Part 30: A Great President of HellA Great President of Hell
So, before we go do anything else I opted to make Mahakala via Apis + Ubelluris. I like Deity demons, because of their racial skill, and Mahakala is the only one that is not Unique. Which is understandable, because base Mahakala is kinda crappy. 11 in both Strength and Magic is really bleh. Lower level balanced demons had better than that. What really saves Mahakala for me is the Deity racial skill, Awakening.
Awakening is pretty cool. For a small amount of MP, the entire team will deal 1.5x extra magic damage for one round of combat. Considering magic is still the way to ruin everything's day (we don't have any good phys-only characters right now; Io does a good job but she hasn't mastered how to cast Fist yet) this is supremely useful.
...So I'm wasting him on Airi. Just so she can pretend to be useful. I also give her a Sarasvati because she needs something actually good in case she gets into a fight.
The only other thing we can fuse at level 22 is the final Elemental, and we'll worry about ones that aren't Aquans much, much later. Until then, let's go chill in Nagoya for a while.
I'll just pretend to be surprised Mystery Man had an easy victory, shall I?
This is one of those scenes where the laziness of reusing the evil policeman sprite really stands out..
H-Hey! One of the rioters is over here! You've got to arrest him!
"Why"...? Aren't you a cop!?
S-So what!? What meaning do the words "public service" have in a world like this!?
Aahhh! St-Stay back...!
Why're you scared, pig? You were ridin' the high horse a little while ago.
Well, fine! I'll have to kill you along with the JP's!
Damn you! Get the hell away from me!
None of these are dialogue options, so I'm kinda stuck doing this, uh, this way. The choice we're picking is quite obvious at least. I'm sure we can take Baldy!
You hear a man speaking from behind you...
...Man, things sure are violent.
[Music: Heroes Have No Fear]
Who the hell are you!?
No one worth knowing. ...There.
The mysterious man knocks the thug unconscious in one hit...
Whoa...! H-Hey, thanks... You saved me...
...Geez, you're pathetic.
Were you protecting the peace BECAUSE you are a member of the police force?
And you have kids watching! ...Right, kid?
The mysterious man comes closer to you and gives you a look...
Man... All across the city, people have become so hardened.
I'm sure this is bad for you too, kid. Don't give up hope, though, okay?
By the way... if you're wandering around here, are you looking for someone, too?
Again, not really dialogue but whatever. If he can help us find Daichi and Jungo then I'm all for it.
A what clip? Is that what people have been talking about lately?
...! Sorry, kid. Looks like I've gotta run.
The mysterious man runs towards the scream...
I like the Mystery Man a fair bit. He has a unique sprite so he's obviously turning up again, and whenever he does we'll hang out with him some more. Not even gonna put it to a vote at this point. I have my reasons.
We'll worry about those later. Like always, the plot's decided to intervene at this moment. We could put it off, but in this case it's really best not to.
Ooh, hey, the TV Tower! Got a lotta memories of this place...
You've been here?
Oh, right. Joe's from Nagoya if that wasn't made blindingly obvious by his reluctance to come here. He'd also tell us this if we hung out with him before now. He might even reiterate it if we hang out with him later.
Huh...? Hey, Hibiki. Isn't that...?
Hey, it's our old friend... ???... from, uh, that fight. You know the one. The one that went badly. I'm certainly not gonna forget in a hurry.
She was in Osaka, too.
Yeah... She was with the demons...
Oh, I remember. She was with the demons at the 'valgate!
Yeah... Wonder what she's up to.
Huh? That's Fumi? Well, she IS wearing a Chinese dress and holding a computer.
She's acting strange...
Huh? You're right. She's a little kooky, but she doesn't usually stare into space...
But, y'know, this all seems relatively nice and easy. We've got an isometric view which means only one thing. Another old friend is coming to visit.
And he ain't one to take lightly.
Oof. I've seen that one before.
How dare you get in my way, not once but twice? I will remove you this instant.
3 more demons spawn in but they're not new at this point. Just a Jack Frost, Ictinike and Bai Suzhen. Two of them would be, but we already have all 3. Heck, Suzhen's common in even Free Battles at this point.
Let's do this!
[Music: Desperate Situation]
So, a few things to note first and foremost. Botis is still chilling on the map. We can fight him. He is quite powerful. If we want to, we can just run right past everything and beat up Fumi netting us an easy win.
There is no reason to do this. We are going to fight Botis. We're going to kick his ass.
Because Botis is significantly above us, he brings with him a couple of skills we usually wouldn't have access to yet. Ziodyne, Shield All, Anti-Phys and Elec Repel are all only available from Botis and this is our only chance at some of them for a while. Ideally, the four skills you would get here are Ziodyne, Anti-Phys, Anti-Ice and Elec Repel. This is very possible.
This is very not possible for us, however. So I can only pick one of them from Botis. In the end, I settled for these:
Since Hibiki's going to murder Botis anyway, I picked the Repel skill. It'd be a great addition to anyone who gets it, on account of doing the obvious. Anti-Ice is a second no brainer, even though once we get it here it stops being useful in this fight. Marksman's a nice bonus that'll come in handy both now and later since it makes all Physical attacks never miss. And when I say "all" I mean "all."
Quick Move was the only one I had to think about briefly. I considered Grimoire and Mabufu but since we don't have access to the ailment that makes Grimoire amazing yet I didn't grab it here either. Mabufu is just not that great and costs way too much MP.
Fortunately for us, Botis won't move immediately. He will eventually, but we have time to prepare for him at least. You will know when you're in range for him to come at you.
This party of 3 Jack Frosts decided to open the fighting by hitting Airi. Airi was going to fight them anyway, so this saves some time.
Paral Eyes keeps being decent for the time being. It's getting the boot eventually, but for now it can keep on keeping on.
Unfortunately, there's a problem with this fight that makes it very much not in our favour. Do you remember what it is?
Mahakala has an Ice weakness. He just happens to come at a moment when it's both not good to have one, and when it's very hard to patch. We can't get Anti-Ice before now, and fusing it onto him normally is easier said than done. The only demon before which can have it is... Jack Frost. And he doesn't get it until level 23.
Now, I didn't think this was a problem at first. I had to grind Airi up from level 18 anyway (she always joins at level 18), so I gave her one to carry the entire time. It got to level 22. And never came close to 23 because the EXP scaling at that point meant it got basically nothing ever. So I'm stuck with a Mahakala who's possibly a liability. Oh well, live and learn.
So yeah, these little blighters are potentially dangerous. But only to Airi. Funny how that works, huh?
Meanwhile on Team Competence, we're abusing Phantasm to trap Bai Suzhen and stop her using that range advantage.
It was just a precaution, but not really a needed one. Ubelluris just punches that hard.
Of course, things can never be that easy. At a couple points in the fight, some miasma spawns in and will usually bring a demon with it. In this case it didn't, because the Ictinike is conveniently stood on it.
Can I just say that I'm really glad I gave Airi a Sarasvati? Because I am.
Okay, let's get rid of these things. Airi's usefulness in this fight has just ended, but she can assit Io around the north half of the map. Just in case.
...This brilliant plan of mine, however, backfired spectacularly. Airi is now trapped there pretty much indefinitely. She can't kill the Ictinike, because Io needs to for Quick Move, and its attack always pushes Airi's turn to the very back of the queue. Ictinike itself doesn't have that problem.
It will continue to not have that problem when its getting its ass kicked pretty much effortlessly. And it will keep her turn locked until I kill it at this point even when there is only one left alive with 20 HP.
Turn locking is bullshit.
Fortunately, I came prepared. Very prepared. See, I brought plenty of backup for this fight because Botis can kill me in oneshot whenever he likes. To rectify this I brought multiple copies of my better demons. Io's pulling out one of the spare Ictinikes.
This leads to a very easy win in her single fight. This particular Ictinike's going back to the stocks; his fight is not necessarily over.
Once you get here, the second set of miasma spawns in. These two will bring demons with them. Not a problem, because they're easier than the riff-raff we've dealt with already.
Airi and Io finish up what little they had left by removing the miasma on their end. The rest of the fight is now solely up to Hibiki and Joe.
The 2 new demons are a Jack Frost and Ictinike. Neither party is much of a threat, all told. This one downgraded from the 3 Jack Frost party we've already seen, and that was not a good idea.
Of course, now that this miasma exists Botis is heading our way. This works out nicely for us.
The Ictinike wants to try his luck against Joe instead. Can't say I blame him, since he'd be the easier target.
...If his entire party wasn't weak to Ice. And also if Ubelluris couldn't knock all of them out in one hit.
The game's just rubbing it in now. Would've been real nice to have this and Anti-Ice before this fight but oh well.
Okay, so Botis. This is the only hard part of this fight; even then, if you come prepared to fight him he's not that hard.
Heck, I came completely unprepared my first time and I still took him down, taking both Elec Repel and Ziodyne out of his cold, dead hands.
It's not really easy to see in-game, but Botis - the Great President and Earl of Hell in charge of 60 legions of demons who reconciles friends and foes alike - is a snake man. Trapped in a weird cage thing. And he has a fucking bowl cut.
But seriously, he's actually quite hardy and that alone makes him more dangerous than we're used to. He lives longer, so that gives more chance for things to go in his favour. Ziodyne is the upgraded single target Elec spell and it's usually top-tier stuff. In this case, it's still very good and dangerous but 3 hits from a dance will outdo it normally.
Diarama increases his survival rate and lets him live for even longer, since he can heal often. Extra Bonus is just rubbing it in your face that he will basically always have an extra turn. And he's just a simple Fallen demon. An actual good one, but still a Fallen demon.
And, for reference, his HP is 500 and his MP is 200. He doesn't go down easy.
Oh right and unlike every boss to date he doesn't fight alone. He actually has allies in his team. Just two Abraxases that die very quickly but it's the thought that counts.
He always uses his first turn to cast Shield All. Does exactly what it says on the tin: shields the entire party.
More specifically, it straight up nullifies the next hit they take regardless of what it is or their usual elemental resistances. It only blocks 1 hit, though.
That just guarantees he gets an Extra Turn no matter what. I beat him the first time by waiting out his 200 MP so he couldn't do that any more.
The real problem comes from the extra turns. That's when he busts out this. Ziodyne is kind of ridiculously overpowered on paper at this point.
It oneshots almost everything. If Hibiki didn't have Anti-Elec equipped, he'd die in one hit to this too. Between that, his high Magic and his high Vitality, though, the AI knows it's not worth trying just yet and focuses on one-shotting Sarasvati and Ictinike.
...Fortunately, I planned for that and brought several of both.
Really, him being a Fallen demon is a mild inconvenience since it means this always happens. He also isn't afraid to Diarama instead if he's low on HP.
While I can, just getting rid of this before it becomes a problem. Joe's still got Fumi to contend with, and that necessitates getting past an aggro'd Botis at this point. Airi and Io could get to her no problem and that's probably the best way to do it without fighting this guy.
Y'know, if you're a coward.
Of course, Botis is probably a wee bit threatened by Hibiki at the moment so he tries his luck with Joe instead. There's no chance of Joe getting the kill by accident right now, so he'll be able to help out Hibiki.
And in the interim, I learned that Ubelluris isn't just a one-man punching machine. He can take a Ziodyne on the chin and still come out swinging. He's in the red, yeah, but he ain't dead yet.
Speaking of in the red, Botis is pretty much screwed at this point. One more skirmish, and...
He's outta there. Never even got to the Extra Turn phase in that one, so he died before even getting to kill one last demon just to rub it in.
...Sadly, Hibiki is still 7 Agility short of getting to use this. Everyone is a bit short, for that matter, except Joe.
Oh, right, Botis is dead now. If we beat Fumi wtihout killing him, then he'd survive, run away, and come back again waaaaaaay later. Apparently.
I always just kill him here though. Early mid-game repel and/or Ziodyne is too good to pass up.
There's just Fumi left alone now and she's brought a new demon with her too. We can't talk to her this time, though. Io, Airi and Hibiki are all carefully positioned where they are too, just as a precaution. See, Fumi's new demon is this guy:
Orcus is the first Vile demon. He's kind of annoying to fight if you don't know he's there because of Chaos Wave. Vile demons in general are a pain to fight thanks to this. It's like a tradeoff with Evil Wave in a way; they can hit further but your movement is cut to compensate (in Fumi's case she has the range without the movement penalty, because she never moves). It also feels like their turn delay is a bit longer but I might be imagining that one.
Problem is, it's not really balanced. If you know what you're doing, Vile demons can kinda, sorta be game breakingly good. You'll see but that's a fair bit later.
[Music: Decisive Battle]
For now, we have Fumi to beat up.
Okay, so, remember how her Auto Skill is now Marksman? And how that means every physical attack always connects?
...It includes physical skills. Anger Hit, Multi-Hit, Mow Down, anything that's physical. Guaranteed to never miss. Marksman is really kinda good, so of course I'm gonna do the smart thing.
Giving it to Airi until we get our physical crew back.
Suzhen's still a chump, and Orcus would be threatening... if he wasn't weak to physicals. And I just happened to bring Ubelluris with me.
Fumi never really had a chance against Joe. Even Apis, while not that great, was able to hold her off quite well. If Fumi could even move, she would've been a potential threat due to having a major range advantage. But oh well.
Whoa... She stopped moving.
Man, that fight gave a fair bit of EXP just for completing. That's more than even Fumi gave (but less than Botis, of course).
[Music: Over the Brink of Death]
Wah! She woke up!
Fumi! Are you all right?
I'm Hibiki Kuze.
Oh. I don't care. My name is Fumi Kanno. Why are you all here?
...You don't remember? Well then... Where do I start?
Allow me. This story takes us back to the hallowed time of yesterday...
Oh... me? And that demon?
The Nagoya branch was in chaos while you were gone...!
Airi explains the riots in Nagoya to Fumi...
Yes! That's why we've been looking for you!
To find Jungo.
Jungo? Yeah, I remember him. So, what about him?
Uh... Well... we received a death clip of Jungo. So...
Fumi starts typing on her computer at a rapid pace...
Hm, you're right. The base station for the cell phones has been hacked from my PC.
...But why would I do that?
You were brainwashed.
Fumi resumes working on her computer...
Awesome. I wonder if we can call Daichi now?
There's like no chance of it working, but...
Give it a try.
The number you have dialled could not be reached.
In any case, we don't have any way of tracking him down.
Uh... So what can we do?
Hmm... Well, hang on. I'm going to look over here.
It's easy to miss, but she's confused because her screen just shut off.
And now she has a BSOD. Welp, so much for that.
Wh-What's the matter?
This is bad. My PC's RAM is dying. It's making my programs run super slow.
...Huh? What does that mean?
It means that even if I can keep working like this, it's going to take a lot longer.
That's not going to work! Jungo and Daichi need help now!
Stop yelling! Let's see...
You need more RAM?
She could always just download some if need be.
Yeah, the best you can get your hands on.
I mean, I can still work, but it'll be a lot faster if you do this.
Okay... I understand. Well, let's go, everyone.
Fumi begins working with her computer...
Oh... But she's looking for Daichi for us. We have to help her as much as we can!
You're right. Let's get going.
All right. So, we need to find some memory for her computer?
Yeah, let's go to Oosu.
We should probably split up and look in other places, too. And we need to hurry.
Oh, and since we beat up Botis we can fuse him now too. Not now-now of course; gotta wait til we get to level 37 first. And that ain't happening for a looooong time.
Joe's the only one who can use it, and it doesn't make his Fate level 1 bonus pointless so he might as well use it.
Speaking of making stuff, Hibiki's level 24. Let's pick up some new demons.
I changed my mind on what to do with Bai Suzhen at this point. Was originally gonna make a Lilim, but that'd be a major step back now so I instead fused her with Nekomata to make us Ogun. He's level 23, but I made him anyway; I won't use him very much, if at all, though. No, I made him for a different purpose:
This is the only way to make Ghost Q. Ghost Q is a terrible piece of shit. You don't want to make Ghost Q.
...So of course I'm gonna make Ghost Q. Once I hit level 26 of course.
I also made a pretty decent Snake demon by fusing Ubelluris and Ictinike together. Nozuchi's quite good in theory, but he's slow as balls so I gave him Quick Move to compensate. At 22 Strength he should be able to outpunch everything we have so far, but I really don't like them Fire and Mystic weaknesses.
Well, we'll cross that bridge if we come to it. Now we get the difficult bits. If we do Memory Search as either the 1st, 2nd or 3rd event from this point Jungo will live. If we wait til 12:30 or later, then Jungo will die. There's not much of a reason to put it off, unless you want Jungo to die of course, but either way we still have at least half an hour to fill.
As usual, we have to answer the question of who do we spend our time with now?
Much more pressingly, however, we have the crunch time decision already of: does Jungo live or die?