Part 72: Light, Dark, and...Chapter 39: Light, Dark, and...
Whatever for? Everything has just begun.
Begun!? What you're about to do will be the end of everything!
The idea to end everything was not mine!
I know, Mephreyu. But you mustn't do this.
We do not claim to be blameless. But our guilt does not justify your actions.
No matter what your reasons, I will fight to protect those dear to me.
Very well, then. I look forward to seeing your efforts. If you have decided to oppose me, then I will acknowledge everything that is. Everything is equal before the Darkness, and suffering does not exist.
This is the final map! That means it's time to spend all the points I haven't used yet. Final impressions of the team will come with the epilogue post on Wednesday.
Altrius learns Duelist 5. Selmer learns Ice Shard 3. Sasha learns Retaliation 2. Marie learns Invoke Mind 3. Izuna learns Persistence 3. Alicia learns Karma Strike 2.
Everyone has something to say at the start of this map, but there are no on-map conversations otherwise. Characters speak in a specific order, from top to bottom of this list, and tend to speak together with their "group."
I am Kay, a Knight of Bretwalde... And I will have my revenge for the death of Prince Serdic!
It's not like me to get serious, but... For this, I'll make an exception!
Alicia speaks next; she's grouped with Kay and Margus, naturally.
I won't let you put the whole world to sleep!
If you weren't a threat to the whole world, I wouldn't be so inclined to intervene here.
Izuna speaks up here, since she's grouped with Shino and Cotton -- the crossover characters.
So, this is the source of all evil. Well, I could settle for being the one to seal the Darkness away.
Sasha speaks up here. Grouped with Ansom, naturally.
Ugh, my tail is tingling. What an irritating feeling.
I still have stuff I want to do here on earth... I won't let you have your way, Mephreyu!
I'm not sure why Owl is after Alhambra. Grouping the rogue-types of Sasha/Alhambra/Owl means that Rukia got left out. But it's Rukia, so no one cares.
Selmer speaks up here, since he's grouped with Elmer and Arios.
So, this is the power the Holy King sealed away... Looks like I finally got a worthwhile opponent!
What a waste to seal away such powerful magic... Alas, its very existence is a blight on the world. I hate to do this, but we're going to have to take it away.
Well, there's nothing I can steal here... And if we don't end this war, I'll never pry that sword loose from Altrius. Here goes nothing!
I can sympathize, but for the Order's greater good, I'll stop you here. No matter what.
Looks like we've got a rough timeline for the age of Altrius and Serdic -- probably about four years old.
I pray that this is the last time I'm required to wield my sword for Princess Marie's sake. Behold the strength of a knight of Verona!
Oh, dear, it wouldn't do at all to use that kind of power...
Is there anything we can do against power that fearsome... My God! My people! Lend me your strength...!
Mephreyu! Let the both of us be judged for all the blood we've shed!
Finally, the Misfit Run team!
Marie will always speak last.
In terms of layout, this stage isn't very complicated. Note that all of the translucent blue tiles are Ice, which have a 20% defensive penalty.
The Guardian has ZOC, Magic Guard, and Arrow Guard. Both War Mages have Abyss Gate. The Armor at the back has Stand Fast, ZOC, and Mind Chains (chance of Clumsy, which prevents consumable item usage).
Both of the left and right Armors around the War Mage have Invoke Might and Evil Eye (chance of Stuck on attack, which prevents movement). The left has Magic Guard, the right has Invoke Might. The top Armor has ZOC and Magic Guard. The War Mage has Soul Rend (status infliction, very long range).
All four of the Troopers have Null ZOC, Arrow Guard, and Magic Guard. The High Priest has Cure Drop.
The High Priests half-visible on the sides have Cure Drop and Oratoriorae, while the one on the top only has Cure Drop.
The left Armor in the center has ZOC, Stand Fast and Vital Power, the bottom one has Invoke Might, Stand Fast, and Invoke Life, and the top and right ones both have ZOC, Invoke Life, and Vital Power.
The two Guardians are identical.
The two War Mages both have Seven Menace. Neither of them has a +magic or +dark damage skill, though, so they're not too scary.
Mephreyu does not have this problem!
If you remember the first Route B battle against Mephreyu, then this might look familiar: massive magic damage, single target spell, a massive AOE in case you want to swarm him, and an OB to restore his MP if you try to sacrifice characters to get his MP down. Of course, depleting his MP is completely impractical now, with the Satan Medal restoring 8% MP every turn. 39 MP may not be much, but Ars Magna brings his MP costs down to 70% of normal.
Between Selmer's OB, Divine Seal, and the 9 range of Yumil Magna, though, he's much more manageable this time around. For this team, at least...
The map itself is simple; if you've gotten this far, then you're used to durable enemies. All the difficulty lies in Mephreyu, and there's quite a bit of difficulty here.
The special configuration for this map puts Altrius at the top-center, even if you send him in alone. That's actually incredibly lucky! Not only does it put him in range of a turn 1 Divine Seal, it has another, less obvious advantage:
It means that when Izuna teleports Selmer, all of the one square away spots are filled, resulting in him being pushed two panels ahead. Selmer is the fourth character in the roster, so without Margus and Kay he's always second; in normal circumstances, I'm pretty sure he'd stay right where he is now.
This spell reaches all the way to the War Mage, killing all three targets.
These positions keep the Armors from hitting Sasha or Altrius.
Altrius after two Abyss Gates.
The special protection the enemies had previously seems to have deserted these enemies entirely. I'm not complaining.
Altrius and Alicia will lure the Armors down into Sedna Prison range.
Sasha, meanwhile, assasinates one of the War Mages. They might be pitifully weak, but they're effectively weakening Altrius's regen, and that's annoying.
She criticals the War Mage, which is hilarious overkill -- with Duelist, it's probably somewhere around 400 armor-ignoring damage. Sadly, there's no visual effect to a critical, just the gunshot sound.
A lucky counter from Altrius lets Selmer use Yumil Magna instead. It can't quite reach the Troopers, sadly, but this is good enough!
Altrius lures the Troopers down. Marie gets ready to take out the remaining Abyss Gate War Mage. Everyone gets into position for another Divine Seal next turn, since they're on the last turn of the first one.
Then I forget to use it the turn after that, because I'm good at video games.
Instead, Alicia and Izuna take out both of the closer Troopers. I'm mostly using Izuna for teleports now, because magic is absurd in this game, but it's worth remembering that she hits like a goddamn truck when damage reduction isn't on the table.
Marie heals Alicia.
Altrius uses a Fighter Gem (because he needs to stay in place, so why not?), Sasha moves up.
Three of the four frontliners take some damage (Sasha dodges), so Marie uses her OB.
Sedna Prison is just barely short of killing, so Alicia takes them out.
Sasha is also just short of a kill here.
By the way: there were reinforcements at the end of the last turn. The torches on the middle section are solid, so they've got to circle around to the bottom or top to attack.
The new Swordsmen and Sniper have nice skill sets! The Armor much less so, having only Invoke Might, Abyss Ward, and Befuddle (causes Dazed, random facing after action).
The important thing is to get Selmer in range to attack Mephreyu. I'll deal with the rest as it comes.
The Swordsmen run south.
Sasha's actually fairly tough at this point! Especially since her dodge rate isn't bad.
The one on the right stays out of Oratoriorae range. The one on the left is not so smart. Izuna bails her out afterward.
(That's three teleports, by the way. Izuna is officially tapped out, and I didn't remember to give her an MP heal.)
Having two melee characters with Fearlessness and two with Duelist works very well, since Alicia or Izuna can target weakened enemies first to reduce their numbers, then Altrius or Sasha can target stronger enemies one at a time. Selmer moves up.
Alicia and Altrius each take an attack for minimal damage.
Izuna moves out of the way, Marie blows the hell out of the other Swordsman. She's back up to 3 OB.
Speaking of 3 OB...
That isn't quite enough to take them out, unfortunately.
It's about time to engage Mephreyu. Not using Divine Seal is insane.
Sasha finishes the job for Altrius.
Marie heals everyone with her OB on the next turn. Then Altrius moves out of the way and Selmer kills three more targets: an Armor, Sniper, and High Priest.
Sasha gets in range to Tiger Fangs one of Mephreyu's two back-up dancers. Thankfully, this tile places her JUST outside of Mephreyu's spell range.
Izuna gets in range of both, just in case she can prove a tastier target. Alicia moves up.
...and to think, I was worried about these guys.
Regardless, Sasha takes one out. Alicia uses a Champion Gem; she can use her OB on Sasha next turn to prepare for another, if I want to.
Reinforcements are still spawning periodically at the sides; this is one of them. The other Swordsman headed to the top.
Marie's going to take a hit, but even with the defense penalty from Wisdom Lock, she still has 88 defense. I'm not too worried.
This is more curiosity than anything. Izuna's got Divine Seal on, and I really doubt Mephreyu can do 1300 damage with Seven Menace.
Oh, okay. Still solidly in "holy shit OHKO" territory without Divine Seal (and remember, Izuna's got the most HP by a lot, and more Magic than most attackers that aren't Sasha or Altrius), but it's survivable with that buff.
For comparison, this is his surviving War Mage.
Do you remember when Marie was capable of dying to a stiff breeze? She's no Aegil, but this isn't bad at all.
Between Mephreyu, his War Mage, and another reinforcement Sniper, Izuna barely survives the turn. But, hey, any landing you walk away from.
Sasha moves next to Altrius, Alicia gives her OB, Altrius uses a healing item on her, Selmer moves into position to snipe Mephreyu next turn.
...oh, crap. Divine Seal wore off. This is bad.
Wow, you suck. She might survive this turn!
...wait, what? No death quote?
She doesn't have the "survive with 1 HP" skill, by the way. This is natural. It just happened all on its own.
Well, whatever. I've got Selmer in position! It's time to take Mephreyu out!
Yeah, you don't get to take the easy way out this time around. The enemies here may not have damage resistance, but Mephreyu gets the same protection as Gauss did in 40B. Like Gauss, however, it has a weakness: the Holy Blade.
This means that if you don't have Divine Seal or don't use Selmer, then Mephreyu gets a turn to kill someone before you actually hit him. If it's Altrius, well, that's unfortunate for you!
EDIT: Upon consideration, I decided to furnish a screenshot of this to prove that I really am not bullshitting you.
For reference, with Divine Seal up, Seven Menace did 311 damage. As shown, Altrius currently has 457 health. Altrius is not going to survive this without Divine Seal or Eidos Curse.
Anyway, back to the playthrough.
Marie heals herself to full. Sasha runs down next to Izuna, who heals her to full with an item.
Alicia prepares the party. Fighting Mephreyu with magic takes a very, very long time. We're going to have to charge in.
There's two Swordsmen in range of her, but Marie only takes one attack this turn. The other rams his face into Altrius and gets countered for his trouble. Sasha moves into range to take out the other War Mage.
Altrius takes out the twit he countered for full meter. The others position themselves. Selmer hits Mephreyu again, with about the same effect.
The next turn, the other Swordsman violates a rule he'd been very careful to follow: Do not end turns in the same line as Marie. She's up to 3 OB.
Sasha takes out the other War Mage. That's two of the three preparations complete...
Mephreyu takes another Yumil Magna to the face. Alicia refreshes Divine Seal. Izuna heals Sasha.
On the next turn, Marie heals Alicia. Then it's go time.
With Eidos Curse in place, all characters are taking 20% damage from Mephreyu's spells this turn.
Izuna, Sasha, and Altrius charge up the steps. Alicia can't follow without exposing herself to the Guardians, so she stays back.
I repeat: this is 20% of Mephreyu's damage. On Sasha. Sasha has more Magic than any other non-Mage and +72 equipment defense, and only those two stats influence spell defense.
How many characters do you think even have 560 HP, much less more? Altrius certainly doesn't.
Izuna and Sasha hit him, but can't break through his defenses...
...but they manage to reduce his MP enough for Altrius to get one good hit in.
Now go back to the start of this post and look at Mephreyu's inventory. (Ctrl+f "this problem" and you can go back and forth quickly.) Do you see the Soma Droplet? That's the game's full MP restoration item. He uses it, and suddenly he's right back to full MP. The strongest non-Altrius attack I've used so far did 120. And remember, his OB also restores MP. And if you get through all of that, but the respawning enemies are wearing you down, he can use his Amrita, which is the full HP restoration.
If you think you can kill him without risking Altrius, then you are going to be very unpleasantly surprised. The only way around this MP restoration item is the Mind Chains skill Ansom can learn, and inflicting "can't use items" is never useful at any other point. You are very unlikely to have it. (Naji has it too, but, well.)
The Sniper's still being an annoyance. Thankfully, the first Sniper critical of the LP hits someone who's in no great danger.
If you want the best measure of just how incredibly powerful Mephreyu's defenses are:
This is a level 3 Blade Blast from Izuna. Since Mephreyu has a much higher Magic than Defense, this is probably the strongest attack you can possibly hit him with.
It does 304 MP damage to Mephreyu. For reference, Yumil Magna did 120. A quick calculation (Blade Blast level 3 is (6*Attack-Defense)*((3+1)/2)) suggests that his protection is 80% damage reduction. After defense, thankfully.
Even so... His damage reduction is from the Darkness. Even weakened, the Holy Blade remains the planet's primary defense against an overgrowth of the Darkness.
And now, as before, it is the Holy Blade that brings the Darkness down. A level 3 Judgement WILL defeat Mephreyu, even from full HP.
An appropriate reward! It's funny to put the Wyrm Medal on Marie and keep her stocked with MP restoration items -- it does a lot to mitigate her absurd fragility, keeping her safe from surprises.
Not that you need that insurance by the time you're good enough to get it, but hey, at least it's more useful than 90% of this game's non-Amulet accessories. And since she's the only character who has both natural regeneration and very high MP, so there's not much market for it.
Total resets, post-20 Route A: 4
Next time: Route A Epilogue