Part 15: Kingdom of DreamsKingdom of Dreams
This time around we're going to be dealing with one short scene and one very long one. Both of which are mandatory, so we're getting them out of the way now.
[Music: Crumbling Routine]
Wh-Whoa...! What's that!?
Seriously...!? I can't believe it... but it's real, huh...?
But... why's Osaka in such bad shape, too!?
Was this the same quake that wrecked Shibuya when we were there?
Can one hit like that cause all this damage...!?
It wasn't a quake.
Mmm-hmm. Tokyo and Osaka are on different fault lines, after all.
Huh? What's this about malt?
*snrk* Hahaha...! You shouldn't tease him like that.
[Music: In The Devastated Town]
He was talking about fault lines, Daichi.
Japan's an unusual country surrounded by four plates. The pressure is intense...
I think there are over 2,000 active faults, counting the ones on the ocean floor.
...Sorry, I'm totally lost. You're sure that was Japanese you were speaking, Io?
Don't give up!
And speaking of stuff getting wrecked, the way we came wasn't too beat up. Weird, huh?
The city's taking a beating, but some parts of it seem okay. Strikes me as odd...
Oooh... Yeah, makes sense. There was no one around, but some places aren't damage...
Hmm... But if it wasn't a quake, what was it? I can't think of anything else that--
No! It wasn't an earthquake...
Huh...!? Who was that...?
[Music: Dark Clouds]
Are you okay?
Don't touch me! Just... Just keep your hands off!
The man clutches his head in pain...
H-Hey, what's wrong? Are you okay...?
Huh...!? Done for...? What?
Hee! Heeheehee! Everyone keeps saying it was an earthquake, or a war!
The man runs off, screaming incoherently...
He's done for.
Oooh, well said. Not very nice, though, hahahah.
But... what do you think he saw...?
Yeah... It would make sense if he'd seen demons.
*sigh* We still need to look into this some more to figure out what's going on.
Let's hurry and find the spot shown in that Keita guy's clip.
You all leave...
And just like that, we're already railroaded into the one event with an interesting name. We'll just dive right in, shall we?
Hmm? Isn't that the 'valgate? That takes me back...
You know this place?
[Music: A Moment of Rest]
Um... Joe? Wouldn't the short version of "Festival Gate" be "Festgate"?
Oh, would it? Huh, I guess. Anyway, it's an amusement park.
Is it open?
Who knows? Why don't we check it out? There might be someone in there.
You think...? From the look of it, I'd say it's empty.
Th-That simple, huh? He didn't seem like the amusement park type to me...
Awww, whatever. If there's no one here, we'll just leave.
Time to set out for the kingdom of dreams!
Oh... Maybe we were wrong. Some kingdom of dreams this is! Hahaha!
...Whoa! That lady's surrounded by demons!
We're coming to save you! You need to run...!
...Hey, humans. Did you come to bother us? Let me put you in your place!
Th-They're coming over here! Is she making them attack us!?
Oh no... We have to stop her!
Haha, desperate times call for desperate measures... but we can't let her die...!
Like the human opponents from before, we can't kill this strange lady. Unlike those guys, she's a bit more special.
The only skill here to crack that actually matters is Anti-Curse. The others are all available from free battles here, and I should have them already. I don't, though, because I'm a dumbass who completely forgot to grab anything beforehand and so it made this fight a lot harder than it should be.
i am bad at video games ok
Anti-Curse comes from these guys. Makara aren't explicitly the hardest things on this map to fight, but they're the highest level outside of the lady they're with, and they're the first thing we've seen that reflects something too. The Vacant Woman being level 16 seems like a bad thing since that means she can most likely walk over us (our levels are 11 across the board). It's nowhere near as big an issue as you would expect, and instead means she's a wonderful EXP pinata for
Watchful and Moneybags are by far the least important, so we'll skip those for now and grab them whenever I remember to. Taunt here coming from a Makara is kind of problematic since it means Joe has to get to the centre of the room, beat up exactly one of them and try to not die in the process. I'm sure he can manage it, but it might cut things a bit too close.
The actual fight itself takes a couple of turns to get going because this map is bigger than it looks, and neither side can get to the other on their first moves. Daichi opens things up, but that's not really ideal.
See, the Bilwis he's cracking and the one Io is cracking are both in this party. Daichi's just happens to be the party leader, so he has to carefully kill the Knocker and only the Knocker.
We also get to see the Avian racial skill from an Itsumade this time around too. Flight is a bit too close to Phantasm without being as good; much like Phantasm, you can zip across the map without caring about anything being in your way. Unlike Phantasm, you don't get your next turn quicker and instead your normal movement range is increased by 1.
Sounds like a fair trade, right? Well, no. Both are improved a lot by being paired with Devil Speed but the catch is that works much more in Phantasm's favour, since it makes your movement range always 7. Flight makes it permanently 5 without it, but it doesn't add +1 to anything else; just the base.
Since Devil Speed is absurdly useful whenever you actually want to zoom across the map (for obvious reasons) there's no reason to not use it, and opting not to just makes things harder for no sensible reason.
Basically, Phantasm rules and Flight is like its younger brother that tries to be cool by mimicking it but fumbles when it matters.
Oh, and Itsumades are just not even close to as good as Tam Lin anyway. This was with Snipe.
Ogres remain giant buckets of health but not much else. This lone Itsumade's so dead it's not even funny.
Speaking of Itsumades getting wrecked, over on the other side of the map it's Joe's time to pick on one.
This one comes with 2 Knockers instead, and we get to see another new racial skill. This time it's off of Gagyson and Sacrifice is very not great. See, it restores HP/MP to the party everytime a demon with it gets the killing blow on something. The catch, of course, is that your stats are meaningless: its based solely on the level of the thing that gets beaten.
4 MP is enough for one whole free attack and does not even come close to mattering most of the time. The HP gained is equally neglible; you might think it gets better later, but it really doesn't. Not enough to matter anyway. There are other skills that do its job even better and aren't super unlikely to happen (see also: Devotion, hell even Charm is better).
Back on the other side of the map, Io's going to make the first move that probably matters and beat up a Bilwis. Just the one though, that's important.
We've seen Bilwis before and now we can see them being not quite as good as they were then. Since we can hit their only weakness, they go down quite fast at this point. Good thing I swapped skills around to exploit things like this!
Most of the time, I don't really like Race-D/Race-O on an actual character as opposed to a demon. It's just as situational as ever, arguably even more so, and doesn't really matter in almost every fight.
Of course, there are exceptions and they can make a huge difference in some cases. By the time they come around, you probably forget these skills exist though. I know I do.
If you can't even equip something you crack, the game gets disappointed in you and leaves it be. I wouldn't bother equipping it here anyway, since the only human opponent is that lady in the middle and Io's not fighting her.
Speaking of fighting, the Itsumade that Joe fought earlier decides it wants to die.
The Bilwis, however, opts to annoy me. If it attacked Daichi, this wouldn't be a problem; instead, Io gets to spend an entire fight Guarding. Could try to weaken it for Daichi to cream easily, but its alone and not even Daichi can fuck it up now.
Just in case you didn't think Devil Speed was good enough yet, Hibiki just blasted across like half the map and is about to get a million extra turns. See, in addition to the movement bonuses, Devil Speed also has combat use! It massively increases your iniative in a fight. This might not seem like it matters, but there are times where it'll come in handy. This isn't one of them, but it's a good introduction to it all the same.
Hibiki also demonstrates the Kikimora's crippling weakness that stops it being unreasonably exceptional for how early you get it: it's fragile as hell. The thing is made of tissue paper and will crumple very fast.
...It's not alone in that though. Hairy Jack is much the same. The AI is smart enough to capitalise on this.
The other issue is that Jack isn't quite strong enough to counteract his fragility here. Kikimora is.
Were it not for the Hare needing to heal Jack during the Extra phase, this could've gone even better. Oh well.
During her turn, the lady decides to spawn a couple more demons to the map. These two will always spawn no matter what; it's possible to finish her off before this point and if you do, these two spawn in anyway.
Right now, though, we're just concerned with getting to her. The Gagyson is kind enough to try and assist with that, by immediately striking back at Hibiki.
Somehow this ends a lot better for us than you might've expected. I sort of figured the one in the middle would've survived, even if it was by the skin of its teeth.
Of course, Jack also died in the process but that's not too big of a deal all things considered. We can still manage, and if I really need to I could summon Ogre from my stock just to give Hibiki something else to use.
Speaking of sudden kills, though, the original Bilwis decides it wants a piece of Daichi. This works out rather nicely for us, all things considered.
Not only does Daichi get Fatal Strike a little earlier than I would've expected, but...
It also means that the Itsumade right next to him gets to have its ass handed to it as well.
The one that spawned in over by Joe reckons it can succeed where its friends have all failed.
...It doesn't work out as well as it would've hoped. Without that Ogre to tank a hit for it, it's jolly well rogered.
The new Bilwis runs in next, and picks a fight with Daichi. I guess its playing it smart here; I would rather try my luck with him than Io too.
Of course, that's still not an ideal circumstance. Especially when the Tam Lin connects with two Anger Hits in a row, wiping out most of the opposition and leaving the Bilwis completely crippled.
The lady spawns in a new one though, this one arguably a bit more dangerous than usual. Not for any particular reason, but because its by Hibiki and he's going to be preoccupied fighting through a Makara.
After the new Bilwis spawns in, we can finally take the initiative on a few things. This basically results in a minor amount of cleanup duty.
By which I mean the Itsumade and Bilwis that spawned in earlier get absolutely wrecked and we can focus on finishing the fight itself rather than just dealing with the small fry.
Okay, so this is important here. See how Hibiki has 4 movement right now. This won't be true once he moves next to the strange lady.
He now has 1 movement. This is Makara's racial skill, Constrict. Snake is actually kind of a cool race, but one I don't like fighting against much (the later ones in particular); not only does Constrict stop things running away in the vast majority of cases (Devil Speed makes it a non-issue of course, and Dragons can ignore it), it also grants +10 Initiative. So, she'll always get Extra Turns even when on the defensive.
Anyway, let's try out that Persuade option. We don't have to do this, but there's no reason not to and it works out better than not doing it.
She doesn't seem to notice your voice...
Okay, then we only have on real option after all:
Let's punch the ellipsis right out of her!
[Music: Decisive Battle]
Frankly, I'm surprised (but relieved) that only one Makara gets an extra turn here. This is very much a good thing though; we can certainly stop the one from using it, but not necessarily the second.
Hare of Inaba's Extra Cancel attack works perfectly for this. So long as it connects, it will always remove any enemies extra turn... unless you're in the extra phase already, then it understandably doesn't. It also gives the user a guaranteed extra turn too.
The damage is pretty bleh, but we don't use it to deal big numbers. We use it do deal smart ones.
Hibiki's brought Zan to cut through this easier, but its still not quite enough to cut it down on its own. A second one and a good hit from the Hare'll get it, though.
And this is why the Vacant Woman being level 16 and getting a constant extra turn doesn't matter in itself. She will never attack. She just does this instead, and it does nothing.
The anime made it into this actual cool thing that matters and turned the fight into something vaguely okay to watch (it also has Keita here because it changes a lot of things), but here it just means we can wail on her forever.
And since she doesn't fight back, we can take our time focusing fire solely on the Makaras and getting everything we need to from them.
They're also real good EXP so Hibiki levels up pretty easily.
The Bilwis is a problem though. Not only is its racial skill Aggravate (not an issue for most of the fight), but it brings Tam Lin and Kikimora with it. The guaranteed crits just serve to wear you down, and kill the Hare before he can do much.
They also work way too well, and its a fucking miracle that Hibiki survived this. This really shouldn't have even been an issue, but it was because I'm a dumbass who just dove in feet first without a plan.
Fortunately, Daichi's able to get to Hibiki before anything else and can heal him right up.
The hacking lady spawned an Itsumade, but it doesn't really matter right now since its the biggest joke here. Even by Itsumade standards.
Bilwis decides to try its luck again. It got lucky once already, so this might seem like it could go either way.
Not really. It goes much better the second time around, since we can kill stuff this time.
The Bilwis itself might be more problematic though. Hibiki's strength is still at its base value, and these dudes are immune to force. Hibiki has to punch it, and he punches like a six year old.
We'll worry about that later, but for now Joe's got a Makara to try and fight through. His only Force user is the Kikimora he's brought, but she's pretty good so it shouldn't matter too much.
In fact, it matters so little since she's even better at it than Hibiki was. The one Joe's fighting has a higher level too (14 vs 13 for Hibiki, which actually kinda matters).
He sort of had an advantage in only needing to defend against one of them, being able to attack with a full party and not having to waste a turn on reduced damage but still.
The Itsumade decides it wants to come and have a go, almost as if its trying to resolve my problems for me. Whether it lives or dies through this is mostly irrelevant at this point.
It does bring 2 Agathions with it, though. So it kinda gets what it deserves for bringing oddly low levelled demons this late into the fight.
And what it deserves is getting completely wrecked in a single skirmish.
Since Hibiki can now focus solely on the Vacant Woman, it becomes pretty easy and just time consuming more than anything else. There's no danger in this at all and even if Hibiki runs out of MP (possible but unlikely) then it doesn't really matter.
What does matter, is the Bilwis deciding it wants to fight Hibiki. This works out more to its advantage than anything else, by sheer virtue of not being wreckable with Zan.
Daichi's able to slip in next to it via Phantasm though, and its advantage is immediately rendered obsolete. As is its everything else for that matter.
At this point, the woman doesn't spawn any new demons either so its just a matter of finishing her off at the exact same moment as Hibiki's MP hits 0.
She'll always be at 1 HP after the fight, so it is over right now even if it doesn't seem to be.
EXP scaling is a wonderful thing when you're dealing with a 4 level disadvantage. I'm not sure why Technical is given a -5% modifier here, though. If I had to guess, though, I'd say it's most likely because she started with an Extra Turn and ended the fight with it too but Hibiki didn't have/gain one.
[Music: Crumbling Routine]
Huh...? The demon took off with her...! Why?
That's a good question.
...Oh, you want an answer? Well, the only demon who could give you that just left so that's not on the table.
We will, however, get a minimal amount of extra EXP. So much so that Daichi, the Hare and Jack are the only three to level up at all from this.
[Music: Connected Hearts]
Yeah... That was a close one. Who was that lady, anyway...?
Yeah... She didn't look normal at all.
I don't get it... What's going on?
So you guys are the ones who did it? You're under arrest!
W-Wait! Why!? What's going on!?
Hm...? Wait. I've seen your face before.
I think... You're those kids who came in with Chief Hotsuin?
Huh? Yes, that's right.
Hacked, huh? Sounds like a real nuisance.
It was. We located the signal's origin and came here at once. Did you see anyone?
Did we... Oh, uhh...
...This woman was summoning demons? I see... Then she was definitely the culprit.
See! We didn't do it! Now do you believe us!?
Yes, I'm sorry. We appreciate your cooperation.
Um... About that woman... Something seemed odd about her...
Odd? How so?
A human? Being controlled by demons? We've never heard of such a thing...
We're serious! This awful-looking demon showed up and disappeared with the girl...
Hmm... Understood. Hacking, demons, and a mysterious girl... We'll need to investigate--
Yes? Yes, it's me. If this is about the hacking breach... What!? More demons!?
Understood, we'll get on it at once! Send the coordinates and we'll handle it!
The JP's members leave...
Ugh, they're gone. We didn't get to see if they knew the stairs in the death clip...
Yeah... They're gone. Looks like we'll need to find someone else...
But... It sounds like Keita was right. There are demons in Osaka too...
Yeah... Is that why the city's so empty...?
Ugh... If they're in Tokyo and Osaka, they could be everywhere now.
You think they've spread all across Japan? Man... I don't even wanna imagine it!
Wh... That's even worse! What the hell's going on...!?
Whew boy. That was pretty tough. At least we made it through!
Dude...! This was your fault!
But hey, we got some new information! We're making progress here!
I-I can't believe you have the gall to say that...!
You leave the area...
We can buy Bilwis... Bilwises... whatever the plural of that is now. Probably won't, but we can if we really want to.
More importantly, we've actually somehow got some downtime. Not much, but some. There's enough time for one event before the plot turns up again and two before we're railroaded into it.
The question is, who do we hang out with this time? As always, voting can be done here.
Io doesn't have a double option because she only has one event available. Most likely because we've hung out with her at just about every possible opportunity so far anyway.
Also! Much like before, the option to determine Keita's fate is still open! If you haven't voted on that yet, there's still some time to go.