Part 47: Power Struggle
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, we returned to Stonewall to come up with a plan to deal with Castor's new airship. In the end it was Hilbert who had the best idea: to challenge Castor to a rematch on neutral ground, confident that his need to be the strongest would prevent him from refusing. The duel was set to take place on the Rosehart Bridge, and Castor did show up... but only to tell us that he would be accepting our challenge "in the near future," and to reveal to us what Tiamat had learned centuries ago: that humans and the Havali had common ancestors and had merely evolved apart in isolation. He left after summoning some beasts for us to take care of, meaning that our plan was a failure. But when we returned to Southbridge, a soldier told us that Randolph's men had found something, so it's time to head over there. Let's get to it.
We ended last update in the middle of a conversation, so we should probably finish it and find out where we're headed.
That's great news! Where is it?
The far southwest corner of Empire, on the Svenson Peninsula.
Oh, there? That's near Bergheim's home, and not that far from the station either. I'm sure we'll be able to find it. Thanks. That's some good news, at least. Let's go back to the ship and set sail for the Empire.
The game is kind enough to offer us a free trip back to Serinal Port so that we don't have to run through the woods again. After that, it's time for some sailing.
As you can see from the minimap, our destination is in the southwest of the Empire, and you can also see Bergheim's house at the very edge of the screen. As with the Ancient Docks, we could have come to this part of the world map a long time ago, but the dungeon wouldn't have existed yet. Let's see what we've got here.
We find Randolph's assistants outside the entrance.
The old records we studied in Entalar were surprisingly specific about the ruins' location. It wasn't too hard to find the place since we know the terrain.
Of course. Although he's a wimp, Hannily here is a rather important NPC. Why?
Because he's a Hex player with one of the better tile collections in the game. In addition to carrying the last regular enemy tile, the Centaur Knight, Hannily also has the Knight Specter tile and...
... Thorve. Wait, what? Why Thorve? Why not Randolph? Thorve trades for a couple of quirky accessories in two Spellcard Mods. Anyone wearing a Spellcard Mod has all of their MP costs doubled, but all of their magic is 1.5 times as effective. They're interesting, but this is one case where I think I'd rather keep the tile.
Now then, let's see what's in these ruins.
Unlike the Ancient Docks, our party doesn't spend time oohing and aahing over the architecture this time around.
Also unlike the Ancient Docks (and most other dungeons, for that matter), Raka Mural doesn't have much in the way of a gimmick, which is a nice change. As we enter we're immediately confronted with two doorways and a staircase, but heading up the stairs just leads us to a closed door.
So instead we start making our way to the left doorway, but before we get there we run into a few Dire Spiders. In all honesty, most of the enemies in Raka Mural are pretty lame, and the Dire Spiders are no exception. They can bite us for about 275 damage or use Venomous Bite to deal 325 damage and inflict poison, but their HP is rather low and they go down quickly.
Behind the left door we find a Soul Elixir and a Soul Elixir in spellcard form:
Revive (95MP): Revives one KO'd ally with full HP.
Crisis: M-Restore (80MP): Cures all detrimental status effects for all allies.
Stat changes: -3% max HP, +4% max MP, +5% RES
Revive is probably one of the most useful spellcards in the game, because not only is it an incredibly powerful ability, but unlike its predecessor Revitalize, its item equivalents can't be bought. The ability to remove all status effects from the entire party with its crisis is just icing.
As we're leaving the room we find another new enemy, the Death Knight. Despite their imposing stature, Death Knights aren't much of a threat. Their only move is a regular attack for about 375 damage, and they're not too hard to kill.
Next, we head on over to the right-side door and encounter a Sphynx on the way there. Sphynxes are annoying but not too much trouble: they can whack us around for about 350 damage, and they also counter most physical attacks with Locust Curse, which inflicts 125 damage and blindness on its target. They'd probably be a lot more dangerous if we didn't have so many status immunities, as they love to cast Riddle, which deals a little over 500 damage and inflicts chaos on a party member. As it is, though, they're not too bad.
Sphynxes also carry a Divine Staff for the stealing, a weapon for Lorenza that retains the +15 INT bonus from her old Vizier Staff and also deals light damage instead of physical. It actually turns Lorenza into a semi-competent attacker for this dungeon, since pretty much everything in here is weak to it.
Anyway, we head through the door and pass by some out-of-reach treasures before finding a switch, which opens the closed doorway we saw upstairs.
And once we enter it, a scene begins.
Most of it... part of the writing has eroded away, and I don't understand all the words that are being used. It looks like... this confirms the story that Castor told us. It talks about the people that were exiled from Luminas and left the continent on a giant ship.
Everything that she knows must be written somewhere in here. This is probably only the beginning.
I think these tablets are actually a historical record of the Havali civilization. That means there must be more of them deeper inside that go further back.
Then this temple must've been built not longer after the events described here. That puts them at around the same age as the ones where Castor found the Lemuria.
Fade to black...
Following the scene, we continue onwards and end up in a room with a whole bunch of doors.
First order of business is to grab the treasures scattered about. Bahamut's Claw, despite its name, is a powerful sword for Zawu without any special properties.
We can also grab an interesting little spellcard behind the nearby door.
Sneak Attack (65MP): Launches a physical attack that is guaranteed to be the first action of the round.
Crisis: Wrath (200MP): Deals non-elemental damage to one enemy proportional to the number of enemies the caster has killed throughout the game.
Stat changes: -5% max HP, +5% SPD, +5% DEX, +8% SKL
I have to admit that I'm rather intrigued by Wrath, but right now it's not too impressive. The Game Stats page lists us as having 1087 kills, but Wrath only deals 753 damage, which isn't worth blowing 200 MP. SCF, care to tell us what the formula is? I'm hoping it's exponential.
Finally, to the south of the many-doors room, we can grab the treasure chests we were unable to reach earlier, which contain a bunch of Capsules.
Now then, it's time for us to actually advance. On the right side of the room we find two closed doors and a switch, which opens the one on the left.
We make our way to it and get attacked by the final enemies of this dungeon: two Trapped Souls and an Ancient Idol. Of all of the lame enemies in this dungeon, Trapped Souls are the lamest. They die very quickly and only have two moves: a regular attack for 225 damage, or Freezing Sword, which deals 400 ice damage. Ancient Idols are also pretty lame but slightly more annoying: they can attack regularly for 300 damage, or use Speechless to infict 200 damage and silence to the entire party.
The pathway behind the door spits us out on a raised platform where the other closed door is.
The switch nearby opens it, and once we enter the next room, another scene begins.
We'll find it sooner or later. It's just like Thorve said. This is the place that Tiamat was searching for. She discovered something here that made her what she is now. It's just a matter of finding it.
I don't think it was just a matter of her coming here, reading these tablets and going home. Wasn't she the only one who came back out of the entire expedition? Don't you think that's strange? We'd better be prepared. There may be something more dangerous down here than just knowledge.
Lorenza, did you find anything yet?
Hmm, a little... This talks about... prototypes for the airship? No, it's something more general than that. It's about... the discovery of using biorite as an energy source.
So, maybe the airship is powered by it as well? It's no surprise, really. We already determined that it contains significant amounts of energy.
Is there more?
It's just a passing mention, but...
What does that mean?
I don't know. It seems to refer to something even older...
The energy source of an ancient airship. A strong human mutator. A healing stone for the Havali. It all comes back to that strange material. Four Havali temples across the world... and all of them built at key biorite nodes. The temple below Entalar. The one in the Empire we used as an Entalar seal. The one that served as a prison for Tiamat, and the one she discovered in the past. Four in total. But where is it? Where is the fifth one? Where is the source?
Castor literally sprints over to the soldier here. I'm not sure we've ever seen him so excited.
"... a bunch of switches. Why am I staring at this?"
Aha... hahaha... Finally...
Should we set course there?
No... not immediately. It would look too suspicious if we did.
Castor doesn't bother to reply; he just starts leaving the room and runs into Alison.
There has been some unrest on the ship, mainly among the lower ranks. Everyone knows that you're ignoring orders from the capital. The King wanted this ship for himself. Most of us believe that you're doing the right thing, but there are still some who are in doubt.
They will know very soon. Just tell them to have a little more patience. Everyone's efforts have already been paying off. We are getting closer and closer to our goal. I admire your loyalty, Colonel. Keep up the good work.
Fade to black...
Have you found it yet?
Maybe it's just me, but this line strikes me as very un-Tiamat. It feels almost whiny, and Tiamat is anything but whiny.
No, I haven't found it yet. Why would I hide anything from you? I owe everything to you, don't I?
Still nothing, with all the time you're spending looking for it?
Fortunately, she switches right back to her normal personality a moment later.
Haha, don't worry. Just wait here, and I'll continue looking.
Back with Hilbert...
Not too much further to go now.
The next room contains a bunch of descending staircases, and at the bottom we find a very strong spellcard:
Holy (190MP): Deals major light damage to one enemy.
Crisis: White Blaze (90MP): Restores a large amount of HP to both all allies and all enemies.
Stat changes: +5% max HP, -6% VIT
Not only is Holy one of the strongest single-target attacks in the game, but White Blaze is surprisingly not too bad of a panic button. At our current level, cast by Lorenza, it restores about 1200 HP to everyone on the field, and it's not too hard to remove another 1200 HP from an enemy. Especially since Holy can do over 2000 damage.
The next room contains a save point, but as we try to go through the door at the far end, the screen suddenly flashes red.
Such an... oppressive presence here.
BOSS FIGHT: Yad al-Jauza
Fun fact: Yad al-Jauza is Arabic for "hand of the giant one." What does that have to do with this boss? Hell if I know.
Yad al-Jauza is a giant sack of HP, but much like the other enemies in this dungeon, he's rather lacking in the offense department. He also carries a Medic Kit for the stealing if you don't feel like trading away your Joanna tile.
Yad's first move is to use Life Leech to try to steal some HP from Lorenza, with less than impressive results. Granted, this is with Bastion up, but a 340-damage attack is far less than what we've come to expect from this game's bosses.
He also can use Eternal Slumber to put the entire party to sleep, though fortunately half of our party is immune. Even with Hilbert and Matilda asleep, we're still not in that much danger.
In addition to Life Leech, Yad can steal our MP with Mana Leech, but this is pretty much a waste of his turn. At this point in the game nobody is going to miss a paltry 29 MP.
He's also got Sheer Madness, which inflicts light damage and poison. Presumably it also can inflict berserk or chaos, but I'm not sure which since only Hilbert is vulnerable to those.
Really, the only vaguely dangerous thing Yad al-Jauza is capable of doing is attacking regularly. and even that isn't too worrying.
So most of this battle is simply spent blasting the boss into oblivion.
It doesn't take too long.
At least we land ourselves another Key Tablet III for our trouble. This is our third, and it goes to Ethan. We also add to our collection of boss Hex tiles with the Riftgate.
Fade to black...
Fade to black...
Maybe they were killed by that thing we just ran into?
No... All of the tablets... they've been smashed to pieces. Not a single one was left intact.
Tiamat... After obtaining some knowledge here, she erased all evidence of it.
In order to keep that power all to herself...
You mean... she killed the other members of the expedition herself?
It's useless... there's nothing left.
What a disappointment. Just when we thought we'd find the answers we've been looking for. Might as well go back then, huh?
Fade to black...
Well, that was a giant waste of time. Guess we might as well head back to the ship.
But as we're leaving, we're accosted by... wait, what the hell is this guy doing here?
Bergheim? What are -you- doing here?
Hmph. What do you think I'm doing here? You thought you could hide it from me, didn't you? You wanted to keep it all to yourself.
What are you rambling about this time? I'm not a psychic, don't expect me to somehow divine the subject of this conversation.
That airship! I want to see it!
How am I supposed to know -anything- about it!? Argh! You're driving me mad, Randolph!
Well, maybe if you weren't such a recluse you'd have heard about it earlier.
Oh please, shut up you two.
Oh. Looks like I let myself go for a bit. Sorry for that. Anyway, don't you have more important things to do than search the world for us?
I left my assistant in charge back home. These are important matters. So, you haven't even been on board of the ship yet?
No, I haven't, actually.
Hmph. Well, I'm not going to let you have all the fame of this discovery.
Look, we didn't even discover it. Do you have any idea at all what's going on?
But you want to have the ship for yourself, don't you? Ehhh? I know what you're thinking! But I'm going to share in the glory this time, whether you like it or not!
Look at this. We're arguing about a ship that's not even within our reach. If you want to help, then try coming up with a way to get us on the thing.
Is that your boat, over there? I'll come along and show you who's the superior genius!
Is this... supposed to be a good thing?
Fade to black...
Welp, guess there's not much to do aside from getting back on the Brunhild. Once we do...
Why? What's wrong?
We just got an urgent transmission for you guys.
Fade to black...
You tell me. I haven't seen his lackeys around either.
I don't understand it. I've been looking everywhere. He's not anywhere on the ship. That short stop when we landed on the island... did he leave at that point? But he ordered our departure himself. If he's gone, he must've snuck out intentionally... Why...?
No... That bastard...
So... he thought he could trick me and take it all for himself!? I won't let him get away with that. He'll pay for this...
Hey! You know where he's gone to?
Hahaha... I'll deal with him later. I've had enough of this waiting. I'm going to end this once and for all.
What are you doing? You have no authority on this ship!
Authority? What gives -you- the right to order -me- around? Your rank means nothing to me. From now on, all that counts is the right of the strongest. You want to try to stop me, woman? You wouldn't stand a chance. I won't repeat this a second time! Set course for Entalar!
Forget about her! I'm your master now! If you don't do what I tell you to, you'll regret it! Once I've completed my goal, I don't care what you do afterwards, you can go anywhere you want. But until then, I will kill -anyone- who dares to go against me. Is that understood!?
What is it now? Haven't you had enough yet?
We were already planning to return to the Kingdom for maintenance. Our engineers found out that several of the fuel containers have minor tears. We don't have the means to repair them on board. Entalar is too far away. Even if we listen to you, the ship may fall apart long before we get there.
Hmph. How long are these repairs going to take?
I... I can't say. A couple of days, probably.
All right. Do it. But no one is allowed to leave the ship unless I say so. And we're not going near any large cities. I don't want any surprise attacks.
What you said about the fuel containers, is that actually...?
No, it's a lie. This was all I could do to buy us some time... but it still won't save us.
Fade to black...
So Castor has left the airship without a word... That has to mean that he's found what he'd been looking for all this time. Why else would he just abandon the ship?
But now Tiamat has taken control of the Lemuria, and she wants to use it to destroy Entalar.
We have to stop her!
The message said they've landed under the pretense of needing repairs. It included the exact location of the ship. It's hidden in the deep forests of the Kingdom. It's obvious that she wants you guys to do something quickly.
This isn't going to be easy. It said that Tiamat threatened the crew into doing her bidding. We can't expect any cooperation from them.
Even aside from the threats, you can't expect them to just welcome us on board. They believe that if they help Tiamat now, she'll let them go afterwards. But if they let us do the job, they'll permanently lose the ship to us, the enemy.
I'm not worried about the soldiers on board. I don't think most of them would try to stop us. I'm more worried about Tiamat.
But the matter is clear. We must act fast if we want to save Entalar and capture the Lemuria.
Definitely. Moritz, you know where the ship's being repaired, right?
Yeah. Let me know when you want to go there.
We'll make sure we're ready first, and then attack the ship with a small group, okay?
Next time: Last Scenario decides it wants to be an action movie.