Part 121: Episode CXV: CheckmateEpisode CXV: Checkmate
We are now about as caught up as we can be in all the side content for the moment. All that remains is entering the penultimate dungeon of the (main plot) of the game -- The Queen's Garden. I hear Scotland is haunted but significantly less cursed than Wales so perhaps this will go better than our usual outings to the UK.
Music: Spiritualization ~ Holy Land of God
But the all-important book was seized by the Vatican, and the plan couldn't be put into effect...
Wait... when did this queen lady die?
Around 1901, as I recall.
But I fought a guy a couple of years ago in London that had it before I gave it to you. He said Albert Simon gave him the book.
...Huh. I suppose Albert could have stolen it from the Vatican.
But... didn't he ALREADY steal it from the Vatican once? And that whole burnt monastery down the road from your house thing happened with the psychic lady.
Hmm... Perhaps he just stole it again?
TWICE?! How bad is the Pope's security?
You walked into there with little resistance a few months ago, did you not?
...OK. That is a fair point. Continue.
<looks around area> It's magnificent... but creepy!
This was the queen's secret villa.
Someone else besides us? Here?
Who'd willingly go to Scotland?
Yes. Someone else came for the tools needed to perform the magic.
You mean Special Agent Kato?
It's gotta be. When I first met him in Southampton, he must've been on his way here.
Okay, this is as far as I'm going. I'll be waiting for you all in the airship. Be extra careful! Deep inside, there's a stone called the Moon Crystal. That's what you're after.
Hurry up. Or in the name of the moon, I will punish you!
<nods> Got it! The Moon Crystal!
Despite his claim to wait in the airship, Roger Bacon is just going to chill out by the entrance to the Queen's Villa and offer a free full-party HP/MP restoration should we return to him. Not that we really need it for this dungeon. But hey, he's at least helping a bit. More than I can say for a lot of non-combat NPCs that are basically party members.
Welcome to the Queen's Garden. It's time to plunder the British Empire's historic sites to loot ancient relics for a change. Compared to the grueling slog of identical caverns that was the Immortal Mountain, this dungeon is downright pleasant. It's still a bunch of dimly lit corridors but it at least has some flair to it in spots. The dungeon itself is a big ring with side rooms in the cardinal directions of the circle.
Directly north we find a dining room. There is nothing worth mentioning in the chest tucked to the side. However, that shiny on the table is filled with intrigue.
It's a chess piece. This one's a knight.
A Knight Plug. We're going all Resident Evil mansion up in Queen Victoria's secret villa. Speaking of secrets, if we check the fireplace in the back of the room, we discover...
Why don't you see if this knight piece fits?
Let's see... Damn. It's no use. I can't get it to fit right. Looks like the piece is a little too small.
It's also a square peg you're trying to jam into a round indentation.
Argh. Maybe if I line it up just right... And... Bah! No good!
I guess we'll have to find some other piece.
As I said, this whole building is a big ring. The outer doors lead to long empty corridors curving up to other directions of the ring. There's little to be said about these areas. Other than random battles! Oh yeah, baby! It's happening again!
Music: Vicious 1915 ~ Battle in Europe
Three enemies inhabit. The first up is Morgan, a 309 stout Water elemental enemy that is a more skeletal reskin of the Echidna beasts from Idar Flamme. The main threat of these creatures is the technique Blood Loss which just automatically shaves 50% off a character's current HP and is just rude. Otherwise, it sticks to higher-end water elemental spells and stabbing people in general.
Morgan or Morgen comes from the Welsh/Breton mythological water spirits that liked to be jerks and drown men.
Wikipedia on Morgen posted:
Click here for more.
Morgens, morgans, or mari-morgans are Welsh and Breton water spirits that drown men. The name may derive from Mori-genos or Mori-gena, meaning "sea-born. The name has also been rendered as Muri-genaor Murigen. The name may also be cognate with the Irish Muirgen, an alternate name of Lí Ban, a princess who was transformed into a mermaid when her city was flooded. The Cornish term for a mermaid is usually Morvoren, as in the Mermaid of Zennor .
In Brittany, the formation "mari-morgan" or "mary-morgan" is common. Sébillot compared the Mari Morgan to "sirènes" (the French term for mermaids), who lured sailors with their hypnotic voices and sat in the water to comb their hair seductively. They were believed to live near coasts, at cave entrances and at the mouths of rivers, with some held to still inhabit a cave near Crozon. The mari-morgans, who were well-versed in evil spells, would drag young men underwater and the men would never be seen again. In some versions, however, Mari Morgans carried kidnapped sailors to underwater palaces of mother-of-pearl and crystal, and married them. The morgens, eternally young, are also blamed for heavy flooding that destroys crops or villages.
It's a siren with a Welsh accent.
Following that we have nude, blindfolded tentacle-haired women bound to a floating stone going by the name of Bethlehem. Don't ask me what any of that has to do with the birthplace of Jesus Christ... All I know is they have 333 HP, are of the Light element, and can cause the Panic status effect and steal all of a targeted character's MP with Mind Assault.
Lastly, we have Graffias which is uhh... a bent backward human torso with its calves split open to reveal mouths like something from The Thing, reptile feet instead of "arms" and a scorpion tail coming out of the part of the spine where a human head should be. Sure... Why not? This is an Earth elemental with 320 HP and its primary damage is the ability to inflict Petrify with its strikes. It's named after a star in the Scorpio constellation also known as Beta-Scoripii. I have no idea what that has to do with... all this mess of teeth and flesh.
Music: Spiritualization ~ Holy Land of God
None of those are particularly threatening and it's quite easy to wipe out an entire mob before it has a chance to strike especially given their fairly low overall HP levels. Additionally, random battles are only present in the connecting rooms. All the side rooms are thankfully combat-free.
This is good as there is some investigation to be done in these rooms including obtaining another chess piece for a future puzzle and/or key. In addition to that, this room has a medley of points of interest Yuri feels compelled to investigate. Such as:
All of this shit! Commit all of that to memory as we are going to need to recall those random poor interior design decisions in the near future.
On the northernmost part of the ring, we find a door to the north and south, as well as one heading easy continuing along the ring.
To the north is our ultimate destination just past that save point. There is just one minor problem...
Heading north at the moment leads to an infinitely looping hallway. Or more correctly, the hallway just reloads and places Yuri at the far end if he reaches the arches. I guess we're going to have to solve some manner of magical bullshit. Possibly involving the game of chess.
If we return to the earlier hall and investigate the door leading toward the central part of the ring, we discover...
There's a depression on the lock. We probably have to insert something.
I wonder if this knight would do the trick?
It doesn't look like it's the right shape. This won't work.
Now you are trying to jam a square shape into a key-shaped hole.
Tsk. I guess we look for another piece.
Onward to the only direction of the ring we've yet to explore.
There's a depression on the lock. We must have to insert something. I bet inserting the pawn would unlock the door.
How do you know that...?
It's a pawn shaped depression.
<squints> ...If you say so.
<inserts the Pawn piece> Hey, I think it unlocked.
Hey, this room looks kind of familiar. If somewhat inverted. And there's another chest only this one is currently locked. I do wonder what we'll have to do in here to circumvent this mind-boggler.
If you guess screw around with the furniture to make the room a mirror image of the previous one, you've probably played a video game or two before. Not every piece of furniture needs to be adjusted. Half of them are in the right place. Annoyingly, some of them have broken triggers where they can only be moved once and we need to leave and return to the room to reset them. While others can be flipped at will. Such as this low-resolution mustachioed man.
Yuri can perform magic feats to swap the color of a fifteen-foot long banner. As you do.
The couch is completely messing up the feng shui of the room.
And this scholar had a skewed view of society and wants his portrait displayed as well in turn.
And thus we are granted another chess piece -- the Queen.
This can be used if we backtrack to the northern part of the ring and use it upon the previously locked door. Which leads us to a break room of some sort.
Hidden from view behind the pool table we can discover Karin's second to the best weapon in the game crafted by the god of war himself (prior to his tragic death at the hands of a very angry bald albino man) the Flamberge. This gives Karin a respectable +186 Physical and +185 Special Attack Power.
Beyond that, the key point of interest in this room is an abandoned chess game. Yuri, you know how to chess, right? No... Uhh... Checkers? No to that too. Go Fish...? No, the game not the activity. No to both. Ok, man... Let's give this a shot anyway.
"The knight rescues the white king." What's that mean?
Hmm. I think we have to put that knight we found on the chessboard.
Wait just a minute! I don't know the first thing about chess!
This is me making my surprised face.
We are given three options as to where to place the Knight piece we found earlier to accurately complete the game. I know fuck all about chess. It's option three that is correct. Options one and two will just result in a forced battle against the standard random battle mobs of the dungeon and the option to try again.
So let's not do that and just obtain the King piece. The essence of chess, as you know.
The remainder of the dungeon is just... backtracking. We need to do another full circuit of the outer perimeter of the area returning to the first room to the south with the fireplace and the indentation. Here we can place the King piece which signals something has unlocked. And then we have to go all the back to the northernmost passage where we find Yuri can now pass to the end of the hallway here instead of being stuck in a time loop and proceed to...
I've probably fought a hundred bosses in the main chapel of a church area like this but do you ever wonder how many people have actually gotten into climactic fisticuffs in the main chamber of a church? No matter. The
Let's grab it and get out.
Hold your horses! We should use caution here.
Aw, c'mon! What're you getting yourself all worked up about? It'll be fine.
What's the worse that is gonna happen? A boss fight.
Well, then we should grab it before we trigger the fight! Duh!
The room begins to shake.
What the...? What's that noise?
...Is it a boss fight?
You already know the answer to that.
Tune in next time for a boss baby! No, I didn't forget a comma in that statement.
Bethlehem Concept Art - ...Alright.
Queen's Garden Concept Art - Still going alright about Bethlehem.