Part 22: The Woman Who ReturnsPart XXII: The Woman Who Returns
Uhhh...wasn't this Exodus' operation in the first place? Who the hell wasted these guys? Some of the survivors mutter about a man in red attacking them, but for all we know they're making excuses. Hey, maybe Marcia's bodyguards were worth a damn. In the back left corner (from where I currently am), there are a couple chests with a Wind Crest and a Reverse Doll in them.
Technically, the Crest is superior to Milla's Elemental Ribbon in terms of raw stats, but the elemental protection the Ribbon gives here is more advantageous than the minor stat gain the Crest resulted in. Equip responsibly, folks.
Dance of a Great Spirit
Oh man, is this awkward.
Rideaux... Why are you doing this?!
He's a Chromatus user, too?!
Rideaux proceeds to get himself in a 1 vs. 4 fight, and holds his own pretty damn well.
After knocking Milla to the ground...
What the hell are you talking about?
Spirius knows the calculatrics arte for summoning Maxwell.
Yeah right, Rideaux. And I'm the King of Rieze Maxia.
Would you still think I was bluffing if I said Spirius was founded by Kresnik, the first human ever to summon Maxwell? If only the arte weren't so messy. First of all, you need to have a living circuit.
Rideaux pulls an Albert Wesker and sends Jude and Alvin flying across the room with the palms of his hands...
Just prior to this, Milla took a swipe at Rideaux, but, continuing the theatrics, he knocked it away and backflipped.
There's no need for you to feign anger, Jude Mathis. You miss Maxwell, don't you? Your beloved wandering spirit.
I see you're quite a hit with the kids, phony.
She's no phony! Milla is... Milla!
Damn... This is not good, but we can't abandon Milla, not now.
Just let me go! He'll kill Elle!
Don't give up, Milla! No matter what.
Isn't that rich. You're the one who needs to give up.
Goddammit! Still, she can't give up...not now.
I'm sorry. I'm gonna have to leave the rest to you.
Please! Look after Elle!
How nice of you to join us, Milla Maxwell!
Our...old friend goes over to Elle, who is still holding Alt Milla's sword...
May I borrow that sword from you?
How nice of you to summon me here.
Milla gives us a brief demonstration of The Four...
So that's how it is. Looks like someone woke up on the wrong side of the abyss!
Ah this fight. One of my favorite fights in the game, if only because we finally have the one, the only, the original, Milla Maxwell tagging in for us. In addition to that, it's genuinely a fun, chaotic boss fight with a ton of action and a great battle song.
So, what's different about Original Milla? Well, she has the power of Efreet, Undine, Sylph, and Gnome at her disposal. All except Undine are straight elemental-damage dealing moves, in their expected categories. Undine is a bit different. It's Milla's healing move (all characters have at least one), and as well as removing negative status effects from any characters in the blast radius around Milla. It's basically Jude's Healer and Restore in a single move, but beware the AI will drain through Milla's TP really fast. The sooner you can get TP-reducing accessories, give them to Milla.
In addition, she also has access to her Mystic Arte. Since it very much relies on the power of The Four, Alt Milla never got it. However, the only way to use it in this fight is if you lose this fight, and are sent back to the menu screen, where you can set it. However, don't let it come to this. Give it your all, for Alt Milla's sake.
Also, Rideaux has a bunch of his goons along for this fight. The goons themselves are very much more annoying than they are deadly, but they can throw out healing items (as can a few other human enemies), so you'll want to take them out as soon as possible, hopefully while the AI is keeping Rideaux and his Fauxmatus busy.
Speaking of the big man, if you chose to fight him way back in Nia Khera, you should have an idea how Rideaux fights. He's vulnerable to a lot of elements, and has a wide variety of close and long-range melee artes, though all of his moves generally have a longer reach here. A few are upgraded, and he does have access to his Mystic Arte, though evidently he did not feel the situation appropriate to use his not-so-trump card right now. His loss.
One arte that is significantly changed is Dancing Bayonet. It sends out the four magical buzzsaws like normal, but then they change into tornadoes. It's still simple enough to dodge them.
Overall, aside from Rideaux's relative unpredictability, he still doesn't have a whole lot of health or defense, and his elemental weaknesses will be his undoing. Good fight to introduce our old friend with.
I hope you'll go after the Waymarker with a similar sense of fervor.
He starts slowly walking backwards, and...
Oh no. After all that crap, we're not finished here. Well, maybe you are.
Yet they always do when someone says that.
Oh, forget it, then. I'm sure we'll meet again.
Fade to black for classy transition to Marksburg...
You have my thanks. You're here from Spirius, right?
But Ludger doesn't want to shake hands... Could be employment trouble coming up in his future.
Hey Ludger. Where's Milla?
The other one...is gone.
It's really you.
I searched everywhere for you!
Sorry, Muzet. I didn't mean to worry you. Any of you.
Aw, I wasn't worried!
We knew you'd be okay.
It's good to see you again.
Gaius is not a man to let old grudges rule his life. Remember, the last time they met, they were mortal enemies.
I wasn't worried about you! There's another Milla, y'know! And I'm worried about her!
...She needs us right now. As you can guess, this raises her affection, as well as the two "Hold on to Milla" choices earlier raised her affection. Couldn't break the drama, you understand.
She's supposed to cook for me. She promised.
What happened here?
Fade to black...
Y'know, I wonder what game started this whole "Fade to black in the middle of a conversation implies exposition delivered to those not present for events described" first started. Personally I first noticed it during my first Tales of the Abyss playthrough (of...many, to be fair. I've probably spent somewhere around 300-350 hours playing that game, which is actually not far behind the hours I've put into this game.
For the record, I crossed the 300 hour threshold right before I got the pre-Thor cutscene at Lake Epsilla a couple updates ago.
I can't believe it.
It's a brave thing she did.
Because of her and her selflessness, we can proceed with ratifying the peace accord.
King Gaius. Prime Minister Rowen. For foiling this assassination attempt, you have my most sincere thanks.
You'd have done the same.
Given what's occurred, perhaps you'd like to sign the treaty here and now? Harmony between Rieze Maxia and Elympios would please me very much.
Here on the ship?
We've heard that many high-ranking Elympion officials stand against the treaty.
Don't you worry. We'll employ this attack as our chance to press the offensive against them. No doubt many of them have ties to Exodus. And if we can't find proof, we'll make some up.
Figuratively speaking, of course.
Didn't hear what? I was just thinking aloud. But whatever you choose to do with that tidbit is up to you.
You're certain, madam?
I pay my debts in full, Prime Minister. And besides... If I were too much of a do-gooder, you wouldn't trust me.
I dunno, Jude seems to be doing pretty well for himself.
Are we really that easy to read, madam?
I so look forward to dancing the diplomacy two-step with you, Your Highness.
Fade to black, that transitions into a Gaius Bonus Scene.
By your signatures, the treaty is ratified.
Very good. We've crossed the first bridge, at least.
A bridge of mere paper and ink.
*nod* The gap between this deed and the will of the people is not easily traversed.
A difficult road still awaits us.
Gaius ain't wrong about that, but he's not the relentlessly positive type. If this were Jude talking, L1 would definitely raise his affection, but Ludger asking what's on Gaius' mind will raise the King's affection.
Actually, both choices increase his affection. He calls L1 a cliche, which, to be fair, it is, but calls it appropriate in this circumstance.
Who wouldn't be? After all, I'm only human. I have my share of fears and regrets just like anyone else. In that, we are alike.
You were a great help to me, as well. It's not much, but consider this a small token of my thanks. Just to be clear, this isn't a bribe.
Well, we didn't exactly take this on commission, but no one has to know about this but us.
Milla, we have little time.
You're right. Let's review the situation.
Don't call her Milla! Every time I hear it, I wanna barf!
Elle runs off...
We regain control after that, but the rest of our party will only tell us variations of go after Elle or regretting Alt Milla's loss. Elle's hanging out in Marksburg's Rieze port, so let's just skip right on over.
Stakes of the Trial
Ludger...why'd you do it? Why did you let Milla fall back there?
L1 it is... It's not wrong, but is it the whole truth? Neither choice is.
So, it's my fault? She's gone because of me.
More than anything, she wanted to keep you safe.
How would you know, huh?!
I just do. She was her own person, but she was still Milla Maxwell. We did sacrifice her. I can't deny it.
I'm just a kid. Get to the point already, would you?
Fair enough. I'll say it more simply, then. Elle, I want to go with you to the Land of Canaan. I want you to see what I do there.
Sounds like you mean business. You speak of Canaan. What's going on there?
The soul-purification has reached its limit. In the abyss, I saw it with my own eyes. There are too many fractured dimensions.
Canaan is the only realm across all dimensions where the reincarnation process occurs. Thus, it stands to reason that the impurity which must be cleansed from all those countless dimensions must be flowing into Canaan.
If we do not eradicate those dimensions, the soul-purification process will break down.
In other words, the fractured dimensions are not only dispersing soul energy, they're also concentrating this "impurity"?
Wonderful. Sounds like either one is enough to destroy the world on its own.
What happens if soul-purification breaks down?
The resulting poisonous miasma will probably overflow.
Couldn't the Great Spirit Origin step in and stop that from happening?
Only if he thinks humans are worth saving in the first place. I think that's the whole point of Origin's Trial.
So be it. We've no choice but to reach Canaan and pass the Great Spirit's trial for the sake of all humanity.
It is clear what wish we have to make to Origin.
"Destroy the fractured dimensions...so this one may live."
We have detected that Maxwell is no longer blocking the passage.
What kind of orders did Spirius give that Rideaux maniac, anyway?!
Did something happen with Director Rideaux?
Just checking. That means we can hightail it to the dimension containing the last Waymarker, right?
Correct. However, right now the dimensional abyss is highly unstable. It will be some time before you can enter the rift with any degree of safety. We'll contact you once we've made our preparations.
I'm the reason. I unfortunately caused it when I harnessed mana out of the schism to take on a physical body.
With the Temporal Crossroads gone, you merely did what you had to.
The Temporal Crossroads was where Maxwell was hanging out in the events of Xillia 1, as well as being the final dungeon of the game. The final battle took place in the same arena the party fought Maxwell earlier in the game, before they reached Elympios. It's basically a place, as the name implies, where spirits like Muzet can easily travel from the spirit realm to the human one.
It's taboo nonetheless. I'm using mana meant for preserving the world to maintain my physical form.
*nod* I can only remain in the human realm for a finite amount of time.
Another call... Hope it's not from who I think it is. Probably wouldn't be appropriate right now.
Hey hey hey, Ludger! It's Nova calling to gab about gald again! How goes the cash dash? Is the dough rolling in? Are you have a gald rush?! I get paid by the pun, ya know!
Aw, come on. Not even a snicker? Wait, is something wrong?
...You could say that.
I... I had no idea. My boss just told me to give you a little push, so... I'm so sorry!
Ludger hangs up.
We have a bit of time. We should prepare for our final trip into the breach while we await Vera's call.
I miss you, Milla.
Alright, so, that was some pretty heavy stuff. For now, though, keep in mind OG Milla joins your party in the exact same state Alt Milla left in. She has all the same skills equipped, same equipment, same affection level, etc. I'm told it's just a coincidence, but I'm skeptical.
Speaking of affection, remember when I linked all of Alt Milla's affection skits at once back when she joined the party? This was the reason. Unless you dump a whole bunch of Friendship Potions on her, or use Linked Artes with her constantly, you almost certainly won't get all of her skits before she leaves the party. Milla has her own affection skits, though none triggered right now.
Also, why did I call the Balanced Blade (Milla's current weapon) special? Well, that's because, if you preordered Tales of Zestiria from some retailers (Amazon being one of them, which is how I got it), you got a Tales costume DLC set, and one of the party members, Rose, gets OG Milla's outfit, as well as a "Milla's Sword" accessory anyone could use (I had Sorey wearing it, along with Yuri's sword, so he had three sowrds hanging off his belt for my first playthrough), which looked exactly like the Balanced Blade. So, that's Milla's sword, as far as I am concerned. In Zestiria, using Milla's costume also made the battle music change to the boss fight music we heard just a moment ago, which makes it one of the best costumes in the game.
At the time I was playing Zestiria, I really liked the song, but couldn't find it on this game's OST. I am pleased that situation has been rectified. It made for one particularly intense battle song on the very very special New Game+ fight to carry over equipment between playthroughs.
Well, as for Nova's question, we have a nice seat on the gald train at the moment. 140,797 gald out of 200,000 needed to advance the plot. We have a bunch of new Elite Monsters to topple, so something tells me the final fractured dimension will be stabilizing soon.
Also, one final note before we hit the trails yet again: a skit immediately after, with another chance to raise Milla's affection. Since this is the only skit I got during the course of this update's events, well, there is no "compilation" video this time.
The next leg of our journey begins in Nia Khera. As expected, OG Milla has her first story here. Note that it's called Milla Chapter 3, lest we forget about about Alt Milla's two adventures.
Where to go from here
It's been a while. Has everything been going smoothly in my absence?
Yes! Thanks to the myriad blessings of Lady Milla, our lives remain free of want or worry.
Very well, that's good to--
Hey, can you cook?
Cook? Hmm, I've never tried. Did you want to taste my cooking?
Not really. I just remembered what a good cook Milla was.
You know what? I'm never calling you by her name. I only know one Milla!
Very well. If that pleases you.
This doesn't tick you off? I mean it! I'll never call you by her name!
That's fine. And if you decide to change your mind one day, that's okay, too.
Why would I change my mind?
That's for you to decide.
You sure are cold.
Cold? I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to come off that way.
Saying you're sorry doesn't fix squat!
I suppose you're right. But maybe you'd be interested in being friends?
F-Friends? Where'd that come from all of a sudden?!
I'd just like to know you better, Elle. Not just for my sake, but for the other Milla too.
I... I hate you! *runs off*
This is a delicate issue, and Milla well knows how complicated this all this. R1 will raise her affection, to give her a chance to offer her views on how things are.
I'm not upset about the name thing. And I suspect that getting angry would only backfire.
So you really do want to be friends with her.
*nod* I know it can't be easy for her to overcome the loss of someone so close. But I do want her to get on with her life. All humans have that capability.
Still, I think that probably wasn't the best time to ask her to be friends. Next time, how about trying to gently support her feelings?
Hmm. Supporting her physically is easy enough, but feelings can be so difficult.
Of course, Milla's got the do-gooder / optimist thing going on, so we'll be going with R1, to raise her affection.
Thank you. I appreciate the gesture. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time left.
As I said before, maintaining my physical form here is consuming precious mana. I must resolve this situation as quickly as possible and return to the spirit realm.
I'm sorry. I didn't mean to sound cold. I guess I'm pretty lousy at supporting your feelings, too.
That's not true! I know that you're always by my side. And you always will be.
Good man... Though, Jude does have a tendency to say stuff like this before thinking, if some of his conversations with Ludger have gone in the past.
Speaking of the Nia Khera area, one of our latest Elite Monster friends has arrived here at the summit of the Hallowmont. Personally, I like my mountain peaks spectral beasts-free, so let's take care of this.Goddess Touch
Not too terrible much to say about this guy. He's vulnerable to Light and resistant to Darkness, but hsi major advantage is the number of status affects he'll throw, particularly Poison. It's not so much deadly as just really annoying, especially with Poison sapping away at your dudes' strength while he continues his fairly damaging attack line-up.
That's...about all there is to say about this guy, seriously.
Next item on our long agenda is a special job called Traces of Kinship 2. As you may recall, the first one was a job to deliver a data disk to Spirius, that disk being a partial record of Julius' early days as a dimension-destroyer. So, it stands to reason this new disc, to be acquired from some joker in Xian Du's coliseum, will contain similar content. Let's see...
Oh great, we have to talk to him again. What are the odds the...unpleasantness will be mentioned? Likely zero, considering this job actually became available last chapter.
Well done. So this is the data Julius left then? It's probably just more useless recordings on trivial matters...
Or it could be logs of something interesting like your past performance evaluations.
I guess we'll find out, won't we?
...33 fractured dimensions destroyed at this point. The power of the chromatus has oddly not increased at all over the past year. Is this really the utmost limit of my power? The clan... Oh, how I've failed them...
It was fifteen years ago that former Director Julius destroyed 33 of the fractured dimensions.
...35 fractured dimensions destroyed now. Heard a strange rumor from Rideaux today. He's always been the type to get excited over rumors and nonsense. But that said, I think this one time, he may actually be onto something worth investigating...
That son of a...
...38 fractured dimensions destroyed now. Turns out those rumors about the so-called "bridge" were true. Claudia's actions alone are proof of this. In order to protect him, she... It was a mistake! Even though it was pure coincidence I found Claudia and the others... It's...all my fault that Claudia died.
...49 fractured dimensions down. I now fully understand the limits of my power. Despite my best efforts, I have not reached my full potential. I cannot activate the full chromatus. At this rate, Rideaux and I will just be pawns for him. I've realized there's only one way I can escape all this. The Kresnik clan has always used their own family to achieve their ends... And now i know, I too must do the same...
So it was true all along then.
What's he talking about?
Julius never told you, Ludger. He was using your watch as thought it were his own, right? Your watch is the key to activating the chromatus. It's a one-of-a-kind item the bearer is born with. Julius made himself stronger by siphoning power from you!
...Grandfather believed me and agreed to alter the family registry and aid me in my endeavor. Now, he belongs to me. A whole life lies ahead for me now.
Hear that? Straight from the horse's mouth! He used your watch to steal your power and activate three-quarters of the chromatus' potential! He probably also interfered with your joining the company, so his little plan wouldn't be discovered.
Well, we know this for a fact, and Julius didn't deny it back in Nia Khera. We were set up by big bro, right from the start.
I'm sorry, Ludger.
Hahaha, so you were a desperate man, huh, Julius? Just like me.
Well, given my next order of business is Gaius' second chapter, and we don't have enough room for that this time. Here's to you, Alt Milla...
Update 22 alternate choice compilation