Part 70: A High Stakes GambleA High Stakes Gamble
As per usual, before we begin in earnest let's get some fusing out of the way. Again there are two levels worth to get done which means there's 8 new demons available.
Only making a handful though, because 8 is way too many, some of them are pretty bad, some of them are overshadowed by things also available and some require too much work to get into usable shape.
So, we'll go with the 4 I like the best and would actually use. That means we start off by combining a Pendragon and Yama to make Chernobog. Only the second Omega, but noticably better than Tonatiuh. Except Gigajama for some weird reason; normally weak to Fire, but Nulls are pretty common now so that's hardly a problem.
Lailah and Peri give us Scathach. She's one of those demons that aren't overly stellar or anything, but I can't help but like anyway. Normally weak to both Fire and Elec, but only has space to patch one. I opted for Electricity since Fire isn't common to fight against at the moment and by the time it shows up again, she'll probably be gone.
Been a while since we've had a Kishin, and Take-Mikazuchi (Scathach + Yama)'s nice enough to be the second one that's actually good too. Gets Multi-Strike by default, has pretty good Strength... where it not needing for needing Null Force off of Scathach, he could easily have ~36 Strength already.
And lastly we'll take Gui Xian and Balor and make an Ym. Ym's the only non-Unique we're making, and he has Holy Dance by default. It normally takes a couple levels but since Balor has it, it gets auto-unlocked. How nice.
That out of the way, let's go hang out with The Anguished One.
[Music: The Anguished One]
Hello, Shining One. I am sorry for what happened last time.
Why did you do it?
I wasn't quite aware the Anguished One was Nocturnal. Huh.
Shining One... I know that you will be troubled, wounded, and forced to fight one another.
Can you predict the future?
Predict...? Do you mean that I have knowledge of events you will eventually experience?
Heed me, Shining One. I do not predict the future.
The visions of death Nicaea sends you are not predictions either.
Then what is there?
The world's path was laid out long beforehand. There is no past or future there...
Before you can respond, the man vanishes...
Well that told us approximately nothing. Let's see if we can, uh, squeeze more info out of him I guess?
Like he does have over triple Otome's votes and she was in second place, so...
The Anguished One 42% (82) Otome 12% (24) Joe 12% (23)
Hey... Isn't that...!?
Hello, Shining One. We meet again.
Oh? I see... Do you have doubts? You seem troubled.
Yamato Hotsuin has told you of Polaris' existence...
You now know how its power can be used to change the world.
But your friends are divided on how to use this power, and you are seeking a different path...
Indeed. Hahaha! I'm glad I answered correctly.
I am not your enemy. You see that now, don't you?
That's why I will resolve all your remaining doubts.
R-Really...!? What should we do, Hibiki? Is there anything we need to ask him?
Why erase the world?
He sees your race as having reached its saturation point.
As I said before, Polaris is the center of all that is.
He is the administrator and arbitrator of everything that exists.
In other words, you have been deemed unnecessary.
Wh-What a bunch of bull! What gives it the right to decide that all on its own!?
So you gave us demons?
I... foresaw the judgement Polaris handed down upon you.
And if Hotsuin's barrier could deflect Polaris' first strike...
I knew that the Septentriones would follow.
Why are you protecting us?
I saw the potential inherent in freedom when I met your kind in ancient times.
And you met my expectations as your possibility blossomed into a vibrant civilization.
Wait, what? YOU gave humans fire and language...!?
Seriously...!? Well, the guy hasn't lied to us so far...
Shining One... a question. I saw your potential for freedom and tried to nurture it.
It may be my fault that Polaris made this judgement...
Please tell me, Shining One. Was I wrong? Am I your friend?
Th-This is too much... if you really gave man culture...
But if that's why we're in this mess now, that's a huge problem!
Geez... I don't know what to think! You say something to him, Hibiki!
You're our friend.
...I see. I am honored.
He would achieve his ambition by opening a path to Polaris with those who agree with him.
Polaris is not interested in what kind of order governs each world.
He judges man's continued existence only on whether they have lost their reason to live.
Yamato Hotsuin, knowing this, accepts Polaris' rule...
What...!? But that's not better than brainwashing!
He's forcing it on us.
The concept of creating a new world by presenting one's reason to the administrator...
You would not know this, but in the long history of worlds, it is not without precedent.
You must hurry, Shining One. If Yamato Hotsuin gains an audience with Polaris...
Man's consciousness will be altered to usher in a world driven by merit...
The man disappears...
Alright, that's enough of that. Let's do something incredibly dangerous to help get rid of Mizar.
[Music: JPs -Geomagnetism Research Department-]
There you are, Kuze. Everyone else is here already.
Are we forming teams?
We've assigned those already, of course. We were only waiting on you.
Hey, it's Yamato. Is this operation about to start?
There's no turning back... Are you all prepared?
Prepared or not, there's no other way... We're just gonna have to suck it up.
Haha... You're right. Y-Yeah, we gotta do this.
[Music: The Operation Starts]
All right, let's begin the operation.
We can't predict what will happen, so the teams are based on complementary strengths.
Next is Kujou, Wakui, and Yanagiya. They will form Team Osaka.
Lastly, Ban, Kanno, and Torii will serve as Team Nagoya.
Here's the question for you...
So, yeah, we have the exact same choice here as from when we fought Megrez. Unlike then, I won't stop right here just to vote on this. Rather, we'll use the same team as from then just for convenience.
Ooh, good choice! Let's show 'em how it's done, Hibiki!
...Hey. You better take care not to get in my way.
Ah, Hibiki! Are we on the same team? Haha, excellent!
Very well. That settles the makeup of Team Osaka.
Use this code at the Stake's control center and head to the Terminal there at once.
I'll contact you again once you're there about removing the Stake.
The rest of you will get your instructions en route. Now, let's go!
[Music: The Enigma Deepens]
What is this!? It's totally freezing here!
It's your wardrobe.
Tch... If we get cold, we'll start moving slower. Let's get this over with quick.
That's right... We don't want to risk catching a cold. Shall we head out?
N-Not good, not good...! I'm gonna freeze if I have to stand still! Let's get going!
Feels like winter. Is this really where the Dragon Stream's at?
Mm-hm... Only Yamato knows the details, though. Anyway, we can keep going for now.
Yeah, you're right. Let's get moving...!
Your cell phone rings...
What should I do now?
Don't panic. The reason I called was to tell you exactly that.
Observe the lowest level of the building.
Yeah, you see that bit sticking out of the middle that looks like a wooden stake? It's not that. It's the entire thing that's sat in.
We need to go through some steps to take that Stake out.
I've sent the deactivation code to all of your cell phones.
Use it to activate the terminal, and you'll have access to the Stake.
You will need to send the code to the Stake from three locations, in a set order.
The next terminal's location will be specified each time you send the code.
Once all terminals have been used, the Stake will be deactivated.
As you remove the Stake, even more demons will begin to appear.
...Perhaps more than we're prepared for. Be on your guard.
That's not true at all.
Demons spawn in regardless of the progress on the stake.
Also, fighting against a Kishin for once. That's rare.
...I see. There are already bunch of demons. (sic)
Right...! Hibiki, what should we do!?
Let's start kicking ass.
Yeah... But don't go putting yourself at risk! We've got to manage our resources!
[Music: Desperate Situation]
Take note that we don't have to get rid of every demon. That's pretty important, because we won't be. It's too much hassle, quite frankly.
Nothing else to crack from here, and we've seen all these before or they're self-explanatory. Glad that we can get Multi-Strike basically immediately after having a chance to see it though.
Might as well start how we mean to go on: by jumping dudes from outside their attack range to murder them easily.
Ym's magic isn't particularly exceptional, but it's more than enough to get the job done.
The second Legion had to be lured a bit closer. Most demons here don't move until you're basically right on top of them, so we have kind of an edge in that regard.
Didn't stop it throwing the turn order out of whack by Evil Binding Hinako though.
So in return I don't even bother with the Gui Xians and just drop an Agidyne on the Legion. Helps with keeping the number of demons to deal with relatively low too.
Being able to get an uncounterable hit on this Nue isn't necessarily a good thing with only a Dragon to do it with. If that Mothman uses Devil Speed, it can still totally get to Keita.
The Nue's are lightly roasted until they're finished either way, but this might lead to the first fight where someone on our party gets hit.
Might being the key word. During the lull it had, the Mothman... just sat there. This is the last thing Keita is doing for a long while, though, and he's only doing this one because it's where Elec Amp is.
Even with its Endure, it doesn't really matter when I can easily basically ignore it with a Holy Dance (would have used Fire instead but Mothman's immune to that).
And with that, Ym levels up and gets the Dragon advanced skill. This is really absurdly good, but I'll let the game tell you what this one does.
Evil Flow is ridiculous. On top of having a default attack range of 2, by spending a small amount of MP you can push it up to 6.
If you have a Vile in the party it does become 7. This is why I said a long time ago that I like Dragons. You can outrange almost everything with this.
And it's at this point that new demons start spawning in. None spawn in based on progress with the stake's release either. They just spawn in as you kill demons.
After a lot of walking around the map, Hinako gets hit with the Ghost's advanced Race skill: Possession. On top of the usual Ghost Wound stuff it adds the Curse ailment.
Affection and Amrita cure it still, but it's basically a hard counter for Tyranny and Blood Wine and all sorts of fun things. Kind of annoying because that means it's significantly more effective in the hands on the AI than it ever will be when you use it.
So to make up for it, I'm dropping Hibiki on the Legion team that did it.
I sort of actually wanted to wipe out all the Pisacas here just out of spite, but Balor had other plans. Oh well, not a big deal.
Of course, this does leave Hibiki just in range for Take-Mikazuchi and his two Touki friends to up their crit rate and run in swords aswinging.
The one on the left has the Life Surge I'm cracking, so I'm ignoring him for now. Really if Lham Dearg didn't have that, they'd be worthless since they die like nothing even with it.
It's always nice when this happens though. Since Double Extras are only available to us, it's like a free turn to wail on things or heal or whatever.
But Mikazuchi IS a Kishin, so he comes in for a second round.
It doesn't go any better this time either.
Hinako wants Multi-Strike, so she gets the honours of finishing him off.
I like how it still pretends Endure even matters when you wipe it out with something that hits multiple times.
Since Hinako got to finish off both Mikazuchi AND Lham, she gets both skill cracks. And I'll let her use both, since more HP isn't a bad thing and Multi-Strike is ridiculously good especially in her hands.
And just before we can begin to end this, Mothman decides to run over to Otome so she can get Ice Repel.
I really don't know what else it could accomplish here, since she has Agidyne and Silky is laughably weak to Fire.
Stuff like this is why Mothman has Endure though. Aniel could punk it like it was nothing, but it survives this and gets taken out by Otome's noodly wrists instead.
And we've all but won at this point, so let's bring this to a close. Standing in the right spots gives us the Control option which lets us release the Stake.
Fortunately, where you have to go next are all really obvious and signposted too. Otome's over by the next one, and the last one is basically right where started. Keita wasn't left over here by accident or anything; that's because he has Winged Flight and can bring us to the speediest end.
But this Mothman is going to try and be inconvenient, so well finish it off first.
Now here's a fun game. It's called Count The Multi-Strike Hits!
So, you may have noticed that was not anywhere in the 2-7 range despite Multi-Strike's description saying it is that. No, that's miscommunication. It's not 2-7 total. It's 2-7 to each enemy demon. That's why Multi-Strike is so good. It's just Multi-Hit but to everything, at once. It even costs the exact same amount of HP too, per use, so really there's no need to have both on the same person.
(For what it's worth, I counted 13 hits.).
Now we just have to quickly and effortlessly finish things off. This makes one.
Yeah, the third spot's over by the far right. Would be annoying if I hadn't been moving Otome over there the entire time ready for this.
Oh, and there's this thing over here. For whatever reason, a Legion slowly ambles up to this spot and just stops there. No idea why other than to be annoying but Keita has significantly more range.
So he Power Hits it dead center and takes it out in one. And that's without Assassinate too.
Immediately afterwards, Otome finishes up on her end. That's two...
And what luck. The last spot is right where the Legion was until Keita punched it all of once.
So now he just flies up there and we're done. If I had to walk around, it wouldn't be harder or anything. Just more time consuming and kind of annoying.
This map is kind of a pain to navigate and is a slow fight because there's just stretches where nothing happens but "and then we walked a bit closer to where there are demons."
Having to run back and forth across the map would be annoying too if you didn't see it coming. But the spots where you'll have to be are pretty well indicated so it shouldn't be that big of a surprise.
And as an added bonus, Scathach also gets her Race skill to upgrade. Affection is already pretty damn good so what can they do to improve it? Just make its range bigger.
Yup. That's it. Rather than, like, revive stuff that died too or whatever it can now heal things upto 6 spaces away instead of 4. And that's perfectly fine really; it already does so much that it puts the other healing skills to shame that adding to it would be kinda redundant.
[Music: The Enigma Deepens]
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that this isn't necessarily a good thing.
Because now everything is shaking and it does not stop.
Huh? An earthquake?
......! Then we can't just stand here, you idiot!
We've got to get out, Hibiki!
Reminder that, yes, everything is still shaking because Mt. Fuji is about to blow.
Holy mother of--! Something's wrong with Mt. Fuji!
No...! M-Mt. Fuji...!
Dammit...! This isn't funny!
We have to hurry! If we don't leave now, we're going to be burned to death!
All right, let's go! We've got to hurry back...!
You use the Terminal to escape from this area...
Oh...! Hey, they're back! Nice work, guys!
Ah... hey, Daichi. Lord, am I tired... I was pretty sure we were finished this time.
No doubt. Anyway, I'm glad you're all safe. We just finished our part, too.
Hmph. I'm looking forward to getting even with that stupid Mizar thing.
[Music: Crumbling Routine]
One last thing... As expected, the barriers protecting the three cities just collapsed.
Hah... Without barriers, they will be swallowed by the Void and disappear completely.
Hrgh... we've cut our time limit to the bone...
Sure did. Well, wasn't anything else we could've done.
The time for hesitation is long since past. I will eliminate any who do not share my vision.
I'll think about it.
[Music: Connected Hearts]
I'd rather not waste precious time here. Let's proceed to the next step.
The next step...? Oh, right! That key thing?
The first step, extracting the Stakes from the Dragon Stream, has been completed.
Now we must resurrect the demon who is key to activating the magic circle.
It does. We have determined the best candidate for the job from your health exam results.
Who is it?
Don't be alarmed, but there is something you all must know first...
To put it bluntly, acting as a demon's medium is never a safe thing to do.
And in this case, the demon in question has lost some of its essence to the Void.
[Music: Dark Clouds]
What do you propose to do about it? I don't mind ending this here and now.
...Let me ask you something. You did pick a medium for how well-suited they were, right?
Hm...? What do you mean? What other factors are there to consider?
Ah, never mind. So long as you don't pick someone just because they disagree with you...
Ah... Yes, I see. Hahaha...!
Unfortunately, it wouldn't work. It's rare to see one with such aptitude for demons.
I don't mind showing you our test results, but there was only one viable candidate.
...Hina, Yamato's telling the truth.
It's hard to find people with that kind of aptitude. I'll back him up on that.
...Alright. No hard feelings, then. Everyone's okay with that?
Hinako is looking around at everyone's faces...
Y-Yeah... I know, I know... I promise not to hold a grudge against anyone...!
W-Wait... Uhhh... Did you just say...!?
...Did I mumble? I told you to take Io Nitta and head to Miyashita Park.
What...? No... You're joking, right? Aren't you...?
Io runs off...
Hm... She ran away. Well, no matter. Unless she's entirely brainless, she'll be there.
Prepare yourself and head straight there. You'll receive further instructions en route.
You leave the area amidst a cloud of unrest...
Unsurprisingly, it's that time of day again. We were all but outright told this was coming in the scene that precedes it at least.
[Music: Crumbling Routine]
No video for this death clip, but that's because..
It's basically just this, with no movement other than "they move closer to Io."
We've been looking for you! Y-You saw the email, right!?
The one about Io?
Y-You gotta be kidding me! Io's gonna die...?
That death clip... It's gotta be related to her being the medium for that demon, huh?
We gotta stop this! We've done it a bunch of times... This one won't be any different!
What's important now is Io... Where did she go?
Say no more!
Heheh... That's what I'm talking about! Go get 'em, Hibiki!
Anyway, hurry up and get! Io's waiting for you...!
Right! Much as it pains me to admit, she could really use an encouraging word from you...
You say your farewells to Daichi and Hinako before leaving...
So now we have a chance to do a completely optional event with Io or we could jump into the next plot fight. The question, then, is which do we d-
Ahaha okay yeah, not this time. See there's two requirements for saving Io here. The scene there is obviously one of them but the other one? Io must have a high enough Fate level. She needs to be at least above 2... but still below 3 (needs ~120 points which is a little under how many she needs for Fate 3). The Fate requirement basically makes it so that a normal singular live/die vote doesn't really work. Fortunately, we've got that one more than cleared, so we will be saving Io.
Or to simplify that a bit, a high Fate 2 is the minimum needed. So long as you can get to 3 from it, you're fine but that's risky so getting 3 before now is better of course.