Part 20: All the money: This is quite the pickle.
: Give it a shot. He went through a lot of trouble to get you on board, he's not going to stomp you into paste for saving his life.
: Well then! Sir, I humbly recommend you reconsider... hmm?
: It's probably because I'm a new hire, but I'm unfamiliar with this hand signal.
: It means he thinks you're number one.
: I'm flattered but I don't see how this is relev-
: Oh, for... Step aside, this is no time to mess around.
: I'll drink to that.
: ZED! YOU ARE ENGAGING IN PHYSICAL CONGRESS WITH A SUCCUBUS. QUIT IT.
: Who to the what, now?
: Shut up!
: Are you going to leave me to deal with hell's own daycare alone now?
: WHAT IS SHE TALKING ABOUT?
: Long story.
: Oh crap, I don't know what got into me.
: It looked like a tongue.
: I don't think anyone can cast a Posumudi strong enough to cure testosterone poisoning. My husband gets that way sometimes. It's kind of cute, when it's not impossibly irritating.
: So, that's it? You're just going to stop there?
: Yyyyeah, pretty much. I'm... sorry?
: Eh, this is the most action I've had since the Renaissance. And besides, I'm not giving up yet!
: Just use protection next time.
: Don't you have one of those bug things you eat all the time that'll protect you from that sort of stuff?
: ...oh! Right!
: Well there's no fun in it anymore, then.
: Wait, you actually want to kill me?
: You spent twenty-three thousand Macca to get me on your team, I thought you knew what we're all about.
: Hmm, fair enough!
: So, can I stay?
: Oh, dang, of course! I asked you to kiss me, what kind of scumbag would I have to be to kick you out because you did it?
: Okay okay okay everything's settled, nobody died, we're all good. Can we go check out Asakusa now?
: I... I want to ask Kamala about the next horseman. I really don't want us to get ambushed like this again.
: We're never going on this tour, are we?
: I promise you, if there's still an Asakusa the next time we return from the Labyrinth, we're gonna explore every last corner of it.
: So, will you be paying customers anytime soon, or did you just come here to make a spectacle of yourself?
: My apologies, miss Lady. Please, take my money.
*: We finally have a chance to recover. It's suprisingly cheap by now considering the money we're making, and we have 72084 Macca in our pockets when we leave.
: Oh, hey, Princess. A word, please, before we go.
: What is it?
: Ha! Don't mention it. It was fun. You would have done the same for me, right?
: Yeah, I would have. I'm glad you stayed.
: I don't know for sure what was waiting for me back in Yoyogi Park, but it cannot have been more exciting than traveling all this way with you.
: Let's keep at it then, shall we?
: Wherever it takes us.
*: I'd like to buy Smoke Balls, which guarantee escape from battle, so I warp to all stores in succession to see if anyone sells them. I think Rag trades them for gems, but I'm not entirely sure you can't buy them for money elsewhere. However, when we get to the Great Underpass...
: Oh dang. The next one's here.
: Does that mean we don't have to go see Kamala?
: I'm sorry, but after we're done beating this guy into bone salad, we'll still need to know where the next one is. Look, I want to check out the Manikin's handiwork at least as much as you do, but...
: I know, I know. Survival comes first. You're taking such good care of us!
: You do realize she's a catgirl version of me, right?
: Ladies, ladies, if I ever lose my mind again and decide I want to die in a whirlwind of lust and passion, I'm sure there'll be plenty of me to go around.
Boss battle: Fiend Red Rider
*: Okay, so. Terrorblade does physical damage and can cause Panic, Wind Cutter is force damage, and Bolt Storm is electricity, natch. Lessee... Zed getting Panicked would be devastating, so Iyomante is a must. I need Valkyrie at least to take out the Powers, and she still has Void Mind on. Kikuri-Hime and Succubus are also immune to Mind ailments, so if I wait until New K to fight, that should be damage and healing taken care of even if Valkyrie bites it. It doesn't give us any relevant elemental resistance, but I still think we can do this.
Boss battle: Fiend Red Rider Redux
*: Aw man, I was hoping not to get enough exp to level up with a mastered Magatama on, but here we are. Oh well. The rest of the fight went a lot better this time though. Seeing as we know how to deal with Divine sidekicks by now, this isn't really a gimmick fight anymore, it's a question of crafting a party that can survive the Rider's offense. I didn't realize that Needle Rush doesn't autocrit from Dark Might, but the guaranteed 150 damage per turn still added up.
Ranked sixth among the orders of angels, the Powers are the scholars of Heaven, serving as advisors and planners. They are also mighty warriors, second-to-none in their loyalty to God... though it is theorized that Satan may actually have been the leader of the Powers before he fell.
Fiend Red Rider
"And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword." -Revelations 6:4
*: This is still not enough to unlock the next Kalpa, so we're back to the shopping excursion. Aaaand no luck, it looks like Rag has a monopoly on Smoke Balls. I guess I kinda knew already, but I wasn't 100% sure. So! He asks for one Onyx and one Aquamarine for each; we have 17 of the former and 8 of the latter. Hmmm... I'll take two. We already had three. It'll have to do. You can get demons who know the Trafuri spell, which does the same thing, but we don't have much room to experiment with recruits right now.
Oooh, while I'm here, I pick up two Dekaja Rocks too, for a Garnet and a Coral each. Sarutahiko knows the spell but it doesn't hurt to have backups and I used up our only one to strip off the Rider's Tarukaja.
Alright, now that we're done, it's time to finish up some business in the Labyrinth.
: I think you should stay away from there.
: The Third Kalpa? I can't even go down there yet. At least this means he's out of our hair for now.
: But, something's kinda weird... This one feels different from the others. I wonder why?
: Huh, it must be Dante then. How did he manage to get past the pedestal? Hmm. Well, anyway, thanks for the info, little lady.
*: This is the vault in the First Kalpa. There are three Cubes in here. One has a Deathstone, one has an Attack Mirror, and the last one...
Inventory screen says "A visor that allows its wearer to witness events of the past".
*: If that's not our cue to revisit a Burial Chamber...
This is Forneus' tombstone. Zed ingests Miasma, and our party consists of Mizuchi, Troll, and Gui Xian.
> You recall the battle against Forneus...
*: Poor sap doesn't even get a turn.
*: Two turns? That's odd. Hmm. In any case, here's the deal. Burial Chambers allow you to fight boss battles again. You do get experience and cash from them, but it's so little of either that it's essentially useless for grinding. The point is to try to kill bosses in the least amount of turns possible, as a sort of time attack. If you can beat a pre-determined record for every boss whose tombstone shows up, you get an extra turn icon in your New Game+ (meaning that the Demi-fiend counts for two icons, like most bosses). It's a huge bonus, but considering it has no effect whatsoever until we start a new game and make it all the way to the first Burial Chamber again, I don't expect it's something I'll spend a lot of time worrying about.
Alright then, last order of business in the Labyrinth today.
: Alright kid, wish me luck.
Shameful display: The Accursed Coil (Alternate version for US viewers)
*: Well, that was an ordeal and a half. I really should have used more Smoke Balls, but I figured I had so few that I'd prefer saving most of them for the trip back.
Vile Tao Tie
The Tao Tie is ancient Chinese monster said to be one of the Four Evil Creatures of the world. It was known for its insatiable appetite and bottomless greed, so much so that even today its name is still associated with these concepts
: Whoever you are, I hope you're worth the hell out of this.
: I can't believe someone would really come all the way down here...
: What can I say, I like to live life dangerously.
: ...You see, I made a bet with a buddy of mine. If someone actually made it this far down, I'd have to give that person a prize. Looks like I lost. Here, take this.
: God... damn!
: Can I borrow-
: I like you. Come back later and I'll tell you something you might wanna know.
: Who's a filthy bourgeois now, I wonder?
*: Well then. I... didn't quite remember what was down here. In fact I'm pretty sure I've never even remembered to come back down here, ever. Welp!
Good Lord this feels like cheating. But it's not!
Time to hoof it back up. Fortunately there are one-way doors along the way, which are a mean trick if you don't watch your automap, but should help us get out of here with slightly less hassle.
: Yeah so I haven't-
: I 'on't care!
: What's up with you?
: Dude I have all the money.
: I have all the money so hard that I'm pretty sure no one else has any money now. I don't think the universe can contain more currency than is in my possession. It would break a law of thermodynamics. I forgot which one.
: That... that's nice.
: No, you don't understand. I have all the money.
: I gotcha. Now if you'll just let me-
: I'll buy your hat. I don't even like your hat, but I'll buy it anyway. Here's ten thousand Macca.
: My hat's not for sale, kid.
: One hundred thousand Macca.
: I am in no position to spend any money you would give me, and besides, I'm not selling you my hat.
: You will rue the day.
: Yeah, yeah, never heard that one before.
: I don't think you get it. I have-
: Greed has brought low greater men than you, master.
: What are you talking about? I am physically unable of experiencing greed, due to how I have all the money. I don't think any of you realize how much of all the money I have. I have all of all the money.
: Okay, okay, I know what's going on. Princess, care to cast Me Patra?
: Ah, good idea! Let's see...
: Whoa, dang, what happened? I think I blacked out. What... what was I thinking about...? It vaguely feels... like I'm forgetting something... something important...
: Don't think about money!
: HOLY SHIT I HAVE ALL THE MONEY.
: Nice work, genius!
: No, I'm fine, I'll be fine. I have all the money, everything's gonna be fine.
: Well, that's great. Can we visit the Fountain now? All the money wasn't exactly free.
: Good point. I really should buy something and make sure I don't have all the money anymore. Get the economy going and everything. It's such a weight, such a responsibility. Let's go. Let's go make the world a better place, with money.
: And punching!
: Yes. Yes! Money and punching, the solutions to all problems. Glorious!
: Did you know I have all the money?
: It's always something weird with you, isn't it?
*: We heal up, save, and hit the Cathedral. There have been a couple fusions I've been thinking about but was hesitant to proceed with on account of how I wasn't sure if I was ready to do without the ingredients, but since we have access to the compendium and (nearly) all of the money, that's hardly a problem now.
: Gui Xian, Senri, you're up.
: It'll be weird to be just one guy again.
: Boy, I can't wait.
: Well, it's time. We'll still go looking around Asakusa, it'll just be a little different.
: I never really cared about Asakusa, I just wanted to walk around with you without worrying about fighting for a bit.
: Oh please.
: Come on, class it up a little, will ya?
: ...can do.
: Alright, it's been a pleasure, it really has been. See you on the other side.
Dragon Gui Xian + Holy Senri =
*: We could have outright hired a Naga in Kabukicho, but not one decked out like this. This one's also one level below Senri's, but by the time he learns his last skill, he'll be three levels above and is going to evolve on top of that. Oh, and before I forget, Drain Attack is a passive skill that causes the demon's standard attack to absorb about a quarter of the inflicted damage as HP.
Alright, we're pretty close to being in an ideal position to make another fusion, but not just yet. Still, one free slot, that's like a breath of fresh air.
: Asakusa, here we come!
: The thought of it is strangely pleasant.
: Ha, I bet it is.
: ...But, we'll clean it all up, because it's our city!
*: We could go further north up the alley, but there's this one door here that we check out first.
Atmosphere: Asakusa Tunnels
Man, has this place always been this creepy?
: Oh hey, good to see you!
: ...Oh! It's you! It's me, remember? Y'know, from the Underpass and the Prison... Me!
: Absolutely, my good fellow. What's going down?
: ...I was thinking of opening a store here -- making use of all my experience. It's a mess now, so it'll be a while before I'll be able to open up. But, I'll hook you up, so come on by after I open!
: Oh absolutely. I still have most of the money, so it'll be my pleasure.
: Most of what money?
: No, no no no no. It's a lot of cash, let's leave it at that. Goodbye!
: Heyo, old timer.
: ...Whoa! It's you! Do you remember me?
: How could I forget?
: Oh it's been amazing. I have so much money now.
: I see, I see! We're doing well living in Asakusa. This is all thanks to Futomimi's leadership. Futomimi is in our holy land of Mifunashiro. Go and see him.
: Aight, that's the plan. Keep on keepin' on!
*: There are two exits from here, west and east. Going west...
: Yeah, if you're gonna be people, that'll happen. Shame.
: He's ruthless, tearing the skins off other Manikins.
: He might be around here, so be careful!
: Thanks for the heads-up!
: There goes the neighborhood.
Welp, death sure didn't improve their disposition.
*: The west gate here leads outside, but I want to check out the eastern side first.
And we're outside again. However, there's only one other place accessible from here.
: But, looking at Tokyo as a whole, we see Nihilo taking over, and that's no laughing matter. Nihilo has no rival. Are we just going to sit here, watching Nikawa make his world of stillness?
: Well, I can't do anything about anything right now, but I got people looking into it.
: She must have some guts.
: She sure does.
: Oh, it felt sooooo good!
: Well I'll be! A Puzzle Boy machine!
: Hey kid. What's going down?
: You wanna know what games humans used to play?
: Ha, believe me, I know already.
: I already beat this game...
: So did I, actually. I bet I could do it again with my eyes closed.
: Well, you won't last a minute. It's over before it even starts. If you can win, I'll give you an insect-like thing.
: Oooh, can't have too many of those.
: Watch a master at work, kid.
Music: Puzzle Boy
*: This track is a remake of the SMT1 overworld map theme!
: If you have any questions, open up the menu and select Help. Are you ready? Then, let's start!
*: So! This is a block pushing puzzle, kind of a fancied-up Sokoban. I'll be posting images of all stages, but for the solutions, well, this is really out of scope for this LP! I beat all the rooms myself a while back, but now that I know I could, I'll be using a guide at some point, because some of 'em are pretty damn mean and I remember nothing.
*: To my own surprise, I haven't resorted to a guide yet. Yaaay!
*: ...gaaaaaaaah I'm not made out of time, gamefaqs it is. Behold my failure, Internet!
*: Man did I spend too much time on this.
: I guess that means you beat it, right?
*: Technically, yes.
: Ugh...... That's fine. You can have this insect-like thing.
> You obtained the Magatama Geis.
: You can come again, you know.
*: NO THANKS BYE.
: Well, I've beaten it anyway.
*: If I never have to do this again, it'll be too soon.
Geis is a well-rounded Magatama. Nullifying Expel without enduring any weaknesses in return can come in handy; the first skill it would teach us is Diarama.
On our way further inside, we run into Sudama, Shikome, Nue, and Pisaca. The place is not as safe as I'd have hoped.
: What was it? The 'Nightmare System'?
: Hikawa has such a gift for names.
*: A staircase and an exit take us to this area of the overworld, which only has a Cube with a Magic Mirror in it. Back in we go, to a fork with a dead end and another way out.
That hill in the center must be Mifunashiro, but we'd need to go through one of the two buildings across the bridges to get there. Hmmmm... Let's say north.
: It'll be a while before you'll be able to get through here. Come back later.
*: South it is, then. I dig the little construction signs the Manikins are reusing. "Sorry for the apocalyptic mess! We're fixing it as fast as we can!"
: He sees the future by meditating.
*: There's a small terminal here, probably as a convenience.
Apart from Valkyrie's Agilao, we haven't had any fire damage in a while. But the one we try to chat up takes some HP and a Bead, then leaves.
These rooms contain an Attract Pipe (single-use Riberama), 3000 Macca (wow!), and...
: What happened to the human boy at the Mantra's jail? Did he escape?
: Yeah, you could say that.
: ...That hat bugs me.
: I know!
*: Almost there!
*: I call it "atmosphere", but there's actually a short melody kicking in after a bit and now I wish it was on the soundtrack because it's amazing. It really lets you know this is a sacred place. Whatever power resides here is not to be trifled with.
And here's a large terminal.
: Hello. I thought I'd pay you guys a visit. I like what you're doing with the place!
: Just as I foresaw, you have come to Asakusa. We are fated to meet again... Although, that is all I can say at this point.
: You seem like a square enough fellow, I look forward to it.
: As much as I could, yeah.
: Everyone is doing their best to restore the city. This is the first city we Manikins have ever considered as our own, after all.
: I feel better about this than I expected, to be honest.
: Though you may 'see' our land, you may not 'enter' it any further.
*: It's easy to miss, but Futomimi has a resolute, borderline threatening expression here.
: This is the holy land of the Manikins, Mifunashiro. Beyond here is our motherland, where we were born... Even if we owe you our lives, I cannot let you past here.
: Ah, I see. Well, I'm not gonna lie, it looks like an interesting place, but I understand your reasons.
: No biggie, I was just being nosy anyway.
: Now, I must return to my meditations. I have to foresee our new future. I need to find out what I need to do to create a world where Manikins can live in peace.
: Sure, you're a religious leader, and, well, a leader in general too. I won't keep you from your duties.
*: Back to a more relaxed expression.
: Beware of a Manikin named Sakahagi. He's a traitor to our cause, having committed various atrocities. He's probably hiding out somewhere in Asakusa... He might cause you some trouble, but please understand that he is not one of us.
: Yeah, I get your meaning. I promise I won't take offense. In fact, if he gets in my way I just might find myself... uh... solving him for you.
: ............ Now, I must be going...
: Well, it was good to meet you again. Best of luck with everything!
I don't know what I expected. I'm not one of them, and he's not... one of whatever it is I am.
I don't belong here.
I didn't even realize that I thought I did, but now that I know I don't, it's like... it's like...
Hijiri's my only remaining lead towards Ms. Takao. Let's head back.
*: We hop through the nearby terminal back to Nakamise-Douri.
: Are you feeling better?
: Kinda. Any good news?
: Progress is being made.
: It'll have to do. Hey, uh...
: Your hat looks good on you. Very, um, very "style".
*: Nowhere to go but to the west of the main intersection here.
Man I don't know how these tunnels could be any creepier. I wonder if the Manikins just like them that way.
This is not good.
I didn't mean that as a challenge!