Part 68: Episode LXIII: The Night QueenEpisode LXIII: The Night Queen
Let's just back up for a moment and review the events that got us to this point. Anastasia, a twelve year old, is the only member of this idiot royal family that sees that Rasputin is clearly evil as shit. She sneaks out at night, manages to acquire a camera she commissioned (and a weapon too in case she needs to dirt, mind you) and manages to tail Rasputin without the guy noticing. Out in the open, with an underground crypt literally five feet away where this could have been done instead, he discusses plans with his hired hitman about assassinating the Emperor and said assassination target's daughter takes a picture of this clandestine liaisons. At this point, Victor is just burned. He's not your guy anymore. He's done. Slit his throat and drop him in the river.
Instead, Rasputin is terrible at thinking on the fly and jumps straight to attempting to murder the princess. Except, he half-asses that by outsourcing it to his hired goon who in turn outsources that to a dumb bird monster. And he fails. Your hitman failed to assassinate a tween girl. And now a photo of you and your assassin is out in the wind somewhere. Again, at this point, you break Victor's neck and leave his body in an alley. Go get Ewan, The Page or Elio, the Tippler or literally anyone else to be your assassin instead of the SINGLE dude where there is concrete photographic evidence of your involvement within this assassination plot. Hell, it's established you can STRAIGHT UP POSSESS and mind control people remotely. If Yuri showed up and uppercut anyone else's head off too and the assassination is a bust, like it went here, at least you've still got plausible deniability, Grigori.
But no. Victor was still your dude. The one single dude you should not have let be the assassin. That is a hell of a goof, Greg. That's a hell of a goof...
With that all said, we should probably get on top of tracking down Rasputin and figuring out what the hell is exploding. There is only one path to take through the palace and it is quite sure. This is not a repeat dungeon. Thankfully, it seems Rasputin blew his trash mob load on spare monsters the previous time he attacked the palace for no real reason, so we're free of random battle filler during our pursuit.
Ah, the courtyard. The one path we couldn't take last time through the palace due to the ragdolled sentry in front of the door and the etiquette against rolling royal guards the hell out of the way. It's very disrespectful. We quickly discover we are not the only ones who have decided to explore in this new direction.
All the troops are going crazy! And it's crawling with monsters outside! Huh? You want something?
No, we're good actually. The brothers' stock has not updated (it has in fact downgraded from our visit to Gerome Valley as they're still using their first visit to Petrograd inventory.)
All the maids are in hysterics! If you try talking to them, they just scream! What's that? You want a dress?
Absolutely not the time for that, Pierre. We're going to use a Tent, save the game and go see what all the fuss is about.
The courtyard, which is a dead-end except for the rooftop access readily available. Granted, I don't see Rasputin repelling down the wall on the far end. But, you know. There are options.
The pair are rocked by an explosion in the distance.
Look at that!
So what is Rasputin's Plan B now that he has been revealed to have orchestrated the devious assassination plot of having just some guy walk up and stab the Emperor? Remember how I said Rasputin has zero fucking chill when he's panicking? Well, his back-up plan...
Where was that hiding...?
Oh, his fallback plan was to call in his doom zeppelin and just indiscriminately start bombing the city. This guy has gone from "Oh shit, I'm caught" to full on scorched earth policy in the span of no more than ten minutes. That's kind of impressive.
This escalated quickly...
Awroo... (No joke...)
<looks around frantically> Where is he?!
<points to the stairs> There!
...Wait, there is something else.
Is that a... deer...?
Oh, since bombing the city isn't quite enough... Rasputin has also unleashed a horde of flying reindeer upon the town as well. Sure, why not, Rasputin. Drop some mustard gas on an orphanage while you're at it and then go poison the water supply for good measure.
These deer harpies are known as Peryton and are Dark elemental foes with a meager 99 HP. They have an unimpressive physical attack string, can cast Evil Born and more problematically Arc Shield and tend to favor setting up combos to maximize their attack output.
The Peryton is a mythological beast from the ancient, lost times and land of... 1957 Spain.
Wikipedia on Peryton posted:
Click here for more information!
The peryton is a mythological hybrid animal combining the physical features of a stag and a bird. The peryton was created and described by Jorge Luis Borges in his 1957 Book of Imaginary Beings, using a supposedly long-lost medieval manuscript as a source. The peryton is said to have the head, neck, forelegs and antlers of a stag, combined with the plumage, wings, and hindquarters of a large bird, although some interpretations portray the peryton as a deer in all but coloration and bird's wings.
According to Borges, perytons lived in Atlantis until an earthquake destroyed the civilization and the creatures escaped by flight. A peryton casts the shadow of a man until it kills one during its lifetime, at which time it starts to cast its own shadow. A sibyl once prophesied that the perytons would lead to the downfall of Rome. In Borges' original Spanish edition, the word is given as peritio so the presumptive Latin original would be peritius, which happens to be the Latin name of the fourth month on the ancient Macedonian calendar (Peritios, moon of January). The connection of this, if any, to the peryton is unclear.
This might be the most faithful copy and pasting of a bestiary entry that would end up getting ripped off by Dungeons & Dragons yet.
As for the creatures themselves, the bulk of them decided to bunch up despite having the ability to fly. This was a poor tactical choice on their part.
Aww! That was too easy!
Now, we should head upstairs and pursue Rasputin. But, there was a very easy to miss chest we need to go grab. You can see it when entering the courtyard but control is taken away by that cutscene and we're dumped in the middle of the courtyard afterward.
But we do really want that chest. It's got a quite spectacular magic crest inside. Ipos provides Arc Gale aka haste for the entire party. Now that seems like a keen ability for, I don't know, the boss fight that is probably waiting on the roof. Just throwing that out there...
We are going to equip that crest on someone. But more importantly, the entire party needs to equip Leonardo's Bears. Instant Death might be a severe issue in a few minutes, otherwise.
With that prep work done, we can now head to the roof. Random battles against more of the Peryton jobbers on the way up to the roof. But that's just a minor delay.
Music: Veronica Vera ~ Her Majesty, The Queen
Petropavlovsk Fortress (aka the Peter and Paul Fortress) is the original citadel St. Petersburg was built around and was used as a prison at this point in time. It's about two kilometers away, directly across the river from the Winter Palace. Like, you can straight up see it out of the window of the palace. So Rasputin's fallback retreat is to just dash across a bridge and stopping at the first place on the opposite side of the river. That's like trying to ace the US President in the White House and retreating to the Washington Monument if things went south.
Again, I'm very much starting to suspect Rasputin may be bad at this whole villainy on the fly thing...
<takes fighting stance> Out of the way, Veronica!
That perfume trick isn't going to work twice and we've beaten all your lousy monsters of the week.
Your dog killed my dog.
Yeah, he's a good boy like that!
I'll see you in hell! You can't match this power of mine, a gift from Lord Rasputin himself!
Music: Ladder to Heaven
Oh, uhh... Hello there. I guess this is happening now... So the next stage of Rasputin's intense, definitely not panicking and throwing all the emergency levers at once escalation is to turn his girlfriend into an eight titted, winged hell beast. Sure, I guess that is an option. That is a thing you could do... At least Lenny had the decency to properly transform before jumping straight to the boss fight part. Meet
Accompanying her are a pair of Peryton and their enormous asses. I noticed it while editing this update and now so too do you gain this curse. Our priority is to immediately kill the two add-on minions before they get a chance to even take a turn. Otherwise, they'll cast Arc Shield on the Night Queen and set up a combo with her and we really don't want that added headache.
Despite being a Water elemental enemy on paper, the transformed Veronica actually has access to every single mid-level AOE elemental spell and her AI is surprisingly good at targeting the elemental weakness spells for our characters as well as hitting anyone bunched up together for good measure.
In addition to having all the magic, she is quite strong physically with the added trouble of her physical attacks potentially causing Instant Death. Yeah, not knowing about that ahead of time? A little rough.
However, we are decently prepped so after we eliminate the deer baddies, we'll have the party get buffed with Arc Rage, mostly for Yuri (Amon) and Karin, and Arc Gale for everyone to step up their game. Thankfully, Veronica spent all of her DCP on those offensive spells and didn't pack any debuffs or buff negation magic.
If we're lucky, we can maybe set up one four-person Combo to get in some decent damage to speed things up further. But for the most part, more than a 2-3 person combo is the most we're getting in here. And it's mostly not worth it to bother and just stick to independent attacks just due to all of her AOE spells.
But mostly because every other round, we're likely going to need to heal up folks. As said, Night Queen is quite good at targeting elemental weaknesses and letting low HP members ride more than two turns without getting topped off is a dicey prospect.
Additionally, this fight drags on long enough that the issue of Sanity had to be addressed. Especially, having Anastasia as a mandatory member of the team. She's running light on the SP front. We can't all be confronting evil wizards and world-ending threats day in and day out to get the sanity up to snuff.
But, as long as we keep an eye on everyone and take an occasional break to address any issues, Veronica's final monster of the week will eventually fall.
Music: Result ~ Victory
Keep your eyes where they belong!
Look, Karin, it was hard not to notice the eight boobs on that monster. They had jiggle physics and everything. It was grotesque.
We get another Magic Crest for our troubles. Do you think it's meant to be Hale Break? What the heck is a Hale Beak...?
The hell is ylang ylang? Hmm... Cananga odorata, known as the cananga tree, is a tropical tree that is native from India, through parts of Indochina, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia, to Queensland, Australia. OK, if you say so. I suppose it makes sense Veronica would drop another Aroma Oil for Lucia. Indeed, it's the last one we get on Disc 1. Moon Oil makes the Aromatherapy concoctions:
- Moon Oil + Ocean Oil = Strike Effect boost x1.5 for one turn. 60 MP.
- Moon Oil + Misty Oil = Evasion rate doubles for one turn. 25 MP.
- Moon Oil + Grass Oil = Critical rate boost x1.5 for one turn. 30 MP.
- Moon Oil + Night Oil = Critical rate 100% for one turn. 100 MP.
- Ocean Oil + Moon Oil = Small amount of HP restored for two turns. 30 MP.
- Misty Oil + Moon Oil = Protection against status Abnormalities for two turns. 25 MP.
- Grass Oil + Moon Oil = Small Physical Defense boost for three turns. 20 MP.
- Night Oil + Moon Oil = Medium amount of MP restored for two turns. 35 MP.
Oil doesn't even seem like a real word anymore and these write-ups are only going to get longer. Yeesh. That 100% Critical Hit rate actually sounds pretty damn good. Though, I could leave the rest, frankly.
We're tagging Joachim back into the ring after this chapter. I feel bad he's nearing Lucia and Gepetto levels after trading him out for Anastasia. Poor guy didn't even make a Level Up on a major boss.
Tune in next time for the main event! Who is ready to see Amon punch a Mad Monk? The day approaches as Shadow Hearts: Covenant continues.
Video: Episode 63 Highlight Reel
Winter Palace Courtyard Concept Art - Needs more flying reindeer.
Veronica Vera Concept Art - Amazingly, the final version we got is modestly dressed in comparison.