Part 33: The Man Who VowsPart XXXIII: The Man Who Vows
And only two more characters chapters to get through. First up is Rowen's...
A day in the city
Ah, Ludger. Did you know the city of Drellin is famous for its spirits? Not the kind that interest Jude, mind you. Drellin's spirits are of a liquid variety. With all we've been through, I believe we could use a drink. Shall we wet our whistles?
Honestly, I picture Ludger as a teetotaler, but when in Rome and all. The grandpa heartily agrees.
Ho ho ho. That's the...er, spirit! Come, let me show you how to appreciate the finer things. Oh, Lady Milla and Elize. Is anything the matter?
No, nothing. Elize and I were just out for a stroll.
Yep... Stretching my legs.
What are you two up to?
Ludger and I were just about to indulge in some of Drellin's local delicacies.
Drellin is famous for, um...seafood and spirits, right?
I wanna see food, too!
Why not accompany us? We would never turn down such beautiful company.
Heh. Flattery will get you everywhere. Sure, I'm in.
Did you mean just Milla?
I meant all three of you: two beautiful ladies and one beautiful...plush doll thing.
Oh, Rowen! You're embarrassing me!
Sure seems like the same old Rowen to me.
That letter must've been a misunderstanding.
Forgive me, everyone. I'm afraid some urgent business has come up.
What is it?
An emergency meeting of the military commanders. We've received threats of terrorism from an extremist group that opposes peace between the nations.
You're a busy man.
Too busy to find the time to complain about it. But it's all for the future of our two nations. Ludger, I want you to have this.
If you've got time to be serious, you've got time to joke.
Well, I suppose it might buy a few libations if you sold it, but...I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't. It completes a set with my own charm.
I promise I'll make this up to you.
He walks off...
He's fully devoting himself to fulfilling his mission.
Yeah... He doesn't seem like he'd need a will any time soon.
Well, there's no use worrying about it now. Let's eat.
My fish was so fresh, it was practically still wriggling.
I'll sample Drellin's other claim to fame when Rowen gets back.
This is Vera. There's been an abduction. An extremist group has just claimed responsibility. The victim is Rieze Maxian Prime Minister Rowen Ilbert.
Chancellor Marcia has requested Spirius' assistance in the rescue operation. Please return to headquarters ASAP for a full briefing.
Full explanation, in the black...
They kidnapped Rowen...
That threat he mentioned earlier... It must have been bait to lure him into a trap.
We gotta save the ol' guy!
Ludger, we're coming with you.
A skit afterwards, but never mind that! We've got a geezer to bail out. As I chose in the video, L1 increases Elize's affection. Let's head to Spirius...
Prime Minister Ilbert has been kidnapped by an extremist group that espouses Elympion domination.
Elympion domination? I take it they oppose the peace treaty.
Yes. The Elympion government has been sent a list of their demands.
The Elympion government? Why would they care about Rowen?
The Prime Minister is a key player in the peace process. He's crucial to Elympios. They certainly understand that.
They intend to use him as a bargaining chip.
They also hacked into our telecommunications system and broadcast this message:
We will not have it befouled by a friendship with Rieze Maxia. Rieze Maxia's inhabitants are our fuel, its land nothing more than a penal colony for deserters. The leadership of Elympios has lost its way. We demnad the immediate dissolution of the peace treaty. Should you refuse us, the consequences will be decisive and severe.
These nutjobs have Rowen?!
We shut down the broadcast immediately, of course, but the extremists have powerful communication-jamming spyrix. We were unable to determine the signal's origin.
If only we had a little more to go on...
What is it?
That's the charm Rowen gave you. May I see it? Apparently it's enchanted by some sort of arte. I'm sure the Four could tell us more.
Interesting... This arte seems to emit a special pulse through earth and water. And it resonates with an opposing pulse transmitted through fire and wind.
Rowen had another stone just like this!
I'll have the Four seek out the strongest point of resonance. That should be the midpoint between the two stones. Then, the source of the other pulse should be equidistant from us in the opposite direction.
Some time later...
Midpoint acquired. Now we just need to pinpoint the equidistant location. That puts the source of the transmission near Libari Hollow.
They're in Rieze Maxia.
Is this why Rowen gave Ludger the stone in the first place?
It's almost as if he knew he'd be abducted.
He's still okay, right?
They're using him as a bargaining chip. They'd be fools to kill him.
However, Rowen is still a key figure in the peace movement. They may be planning on disposing of him eventually.
Now that you mention it, the Spirius Corporation has analyzed what would happen if Mr. Ilbert were killed. According to our projections, his death and the resulting backlash would ultimately advance the cause of international peace.
Although showing faith in Rowen will raise his affection in this instance, the question still needs to be asked. He can't keep doing dangerous stuff like this, y'know.
So that's why he wrote that letter... Dying to make your wish come true isn't right!
Yeah, think about how sad the rest of us would be!
The Rowen I know would never do such a thing. The extremists' hideout is in Libari Hollow. Let's go.
And away we go...
A narrow rescue
Hey! What're you doing here!
One little mook. I think you know what to do. The above video incorporates this fight and the next big scene.
Why don't you ask the man on the ground? He clearly outwitted you.
This old fool? Not bloody likely.
And...Cam Clarke again.
It's a tense situation...but we can think of something to keep Rowen alive. Gotta raise that affection, y'know.
And stay back.
Milla fires out Sylph to knock the gun out of his hand...
Blasted Rieze Maxians! You'll pay for this!
Nah, don't think that'll happen. I...may have gone a little overboard on the last one, though.
Rowen's plan, and the way forward
Thank goodness you're alive!
I knew that you would eventually come and find me here.
Did you know that you would be abducted?
Unfortunately, yes. I considered it enough of a possibility that I should have insurance policy. I need something effective but inconspicuous, so I gave Ludger a paired resonance stone as a safety measure.
Whoa, good thinking there.
We were able to take out the extremists' home base as a result.
Always the tactician. Your plan really came together there.
It was only possible because I knew I could rely on you.
Rowen, there's something that you should know. We found those letters that you wrote. The wills.
yeah, you see these tears! We were afraid you might kick the bucket!
Ah... So, you ended up finding those. Dare I ask if you read them in their entirety?
No. I was too scared to read past the very beginning.
I believe the six houses are crucial to strengthening the bonds between Rashugal and Auj Oule. I have hidden multiple letters to other prominent figures in my residences in Kanbalar, as well as those in Fennmont. They outline all of the steps that should be taken in order for the prosperity and future of Rieze Maxia, as well as the peace process.
I see. That way your mission could continue even without you.
Not that i had any intention of dying, mind you. After all, there is still much I must do. I simply haven't the time to die. But at the same time, I understand that no one lives forever.
The thought of our bright future flickering out because I died with my plans half-finished... To me that would be a fate crueler than death itself.
But this way, the hope of achieving international peace can survive even without you.
Exactly. I have written such letters to a great number of people. And you are one of them, young miss.
I never would have imagined that you'd come to me for something this important. Are you okay with this?
Although, hey, you know you can count on us!
I want you to decide your own future, Elize. Yet as much as I hate to burden you with the fate of the country...we are good friends, and I could not help but ask.
I'd be more than honored, Rowen.
But knock off all this dying tlak! You're bummin' me out!
I mean, I hate to bum him out, but it's something that needs to be said, R1 that is.
That's a good point. perhaps you should have told them directly. Especially if you trust them enough to carry on your legacy when you're gone.
You are absolutely right. Elize, I am so very sorry to have made you worry.
It's okay. But we're friends, aren't we? Please don't do this again.
Understood. I assure you I won't.
That's a promise!
Better keep it, or you can just forget about all the stuff you want us to do after you're dead!
Well, it appears I won't need to have you read the rest of the letter, then.
She seems to have been quite concerned about me.
You are important to Chancellor Marcia, just like you're important to us.
Yeah! You're totally buddies now!
Oh, we are? I suppose that our relationship has evolved beyond the point of mere colleagues. Perhaps I should invite her out for dinner and apologize for putting her through all of this.
Rowen's going on a date!
Hey, not so fast. You'd better treat us all to dinner, first. Something upscale should suffice.
I have to pay for everything?
"May joys from afar begat joys close to the hearth, and carry those joys far afield."
Ha ha ha. She's got you there, Rowen.
I accept defeat. Tonight will be my treat.
It's just like they say: "For the act of spreading joy is the greatest joy of all." Someday I'll take you to dinner. You deserve a reward for all your hard work, too.
I'm looking forward to it already.
And...that's that. There's also a Holy Symbol in a nearby chest right after the above scene ends, and a delayed affection skit. Rowen's new weapon in the Pointing Stick. Now then, we have a couple minor events, from various jobs on the board. The first involves bringing 3 Lightshroom Spores to Derrick in Leronde.
I'm afraid not. Just here to deliver what you asked for.
Well, thanks for taking the trouble. We shoudl be able to make some good medicine with this.
Ludger's the one who did all the work, really. I just kind of tagged along.
It seems we are in your debt for looking after our son. In fact, it must've been extra-painstaking if his idealism decided to tag along as well.
*sigh* Let's just go, Ludger.
I think Jude means that goes without saying, is the thing.
Jude, I read your thesis paper on spyrite. As usual, your arguments were a little flimsy. I'd hoped for more data to back up your hypothesis instead of just mere theories. The people out there still affected by all this'll never buy it...
Just chew on that last sentence for a bit. I had to re-check that line because I was sure I transcribed it wrong.
I know, but I'll try and make it work somehow.
Well, don't work too hard. If you wear yourself out, then all your research up to this point will be for nothing.
You really mean it?
Well, that's your mother's words, at least.
Hon, don't you remember what you told me when you read our boy's paper? You said it reminded you EXACTLY of your own thesis on aspyrixis, all those years ago.
Milla got hit with aspyrixis back in Xillia 1, which caused her to be wheelchair-bound for a bit during the course of that game's story. But, it is certainly a truism that you can't keep a good spirit down.
I believe I then told you NOT to repeat any of that...
And then you went to almost every one of your colleagues and talked to them about spyrite! Do you know, he even urged some of his colleagues to help prove some of your research, Jude?
I-I didn't do that because you're my son. I did it...in the name of science! I was trying to help Jude Mathis, my fellow researcher, not Jude Mathis, my son.
Thanks, Dad. I'll make you both proud one day.
You already have, Jude! Just don't push yourself too hard out there... That goes for you too, Derrick. If either of you work yourselves into exhaustion, I'm not taking care of you!
I'll be good, I promise.
As well as I. I promise.
I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree after all!
Next up is Balan's Plea, which starts with you getting that bag of meat there, which apparently is a massive 50kg of apparently delicious beef, which Balan wants delivered to him in Helioborg. Reminder you have to have a team that includes Ludger, Jude, and Rowen to make the event pop up in Helioborg. Balan can, of course, be found in his laboratory.
Hey, Ludger, you got the stuff? Well done! Here's a small token of my appreciation.
Um, Balan? When you said you wanted us to bring you beef, you never mentioned there'd be 50 kilos of it.
Pretty awesome, right? I used all my savings to buy it!
That's not quite what I'm trying to say...
Hello, Mary. How goes the research?
I hit a dead-end...but I'll figure it out, I'm sure...
I'm...sure you will.
I don't mean to pry, but might I ask why you require such a volume of meat? Are you hosting some sort of event?
Uh, not really. I just saw it in a pamphlet on Rieze Maxian foods and really wanted to try it out! We're gonna have a barbecue at the research center though. You're all invited, if you wanna come! Mary, will you make the preparations?
*fade to black*
Man, I'm stuffed...like a...bug in a rug. Of meat!
I've had Grade-A beef in my day, but this was another creature entirely. I declare this protein to be S-Rank!
Fun fact, and it has nothing in particular to do with this scene, but in the American version of Resident Evil 2, the manual talked about the S-rank being the highest rank you could get in the game. But a bunch of people who did really well at the game were unable to get the S-rank, so people were wondering how it was done.
But in the Japanese version of the game, S WAS the highest rank, and was equivalent to the American version's A rank. The more you know.
Did you enjoy yours, Mary?
I did in fact! I found the marbling on my specimen to be in very agreeable proportions. And it was cooked ever so precisely. I wonder what percentage of beef on Rieze Maxia is of this quality.
Hahaha! You're off the clock, Mary! You don't have to be a researcher 24/7, you know. But if you're curious, this sort of beef takes several years of specialized breeding!
It takes constant attention and a highly detailed diet and exercise routine. The trial and error of animal husbandry is the most rigorous science out there! I don't think any of us have the stomach for that sorta life. Whoever raised the cattle we just ate deserves our utmost respect!
I had no idea it was so scientific! He deserves a global peace prize for his meat research! It's inspired me in my own studies though! I can't wait to get back to the lab! But maybe I should have some seconds. In the name of science.
What a spirited young girl, that one!
Thanks again, Balan. Best meal ever.
Bah, it was nothing! Alfred's actually the one that introduced me to this meat.
Oh my, I had no idea our Alvin had such an appreciation for food.
Guess we should've invited him, huh?
Are you kidding?! Forget him! Have you SEEN that guy eat?! There woulda been nothing left for us!
Indeed, sometimes a smaller gathering is best...
You can say that again!
Big words, coming out of your mouth.
Next on the line-up is the epilogue of sorts on Gaius' story. I'll explain why I don't particularly care for it after it's over. To complete the job, just pick up a letter in Kanbalar's inn and then head over to the inn at Marksburg's Elym Harbor.
Yep, it's us.
So what happened to Kyle afterwards?
He's kinda on probation now. He took a plea bargain...all the higher-ups interrogated him.
But it all worked out in the end, right?
I guess. I'm just worried about where he goes from here now. Everyone usually just writes the guy off, and now that he has a record, it's only gonna be harder... He's having trouble finding work.
Erston asked us to bring you this.
What's this? A job referral? For Kyle?
He never forgets his friends.
This is... Wow. Hmph, I guess it really is good to be the king...
Actually, it's not quite what you think, Tanner. It's a company in Elympios, through a business associate he met as Erston, not Gaius.
That's code word for "drinking buddy".
His friend set the whole thing up. Erston made several visits to him to discuss Kyle's situation. He vouched for him!
But he's really learned to use his people skills well.
Huh, whatever. Anyhow, I can't wait to let Kyle know. He's gonna be thrilled. And hey... Give Big-E our thanks.
But of course.
So yeah, the reason I don't care for this resolution of Gaius' is everything ends just peachy-keen. In the actual final chapter, Gaius had to make the tough, but responsible choice to hand Kyle over and have judgment passed upon him. Here, Kyle basicaly gets away with it, and even gets a job thanks indirectly to Gaius. It just takes a lot out of the emotional weight of the final Gaius chapter where not everything has to have a happy ending. Anyway, let us not dwell on it too much.
The next event brings us to Fennmont, where there's a chef asking for a Mabo Curry (Medium). You can buy that in a number of places, or you could stop off in Fennmont's Hotel Fenntasia to get some before heading to the port. Skipping on over there...
But you know...you kinda took your sweet time getting it... It's fine though. It's all good. I mean, it's not like I actually expected someone to bring it in the first place, but y'know...it makes me feel like maybe ya didn't really care all that much... But it's fine! It's just, y'know, in the future... Y'know? With other people... Just that SOME people would care about that sorta thing. I mean, I don't care personally. I'M fine. But yeah.
What a strange way of saying thanks.
I-I'm sorry. I've spent so long working on my recipe for the ultimate fiery dish that it's made my very speech rather fiery! So I apologize for WASTING my breath on you. I shouldn't have assumed you had refined enough palates to appreciate my life's work!
Yeah, this guy's pretty fiery all right... Hey, just out of curiosity, what IS this "ultimate fiery dish" you're working on?
Why do you care? You wouldn't appreciate true genius if it was standing in front of you, declaring itself to be true genius... Which is what I'm doing right now! But fine, I'll share my recipe with you! The ultimate in fiery cuisine... The Mabo Curry Bun! Fourteen habaneros, three ghost chilies, infused in a sesame-seed bun, smothered in spicy Mabo Curry, and seasoned with weapons-grade pepper spray. Served with a side of wasabi-chili pepper mayo.
Hmm, absolutely intruiging. It's a dish that personifies the very essence of human's desire to reach their limits! I dare say the depths and layers of that dish truly are worthy of taking up the mantle of human ambition!
Wh-What?! Impossible! You're even more impassioned about food than I am! I've never met a woman like you before! My dear, would you care to join me for a glass of porange wine, while we gaze upon the night sky in Fennmont? Though not too much wine for me. I fear I am already rather intoxicated by the entree in front of me...
I liked him better before.
I'm going to go ahead and decline your invitation. I'm flattered, but I find your proposition to be as one-note and unsophisticated as your wine pairing selection.
Unbelievable! AGAIN your fiery wit has bested me! I've been deflated...like last week's Spicy Souffle!
Another victory...for the Lord of Spirits.
Indeed... Well, while we're in Fennmont, we've got something else to take care of. Not in the city proper, mind. I'll see you in nearby Arkland Quag.
And here we are, the next Elite Monster, one of three outstanding ones. And I'm not saying they're great, of course. I've got a little gimmick in-store for this one and the next, which you should be able to pick up on fairly soon. Cthulhu Demon
So, at first blush this fight appears simple enough. He's weak to Fire and Slash, so Milla / Gaius / Alvin / Ludger are good choices here. The only problem...
Whenever you start a combo against him, he'll collapse and start emitting poisonous gas, before a few seconds pass and it gets back up. It's a...tedious fight, you might be guessing. Two things: one, it doesn't have *that* much health, so it's really just a matter of whittling his HP down, and the other is that Bind does work on it, but that's basically the only way of getting an admittedly brief combo in before Bind wears off. It's tedious, but welcome to this fight.
At least we're doing something new today: a boss battle Ludger is not involved in. This is a pretty well-balanced team, in all honesty. Everyone has good healing artes, and two (Gaius and Elize), can revive fallen allies with TP, not items. I liked this line-up.
Well, I guess I should be grateful in one respect when it comes to the gimmick here. If he didn't do that, I would have absolutely nothing to say about this boss. Ah well, maybe next time will be more interesting / exciting (it will).
While Ludger is indisposed, others will have to take over his Kitty retrieving duties, this time in the Fezebel Marsh.
You know what's weird? As of this writing (about 7 hours before this writing), I entered the Land of Canaan and found the cats there (one through Kitty Dispatch), I ended up with like 97 Kitties / 100. I have no idea where the three others are, but that's more business for me to attend to in the post-game.
I also learned from GameFAQs that you need to find at least one Kitty in a location in order for Dispatch to be available there. An interesting mechanic. Also, apparently Catstantine the Third is the only missable Kitty. If you don't do his job before Julius gets whacked, he's permanently unavailable. Kind of a dick move for completionist or trophy hunter, but hey. One more Elite Monster for this update...
The other half of the team is going to take on the Elite in the Nala Lava Tubes. Let's see how this bunch fares... Magma Dragon and Leviadragon
One reason I saved Alvin for this fight is his Squall Shot is *really* good against these two (the Charged version, Storm Shot, is even better, as you might imagine). It covers a wide area, it's Water damage, and it pins down enemies, exactly what you need against flying adversaries, or at least hovering ones. It's also a good Linked Arte with Leia, Invigorating Rain, that's medical supplies to the entire party.
Let's talk about Charging. As I mentioned in Alvin's introductory chapter, Alvin can power up all his artes with a Charge. However, before he gets all of his skills, this is kinda underpowered, simply because it was so slow. Well, once Alvin gets all of his Charging skills, he can stack four Charges in a little over the time vanilla Alvin could Charge for one, and recover a minor amount of TP for each Charge. It makes Alvin incredibly useful, although my complaints about his speed still stand. Nothing he can do to fix that.
As far as fighting these two, they're basically the exact same enemy x2, so the same strategy applies to both. You'll want to separate them as fast as possible, then bait the one you're fighting into attack. Dodge the attacks, then punish them. Most of the attacks will only hit immediately in front of them, so it's easy to know where to dodge to avoid the attacks. It's pretty easy to heavy stun them, so additionally punish them when their bodies fail.
This fight can be rough sledding if they hang out near each other, but keep chipping away at them, and make sure you AI allies handling the other dragon are in good shape. Just keep them alive, if nothing else. And that's all of 'em except Siennabronc, now pushing up daisies.
But our last act for today involves the final character chapter in Marksburg. Well, that's not quite true, but still.
A troublesome spirit
Okay, everything's all set. But, what exactly are you hoping to accomplish with this?
Tee hee hee. Do you really want to know?
On second thought, forget I asked. Well, whatever you do, just make sure to clean up your mess.
Hey, good timing. Get everyone over here on the double!
It's one of Muzet's plans, so it's bound to be trouble, but we might as well go along with it. She's not going to budge no matter what we say or don't say. It'll increase her affection in any case, and this is no small matter to me.
*fade to black*
Why did you gather us all here?
Ludger said it was urgent?
Please try to remain calm, everyone. Sometime tonight, the city will be attacked by a monster!
A monster, huh?
Why would a monster just appear out of the blue like this?
I don't know. That's why it's serious. But now that we know it's coming. I think we have an obligation to protect the people of the city.
I, too, do not wish to see the city damaged.
Yeah, we gotta do everything we can to help! Plus, it's a pretty sweet scoop!
So how'd you find out about this?
From a reputable source.
And that would be?
Sorry. Off the record.
Look, just trust me, all right?
Regardless of the source, we have nothing to lose from strengthening the city's defenses.
We should split into two groups to patrol the city.
Okay. In that case...
Milla and I shouldn't be in the same group. We're the only two spirits here. It's for the best if each group has one. Right?
Sure... Makes sense.
It's decided, then!
Oh boy. Anyway, you have a chance to make. Muzet and Gaius are already in your party, because they're always in your party in either Gaius or Muzet chapters, so you get a choice of Jude, Alvin, Elize, Rowen, or Leia for the fourth party member. Doesn't super matter, but you may consider bringing Rowen along (Elize is always a solid choice), just for his ranged attacks. Obviously, this chapter has a boss fight in it, so I dunno. Choose who you like most.
Anyway, your destination is at the other harbor from where you start, so you'll need to cross the Bridge of Unity.
The power of friendship
(Wait, no, no, no! Stop! Don't beat it without me!)
My, what a relief! Looks like everything worked out.
I'm glad everyone's okay, but...something about this creature seems off to me...
It's gone berserk! Stop it!
So, if you've fought any Gentleman-type enemies (I *think* Eternia had something similar to them, but I know for a fact they were a very rare encounter in Symphonia), this guy has the same general moveset. A variety of artes including a Sonic Boom, whirling air attack, and a ground cartwheel, but he also has...
This move, Battle Beam, which is this thing's, I believe, only unique arte. It's, uh, a pretty potent one, though. Not only does the beam itself do a large amount of damage if anyone gets caught up in most or all of it, but it also comes with a very high chance of inflicting Confusion. And while your dudes are running around and staggering each other, the robot is kicking your ass with no input from you...
Battle Beam is the sole reason this fight is any challenge at all. My advice would be when he starts charging up Battle Beam, end any links. If your partner gets hit with a status effect, so will you, so that's half your party completely indisposed for 30 seconds or so.
I mean, any fool can dodge an attack that has a charge up and completely straight line, but the AI does not exactly think tactically. Any genius they display is by total coincidence. Other than the Battle Beam, again, he's pretty much as no-frills as they come. Just watch out for that, and you'll be golden.
Oh, he also has rocket punch arms. That's something I guess.
I suspect a chewing out is in Muzet's future... Also, nearly a 100% EXP bonus is pretty good, I must say. Though, I've certainly played RPGs with more insane post-battle multipliers.
Muzet. Was this your doing?
You went too far this time.
This is serious! People could've been hurt!
And what happened to the whole "sweet scoop" thing?
Oh, be quiet.
It's an important time for Muzet, and an important time for us. We gotta set the record straight, and explain how this happened. Muzet's affection increases, but hey, we're doing the right thing.
*Ludger explains things in a fade to black...
So you're saying she did this just to get closer to us?
Well, your plan backfired a little.
You all get along so well with Milla. I thought this would make you like me more, too. Sorry...
No. I'm the one who should apologize. Forgive me.
Despite your scheming, you were only trying to impress me. Next time, how about we discuss your plans first?
Yeah, I guess we'll give you a pass this time. It's sweet, in a really weird way.
I really do hope we can become good friends.
Guess you'll get some peace from Muzet's mind now. I'm not blind, you know. She may be obsessed with Milla now, but at least she's moving forward, trying to live her life. Not that I ever want to go through this again.
That's...probably not good for us... Well, maybe it's not all bad. We did get the next Muzet affection skit, but, y'know, be sure to tune in next time. At long last, time to head to the Land of Canaan.
Update 33 alternate scene compilation
Update 33 victory compilation