Part 44: Decisions Under Duress
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, Stonewall and the Pargon Republic were successfully liberated thanks to our efforts, but Castor and the Omega Team got away. Not long after that, though, we got word from Drakovic that Castor had been found--and that the 500 prisoners that the Empire released had just taken over the city where he and the Omega Team were holed up. We quickly made our way to Serinal Port and confronted the Omega Team protecting an unconscious Castor, and while we were able to defeat them, Helio blinded us with a flashbang and the group was able to escape. Now it's time for us to give chase and capture Castor for good. Let's get to it.
When last we left off, we were standing in the pile of Republic soldier corpses the Omega Team made during their getaway. I have to wonder why they didn't just kill everyone and run in the first place.
To no one's surprise, the Omega Team has murdered the guards at the city gate and run off. Oddly, none of the townspeople seem particularly fazed by the nearby bodies. Then again, I suppose they considered the Republic soldiers enemies.
Anyway, heading out of the city brings us to the Serinal Woods, the last forest dungeon of the game. Despite this ostensibly being a chase, there's no time limit to this area. Which is good, since like most other forest dungeons, Serinal Woods is a bit of a maze.
Also like other forest dungeons, it's very worthwhile to go off the beaten path, as there's quite a bit of treasure scattered around. This Key Tablet III is our second and goes to Hilbert.
Not long after that we run into some new enemies, three Wood Orcs. Fortunately, Last Scenario has decided that after that tough Omega Team fight we needed a bit of a breather, so the enemies here are lame as hell, and the Wood Orcs are no exception. They can only attack regularly for about 240 damage and don't have all that much HP.
So of course they are prime targets for Lorenza to try out her new Iceray spellcard on. And boy howdy, the top-tier attack spellcards are a doozy. The MP cost of 100 is quite steep, even for Lorenza, but liberal usage of Enlight and its crisis Brainstorm allows us to keep her MP high throughout this dungeon while still tossing out the odd 1500+ damage hit every so often.
Oh, and speaking of quadruple-digit damage, Matilda is now regularly doing just that with her criticals. We've reached the part of the game where stat gains on level ups are getting very high, so expect to be seeing a lot of big numbers from here on out.
We head back to the fork and continue on, and then run into two Fuegins. Fuegins are essentially fire-aligned Sahagins, but they're also pretty weak: they can attack regularly for about 250 damage or use Flame Bite to inflict 325 fire damage. And since they're fire-aligned, I can do this:
Next on the list is a Centaur Knight. Centaur Knights are a bit more resilient than most of the enemies in this area, but they tend to show up by themselves or with only one other enemy. Their regular attack deals about 325 damage, and they also have a technique called Incapacitating Thrust, which I presume inflicts enfeeble, but I never saw it hit. It takes a few more turns than normal to take these guys out, but they're still not too much trouble.
Apologies for not having much to say about the dungeon itself--in all honesty it's really pretty boring. It doesn't have any gimmicks or anything, we just have to find the right path.
And find the treasure, of course. Inferno gets equipped to Lorenza to complement her new Iceray:
Inferno (100MP): Deals major fire damage to one enemy.
Crisis: M-Inferno (120MP): Deals major fire damage to all enemies.
Stat changes: -3% max HP, +5% max MP
Inferno in action. Its animation always strikes me as way too big--you'd think that the nearby enemies would also take some damage from something like this.
On our way back to the previous fork we hit a group of Wood Orcs with an Orc Shaman in tow. Orc Shamans have a couple of elemental spells up their sleeves, but since they're orcs, their magical power leaves a bit to be desired. They can use Mother Earth to hit everyone for 180 earth damage, or Hellfire Flame, which deals about 300 fire damage to one character. They're not too hard to take out, but they resist all elements, so you can't just have Lorenza nuke them.
Then we find a wrench. The Steel Wrench is a powerful weapon for Randolph, but also imparts a -15 INT penalty.
Not too far from there are some good healing items...
... and then we find this dungeon's final enemy type, the Ripper. Rippers are a bit odd: they're faster than our entire party and hit hard, but have extremely low HP. They can attack us for about 300 damage or use Ripping Blade to deal 450 or so. They can take down a character very quickly, but once their turns are over they die almost immediately.
Just north of the last two treasure chests, we find a save point. I think we know where this is going...
You just don't understand, do you? We are the Omega Team. We are the General's most trusted men. Surrendering in order to save our own lives would be disgraceful.
So you'd rather die here for nothing? There's no way you can escape us anymore.
Don't be ridiculous, Helio! What can you do by yourself at this point?
There's no time. I can handle this.
Earp. We have to trust him. Or do you have a better plan? Getting the boss to safety is our main priority.
It's been a great honor to serve the boss as Number Two of the Omega Team, and to fight on your side. I don't regret my decision. I'm glad I was given this chance to serve my country.
Don't do anything stupid, all right?
You're the last person I would've expected this from, Helio.
You've always hated me, haven't you? You think I'm an untrustworthy, deceitful coward. But you know NOTHING about me! It was all YOU! YOU betrayed us! YOU chose a different path from the rest of us! I have ALWAYS been loyal to Castor. I've done EVERYTHING I could so that he could stand at the top. I dedicated my life to his dreams, I've given my all for his sake... So don't you DARE look down on me!
I'll show you... I'll show you all the extent of my devotion.
It's the last specimen I saved from the biorite facility. I was the supervisor of that place, you know? They were quite dreadful, the experiments... Castor himself didn't even know half of it. I didn't want him to be tainted by the truth of what went on there. I wanted him to remain himself. You've seen it in action before, haven't you? The biorite extract. But this is nothing like what I gave to that worthless commander. It's a hundred times more concentrated.
Do you understand now? Do you understand, Ethan?
No! Don't be a fool! If you are really acting in Castor's best interests, then cease this pointless resistance!
This isn't necessary, Helio.
BOSS FIGHT: Hyperion
Yes, but you do remember what happened to the person you gave that extract to, right? He died like a chump. And that is exactly what is going to be happening to Hyperion here.
Hyperion is fairly strong and has a truckload of HP, but this is going to get chewed through rather quickly, as you'll soon see.
He kicks off the fight by casting Focus, a buff of some kind. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell you what stats it affects.
And then he starts attacking by yelling at us. Hyperion's signature technique is "Die! Die! Die!" True to its name, it causes instant death, and Hyperion loves to use it...
... buuuut unfortunately for him, our Brass Icon and two Warding Charms mean that everyone except Hilbert is completely unaffected. This means a lot of his turns will be wasted.
Hyperion's other yelling move is "I'll stop you!" I'm hoping that this technique is physical and our P-Shields are blocking half the damage, because if it's lightning-aligned like it appears to be, this is pretty pathetic.
In addition to yelling at us, Hyperion occasionally will cast Snowstorm, which packs quite the punch and inflicts slow...
... and his regular attack is no slouch, either.
But he can only last so long when we're doing damage like this on a regular basis. Admittedly I only get one chance to cast P-Freeze, but even without it, a top-tier spell from Lorenza plus an attack from Matilda equals us doing over 2500 damage a turn.
And add Enlight into the mix, and Lorenza gets to throw out a top-tier spell every turn she gets, meaning the battle doesn't last long.
In addition to a Healing Orb, I steal a Mind Capsule from the boss, and he also drops our second boss Hex tile in the Amphisbaena.
Fade to white...
You've been following me around a lot lately, haven't you?
I know what you're up to, Ethan. As an internal security agent, I had no choice but to look into it. This investigation... you don't have authorization for it, do you? You're doing this behind the General's back.
Well, so what? He's doing the same thing to me. I have the right to know what's going on.
Even if you're Number One of the Omega team, you're still his subordinate. You shouldn't concern yourself with matters you're not required to know about.
Subordinate? What are you talking about? He's my brother! Look at this! I can't believe the things he's been trying to hide from me. I have to do something.
It's a pity.
That you don't understand.
It's about trust above everything. He will tell you if he thinks he can trust you with this knowledge. But you, you think you have the right to know because he's your family. Men like you are a danger to this country.
I'm getting tired of your rambling. He's my brother. I have to protect him if he's heading in the wrong direction. It has nothing to do with you.
He does not need your protection anymore, Ethan. One day you'll understand too, what it means to be dedicated to a cause. But by then, it will already be too late.
Fade to white...
I don't know... Castor is out of our reach again, that's for sure.
Let's go back to Stonewall for now. There's not much we can do out here at the moment. We'll have to let Drakovic know how it turned out.
Yeah, you're right. And Ethan... you haven't gotten much of a break since the fact that he's your brother came back to you. It must've been hard on you.
I'm... I'm fine. It doesn't change anything.
I'm more concerned about Castor.
Do you think he won't wake up anymore?
If he's in this state, it hit him even harder than I thought it would.
Shouldn't we use this opportunity to attack the Kingdom, if their best general is out of action?
Even if he's the best, he's not the only one they have. They won't fall easily just because of this.
And besides, we'd have to convince the Empire or the Republic to attack. Another war is the last thing they'd want.
Let's at least send a message to Wilhelm to let him know what's up. He can decide for himself.
That's a good idea. We can take care of that when we're back in Stonewall.
So, for now we'll take a break?
Yes, let's go back to the ship and return to Stonewall.
And we head back to the Brunhild. But once we get on...
Boss! You've regained consciousness!
Wh... Where am I?
We're back in Condor, sir. We tried to return to Serinal Port, but Republic forces had already occupied it. Are you... feeling all right, sir?
I... I was completely at his mercy. He's coming back. He's going to take everything away from me, and there's nothing I can do about it. I'm right back there, in the burning town. The flames are everywhere. A nightmare. It's a nightmare. The screaming. Please, stop the screaming. Soldiers, everywhere. Everyone's dying. There was nothing we could do. Nothing. I just hid and waited for death. Why? Why!?
No. Nothing. He hasn't come back yet, and we've received no messages either.
What... What are you talking about?
... The enemy caught up with us in the woods. Helio stayed behind to give us a chance to escape. We... haven't heard from him since.
No... Because I lost, Helio...
Sir... maybe you should rest...
If only... If only I had more power. I wouldn't need the King or an army. I could do whatever I want. If I had more power, I could really be free.
Fade to black...
Oh, it's you. What's wrong? You're looking pale.
Huh? I have no idea what you're talking about.
Why do you think I brought you here!? You know something! How did you become like this? Where did you get all the power!? What did you learn on that journey you made three centuries ago!? Tell me!
Hahahaha, kill me? Do you really think you could?
If you help me, I'll tell you what I know.
Back on the Brunhild...
Fade to black...
Hmm? Oh, Ethan. It's you.
Back in Entalar, you told me about what happened to your son, didn't you?
Ah yes, I think I did. Why?
Uh, his name? It was Wolfram.
I-Is there any particular reason you wanted to know?
Next time: It's time to find out what Tiamat's deal is.