Part 101: Episode XCV: Loose Lips Sink ShipsEpisode XCV: Loose Lips Sink Ships
Music: Hardcore to the Brain ~ Mid Boss in Japan
Time for a proper boss fight against the rampaging mutant dog infused with Nicolai magic juice -- Shoki. As stated earlier, Shoki is a beastie with 4550 HP and of the Light elemental class.
Before we begin, Shoki is the Japanese term for the originally Chinese deity Zhong Kui -- the king of ghosts!
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Zhong Kui is a deity in Chinese and Japanese mythology (where his name is pronounced Shōki). Traditionally regarded as a vanquisher of ghosts and evil beings and reputedly able to command 80,000 demons, his image is often painted on household gates as a guardian spirit as well as in places of business where high-value goods are involved.
According to folklore, Zhong Kui travelled with a friend from his hometown, Du Ping, to take part in the state-wide imperial examinations held in the capital city. Though Zhong Kui attained great academic success through his achievement of top honors in the major exams, his rightful title of "Zhuangyuan" (top-scorer) was stripped from him by the emperor because of his disfigured and ugly appearance. In anger and fury, Zhong Kui committed suicide by continually hurling himself against the palace gates until his head was broken, whereupon Du Ping had him buried and laid to rest. During the divine judgment after his death from suicide, Yama (the Chinese Hell King) saw much potential in Zhong Kui, intelligent and smart enough to score top honors in the imperial examinations but condemned to Hell because of the grave sin of suicide. Yama then gave him a title as the king of ghosts and tasked him to hunt, capture, take charge of and maintain discipline and order among all ghosts. After Zhong Kui became the king of ghosts in Hell, he returned to his hometown on Chinese New Year's eve. To repay Du Ping's kindness, Zhong Kui gave his younger sister in marriage to Du Ping.
Yeah... not seeing the relationship with a mutant dog xenomorph with a Russian pretty boy's face in its chest.
Back on track, there is very little to say about fighting this boss. We'll be doing the usual suite of buffs at the beginning and have Yuri fuse with Fides. Joachim happens to have shifted to his Grand Papillon form so this fight will be even more of a breeze, especially with his new wrestling Muscle Art in play.
As stated earlier in the preliminary bout against the chapter boss, Shoki employs assorted Light elemental attacks like Meteor Fall and Bright Crest. Nothing we haven't seen before.
The only real gotcha it has up its knock-off Xenomorph sleeve is its physical attacks are now imbued with Instant Death. Which is a troubling proposition had we not outfitted everyone with Leonardo's Bears before entering this gauntlet. It's incredibly rude to give a boss instant kill abilities when it's at the end of a fairly long sequence of cutscenes and a trio of mandatory filler battles just to try again. Though, even with Instant Death status revoked, its physical attacks are by far its strongest tool as it does upward of 200 HP of damage to a target and nobody is surviving two rounds of that or a follow up magic spell at our current levels.
In any event, despite the city destroying threat presented in the narrative, our party handily Old Yellers this rabid dog in just a few minutes. I hope we impressed the Mutant Apes, at the very least.
Music: Result ~ Victory
On next week's Grand Papillon: The Face... of Evil!
We get quite the hardy payout for taking out Shoki. Level Ups for everyone!
We also obtain another of the ever popular Tarot Cards for Lucia. Judgment allows us to draw another card that will always be a positive effect. The reverse is drawing another card that will always have a negative effect. The special effect is either drawing another card with the special positive or going to wipe our fucking party special negative effect. So this card literally just wastes your time. Good stuff!
That was kind of underwhelming after all the buildup...
At least it didn't drag on.
It kind of did. We had to fight it twice, after all.
NEW Music: Faith or Fate ~ Kato (It's about time Kato got his own theme.)
<claps> Impressive, as expected.
Now you're going to tell me where Nicolai is.
I sensed Nicolai in that monster.
The smugness was emanating from its soul. Also... the weird Nicolai face on its chest. That was kind of weird...
First, you take the Émigré Manuscript and then you take Nicolai.
Wait a moment, Yuri. You weren't present for when Nicolai handed over the Émigré Manuscript and I have not mentioned I had it in my possession. How do you know I have it?
Ergh. I watched the earlier cutsceerr! I had a hunch! Yeah! And now you've confirmed it!
<narrows eyes> I see...
Let's just move on from this script oversight!
I'm here to put an end to this.
It has nothing to do with you.
Not good enough!
Get any deeper into this and your very soul is in danger. Leave Japan at once.
<shakes head> No way.
And my soul is already in danger. Nicolai cursed me. I probably need to kick that guy's ass to fix it. Plus...
No way. Someone in this capital is pulling the strings, and I plan to find out who!
No matter what?
...I'm really stretching for a goal at this point, so yes. He sent some weirdo babyhead wizard after me, so that's enough.
<clenches fist> That lousy coward. He's hidden away while the lives of millions are ruined! I won't let him get away with that!
Yuri marches up to Kato but the Mutant Apes step up to defend him.
The Army's Hojo Research Facility. That's where you'll find Nicolai.
And where is that?
I am already giving out state secrets. Do a bit of detective work, will you?
He's still alive?
Of course. But the minute you step foot in there, they'll use all their power to stop you.
Kato and the Mutant Apes begin to walk away.
Very well. I'll be waiting.
...Hmm. Is that right? So you came all this way to find this man you call Nicolai?
A leading member of a secret society and heir to the imperial throne of Russia...
Yeah, the secret society thing is a done deal. Don't worry too much about that part.
And now Ishimura has him...
Foreign Minister Kantaro Ishimura. The one who truly controls the Cabinet.
So that's Kato's boss?
Correct. He wields tremendous influence here. Recently he's even formed his own army called the Iron Soldiers to consolidate his power.
Yeah, we've run into them. He's definitely scrapping the bottom of the barrel with those troopers.
He always was... frugal with his budgeting.
He also controls the Hojo Research Lab.
That monster and the Mutant Apes too?
I... don't know what a Mutant Ape is...
They're some sort of team of super soldiers protecting Kato.
What is an anime?
I don't know but the description sounds right...
I'll take your word on this. But that monster you described...
That monster was probably an experiment that somehow managed to escape.
That laboratory has been conducting suspicious experiments for years. Always involving new weapons research.
Remember the battleship rescue?
<cracks knuckles> Burn this joint to the ground. Got it!
It looks like Ishimura somehow plans to use Nicolai against Russia.
That is correct. He may even open a new front in the war.
It could go from a Great War to a World War I at this rate.
...Why did you say "one" at the end there?
Don't trouble yourself with that.
He's that crazy?!
He may be a bastard son, but there's no doubt that he is the prince. If we are not careful... Ishimura could use him as his pawn to seize power in Russia.
Do you think he can really do it?
It's been done successfully many, many times in the past.
I have not met this Nicolai, but if he is the easily manipulated himbo, as the young people say, it could spell disaster...
If this war gets bigger, a lot more people are going to die.
What's truly scary is that he's willing to unleash his monsters... on the world.
I just don't believe Kato is capable of it. He wouldn't just blindly follow orders from someone like Ishimura. I'm sure... he's planning something else.
Why do you think so?
He's got a good heart. In Shanghai, he protected your daughter all the way until the end.
I mean, sure, he didn't do a very good job of it. But his heart was in the right place. I guess... I only learned about it months later second hand from a letter a guy I barely knew sent to me...
But even so, I can't see why he'd go all the way to Europe to help Sapientes Gladio get the Émigré Manuscript.
Yuri, how DID you learn he had the Émigré Manuscript? I would have thought Rasputin had it stashed somewhere.
<rubs neck> Look... it just makes sense... And he admitted to it so I was right.
Huh? Émigré... what?
The Émigré Manuscript. A magic book that brings back the dead.
You do need to boil a LOAD of orphans to do it, though. It is pretty gnarly.
Previous adventure villain of the week. It was a bad scene. I don't want to talk about it.
So far, everyone that's been after it has been trying to use it for evil purposes. Last time, it caused a hell of a mess.
<shudders> That guy DEFINITELY wanted to bang his dead mom. It was messed up.
Yuri, I'm going to start slapping you if you keep bringing up this kind of thing without context.
I do not even know what to think.
I don't believe it either. I owe that man a great deal for bringing back Yoshiko's body all the way from Shanghai.
I can't really believe that Kato would use that book to pursue evil ends.
What is it? Did you remember something?
That woman named Ouka...
From the Mutant Apes? What about her?
When I heard her voice, I thought it sounded kind of familiar.
Yuri. Had you ever met her before?
No... That was the first time.
Well, so what?
She sounded like Lt. Col. Kawashima.
And she... looked exactly like Lt. Col. Kawashima. The face, at least. Boobs and ass were out of control slammin'.
Just telling it like I saw it.
Naniwa proceeds to keel over and faint hearing his daughter might have been resurrected by an evil ass magic book. Perhaps that wasn't the best thing to dump in the middle of a conversation.
Some time later...
So... it's not my fault if the old man croaks right...?
Not 100% but... not 0% either...
Kurando approaches the pair.
Is he all right?
Yes, he's resting at the moment.
It scared me when he fainted like that.
You'd faint too if you heard that your dead daughter was still alive.
But do you really think that Ouka person is Lady Yoshiko?
Hmm... I didn't see her die with my own eyes, so I'm really not sure.
I just got a letter in an optional sidequest. Which thinking back is a weird way to do things considering that event is pivotal to current events in my new adventure...
Couldn't we find out by paying a visit to the laboratory?
Yuri stands up and sounds annoyed.
Yeah, there's an idea. We'll just go right out and ask her, "Are you Yoshiko Kawashima?" It's easy. Why didn't I just think of that?
Are you sure?
...I'm being sarcastic right now...
I think it might work.
...Yeah, sure. Whatever. Let's do that.
Music: Rising Sun ~ Japanese Town
Thanks for the concern, but I'm fine. I just had a little fright, that's all.
Talk of resurrected daughters from cursed tomes will do that to you.
We're going out for a little while. You make sure you get plenty of rest.
Ha ha ha... People heading into danger have a distinct smell about them... And you guys reek of it! Now listen up! I won't stop you, but don't do anything stupid, all right?
Don't worry about it! OK, team! Let's go do something stupid!
We can say goodbye to Yoshiko the 2nd who has apparently been chilling out this whole time offscreen listening to how her predecessor might still be alive.
And we can also say goodbye to this chapter as the Burning Crossroads draw to a close. Tune in next time as we raid the Hojo Research Facility. Again, I suppose. As Shadow Hearts: Covenant Continues...
Despite the long interruption in LP updates, there wasn't a lot going on in this chapter new entry wise.
Ask for Astaroth Koshoki at your local marijuana distributor.
Oh yeah, it could teleport. It should probably have used that when it was getting its ass beaten into the ground by the party.
Video: Episode 95 Highlight Reel