Part 30: That All Things Might Be Well
Before we go off to tear the Dark Prince several new orifices, there's some horticulture to take care of. All of the ??? seeds are pretty much useless at this point, but the rest can be pretty handy.
Just by virtue of getting this far and buying from the cat merchants we've already gotten the highest tier of buyable items. The only way to get anything better is to plant weapon/armor seeds and see what turns up. The difference in power is fairly slight, however, so it's not like you're going to suffer if you don't get grind out enough seeds to fill out everyone's inventory.
It's also probably a good idea to stock up on any healing items you might need. Once we're ready the next destination is the Mana Holyland, which is just a bit different than you might remember.
Last time we showed up there were no enemies, but now the area is full of Shape-shifters and Shadow-zeros. The Shape-shifters are a bit of a joke since they just take the shape of enemies and don't have any of their special attacks, but Shadow-zeros are another problem entirely.
Rather than mimicking enemies, they mimic your party members and have full access to their special techniques. This is particularly painful where Hawk is concerned, since it's very easy for a Shadow-zero to use his technique to do more than 400 damage at once to our entire party. They also don't have to charge it up and can pretty much use the attack on a whim.
The enemies aren't the only things that have changed. This used to be the quick path to the Mana Tree, but it's all been blocked off and we have to go the long way around.
They've also thrown in a few new rooms to stretch the journey a bit, including at least one where you have to kill everything in the room to proceed. There's enough mandatory fighting and route changes that I gained several levels while fighting through here.
Once you start to see downed trees crossing the streams you're almost there. I can only imagine that the Dark Prince doesn't like getting his feet wet.
"H how could you!?"
"Well, it mostly involved fire, salt, and the blood of innocent children "
"That's really more than I needed to know."
"Painful, isn't it? The Mana Tree, your only reason to live is gone."
"The days of Goddess worship are over. It's time for the demons to take their rightful place!"
"I can't let you do that!!"
"Ouch. That didn't go at all well."
"Soon, this world will merge with the underworld. There's no place for you here "
"Now, it's time for me to get rid of this body behold!!"
"Gaze upon the new ruler of the underworld, overworked, and holy lands!"
" you REALLY look like a girl."
"I do NOT!"
"I have to back Hawk on this one. I wish my hair was half as well behaved as yours is."
"Witness my unstoppable power!!"
Well, that was quick. At least they didn't drag it out in a hopeless boss fight, just killed everybody so they could cut to the ending..
Or there could be some healing magic out of nowhere. We'll ignore any questions about how the party is going to survive the next time he uses that spell, since it's evidently strong enough outside of a battle to do a full party wipe.
"Long after I'm gone, lies and the others will create a new world even without Mana!"
"Lise, Hawk, and Carlie! Fight for the future! Mana will live on, inside your hearts!"
"If you can heal us like this, why didn't you do it any other time when we almost got our asses kicked?"
"Once again, you humans have NO sense of drama."
"That sword is lost! It's over!
"You might not have been taking notes on this but nobody here uses a sword."
"And I'm pretty sure we can do the job just fine with a hammer, daggers, and a spear."
"As long as they're here, the Sword of Mana their hope will never be lost!"
"I liked our explanation better."
"But enough talk let the killing begin!"
"At last, we agree on something."
Final Boss Battle: Archdemon
Archdemon Battle Video
Now that we're actually at the fight, let's take a minute to look at the enemy. For some reason the Dark Prince is ensconced in some kind of weird throne-like contraption above the stump of the Mana Tree.
Archdemon has access to basically every single attack spell in the game, and will use them on a rotating basis. You can get an idea of where it's going to be pulling from based on the color of the carapace, and this also quite literally changes what element he falls under at any given moment. This makes the use of Sabers inadvisable, since you're trying to hit a shifting weakness.
Hyper Cannon and Hell Cross are a couple of her originals, but aren't much more dangerous than any other spells when it comes down to it. They are more visually spectacular, however.
And naturally he gets DeathSpell and can thus end one of your characters on a fairly arbitrary basis. A lot of his spells can cause debuffs in addition to damage, so you have to occasionally re-cast any boosters you have up.
Just like any good JRPG final boss, Archdemon naturally has multiple forms. The second stage changes the face and opens up the carapace to reveal some arms, but gives up the elemental shifting gimmick while still retaining a few of the spells.
His new favorite trick is this lightning attack, which is big and flashy but single target and doesn't do all that much.
There's also a couple of close range attacks to make the process of closing in and beating just a bit more risky. It's still more of an occasional nuisance than anything else.
Demon Breath is one of his nastiest attack, mainly because it lowers your magic defense and causes damage. This makes for a pretty good chance that a follow-up attack can kill you if you're not on the ball with healing and rebuilding your magic defenses.
His signature attack is Catastrophe, which includes the carapace opening up to reveal what looks like a couple of giant cannons for a full party attack. It really hurts, but doesn't come out too often.
Something like this is entirely too possible. You might notice that my max HP is a bit low in this shot because not only can Archdemon drop your magic defense into the floor, he also has access to Spiral Moon and can drop your maximum HP for a perfect cocktail of jerk moves.
Given enough time, though, we'll be rewarded with the biggest explosion to date.
"The same thing would have happened to anybody who was foolish enough to think that the real power of Mana was in the Sword or the Tree."
SD3 Ending Video - Lise, Hawk, and Carlie
Breezin - Ending Theme
"You're surprisingly not dead. He smacked you pretty hard there."
"I'm a bit tougher than I look..."
"I'll disappear along with it I didn't know you for very long but thank you for everything.
"Lise Eliott is safe. I sent him back to Rolante, with the last of my strength "
"I couldn't have done without your help Lise you did your best."
"I thought that was something you said to losers, not to the heroes."
"Wait!! Please don't leave us!!"
"The faerie is the Mana Tree's seed. When she meets the three Heroes who believe in her "
" she becomes the new Goddess. Remember me make sure your children remember "
" because a thousand years from now Mana will return to your world."
"Wait a second, how many times has this happened that you know every detail about how it goes?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
"Well, good luck Goddessing, or whatever you call it."
With no destination left, we leave the Mana Holyland behind forever. Hopefully it'll return to normal over time, but for now it's time to see how everybody is doing.
"Carlie! You're safe! Thank the Goddess! What would I have done "
" Grampa, are you alright?"
"I told him not to throw his life away but he said he'd rather die than let the evil control him "
"Wait what? That's how you're going to break this kind of news to someone?"
"C'mon Carlie, let's get you somewhere quiet and away from the crowd."
"Why, Heath, why!?"
"I think he's looking pretty spry for a dead guy "
"It was the right choice. And, for my sacrifice the Goddess has saved me."
"That doesn't really make it much of a sacrifice and I'm pretty sure that Carlie wanting you to live might have had more to do with it than you'd think "
"She gave me her life so that I may continue my work, and save other troubled souls "
"Don't worry I'm not going anywhere! Now wipe away those tears "
"You're damn right you're not going anywhere, you jerk! You stay put until I get back, and then you and I are going to have a serious talk about a few things."
"The proper response is 'Yes dear.' You might want to start practicing."
"She is now! Hey everybody's waiting for us back at the fortress let's go!"
"Oh, and I completely explained about your cousin from Rolante and how the two of you are watching out for the High Priest's daughter together."
"I don't know what I'd do without you, bro. Oh, and Josephine is looking for you but last time we saw her was in the Molebear Highlands. You might want to steer clear of there for a bit.
"Jessica Hawk I feel as though I was in a terrible nightmare."
"I dreamt that some kind of giant humanoid cat thing had convinced me to marry it and was running the country."
"That actually happened."
"Shit. And the purple giraffes in the bedroom watching me the entire time?"
"Pretty sure that was a dream."
"In Eagle's memory I'll keep the Navarre Thieves Guild going strong.
"This desert was once a lush, green forest. I say, we can make it rain in the desert again!"
"Wow. I think that some of the pieces fell out of that puzzle when it got put back together "
"He doesn't seem that different to me.
"Eliott I'm sorry I "
"I hope it wasn't 'Don't talk to strangers,' because that ship has LONG since sailed."
"Be quiet, Hawk, they're having a moment!"
"They said to help you to bring Rolante back to what it was "
"I can't always be a little kid You gotta let me help you, sis!"
" Eliott "
"Of course you'll help me. I didn't travel around the entire world to save you thinking that you'd sit back and let me do all the work."
"Watch us from above we'll do our best "
"That was enough to destroy all 8 Mana Beasts and the leader of the underworld. I think we'll be okay."
Far away, the Mana Holyland returns to normal..
And a new seedling sprouts at the base of the destroyed tree.
A new faerie? Perhaps, or the dreams of the last.
Flammie flies alone through the skies over the world, most definitely not the last of her kind.
Booskaboo is.. Booskaboo. And that's okay.
Looking upward, the stars fill the night sky.. framed in the branches of the eternal Tree.
of Lise and Hawk's story, that is.