The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts: Covenant

by The Dark Id

Part 49: Episode XLV: And Then On to Russia

Episode XLV: And Then On to Russia

Music: Old Smudged Map ~ Europe

We now move on to the sunny undoubtedly cloudy and shitty weather out, c'mon it's Russia, Petrograd. Formerly known as Saint Petersburg. And then changed to Leningrad after the Petrograd decade. And then back to Saint Petersburg after the Soviet Union collapsed. In fact, it only got renamed to Petrograd a couple of years ago at the onset of World War I because St. Petersburg sounded too German, I guess? History is weird. Anyway, the next phase of our adventure will be centering around this region of Europe for the remainder of Disc 1. So settle in.

Music: ENDS

We open with a scene of a vampire having just undoubtedly drained their latest victim of blood. It was a little known fact that was swept out of focus by The Great War, but the Belmonts were dealing with a heck of a case of a Dracula outbreak in Eastern Europe around this time.

Or maybe this is just Grigori Rasputin and they're not even going the feign in the slightest that he is anything but an incredibly evil warlock.

And the woman sleeping in the bed is none other than Veronica Vera. Yep, Rasputin and Veronica have been doing the bedroom barynya. I'm glad they needed to relay that information in the same scene they introduce Rasputin.

Veronica awakens and sits up in bed.

Lord Rasputin, you're still here... I'm sorry... I guess I overslept...
Well, you had quite a workout. But no worry, it's not yet noon.
11:45 AM but that still qualifies as before noon.

The two are interrupted by a knock at the door.

Yes, what is it?
Was the "Do Not Disturb. Sex in Progress!" sign on the doorknob not adequate to deter interruptions?
Th-there's no sign like that out here, sir...
Oh, bother. I knew I had forgotten something.

I have a message from Her Majesty, Empress Alexandra.

Rasputin approaches the door.

Is it about tonight's ball?
Yes. It begins at nightfall. Her Majesty requests that you arrive in the hall before then.
Unfortunately, I will not be attending. I must be at church this evening.
I have scheming and plotting to do and have no time for such frivolities.
But Her Majesty...
Tell her that I will see her tomorrow.
Inform her I will be at Tuesday night's ball. She should well know by now Sundays are not good for me.
Y-yes, my lord.

The messenger leaves. Meanwhile, Veronica has managed to squeeze into her entire ridiculous standard outfit and put on all her makeup in the fifteen seconds that conversation lasted.

My, my. Straight out of bed and already an invitation to the royal ball.
Well, now since you healed the Prince, the Empress has come to rely on you. She wants to spend some more time with you.
Oh, you do not have to tell me. The clinginess is... irritating. But...
<strokes beard> More work to gain the Emperor's trust, eh...
<messes with her ponytail> You won't have to toil much longer. Am I right?

NEW Music: Rasputin ~ Mysterious Monk
(At least they're upfront about him being incredibly evil.)

Yes, it's time. Time to take the stage as the man who ended the 300-year-old Romanov dynasty.
<walks up to Rasputin> The world will be changed forever. Heh.

Veronica bows and walks to the door to leave.

The godslayer will come here eventually. Be on your guard.
I think it safe to say we can take Lenny off the payroll by now.
Yes, sir.
One more thing... Keep a close watch on Nicolai. It seems he's having secret negotiations with the Japanese envoy.
Now go.
<smiles and nods>

Veronica departs.

The fool can't forget his puny revenge.

Hmm. Nicolai is plotting with a Japanese envoy, huh? Now, who have we seen on a diplomatic assignment from Japan in the last few months? It couldn't be Kato. That big lunk can't be doing clandestine deals with the smug prettyboy terrorist. Absurd!

Meanwhile, a couple of minutes earlier...

I have scheming and plotting to do and have no time for such frivolities.
But Her Majesty...
Tell her that I will see her tomorrow.
Inform her I will be at Tuesday night's ball. She should well know by now Sundays are not good for me.
Y-yes, my lord.

The messenger walks by, taking no notice of the little girl in a bright blue and white coat doing an incredibly poor job of hiding behind a nearby potted plant. C'mon, kid. Even if he had no peripheral vision like a Metal Gear Solid guard, you are a good two feet past the plant you're squatting next to here.

The little girl runs up to the door and puts her ear against it.

And they were so loud last night!
All that hollering and something about... a whip...?
What's with all the whispering now?

The door opens and the Girl Behaving Suspiciously returns to her safe zone behind the potted plant. At least Veronica immediately turned the other direction and probably wouldn't have noticed the bright blue human-shaped figure behind a green plant. Still, kid. You need to put more points into Stealth. This is embarassing.

Girl Behaving Suspiciously walks back to Rasputin's door, crosses her arms and starts tapping her foot.

Looks like he won't be coming to the ball tonight. I bet he'll be up to no good, instead.
He's probably plotting and scheming and what not. How am I the ONLY one that notices he looks like some kind of vampire demon lord? And that music that starts playing when he strokes his beard! It's SO obvious he's up to no good!

Girl Behaving Suspiciously ponders for a few moments before slamming her fist into her palm and doing a fist pump.

NEW Music: Going Her Way
(This really reminds me a town theme from Xenogears. Also yay, there's finally a new town theme!)

If I can get some kind of proof of what Rasputin's really like, I can show it to my father! Then he'll know the truth! Just you wait! I'm not letting you get your hands on Mother Russia!
<ponders for a moment> I guess I'd better go see what Ewan has to say first!

So meet our newest playable character -- Girl Behaving Suspiciously. But that name won't do. What are we going to call her? GBS? That's dumb. Why would you even think such a thing?! Let's check the Profile screen.

Why we're just playing as Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia aka Princess Anastasia Romanov. Yeah, sure. Why not? We already have Rasputin showing up as the lead villain. Why not recruit Anastasia along for the ride? Let's just reenact that Don Bluth fanfic 1997 animated movie. You know the one where Rasputin was Christopher Lloyd and Anastasia escaped the purge and was now a kind of creepily sexualized 18-year old voiced by Meg Ryan.

Impressively, Anastasia is already Level 19 at the tender young age of umm... well, in real life and (supposedly in-game) she is meant to be 14 years old but... but she both looks and acts like she is 11-12 tops and I don't believe she had an dwarfism I'm aware of, so... We'll just work off the assumption Anastasia was born a couple of years later in this weird-ass alternate history timeline.

Anastasia is equipped with entirely armor and accessories we've already seen. She as of yet doesn't have a weapon but maybe we'll fix that in the near future.

She does, however, come with four Magic Crests already equipped. That seems irresponsible to give to a 12-year-old, but I guess I'm not early century Russian royalty. Most of them are defense or support oriented magic. Such as...

In any event, we now have to go search for Ewan, who was that messenger earlier. And to do so we'll need to explore The Winter Palace -- The Russian Emperor's residency from 1737 to 1917. Although at this point in history, the Tsar and his family rarely stayed here often. But, Shanghai also didn't get leveled by a magic nuclear attack and an alien space station never rose from the Irish sea off Wales and covered the world with eldritch glyphs to summon a god either so, details...

We cannot bug Rasputin and the door Veronica went through is now locked. So let's head to the south and see what's going on with the other Winter Palace guards and residents.

Translation: Look, we didn't feel like rending EVERY side room in this hall. You have to skip one or two, alright?

I was merely reallocating those cookies to those more in need for the good of Mother Russia. Namely me.

Anastasia enters the room opposite the guard.

Trying to uncover a plot by Rasputin to overthrow our government.
Oh, that's sweet deary.

Ever since Lord Rasputin got himself involved in our politics, Russia seems to be walking through a fog...

In real life, Prince Felix Felixovich Yusupov was one of the key orchestrators of the assassination of Rasputin. In Shadow Hearts: Covenant, he doesn't even earn a character portrait. So the death of Rasputin might go slightly different than it did in history.

Anastasia moves to the next hall to the south.

I would never let Mother Russia look bad on the international stage.
You kicked a British delegate in the knee and called him a booger face just last month, Princess.
Slander and lies!

Tch. Please. There aren't even good snacks kept in this hallway. I won't debase myself with peasant crackers.

Anastasia ducks into the nearby room.

The people in this palace don't even seem to know there's a war going on in the rest of the world...
I know about it. I'm also twelve, so...
I suppose that is a fair point.

Lord Rasputin tells me he'll pass the information on to the Tsar, but I wonder if he ever gets the full reports?

Grand Duke Dimitri Pavlovich of Russia was another co-conspirator in the historical assassination of Rasputin. He was also one of the few Romanovs that didn't get killed in the revolution purge. Like Prince Yusupov, he's failed to even earn a proper character portrait so I doubt his role in events will be significant. The two both do get Library entries and a more than usual amount of lines. I'm not sure why they didn't bother with portraits when people like that German general who had five lines in the prologue or literally every Wolf Bout opponent do. Okay, I'm happy they did the last one so what do I know?

Anastasia heads to the next room south.

Even though it's wartime, my shop is well-stocked. Just let me know if there's ever anything you might need! But of course, you understand, with times being what they are, costs have gone up ever so slightly... Ho ho ho!
Ho ho ho! I just LOVE war profiteering.
It's good to support Mother Russia's economy.

How can they have these extravagant parties every night when there's a war going on?
Tch. Be happy to be employed by the good graces of the state.
The revolution cannot come fast enough...
What was that?
Excuse me, princess, I need to change the sheets.

Anastasia exits to the front of the palace.

<frown> They docked my pay for a week last time, miss. My youngest boy, Jorgi, nearly starved. Please, Princess... Do not sneak out again. My family is dying.
Hmph. I won't for now. Only if you tell me where Ewan has gone!

You can't go through here, Princess. The empress was very firm about that. Ewan? I think I saw him walking down the west hallway.

Alright, the west hallway. Now we're getting somewhere. It's just a mirror of the previous hallway, but this is where the royalty that gets character portraits dwells. Let's talk to the guards in the corridor before we head into the side rooms.

My royal right to mischief cannot be contained by lowly peasants!

Pfft. I merely enhanced their aesthetic.
You colored all of their mustaches pink with crayon.
Just as I said -- enhanced their aesthetic!

Let's head into the three rooms in the hall starting with the south most one.

This first room actually belongs to Anastasia. It has a save point and everything.

There is one item of note. Anastasia's rather large stuffed bear contains a Tarot Card for Lucia. Technically, we cannot actually look at the Tarot Card just now because Lucia is not in the current party and all non-party members' menus are disabled. But we can cheat by just grabbing a shot from when the main party inevitably encounters Princess Romanov and...

Oh good, double or halve the most nebulous turn-based RPG stat next to Luck. That'll be a boon. The Special Effect version will up Evasion by 400% or reduce it by 75%. Quite the spread.

The next room is where Anastasia's mother, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and her younger brother, Prince Alexei Nikolaevich, are hanging out. Unlike the couple other historical figures we've encountered in our Winter Palace roaming, both of them get character portraits so they might actually be significant to the Shadow Hearts 2 plot.

The Tsar has gone out to inspect the battlefields, so the least we can do it do our duties properly here at home! I want you to listen well to Lord Rasputin's instructions and start behaving like a proper young princess!
But mother! I think he's trying to take over the country!
No more of this mischievous talk about the good Lord Rasputin's intentions!
Hmph! You never listen to me and my conspiracy theories!

I can't today. I'm too busy saving the nation.
Aww... Again?

The next room up is where the actual plot progress is located as Ewan, the Page is hanging out there wandering in circles as NPCs often enjoy as a popular pastime.

His Holiness won't be attending the royal ball this evening. He said he'd be going to the church in town...
The church in town?! Hmm. There's something fishy about that...
Did you say something, Your Highness?
Are you suspicious about the monk going to a church on a Sunday...?
<shakes head> No, no. Nothing. ...Guess I'd better go back to my room and come up with a plan!
Did you just say you were going to come up with some sort of plan. Should I be worried?
No, no. You are just hearing things.
I'm pretty sure I'm not.
*I* am pretty sure you did!
<sigh> As you say, Princess...

At this point, our only option to progress is to return to Anastasia's room. So let's do just that.

Yes. Better rest up for tonight.

Music: ENDS. Sometime later that night...

Yeah... I'm pretty sure I see her hiding poorly behind that pillar... She's like right then...
And I'm pretty sure I see it's 9:00 PM and it's time for a post rotation so it's Roman and Nico's problem.

We should return to our posts, then.

The two guards wander off and Anastasia almost immediately pops out and declares her attention well with earshot of them in this empty foyer.

Elsewhere, later that night...

NEW Music: Anastasia
(This a much lower key music box-like version of Anastasia's theme.)

You all like clocks?

Cuz we got clocks! We got SO many clocks

We are LOUSY with clocks! Up to our eyeballs in clocks! What time is it?! Clock time!

<fidgets restlessly> Is it ready yet, Edgar?
<fiddles with something> Almost, Your Highness. I just need to test it out now.

Anastasia hops down and inspects his work.

What did you want something like this for, all of a sudden? Are you trying to stir up some kind of mischief?
Of course not! I'm working for the benefit of Mother Russia, that's all!
Oh is that all? Lord, I'm gonna get sent to a gulag for this...

You mustn't make the Tsar and the Tsarina worry about you, you know.
Is it Tsarina? Is that right? That sounds like a made-up word.
No, that's right.
If you say so, Your Highness.

It's fine. My mother is so busy with Alexei that she never even thinks about me.
<goes back to fiddling with the device> Not that talk again!
What? Unless Rasputin is around, they just stand in the same bedroom next to each other all day. It's weird!

Your Highness, it's finished!
<inspects Edgar's work before turning back and smiling> Whoopee! Thanks, Edgar! Tee hee!

Promise me something. You must always use the Mystic Egg and the Camera for the cause of good.
Now I don't wanna hear about no propagandist photos or punishing enemies of the state, ya hear?
<nods enthusiastically> Of course! I promise! Hehe!

Later that night Princess Anastasia would get her first taste of blood and would lust for more...

Anastasia gleefully grabs a huge box camera off the table and heads for the door. As for the Mystic Egg, well, maybe she has now acquired a weapon to equip...

And one more thing, your Highness. Stay away from Prince Yusupov. That mad monk has been keeping a close watch on him.
Hehe. Watch. Do you get it? Since I'm a watchmaker... Heh. But seriously, he's bad news.
...... <nods>
<folds arms, shakes head and chuckles>
Hehe... You aren't gonna listen to a word I said, are you?
...... <shakes head>

Anastasia smiles and waves goodbye to Edgar before heading to the door. However, she's stopped at the entrance bumping into...

Music: ENDS

<curtseys> Excuse me.
<bows head> Excuse me, Madame.

Anastasia quickly leaves Edgar's shop.

Welcome to my shop.

Edgar walks over to Kato who reaches into his jacket and pulls out a pocket watch.

My watch hasn't been working well.
Hmm, that's a rare one. Made in Japan, eh. Hmm. Just a minute...

Edgar takes the watch and begins working on it at a table. Some time later...

NEW Music: Impatient Mood
(It sounds more mournful than impatient to me. But what do I know?)

<continues to repair watch> Are you a Japanese gentleman, then?
<looks around the shop> Yes, I'm on a diplomatic tour of Europe. This is my first time here. It's lovely.
<wipes brow> Yes, spring is short but sweet here.
Last one was six months ago. Next one is six months from now. Hehe.

Edgar walks over and hands the pocket watch back to Kato.

Speaking of springs, yours was worn out. I've just replaced it.
I'm grateful.
You'd best watch how you handle that thing from now on. Hehe. Little bit of watchmaker humor for you.
<nods and smiles> Ah yes. My people too are very keen on the puns.

They both look out the window.

The war has turned brutal lately. Everyone is worried about the future.
Do you think it will continue long?
Looks that way. At first, we all thought it would be over by Christmas.

Huh. So we've made it to 1916 by this point. In summary, Princess Anastasia Romanov will undoubtedly be joining Yuri's party. Grigori Rasputin couldn't possibly look any eviler and is banging Veronica. And Kato is in town and possibly colluding with Nicolai for some manner of a revenge plot. That was quite the dense opening to a chapter and our band of dipshits hasn't even crashed into the scene yet...

Video: Episode 45 Highlight Reel

Princess Anastasia Romanov Official Art - How does that hat even stay on with that Princess Leia ass pigtail braid... rings thing going on with her hair?