Part 23: CH23: No Butt StuffCH23: No Butt Stuff
: The problem with the Rockgagong was causing strife with the authorities.
Girl: I don't want the Rockgagong to die!
Hard-Working Official: We're not here to kill it! We just came to investigate.
Young-Man: Then why is the military deployed on the highroad, huh?! Answer us that!
Hard-Working Official: We did it so we could initiate rescue operations in case the creature starts hurting citizens! Ugh, someone get me out of here.
: Wow, man! The Rockgagong's got its own fan club and everything!
: That's no surprise; it's a gentle beast that never caused problems for anyone.
: However, there are many who need to use to use the road, and therefore wish the creature dispatched by any means necessary. The will of the people is very divided. If nothing is done, the situation will only grow worse.
: This is a problem. We need to get to Yu Liberte as soon as possible.
: That's unfortunate. I don't see this being resolved anytime soon.
: What do we do?
: Captain, in a worst-case scenario, how dangerous could the Rockgagong be?
: I've heard it's quite large, but aside from that, I don't know. I've never seen it myself.
: We should just hit the highroad and see what happens! Then if it attacks or whatever, we can just scream and run away.
: I...guess that's a plan.
: Well, we certainly won't reach the capital by standing around here. Let's go.
Skit: The Spice of Life
: Sophie, please! You can't be so finicky all the time!
: What's wrong?
: Sophie won't eat anything! She's so picky!
: It's fine, she doesn't have to eat anything she doesn't want to. Right, Sophie?
: You coddle her too much, Asbel. She's not a child, you know! What am I gonna do with you two?
: Ugh... So what do you want for dinner, anyway?
: Curry sounds good.
: I suppose you want it mild.
: You're both such children!
: Aw, hey, c'mon!
: It looks pretty ordinary to me.
: Nope, I can tell. The eleth inside is confecting juuuust a little bit.
: Confecting? Wait, but that never happens to cryas with eleth in them.
: Wh-What the... Whoooooooa!
: Like, what's going on and stuff?!
: Pascal, what are...
: The contract has been fulfilled... I am Cyandine, beloved maiden of the water dragon.
: What's going on?
: The cryas has responded to your blood. My power is yours to use as you wish.
Go, and train yourself well. I shall await the day when we can set foot upon this world together...
: ...It's gone.
Researcher: What's all the commotion?
: Something strange happened when she touched the blue cryas here.
: How do I put this... This crazy spirit woman...thing just appeared out of nowhere!
Researcher: Y-You're kidding! D-Did she happen to have long, flowing hair and skin like that of a pale blue sky?
: That was her.
Researcher: So the rumors were true...
: You don't mean...?
Researcher: It's a popular story among the researchers. Sometimes people hear voices and feel eyes upon them when they're up late working... It might have something to do with this tower's...peculiar origins.
: Um, m-maybe we don't need to hear about this right now!
: Actually, this is the perfect time. Please continue.
Researcher: Well, apparently a town once stood beneath the area where this tower was built...
: So there's a chance some of those townspeople might have been buried alive?!
Researcher: ...There is a path down below that leads deeper into the tower, but it requires using a door that we cannot open.
: And if you pass through the door...
Yeah, Cheria is burying her face in Asbel's chest.
Researcher: On the subject of ghosts I honestly cannot say, but we do know for true that a town once existed here. And if you saw what you claim, then perhaps it may have had some special connection to you...?
: To us? Wow, I wonder what it could be!
: Why don't you go take a look, Cheria?
: Now cut that out!
Anyway, as you can guess this gives Pascal her second Mystic Arte, approximately 20 hours or something before everyone else gets theirs!
Skit: The Eye of Snorin'
: Wow, I didn't expect it, but they really do study cryas artes here!
: What is it, Pascal?
: They're studying how to make people sleep with this somnosphere!
See, this eye-like thing goes to the right, and then the...left... That's so...interesphhhh... *Snore*
: Pascal, are you...o...ka... *Snore*
: Stop goofing around, you two! We should just...get...ouuuttwwwa... *Snore*
: Cheria? Sophie? What's going on? Come on, wake up...and...lemme...snrrrbt... *Snore*
Skit: Handle With CAre
: What kind?
: Cryas artes. As the world leader in the field, much of their gald is invested towards it.
: I wonder if this giant monument has something to do with their research?
: Monument? I dunno...This just looks like some kinda giant book, don't you think?
: Now that you mention it... Yeah, this does look like a book. Can we read it?
: Open it up, Asbel! C'mon!
: Asbel broke it.
: A pity.
Skit: Longin' for a Ga-gongin'
: Stop it, Pascal! What if it decides to take you up on your offer?!
: Cheria, do you know about the Rockgagong?
: Well, not really. But I know it's a monster and probably dangerous. So I think we're better off avoiding it.
: But everyone in the city was all like, "Noooo, dudes, don't kill it!" So it's probably super cute!
: The Rockgagong is cute?
: It's called a Rockgagong! It probably takes rocks and ga-gongs people with them!
: What is wrong with you people?
: You know damn well they were going to run into the Rockgagong.
: I've been in this game a long time.
: The ground's shaking...
: Is it an earthquake?
: Look! Over there!
: Whoa. That thing is really, really, really big...
Aaaaand it's coming this way!
:Cheria, wake up!
: Huh...? Asbel...?
Sophie, get up. Sophie!
: Wait, are we inside the Rockgagong?
: We're in its stomach, to be more precise.
: In its...stomach?
: No way...
: Ohmigosh, this is GREAT! Who knew this thing would be so big!
: At least someone is having a good time.
: Ugh, gross! What is that stuff?
: Well, if we're in the stomach, it's probably some kind of horribly toxic acid.
: We should get out of here. I don't really want to be dissolved by stomach acid.
: What would you suggest?
: Mmm...let's try that way. It looks kinda blargh, but it's probably where the mouth is. Otherwise we've gotta go out the butt.
: Ack! Ugh! Absolutely not! Un-believable...
: If it makes you feel better, I'm almost sorta totally sure this leads to the head.
: I hope so. If we don't hurry, we'll be digested and end up going out its butt anyway.
: This is not happening...
Skit: All Roads Lead to WHERE?!
: What a mess...
: So does anyone know where we are or whatever?
: Somewhere near its tail, maybe?
: In that case, our fastest escape route will be out the butt.
: Okay, that's enough! How are you all so calm?! I can't stand this one more second!
: Cheria, listen...
: Everyone thinks we should leave through the butt. Let's search for the butt, Cheria. It's the only way.
: Um, Sophie?
: YOU ARE MAKING THINGS MUCH WORSE!
: Such a child.
: It's because I'm an adult that I can't take it!
: Captain, do you know something about this?
: I once heard an old story. They say a great merchant who used to rule this land lost everything he owned in a single night's sandstorm.
: And you think this statue was his?
: I thought it was just an ancient legend, but this statue seems real enough. Perhaps the Rockgagong's stomach holds a mountain of treasure.
: Wait, can that really be true?
: Yes, it's certainly possible.
: Oh, wow.
: But there's a good chance the Rockgagong was all BRAAAP and just crapped it back out.
: I can't take this anymore!
: You can be so oblivious.
This guy isn't so tough, we'll fight a few mini-bosses in the stomach, all of which are copies of him. This is his only truly notable spell, Inverse Pressure. It hits a large area (bigger than a quick-step in radius, hits relatively hard, etc.
Nothing really notable here.
: Hey, look over there.
: At least it's not picky.
: The outside looks undamaged, which means the inside might be habitable.
: Let's take a look.
One of the gimmicks of the dungeon here is that what look like walkways (the rock Asbel is looking at) will disappear into the stomach acid as you get close to them.
Skit: That House Over There
: And while we're stuck in here, Hubert could be sliding deeper into trouble. I don't know what to do.
: Panic and self-doubt will solve nothing. We should focus on finding a way out of here.
: He's right. And besides, Hubert believes in you. That's why he gave you his good-luck charm.
: You're right. We have to get out of here and find Strahta's president.
: We should take a look at that house over there. Perhaps we'll find something useful.
: There actually was something useful in the hut.
: We should take it! ...You know. Just in case.
So is there anything else exciting in here or what?
: This appears to be a journal. If these pages are correct, the monster we just fought is the reason for the Rockgagong's rampage. It's a parasite that's causing the Rockgagong to run mad.
: So if we kill the parasites, the Rockgagong will be all happy again?
: Supposedly, the parasite queen has a purple body. If we eliminate her, it will eliminate the rest. It also says the flute you found will cause the Rockgagong to appear when played.
: That's awesome! But also kinda useless since...you know. We're already inside it.
: There's one more note. It says "You who are reading my journal, please do what I could not. Please save the Rockgagong."
: Our main goal is to get out of here, but it would be nice to help the Rockgagong, too.
: How about this: We'll kill any parasites we find, but keep moving for the exit no matter what.
: Sounds like a plan.
Skit: The Same Frequency
: Wow! This flute is pretty intense!
: Ugh, you just don't listen to other people, do you?
: Whatcha think happened to the guy who owned this flute? He must be dead, yeah?
: Hey, stop it.
: I wonder if his corpse is still kickin' around in here?
: Seriously, stop.
: Look at that wall! It's like a human face!
: His lips are moving! It seems like he's trying to say something... Hmm? Liiiike...someone's name?
: Oh wowzers! Her voice hit the same frequency as the flute! Anyway, what's up, Sophie?
: I just wanted to tell Cheria that I'm hungry...
Another gimmick is that the stomach acid (surprise) damages you when you walk on it.
Skit: Egging Her On
: We'll find a way. After all, we're not in this alone. We have Hubert helping us out too. See?
: Oh, that's Hubert's good-luck charm.
: Our luck may be starting to come around, thanks to this Rockgagong not being such a picky eater.
: See, I told you, Sophie? Not being picky is a good thing.
: Okay. I'll try.
: But, how does it not being picky help us?
: The shell of this egg hasn't deteriorated. It means it's strong enough to survive the acid here.
It won't be digested so I'm sure the creature will pass it sooner or later.
: I get it! We just burrow into the egg and wait for the Rockgagong to eject us! And since we're not crawling out the butt, even Cheria should-
: Stop. That's gross. You're all, so, very, gross!
: But you just told me not to be picky.
: L-Look, we don't have time to wait around for this thing to pass an egg. Let's try and find another way.
After you beat all the parasite mini-bosses, a pillar rises through the empty circle in the acid over there.
: Eventually they neared the throat, but there was no path forward that wasn't covered in acid.
: Hmm, I wonder... Maybe we'll be stuck here for the rest of our lives!
: Once again, you sound excited by something horrible.
: Aw, it's not so bad. We'd just make a family! You could be the mom, and Asbel could be the dad!
: And then Sophie and I could be sisters or whatever! Ta-daaaa! The Rockgagong Family! Ohmigosh, this is the greatest idea ever.
: What about the captain?
: The captain... Hmm...
: No! Behind you!
: Look at the color! It must be the queen!
Fuck this boss. It's basically exactly the same as a smaller parasite miniboss except for one thing.
IT FUCKING SPLITS FUCK.
Oh btw all of these have the same spells and attacks as the ones that come at you one at a time. They're also too tough to just blow through on higher difficulties.
While we're here, let's take a look at one of Asbel's burst artes, Plasma Shock.
Why yes it is Nova.
I didn't mention it earlier because it wasn't a big deal, but this is another spell parasites have. Except with fucking six of them it becomes a bigger deal since you'll have them lining up to ram you with it.
I got clobbered a few times. Maybe if I'd used a different setup, or titles, or changed up my tactics a bit. Definitely if I'd had a second person controlling, say, Pascal. But it's allergy season, and pollen has incited my body into brutal civil war.
So I'll just do this instead.
On Evil, the split happens closer to 50%. God help us if the Evil fight involved TWO splits and I simply never made it to the second.
Still six of the bastards.
Dagger Splash is a burst arte Sophie learns from the title for participating in 100 battles with Cheria. It fires a whole bunch of photonic knives downward.
Oh, and here's Cyandine's normal, non-mystic-arte attack. Pascal transforms into the undine, then dives down...
...throwing up a +-shaped pattern of ice spikes.
At least now I can see their HP bars moving. On Evil, I'm too busy dying or watching my party die.
Oh and here's Sophie's Mystic Arte, which she got back at the fight with Richard.
I really think the light-theme they did for Sophie is pretty.
Fearful Storm is pretty good vs these guys.
Aaaand done. FINALLY.
: I think we did it.
That solves our parasite problem, but we still haven't found an exit.
: Your charm broke...
: Oh, lemme see! Lemme see! Ah-ah-achoo!
: It's pepper!
: Who puts pepper in a good-luck charm?
: We're shaking.
: Look out!
: Bless you.
: Looks like we made it.
: Do you think it's because of the pepper?
: Hubert's charm was luckier than we thought. But why did he give us something filled with pepper?
: Maybe he knew we'd be swallowed by a giant monster! Although that seems kinda unlikely.
: What does it all mean?
: Asbel, where is the Rockgagong?
: Hey, that's right. Where did it go?!
: It seems to have fled the area.
: The highroad is open once more. On behalf of Strahta, I thank you. But tell me, what exactly did you do?
: The Rockgagong was infected with parasites, so we cleared them out. And then we were looking for an exit, when...
: That looks like a cryas charm.
: ...Wait. That's right! I remember now! I gave this to Hubert a long time ago! I wanted to fill it with granulated cryas, but I couldn't find any, so I had to use pepper! I can't believe he hung onto the old thing this whole time.
: They say cryas charms protect their bearers. Apparently they even work without the cryas.
Anyway, I think the Rockgagong has returned to its peaceful ways. Had you not stepped in... Well, I hesitate to think what we might have been forced to do.
: You won't hurt it?
: Don't worry. It's perfectly safe now.
Now, if I might ask, why are you going to the capital?
: We're trying to extract my brother from a difficult situation. To do so, we have to meet with someone in the capital.
: I see. Well then, I wish you luck. Perhaps we will meet again someday. For now, farewell.
: Well, the highroad's open again. Let's head for the capital.
Skit: Just a Tourist?
: Is there something wrong, Captain?
: I don't know. You didn't sense anything... off about that man we just met?
: Um, not really. He seemed like a typical middle-aged tourist to me?
: You sure you're not just overthinking this?
: I hope not.
Skit: Private Lessons
: Those are bananas. In which case, we must be near water.
: The capital of Strahta should be just a short distance ahead.
: Hey, Asbel. Do you know about Strahta's capital?
: Do you?
: It's where Strahta's central government is based.
: That's great, Sophie! How did you know that?
: Because the Captain told me so.
: Yeah, he tells me everything about the world.
: What exactly are you teaching her, Captain?