The Devil Emperor's Palace
While we bought some of the magic we wanted, there's still a couple expensive arts I want to pick up. But we're also kind of running out of things to do without sealing any Abyss Gates. If you remember what we learned from Johannes and Anna in Lance, the Abyss Gates can be found in Toughturn Mountain, Great Western Ocean, the jungles of the south, and the Devil Emperor's Palace.
Of all of these, we're most familiar with the Devil Emperor's Palace, because that's where we had to go to rescue Gon when he ran off looking for Mitch.
So, it's off to Pidona.
If you don't remember this place, it's the biiiiig tower we visited pretty early in the game. Before, we didn't get very far at all, because Gon was pretty close to the entrance, hiding in one of the rooms off to the side. But this place is actually quite large!
I'm still not really sure how to write about big dungeons yet, because there's a lot of just... walking around and fighting, and finding your way around... but not a lot to talk about really? Or at least, I can't figure out exactly what to talk about.
Anyway, you can see this place has a lot of different paths you can take... just from this screenshot, there are three different ways we can go! We came from the bottom right.
This place is a bit scary, because there are these Lamia-like enemies that can sap your soul out. You can see the little translucent Trucks being dragged across the battlefield...
When they do this, their target loses 1LP (!) and the enemies heal themselves for the max HP of that character. Fortunately, the character doesn't die, but losing an LP from a single attack is quite scary, especially considering Herman only has four.
Heading up from that area I showed before, we find this little congregation of goblins. The four in front are just regular goblins, but the one in the back is stationary and will draw us into a battle with some higher-ranking goblins if we try to approach it.
But they're all susceptible to Daybreak, so we vanquish them instantly anyway...
There are a lot of paths to explore, and a lot of dead ends. It's pretty common to find rooms full of nothing but skeletons and empty treasure chests. We learned before that Maximus had the Church searching this place, and that it's a popular spot for bandits and other kinds of treasure hunters, too. So it's not surprising that almost every treasure chest we find is already looted.
Anyway, about our Lamia problem... Remember that Glamour Lights art I talked about buying before for Trucks?
Glamour Lights is a Lunar art that attempts to seduce the entire enemy party. Despite the fact that there aren't a lot of seduction abilities in the game, the Charm stat is solely used for these abilities and nothing else.
So essentially, the Charm stat can be used to judge how alluring a character is. And what I especially love about that is that Trucks has one of the highest Charm stats of all the male characters in the game, even higher than Lime. He's only outclassed by characters like Leonid, who is a Vampire who relies on seduction for survival.
I'm very happy that the tubby older mustache guy is canonically one of the most sexually appealing characters in the game. It's backed by statistics. You can't argue. Not that I would argue anyway!
The stupid thing about Glamour Lights is that it only affects "opposite gender" opponents. This is stupid for two main reasons -- the first one being that obviously no gender would be able to resist Trucks's inherent sex appeal, and the second being that almost all of the female enemies in the game have a high Charm stat, too, because they're all oversexualized designs... And Charm also affects your resistance to being seduced, so it makes it harder for Trucks to make random creatures want to bang him.
But he's doing a good job anyway :) It's the mustache.
When an enemy is seduced, it will attack its allies instead of our party, so that's great. They'll even attack themselves! And they get a cute little heart floating above them. Like all status effects, there's a chance of it wearing off at the end of every round of combat, and different enemies have different rates of recovery.
Now and then, we do come across treasure chests in here that still have stuff in them! Here we got a Spider Sword. I meant to write this entry long ago, so I've already lost the cap that showed how much of an upgrade it was... but both Mikhail and Ward are carrying swords, and this probably upgraded one of them, and then the other got the hand-me-down from the other.
Eventually we go down some stairs that lead to a dead end and it seems we've been everywhere. But we haven't! If you look at the wall here, you can see there's a thin hallway in it, even though it looks like a solid wall. There's actually a LOT of things like this in the game, and I think the designers thought they looked more obvious or something, because these usually are not even meant to be secret paths.
In this case, we actually have to walk down this hallway to continue.
When we come out the other side, we're attacked by these three little dragon guys! I forget their names, but it's something like "Flamers" or something hahaha.
They look like they should be pretty easy, because they don't have a very intimidating appearance. But in fact, they're quite difficult to take down! They have a ton of HP, and since there's three of them, there are many attacks targeting the party. They have a lot of ranged and magic attacks, as well, which means the party isn't particularly set up to defend against them.
Fortunately, though, they are susceptible to all status ailments, so Herman's Flash Arrow is able to inflict darkness to all three at once, and Trucks can use Imprison against all three since none of them are being protected by the others, so we can paralyze them pretty easily, too.
They recover pretty quickly, but with Tiberius healing every turn, we're able to survive til the end of the battle, which takes a very, very long time. As I was fighting them, I was starting to wonder if perhaps the party wasn't prepared for this battle, but we managed to come out with no major injuries.
As we continue our descent through the tower, we eventually find this grand hallway, but we're on a balcony above it. There are many stairways and doors around, so we can probably find a path there, but it's exciting because it looks like we may be making progress!
In one of the rooms we pass through trying to get down from the balcony, we run across a treasure chest that seems to have something inside. But when we open it, there's nothing inside but a scrawled message:
Praise death! In the happiness that is death, Now, to the land of happiness...
Doesn't make a ton of sense but it's pretty creepy. This doesn't seem to trigger anything or lead into anything, either, so uh... yay?
We finally make it to the grand hall area, but there seems to be a little room here at the bottom, so we sneak in before exploring more. There seems to be a demon sitting on top of some kind of magic seal in the middle of the room.
When we approach the demon, we get engaged in battle with five of those Lamia things. That's... a LOT of chances to steal LP every turn in battle... and these things have other scary attacks, too, like an ice beam and stuff, and half of their abilities seem to restore their own HP while damaging the party, so... this is going to be one rough battle...
Or, uh, you know, we can use the power of raw mustache sex appeal...
The allure of mustache knows no bounds...
Though they did manage to put Mikhail and Herman to sleep before we could turn them into lust-crazed fools.
It hardly mattered, though, because with all five of them unleashing their deadly attacks on one another, they fell, and they fell fast! If they did the soul-sucking thing, it was instant death, too!
When we walk onto the magic seal in the middle of the room, we're teleported to another room with a magic seal... You may remember that we found this room near the entrance of the tower when we were searching for Gon, but stepping on the magic seal then did nothing back then. It must have been because those demons were standing on the other end, so we weren't able to teleport.
Now that we've defeated the demons guarding the seal, though, we're able to teleport between the grand hall and the entrance freely! We've come a long way in our journey through the tower, so this is a nice way to get back to an inn if we need to take a break.
But we're okay for now. Fortunately the enemies haven't been attacking Herman much, so we don't have to worry that much about restoring LP, and we have tons of potions and ethers in stock, too, so WP and JP are not a huge deal, either.
As the monster rank goes up, we start to fight these orc-like guys with big hammers. It's pretty rare that enemies drop equipment in this game, so if you happen to get an equipment drop, you're VERY lucky.
One happened to drop a Sledgehammer, which is a club-type weapon with a power of THIRTY. That's a huge increase to anything we had before, so now Ward has a new toy to play with.
At the end of the grand hall, we find a big door. There are some demons guarding it, but we can easily just walk right past them. They're a bit slow to reach us as long as we keep moving.
On the other side of the door, though, we find ourselves outside again. Considering how many floors we've walked down... where the heck even are we...? Was this tower built into the side of a cliff or something?
The outside area is mainly just a bridge to another interior area, though. When we get inside, we find we're in another big hall. There are many pillars in here, and when we walk past them, sometimes skeleton enemies will jump out suddenly and attack the party.
It seems this hall, though, is some kind of throne room. Perhaps this is where the Devil Emperor used to sit? Also, that's a very TALL chair.
After fighting off the demons (which were just regular enemies), we go behind the throne to find a door. But... the door seems to be sealed. When we try to open it, we hear a voice that just says, "The ring..." and that's it. We don't have any kind of special ring or anything, and we've fully explored everywhere in here, so it looks like our adventures here are done...
I actually do know the solution to this, but it's not something we're able to do right now. But we did get some nice loot and a few things we can sell for cash in our little trip down here. And we also opened up that teleporting magic seal, so we can get back pretty close to this sealed door any time we want now!
But for now, we're going to have to leave the Palace and try one of the other ideas to seal an Abyss Gate...