Part 25: CONQUEST
Before storming Dhaos' castle and kicking his teeth in once and for all, we can find this guy just chillin' in the Valhalla Plains. He sells us this arcane arte for that 50,000 gald we won for finishing the land battle. We need a base arte that we won't get until level 45-ish before we can use it though.
...That seems so far away still.
Neither of the swords we could get from things on the plains before are particularly good. They're also both Earth elemental and pretty much nothing of importance is weak to that anyway. They sell for a pretty penny though (especially the Dragontooth).
Incidentally, I'm pretty sure that there's nowhere else to get a Dragontooth other than a drop from a Dragonewt (if you didn't get one at the plains you CAN get it later if you really go out of your way). You can get a Slayer Sword before too long if you want one, and don't have a Moon Falx yet, though.
Yep, Dragontooth's make great money. Slayer Swords are nice enough to sell for more than a Rune Bottle costs at least. Long Swords still drop from things because the game is actively trolling you.
Oh and on the way back to Dhaos' place Cless finally hit level 37 and got Roaring Lion. It hits the enemy a few times, then hits them with a giant lion head that sends them flying across the screen. It's pretty great and when its mastered we can finally use Roaring Kick. You know, that arcane arte we've had sitting around for a while that we just had no way of using?
Now we're literally on Dhaos' doorstep at this point. Let's pay him a visit, shall we?
Anyway, this dungeon is absolutely huge, has a fair bit of mandatory backtracking and an absurd encounter rate. It also has enemies that drop Moon Falx pretty easily and they sell for a ton so any (spares) you get goes a fair bit towards whatever you really want to buy.
Also there are ninjas. Sure, why not?
This is that Slayer Sword I said you could get. The other two spear-racks have weapons in as well; a basic Halberd that you should have never used (even during that period where spears rocked like none other it was awful) and a Mech Halberd that you should've stopped using after getting Maxwell.
Don't let the name fool you; this isn't as good as it sounds. It increases your chance to maybe deal a critical hit sometimes. It doesn't even raise Luck or anything.
There's no way to avoid the switch, and stepping on it closes the way forward in exchange for this room.
It's pretty much worth it though. Fire Storm is basically Eruption but better. It actually hits everything on screen, deals more damage but it doesn't add as many hits to a combo and it might not deal extra hits if it doesn't feel like it. It's not actually the best fire spell either, so it's pretty lackluster immediately after getting Indignation.
After running back around to the switch in the most unnecessarily convoluted manner possible we can finally advance further up in the castle to a floor above the ground one. At least we know quite clearly when we're making progress here.
Four switches in here. A sign that tells us how to hit them. Yep. At least the sign is important since we'll need to remember this order for later.
There's two other mirrors like this, but the game points this one out because it's directly along the path. It also lets you know that it's super important, which is nice.
Also there are Samurai now. Hey, there's ninjas so why not?
And now we have this. I'm pretty sure this one room is impossible to like and the designers went out of their way to make it as annoying as possible.
: Arche, can you read it?
: It says that to move forward, we have to press the switches on both sides in sync starting from the far end.
: Cless, let's do it together!
Okay, so this is probably the worst part of the dungeon. You have to step on a switch at the same time (roughly) as Arche does. This isn't too difficult for the first and second switches, but for the third and forth she takes an uncomfortably long time and will actively try to make you screw up by doing dumb shit. The best method to do, is to not try and act like its a timing game but to run back and forth over and over across the switch until it works. This doesn't guarantee success, but it's more likely to succeed than doing it "normally." The game even tells you this if you screw up enough.
...And if you still can't do it, apparently it will take mercy on you and have Mint and Klaus do it instead but you'd need to screw up approximately 1 billion times before that were to happen.
Even doing it in the "ideal" method, I still took 7 tries because Arche sucks here. You don't get anything for doing it on your first try, so there's no need to worry if you're into that kind of thing.
At least the game is merciful and gives you a save point here so you never have to do it again.
The fact that I have what currently amounts to 6 spare Moon Falxes fills me with some kind of glee. That's quite a lot of money I can make from this dungeon already.
This switch is a pressure switch. There's nothing around to leave on it either, but there's some stairs just there so let's see what's above them.
A giant hole...
...And a statue. Why is it of Demeter of all people?
I'm sure you can figure out what we need to do here.
Just past the door, there's another pressure switch. Unlike the previous one we can't move a statue onto it. The solution?
Leave someone behind on it. There's a reason for leavng Arche here, but I'm doing it because it's a good way to restore her TP without using items (she's still going to benefit from the post-battle TP restoration if left here).
...I'm really doing it because of that goddamn timing puzzle.
Also Mint learned Cure. Cure will fully heal anyone's HP. It only costs 22 TP at that. She has 500 already and she's only level 38 (albeit with a Moon Crystal). I'm sure you can see how incredibly broken that concept is. It essentially grants me immortality, assuming she doesn't somehow die.
Around here we start fighting corrupt genies. These guys are noteworthy because they're completely boring and unimaginative. They have a large HP amount of a random encounter, and are immune to wind and... that's it. They're also ridiculously easy to stunlock and I'm pretty sure they have no attacks worth a damn. I'd also be pretty sure they had no attacks, but I'm only saying that because they've never gotten a chance to and that might not count.
It didn't even bring a buddy to try and pretend to be threatening. This strategy of "do nothing different" helps it about as well as you'd expect.
With this we get to backtrack quite a ways through the dungeon.
Since we're going past there anyway, let's pick up Arche. I think she's learnt her lesson by now, and she's falling way too far behind in terms of EXP at this point too.
Leeches are fightable on the higher floors of the dungeon as well as being in the mirrors. They're weak to Light damage, so the Moon Falx, Luna and Ray all massacre it. It can heal itself if need be by draining HP from someone (~100 ever few seconds), and it can cast some powerful spells too. It also knows Summon Demon and if it gets a chance to use it, it will and it will hurt.
This is the only new item back here, and it's a completely worthless accessory. It lets you escape from a battle 1/3rd faster than normal. If you use a Rune Bottle on it, it lets you escape from a battle in half the normal time. Assuming you have it equipped on the character you're controlling. That just begs the questions of why you're running from something, and why you're wasting an accessory slot like that.
In another optional mirror, we can pick up an earth spell for Arche that's possibly worth it. It's not that great, but it's finally an upgrade for Glaive so we can actually use this! It's the same tier as Fire Storm, Thunder Blade, Cyclone etc. so it's not even remotely as powerful as Indignation.
I can't help but think that maybe by giving us Indignation now the game shot itself in the foot, since it trivialises combat and makes every other spell seem worthless in comparison.
Behind the one mirror the game helpfully pointed out, there's a few things we can find. There's also more than one tiny room so it feels like a whole new area (it isn't).
If we hit the two switches hidden on these statues we can pick up yet another Mental Ring. I think that makes three of these things I have now. Maybe I'll use this one!
Remember that switch order from before? Now you have to do it in reverse. Fortunately, doing it in reverse is exactly the same as doing it normally except you press the Left switch before the Right switch now. This is probably the hardest puzzle we've seen thus far in spite of this.
With this we can unlock
Now we have to leave Arche behind. This time it's because we have to but you probably wouldn't know that if you hadn't done this before, used a guide or had been mapping this place out on paper for some reason.
By using the Golden Key the one time we need to, we can get to this little section behind the giant hole in the floor. If you left Arche on the switch, she can fly up on her broom. She can't throw the broom down the hole to whoever else gets left behind, because they won't be able to use it? The chest contains a Charm Bottle; this is more important than it sounds.
And this door is why we can't leave Arche behind. Everyone needs to be present to open it; that's both convenient and logical. It ensures you don't leave Arche behind, because that save point is very definitely not hinting at anything. It makes me wonder how anyone else gets past it though since you need four people to open the thing.
See? It has to be four people. That kind of planning makes me wonder if the seal was put up because Dhaos knew four people were coming after him or not. And if they can't all make it here, they... can't be a threat... so why not make it a seal for five people?
...I'm almost definitely thinking way too hard about this.
Anyway, after opening the door you're left standing on the save point. This definitely isn't hinting at anything, and I definitely don't leave to sell things and buy items that I might use. No sir.
Man, I picked up a ton of crap in that dungeon as well as a bunch of spare Moon Falxes. That 286k from a few spare weapons gives me just over 340,000.
That's just over halfway to my first Mystic Symbol so maybe we'll actually get one soon.
...Hang on. Just over halfway. That gives me an idea!
Man, it's like the game WANTS me to buy one now. It hands you a Charm Bottle just before the very obvious boss fight, you're likely to be swimming in money from battles and a ton of shit you can sell off after using a few Rune Bottles. Buying a few Rune Bottles at normal price shouldn't be taxing on the wallet given that, and you just need one spare to use on that very conveniently placed Charm Bottle if you don't have any Miracle Charms as is. That cuts the Mystic Symbol down to a very realistic price. It's still stupidly expensive, but you can't get it any cheaper and it does make stuff go by so much faster. I know "half" doesn't sound like much but it allows even the slowest spells to go off pretty much instantly.
Naturally, I buy it and give it straight to Arche.
Just past the sealed door, there's these guys.
These further make me think that the game wants you to buy a Mystic Symbol to fight Dhaos with.
Since they're considered a boss fight, they're almost definitely guaranteed to drop a Rune Bottle (somehow, none did for me though; maybe because I had 15 already). As for the fight? They're basically Hellmasters but less threatening. They don't have inexplicable immunity to non-elemental attacks, they don't have any nasty tricks up their sleeves, and I don't think they can even use Summon Demon. There's only like eight of them in the entire game though, which makes their being useless thing even more inexplicable.
Anyway, I have another idea! Note that here Cless has a little under 4,500 HP with the Black Onyx.
Now he has over 7,000 HP with the Black Onyx, 678 MP without the Moon Crystal (one would assuredly make it 999), 12 more Strength and 6 more Agility for good measure. I stuffed him full of those Red Herbs I've been cluttering my inventory with for a while.
This makes Klaus the only one who didn't get any fun new toys for this fight, but he got Luna earlier and she drops lasers on people from space so it's pretty much even.
: Prepare youself!
: We're going to put an end to all of this here and now!!
: Don't tell me you've lost your nerve!
: Why do you point your sword at me? I have no reason to do battle with any of you.
: Even if you don't have any reason, we have plenty!
: Ridiculous! You must be pawns of Midgard,
: once again desperate to incite a war.
: I have attempted to ignore their petty attacks,
: but they have finally forced my hand.
: Dhaos, get ready!!
How did Dhaos and his five cronies even get past the omni-seal or whatever? There's 6 of them, not four. That should leave two outside and...
Anyway, Dhaos is fun. Like, really, really fun. Even with the archaic LMBS he's worth getting to because words cannot describe how fun he is to fight.
As you'd expect from the guy we've been trying to fight for pretty much the entire game bar the first ~20-30 minutes or so, he has a fair few tricks up his sleeve. The Evil Lords pretend to help.
Dhaos, for logical and inexplicable, reasons has no entry in the Monster Encyclopaedia so we can skip over that. Naturally, he's immune to time stop effects so I didn't bother with those here either; he has a fucking ton of HP too. At 30,000 he has more than the past few bosses easily. And that's if we were to combine their HPs into one as well.
Anyway, as for attacks...boy does Dhaos have some damned good ones. He relies pretty much exclusively on magic, but he has a physical swipe if he needs to it too. He has some stuff like Fire Storm and Thunder Blade (as per usual) but other 3 attacks of his are all unique.
Tetra Assault hits with a damn fast flurry of physical attacks. It's quite the combo and it ends with an uppercut that sends the target quite high into the air and leaves them stunned for a while. If this fight wasn't against, well, Dhaos this might warrant the Stun Charm. Might.
And then we have Tetra Spell which is as bad as it sounds.
Hits everyone with fire and ice spells (Cless here is kind enough to block them all with his face).
Hit someone at random with a thunder spell (Cless here took this one too, but if you notice above you'll see it about to hit Arche instead).
And then skewer everyone with a ground spell that looks suspiciously similar to Glaive but it's actually effective so it can't be Glaive.
Needless to say, these both hurt a lot if they hit. But that's not what you're interested in now, is it? You want to know if he can use that.
He can! He doesn't use it at all until he loses about half his health, but when he does use the ever-so-imaginatively named Dhaos Laser you know shit's about to get serious. This spell massacred Mars and co. and would've levelled us too if he got to use it. Fortunately, here it isn't instant death because it's unblockable and, when he decides to use it, unstoppable too. It leaves you wide open to his other stuff immedaitely after, since it hits everyone has a high chance of stunning and deals a fuckton of damage. It also has that thing that a lot of spells do when time stops except for that one action, but unlike most spells Dhaos Laser has no charge time.
For beating him, you'll notice an interesting particle effect that seems very familiar (considering we are now the four warriors that were depicted in the opening fight...) and you get the half of the second best accessory. The Emerald Ring is good, but it's not good enough. It reduces TP costs of all artes by 1/3rd. You can guess what comes next given the pattern that has emerged, I'm sure.
: Damn it!
: What should we do now?
: It won't do us any good to wait around here, let's head back for now.
: About Edward... We're sorry.
: No need for that, you did nothing wrong. It would be better to direct our suffering toward our common foe, don't you think? Before Edward set out, he left a letter with me. There is a key with it. He left this with me saying that if you should all return in need of help, I should do everything in my power to aid you.
: What about this key?
: Let us go to Edward's house. I will explain things there.
: It's been a while. About Edward... it's a great tragedy to have lost him.
: You know, this was just like him. I'm sure he died just as he lived, with no regrets. So please, he would ask no one to mourn him... By the way, what brings you here today?
: Actually, I was hoping that we might be able to take a look around Edward's study.
: I certainly don't mind, but I'm afraid the door is locked so I can't let you in.
: Might this be the right key?
: My, yes, but why do you have it?
: Before he left, Edward entrusted it to me.
: In that case, please come right this way.
: That is, researching time travel.
: And all of that research was compiled into this reference...
: How does it look?
: Let me summarize it: during the age of the Ancient Civilizations, the capital city of one thriving kingdom suddenly sunk into the sea. The city is now known as the Ancient City of Thor. It seems they had developed some kind of unbelievable technology that was actually capable of time travel.
: But if it sunk into the ocean, that doesn't help us at all.
: I told you they possessed unbelievable technology, didn't I?
: If we're to believe what's written here, although the city sleeps beneath the waves, it has not fallen into ruin.
: However, it states here that reaching the ocean floor isn't currently possible.
: I certainly haven't heard of any technology or Sorcery that could manage it.
: But if someone could control Undine's power, such an impossible feat could indeed be possible, or so it says.
And, thus we know now what we must do:
: It would seem that it's about 100 kilometers northeast of Venezia's coastline.
: So what do you plan to do now?
: I think we'll need to head for Venezia and see about securing a ship.
: I see. If I could, I would go along with you, but I'm afraid that my duties won't allow it. However, I shall pray for your success.
: Therefore, before we go, we should think of a way to cure the Yggdrasil. Otherwise, when we return to our time, the Yggdrasil will have withered away.
: And if that were the case...
: Mana would have vanished, taking magic along with it. And...
: And since there's no way to defeat Dhaos without magic... We absolutely can't let that happen, right?
Okay, change of plans: heal the magic tree that was unhealable earlier then go to Thor! I'm sure we can wrap things up pretty quickly.
Also Sif gives us the first new recipe in ages. According to wikipedia, this is fresh raw meat. Somehow this enables it to cure poison. I don't know, just go with it.
Cless render; Tales of VS edition.