Part 75: Day of the TentacleDay of the Tentacle
As always, we'll start things off with a bit of light fusion. Just the one thing this time, but it's the only level 48 demon so whatever.
Abaddon (Kresnik + Balor) is actually pretty good for a Vile. Naturally weak to Physicals by default but being able to fuse him by immediately using Kresnik makes it a non-issue. Can be built to suit either physicals or magic, and even comes with Anti-Most giving a way to easily transfer that if Hecate isn't efficient.
Nothing else to do, so let's go get that Mizar.
...Is anyone getting a weird sense of deja vu from this? Just me?
Ah, Hibiki. I've been waiting for you. Mizar is above.
I assume you are ready? Then let's head to the roof of the government building.
Okay, I'm going.
Very well... Just don't let your guard down.
Okay, so yeah this is a really cool setpiece.
A really cool setpiece.
Also near in mind that Mizar is wriggling the entire time. He's attempting, and failing, to break free from the Dragon's front mouth.
...Is it trying to eat it whole? Mizar's still hanging in there.
This is impressive... But we don't have time to be freaked out. We have to do something!
Yes... I agree. Huh!? Look!
If we attack and cut off the tentacles, Mizar won't be able to defend itself!
So we need to hit the tentacles...? But those things...
The same thing will happen if we leave one of them alive, so let's defeat all those, too!
Let's go, Kuze! We don't have much time to use the Dragon Stream as a dragon!
If we don't defeat Mizar before it's gone, we don't have a chance of winning this!
Much like our last tussle with Mizar(s), there are a few regular demons lying around but we can just ignore 'em. We aren't, but we can.
It's a good idea to just sip them entirely if the incredibly generous time limit becomes too much for you though.
There's only three things we can crack, and they're all pretty simple passives still. There ARE some actual spells and stuff we don't have yet, honest.
We can fight the main body proper this go around, but this just involves taking advantage of his replication to split his tentacles. The larger broken off parts are more threatening than these things.
Especially since these guys come alone and there are only two of 'em. That range of 4 sounds threatening, but we have Evil Flow so its a non-issue.
Like so. Hibiki and Jungo are going to run around to the other side of the map, where there's a couple of demons and we want to be over there later anyway. Jungo's main job here is to provide covering fire from a safe distance but, well, Hibiki doesn't need it that much really.
He literally cannot die here. You'll see.
At the moment, both are just stood outside this tentacle's range in case it doesn't drop immediately. There's no threat of reprisal and it can't move at all.
Worried about nothing though. Between Jungo and two Fire Dancing demons, the Tentacle drops in no time. Balor is mainly just so Jungo can keep up the Evil Flows though.
And, yes, we can't kill the tentacles. Even if we obliterate their 1050 HP (easy enough at this point), they'll hang on with 1 hit point left.
This is because the tentacles are scripted to split into two of the smaller ones after you beat 'em. They might also do it if you don't take them out in one go, but I wouldn't know. They're pretty simple all things considered.
You might be wondering then where the Abaddon's gotten to. Fumi has it.
I brought Fumi instead of Otome because Fumi has (at the start of the fight) 38 magic. The Abaddon's for later stuff but helps with destroying this Badb Catha.
And I do mean destroying it. Between Fumi dropping Force Dances and our own Badb throwing out a Zandyne, the entire enemy party drops in no time flat.
This Abaddon's close enough to our starting point to potentially be a nuisance. Hinako can handle it easily enough.
It's weak to punches. Hinako and Kresnik are really good at punches. Their lethality could even be somewhat necessary if those Ym's had Evil Flow, which they surprisingly don't.
Speaking of stuff that can fight at range though, these two smaller Mizars are kind of in our way.
Could move around them, but they're basically free EXP at this point so I'll get rid of them.
We don't even have to touch them, ever, if we didn't want to though. Despite seeming like they could be a nuisance, eh. Not really.
The other one was even kind enough to use its turn on a Quick Growth so Hibiki can blast it with the upperhand yet again.
Those done, we can throw Jungo at the Tentacle from a safe distance yet again. My placement, in general, is a bit off though. If the Tentacle survives it can, and almost certainly will, hit Hibiki.
Quite the big "if" though. Oh, and Jungo has the Vitality at this point to equip Drain Hit in lieu of an increased crit chance. He's now functionally immortal since his punches drain more HP than they cost to use.
So, that's the two tentacles done. We've already won, right?
...Not quite. Now they've spread out a bit further. The one at that end is drawing us closer to a Badb Catha and Abaddon left over at that side. There's also two mini-Mizars in between our current location and that far Tentacle.
Since we've gotten closer to the main body, the defensive power of them has gone up ever-so-slightly. I still consider the grown broken off Mizars to be a bigger threat than this part of the main body though.
These secondary Tentacles have 1200 HP. Not a big issue.
Especially when Hinako's stood waiting and ready for this one.
Since these Tentacles are roughly on our level, Bifrons doesn't immolate it in oneshot. Over 500 is still remarkably impressive and does finish it off after Hinako and Kresnik pummeling it to below half effortlessly though.
Naturally, these ones are also scripted to drop to 1HP at a minimum then split into two mini-Mizars again.
To speed things along a bit, at this point I say fuck it and blast team leaders primarily. And by "speed things along," I mean I got bored of taking things down piece by piece and want to save some MP for Fumi.
But, hey, that doesn't mean I'm not going to have other teams do it too.
We're about halfway done with the fight when Yamato gives us a call. This basically is a reminder that there's a time limit more than anything else though. Kind of a non-issue.
The mini-Mizars aren't even remotely a threat at this point so I'm just putting them out of their misery the easiest way possible.
Also their EXP isn't that much better if I wipe them all out anyway. They've lost their pinata luster.
Times like this I wish I gave Jungo Assassinate again. I mean, yeah, this is more than enough to win anyway but the Assassinate numbers are so much flashier.
I don't claim to be perfect, except the times when I do. This is one of those times when I have a dumb plan but I'm calling it a work of perfection anyway.
Hinako's team can still easily take care of this tentacle without any hassle so that's out of the way.
Two more down, and...
Mizar's still hanging in there. Now we have to get to both buildings to win. Problem here is that if you take out the secondary tentacles by standing next to them, the new ones can immediately turn around and blast you.
Like one can do to Hinako which is a Bad Thing.
Primarily because these ones are pretty close to full-on damage control. Star Pressure is basically Mighty Hit on crack. And he has Phys Amp increasing its damage potential, along with boosting that Multi-Strike.
And he has Swift Step. That gives him a very high chance of going first in every skirmish.
These tentacles have 1500 HP. Not a whole lot, but might be enough to survive past one skirmish now.
[Music: Break Out]
Star Pressure fucking hurts, man. If it weren't for the Abaddon and Badb still being alive, this would've wiped Fumi on the spot.
A second one would still be an immediate wipe, if it hits. Or if Mizar does the not-dumb thing and follows up with Multi-Strike.
Fortunately, Fumi does have Diarahan because I planned for this happening. After all, the only way Mizar can drop Fumi's chance of counterattacks is by dropping Fumi period. He outright cannot hurt Abaddon even if he tried.
Meanwhile over on the far end, I have a weird plan in mind. See, the tentacle over here can just hit Hinako where she is now. This is why I'm attacking this unrelated small Mizar and not the Tentacle.
Jungo could do that and probably drop it on the spot but I have a cunning plan.
First things first, gotta drop this Mizar without the chance of it surviving. A rare time I'm focusing on the leader because its actually a tactical decision rather than me being lazy.
Kinda expected Badb to attack Hinako here. See, this Badb has two Silkies with it.
Hibiki's entire team is running Fire spells. This ends quite badly for said Silkies.
That interruption dealt with, I can now put my weirdly cunning plan into action. By moving Hinako up one square to here, she cannot be attacked by the main Mizar now. This is just outside of its attack range, but the other small Mizar would be able to attack without fear of reprisal if Jungo left it alive.
The other small Mizar? Doesn't even register as a threat when it was alive.
Now that it's been turned into shards of stone, it's arguably more threatening because someone could cut their hands picking up the pieces.
Fumi and co. are back on the other side slowly plugging away on that tentacle. These ones don't spawn smaller Mizars, so Fumi taking her time with it doesn't matter.
For the best too, since only Fumi can really hurt this thing.
But after a short while, she does eventually wipe it out. And these ones actually do die.
Afterwards, Yamato calls us up to complain about us being slow. This is the first time I've taken this long, but I usually just bumrush the tentacles without caring about taking out any stragglers.
As for the Abaddon, which I took the opportunity to snipe at? I didn't pay attention to its party so I missed that the Lhams with it have both Hero Soul (take a single-target hit for the leader regardless of their HP) AND Endure. This proves to be my one real miscalculation.
Afterall, Abaddon's default attack range is 3. You can't benefit from Evil Flow when its the AI's turns and Lham Dearg can guarantee crits.
The AI isn't completely stupid, so it focuses solely on Ym. You can guess how this ends.
Hinako's out for revenge, and where she's stood is, yet again, outside of Mizar's attack range.
I'd say petrifying and murdering the shit out of the entire team in one Multi-Strike is a fair penance for them to pay.
Now that we're just down to the last Tentacle, Hibiki can rush right towards it and laugh at everything it tries to do.
I gave Hibiki Null Phys. Mizar has nothing but Physical attacks (and Petra Eyes, but, y'know, still has Null Curse from before). Literally cannot lose at this point.
Hariti got punked by a Star Pressure before this. Not a big deal.
Since I actively can only lose via running out of time now, and that's never happening, I can blast the remaining tentacle at my leisure.
I can, but I don't. I just blast it immediately. Fire Dance and Agidyne make very short work of it.
And just like that, we are done.
A pretty fun fight if I do say so myself.
Plus, hey, we're now done with the sixth Septentrione. We're so, so close to Polaris now.
Again, best to just watch this.
Well, okay. We're formally done with the sixth but the Dragon Stream's gotta eat it first.
Which, with this being Mizar, sounds like it'd be easier said than done.
After all, infinite replication is kind of Mizar's thing, but...
I wouldn't count out the Dragon. He's got a job to do and he'll do it by any means necessary.
Even if those means involve auto-cannibalism just to keep Mizar locked down. Dragon don't mess around.
Only flaw with its plan is that now that it's succeeded (or if it failed), it has no means of staying in the air any more.
[Music: Over the Brink of Death]
...It's not moving at all. Is it dead? Or did it just eat too much?
That was an amazing swallow. That dragon chowed down like an expert speed-eater.
Your cell phone rings...
Huh? Seriously? We did it! Yes!
Hmph...! We finally made it pay.
Hahaha, Hibiki... First off, well done.
It seems the fools are celebrating, but you must understand. Time is short.
[Music: Crumbling Routine]
That's outside Miyashita.
Ah, about that. You have a valid point.
But the Void was never growing at the same speed in all directions anyway.
The barrier's collapse has triggered steady encroachment by the Void.
I don't know if you will agree with me or not, Hibiki... but I have high expectations.
If we can keep this up, then whatever the next enemy is, I'm sure we can...
[Music: In the Devastated Town]
Before we start talking about the next enemy... There's another problem to deal with.
The will of the species?
What about you, Hibiki? Have you... made up your mind which way to go?
I'm still thinking.
I'm gonna go think it over some more... Why don't you see how the others are doing?
You say your farewells to Daichi before leaving...
As usual, now that we've beaten today's Septentrione we get to spend the rest of the day just relaxing.
We'll start off with Io. She seems like a good choice, considering her near death experience and all.
[Music: In the Devastated Town]
...Who cares!? Just leave me alone.
Oh... Sorry. I'm just... worried.
Are you hitting on him?
No, of course not. I just thought it would be funny.
He was looking at that building and looking really depressed, so I spoke up.
S-Sorry if I'm mistaken, but... um... you're not thinking of dying, are you?
This has nothing to do with you! Just leave me alone...
Oh... uh... Sorry.
My entire family's dead. I don't want to live anymore!
The boy walks over to the building, with a miserable look on his face...
Are you going to stop him?
Y-Yeah... I have to say something... but what?
Just be honest.
......! I should say what I honestly feel?
...... Oh, um... Wait!
Io calls the boy back over...
Um... Well... Can you please listen to what I have to say?
Shut up! Why should I do that...?
Well... uh... My family's dead, too. So I understand how you feel.
I mean, it made no sense for me to live, while the rest of my family's dead...
B-But then... My friends stayed with me.
Yes. People who encourage me, tell me when I'm doing wrong...
Don't you have anyone like that? Someone you were with just today?
But that doesn't matter! I don't have any reason to be alive...!
...That's not true! There are things you can do!
I mean, even I ended up being useful at something! It was scary at first, but...
So now... I'm really glad to be alive. I am.
So you live, too!
I know it's sad, and it hurts, and you don't like me forcing my opinion on you...
Io is on the verge of tears...
...... F... Fine.
[Music: In the Devastated Town]
If you're that adamant about it, I'll live.
Really? Th-Thank you...!
I bet your boyfriend's really having a hard time with you.
Well, I'll be going then. I'll try a little harder.
The boy walks away...
So... There ARE times when it's better to say what you're thinking, even if it's rude...
That was the right thing to do, right? It must have been.
Io watches the boy walk away...
This feels like it really works as the penultimate ranking for some reason.
Also the rank itself is nice I guess. I mean, yeah, I'm basically never using the SDTP but hey. Not complaining.
Ah well, let's go see what's up with Otome.
[Music: Connected Hearts]
...Why did you come here!? I told you you can't!
I'm very busy. Please, just bear with me!
Hmph... You don't care about me at all!
Koharu runs past you...
Yeah, I was surprised.
Yeah... I'm really sorry. This is the first time we've fought, so I was caught up...
Koharu snuck into the exam room to see me. That's why I was scolding her...
But really, it's my fault. I haven't been able to pay much attention to her lately...
And ever since Yamato declared his merit system, everyone's been on edge... even me.
Would Koharu be happier if she had someone more dependable?
Thanks. I feel like I could do anything with you encouraging me.
...Oh, I have to go. See you later, Hibiki.
Otome hurries away...
For once, I'm relieved to see this. Not because I like the idea of getting to SDTP with Otome, but, well, you'll see.
For now, let's go see what's up with Joe now. I'm sure it's not as bad as the name implies.
Joe is carrying a heavy-looking cardboard box...
This is a great help! How are things on your end?
Don't worry about it. These were for civilians anyway, so don't feel bad.
...That name doesn't even begin to make sense.
Is that food?
You want some, Hibiki? It's just some syringes and stuff...
That is, it's medical supplies. We got some from Ronaldo.
I thought I'd use them to treat my team and civilians, so I stockpiled them.
...But I'm very impressed with you, Joe. Did you girlfriend ask you to do this?
Actually, it was her doctor. I said I was from JP's and he asked me to get him supplies.
But JP's told me that they can't give civilians their supplies, so I was in trouble.
I couldn't say no to my girlfriend, so I'm glad I asked you, Clicky. Thanks.
In any case, that Hotsuin... Ever since he announced his plans, he's gotten worse!
Hm... You're right. It seems he's waiting for our answer, at least...
Well... Either way, this is about the only thing I can do. I'll be taking this. Thanks!
Oh, wait. Let's open it up and check what's in there. It'd be bad if there was a mistake.
Ronaldo opens the cardboard box...
[Music: A Moment of Rest]
I had to take antibiotics once... I got food poisoning from expired milk.
I got some hygiene products, but not enough IVs. You'll have to use something else.
These are the painkillers? Man, that's a serious horse-choker. I'd hate to take that.
If you absolutely need some, ask me. My team members will search all through Nagoya...
Check it out, Hibiki, anesthetics! Want a shot?
I'll shoot you!
Hey! Joe, are you listening to me?
Huh? Sorry, I wasn't listening...
......You're ridiculous. Be serious for once. SERIOUS!
Haha, sorry 'bout that.
Joe continues checking the medical supplies with Ronaldo...
Next two were perfectly tied. Doing Yamato first, because might get to make him even more humanised or something.
[Music: Connected Hearts]
I don't give autographs.
Hahaha...! Very funny, Hibiki. I would have expected nothing less.
...You understand my ideals, don't you?
You're as intelligent as always. I want you on my team now more than ever.
[Music: JPs -Geomagnetism Research Department-]
Your achievements leave no doubts in my mind as to your talent.
With all your natural ability, why do you think you have been hidden for so long?
It's not worth considering. It's because the old society was structured poorly.
...And they pretend that it's the "right" thing to do!
That's the reaility of the old society. Stupidity at its worst.
Don't you feel it? The foolishness of that society?
I don't really; I just want your Fate points. But don't tell anyone!
It's normal for someone like you to have these feelings.
From now on... if you stay with me, your talents will be allowed to blossom.
It's for your own good as well as the good of the world. That is what I believe.
Hahaha... Think about it. I'll be waiting to hear from you, Hibiki.
Yamato gives you a hard stare and walks away...
Well, uh, that didn't quite go as expected.
So, uh, let's see what's up with Airi.
Hey, Hibiki! Don't just stand there! You scared me!
You're looking at it again.
Ugh... That's not true! I was just, um...
Ugh... Go away. This is my...
Oh... Makoto. I-I'm sorry... But what does it matter where I am...?
The Nagoya branch has been restless since Yamato brought up that merit system stuff...
Unfortunately, the number of demons is on the rise. This is a very dangerous area.
...Sorry, Ban, but I did a background check on you.
There was a report that you tend to come here... so I was wondering.
I understand why you'd want to protect this hall. It has many memories for you, right?
But, please, hold back for now. You'll be able to come back soon...
...! I don't want to protect it!
How do you know how I'm feeling!?
Don't act like you know me! No one does... No one gets what I'm going through!
Ban, I agree with Kuze. Of course, that doesn't mean I understand you completely.
...Sorry, but would you listen to a little story?
A story...? Why would I...?
Ugh... You too?
...If you want to talk, say whatever you want.
...Thank you. This happened a while ago...
Really...? Like, dancing in a pool? You? ...Seriously?
Haha... That's right. Does it seem odd?
Three months in the hospital, another year to recover... My dream ended there.
Huh...!? B-But you're fine now. Doesn't that mean you're all healed now...?
No... I needed a great deal of rehab, and have a huge scar on my shoulder. I was done.
...It was about that time that I was scouted by JP's.
At first, I was just franting about doing my job, having a place to be...
But then I started having a sense of accomplishment about my job. One day, I thought:
Sorry, I'm boring you. Anyway, you should get out of here as soon as you can.
W-Well, whatever! What a waste of time. That was dull...!
Um... Hngh... It wasn't that boring, but... it's not like... Um...
I mean... What's her story got to do with me at all...?
...Well, I'm gonna go now. See you later!
Airi runs off...
As nice as it sounds to have a new demon available to fuse...
It's only Xiezhai. We're now a significantly higher level than this thing so it's utterly worthless for us now, but even if we weren't? It's something that I consider to be pretty damn bad! It seems good on paper with 22 Magic and only 1 weakness, but... it has nothing to use with that magic, has Crit up as a passive for some inane reason (note that it has a whopping 7 strength) and crumples if something so much as looks at it.
...Wait, hang on. What?
[Video: Makoto Sako]
D-didn't we get this done already today...?
So, uh, yeah. I think you might have a good idea now why people kinda don't like Ronaldo that much!
[Music: Crumbling Routine]
Ah, there you are! Hey, Hibiki...!
Dammit... Now it's Makoto!?
We have to stop this.
Oh... r-right! We gotta do something!
Not only that... Ronaldo's gonna be the one to do it!
Oh man... This is real bad. Is this seriously gonna happen!?
Looks that way.
I just don't get it. I mean... I can't imagine killing someone I know!
Yeah, me neither.
You know? What makes people turn on each other like that?
Wait, crap! Now's not the time for questions like that!
Yeah, I kinda agree here.
We'll be doing the fight regardless of whether or not Makoto's going to survive it (it's not mandatory but hey it's there).
Which, let's be real here, she is. We've come this far without letting anyone die so it'd be kind of a shame to ruin that at the very, very end. Plus if we opted to have Makoto die, we, uh, we'd be complicit in murdering her in cold blood.