Part 37: Goodbye forever*: We're back to the Tower of Kagutsuchi, in front of the second Large Terminal, on floor 302. Because that's a sane number of floors for a building to have, of course. For reference, the tallest buiding in the world right now is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, clocking in at a puny 200-odd floors.
And we've still got a long way to go, straight up.
There's a big door right ahead, to the south, and a hallway to the east. Let's try the door.
Okay, not very promising.
Oh-ho! When we get close, translucent blocks appear out of nowhere.
We pass three doors on each side of the hallway, and reach the end, blocked by two lift cubes.
When we turn back, the cubes fail to reappear. Looks like this is a one-way path! We still have the pair of doors to the sides, though. Let's try west.
Oooh, I get it. We've been in this room before, at the end of the last update, but we couldn't get anywhere. It must be the way back.
We could return to the central hallway through one of the three western doors, or probably to the Terminal, but instead we work our way around to an opening in the south.
Or we would if the blocks reached it. That must be the way back from another dead-end. Oh well! We return to the Terminal after all...
Okay, no, we don't. The last corner before we could retrace our steps is a dead-end that drops us in a dark place.
And it's not long before we fall another hidden pit, dropping us back to the floor with the Fountain. I'd call that a dick move, but, well. Fountain. We make our way up again; Albion gains a level, learns Recarmdra, replacing Evil Eye, and fails a skill transformation, turning his Diarama into Void Elec. I'll take it!
Let's try the eastern corridor this time.
: ...Well, no need to worry about Isamu. He's eaten all that Magatsuhi, after all.
: Why don't you go ask Hikawa how that went for him?
*: Ah, another similar room. It's hard to tell from here which of the three doors we should take from the central corridor, but let's try the third one.
Oh boy. Long story short, we fall and fall, then climb up again. Then fall and fall, then climb up again.
Oh-ho! This is new. From the central platform in the eastern room, you can take a path straight south that crosses a spot where another line of vanishing blocks would appear if you came at it from the west. Very sneaky!
This takes us on top of the red lift cubes that were blocking our way earlier. We could ride them down, but let's see the end of that hallway for now.
Eh, nothing important. Alright then, lessee.
Whew, we're done with this at last.
Oh crap, this is the outside of the tower, we can see the ground "below".
The loose blocks are just floating around down there. What kind of half-assed operation is this Kagutsuchi running anyway?
When we reach the corner, the camera switches to give us a view of the other side. We could keep climbing up this incline, but I'm curious about this lift block.
Welp, nothing here but acrophobia waiting to happen. We ride the block back to the wall and continue our ascent.
Hmm, let's try down first.
Oooh, a Chest! It contains a Soma, not bad. On our way back to the wall, Albion learns Hell Blast, his final skill. It replaces Berserk. He also attempts to change a skill, fails again, and turns Void Elec to... Mediarama. Easy come, easy go!
A door, and another lift. Let's try the door.
This is sufficiently ominous.
: You're with Musubi, aren't you?
: None other.
: ............ I see...... Then, go in. Isamu is waiting...
Cutscenes + Boss battle: Vile Noah
: I wish I never had to do that.
: You could have let him win. You could have stayed out of his way.
: Not an option.
: No, he's right, you could have. You chose not to.
: What do you want from me? You want to hear me say I chose to kill my friend?
: We need you to see things as they are, not as you would want them to be.
: It's... damn, it hurts.
: Aradia told you it would. Are you afraid?
: No. It hurts, but I'm not afraid. It'll hurt even worse before long, but I won't turn back.
Noah is named after the Biblical patriarch who built a big-ass boat to save his family and all the animals from God's watery wrath, but the creature itself, as far as I can tell, is a strange outsider entity with no mythological connections whatsoever. Which makes sense, considering its existence of complete isolation.
*: Noah starts out with only the usual boss immunities, and until you've hurt him a fair bit, all he does is use his basic attack, which is actually Almighty rather than physical.
It's not too long before he reaches his second phase, where he starts his typical turn by casting his signature move, Aurora. Aurora aligns him with one of the four main elements, causing him to reflect all damage, except from his opposite element. Almighty damage does punch through, but in a nearly unique occurence, Aurora makes Noah highly resistant to it. He'll use his second icon to cast a single-target -dyne spell of his aligned element, which tells you what you should use against him on your turn.
Once Isamu's face pops out for his third phase, he starts using Ma-dyne spells instead, and he gains Dekaja, Dekunda, and Domination, which is a turbo-powered Life Drain. However, his attack pattern changes: his spells are truly random and no longer bear any connection to his current elemental affinity. If you don't know what's going on, this phase is a genuine nightmare, as any given offensive spell you use has a 75% chance of hurting you and ending your turn.
But if you know what's going on... Paying attention to Noah's second form reveals that his first Aurora cast aligns him with fire, the second with ice, the third with electricity, and the fourth with force. He sticks to this pattern for the entire fight, though it does seem to reset once at the start of the third phase (which threw me off for a bit). If you can keep track of his element from turn to turn, it's in the bag. Of course the fight can take a while if your party's spellcasting isn't up to snuff, but that's his sole gimmick, and if you can maintain the buff advantage then he should pose no great problem.
Drink of the wine of the wrath of the Demi-fiend. One more god rejected.
One more to go.
*: Anyway. This room is a dead-end. I'm pretty sure you can proceed upwards without fighting Noah, but you will need his Netherstone, so you have to come back and fight him sooner or later.
We turn back, and take the lift block outside.
: I don't know why you're so broken up about the competitors getting knocked off.
: ...But, we have... Lady Chiaki. ...Yosuga... will be the ones to create the world!!!
: And they had the great Isamu, Master of the Amala Network.
> The demon disappeared.
: Dang, these Manikins are tough as hell!
: I know not what moves me more, pride or sorrow.
: We can't set things right, but we can keep Chiaki from profiting from her crime. So turn those to anger, will you?
: It... it comes easily enough.
: We're all taking a rest now. We may be Manikins, but we're no dummies!
*: There are doors to the sides of this room, so we'll leave the staircase for later.
Holy crap, is that...?
Yup, it is.
: ...It's so cute! I want to sell it, but I don't want to let it go! It's a girl thing... Well, I'm not really a girl! *wink*
: Sure, sure, whatever you say, brosephine. Just name your price.
*: We buy it immediately, of course.
: My cute Magatama... Take good care of it for me...
: Don't worry, he'll be happier with all his buddies.
: Come to think of it, isn't this a dangerous area to have a shop in?
: Dang, you don't say!
: ...Oh well. At least the view's faaabulous!
*: Kailash is a powerful caster-aligned Magatama, imparting Almighty-type spells but also powerful unaligned skills, such as Makarakarn, which it would teach us first.
You may also note that all slots in the Magatama menu are filled. We've got all of them! The Minister of the Cathedral of Shadows will definitely want to hear about this. But for now, let's keep exploring.
As it so happens, there's a Fountain across the hall from the Junk Shop, as well as the Tower's third Large Terminal. And across the Terminal...
: News travel fast!
: In this land, there exist certain things that hold demonic power.
: The Magatama, right?
: ...Yes, the Magatama in your body are what I am referring to.
: We have long awaited such an individual. And then, along came you... You, a human with the strength of a demon, have succeeded in gathering all the Magatama.
: Now we're talking!
> You obtained the Lord's Sword.
: He, who once protected Tokyo, shall surely help you with his awesome might.
*: That's our cue to follow through with what Bishamon told us back in the Kimon Temple. However, before we do so, I'd like to gain a couple levels, get Kailash to teach us something, and finish ripening a couple fusion ingredients. This'll be a bit out of nowhere, but it's time to clear out Hell's Vault. There will be plenty of encounters down there, and we'll get the experience we need. We warp to the Labyrinth, and head for the fourth Kalpa. Along the way, Zed passes on learning Makarakarn.
It'll take me some time to map out the various branches, but I'll spare you the details; it's a teleport maze with no automap, you can use your imagination.
Oh hey, the Labyrinth's scaling is catching up with us, now we run into multiple Mot as random encounters. Fortunately they don't have the ludicrous physical resistance anymore.
From the entrance, going west, south, south, then taking the south branch of the northwest fork, leads you to...
This is an extra tough "shortcut" where you can make a buttload of money, and it leads into itself so you can go through as many times as you like. Of course, me being me, I get my ass beat, make 40 Macca, and only try once. We have nearly 900000 Macca left though, so it's not like we're going deprived.
Other than that, we found a Bead Chain, an Attack Mirror, a Deathstone, and...
: Oh, there's no hurry. Chiaki can't win without the Earthstone and the Netherstone, and I got them both right here.
: Everybody runs right by here just like you, not even giving a second glance to a poor old guy on the side of the road. It's a shame what this world's coming to... You folks oughtta get your priorities straight. Ya see, soemtimes you just need to relax and pay no heed to the time.
*: It's not enough just to say you agree. You literally gotta wait here for a couple minutes, Earthbound-style, then say "yes". I'm not joking.
: Oh... I can see that you've been listening. You're in a hurry, aren't ya? You should be on your way.
: Don't mind if I do, old timer.
: Come back anytime if you'd like to talk to me again.
*: He then allows you access to the Vault's central room, that we could see from the entrance. One Cube has a Deathstone, the other has 100001 Macca, and the Chest contains... five Smoke Balls. Huh. While waiting for full K, Black Rider learns his last skill: Megidolaon replaces Megidola.
We futz around some more to make sure everything else is a dead-end... and we're done. Whew. We leave the Labyrinth for the last time, and return to the Tower for the convenient facilities there. On the way, we take a look at the old peephole, and...
We heal up, save, and return to the Cathedral.
: Alright, it's that time again. Albion, Your Majesty, you're up.
: It has been a pleasure.
: Ba boom boom. Boom!
: Did I miss something?
: ...well then.
: Will there be a sacrifice today?
: Actually, yes. It's-
: It is I.
: You volunteering?
: No. But you no longer trust me.
: I don't trust your master.
: You are my master.
: That's exactly what you'd tell me if I wasn't.
: I'm well aware, which is why I know my time in this cycle grows short. Though it appears you'll ensure there is another.
: Still sore about that?
: Yes. This has all been for nothing. You've grown so mighty... What a terrible waste.
: Well, you won't be sore about it for long. Get on the machine.
Albion + Titania + Black Rider =
*: I would have loved to pass down Phys Drain, but the odds of getting both Megidolaon and Prayer are pretty ludicrous, so this is what I'm sticking with.
And that's not all!
Parvati + Wu Kong =
*: From here, we warp to Ginza, trade for an Ara Mitama at Rag's, then warp to the first Terminal of the Tower and start climbing up again.
: Your lady's next on my hit list. You can go down with the ship, or give the Demi-fiend a shot.
: You wish me to join your ranks?
> Throne is smiling.
*: He asks for some cash.
: Hmmm... Then, lastly, let me hear your opinion.
: I haven't destroyed you yet. What do you think?
: I suppose I can be happy with that.
> Throne is content.
> Throne seems to be satisfied.
: I'm Throne of the Divine Lineage. Take me with you.
*: A couple fights later, Scathach levels up and catches up on her own skills. She learns Force Repel, Thunderclap, Mana Aid and Windcutter, and passes on Dark Pledge.
*: As we return to the Terminal, Zed levels up and passes on learning Megido. Back at the Cathedral, we fuse Ara Mitama to Throne, giving him Bright Might and Tarukaja. We also summon a Nigi Mitama, and fuse it to Pixie, so she gets Elec Boost to feed her Maziodyne, as well as Analyze and Rakunda. It also kicks her Magic and Luck to 36, so what the hey, we summon another Nigi Mitama and fuse it again, maxing out those stats. And hey, why not, I feed her two Ara Mitama as well.
Once that's done, we heal, save, and warp to the back of the Nihilo base again.
Remember this place?
> The Lord's Blade began to shine! You are surrounded by a bright light...
Music: Shinjuku Hygienic Hospital
*: Yup, that's the Hospital music. I 'unno!
There are colored teleporters on both sides. Let's try the red one to the north first.
We're taken one level below, as I expected.
The path down here takes a couple turns, then ends at the base of one of the pillars holding up the Shrine.
Boss battle: Kishin Bishamon
*: Hoooly crap I did not expect to fight Bishamon first. But he's the guardian of the north, so I should have, really.
He was clearly holding back the first time we fought him at the Kimon Shrine. Here, he's level 99, and has all his stats maxed out at 40. He knows Dragon Eye, Tarukaja, Makakaja, Dekaja, Debilitate, Megidolaon, Prominence, Maragidyne, Hellfire, and Tempest. Fortunately he's fire-aligned, so you can exploit his weakness to ice. He also doesn't know Dekunda, so any agility or defense debuffs will stick to him.
His AI is probably the trickiest part of this fight. If you stack buffs, he'll use Dekaja and follow it up with a couple Debilitates as punishment. If you use Makalakarn or Tetrakarn, he'll start spamming Megidolaon. Left to his own devices, he'll stack Tarukaja and follow it up with Tempest, or stack Makakaja and follow it up with a high-powered fire spell. Basically, he's kinda trying to do to you the sort of thing you've probably been trying to do to every other boss.
At any rate, Dante leveled up and learned Son's Oath, which is a passive skill that increases all his damage by 50%. You read that right. Hmm-mmm.
We head back up and go to the yellow teleporter this time.
Pretty tough encounters around here too. I think all the demons here are Light-aligned.
: You must lower the four pillars and defeat the four Devas in order to see him. But, the four Devas are reeeeeeeally strong, so be careful...
*: This dungeon isn't super complicated, but it's neat how you can pretty much see all of it at once.
Lv61 Fury Beiji Weng
Beiji Weng, also known as Hokuto Seikun, is a Taoist deity associated with the North Star. He's also the afterlife's judge, and decides whether the recently deceased go to heaven or hell. By the time he sees you, you're already dead.
*: Following one of the branching paths, we find a Cube containing 50000 Macca!
Boss battle: Kishin Zouchou
*: Wow, I would not have guessed Zouchouten would be more dangerous than Bishamonten. Let's try this again, but with more appropriate preparations this time.
Boss battle: Kishin Zouchou Redux
Zouchouten, known as "he who enlarges", is the Heavenly King guarding the south.
*: Zouchou packs the same ludicrous stats as Bishamon, but he's electricity-aligned. His main strategy is to fish for a Shock ailment with his array of powerful lightning spells, then unload a guaranteed Focus crit. He has neither Dekaja nor Dekunda, but he knows buffs and debuffs for everything but Agility, as well as Life Drain.
Aight, two more to go. On our way down, we find another Cube with 50000 Macca. Then, after passing through blue and green teleporters...
Boss battle: Kishin Koumoku
"He who sees all", Koumokuten is the Heavenly King of the west.
*: Koumoku's functions much like Zouchou, but Force-aligned. He can't combo off a guaranteed crit though, so he has Focus, Berserk and the stronger Deathbound to compensate somewhat. He doesn't know Dekaja or Dekunda either, but he does have Makakaja, Rakukaja, and Rakunda.
One more! On our way further down, Zed levels up and passes on Tetrakarn. I decide to increase his Vitality, and that pushes his max HP to... 666. Welp!
: His Lordship is up there!
: Well I'm not flying up to meet him, so he better come down!
Boss battle: Kishin Jikoku
"He who maintains the state", Jikokuten is the Heavenly King of the east.
*: He's pretty much an ice-aligned version of Zouchou, fishing for crits and all. Otherwise he's pretty much what you expect by now!
Aaaand that's it for the Four Heavenly Kings. Let's see what the Lord of this shrine has in store for us.
*: The shrine gives us access to a platform we couldn't reach before, letting us grab a Cube containing another 50000 Macca.
The ground starts shaking.
: Just dis guy, ya know?
: ............ ...So, thou art the demon who came from afar...? I am Masakado Taira, the guardian of Tokyo for the last thousand years.
: Yeah, I heard of you. I don't mean to be a dick, but, uh, you could have done a better job.
: ............ ...Thou art Francois, art thou not?
: That's correct.
: The king of chaos, who hath gained the powers of demons despite being human...
: And the King of Shit Town!
: And the King of Shit Town.
: You seemed like a big deal, so I popped in to say hello. It was a decent workout, sparring with your mates back there.
: I see... Thou hast defeated the four Devas out of sport...
: Pretty much!
: Outstanding... Let me ask thee a question...
: Yes. I will.
: Then, I shall lend thee my power.
> You obtained the Magatama Masakados.
: So Kailash wasn't the last one after all!
: ............ Farewell.
: See ya.
: Be it a new world, it is still Tokyo... Thou art the new guardian of the land...
*: So. Yeah. "Null: all except almighty". How about that? +10 to all stats but Luck, that's not half bad either. It's 40 levels' worth of stat increases. The first skill it would teach us is Megidolaon, the second is Radiance, and the others are Repel skills for all four elements, then Repel Phys.
Long story short, Masakados is Broken. The Heavenly Kings are the game's optional superbosses, and that's about as fitting a reward as one might expect; let's just say this ain't no Desert Rose. I probably won't be using it much, because... yeah. Hmm-mmm.
Aight, that's it for this update. We'll be returning to the Tower off camera, and picking back up in Little Asakusa.