Part 10: What Lies Beneath the Surface (II)
Heading to the Actually Rather Well Known Underground Path triggers a short conversation.
Either nothing's there... or it's a deathtrap. So, are we going or not, Kyril?
Death traps? Sign me the fuck up.
Why wouldn't we?
...I'm beginning to believe she's somewhat of a bad influence.
Here's another familiar location. But again, the gameplay mechanics are quite different this time so I can't just breeze through everything with the Champion's Rune and one-round a dragon at the end of it.
The conditions are a little different this time. Technically we could ignore all the enemies and haul ass, but in practice that's going to get us very killed very quickly.
But wait! This map has four blue squares, but only three of them are filled! In order to fill them all, we need to have a look at the Member List, which, unsurprisingly, lists all the members of our group.
Then we need to pick Rita and select Deploy Unit. Let's hope she doesn't die horribly (and permanently) or anything!
These frogs are new. There are also two earth elementals on the map, which is bad because as you can see, the frog is also earth elemental, and now three quarters of my party is lightning elemental meaning they will Not Be Happy with all that earth terrain. No matter! We shall press on.
The goddamn bats make a return from IV, and they are still annoying. Kyril can't kill this one, but he can leave it weakened for one of the ladies to finish off. He and Andarc won't get much EXP from this battle, but since Rita and Seneca come in at levels one and two, respectively, they will be gaining a lot of points from pretty much anything they do.
Kyril advances a bit, gets hit by another bat. Now, normally that wouldn't be an issue, but if you look closely, there is something weird about his head here. More precisely, there's a bucket stuck on it. "Bucket" is an accuracy-lowering debuff which, apparently, bats can inflict on touch. This is not nice at all!
Seneca softens up the responsible bat and is rewarded with more numbers, which is a whole lot nicer. If this were Fire Emblem, we'd be picking our jaws off the floor right now, but as it is I'd like more skill and speed.
Now then, Rita's turn is coming up. Let's see how she handles her first encounter!
...welcome to the party, Rita.
(Sadly, she only gets 713 EXP, which is not enough to level up.)
Kyril gets frogged...
...and Andarc gets rid of the other bat. (He counts as a lady, okay.) This allows Kyril to get around the frog and backstab on his turn.
Or so I had thought. Bucket status!
Andarc and Seneca decide to help out instead. It's a whole lot more effective.
Again, EXP for everyone involved, but more for Seneca whose level is lower than the enemies'.
When laying down terrain, you get more EXP if there's a higher level character standing on it. Thus, Rita throwing down a Lightning Bead where Andarc is standing gets her almost a fifth of a level!
A bat attacks Kyril, the earth elemental moves closer, and another frog runs up, only to get nuked by Andarc.
Who proceeds to occupy the lightning terrain he just created. Extra Move.
Kyril can still hit the elemental, so he does. He's the only one who doesn't mind ending up on the resulting terrain.
Rita, you are goddamn beautiful.
+3 magic? Andarc is seething with envy.
Oh, I don't think I've introduced you two yet. Arrow, meet bat. Bat, arrow.
Not as well as before... but I'll be okay. Sorry for worrying you all.
Don't sweat it!
There are two ways to get through this map. One longer path around to the side, and a shorter one if you clear up this rubble. The rocks have a lot of HP, but not much defence, as evidenced by Seneca hitting them for 70 damage.
And, despite the bucket on his head, Kyril can at least hit a rock.
However, as he makes his way past it, two new frogs spawn in in front of him...
...and a third, accompanied by two bats, on the far end of the map.
Anything more agile than a rock? No can do. Kyril continues embarrassing himself.
One of the frogs shows off its special ability. This sweeping strike hits the tile in front of the user and the ones to the sides of it - basically a T shape with the user at the bottom.
Andarc doesn't really care, though. Lightning terrain!
Seneca walks up and shoots it...
...and Andarc decides to join in the fun! He gives is a good smack...
...and the frog goes down, earning both combatants experience points. Good job!
Then he goes up and throws some medicine at Kyril, who has been taking a bit of a beating.
Rita continues doing her thing, but she's running low on Lightning Beads.
Another frog decides we have too many enemies...
...and kills off one of them for us. Well, I'm not going to complain!
Damn, Rita! I don't think I needed to give you that Knight Token after all.
Kyril manages to parry! Impressive, for a man with a bucket on his head.
Even better, he manages to hit the opponent!
Seneca does better, though. +2 speed!
They're nicely lined up and Cohort Attack just finished charging again...
Rita does Rita things.
That gets the bat out of the way, so Kyril is free to head towards the exit.
Getting the S rank here pretty much requires you to take the short path and ignore the treasure chests in the level. However, this isn't really a big loss since one of them contains leather armour and the other contains a water orb. Both of those are buyable in stores right now if we want them, and definitely not worth giving up the unique piece of equipment for.
Finally, the group makes their way to Warlock's old lab. Warlock himself is no longer here for obvious reasons, but there is another familiar face! (Music.)
And you are?
Apparently, no one taught Kyril that he's supposed to introduce himself first.
I'm just investigating the lab here. The name's Pablo.
Damn it Andarc, you're a terrible mother.
Hi, I'm Kyril. Nice to meet you.
So what can I do for you, folks?
We were told we might find some information about Rune Cannons here.
I'm kind of iffy on the whole thing. It's been a while since the last time this place was in use, and it doesn't seem to make sense that Iskas would assume there's still anything here - much less that, under that assumption, he wouldn't already have hired someone to clean it out and bring it to him. But then again, he doesn't really have anything to lose by it, either.
Rune Cannons! Ah, yes! Unfortunately, there's nothing left here now. But it is true that Rune Cannons were once made here... Created by a single mighty sorcerer...
That's hardly the important thing here, however. Brace yourself for Shit Suikoden IV Should Have Told Us Already!
A single sorcerer?
Are you ready?
This game just explained Suikoden IV's endboss better than Suikoden IV did
Not that this is a great accomplishment or anything, mind you. But still!
The seeds of that Giant Tree were the ammunition for Rune Cannons. They say those seeds were naturally teeming with powerful magic. That must have inspired the idea for Rune Cannons.
You sure know a lot about this, Pablo.
He does! Now the only question that remains is
WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THIS EARLIER
Well, I was his only apprentice. But he kept to himself a lot.
More like "stalker" than apprentice, but whatever, maybe they made some arrangements after Warlock joined up.
Well, what happened to the tree?
The tree was destroyed. It had been sold to the Kooluk Empire, and then destroyed along with Fort El-Eal in the Island Liberation War. Which means that no more ammunition can be produced.
Totally his fault.
That aside, though - very interesting information! Now, the question is how widespread this information is. It could potentially be worth a lot of money...
I don't suppose we'll ever see another sorcerer who could summon such a tree from that world again.
If they do, I certainly hope they have enough sense to use it for something a little more interesting than a generic endboss fight.
So, this sorcerer you speak of is gone, too?
You could say that!
Once it became known that the Rune Cannons were disappearing, hordes of soldiers came and ransacked this place. Well, I suppose the most important documents had vanished by then, anyway. So, I'm sorry. I can't help you.
No, I'm glad we heard your story. Sorry for all the trouble.
I'm glad we heard it too! I just wish it had happened, like, an entire game earlier.
Not at all.
Well, we should be heading back.
...Kyril stumbles over something on the way out.