Part 23: Dull Surprise
It's time. Time to finish this. We've got our target, the lone grave in Asran.
So, this should be the grave. Not like there's another one around here...
Hm, do you see anything suspicious?
Maybe there's nothing actually here, and this was just a drop-off point for the money...
Do you really think so? Hang on, there's something here under the flowers!
A square hole! Looks like something in the form of a pyramid would fit in here.
I'd just like to cut in for a second here, because there's something interesting here. In the RPG Maker code, I can see that there's a branch for whether you've got that key from Abraxas's tower or not, which to me shows that there was some sort of change in the way the story progresses that this thing was not changed for, because it's literally impossible to get to this part without having the key. The process is simple:
1) In order to know that there's something at the grave, you need to read the king's message in the secret chamber.
2) In order to get into the secret chamber, you need the emblem.
3) In order to get the emblem, you need to kill Abraxas and get it from one of his chests.
4) In that chest, you also find the key, making it completely impossible to get one but not the other.
I've seen this before in Düsterburg, where the sidequest involving Bernhelm would suddenly namedrop a "Gudrun" out of nowhere that was never mentioned before, and in this game as well, where multiple people refer to the city Lombar as "Lombard", which was probably an early name for it.
Just thought I'd point that out, because it seems interesting to me that the story was originally longer, or at least had you acquire the emblem somewhere else, but it was changed to be right there in Abraxas's tower for some reason. Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled final dungeon.
The key from Abraxas's tower!
It fits perfectly!
A staircase! Something tells me that we're going to find our answers down there!
Then let's get going!
This dungeon, thankfully, is far less deep (only five levels!) and far less complex than previous offerings.
Level one is almost odd in how simple it is. Just straight-forward walking. There's some hidden chests, but we're beyond items now.
Enemies are a rogues' gallery of freakazoids, ranging from "hell warriors" that are totally just samurai...
...to straight up fucking beholders. There's also "fire demons" down here, but thanks to random chance, I never ran into one of those. These enemies are a cut above what we're used to fighting, but at this point, I just say bollocks to item preservation and just spam the most powerful spells. On to level two.
Strange... this all seems so familiar to me...
What? That can't be. You have to be mistaken...
Maybe... very strange!
Oh my... do I smell a twist on the horizon?
Level two starts off with a bit of a dick move in again requiring us to find a secret passage to get to a teleporter, but once we get past that, it's smooth sailing since there's only four teleporters to work with.
We take the left teleporter twice, and instantly find ourselves on level three!
OK, this can go right fuck itself. Let me try and sketch out what's going on here.
So basically, the down stairs of a certain color link to the up stairs of a certain color. Note that you absolutely cannot distinguish between the three lower areas, and going back up any of the stairs you came down brings you back to the rightmost set of stairs on the starting area! If I didn't know the solution was "just keep going left" or didn't have RPG Maker, I probably would have gone insane here. The puzzle is dead simple, but hell on your brain to try and work out when you can't even be sure how many unique sets of these staircase rooms there are! As it stands, we just keep going left and boom, we're on to level four.
We come down the staircase on the bottom right and are very quickly faced with another puzzle:
Getting this door open. What we need to do is...
...start on this square...
...and make a path towards the door. Every square you step on either makes two squares next to you light up, allowing you to pick again...
...or resets it and forces you to restart.
The path is a bit convoluted, but it's not that big a deal to work out, since getting set back is so minor.
From that point on, it's just a bit more walking to level five!
Level fucking five. Ugh. Now, if you've been following the thread, you might remember that at one point, I told Marlex that he could shove his teleporters up his ass. That was because of this place.
What are these strange blinking things?
I fear that we're going to find out soon enough!
Indeed, we will. We start moving along the corridor...
...and the things start following us!
And there's more up ahead!
So of course, I run into the first one that impedes my progress...
...and get teleported back to the start. Now, let's look at the map:
As you might notice, there are nine of these blinking teleporter traps spread out over the map, and all of them are set to home in on us once we cross the activation threshold (those two events arranged vertically on the left of the restart point). They also don't get reset when we get teleported back, which can cause some issues.
In this case, I got lucky - the two could have completely locked me off with ease. This is another problem with this map: All hallways are two tiles wide, and it's very easy to either get two teleporters stuck in a position that makes it an arse to try and get past, or just get into the shitty situation I get in constantly: One teleporter, I need to get past it. I try to go past it, it goes down onto my tile, I get sent back. I can't create any more space between me and the teleporter because of the two-tile-wide hallway, so I'm either forced to take it or try and go around half the map to try and dodge it, which usually only means that I run into another one that's just waiting to fuck me. There's only two things I can do here.
Number one: Turn down the speed to normal. Since the AI can always react at the same speed, giving myself an edge helps.
Number two: Use the wolf transformation. One quirk about the wolf transformation is that on normal speed, it gives you a speed boost, whereas on fast speed it doesn't. This means that you're basically at fast speed while the teleporters are still at normal speed. This is a huge edge.
...it can pull some fast ones on me. Very thankfully, random encounters are disabled for this level. I probably would have thrown something if they were still on for this shit.
All in all, it only took me like five minutes to do this, but that's because I knew the tricks from the FAQ. If I tried to do this with fast speed, I probably would have taken ages to make it.
And finally, we're on level six, which - much like level sixteen in Abraxas's tower - doesn't have anything to do but walk to the boss, not even any random encounters. But before that...
Uhhh... I... somehow... have memories of this place!
What do you mean?
EXTREME FLASHBACK! WHOOOOOOOAAAAAAA!
We now see Alaine walking down this corridor in the past. You know it's in the past because it's black and white.
How strange... now I'm supposed to bring him bat wings... I'll have to head to the alchemist's for that. Kind of creepy, all that!
EXTREME RETURN TO PRESENT TIME! WHOOOOOOAAAAAAA!
What can you remember?
I have an even stronger feeling of having been here before! I remember getting somebody something...
Who did you get what?
I... don't know.
Alright, let's keep going. This is all VERY mysterious!
Very mysterious indeed. You know what's also very mysterious? The identity of Mr. X! And we're about to find out! Just walk around a corner here, and...
So it's finally time... you've made it all the way here!
DUN DUNNNNNNNN... alright, yeah, everybody worked this out like half a year ago. Be it from the "HINT HINT" mention of Weynard wanting to be buried in that one grave, from the talk about how Weynard had a surprisingly long life and was going to resurrect eventually, from him being like the only major character left, it was pretty blatantly obvious. But shut up, we've got some things to hear that you probably haven't worked out yet, such as his motives.
What's going on here? Vincent Weynard!
You don't mean THE Vincent Weynard?
Oh, indeed, young lady...
...the VERY same...
But how can that be? Didn't you die a long time ago?
I... this is all so familiar to me!
This isn't the time to be joking around!
That's no joke... Alaine, who would have thought that we would meet again...
We... know each other?
I can't believe it! HE'S alive, and YOU TWO know each other? This is too much...
It really has been a damn long time... remember, Alaine! Remember those days!
So my spell was strong enough to block your memories for several centuries!
YOUR spell turned her into what I found five years ago in that insane asylum?
If she wasn't capable of thinking clearly or speaking, then yes...
YOU doomed my BELOVED Alaine to that miserable life? You BASTARD!
Spell? But why?
Well, I guess I'll have to jog your memory a bit... you can't even remember now that you're a vampire?
How do you know that she's a vampire?
I've killed enough vampires to know that the three of you are vampires as well. Which one of you turned her into a vampire?
I did! I assume you remember who I am?
Of course. A vampire's memory is unparalleled - especially mine...
YOU'RE a vampire? But I can't sense it!
How could you? I'm perfect. The highest of all vampires...
I am the FIRST vampire!
Now this is something I don't think a lot of people saw coming! There was some discussion about Vincent, about him maybe getting bitten during the Holy Crusade, maybe having gone into hiding because he considered himself disgraced, maybe having gone into hiding to ensure that Abraxas takes out his sire before he returns to the world, but I don't think the idea of Vincent being the first vampire ever came up. Remember how it came up that Weynard never mentioned any sort of "head vampire" existing, and I found it strange that there wasn't some sort of Caine figure? Well, it makes sense now - of course he's not going to mention that when he himself is the Caine figure!
The first vampire? Oh my god!
So that explains why you're still alive...
And why nobody ever noticed that I was a vampire! My plan was perfect! None of these second-class vampires can sense me... and I will walk on this earth forever... as the most powerful creature of all time!
Tell me... why did you put me under a spell?
Remember... you got me the bat wings back then!
Lord, here are the bat wings!
Thank you, Alaine... now, I'm going to tell you a secret!
I will take over the world. I will rule over EVERYTHING!
What are you talking about?
I will begin a new age... MY age! The bat wings are the final ingredient for my spell!
The earth will tremble under my iron fist! I will rule the church! And with it all these stupid religious people!
Lord, you're scaring me!
And I won't just rule for a generation! NO! I will rule for a THOUSAND generations!
Oh, beautiful Alaine! On you, as my long-time assistant, I will bestow the honor of ruling forever at my side! As my bride!
But, lord, you want to make me your bride? Forever? I don't understand!
As the head of the church, I will allow marriage for members of the clergy! You will be my bride!
How do you want to rule forever?
That, my pretty Alaine, is the result of my powerful spell! I will change myself... and you too! We will become immortal!
You're really scaring me!
I will create a new kind of enemy! The vampires!
Yes, vampires! Immortal, powerful, blood-sucking creatures of the night! And we will be the first and therefore most powerful of all vampires! That way, we can stay a couple forever and rule for all eternity! The humans will live in fear! And I will use that fear to become the head of the church! I will hunt down all vampires and destroy them! They will gladly give me the rank of High Priest! And when all the vampires are destroyed, nobody will even remotely be able to threaten us! We will rule forever!
You want to create these "vampires"? And turn us into them as well?
Indeed! This plan is truly perfect!
You really are completely and utterly revolting!
What? What did you say? I'M REVOLTING?
DEEEEEEENIIIIIIIED. Hey, free tip, fucknut, try being less completely next time you explain your world conquest plan!
Yes! And you're also insane! Mad! Abhorrent!
YOU... dare to not only criticize my plan of genius, but also call me insane? Oh, pretty Alaine! How could I have been so mistaken? You're nothing but a little slut! I'll show you which one of us two is really insane and abhorrent!
You will NEVER be happy again! You'll become immortal! So that you can pay for your mistake FOREVER! IN ARTOS UYUAR TOS!
Please, lord... stop!
HEF RAK INDORIA!
...and then I just screamed! That's the last I can remember!
See, being here with me really seemed to help!
So since that day, Alaine was mute and unable to think clearly...
Luckily, her transformation into a vampire didn't bring back her memories.
So that was your plan. First create vampires, then destroy them!
Yes. First of all, I used the most powerful spell I had available to turn into a vampire myself. After dumping Alaine at the Limm city limits, I created dozens of vampires and just let them pursue their bloodlust! They were so effective at their job that it didn't take long until I could position myself as the savior of humanity, chasing down and killing one vampire after the other.
But not all of them...
Well, sadly, the vampires did become so numerous that I really didn't manage to get all of them. But they were so scared by my crusade that I was sure that I wouldn't have any problems for the next few centuries, and I could enjoy my rank of High Priest in peace... and you managed to escape as well... if only I knew that Abraxas managed to bite you back then.
Well, tough luck for you!
Anyway, for the next few centuries, I ruled over the church and pretty much the entire world. But then, doubts started creeping up... doubts regarding the true number of remaining vampires. I feared that they would band together over their hatred of me and then destroy me. So I found myself a vampire. I found Abraxas. He was a weakling... weakened by the deadly lack of blood. He had quite a few wounds that wouldn't close because of his lack of blood... when he saw me, he froze in fear. Fear of his final death... or to put it differently, fear of his existence as blood ghost! But I didn't kill him... no, I gave him some of my blood. Surprised, but strengthened, he told me that he was ambushed by a troop of knights and only barely managed to flee. He was so injured that he was no longer capable of getting blood for himself, so without me, he surely would have become a blood ghost! I promised him money and power if he went on a vampire hunt for me. And over time, he became my right hand. I taught him new spells, and he killed all the vampires he could find.
But why did you need him to hunt vampires?
The world could never know that I was a vampire too. And who knows, maybe one of those vampires would have talked... no human would have believed a vampire, but I just wanted to make 100% sure. Furthermore, I was too busy with my tasks as High Priest. I simply didn't have the time to start another long vampire hunt. Not to mention that the people might have gotten suspicious and have taken my rank away from me if it turned out that I didn't kill ALL the vampires back then. What would my power be if I killed all the humans then? Stupid skeletons aren't exactly my idea of good companions. Furthermore, a body's desires make a woman essential! It's a shame, the way you thought of my plan back then, Alaine!
You disgusting bastard!
So you're just as stubborn as you were when you were a human? Anyway, Abraxas became essential to me. He killed all the vampires quickly and discreetly. I was going to kill him once he got done, but since you're here now, you've already taken care of that for me. He was the only one that still had the key for the grave.
Yep, we tore him into pieces... seems like your greed and your need to rule over humans are going to be your downfall!
I'm going to finish off what I should have finished off a long time ago... I'll kill you and Alaine. And your little servant too.
I am no servant! And I'M going to kill YOU! You created Abraxas! And it's your fault that my girlfriend is dead!
Careful there, Valnar, that's quite the dangerous accusation you're making there, given Weynard's incredible impact on the world. Consider this: If Weynard never existed, would you ever have met Aysha in the first place? The answer, as you might be able to guess, is no! She would have been dead decades, if not centuries ago! But at this point, I should know better than to question these things. This game is going to end with Valnar leading a crusade against God because if he never made the world, Aysha never would have died, isn't it?
You don't even know how easy you've made things for me. I know that you're the last vampires in this world... except me, of course! And if I kill you, my rank as High Priest is secured for all eternity!
Didn't the people get suspicious when you lived for so long?
Suspicious? HARHAR! I told these morons that GOD himself blessed me with such a long life!
And what are you doing down here, anyway? Why aren't you in some sort of church?
Well, looks like you still haven't gotten it...
I faked my death, since the people did indeed get a bit too suspicious after 200 years. But my last prophecy was that I was to be reborn some day... I told them that my time on Earth had come to an end, but that I was to be reborn... they believed me... and so I faked my death and hid down here. In my secret burial chamber where I had done research on spells even before my time as High Priest...
I was going to ask, it seemed kind of convenient that even before he formulated this entire plan, he just happened to have a massive underground dungeon perfect for this sort of thing that just happened to be hidden by a grave (which was already there before Weynard became High Priest, if you recall). Oh well.
And I my "rebirth" will occur exactly when all other vampires have been destroyed. Abraxas's hunt has gone on for over 200 years, but now, it will finally be over! He's dead, and the last three vampires are standing right in front of me! Tomorrow, I will be "reborn"! How I have awaited this day!
You are right, you will be reborn. As a blood ghost!
It will be a joy to cut off your heads!
You will pay for everything you've done to me!
This will be your final battle, so I will allow you to strengthen yourself beforehand... my final victory shouldn't be all too easy for me... it wouldn't be special otherwise!
Prepare for your end!
And there we go! The entire story behind the origin of vampires, Vincent Weynard, Abraxas... pretty much everything, really! Fitting, given that this will be the last exposition dump, and we're now going into the final battle! However, preparing for the final battle means only one thing for us.
Summoning the demon. And this is the point where I completely and utterly break the game over my knee. Now, the demon in and of itself isn't all that great. I mean, it's a solid summon, but its stats are just low enough to not really be able to touch bosses (where we would really need it), and its shadow spells are usually resisted by those bosses as well. However, there's two things that come together and turn this thing into a fucking force of nature, and to show this, let's go into the final battle.
Oh, right, for the record, you can't actually leave. If you do, Vincent just stops you and instantly starts the fight.
So, you're ready... now, you're going to die!
We'll see about that!
And here we are. The final boss, Vincent Weynard. Let's take a look at his stats.
Attacks: Normal attack (40% chance to use), chance to instantly kill a party member (20% to use), strong ice attack spell that hits the entire party (20% to use), a strong melee attack that can cause Paralysis and Bleeding (20% to use).
Status effect resistances: Immune to all of them.
Attribute resistances: Takes normal damage from weapons. Resistant to poison spells. Immune to everything else.
Now, you would be forgiven for thinking that this is just unfair. That's one big fucking tub of HP, some crazy resistances, and a lot of powerful attacks, albeit a bit low on the crazy status effect inflicting. However, we have an ace up our sleeve, and that ace comes in demon form.
First of all, we can control the demon, one big step above the skeleton mage. Secondly, let's look at those spells. Shadow attack spell? Useless. Chance to instant kill? Useless. Stat raising? Now we're talking. In addition, Valnar starts casting White Power, and Asgar starts casting Icy Armor. Alaine just does whatever.
Now, the demon's stat raising spell. How does it work? Well, it raises attributes. It raises a random set of attributes for every character, and it raises them by quite a bit. With this being compounded by White Power's solid Intelligence/Agility boosts, and Icy Armor's solid Defense boosts, I am not being hyperbolic when I say that this basically turns our party into gods, given a few rounds to buff up. Attack numbers can pretty much jump to 600 or more, Defense goes up the ass to about 800, it's crazy! So we just do that for a while while Alaine heals everybody up.
Then we just start doing regular attacks, which now hit for about 200~300 damage a pop.
And then stuff like this happens.
Who would have thought... seems like this fight is going to be interesting after all! Your powers are incredible - my creation is stronger than I had thought!
I'm quite astonished myself! I would have never thought that the first vampire was such a weakling!
This fight isn't over yet!
He flashes blue, and we're off to the second round!
Because of course he was going to have a second form.
NOBODY is stronger than I am!
Then call me NOBODY!
Attacks: Normal attack (40% chance to use), party-wide status effect spell that can cause Confusion and Paralysis (20% to use), very strong melee attack that hits the entire party (20% chance to use), very strong fire attack spell that hits the entire party (20% chance).
Status effect resistances: Immune to all of them.
Attribute resistances: Takes normal damage from weapons. Resistant to poison spells. Immune to everything else.
...huh. Here I was thinking this guy would just turn into a status-effect-inflicting-palooza. I mean, the stats are quite impressive, and the resistances are a bitch and a half, but the attacks are somewhat underwhelming. He can deal big damage, but big damage from just one source can be healed. We have to redo the status boosts because this is a separate fight, but beyond that...
...from start to finish, we were never in any danger. How bizarrely underwhelming.
NO! This can... not be!
Don't expect any mercy, you bastard!
As they say: "Death is the end. But a vampire's death is only the beginning... of neverending pain!"
Asgar, that's not a thing they say. You just fucking made that up.
I am... the creator... YOUR creator...
How tragic that a vampire can only not harm his direct sire... and sadly, that is not what you are... and that's why you're going to die!
Don't expect any mercy, you bastard!
You said that already!
All my misery is YOUR fault!
Eh, it's questionable whether that's an actual meaningful statement (really, what ISN'T Weynard's fault somehow at this point), but technically true.
And you're to blame for mine, too!
A much more direct relation here between Weynard and misery.
You know, it just doesn't feel as impressive the second time you do it. Third time, if you count the royal slaughtering at Castle Tranak, but more directly we had this same shit with Abraxas.
...was that it?
Not yet, it seems!
HOLY SHIT USE ALL THE GOD DAMN EFFECTS JESUS FUCKING CHRIST
I'm not sure... maybe it's Vincent's blood ghost? The energy of the first vampire? Not sure... maybe we'll find a clue somewhere around here!
And there we go! That's the final boss dealt with! Now, that was quite a wordy final battle prologue, so I'll cut things here. Next time, it's the ending, and the credits!