Part 30: Maze of Shadows, Part 1
(Back in Heaven's Gate again.)
Yeah. I never thought we'd end up coming full circle.
(Not quite full circle.)
(To enter Look mode, press-)
YES OKAY THANK YOU ROSE
(Just making sure you get the authentic experience.)
The advent of the Retribution draws near.
The Maze of Shadows floating in Riviera's skies is an ominous reminder of the devastation to come.
Many powerful forces await Ein: the grim Angel, Malice; Hector, one of the seven magi; and the destructive Seth.
In order to pass judgement on Hector and protect the future of Riviera, Ein once again enters Heaven's Gate, the now-tainted realm where it all began.
Another sword in the ground?
(And in exactly the same place as it was last time, too. That's weird.)
Oh god! We really ARE going in a circle! Time has somehow bent back on itself!
(A valid theory, but I'd put my money on "lazy level design.")
Alright. I do have a few weapons that are about to become obsolete very soon, so I suppose I'll take this one with me.
What was that? I just felt the ground shake!
I felt it too.
For some reason I am tremendously pleased about that! Affection boost.
Uh...you're welcome. I guess.
You don't think Seth is being summoned already, do you?
I'm sure we're just getting a little turbulence. It is a floating island, after all.
(Incidentally, if you choose "Are you sure?", Serene's all like "GOD WHATEVER" and you lose affection. You are either appeasing Serene or enraging Serene!)
Oh look, a dragon to fight immediately after we picked up the Dragon Slayer! How fortuitous! Finally, we might actually get some use out of-
WORTHLESS. EVERY SINGLE GODDAMNED ONE OF YOU, WORTHLESS.
It only did about 600 points of damage when I actually hit with it, anyway. And it didn't make the battle go any faster because I just finished him off with Disaresta, which would have killed him even at full health.
Well that does it. I'm never picking up another "Dragon Hurter" sword again. Which is just as well since that was the last of them.
You seem to know your way around, Ein.
I was on a mission here before Ursula brought me to Riviera. Although it was a lot less purple back then.
That's a bad sign. It must mean that this place has been corrupted.
Um...yeah. I don't think that's the reason.
What do you mean?
Some time ago...
I've returned, master Hector.
You get that thing taken care of?
Yes, master. The Arcs have been slaughtered. One of them did manage to escape, but I'm sure I can-
Yeah yeah. What about the other thing?
Oh. Yes. It's being shipped here as we speak.
...can I ask one question, though?
What exactly do you need ten thousand tons of purple paint for?
Let's just say that Hector likes purple. A lot.
Say hi to the most powerful scythe in the game, thus completing our set of "most powerful weapons"!
Now, you could say it's just a coincidence that this scythe is called "Infinite Arc" and Serene happens to be of the "Arc" race, but I don't think it is. My theory is this.
The Arcs, originally, had no name for themselves. They were just "us", and everyone else was "not us". Their language was very simple, you see, because they generally didn't bother with diplomacy.
However, what they did have was a penchant for wielding scythes. Some of their neighbours picked up on this, and said "Well, scythe blades are arc-shaped, so let's call them Arcs." The Arcs then caught wind of this, decided it was pretty cool, and rolled with it.
That, in turn, justifies my making the Arcs into psychotic warmongers! Because you're not going to name a dude after a weapon unless the dude uses said weapon a whole lot!
See how it all falls into place now? I totally planned this right from the start. This is not just me desperately clutching at straws after noticing a tenuous connection. No sir.
Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to a motherfucker.
See that little guy in the back with the bomb? Let me explain why you should hate him.
There are three levels in this area; top, middle and bottom. In order to access a hidden location in this chapter, you have to stay on the top level.
However, Bomberman here exists to make sure that doesn't happen. If, at any point during the battle, he is allowed to use his Break Out, the platform you're standing on will collapse once the battle ends, and you'll fall down a level.
At this point you either reload or give up, because once you fall, there's no coming back. And I don't know if this is just my bad luck or deliberate dickery on the part of Sting, (probably the latter) but it seems like the bomber will ALWAYS be the next enemy to move as soon as that Rage Gauge maxes out.
"But Didja!" I hear you cry. "Surely this is easily solved! Just use long-range attacks to dispatch the bomber first!"
Yeah. You could do that, except that staying on the top level isn't enough. To access the secret area, you also need a bomb. How do you get a bomb? You guessed it; by S-ranking the bomber.
So not only does the bomber have to be the last one standing, but you also can't afford to piddle around and let the Rage Gauge settle down. You have to finish everyone quickly.
It also doesn't help that Atomic Bomb is a stupidly powerful attack in its own right.
However! There is one item that will alleviate all your troubles here; an item that, until now, we have greatly neglected.
That's right. Slumber Ivy.
You see, the bombers are extremely vulnerable to the Sleep status effect. As in, if you hit them with an attack that causes Sleep, it will work 100% of the time, even if they're asleep already.
So all you have to do is have Cierra spam Lullaby Whip, keeping the bomber (or bombers) in blissful slumber while your other two characters deal with the remaining enemies. Then finish up with the level 3 Over Skill of your choice (or Disaresta), and you've got your bomb.
Once you know that, these battles become a piece of cake. If, as I did, you managed to work this out by yourself, you'll probably feel awfully proud of yourself for being so clever...right up until you realise that this strategy is explicitly described to you in the Tactics section.
It's like even when Sting is helping me, they're screwing me.
Although there are two bombers to worry about here, this battle's actually less trouble than the previous one because we've already got our bomb. We no longer have to concern ourselves with who dies first. We don't even have to worry about getting blown up, because as soon as that bird goes down, Serene's Over Skill will shred everyone that's still alive.
(I realise that this is technically a bigger number than when we used Calamity Flare on Malice, but this is total damage spread across several enemies. It doesn't count.)
Long climb up ahead, everyone. Brace yourselves.
There's a lady who knows all that glitters is gold,
And she's buying a stairway to heaven.
Oh, come on. Like you weren't all thinking it.
We were thinking it, but none of us did it.
If it makes you feel better, I was one second behind you.
The only annoying thing about this battle is that the ape has a big weakness to fire that is nigh-impossible to exploit, because he's in the front row and Cierra only targets the back row with her staves.
Otherwise, it's just a big old barrel of "meh". There aren't even any interesting items up for grabs.
Incidentally, I'm trying to finish as many battles as possible with Serene, just to give her affection level that little extra boost. I seriously doubt that we aren't already headed for Serene's ending at this point, but it never hurts to be safe.
I have to admit that, while writing this, I did briefly entertain the notion of ignoring the votes and everything we've done so far and showing Lina's ending instead, but I don't think I could have forgiven myself for that, let alone been forgiven by anyone else.
The wall's cracked here. Someone hand me a bomb.
You already DID this...
...oh. I mean, here you go.
Nitpicking: I just want to point out that normally there'd be a little conversation here where Cierra explains how to use the bomb, because nobody in the party has actually seen a bomb before. (They all keep referring to it as "that round thing.") When quizzed on how she has this knowledge, Cierra explains that she was watching the enemy use it.
That doesn't make sense for two reasons. Firstly, nobody has any trouble working out how to use the bomb in battle, even before Cierra explains it. Secondly, the only way you'd be seeing this conversation in the first place is if the enemies didn't detonate their bombs.
Well, that did the trick. Let's go.
Wait a minute. This route leads under the island. If we're trying to reach the Maze of Shadows, shouldn't we be going up?
Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run-
Alright, that's enough of that.
Even if the earlier fights didn't give you any trouble, this puzzle's still apt to confound you. You wouldn't actually know that you needed a bomb until you managed to get here the first time, and since it's a battle item rather than a key item, there's a very good chance that you either discarded it or USED it.
They may have forgotten to create an interesting dungeon for this chapter, but they sure as hell didn't forget the bastardry.
(Hey. Isn't this the path to where we fought Aghart last time?)
(I was giving tactical advice. From a great distance.)
I'm sure you were. But yeah, it does look like the same place.
(Let's hope he doesn't pop up again, then.)
Nah, we definitely got him last time. Don't worry. I am absolutely, one-hundred percent positive that we will not have to fight Aghart again.
I have only one thing to say about this battle.
The Book of Kirie is still awesome.
Looks like this is a dead end. We'll just have to go back.
Any end with a chest in it isn't "dead"!
Honestly, Lina. I had expected even you to be thinking of something aside from treasure right now.
Like how Hector is on the verge of destroying Riviera?
Yes! Where have you been?! He's summoning Seth as we speak! The whole reason we came here is to-
i'm sorry but how can you possibly expect me to pay attention to so many words when i'm standing this close to an unopened chest
you ask too much dear fia
You know, now that I think about it, rapiers are actually pretty damn hard to come by towards the end. There's only one Blue Stinger in the game, and it's in a bonus area that most people aren't going to find without a guide. There's only one Rosier lying around, (not counting the one in Heaven's Gate, which has only one charge) and you have to go through this to get it. Without knowing what you're doing, you could easily still be stuck with a Holy Sabre at this point.
This looks like the entrance to the maze.
Anyone need to use the bathroom?
...what kind of question is that?
I'm just saying. If you do, you should probably go now. We're going to be in here a while.
Considering our experience with the last maze we came across? Yeah. Probably. And I don't think we'll be able to burn this one down, either.
That sounds like a challenge to me.
And where do you think you're going?
Did you really think you'd be able to just waltz on in here?
Yeah, but I'm not gonna complain about another chance to rip you a new one.
You're wasting your time, Malice. You already know you can't beat us.
I don't have to beat you. I just have to hold you off until master Hector can complete Seth's resurrection.
Aww, she actually thinks she'll last that long. Isn't that cute?
Oh, you'll get yours, Red. I haven't forgotten our last fight.
Apparently you have, otherwise you'd be running for your life right now.
Whatever. Gloat all you want. Soon Seth will be reborn and then none of this will matter. Just a few more souls, and it'll be complete.
Are you insane?! How many people will you sacrifice?!
All of them. The only reason you Sprites exist is so that you can die for Asgard. Or weren't you listening when Ledah told you that?
That's just more of Hector's lies. The gods wouldn't want this for Riviera.
Deny it all you want. Doesn't change the fact that your friends are cattle. Cattle that should have been butchered a long, long time ago.
I don't believe that! The Grim Angels are supposed to be-
Supposed to be what? You think you have the right to lecture me after betraying Asgard? At least I have some loyalty!
Loyalty?! You don't even deserve to call yourself a Grim Angel! You're just an errand girl for Hector!
Because I owe everything to him! Do you know what I gave up to receive my Diviner?
No. But do please enlighten me.
That's right. I sacrificed my future to become a Grim Angel. I can't let that be in vain.
Bullshit. Everything about that is TOTAL BULLSHIT. If you sacrificed your "future", what the hell are you still doing here? Logically, the moment you became a Grim Angel, you should have dropped dead!
Don't be so damned literal! It's-
No. You know what? Shut up. SHUT UP. I sacrificed my wings for a Diviner. My actual, physical wings. I gave up something that provided a significant, concrete benefit to me, and I am reminded of that loss every single friggin' day of my life.
(Not every day.)
Now you're telling me I could have got away with wishy-washy crap like "my future"?! Maybe I should have given up "my appreciation of fine wine", or "the ability to roll my tongue"! THAT would have been a big loss, wouldn't it? THAT would really prove my devotion, wouldn't it?! I'd have gone down in history as the biggest martyr the world has ever known!
You don't know what sacrifice IS, you whiny bitch! You think you've had it tough?! FUCK! YOU!
Ein, no offence, but don't you think I'm a little more entitled to the infuriated speech here?
(Better just let him have this one. Trust me.)
Damn it...could have won that...if hadn't started at half HP...
You keep telling yourself that.
I'm not going to die here. You hear me? I won't give you the satisfaction. I'm going to be at master Hector's side when he unmakes your worthless little island, and I'm going to be watching your faces when he does it.
Yeah. You go running back to "master". Because you know what? We're gonna find Hector and stop him. And once we do, I will personally carve him up in front of you, piece by piece. SLOWLY. He will scream for hours, and I will make you listen to every second of it.
Once he breathes his last, I will anoint you will his blood. And as you weep over his broken corpse and realise that everything that mattered to you has been destroyed, you will know how I felt on Rosalina that day.
Then, once you're all out of tears, you'll have the chance to beg me for a quick death. And maybe, just maybe, I'll indulge you.
Okay, yeah. Your speech was better.
Thanks. I've been working on it for a while.
Infinite Arc: Scythe-type weapon. Ice damage.
---NEW OVER SKILLS---
Item: Infinite Arc
Effect: Single attack, power of 489.
Target: Nearest enemy.
Additional: Low accuracy. Unblockable.
Item: Infinite Arc
Effect: Single Magic attack, power of 361.
Target: Front row.
Item: Fallen Fan
Effect: Single Magic attack, power of 99.
Target: All enemies.
Additional: Fixed damage. May inflict Stone status.
Item: Infinite Arc
Effect: Eight-hit Attack combo, power of 163.
Target: Front row.
Additional: Last two attacks hit all enemies.
Item: Fallen Fan
Effect: Restores 30% HP.
Target: All allies.
Additional: Removes positive status effects.
To paint shit purple.