Part 45: Beyond The VeilBeyond The Veil
It's time for us to take the fight to the Mahzoks! But before we'll get to that, there are a few odds and ends that we have to wrap up. First, let's warp back to the Rune Tri.
Remember the shiny bow we had to leave here?
Just having the staff is enough to make the bow gently float down to us.
And Latyss gets her final title change.
With the bow, her basic attack isn't total crap anymore. And causing silence can actually be very handy!
The damage is still nothing to write home about, but at least it's multi-target.
Having the bow also unlocks a hidden bossfight, but I have to show something else before we can get to that. See, you can get a special random encounter in the area around Factoria castle. I thought I had already shown it, but it seems like I forgot!
Yep, it's a self-insert. Prepare for jokes!
"Can't believe you show your sorry ass again! Go home and fix more bugs, you SOB!!"
"How DARE you~! I am the one typing all your phrases here!! Have some respect will ya?!"
"I CURSE myself for being made by some sorry ass bat like YOU!!"
"That's IT!! You..you ungrateful...little BRAT!! I am gonna press RESET on you I SWEAR!!!"
The FLARE Bat will often just run away after the first combat round. It mocks you and also steals one of your potions when that happens. However, when it decides to stay, it's real easy to kill it.
"Ouch~ You got some nerve to hit me for real!!"
"You don't belong HERE!! Now BEAT it!! You STUPID computer nerd!!!"
You don't get anything for beating this encounter, but you needed to see it as a setup for the hidden boss.
This is the Blue Bridge. It's located a little South of our hometown, and we had to do our very first quest in the game before we could cross it. You have ZERO reasons to ever visit this place again, and there are no clues about the bossfight! But if you come here with the bow, you'll trigger it.
"It's floating on the water...looks like a dead..."
"Caris, don't you get the same bad feeling like before?"
"Yeah...something very familiar and unpleasant~"
"Me too...~ Dear Ryle, just ignore it and let's get going."
"Hmm...I wonder what makes the girls so uneasy about it?"
"Still don't get the drift, Mariel?"
"Huh? What drift??"
"Latyss, why not shoot it with the Elven Bow?"
A perfectly normal idea to have!
"Ryle!? You sure about this?"
"...~ Dear Ryle, just leave it there."
"My intuition is telling me that we will regret this later."
"Can I try it?"
"Hmm...I don't know how long it takes you to hit the target~"
"Come on, I'm a gunner for god's sake~"
"So are we gonna do it then..."
And after a few stock animations...
...we meet the FLARE Bat R.
"Ack~ not the FLARE Bat again~"
"I just knew it..."
"Damn I was right~"
"Why is a bat swimming on the water?"
"You mean bats can swim too?"
"Who cares about that?"
"Thought I made it clear last time! Stop ruining your own game for Christ's sake-!!"
Am I the only one who thinks that it's weird to use this phrase in a magical anime land?
"Then next time don't shoot an arrow at me! You think I enjoy talking to ya? Do ya?"
"Being lectured by a bat...*sigh*"
"I have a question. What does that "R" stand for?"
"Let me show you!! Woo Wa Ha Ha Ha-!!!"
And I guess this confirms that FLARE is a girl. I probably should have remembered that but oh well.
"Battle formation! Quick-!!"
"Humph! That's what you get for not letting me shoot it! I would have just killed it for good."
"You gotta be kiddin me...right?"
"Impressed? Or did I just scare the hell outta all of you? This is my real power! The REAL form that's why I used the "R"!!! Now get ready for the spanking of your life time! Kah Ha Ha Ha~"
This is actually a tough fight. Like all other big bosses, the R Bat has a ton of Hp, and it also has a hefty group attack. High Dimension does Ancient damage, and most of our party members have zero resistance against it. I think Fina is the only one that has some protection by this point. The attack does like 120-150 damage to everyone, which is more than 50% Hp for most members. So yeah, if it decides to cast that two time in a row, you will get wiped if you didn't cast some healing after the first time. It can also cast mass sleep, but it didn't use it that much. In hindsight, I probably should have tried to silence it, but I still hadn't too much trouble.
20 gold? We also get something else, but let's skip that for a moment.
Fun fact: Sometimes the background for the text boxes can bug out.
And FLARE just spirals away into space. Or something.
"Tsk! What a waste of time!!"
The other thing that you get for beating this boss is the FLARE Sword. Now, it seems like only Fina can use it, but it actually makes her much worse. I've honestly never figured out what the sword is for. I equipped it and fought a few randoms, but nothing came of it. But I'm pretty sure that the sword must have some use, so please tell me if you know! Or use your wizard skills and look into the game
E: Thanks to vilkacis, I now know that the sword is useless and a huge disappointment.
Well, after being done with that, it's time to get our party into proper shape for the road to the end. You should be at least Lv24 for the Astral Realm, so I did a bit of grinding for the bench girls. The next step is to take care of everyone's gear and min/max it a bit. Let's start with the items I made with the Victory Grail.
I think I talked about the things that you can make way back in the Lp, but I'm still going to refresh your mind. The first spell isn't worth the cost, as it transfers Mp from one person to another. I have lots of Mp restore Jellos, so why bother? I make a copy of the Barrier Spell for everyone except Orubia, because she learns it on her own. This spell offers resistance to Darkness and other damage types that fall out of the normal elemental range. Healing Secrets is a group spell that heals any bad status effect, and also restores a bit of Hp. It's costly to make, so I only make two copies and give them to Flare and Mariel.
The next page has the armor pieces.
The Aura Armor is for Ryle. It resists Ancient, but has no other special traits. But since Ryle's current armor is bland too, I still upgrade. The Enamelle Suit has Ancient resistance too, but it also offers 50% protection against all status effects. That's pretty nice, but there is a downside to this armor and I only make a few of them. See, not every girl can wear it, because it has a cup size requirement like the corset. The corset had a cup size of 85, and the suit has 88. So you can use both items to make estimated guesses about everyone's cup size for your fan fiction. But please don't. Lastly, the Silver Shield has Darkness resistance and nothing else, so I only make one of it. I will eventually make a few more armor pieces, but it's not neccessary right now.
Contrary to its name, the Mana Ring is actually a helmet. Aside from having Ancient and Dark resistance, it also has a 50% chance to block status effects. So that's what you should give to the girls who can't wear the suit or the corset. However, I only need one copy of it right now. The Vitamin gives a permanent +2 to all four stats, but I want to bank some points for Love Potions later, so I pass.
I also have a few scrolls buried in the 3+ pages of my inventory, so let's use em.
"Finally I can use this move! The move which transcends the power of Togahzan!!"
I probably could have gotten this skill earlier, but I honestly forgot that I had the scroll in the depths of my bloated inventory.
Same for Orubia's scroll.
The last scroll teaches High Dimension, the same skill that the FLARE Bat R used on us. I give it to Mariel, since she has no Ancient damage in her set.
Okay, that's pretty much it. Instead of trying to explain what items I gave to whom in detail, let's just check how our heroes look when I'm done.
Aside from the Aura Armor, I've also given Ryle a special helmet. It has less defense than other available pieces, but offers sleep resist. And since Ryle is kinda fucked when it comes to status resistance, I want him to have at least one.
Caris didn't change much, but I gave her the corset since she can't wear the Suit. Her old helmet was also bland, so I gave her a Mana Ring. Coincidentally, it also boosted her other stats a bit, and fixed the mild penalties from the corset.
Latyss got a Suit, but that's pretty much it for her.
Orubia has no status resist, but that's okay since her high Mind protects her enough. Aside from giving her a lot of fire+ice resist, I also gave her the other treasure that Fina found in Dracoheim. Orubia is very limited when it comes to accessories, so I'm glad that she can wear this one.
Hayami also gets a Suit, but keeps her other ninja stuff. It's still kind of a shame that it takes so long before she gets powerful, because that 300 attack is real good. Right now, only Fina surpasses her.
Fina still has her Dragon gear, so no changes here.
Mariel can wear a Suit or corset, but I just can't bring myself to remove her unique items I gave her a Silver Shield though, and she's surprisingly tanky if you compare her Def to the rest of the party.
Well, that's how everyone looks before going into the Astral Realm. And you may have noticed a trend here. Status, fire, ice, darkness and ancient resistances will seriously help out a lot! And if you don't prepare your party right, the Realm will quickly turn into a nightmare. But since I'm a high-tier Lper, we don't have to worry about that.
"And I have to be in the party while staying there. So I must be kept alive. It's Game Over if I collapse during battle!"
"Because of my Dimensional Field."
"It'll be almost impossible for us to move around here without gravity."
"So this is the result of you being here, your energy field created this form of environment!"
"Due to the interference from the Mahzoks, walls have been created to block our passage."
The first two screens of the Realm are just straight roads without anything going on, so let's skip that.
True to her word, Fina also has become stronger in the Realm. 30% of her true powah are at our disposal. I'm using Orubia, because her Holy magic works pretty good against the randoms here. And her healing will help out too. And please note that you can't save inside the Realm. You have to get back to your world, but we'll get to that in a moment.
"We are finally entering Mahzok territory!"
"Yes. Although there are only low class Mahzoks around here."
"I see. The others can use full power in here! We gotta watch out!"
"If things go bad, I can always use Teleport to go back to our world."
Fina tells us something important here, because the Realm is kind of a maze, and definitely a gauntlet. If you get too worn out, or just want to save, you have to go back to your world. Fortunately, Flare programmed a handy feature for that!
You can memorize your current location, and then warp back to it when you want to get back in. That's real handy, because you'll walk around a lot during your first try at this.
Anyway, let me explain how the Realm actually works.
You can go two ways here, and one of them will loop you back to this screen. However, since you can't really see much of the area at once, it's really easy to not notice that and walk in circles for a while. It's kinda hard to explain, but the loop is pretty sneaky. At the top of this screen, you can find a gravestone with Fina's name on it. She wants to smash it, but Ryle has a better idea and wants to use it as a landmark. And that gravestone is really the only way to figure out that one of the paths sends you on a loop. The encounter rate in here is also pretty high. Not too high to be honest, but you'll better have a good supply of items to keep your party going as you'll be here for a while. Even if you quickly spot the loop, the rest of the area is a little mazy too.
Let's take a look at the new enemies that we encounter here.
These guys are mainly melee focused, but can also cast mass sleep and shadow spells. You'll always encounter them in pairs, and they are the medium threat in this area.
Bloody Bringers are the easiest encounters, but can still use several status effects and ice spells.
And this guy is a dick, no pun intended. He's seriously one of the hardest random encounters in the game. Aside from having a lot of Hp and high resistances against almost everything, he has several nasty status effects like confusion and a wide range of elemental spells.
So yeah, if you don't come prepared for this area, you'll quickly get your shit pushed in. Fina is obviously your best damage dealer here, but the rest of the girls work mostly fine too. You just have to try to mainly use ancient/Holy or non-elemental damage, and keep a close eye on your health and fix status effects ASAP. That's why Orubia shines here, because Holy works great and she can take care of your wounds and effects.
Anyway, let's follow the lower path instead of getting into the loop.
After walking for a bit...
...you'll end up here.
This screen has five paths, and stepping into one will transport you through a network of narrow passages.
I can't really Gif that, because our party scoots all over the place pretty fast.
Only two out of the five paths lead to progress, so you have to do a bit of trial and error. Let's take the lowest path first.
While walking onwards, you'll also see other paths in the distance. So you can kinda guess that you have to explore around more later.
But that's for the next update, because we first have to meet someone.
A shocking revelation
"And she got wings just like Miss Fina."
"It's a Mahzok!!"
Oh hey, do you remember her? No? Well, then you should read the very first update again! Lucitta asked us some questions before the game began, and also said that we could find her eventually.
"Hold on a sec~ I'm not here to fight you!"
".....(No sign of hostility from her?)"
"But you are a Mahzok! We are enemies!!"
"(Maybe not for now.)"
"The Sacred Dragon should know that I won't fight with you here."
"(Hm? Maybe she is....)"
"Then why aren't you attacking us?"
"You're quite straight forward~"
"Because you should be busy with the return of CHAOS!"
"...So you have figured it out huh? But I'm not interested in that."
"But sessha thought all the Mahzoks are eagerly waiting for CHAOS to come back!"
"Then what do you want?"
"What if I say "To stop CHAOS from returning", would you believe me?"
"Everyone knows that you Mahzoks are trying to take over the world with CHAOS!"
"That's what you humans think. Not all of us enjoy invading your world."
"You mean...You don't want CHAOS to come back?"
"Nope. You'll be surprised to know that there are many decent folks around here. Mahzoks=Bad, that's what you want to believe."
Demon racism is real
"But you can't live without negative energy. Now you want to stop...."
"Hayami, you should've realized by now."
I really start to hate these moments where Fina has some divine realization that escapes everyone else.
"You mean when we were talking about their plans back in Dracoheim!"
"They never appeared in our world until recently."
"And we didn't collect large amount of negative energy before. Not like now. Because we can still get enough energy during peaceful times. As long as you humans exist, we don't have to worry about our energy source."
All of this is old news, where is the new thing that's oh so easy to realize? Is it that Mahzoks can just live fine even if humanity is all good? Yes? That's a lame revelation
"You're right on that. But I want to hear your real motive."
"Of course I didn't come here to challenge the Sacred Dragon, I don't wanna die~"
"What's your gain by giving up your loyalty to CHAOS?"
"Quite simple. I don't want any more turmoil in the Astral Realm."
"...I don't get it. Bringing back CHAOS wouldn't benefit all the Mahzoks?"
"Do you know what CHAOS requires besides a large sum of negative energy?"
"Oh no!! You mean...! Chaos also needs some Mahzoks to become a sacrifice!?"
No idea how Fina put that together but it's true. Also, imagine a round of shocked expressions from everyone here.
"Starting from the 4 Demonlords, CHAOS will consume all the life force of the surrounding Mahzoks."
"There are other Demonlords besides CHAOS?"
"Don't tell me they are...!"
Oooh, now we're getting somewhere. I bet thenightsshadow has a few words for us about them! It's no big surprise that we'll eventually get to meet them, but they're obviously not keen on telling us their whole life story
"It kinda makes sense. Bringing back something like CHAOS suits the scale."
"But I never heard there were 4 other Demonlords..."
"Lucitta...right? What is the current situation of CHAOS?"
"I don't know. Thought your Sacred Dragon already knows everything~"
"That means the other side already sees you as an enemy."
"I don't mind if that's the case. Never liked the big guy anyway."
"Then what is your REAL motive then?"
"Mm...~ Do you really want to know?"
Yes! We've been talking a whole lot about nothing, so please get to the fucking point
"I get the bad feeling again~"
"Not the BGM-thing again~"
"Ryle, spell it out. What did YOU do this time?"
"What~ I swear I got nothing to do with it this time~"
"What if I tell you it's about the Victory Points?"
"WHAT!? You are the one I'm supposed to meet?"
And here it finally is, our reward for finishing the Victory Points quest! Lucitta is the secret girl that you can get, and she's actually worth the effort. We still have to talk more, but she'll soon show us what she can do.
"I'll lend him my power in exchange for a certain form of payment."
"So it's like a part time job across the border?"
Okay, this time it's funny. This one time
"Maybe Mariel can take care of CHAOS. Just freeze his ass."
"We better take her out of the ice!"
"Caris, giver her a hand."
"...What's with that girl? Mahzoks won't do THAT!! Especially not for weak humans!"
"So you're not working for GOLD?"
"Read my lips, I'm a MAHZOK. We don't need any freaking money!"
"Anyway, why are you here if you made the contract with that guy?"
"Of course it's over now. Because that jerk added 1 condition to the end of the contract. That if anyone is strong enough to complete that Victory point quest, they become my new master."
"What kind of stupid term is THAT?"
"I know~ I should read all the fine prints next time..."
"So, you are my new master from now on!"
"Mr.Ryle is like a women-magnet. Don't you all think?"
"I know~ So talented after all~"
"Ryle Dono, are you sure about this?"
"Is....something wrong about taking her with us?"
"I don't know~ Bring a Mahzok to the surface..."
"Oh you don't have to worry about that. I won't leave here."
"I think it's good for the mission. We should go with her."
"We would be under attack by now if she was lying. Like she said, not all Mahzoks are bad after all."
"Never thought the Sacred Dragon would plead for me."
"Ok, let's take her with us."
"Good choice Ryle Laster! I can see why you were able to beat Garudia."
"What? You are quite famous around here. Didn't you know?"
"Looks like it. Right guys?"
And right on time when everyone's cool and happy...
...a Dragon shows up.
"But we are in the Astral Realm!"
"That's not a normal dragon! Sessha can sense evil powers!!"
"Probably the same kind which Fina fought back in Dracoheim!!"
"But how did it find us!?"
"(Did she trick us?)"
"Hmm? So it's you, Lucitta. I was looking for the Sacred Dragon, but end up finding you."
"Disaster Dragon...So you were searching for the Sacred Dragon?"
Disaster Dragon? Seriously?
"What are you talking about? Of course I am looking for the Sacred Dragon or what else?"
"Well you showed up on good timing."
"What the!? Lucitta! You traitor!!!"
"We weren't allies to begin with. So it is not a betrayal."
"I see...but I find it rather more surprising that you challenge ME!"
"HA! You better get ready for real, or I'll whoop your ass in seconds!"
"Now who's the one being really over confident here?"
"And we have the humans who defeated Garudia and the Sacred Dragon as guests here!"
"Interesting! I'll have them for a snack after you!!"
Damn, that is one buff dragon
"Well, let's start dragon slaying!"
"You? Don't make me laugh! Don't forget that I'm an elite, and you are just a low-class Mahzok!"
"Look who's bluffing! You can't even match with the 4 Demonlords."
"Soon I'll join their ranks!"
"Hey! We will help you, so don't push yourself too hard!"
"You are my new master now. So just relax and enjoy the show!"
"I don't mind if they help you!"
"You just shut up and fight!"
Oh boy, the Disaster Dragon fight. It's one of the harder ones in the game, and it's real easy to get fucked by it. To be honest, you'll probably lose it on your first try, because you don't realize what he's doing to you. Even I had to play it twice while recording, because I made one fucking mistake.
Aside from this, the dragon also has an ancient attack that does around 100 damage. Lucitta can handle that with her healing skill though, and his damage skills aren't the problem here.
This fucking skill is the silent killer in this fight. Aside from sapping your Mp, it also drains your Mind and your Agility. Lucitta has a buff to counter that, but if you don't use it regularly, the dragon will quickly get ahead of Lucitta in the attack order. And then you'll just get fucked in the second half of the battle. Simple as that, really. But before we worry about that, let's take a look at our new pal.
She has a nice range of utility and two leech skills.
And her attacks are shadow based but still work nicely against other Mahzoks. Let's check her animations.
She's a lot more metal than her sprite makes you think!
This is her strongest attack right now.
However, this is seriously my favorite attack in the game.
So let's just imagine that I fight the dragon for a while, and eventually more dialog gets triggered.
"Damn he's stubborn!"
"Hm! Giving up already?"
"I admit that you have quite some stamina!"
"Hm! Maybe you're just too weak instead!"
"Oh come on. Won't you go easy on me?"
"Too late! You should've asked me for mercy at the beginning."
"Keh Keh Keh! I'll savor the final moments of your life!!"
"Ok Ok~ *shrugs* No more embarrassments in front of my new master."
"What else can you do!? Dark Strike is your limit! So why..."
The damage is exaggerated a bit here, but this new attack still packs a good punch. It also has ancient damage, so it's super great against other Mahzoks. Really, having Fina and Lucitta in your party makes you stomp over the randoms in the Realm.
"This is my full power!"
"You little...! I'll shredder you into pieces!"
"Just wait and see who will end up in pieces!"
Okay, now this fight gets real, because the dragon also whips out some new skills. And as said before, if you haven't been countering the agility drain, you'll lose right here.
Ah yes, the good ol shit-eyes
We already saw that skill before, in the fight with Graphost iirc. Anyway, can you see why the Agility drain will doom you? Even a slight sneeze from the dragon will kill you now, if he attacks before you. And even if you've been keeping your stats up, out-healing this and his other attacks is pretty rough. Literally one wrong move can make you die here. I was sorta lucky and still had four full Hp potions(which I have never seen for sale btw), so I could get back to dealing damage a bit faster.
However, the dragon has his own healing too. And it often heals more than what Lucitta's new skill will take away again. So yeah, this fight is hard! And it's real shitty to lose here and discover that you forgot to save before you talked to Lucitta
I wasn't fun to go through this whole scene twice, let me tell you.
The dragon just kinda fades away. There isn't even an explosion this time
"Even with very little chance of winning?"
"I'm fully aware of that. But you guys are still willing to fight, right?"
"Fine then...I welcome you as a new member!"
"And also as your new servant!!"
Phew, this part was a whopper. But I also didn't want to leave you with just the preparations, so here we are. Before closing this update, let's take another look at Lucitta, and learn about some odds and ends.
She has even worse clipping problems than Fina
She also joins with Lv30, which puts her ahead of all other girls in the party.
Her gear also has a bunch of nice effects, and her whip says that it sometimes makes enemies lose their will to fight. Iirc, it's some minor status effect like shaky, but I didn't check.
"Promise me you'll come back! I'll be waiting here!!"
True to her word, she will not leave the Astral Realm. She won't even show up in you party select menu when you're in the real world. But if you take into account that she's also a possible choice for the ending, there may eventually be a way for her to get into our world