Part 71: Sky of LightningChapter 38: Sky of Lightning
Each element was placed here in turn, to seal away the Darkness. They oppose each other, you see. Fire, Ice, Thunder, and the Light of the sword you carry. Without the power of all four, the Darkness couldn't be sealed. It's a frightening prospect.
It may be frightening, but we can't let it stop us from moving forward.
They really should have dimmed Altrius's portrait here. The end result is kind of odd.
Do you really think you can defeat me here!? I, the Thunder Emperor!?
I don't care what they call you. We won't be stopped here. We'll defeat you, no matter what!
Selmer learns Wisdom Lock 4, Invoke Life 1, and Stand Fast 1. (Hey, he's level 49 and he's out of relevant skills to start fresh on. It's not like he has the time to get points for better ones when we're on the penultimate chapter. At least +15 HP/+3 defense is something.) Sasha learns Lion Strike 4. Alicia learns Retaliation 2.
I just noticed Altrius's magic is higher than his base Attack now. Altrius, you're weird.
The last two maps were complicated enough that you needed a big map to understand them. Not so this time.
The first two Armors are going to be murdered horribly with magic. Do you even care what skills they have? Because I don't. The two further back have ZOC/Stand Fast/Vital Power, and the High Priest has Oratoriorae and Cure Drop.
The way forward is at the bottom-left here; the platforms are just the right size to make viewing the routes up and down at the same time impossible.
Bottom-left War Mage has Magna Volt and is the only credible threat. The other two have Talan Raioh and Storm Rave, which would be awful spells even if they had twice the spell power, because "3x5 box forward from caster" and "X-shape" are just not very good AOEs in this game, even in player hands. The High Priest has Cure Drop and Oratoriorae.
Top-left Armor has Invoke Life and Vital Power. Top-right has Invoke Might, Melee Guard and Magic Guard.
These three pointless islands come off the top part. Left War Mage has Talon Raioh, right has Magna Volt. The left Armor has ZOC/Vital Power/Stand Fast, right has Invoke Might/Magic Guard/Vital Power.
This is the path forward off of that four-island square from two shots up. Right Armor is Stand Fast/Invoke Life/Melee Guard, left is Invoke Might/Magic Guard/Vital Power. Both War Mages have Magna Volt, High Priest only has Cure Drop.
Final Armor is Invoke Life/Invoke Might/Vital Power. High Priest only knows Cure Drop. Bottom War Mage is Magna Volt, top War Mage is Storm Rave. Finally, we get to Ernest...
...who makes me kind of angry. Thunder Emperor my ass! Why in the hell do you have Seven Menace now!?
He's got two Thunder Medals and his customary Green Ring. Selmer's going to take him down, one way or the other; either Yumil Magna from outside his range or a level 3 OB to reduce his spells to manageable levels followed by a brutal series of stabbings. Even without his OB, Divine Seal would do the same.
Without it, he's basically Route B Mephreyu; he doesn't have Ars Magna, but you don't have Invoke Life on Altrius either. It's basically a wash.
This stage is another forgettable non-issue, even before you add Divine Seal to the mix. It doesn't really deserve much strategy so long as you remain aware of Ernest's Death Diamond.
Three conversations again.
Rukia and Alhambra
Gotta warn you... it's probably best if you don't touch me. All these sparks are making my fur stand up. I look ridiculous.
I really, really want fanart of this right now. If this game was more popular, it'd probably already exist.
But I bet you could probably hurt someone pretty bad if you gave 'em a bear hug now. Thought about trying it?
It would hurt me too, you know...
Rukia and Elmer
What'd you say? Hey, how about giving me some credit for once?
Or can you do something after all? If you can, I owe you an apology. Go for it, Elmer! Show me what you can do.
Why you--You're doing this on purpose!
...it's like someone killed Rukia and replaced her with a different, much more worthwhile character. Why couldn't she always be like this?
Izuna and Shino
If you're getting attached to them, you can stay a bit longer.
Yeah, I guess... But nah, I don't think I will.
Well, what's the point of going on a journey if you just settle down like a lump?
Ah. Then we should stay focused until the end.
Let's get this started.
I kind of love the fact that, with my current team...
...this is actually the most efficient first-turn strategy for this map. How crazy is that?
This is also something Selmer is legitimately the best at, if you ignore Ars Magna -- Yumil Magna tends to be hilarious overkill no matter who has it, even without Ice Shard and with the late-game damage reduction, but Ice Shard really does improve Sedna Prison.
Altrius takes both of them out and gets to level 49.
Moving on up.
This is before Divine Seal. Even after you consider Altrius's high Magic and +72 equip defense, it's pretty obvious that the game's still playing softball.
Marie uses Martyr to bring Izuna back up to full MP.
Izuna doesn't move up as far as she could have; I want to keep Marie in Ten'i Seal range.
Sasha moves to Alicia's left, turn ends.
Route A endgame, everyone!
If nothing else, Judgement completely trivializes groups of Armors.
Izuna teleports Marie up, then everyone moves.
Presented without comment.
Selmer takes out the High Priest after Altrius moves out of the way.
Unfortunately, Marie takes a hit from Storm Rave that's just strong enough to keep her from killing the War Mage; to do that, she'd have to stay in place, and she doesn't have enough HP for that.
Alicia picks up the slack.
Marie would be where Altrius is now, but that's also in the range of the Storm Rave War Mage.
Sometimes I really hate the way you can't move the map while preparing to cast Linear spells... He's hitting a Magna Volt War Mage about two island-lengths over, at 9 squares.
Duelist is a lot better on Sasha than I expected. It really helps with these enemies that have damage resistance.
If the enemies are going to be stupid and stay stationary, then I can use that.
It really can't be overstated how much more relatively fragile non-regenerators are. Sasha takes a little less than Altrius or Izuna against magic, but the fact she doesn't get it back, and that Marie usually has more important things to be doing, means that she's the only member in actual danger.
One of the serious downsides of Marie's low movement is that it seriously compromises her healing ability. Aegil's 6 Move lets her stay at the front, so she can spend more time on heals between Oratoriorae attacks. Marie needs to spend as much time as she can just catching up.
Marie hits the two Armors.
Izuna pulls Selmer up towards the rest of the group.
Sasha moves into range, and Divine Seal is reapplied.
Altrius heals Sasha.
Marie levels up and hits level 3 OB by killing both Armors.
Izuna teleports Marie up to her left side. This is why I had her pull Selmer last turn; up, left, right, down is the ZOC order, remember, and left is closer to the battle.
Do you want to know a fun fact?
Assume Selmer is standing on the bridge tile an island to Ernest's right. Now count the tiles between Ernest and Selmer.
Yumil Magna has 9 range. Seven Menace has 8.
Alicia reapplies Divine Seal. Wouldn't do to have a stray spell take Selmer down.
Sasha ganks the Armor just above the bridge. Interestingly enough, she's doing full damage here... Enemy damage resistance is ridiculously inconsistent here, it feels like.
Marie restores Izuna's MP to full with Martyr. You never know; I might want it for a clever trick later.
I think the win is about three turns away now.
...wait, WHAT? That was a Magna Volt. It's not because of stacking Divine Seals or anything, at least as far as I can tell... There's only ever one Divine Seal entry in the character status screen. Huh.
And yet that War Mage does normal damage every other time he casts. I'm just gonna put this down as 'Rondo being weird again.'
Altrius and Sasha finish off the Armor.
After consideration, I decide to add another layer to the trick: If Izuna teleports Selmer up just before he casts, then the enemies won't have time to move out of the way.
Marie uses her level 3 OB.
Izuna teleports Selmer up.
Selmer casts Yumil Magna.
And the map is over.
Selmer, m'boy, you may be a two-trick pony, but damn if you're not good at those two tricks once you get some levels in you.
There's a conversation with Alberich here I didn't show off:
Ernest and Alberich
So, Ernest... you've lowered yourself to being a mere toady for Mephreyu?
You dare call ME a toady!? You couldn't be more wrong. I may serve him now, but someday I will take the Darkness' power by force!
That day will never come.
The Darkness will be resealed by Sir Altrius' hand!
Hahahah! Is that so? Go ahead and try, if you think you can!
I don't think Ernest quite understands the whole "destroy the world" thing.
You might've noticed Ernest is standing in an area totally enclosed, protecting him from everything but OBs and spells unless you decides to come out himself. Actually seeing this conversation is practically a challenge run in and of itself, even with Ernest's rare ability to hit people as a mage.
If you can't figure out what the Thunder Medal does, you are very bad at patterns.
Everyone, lend me your strength!
Total number of resets since chapter 20: 4 (+0)
Next time: Light, Dark, and...