to prevent the Awakening. But as we made our way to the temple where the ceremony was to be held, we ran into Castor, who fought us for no other reason than to see how strong we were. Castor left following the battle, leaving the path to the temple open, so now it's time for us to see if we can stop the Awakening. Let's get to it.
When we left off, we were in the throne room. There's nowhere for us to go except this doorway to the east.
There are a couple of rooms off the corridor beyond. One of them appears to be the Elder's private chambers, but it's empty.
The other contains a staircase down, which leads to...
... a dungeon. Wait, really? You're going to have us go through a dungeon now? If for no other reason than that this is horrible pacing, this area is probably my least favorite dungeon in the game. The fact that all of the enemies here are rather annoying (especially the boss) doesn't really help matters.
Welp, complaining won't get us anywhere, so I guess we have no choice but to power through it. We hit some new enemies a short ways into the area: an Obelisk and two Apparitions. Obelisks aren't too much trouble: they can attack us for about 85 damage or use Solar Laser to inflict 250 light damage to a single character. Apparitions, on the other hand, are jerks. Not only do they possess the high evasion common to their recolors, they're also quite fond of using Deep Shadow to blind the entire party while also dealing about 140 dark damage. Fortunately, their regular attack only deals about 90 damage and their HP isn't great, so they're not too bad if they're the only enemies on the field.
Just off the entrance is a Ritual Mask. The Ritual Mask is a strong helmet, but has no special properties beyond its VIT.
As we're leaving the room we find another new enemy, the Gaia Incarnation. Gaia Incarnations always show up alone, and only have two moves: a regular attack for about 110 damage, and a technique called Rain of Terror which hits everyone on the field, including themselves, with about 280 dark damage.
It's also quite possible for the Incarnations to kill themselves with it.
To the east from the dungeon's starting T-junction, we find this area's gimmick. The room here has a switch in the center, and we can only leave the way we came.
Pulling the switch doesn't seem to do anything but make a loud noise, but...
... when we exit the room, we come out somewhere else. You'll also notice that although we exited to the west, we're now facing north. What's happened here is that despite the perspective staying the same, the room with the switch rotates 90 degrees every time we pull it. There are a couple of similar rooms in the dungeon, and to help keep things straight I'm just going to refer to the possible paths as the "western exit," "northern exit," etc. regardless of how things look inside the rotating rooms themselves.
Speaking of which, although the northern exit from the first rotating room is where we want to go, it's worthwhile to also check the eastern exit, as there's a Sky Coat hiding there. The Sky Coat is a light armor, making its VIT and RES not that great compared to other armors we have, but it's still a highly valuable item because it absorbs wind damage. Wind isn't the most common element, but you never know when something like this will come in handy.
Also, I just wanted to show here that if you rotate a room so that there's no way out (in this case the exit is facing south), the game won't let you leave.
There are a choice of paths outside the northern exit, but before we can decide which way to go, we find some Giant Darners. Giant Darners can bite for about 100 damage, can use Cutdown to hit everyone for 80 damage, and also possess the same Static Field technique the Tiahuanacus had, inflicting around 190 lightning damage to the entire party. Nothing particularly special about these guys.
To the east of the crossroads is a short path that leads to a few chests just out of reach.
To the west is a larger room, which also taunts us with an inaccessible chest. Although it looks like we might be able to head up the staircase on the right, you'll notice there's a small bit of rubble at the top that the game won't let us pass through.
There is, however, a staircase down on the west side of the area, which eventually leads us to another rotating room. This room has two exits, but both of them function identically to the first.
The southern exit from the room leads nowhere and the eastern one is blocked entirely, so we have to head west.
As we're heading down the path we find this dungeon's last enemy type, the Blue Ocul. Blue Oculs can slap us around for about 90 damage, use Hypnosis to put a character to sleep, and can also use the technique Soul Stare to hit a party member with 85 damage and chaos. The chaos is annoying, but these guys aren't much trouble.
The western path leads us to the lower floor of this room we saw earlier. There are paths to the southwest and southeast from here.
The southwestern path spits us out next to one of the chests we couldn't reach before. This one contains the Snow Amulet, an accessory which absorbs ice damage.
The southeastern path leads to the third and final rotating room. This one has three exits, but works just the same as the other two.
The first thing you want to do in the rotating room is take the southern exit, as it leads to a spellcard that will be very useful very soon:
Mindblow (25MP): Deals minor damage to one enemy's MP.
Crisis: Fairy Wind (1MP): Drains a small amount of MP from a target and gives it to all allies.
Stat changes: +2% max MP, +2% INT, -2% RES
There's no western exit from the room, so instead we head east, where we find a save point, and beyond that...
The screen flashes abruptly as we walk over this small island.
BOSS FIGHT: Viviones
You might recall that way back in the thread, an unspecified boss fight was referred to as "the biggest dick move in the game." Welp, here it is. Personally, I think that description is a little extreme, but this is still a very, very annoying battle.
All five Viviones are identical, including the items they carry. As you can see, they all have hefty RES and a wide range of elemental defenses, so physical attacks are the way to go in this fight.
The Viviones have only two attacks. They have a regular attack, which isn't too bad...
... and they also love casting the spell Gaia's Roots, which further discourages magic by inflicting amnesia in addition to moderate damage.
Each individual Vivione is actually quite easy to take down. If you're lucky you can pull it off in just two turns, and if not, three will almost certainly be enough. But do it too early, and you'll get to see the boss's gimmick.
See, every one of the five Viviones knows Revive, and if one of them falls, another will cast Revive at its first opportunity to bring the dead Vivione back into the fight with 1000 HP. This makes brute-forcing this fight nearly impossible, as we simply don't have the means to keep up with all the reviving going on.
Worse yet, each Vivione also knows Heal, and they pretty much cast it at random, so the whole "kill them all at the same time" strategy is virtually impossible to orchestrate. Even if the Viviones didn't have Heal, they're resistant to Gale and Waterfall and immune to Landslide, making our only real option for multi-target damage M-Fireball, a crisis spell. And since the constant castings of Gaia's Roots are nearly guaranteed to keep our party amnesiac for the entire battle, multi-target magic just isn't going to cut it.
So how do we deal with the constant reviving and healing? Well, to be honest, we kind of don't. Instead, as you might have noticed on the stat page, there's one major difference between the Viviones and most other bosses: whereas most bosses have MP pools so large as to be essentially infinite, each Vivione's MP is rather limited. And each casting of Heal and Revive, as well as Gaia's Roots, uses a substantial amount.
This turns the battle into an endurance test of sorts, as all we really have to do to win is survive until the Viviones run out of MP. This does take awhile, but we can speed things along by using the Mindblow card we just picked up to damage their MP further. I'd highly recommend Enlightening the character who's doing this, as Mindblow is a fairly expensive spell to cast.
And while you're waiting on that, it's also quite worthwhile to steal from each of the Viviones. Panaceas are quite rare, so an opportunity to pick up five of them shouldn't be ignored.
Once the Viviones' MP is gone, they're very easy to defeat. All they can do at that point is attack normally, and that's not enough to bring us down.
We land five Serpent Fangs for our trouble, which isn't too bad.
Following the battle, we start to hear noises coming from up ahead.
Did you hear that?
It sounds like cheering. You think it's already started?
Fade to black...
Ethan? Where's the girl?
Not here. What do you want with her?
If she's not here, that means she's already being taken to the temple.
Your friends should already be on their way down there. You'll need to hurry if you want to make it.
It's no different from the old days, Ethan. Castor comes up with the ideas, we carry them out. He's already got his own plans for this situation.
He has his own plans, huh? I don't like the sound of that.
For once, our aims are not too different. We know that Ortas ultimately wants to destroy all of mankind, even if he thinks we don't. We want to prevent a bloodbath on both sides. There are two ways of accomplishing that. Take away their ability to fight, or take away their desire to fight.
We'll never live in peace with the Havali as long as they keep hating us. The girl is the only one who could convince them... but she may not be strong enough yet.
Talking of peace and avoiding a bloodbath... I wasn't expecting something so benevolent from you.
A world under your control, of course.
Everyone's got their own ideas of how things should be. It's not easy to make people work together. There's always got to be someone who makes the rules.
Forget it. I don't have time for this. What are you going to do now?
We can't go there, unfortunately. We have to prepare for our departure from here.
Goodbye, Ethan. Hope things work out down there.
Is it really true? Was it you who sold out Lorenza to Ortas?
Sold out? Whether you like it or not, Ortas is our leader. We all follow him of our own free will. He's not acting on his own, you know. He's carrying out the will of the people. And Lorenza is necessary to us.
How could you? That girl had no one else to turn to, and you betrayed her trust in you.
Do you think I'm proud of it?
I don't need to hear this from you. You criticize others for their actions, but what do you do yourself? Nothing. Lorenza is still young. She doesn't know enough to make her own decisions.
Does she? You forget, Lesalia, that she knows more about the outside world than any of us down here. What makes you think any of you are more qualified to make decisions about the fate of this world? We have lived in isolation for fifteen years... no, for hundreds of years. What do we really know?
Back with Hilbert...
And control is returned to us. It looks like we need to get moving, but we're actually not quite done with the dungeon yet. There's still a few treasures to pick up, for one. Random battles will still occur while we're exploring.
Beyond the boss room is another T-junction, and the northern path from there leads to a Mind Capsule.
The southern path leads us to this room, which is not a rotating room, despite its appearance. There's a conspicuous boulder blocking the north exit, but we don't appear to be able to interact with it, so we'll have to head east instead.
That path leads to the other side of the room where we found the Mind Capsule.
If we head south from there, we find two more chests we saw earlier, which contain some powerful attack items. The Star Missile is the multi-target cousin of the Meteor Shell, dealing heavy non-elemental damage to all enemies.
And at the north end of the room, we find the way to the ceremony.
But first, before we can begin the ceremony, a word of warning. All of you, beware. There are certain humans who want to disrupt this ceremony, who'll spare no effort to bring us down. They could be hiding among us as we speak! You must be careful not to let anyone stop us!
This place is full of people. There's not a lot of guards among them, but still...
Yeah, breaking through their numbers will be difficult. They may put up resistance as well.
And they're civilians. We can't just strike down anyone who's in our way. We're not like -them-.
I bring you the man who symbolizes all our pain and suffering. The cursed Alexander, who deceived our beloved Meodar to attempt to bring us down from within! Awakening from his sleep, he fled and once again conspired with mankind to plot our downfall! It was he who orchestrated the assassination of Meodar, who died a shameful death far from home. What should we do with this man? What punishment would be fitting for these heinous crimes?
Do you see now, how hopeless your dream of coexistence was?
You may strike me down here, but you will only kill a ghost. The man called Alexander no longer exists. It's my descendants you should be afraid of, not me. My hopes will live on with them.
Descendants, Alexander? You must be going senile. What descendants?
There is the boy who holds my seal, and his close friends. They may not be my flesh or my blood, but they have inherited my spirit.
Only one dream will end here, Alexander.
I don't belong in this era. If given the chance again, I would have never chosen to be sealed. Even Meodar, the only friend I had in this place, has already passed away. I have nothing left to live for. Hilbert, please finish what I started. That's all I ask of you.
Hilbert and the others are here!? But you said...!
Yes, I did say we captured them. But unfortunately, they managed to escape. It's a great shame. You're having a change of mind now? It's too late. The ceremony has already started. The Awakening -must- happen. Or would you prefer that I have your grandfather take your place? He's probably not even capable of doing it. He'd die before it's over. Is that what you want?
You wouldn't do that. If you forced the elder of our people to sacrifice his life, you'd lose all the support you have.
Really? How do you think these people view your grandfather? He hides in the castle and never speaks out. Do you really think they would care if he died? Remember, Lorenza. This is about our people, not about me. Look at everyone gathered here. They all want the same thing. They're all waiting on you. Give our imprisoned brothers the freedom to decide over their own lives.
Very good. We will see which one of us they'll choose to follow. Now, let's begin the final step of the ceremony!
Don't get closer! I'm warning you!
They're not going to. They won't try to attack us. They're just trying to block our path.
They'll protect the Grandmaster with their lives.
Break through how? They're not going to step aside. Are you suggesting we just hack our way through?
I know... I know, but it's... It's the only thing we can do.
Begin, Lorenza! You know the incantation. Everything has been prepared for you.
It's all or nothing! Do it now!
Yes! Finally! The time has come!
Next time: Everything goes to hell.