Part 40: Storm The GatesStorm The Gates
After the last text dump, the game places us in the hideout. At this point, we're supposed to just go to castle Factoria and get on with our plan, but let's hang out here for a little while longer.
You know, I was wondering about that too...
"I made this hideout by imitating the same one from Volcana. Thanks to tittle Pressi's special vision, we were able to hide in here before the enemies could find us."
Okay, I guess that explains it all
Also what was that part about Pressi having special vision?
"Oh, big brother. I'm a fortuneteller now!"
"They told me she's very good. So I would like to try it."
"Ah, I see~ (Here we go again...)"
"Let's start. *gazing into the crystal ball*"
"...*also looking at the crystal ball*"
"(Hey, it might be interesting.)"
".........I can see it now."
"You'll get stone disaster in the near future."
"Then a sudden natural ignition phenomenon!"
"Ouch! Hot! I'm on fire!"
"Oooo where am I...?"
"Not over yet!?"
"Ground water stream!"
"...Bursting up from the left side!"
".....~ Eek! She's gonna fall!"
I feel sorry for Mariel, so let's catch her and get +2 att points.
"A hole! NO!!"
"Ahhhh! I'm falling!!"
"H...Help~ We got stuck in here~"
"Mariel stop stepping on my belly! (I'm gonna die~)"
At least they were smart enough to block the hole afterwards
Well, with the comedy-hour behind us, let's get going!
When you enter Factoria, you immediately can see that something is wrong. The place has an odd color tint, eerie music, and the people talk weird.
We can actually just walk straight up to the castle, but Ryle wants to come up with a new plan before we enter.
This is what I meant when I said that our heroes make plans that fall apart because they don't know what's going on. Apparently, the Mahzoks just mind-fucked everyone and called it a day. There are no traps, defenses or Mahzok packs that warp-ambush us. Just a city full of crazies that we can leisurely walk around in. By now, it has been said a couple of times that the Mahzoks can detect our presence, especially Flare's, so it's real weird that they don't just mob us right away. Granted, there is sort of a shaky explanation for that later, but it only makes sense if you assume that the Mahzoks are hella dumb.
Anyway, upstairs we go...
"I can't fight in a dress you know."
"(OMG- She really thinks she's back in her old days~)"
Moooom! You're embarrassing me in front of my friends!
"Come on everyone, we better discuss something more important right now!"
"Just let her wear whatever she's comfortable with in combat."
"Don't you think she looks very awesome?"
"(Knew she would say that~)"
As said earlier, the music "joke" gets used a few times. And the music pretty much always goes from wacky to serious.
"A strange talent indeed."
"Oh cut it out!"
"Anyway mom, what's your plan?"
"Could you hand me the inside map?.....Okay. First my team will lure as much Mahzoks as possible, just don't get yourselves too deep into battle. Also about the Warp Device, it's probably located deep underground."
"Underground!? Only thing I saw was the basement floor where the prison cells were."
"There must be a hidden entrance on that floor. The device is too big to be hidden on the upper floors."
"Please use sessha's X-Ray Vision."
"Let's form groups!"
As said, we have to make two groups. And you can't switch any members for the duration of the whole section, so that is something to keep in mind. It also doesn't make any sense as you'll see later, but let's not get ahead too far. Of course, Ryle gets the favorites, and the rest can join Flare.
For some reason, our crew also waited until the evening. The streets are empty except for the guards, so maybe they didn't want to endanger any civilians?
Whatever, into the castle we go!
"No guards around, that means traps are everywhere."
"And I get an eerie feeling around us."
"We'll go ahead to the basement and find the Warp Device. Ryle's group will go in separate."
And now we are actually in control of Flare!
As you'd expect, she's much more experienced than our girls. Though, the bench-party is like six levels behind the favorites.
Her stats are also nuts
Jfyi, you can't be clever and take her cool equipment. It's fixed.
Her skills are pretty much better versions of what Fina has. And at this point, she's a walking god of destruction. I'm not kidding, she just crushes everything that's ahead of us.
Now, as Flare said, we have to search the basement, and she actually prevents us from going upstairs. You pretty much have to check out all the cells, until you find the one with the secret entrance.
There we go.
This area is pretty much another wiggly cave with very little to see. So let's stick to other things than the environment. First up, Flare can kill anything down here with a single hit from her Divine Impact. Yes, anything. She's just ridiculously powerful. But that suits me very well, because I can take this chance to grind a few levels for the bench-party. I always wanted to do this, but kept pushing it ahead of me. Remember that I said that there will be a point where we have to play with Fina? Yeah, it's coming up soon and it's much easier when she has some decent levels under her belt. Also, I need to make a bit of money to fuel my party during a tedious area in the near future, so this opportunity just let's me take care of all that at once.
Let's see what enemies we meet down here.
We already met those guys, but they seem to be a little bit tougher down here.
A recolor of a boss we fought much earlier in the game.
Energy Feeders can also show up in groups of three without the vampire. I'm sure those new enemies have some skills, but I didn't see them because Flare fucks up everything right away
Speaking off, have her animations.
Her Divine Impact, which is actually a group attack.
And this is her strongest attack.
While grinding, the girls also picked up a couple new skills. But only Hayami got something to show off.
She finally gets a single-target skill, but it seems kinda useless.
The description says something about poison, but this skill also seems to be weak.
And as much as I like Hayami, she is actually pretty far behind most of the girls in terms of raw power. Her skills do okay damage and are good for randoms, but the other girls just kill stuff faster and also can do more damage during boss fights. I'm actually not sure if there is a final upgrade for her, but I sure hope so.
Oh, the dungeon also has a new armor for her.
Anyway, when you've made you're way through the upper floors of the basement, you end up here.
Saying that this is a puzzle, would be a huge exaggeration. The console gives you four random digits, and you have to remember them and enter them into the four levers at the bottom of this room. If you're dumb and forget your code, the console will give you a new one.
If you do it right, then this door will open for you.
And the chest hides an armor for Orubia.
We descend the stairs behind the chest....
And suddenly everyone is just fucking here
Didn't Flare say that the other group should find a different way in? What ever happened to that? I have no idea how the rest of the group got here instantly, but that's what happens and you get no word about it. This is also why it doesn't make sense that you can't switch your members because they're all RIGHT HERE!
"(Only 4 of them? Is this for real!?)"
"(Something's wrong! Mom raised her powers high enough to let them notice her presence...But only these low-level Mahzoks...Maybe a trap?)"
"I just wasted my power for these? Oh dear~"
No, probably not. Because Flare whips out her Victory buster and kills one of them instantly.
Suddenly, the Mahzoks spontaneously die...
Turns out, they got killed by their own master.
"So you've survived...Funei!"
DUN DUN DUN
"Oh no! Her Highness must have been...!"
"Are you sure!?"
"Her Highness was taken over by that Mahzok! Now she is a Contact Mahzok!!"
"What!? How could this happen?"
The better question is why the hell are you surprised? We spent a small portion of the game looking for the queen, because we already knew that she was possessed. We even traveled to that desert town in her pursuit and met Mariel there. Am I the only one here who pays any attention?
"I thought I destroyed you for sure! But how!?"
"Unlike the other idiots, I can leave the body of my host instantly...Oh YES, fast enough to vanish away before your spells can hit me! Hm Hm Hm..."
"So she's the Mahzok Mom fought with during the Demonic War!"
"Oh and you gave birth to such an annoying brat? You know what you've done isn't helping us...Hm Hm Hm!"
"(The same eyes as Raymah! Toying around with people's lives!)"
"Ryle! I'll take care of her. You go first!"
"I'll be fine. But the situation is worse than I expected since Funei is in action!"
"But it's too dangerous! You can't fight alone!"
"If you waste anymore time here, my efforts become in vain!"
"Fina, girls! Let's go!!"
"Once they use the Warp Device, Gaiares will be gone for good!"
"!!...Ok I'll go..."
And now we're in control of the other party. I guess Flare and Funei just silently glare at each other in the meantime?
Anyway, our left is blocked by that big fire wall, so our only way forward is into that room below us.
And now I have to mash the action button a bunch of times, while Ryle breaks down the door. I like to think that stuff like this is the spiritual predecessor of quick time events
After the door blows up, we're free to save and check out the chest. Also, you can still run into randoms at this point, and they're actually kinda difficult without Flare's god skills.
"!? What's wrong Sylph?"
"I'm not sure. But it gave me very eerie feelings like a chill on the spine~"
"...~ Ryle, open it."
"Hey, why that face!? (As if I'm gonna get into another accident or something!)"
"What the!? Don't tell me it's another..!"
"Eek! Just as I expected?"
And this is Hilde, an ice elemental. How lucky that we find her right next to a fire wall that we need to get rid of, right?
I'm going to abridge this conversation a bit again, because there is a lot of back and forth before she joins us. Sylph doesn't really like Hilde because she's kinda annoying, and she just wonders how he got out of the box and why he isn't hating elves anymore.
Also, Hilde doesn't really know where she is and how she even got here.
"I bumped into here accidentally. While ago, I've been sleeping near the entrance of Abyss.."
Abyss? Waaait a minute...
"What? What did I do?" *wondering with innocent face*
And after a bit more banter, Hilde finally decides to join us.
Hilde gives Latyss two new ice attacks. Both are multi-target, so the weaker one is kinda pointless.
Probably never going to use this one again.
This one is just plain better, and only costs three more MP than the other
Let's deal with that fire now.
This is Hilde's whole deal. Sassy and sexy to the max.
The animation for getting rid of the fire is pretty much the same as her attacks, so have this still to appreciate our sexy new companion.
"The fire disappeared in a second!"
"So how did I do? Hmm~"
"Y-You are awesome! Excellent job!"
At the end of the path, is this strange gate. Of course, our heroes just walk through it without any second thoughts and vanish. Boy, for always being paranoid about evil traps, they sure are trusting when it comes to weird doors!
But that's okay, because now we jump back to Flare.
"Nah, let the others take care of them. It's just a bunch of kids after all."
"That is your biggest shortcoming. No wonder I could beat you back then even before becoming Sacred Dragon."
"Hmm! But now You're a mere Valkyrie. Haven't you realized yet?"
"If more Mahzoks were like you, we wouldn't have had a hard time during the last war..."
"Don't forget you're an old lady now! I'll make you realize that..in a HARD way!"
Funei shows her true form and attacks!
This fight isn't hard, mostly because Flare is still rad. I mean, Funei can do a bit of damage and has a strong heal spell, but all you really have to do is spam Flare's best move and heal every once in a while. So it's basically one of those cutscene "battles" that go on too long because everybody has a million HP.
"As usual, you just love to fight using another's body."
"You don't stand a chance Flare! Mostly because you got OLD!"
"Maybe you're right with the part that I'm not the Sacred Dragon anymore, but I still got enough power left."
"Now let's celebrate our reunion. Sacred Dragon Flare Delstar-!! Hm Hm Hm..."
Okay, imagine some fighting going on here, until the next dialog bit gets triggered.
"Oh dear! Wasting my time doing this..."
"What are you murmuring about? Afraid now?"
"Even my daughter can beat you with ease. No, I was angry about wasting my time with you."
"Nonsense! I'm different than last time we fought!"
"I know, taking over the body of an old woman without any hesitation. Whatever happened to your pride?"
More boring combat ensues, and eventually Funei is beaten.
Shame about that Xp being wasted on Flare.
"You were right on taking over the queen in order to control the mass. But you ignored her physical weakness, not to mention she's not young anymore."
"Compared to your previous host in the past, my older sister Catyss Delstar...and Centinel de Riser, whom I got the Dragon Gene from. Both were already top-class fighters by themselves, so you were very powerful based on their bodies. But now, with the body of someone whose combat experience is almost none...what were YOU thinking?"
Oho, I think our resident expert has some words to say about this one!
"So what? You still can't kill me because the body belongs to the queen!"
"Oh I see, so Her Highness is still alive? That's good news~"
The Power of Plot compels you!
"W-What did you just DO!?"
"My Teleport!..I can warp any form of energy to other dimensions including you!"
"I know you'll survive from this, and you will stay there FOREVER~"
"Everything's fine Your Highness. But we must leave here immediately."
"Lady Flare, I was able to see what was happening, even though my body was captive."
"How is your body? Any injuries?."
"Yes I'm fine, but we can't leave at this moment. We must hurry to the last chamber!"
"Please do not worry. I already have sent the young warriors ahead of us."
What? What is their real goal?