Part 20: The Man Who TriesPart XX: The Man Who Tries
This is going to be a busy update, and not an altogether pleasant one to put together. I say that as I'm officially starting work on this update, but well-aware how much trouble has gone into it. You'll see why. But never mind that. We've got a lot of work to do.
But we first have another Poker update. I finally got a really rare hand! Straight Flush, baby! Let's see if Lady Luck is truly on my side...
But our journey really begins with a skit just after the last scene, where you finally have clearance to travel to all areas of Rieze Maxia, with the addition of the Fennmont Seahaven finally being open for business. Note that it's not actually a separate location. Fennmont is the biggest town in this game, with a couple sub-areas that are separate Kitty Dispatch locations, but the Seahaven is not one of them.
There is also another skit immediately after. I chose the vastly more interesting option, about Vera's anemic love life, courtesy of her nosy twin sister. Though, the other option would have increased Elize and Leia's affection. Just as a note, there are a ton of skits coming this update.
Oh, and in one of the little voice pop-up things after Thor, Milla decided to start grabbing at Ludger's necktie to fix it. I've seen this before...
On the subject of skits, two more in Drellin. First one pops in Drellin only, but the second one with Muzet pops up regardless of town. Oh, and Muzet continues being great. No points for guessing what "direct tethering" is a euphemism for, though. R1 in the Muzet skit increases her affection.
Moving on to Xian Du (if only for the reason that is Jude's third character chapter), we have a cat we really should have picked up earlier here in the coliseum. Felines are not in the coliseum rulebook, I'm afraid. The tribes that make up Auj Oule's political backbone would never stand for such an indignity. Their loss.
But, now we get to see what's up with the good doctor.
*Actually*, we've got one small matter to attend to before we start Jude's chapter. You may be asking why this sudden reversal. All will be clear soon. Wind Stepper
So, all-in-all, this is about as basic an Elite Monster you can ask for. But trust me when I say "basic" beats the hell out of the next Elite Monster I throw down with. As his name would imply, he's very strong against Wind, but correspondingly, is weak to Earth. But again, elemental vulnerabilities aren't the best metric by which to judge a boss' beatability. Oh, and speaking of vulnerabilities, his weak points are all four of his legs, and his head.
Attack-wise, he'll mostly focus on charging attacks, which, to be fair, do considerable damage and have a very good chance of inflicting Paralysis, and kicking with his hind legs. All said, pretty predictable and you shouldn't have a terrible lot of trouble with this guy by this point in the game.
Sunburst is a pretty awesome Fire spell that is unique to this game. The caster fires a gigantic ball of fire into the sky, and shortly afterward, will drop down and inflict considerable Fire damage. Unless your dudes stay constanly airborne (and to be fair to Muzet and Milla, they do have a considerable number of skills that allow them to dance around in the air, including giving them a double jump), it's impossible to avoid damage from this thing. But, of course, Magic Guard will block it well.
Once you've got a good rhythm on him, and are comfortable with the hitbox of his attacks, he's not long for this world. Let's see what my dudes think...
Buck up, ya bunch of whiners. It wasn't that hard, and I nearly beat 2 minutes from start to finish, on Hard! Anyway, that's a nice EXP haul I got there, thanks to a Small Spicy Chicken Roll that I got from Thor. Oh, and the debt payment this time is 200,000, and I'm sitting on 138k (Racer is worth 60k), before turning in this job. This'll be cake.
Anyway, NOW we're headed to Xian Du.
A forced job
The aerial arena is as lively as ever. I just can't get excited about it, though. This sort of thing has always been lost on me.
This timeline's Ludger is considerate toward Jude, an ode to their shared Protagonist Status. Oh Jude, if only you knew what the other Ludger would say. Myself? I'd probably lean toward R1 personally. There's just something about the thrill of battle that's hard to describe, but maybe it doesn't apply to watching it.
Nice to know you're not questioning my manliness or anything.
A buzz on his phone, and...
Hidey-ho! Nova here! Got a line on a monster-eradication job. You want it? Don't answer, I don't care! You're taking it! It's actually kind of a big deal. There've been civilian casualties and everything! So go get 'em, tiger. And don't feel obligated to thank me for the hookup, although I wouldn't turn down flowers or a free lunch! Anyway, no time for that now! You need to get your butts to Labari Hollow by, like, yesterday. Good luck!
I'm guessing that was Nova. Mind if I tag along?
What ABOUT Celsius? It has been a while since we heard from her. We'll raise Jude's affection with a question he clearly cares a lot about the answer to.
We've been looking everywhere since she vanished, but still no leads. I'm tired of twiddling my thumbs. I want to get out and do something.
I approve. A little action is good for you. I'll lend a hand, too. It's a lovely day to kill monsters.
Aren't they all? Well, before we hit the trails again, we have a cat to nab. In a somewhat special location.
After crossing Xian Du's bridge, head up some stairs and to the left, to this elevator. After crossing a balcony...
If I remember this subplot of Xillia right, and admittedly I'm a bit foggy on the details after half a decade of not playing it, I believe this room was where Alvin's mom previously lived before she died. Yurgen's wife Isla has moved in instead, but she's not with child in this world, unlike the one fractured dimension when we destroyed those divergence catalyst rocks.
That's neat and all, but why exactly are we here?
There's the reason. Harry here is disturbing Isla's rest. Thankfully, she's recovering well, thanks to Yurgen getting involved with Elympios and making money together with Alvin. I...don't think we need to fill the handmaid in with the details.
'cause we've got work to do. The Royal Hunting Grounds are completely unmemorable, except for some bizarre crabs that are basically invulnerable to everything except Fire, and sometimes not even then... It's complicated, and they're not worth the time.
What is worth the time is this kitty, hidden in the third area of this area. We're making real good progress.
As soon as we arrive, another Jude-centric skit. Although I would enjoy teasing him about turning his spyrite research into writing a love letter (we have no evidence it's NOT, to be fair), choosing L1 got me more affection points for Jude, and him admiring Elympion train schedules, so it was worth it.
Moving on, the Libari Hollow is a somewhat intricate dungeon (this is where the party discovered the truth about Teepo in the first game), where you'll have to cross bridges and wind in and out of small passages to make your way to the bottom. You don't actually have to go to the very bottom to complete Jude's chapter here, but we're going to have to get right on the border.
Passages like this. You'll wind your way down fast enough, but don't go too fast...
After crossing a second wooden bridge, you'll come to one door. That door doesn't lead to anything special, but the second one, further down the path, does. Inside is a four-chambered passage, and in the top left passage (you start in the bottom left), this kitty is not doing a great job of blending in. But it's clearly very lonely. No longer.
It's pretty hard to miss this particular cat's location, as it's en route to your destination. The bottom right chamber of this area leads to the monsters we're hunting.
So this fight...it's definitely not hard, and not particularly worth commentating on, but for some reason my brain-dead allies were screwing up worse than usual. Oh well, it's not the worst thing that'll happen to me this update. That's coming up!
Anyway, I'm not going to dwell on this fight much. Let's just skip right ahead...
I almost bought the farm, and without a single Heart Herb to show for it. Talk about tragic!
You were looking for Heart Herbs? You were in the wrong place for that. You're better off searching closer to the Mon Highlands.
You're kidding! I must've taken the wrong path from Xian Du. No wonder everything looked so unfamiliar. Wait, don't I know you? You're Dr. Jude Mathis, aren't you?
Uh... Yeah, that's me.
I knew it! My husband is taking part in one of the clinical trials of your new spyrite device!
Oh, I had no idea. Please tell him I'm thankful for his help.
Never mind that! Why did you cancel the trials?
The device was really helping him too. We couldn't believe it when they insisted he stop using it! My husband is strong. He'll get by without it. But we're certainly not happy about the situation. Once you get used to doing something the easy way, it's hard to go back, you know?
Ah... So the Heart Herbs are for your husband...
If you're really grateful for our participation, then why not just let us use the device again?
Nothing would make me happier, but unfortunately we discovered a defect in the device...
A defect? When will it be fixed?
Don't tell me I'll need to keep gathering herbs for the rest of my life?!
Well, we're not going to dogpile Jude here. He's plenty busy, not the least of which is helping Ludger out of a considerable jam, and it's complicated research. Best keep a cool head, particularly to win Jude's respect.
What?! How dare you! I am perfectly calm, young man!
No need to get angry with him, ma'am. I take full responsibility for stopping the clinical trials. We're doing everything we can to improve the devices. We just need a little more time. Please, will you bear with me?
Well... I suppose I can hold out for a little while longer. A lot of people are counting you, Dr. Mathis. Don't let us down.
The woman wanders off, and we're forced to decide. Surprisingly, L1 raises Jude's affection. Don't ask me.
She certainly made an impression. Guess I was a little overwhelmed. But... I'm sure lots of other people share her feelings. Anyhow, we have a lead... I can't spend time moping. If I can just find Celsius again, I think I'll have a chance at the answer. I need to get back and review all the info just one more time.
I can't give up now.
But he'll have to do that reviewing on his own time, because that's the end of that chapter. Also, right after that chapter finishes, there's a door nearby that leads a short passage with a chest with 13,000 gald in it. Always helps the pocketbook. But even after that, we're not done yet.
At the very bottom of Libari, there's this cat hidden in a box, trying in vain to escape. Fun fact: one of the girls in my avatar is named Setsuna... it's the brown-haired one. I have to say, I was really pleased after I had that avatar made by a friend. It turned out just right. Very rare when that happens, y'know.
Now then, I had other shit to do down here, namely trawling for treasure. I fought the nearby Erdas (the big turtle), but I deliberately wanted to avoid Big, Tall, and Purple that's also lurking around here. Um...
See, it went poorly, but hey. The big guy will probably get bored and wander away if I leave it alone. Of course, I didn't...
Son of a bitch! Exoplasm
Okay...okay...I promised myself I can do this...
This fight SUCKS. It sucks the big one. It's easily the hardest fight since Volt, and even if Volt is the more unfair boss, I believe Namco managed to find a checklist of terrible things to add to a boss fight for this guy. First of all, start by eating Fruit Yakisoba for this. It increases P. ATK / DEF and P. A. ATK / DEF by 25%. Trust me, you're gonna need it, and if you feel like it's cheating, remember that he started it.
If you really feel you can't do it, and I wouldn't blame you, remember that you CAN run from Elite Monsters. Rest and prepare yourself well. You're gonna damn well need it.
On the surface, he looks simple. Sure, he has some powerful attacks (this one being his most powerful, especially the final hit), he has one where he throws an electric skull at you to inflict Paralysis, and can inflict a number of status effects, but it's really nothing we haven't seen before.
Unfortunately, he's strong against all elements, and has almost 750,000 HP. Sounds like this could be a simple matter...
Which is why it's imperative you start this fight out with a full Power Combo + Level 2 Chromatus + Form Destroyer. Why? Oh, I'm just getting started with this fight.
Here's a neat infinite combo I discovered with the Chromatus: Dark Projection, Dark Projection, Azure Edge, two basic hits, repeat. It works amazingly well, and deals a TON of damage to a single target, or even a group, since Chromatus Azure Edge is awesome and can hit multiple targets in the same general radius.
And that's how it's done. That's like 40% of his health, gone in a single combo. So, why do I dread this fight so much?
Mother of god...
After, let's say, about 30 seconds into the fight, he'll use a move called Freedom Gaze, which creates two copies of himself at the cost of ~80,000 HP. That might sound like a lot, but that's out of 797,850. Okay, this is why I very highly recommended getting a highly damaging combo right at the start of this fight, when you only have one target to focus on. I would say if you can't do roughly what I did in terms of damage in your opening combo, you might as well forfeit and try again. You're really gonna need that head start.
Now, his two copies are considerably weaker than him.
The other is weak to the opposite elements, Water, Earth, and Darkness, but also strong against the base elements. Here's a thing though, and it has NOTHING to do with the difficulty of this fight. Sometimes when you're focusing on one weak target, which is the smart thing to do, the game will just randomly shift to a nearer target, even if it is decidedly NOT the one you want to fight.
It's just a *tad* bit bullshit. But that's beside the point, though. It is nearly impossible to fight this battle legit. The Chromatus will tear these guys apart, and honestly, that's how I would fight this. Play for time and hit the enemy when you're in Chromatus and you can use the above infinite combo to do a shit ton of damage to the clones and possibly destroy both of them.
I would advise, however, starting a Power Combo made up of at least a couple elements before you use the Chromatus. I would also advise targeting the original, the prime Exoplasm, if you will, because the others will get caught in the blast, and he's your real enemy, anyway.
Thankfully, the rat bastard really took it on the chin during that last Chromatus usage, and counting replacing his goons, he's now down to a little above 110,000 HP. We're not looking great, but we ain't dead yet.
The big problem with this fight is it's just really, really hard to fight this normally, like we did for say, Odin or Wind Stepper. Any time you breathe in the general direction of a target, one of these guys will rush over to stagger you, and with these guys, one stagger can easily take out a single character, just because they just pile and pile attacks upon each other. It's unbelievably frustrating.
Under 10,000, but that's what they call The Longest Yard, folks.
You're done! You're done! Now, one really cool thing about Dark Projection is that because it just teleports to a target, you can seamlessly switch from Projection'ing one guy to instantly targeting another. Good stuff.
Now, when they're down to only 1, the survivor can still use Freedom Gaze, but it doesn't create another big guy, thank Christ, but the dynamics of this fight shift significantly in your favor. The one who uses Gaze does create two clones, but they're the Really Weak Exoplasms. If they're lucky enough to survive to your next Chromatus usage, that's going to rip them to shreds real fast.
Not exactly a resounding triumph, that's for sure...but he's dead. Dead and he ain't never coming back. It took me about 3 1/2 hours to beat this guy, and the worst part is I didn't even want to fight this guy until I was a lot stronger! The messed up part is this guy appears after the Gaius or Muzet chapters, and trust me, you are nowhere NEAR powerful to fight him then. Hell, I wouldn't advise fighting this guy before level 60. He's that hard. Luckily, we punched above our weight and won...this time.
Oh, and thanks to all the artes I was doing together with Alvin, I got his third affection skit, too. Not the greatest cherry on any sundae I've ever eaten, but hey, Alvin was a sport for being such an excellent meat puppet that fight. Honestly, Jude was almost entirely useless, and Elize in his place might have made things considerably easier. I'm...not exactly willing to try and find out, though!
Anyway, in real life I staggered back to a save point to take a break after all that nonsense. I earned it. Now, though, we're headed toward Fennmont. Last time we have to take a seahaven to get somewhere.
Nice-looking place, eh? The sky over Fennmont and surrounding regions, as well as much of Rashugal, is the result of Spirit Climes. Basically, artifically changing the weather via some magic doohickey or something. Not entirely sure why, but at least it leads to nice sights like this.
We've got a lot of cats to nab between Fennmont and its two sub-locations. so let's get started right here at the seahaven. Also, of course, a character from Final Fantasy X, but count that as one really famous game I've never played, and likely never shall.
Fennmont is also where the first game began. Jude was an average ordinary medical student here at Talim Medical School (it's the building Ludger is looking at), when looking for one of his professors resulting in him heading to a secret laboratory where work on the Lance of Kresnik was being done. Milla was also headed to the same research facility, to destroy the Lance.
Things got...a little out of hand, and after the King of Rashugal deigned to designate Jude as a traitor, he and Milla fled Fennmont with Alvin's considerable help and...here we are, destroying dimensions with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. It's been quite a ride, and it's far from over.
Back in the present, there's nothing of particular interest here at the medical school. Though, we probably shouldn't have expected such a thing to *be* interesting, y'know? Also, that building far in the distance is Orda Palace, the King of Rashugal's former residence. Now it's completely open to the public.
The central plaza of the city is brimming with activity. First, we'll turn in The Exoplasm Job and get a MASSIVE 175,000 gald and 52,500 merit points. That gald reward could almost pay back our debt in one blow. Naturally, I went way over the line and will be forced to pay Nova as soon as I exit out. However, getting those points also got me to Bronze Seal, and getting to Bronze Seal opens up a TON of jobs.
Jobs from other Tales characters! Now, it's well-established that all Tales games take place in the same overarching universe, connected by the World Tree, so this is hardly implausible. The thing with Sealed weapons, though, is...
They're *really* bad. Whatever your characters are using right now, are much better than the Sealed weapons. However, in typical Tales fashion, whenever you find an abnormally weak weapon, there's a way to make them game-breakingly strong. While the true form of these Tales Weapons are not quite game-breaking, they're really, really good.
Catch is, though, you won't be unlocking their true power for a long time. A really, really long time. But they are very much worth the time investment. Every character gets two Tales Weapons (though Ludger only gets swords for his), that come with cool passive benefits and great stats. Jude here, for instance, gets Phantasia Restored and Seraphic Hearts when you finally upgrade them.
Anyway, we've got a debt collector to pay off. Going into this, I was sitting on a really pretty 396k, so yeah, I think we can swing it. Exoplasm finally does something useful with his existence. Or I suppose as it stands, its lack thereof.
The resulting skit, is, of course, from our loveless friend Vera, who has a very important message for us...
Canaan is in sight. Still, though, I don't think that last Waymarker is going to go quietly...
And, after that, we have yet another skit: Nova's Secret. Sounds juicy, and unless you were going for completion's sake, seeing every alternate choice, really like Rowen and want to raise his affection no matter the cost, or just have no soul whatsoever, you're going to want to pick R1 in this skit, raise Alvin's affection, and learn Nova's dark history.
The kind of dirt only sisters can dig up, it seems.
This feline is trying to order a drink from Fennmont's inn's bar. I doubt the management appreciates it.
In the city's big shopping mall, we find yet another. Just plowing through these jokers. There's an elevator to Ludger's right, but the guy standing next to them reports the shops upstairs are closed and we'll need to come back when our "business" is done. Our business, huh...
Anyway, at the moment I'm mostly here to get a Leather Cape so I can craft the Earth Cape Dhaos wants. Though, the Earth Cape looks nothing like Dhaos' actual cape / cloak thing.
But never you mind that. We've got Muzet's story to begin! Her's is...quite a bit different from everyone else's. You'll see why.
The playful great spirit
Why, whatever would you want to talk to me about, Ludger?
Oh, Ludger. Always the ladies' man. Not that Muzet doesn't appreciate it, mind.
Do you wish to tether with me? Hehehe. Oh my, what's a girl to do?
Grr, I don't like this lady!
Old enough to get jealous, are we? What if I let you tether with me, as well? I've never tethered with two people at once before. Sounds like fun.
True to form, Muzet does not discriminate based on gender when it comes to her tethering, or who'd she like to tether with. One of her in-battle lines when you link with her is "Oh, you flirt". Gotta love her.
Enough with your teasing.
Oh, Gaius. Is something the matter?
There is one thing I need to know. How did you return to the human realm?
I don't know. How did you?
The power to cut through space-time.
I lost the blade, but its power was mine to begin with. If it's just me alone, I can still transport myself between the spirit and human realms.
Hello again, little lady. Still as little as ever, I see.
Kids don't just grow up overnight. I thought scientists were supposed to be smart!
Ha ha ha. Not as smart as you, obviously. I'm just on my way back from the Laforte Research Center. One of the fellas there is researching communication between humans and spirits. You should go help him out if you get a chance. You're a spirit, right?
If his research pans out, humans and spirits would be able to communicate from their respective realms. I bet our buddy Jude would be pretty happy about that.
Yes... Yes indeed... Oh? Mesmerized by my beauty, are you? Very well. I'll help out.
Really? That's great news! You're kinda intimidating, so I was afraid to ask, but now I'm glad I did. Go talke to Nigel at the Laforte Research Center. He'll get everything set up. Good luck!
Well, then. Let's go see this Nigel.
His research interests me.
Then to the Laforte Research Center we go. Come along, everyone.
Thanks to the above scene, Muzet's now at level one affection, so her first skit. Though, Gaius and Muzet are both lagging considerably behind the rest of the team. The skill I got from her is HP Absorbed, which, instead of gaining back TP from basic attacks, you gain health. Actually, I opted to activate that, because the TP you gain back is...inefficient, and there's no HP-equivalent when it comes to taunting. We'll see how it shakes out in the end.
The Research Center is one of the many branches of the central plaza. I believe that grate there is the same very same Milla took to enter the sewers beneath Laforte, where her side of Xillia 1 began. That also happens to be one of the very few locations that you were able to go to in the first game, but not this one.
It's a research center, what more do you want from me? This area also had Xillia 1's first boss fight, between Jude (and later Milla), and Agria, who was hanging around. It did not end well for Agria, to be fair. There are a number of laboratories in both areas of Laforte, and they hold various goodies.
Like cats. This one is Nanaly, yet another Tales reference, an archer from Tales of Destiny 2. She's probably best known, however, as one of the members of the Tales Quartet cameo battle in Tales of the Abyss, where she fought alongside Eternia's Reid Herschel, Destiny's Philia Phillis, and Phantasia's Mint Adnade to try and stop you.
I still think Abyss' cameo battle is the best cameo fight in the series, and frankly one of the best fights in this series, period. Just an incredible battle, and if you fought it on anything less than Very Hard, you weren't fighting them at their full power. If you fought it on Normal, then what the hell is wrong with you?
Few things: one, that door with Japanese writing on the floor below me was, I believe, the door that formerly led to the Lance of Kresnik. Its last-known location? Breaking the Schism momentarily to allow Elympios to invade. The lab to the left is our destination, and the one on the right has a chest with Obsidian in it, which is good for a job that's currently on the job board. Otherwise, you can get Obsidian from Laforte Kitty Dispatch.
But now, time to see what ol' Nigel's up to.
A woman's charm
Pardon me. Where might I find Dr. Nigel?
I'm not sure if I'm allowed to share that information.
Maybe I could persuade you?
I noticed in the first scene this chapter Muzet's tiara is way off. Not quite sure how that happened, looking back.
Well, if you tell me what I want to know, I'll let you research me as long as you want.
What's wrong? Not interested in a spirit's physical form?
Several choices don't matter this chapter, and this is one of them. However, I believe I know what's on Ludger's mind...
Fade to black, and...your imagination fills in the gaps.[/i]
Oh, my, is this the sort of thing you like? You humans are daring.
N-Not at all... This is just...scientific curiosity.
Then by all means, satisfy your curiosity.
I bet you were imagining something filthy, eh?
Muzet hovers out...
Does Muzet's behavior surprise you?
Ludger speaks his mind, however...
She has never worn her true intentions on her sleeve.Spend enough time with her, however, and you'll find she has a surprisingly gentle heart.
And onto the Quag we go. It's one of the exits from Fennmont, the other being Brauner Highroad. You'll have to go back to the Talim Med School area to get to the Quag, however.
Not the most pleasant place, this. But we won't be here long, thankfully.
But we mustn't be so hasty as to pass up showing Carolina a better life. Always been fond of that name. In the Northwest region...
The unusual doctor
Are you Nigel?
The one and only. Why?
What's with the getup?
Hmm? Oh, this. I'm trying to communicate with monsters. Looks cool, huh?
Not at all...
Well, I'm sure it gets the job done. Balan asked me to help you with your research.
Oh! Are you a spirit?!
Yes. Well, obviously.
This is fantastic! And you're totally willing to cooperate? Are you sure?
Is there some reason she shouldn't be?
N-No! No, of course not! Forgive me. I'm just so thankful you're willing to cooperate with our research! I'll zip back to the Laforte Research Center and get everything ready. Come as soon as you can!
You sure this is a good idea?
We're certainly getting our exercise today, hm?
And away we go. Luckily, you can warp right to the door of Nigel's lab.
Not just any bracelet! I made it so that I could chat with monsters, but it picks up the voices of spirits instead!
So it's busted.
Hey, sometimes science is busted. You should remember that, young lady!
he just got cool, all of a sudden!
So am I supposed to wear it on my wrist?
No, not you! It's meant for humans, not spirits.
Oh really? Well then why am I even here?
When we contact the spirit realm, we'll need you to explain to them what's going on. We wouldn't want to tick them off.
Hmm... Well, I guess that makes sense.
Ludger is an enterprising lad, and willing to win Muzet's favor, so let's go with L1. R1 increases Gaius', however.
Hmm... I pray for your safety.
*Ludger puts it on...*
Anything happening Ludger?
Can you hear any spirit voices?
(Milla will be so proud of me if this works! She'll absolutely love me! I plan on doing whatever it takes to make you look up to me as your big sister!)
What did the spirits say?
Muzet is not one to let us off with no response, so...
What is that supposed to mean? C'mon, did you actually hear voices or not?
Nigel, explain what happened.
I was afraid of this. Honestly, it's just a prototype. It still needs a lot of tweaks.
Then you won't be needing us anymore. C'mon, let's head back.
Wait! There's one thing I forgot to tell you!
Why didn't you just tell us that in the first place?
If you try to remove the Spirit Chat Yakkety Strap 2000, you'll die. The bracelet will detach once the calculatrics run their course. So don't futz with it.
That's a nasty device to be stuck with.
I'm terribly sorry, Ludger. This predicament is all my fault I'm afraid. (Yank that little gizmo off and he dies? No way!)
Regardless of who's to blame, I think we can all agree to abandon this foolhardy idea.
Ludger's going to need a break after all that silliness. See you next time...
Alternate choice compilation