Part 29: The god who once died*: Before we start today, I need to talk about something that happened last time. Or rather, about something that didn't happen.
When Nocturne asks you a question, it may add a certain number of points to one or more invisible meters depending on your answer, and each Reason has its own meter. For example, when Gozu-Tennoh asks if you'll join the Mantra, accepting gives you 8 Yosuga points, refusing gives you 4 Shijima points, and saying you can't decide gives you 4 Musubi points. This isn't limited to obvious major characters, as even some less remarkable NPCs will ask questions that may increase meters. For example, your answer to the Oni near the Ikebukuro shops to whom our crew pretended to be oppressed may increase either your Yosuga or Shijima meters by 2 points (but not Musubi). As a rule of thumb, if a NPC asks you a question again if you talk to them a second time, it has no effect (because you can't grind points by answering the same question multiple times), but if its dialog changes you probably had a chance to get some points. Also, the questions related to the Amala Labyrinth and the Fiends (the Maniacs expansion content, basically) never have points associated, and your interactions with Hijiri don't seem to affect the meters either.
I mention this because the Musubi meter has now had an effect on the story. If we had either accumulated 32 Musubi points, or if we had agreed with Isamu right after we saw his transformation in the Amala Network, Isamu would have given us the opportunity to summon Noah ourselves by dunking Hijiri in the Magatsuhi pool. Your answer then either confirms your Musubi affiliation, or locks you out of it forever. Of course, we neither agreed with Isamu way back then, nor have we sufficiently reflected the Musubi philosophy in our travels, so he didn't think highly enough of us to ask us to do the honors.
In an ideal world I would have asked for viewer input every time points were in play, but this is an LP in the world we have, it would have made for terrible pacing, and that's the sort of thing best left to a streaming environment with a live audience. You're definitely getting all the major decisions though. Besides, seeing how things have been going so far, I doubt the ending we get will hinge on the time I told that one Yosuga angel to fuck off, or on other similar minor decisions.
Alright, that's settled; we can now return to our regularly scheduled programming and go on mourning the demise of the best reporter in the world.
: ...I guess this is it, then.
: Hmm. I don't think so.
: Right, me neither. If we're still together in the Vortex World...
: IT MUST MEAN SUMMONING NOAH WAS NOT THE FINAL STEP.
: There may still be time, then.
: There has to be time. We just need to track Isamu down.
: And kill another god.
: How will you find him? He just disappeared.
: Usually we'd ask Hijiri for info, but...
: Do you have anyone else on your side?
: That Takao chick? I don't know how she'd know anything.
: Futomimi has to know.
: Ah, there's a good point.
: WHAT IS THIS?
: OVER THERE!
: ...Finally, a Reason has been conceived.
: Lady Chiaki is on the move. Our god of Yosuga will soon descend upon us at Asakusa.
: The Manikins! We gotta go! Everyone get the lead out!
: Now, with Musubi, we can do whatever we want!
: It seems that he has gained power using the Magatsuhi here. Some demons from a rival group came on a reconnaissance mission...
*: We reach the large Temple Terminal and warp directly to Asakusa.
*: Before we go anywhere, we hit the Cathedral.
: Princess Kushinada, Lord Okuninushi, you've both been steadfast and valuable allies and I wish I could make more of a ceremony of this, but...
: Right, we're in a bit of a hurry!
: We understand. Keep making use of our power wisely.
: I will. Thank you. Minister?
: Here we go.
Kushinada + Okuninushi =
Lv44 Fury Dionysus
Dionysus is the Greek god of wine, theater, and religious ecstasy. He's a wild, mercurial, occasionally vengeful force, and his followers are encouraged to let go of conventions and propriety, to get in touch with their primal urges and let their deepest emotions spill over. He's the one who reluctantly gave King Midas his famous golden touch as a reward for his hospitality, but he also told him how to get rid of the "boon" when Midas later repented his foolish request after turning his own daughter to gold.
Furies are typically wild, destructive deities, and even though they can be dangerous to deal with and in some cases their wrath could lead to death on an immeasurable scale, it wouldn't be quite accurate to call them evil; they often represent chaos and destruction as an integral and natural aspect of the world.
: Are you all ready to PARTY?
: Nope, no time for parties right now. We gotta kill a bunch of angels first.
: Kid, that sounds like the second best kind of party!
: Gotcha. Let's go!
: Hey! Hey! Can you speak?
: Gah, dammit!
*: There are no other Manikins in Nakamise-Douri. But there are now random battles.
I expected angels, but there's no one left to guard the entrance, so the local demons are pouring in.
*: Ah, so there are angels too then. This is definitely Chiaki's handiwork, if we had any doubt. In any case, there's no time to walk all the way to Mifunashiro, so we use the Terminal again.
Atmosphere: Massacre at Mifunashiro
: ...we're too late.
: Maybe not. I don't see Futomimi here. They might be putting up a last stand deeper inside.
: Right. Right! Let's move.
We're here to help, so I dare hope Futomimi won't mind us trespassing this time.
: Dammits, you idiots! I'm not here to fight you!
*: Their responses are the same as in the Manikin encounters in Ikebukuro. We run.
None of the Manikins we see near the entrance are alive to tell any tales, but the door in is open.
: A demon-like girl came to steal our Magatsuhi...
: Are we all going to die...?
: Not if I can help it. But I can't stay here just for you, so, try to keep a low profile, will you?
Lv54 Brute Shiki-Ouji
Shiki-Ouji could be accurately if unflatteringly described as paper golems, but they are in fact an exceptionally powerful type of Shikigami that can only be crafted by the most accomplished of Onmyoji astrologists. They're strong enough to ward off demons of sickness and other calamities that would threaten their masters. However, their spiritual nature is very similar to an Oni's, and though they respect power, they are wild, dangerous and unpredictable when lesser mystics attempt to control them.
*: Hanuman levels up and learns Life Surge (increases Max HP by 30%), which I let replace Berserk. That was his last skill, so...
Lv54 Fury Wu Kong
Originating from the famous 16th century Chinese novel Journey to the West, Sun Wu Kong is a magical monkey born from a huge rock, without equal in battle and wits. His bold exploits and clever antics earned him the attention of the gods, but he took offense at how they seemed more intent on making sure he didn't cause any trouble than on treating him as an equal; he eventually rebelled and caused all sorts of mischief, including sneaking into Hell to remove his name and the names of his tribe from the record of all living things, effectively making himself and his friends immortal. It took the Buddha's intervention to finally imprison him under a mountain for 500 hundred years, after which he was charged with escorting a monk to India to retrieve important religious scripture. The long journey finally allowed him to prove his heroic nature and to put his power to virtuous use, and he was granted Buddhahood upon his return home.
*: This is Onkot's final evolution, and it earns us another phys-immune ally!
: Is... that true...?
: I... I don't know. I wish I could tell you.
*: A Cube slightly hidden below the door surrenders a Magic Mirror, and that clears the first room.
: This place... this place is beautiful.
: A little eerie maybe, but, yeah, it is. Though it'd look better with less blood and fewer corpses.
: ...this crime must be punished.
: Futomimi... chased after her...
: That bold fool.
: All that's left is to finish off that arrogant mud puppet, Futomimi...
So he's still alive!
*: A small Terminal already? I won't complain, but I wonder how much trouble they thought we'd have getting here.
: No... No matter how hard we try... we are not match... for demons, or for humans... We should have... run...
: I... I can't... I can't fight... Th-There's n-no way I could beat a d-demon... I don't wanna die... I don't wanna die!!!!
: I know...! Y-you're a good demon, right...?
: I... Uh...
: Yes, he is. What is your request?
: That's the plan.
: Then... I'll be hiding in here, so hurry...
*: Curiously, this is the first Divine fight we've had since we arrived; the other enemies so far are Gogmagogs, Titans with Sudama, Shiki-ouji with Shikigami, and various Manikins. We still have Sophia equipped for immunity to Expel, in any case.
This feels like a giant vertical cavern; it seems we keep going in and out of this waterfall formation.
: I heard there were a bunch of idiots and tools messing with the Manikins down here. I see neither of us are disappointed.
: You are much different from those mud puppets who can only talk about creation.
: A world without hierarchy, where everyone lives equally in peace... *chuckle* As followers of Yosuga, it is not to be tolerated.
: Exactly. We must destroy their hopes before a monstrosity such as that even begins to take shape...
: There's definitely monstrosity going on here today, but the Manikins have nothing to do with it.
: Yes. I am.
: ............ ...So be it. After we finish off the mud puppets, Lady Chiaki's god shall descend upon us.
: Not if I can help it!
: Once you see that magnificent sight, your opinion shall change...
: Why don't you come down here and say that to my fist, huh?
: YEAH, THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT!
> Will you take it?
: I'm thinking I might have done enough desecration already today.
: WHATEVER IT IS, MAYBE IT COULD HELP US AVENGE HIM.
: ...maybe. Alright then. My apologies, friend, but I probably need this more than you at this point.
: ...thank you.
*: We use it on Titania right away.
More dead Manikins...
: Ah! Sir, let me...
: ...Up... ahead... A girl... and... Futomimi...
: I know, I know. Don't speak.
Hall of Mirror, eh?
> Will you step into the light?
Nowhere else to go.
Cutscenes + Boss battle: Never leave us again
: CHIAKI! GET BACK HERE!
: She's gone, man.
: That... that creature mentioned Ginza, right?
: Boss, there's nothing we can do here anymore.
: MASTER, WE MUST NOT LET THE DEBT ACCRUED HERE TODAY GO UNPAID.
: We will not.
Raphael, meaning "Healing of God", is only named in the Book of Tobit, which is only canon for Orthodox and Catholic Churches. He travels alongside the titular character's son to recover a sum of money stashed somewhere in Iran. He's associated with healing, but mostly on account of curing Tobit's blindness, at the end of the trip.
The Seraph race is essentially a subset of Divines, being the highest-ranked angels, though they are Light-aligned instead of Neutral. There are so few of them and they're so important that, with maybe one exception, all of those we see in the entire series are unique, named individuals.
Gabriel, "the Strength of God", is already a bigger deal. I'm not entirely sure why exactly he's/she's depicted as female here, but angels are typically considered genderless so there's no reason that has to be a problem. In any case, she visited the prophet Daniel to elucidate his visions, announced the births of John the Baptist and Jesus, and in Islam, she's the one who gave the Qur'an to Muhammad on God's behalf.
His name meaning "Light of God", or "God is my Light", Uriel never appears in mainstream Judeo-Christian canon, only in apocryphal scripture. Interestingly, when he is named, it is usually along with Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, as a guardian of the cardinal directions, just like the Four Heavenly Kings of oriental myth.
*: This fight is a bit like the Moirae Sisters fight, in that you have three enemies with distinct abilities, but the Seraphs are individually stronger and as a group they're not as focused on synergy. All three of them nullify ailments, reflect Expel and Death, and resist the four main damage elements, so physical attacks are the way to go.
Raphael is the main irritant, as he'll typically spend his turn on either Tetrakarn or Makalakarn, though he also knows Stasis Blade, Diarahan and Beast Eye. Uriel is more of a damage-dealer with Prominence and Megidola, though he also knows Beast Eye and Diarahan. Gabriel's most dangerous attacks are Radiance (heavy Expel damage to all foes) and Holy Wrath (chance to cut current HP by 50% for all foes), but she has Maziodyne too in case you had the foresight to shut her down with Expel-immune Magatama and allies.
All together, that's a recipe for a pretty tough fight, especially if Ralph and U-dawg start flexing their Diarahan muscles. However, you may have noticed that none of them know Dekunda or Dekaja. If you bring the appropriate buffs and debuffs, you can easily turn all three of them into a tragic joke. They all have 3000 HP too, so with a few stacks of Tarukaja and Rakunda, Zed's Focused Divine Shot could potentially 1-hit-KO each of them in turn without Diarahan ever being a problem.
As you may have guessed, the Yosuga alignment meter came into play here. If you have accumulated 32 Yosuga points, or if you agreed with Chiaki back in the Mantra HQ before she lost her arm, you are given a chance to ally with her, which cements your Yosuga affiliation.
If you refuse, she of course still throws the Seraphs in your face to keep you busy while she does her dirty work.
If you accept, she asks you to kill Futomimi yourself.
That sure would have given this LP a very different feel, wouldn't it?
: You. Come with me. I'll give you this chance.
: Heh, heh...
> Shiki-Ouji is smiling fearlessly.
: Comply with my desire. Offer me 910 Macca.
: Small price.
: O wearisome robber baron, Nay... NAY, 'tis not enough! I require 670 Macca.
: If it'll save a life.
: More, I say! Empty thy pockets as thou hast emptied my patience!
: This guy has no idea what's going down, does he?
: I require 1 Life Stone.
: ...take it.
: I cannot comply. I have trust in thee, but I cannot ally myself with your grace for our swords will conflict.
: That's your funeral, chump!
: Leave. Now.
: Here! Take thee this.
> You obtained Dis-Stun x1.
: I. Said. LEAVE.
: I must bid you adieu.
> Shiki-Ouji left.
: Wow, I really thought you were gonna wad him up and eat him.
: This is a holy place. Only angels die here now.
*: A few "battles" later...
: If you think so, I recommend you turn around and walk away.
> Shiki-Ouji is content.
: I am called Shiki-Ouji of the Brute bloodline. My fate lies in thy hands.
> Shiki-Ouji joined your party.
*: Huh, I didn't notice this coming in, but it would appear Chiaki hit the door so hard it flew all the way over here.
At any rate, by the time we leave, only angels have died.
I could warp straight to Ginza, but I want to check out the rest of Asakusa to see if there are any survivors with interesting stuff to say.
: Well, I guess it's a good place to kick back and relax... There's no one around, so I can enjoy some peace and quiet.
: Well, we don't really care.
: ...he died.
: I see. I guess it must be pretty rough.
: ...I don't like the idea of a world controlled by power.
: Yeah. Me neither, brother.
: Living here, I've realized that Nihilo's Reason of Shijima is the best. No more fighting, please.
: Oh fuck off.
: I like it. I mean, why do I have to live with all these losers?
: Said the dead loser.
: Kid, I never thought I'd be this happy to see you.
: Oh, you're back. I don't have anything for you, but... I'm not stopping you from playing. So, why don't you try?
: Sorry kid, I'm really busy right now. Maybe some other time.
: You don't have to push yourself anyway...
: You keep on gaming, alright?
: ...that's one way of putting it.
: Yosuga, Shijima, Musubi... These three are all competing for the right of creation. I don't know who you're for, and I don't want to know. But, the time is nearing.
: I'm still holding out hope for one more.
: Now that Futomimi's dead, Asakusa's nothing but a ghost town. It's just as Lady Chiaki said. We need to watch Ginza... The Assembly of Nihilo.
: I hope you're happy.
: Manikins were running about here, not long ago... Now, demons are here instead. Is this the flow of time?
: There's still some 'round here.
: Having to live like this again... *sigh* Life is short...
: Aw hell, old man. I'm sorry.
: ............ ...I'm tired of it all!
: Are you alright?
: ...Maybe lying here wasn't such a great idea.
: But, this place was bustling with Manikins just a short while back.
: I'm not a Musubi, but I think they should've respected themselves more.
*: And that's it for Asakusa. The junk shop owner and the Collector Manikin are still here, but they have nothing new to say. Just before we leave, Sparna levels up and learns Diarahan, its last skill. I let it replace Fog Breath, since Zed has a lockdown on that one. Gives him something to do!
> Sparna gave something to you. You received Mamudo Rock!
: You placed death in my hands, and now you place life. Very clever!
Lv63 Avian Garuda
Well, this is kind of Sparna again, but this time I would presume this is the Hindu version of the myth, where Garuda is an individual creature rather than a race. When he emerged from his egg, the world erupted in terrible flames, but when the gods begged him for mercy, he accepted to reduce his power so as not to destroy everything before the appointed time. He acts as Vishnu's mount, and like his Buddhist counterpart he is also then enemy of Naga and serpents.
Garuda is the only Avian in Nocturne, but in the greater series the race is basically a bird version of the Holy demons.
*: That'll be that. To Ginza, then. Dropping a save, I see we've passed the 100 hour mark! Of course a lot of that was typing dialog down, and it doesn't include close to all of the time I've spent on this LP, but I ain't complaining!
And the world goes on.
: Something happened! They must've been doing something!
: Sacrificial fusion... The Demonic Compendium... But... there's a rumor that they're hiding something even better.
: ...I mean, Shijima. It will be shrouded in silence.
: There's a tunnel at Yurakucho Station that leads to Nagatacho.
: Hmm. That's where the Diet is. Very helpful, thanks.
: Commander Hikawa is the supreme ruler of the battle for creation. We may be a late entry, but that's because we were preparing for an incredible god.
*: True fact: I accidentally typed "we were preparing for an incredible dog" and then proceeded to giggle for like thirty seconds.
: Dude what is your problem, we don't need to know that.
*: Everyone needs to know about incredible dogs.
: They're sayin' there's a guy diggin' a tunnel at Yurakucho. I doubt there's any relation to what Hikawa's doin', though.
: Now, we can create our ideal world of stillness!
: Even if our headquarters was attacked, even if we lost the Nightmare System... He'd still be victorious! He conceives plans as if he knows what events will take place.
: He sure is crazy prepared, I'll give him that.
: He may be human, but he's a brilliant strategist.
: You become one with the universe, and there's no need to suffer. ...It fits a person who keeps his cool, like me.
: It's going to be a refined new world where the weak don't exist. I think it's a pretty rotten idea, personally.
: Yeah, me too. And I'm pretty strong, so you know I'm not just trying to save my own skin.
: Their world is one where you can do anything you want without ever having to meddle with anyone else. What do you think of that?
: Sounds nice on the surface, but I know I'd just get sick of it within hours.
: I hear he's after the large amount of Magatsuhi at the Diet Building... It's ironic that a human is using demons to do his bidding, rather than the other way around.
The National Diet Building is really the last place I would have expected to visit after the apocalypse, but I guess it makes sense. Politicians, demons, what's the difference, really?
*: We heal up, drop a save, and head out towards Yurakucho Station, near the back entrance to the Assembly of Nihilo dome. It was locked last time we went, but if Hikawa had to move his troops through, it's probably still open.
*: The overland encounters haven't changed, and the trip is uneventful. The destination, however...
Cutscene + Boss battle: Fiend Trumpeter
Well he sure went down like a chump. Is the final Fiend really so weak, or... have I grown so strong?
In the book of Revelations, one of the parts involved in the end of the world involves the sounding of seven trumpets, each of which heralds a new form of devastation upon the Earth and all its inhabitants. The Trumpeter is one of the angels charged with sounding a trumpet, bringing forth hail, rains of fire and blood, comets, hundreds of millions of supernatural murderous horsemen and other such cataclysms. Not gonna lie, reading Revelations as a kid scared the crap outta me.
*: Wow, I didn't think I'd get away with this one so easily. The Trumpeter only has the basic boss immunities going on, so that's not a problem. He knows Megidolaon, Makakaja, Dekaja, and all four Ma-dyne spells, but that's not quite the problem either, especially since you can debuff him with impunity. The problem is that he casts Holy Melody or Evil Melody every four turns, alternating between each.
Evil Melody instantly kills your teammate with the lowest HP (in percentage of maximum HP, not raw current HP), and I'm pretty sure it bypasses any Death immunity you might have. If everyone's at full HP, it just picks a target at random. Holy Melody picks its target the same way and heals it to full, but if Trumpeter himself has proportionally lower HP than anyone on your squad, it gets its 11000 HP back.
The basic strategy here is to make sure Evil Melody doesn't kill the Demi-fiend, which isn't too hard to do if you have allies with skills that cost a lot of HP, then revive them with a Revival Bead or the basic Recarm (so they have very little HP) and summon them just in time for Holy Melody to bring them back to full health. Of course, Zed hits so hard thanks to Focus/Tarukaja/Rakunda that the cycle didn't exactly have time to repeat. I'm also pretty happy with how strong Wu Kong is even without Focus on; he's not in the same league but he contributed a great deal anyway.
Next time! We may go after Hikawa, or... we may go bring light to the darkness.
: Man, that's not even a question, I'mma go down that pit again and punch stuff a lot.
*: Well forgive me for trying to introduce a little suspense in the proceedings.