Part 49: Pages From a Self-Help BookletChapter 42: Pages From a Self-Help Booklet
Welcome back! Last time, well, everything happened. So now-
: Lucia used the last ounce of her power to transport the Destiny and save us. But, now she's enslaved to that maniac Zophar. Hiro, we've wasted three days. We need to do something! Go see Miria. Maybe she has some idea of where we can start.
Well, thank you Exposition Fairy! Let's do that right now!
: Please, go find my daughter Lemina. She's such an impulsive girl. I know that she'd like Borgan, if she'd just get to know him.
First off, no, secondly, I don't think he's the problem right now...
: But that floating dump is a loser! I know it! Just say 'no.'
: You don't understand. Borgan has a heart of gold. He's just not very good at relating to others.
"He's a good guy; he just has no empathy."
: Please, just find Lemina and let her know I'll be fine. Once you find her, please come back and let me know she understands. I don't want to worry about her...
Oh. Okay. Guess we can check up on her.
: ...at least that's the way it seems now that he has the power of Althena. But I'll give it my best, because I believe in the power of good. And, I have good people to fight alongside. Wish me luck, diary... I'll be needing it. Lee Lee
You know, I think she's gonna be okay.
Okay, fine, we'll actually go look for her. Besides, we're going to need to track down everyone else, too.
And also everything else.
: But you ignorant fools have lost all your magic power! Do you know why you lost your magic? Hm? It was because Lucia has gained the power of Althena to fight Zophar. All the world's power is at her command.
I'm not sure why Borgan is expositing this shit at us, but, just for posterity, Lucia took everyone's magic, not just the party's. Oh, and if you recall, she got captured. And now both her and her massive amount power is at Zophar's disposal. Good job, Lucia.
: ...haaaay.... <hick> Didja see 'im? I heard thad Zophar is here to deestroy tha world! Now thad hee's mack... <hick> back, monstur attacks are up all ovur! Idd's nodd even safe ta go out an' gedd uh... <hick> drink!
As you might have guessed, the people are dealing with the situation however they can. For the most part, most of the townsfolk are just repeating information we already know in a none too interesting way. Still, it's worth talking around. Let's hit up the library first.
: Which one of these books has that story? It sounds like a page-turner!
: Gramps, it's not a story, this is really happening!
: I think it's about time they put Sally Struthers out to pasture before she explodes.
Hi 90's reference. Again. How many of you know who Sally Struthers is, anyway? Hell, I only really know the name; I'm not familiar with anything she's actually done.
: You know, I thinks she's from the Blue Star!
: Cousin Bob liked matches too much, I guess.
I hope he pissed on the ashes.
: They said Zophar has come back to our world and will soon destroy us all!
: Zip it, kiddo! Get a grip on yourself! No one's gonna die while Ronfar's on the case. Take my word for it. If you believe in us, we'll be able to defeat this dude!
: So then, the Goddess Althena is still protecting us?
: Of course, kiddo. I may be a gambler, but I'm not a liar!
He said, lying. Also, hey, we found Ron already.
: The Goddess Althena has made this world beautiful and she watches over it always.
And considering what just happened, he's surprisingly optimistic.
: Just because Zophar is threatening our world doesn't mean it's over! We've got to all come together and face him in a united front. I may not know a heck of a lot about magic, but I'm one lucky guy... and Hiro, you're a great fighter! C'mon! Let's get the gang together and put up a fight Zophar'll never forget! Whaddya say, chief? I say, if we have to go out, at least go out fighting!
Considering how dreary most of the townsfolk are, it's nice to see at least someone with a positive attitude, if nothing else.
: There are those that have already given hope and are waiting for the end. But my dice are hot, and I know we can pull this baby out of the fire! C'mon chief! Let's get the gang together and fight for our world! Go see if you can talk the others into it.
: If you don't throw away your hope at the first sign of trouble, you have a chance. You must strip Zophar of his power to crush our world!
That's, uh, easier said that done. But thanks for the vote of confidence, I guess.
: That means he has the power to destroy and to create. Now, he will abolish our world and recreate it to his desire... just thinking about it scares me!
Actually, since it's been three days, why hasn't he done that? Has he just been laughing manically all this time?
...actually, he is a Lunar villain, so, yeah, I'd believe that.
: The Blue Star. If our world disappears, the Blue Star will remain lifeless. Lucia, the guardian of the Blue Star, will come not to save our world, but hers. She must protect our world, to insure hers can be restored one day... well, anyway, that's the gist of the legend. I don't remember it too well.
Well, gosh, it's as though Lucia's motivation hasn't been entirely altruistic. Also, I think WD might have screwed something up here, because it seems weird that the name "Lucia" was part of Lunar folklore before she even came, but who knows?
: Why doesn't someone just catch him and put him in jail? Isn't that where bad people are supposed to go?
Do they even make jails that can hold gigantic demon snake monsters? (Or... whatever that blue hair monstrosity is now.)
: I heard she even tried to steal the power of Althena to destroy us! But she looked so kind and harmless. How could she be a destroyer of worlds?
: She's not! There's something bigger than you or I can see going on here!!
As the thread has pointed out, she was a destroyer. Kinda. Albeit she didn't really see it that way (at first, anyway.)
In case you were wondering, no, we can't leave. At least we're in the city with the best item shop in game.
: And the guy looked quite stern. I think his name may have been Howard...
Wait, why would you think his name is Howard- oh. Oh. Ha ha, Working Designs. (I wonder how many younger readers will get that reference.)
But, hey, we found Jean! I have no idea why she can't practice above ground and not in the cave with the shitty music, but I guess she's a special flower that way.
: Remember when you fight that the real enemy lies within yourself. If you let your fear take hold of you, you'll be powerless to stop him. Control your fear and your victory will be assured.
: Jean, once Zophar is defeated, you must forget all that I have taught you. Learn from my mistakes and pursue the true teachings of Althena instead. You must never again use the black karate of death.
She's just running into him, but they're supposed to be training. Ah, limited sprite animations.
: It's the only way that I can know if my skills are truly complete. I must know before my battle with Zophar!
: This will be my last time I use Blue Dragon Karate. Once we've defeated Zophar, I will never again practice this deadly ancient art. The knowledge will die with me.
Aw, no more face punching?
: Lucia cannot die! We must all band together to save her from this fate! If she dies, our world is certain to perish also! We must find a way to overcome Zophar!
Like Ronfar, it doesn't seem like Jean's backing down either. Then again, a hydrogen bomb couldn't take out this woman. I thought this was supposed to be a "comfort the party at their lowest point" but everyone's all ready up and determined. Hm.
Oh, and interestingly enough you can buy stuff from the Meribian item shop here. The only reason this is here is if you want to buy Starlights, as Vane only sells Silverlights. Well, okay, Meribia also sells the full assortment of status recovery items, and Vane does not, but it's been so long since I needed anything like that. Eh.
: Oh no, I've said too much.
: ...You haven't said enough.
I dunno, this seems like a pretty apt time to lose your religion.
: ... ...say. Does it administer spankings by any chance? I'm certain that any reputable destroyer should. I'm really in need of one in the worst way. I've been quite naughty...
...keep living the dream, lady.
Oh, and we actually found the person we were supposed to find. Groovy.
: That's like a wallet with no money. Oh, this will never do... I've got to concentrate and get back my magic power! Eeeee... iiii.... ha!
And despite being the one most reliant on magic, she's not given up either.
: Why does Lucia need to take all the magic power for herself? Can't she leave some for me? After all, it is the nice things to do, and I am in such a bind!
: Oh well, sorry to talk your ear off with complaints, Hiro. Guess I'll just have to work extra hard to drum up some magic, huh?
I guess we're skipping the pity party section. Awesome.
Well, we didn't actually tell Lemina what Miria told us to tell her, but that message was stupid and Miria's stupid, so whatever.
: They're never going to surrender our world to Zophar. They believe in the power of each other, and have the will to overcome anything. You taught them that, Hiro.
: But if you forget to believe in yourself, Lucia truly will be lost. And none of us wants to see that...
: But... Miria... I... I...
So, we're not picking the party up from our lowest point, they're picking Hiro up. Yeap, he's the one getting angsty time. Well, as much angst as a blank semi-mute can, anyway.
: Shh! I'm still not sure this is the right thing to do, because I was told not to tell anyone is this, but I think you're just what this person needs right now. Go to the roof. Someone waiting there....[sic]
Miria, you're babbling. Are you drunk?
: Go! Quickly now... see for yourself... on the roof.
Drunk or possibly had a stroke. All right, whatever, let's discover the super secret awesome character who's on the roof. I hope it's Batman.
Oh. It's just Leo.
: I will not stand on the sidelines and let this happen! Hiro, I decided to join forces with you! Let's go!
: But, now that Zophar has gained Althena's power, I cannot sit and watch. I feel that I am responsible in part for this. After all, I served in Althena's Guard. In fact, I was serving the lord of evil himself, Zophar. Hiro, when we fought, White Knight Leo of Althena's Guard died. Please let me fight at your side a fellow crusader for justice! The Destiny awaits... please consider my request.
A little slow on the uptake there, Ruby.
: If we all gather together, Zophar won't stand a chance of winning!
You know, I did say this was Hiro's turn to angst, but considering that he expresses every emotion through ellipses, I'm not sure if he's just thinking about The Wire or something.
And suddenly, we hear another familiar voice.
: Ha, ha, ha, ha,! My, my... looks like the hero doesn't pass muster in our little morality play... how delightful!
: Ha! Frankly, I'm a bit disappointed that you didn't put up a better fight. The whole world now awaits execution at Zophar's hand. But that's too good for you; you're not worthy to live for Zophar's judgement!
: Look into the eyes of your executioner, Hiro!
This day really couldn't get any worse, could it?
: I just might be persuaded to tell Lucia you died bravely. She calls your name in her sleep, you know...
: Lucia... calls for me?
: Yes... pathetic, isn't it? The poor girls has no taste at all it seems. But, no matter. You'll soon be out of the picture... forever. But first, I'll let you watch as I kill every citizen of Vane. There's really no pleasure in doing it if you're all, well... dead. Watch in horror as I give you a preview of the show Zophar has planned! See you soon... ha ha ha!
: We're in deep guacamole! Ghaleon didn't sound like he was bluffing!
: He won't get away with this! C'mon Ruby. We're going to stop him, or die trying!
All right, Hiro's rejoining team kickass!
: Descendants of this city lived in shame for years because of his actions. But, I always felt he must have regretted his course after it was too late. I sensed a very quiet sadness in the things he wrote before his death. To have all that power, and yet... To be lonely beyond words...
That's nice. He's going to kill everyone.
: You have simply no chance of defeating me, so why do you persist? The magic powers of old have died out, and there is no hope for your world. Now, throw your very lives before me that I may spare your miserable souls. Or... fight me if you dare!
: Hey buster, you seem pretty confident about a fight that hasn't even begun!
: We'd never surrender to the likes of you! Forget about it, Ghaleon!
: Even though I don't have my magic to rely on, I'll still kick your sorry butt!
: I'll never again submit to the powers of darkness! I will resist you with every fiber of my being!
: Hm, hm, hm, hm... You poor delusional souls! I suppose I'd be sad, if I had a heart... But, I don't. Prepare to witness my fury!
Oh. I guess inspirational speeches will only go so far.
: Ha ha ha! It amazes me that they ever had a chance at all. What a delightfully worthless waste of life. Tch. It seems the only power they wield is the power to die and fade away at a moment's notice.
: Don't count your chips yet... this isn't over!
: We're down, but we're not out!
: Until our dying breath... we will resist you!
: We will never bend to your will.
See, what Ghaleon doesn't get is that we're friends for eternity. We're on top 'cause we play to win!
: You can't defeat us, Ghaleon. We're fighting, not for ourselves, but for the lives and the future of all humanity! That power is stronger than you'll ever know!
: Ha, ha, ha, ha! Your endless speeches are entertaining, but worthless. The time for action is at hand. Show me this 'power of humanity!'
We'll make our dreams come true. There's nothing we can't do! Let's go!
And he ambushes us with a potshot. THAT'S CHEATING, GHALEON.
So, now we've got to "show him the power of humanity," or somesuch thing. By which I mean we're all going to punch him in the face.
Jean makes a pretty good case for humanity, I'd say!
But, yeah, this isn't the boss fight proper; we're just killing time.
Other than some abilities like Thunder Bomb here, Ghaleon really isn't pulling out much of anything, either. In any case, Jean's expert face punching abilities end this fight quickly.
I really can't do justice to the scream Hiro gives here. It makes me laugh every time.
: I... I will not give up until my world and Lucia are safe!
And then they start to flash because of... determination?
: Ha, ha, ha! What admirable goals! Now, ending your miserable existence will be even sweeter! Call on your 'power of humanity' to save you, if it even exists!
So now, proper boss fight ti-
And he ambushes us again. Ghaleon is such a dick.
Anywho, we're finally facing off again Ghaleon again, but with our magic this time. Now, this boss fight pulls a mean fast one on you by not letting you adjust your equipment beforehand. So unless you know what's coming, you're likely not to be fully prepared. And if you don't have an earlier save handy, well, too bad buddy. Fortunately, Lemina has the White Dragon Crest on, but I forgot to put the Blue Dragon Crest on Jean.
We're not starting this fight on a high note, but in the next round he decided just to attack. And as long as he doesn't go fo-
GHALEON YOU FUCKING DICK.
Oh, and we have Leo for this. He's... there. Honestly, he's kind of worthless in this fight.
And because we couldn't switch items around before he can't item caddy. He came in this fight with a bottle of hooch and that's all he needs, I guess.
Regardless, our strategy is pretty single. The Hiro and Leo use that one sword skill they have, Ronnie heals, and Jean attacks.
Except for when Ghaleon's flashing purple, then he'll counter attacks. And he'll attack again, which kinda sucks.
Oh I already can tell that's not good.
...I just revived Lemina too. Argh.
Thankfully, he just attacked in the next round, giving me a chance to get Lemina back up.
...Ghaleon. King of all dicks.
He telegraphs that one by folding his arms and also flashing purple. Thankfully, he took out my least useful member instead so Lemina could cast White Dragon Protect. And don't worry; I did revive Leo.
Unfortunately he's immune to Pressure Cooker and Magic Swiper. Also Ghaleon loves knocking you around, so Magic Shield just wasn't really viable. Thankfully Ghaleon isn't as damage happy as Borgan, but he has over 8000 HP! If we had Blue Dragon Vigor available we could cut the fight time down considerably, as he still takes a lot of damage from Jean's attacks, but we don't. Also I still don't have much in the way of MP restoring items in my characters' inventories, so Lemina's MP is at a premium. White Dragon Protect has to be used sparingly. (Or, if you thought to do so beforehand, give her the Snake Ring, but if you thought beforehand, you'd have the Blue Dragon Crest equipped, wouldn'tcha smart guy?)
Fortunately, though, Ghaleon's defense is far more modest than his HP. Moreover, even without Blue Dragon Vigor Jean's criticals are still doing over 500 damage. So he falls before long.
Honestly, even with Blue Dragon Vigor Ghaleon can be a tense fight because he can dish out some nasty damage, and you can't just throw up White Dragon Protect willy-nilly. Also Schitzo Blade is just cheap.
And he doesn't even give you experience or anything for your trouble. King dick of dick mountain.
Hey, let's have another cutscene because this update doesn't have enough!
: Hi... Hiro... why did... you spare my life?
: It's because you spared ours. We owe you.
: Ghaleon, it's clear; you disobeyed Zophar and let us defeat you. You can't go back now. He'll kill you.
: Hrm... Hiro, forget me. Just go. Save the world before it's too late.
The way Ghaleon says that line is pretty much the best.
: Ghaleon, join us in our fight!
Yes, yes, I'm totally in favor of that! I guess we're only allowed a five person party, but we can just kick Leo out, no big.
: Hiro... I can't join your fight. My end is near.
: This...this reprieve from death was not an accident. Zophar granted it. And now that I have betrayed his purpose, his power will be withdrawn. I will weaken, and soon will be nothing more than a shadow fading in the darkest recesses of time.
: But Ghaleon... you saved our lives! You can't...
: Hiro...wipe the sorrow from your brow. Even though I must again die, there is no regret in my heart. I have tried to atone for my sins of the past by helping you. I'm grateful that I had this opportunity... Ohhhh...
: I pray it serves you well...
: Though I cannot go with you, know that I will be there in spirit always. Good-bye...
Your first instinct would be to talk to Ghaleon again. DO NOT DO THAT. This is your last chance to buy items, and we're doing just that. Besides, I don't think he's dying that bad. He can wait for a couple of minutes.
Oh Ghaleon's Sword is awesome. Obviously.
Anyway, I had to do some hardcore item management. It was very exciting. Had to sell off a buncha shit, give Leo some items and accessories (unfortunately, apparently everyone in the party is a tee-totaler, yes even Ronfar somehow, and I can't get rid of the wine.) And finally, blew the rest of my money on Dover Nuts, Angel Tears, and most importantly, Silverlights.
Oh, oh yes I like this.
All right then, Ghaleon, you were saying?
: He has completed his transformation using the power of Althena. He is now almost completely impervious to any attacks you might use. He has but one weakness, and that is... ...Lucia! Without stripping Zophar of the power of Althena, he cannot be defeated. And, that power can only be cut off by attacking what you hold most dear... Lucia.
Buddy, we just somehow recovered our magic power through sheer will alone. We're not ending this story by killing the female lead.
: Hiro, you must destroy Lucia to save your world. It is the only way!
Yeah, I'm thinking... no.
: There must be another way to defeat Zophar! I will not sacrifice Lucia to save the world I love.
: ... ...so be it. You have chosen a dangerous path, young Hiro. And now, you will have no chance of defeating Zophar. I would not be so daring. Are you prepared to bear the blood of an entire world for this girl you love?
This is the last cutscene for this update, I swear.
: Yep, no doubt about it. This has got to be a bazillion-to-one longshot. Hah, only a mental midget would take it. But hey, I've been called much worse. It's all or nothin', and I never settled for nothin'!
: Our fight for the soul of this world isn't over yet. If we all join together as one, we can grow even stronger than Zophar! All it takes is a little luck, and the power to believe in ourselves.
: And besides we have to rescue Lucia for my new Magic Guild!
: Oh pooh! Tongue slip...
: I meant... Zophar will be a piece of cake. I'll wipe the floor with his mega-mangy butt!
: Hiro, justice lies with us! In the face of impossible odds, we can secure victory if we strive for it. Remember, we wield the power of humanity! With that, anything becomes possible.
: Listen to them, Hiro. They're right! We'll stick Zophar's butt in a sling!
: Hah... your endless resolve never ceases to amaze me. When it appears to be the darkest and most hopeless hour, you pull together and fight toward the light.
: The time has come, Hiro. Darkness... rushes forth. Unleash your power and save this desperate land.
: I will, Ghaleon. Bet on it!
: Secure all positions! Here we go!
: Duh-da-duh-dah-da-dah! Charge!
: Full ahead! Next stop: Zophar's domain!
: Are you watching in secret, Dyne?
: These children shine with your light.
Bye-bye, you magnificent hammy bastard.
: Fight hard, Hiro. Believe in your friends.
: The final test lies before you.
Here we are folks, at last: the final dungeon. Next time... well, we've got our work cut out for us, I'll say that.