Part 48: The Imperial City of GraskaIt's been a long journey not least because of all those side trips I've been taking but we've finally reached the heart of the Kooluk empire: Graska. It is the last city in the game - we'll be seeing a few more locations after this, but none of them will be quite as friendly.
Sadly, we do not get access to the facilities straight away.
Martin has arrived ahead of the party (the kangacorn could have something to do with it).
And he is not happy!
Iskas... Hmph... Too scared to even show yourself?
I think I'd stay hidden too. I mean. You are kind of crazy.
This empire would place even an incompetent like you on the throne, just because of your blood. That must change.
And you know, I don't think he's entirely wrong in this! Martin is a great fighter, but I don't think he would necessarily do a good job ruling a country.
Silence! Have you forgotten your place, fool?!
If you weren't prone to outbursts like that, you might not have lost your wife. Something to think about!
Heh, heh, heh... It is you who is the fool. Even your wife has left you.
Do you not yet fathom the situation you are in?
Then again, I'm not sure I'd care much for a country run by Iskas, either.
How dare you!
Although being a scheming slimeball will make you a good politician, it doesn't mean you'll use that power well.
Anyway, Iskas finally shows himself.
But now, with the Kooluk Empire in possession of it, we will soon become unstoppable!
That sounds like a challenge to me. It is on, motherfucker
How lucky you are, Prince Martin, to have the privilege of experiencing its power firsthand!
Iskas activates the Evil Eye, and the screen fades to white...
Some time later, Kyril's group makes their way to the palace.
Where are you?
Since Martin is... probably busy with other things, there is no reply.
...we get fishmen.
Let's get back to the others! Hurry!
...our party runs off with the monsters hot on their heels.
Things aren't looking much friendlier on the outside, however.
But the soldiers don't seem to do much and our party manages to run past them. The scene is pretty awkward.
Before we can find them...
...some familiar faces get in our way.
Princess Corselia! What is the meaning of this?
If you're having trouble remembering the useless NPCs, this is Corselia's "Aunt Ornela" from the first Haruna fight.
You! What do you think you're doing?! Hand over the princess!
And this is Busk, the guy we beat back at El-Eal waaay back. He was riding a kangacorn, if that helps jog your memory. I soloed the fight with Kyril, too.
But even though they're old friends, Corselia isn't in a mood to chat...
...so the party pushes their way past them, too. Busk and Ornela hop out of the way and look somewhat perplexed. However, they soon run after us, leaving the generic soldiers standing there doing nothing useful whatsoever.
It looks like the gate shut behind us. If that means we won't have to deal with the fishmen, I have no complaints!
...oh, they're over there, too. Great!
The Imperial City is a pretty impressive looking place...
...but we don't have time to admire it because we have to kill more fishmen.
(Have some music while we do it.)
Since Snowe tied with Kate in the last vote and Lazlo is incredibly overlevelled (again), I'm letting him sit this one out as well. Though, to be honest I should probably just have ditched Snowe. I mean, he's a nice dude and all and it's good to see him unfuck his life, but Kate's reach, mobility and AoE capabilities are just so much more attractive.
Snowe aside, we have two guests with us - Busk and Ornela, who apparently realized something fishy was going on when the generic soldiers started threatening Corselia. Unfortunately, they are... still guest NPCs.
I find it somewhat amusing that the gate is level 28 and has 500 HP. We'll get to breaking it down soon, but first I want to get rid of those two casters on the other side. Fortunately, most ranged attacks will go through walls, though Kyril's swallow throw is an exception.
Suddenly, after Kyril's first turn, reinforcements! And they're friendly!
Ah! King Lino!
Thought you might need some help!
Lino: still the best king.
Hmm... Well, well... Look at you! Turning out to be quite the hero, I see!
He's looking good right now because Lazlo isn't around as a comparison. That'd make Kyril look a whole lot less impressive.
Did things go okay back on the islands?
Seneca speaks up even if she's not in the party here.
It took forever to hear everyone out... But I finally got permission to bring these reinforcements!
Wow. Two green dudes. How inspiring.
Speaking of green dudes, Busk gets started and gets parried because he's terrible.
(Actually he is very durable, so although the enemies will beat on him a lot, he should be able to survive.)
Kate weakened a fish for Snowe to finish off. It was worth the effort.
Corselia has fourth level magic now.
The left caster was trying to charge a spell of some sort, but although he survived this somehow, he didn't get to finish what he was doing. Corselia kills him on her next turn.
And there she goes, getting her fourth level MP back again.
It's about time our crew started moving up towards Kyril's position. Kate hops on a kangacorn for now.
The others won't have any problems finishing the remaining fishmen. Lino is much the same as in IV: strong but slow, which probably makes him worse here than he was in the last game. He also joins at a high level, so he won't be getting anything out of the fight, but at least he's under our control instead of a brainless "ally" unit.
Snowe continues to prosper. He can't kill the fish in one go, but Kika takes it out on the next round.
And there goes Ornela. Now if they could only kill Busk as well before he goes and does something I'll regret...
Kyril can almost tear down the gate in one round, but it is still "almost." He'll get it done on his next turn.
Poof goes the gate!
And poof go the reinforcements. Two casters here...
...and because that just wasn't enough, they're accompanied by five more fishmen.
Roget is not amused.
Roget, Roget... How truly disappointing... Can you not even handle this many?
Iskas, on the other hand, kind of is.
No, I just--
See you in hell.
I love it.
So this is who you really are. Now I get it.
I always thought good things would happen to me if I followed you. I'm such a fool!
That you are.
Love it so very much.
Oh hey, levels. The guy she poked at to get it didn't die, though. That will come back to haunt her because he actually manages to hit her on his next turn.
The other guy, not so much. Busk got pissed when Ornela went down. It makes him somewhat more useful.
Great ninja dodging skills there, Kate. But her turn is coming up next and she soon fixes the little problem.
Only for more casters to spawn in!
But guess who stole Simeon's Flowing Rune and put it on Corselia
And now she can do it again.
The enemies will do what they usually do, but Roget will cower in this corner for the rest of the fight. He won't even attack us if we get close. Poor bastard.
Hey, that fourth level MP sure seems like it's going to come in handy again...
Kyril may not be able to kill the fishmen, but he can get rid of the casters. Good thing, too - that silence doesn't last forever!
Holy shit, Corselia.
You call that getting started?
This is more like getting started.
And even then, he gets a level out of it.
Clairvoyance is so damn good. Kate couldn't kill the fish, but she certainly distracted it from whatever it was about to do (nothing pleasant).
Kika didn't get to do much on this map, and now I'm kicking her out. Oh well.
Snowe parries a fishmen with his butt. Impressive!
Mitsuba does Mitsuba things.
ffff skill damn you
With all the fishmen down, Busk charges towards Roget.
So we position some dudes around him so Busk can't fuck his shit up before I can dig up the treasure.
Speaking of which! I could have ended it at this point because the rest isn't too impressive, but, eh.
Like I said.
At least this is expensive.
And now we can talk to Roget!
You should definitely watch this video of his battle dialogue. It is the best fucking thing.
And just like that, we've nabbed ourselves a Canadian!
Roget is the game's only wind mage, and likely the reason Maxine had a change of elements. (Well, that and the fact that low level wind magic is awful.) He has slightly worse MAG than the other good casters, but is slightly faster than the rest, which is probably a good trade. He also comes with the standard 4 MOV, 2 JMP and ability to learn Extra Move, Godspeed and Jump. He loses out on fire magic, but it's not a great loss since he comes with a Cyclone Rune and can equip Lightning for single target damage.
And just like that, we've collected another useless S-rank.
Oh, we do get something for it, but it's not what I'd call useful. Actually I skipped one of the buried treasures - it was all the way back where Lino first appears, so I didn't care to have Rene walk all the way. It was a Hunter Rune, which I really don't have much use for anyway.
Finally, the battle comes to an end. You should watch this, too.
Not another one!
The fishman charges at Corselia...
...and just as Andarc did many years ago, Kyril jumps in and strikes it down to protect her.
Those clothes... Is that...?
Iskas leaves the scene, no doubt quite satisfied with what he's accomplished.
What's wrong? Get in here.
Miranda isn't quite as happy with the outcome...
...but accompanies Iskas nevertheless.
You had no choice... right? Even I could see that.
"Join forces with them. Iskas must be stopped.
You must also protect your grandfather, the Emperor."
"Corselia... My precious sapphire-eyed daughter...
Be kind and honest, and keep that sparkle in your eyes."
"And curse me. Curse your fool of a father who thought only of the empire."
Corselia picks herself up.
Kyril, will you help me find him?
We'll go, too.
We can't let that Iskas bastard get away with this!
Aunt Ornela, Uncle Busk... Thank you.
In that case, we'll head back.
The Kooluk don't seem to be in any condition to attack the Island Nations right now, anyway.
That's right. Right now, what matters most is that we stop Iskas from taking over.
Okay. I'll send back those troops I brought...
But I'll stick with you guys just a bit longer.
Lead the way!
With that, Lino, Ornela and Busk all join the group. All three are lancers; the men are both fire innate and Ornela is lightning. Ornela and Busk predictably have good will with each other and Corselia, while Lino has a ridiculous number of people who are willing to protect him. He is also the last person on Lazlo's equally ridiculous support list. On the down side, he is very slow - like, "tied with Coop" slow.
Busk also brings his armoured kangacorn along, providing the same effect as the one we already had.
Finally, we are given the notification above. What this means is that he is no longer incapable of killing fishmen, and has gained access to third level MP - and thus also his overpowered third level tech, which deals triple damage with no drawbacks (unless you count the fact that it takes a long time for him to get it).
But we are not finished quite yet.
Sure, what is it?
I have this theory... but I need to test it first.
I need an "Alger Doll" and a "Wizened Arm." Do you think you could help me find them?
Okay. I'll try.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the second reason I was waiting for. This means, even though Shit Is Getting Real in plot land, it is time we returned to the ruins and, literally, went to the bottom of this.
(For those of you who are wondering, the first reason was acquiring the ability to fly.)
The rules remain the same as always: eight characters, one of them is Lazlo, you choose the other seven.
Busk artwork because I didn't post it the first time he showed up, and a half-assed Lino, because I can.
And more Kyril and Corselia.
Special notice: because we're coming up on the endgame now, I'm going to start benching people permanently. As of now, I've given everyone who still hadn't passed level 20 the boot (so basically the characters who have been around for a while but haven't been getting votes). Check the list to see which ones are still up for votes.