Part 30: In the Hall of the Wicked King: Guys, I'm not gonna lie, I don't feel like hanging on to those Candelabra any longer than I have to.
: They are no longer a threat to you.
: We are all vainquished.
: Yeah, but...
: You're curious about what's going on in the Labyrinth, aren't you?
: Aren't you?
: Yeah, sure. But, I don't know if going there has ever been a good idea.
: IT HAS GRANTED US VALUABLE KNOWLEDGE.
: Sounds like the monkey lost his nuts!
: Yuck it up, tipsy. If the boss wants to go down there, I'm going down with him. But we can't forget we have other problems here too.
: Either way, it's kind of a long walk back to Ginza, isn't it? Can't we keep going until we find another terminal at least?
: Hmm. Yeah, good point. Alright then, let's get a move on. And keep an eye out, we don't want to stumble on Nihilo's rear guard if we can help it.
*: Unlike the other stations we've visited, there are two staircases down here.
The western one takes us to a well lit platform...
...while the eastern one plunges us into darkness.
There's no way to tell which one will take us towards the Diet Building, so we might as well start with the eastern one. We run into fights with Loki, Quetzacoatl and Shiki-Ouji down here.
A few Cubes around the area get us a Muscle Drink, a Bead, a Medicine, and an encouter with four Loa. The Blessed Fan actually takes a couple of them out! They drop an Attack Mirror.
Both sets of stairs leading to the eastward tunnels are blocked off, so we retrace our steps towards the first lit platform. Boy am I glad I decided to look at this side first!
On the way back, Horus levels up through Watchful; he learns Mediarama, replacing Liftoma, and Mana Gain transforms into Mana Surge (+30% max MP).
: I just saw a human woman! She was headed for Kasumigaseki. She was creepy, like she was possessed by something... She was hot, though!
: Is Ms. Takao going after Hikawa herself?
: I want to say that's crazy, but maybe Aradia has a plan.
: You really believe that?
: ...I don't know.
*: As usual, there are two tunnels leading westward. I choose the northern one. Here's to hoping we get the dead end with loot first!
A dead end with a spirit, I'll take it.
: Ah, right, I've heard about you. Find anything good?
: After years a pokin' around, I finally located the treasure right here! But... The earth here's as hard as a rock turtle with frostbite! So, I can't dig, ya dig?
: Wouldn't a frozen rock turtle be especially brittle?
: Don't even, it's not worth the trouble.
: ............!! Ya got demons with ya!? Hoo-doggie! Could ya spare one a them demons a yers? If ya do, I promise ta split the treasure with ya!
: Ehh, I don't know...
: There's a sentence I never thought I'd hear. Anyway, I admit I'm curious.
: Really!? Hoo-doggie! Thanks! *whistle*
: I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm a bird.
: Yeah, no.
: *whistle* How about Black Rider?
: I'm not lending you Famine just so you can put a pickaxe in his hands. He may be a schmuck, but he's a prestigious schmuck.
: I appreciate the compliment, sir.
*: Shige pretty much goes through all your allies one by one; I suspect the developers didn't want to make a demon selection interface just for this one guy. I'll spare you the repetition.
: Hmm, that might actually not be a bad idea. What do you think, big guy?
: Yeah, sure, no problem, I'll have this done in a jiffy. Are you going to be alright without me?
: To be honest I'd rather keep you around, but there might be something cool in here.
: Well, I'm up for it.
: It's settled, then. You got your worker.
: Whoa! This one's as ornery as a bobcat with his tail on fire!
: I'm sure I don't want to know how you came across that information.
: Look forward to ma results!
: Aight, I'll be checking in again in a bit. See ya later, sport!
: Later, boss man.
*: We return to the platform and take the southwest tunnel this time. We run into an obnoxious amount of five-Quetzacoatl groups; let's just say it helps to have three allies immune to physical damage and Death effects. Wu Kong learns Hassohappa, a group-targeting physical attack that scales off HP. I let it replace Sukukaja, since Black Rider has us covered there.
: It's a maze in there. Plus, there are steep slopes. You'll slide right down to the bottom! If you jump in unprepared, you might die of starvation, or worse...
: I appreciate the heads-up, but I really can't turn back.
: Or, uh, maybe I can. Just this once.
*: This is in fact a Large Terminal, and we head to Ikebukuro to heal up, register, and shop. Asakusa isn't a safe place anymore, and we used up a bunch of Mazio Stones against the Quetzacoatl hordes, so I figure it won't hurt to stock up on attack items again before we head to the Labyrinth. We had nine Tickets to begin with and we spend enough to get eleven more; picking the white box twice earns us Strength and Vitality Incense!
That should be preparation enough; we drop a save and warp to the Labyrinth. We could use the shortcut to the third Kalpa, but I want to hear what Kamala has to say now that Dante's the only Fiend left.
: You don't have to worry about them anymore! Yay!
: That's great news! Thanks Kamala, you've been a big help.
: I, um...
*: As we cross the Third Kalpa to reach the remaining pedestals, it occurs to me to visit the last Luck door we couldn't open before... and it opens! We have 22 base Luck at this time, so the break point is probably at 20. Behind we find a Burial Chamber for Ongyo-ki, Mara, and Black Frost. There are also Chests containing Strength Incense and a Great Chakra. And that's all for the northern branch!
: The Emperor has returned!!
: Eh wot?
: I want his autograph, hee ho, so I'm gonna go look for him!!
: COULD HE MEAN...?
: Probably. I guess this is where plans to become evil will take you.
: What does that say about us?
: Well, we can leave whenever we want. That must count for something.
Lv47 Deity Atavaka
Originally a child-eating demon of Buddhist legend, he was personally enlightened by the Buddha and mended his ways. He then became a vassal of Bishamonten, the war god leading the Four Heavenly Kings. I'm not quite sure why he's wearing his own head as a hat.
*: We've used up a fair bit of Gogmagog and Titania's MP getting down here, so I ask Dr. Dark for a 5k full heal.
: Yikes! We'll do without for now, thanks.
: Whatever happened to all the money, I wonder?
: Very funny.
*: Yeah, dude's hiking up his rates. We could afford it, but I think we'll be fine at the moment.
Lv45 Kishin Mikazuchi
In Shinto logend, Take-Mikazuchi was one of the gods the heavenly deities sent to the earth when they decided to take it over. Okuninushi, the ruler of Izumo province, surrendered to him, but his son Take-Minakata didn't want to let his home go so easily. Long story short, Minakata and Mikazuchi had the first sumo match ever, Mikazuchi won, and then he crushed and tore off Minakata's arms because being gracious in victory is for wimps, right?
*: I'm a little surprised to see new demons down here, but the Kalpas actually scale with your level somewhat and tougher opponents start appearing as you grow stronger. I'm sure this is to make it harder if you decide to wait until the endgame and clear the Labyrinth all at once.
Pale Rider, Mother Harlot, Trumpeter. Majesty, Beauty, Godliness.
And Sovereignty is mine to keep.
: I know.
: Not only is it dangerous, it's VERY dangerous!!
: That's okay, so am I.
: I mean, it's EXTREMELY dangerous!!!
: Dude, I'm not leaving.
: If you still insist on going, I won't try to stop you, but... Make sure you go straight. Don't ever, ever turn left! Okay?
: Uh... sure.
: ...Please believe me.
Well. He did say it would be EXTREMELY dangerous.
*: We have an opportunity to go left. We don't take it.
The color scheme feels like less immediately gross and unpleasant than the third Kalpa's, but it does kinda feel like someone set a bunch of fires in the first Kalpa and didn't mind the smoke damage.
Ah, okay, we're back to looking pretty gross.
We have more choices here, but I'm gonna keep going as far right as I can.
Lv55 Holy Chimera
The Chimera is a hybrid creature of Greek myth, being usually described as a fire-breathing lion with a goat's head growing out of its back and a snake for a tail, though the exact configuration varies. It was killed by the hero Bellerophon, firing arrows from atop the winged horse Pegasus.
: It's only a short distance to the other side, but every time you enter, you end up somewhere else... You'll see what I mean once you try it yourself...
No pain, no gain. Let's go.
Hell's Vault, eh?
*: Trying to use the automap button returns a "It can't be used here." message. Whuh oh.
Teleporters, and no automap. Glorious.
Lv63 Raptor Gurr
In Sri Lankan Buddhism, Gurr is an evil, carnivorous eagle demon; he might actually be a dig at rival Hindu god Garuda, who is also an eagle, but also far less of a douche.
Lv63 Haunt Rakshasa
In Hindu and Buddhist lore, the Rakshasa are a race of humanoid creatures, usually quite evil but not always; it is said they enjoy the taste of human flesh, and like to desecrate graves, possess people, and generally make dangerous nuisances of themselves.
*: In addition to these new guys, we keep running into lesser Haunts like Pisaca, Legion and Yaka, so the Blessed Fan keeps coming in handy. Zed levels up, masters Satan and learns its final skill, Deadly Fury, a group-hitting physical attack with a high critical chance. We replace Xeros-Beat with it; it has served us well for a long time, but it was really time for an upgrade. Next on the list will probably be Miasma, so we can upgrade Shock to Glacial Blast. It should also tip our alignment to Dark so we can open that one door in the third Kalpa.
Aaanyway. The aforementioned teleporter sends us to a room with four dead ends and a Chest containing a Bead of Life. Going to the western dead end warps us to a room that looks a lot like the entrance to the Twelve Meters of Eternity...
: If you want to go back, then return through the 12 Meters of Eternity. It's really strange... From the other side, the phase of Kagutsuchi determines where you'll end up, but from this side, you can only return to the entrance.
*: This'll require further exploration for sure, but I'm curious about that ladder here.
: I am, but not nearly enough for this!
: It looks like you can get to the other side from the Kalpa above, so...
: Huh, really? Well this'll be annoying.
: Why don't you try to make your way across?
: I bet it's that golden door we couldn't open. There's one behind the switch here too, see?
: Ah, you're right. We just need to find the key, then.
*: Apart from small room with a Tetraja Rock and a locked gate, there's nothing else down here. We gotta hit the Twelve Meters again.
Welp, here goes nothing.
*: Hell's Hall, this time. We can't use our map again.
*: We use a Repulse Bell right away, and start heading east. This area seems pretty huge! The first door we encounter looks like it would take us to the Twelve Meters again, so we turn back and keep exploring.
: Well, the sooner we kick his ass the sooner we can get out of here, hopefully.
: BE CAREFUL!!
Great, I'll add it to the pile.
: Gaaaah, sure, fine. Here.
*: Restoring our HP in here is a silly proposition, but we could use a MP refill if the leader of this place is close by.
The other doors here so far have been the same blue swirly type that we first saw in the third Kalpa, but this one is the red pulsating type. Hmm!
Wicked King's Hall. Welp!
> Will you enter?
It's that or walking back through that awful place. We go forward.
Cutscene + Boss battle: The Wicked King
: Holy crap! High fives!
: Aw yeah!
: Kid, I owe you all the drinks.
: Well, I-
: Haha, gimme a hug, you bony bastard!
: Ah? H-hey!
: I take back every time I've called you a schmuck.
: I don't mean to cut the celebration short, but... What's with this "creating a demon" business?
: There's an excellent question.
: Hmm. I suppose that is worrying. Yo, Riders, you know anything about that?
: Everything Lord Beelzebub told you is correct. Beyond that, we could not say.
: You could not say, huh? Because you don't know, or because someone ordered you to keep quiet?
: How useless you both are!
: Hey, that's a little harsh.
: THERE ARE POWERFUL FORCES INVOLVED HERE, AND WE ALL HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY.
: To hell with that! Speak up before I shove my staff where the sun don't shine!
: Wu Kong, stand down!
: I know how you feel, but if they can't tell us, they can't tell us. We'll just have to find someone who can. And if we don't like their answer...
: We shall give them a right good thrashing!
: We shall give them a right good thrashing.
Originally Beelzebub was a major Philistine god, whose name meant "lord of heaven", but he was demonized by Israelites, and they changed his name to "lord of the flies", which as I understand it had a very similar spelling or pronunciation. He was later recycled by demonologists, who made him into a Prince of Hell who used to be a Cherubim before the Fall; he is the master of all false gods, and presides over either pride or gluttony. Seeing his gut here, I'd say we're mostly talking about the latter.
*: The first obstacle to whittling down Beelzebub's 16000 HP is that he reflects Expel and Death, nullifies ailments, and resists everything else except fire. The second obstacle, of course, is that he fights back. His signature move is Death Flies, which instantly kills all opponents who are not immune to Death effects and inflicts a fair chunk of Almighty damage to everyone else. He also knows Dekaja, Dekunda, Mazionga, Mazanma, Maziodyne, Mazandyne, Megidolaon, and Focus. Fortunately, he doesn't have Beast Eye or Dragon Eye, and he only has his basic attack to spend the Focus buff on (though he's level 95 with 30 Strength, so it'll still hurt a fair bit).
Zed's Focused up Divine Shot is strong enough that it still contributed non-insignificant damage through Beelzebub's physical resistance, but Dionysus's Agidyne and White Rider's Fire Boosted Prominence did most of the heavy lifting, especially when the latter hit twice for around 700 damage total. Besides, using Fog Breath often was essential, as B-bub's Agility is so high that even Prominence has a big chance to miss, and if your healer doesn't get a turn on account of a miss then you might be in big trouble. Makakaja and Tarukaja are nice while they last, but even when they don't last, an icon spent on Dekaja is not an icon spent removing Fog Breath or calling Death Flies.
I think I could have been done a little faster and spent fewer MP items if I hadn't been so afraid of a Focused attack that I thought I had to keep Tetrakarn up so much, but otherwise I'd say the battle went about as smoothly as it could.
*: There's another door on the other side of this Hall.
Not too shabby! But this doesn't seem to get us any closer to the next Kalpa. The key we're looking for must be somewhere else.
Oh hey, the horrible smog is gone. Excellent.
: THEN, YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR THE STAR KEY! IT CAN UNLOCK THE GOLDEN DOORS. IT'S SOMEWHERE IN THIS LABYRINTH, WHERE IT USED TO BE CURSED... THERE'S ANOTHER DEMON WHO KNOWS WHERE IT IS. IF YOU CAN GET THE STAR KEY, MAYBE YOU CAN MAKE IT TO THE BOTTOM!
: Aight, I'll keep looking, thanks for the hint.
*: We make it back to the Twelve Meters without further incident. Let's see if other K phases would take us to interesting places.
1/8th waxing sends us to The Road to Hell. It's a simple descending hallway that looks like it will return us to the Twelve Meters, but...
Yup, that was a hidden passage.
: This is a dead end. You spent all that precious time coming here for nothing.
: Just so you know, there's a place nearby that looks like a dead end, but you can actually go through it. Have fun looking for it.
: I don't care, you're still a dick.
*: The only other available path leads to a Deathstone, and...
...another hidden path. There's only a Burial Chamber behind, for Aciel, Skadi and Albion, so we return to the Twelve Meters. Half K takes us to Hell's Vault again, but we can take a different path. We faff around a bit, finding a Great Chakra and an Attack Mirror, until we're teleported to a room with an actual door... which takes us back to the entrance. Alright, I've had enough of this for now, let's give the Twelve Meters one more go.
2/8th waning takes us to Hell's Maze.
Is that a Manikin?
: Once you're inside, you can never get out.
: We'll see about that.
: But, if you do find a way out, please let me know!
*: We have two doors from here. Let's go east first.
We can't go back, but here are two more doors. If we had our automap this would probably be trivial, but I'll just have to draw my own at some point.
: There was a guy who managed to escape this prison, and that's what he used to say. I wonder what he's doing now...
: Aight, shoot.
: Uh... You probably wouldn't know it from the way I've been acting down here, but, yeah, I do.
: I've been called worse.
*: We actually run into some Manikin random encounters here too. Strange!
: Do you think he can find his way out of here?
: I don't know... He'll probably give up, and then run home and cry about it. *chuckle*
: Joke's on you, assholes. I don't have a home.
: Come on, he can't do that. Think about it. How can he run home if he doesn't know where the exit is?
: Oh... That's true. ...So, this poor demon's lost and he's all alone? How sad. ...Hey, you there. If you wanna go home, head north. You'll find your way out of here eventually.
: But, which way is it...? North or south, east or west...? Good luck finding it. By the way, I know exactly where it is.
: You might as well give up all hope. Just look at me... I'm going absolutely nowhere...
: ...that haircut...
: I contributed to society by doing just that. My company grew as a result, and became highly regarded.
: If your company is the only aspect of your life worth mentioning, then I assume that it wasn't.
: Just when I thought I'd achieved happiness, my fortune collapsed like a house of cards. You should be careful. You never know what tomorrow may bring...
: Have you talked to either of them?
: Both, actually.
: Oddly enough, it feels like I've met them somewhere before...
: That businessman... That was Sakahagi, wasn't it?
: He seemed... regretful.
: That's unlike him.
: IT IS SAID THAT REGRET CAN CHANGE THE NATURE OF A MAN.
: Bah, it's easy to be regretful when you've been condemned to eternal torment.
: If that was Sakahagi, does that mean the other one was Futomimi?
: He didn't strike me as the knife-licking type.
: Maybe regret changed him too.
: ...Just kidding. You think this is the exit? There was a guy who escaped from here, with something he called the Afterlife Bell. He was saying that the bell has the power to resurrect the dead. If that's true, I wonder if he's come back to life in a cemetery somewhere...
: A cemetery, hmm? Not a lot of those left.
*: At any rate, we enter the nearby vortex to get the heck out of here. It does return us to the Twelve Meters, but this time we turn back and return towards the Kalpa's entrance; we did pass a number of "left turns" on our way, and maybe they're less EXTREMELY dangerous now that Beelzebub is gone.
: That means the Wicked King has been defeated, but... Who could it have been? ...It wasn't you, was it?
: Is that so hard to believe?
*: We run into Dr. Dark again up here, but we pass.
: ...then you can call forth the deaths that you have conquered, just as you have created new demons. It all depends on the light of Kagutsuchi, though...
: ...I'll sell you something special. Interested?
: Here's what I'm selling... ...a demon that wields an assortment of powerful attack spells. It's a charming and dependable companion! I'm asking 50000 Macca. I know it's kinda high, but it's well worth the price... So, you want it?
: I got plenty of demons who wield assortments of powerful attack spells. Maybe later, I guess.
: That's fine. If you change your mind, feel free to come back anytime.
*: This Broker is selling a level 60 Mothman with all Ma-dyne spells, Mahamaon, Mamudoon, Megidolaon and Mana Refill, which isn't too shabby if you want to fuse some of those onto something else, since you can find another Wilder and make an Element out of them, and combine it with another Element to make a Mitama.
A Chest in the same room contains a Soma. While we're waiting for full K, Black Rider learns Mana Drain, which will be super helpful, as his skills that make him effective in random battles are very expensive.
: Of course!
: I heard that your innate abilities, such as your agility and strength, affect your performance in there. If you plan on collecting Macca in there, then you might want to train yourself first.
*: Ooh, right, I forgot about that. If your Agility is at least 15, you get a bit of a maneuverability boost, and I think you need a Strength of at least 15 to break some of the larger obstacles.
: ...Who is he? Sorry, I can't give out his name. But... He's so noble, we call him the Lord of the Flies! I can't stop thinking about him...
*: Turning left at the very first intersection leads us to a wide hall with many doors. The first one has 25000 Macca behind, the second one another 25000, the third one is a Burial Chamber for Specter and Sakahagi, the fourth one...
: Ehhh, mostly I guess.
: It can take you to different places like the vault or the maze, but... I'm warning you, don't go through it when Kagutsuchi shines the weakest.
: ...Why? Whaddya mean, "Why?"! If you wander into the Wicked King's room, you won't come out alive!
: Haha, right, sure.
*: ...and the fifth one contains a Deathstone.
I think this whole halllway would have been under the curse if we had come here without taking out Beelzebub first.
: Ha, well said.
: It was VERY dangerous!!
: I mean, it was EXTREMELY DANGEROUS!!!
: I KNOW.
: ...It's a thing of the past, though.
*: We keep climbing out. I'm pretty sure I know where the key is, and I also realize I forgot something important. In the central room of Dante's first maze...
: Heeeeee hoooooo! I guess I'm a little too late.
: What the...
: I tried so hard to get here, too!
: The "Emperor of Kabukicho" has finally made his comeback!!
: Not the best choice of venue, though.
: Um, if you're wondering how I managed to make a comeback... that's a secret.
: You have no idea, do you?
: Don't ask me why I shrank in size, either. Okay, hee ho?
: I couldn't care less, honestly.
: Anyway, once again I'm aiming to be the best! If I tag along with you, hee ho, I think I can become super-cool and super-strong!
: I... Uh, that's not...
: He's not wrong!
: Yeah, fair enough.
: So, let's go! Heeeeee hoooooo!!
*: Of course he starts at level 66. Black Frost lost his innate ailment reflection and his physical resistance is back to the standard 50%, but he does keep the rest of his immunities, and in fact the last three skills he learns are Void Mind, Void Curse and Void Nerve.
Now for the key. We climb further up to the Second Kalpa, and go see that one Efreet.
: You can go now.
: Don't mind if I do!
*: Indeed, the corridor is back to normal, though the tough random encounters still occur.
: You got something for me now?
: My drinking buddy is somewhere up in Tokyo having a drink. He's got the key that opens the golden doors.
: Ah. Well, okay, I'll, uh, find him then. Thanks again for the other day!
: That's not as helpful as we'd like, in any case.
: Eh, there's only one decent bar in this craphole world, so it does narrow it down.
: Do you think his buddy could be Loki?
: Oh cripes, I hope not.
: Well, not even he can stop our master's plans now.
*: That was the Flauros at the entrance to the second Kalpa. He's still talking about the voice we heard the first time we came down here.
Anyway, we take the shortcut out of the Labyrinth and warp back to Yurakucho Tunnel.
Hmm, Titan must be doing good work.
: Oooh, good news then.
: I owe ya, lil' buckaroo! We'll split the treasure, as promised! There's four chests ahead, so pick two of 'em.
*: Two Chests and two cubes. We pick the two Chests, earning us a Sapphire and a Great Chakra.
: Yer more useful than a cat in a barnyard fulla mice! Here's a little somethin' fer ya! It was in one of ma chests, but I don't reckon I need it. Ya might be able to find a use fer it.
> You obtained a Kimon Ball.
: Huh... I wonder...
*: The Cubes contain 10000 Macca as well as the Kimon Ball; if you pick the Ball you essentially get cheated out of a pick, since Shige'll give it to you no matter what.
If we talk to him again...
: Hey, uh, where's Titan?
: ...what? He died? What the hell, man?
: Well, if it's any comfort, he'll be joining his puree'd brothers.
*: So, yeah, don't lend Shige a demon you want to get back. Weak demons take longer to dig the tunnel though, so you don't want to cheap out. Besides, you can still get them back from the Compendium if you really gotta.
Next time: we find a bar, we find a graveyard, and we unravel the mysteries of the Kimon Ball!