Part 6: Lightless ShaftSorry for the length of this update. I feel like everything that happens in this update work better when they're all together, and as a result it's a bit longer than usual.
Directly to the north of Cavam Valley is the excavation site. Upon entering, we're greeted with a cutscene.
Cutscene: Entering the Lightless Shaft
Music: Even a Dog Wouldn't Eat This
Rebecca: Somebody said they're excavating a golem in here...
Dean: A golem? Really?! You really think there's a golem in here?! Man, killer! If only we could go dig it up!
Rebecca: Just keep your cool, Dean.
Avril: I sense we are not alone here.
Dean: Huh? Wh-where?
Rebecca: Dean! Over there!
Rebecca: Do you think he could be the thief?
Avril: But...he does not seem to have a mustache.
Dean: I'll just have to go ask him.
Rebecca: What are you- Dean! Oh, come on! Haven't you ever heard of a thing called tact?
Big Man: Hey, kid. You plannin' on headin' in there? I wouldn't do that if I were you. I won't stop you, though.
Dean: Well, I guess that depends on you. Did you take the Mirror of De Soto?
Big Man: The mirror of who, now? First I've heard of it.
Dean: You mean that? I heard somebody about your size made off with the mirror. If you're lying, there's gonna be trouble!
Big Man: Huh, you don't say. I'd love to see your idea of trouble, but I'm afraid I'm terrin' the truth. You're gonna have to keep lookin'.
Big Man: Think I saw him holdin' somethin' a little flashy...
Rebecca: That's it! You guys, that must be it! That must be the Mirror of De Soto!
Dean: Let's go!
Big Man: Hey! I'll say it again-I wouldn't go in there if I were you. See, I've set up a little fireworks display in there. And pretty soon, the show's gonna begin.
Music: I'll Never Lose Because I Don't Want to Lose
Dean: Wait, what are you saying?! With a golem here just waiting to be dug up?! Whatever it is, go disarm it, now! Why would you do that to a golem?!
Big Man: Sorry, kid. That's what I came here for, and that's the way it's gonna be.
Dean: But why? What's the point? Why would you destroy a golem?!
Big Man: I'm not sure that's any of your business, kid. Anyway, I'd love to stay and chat, but I'm not too fond of bomb blasts, y'hear? See ya around, kid. Watch out you don't get killed.
Dean: Wait! I'm not finished with you! Hold it right there!
Dean draws his ARMs.
Big Man: When you point a gun at someone, they got a right to shoot back. You know that much, right? You'd better, if you're packin' ARMs.
Dean: Disarm that bomb right now! You can't do that to a golem! Don't you understand that?!
Big Man: Blowin' up golems is a bad thing? Says who, exactly?
Dean: Says me!
Rebecca: Argh. This isn't helping... Dean, put your ARMs down! You're not going to convince him like that!
Dean: No way! Not a second before the bomb's disarmed!
Rebecca turns to face the man.
Rebecca: Don't you know how important golem technology is? The world needs those golems. They're vital resources for everyone! Destroying them is not something to be proud of.
Big Man: Hmph. Well, I've got my reasons. I never asked for your opinion. One more chance, don't point those things at me, kid.
Rebecca: Please, don't shoot! Dean, please don't do this! He's faster than you are! Dean, you'll get yourself killed!
Big Man: What's it gonna be? I won't go easy on ya.
Big Man: So that's the way it's gonna be, huh? Well, see ya on the other side, kid.
He starts to squeeze the trigger, but stops suddenly.
Avril and the man have a brief stare-down.
Dean: Dammit! ...We're wasting time here! We've still got to save that Hunter! This isn't over yet, you hear?!
Dean turns and runs into the mine.
Big Man: Well, that was a complete waste of time. Back to business. I've still gotta find that bastard...
Music: A Dark World Looming Behind
I hate this place. I don't know if I was underlevelled or what, but the monsters pack a punch, and the encounter rate is way too high. All the rooms look the same too, and half of them are empty.
In the second room, we encounter two chests, one of which we can't open at the moment.
The next room contains the gimmick of this dungeon: minecart puzzles.
The idea is to examine or shoot these switches to change the track, then examine the minecart to make it move.
The goal is to get the minecart to hit these blockades.
The minecart has enough speed to smash through them, creating a path for us. Several boring, empty rooms later, we encounter the midboss.
Wha-? A monster?!
Dean, over there!
We don't have time for this! We'll have to plow right through it! Avril, Rebecca, Let's do this!
Music: Terrible-Monster Attacking Crew!
The Spriggan isn't a particularly interesting boss. As long as you keep it off the earth ley point, it won't give you trouble.
Its earth attacks do serious damage, so you can imagine what would happen if you let it get on the earth ley point and increase that damage even further.
Whoa! That thing's earth attacks are way too strong!
Then let's set up shop on the earth ley point. As long as we're there, earth attacks only cause half damage.
I don't think I've managed to get a screenshot of Dean's critical yet. As you can see, he grows a brain and actually uses his ARMs as they were intended. I guess this is why Dean's personal skill is Double Critical.
The Spriggan also knows Isolate, which takes the characters on the target HEX and scatters them to random positions. This can ruin your day if he targets the earth ley point and he gets on it before you can. For some reason, I ended up landing back in the same HEX when he used it this time.
I decided to take a risk and put Rebecca on the wind ley point to speed the battle up.
It didn't end well. Note that when a character dies in battle, their body disappears rather than continuing to occupy the HEX.
Revive Fruits and the Revive spell target the user's HEX, and revive all downed characters into that HEX.
The battle ended shortly after that.
Music: A Dark World Looming Behind
Man, I wonder what time it is?
It's tough not being able to see outside. But we don't have time to stand around worrying about it.
Yeah. We've gotta hurry and get the Mirror of De Soto back!
REBECCA. STOP DYING.
This is my problem with the enemies here. Sometimes characters will start on the wind ley point and enemies will attack them with earth magic before you get a chance to move.
I didn't bother to revive Rebecca before ending the previous battle. If you look at Rebecca's status, you may notice she has 926 HP out of a 974 maximum. If a character is unconcious at the end of a battle, their max HP will drop until you heal at a save point/Sol Niger, or until you use a Nectar item on them.
In a few rooms, we encounter another minecart puzzle. It's the same as the previous one, but you have to flip a few more switches than before. After the puzzle, we transition back to Chuck.
Executioner: And it's almost sunset, too... Perhaps they just...ran off?
Executioner: Heh heh heh... Too scared to talk, are we? You won't be able to say anything at all once you're dead, you know. If you've got any farewell messages you'd life to impart, now's a good time.
Executioner: Hah hah hah! I guess you're too busy praying that those stupid kids come back, huh?
We soon come to a room with a few golems in it. Surprisingly, Dean has nothing to say about this.
Oh look, it's another minecart puzzle. And it's just as easy to solve as the first two!
After another empty room, we find the Sol Niger and purify it with no trouble.
If you're standing on the right HEX when a battle ends, you'll find an item. The item's position is determined at the beginning of the battle. (A random position during random encounters, and a predetermined position during scripted encounters) If you have the Treasure Tone badge equipped, a sound will play when the character with the badge stands on the item's HEX.
After a few more empty, boring rooms, a cutscene starts.
Cutscene: The Professor
Music: The Professor (Appearance) (Note that this is not the song's actual name. The song's name includes what I would consider a minor spoiler, so I chose to change it.)
Strange Man: Hmm... I see... Still no response. I had hopes this would prove the key to neutralizing the VR factor, but... No, I just need to consider the matter calmly. Easy, now...let all these potent little gray cells flood themselves with red! ... Ahh... I feel the crucial flash of insight just around the corner... But I can't...quite...find it... ...!
Big Guy with a Mustache: What?! Who dares interrupt me?! The solution was on the tip of my mind, and you just ruined it! Have you any idea of the importance of my efforts here? For the future of the Veruni-no, for every inhabitant on this planet!
Avril: I...I am not sure what he's talking about. Did something happen? Has Dean done something wrong, Rebecca?
Rebecca: No, the big guy's just got something to hide.
Big Guy with a Mustache: What?! What do you take me for? I'd expect you to thank me for my vital research for the sake of the planet, not suddenly cast your aspersions upon me! Am I being clear?
Dean: Yeah, yeah, whatever you say. C'mon, just give us that mirror! It doesn't belong to you!
Big Guy with a Mustache: "Whatever"? All of my fabulous research, reduced to a mere "whatever"? How could you say such things?! Bah! Have it your way! Well, Mr. Know-It-All, if that's you idea of respect, you'll never touch this mirror! Never, never, never!
Dean: Hey, give me that!
Big Guy with a Mustache: Not a chance!
Like a couple of children, Dean keeps jumping for the mirror, while the man repeatedly moves it out of his reach.
Avril: Um, if you do not mind me asking, kind sir... What exactly is the purpose of that mirror you are holding in your hands?
Big Guy with a Mustache: Ahh, quite astute of you to ask, young lady! Allow me to illuminate you!
Note that this ridiculous game of keep away continues while he speaks.
Big Guy with a Mustache: And this cavern, stacked with golems, filled to bursting with ancient knowledge-this is, the perfect place to plumb the mirror's hidden secrets! On this very night of all nights, Filgaia's full moon draws to its nearest.
Big Guy with a Mustache: Now, forever-
Rebecca: Lucky us... Wind this guy up and he'll never stop talking.
Dean: Just like old man Tony. He was like this all the time.
Avril: My apologies. I did not intend to cause the two of you any trouble...
Rebecca: Nah, don't blame yourself. Blame it all on the old crazy guy.
Dean: What do we do now, though? We don't have time for lectures. Guess we'll just have to fight him-
Big Guy with a Mustache: Young man! No chatter in the classroom! Is that clear? Do you understand me?!
Dean: That's a...monster!
Rebecca: Stand back, teach! We'll handle this!
Big Professor with a Mustache: You lot, telling ME to stand back? Hah! How amusing. Perhaps I'll just sit down and observe for a moment, then.
Boss: Spriggan x2 (You might want to skip this video. I had some trouble and had to resort to spamming Trigger Rondo, a Combination Art I learned earlier. Go ahead and watch if you want to see Trigger Rondo in action, but otherwise it's a pretty boring fight.)
Music: Defense Action Squad Heroes!
The Spriggans are a bit stronger than the midboss, and there are two this time. A Spriggan is easy to deal with alone, but they can be trouble when there's a second one involved.
Conveniently, Trigger Rondo targets all adjacent enemy HEXes, so it's great for dealing with multiple enemies.
These Spriggans also have a new attack, Hyperion Beam. It attacks all HEXes in a straight line. I got seriously lucky here, because that Spriggan could have killed any of my party members if it chose to use an earth attack instead.
And even though it never moves off the earth ley point, it continues to use Hyperion Beam until I finish it off. I'm amazed at my luck.
After I kill one of the Spriggans I give Trigger Rondo a break and use one of the Sky Medium's Force Abilities: Ley Change. As the name implies, Ley Change changes the element of every ley point on the battlefield in this order: Water->Wind->Fire->Earth->Water
I use it a couple of times to get a wind ley point nearby. I couldn't get to the original wind ley point because earlier in the battle a Spriggan used Shut Out on the adjacent HEX, preventing movement in and out of it, keeping me from the ley point.
After I get to the wind ley point, I make short work of the remining Spriggan.
Music: The Professor (Appearance)
Perhaps you'd be interested in being my assistants? I do have one already, but she seems to be...lost.
We don't have time for that! We need to bring that mirror back by sunset! Please, give it back! We've got a friend who's gonna be executed if we don't make it!
Hmm, I see that you have your reasons. I, however, also have mine. If I lose the opportunity presented by this full moon, my research will be delayed. That cannot be allowed to happen! I cannot affort to waste even a single second!
We don't have time, either! Give it back already!
I see neither of us can yield to the other. In that case, let us...discuss the matter!
What? We don't have time for a chat!
Suddenly, the professor starts to stretch.
Is it not obvious? I'm stretching. There, now I'm prepared. Let us talk this over-
-with our fists!
All right! Now this, I can do! C'mon, we can "discuss" all you want!
Music: The Professor (Battle) (I changed this song's name as well.)
Well this should be simple enough. I mean, how tough could he be?
As you can see, we have no hope of beating this guy at our level. This is the first of Wild Arms 5's many unbeatable boss fights. They're easily identified by their EXP and Gella values.
Well, I say "unbeatable" but that's not technically correct. In a New Game Plus (Or Ex. New Game, as Wild Arms 5 calls it) you can defeat them with proper strategy. Your characters' levels do not carry over, but weapons, armor, LVL Apples, and stat apples carry over. (Along with a few more things.) With these items, you can make your characters strong enough to defeat these bosses. Of course, there's no EXP or Gella in it for you, and the dialog remains unchanged, so there's really no point.
I don't believe every unbeatable boss can be defeated with this method, (I'll get into why a little later on.) but many of them can.
This guy's defense stat is so high, we can't deal a single point of damage to him!
He also has Crush. Crush is the same as blast, but it's a physical attack which uses your attack stat to determine damage, rather than your magic stat.
Looks like I was just a bit stronger.
Dean, this doesn't look good... At this rate, we'll never be able to defeat him...
It is nearly time for the sun to set...
Exactly! So it's nearly time for you to give up!
Music: rebel assault
Wha-?! What was that?!
It must be the bomb that guy set! That golem's gonna be buried...!
Broken free by the explosion, a large boulder falls from the ceiling.
Arrgh! How dare you interrupt our important discussion!
The professor drops the Mirror of De Soto and it rolls over to our group.
Look Dean... The mirror came to us on its own.
Obtained the Mirror of De Soto!
All right! Today's our lucky day! C'mon, let's get outta here!
H-hey, just a moment! That's cheating!
Sorry, mister! We don't have any time to spare!
Urrrgh! Neither...do I...!
Thanks for saving us, mister! See you around! We've got the mirror! Now we need to hurry back to Mirapulse!
But...what about him...?
And then with that, we leave the man to die. Trapped under the weight of such a massive stone, the man will surely fail to avoid the inevitable cave-in. To save one life, we have condemned another. Alas, we have become no better than the Veruni we so despise.
Now we get to backtrack out of this terrible place. Even though a bomb just went off, there's no time limit. When we arrive in the golem room, dialog triggers
Dean, no! We don't have time for that! What if the cave collapses on us?!
*Sigh* Have you completely lost it? Dean! Calm down! Listen to me! There are golems all over the world! But there's only one Chuck! We have to get back to Mirapulse NOW!
...Yeah, you're right. Let's move!
Incredible... Dean came back to his senses in an instant.
Yeah, well, I've known him for a long time, it helps.
C'mon, you two!
Okay, okay, we're coming!
Once we get back to the entrance, the screen shakes a bit and the party turns back toward the mine.
I'm glad we made it back safely.
I wonder if that man is okay...
Crap, it's getting late! C'mon, we're running out of time! We've gotta get back to town!
You know, Dean's whole personality is that he's compelled to help anyone in trouble, and yet he's not the least bit concerned for the man he left for dead.
We can try to go back into the mine, but Rebecca won't let us. Later on we can go back and get the chests we couldn't open.
Music: From Anxiety to Impatience
We have to hurry! The sun's almost down!
Almost...? No, more like-
Hey-you're that Golem Crusher!
And you're that kid from the cave. So you're the ones who caused all the commotion here, huh? Looks like you didn't make it in time. They've just finished the preparations for hangin' your friend over there. Might as well go and watch his last moments.
No! If they've only just finished the preparations, then there's still time!
Heh, you think it'll be that easy? The executioner's a Veruni. He's hardly gonna listen to the likes of you, especially now that the sun's gone down.
How do you know whether he'll listen or not?! I still have to try! I'm not gonna just give up!
Not gonna give up, huh? And just what do you think you can do? The sun's already fallen behind the mountains. You gonna tell him you can see through to the other side?
You can do anything as long as you don't give up! So I'm not giving up!
Dean and the others run past the man.
Executioner: I just love the instant the rope snaps tight, the way the body goes limp... Who could ask for anything more? Hah hah hah hah!
Executioner: If you've got any last words, speak up. What, don't you have anything to say to those kids that ran off to the excavation site? The brats didn't make it in time, after all. Or more likely, I bet they just ran off. Hah hah hah hah!
Executioner: What's the matter, too scared to speak? That's a shame. But don't worry. I'll go round up those brats and send them along right after you.
N-no, don't do that! Please! They have nothing to do with this!
Executioner: Huh, so you can talk after all. Well, I don't care if they were involved or not. They deserve to die for daring to talk back to the Veruni!
If only... If only they'd left me alone... Why...why does everyone around me keep disappearing?
Executioner: Well, the sun has set, my friend. And it was the last sunset you'll ever see!
Executioner: Dammit! That is indeed the Mirror of De Soto...
Whew... Then you'll-
Executioner: -thank you for the effort, yes. You at least saved us the trouble of having to find it ourselves. But like I said, the sun has set. You didn't bring it back by sunset, so the execution goes forward as planned!
What?! You promised! Let him go!
Executioner: Promised? Don't be stupid! As I recall, our "promise" was that he'd be executed if you didn't bring the mirror back by sunset, was it not? News flash: The sun set before you arrived. The mirror wasn't back in time, so I guess that means it's time for a hanging!
You son of a-!
Executioner: Hah hah hah hah! Promises were meant to be kept, after all!
Dean...that won't work. They're too scared of the Veruni to interfere...
Why?! This is so obviously wrong! Dammit! We can't five up...! There's gotta be some way to still see the sun...! Hmm...
You gonna tell him you can see through to the other side?
I hate it when games flash back to something that happened just minutes ago. I remember that just fine, thanks.
Music: A Boy meets a Girl and ARMS
All right! Here goes nothin'!
D-Dean?! What are you doing?!
The game cuts to the top of the structure.
I see it... I can see the sun!
You priomised! Now let him go!
Executioner: Don't be ridiculous! This is nonsense!
It really is nonsense. Without dragging the executioner himself up there, there's no way to prove to him that the sun hasn't set. For all he knows, Dean is just making shit up.
Nonsense or not, it's the truth! Now keep your promise!
Executioner: Heh... Heh heh heh... Hah hah hah hah hah! Keep my promise? To a human? Honestly, what upstanding Veruni would do something ludicrous like that? I'm not about to listen to a stupid human! You got yourself a great view up there. Now sit back and watch while I hang your friend!
Executioner: Now, let's get this over with.
Music: The Ice Queen ~I Loved Your Smile~
Promises must not be broken so casually. Promises must be kept.
Executioner: S-so what? As long as I can kill humans, that's all that matters! Now get back, unless you want to be next!
Suddenly, the mirror catches the moonlight, (I guess?) and starts to glow.
I will never forgive you for breaking your promise to Dean!
Executioner: Wh...who the hell are you?! Stay...stay away!
Promises are sacred! Keep your promise... ...Or prepare to be punished!
Executioner: P-punished? By who? You?! Don't be stupid! Hah hah hah!
Mine Worker: Yeah! K-keep your promise!
Executioner: What?! Who said that?! That was a human voice! I know it! Don't start geting cocky! You humans need to just sit there and do whatever we Veruni tell you to!
No. Right now, it is you who must do what I say. This is your final warning. Leave this place immediately-or suffer the consequences.
In the background, Dean jumps down from the structure he was on.
With that flash of light, Avril's stupid aura goes away.
Executioner: -!! F-fine... I'll stay the execution this time.
The executioner gets down from the gallows and starts to walk away.
That was a crazy stunt to pull, climbin' up that thing...
The screen fades out, and we skip ahead to the next day.
Music: An Encounter in the Sunset
Don't worry about it! We only did what anyone would do. ...Oh yeah, I almost forgot to give this back to you.
Returned the Hunter's License!
Thanks. Really. I've returned the Mirror of De Soto, so that should clear up any doubts. I can't thank you enough, um... We never did get introduced, did we? I'm Chuck, Chuck Preston.
I'm Dean Stark. Nice to meet you, Chuck.
I'm Rebecca Streisand.
My name is Avril...
Nice to meet you all! I'd love to stay and chat, but I've got to get going...
Where are you off to?
Well, I originally came here chasing after a Golem Crusher named Greg.
A Golem Crusher...? Hey, I bet it's that guy!
I never learned his name, but he's probably the same guy, yeah.
Then I guess the rumors of his being around here were true, after all. I'm going after him. What about you?
Well, I can't stand anyone destroying golems either, so I'd really like to help you... But we're on a quest to figure out the meaning of the words "Johnny Appleseed". Have you ever heard them before?
Johnny Appleseed...? I think I've heard it once or twice, but...sorry, nothing specific comes to mind. It might be a good idea for you guys to head for Laila Belle.
Isn't that the big city with the TV studio?
Yep, that's Laila Belle. The "Skyscraper City"-the biggest city on Filgaia. You can get info from all over the world there. The Golem Hunters' Guild is there, too. I'm sure you'll be able to learn something useful there!
Laila Belle, huh... Maybe one of the TV scouts will find me, and then...! Right, Dean?
Laila Belle, right? Thanks, Chuck! The Golem Hunters' Guild is there, huh... Sounds exciting!
*Sigh* You didn't have to ignore me, you know...
Oh, before you go... Here.
Obtained FX Tickets!
These are...train tickets?
Yep. You can't get to Laila Belle from here except by train. Humans have to get permission from the Veruni to ride the train, but they almost never give it. You saw that much yesterday, didn't you? They treat humans like slave labor-no, more like puppets for their own amusement. But Golem Hunters can ride the trains freely, just like the Veruni do.
Awesome! Thanks, Chuck! You're a great Golem Hunter!
A great *apprentice* Golem Hunter, you mean!
Gee, Rebecca, that was rude.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Anyway, thanks again. I promise I'll make it up to you the next time we meet! I've got to get going now. Until we meet again-farewell!
Yeah! To the station-and then to Laila Belle!
The Art of Wild Arms
With today's update we have Avril & Rebecca. Note that this is the artwork printed on the North American CD.