Part 17: The Si Xiang
Alright, so as with King Frost, Beelzebub (both) and Orochi, what's coming up next is entirely optional and can be skipped without much of a loss.
...Unlike before, there is absolutely no dungeon crawling to be had. We've already crawled all of the dungeons. Instead, we're just skipping from boss fight to boss fight. Since this could be hard to follow, I'll include a shot of the map to help explain where everything is.
Svadhisthana's rookie is chilling out in the basement opposite where Baal Zebal was originally. She's past the red wall where there was just a Soma.
Thankfully, as with every boss fight there's no way of accidentally stumbling in unprepared. The game is at least kind enough to let you know there's something in there.
...Kinda wish it didn't do that for these though.
There's absolutely no dialogue before the fight begins, so we'll just dive right in!
Optional Boss: Aerial Suzaku
Hunting ~ Rare Devil
Since we're just gonna be pounding on four bosses in a row this time around, let's learn something actually new about them shall we?
Ya know what? I could care less about Nirvana...
So, I'm sure everyone already knows this already but Feng Huang here is a mistranslation. Suzaku's Chinese name is Zhe Que. Feng Huang is a phoenix, and one of the Ssu-Ling (four benevolent animals). Suzaku... is not a phoenix and is one of the Si Xiang (four symbols). The games insist that the Si Xiang and the Ssu-Ling are the same thing but they really, really aren't. They're similar but that's all.
I'm tired of worms... It's time for something meatier!
Anyway, the fight itself! Suzaku's probably the hardest of the four we'll be dealing with this time around. She's still not that big of a problem for one reason: she does not have Dekaja.
As you might expect, she also loves throwing Fire spells at you so we'll throw out Fire Drains the entire time.
Oh, and she's also immune to Physicals entirely so Makakaja helps immensely there.
She also doesn't technically have Dekunda either... but don't debuff her beyond -2 in any stat. Just... trust me on this one.
So, what CAN we use against her? Well, not Fire, Phys, Gun, Ailments, Light or Dark of course. Ice is our best bet by far since she's at least neutral to that.
Plus, y'know, Cocytus is the most useful by far since it has a chance to freeze her.
Bufudyne helps out there too. It's also about the same amount of damage for a little less MP.
Once she loses about a quarter of her HP, Suzaku changes things up a bit.
You ruffled them! That's so wrong! Squuuaaa---
From this point, she adds both mid-tier Fire spells and Power Waves to her repertoire... but if you put up fire barriers she now doesn't hit them head on like a dumbass. Instead, she just throws physicals at you.
This option is much more preferable all things considered!
But, hey, remember what I said about debuffs? Lets push that button now.
If we did this in the first stage of the fight, nothing would have happened but now things have changed.
If she starts the second stage of the fight with -3 or -4 in a stat, or you drop her to that point after the second stage begins...
She gets very, VERY angry and flies into a Psycho Rage.
She also uses Dekunda in this circumstance, and in this circumstance only. So pushing her to -2 is safe and viable.
...After that, in a move that should seem VERY familiar she uses Makakaja four times in a row.
She then throws a Maragidyne at you. Unless, y'know, you put up a Fire Drain barrier.
This hurts a fair bit, so that barrier sounds like the thing to do, right?
Well, no. Because then she just throws a couple Megidolaons at you in a row.
And they actually hurt more than the Maragidynes even including weakness prodding.
So, gonna avoid that one then. And just smack her down to half HP the old fashioned way.
The third, and functionally final, stage of the fight just changes her moveset to be much nastier. Of course, she now throws out Tarukajas of her own.
She's also now replaced those Power Waves with the much more powerful Bloodbath and she likes spamming it several times in a row too.
...Granted, when she's at -1 Attack and we're at +4 Defence it doesn't seem that impressive (also Serph has Resist Phys here). If you let her get away with Tarukajaing a lot for some reason then it becomes an actual threat though!
Still, even with all that it doesn't matter too much if you manage to freeze her since then you can cut through her HP VERY fast!
...Hopefully faster than I do, since if you bring Executioner for when she IS frozen you can annihilate her in no time at all.
Once Suzaku's down to her last quarter of HP, she adds one new attack but it's not really a new part of the fight.
She's also more than kind enough to spend her entire turn beforehand just saying this one line of dialogue. Every time she does this it indicates that its coming next.
So you might think it's going to be like some kind of super powered Fire attack right?
...Haha nope! It's just HP Thief! But with a bit of a twist this time around.
It actually deals some damage to us and its damage is variable to a point. It always drops whoever it hits to around half their max HP.
Not sure why she even bothers. If you're like level 80+ it might be an issue, I guess, but if you're that high and doing this she shouldn't even get a chance to do it!
All in all, Suzaku's actually very easy if you don't panic and have even a small iota of a plan. And, again, she's the hardest of the four bosses we're dealing with this time too.
Our real reward for dealing with this, is the Crimson Orb. On its own it does absolutely nothing but sit in our key items looking pretty.
That's Svadhisthana dealt with, so next up is Manipura. Just gonna go through all these in the same order we did originally since that makes the most sense.
In this case, we want to be to the far west past Gate 6. We want that small indoor corridor area where we got a Power Noise ages ago.
I'm not even sure why nameless generics are trying to fight these guys. It doesn't even make them seem menacing either!
Anyway, this guy's rude as hell and standing on a table in an otherwise empty room.
Optional Boss: Beast Byakko
Hunting ~ Rare Devil
Hey, Bai Hu's actually right for this guy's name. Hurray!
...Unfortuantely, that's where the accuracy ends. He's also how we know for a fact that these guys are NOT the Ssu-Ling at all.
I knew that if I devoured your men, you would eventually show up. Nothing personal, but I cannot remain in this hellish prison. ...Prepare yourselves.
There is NO tiger in the Ssu-Ling, white or otherwise! Instead, there's some chimera thing called a Qilin. There is, however, a white tiger of the west in the Si Xiang. And his name is Bai Hu/Byakko...
Anyway, Byakko here is... probably the second easiest of the bunch. He doesn't have any particularly threatening attacks nor does he have any nasty resistances or anything.
His attacks kind of hurt at first I guess, especially when you realise this is -1 vs +2... except that's where his threats end. He CAN Dekaja and Dekunda unlike Suzaku but he doesn't do it overly often and never until the end of the fight anyway.
Unsurprisingly, he also throws out Force spells sometimes. But his magic is nowhere near as good as his physicals so whatever.
He, um, he also gets hilariously unlucky and I accidentally skip a third of the fight completely!
also he DOES resist physicals so this would totally be a oneshot if he didnt
Oh and to give you an extra incentive to not use Physicals, Byakko quite likes to counter them often. Which, uh, does not matter.
BUT WAIT! Let's pretend for a second I did not just skip a chunk of the fight in one fell swoop.
The start of the fight is super goddamn easy and really boring. His first turn is ALWAYS spent using Physical attacks and skills. So, 2 Taunts and a Phys Repel it is then?
And his second is to always cast Force spells. And then back to Physicals and back to Force... etc etc.
So this is incredibly predictable and abusable. Of course, we don't throw up Force Repels because Byakko drains that.
This method makes it easy to hit stage 2 of the fight easily enough. Which, like with Suzaku, just consists of adding new slightly more potent moves to his repertoire.
He also becomes less predictable and more likely to throw out Force spells unless you try to drain them. Then he MIGHT still use them but significantly more likely to hit you with Physicals.
He only adds Shock Wave to his magical attacks since he uses (Ma)Zanma beforehand anyway.
Physicals become more threatening since he likes to smash you with Skull Cleave. And if you tried to be clever and double-Taunt before and never Dekaja'd? After all, that way you can benefit better... but now it's going to bite you now and bite you hard.
Taking nearly 400 damage a hit is quite hard to come back from when he can throw out 3 in a row without issue.
If, however, that doesn't happen and you drop him to half HP the fight enters its final stage.
Well, it looks like this is it. But, I'm gonna go down fighting!
Much like Suzaku, he gets actually almost dangerous now. He starts throwing out Zandynes for his regular spells now. No more of this Zanma or Shock Wave nonsense.
He also quite likes to buff himself which is a bit of a problem since he doesn't use Bloodbath here. No, he uses Executioner. Since that's what WE use to slice through bosses in no time we know is a massive problem.
So best to avoid that one then!
This is also when he tries to Dekaja/Dekunda but it's too little too late at this point.
In spite of sounding like a massive problem come the end stges of the fight, Byakko is actually not at all threatening in the least. He gives you free reign to buff and debuff how you see fit until the end stages of the fight but by then he's too weakened to mount a proper counterattack.
Once again, our real reward is an orb that on its own does absolutely nothing but sit in our inventory waiting for its moment. That makes two...
So next we'll be heading off back to Anahata again.
All the way back to the third floor and near the side entrance.
Much like before, there was a conspicuously empty room right past the wall that was here before.
I wonder what it was like for this guy, just standing in an empty almost featureless room. Waiting for us to come in...
Optional Boss: Dragon Genbu
Hunting ~ Rare Devil
Gui Xian is not even a thing. Not in the Ssu-Ling nor the Si Xiang. Xuan Wu, however, is. As is Genbu... only they're both in the Si Xiang. And are both the same thing. SMT games are really bad at translating these guys somehow.
...Except in Imagine (when that was still around) of all things for some reason.
We? I believe I did all the work.
...Also the biggest reason this fight takes as long as it does is because Genbu does not like to shut the fuck up. Ever. It wouldn't be a problem if it was funny and not a bad comedy skit.
Can I help it if I require 9-10 hours of sleeps per day?
You mean in addition to the 12 hours you get each night?
What can I say? Carrying an oversized worm around takes a lot out of me.
Anyway, Genbu here is probably maybe the second hardest of the bunch. Maybe the hardest if you have no magic at all but that's your own fault.
Even though it seems like a bad idea, I came in here and immediately had Serph use Power Charge. Genbu resists Physicals like Byakko did... but on a whole new level.
He also inexplicably does not resist Elec. But that's fine and dandy.
Unlike the previous two, Genbu quite likes to buff himself in the first stage of the fight.
And this goes for both physical and magical attacks too.
It doesn't really matter too much at first, though. Genbu keeps his attacks to low level Earth spells and regular physicals for the most part.
Anyway, let's say for the sake of argument that this is Serph's strength at the moment. What if he was to use Executioner after a Power Charge at this level?
It's emphatically not worth it at all. So, why bother with that Power Charge before? You'll see.
Also buffing and debuffing is a complete waste of time in this fight too. Buffing especially...
Yeah, you. What did you just do?
Don't pretend to be innocent. Now, tell me what you just did.
I think they just took a cheap shot at us when we weren't looking.
You did, didn't you!? Oh, now I'm angry! No manners whatsoever... We oughtta give them a taste of their own medicine! That'll teach 'em not to be so trigger happy!
Shut up, slow-poke! I'm making an important point here!
*sigh* Let's get on with this so I can take a nap.
...Thankfully that long spiel only happens the first time you buff. Buffing also makes Genbu replace his first action with Dekaja. Debuffing does the same with Dekunda to a point and never has any dialogue associated with it either.
Of course, since Genbu has no resistances to Ice we can just pelt him with Cocytus until he freezes.
Then Serph hits him with the real Executioner. That is so satisfying seeing over 1000 pop out of Genbu from a physical attack, you have no idea.
As you might expect, he drains Earth spells. So the best way I figured out to deal with him from this point on is to cast Earth Repel.
No, really. You'll see!
Listen, they're laughing at us over there. We gotta do something about it!
Uh... This might be more than we can handle.
Shut up, you coward! Fight like a demon!
........ Come on!!
See, from this point on Genbu always begins his turns by casting Magic Repel. This is mostly to force you into having to punch him with pissweak physicals (or just use Almighty stuff).
Buffing makes him override this with Dekaja instead. That sounds nice but its actually kinda slow and ineffective! Also means you're going to tank a ton of damage anyway.
Especially since his second turn here is usually, but not always, either Mind or Power Charge. Needless to say, he will never follow up a Mind Charge with a physical attack or Power Charge with a spell.
And, like the other two, he prefers to cast spells from this point on. Feels like he does it even more often when you throw up Earth Repel, since y'know he drains Earth and all.
...Except, he doesn't remember to take into account his own Magic Repel! Which means his spells get blasted back to him, he gains no health out of it AND his own repel is gone too.
Of course, he doesn't *always* use spells here. He can totally use physical skills too which in this case means that he throws Gates of Hell at us. Pretty glad that didn't happen!
And, of course, you can totally debuff him too. Normally this just makes him replace his first action with a Dekunda immediately. Here? It gives us his third phase a little early. Kind of.
See, in both the third phase and whenever you debuff him in the second he opens with Rage instead of anything else.
In this case, that's so he can Dekunda without caring too much. In the third phase, that's so he can hit you twice along with his buffs and Dekaja/Magic Repel. He never gets smart enough to do it to do both of them...
But he does Dekunda and Magic Repel this way. Disappointing but I guess he's too smart for things that directly affect him?
The third phase here happens when he's at a quarter health left, by the way.
Also he gets kind of easier then, since he replaces Gates of Hell with Bloodbath.
...Admittedly he does it twice in a row but still. The instant death chance via Petrify makes Gates of Hell much worse.
I realise I just straight up didn't let him enter it, but considering the only efficient way to hurt Genbu is when he's frozen (or by being very high levelled and having insane Mag and Mind Charge) it's better to just twist the knife when you can!
You know the drill by now. This makes three orbs, only one left and you're all smart people. I'm sure you know who has the last one.
Speaking of which, they're over at Ajna so let's go and deal with them at last.
We want the red configuration for this, so we'll just immediately jump into it.
This where the yellow wall we want is after all.
Genbu and Byakko were also behind a single yellow wall, but Suzaku was behind two red ones for some reason. Which is really weird.
Ah well, at least this guy was able to keep himself entertained with the piano here.
Optional Boss: Dragon Seiryu
Hunting ~ Rare Devil
...Well, Long IS part of Seiryu's chinese name. Part of it. The full thing is Qing Long. Closest of the three wrong ones at least.
The easiest way to get to Nirvana... is to devour the last remaining Tribe leader. Hahaha, you saved me the trouble of finding you... Now, you'll be devoured!
Seiryu... tries to be the hardest of the lot. He's actually the easiest though. Because he's a predictable joke. Because of this, we don't have to give a shit about anything he does because he's the only one with a fixed pattern.
So a Taunt and two Tarukajas now. Seiryu DOES resist physicals, but only in the same way that Byakko does. It's really not a problem at all and since he absorbs Ice that's for the best because he can't be frozen.
Come Seiryu's own turns, he shows his limits immediately. His first turn is always two Makakajas in a row.
And then a Mind Charge of his own. It's really obvious what's coming next...
So we just Taunt and 1x Tarukaja this time around. Putting up an Ice Drain shield instead of going to +4 Attack.
Seiryu opens with Mabufudynes when he goes on the offense. And absolutely nothing else.
This sounds like it could be a problem if you don't deal with his buffs but!
Since we throw up Ice Drain and he doesn't care, that comes out as if he just cast Mediarahan on us. How generous.
Of course, if we don't throw up drains and instead buff our defence and cripple his offence instead, the damage gets a little lower but could still hurt a lot.
Since the only stats here that really matter are our strength vs his defence, the third turn for us consists of Power Charge, the last Tarukaja we need and then skipping a turn to smash Seiryu's face with Executioner.
Nicely enough, just a single Executioner here won't push him to stage 2 of the fight. Unless, y'know, it crits. And if he gets a third turn in phase 1, he uses to cast Dia twice.
Much like Ananta, this is just a generic low and bad Dia. Not sure why he even bothers.
At least he follows it up with Debilitate which is something I guess. Could maybe miss with an Executioner now, but I wouldn't count on it.
But, now it's our turn to feast!
Phase 2 is a bit different, or at least adds something a bit different. Normally he Tarukajas here, but since he's at +4 Attack already he uses HP Thief instead.
It, um, doesn't matter anywhere near as much as Suzakus though. It technically heals more (sometimes) since he does it twice but the damage isn't as good so he has to focus fire to pretend to matter.
And, of course, he now has Power Charges too. It's easy enough to guess which is coming; Tarukaja leads to Power Charge and Makakaja leads to Mind Charge.
His main physical attack is Revelation which is potentially an okay threat for its Mute added effect.
It doesn't really matter too much and with +4 Defence, its damage is mitigated a decent chunk too.
If he gets that off successfully, he follows it up with a not-Charged Mabufudyne.
Likewise, in phase 1 if you survive his Mabufudyne and don't drain/repel it then he follows with Revelation.
Since he adds physical now, and highlights very clearly which is coming and when you can just add Phys Repel (Attack Mirrors in this case) instead of Ice Drain where appropriate.
No... This... can't be!
Seiryu's third phase is basically more of the same but with a couple quirks to it. Since he entered it with a Power Charge, he got confused and tried to Power Charge again.
Seiryu is not bright.
At least he's smart enough to add Dekundas at this stage. If you sit around for ages and let him have the chance to do so.
No Dekajas though! Or at least none that he ever bothered with in the several attempts I had trying to get him to do something different.
He doesn't really run on a pattern in phase 3 so he doesn't heal and Debilitate at fixed times. Instead he just Diaramas twice whenever he feels like it and then Debilitates.
At least this way he gets back a not-shit amount of HP. He's finally trying!
He even throws out Taunts of his own at this point. This seems like it could hurt since he does his charges and leaves them for a while sometimes now. He doesn't always follow them up immediately now.
Since he Taunts now, he can actually really hurt with those Mabufudynes jeez.
He also sometimes spend a turn both charging and attacking. He'll open with Rage and then -Kaja twice in a row, use the relevant Charge and then IMMEDIATELY hit you with Mabufudyne or Revelation.
...I think he might actually only do that if you drain/repel something in the third phase but I swear he could do it regardless. Still no matter how many times I tried to test that to get him do it, he always ended up killing himself in the process.
So, that's Seiryu. Tries to be intimidating and threatening but in the grand scheme of things is actually secretly the biggest pushover in a loooooong time.
Go figure, huh?
And with that, we have our fourth and final orb too. Now that we've gotten all four, we can put them to use and just in time too. All four of the Si Xiang were pretty focused on devouring us to reach Nirvana, and Seiryu was kind enough to let us know that's because of Huang Long...
...wait hang on these two were not here before
Sir, may I ask you something? You've... been inside there before, haven't you?
That building? ...Yes.
I want to meet him, but I totally freeze up when I try to go inside.
Squeee! Maybe he'll give me his phone number!
--? His what? What are you talking about?
There's a demon with "beautiful silver wings" inside Ajna? Well... that's obviously not going to be Huang Long since he doesn't exactly have wings at all.
And Huang Long had a predilection for Nirvana...
So he's probably at Sahasrara. Easiest way to tell for sure is to just go and find out.
I d-didn't... talk, but... this is what... he did to me...
...Okay, that almost definitely IS going to be Huang Long. So we have him somewhere in the temple and someone with beautiful silver wings at Ajna.
Well, we'll deal with the temple second because I'm not climbing it three times. So back to Ajna we go!