Part 64: Episode LIX: Tsar
Episode LIX: Tsar
Now that Yuri has gained the power of Amon, at the mere cost of killing an old blind man he met earlier that dad and casting an entire village into despair, it's time to return to Petrograd to go sort out that Rasputin jerk. We're actually given no other option here. Heck, there isn't even a map transition, I just added one to talk briefly since it's straight to another cutscene and the Russian revisit.
Upbeat generic parade music plays.
That day, Petrograd held a glorious celebration.
A victory parade for the Tsar returning from his tour of the Eastern front.
Although much love for him was lost on that bloody Sunday of a decade ago, on this day the people raised their voices in celebration of their Tsar.
But like a candle burning more brightly the moment before it's snuffed out, it was glory tinged with tragedy...
In actuality, at this point in history, Russia had just gotten their asses kicked in Poland and Nicholas II had taken over as Commander-in-Chief of the war effort. This didn't make him remotely any more popular since the Russian army was kind of beefing it hard from lack of supplies and great there's another thing the Tsar is screwing up. Even if in reality he just left the actual war planning to advisors and by all accounts, all he did was dick around inspecting troops, field hospitals and having luncheons with officers.
Petrograd itself was in the middle of deporting all the Jewish, Germans and Poles and smashing all the property. Plus everyone was getting really fed up with Rasputin having the Empresses' ear while she was running things in the capital. The actual 1915/6 Petrograd would not be remotely thrilled to see this guy roll up for a grand parade ego trip. But at the same time, the tsar just kind of ignored the capital in general. It didn't end well, I hear. But, perhaps that is beyond the scope of our alternate history JRPG narrative...
<adjusts his outfit> How can we go to the banquet without even knowing if Anastasia is all right?!
What are you saying? It's an important night for you -- no, for all of Russia.
What will the nobility of Russia think if we do not show up for our own opulent affair?
The maids suiting up the Emperor bow and depart.
Nothing is more important to me than the safety of my children!
Speaking of which, where are the rest of our children? All I hear about is Alexei and Anastasia. I've not so much as caught a glimpse of the others since I arrived.
Oh, they are, you know... around.
That is not reassuring when one of our children has already been actively abducted!
You must relax. Grigori is pressuring Edgar for more information about his co-conspirators.
Aren't you even worried?! Your beautiful daughter was kidnapped! Besides, Edgar treated Anastasia as his very own granddaughter. I can't believe he would be involved!
But I saw it with my very own eyes! Those ruffians Edgar brought here were controlling Anastasia! She almost killed Alexei with a knife!
<waves dismissively> Yes, you've told me that many times.
I've also heard word that the entire palace bewitched by some sort of spell at the last banquet. Is this true?
Oh, you know how these banquets can get.
Hmm... When this banquet is over, I'm going to question Edgar myself.
How is it nobody even knows his family name? It's just "Edgar." That is all we have on record? Did nobody ask after all these years?
The door opens and Rasputin enters and bows.
...There's no need, Your Majesty.
Ah, Rasputin. Have you found anything?
Tell me, Grigori.
I hope you didn't use any distasteful arcane arts. That's how we got into this mess in the first place.
Of course not, Your Majesty.
Rasputin stands up.
He was very tight-lipped, but I used hypnotism to learn of his companions.
Hmm... hypnotism? I am glad you are sticking with the above board sciences, Rasputin.
But, of course.
So who are they?
<motions to the Tsar> They're an organization intent on taking the life of the Tsar and his family.
Is this true?
Yes. Among them is a German noblewoman. She has strong military connections, so this may be part of an attempted coup!
My cousin Wilhelm!
I always knew he screamed of betrayal...
Relax, Your Majesty. Surely it is our enemy's intention to shake the confidence of the Tsar.
Just attend the ball as if nothing is amiss. We must show the rest of the world the greatness and composure of Russia.
Lord Rasputin is exactly right!
We'll get a few drinks in you and put your mind at ease, dear.
All the security for His Majesty and the Royal Family has been taken care of.
...Since when has such a task been your responsibility?
Oh, I thought it best for him to take over security as well, dear. There is no one else we could possibly trust more with our safety.
Your lives are in my hands, your majesty.
<nods> Very well.
You're so wise, my lord.
Rasputin and the Empress depart. Meanwhile, the Tsar plops onto a nearby couch and takes a load off...
<sigh> Oh dear.
Yep, just leave everything to the weird wizard practically glowing with an evil aura and go get smashed at a party. What's the worst that could happen?
Music: Town of Twilight ~ European Town
One would think there would be wanted posters and patrols after a group of anarchists tried to assassinate the prince and kidnapped the princess just a few days ago. But nah. There are a couple extra guys out front. Good enough! Rasputin's crack security measures are getting the job done.
He's a page. He is alright.
The hell is a page? Like... from a book?
You can't go in this way right now. They're on extreme alert right now because of the banquet.
I've been missing for over a week and they're still throwing banquets?
You know how it is.
Prince Yusupov said he had a plan. He's waiting for you by the bridge on the outskirts of the city.
Thank you, Ewan. I owe you one!
How fortunate Ewan, the Page had been waiting by the town gates at night in the dead of winter just in the off chance Anastasia might return unharmed to the city so he could relay to the 11-year-old child that there is a clandestine meeting going down at the same sketchy place Rasputin was plotting earlier. That's dedication!
Before we see what Prince Yusupov is up to, there are a couple NPCs with new dialogue since our previous visit to the city.
If they would just voice their opinions, maybe that would end the troubles...
Or maybe poison him or shoot him, or stab him, or perhaps drown him in a river...? I'll take any number of assassination options to sort him out.
What if someone transformed into a God of Wrath and punched him to death?
That would be unlikely but not unwelcome.
It'll only lead to riots and strikes! They're totally out of touch with the students and the poor!
You can't cut back on student funding! You will regret this!
Sure enough, the Winter Palace is completely blocked off. So let's just head straight to the dock. There's literally nothing else to be done in town beyond that.
I love having an excuse to drink!
What happens when you don't have an excuse?
*hic* I drink even more!
Yuri approaches the bridge, where...
Yuri falls to his knees.
Music: Holy Mistletoe ~ Graveyard
What's the matter? Did something happen?
I'm not really appreciating disembodied voices yelling into my head. I had a real problem with that last year...
Don't worry about it. So, what's up?
You resurrected Amon, didn't you?
I'm going to punch him so hard it's gonna knock that stupid pointy beard right off his face!
That must be why...
Huh? Why what?
I feel forces coming from the different class doors. Amon must've summoned some really powerful fusion monsters! I think the spirits of the six classes would lend you even greater powers if they got the chance!
Got the chance? Greater powers?
<steps forward> ...That's right. Look for something like symbols that represent them... something like that! If you find anything like that, you should check the altar stones again.
This is going to be locked behind me having to do a bunch of weird obscure stuff all over the continent, isn't it?
<nods> Most likely.
Well, I'll okay trying to find out about that creepy tree. See you!
Jeanne walks off.
Sorry, already teleporting away. I haven't figured out how to stop it yet.
Symbols of the six spirits, huh?
So remember the Gravestones in the first Shadow Hearts? They're a different item now, but it's the same principle. Now that we've unlocked Amon, we can power up our other Elemental Fusions to a final Level 3 form by locating special stones hidden in the world. We could back out of Petrograd and obtain one right now, even! But we've not even taken Amon for a test drive plus a decent amount of additional side-content unlocks as we approach the Disc 1 endgame not too long from now. So we'll let this wait for another day. It's just another questline to the absurdly stacking pile of side content.
Music: Town of Twilight ~ European Town
Yeah... I'm fine. It was just Jeanne calling me, that's all.
Hehe. She gave me a clue about how to release my power. I'm really grateful.
Wait... where is Jeanne?
Oh... she's a ghost living inside my soul. Like, Karin met her not long ago...
I'm not going to lie. That was a little creepy.
Wait, she's DEAD?!
Awroo?! (What the HELL?!)
I feel like I am missing a part of this plot...
I don't know who this person is either. But can we get going, already?! I have a country to save!
Yeah, yeah... C'mon.
<walks the opposite direction> This way, then.
Sure enough, if we return to literally the same spot where Rasputin and that Victor dweeb were plotting an assassination we find Prince Yusupov. I guess aiding the party is the closest he's going to get to the derailed Rasputin assassination he planned in real life.
<unlocks the gate> You must hurry. The banquet will begin shortly.
It's very fortuitous they hold these things in the dead of night lately.
Everyone shuffles into the new dungeon.
Music: In Darkness of a Labyrinth ~ Dungeon
A sewer level? Really...?
This passage was made over 100 years ago. Not even Rasputin knows about it. It's the only way to get inside the palace unnoticed.
And you're sure it's a straight shot there...? Just follow this tunnel?
Oh, there are several gate based lever puzzles and what have you. Standard stuff for a subterranean construction of this era.
...Of course, it is.
Thank you, Prince Yusupov!
<shakes head> Not at all! The Tsar will be overjoyed when he sees you're okay.
Plus, you all seem poised to take out Rasputin, am I wrong?
Yep, we sure are!
That is a win in my book!
Prince Dmitri will be waiting for you in the room on the other side. Please, look after the princess!
Joachim flexes for the prince.
I'll keep guard at the entrance here. <walks back upstairs>
Okay, Anastasia, let's go see your dad!
Tune in next time for a goddamn sewer level! They claim it's a "Gallery of the Dead" by sprucing it up with the occasional skeleton. But you're not fooling anyone, Shadow Hearts 2. I knows me a sewer level when I sees it and that there is a daggon sewer level, I'll tell ya what!
Video: Episode 59 Highlight Reel
Tsar Emperor Nicholas II Concept Art - The actual guy had way more of a pronounced mustache than an even cut beard. But other than that, it's a pretty decent likeness.