The Let's Play Archive

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

by FrankZP

Part 22: The noble son of Sparda

I don't know what I thought would happen.

Not this, not by a long shot, but...

Ms. Takao is... was... my teacher. I thought, or I hoped, that she'd give me what I needed to make sense of all this. That's what teachers do, right?

Maybe I was being selfish. She needed my help even more than I needed hers. And now that I've held up my side of the deal, it's clear she's in no position to give me anything in return. Her grasp on what's going on is even weaker than mine, and I hardly have a clue. She couldn't wait to find someone else to tell her what to do.

She meant well, from the beginning. I know she did. But how much does meaning well count in the balance opposite so much... so much of whatever this all is? And this Aradia, holy crap. I have to trust Yuko's judgement, and if she wants to serve then I won't claim any right to tell her otherwise, but, damn.

Still, I'm glad I could help. I'm glad I could help because it's the right thing to do, and because I know that if Ms. Takao could have helped me, she would have.

But I didn't know it was possible to be this glad and this damn pissed off at the same time.

It didn't even occur to me to come up with my own Reason. I guess I've been too busy punching the next asshole whose death would solve a problem to really think about it. But now that I've been told I can't...

: Whoa!
: It'll take more than a bit a plaster to fix that one.
: Ouch!
: Are you alright?
: I think I got a piece of stone in my eye...
: Oh hell, I'm sorry! I didn't think...
: You didn't think you could punch masonry so hard that it'd turn into shrapnel?
: First time's always a bit of a surprise.
: I can't decide the shape of an entire new world anymore, but in exchange I can hit stuff really hard? That seems like a fair trade to you?
: It is those who have power who can truly decide. And power you have.
: I guess that's true. But... I'm still kinda pissed off. What good is following the path of creation if it has to be someone else's?
: Exactly how angry are you about it?
: ...why do you ask?
: Just curious!
: ...I don't know. Pretty angry. But... If I don't follow the path of creation, then what are the alternatives? Wouldn't I just be following the lead of the one who's responsible for making me into... into whatever it is I've become in the first place?
: There may be other paths yet. Beware those who would tell you there is only this option, and that option, and no others. Rarely do they have your best interests in mind.
: Huh. Yeah, good point.
: So, what's the plan?
: I gotta keep learning. If it ever does fall to me to decide in the end, the least I can do is make sure I'm looking at all sides with clear eyes.
: More info, then. We go see that Hijiri fellow again?
: Yeah, that's probably the next step. But I can't discard the possibility that he has his own agenda too.

*: With Ms. Takao gone, it's clear that the Nightmare System's pillar has stopped doing whatever it was doing before. That's something we've accomplished, at least.

We can return to the top floor, but there's nothing left for us there. Time to hoof it back down to a Terminal.

: Eh, once you get the hang of their time puzzle stuff, they're not that tough.
: ...Screw Hikawa, I should just follow you!
: I don't hate the sound of that, but if you can't fight, you should probably just stay here.

: Lachesis is the 'apportioner'!
: Really doesn't matter anymore, dude.

*: We ought to talk to Hijiri again, but I go see Kamala for now.

: Hmm, thanks. I'll be careful.

*: I sure wouldn't have thought to go back there. Before we do though, we stop by the Great Underpass to get three pairs of Chakra Drops. This earns us a tenth ticket, but picking the white box "only" gets us a Balm of Rising this time. We visit Shibuya to pick up some ailment cures, especially for Stun and Mute, and we heal and register our squad while we're there.

Sarutahiko + Valkyrie =


Lv35 Kishin Okuninushi
Okuninushi is the Shinto deity of farming, business, and medicine, and once was the patron of the Izumo province. Apparently he's Kushinada-Hime's son, but I guess Susano is not his father, because he ends up marrying Suseri-Hime, who is Susano's daughter. Man, I dunno. In his youth, he and his seventy-nine brothers traveled a long way to court the princess of a neighboring land. On the road they came across a flayed hare in a great deal of pain. Most gods told the hare to wash itself in sea water and dry itself in the wind, which of course caused it even greater pain. But Okuninushi, who was last in line because he was in charge of carrying everyone's luggage, instead told the hare to wash itself in fresh water and roll around in flower petals, which actually worked. The hare predicted the kind young god would win the princess' hand, and his other brothers took that so well that they managed to murder him twice. (He got better.)

*: There are lots of good skills that can't be all passed down for this one, but I figured that if I could at least keep Dekaja and Focus and avoid a less useful skill like Soul Recruit (which works best when used by Valkyrie herself), I'd be set. Hell Thrust will continue to be awesome, but I would have preferred Void Mind and Tetraja to Watchful and Lightoma. Oh well!

Principality + Kikuri-Hime =


Lv30 Megami Sarasvati
Sarasvati is a greater Hindu goddess, presiding over knowledge, wisdom, learning, music, and the arts in general. She's also the consort of Brahma, god of creation. She's generally a big deal in East Asian religions, and there are versions of her in various Buddhist and Shinto traditions.

*: I mostly wanted to make sure I'd get good mileage out of her high Magic stat, so Mazanma and Zio will be good enough. Mana Refill isn't as practical for recharging MP as Mana Drain was, as it's based on walking around with her in the active party, but having both on would have been redundant.

So, that leaves us with four free slots, counting those Aradia gave us. We drop a save and warp back to the Shinjuku Medical Center.

Ah. Memories.

*: We get no unusual Candelabrum activity, so it'll take a bit of looking around. I bet the next rider is in one of the two lobbies.

: Now, there's a demon living in the annex even more frightening than Forneus! He looks like one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse! When will I ever feel at ease...?
: Soon enough.

: Death is everywhere, buddy.

: Give me a break, man.
: Said the oblivious to the Demi-Fiend.

*: ...waaaaait a minute.

Oh wow. I must have passed by that door like three times when we were first here. It's not even hidden or hard to see or anything.

: It's like they're competing for something...

*: I bet I know where this leads.

Yyyyyyep. A Mazio Rock, a Mabufu Rock, and 300 Macca. Le sigh. Welp, this isn't what we came here for either way.

This is where we fought Forneus, but the Rider is nowhere to be found. Hmm. Maybe upstairs?

I check the room with the multiple morgue mumblers; two of them have old hat info about Deathstones and Kagutsuchi phases, but the third...

: ...Demon fusion... Yoma... Fairy... Night... Tyrant... *mumble*

*: The only fusions that will ever result in a Fiend are fusions that would normally result in one of those four races.

*: For some reason, at around this point, it occurs to me that only Kushinada has any HP healing spells anymore. Hmm. She's more than up to keeping us in shape, but I'd feel more comfortable with a back-up.

: That's ancient news, kid.
: He's in the room over there!
: Uh, he's right here, actually.

: Sure.
: Ah, forget it!
: Why I never! It was probably some crap old info anyway, I don't want to hear it.
: Oh, come on! Listen to me. I heard the guy on the black horse can seal your magic.

*: Guess who's glad he stocked up on Dis-Mute.

: A demon that brings about famine lurks in the room ahead. You and that demon are fated to meet. Most regrettable...

> The flames of the Candelabrum of Sovereignty are flickering wildly...

Boss battle: Fiend Black Rider


Fiend Black Rider
"And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." -Revelations 6:5-6

The third rider isn't explicitly Famine, but those grain prices (originally in Roman denarii, not pennies) are several times higher than they would normally have been at the time. The prices for oil and wine, which would mostly affect the wealthy, are unchanged, which implies that the poor's end of the stick is getting unusually short. In any case it probably wouldn't have sounded very intimidating to call the guy Essential Commodity Speculation.


Haunt Legion
"And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many." --Mark 5:9

"Legion" is the collective name of a group of several thousand demons said to have possessed one unfortunate man in Jesus' time. They knew they could not resist being driven out, so they asked to be permitted to inhabit a vast herd of pigs instead of being forced to exist without a body. Their request was granted, but then the pigs all ran off the edge of a cliff into the sea and drowned because the demons were dumbasses I guess.

*: Unlike his fellow horsemen, the Black Rider has the good sense to summon Legions instead of angel sidekicks; Legions reflect Death effects, so you can't petrify them, and they'll just keep coming so it's hardly worth the effort to kill them. They also know Mamudoon and Hell Gaze, so any Death-immune allies you bring can help eat up their icons. And even then, they still know Tempest (group physical damage), Deathtouch, Makakaja and Tetrakarn, so there's a fair chance they'll be a pain in your ass for the duration. That said, they "only" resist ailments instead of having the full boss invulnerability, so it can be worth it to Mute and/or Stun them.

The Black Rider himself is no slouch. Soul Divide is a Curse-type effect that halves current hit points and can cause Mute; we've been fortunate that it hasn't actually silenced us more than it did. His Glacial Blast can be deadly in combination with the Legions' Tempest, but we were also lucky that it couldn't quite make it happen. The other notable aspect of the Black Rider is that he's our first real taste of Almighty damage. We've been dealing with Almighty damage for quite a while now on account of Deathtouch and Life Drain, but those aren't really intended to kill their targets. Megidola and Megidolaon are explicitly murder spells. They'll blow right past Makalakarn, but they are in fact affected by magic stat buffs and debuffs, so if they cause you grief, consider bringing along a Tarunda or Rakukaja user.

Finally, the Rider knows Dekaja, but not Dekunda, so a couple Fog Breaths will stick and improve your survivability a fair deal.

: Hmm?
: Thanks for beating the demon in this room-- Wait... You're a demon too!
: Man, this again.
: You don't wanna eat me! I uh... I never bathe!

: ...That includes you.
: I... uh. Hmm. Bah!

: But, as strong as you are, you'll never beat you-know-who. I'm too afraid to say his name!
: Oh, uh, I, uh, totally know who you're talking about.

: ...becomes the King of Chaos! Mister, are you strong?
: I guess I'm pretty strong.
: King of Chaos strong?
: Eh, why not. Haven't met someone I couldn't disassemble yet.

*: We return to the Terminal, and warp back to Asakusa.

Music: Hijiri

: Yeah, that sounds like me alright.
: I could tell from here that the flow of Magatsuhi had returned to normal. Well, with this blow to Nihilo, Hikawa won't be able to make his move for a while. I think we can take a little breather.
: After that damn climb, I can't say no to that.

: I gave her her freedom back.

And then I guess she was in a hurry to give it away again.

: So, Hikawa was using her, huh?
: Yeah, pretty much.
: Who knows what she'll do now, but at least the Nightmare System is dead.
: All in a day's work, eh?

: Sure, hit me.
: Alright, listen up.

: This idea is commonly referred to as a Reason. Now, to acquire a Reason, you must receive divine protection from a god, and this is where the Magatsuhi comes into play. You need a large quantity of Magatsuhi in order to summon a god. That's why Hikawa, a human, was collecting Magatsuhi.

: Ah, right, I should have guessed you'd meet sooner or later.

: Yeah, we go way back. From before.
: Yeah, that's what I thought. Anyways, about Isamu... He actually seemed to be doing okay in Amala.
: I'm surprisingly happy to hear that.
: If you're unlucky, you can get swept away somewhere, or even worse, you can end up being absorbed by the Network. Well, in a world like this... one life doesn't amount to much, and you're better off not getting involved.
: That's... one way to look at it.
: But if you want, I can send you to where I met Isamu.
: Hmm, I suppose I don't have anywhere else to be. Maybe he's settled down by now. I'll take five and get back to you.

*: There's some strange rustling sound in here I've never heard before, and I'm mystified for a moment, and then I realize that Hijiri is spinning his hat around his finger and that's what's making noise. Huh! Maybe he's impatient about something.

: Oh hey, I've never seen you here before.

: Ah, nice! I'll have to take a look.
: ...But, we weren't the first ones here... Well, we're still pumped up. I'm going to help restore the city, too.

*: Going to the Amala Network to check on Isamu is clearly the next step in the plot, but I want to see the rest of Asakusa, and I got a couple hires in mind now that we have spare room. Besides, despite how I'm not sure whether I want to tackle the Network or unlock the Third Kalpa next, neither of these places have recruitable demons, so we might as well fill up here.

: I want to open up soon.
: Looking forward to it.
: Well, better get back to work.

> You obtained Soma x 1.
: Daaaang, nice find!

: Strange things are happening at Ikebukuro and the Amala Network. Now, what's going to happen?

Hmm. I heard Chiaki is hanging around Ikebukuro still, and, well, Isamu's in the Network somewhere. That can't be a coincidence.

: I wonder who.
: Isn't this bad for Nihilo?
: Eh, they had too much power. It's better in the long run, even for them.
: Do you really believe that?
: Haha, hahaha, no.

: Ah, nice work.
: ...It's full of demons, though.
: Lemme give you a hand with that, then.

: Er...!! You!
: What do you want?
: You, ever there! You! You! You!
: Holy crap, I hear you already! What is it?
: Chakra Drop... You have? Have?
: Yeah, sure, I just stocked up. I can get more, so I don't mind being generous.

> Nue is happy.
: Er, question!! Question! Question!
: Eh, here we go.
: You take me? Me? Friend! Friend!
: Oh! Well, there's an easy one then. Welcome aboard.
: That good! Me, Wilder! Me, Nue!! Me, me, me help you, you, you...
> Nue joined your party.

*: I didn't plan on taking a Nue along, but hey, that's one more Wilder for the Compendium.

: Oh, well. Futomimi should be ready to give his prophecy at Mifunashiro. I think I'll go there. Are you going?
: If it's at the entrance, I'd be happy to go. Otherwise, I don't think they'll let me in.

: Don't you dare cause any trouble.

: We believe in coexistence, so there's no violence here.
: Let's keep it that way, then.

Yup, couldn't get here before.

: I heard someone saw Hikawa by the building that used to be the Mantra's headquarters.
: Huh. I wonder what he thinks he'll find there. Maybe he's trying to find who shut down the Nightmare System.

: Hijiri? Yeah. Mellow enough fellow.
: Then, you should drop by once in a while, to check up on him. Take the advice of a long-time Asakusa resident!


: Yeah, I know. But I'm not telling anyone, it's too freaky.

> Orthrus seems to be satisfied.
> Orthrus joined your party.

: You visiting them?
: Hmm, haven't checked out the Club in a while, actually. Not a fan of the music, but it would probably bear checking out again.

*: One corridor branch here has a small terminal and a couple Cubes, with two Life Stones and 2000 Macca.

This would appear to be the final accessible area of this region of the Vortex World.

There's a T intersection with four doors here. One is empty, one has a Mystical Chest that we have to wait three quarters of a cycle for...

: Bah. So much for avoiding violence, eh? I thought you were on my side.
: What the hell? You want me to join you?
: You could be an ambassador of sorts. Or you could be homemade titan puree. Your call.
: I see...
> Titan is thinking.
: Is he really considering the puree option?
: I bet he thinks he can take us.
: Hand over 820 Macca.
: Haha wow.
: Sure.
: Uh, this ain't enough. You're really pissin' me off...
*: He asks for a Bead next.
: Dammit, I dunno what to do!
> Titan is unable to decide.
*: Hmm, I shoulda brought Succubus along for this.
: No... I want MORE.
*: He takes a Chakra Drop and leaves. I'm gonna have to find another one, because I sure could use a Lv49 ally.


Lv49 Jirae Titan
The Titans are divine creatures of immense power in Greek mythology, being the children and grandchildren of the primordial deities Gaia (the earth mother) and Uranus (the sky father). They overthrew their parents as rulers of the world, and were in turn overthrown by the Olympian gods, some of which were their children. The Titans themselves are by and large not worshipped, but instead feature in stories told about deities that did have an active following.

It's unclear which Titan is represented here exactly, but given his other showings earlier in the series, I'd say this is likely Atlas, the one condemned to hold the sky on his shoulders.

*: Sati levels up and learns Maragidyne at last. She also gives us a Magic Mirror, and shows signs of change. Maaaan, I already have Onkot and Naga trying to evolve, Succubus is two levels away from learning Life Drain, and I want to get Nue and Orthrus some skills too. Gah. Sati needs 19485 for her next level, I gotta bench her for now.

Full K rolls around, earning us a Diamond. The next room also has a Chest, and it's barely still ripe, earning us a Sapphire. Aaaand the last door...

Aw come on. Le sigh. Welp, more chances to hire a Titan, I suppose.

: Are you stupid or crazy? You see that pile over there? Titan puree! He did it! He actually did it! And you're next! What kind of idiot are you to hesitate over this?
: Shit, I can't say no to a lady.
> That seemed to work well.
: It's all good!! I'm Titan the Jirae. I'm itchin' for a good fight!
: Well hey, nice work.
: You can't let these morons walk all over you. All you need is to show them who's boss.
: Yeah, that's what you showed him alright. Exactly.

*: And full K earns us an Emerald. That'll all there is to this building; time to visit Mifunashiro again. On the way there, Naga finds a Bead Chain!

: I don't see him! Did I miss it?

: They tell us what we should do.

: Please be quiet!!

*: The door is still closed tight. It doesn't look like he's ready yet. Welp, we ain't got time to stand around; we use the terminal to warp to Nakamise-Douri again.

So. The Amala Network, or the Labyrinth of Amala?


Actually, let's go talk to Kamala again. If she has a lead on the Pale Rider, we'll go kick his ass, then we'll go see Isamu. If she doesn't, we'll go to the Third Kalpa.

Aaaaand she's back to talking about an unusual Fiend in the Third Kalpa. Welp, there we go then. We'll at least unlock the shortcut and take a gander at the opposition.

Compassion, wisdom, and insight.

More decay. What a surprise.

*: We first run into Trolls and Berith, and they're still pretty dangerous.


Lv56 Deity Amaterasu
Amaterasu is the Shinto goddess of the sun, arguably the most important of the religion's expansive pantheon. She was born when Izanagi cleansed himself after escaping the underworld and his dead wife's wrath; she appeared from his left eye, and her brothers Tsukuyomi (the moon god) and Susano came from the left eye and the nose, respectively. Legend has it that the Emperors of Japan are directly descended from her. I'm not sure why she looks like a dude here, but hey, if she can be a wolf...

Godly Light is a group-targeting Expel attack that reduces current HP by 80%, and Prayer restores the entire party's HP to maximum, and cures most ailments.

The Deity race (that we knew as the Majin) include some of the most powerful Light-aligned demons, and represent mighty gods that are typically at the heads of their respective pantheons.


Lv46 Avatar Yatagarasu
Yatagarasu is a three-legged crow of Shinto legend. It's mostly acting as a messenger, transmitting the will of heaven to the Emperor, but it's also seen as a symbol of rebirth and rejuvenation and is often said to be the god Taketsunimi transformed.

Avatars are divine animals, similar to the Holy race, but they're usually actual gods taking the form of a beast.


Lv37 Snake Raja Naga
"Raja Naga" literally means "Naga King". It's... a king of the Naga! Royal snake dude, and everything. Yup. Indeedy.

: Life or death... You must choose... even if choice defies reason. I can see it. Your inclination is taking form...

: Is it because my life was turned upside down in the blink of an eye?
: Imagine that you're in a desert...
: I follow you so far.
: A turtle walks up to you. You flip the turtle over, leaving it on its back.
: No, I don't.
: It struggles to right itself, but to no avail. For what reason did you flip the turtle? You did so because of the distress in your heart. The helpless turtle is you!
: What.
: If you look at things upside-down, of course they will appear inverted. Forget your worries and move on.
: Doesn't matter if you're right side up or upside down, I bet you're still spilling crap everywhere.


Lv43 Fairy Setanta
Setanta is the original given name of Cu Chulainn, a warrior of Irish myth. He earned his new name, meaning "Chulainn's hound", when he killed a blacksmith's guard dog in self-defense as a child and offered to take its place until it could be replaced. There's a lot to the guy, to the point where it seems to me that he's a sort of medieval Irish superhero. He is said to have single-handedly defeated the armies of an invading queen, and to occasionally lapse into a fearsome berserker rage.

*: One of those Virtues expels Onkot. Only Sati has Recarm now, and she doesn't have infinite MP. We better not let that happen too often.

: But, I heard some group stole it... I don't know the details, though.

: ...where death conquers death, and fire lights the darkness... The words of the beginning shall be spoken. ...We all await those words." ............ I heard that from a demon in the Labyrinth. I wonder what it means...
: Sounds like cryptic bullshit to me!

*: This looks like a bit of a hub. The battles are a little rough, but I suppose we can check out one branch at least. Let's try north, right up the middle.


: If you're unlucky, you won't even be able to set foot inside the room.
: I'm not sure if I count as lucky or unlucky, at this point.
: Even if you do manage to get in, there's no telling where you'll end up... So, tell me... Are you feeling lucky?
: Eh, things could be worse. I'll try it.

> Will you try to open it?
: I wasn't instantly disintegrated like 99.9% of the Earth's population. Lemme in.
: Your luck is worthy of praise! You may pass.
: I can't believe that worked.

*: We can see five doors from here, one of them with a mouth again. We go west, through a regular door, and it's a one-way leading to another room with doors. Joy! There's another luck door here.

Well, crap.

*: We're teleported to some random dead-end in the west. I can tell this Kalpa is going to be such a joy. At least we find a Chest nearby.

Oh, good. I was worried we wouldn't run into random encounters who can just use Dragon Eye whenever they feel like it.

Haha, glorious.

...oh cripes I forgot I was passing time for a Chest, I opened a door, and we can't go back. Wheee. I hope the same luck door will teleport us to the same place.

Kin-ki, Sui-ki, and Fuu-ki. Nope!

The only exit from this area is down a ladder, into this corridor. If I didn't know better, I'd say this looks like the way to the next Kalpa.

But of course it isn't.

*: This isn't actually recurring traveler Heeho, just a rando Jack Frost saying "hee ho".
: I saw an awesome dude with guns and a giant sword mowing down demons, hee ho! It was terrifying!


Cutscene: Totally a cool dude and not a huge dbag

*: Dante sets you loose in a bunch of hallways and rooms, gives you a head start, and then starts to follow you around. If he gets line of sight, he repeatedly shoots you with Ebony & Ivory, dealing modest damage per hit to your entire party. If he actually catches up with you, you have to fight him for a few rounds before he runs away. He's quite fond of using his Stinger attack that has an instant death chance attached, so you essentially don't want to fight him if you can help it.

The exclamation points in the small rooms are the switches, and the ones at the ends of hallways are teleporters that bring you back to the entrance and are a decent way to get Dante off your nuts for a moment.

Anyway, once you've found the couple switches, a gate opens up to the next area, but then of course Dante just waits in front of it like a foul-mouthed 12 year old camper in [insert your favorite multiplayer FPS here]. You need to get close enough to him that he'll start chasing you, and then quickly turn back and run all the way around the area. It's trickier than it seems!

And it's not over, we gotta indulge Dante again. There are three mini-mazes here instead of a big one, and they all revolve around identifying one obstacle you can lead him around like a cartoon character and trick him into following you to the exit instead of blocking your way out.

He camps the exit again because of course he does. Same tactic applies.

Boy I hope he gets tired of this soon.

: Oh fuck off.

*: Dr. Dark is nearby too, and would charge 5000 again.

: After this nonsense I'm certainly not gonna turn back!
: If you are, you better be ready. I saw a guy with guns and a huge sword walk in not long ago.

Cutscene + Boss battle: Fiend Dante


*: Next attempt, we lose to two Showtimes in a row. Hmmmmm. Eh, one more try.

Boss battle + Cutscene: Fiend Dante Redux

*: The second Dante fight is essentially a remix of the first, down to him getting serious once you've hurt him a fair bit. However, he picked up a few new tricks (or remembered a few old ones), half of which can make the fight easier, and the other half can make it harder. Whirlwind and Round Trip are group-targeting force and electric damage skills respectively, so you can bring along the appropriate immunities to eat up some of his icons. However, Stinger and Showtime are both Almighty damage skills; Stinger has a high crit rate and an instant kill chance, and Showtime just hits pretty damn hard. If you've had your defense decreased by Provoke, you need a hell of a lot of Vitality to survive two Showtimes.

Anyway, we got Chaos Blade (group-targeting physical damage, scales with HP, may inflict Panic), which is what we wanted from Murakumo, so we can switch to something else. Lessee...

Ah. Right. There's the immediately obvious effect of being cursed: we can't switch Magatama anymore. Welp.

Aight, let's take a quick look and then head back.

Huh, this one might be the exit.

And it is! Well then.

*: There is so much of the Third Kalpa we haven't explored yet. But it would seem a great deal of it is locked behind stat doors. Maybe we'll be more thorough later. In the meantime, let's collect on our information reward.

Cutscene: The Hope-Giver