Part 33: The beginning of the end
: ...is it dinner time already?
: Here you go. Be still, your neck will be sore for a few moments.
: I'll be fine, I've walked away from worse than a punch in the face.
: It took us four minutes to find your head.
: Is it too late to talk about hazard pay?
: Don't worry, we have god-tier health insurance.
: So, what happened?
: GOD'S CURSE HAPPENED.
: No, I was there for that. I mean, what happened with widow's peak and the beige chick? Have we fixed democracy yet?
: Hikawa summoned his god.
: And the lady Takao gave up.
: Well that's great news to resurrect to.
: ...she didn't give up.
: Look, I get that you like her, but we all saw her quit. She didn't even try to...
: No, he's right. Aradia gave up, but the lady did not.
: You saw her too, didn't you?
: What are you talking about?
: The only reason she brought Chiaki, Isamu and I here is that she figured one of us would decide the shape of the new world. She tried it herself, and she... she failed. But her original plan is still going on. If she had given up on it, I wouldn't have this stone in my hands.
: So, what are you going to decide?
: Well, Chiaki, Isamu and Hikawa have to lose. That's a given.
: I like the way you think, big guy.
: Apart from that, I guess I'll have to find a way to end this whole bullshit, somehow. The world can't stay rounder forever, right?
: Might we recommend our master's offer?
: I... that's still on the table.
: Is that what Ms. Takao would have wanted?
: Has the lady Takao ever really wanted anything?
: Alright, alright, that's enough of that. The three stooges are making their move, and we're standing here and arguing. Let's get a move on.
: Best idea I've heard all day. Where are we going?
: To the Amala Temple.
: Huh? I thought we cleared the place out already.
: We didn't have the lost fifth pyramid last time.
Samael is an unusual figure in Judeo-Christian lore, in that it's not entirely clear whether he is good or evil. That may be due to his status as the Angel of Death. Some put him among God's faithful, a grim but glorious angel charged with doing Heaven's dirty work; others put him on the side of Satan, even to the point of accusing him of being the one to seduce Eve in the garden of Eden (hence his serpentine form here), and of being Lilith's consort, the father of the Lilim. He may or may not also be responsible for the sinister happenings in a certain little town on the fog-shrouded shores of Toluca Lake.
Samael is a Vile in Nocturne, but all along the series he makes a couple leaps to and from the Fallen race, on top of having a stint in the Dragon race in Digital Devil Saga for some reason.
*: Samael's signature move is God's Curse, which randomly inflicts Charm, Panic, Sleep, Bind or Stun; immunity to ailments, even partial, can be a huge help. He also knows Beast Eye, Rakukaja, Dekunda, Dekaja, Retaliate, Megidola, and Maragidyne. He lacks any non-boss immunities or weaknesses, so as long as you can survive his attacks and remove his defense buffs, you're pretty much free to use whatever strategy you like. I'm especially chuffed that Futomimi did so much of the heavy lifting in our case! Lunge isn't exactly Spiral Viper, but his immunities and resistances make him very reliable.
As you may have guessed, the events preceding the fight proceed differently if you've agreed with Hikawa on the steps of the Mantra HQ or if you have accumulated 32 Shijima points. Unlike with Chiaki and Isamu you get a choice to stop him or not even if you don't qualify for Shijima affiliation, and you can even skip the Samael fight entirely if you don't interfere. However, letting him proceed only confirms your Shijima affiliation if you did qualify beforehand, and in fact it locks you out of one of the non-Reason endings even if you didn't!
Anyway, it's time to get out of here. We take the elevator back down, reach the Terminal, and return to Ginza. Along the way, Wu Kong levels up and has a chance to learn Dark Pledge, which is a conversation skill that attempts to recruit an opponent and works best during New Kagutsuchi. The odds of getting into a fight with a demon you want during New K aren't so great, so I pass on it.
: Now, all we need to do to create the world of Shijima is obtain power from Kagutsuchi!
: Commander Hikawa is the supreme ruler of the battle for creation.
: A painless world because emotions do not control it. The only ones that can live there are beings that have spiritually surpassed humans and demons... That's right... We will all become gods!
: My fist is the divine breath!
*: Nope, nope, nope, none of this. Get out.
: But... but... fallen seed! Hidden powers!
*: I said GET OUT.
: How do these people keep finding their way here?
: The door is just open like half the time. I don't know how you don't have more randos dropping by.
: I'll... uh... sorry. It... gets a little stuffy in here, um... I'll be more careful.
: What do you know about Saren's flagship, Sovereign?
: I should go.
*: Yes, you should. You too, blondie. Out.
*: ...where were we?
*: Right, crushing Shijima. Thank you, Eligor.
: He was probably checking out the other Reasons first...
*: We head for the Cathedral. It's time to kick our average ally level up a notch.
Long's in a weird place. He's got a couple perennially useful skills, but his level and stats are low enough to make him a bit of a liability. The Dragon race outright won't fuse with most of our other allies, and the few it could fuse with would result in a weaker demon because the level disparity is very wide. In most cases we could pick up an Element and rank him up, but Long is the strongest Dragon and it would only turn him into Gui Xian. Besides, we have no ally slots open, so we can't get an Element, or summon a comparable demon from the Compendium to fuse him with like we did for Sarasvati.
Of course, we could outright let him go... but he's worth a buttload of experience.
That leaves one option.
: Dionysus, White Rider. And Long.
: Oh shi.
: THE TIME HAS COME.
: I'm still not a fan of this, but...
: IT HAS COME BEFORE AND IT WILL COME AGAIN. I WILL RETURN TO THE WATER AND THE WATER WILL RETURN TO ME. NOTHING EVER TRULY ENDS.
: We'll see about that.
: WILL YOU PUT THIS SACRIFICE TO NOBLE PURPOSE?
: You know I will.
: THEN I SHALL GO WITHOUT REGRET.
: Thank you. And thanks to the both of you, too.
: A toast, gentlemen?
: Uh, I...
: Oh for... Just drink the damn wine, kid, no one's going to call the cops.
: Eh, right, sure. To victory, then?
: To victory!
: TO VICTORY!
: You do realize I don't have a digestive syst... hey! What...?
: It's not a party until the horses are drunk!
Dionysus + White Rider + Long =
Lv65 Deity Odin
Odin is the chief deity of the Norse pantheon, having participated in the creation of the known world, being the father of a ton of other gods, and presiding over, among other things, royalty, wisdom, and healing. It is said he hung himself on the world tree Yggdrasil as a living sacrifice to himself, an act which granted him knowledge of magical runes; he also traded away one of his eyes in exchange for a drink at the well of Mimir, which granted him great wisdom. He's usually depicted as an old bearded man, but his eyepatch and his dwarf-made spear Gungnir are pretty much unmistakable in the series.
*: Man, there are lots of skills I would have loved to pass down, Prominence certainly among them, but if we don't have Life Drain and Mediarama then we no longer have renewable healing. We also lose our only Dekaja... but I have a plan for that. In any case, Odin does get a bunch of his own good skills, so Mabufula and Life Refill won't be wastes of space for very long, especially considering Long's sacrifice is giving him six free levels. We do end up losing Makakaja and Makarakarn for now, but so be it. There's always the Compendium, in any case.
Speaking of the Compendium, we now have two slots free, so I summon up Sarutahiko and Succubus for about 50000 Macca.
Sarutahiko + Succubus =
> It seems to have accepted you as its master.
*: We then go to Rag's place next door, and subsidize the slave trade once more. For an Agate and an Aquamarine, we acquire...
And returning to the Cathedral...
Phantom + Aquans =
: If you follow me, you'll get more killing than you know what to do with.
: Is... is this wise?
: I think the world is safer if I'm the one holding his leash.
: Hmm. If you are confident you can shoulder this responsibility...
: I took a chance bringing you back, didn't I?
: Ah... Well... Fair enough...
*: For some reason, you can't fuse Sakahagi from ingredients that would normally produce a Foul of his level; the fusion chart straight up indicates it's impossible, as if you were trying to fuse two races that cannot be fused together. But you can use an Element to rank up a Foul Phantom or rank down a Foul Shadow. The guy himself is not super strong, but he does have boss immunities and spells of all four elements. He only gets two free slots to customize himself with, but I managed to pass down Dekaja, which will make him pretty helpful no matter what.
There's one more roster change I want to do here before the next step. I fill up our final slot by summoning a Lilim from the Compendium. Just a regular plain old level 8 Night Lilim. We've had one before, but she didn't get a chance to earn a lot of experience. And I'm not fusing her to anything, I'm just putting her in the active party outright. There's no big reason. I'm probably insane, to be honest. That horrid blue sun must be getting to me.
: That, or she's smokin'.
*: She is, but that's besides the point!
Alright, enough of that. We return to the Terminal and head for the Amala Temple.
Cutscene: The time has come
: The young man Isamu said something about Musubi...
*: Lilim levels up, and learns Analyze. What a brave girl! She works so hard to keep up. It's inspiring.
Cutscene: The beginning of the end
: Who do they think they're kidding?
: I know, right?
*: On our way out, Lilim gains another level, learning Dark Pledge. Yaaaaaaay Lilim!
There is no Large Terminal in the Obelisk proper, so we warp to the "Assembly of Nihilo: Marunouchi" destination, which is in the back of the Nihilo base; fortunately the exit to the overworld is a few steps away.
Music: Large Map ~ Last Area
Well, this is different.
*: Lilim levels up again and learns Tarunda. Go Lilim go Lilim go!
*: Kid Lucifer didn't show up back there just to be polite. It's the game's way of telling you you're running out of time to make a final decision. In fact, the point of no return that would lock us into whatever Path of Creation ending we've earned is in this tower. But there's still a ways to go into the Labyrinth of Amala before we reach the point where we're locked into... a different kind of ending, so we'll stay away for now.
However, there is one thing we can do here at this time. If we go all the way to the back (north) side of the Obelisk...
*: Do you remember the opening near the top of the Obelisk where we were told that we would lose our life if we were to fall? We've just come through a door on the same floor, but on the opposite side of the structure. This is technically the ground floor now, but we still see "132F" in the corner there. The Obelisk got pushed in hella deep.
There's nothing here but an elevator down, so we ride it...
...all the way to B4. We've seen that area when we were here before; we looked at it when we came to find the Spyglass. There isn't much of interest down here either, but if you look behind the pillar...
The Chakra Elixir is an infinitely reusable Chakra Drop. That's about as cool as it sounds! You can only use it in battle of course, and it takes up the Demi-fiend's action so if you're up against strong enemies it may deprive you of your best fighter for a bit, but in essence, no one ever has to run out of juice again.
This is otherwise a dead end. On our way back out, Lilim gains another level and learns Mazio. ¡Espectacularrrrr!
: I hope so, because that's how you learn, right?
: You're good! Better than I imagined!
: Aw shucks!
: I feel like giving you something really special!
> ...You received Bead Chain!
: Wow, thanks! You're pretty amazing yourself!
> Let it continue?
: You go, girl!
: I knew you had it in you!
: Well I'll be. I was sure you lost your marbles, but this is pretty damn metal!
: I'm not talking to you.
: I'm not talking to you either!
: You're talking to me right now!
: Well... uh... So are you!
*: Alright, alright, enough of that.
Lv80 Night Lilith
Well, we've pretty much covered the basics on this gal when I mentioned the Lilim. I said she's from Hebrew legend, but it's debated whether she may have been inspired by an even earlier Mesopotamian demonic female figure.
*: So, yeah. Level 80, same as Dante. She still only has her fairly crummy Lilim skills (though Rakunda and Tarunda never go out of style), but that'll change.
: So, we going in?
: ...hmm. No.
: You want to check out the rest of the Labyrinth, don't you?
: Yeah, pretty much. I haven't decided if I'm doing this on my own yet, but I know I'll need to be real strong to kill these three gods, and Lucifer had the courtesy to set up the best gym in the world for me. Are you ready to earn your pay?
: Ha, all I wanted was to keep going down there in the first place. You know I'm in.
: What about the rest of you?
: I'm with you. Is it even worth asking?
: I certainly have no complaints about this course of action.
: I will follow you. The well's knowledge of the Labyrinth is woefully out of date by now.
: Of course I'm coming. I would never allow a child to go alone in such a terrible place.
: SMASH-AND-BEAT! BOOM! CRUSH-AND-EAT! BOOM!
: I'll... take that as a yes.
: No one else is worthy of the hee ho Emperor's temporary service!
: I'm not giving up on you, boss.
: This is so much more entertaining than my husband's court.
: I don't give it a shit where we're going, just point me at somebody's face.
: I will keep repaying my debt to you.
: Thank you, everyone. Alright, let's do this.
*: Alright, so, I've hit the character limit on this update, and I'm cutting it in half here. The rest is coming up in a few minutes!