Part 67: Episode LXII: We Brought Receipts, Bitch!Episode LXII: We Brought Receipts, Bitch!
Trumpets blare and assorted palette-swapped party guests murmur as the banquet for the war victory celebration
The crowd of nobles gather to the side and begin clapping and bowings as the Tsar and Tsarina finally decide to show up for their own party. An entire sewer level happened in the time it took you to finally wander two rooms over here, Nicholas. Was your wife just awkwardly waiting in the hall for the last hour before you decided to shuffle over?
Anyone who is anyone has shown up for the bash. Kato and his chin made the invite list.
Nicolai and Veronica are in attendance. Yes, she showed up here still wearing that and nobody said boo. I have to wonder how long Veronica has just been Rasputin's personal dominatrix to the point nobody even side glances at her skulking in corners looking like a really bad alternate costume for Harley Quinn.
And of course, regicide plotting Rasputin is here. Hopefully, he'll refrain from casting an evil spell upon all the attendants now that Tsar is back in town.
Noblemen of Russia! Greetings!
After having visited our young troops on the front line, one thing I can say to you, with complete confidence, is that the brave soldiers of the Russian Army march on the road to a total and complete victory!
In a few months to perhaps half of a year's time, undoubtedly. Certainly no later than next autumn! Likely of this year! Have faith!
...Well, everyone. In celebration of the victory to come, and the eternal Empire of Russia, let us... wine, dine and dance!
Let's get wild, people! I want to see a woman's top off and at least one pair of misplaced trousers by the strike of midnight!
Everyone claps. Generic fancy banquet music begins playing.
<slumps in chair> Ugh... What a fool I've been...
Aww, don't be so hard on yourself, buddy. Yeah, you're throwing a victory party for a war that won't be ending for another three years... after your entire family has been assassinated for the lot of you being decadent fuck-ups. But, look on the bright side...
Your closest advisor invited his personal low rent assassin to murder you tonight. So you won't have to worry about this for too long.
Hmm... <nods to Victor>
A reminder: Rasputin's Plan A of ascending to the throne of Russia is hinging on this generic middle-management ass looking dweeb assassinating the Emperor in a middle of a party.
And what will be the method employed by this unassuming jobber assassin. Remember, despite his modest looks, Victor is a fairly skilled swordsman, can summon demons, has pyromancy AND teleports.
Yeah, he's going to wait until the Tsar zones out, pull out a dagger and just try to shank him. That's it. This is the grand scheme Rasputin and his assassin concocted. It's a good thing Emperor Nicholas II gave all his guards the night off to go party too or there could be complications in this plot.
But you know what nobody accounted for...? Especially, poor Victor here?
Music: Flame of Strain to Blaze ~ Tension
The Rude Hero dropping in.
You are already punched.
Here lies Victor. He lived as he died. Failing at everything and immediately getting his ass kicked. Victor is dead, by the way. Yuri killed him with that punch. That was a cutscene punch. It's like a cutscene bullet and is 95 times more effective than an in-game punch. We never see him again.
Kato looks on with approval at how wrecked that mid-boss just got by his old friend Yuri.
(OK. This is not optimal. You can turn this around, Grigori...)
<murmuring and gasps>
<looks to see the source of the commotion> ......
(...Oh, damn it.)
Rasputin tries to intervene with the Princess's return but...
Yuri is not having any of that shit.
(You can spin this still, Grigori. Keep it together.)
You... Y-you're alive, Princess Anastasia... We were so worried.
I should... should really look you over to make sure you are unharmed. In private, naturally. Now, Princess, if you'll just follow me...
<pushes back Rasputin> Hey! Step back!
Nobody is buying your crap, Nosferatu.
<stares down Yuri> Grr...!
Thanks for worrying, Mr. Rasputin!
<twirls around and bows like a little shit> As you can see, I'm quite well!
...Yes, indeed. That is... very... nice to see...
But somebody isn't going to be well in a minute. Don't go anywhere, Mr. Rasputin. I'll be right back.
Anastasia approaches her father.
NEW Music: Relaxation Mood ~ Relief (Might be the most generic JRPG pleasant music in the game.)
Princess Anastasia has returned. And welcome home, Daddy!
But... but how...?
I had a great adventure with these folk. We visited foreign lands and saw all sorts of strange and wonderful things.
Oh-ho! Oh, is that right?
Yep. I went to Turkey and met a real spy, learned about a secret cult and saw an old man die!
...That is, quite... the adventure, sweetheart.
<pulls out a picture album and hands it to her father> These are the pictures I took. It's a present for you, Daddy!
I think you'll find the pictures on page five to be VERY interesting, Daddy. <slowly cranes head toward Rasputin while grinning evilly>
<flips through the book> ......
Well? Didn't I do a good job? That last one almost cost me my life!
<examines the book and looks up> Hmm...
Yes, I see. You did a very good job.
Excellent composition and framing.
What about these rogues...?
Oh, yes, thank you!
Leave them to me, Your Majesty!
The Tsar ignores Rasputin and turns to the crowd.
Someone here plotted to kill me, Tsar Nicholas of Russia, and my family! And that someone is...
<points> My counselor, Grigori Rasputin!
Music: Flame of Strain to Blaze ~ Tension
My lord. Wh-what do you mean...?!
You can drop the pretense.
My daughter brought proof of your treachery.
<cocks her head and smiles smugly>
This picture proves it!
You really forgot to follow up on the picture I took of you and your assassin, you big dummy? And the picture I took of the monster you sent to kill me? Oh and pictures of the monsters you let into the palace when you did magic to everyone! Oh and another picture of your hitman attacking me and my friends too. I almost forgot about that one. Like geez, Mr. Rasputin. That is just negligent.
Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
It's time to intervene?
Nope! Time to go...
Veronica and Nicolai proceed to bail. Meanwhile, Empress Alexandra gets a closer look at the photo.
So how is Rasputin going to get out of this pinch? Well, simple...
<pulls out a dagger> Why you...
I am NOT going to be undone by the hobby of a twelve-year-old child!
He's going to immediately panic and grab a hostage at knifepoint. Does this guy really look like he has a plan? The best he could come up with was hiring Victor from Sapientes Gladio Accounting to shank the Emperor and then... Wait, what was the rest of the plan to take over...? It's not like assassinating the Tsar would make him the new Emperor. Was he just going to have Victor stab the entire royal family at different occasions? Was he going to marry the Empress or something? That's not how royal succession works, Greg.
Rasputin begins backing up with the Empress. Yuri starts walking toward them, unimpressed with the hostage situation.
Let her go. This is between you and me now.
<glare> You'll pay!!
<looks toward the door> Huh?!
Oh hey, would you look at that? There are actually GUARDS in this palace that, in theory, should probably be looking after the head of state in a public event. Things look grim for Rasputin's escape chances. I mean, other than that whole invincible shield thing he has that none of our superhuman party members could break... But, another escape option presents itself.
Lord Rasputin, now's your chance!
So, if the assassination went south the escape contingency was for Rasputin to grab a hostage and have his stripper girlfriend toss a flashbang grenade and for him to book it? I'm starting to think Rasputin might not actually be very good at this villainous scheme thing, despite initial impressions and the build-up he's gotten.
Rasputin tosses the Empress aside and dashes out of the throne room.
Guards! After them!
The guards give chase. A short while later, after all the party guests have departed...
Music: Relaxation Mood ~ Relief
Anastasia runs up and hugs her father.
Oh, Anastasia! It's all right. Everything's fine now!
...I mean, it's not. We do need to get Rasputin, but...
Eh... It shall work itself out. I'm sure the guards have apprehended him already.
<concerned look of doubt> ......
Say nothing. I understand. Idle hands are ever the Devil's tools.
You merely nearly got myself and your daughter assassinated. It happens.
Anastasia gives an odd, forgiving smile to her deeply stupid mother. It's weird Anastasia is kind of competent and clever when both of her parents are... just morons. Complete damn idiots.
Emperor Nicholas turns to Yuri.
I wish to thank you.
It's fine, but it's not over yet. We need to get somewhere safe...
I am going to be perfectly honest here, your palace guards? Completely worthless. It's like you hired them as a joke.
They're mostly relatives of lower-income nobles hired as a favor to their families.
That explains a lot... Anyway, we ne
Music: Flame of Strain to Blaze ~ Tension
Oh, by the way, did you think we were done with seeing Rasputin panic and flip the fuck out immediately while in panic mode? No, immediately pulling a knife on the woman he has spent the last decade slowly gaining the trust and complete influence over? That was him being calm about the changing tide of his situation now that the mask has fallen. The amount of immediate escalation Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin is about to perform is unreal. So buckle the fuck up!
I guess he's here!
Or he never left... It's been about a minute.
Father, Mother! Find someplace safe! Let's go, Yuri!
We're going? What about the palace?
Who cares? It's not even the only palace we have!
<waves arms> Ugh! Come on, Yuri! We've got to find a way to save this country!
Anastasia dashes out the door.
...I guess I *do* still really wanna punch that bearded jackass. Crud.
<turns to Anastasia's parents> I'll protect the Princess. Don't you worry!
I'm counting on you!
Yuri dashes out the door after Anastasia.
My! Could Anastasia be their leader?
I-I think she might be...
And with that, the relevance of these two deeply incompetent parents is basically concluded. Tune in next time for Rasputin having absolutely zero fucking chill as Shadow Hearts: Covenant gets wild.
Video: Episode 62 Highlight Reel (You should watch this for how much of smug shithead Anastasia is dunking on Rasputin.)
Grigori Rasputin Concept Art - The work it must take to maintain that beard and mullet.