Last time we left off, we were headed to the canal in South Varennes to see what was up there and hopefully stop the occupation.
While I was expecting to just walk straight into some kind of dungeon or something upon entering the canal from the world map, we find rather that we're in front of the fortress that has been built around the canal, and there are a few little buildings out here. There are only two we can enter -- one has nothing more than a table and a bit of storage barrels or something inside, and the other is... a bar. Really was not expecting to find a bar out here.
There are a few patrons in the bar. The first we talk to says that he'll indulge us with the secrets of the canal if we just agree to pay him 20,000Kr. That's a pretty steep price for what I'm assuming is just a little bit of information, so I tell him, "Nobody asked you!" for now. Talking to the other patrons, one warns us not to trust the guy who offered to sell us information, and the other says that the Thieves' Guild in Avalon may know something about the canal fortress.
Already, we can see that we have a few options on how to proceed here. Obviously we can pay the guy to give us some information, we can go to Avalon and try to find this Thieves' Guild we've heard of, or we can just storm the front of the fortress ourselves.
I had no idea there was even a Thieves' Guild in Avalon, so I decide to check that out.
There's only one thief I know of in Avalon, and I only know of one way to reach her. We head to the bar, and now when we talk to the bartender, we're given an additional option besides the normal "Gimme a drink" and "Nevermind" ones. Now we can ask him, "How's the cat?"
When we ask him that, all he tells us is to go to the cemetery and talk to the custodian. The only cemetery I know of is the creepy one with the hole in the ground, and the only person I've ever seen there is that weird old man who stands next to the hole and says nothing.
And I guess that's the right person, because when we talk to him this time, he says "to the tombs" instead of his normal "..."
And then he tosses us into the hole in the ground. Yeah. What did we get ourselves into...?
Though instead of just landing in some empty grave or weird underground cave, we're... in a building! That's pretty impressive, really. This seems to be the thieves' guild. Despite the fact that "no one can know about" them, we know about them. Seems like pretty dangerous information to give, you know, the emperor? Who could easily control or dismantle you?
But whatever. Our friend Cat is down here, too, behind some kind of bar. We talk to the guy in the center of the little formation of people and ask him for help infiltrating the canal. We promise to reward him if the guild can give us some intel on the fortress.
He doesn't want to trust us so easily, though, even though we have the trust of Cat. He says that if we are willing to do a favor for him, first, then he'll consider our request. He tells us that there is a tentacled monster guarding the entrance to the cemetery, and if we take care of it, he'll help us out. I don't really understand what this is talking about since we easily come and go from the cemetery and there's not once been any kind of monster hindering our progress.
We have the option to accept to take on the task or to take our business elsewhere. I mean, we have a guy who's willing to do it just for some money. And we could even just do it ourselves if we wanted to, right?
But we're gonna help out because it seems fun, and Cat was a playable character in Imperial Saga, so I'm kind of hoping she will be here, too. Though imsaga has playable characters of tons of NPC's, so she easily could just be that.
In the corner of the room, there's a guy who seems to be guarding a passageway or something. We talk to him and he sings a "Viva Avalon" song and then jumps over us. It's super weird. But now he's not in front of the door. If we talk to him again, he jumps again... it seems talking to him triggers him to jump two grid units upward on the map, no matter where he is. I guess maybe they thought you wouldn't talk to him more than once? Or just forgot to put something else here once he's already jumped?
I kept doing it to see what would happen. It reminded me of the guards outside of Mikhail's castle in RSG3. Eventually, the guy jumped into a wall and got stuck.
We head through the door that the jumpy guy was guarding, and we're taken to some sort of sewer area. Immediately we can see a tentacle monster guardian a stairwell, so this is probably what the guild guy was wanting us to take care of. This area is very small, and it's not hard to figure out how to get to the monster. If we take the stairs down into the water, we can walk right under the little overpass thing to the other side of where we were standing, so we're already able to face this guy. We only had to fight one enemy on the way which happened to get in the way when we were passing under the bridge, but it's probably possible to get to the tentacles without fighting anything else.
The monster is called "Deep One," and is one I'm used to seeing from Imperial SaGa a lot, too. Though I knew not to underestimate this thing this time. It's vulnerable to the confusion status ailment, and takes quite a bit of damage from Blades of Wind, as well. It actually fell very quickly, so I ended up not really learning what kinds of things it could do. So maybe I was safe to assume it would be easy all along.
If we follow the path behind where we fought Deep One, we come out in some sort of underground cemetery. I guess this is the place the guy was talking about. And if we leave the back of this cemetery, we actually come out in the dungeon under Avalon castle! So I guess we can use this as a little shortcut to get here if we need to. Though I feel like most of the time, just going to the graveyard would be faster, and we wouldn't have to worry about getting in any fights in the sewer on the way, either.
Another path in the sewer leads us up into the back part of the weapon shop. Which means the weapon shop owner is probably in cahoots with the Thieves' Guild, or is a member or something. I guess that's why he would leave the fire in his fireplace not burning, so Cat and her friends could get up onto the roof. And steal from the Empire. And even though the Emperor himself just appeared from his secret passageway that helps him commit crimes against the Empire, the guy doesn't seem fazed at all by our talking to him; in fact, he just says, "Please use the front entrance."
We head back to the Guild room and report our success to the guy there. He thanks us and says that he'd love to keep up his end of the deal, but there's no one who would actually take on such a risky job. I guess we should have expected the Thieves' Guild to scam us like that. Well, we got rid of a troublesome monster anyway, so it's not like we lost much other than a little time.
But before we can leave, Cat speaks up and offers to take on the task of infiltrating the canal fortress. The guy we've been doing business with seems a bit surprised and asks her if she's really serious about it. She tells him that she owns the Emperor a favor, and she heads out.
I wonder if it's possible to come here and help them with their tentacle extermination, but then have no one willing to help you out because you didn't save Cat earlier in the game. I guess, now that I think about it, it's not, because if we hadn't saved her, we wouldn't have learned how to get here because we wouldn't know the secret phrase to say to the bartender. So, yeah, nevermind...
Cat says she'll meet us outside the canal. We head to the canal area and find her in the bar; she actually has replaced the guy who was willing to sell us information.
She takes us to that other little building with the table in it and moves the table aside, revealing a secret passageway. She tells us that she "marked the way" for us and that the "boss" is on the third floor.
Throughout the fortress, we find a bunch of blades on the ground. At first I was really confused as to what these were, but I soon realized that these are the 'markings' that Cat left for us to tell us where to go. She even points out the rooms with treasures in them! With this, we're able to find a Starstone (an accessory that boosts magic power), an Exorciser (a greatsword that deals extra damage to demons), and a total of 380,000 crowns for the treasury.
And we're taken straight to the boss chamber, without having to fight a single other battle! Though, we've really not been fighting much at all, so this is a little scary. Maybe we will be really underpowered...?
Oh, well, let's just try it out!
We talk to the guy standing in the boss chamber, and he claims to be the right-hand man of Bokhohn, another of the Seven Heroes. He also tells us that our victory over Kzinssie was just a fluke. So it seems this guy really knows what's going on in the world.
The boss battle consists of this Vicar guy, a green lizard aptly named Lizard, and a red lizard named Pyrorex. We start the battle using Light Ball to try to blind the enemies, using Wind Screen to boost Bison's defenses in the front, and trying to paralyze the enemies with Stunner.
Lizard falls to a couple of attacks from Bison and Andromache, but the other two are much more hardy, and much more powerful. Each of them has some attacks that can take out a party member at once, other than Bison, and Vicar can even do this quake attack that can hit a whole row of the party, sort of like Gel Matter's electricity attack. The quake attack isn't as powerful as the electricity, and it seems to affect not simply a row, but the target party member plus everyone behind them in the formation. So it only hits three characters if he targets Bison, which he seems to hardly ever do.
Both of the enemies are able to be paralyzed, but only Vicar can be blinded. He also can be confused, too! Pyrorex also seems to recover from paralysis very quickly, so soon the objective was to take out Pyrorex as quickly as possible, since it's much harder to debuff, and it has very powerful attacks.
Thankfully, Andromache glimmered Flowing Slash during the battle, a powerful-but-costly sword skill, and if you remember, the signature skill of Gerard's brother Victor.
Bison used Parry the whole time, just trying to stay alive and a valid target for the enemies as long as possible. The others ganged up on Pyrorex with their strongest skills and spells, with Marie stopping to use Stunner on Vicar as needed. One thing I didn't really think about when choosing my new emperor is that the base stats were going to play a big role in the strategy I was able to use. Gerard was very fast, and I had relied on that speed for using stun and paralysis attacks. But Sagittarius is extremely slow, so he's not helpful at all in that way. He's much more powerful in magic, but Marie isn't fast enough to make up for Gerard's usefulness in early-turn demobilization.
There were a few close calls and we lost quite a bit of LP, but killing Lizard early and keeping Vicar stunned, it was possible to keep up on the onslaught of damage from Pyrorex while still getting in some decent damage ourselves, especially with the help of Flowing Slash. If we hadn't glimmered it, the battle may have drug out a bit too long, allowing the enemy to gain the advantage and win.
Once Pyrorex was gone, the rest of the battle was pretty easy. Even if the paralysis wore off, it was still five against one. Marie and Sagi ran out of SP, but Andromache was still even able to use Flowing Slash on Vicar once before running out herself. With less of a threat, even Bison got to join in on the attacks, and it wasn't soon before Vicar fell to our steel. And wood and wind and stuff.
When the battle ends, we appear back in Avalon, and Sagi offers a reward to Cat for her help infiltrating and liberating the canal. She declines the reward, though, claiming that she's already taken her fair share from the castle herself. Sagi thinks this is humorous, so I guess it's not too big of a deal to steal from the government in Avalon.
After that, the screen fades to black and we're given a little message that the canal was taken back and the territories were restored. We're shown a picture of the world map with now both North and South Varennes lit up on it. And then it says "117 years later..."
I certainly wasn't expecting that! But I guess liberating the canal triggers a story time skip. Of course, it's not like Sagi and everyone lived for 117 years, so we're prompted to choose a new heir and start a new imperial generation... but that's where we'll start next time.