Part 27: Chapter XXVI: To Reach Ground ZeroBelieve it or not, we're rapidly reaching the climax of the third generation. As Eva said in the scene where the party first met Vanessa, the wheels are in motion, and once in motion, they cannot be stopped. Eva is going through crushing pain, and every time Grey receives some of Chaos' power, he experiences unimaginable torment. Meanwhile, the demon menace is only getting worse, and for some reason, Grey really wants to go to Zaint Luke. Let's see if we can make it...
We begin in the frosty wastes of Fendias.
Now that Georg's little side mission is done, we must take Jule up on her offer to explore the d'Alene Snowy Mountain in search of the mountaintop portal. After some perilous mountain climbing, accompanied by frequent attacks from Ice Knights, Great Sorcerers, and Dagons (giant squids), we finally arrive. One weird thing to note about Great Sorcerers is that it is nearly impossible to steal from them. I must have fought like 30 of those little bastards while cleaning out the eastern mountains, and not once was I able to steal from them.
It's not like they have anything super valuable, aside from a kinda-nice staff called the Katoyanga, but it's just odd how you can't steal from them, or at the very least, the odds are very, very low, even with Feat of Agility / Heavenly Sense on. Oh well, what's done is done. Chilly mountaintop
To think someone would put it in a place like this...
One would not even consider placing anything here unless they were insane or worse.
And if it turns out that it doesn't work, it'd be more of a miserable joke than a product of madness.
What's the verdict? Does it work?
I can feel magic. But it won't quite respond.
My guess is that it cannot fully function in this cold.
Can it be fixed or something?
I'm not sure. This sort of apparatus is beyond my expertise...
I, too, am not sure about how the transfer portals use magic and how they work in general.
Like a sword, if it was simply used to cut, it'd be designed in such a way that anyone could use it. If we can learn how it is supposed to be used, we can do so even if the principles behind it are unknown.
It's not as if it's not responding. That means that the portal in Zaint Luke is still operational, right?
Considering the condition of this one... Yes, it is highly probable.
If that's the case, we need to find a way to get this one running...
Now that I remember it, he did manage to fix the transfer portal in Frensberge that one time.
That was... Well, I'm not sure if what he did to it could actually be considered -fixing it-.
But maybe Gordon might know of a way.
To be honest, I'm not exactly thrilled to have to turn back just so we can come back here again...
There's no other way so it can't be helped...
You can continue your conversation once we've returned. Let us go.
And go I did. Back in town, another few commissions that you should have already accomplished, if you cleared out all of the mountain range. 10 Great Sorcerers, 3 Dagons, and 10 Ice Knights. And next, a unique commission for killing 15 of all kinds of Knights: Earth, Spark, Storm, Flame, and Ice. Your reward for completing all of them is a few new scenes, all of which are in this video. The scene with Gordon is at the end, and the one we need to see to continue the story.
Don't be like that. After all, you and I are friends, right?
Hmph. Don't say that, it makes me want to vomit. You and I are something, and it's not friends.
But this is very important. We understand that you are very busy right now. However, we need your help. Please?
Hm... A transfer portal set in ice...
If it's frozen, we just need to find a way to heat it up, right?
Don't be so naive. The d'Alene Snowy Mountain is supposedly the most dangerous area in Fendias due to the extreme cold. A half-assed approach would be a waste of effort, as any heat you'd create would be smothered by the cold.
We would have never been able to reach that place alive if we were not protected from the elements by magic.
And even with that, we barely made it without freezing. We were dangerously close to joining the other ice-bound objects that make up the scenery there.
You know of a way.
How do you figure?
You are familiar with the Dajlua Wetlands in Graccea, right?
It's not really a place I'd want to go to...again.
I heard this a long time ago, but it seems that some ruins were discovered just past those wetlands.
The Sansar Ruins. However, a route to that place has never been firmly established.
If just anyone could get there, I wouldn't be dumping this on you.
I take it the striketail that haunts those ruins will be necessary?
Yes. With that, you might be able to do something about the portal at the d'Alene Snowy Mountain.
But the risk is much too high. If we are unlucky... Actually, it'd take a great deal of luck just to make it to the ruins, that is how difficult it will be to reach that place.
But we don't have any other choice, do we? Then why waste time getting all worked up?
Liel's right. We've survived everything up until now. We'll get through this, too...somehow.
How the hell can you always be so optimistic?
That's the secret to living a long life.
That's not much of a joke. While not entirely inaccurate, in your case it's due to that arti- Err...I just... Sorry, I didn't think about your feelings...
Man, Ignis apologizing? Who are you and what have you done with the real Ignis?
If I was concerned with the artifact in any way, I wouldn't volunteer to be in this position. I have no intention of forgetting about the artifact, however. But I won't be bound by it or the past.
That's good to hear. There's no use brooding over what cannot be changed. Be careful when traveling there. There are-
That would mean that much of the discovered striketail was left behind due to the demon threat.
In other words, more of the same. It's nothing new, unfortunately. Let's get this over quickly.
My running crew for the Sansar Ruins is going to be Grey, Eva, Jainus, and Fiona, based on a recommendation from friend of the thread, Anoia. But, I'm doing something interesting with her.
I equipped her with a sword! The Kogarasumaru, a Wind-elemental sword with a surprising amount of magical attack power. While considerably weaker than Eva's magical ability, Fiona's still pretty powerful magically and physically, and I elected to turn her into a proper battle mage for the next dungeon. She'll be pulling her own weight along heavyweights like her three other teammates.
The only real problem with her is that her accuracy and attack are pretty low, but that's nothing a little PP can't fix. I put about 200 points into her attack, just to give her an added sting while Jainus and Grey are carrying the team, physical attack power-wise.
Your first part of this journey is going to take you to three new battle points in the Dajlua Wetlands, featuring Slayer Bees and Kalis. Apparently the Yurle didn't go far to nab their guardian beast, but the Slayer Bees are really gross oversized bees that are super fast. The Kali is another enemy it doesn't appear you can steal from, but maybe that's because their rare drop is Byakko's Bracelet. Before you leave the Wetlands for good, Over Kill the Kali a lot, since you'll need their Flame Elements for a couple commissions. Specifically, you need to kill 4 Kalis for the commission, but need 5 Flame Elements for everything.
The Sansar Ruins are guarded by Vampire Ladies and Thor (random enemy, not a Norse god). The Thor's rare drop included the Kaiser Sword (along with Orichalcum Ore, of course), a pretty sweet sword, one of the best you can get your grubby mits on at this point in the game.
The Sansar Ruins are a pretty fun dungeon, if only for the fact the enemies at this point in the game are nowhere near your level, should you be playing this game right, and are pretty easy to power through without incident. The enemies lurking around are Vampire Ladies and Thor like outside the ruins, but also Demon Lords, Gargoyles, and scaly foes like the Dragon Knight and Evil Dragon.
By getting through the ruins entirely, you should accomplish most of the enemy-related commissions here, but before you leave just make sure you've killed 12 Dragon Knights. You can check how many of each enemy you've killed by checking the in-game bestiary. The guide I'm following says to turn in the next round of commissions before the boss fight, so kill 12 Gargoyles, and 2 Evil Dragons, and 2 Demon Lords.
Next up is 4 Kalis, 4 Thors, and 12 Vampire Ladies, and acquire 3 Magic Armors (from the Magic Warriors in the desert), Thunder Stones from the Ring Dragons, and 3 Fire Elements from the Kali. This video is kind of embarrassing, as I should have seen all these events after we met with Gordon last, but I didn't see them at all. As of this part of the game, the only requests that should be open are numbers 183 (Big Bang), 191 (Final Shot), and 229, which has a couple monsters you can't even fight right now.
To prepare for the boss fight, turn on a lot of Light skills, and unequip any Darkness ones. Grey with his Saint Hand already has an absolute critical chance against the boss. Tool of the gods
The only faces I want to see every day are those my wife, child, and friends.
It's pretty painful for me to have to see you, though.
Stop that. You'll know exactly what I mean once you have a family of your own. Right Ignis?
Stop with the pointless chatter.
No need to be so shy.
Um, this demon...
It's as if it was waiting for us.
It certainly appears that way.
I will have you return that life you have stolen. Not to me, but to the gods.
Well, he's certainly more of a threat than the Lich King or that one scorpion boss, but he's still pretty easy, especially since he's weak to Light.
I wasn't too happy about the last attack, combined with an Ultimate Strike and Black Hole, didn't kill the Neo Sargatanas, but things have a funny way of working out. Eva was knocked low enough in terms of HP to activate her two desperation skills, and I'm liable to kick the crap out of this guy.
Not bad. Not bad at all. The Krishna I got as an Over Kill is a pretty sweet sword (looks more like a claw, though). It's better than the weapon Fiona is using right now, especially remarkable considering it hasn't been upgraded at all. But, Fiona's getting something a little better than a Krishna soon...
The Day of Light... Something happened then, something Weiss wasn't expecting. Something happened we haven't seen before... And the only one other than Weiss and Chaos there was...
Grey! Grey?! Hang on! Grey!
Urg... Ah... *Pant* *Pant*
Are you okay?! Hang on!
There aren't many that fit the word -fine- as badly as you do right now. There is no need to push yourself so hard; everything has its limits. That includes one's ability to endure. You have accumulated more than enough already. I think it's about time you let it all out, as it were.
It...may be a good idea to seal Grey.
There is no need to do such a thing.
But, do you not see it as well? Though Grey may indeed have the power of the gods, he is not immune to pain and suffering. You go on about his special power and how he cannot be allowed to die, but he is still just human.
I have no memory of allowing you to give me orders. I alone will decide whether Grey is to be sealed. There is still room yet in the vessel contained within Grey. And how would you be able to justify sealing Grey at this juncture?
That's... But, that suffering is not normal. Grey's body won't be able to take much more if things continue as they have!
Do you realize how annoying you are? I shall decide what is to be done, following the will of the gods. And you are aware of the fact that sealing him now would only delay the inevitable. Yes, as the issue of -pain- will only be inherited by the one of the next generation. If you truly care about him, allow him to do what he wishes without burdening him with undue guilt.
I see... You will not commit to the action of sealing Grey since you care about him, right?
But for the sake of argument, let us suppose that I was, in fact, worried about him. If that were the case, then I should seal him in order to release him from his pain, just as you say. Now, perhaps you should ask what reason I have for refusing to seal him, despite his suffering.
It is nice to see that you are able to think in such a way now...
And what exactly are you trying to infer?
To harbor doubt is a feeling that comes from the heart of a -person-. Of course, even animals have -doubts-, but humans have doubts in regards to the situations they are in. Also, unlike animals, people can empathize with the plight of others and ask -why- in their stead. But even below animals are dolls, because they have no hearts, no souls, in the first place. However, if a doll was to come to have a -heart-... Anyone would think that a mere doll could never feel compassion. That is only natural. However, I believe that every doll has a heart and it can be released if treated with kindness for years.
Are you insinuating that I am a doll?
I was only trying to make a point. Previously, you were very much like a -doll-, acting without a heart... Any -person- would naturally be worried about Grey. But...would this be the case for you?
Shall I tell everyone that you're going to be a little longer?
No, we're finished here. How is Grey?
He seems to have stabilized. We should return to town while it is still safe to move him.
That would be for the best. It seems that burdening Grey any further might cost him his life. Isn't that right?
Eva joined that not-very-exclusive club many moons ago, Faz. I don't recall her ever giving a damn about you, one way or the other. Luckily, Georg is here to smack some sense into him.
It never occurred to me that you were trying to make friends. Your joke was in poor taste as well. If you choose to step on the feelings of another, at least have the decency to show your own first. And do so truthfully, without reservation or deceit. If you do not, or will not, then the relationship between you two will be shallow to the end.
Truly express my feelings... People in general would face far fewer hardships if they could do that...
Whatever, Creepazoid. Back in town, at the Hunter's Guild, we have the final demon hunt of the entire game. I'm going to miss these things...maybe. The big boss of the battle is weak to Earth, which is unfortunate, as I don't have much that can exploit Earth weaknesses in general. But, I think Team Long Haul can handle this. Versus Espaldam
If you guys keep setting this up, I'm going to keep taking them. Anyway, this is a pretty tough fight, if only for that damn Espaldam. Extremely powerful physically, not as much mentally but still strong enough. He also has two Medusas as reinforcements, and a Titania (weak to Darkness but absorbs Light, which means Grey shouldn't be attacking it at all).
Another note about this fight is that you really, really want someone who can rare steal here. The Espaldam has a Rusty Sword as a rare steal. It converts into the Gram for a paltry sum of 200,000, and its stats...well, you'll see soon enough.
I was super worried that this Photon Spark was going to mean the effective end of this attempt, as Eva got KO'd by this move. But...it also put Grey into critical. A for effort, man...
Man, 543 HP meant the difference between hanging on and defeat here. This is why you want near everyone with a desperation move, just for moments like this.
Kindly fuck off. Oh god I was so happy I killed the guy in one turn of attacking, even if he died by just a little bit. The Over Kill item is Suzaku's Ring, which is very nice and valuable, yes, but I just was not in the mood for how long it would take me to get it, and I was just happy to steal the Rusty Sword. You'll all see soon enough how goddamn good the Gram is.
And that's all 12! The demonic hordes have suffered nothing but losses at our hands, and the final victory is worth a resounding 1 million and change experience! Bang up job, everyone. And not just everyone in the active party, but everyone on the team. We've all worked together to do great things so far.
Fun fact: When you trigger a demon hunting quest, it stays on the world map forever. If I wanted to, I could have triggered the first generation's demon hunts, and now, in the third generation, just get around to hunting them! Not advised, though. Anyway...
When you're back in town, complete requests 232 and 233, a couple money requests totaling 325k. Pretty pricy, but again, I can swing it. There's another handful of scenes before we head back to the mountain, so off we go. The first scene is plot-essential, but I'll be covering both that and a non-essential, but pretty amusing scene in the inn.
I do not understand why you're in such a hurry. Unless you're getting sick of seeing me every day.
On the contrary, there's nothing that brings us more joy than seeing your face.
You are truly odd. Sorry to cut your play time short, but my entertaining you ends today. Take this.
Will we be able to activate the transfer portal with this?
I suppose so.
You -suppose so-? The fact you don't seem all that confident is kind of worrying.
It's not like i was there to see things for myself. To be able to understand everything just by hearing a description of something is a power of the divine.
I trust you.
Thank you very much, Gordon.
Hmph, I have no need for such empty and insignificant words. You're interrupting my work. Get out. You. Wait a second.
What, you actually want me to stick around? You're not going to charge me for your friendship, are you?
Is this really the time to be cutting the fool? How are you doing?
Well... I'm not nearly as bad off as Grey. I can still joke around like this, if anything.
That may be so, but it might not be as well.
You know that you'll regret getting the rest of them entangled in this, right?
I know all too well. But I will be the one to decide when it happens. I will end things myself.
I see... Then do as you will. But don't hesitate when that time comes, got it?
Of course. I plan on ending it once and for all.
The end, huh... I finally used your memento. Although I doubt that doing so will absolve you of your sins... Gideon...I wonder if what I did was right...
Man, between Grey, Eva, and Jainus, things are getting heavy. We need to lighten the load a little.
What is it?
I just wanted to give you this. Everyone needs to take it easy once in a while, right? And don't -I don't have time to relax- me right now. Though it's not like I don't understand where you're coming from. So smile, nod politely, and drink.
I don't understand. Why do I need to drink this?
Think of it as a revitalizing potion, if you must. But this one just doesn't give you energy and mask fatigue; it will make you feel truly refreshed. Seriously, you can spare a few seconds to pound it down.
No need to be so suspicious. It hurts my feelings, you know? You really need to learn to be more trusting. There's nothing to worry about! And anyway, I went out of my way to get this just for you. Just trust me on this one. Now, bottom's up! Come on! Don't be afraid!
Hot damn! I liked the way you just slammed it down, son! If I was a woman, I'd jump your bones right here and now! I mean that!
Flattering, I guess...guess Grey just has a way with blondes...
Are you happy now?
Yep, I have no complaints. The world is now safe for democracy!
I'll talk to you later then.
H-Hey! One more thing before you go. I have a question for you. Which of these three girls does it for you? Give me your honest answer.
I'm sure Grey doesn't have the slightest idea what Jainus is going on about, but if he were the kind of guy who would talk about what woman he likes, he'd go with Sofia. Mervina is just...hm, she just doesn't seem to be Grey's type. He doesn't seem like a "Young woman" kind of guy, either, so Liel's out. Sofia I could definitely see. She's serious and dignified enough that if he had to go with any of these three, he'd go with her. She's the only one he really has much interaction with, anyway.
Besides all that, this decision raises Sofia's affection, obviously, along with Ignis and Fiona. Naturally, it lowers Liel's and Mervina's.
She is definitely the safest, most sensible choice. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I must say that you have chosen...wisely.
What did I tell you? Everyone loves Sofia.
And why does this matter to you? Are you satisfied now? Stop bothering me then.
My bad. Just watch yourself, okay? Now, how to foist this stuff on...
What, pray tell, do you think you are doing?
Gah! How long have you been standing there, Eva?!
Are you saying...?
That I saw everything? Yes. I have seen that medicine before. If I remember correctly, it was Shaldie who made it, right? What are you planning to do with that vile concoction?
For those who have been watching the bonus videos, and know that Jainus is currently in possession of whatever it is that potion does, this can only lead to one place...
Nothing horrible. I mean, don't you think he's a little too uptight? I'm not saying he has to be as cavalier about things as Schwarz was. But he really should learn to loosen up a bit. Don't you agree?
I have to say it was wise of you to choose those three girls. But trusting Shaldie's potions is as far from being wise as is humanly possible.
Everything will be fine! My wife and I have used this very thing before. Like Shaldie says, all it does is help couples become more...comfortable...with each other. Wait a minute... Don't tell me you're opposed to this because YOU-
Nice to see Eva hasn't lost her dry sense of humor. Normally she'd have no time for Jainus' antics, and now even she's playing along. She's come so far.
If something were to happen while you were feeling -comfortable- you might lose control of your artifact. Once that happens, it'd be too late to save you. I suspect that your pain is becoming unendurable. Isn't that way you have been visiting Shaldie?
I'm actually surprised you're worried about me. I won't be causing anyone any trouble. When the time comes, I'll take care of everything myself. But if anything does go wrong, I'm counting on you to take care of the rest.
That medicine really did do wonder for my fatigue, but... ...?! Grey?! What brings you here?
Do you need something?
Not exactly... I'm not really sure of anything right now. I just suddenly had the urge to come to your room.
Is that so...? Since you're here, would you like a cup of tea?
Please come on in.
What's the matter?
N-no, it's nothing. (What's happening to me?! My heart is racing all of a sudden...) H-Here you go.
H-Hey, are you all right?
I-I'm all right. I'm just having a little trouble breathing right now...
You look a little flushed. You might be coming down with a cold.
That could be it...
I-I was just trying to check whether you have a fever or not...
I-Is that so... I'm sorry for overreacting like that for no reason...
Just lie down for a moment. I'll go fetch Fiona for you.
Y-Yes... Thank you so much... *Pant* What is wrong with me? Right after I took that... Is this being caused by that medicine Jainus gave to me earlier? I think I'll ask him about it later...
Why do I feel so cold all of a sudden...? I should head home and have the wife warm me up a little...
Well, it's nice to relax before things inevitably get super serious soon. Now, we need to upgrade that Rusty Sword all the way (requires a Moon Fragment, Magic Crystal Chip, Damascus, and Meteoric Iron, along with 211,001 Gold) and see what we get with a fully upgraded Gram.
Holy shit did her stats skyrocket with the Gram on. Her ATK is 1000 points higher than Grey's, her magic is 800 points higher, and her RST (deals with damage dealt from magic) is several times higher than anyone else. And keep in mind, this Gram doesn't have anything attached to it. This is just its natural state at level 5. Just...goddamn. Also, Fiona is the one character who can naturally equip Swords and Staffs (unless Weiss, Schwarz, or Grey can), but not Greatswords. Basically, the size of the sword itself is a good indication if a sword is considered in one category or the other, but I'll just go ahead and assume Fiona can equip about 75% of the swords in this game. There's not many Greatswords in the game, but you can check what a character can equip if you hit square, and see if a character can equip that weapon / armor / accessory.
Before you leave town again for d'Alene, make sure you have very little Orichalcum Ore, because we're going to be getting a lot before we return to town. Now, to go to Zaint Luke... Scorched earth
Wait just a sec...
This... Yes, everything seems fine.
If the transfer portal is functional on this side...
Yes, that means that the one on the other side should be functional as well.
There's no trace of anything left...
That's right, you're the only one here who has ever been to this continent, Faz.
Yes... But, no... I can't...
I'm going to go take a look around.
I doubt that pointing out how dangerous wandering around here is would stop you.
I feel a strange -power- here that I have never experienced before.
I have a horrible feeling about this...
If you don't want to come with me, then head back.
Honestly, I feel the same as her. But if you say that you are going, I have no reason to refuse joining you. I'm the one who decided to stay with you, after all.
Seriously, do any of you listen to what others have to say? And anyway, we've come this far, we can't go back without a single story to tell, right?
This is the best chance we'll have of seeing what Zaint Luke is like now. I'm going. However, it probably isn't wise to stay in the same spot for too long.
Let us get this done as quickly as possible and then head back.
This is divine wrath...the power of a slain god has blasted this continent to hell. Hot damn this place looks like shit, but I have a feeling our answers lie in the center, wherever that spiraling energy is coming out of...