Part 108: ...The Merit Test...The Merit Test
[Music: Connected Hearts]
Ah, Hibiki... You came at just the right moment.
Did something happen?
It's the Nagoya faction. They contacted us.
That's right. Airi is ranting about "having it out."
A duel, huh...?
That's right. She seems rather excited at the prospect for some reason.
[Music: Dark Clouds]
You follow Fumi's gaze to see someone who looks like Airi running off...
This has to be a trap.
That is one possibility. Chief Hotsuin, what do you advise that we do?
Let us follow.
Over here! You fell right for it, stupid!
And to think I wondered what they were scheming... Haha, what nonsense.
Yamato, Hibiki. We cannot agree to the system you are trying to uphold.
That's why we will defeat you here!
Big words. Is this your plan?
I really didn't want to do this... but you're too strong. What else could we do?
I don't care either way. No matter how many come, we'll crush them. It's that simple.
In any case... Let's have a fair fight so none of us have any regrets, okay?
That's just it. We weren't ordered to do this. We have our own ideas, too.
If the world can be changed, then we have our own desires we want to come true, too.
Your own ideas, huh... Well, I've got a good idea what you're thinking of.
This is Ronaldo's work.
...Fools. You turn your eyes aside from what you truly are and try to lecture me?
We're completely different! Your system preys onthe weak so the strong prosper!
If everything becomes equal, everyone will be working for the benefit of everybody...
If everyone is working to help everyone else, it can only lead to happiness!
Hahaha! "Peace, peace"... Only a fool talks endlessly about the one thing he knows.
Yes... but life is life. We should support each other BECAUSE inequality exists!
And what benefit is there in helping the weak? It's a waste of the talents of the strong.
Why can't you understand!? It's natural for the strong to help out those who are weak!
This is a waste of time. This livestock's bleating must be disciplined. Handle it.
Once again, this fight is functionally identical to the last time we did it. So, we'll skip through to the important bits yet again.
This time around, Otome DOES get one-rounded. Being a higher level doesn't even play into it; Bishamonten is useless against Otome herself since she reflects Physicals.
This fight isn't the only place to grab Recarmloss but it's probably the better option. Now we have every skill in the game.
Airi's just plain easy no matter how you go about taking her down.
Rest of the guys aren't really much of a hassle. Just requires less blind idiocy than I sometimes devolve into.
[Music: JPs -Geomagnetism Research Department-]
Well, it seems they've been disposed of. Nicely done, everyone.
That was easy.
Haha, impressive. Not that I would have expected anything less from you.
Pfft... That was nothing. The real prize wasn't even here.
That reminds me... I didn't see Ronaldo here. Where could he be?
Is he planning an ambush?
...The others are searching for him now, but it doesn't seem that Ronaldo is here.
Mmm... where could those vermin be hiding?
Yes... They're most likely lurking in Osaka, waiting for their chance to strike.
Hahaha, it's fine. Let them struggle to their heart's content.
We will show them that they are not in the same league as us...
You say your farewells to everyone before leaving.
We never did quite manage to get Airi on our side before, so let's see if we can pull it off this time.
[Music: Connected Hearts]
I'm not here to fight.
Wh...! Me neither... Geez!
Anyway, what do you want!? I'm the enemy!
...Or did you come to make fun of the loser!?
You just creamed me, you know. I was only trying to bring peace and equality too!
So equality is good?
O-Of course it is! There'd be no favouritism... Everyone would have a chance!
Well, I dunno... Maybe you're right...?
Hey, Hibiki... Is there something I'm overlooking?
You've given up.
I haven't given--! *sigh*
Just because I couldn't win, I found reasons to justify it...
With Ronaldo, there wouldn't be any personal success or failure. That's what appealed to me...
Don't make excuses.
W-Wait a sec... Is that what you're after, Hibiki?
I need your help.
Huh...? You need my help? Really...?
[Music: Over the Brink of Death]
Um... sorry about before. And thanks for letting me join your side again!
Glad to have you back.
Sorry... I'm with you now. I'll follow you wherever this leads!
...But first, I'm gonna go apologize. I said some harsh stuff... See you later!
You say your farewells to Airi before leaving...
Just a small bit of time killing between re-recruiting Airi and then moving on with the plot.
Ah, here we go. This one looks different, at least.
Hello there, Hibiki. You're finally here... Are you ready for battle?
[Music: JPs -Geomagnetism Research Department-]
Oh, and that other one, too... Jones, was it? They seem surprisingly inseparable.
Ronaldo... so the time to fight him has come...!
...They're almost wiped out. Once we mop up here, we'll be set to go for Polaris.
Let's go forth, Hibiki, and strike down that man's brazen impertinence...!
There he is.... Yo, Ronaldo!
[Music: Crumbling Routine]
Let's finish this.
"Finish this," huh... Ha. I didn't want to have to fight you, Hibiki...!
Hey, it's Hibiki and the Osaka faction. Together again after all this time!
Ha... You're the same as ever. I've been itching to beat the crap outta your stupid face.
It's time for the final battle between you and me. Right is on our side!
...Ronaldo, Akie! Isn't there any way we can come to an understanding...!?
Haha... You know, I think Yamato has some good points, too...
But what's the point of society if it exists only by the oppression of the weak?
I'm sorry... But I just can't support that.
Ngh... I see. I understand. Then, let's put an end to this!
...Are you done, Sako? I can't bear to listen to such pointless talk.
Yamato...! You are evil incarnate! How can you dare to even lecture me!?
...Miserable pest. You want to kill me, no? You can struggle as much as you want!
[Music: Challenge to the Fate]
Alrighty, so this one is very definitely new fight. After all, last time we fought Ronaldo and Joe it was on Day 8. Naturally, Joe and Ronaldo are actually a little different this time around.
Only a little, though. Like, Joe still has a non-zero chance of murdering himself. Difference is, he can't do it from a distance now.
Likewise, Ronaldo isn't going to be a supremely tenacious irritant who has a Gucumatz spam Shield All on top of it.
Oh, and there's no random Salaryman with Magic Yin this time around.
So, this fight plays out a bit differently. Ronaldo and a bunch of the normal generic opponents will just run to the back end of the bridge.
Ronaldo and two others will advance slowly towards you though. The yakuza guy has Full Might, and the lady has Null Auto. Whatever.
"Countless sins"? No... I gave the useless scum of this world a deserved punishment!
[Music: Decisive Battle with a Sworn Friend]
Thankfully, this time I do remember that Wall is the Physical reflect auto. Good thing then that Purple Mirror and Yamato are decked out with spells.
...Kinda deserved that one.
Especially since Yamato nearly punked himself with an Elec Dance intended to murderise Osiris. Was sorta hoping Purple Mirror would drop Kartikeya before this. Makarakarn kinda put a stop to that.
But at least it did end up killing himself by accident.
And, yes, that Double Extra is from critting himelf.
One of these days, I will stop being mildly annoyed by Endure on things that aren't my team. That day is not today.
So, uh, hubris is what stopped me beating Ronaldo there then. What about this guy?
He repels Physicals, sure, but its worth it just to wreck both Rakshasas. Guy himself drops immediately afterwards since he's only got protection from Phys.
Like lambs to the slaughter these guys, huh?
Sometimes you just drop a Holy Dance because you cannot be arsed with the fight itself.
These random mooks are definitely the epitome of that.
...This was an Assassinate. No, really.
Conversely, Twin Ultimate makes short work of her entire party.
This lady is the only non-Joe NPC over this side. She has a Python.
...Well, had a Python. Makoto et al. just punch them and they die.
Ronaldo wants a round 2. He'll get what he wishes.
It just won't end well for him this time around.
Of course, like always, he keeps 1 HP no matter what you do.
Oh, yeah. This guy has a Vile. He didn't use it very effectively though.
So he gets the shit kicked out of him by Guan Yu critting for over 3k again.
I'm not even sure why he crits so often, but he does. And it's awesome.
Haha... Probably no use in more talking. Once this is over, let's hash it all out.
Unfortunately for him, Joe has no way of protecting from Physicals. His Decarabia DOES have Shield All, but that doesn't do too much at this point without Endure(+) to back it up.
With Joe down, we're done here too. So, yeah, not realy a difficult fight this. Even without super-high level demons.
[Music: Connected Hearts]
You call yourself justice? Don't make me laugh! You're the dregs of a broken society.
That's enough out of you, you tyrant! You're what was wrong with the old world! You--
You're both dregs.
Hahaha! Bold of you to say so, Hibiki! But... You're right!
But... you have lost. Does that frighten you? If it does, you must be stronger.
I will create a world based on merit, and if you are worthy, one day you may defeat me.
That's a great idea.
Hahaha... It truly is, yes? Kuriki, you have survived this long as JP's enemy.
...Ngh! This is unbelievable... So this... is Yamato's strength...!
We're on the same team now.
Yamato Hotsuin, Hibiki... Ha... It seems I've been fairly beaten. I accept defeat.
That's right, Ronaldo, the fight's over. Come with us!
Haha... Unfortunately, I'm not capab;e of that.
I can't discard my ideals for you...!
Farewell, Hibiki... And... Thank you, my friend!
Tch... This makes me sick. But... his death was fitting.
*sigh* Man... His inability to change really hurts us...
That was his choice.
Now... All opposition to us has been suppressed. Next, we must deal with Benetnasch.
Yeah, so we need to go figure out we need Trumpeter by talking to Fumi again. It's basically identical to before but this time with Keita occassionally chiming in. Not really worth going over again, so we'll skip ahead.
...Oh and Ronaldo, before he died, was kind enough to slip us his wallet. So, um...
Purple Mirror and Tezcatlipoca, along with Remove Passive (by default his three passives are all occupied by Amps), give us Baal. Of course, that only gives us part of this Baal. Slipping him a Mitama and the Holy Set led to his attacks.
I was kinda unsure on the third passive, though. Considered going for Null Curse again as per usual, but Anti-Almighty will be more useful in the here and now. Also Curse outside of like two things isn't even worth worrying about, and one of those is actually Almighty anyway.
So, yeah. Baal's pretty good. Let's get Trumpeter's location and move on.
Chief Hotsuin, the results of our initial analysis are in. They're not very favorable...
Hm... I hadn't expected much, to be honest. But this one over here...
What are you here for? Is there something you wanted to look into?
Trumpeter? How do you know about that demon...?
I see... Kanno told you, did she?
Hm... Then we will need to release the seal on Trumpeter.
I'll look for the documentation now. One moment, Kuze.
Makoto logs into a nearby terminal...
Well done. Hibiki, I'll leave the release code with you. You're in command of this.
Hahaha... Those worthy to lead should be given command. That is the merit system in action.
Don't be so sure yet. Even if we use Trumpeter, there is one caveat to be aware of.
Trumpeter's meldoy will not affect only Benetnasch.
Our research shows that the sound waves have enough range to affect the entire area.
[Music: Dark Clouds]
What...!? That's... certainly less than ideal.
Even if we summoned our demons before Trumpeter took action, how would we fight afterward?
...Not that we may have any time for a contingency plan. Is this our only option...?
...This bears consideration. Trumpeter is something of a double-edged sword for us...
I'll leave the decision in your hands, Hibiki. Don't let me down.
You say your farewells to Ymato and Makoto before leaving.
Needless to say, we go get Trumpeter. It plays out basically identical to before, but this time with Yamato and Makoto in lieu of Daichi and Io. Not really different enough to care about.
So we do that then immediately go fight Alkaid again. And this time, after he splits I let him actually use his Alkaid attack.
It's not really all that threatening, unless you're Metatron apparently.
Other than that, fight plays out basically same as before. Yamato, Makoto and Keita take out the three that Hibiki didn't. Whatever.
Had to sneak Makoto up to Fate 5 here for reasons that'll make sense later.
That done, we'll finish off the day by hanging out with... Airi? Yeah, Airi.
Hey, Hibiki! What's up? Do you need me?
You're looking happy.
Oh... Right. Were you worried about me? ...Sorry.
Oh, but...! The concert hall didn't get destroyed by demons!
Yeah... I'm so glad.
[Music: Connected Hearts]
But I'm not coming here again. I don't need to drag it around.
That would be best.
Mm... Yeah. You get it, Hibiki.
...I knew all along that worrying about it wasn't going to do any good.
...So I'm not going to carry it with me anymore.
I mean, if all you do is cry about what could have been, you're wasting your life!
Airi smiles with a newfound air of maturity...
I'm thankful to Makoto... and to you, Hibiki. ...Thanks.
Well, I'm off. I'm gonna go see what I can do.
I need to find a new life goal! See you later!
Airi walks away...
Well, let's see what her attempts at finding a new path are...
Okay, Airi, can you pass me that box there?
Oh, this one? Sure.
No, the blue one, over there. Careful, it's full of sharp instruments.
I know, I kn--
Airi drops the box, spilling surgical tools all over the floor...
Calm down, Airi. It's all right. Oh, Hibiki...
What are you doing?
Airi's helping me. I'm not sure why, though.
As Airi returns, she knocks over an IV stand...
Airi! Are you all right?
Hey, you two. Calm down.
Everyone makes mistakes. And this is only your first experience with this stuff.
Hmm... I think this might be difficult, too.
...Work that involves people's lives is nerve-wracking... Maybe I shouldn't get involved.
Yeah, that's gotta be it! Right, Hibiki?
[Music: A Moment of Rest]
Yeah! I knew you'd understand!
I'm testing out a few things to see if any of them fit me. You never know unless you try!
Oh, is that what this is all about? It's nice to be young...
So... I'm sorry, Otome! I'll go try something else!
Airi cleans up around her and leaves...
Hm... Could it be that you had something to do with this?
Hehe... You're very popular around here!
You leave Otome's gentle teasing behind...
One more for the pile, huh. Now we're only missing... Joe and Ronaldo.
Tao Tie's a pretty average Vile. Kind of expected for the end-game on a first cycle if anything, though. He's above Arioch, but below Tezcatlipoca... yeah.
Now, we're not quite at 5 with Joe yet. Let's fix that, shall we?
How's your girlfriend?
Are you kidding?
Yeah, I thought it might have been some horrible joke.
But... she didn't answer. That's when I knew it was for real...
The doctor said that her condition was much worse than she had been letting on.
I mean... I'm no good with stuff like this.
Why does someone who's in the hospital have to care for me? Shouldn't it be the other way?
Joe sighs softly...
...Her condition worsened all of a sudden, and the doctor was looking for me.
I hurried. I hurried, and I still didn't make it.
You did all you could.
You think? I can't help thinking if I'd been with her more...
Then she might not have died. I dunno.
I hurried to the hospital, and look what happened to my jacket...
Guess it caught on something.
And now, the only person I had to fix it for me is gone...
...What should I do about it? It's kind of inconvenient to have it flapping around...
...... ......What should I do?
Joe walks away with slumped shoulders...
Well, um, that's not quite something I'd have expected. Whilst simultaneously being something I'd have expected.
If that makes any sense.
But, we're not letting it end here. There's got to be a happier end than that.
[Music: In the Devastated Town]
Hey, Hibiki. I just came back from my girlfriend's funeral.
Are you all right?
Mmm... I'm all right. Sorry for worrying you.
What? You think she was too good for me? Well... You're right. Haha...
I didn't say that.
How could she fall for someone like me? That must be one of life's great mysteries.
You think so?
C'mon, man! You're gonna be writing the book, you've got to know the title!
Well, I was a pathetic excuse for a boyfriend, but maybe when I get to Heaven...
...I'll be a man she can brag about. I wonder if she'll wait that long for me?
Joe stares off into the distance and smiles...
I'll probably go to Hell anyway, hahaha.
...Oh, it's almost time.
Joe looks at his watch...
Hibiki... Thank you for everything... See you later.
Joe walks away...
Oh, Joe has 3 events here too.
I am really bad at remembering these things, geez.
Hey, Hibiki. What're you doing here? Thought, I bet you could ask me the same thing.
Anyway, look at this. Aren't you jealous?
So... I helped myself. Doesn't this look sweet? I bet it's in season right now.
You want a bite, Hibiki? Just one, though.
What about you?
Oh, I'm good. I have to leave some...
Whoops, you got me. Good eye, Daichi!
Wow, that looks tasty... Are you gonna eat it all? C'mon, give me a bite!
Hmmmmm... ♪ Okay. Just one, though.
Oh, but not too big, okay? I'm saving this for my girlfriend.
Girls really like sweets and fruit. You think it's because they're fun words to say?
Oh... r-right. Timor... sure.
No, wait! That apple's for your girlfriend? You're not going to eat it yourself?
Huh? No. There's no point in me eating it.
Oh... Uh, o-okay...
[Music: Connected Hearts]
It was really insensitive of me... And, um...
Haha, what? I didn't take it that way at all. I don't care about that.
Besides... I'm really thankful for all of you.
Ayup. I was able to survive because I met all of you.
I'm so glad I met you. I've always been a lucky guy when it comes to having friends.
I'm glad I met you.
Hahaha. Well, you know. This is destiny.
Oh, uh, well... I mean, I'm glad I met you, too.
But, you are kind of adorable, Daichi. I'm going to give it my best shot!
Th-That's not what I meant! I just... Hey! Why are you joking around!?
Hahaha! We're doing with being somber. Well, see you later.
Joe walks away...
As cool as it is to be nearly done with everyone's Fate for reasons that matter, Joe's rank 5 is... quite underwhelming, honestly.
I have, in every game he's been in (all like 3 of them), never used Ukano Mitama. Despite its name, he's obviously not an actual Mitama; rather, he's a relatively high leveled Avatar. But there's the problem. Uka-No-Mitama doesn't SEEM like a bad demon when you look at its stats (like Joe, he's Mag/Agi focused) but there's always just better stuff around it.
Also, and this is absurdly petty I realise, I just don't like its design. I'unno, it just doesn't look all that great to me.
Ah well, let's just skip through the last few Fate scenes to fill out the day.
There's still time for one more, but no one else is going to level up at this point. This is our Fate levels going into the Last Day. Everyone at 5, but Hinako, Alcor and Ronaldo.
And two of them are understandable at least.
Hinako was just a victim of Joe grabbing three scenes instead of two. The only victim. Oh well!
[Music: In the Devastated Town]
You're still here?
Ohhh... Did you misunderstand me yesterday? Whoops!
It was just the Nicaea "death image" stuff that ended!
Me and this app you downloaded are still totally usable!
I'll always be with ya. Or more like, I'll go wherever you do, heehee!
Well, let's get this show on the road!
...Huh, I didn't expect to see a text box like this in here. Weird.
I kinda put together a rundown of the stuff you did today...
Well? Wanna hear it?
Let's hear it.
First, you woke up and talked about what to do with Yamato and the other guys!
All that stuff about Nagoya and Osaka and Tokyo and... stuff.
Aaaaand then came Benetnasch.
Good move on your part for getting the hell out of there to come up with a plan!
Then you found out you might be able to use that Trumpeter demon against Benetnasch...
So you decided to summon that guy as part of the plan.
And then! And THEN! You kicked Benetnasch's tail!
Umm... I think that's all I needed to tell you!
Okay, then! Have a nice wheeee!
In retrospect, yes, Lady-Tico was significantly less awful than I remembered. Sounds like damning with faint praise, but, uh, I did get a chuckle out of some her lines so it wasn't all terrible.
Still prefer the Butler though.
And, yes, Day 7 has bonus e-mails too. These ones have two requirements: getting the relevant people to Fate 5 and seeing all of their scenes. The two sound like one in the same, but it is very possible to get some people to Fate 5 much earlier than that.
The relevant people, by the way, is everyone on that route by default. So, its pretty easy to manage at least.
What Polaris will prepare is the constraints that our dog-eat-dog world will occupy. We must install worthy leaders there, to firm up the power behind our ideology.
You'll be involved, of course. But for now, let's think about tomorrow, when you and I will change the world together.
But predict it won't know about thorny consciousness problems.
IOW, only humans can solve human problems.
Don't you think? See you tomorrow.
these days can truly be called "safe", but it should hold for now.
I got permission from Chief Hotsuin by telling him that among the civilians were those whose talents would blossom in a merit-driven world.
We'll have to do our best once we get there.
Let's keep up the hard work.