Part 3: Shinjuku Medical Center*: The Annex's aboveground layout is essentially a mirror image of the main building's. As we reach the base of the U-shaped section, we run into...
: But, this future is only one of many possibilities. The future is not written in stone. I shall help you. What future do you desire?
: A bright future would be nice.
: If you wish for a bright future... Know your enemies and use attacks that they are weak against. If you do, a bright future full of attacking shall await you. It is not easy to learn your enemies' weaknesses... Only through battles shall you gain knowledge.
: And what if I wanted a dark future?
: Hmmm! Well, if you wish for a dark future... Continue to use useless attacks, and your attacks shall be nullified, reflected, or absorbed. If you do all of this, a dark future full of defending shall await you.
: That's about what I figured. Thanks anyway.
: I shall wait here until you learn your future... Bwahahahahaha!
*: There's no elevator on this side, so we'll need to take the stairs located at the end of either wing. It's just as well, we should clean out the place anyway.
: I can tell I'm going to hear that a lot.
: TAKE THIS AS A SIGN OF OUR MEETING.
>You obtained Medicine x1.
: Huh. Thanks, little guy.
: RARR!! US DEMONS HAVE IT ROUGH.
: What is it?
: The demon next door isn't trying to eat me, is he???
: Nah, he seems like a good enough sort.
: Hey... wait a sec... You're a demon, too! Noooooo! Don't eat me!!
: Good to see the people here have a healthy fear of being eaten by demons.
*: A Cube in the same room contains a Revival Bead, which does pretty much exactly what you think it does.
Whoops, I expected a staircase here. It must only be at the end of the east wing, then.
There's a little garden of sorts down there instead of parking lot, with three visible Cubes. It's surrounded by water and there's no clear way to get there from the ground floor, but if you angle the camera just right you can see a down staircase in the middle, so you must be able to reach it from underground.
As I expected, I can confirm that Will o' Wisps don't give a crap whether you have one of theirs on your side or not. Our own Will learns the Riberama spell, which increases the frequency of random encounters until the next new moon equivalent. This'll make more sense later.
: I sure am!
: Even if you're strong, you won't be able to beat him alone. Don't just beat all the demons. Try talking to them, and get them to join you.
: Way ahead of you, kid.
: Aw hell.
: I heard adults say demons are outside, too. I want my momma... One day she'll come for me...
: I'm... sure she will.
*: After taking the stairs down to the ground floor, we realize the way to the lobby is barricaded.
: I really don't.
: I saw a human sneak past Forneus just a while ago.
: Huh, alright then. That was worth it, thanks.
*: Fortunately there are more stairs on the other side of the corridor, leading to the basement. This must be the section behind the locked door we saw earlier.
This side is certainly tidier.
: ...Demons stick together, so defeat the demons in the way first... They disrupt conversations... *mumble*
: There's a trick to negotiating with demons... *mumble*
: ...There are some races of demons that rarely join through negotiation... *mumble*
My my my, multiple morgue mumblers!
*: This door to the east is a shortcut to the first part of the basement, so we can heal up and save. As we do so, Kodama levels up, learns Dia (single target heal) and gives us a Chakra Drop (MP restoration). Hijiri is still where we left him, but he has nothing new to say.
: I hear that Shibuya's a fun place, with stores and a club and all.
: Even now? That makes me kinda curious.
: Darn! If only Forneus wasn't here! Hope he didn't hear that...
: You want me to come with you?
: Yeah. Will o' right here is a nice enough guy but I'm not sure he's up to facing the big kahuna.
> Hua Po is still wary of you.
: I'll do what you say for 50 Macca.
: Small change!
: Your manners with money are simply incorrigible... This simply is not enough!
: Welcome to Pays-for-Hua-Po Island, buddy.
: I want 1 Life Stone.
: Aight. You do realize I'm saving your life right now, don't you?
> Hua Po seems to be satisfied.
: I'm Hua Po the Jirae. Don't get me in trouble.
: Ha, good one.
Jirae Hua Po
According to ancient Chinese mythology, these adorable little tree spirits come into existence when... uh. Hmm, wait, that can't be right.
: Come on, out with it. I'm sure everyone wants to know how to meet to meet one of them.
They come into existence when three people hang themselves from the same tree.
: Okay, I'm man enough to admit when I'm wrong. And that just happened.
Anyway, early game spellcasters, fire-aligned. Pester is a conversation skill that allows its user to request money or items from enemy demons.
*: A bit further, we find more stairs leading up, certainly to the other side of the annex lobby. I didn't find the way to the little garden; makes me doubt my memory somewhat. Anyway, we're almost done here.
: Or die trying, yeah.
: Hahaha... Yeah, right! I'll give you all my money if you can do that.
: I'll hold you to it. And you better have enough, or I'll have to eat you.
: Eh, barely.
: Allow me to heal you. I'll heal you anytime, so come again...
*: Behind a door labeled S-Terminal...
It's a miniature copy of the cylinder in the basement, set in what looks like a supply closet. It saves just as well as the other one, though.
*: I know Forneus is behind this door. Now I haven't played this game in nearly a decade, but I do remember he uses some pretty scary ice attacks. Hua Po is weak to ice, and Will o' Wisp is weak to magic, which leaves us with only three members of a possible party of four. I'll run around with Riberama on and see if I can't pick up someone else. We do have free healing nearby, so it should be fairly painless.
In an event reminiscent of earlier games, a pair of Hua Po appear immediately after we defeat a group of Wisps and Preta. We could take them for sure, but Kodama is weak to fire, and with good use of the Pass command, Zed manages to talk the both of them into leaving peacefully.
*: Nothing else happens for now. Mysterious! A bit later, at the end of a fight with two groups in a row...
: The only ones who haven't joined me yet are the Preta. You wanna be like a Preta?
> Shikigami is thinking intently.
: I WILL LISTEN TO YOU FOR 1 Life Stone.
: No prob.
: CURSE YOU! STILL NOT ENOUGH! HAND OVER 1 Life Stone.
: This would be simpler if you said so in the first place, you overgrown bookmark. Here.
: I AM Shikigami THE Brute. I WILL TRAVEL WITH YOU.
: Just stay away from Hua Po, alright? She, uh, likes to burn stuff.
Shikigami are animated paper familiars, crafted by onmyoji astrologists/occultists/wizards to perform the sort of simple and menial tasks one could expect an animated paper creature to do. They are of course weak to fire, but they also reflect electric damage. Beseech is a conversation skill that attempts to recruit its target, and the upcoming Tarunda is a physical attack power debuff.
Brutes used to be known as Youki. In Nocturne they mostly consist of various typically Japanese Oni-type ogres, but also include a number of warlike supernatural creatures inclined towards physical combat. And... this paper thing, for some reason.
*: As if on cue, we level up, and learn Life Bonus from Marogareh. It's a passive skill that increases our max HP by 10% for as long as we can stand to have it taking up one of our eight skill slots, which is certainly the case at this time.
We return Will to stock and summon Shikigami. It's now or never.
*: The game is kind enough to warn us when we're about to enter a boss room. This time, we're ready.
Boss battle: Forneus
: OH YEAH! WHO'S THE KING OF SHIT TOWN NOW, ASSHOLE?
: You are!
: I, uh... Good. Good! Great. Excellent. Thank you.
*: This could hardly have gone any better. I should have used Lunge when we Shocked Forneus early on because it couldn't have missed, but it hardly mattered in the end. You did see Mabufu and Icy Death though, and I'm sure you can imagine we would have taken a lot more damage if we had Hua Po and Will o' Wisp still around.
Forneus is a Great Marquis of Hell, commanding 29 legions of demons, and presiding over languages, with the ability to enhance people's reputation and good name. How he got stuck in this hospital is anyone's guess.
We used to know the Fallen race as the Datenshi; they used to be angels in service to God, but rebelled and were turned into monsters as punishment. Most of these guys are taken from the 72 demons listed in the Lesser Key of Solomon, a fairly well-known 17th-century book on demonology.
We can see the way out, but first, we need to heal up, save, and collect on a debt.
: All that butt-kicking gave me a mmmmmighty hunger.
: You really beat him...
: Oh he's hella dead.
: Dang! A promise is a promise!! Take it!!
>You obtained 850 Macca.
: Dammit. I need to escape from poverty first, before I can escape from here...
: Dumbass gamblers. Bah.
*: The Cubes in the Lobby contain Medicine and a Revival Bead, which is quite appropriate for the end of what is essentially the tutorial dungeon.
We fight in the lobby a bit further to run out the rest of the Riberama effect, and I try Hua Po's Pester to pick up some loot. We manage to bum a couple Life Stones and Mazan Stones (force damage, all enemies) off Shikigami, but also...
: How are you? Wonderful! I'll kiss it and make it better!
>You recovered HP.
*: And by "you", the game means "whoever used the conversation skill".
*: You do realize you're drooling at six suicides, right?
: Fairies kissing fairies, I don't care!
: Call me when things get tough! Goodness, I probably won't come, though. Goodbye!
*: Pester doesn't work so well on Kodama, though. Zed's Talk is fairly effective against everything that can be talked to, but demon conversation skills hinge heavily on the two demons' personalities. When Hua Po's "playful young woman" personality begs Kodama's "little kid" personality for free stuff, Kodama tends to answer with something along the lines of "you're the adult, you should be the one giving me presents!".
At one point, letting Marogareh do its thing gives us a permanent +1 Agility. Spectacular!
Before we can leave, Pixie levels up and attempts to change a skill. We can allow or forbid it, because it can succeed or fail. If it succeeds, one of the demon's abilities that has an upgrade turns into the next better version of itself. In our case, Pixie's Dia became Media, which heals our entire group. If it had failed though, Dia would have become a completely random spell of equivalent or slightly greater power, which could technically be an improvement but is still likely to be somewhat inconvenient at least. However, signs of change can still be seen on her body, so she's still got something bigger in store.
And a few phases of the "moon" later...
*: Who could this mysterious man in red-
: It's Dante.
: Did someone say Dante?
*: No one knows-
: Dude, everyone knows.
: His name's on the box.
*: Can't you guys play along for one effing minute?