Part 13: The Man Who HelpsPart XIII: The Man Who Helps
Welcome to the city of Sharilton. It's a merchant town, which doesn't mean much for you, but we'll still be seeing it a fair bit over the course of the game. This city is also known for a boss fight you had in the town circle in the first game (not this area, but close). There's a skit as soon as you enter involving Rowen telling various stories about the town, and the ghost stories one increases his affection, at everyone's expense (just kidding. You can't make affection go down for any reason).
Also, I got Rowen's first affection skit thanks to that decision.
This is a unique vendor. Throughout your adventures, you'll find Win and Lose Sticks. The Lose Sticks are entirely useless, but the Win Sticks get you...
Whoopee... Oh well, let's move on.
As much as I'd like to equip Ludger with a fancy new pistol set, these are required for a certain job that I'll be completing shortly.
But, we can upgrade quite a bit here in Sharilton. I'd advise indulging a bit, and as a note in the future, checking each new location's inventory for any upgrades to equipment. You never know when that one AC can make all the difference, after all.
Making a quick stop at the inn will allow us to find yet another cat. We're making some good progress.
Our client is standing right in front of her manor, simply enough. Let's see what she wants some serious firepower for.
Thank you all for coming! Thanks to you, I finally have a means of evening the odds and fighting back!
What's all the kerfuffle about, Milady?
When you said a powerful foe, you don't mean...
Oh boy, I think she does...
Yep. I'm afraid so. And my nemesis is here. Waiting for me inside the manor.
That can't be! I thought it was destroyed a year ago!
This is no ordinary foe. It's never truly gone... Not completely.
You mean it's immortal! We're doomed!
Not with this gun. Oh no... No, it ends today.Whahahahahaha! HAHAHAHA!
Lady Driselle is quite frightening when she's angry!
The time for retribution has come! Ludger and I will lead the charge from the sides of the manor, trapping it in a pincer and forcing the best into the center of the manor!
I'm ready to deploy!
We meet in the center of the manor as 1200 hours! We only get one shot at this, so don't hold back! I wanna see a flurry of bullets and spirit artes out there, men!
A stupendous strategem, Milday, but might I make a few modifications?
You may not, soldier! You have your orders!
Y-Yessir, Ma'am. Sir!
I can't hear you, soldier!
I can't guarantee your safety out there, men. Try to watch your back. Our foe may have something up his sleeve... Now then... Roll out!
Let's kick some butt!
Enemy kill confirmed! Mission complete!
That was tense!
Vive la resistance! Vive la Teepo!
We have won a great victory today, and we kept our casualties to a minimum. As long as we stand together against tyranny, we are unstoppable!
This blitz might have been just a hair overzealous. So much effort for a single cockroach...
Eh, verdict's still out on that, Rowen. Also, we have some furry business in Driselle's manor...
But of course. Now it's time to get to work. We've got quite a few things we could, and should, be doing now, but let's see what Leia wants...after a wardrobe change.
The missing agents
Hey, there you are! Are you okay? I saw Driselle while I was out shopping for leads. She said a bunch of Spirius agents have gone missing in action.
Mighty Spirius agents MIA? Must be one dangerous job.
She thinks a fractured dimension might have something to do with it.
Right on cue...
Vera here. We've detected a new fractured dimension, but...
So you've already heard.
Is it that dangerous?
All I can tell you is that an agent's ability level determines the level of danger. The last communication I received from an agent indicated that the divergence catalyst was an extremely powerful monster.
Stand by for the coordinates of the fractured dimension. The rift is in Bermia Gorge. Do be careful.
I'm coming too. I don't like the sound of this one bit. And I owe you one anyway.
I'll come too. If I didn't, who knows what horrible things our intrepid reporter here would write about me.
Do you have to invent an excuse every time you help someone?
So yeah, the same way you went to the previous fractured dimension (and all the ones in the future, as well), is the same way you head into Bermia Gorge. Make sure to stock up on improvements to equipment and consumables. While this upcoming quest isn't particularly hard, never hurts to be prepared.
Oh yeah, and as for a fourth character, basically anyone but Rowen is good. Guess who I went with?
That girl certainly looks familiar...
You're late, moron!
She proceeds to kick Leia...
I've been blowing up your phone all day! And why have you got these men with you?
So some of the affection-raising choices in this chapter can be weird, but here, it's R1. Agria is Leia's former friend, after all.
Huh. And who is this doofus right here? So Jude dumped you, and this guy's your rebound? Really now?
Whatever. Do you want to write your stupid story about the monster here or what? About ecosystems and poachers or wahtever. Weird to hear you talk about complicated stuff like that.
Hello, your story?
Uh, yeah. And Leia asked us along for backup in case there was any fighting, right, Leia?
Not a bad idea. The poachers have stuck that damn beast so many times, it's out of its mind.
What an airhead. I'm going on ahead.
What is wrong with her?
Well, we might as well follow her.
Yep, got another dungeon to crawl through. Now, Agria's story was that she was one of the Four Chimeriad, and the first one encountered in the prologue of the first game (when Milla had to show up and bail Jude out). She had several encounters with the party after that, until her final appearance after the events following Gilland's death, where she fell off the top of the Nia Khera Hallowmont. Shockingly enough, unlike all other characters who fell off a high ledge to their assumed death in fiction, Agria never returns from the dead in Xillia 2. Remember, death doesn't count unless you have the body.
Her death scene, as well as another character's, happened off-screen in Milla's story, and from what I remember, was never even mentioned afterwards except maybe in a skit. It was really weird.
Anyhow, the Bermia Gorge. A lot of narrow passages and a lot of climbing. It should usually be fairly obvious where to go. If not, check your map. There is a lot of vertical space, but there's always vines to climb up if you find yourself moving too far in the wrong direction. Oh yeah, and there's a skit called Leia and Agria that'll appear shortly after the above scene.
There's still no sign of her in the second area. But, we'll come upon her soon enough...
As far as enemies go (and this goes with the prime dimension Bermia Gorge as well, since they're basically identical), Sword Bees are your most dangerous foes. Individually they're pretty easy enemies, especially since they have a lot of weaknesses, but in groups, they can be like you running right into a buzz saw. Just be careful.
You'll finally catch up with her shortly in the third area.
What could have been
Ludger confirms, of course...
This won't be easy.
Hmph. It's no surprise the whole ecosystem's out of whack with that thing on the loose. Those damn Elympion poachers really did a number on it. Nothing left to do but put it out of its misery.
The poachers are from Elympios?
Duh! Isn't that what your stupid story is about? Those bloodthirsty Elympion thrill seekers?
I hate those Elympions. I hate 'em to bits! Massacring spirits with their spyrix like it's no big whup!
But Maxwell made it so they can keep using their spyrix for a while, right?
It's still a fact that spyrix kill spirits! And they just put it out of their minds...
Just 'cause they're too stupid to channel spirits, they think they're entitled to use their damn spyrix. Won't be long before Rieze Maxia's a wasteland just like Elympios!
But that's why everyone's working so hard on spyrite technology.
What? You're taking their side now?!
It's not like that. It's just... I've seen people in Elympios who are trying really hard to solve these problems. And... I want to believe them.
That's who you choose to believe? You really are the most gullible person alive.
I couldn't tell you why, but L1 increases Leia's affection. However, Ludger is also a reflective guy, so let's choose R1.
Whaddaya mean, "we'? Hold on, you're one of 'em?! Get out of my sight, garbage breath!
Yeah, the real Agria wasn't much better in the whole "insults" department.
This is no time to be picking fights! We gotta put that beast down, remember?
Fine. Then I'll handle this myself.
So Hangerzamm here is a pretty dangerous target, but it weak to Darkness and Strike, which makes Prometheus (Darkness) useful yet again, and it won't be the last time. One of the big problems with this guy is he's really hard to stagger, but keep smacking him and he'll drop his guard eventually.
He'll also burrow underground frequently and launch leaping attacks at you. Again, the AI just won't deal with this very well. He's completely invulernable between the time he starts burrowing and when he emerges, and starts attacking again.
Also, one advantage to Linked Artes is that, unless the enemy is resistant to the element being used, a Linked Arte will knock them to the ground (but if they're a light character like a human enemy, there's a chance they'll do an aerial recovery), then you do a focus hit (L1 + basic attack. It's a cheap way to get a downed enemy up), and start an actual combo.
Just like with Graddic Claw, full Power Combo + Falling Snow Chromatus utterly wrecks this guy, with his prodigious size very much working against him here. Your hits under these circumstances will hit anywhere from 3400-5000 each time.
And down he goes, without too terrible a cost in Life Bottles.
Should be obvious in this case, however, what'll raise Leia's affection.
Agria, you okay?
Quit freaking out over every little thing! Did you honestly think that would kill me?
That's no reason to kick me!
Hah! That was payback for earlier...
Tell me something. Do you really trust them? Let's be honest now.
Huh? Oh. Yeah... I mean, Elympios is in a tough spot, too. I know that some of them look down on Rieze Maxia. But if we really work at it, we can reach a place of mutual trust and respect. Right?
Guess it worked out for you and me.
And thanks to you, I'm still here. Stop grinning like an idiot! Anyway, we're done here. Now it's time for you to do your job. Go home and write your article, Leia.
Well, that was a lot less painful than last time.
And here we thought that would be tough. I barely broke a sweat.
Hey... It's necessary to destroy all these fractured dimensions, right? I mean... We did the right thing, didn't we?
In addition to all his other positive traits, Ludger is a cautious individual. I mean, it's hard to be convinced by Bisley's doomsaying without concrete proof, right? R1 it is, but L1 raises Leia's affection.
Yeah... Ludger, you think it'd be okay if I wrote an article about the fractured dimensions? About the people who lived there, and what they were like, and why they needed to be destroyed?
Hmm... If you did that, I suppose they'd live on, in a way.
Well, I'm beat. Gonna grab some grub and some shut-eye.
So after the bonus gald I got from finishing character quests, I finally got too much gald to avoid paying off the loan for this chapter any longer. Now, this is a special debt payment, for reasons that will soon become clear.
Oh boy. Julius is on the loose again.
Vera also mentioned that a man called Erston has requested our presence in front of the Spirius Building, so we have a choice, and which choice determines which party member will join first. Choosing R1, which I've always done, will lead you to getting Gaius to join very shortly. Who joins if you choose L1? You'll see in 2-3 updates.
However, it *really* doesn't matter. It just determines who joins first, and I'm not aware of any other changes whatsoever depending on which choice you make.
Moving on to other business, we're heading to the prime dimension Bermia Gorge next. First, you need to head through the Culmar Trail, which is the trail near Driselle's manor. Also, I got Alvin's second affection skit here, thanks to Linked Artes.
Be sure to look for hidden passages throughout the trail (usually where there's a visible clearing on the map but no apparent way to reach it). You'll be rewarded for your curiosity.
Also, there's another one toward the back of the Trail. Awww
Prime Bermia is...exactly the same. Shocking, eh? Really, the only reason we're here is for felines / Elite Monster. Shortly after arriving, I also got Leia's second affection skit. Making good progress.
This is exactly what I meant when I said be wary of the bees. In groups they can quickly overwhelm you. One exception is the Chromatus. Apocalyptica can push away everyone around Ludger and give you some breathing room. Also, Xillia 2 is one of those RPGs where characters are NOT revived with 1 HP if you leave a battle with a KO'd ally. Make sure to keep a healthy stock of Life Bottles at all times.
In the third area of the Gorge (same place we fought the catalyst), is our resident Elite Monster. Here we go... Moralzamm
This is another terrible fight. First of all, the damn thing spends more time underground, seemingly, than it does fighting. When you're just standing around waiting for the fight to resume after it burrows, it's not a good one. Not to mention it's free damage for him. On the elemental side, he's weak to Earth, but resistant to Wind. So, y'know, don't use that to start a combo.
First of all, turn off the ability of your allies to use Linked Artes. By and large, the AI will almost exclusively waste them, and Linked Artes are your one reliable way to stagger this guy and knock him to the ground. So, leave the use of them to your discretion entirely, because the AI simply cannot be trusted to use them strategically / wisely, and will certainly not use Over Limit at its full potential at any point in the game.
Also, this monster's red ! attack will always stun a target who is not blocking, but the thing is, the stun lasts at least twice as long as a normal stun. It's so annoying, especially when the wide-ranging attack hits like 2-3 of your allies.
Also, I'm not sure what it is, but I had a huge amount of success with Rolling Thunder staggering this guy. I'm not entirely sure why. I'm just saying.
I'm not entirely sure why, and I've never been able to explain this, but sometimes the Power Combo multiplier will go up to 600% instead of the usual 420% you get from a full Power Combo. If anyone could shed any light on why this happens (or any Power Combo results that go above 420%), it would be most appreciated.
This assessment of the battle is one I would agree with, but that's one more Elite Monster's head we can deliver to the job board.
On one of area 3's higher platforms, you'll find this kitty, who has clearly gotten very lost. Let's show it the way back to The Crazy Cat Lady's apartment. When we have no further need of its services, of course.
And in the Northeast Region, we're done here, so let's take the scenic way down. See you all back in Sharilton.
So, what's left in the Sharilton area? Heading to the Talys Highroad for, what else, a cat.
Again, nothing really worth commenting on with the enemies here, and you'll forgive me if I gloss over it for now. We'll be back, but again, we're really only after the cat.
In the second area of Talys, there's a big rock platform in the center of the area. This is where the stray cat has wandered. Natalina, huh?
Who else would the cat be based on, but everyone's favorite Tales archer, Natalia Luzu Kimlasca-Lanvaldear from Abyss? I guess some people like Chester too, but eh. One more landmark before we head back to Nia Khera.
I speak, of course, of Fort Gandala. There is literally nothing to do here right now. The fort is closed for renovations or something, and our path to Rashugal's capital, Fennmont, is blocked by both land and sea. Funnily enough, Fennmont, despite being the city in the opening of the first game, is one of the last areas visited in this title. Ah well, it'll open eventually.
Back in the area of the Sanctum of Maxwell, we have a few errands to take care of, including Milla's first character chapter. First off, it's settling an old score. Radiant Horn
So, since all RPGs need to have a boss like this, ol' Horn here loves his status effects, and he's also quite fond of delivering them from on high. When it comes to evening the odds with him, Darkness and Guns are his weaknesses, so again, that Prometheus (Darkness) is really paying for itself here. Basically, there's no surefire way to stagger him that I've found (outside of Breaker, of course), but if you keep attacking him, eventually it'll pop.
Rowen was brought along for a very good reason, as he also loves his spells (Wind and Light stuff. As long as you're partnered with Rowen, he'll throw up a magic shield against any and all of his spells).
This is his most dangerous move, Angel Light. Anyone in the light has a very high chance of getting hit with Confusion, and having to dodge your allies / losing complete control of your own character or any number of your allies is the last thing you need. Luckily, Chromatus Ludger is of course, immune to status effects.
Even with all his status effect annoyances, he still doesn't have that much health, and if you are fortunate to enough to do a Falling Snow massacre, you could conceivably finish him off with just one of those. Overall, not that hard a fight, but you do have to be prepared.
The third and final path from Nia Khera leads here, the Xagut Floodmeadows. Again, cat-related business is the only real reason we're here. Said cat happens to be in a small cave in this area of the region. You could proceed all the way to a river, where there is a small boat. If you recall the first game, this boat could be used to go from Xagut to Xian Du, but apparently the boatman is out, and that trip is unavailable at this time. Ah well.
After way too much wandering around, I finally found the cave I was looking in, after looking carefully at the job description. From the above screenshot, if you climb the vines to the upper level, this cave will be on the left. The cat is right inside, so I don't believe a screenshot is necessary.
Our final errand in Nia Khera is Milla's first character quest. This is in the same house we went to in the fractured dimension.
A woman's desire
Hey, I've seen this place before...
But it's not really mine, is it...
Uh, excuse me?
If I may be so bold, when did you return from the spirit realm?
Actually... I can explain.
Oh! I just remembered!
You have to make me some soup!
I can't... I don't have my ingredients or utensils.
Lady Milla, if I might venture a suggestion. You could make use of my kitchen.
Of course! I would be most honored.
Huh... Very well. Just for a little bit.
No "little bit" about it. I want to eat a lot!
After presumably good soup having been made...
That was tasty!
You weren't kidding about eating a lot.
That's only 'cause your cooking is so good! It's true! What are you smiling about?! Didn't you think it was good?
Well, insulting a woman's cooking ability is no way to get on her good side, so...
C'mon, that's enough.
I really like your cooking too. It's good comfort food.
Of course, my daddy still makes the number one best soup though.
So that makes me second best?
No, no. Ludger makes the second best soup. You're a solid third.
I rank after him? I don't believe it!
You'd believe it if you tried his soup.
The hell I would! I could make a much better soup if I put my mind to it.
Really? What kind?
The best kind, better than anything your daddy could make.
My daddy's the best cook who ever lived!
He can't compete with the Lord of Spirits!
Then shut up and prove it! Let's go, Rollo.
Oh, you better believe I'll prove it. Hey, Mr. Second-Best. You'll be helping me with this.
In retrospect, I'm not sure why Milla let Ludger live on my last playthrough...
Thanks. Not that I was giving you a choice in this.
I'll help too. We'll all figure it out together.
You can cook?
A little. Not as well as you, though.
Oh... Okay. Well, thanks.
It's too bad the cooking system doesn't work the same as it does in the other Tales. Arche from Phantasia was such a terrible cook that she regularly screwed up cooking a Hamburger on one of my playthroughs, eons ago. Though, if I had to give skill rankings to the cooks in this game, I'm guessing Alvin would be the worst.
Alas, finishing that chapter got me Milla's first affection skit on my real playthrough, but I believe my position on her affection skits has been stated.
We have a couple more character quests in this chapter, though I'll probably only finish Jude's this update. Here's a skit upon returning to Hamil this chapter. Jude is standing around in the porange tree area of Hamil, so let's skip to there promptly...
You're into cooking, right? You ever make anything with fruit?
Apparently Jude likes peace pie, which is why L1 increases his affection here. However, Ludger just can't stop talking about tomatoes, so I chose R1. However, don't worry, there are quite a few choices this chapter, and many chances to increase Jude's affection.
Aren't tomatoes a vegetable?
Well, it doesn't really matter. Ripe tomatoes can be just as sweet and juicy. You really do like 'em, huh?
No way! Tomatoes are awful! Whatever you do, remove tomatoes from my dishes, okay?
Before we can have another debate on the value of tomatoes as valuable ingredients in food...
DODA here. We've detected a new fractured dimension. The rift is near the Tatalian Abyss. We've sent you the coordinates. Please take care of it.
An agent's work is never done, is it? I'm happy to help. We can't just ignore a fractured dimension.
You really are a do-gooder, aren't you?
Yeah, I...I get that a lot.
Sounds like a good way to get into trouble. Well, I'm no do-gooder, but I'll give you a hand. More people will make it easier, I'm sure.
Elize happened to be in my party after that scene, and she's as good as any, so, let's roll.
Seems things are amiss around here. The Tatalian Abyss, just for reference, was Xillia 1's bonus dungeon. There was never any plot reason to come here in the first, but there were no hassles at all when it came to entering the place. You could then, and you can in this game, just walk right on in. The entrance is near the Dimensional Breach.
As far as enemies I fought on my trip here, the dragons are the most annoying. Without Alvin around to break them, they block way too much and there's just not much you can do about that outside of just chipping away at them until they drop their guard. Riveting business, rest assured. Oh, and they can burrow and attack, because these enemies just don't take long enough to kill.
Gathering some crucial info, we find out there's a doctor named Derrick further in, tending to the considerable numer of wounded further in. Maybe you remember a Derrick from the first game...
A reunion across dimensions
I have my hands full here. We'll talk later.
Ugh... The pain... It's gone?
What? What did you just do?
Dr. Mathis! We have more casualties!
So even the extermination team can't handle that beast.
We'll be next if we don't get outta here!
I'm staying. I'm a doctor. I can't turn my back on people in need.
But hanging out here is suicide!
What if we said we'll take out the threat for you?
You... You can't be serious?
I am. I don't want to see any more victims.
Well, you have to keep in mind Jude is a doctor too, so it only makes sense his Physician Senses are kicking in now. Although we'll be handicapping ourselves not having him around, we can manage just fine with Elize, Milla, and our trusty pal Ludger Kresnik.
What? Are you sure?
A mere monster is no match for me. We'll be back before you know it.
Okay. I'll follow when I can.
Don't drag your feet now!
Our foe (of course, also doubling as the divergence catalyst, because of course it is) is on the floor below where we left Jude and his dad. We're gonna wreck this sucker.
To be a doctor
This guy has about what you'd expect from an enemy with this body type. Charging attacks, kicking with its hind legs, ramming with its front, and a burrowing attack where it dives, then jumps back up in an attack, which I believe is a guaranteed guard break. Nothing should really surprise you. Given that one of this enemy's weaknesses is to Light, I'm going to be controlling Milla for that absolute critical chance the Blessed Blade gives her.
Note that even with that always-Power Hit, the Power Charges are still useful for giving her that extra 2 AC Power Charge 2 will give her.
His major charging attack, Varied Charge, will lead him on a moderately damaging rampage in a certain direction. But, like Heavy Claw, if he doesn't hit anyone before he hits the edge of the battlefield, he'll be stunned for a bit. Well, technically nothing happens, but he'll just stop and not do anything for a few seconds.
Oh yeah, and don't think Power Combos are limited to just normal attacks / artes. You can very much launch them in Over Limit, but Linked Arte Power Combos are considerably harder to do right. It's very much possible, though, for predictably devastating results.
Isn't it great when plans come together?
Everyone's stabilized back there. Hey, by any chance, did you have me stay back for my sake?
I'm not sure what Jude's looking for in a response, but it seems R1 is what he prefers.
Young man. Nice healing skills. You saved a lot of lives back there. Here, take this.
He hands a medical whats-it over...
You've got the fundamentals down, but you're still straining too hard. That should help relieve the tension. I'm sorry it's not in better shape.
Oh, no need to apologize. I appreciate it.
Ludger transforms on Jude's approval...
We never formally introduced ourselves. My name is Derrick. Derrick Mathis. What's your name?
My name is... Jude. Jude Mathis.
And we're back!
Well, in retrospect, I really should have chosen R1, which would have raised Mr. Mathis' affection. Ah well, really doesn't matter either way.
Are you sick or something?
No, it's nothing like that. That man was my father. But...it was like I had never been born in that dimension.
You haven't seen your daddy in a while either?
It's been ages. We've both been so busy. Sometimes, when I have time to think about it, I stop and wonder how she's doing.
When both responses are functionally the same (though for L1, I suppose it would depend on how one delivered a line like that), I'm not entirely sure why one raises affection and the other doesn't but hey. At least I chose right this time.
Yeah... You're right. Seeing my dad got me thinking... He's a doctor. I'm a scientist. We're both trying to help people. Our jobs might be different, but we both want the same thing. Oh, that's me.
Jude answers his cell...
I have to get back to Helioborg. I'd like you all to come with me, if you could. I'm sorry I don't have time to explain.
Thanks. Let's go.
Warping right back to the laboratory we've grown so fond of...
Blast from the past
What, that's my device! What's going on, Balan?!
Never again shall you try to enslave me with your horrible contraptions!
First priority is getting out of here! ...I think.
Get out of my way!
Celsius! I promise, we mean you no harm!
No harm?! Your machine dominates my will and forces me into slavery. That's not harm?
How many times must humanity repeat this? We spirits are not tools for the convenience of humankind!
Mary... I believe you owe us an explanation.
But... What else was I supposed to do in this circumstance? We're at a dead end. Experiments on Great Spirits are the only way forward! Dr. Mathis said so himself! And well... It thought that was his device, I would be able to control it.
And so you used it with the Celsius fossil?
Without discussing your plan with anyone? What were you thinking?
I just wanted to help Jude! He's been so upset over our lack of progress. I just wanted to do something to help.
But doing something rash only makes things worse, you know. One small miscalculation could lead to disaster. It may already have, now that the Great Spirit Celsius is on the loose.
Balan, we need to terminate all of our experiments involving that device.
What Celsius said really got to you, huh? About being enslaved, and having her will dominated?
There must be a defect in my device. Celsius seemed like she was in agony. It filled her with rage.
But I'm sure Jude doesn't want things to end this way, and we have to show him the way.
But you worked so hard on that thing, Jude.
If that's what you really want, Jude, we'll abide by your decision.
I ended up making a machine that exploits spirits against their will. It was never my intention, of course, but that's hardly an excuse.
I... I'm so sorry... This is all my fault!
Oh boy... Well, we've got one more character chapter before we meet with Gaius. Wonder what he'll have us do...
Update 13 alternate choices compilation