Part 40: The Fruits Of Boredom
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, everything went to hell at the Awakening ceremony. In the end, our entire party was able to get away from the ceremony as an earthquake started, and we met up and made our way back to the throne room of Entalar's castle, where we found Ortas trying to heal himself. Ortas put up a fight, but we were able to strike him down. Meanwhile, Castor and the Omega Team found the source of the earthquake: Tiamat, who had returned to wreak her vengeance on the Havali. Tiamat fought the Omega Team to a standstill, but the battle was ended by Castor, who convinced Tiamat to join his side, and all of them left the city. Now that Ortas and the Havali have been neutralized as a threat, Barasur has asked Lorenza to take his place as Elder. What's going to happen as a result of this? It's time to find out.
We begin this update in the room Barasur prepared for us, the day after the events of the previous update. Hilbert is alone in the party here, and there's nothing to do but head out.
Oh, you're already awake too?
The noise downstairs woke me up. Didn't you hear it?
I wonder what's going on. You want to go take a look? I can't go back to sleep now anyway.
Oh, sure. ... What kind of light sleeper are you?
One quick walk downstairs later...
Oh hey, it's Moritz. Err, wait a sec, what's he doing all the way down here?
Heya. Long time no see. Quite a place you've found here. A whole city beneath the earth? That's some amazing stuff.
Good to see you're all right. We had no way of contacting you until now.
You brought your whole crew here? It's getting kind of crowded.
Yeah, everyone's here. They're letting us stay because we're friends of yours. It's almost like we don't have a ship anymore, haha.
Well, balls. You know, considering he's the captain of that ship, Moritz seems awfully nonchalant about all this.
We got hit by a massive tidal wave. Even an expert captain like me couldn't do anything about that. We've got no reason to complain though. Everyone made it to shore safely, we just got a few injured. We were stuck there 'til yesterday, when this group of people from here found us.
Wait a minute. If you lost your ship, doesn't that mean we're all trapped on this island?
Don't worry. That young girl already put in a good word for us.
Ah yes, these magical messages that somehow manage to reach us at sea. How on earth do we keep getting these?
Yep, from the Emperor himself no less. Wasn't very descriptive, though. It just said he needs to see you as soon as possible.
It must be something important if he didn't want to put any details in the message.
A Havali guard has snuck into the scene here, and Moritz confers with him for a moment.
Oh, we're going to check out our new ship now. Do you want to leave straight away?
I think we should leave as soon as we can. If it's nothing urgent we can always come back here again.
But we should let everyone else know first. I don't know if they'll want to come with us.
Yeah. Just go ahead, Moritz. We'll meet you at the ship later.
All right, you got it.
Oh good, looks like we won't be stuck with any downtime this time around. Also, the threatening music we heard for this area earlier starts playing again as the game hands control back to us. There's really no reason for this as this area isn't hostile territory anymore, but I don't think the game will ever replace it with a new track.
Anyway, we find Ethan and Randolph just outside the throne room.
Hello, Hilbert. Were you looking for us?
Yeah, we were. I'm glad you're both in the same place. That saves me the effort of having to explain it twice.
Actually, I think I already know what you need us for. It's about the message from Wilhelm, right?
Oh, you know about it?
Yes, I already heard from Moritz. If you're going, I'm definitely coming with you.
Great! Ethan, what about you?
Oh what the hell. Are we going to lose Ethan and Lorenza again? We just got them back!
I'm staying behind to protect Lorenza. Someone needs to watch over her.
Hmm... Well, it's your call. I'll let you know how it turns out.
By the way... Have you seen Zawu?
Zawu? No, not since after the battle. It looks like she's vanished.
That's weird. I doubt she's gone with Castor, so she must be somewhere around here still.
Who cares about her? We have more important things to do than look for that woman. Let's go tell Lorenza that we're leaving.
Sounds good. Let's get on that.
We won't be gone forever. We'll come visit Entalar again whenever we can. But we need to hear what Wilhelm has to tell us. It could be important. I think everyone here feels the same way, that this battle isn't over yet.
The Rosehart Kingdom still controls half of the world, including Pargon Island. They won't back down just because they've lost the Havali as an ally.
Matilda's right. They're strong enough to be a major threat on their own.
But all of this is just speculation. We can't tell what they'll do next. I get the feeling that there's scheming going on within the Kingdom as well. They may not do what we're expecting them to do.
But it's just like you say. All speculation. Let's not worry about it too much and just visit the Emperor first. Be strong, Lorenza. We'll keep you updated on what's going on. We won't be gone for long.
I know you all wanted me to stay here and lead our people, but... I can't stay yet. I want the Havali to be able to live in peace, just like you do. So, I will help bring peace.
Lorenza... we need you. Don't you think these people can handle things without you?
I promise I'll come back here one day. Until then, please take care of things while I'm gone.
First your father, and now you... It's fine, Lorenza. If it's your decision, I won't go against it.
Are you going to see the new ship now? I'll come along.
All right. Uhm... where was it again?
The entrance to the harbor is beneath the city itself. If you head into town from this direction, there's a passageway not far from the castle.
Great! Let's go look for it. Elder, thanks for the hospitality.
No, it's you we should thank, for taking care of my granddaughter. Take care, all of you.
We run into Ethan as we're leaving.
You're going, Lorenza? I see... In that case, I'm going too.
And just like that, the gang's (nearly) all back together. As it turns out, the way to the harbor is through the door in the wall that was locked the first time we came through the city. It's open now, so let's check out our new ship.
It also turns out that Zawu is waiting for us at the harbor.
Fade to black...
Yeah... We have things to do.
So, why were you waiting here?
Everything that happened here is partially my fault. My presence here will only hurt Lorenza's efforts. I shouldn't be staying in this city any longer.
So what, you just thought you'd hop on board with us?
Yes, I would like to come with you. You are going to continue to fight against the Kingdom, aren't you?
W-What? Are you crazy!?
What made you think we'd even -consider- letting you on board?
Because we have a common goal.
A common goal!?
Now listen to me, lady. You keep getting in our way and acting all high and mighty. I don't like the way you act at all. You do whatever you want without as much as an apology. That's not how we do things. If you want our help, why don't you beg for forgiveness first?
What do you think you're...--huh?
I've already lost my pride. If you want me to bow down to you, I will. It means nothing to me.
It was nothing more than coincidence that I was chosen to be Ortas's representative, but... I thought that Ortas and I were the only ones who knew everything, that we were above everyone else. But I was wrong. For each thing Ortas spoke to me about, he remained silent about another. And Castor did, too. Ethan, only after I discovered that you were still alive, and what really happened to you... I began to have doubts. Suddenly, I realized that I was being left out of everything. I was not in charge. What's worse, I was being used by the very person I tried to protect. I am not innocent either, I know that, but it's gone far enough. I just want to help you and Castor.
I can't remember any reason why.
We've worked together for a long time, Ethan, since the imperial invasion fourteen years ago. That's all there is to it. Castor is not an evil person, but he has been enchanted by power, even more than I'd been. He discarded both of us because he no longer needed us--or rather, because he didn't want to need us. His life is now an unending search for more power. For now, he's content with having control over the Kingdom army, but... One day, he may find that even his current level of power is not enough... If that happens... I don't know what he will do.
Even if I don't remember everything, I feel that what you say is true. But... I also feel like there's still some repressed memories that I just can't reach. Zawu, did something terrible happen in that past that I would've wanted to forget about?
No. Nothing that I can think of.
It's up to you to decide, but I believe she's being honest.
Really, it's fine with me, but I don't want to step on anyone's toes here.
I don't even care anymore.
It's settled then. You can join us if you want.
Fade to black...
And just like that, we're complete. Let's go see this ship.
Yeah, we're leaving.
Fade to black...
Wow, it looks impressive.
It's hard to believe they'd build something like this just to leave it here to rot.
I didn't catch much of it, but I guess they built this ship in case they'd ever need it.
Anyway, they took good care of it. We're ready to leave at any time. Sorry if I sound impatient, but I'm anxious to test something.
Yeah, they told me this ship's special, but I'll believe it when I see it.
A ship... that can go over land?
How is that possible?
The mechanics are still beyond me, but it floats on some kind of cushion.
Interesting. I'd like to study it more closely during the trip.
All right! Let's go! If all goes well, we can drop you off right outside the gates of Herzog!
Fade to black...
Well, actually we're going to be waiting a moment before we go sliding all over the world. Like the original Brunhild, the Brunhild II has a few NPCs we can interact with, including all of the original NPCs and a few new Havali ones. Most of them aren't anything special, but...
... a new mage shopkeeper has appeared where the other two shopkeepers are, and her selection is huge. She has nothing new, but virtually every spellcard we've seen thus far is up for sale.
Now then, it's time to test this baby out. The Brunhild II is significantly faster than the original Brunhild, and just as Moritz said, it can go over land as easily as water.
Unfortunately, this isn't anywhere near as much of an upgrade as you might think. Although the Brunhild II can sail over land, the only way to actually get on or off land is via a beach, just as with the original, so this doesn't change much. The power to sail on land only opens up two new locations to us, which I've marked on the map.
Location #1 is this town at the southern tip of the Kingdom. Previously, access to this location was blocked by the sandbar to the south, but the Brunhild II can sail right over it.
Sadly, there's not too much to see here just yet, as this soldier won't let us get off the docks. We can't get around him, either, despite the empty space on his sides.
But it's still worthwhile to visit, as there's a merchant on the docks with some kickass weapons for sale. I can only afford one, even after clearing the junk out of my inventory, so I grab an Obsidian Axe for Ethan since it's been the longest since his weapon was upgraded.
Location #2 is this tower surrounded by the ring-shaped island we saw awhile back. Just like with Serinal, we can just sail right over the island to get here.
The tower is the next in the series of optional dungeons we've been seeing all over the world. As with the previous towers, however, trying to take it on as soon as we gain access to it is just asking for our own destruction. Speaking of towers, though...
... now's about the best time to deal with the Tower of Penance, as we're at a good level and in a story lull. So let's go knock that out.
With the power of we can walk right in, and inside...
... we come across this tower's gimmick immediately. Just like the Tower of Punishment, the Tower of Penance is all about the pillar puzzles, though it's a slightly different flavor here.
The idea behind the puzzles here is fairly simple: if two or more pillars of the same color become adjacent to each other, they disappear. Removing all of the pillars causes the doors in the room to open. This puzzle only opens the doors next to it, though--there's another door at the top of the staircase that is still closed.
And then we get attacked by a giant squirrel.
This furry fellow is named Mara. He appeared in Exit Fate as well, and he seems to be drawn in SCF's art style, so I feel like there must be some sort of reference here, but if there is it's going right over my head. Mara only ever shows up alone, but his regular attack hits hard, for well over 400 damage. He can also petrify a character with Stone Stare, in addition to doing minor damage, and can hit everyone on the field, including himself, with 300 dark damage by using Blanket of Darkness. But he absorbs dark, so it's actually a heal for him. Mara is easily the toughest individual enemy in the tower, but we can handle him.
The two doors at the entrance lead to adjacent corridors. The eastern door leads to another puzzle, while the western one holds treasure.
Nothing spectacular here, but nothing too bad, either. I might actually consider selling the two Star Missiles we have--they're worth 25,000 gold each, and if we want a Star Missile's damage it'll probably be against a boss, in which case we can probably use a Meteor Shell instead.
On our way back to the entrance we run into some more new enemies: two Poison Elementals and (hiding behind them) a Ball Lightning. Poison Elementals' regular attacks are fairly weak, for only about 160 damage, but they're notable because their regular attack also inflicts poison. They can also use Noxious Slime to poison our entire party while also inflicting that 160 damage.
Ball Lightnings, to no one's surprise, are all about lightning spells, in addition to being ridiculously fast. Their regular attack only hits for about 110 damage, but they can also cast Thunderbolt for 300 damage or Silent Shock to inflict 270 damage and silence. Silent Shock is probably their most annoying technique, since like their recolors, Ball Lightnings are very difficult to hit with physical attacks. They're not too much trouble though.
Anyway, we return to the entrance and head through the eastern door. One of the annoying things about this tower is that leaving a colored pillars room resets the puzzle, even if you've solved it. So in order to open this door we had to push the pillars in this room together again. Fortunately this is the only place where we need to do so twice.
The puzzle at the end of the eastern corridor is still pretty simple, but it introduces the important idea of clearing more than two pillars at once. If there's only one pillar left of a particular color the puzzle becomes impossible to solve.
The puzzle here gives us access to a switch, which opens the door at the top of the staircase in the first room. So that's where we're heading next.
As we're heading back we find the tower's final enemy type, the Deep Lurker. Deep Lurkers are very slow but hit like trucks: their regular attack does almost 500 damage, and they also have access to Tentacle Whip, a five-hit combo for 200 damage per hit. Their low speed makes them very easy to deal with, though.
The central door brings us to a long corridor which ends in another puzzle room.
The trick to this puzzle is to move some of the pillars out of the way and clear the blue pillar in the top row. From there the solution is pretty self-evident.
The next room contains a staircase down and two treasures off to the sides.
The Silver Bow is a weapon for Hilbert which outclasses his current Elvish Bow, and the Token of Penance is an accessory that inflicts a -15 STR penalty, but grants immunity to poison and sleep. It's not that great in the long run, but it will be very useful in just a second.
The staircase in the center of the room takes us to another winding corridor with a puzzle room at the end. This is the last one of the dungeon.
Before we take care of the puzzle, though, there are a couple of treasures hiding in a corner. The Camo Cape is our first accessory that lowers the encounter rate, cutting it by half.
I'll admit, I had to stare at this puzzle for a good amount of time before the solution became apparent.
Before we head through the door, everyone in the party except Lorenza puts on an Alarm Bell, which I bought for a pittance from the merchant in the Brunhild II before coming here. Lorenza puts on the Token of Penance we found a moment ago.
Just like the Tower of Punishment, the Tower of Penance ends with an open door and a locked treasure room.
And having seen what happened in the Tower of Punishment, you know what's going to happen when I try to take this key.
BOSS FIGHT: Key of Penance
If you've seen one Key fight, you've seen them all. All of the Key bosses have nearly identical behaviors, and I don't think it's a spoiler at this point to say that this won't be the last one.
Statistically, of course, the Key of Penance is much stronger than the Key of Punishment, but this time around we're actually appropriately leveled, so hopefully this fight will be easier.
Like the Key of Punishment, the Key of Penance kicks off the fight with two back-to-back status-inflicting Wave attacks. The main differences between the Keys are the statuses their Waves inflict. Penance's first Wave is Toxic Wave, inflicting poison.
Its second Wave is the far more dangerous one, as Pacifying Wave inflicts sleep. Poison can be dealt with by tossing around a few Antidotes (and they cost 10 gold, so there's no reason to not have 99 now), but no items cure sleep and it disables anyone it hits. So Alarm Bells are definitely a good investment for this fight.
Between Wave sets, the Key of Penance has three turns of physical attacks. All of the Keys can use the three-hit combo Spinning Attack, and my guess is the future Keys will be able to two-shot Lorenza with theirs as well.
And lastly, Penance's regular attack hits hard, but we can take it.
Unlike the Key of Punishment, Penance's steal is quite worthwhile. The Brass Icon is a Knight Shield and Talisman rolled into one, granting immunity to berserk, chaos, petrification, and instant death. I usually have Matilda wear a Knight Shield, so I'll be replacing it with this once the battle is over.
And that's that.
Man, I'm getting the sense that the future Keys are going to be really hard to commentate on.
We land the Key of Penance as an item for winning the battle, but we all know we're really here for the treasure room. Let's go see what's inside.
Eh, not bad I guess. The Titan Fist is the ultimate earth attack item, casting what else but Earthquake, a spellcard we don't have. The Sloth Mantle is fairly interesting but I don't really like it that much: it's a strong body armor that grants +20 INT, but it also sets its wearer's SPD to 1 and inflicts a permanent slow status on them. Oh well, hopefully the next tower will have better stuff.
Now then, I believe the plot was dictating that we head for Herzog. So let's park our landship outside the city all casual-like and head inside.
We find Grauss in the entrance hall.
You should've let us know you were coming. We would've prepared a more suitable reception for you.
Did we come at a bad time?
No, not at all. You're welcome here any time. We were just worried about your safety.
Will someone please explain to me how the Brunhild was in contact with anyone in the first place? I still don't understand that.
Yeah... We've been through a lot, but at least everyone's still safe. More importantly, how are things here? The message we got wasn't very descriptive. I hope nothing bad happened.
No. In fact, things have been going extremely well. Everyone is working hard to rebuild the empire.
I apologize for the confusion, but it would be dangerous if the contents leaked out.
Huh? Who was it from, then?
Come, let me take you to see the Emperor first. We'll discuss this in private.
Fade to black...
An entire race of people... completely erased from our history?
I can't believe all of this was covered up by the same people we've treated as heroes. These are serious crimes that our ancestors have committed. It's no wonder they wanted revenge.
But hopefully we can change their minds and put an end to the hatred.
Hilbert, I think this is something that needs to be made public. Everyone must know the truth.
Yes, I agree. The fact that it was covered up is what caused all these problems in the first place.
Above all else, my people need time to come to terms with what happened and restore order in Entalar. We are not ready yet to make contact with the world outside.
I see... I will leave it up to the Havali themselves to decide when the time is right. But in any case, Lorenza, on behalf of the North Empire, I give you my fullest support. We'll need to do our part as well on the long road towards coexistence.
Thank you, your Highness. I appreciate it very much.
But anyway... we came here because of a message...
Yes... That's right. As you've probably already heard from the General, it didn't come directly from us.
There are still people actively fighting against the Kingdom occupation?
Yes, and they're surprisingly effective too, considering their low numbers. The Kingdom had an easy time seizing the island, but these rebels aren't giving them a minute of peace. It must be thanks to their leader. It's the same man who led the Republic invasion force here.
That's his name. The message was signed personally by him.
Let me guess. He wants our help?
There were two requests, actually. One was that you would come to assist him. The other was about the release of the Republic soldiers we took prisoner.
We're talking about 500 men total. For a small group of rebels, that could make a major difference.
So basically, he wants us to go and bring his men back to him.
It's a clever move. The Empire can't actively support the rebellion, or they'd risk war with the Kingdom. Even if you are opposed to the Kingdom, your Highness, you can't afford another war at this point.
Yes, we reached the same conclusion.
He's got some nerve asking this, considering how the Republic was marching on our soil just recently. But he knows that the Kingdom is a much larger problem at this point, for us as well.
General, if the Emperor gave you the order to invade another country, you would obey, wouldn't you? Even if you didn't agree with it, your principles wouldn't allow you to refuse. It's the same for him. But in his case, the man who was giving him orders is now dead. This time, he's in charge himself. I'm certain he wants nothing more than to liberate Pargon Island.
I would obey my orders, yes, but I'd still carry responsibility for my actions. But regardless, you're right. The Kingdom is our largest concern at the moment.
We've already discussed it, and we're willing to release all the prisoners. However, whether you go or not is entirely up to you.
Another thing. There is something strange about his request that maybe you can explain. Although he asked for the prisoners' release, he explicitly said not to let them go yet.
That sounds just like him. He probably already has some clever plans with those men. But I'm no strategist. I can't tell you what they are. You'd have to ask Drakovic himself.
In any case, please make a decision. Will you go or not?
Of course. It's my homeland too. I won't let you go by yourselves. What about the rest of you?
I'll come no matter where you go.
Yes, there's no need to ask. It's what we came here to do, after all.
I will personally inform the prisoners about what's going on. They'll need to get ready to leave at any time. We don't know what this man is planning.
All right. We'll leave as soon as possible.
Our alliance with the Havali has ended. Their grandmaster was killed by the enemy.
H-How could this be? We were certain that nothing would happen to them. And where is Zawu? Hasn't she returned with you?
I'm afraid she is no longer on our side, Your Majesty. She betrayed us. Moreover, the alliance was based on a lie. The Grandmaster only sought to use us for his own gain. Perhaps it's for the better that it came to an end.
I don't believe this... All our efforts, for all these years... all in vain?
As the officer in charge, I will of course take responsibility for this failure.
No, stop that. Get up. Nothing is lost. We control Pargon Island, and the Empire is in no state to go to war with us. I need you, Castor. You've brought us many victories. Instead of being punished for what was out of your control, you deserve to be rewarded for your loyalty.
I humbly accept your gratitude, your Majesty. Please, tell me what you would have me do.
My main concern at the moment is the so-called Republic Freedom Army. They're nothing more than an annoyance, but I'm growing tired of it.
Ah, that insignificant bunch? Very well, Your Highness. I'll return to my duties on Pargon Island. Allow me to excuse myself.
Fade to black...
Of course not. He's lost a lot of allies all of a sudden. He doesn't want to lose me too. A little show of humility is all that was necessary.
Hmm... I guess we should prepare to leave again.
Are you all right, sir?
Oh... Yes. We're going back to Pargon Island, that's all. It's just that... Everything happened very fast, back in Entalar. I still wasn't as prepared as I thought I was.
I would've liked to speak to him longer.
Are you regretting your decision?
No, there's no use for regret. What's done is done. We've ultimately come out stronger. Trust is of vital importance. I know I can expect absolute loyalty from each of you. Together, we could take on the entire world.
Speaking of loyalty...
Yeah, we all feel the same way about her. She could turn on us at any time.
Relax. I know she won't, at least not yet. As long as she believes that she needs us, she'll be under our control.
But still, she's dangerous. I really don't think we need her at all.
She's a liability. What is the benefit of keeping her around?
She knows something, Helio. There's something very odd about her behavior. You know the story, right? Or at least the essentials. She was sealed by Barasur, about forty years before the great war. Years before Havali and humans met. Logically, that should mean she's never met humans before, right?
I see... So you think she's seen humans before?
All that I know is that things aren't adding up. I think she's hiding something... something that's closely connected with how she became so powerful. I want to know just what that is. But we'll leave that for another time to worry about. Get packed. We're departing tomorrow.