Part 25: CH25: In (Mostly) Utter DarknessCH25: In (Mostly) Utter Darkness
: Seeing the President a second time is always easier than the first time.
: Mr. President, I think we may be able to help you fix your valkines cryas.
: All right...fair enough. What are you planning?
: Please look at this diagram.
It's from a friend of mine who's extremely knowledgeable about such things. She said she'd be willing to investigate.
: Hmm. It seems you've been holding a trump card this whole time.
Well, you're right. Our country's valkines cryas has been experiencing severe problems as of late. When we sent a research team to investigate, they found Amarcian ruins at its base.
: Amarcian ruins!
: You're familiar with the Amarcians? The mysterious people who left ruins all over the world? We don't know if these ruins are connected to the valkines somehow, but it's possible. I'm telling you this because I'm interested in what your learned friend might think. Our scientists have precious little insight when it comes to Amarcia. It would be most helpful if she could take a look.
: If we agree to investigate the problem, will you let Hubert stay?
: Investigation will not be enough, I'm afraid. You will need to fix the problem altogether.
: Okay. I'll take my friend to see the valkines cryas.
: It's located in the desert west of here, surrounded by some ruins. I will give you an ID card as well. We don't allow regular citizens to approach the valkines, you see.
: Thank you. And good luck.
: How did it go?
: Well, he was very interested in Pascal's diagram. He wants us to investigate the valkines as soon as we can.
: Thanks, Pascal. With a little luck, I think we might be able to save Hubert now.
: Hey, no sweat! I'd do anything to see Strahta's valkines cryas! So where is it?
: Inside some ruins in the desert west of here.
: All right. Let's get going.
Skit: No Sweat
: *Huff* I can't even sweat anymore.
: Asbel, are you okay? You're not dehydrated, are you?
: It's not...that... It's...the water eleth...
: Pascal! Stay with us!
: Uh-huh... Yes... I see...
: Is she all right?
: She says it's so hot she doesn't feel like talking.
: Haha, she could at least finish what she was saying.
: On top of that, she says the reason you're not sweating is because there isn't any water eleth in the air.
Skit: No Words
: With so few people in this area, there's no one around to knock them over.
: Huh, interesting. Why do you think the Amarcians put a valkines in the middle of the desert like this?
: ...Mrgl... ...Grmbl...
: Pascal says you actually have it backwards. She says the valkines cryas likely turned this place into a desert.
Why are you speaking for her, Cheria?
: She says it's a pain to talk in this heat...
Youtube of a triple Mystic Arte fight.
Oh along the way I finally get Cheria's Mystic Arte to go off.
Cheria throws a boatload of knives.
Then she jumps in the air and does it again.
Then there's a third toss.
On the "world map" you have these pillars that rise up as you approach, it's not too hard to go around them, I have no idea why they're there at all.
: The valkines should be here somewhere.
Strahta Soldier: Halt! Outsiders are not permitted to enter here!
: We've come to investigate the valkines cryas on orders of the president.
Strahta Soldier: Ah! Forgive me. You are free to enter. The valkines is located near the back of the ruins.
: Let's go in.
Skit: Full Steam Ahead
: Is it just me, or does it feel cooler around the ruins?
: Hey, hey, I can answer! That's probably because of the water eleth emanating from the valkines.
: Are you okay now, Pascal? We missed you talking back in the desert.
: Now that the valkines is close, I'm full of beans again! That's gotta be the effect of the water eleth, right?!
: ...Now come on, slackers! Full steam ahead!
: Pascal may be an obscure variety of fish.
: She's a fish?
: Captain Malik, would you please stop teaching her all that nonsense?
: She must have gills. Let's find them.
Dungeon Video! This might be my favorite dungeon in the game. It's not long or inane, and it has puzzles that are easy but at least not bullshit. It has no moving platforms or teleporters.
Here's an example puzzle. You step on a tile, and all that tile's color's pillars rise up. If you step on a second tile, that color's pillars are activated, as well as the secondary color between the two. Only a certain number of colors can be activated at once. Note that since yellow is a primary color here, they're using the colors of paint rather than light.
Skit: Step by Step
: But, isn't this the only way for us to keep moving forward?
: We'll figure it out! It may be broken, but that doesn't mean there isn't a logic to it.
: Um, I'm not even going to bother trying. You're way better at stuff like this than I am, Pascal.
: Then we'll all figure it out together!
Incidentally, nearly everything here is weak to freeze, which is kind of weird because you're FREEZING FIRE ELEMENTALS AND SALAMANDERS SOLID.
Skit: A Serious Matter
: Perhaps this was once the center of Strahta.
:Ooo, ancient ruins? Then there could be ghosts!
: Oh, stop! Cut it out, Pascal. Ghosts aren't going to come out in broad daylight like this. ...Right, Asbel?
: Are you even listening to me, Asbel?
: I heard you. Look, if we don't get that valkines repaired quickly, Yu Liberte is going to dry up just like this place.
So let's just try to keep moving, okay?
: Right, let's go!
: (Oh, sure. Now they're acting all serious and I'm the one screwing around!)
Skit: Scene Stealer
: Hey, I'm sure Hubert is doing a great job.
: I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about-
: Yeah. What happens if he goes back to Lhant? It only survived last time because of Sophie, but next time we may not be so fortunate.
: I wonder what made Richard the way he is now. Why is he hurting everyone? Is he still our friend?
: Yes, he's still our friend. And if he's involved with trouble that he can't handle, I'll stand by his side and help him figure it out.
: Yes. I will too.
: He put us through a lot, Asbel, but I just wanted you to know that I'll-
: Me too! I'll stand by him too!
: (She stole my line...!)
: They had arrived at the Valkines. It was Pascal's time to shine.
: The president has asked us to investigate the valkines.
So...may we please take a look?
Valkines Technican: If you have official permission, be my guest. Please.
: So this section is all broken and stuff, and it's causing some kind of weird interference.
: It's important to keep in mind she's going at the section that's original Valkines, not Strahtan technology.
: I was kinda just winging it, but looks like it mighta worked.
: Color was indeed returning to the whole of the Valkines
Valkines Technican: Uh, who are you people?
: Unfortunately, at that moment, disaster struck.
Strahta Soldier: Enemy attack!
: Richard?! Why are you here?
: Hey! Answer me!
: But why?
: No I... I can't... I can't fight...Richard...
So after all that we're fighting two birds. I suppose having us fight Richard 7 or so times over the course of the game would get old fast, but Graces's lack of real villains is kind of notable.
Fire breathing birds. They have blue and red fire breath, I'm not sure what the difference is.
Oh and Asbel has a new B-attack, Phantom Flash. It's also Nova, which is these guys' weakness de jour, so let's hit it.
Yeah Asbel just turned invisible.
These things are mostly giant hp blobs.
Nova Barrier would be annoying if we didn't have 3 sources of Nova damage.
Spellcasting giant birds! Kinda weird.
They only have that one spell, but have a few more special attacks.
Like this one!
Side view of it.
No Mystic Arte, but there's plenty of those to come. Instead he's charging up an attack.
This is probably their most dangerous attack, just from the radius.
Here I'm simultaneously in the aoe of a heal and a vortex, which I found hilarious at the time.
One down. At this point it's kind of academic unless something is currently seriously wrong.
Veil of Faith is a buff from Cheria, it apparently reduces the damage from dragon or fiend enemies by 25%. These guys are in fact dragons.
: So during that fight there was probably one question on your mind.
: Yes, that's the question.
: What are you trying to do now?!
Valkines Technician Nooo!
Valkines Technician But th-that's impossible! He's...He's draining out the valkines cryas!
: Oh. Oh fuck.
: We will settle this someday. So prepare yourself.
: Sophie, what's wrong?
: N-No... Richard... Richard is my friend.
I can't do it... It will make everyone so sad...
: Sophie! Get a hold of yourself!
: I'm...I'm all right now.
: Asbel... About Richard...
If we don't stop him soon, something bad will happen.
: I've got a rough idea of exactly how bad.
: But... But Richard is our friend. So it's wrong... to fight him.
And yet... I tried... I tried to attack him...
: I'm sorry.
: We need to know why he's doing these things before we fight him.
: It's so strange. I don't understand what happened.
How was King Richard capable of such a feat?
Valkines Technician: But this is terrible! What will happen to our nation without the valkines cryas?!
: Asbel? What are you going to tell the President?
: I'm going to tell him the truth. I think that's all we can do now.
: (Richard looked the same. He looked just like he did when we fought in Lhant.)
(What's happened to him?)
: Asbel? Will Richard always be like he is now?
I sure hope not.
: No. I refuse to believe that.
Come on. Let's go back to see the President. There's nothing more to do here now.
Skit (Video 2): Pitch Black
: To my knowledge, such a thing has never happened before. And even worse, we seem powerless to change it.
: How could this happen? Why would Richard do such a thing?
: Richard is my friend. There should be no need for us to fight. Then why do I feel this way? I don't understand...
: Sophie? Are you okay? Hang in there.
: Okay, I'll be all right.
: (What's going on? This doesn't feel like me at all...)