Part 46: The GauntletThe Gauntlet
After recruiting Lucitta, we make our way back to the entrance tubes of the maze.
The one below Ryle is the other one that leads to progress. As said, three out of five tubes will send you in circles.
You can see two teleporters after going through the right tube, and the one we want is ahead of us. The other one is a trap, and will boot you back to the entrance of the tubes. Getting to the teleporter entails walking through the wiggly path ahead, and is too boring to show.
Well, this doesn't look like a boss arena at all
"The Demon Lord has been expecting us for some time..."
"Demon Lord! W-Where!?"
"That fire? You mean THAT is the Demon Lord?"
"Are you sure!?"
"Flam! What do you sense from that fire?"
"Power of fire beyond my reach...All of you, watch out!"
"Who was that?"
"This voice!? It must be the old man!"
"Sylph, you mean Gnome?"
"I came by in case you guys need my help."
"How did you get here?"
"It's not that far away from our home world, and I'm also an elemental."
"Then will you lend me your power?"
"Yes I will. This one is quite powerful indeed."
Gnome has just been in the neighborhood and decided to drop by. I guess that explains it all then! Since he joins us so late, we're not going to get much use out of him though. Granted, Earth is a kinda rare attack element, but it's not strong enough compared to the other attacks we have. Also, Gnome only gives Latyss one new attack, while the other elementals gave her at least two.
"Old man! You better get ready for the worst opponent yet!"
"That strong? It looks like a small fire."
"I know, quite different from what I have imagined."
"(Like a huge fiend with flames shooting out of his mouth..)"
"Don't be fooled by its disguise! It's the Demon Lord for sure!!"
"Of course I do! What Mahzok would want their home world to vanish?"
"Then just go ahead and kill yourself for that great honor thing! But I don't buy it!!"
"That's a typical "boss" name..."
"(But why is he alone?)"
"I like it. Unique and easy to remember. Oh by the way, are you some kind of relative to Flam or Ifreet?"
"Why would she ask such a thing~"
"And I also recognize you, Sacred Dragon! The Dragon Valkyrie who sealed our Lord CHAOS with the Dragon Arms!!"
"I am the daughter of Flare Delstar! I, Fina Delstar, won't allow CHAOS to return!!"
"It won't be like 20 years ago!! I'll stop you with all my might and complete the return of Lord CHAOS!"
"(He is fighting alone? Perfect chance to separate their forces.)"
"Let's finish him as soon as possible!"
"Wonder if my guns are useful on a Demon Lord?"
"Lady Mariel! We just have to do what we can at this moment!!"
"Sylph! Hilde! Flam! Gnome! Are you all ready!?"
"I'm ready anytime!"
"Remember not to summon me against him, we both have the same element."
"Correct. We have to be ready for anything."
"Hmm...which one should I put on for this fight? The blue or the red one?"
How many times have we seen this joke by now?
"What's up with those elementals?"
"Magical Octogram full power!!"
"Demon Lord Magni! We will defeat you no matter what!!"
"Welcome to your doom."
Okay, after all that prep talk, let's see what Magni has to offer. And fyi, I cut a few more lines of prep talk here, because we've had enough of it. Though, it's kinda neat that Caris mentions that she's limited due to her fire spells right here, and reminds you to use her best attack which luckily does Ancient damage.
Well, Magni actually holds back at first. He does very little damage right now, but also has a high dodge chance. I just threw around buffs at first and played it safe until he decides to stop playing around.
"Not only the Sacred Dragon, but also you humans are much more powerful than I have expected. It's time for me to get serious."
He did a bit of flashing, but actually didn't change visually. However, now he whips out his skills and does way more damage than before. His melee attack hits twice, he can leech Hp from one or all members, shoot normal fire stuff at you, and has a fire skill that also drains your defenses. Overall, Magni is the second easiest lord, but that doesn't mean that he's a chump. He can actually wreck your shit if you don't pay close attention to your health or let your shield buffs wear off/get drained.
He also has his own shield which buffs all defenses across the board. All of his attacks are manageable however, and Lucitta's group healing is enough to keep everyone in shape. Well, that is until he decides to do his special move...
"Inferno! Burn them into ashes!! MAGNA RAY -!!."
Remember that shit? We're going to see several variants of it in this update
His version also causes blindness, and it's pretty hard to recover from this if you're not prepared for it. This and one other move are the reasons why I gave the group status spell to Fina. It's perfectly possible to have members die on the next turn, so I always spammed all the healing I could get. And as said, Magni isn't too hard so you eventually should get the upper hand.
Every lord will drop an orb, which gives +10 to the stat shown in the name. Magni's orb buffs your attack, for instance. Since it's basically Fina's show at this point, I'm going to use all orbs on her. You'll also get a bunch of Victory Points, which is nice for me since I don't have to grind more from now on. When we reach the point of no return, I'll have enough for whatever items I still need.
"But where could he run?"
"Just the same as Raymah."
"That's right. He stepped back in order to inform the others!"
"It would hurt our chances!"
"Indeed...The security level must be heightened!"
"We have to move forward. Time's running out."
"And we can learn more about the current status of CHAOS as we get closer."
We'll eventually find out where Magni went, so let's not dwell on that for now. Onwards it is!
First it was fire and now it's ice. No real surprise here, right?
However, I have this strange urge to put Orubia in my party and talk to this innocent snowman...
Imagine a lot of rumbling and shaking here.
This is kind of a joke boss, as the wacky music tells you, but there is a reason to fight him.
This drop can be made with the grail and is not what I meant.
"Oh, what's this?"
This is what I meant
"Can I have it? This staff supposedly contains vast knowledge of ancient wizards."
No idea how Orubia knows this but okay! Take the staff if you want.
Yep, this is actually her final upgrade! And it's real easy to miss. But since she's also very unremarkable, I'd bet most of you didn't even realize that she is the only girl without her upgrade by this point. Let's see what the staff does for her.
Look at that mind score
She actually has the highest mind power in our party(except for Fina maybe), and this really buffs her healing and attack spells. If she would have gotten this staff earlier, I would have used her more often. But as it stands, it comes a little too late to really make a difference.
Anyway, on we go.
"Is this really the Astral Realm?"
This realm is getting weird!
"No wonder I hate these RPG main characters~"
"Hey hey hey! You can't say that~"
"Sorrie! It's cold outside~"
"(She must be Mahzok too!)"
"You are Mahzok right?"
"Mariel~ Don't forget we are IN the Astral Realm!"
"I almost forgot too~"
"Orubia, be careful. I mean you don't want to be like Mariel right?"
"That's so cruel~"
"Stop bickering in front of the enemy~"
"Yeah, you 3 are embarrassing me~"
"Now come on. Stop fooling around. You are a Demon Lord, right?"
"Well well, finally figured it out eh? Humans!"
"Correct! I am the Demon Lord of Ice Nofam."
"Demon Lord Nofam. She looks very powerful indeed."
Yes, that high school uniform radiates pure evil power
"I don't sense much power from you because you must have lowered it on purpose!"
"We just have defeated Demon Lord Magni, and you are NEXT!"
"We'll stop CHAOS!"
"By the way, your name is also easy to remember~"
"Watch out! There's someone else!!"
"It'll be boring since the Sacred Dragon is not in full power. My name is Geo. Demon Lord of Thunder Geo. And I'll be watching you guys fight. Good luck!"
"(What? He thinks we are just for playing! Arggggg!!)"
"(Damn, this kid too?)"
"Oh yeah, so you are the one who has turned against us...Lucitta right?"
"Let's get ready to fight!"
Imagine another round of prep talk that we have seen a million times by now.
"So you gonna bring CHAOS back no matter what?"
"Of course we will! It's been our long dream to bring our lord back!"
"Then what exactly do you guys want from CHAOS?"
"You think I would tell you?"
"It doesn't matter, we will put an end to CHAOS this time!!"
"With your current power-level, I can still defeat you!"
Now let me tell you why this is the hardest boss fight in the game...
...because you actually fight three bosses at once
I've brought Orubia for this fight, because I'll need a lot of healing. And if I'd be playing on my own, I would boot Caris. But since y'all love her so much, I won't.
Okay, let me actually explain why this fight is super fucking hard. Nofam's Hydras aren't mooks, but have a ton of HP and several good attacks. They have a weak and a strong multi target ice attack, twin hit melee attacks, and status crap. Nofam has the same, but spices it up with even better multi target attacks, a super strong single target ice spell, and some buffs. Now picture getting whacked by three multi target ice spells in a single turn. Over and over. Because that's exactly what will happen! Okay, it's actually up the the RNG, but two spells and a melee attack can still ruin you. I'm really not kidding here and you need to abuse every advantage that you can get for this fight. This is also why I've kept some weaker armor pieces with ice resistance on hand. I can only hope that Orubia's healing will keep everyone going long enough to beat the fucking Hydras. Because Nofam isn't that hard on her own. Fina's shield buffs neutralize the weak multi attacks, but the stronger ones still hit for quite a lot. Caris does extra damage here, but she also receives more of it.
Nofam's shield buff also lessens Caris' damage advantage, so she really isn't a good choice here. The rest of the party does good damage though, and even Orubia can dish out some hurt with her Holy spells. Well, let's see how this goes!
Back to the drawing board!
Yeah, I've booted Caris. Cry me a river! She really is too much of a liability here. Latyss also has fire magic, and doesn't suffer from her ice weakness. And her Aero Heal partnered with Lucitta's Heal Field can do Orubia's job, without being as squishy as she is. Okay, let's do this again!
Still tough, but I'm holding on.
Yes! One Hydra down. The other one should also fall soon.
YES THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THIS FIGHT NEEDED THANK YOU!
Okay, somehow I managed to survive all the bullshit and took out the second Hydra. I was really sure that I'm done when Nofam whipped out her bullshit skill. But now the fight is basically won and I pummel Nofam with all my rage.
".....Maybe we have underestimated you humans too much..!"
I'm starting to see a pattern here.
"(Both Magni and Nofam ran away...to join forces?)"
"Hah~ *shakes head* Not the big sister too~"
"And you are the next?"
"Not here. I'll be waiting for you at my stage. Later man!"
"We just have to fight him at the next place."
"!! I can fell it! Maybe a little faint, bit it's definitely coming from CHAOS!"
"This vibration!! It is CHAOS!!"
"What's going on!?"
"...I started to sense the presence of CHAOS just moments ago...It's a very weak resonance, but I still can feel its enormous power..."
"CHAOS has already..."
"We still got a chance! As long as we stop the rest of the Demon Lords, CHAOS can't return!"
GO GO GO!
I'm going to skip this, since it's just dumb circle talk. Geo has put a little obstacle in our way, and Latyss' wind doesn't work here for some reason. Ryle's warp also doesn't, because we're in the realm or something like that. Eventually, Fina and Lucitta fly the group over the gap, so that everyone can stay in range of Fina's magic field.
We'll skip this scene too, since it's a lot of talk about nothing. The next obstacle is a rock, that resists all attempts to destroy it. Why?
Because it's just an illusion
Onwards to Geo's realm.
Geo has put the names of the party on tombstones, but the other responses aren't funny at all.
Oh, there is also a new random encounter here.
These guys are super annoying, because they have so high defenses that even Fina sometimes can't damage them. On the other hand, they only have 5Hp, like to run away, and give 2500xp per kill. They are just really annoying to fight and you meet them frequently from here on.
Time to deal with Geo.
"But you are late. I thought you could do better."
"Like you said earlier, I'm not in my full power yet."
"Of course, I'm fully aware of that. So I brought some help just in case."
"(But sessha don't see anybody else..)"
"(Sylph and the rest, try to find anyone else out there!)"
"But fighting with a little boy..."
"It doesn't matter! As long as he's trying to bring CHAOS back, we have to fight him!"
"And don't be fooled by his disguise! Who knows what the Mahzoks really look like!?"
"Master-! I didn't put on any mask!! My face and body are 100% NATURAL!!"
"I didn't mean you~"
"Let's just get him-!! Now!"
"Yeah! I hate little brats!"
"I don't know. I feel kind of sad for that boy~"
"Don't judge by his looks~"
"Entertain me at least for an hour please~"
"It'll be your last game to play! Let's fight!!"
"Hey big brother~ That pose and your lines fit very well!"
"Stop playing around! We don't have time to baby-sit you!"
"Big sis over there, you think your power can match mine? Oh PLEASE-!!"
"You damn kid! I'll teach you how to behave!!"
"We'll finish him before his help arrives!"
"Well too bad~ They are already here!"
I don't even know anymore
"Now that's more like it!!"
"The scent...they are Dark Pits!!"
"Lucitta...Since I'm still little, I needed help. And they were quite tough to summon."
"(Only the Death Master could summon the Dark Pits!! And this little kid was able to...!!)"
We're going to meet the Death Master, don't you worry!
"Everyone watch out! These eyeballs were created by Old World magic! They will keep reviving each other!"
"So the only way is to kill both of them simultaneously!"
At first this may sound like a tricky condition, but it's really not. Since pretty much all of our good attacks are multi target, you'll just naturally kill them both in the same round. And to be honest, this is the easiest of the Demon Lords. Geo has some thunder attacks, but mostly buffs the eyeballs and throws around status effects. The eyeballs also do buffs and status effects, but that's basically it. Yeah, kind of a let down after the other lords.
That's it for the Pits! Which is a stupid name btw.
And Geo didn't last long either.
"Don't even try to run!!"
"..Now I can sense CHAOS and its power very strongly!"
I'll cut a few more lines here, because our party decides to be retarded for a bit. See, none of them has the idea that maybe, just maybe, the fact that CHAOS becomes more powerful after each Lord vanishes could be related to something that we already know about. Nope, paying attention to plot points would be crazy. It's much better to talk for ages about some weird shield that the Lords maybe were casting to hide CHAOS or some shit.
Yes we will. So please stop being extra dense in the meantime.
Anyway, forward we go!
And suddenly we get a blast from the past.
"So you were able to escape right before your death!"
I'm not even going to transcribe the three lines those fuckers have, because they don't matter at all and are total chumps. Seriously! Their attacks are shit, and our many buffs make them pathetic. They don't even say anything after I stomped all over them with Fina and Lucitta
Oh hey, another Tri Emblem. But I have no use for it, since Ryle already has one, and the rest of the party has better stuff.
I guess he wants to say that they didn't poof away like the lords did? Maybe?
And he looks pretty serious too!
"Sacred Dragoon, you finally have come this far."
"Even if you are more powerful than the other Demon Lords, we won't stop fighting."
"I am Death Master. And I will destroy you and your allies 1 by 1!"
"As long as we get rid of you, CHAOS shall be kept sealed forever!!"
Suddenly black clouds shoot out of the ground...
"Where is Sis Fina!?"
Our party needs a few moments to realize that the lord is gone too(despite Hayami saying it), and that Fina's field is still working for them. So at least she can't be dead!
"It's my little arena...just for you."
"So you wanted to kill me first!"
What the hell happened to your sprite? Oh, it's supposed to look like that... Sorry!
"So you couldn't handle all of us. That's why you picked me alone?"
"Once you're gone, your field will disappear. And so will your friends!"
"And that's the biggest mistake you made."
"Since no one's around, I don't have to hold back my powers!"
Imagine the usual shaking and flashing.
"I just charged up to 50%. Now I'll show YOU the meaning of true power!"
Okay, the Death Master is actually a pretty easy fight.
Ahem. What I wanted to say, was that the Death Master is another deceptive boss fight very similar to the Disaster Dragon. He starts kinda weak, with the usual double melee attack, a single Ancient spell, and buffs. However, this is only the warm-up. Let's skip to the second phase and then talk about what makes him hard.
"Come on! Is that all you got?"
"You Demon Lords are really tough. I can't beat you easily even with my Omega Wave."
"Ha Ha Ha! Because you have underestimated our strength."
"Now you're making the same mistake."
"Unlike the other buffoons, I always use the most effective strategy."
"But not the most clever one."
"The Sacred Dragon is evolving in every new generation! So are my abilities!!"
"Damn! That is why the previous Sacred Dragon pulled out the Cosmos Eternal all of a sudden!! No wonder you humans were able to push us this far.."
"And this time we will win again!!"
"Die! You little brat!!"
Well, time for the second phase. Fina's new skill is pretty rad, but by no means a guarantee for success. As I said earlier, the Death Master starts weak, but will keep using buffs. By now, you should start to feel the heat even through your own shield buffs. And since this is the second phase, the Death Master whips out something new.
This attack will drain all four of Fina's attributes and her resistances. This is pretty similar to what the Disaster Dragon did. I didn't properly counter it during my first try, and only realized it when his melee attack was doing triple digit damage. Yep, that was too late. But even with this knowledge, you can't totally counter the drain. Fina can only buff her attack, defense, and her resistances. The mind and agility drain can't be recovered. So this fight is a race against the clock because it'll get harder the longer it goes on. Keep in mind that the Death Master will still buff himself by this point, and you'll quickly get into a downward spiral if you don't pay attention.
He also has this kick-ass healing skill, which will drag the fight out even longer.
And of course, he also has a bullshit move.
This move has the same Hp reduce effect that the other Lords have, but it also causes blindness and bleeding at the same time. Really nasty! But luckily Flare took pity on you here.
Fina has a chance to completely block this one! But it is only a chance. On my first try, Fina only blocked one out of four, but this time she blocked like three in a row. So the RNG definitely was on my side here. Fina has good enough support skills to recover in two rounds, but that also means two more rounds of buffing/draining for the Death Master. Overall, this battle is pretty challenging, but if you pay close attention you should eventually win.
"Now the final blow!"
"No! It missed!!"
He actually teleported away, just like the others did.
"Now all the Demon Lords are gone....!!!"
"Not again!! The power of CHAOS has gone up more!"
"But how? Does it have something to do with defeating the Demon Lords!?"
No shit, Sherlock!
"I must rejoin the others!"
"Maybe we should search around this area?"
"No! We have to stay here in case she comes back. And we don't know what the safe range of her dimensional field is."
"!! Um~ Um~ *pointing direction*"
MC Fina is back in the house.
"Fina! You're alright!!"
"You are here which means...the Demon Lord is gone?"
"He ran away just like the others."
"I'm so relieved...to see Fina back."
"Me too...thought we might never see you again~"
"!? This is...CHAOS!!"
"Everyone! We must hurry! CHAOS has become more powerful!!"
"That can't be!"
"How come CHAOS strengthens every time the Demon Lords got away?"
"That's exactly when Sis Fina catches the signal."
"Sessha think there's a relation between the two..."
"That means...these Demon Lords ran away to...!"
"...To offer themselves to CHAOS!!"
"They became the sacrifices!!"
God damn. That took long! And Lucitta even told us about the sacrifices when she joined just moments ago.
This perfectly describes like 80% of our actions in this game!
"This is BAD!"
"CHAOS already took 4 Demon Lords by now!"
"It might have returned already!!"
"CHAOS has returned!!"
"We must attack CHAOS before its power gets fully restored!"
"But Fina! Can we beat him without using Cosmos Eternal?"
"I know how it works! We have to try!! We must fight him now!"
Welp, things have gotten as serious as they'll ever be!
Everyone puts on their game face before we step through the teleporter.