Part 68: An Exponential ProblemAn Exponential Problem
Alrighty, so today we'll be blasting through some of the main plot some more. No faffery here. That means we immediately speak with Ronaldo; already put it off a bit, and can't really do so any more. If we skip it once more we're railroaded here, and then some, so let's not bother with that.
Hibiki...! Funny coincidence, meeting you here.
Were you waiting for me?
Hahaha...! I'd never stoop to that. I always do things fair and square!
Studying them showed a strange space underneath it...
You don't mean...
Yes, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building. That's why I've come here.
My sources are certain that the Hotsuin family built the current government center.
...Let's go, Hibiki. Come with me.
[Music: The Enigma Deepens]
This is outrageous... To think they built this right under the government center...
Hm...!? Hibiki! Look at the floor...!
Hm...!? What are these patterns!?
It's a magic circle.
Yeah, it must be something like that. Wait... this pattern looks familiar!
But it's enormous...! What could that Yamato need with a magic circle this big!?
Is it for summoning?
Oh! Hibiki, that's it!
He must have prepared this gigantic circle to summon something unimaginable...!
Yes, indeed... We're one step closer to the truth!
All right... Let's start heading back. We don't want JP's finding out were's here.
I'd hate to drag you into my feud with him like this.
I think you should keep it in mind as well.
You say your farewells to Ronaldo before leaving...
Alrighty, so let's take this opportunity to fuse up some more demons. We've got 2 levels to pick demons from now and 7 in total to choose. They're not all being made though, because they either suck or just aren't that useful.
Yama (Vidofnir + Hitokutonushi) just barely scrapes into the better half. Despite being a Deity, his main stat by default is Strength and he comes with nothing that uses it normally. I prefer Odin to Yama so I'll keep them both around for the time being; Odin's more generally useful but Yama has Agidyne which we want to get sooner rather than later anyway.
Cu Chulainn + Lorelei give us Nue who isn't stellar but is pretty good in gneral. Free Leap could come in handy for the escape bit sometimes but the increased movement from getting to run around twice a go's useful. Shame he's crippingly weak to Fire and Curse by default limiting what we can do though.
Kama (Vidofnir + Nue) was pretty much a given. Sadly our Kama has Marin Karin and not Zandyne. He also has a Physical weakness which is a pain; getting resistance requires a bit too big of a chain and getting immunity isn't doable yet. Bleh.
He also got Inheritance+ so he can do a pretty good job at punching things in spite of himself. You could try and make him a spellcaster but it's less viable than it sounds here; his Magic stat is higher normally but he doesn't have the room for multiple good spells.
And lastly we'll have Aniel (Vidofnir + Kama). Aniel's an inexplicably punchy Divine demon. Nothing too fancy here; he's just a good way of buffering MP for another team that doesn't have Balor. He also has the HP and Vitality to do it and not need healing immediately afterwards.
Not gonna be doing that though, because I am a dummy who didn't think to do it. Somehow.
Still, that done let's go see what's happening over here.
Ah, Hibiki. Good timing, we were about to call you.
Supposedly it's somewhere around here... right, Fumi?
That's right. Someone from JP's was fighting it elsewhere a moment ago...
But I got a report that it moved toward Ikebukuro. We're planning to go support them.
Any details yet?
You guys, come on! Do your analysis later! We gotta go right now!
Hinako grabs your arm and starts running...
...Man that thing is HUGE. And there's Keita too.
Guess he's trying to see if it has huge guts.
Heh... What a monster. It's huge!
Oh... Keita! We came to help!
...Are you dense? I don't need any help. I can handle this by myself.
Ew... What is that? It's coming apart! When you attack it, it separates!
Waaah! It came over here!
...! Just you wait! I'm not going to let you sit there and ignore me.
Wh-What the hell? Is it trying to separate again?
Hmm, I see. I suppose it has a tendency to separate when attacked.
Oh no, everyone, look at that!
Dammit, it ran off! Wait, you monster!
Just a Nue and Aniel, but yeah. There's some normal demons here too.
Keita, no! We have to do something about this place first! We'll fight with you!
Tch... Bastard. How can I be so ashamed...?
...Fine. Don't get in my way!
Much like with Kama, we don't have to use the party from the cutscene here despite it making the most sense.
Unlike with Kama, I'm doing it anyway because it doesn't involve willingly using Airi and Daichi.
Only these three cracks. Mana Stream adds 50% to someone's max MP (someone meaning Hibiki, of course). Death Call instantly murders anything paralysed, poisoned or charmed. Could actually come in handy at some point. Can do wacky things with that if you build around it, but I don't particularly like doing that because you can actively kill something faster most of the time.
The Mizars are incredibly unimpressive. They have less range than even a Vile, can't move worth a shit, have a ton of weaknesses and they only have 320 HP. These things are very oneshottable.
...Whoa. It's acting kind of strange. Let's be careful.
This Mizar over in the back corner gets the first move, and does... seemingly nothing. The name implies it's trying to grow larger so we might want to put a stop to that.
But since it's a bit out of our range right now, we'll take out one on the right instead.
And it went as you would expect. I gave Balor access to Fire Dance solely for fighting Mizar. Aniel has good enough Strength to keep up with Hibiki and Balor dropping fire bombs.
Since these 4 are all the smallest Mizars possible, they can't split further. Works out nicely for us if we somehow can't take them out in one go.
Of course, the Mizars aren't our only problem here. Might as well take care of the normal demons too while we have the opportunity.
Keita's Power Hits are very definitely not on par with Jungo's, but that's alright. They're good enough to get the job done right now though.
That done, we just obliterate the remaining two demons without a hitch. Aniel likes to use Berserk, but a single Power Hit is enough to drop it to the red and Keita's a quick punchyman so he gets to pre-empt that.
You'd think this might be a problem. This is the only time a Mizar gets to go on the offense and it seems like it would be uncounterable.
Unfortunately, for them, I swapped Aniel out for Pazuzu. Not only can I then counter it but I can hit their Ice weakness too.
The glowing Mizar in the corner just sits there. Nothing happens yet again.
So for now, let's deal with the Nue. This isn't much of a problem but we kind of have to overwhelm them without using Extra Turns because enemy Nues fucking love the escape part of Free Leap.
To make that more of a pain, Nisroc loves spaming Shield All.
Thankfully, Nue got cocky and opted to not run this time around.
Not gonna happen overly often but it does let Hinako cherrytap the Nisroc and get what we need from that.
It... It got bigger!? Is it going to keep doing that until we finally beat it...?
It's at this point the Mizar finally finishes what it was doing and becomes a slightly bigger one.
This removes its Ice weakness, upgrades its Electricity and Force resistances to immunity and absorption, increases its attack range and gives it a VERY nasty combination in Power Charge + Multi-Strike. Multi-Strike being the upgraded version of Multi-Hit; it still hits multiple times based on agility but its now multitarget too.
Oh and it now has 500 HP. It's still easy to get an Overwhelm though.
Wish we could crack Multi-Strike for Hinako, but...
[Music: Break Out]
For now, Fumi'll make up for it by blasting the remaining small Mizars with Agidynes. Her speed makes it super easy for this to happen right off the bat too.
Strike Set is a weird Add-On. It's functionally just Phys Set again but for different skills; this one is for "complex" Physical skills (stuff like Assassinate, Berserk, Multi-Hit) as well as passives like Double Strike and Crit Up. Could come in handy at some point down the line.
Thankfully, the Nue opted to fight Hinako rather than take his chances with either Keita or Fumi.
Immediately he gets turned into a wonderful statue and broken into a million pieces.
Speaking of breaking things, let's see what we can do about the final Mizar.
The ones on the flank are still the smaller ones, so we can take them out easily enough. The bigger one opts to Power Charge though...
Only for his weakness to Curse to be its downfall. Vidofnir's +Stone procs and he immediately gets turned into a statue. Even if that didn't happen...
Keita goes next, and he had Berserk lined up so it'd probably be taken out here anyway. Good thing I picked Berserk too, since the first hit didn't break the statue.
If it somehow survived that, it would split into two if you hit it without Overwhelming it.
So that's Mizar. A pretty cool concept that if you had the time or inclination you could use to grind basically forever.
The replication gimmick could be annoying if you don't prepare for it, but I like the idea at least. It works out pretty well too, because it isn't just an arbitrary dumb gimmick unlike, say, Megrez's forced running around thing.
Seriously, what was that!? No matter how much we hit it, more of them fell off...!
Tch... There was no end to it. If we left it be, it'd just get bigger.
Mm, about that... The big one got away. We exterminated the split-off ones, though.
So... what's going on? Has the main office made their damage assessment?
[Music: Connected Hearts]
Yes, the report came in just now... But this one's different from the others.
The main Mizar splits off small ones when attacked. There's seemingly no limit to this.
Huh... so the big one divides naturally? This could put a kink in things.
Worse, the small ones grow into mid-sized ones before long... Then they split off small ones.
It keeps multiplying that way, doing increasing damage. The others are containing it, but...
The others? Are they trying to defeat that big one at the source of all this?
Even if we could defeat it, the small ones grow too fast and outnumber us.
It's worrying... But right now, all we can do is defeat the ones that have split off.
Even that's a slow downhill slide. Our forces are limited, and the enemy's aren't...
They're discussing that at the main office, too. I hope they have a plan... Well then.
The JP's member leaves...
[Music: In The Devastated Town]
Hey... were you serious, Fumi!? You really don't think we'll survive one day...?
Tch... can't we do something? Isn't there a way to deal with the big one in one shot?
What about demons?
Ah, that's it! If we can find a demon for this situation like Shiva and Kama...
So not a demon, then. What about the JP's trump card?
Hmm... A trump card, huh? I don't know, so I can't really say.
I found a magic circle.
Wha...!? You mean to say there really is some secret weapon like that!?
Well, yes. But... I don't think it'll be usable. It's under the Chief's control.
What kinda explanation is that? You better spill all the details, weirdo.
Is he referring to me...? Because I've been told to keep quiet about it.
Wait, you know what? I'm not happy you called me a weirdo. I'm not telling you anything.
Ugh, enough is enough! Will you guys give it a rest!?
Oh, that's it! You little--!
You get along so well.
These two are always like this. I guess in a way, they do get along...
Why don't you go and ask Yamato for us!?
...Mmm, that's true. He does have a high opinion of Hibiki.
Yeah, we shoulda done that from the start instead of asking this weirdo.
...What!? Who's got tiny thoughts!?
THAT'S ENOUGH! Ugh, this is so stupid. I'm not sticking around for this!
You assuage Keita and Fumi's bickering before leaving...
A trump card that might involve the magic circle? Well, let's see what this could be...
Is that what this is about? I have no reason to answer you.
Hey... Wait right there! That Mizar thing is really dangerous!
Yeah! There's a secret weapon at the government building, right? If we used that...!
I realize this. But I can't allow it, because--
Hm...? Hibiki. Haha, are they here at your bidding?
But I'm surprised you found the magic circle without me escorting you to it.
What's that thing for?
Hm... You did come to me on your own. I suppose I should repay your respect somehow.
But let me ask you, are you certain you want to use that magic circle now?
Is there a problem?
I said that a barrier powered by the Dragon Stream protects Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya.
But then... what'll happen to those three cities!?
The Void will take them.
[Music: Crumbling Routine]
That's right. They'll be swallowed up, every man, beast, and object.
Indeed. That's why I hadn't used the magic circle for the earlier crises.
B-But... What're we gonna do!? If we don't take down Mizar, we're still doomed!
Is there any other way?
Now do you fully understand? If so, I ask you again: do you wish to use the magic circle?
Th-There's no other way, is there!? Then there's no question about it! Right, guys!?
But that doesn't solve anything! The Void will still swallow up the world!
Hmm... this is a toughie. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
True... If we don't defeat Mizar, the world will be destroyed.
[Music: Connected Hearts]
Hmm. The question is, how long a postponement are we talking about?
Chief, if the barriers were to collapse, how much longer would the world have?
Something else to think about : without the barrier, the Void will swallow the cities.
However... there is a slight reprieve before their complete disappearance.
The range of the Void's encroachment is gradually increasing.
But if Polaris meets with someone to create a new world before then, crisis averted.
Oh...! That means we're cutting our own deadline...!
That is correct.
The barriers have their limits, but they should last as long as the towers do not fall.
By using the magic circle, though, they will collapse and hasten the world's decline.
How long do we have?
Just one day...? Three at the outside?
Do you grasp the matter at hand? Then what will you do about it?
...I'm fine either way. I don't plan to wait three days for you to make a decision.
You're... You're willing to fight us if we don't step in line, aren't you?
[Music: Dark Clouds]
An unsightly blossom that, though rotted, won't fall and spreads its stench still!
Don't you see? This world is too far gone for peace.
Urgh...! It's no use... I won't follow you, whatever you say.
Maybe the world's rotten, maybe it isn't... But using that to justify a merit system?
You're such a child... Sorry, but Japan has been a capitalist society until now, you know.
You have a point, but wouldn't a society absolutely base don skill wear you out?
I think it'd be nicer to live in a world where people help each other out in a jam.
Look, this ain't hard. The strong will survive while the weak die off...
Hey! Dude, this isn't the time for this! We're all working for the same thing, remember!?
Unlike before, it's natural for people with different opinions to speak up.
But... we shouldn't fight. It makes me sad.
W-Wait, we're still talking about Mizar and how to handle the Septentriones...
The future is at stake here. We can't go into this without a unified front.
That's plain stupid! Why not talk it over like adults without fighting about it!?
I've got something to say!
Everyone quiets down and looks towards you...
Hahaha, an excellent idea. You didn't come here to bicker amongst each other, did you?
Listen well. Using the magic circle will hasten the Void's encroachment considerably.
But not using it will allow Mizar's spawn to smother the world today.
No one seems willing to raise an objection...
Then it's decided.
[Music: The Operation Starts]
R-Right! Everything after that is like, um... We'll figure something out!
The moron's right. Let's not get too ahead of ourselves. I got a bone to pick with Mizar.
Mm... Okay. I'll help. We'll deal with Mizar and meet Polaris.
No objections here. I'll abide by what you come up with. Don't worry... We can do this!
First, the Stakes. Those three towers, in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya...
Each has a state that resonates with the tower to draw from the Dragon Stream's power.
Before we can use the magic circle, all three Stakes must be pulled out.
That's the step that causes the barriers to collapse, reducing our time limit?
Indeed it is. As I said, from that point on, the Void's encroachment will accelerate.
What's the second step?
Hahaha, be patient. I was about to explain that.
Huh...? Wait a sec! "Given form"? What's the Dragon Stream going to turn into?
[Music: The Enigma Deepens]
What...!? Like, a scaly thing with wings and fire breath!? Haha, you're serious!?
Completely. The whole of the Dragon Stream will become a dragon to attack our enemy.
How do we give it form?
Hahaha, so impatient. I was just getting to that...
A certain key is needed to activate the circle and give the Dragon Stream form.
Where is this key?
Haha! The key I speak of isn't one that can be tucked away somewhere.
A demon...!? So this is kind of like that time with me and Shiva?
Something along those lines. But there's a problem this time...
Remember how we cut power to Tokyo Tower in order to send Alioth towards Sapporo?
Well... Tokyo sustained some damage from that.
The area where our demon is sealed was probably affected by the Void's encroachment.
Being one with the land, the demon slumbering there has probably also been damaged.
D-Does that mean we can't resurrect this demon...? Then what do we do?
We will review potential candidates. Luckily, we have your data from the physicals.
Ghk...! Are you serious!? You're going to pry into our exam records! Whatta perv!
...What a base accusation. I have no interest in your measurements.
I'll make the preparations. You'll receive instructions later. Return here then.
Yeah... He wouldnt' even give us the time of day.
Finally, we might have a way to beat Mizar. The only problem is...
Yeah, the Stakes. This could end up biting us in the ass...
So that's the deadline, then. We gotta double-time it!
In that case, let's get ready to go remove those Stakes! I doubt it'll be easy.
You say your farewells to everyone before leaving...
Alright, so we've finally hit a bit of an actual lull in things to do. We can't immediately go for the stakes, since there's half an hour before that option even opens. Of course we can put it off a bit more too. Probably won't do so for too long, just in case, but hey. Still got some time to kill so...
Who do we do it with?