Part 14: The Man Who RulesPart XIV: The Man Who Rules
Our final character chapter (for now, of course) brings us to Marksburg, to start Rowen's story.
Ludger, do you know why Marksburg was built?
While neither answer is wrong, I'm thinking Rowen's thinking more R1 than the opposite.
Correct. Although it was meant to do more than just physically link the two nations. This city serves as a figurative bridge as well, linking cultures and ideologies. You could say that Marksburg is the beginning of a new era of international relations.
What're you talking about?
Oh, nothing, just some recent history.
Can I join in? I don't want to mess up the next pop quiz!
Of course you can, Elize. You're my star pupil, after all.
This chapter, much like Jude's, has a bunch of chances to raise Rowen's affection, which is what R1 does for this choice. However, I went with L1, because we need more information on their relationship.
Oh, I wouldn't presume to call myself that. I'm simply trying to ensure the young miss doesn't fall behind.
Rowen is always giving us pop quizzes!
What's our next quiz question, Mr. Ilbert?
I bet it's about recent Elympios history!
Fine, then. Here's your question: Who uttered the famous quote that begins with... "May joys from afar begat joys close to the hearth." It's a saying that has made a deep impression on me.
Elize is saved by the bell, however. The bell that is Ludger's ringtone.
DODA, here. We've detected a new fractured dimension. The rift is in Marksburg. Please check the coordinates.
More work perhaps?
Can you handle this yourself?
The relationship between the two nations would be the least of our concerns if we ignored the fractured dimensions.
I couldn't study anymore, either.
Very well then. Ludger, we will be accompanying you.
We'll show him what Rieze Maxians are made of!
Hey! How'd you like it if I tugged your head?
It doesn't hurt. You're just her talking dummy.
I am not a dummy, dummy!
Man, Elle does not like Teepo. I really can't imagine why... But anyway, I just thought of this, but each character has a "partner" character for their chapters. Jude / Milla, Alvin / Leia, Rowen / Elize, which is fine, but I kinda wish the partner characters changed more often. For example, Alvin and Leia really didn't have much interaction at all, while Elize has a pretty complicated relationship with Alvin that I felt could have been fleshed out a bit more in this game.
Oh well, just gonna have to take what we can get. Anyway, onto the alternate history. The catalyst is located in Marksburg, so that's where we're landing.
You got our votes!
Hey, I recognize her.
Chancellor Marcia of Elympios.
Hey! It's not everyday you get to see a chancellor.
She seems to be a politician in this dimension as well.
It's an honor to meet you, Chancellor! Please, I insist you accept these Elympion treats.
I am most grateful for the sentiment, but I'm afraid I can't.
Oh, I insist, Chancellor! Nothing like some good food to keep your mind sharp. Let's show those Rieze Maxians what we're made of!
Hear, hear! It's time to let 'em know who's really on top!
Unlike Ludger (and evidently Rowen, since R1 raises his affection), I don't see much need in mocking those who are expressing pride in their country's fruit output. It's a team mentality, granted, but no need to mock them for it. It's like your favorite sports team. Gotta support the team, after all.
However, if we are talking about team mentality, I do feel the need to mock anyone who insults the Denver Broncos. I take that shit very seriously.
I hate this kind of stuff. Why can't we all just get along?
Things aren't that simple, especially when you're dealing with entire nations of people. I wonder how she'll handle this.
In that case, you would honor me by enjoying such fine produce with your own family.
A-Are you sure?
Thank you for your support, but it is not just Elympios that must prosper. I seek widespread joy for all.
"Joys begat from misfortunes from afar bring the brittlest of blessings. Widespread joy is a greater joy for all."
"May joys from afar beget joys close to the hearth, and carry those joys far afield. For the act of spreading joy is the greatest joy of all."
Oh! It just came to me who said that! It was Bradbury! The famous Elympion philosopher! I'm right, right?
Correct. Very well done, Elize.
You don't find Bradbury to be...too much of a bleeding-heart?
Oh, very much so. But maintaining compassion in a harsh world may be the ultimate test of fortitude. Incidentally, "The Science of Happiness" is my favorite of Bradbury's works.
Ah, yes. The source of that quote.
What a cute kitty!
He's my dearest friend. Come, Sonny. Let's go home.
It was an honor to speak with you.
Ludger, did you see that?!
Apparently Chancellor Marcia's "dearest friend" is the divergence catalyst in this dimension.
After that kitty!
They may be bound for a train. Let's follow them to the station.
And we did just that...
Ah, another train location. Let's hope it doesn't go as badly as last time, eh Ludger? There's also a skit that pops up just as soon as the location pop-up goes away. Much like Consulting detective Holmes, an easy trick to remember instances where you can raise Rowen's affection is that he's quite receptive to flattery.
Hey, he opened the door to the comparison with the line "my dear Ludger" in this skit. And yes, I'm pretty sure everyone knows Holmes never used the phrase "Elementary, my dear Watson" in any of the original 56 short stories or the 4 longer stories. Last year I was fortunate enough to find the time to read the entire Holmes canon. Good times.
Chatting with some of the passengers yields a bit of insight on the Marcia of this world (she's the Chancellor of Elympios in the prime dimension, as well), as well as some other random tidbits, such as animals speaking human words. Huh. After reaching the end of the car...
The unfortunate CATalyst
It stopped me dead in my tracks! His eyes were so wise... Yet I couldn't help but notice he had an air of loneliness about him, too.
? Why Marcia, I don't recall you ever gushing this much about another human. I always knew I could never be enough for you.
Oh, rubbish. Don't talk like that. I can't rely on others. People are so selfish. That's why I'm so glad I have you.
Anyhow, I have to go. Your outline is just perfect for my next speech As always, I can't thank you enough for your counsel.
? Thank you. And good luck.
Huh, I thought there weren't any cats in fractured dimensions. Could be trouble for people who didn't notice it when running past...x
So this is the divergence catalyst.
Even though cats are just the worst, it's quite another matter to stab them with a lance to destroy a gear in them... Rowen is apparently a cat person, too.
The thought troubles me as well, and I'm not even a cat person. Nevertheless...
Go ahead, ruin my quip about R1 raising your affection, why don't you.
You've been eavesdropping on us, haven't you?
How is this possible?
Wait just a minute!
How come you can talk?!
An ironic question coming from a toy, don't you think? You of all things should know the answer.
Be careful everyone.
I'm afraid that's not going to happen.
This ferocious furball (there's only so many cat puns out there. Be merciful) is crazy agile. He will frequently sidestep 2-3 times in a row before an actual attack. It's hard to keep up with him for that reason alone. His attacks also come out extremely quickly, which makes it paramount you keep on the offense as much as possible.
His weaknesses are to Light and Darkness, so yet my Prometheus blades are coming in handy. After a disappointing start, they've quite proven their worth so far.
Whenever a character has a green circle with a + in it, that means said character is immune to negative status effects as long as it's up (it's a timed effect). The Syrup Bottle item can grant this buff to a single character, whereas Elize can give to the entire party this status with Dispel, which is used for removing magical status effects normally only to one party member. With Teepo supporting her spirit artes, this applies to the entire party.
Unless I'm mistaken, if Teepo is supporting Elize's martial artes, then Dispel will only apply to a single target, but for a longer period of time.
For some reason, his attacks got a lot more powerful midway into the fight. Not too sure what happened. He also can annoyingly stun lock you with his attack where he gets up on his hind legs and swipes at you on the ground. This attack can knock you to the ground, whereupon he can do it again if he wants. Little more than a few shades of Volt, here.
But after rallying my party, I managed to counterattack with a full Power Combo and taught the evil cat a lesson. We did what had to be done.
Please, I ask of you... When I am gone, promise that you'll be there for her. Please do this for me.
Perhaps the cat experienced some sort of enhanced cognitive capacity. This sort of thing can happen during booster experiments on animals, for example.
A booster could do that?
Maybe Rollo can talk?
I'm more concerned about something else he said.
Rowen seems to like this Marcia fellow, so...
I have met the woman several times over the last year. And I did sense a certain loneliness about her. It is quite possible that the Marcia of our dimension is a similar situation.
True. The prime dimension and fractured dimensions are usually kinda similar.
If the prime Marcia feels the same her fracture counterpart....then her dream for the future seems quite similar to ours.
That would be great news!
Perhaps this knowledge will grant us the opportunity to open a dialogue with her.
Oh, you flatter me. I'm just doing what anyone else would do. After all, the future of millions hangs in the balance. Until Marksburg can fulfill every facet of its purpose as a bridge between the two realms...this old fogey will still have some work to do.
Speaking of old fogeys...we have Old Man Gaius to meet in Trigleph, don't we?
Ah, one more skit, of course. L1 raises Alvin's affection, but R1 will increase Elize's. Seems Elize might have a thing for the color pink...
Ah yes, where else would we find an incognito royal than in the middle of a crowd of his adoring fans?
To prove oneself
Oh, hey, Erston. Good news. It looks like your friends finally arrived.
Thanks for the info. Let me know if you hear anything else.
Maybe next time, we can chat over drinks.
Sure. First round's on me.
I should've guessed that Gaius was the cause of that hubbub! Oh, right-- I was just showing Milla around. She wanted to learn more about Elympios.
You people can't do anything without spyrix...
You have fun mingling with the locals, Gaius?
Yes. Elympions are really no different from we Rieze Maxians, once you get to know them.
So, if I may, I would like to briefly introduce Gaius before we make this particular choice. Gaius is a guy who takes himself real serious, and provides the classic "Straight man" in comedy bits in this game (not so much in the first, when he served as the primary antagonist and you rarely got to see him outside of highly charged situations).
He does have a dry sense of humor, and acknowledges and appreciates jokes even when they're at his expense, but when he's serious, absolutely nothing can shake him from his present course. It was this that set him and Jude's group on a collision course in the first game, and he brings that same resolve to Ludger's predicament. He doesn't have a particular lot of time for any one person, save for his sister who he protects without question, as basically his sight is always facing toward the future. As king, he believes the strength and resolve to lead his people are all that matters. As such, even the highly tribalized people of Auj Oule in particular are highly loyal to him and view him as something worthy of their unquestioned fealty.
However, for this choice, as I said, he's not such a wet blanket he doesn't appreciate humor every now and then. This also raises Leia's affection.
Heh...what a very Elympion way of thinking. You really get a sense of people when you stop to talk with them.
Yeah, I hear you.
Rowen brought me up to speed with what's been happening. So, you're the former Maxwell.
And you're some sort of big-shot, is that it?
The biggest shot. He's a king, for cryin' out loud.
Whoop-de-do. I'm the Lord of Spirits. Beat that.
I must admit... I'm fascinated. So these fractured dimensions undoubtedly do exist.
But, I digress... Ludger... I need to know if you're truly worthy of carrying the fate of the world on your shoulders.
Seems like he's in Serious Mode now. Best not to upset him, and see what he thinks if the appropriate punishment if he doesn't approve of us.
Seems fair enough.
Dying isn't allowed!
How exactly do you want him to prove it?
Bring me into a fractured dimension...so I might see his actions for myself.
Vera here. We've detected a new fractured dimension. The rift is in Kanbalar. Please depart for it immediately.
Heh... Perfect timing.
I'll come, too. I want to watch you end a world.
You know, Ludger's been doing a pretty good job out there...
I hope you're right.
That would completely blow my cover.
Oh, no problem. I won't run it until after you finish your work.
Finishing it could take years.
No worries. I can wait.
In that case, do whatever you deem fit.
Awesome! Thank you! This'll be the story of a lifetime! But hold on. If you just wanted to talk to Ludger, why didn't you just call him on his GHS? I can give you his number if you don't have it.
No thanks. Rowen was kind enough to program this, but...
Lemme guess. Technology's not exactly your thing?
It's time to show me around one of those fractured dimensions.
Best story ever!
Of course, remember to equip your new recruits with skills. Also check their Extractors, to make sure they're making the most of the Elemental Ores you're gathering.
Before we begin our trip to the snowy capital of Rieze Maxia, just gotta check Gaius' artes line-up so it's something I'm comfortable with. My first playthrough, I basically played as Gaius as much as I possibly could after he joined, and you'll soon see why Gaius is so damn awesome in battle.
Also, check that artes usage. Gaius' Demon Fang is one of the most cost-effective artes in the game. You think any Tales hero's Demon Fangs were impressive? They've got NOTHING on Gaius.
First of all, his weapon is his katana, as players of the first game will well recall. This particular choice of weapon gives him a really long reach both toward the enemy and around him (at least in front of him). Milla and Ludger's swords, for example, are about half as short as Gaius'. But because it's a longsword, I wouldn't just spam X to attack. You have to attack very deliberately to get the most out of his swings.
Second of all, his rockin' duds. Gaius is a fierce proponent of my theorem that "If you can't fight with style, you have no business fighting at all". When it came to the biggest fight of his life, against all of Jude's group at once alongside Muzet at the end of Tales of Xillia, Gaius really brought out his fashion sense. And yes, this is Gaius as he appeared at the end of the first game, as the final boss. Because he's wearing this particular costume, the regular battle music even changes to Xilla's final boss theme.
Oh yeah, and I got a couple of skits on the way to Kanbalar, including Gaius' first affection skit. That sure was fast.
I just love Elle's girlish fascination with meeting an actual king. She's very well-read in fairy tales, y'know. That line got a laugh out of Gaius, I'll have the record reflect.
Of course, as the Xillia world's most eligible bachelor, Gaius is not above taking an interest in the female body. He's a complicated fellow.
But of course, such a man as Gaius can became intensely serious at the drop of a hat. Milla was accusing him of being the stalker-type because Gaius was talking about her hair, and how it differed from the Prime Milla. The King has no time for that shit.
Back to battle. Gaius' Calamity Stance is one of the very best artes in the entire game. No exaggeration whatsoever on that front, and why Gaius one of the best characters. When you activate Calamity Stance, Gaius will throw up a defensive stance and a small circle will shoot out of him. This indicates how long the counterattacking stance is active.
If an enemy attacks Gaius during that period, or begins any attack, Gaius will snap out of the stance, sidestep with a slash, then slash again with a wider swing. While not 100% guaranteed, there is a very good chance this second slash will insta-kill a generic foe, even several at once, like he did for this bunch.
Let me repeat: Gaius has a very easy and practical use arte that can insta-kill potentially mobs of dangerous foes. This is NOT a glitch, it is 100% something Namco intended for Gaius to be able to do, that no other character can. And it's not like I recorded some super rare happenstance here. Calamity Stance insta-kills more often than not, actually. I'd say, roughly, about an 80% chance of the insta-kill. It is amazing how overpowered this arte is, but it's just so perfect for Gaius. Do note it's quite a bit weaker against bosses, since obviously, you can't insta-kill them. The second slash will just knock a boss away.
I mean, if you're gonna have the final boss be playable in the sequel, you DAMN well better make him awesome, especially a game with a great final boss like Tales of Xillia. Technically, bosses, but Gaius was a one-man army. Muzet only backed him up, and I'm willing to bet 9 times out of 10 the player would defeat Muzet before Gaius. Namco-Bandai has succeeded amazingly on that front. Gaius has three big weaknesses:
1. He's pretty slow. Not quite Guns Ludger slow, but he's pretty far down there.
2. He eats through TP like crazy to get good combos going. His TP is a fair bit lower than other party members, so you really have to watch his usage. However, this becomes less of an issue later in the game.
3. Especially early on, you can't get really good combos with Gaius going. Of his artes right now, he only has Savage Beckoning (Fire) and Eradication Sweep (also Light). He'll get Soaring Demon Fang for me shortly, which is Wind-elemental and Hydra Strike, which is Strike, but he can't naturally hit Darkness, Water, or Gun. However, you can weapons switch mid-combo to hit new elements.
Also, as a note about elements, the innate element of an attack overrides any passive elements. For example, Hammer Toss is a Fire-element attack, and even with a Darkness-based hammer, it still counts as a Fire attack first.
Shortly, Gaius will get a fire-based sword, which will change his normal attack element from Slash to Fire. He can still use an arte like Demon Fang, which will always be a Slash attack, regardless of the element Gaius of the katana Gaius is using, because it is marked as such on the artes menu.
Gaius' special skill is Retribution. When Gaius blocks an enemy's attacks (even applies to spells if you Magic Guard them), his sword will glow blue (ignore the fact it's glowing red right now, I shall explain). When that happens, do a forward dash and Gaius knee his enemy and then deliver a mighty slash upwards.
If you perfectly guard an enemy's attack, Gaius' sword will glow red and Retribution will deal considerably more damage. With normal Retribution, you can just hold down block and get the glow, but red requires you to guard basically right as a foe attacks. And, if you don't do the forward step, you'll lose the Retribution.
Gaius' support skill is Chivalry. It's kind of hard to describe, and the game doesn't do a great job of explaining it, but basically if Gaius is your partner, and he's forced to protect you, instead of the standard Protection where he just protects you from a combo, he'll imbue you with all three Power Charges instantly (does not include AC, however). Now, we only have Power Charge 1 and 2. 3, which we won't have for a bit, allows your next attack, whatever it is, as long as it is not blocked, to stagger your enemy. Unbelievably helpful, as you might imagine, and Chivalry is the only way you can get it at this point in the game.
Time to see what's so "fractured" about this dimension...
Feeling in the air
Waymarker response detected. Commence retrieval.
There's a Waymarker here!
What do we do?
First we try to find the thing that sticks out the most from the prime dimension. That's usually the catalyst.
Isn't this your hometown? Notice anything unusual?
It's as if there's a pall in the air.
Well, the first step in reporting is to ask around!
There's a couple skits to be had after the above scene, but it's time to figure out what exactly is going on here. Gaius' instincts are top-notch, so something is off.
One of the skits reveals Gaius has his own Fortress of Solitude. Gaius is like a combination of Superman AND Batman at this point. Truly formidable.
Before moving on, I decided to make a new blade for Gaius to help a bit with his elemental problems, since Savage Beckoning is hard to combo with. Thankfully, you can buy the elemental rings, including the Garnet of course, from accessory shops.
Talking to a few people reveals the Gaius of this world followed quite a different path...
More ominously, it seems ol' Wingul has assumed the throne. Wingul was a good subordinate, undyingly loyal to his liege, but it seems he's just not cut out for kingship, as the citizens are being oppressively lorded over by their king, and all live in fear of him. Not good...
Outside of Castle Gaius, we have a couple of bothersome sentries in the way.
Li Ying, of course, is Wingul's real name.
The passive approach isn't going to do anything here, and who cares if we cause trouble? This world has not long to live. It also raises Leia's affection for whatever reason.
Also, before I took this screenshot I didn't even notice both choices are checked. Not entirely sure how that happened...
Long story short, it went poorly for them. Also, one really good thing about Gaius' Demon Fang is that it can lift downed enemies back into a combo. A bit more handy than using Focus Attacks to do the same, although there are a few normal artes that can do the same. Demon Fang is just Gaius' bread and butter arte, especially since it can pierce through a target.
Jeez, Castle Gaius is...there's no one here. Looks like Wingul really is a recluse in this world. I think we're going to invite ourselves into the audience chamber. Doesn't seem like anyone will mind.
What might have been
It wasn't supposed to be like this... This is wrong... Why do you vex me so?! Huh? Who are you people?
Hmph... More would-be assassins vying for my head. Rest assured. No guards shall fly to my rescue. I'm a lonely king who deserves to die. But first, I will make you rue the moment you dared to set foot in my throne room!
What the heck?!
Jeez...not giving us much choice here, are ya Wingul? Still, the way he was talking, I guess Gaius thinks some sort of reason could be reached here. However, Ludger is a man of action.
Stay your hand. Give us a moment. (Peace, Li Ying.)
(You dare to assume such an impudent tone! You must have a death-wish! Haven't you the slightest idea who I am?!)
(I would pose the same question to you, Li Ying.)
(Erston)?) Erston! You came back! Please, Erston, try to forgive me
Wingul changes back to his normal black-haired look for this. He goes crazy like that whenever he's getting ready to fight. Also, since they start speaking English after Wingul transforms back, I should note that, according to Wikipedia at the very least, the language Gaius and Wingul were using to talk was the Melnics language from Tales of Eternia. Ooookay.
I mean, that's a pretty cool detail, but who the hell would actually notice that?
Must you make me say it? It started when you began talking about abdicating the throne and abandoning your people.
Why would Gaius do that?!
Karla was fading. You wanted to be with her at the end.
Karla... Her illness..
Gaius' little sister.
I know that once you make a decision, you never waver in it. So I begged Karla to help you refocus your attention on your kingly duties. She agreed to help, but I-I never thought that she would...
To prevent me from going through with abdicating, she took her own life.
I never dreamed that would happen! You must believe me! Please!
Her death broke this world's Gaius, and he left the public eye forever.
What? You're not Erston!
I'm not the Erston you know, that much is true. But believe me. I understand how he must have felt.
Bite your tongue! Erston Outway was my only true friend! You could never understand him!
Clearly, he didn't feel the same about me!
He's the catalyst!
Ludger didn't even need to help this time.
Are you really up for this, Gaius?
This brutality is what it takes to destroy a world, right? How can I presume to judge Ludger without first having walked a mile in his shoes?
So Wingul here's main thing is he's extremely fast, and attacks as quickly. While none of his blows are particularly powerful (save for his Mystic Arte, and yes, he can hit you with one), they do very quickly add up, making him worthy of your respect as an enemy. However, weakness-wise, he's vulnerable to Slash damage, so Gaius is a good choice as your main playable character here.
This is Chivalry in-action, by the by. It's kinda strange to get it to activate, which is why I'm very glad it popped up here. Also, reminder that Demon Fang counts as a Slash attack, and hits multiple times and at range. It's a very good arte to stagger Wingul on.
Gaius also gets an arte called Chakra Circle where he pauses for a moment and throws out a wave of energy, restoring quite a bit of HP to anyone in radius. Comes out very quickly, and while it doesn't do any damage (unlike Guardian Field or Hammer Ludger's Sanctuary), it's much better than nothing, and he'll also get an arte down the line that can revive from KO anyone in a similar radius, but that requires a short charge.
Wingul's Mystic Arte looks cool, but the blast radius is unimpressive. Basically, as long as you're a fair bit away from the victim, characters that are thus will not take any damage. Group Mystic Artes are considerably more dangerous.
Overall, Wingul's not too tough, and is a good boss to introduce Gaius with. Welcome to the wild world of King of Rieze Maxia ass-kicking. You're gonna be here for a while.
To sit upon that throne means embracing the needs of the many, and forsaking the needs of the one. To rule is to accept a lonely life. A king must discard his own sense of self.
It was too much for me.
Indeed. Ludger, I leave the rest to you.
Well...certainly Gaius' affection will be raised by choosing L1, and indeed it does, but I want to learn more about Gaius' resolve. Turning this little trial back on him.
Have you already forgotten that my reason for coming was to judge you?
Farewell, Li Ying.
Ah, another Waymarker. Still, we're still at 1, since Julius has Maxwell's Temporal Blade...
A king's help
I, uh, hey! You did pretty good there.
Good job back there. So that was a fractured dimension. It's true. I spent many sleepless nights wondering whether I should abdicate the throne for Karla's sake. But, when it was all said and done, I chose to remain king. Do you know why?
Well, Gaius sure is strong, but... I mean, you know Gaius has to go to enjoy being king, so keep doing it for so long / against so many hazards, both great and small.
Heh heh... Spoken like a true Elympion. But, I suppose you are right, in a way. I cherish my contact with people. It's a source of great personal strength. I suppose that a king's duty to offer guidance to his people is what appealed to me about leadership in the first place. Mark my words, Ludger. There's a lesson for you in this. Destroying worlds requires a sense of detachment, one that will corrode the strongest souls. If you continue to fight on your own, the isolation will consume you someday.
Isolation means being alone, right? So there's no problem! Because Ludger's got all of us!
That's big talk from a little girl.
Talking is my speci-ELLE-ity!
You know, Gaius... They say "the more the merrier" about a lot of things including support.
Heh... I suppose you're right. Feel free to call on me if you ever need help. Or, if you just feel like grabbing a drink.
Whoa, nicely done, Ludger! It's not every day you become drinking buddies with a king.
You picking up the tab?
Hmph... Guess you're not that close of a buddy.
Man... I'll be an old lady before I can finally publish this story about Gaius.
This line starts a bonus scene, just like the first scene of this chapter.
Apparently I just don't have a very Leia-like mindset, since L1 raises her affection but I chose the opposite.
Maybe you don't know this about him...but I have it on pretty good authority that if you cross Gaius and he finds out...he'll cross you right out of existence!
Not...impossible for a guy like Gaius, if he sets his mind to it. In any case, the Waymarker we acquired was the Long Dau's Dust, which was mentioned as one of the recipes in an inn in Tales of Zesitira. Zesty, much like basically all other Tales games, references previous games a LOT with items and accessories and such, and simply other random stuff like that. In a more direct connection, there's a dusty old Teepo doll you can find in a market in one of the late-game towns.
Incidentally, that's one reason I really like the Tales series. All Tales games, great and small (for the most part) are usually referenced in some capacity in the later games. For example, very few people would say Tales of Legendia is their favorite Tales, even though I thought it was a perfectly fine game that would be considerably improved with a remake. Even in this game, which is vastly more popular, Legendia is acknowledged. There're connections everywhere in this series.
Moving on, Nova informs us of yet another seahaven opening up. The Lakutam Seahaven leads to the Xian Du / Kanbalar area of Rieze Maxia, so we've got a big new chunk of land to hit the trails on for the remainder of this chapter.
Which, hm... Turns out that chapter was a bit longer in the word count than I anticipated. I guess all my Gaius Gushing spiked quite a bit, but to be fair, Rowen's first chapter was not an insubstantial part of that. Well, we'll have a clean slate to start the post-story Chapter 8 stuff next time.
Update 14 alternate choices compilation