Seven Wonders #6
The time to tackle the final of the six Wonders before the final adventure. This is one of the more interesting Wonders, and actually a lot easier than I remember it being.
We start out this adventure having to put Grace aside... she's just stronger than everyone else so needs to power up less... so in a way, I guess that's good...? I certainly missed her on this adventure, tough. In hindsight, I probably could have let Hiro sit out and have been fine.
When we first arrive at the ruins, Mythe approaches and asks to join, because he wants to travel into Pharos, but can't go on alone. Finally, someone has a sensible reason for joining the party! Ruby warns him that he might not enjoy their company. (Is this some kind of passive-aggressive jab at her teammates...?) Mythe doesn't care, he just wants to be able to find her. He doesn't specify who -- this is related to Mythe's story, though, so this will make sense if you play Mythe's scenario.
The adventure actually starts in the city ruins outside of Iskandaria. This is the one place you can go wander around on your own without having to initiate an adventure; however, for the sake of this adventure, many of the pathways around the ruins are blocked off. You're pretty much forced to enter the large doors that lead to Pharos.
I'm not going to show off Mythe's stats since we'll get to him when I play his scenario, which I'm strongly considering doing next. Importantly, though, he starts with two guns: one in each hand! So I'm gonna swipe those away before going on the next adventure (... hopefully I remember to do that...)
It's weird having a character in the party with only 90 HP at this point... everyone else has 400+, so seeing single digits is strange!
This is what Ruby says before Fortunetelling, haha.
We're running into Satan's Chia Pets as regular enemies now. When we encountered it, Roy said "The bigger they are, the better they taste goin' down." Is... is he going to try to eat it...? Roy, it's a demon...
And I'm kinda doubting this is some kind of weird sexual innuendo...
But yeah, the monster rank is getting higher and higher. I'm fighting the Greed demons now, too...
Once you go into the actual city, it looks pretty different from the ruins. The whole place looks very fancy and has a ton of weird mechanical technology everywhere. The existence of Pharos itself adds to the lore of the game, which is neat. But basically this is your general "past civilization which for some reason had way more advanced technology than us" city.
As you explore around, you'll find strange mechanical devices. You won't really understand what they do at fist, so you just have to play around with them and try to figure out what they even do.
After pressing this button, we get the message:
No energy distributed.
That alone isn't much to go on, but the more you explore and see the city, things will start to make more sense.
I actually didn't take too many screencaps of this place, oops.
But you'll eventually find these "crumbling staircases" that will take you to... what looks like an upside-down version of the place you are now (all the scenery paintings are upside town, and the map is pretty much a mirror of the first one). These make up the 'upper' and 'lower' floors. You'll also run into some barriers that will push you back onto the space you came from. And along with all the machines, that's about all there is to this place.
So, as you start pressing buttons, you'll realize there are pretty much are three main types: ones that manipulate the barriers, ones that distribute energy to their sectors (the ones that get the Error 22), and ones that turn on the power for the energy distribution to the whole place. The last ones are a bit less obvious, but they're the ones in the central floor (in the circular rooms connected to the little arc-shaped areas between the crumbling staircases).
The barrier buttons are easy -- they just swap which barriers are turned on and which are turned off. Basically, all the barriers on one floor will either be off or on. So if the barriers on the floor you're on are turned on and you press the button, they'll all be turned off. But then the other floor will have all the barriers turned on. Pretty simple.
Pressing both of the main power buttons (at least, I think you have to press both) will activate an elevator that travels between the upper and lower area. The first one you press, it might not be obvious what happened, but once you press the second one, you'll see the elevator appear.
Once both main power buttons are turned on, you can start distributing energy. I don't know if you have to do it in a certain order, or if I just got lucky. They are named like alpha, beta, etc. and I did alpha last, so I am guessing you don't have to do it in any order. Just go press all four, and the whole place will have energy distributed evenly. This allows the elevator to travel to the center floor. If you try to go to the center floor before activating all four sectors, all four will revert to being inactive and you'll have to go back and press all the buttons again. Also, once you start distributing energy, the barriers buttons will stop working properly, so the barriers will not be able to be swapped. That means to reach all four energy distribution buttons, you're going to have to either go through one staircase to the floor where the barriers are off and travel to the other staircase to reach the other side of the floor where the barriers are turned on. You can also use the elevator to move between floors if it happens to be more convenient than the staircases for you.
After distributing energy in all four sectors, you'll get a message saying all the energy has been distributed. Now you can go to the elevator and press the 'circle' button to be taken to the center floor, where you can find the Tetra Force and the boss on the northwestern side of the area, or the Round Table room in the southeastern side of the area, which will be relevant in other stories.
Along the way, I found a chest with huge money in it!
This is one of the menus you get after interacting with a certain device. Choose wisely!
The treasures in most of this area are regular chest type. But in the final area, they're actually the corpse type! Ooh, it's like Innocent Life's Easter Ruins all over again... hahaha.
Finally, after ... a very long time playing this adventure (you'd think just mashing a few buttons lying around would not take this long!) we finally arrive at the Tetra Force! This one is red. Pretty.
Sapphire got all level five panels. It was really hard to choose. In order to give her Fortuneteller L5, I had to get rid of her newest magic tablet, which she had not learned all the arts from yet. Only a couple. I was pretty close to learning Supersonic, too... a shame I couldn't learn it. Anzan learned it from his tablet, which also happened to have Supersonic, though. But it would have been nice to get a few more arts from it. But nothing on there was vital, so off it goes, and now Sapphire's Fire level has been boosted quite a bit.
So after developing panels with the Tetra Force, we head into the room in the back. There's a button in there, and upon pressing it, we start hearing voices in our heads...?
They... really didn't even bother trying to make the text look nice inside this speech bubble. But this shadowy figure says this:
With six men I came here, searching for the Seven Wonders for year after year, But somehow I died here and turned into a fiend. Be sorry for your fate. I shall now take your lives!
Yeah, IDK. He just "somehow" died and turned into a fiend. Also why was he looking for the Seven Wonders inside one of them...? I feel like this was probably translated poorly or something lol. It doesn't really... mean much?
But you get into a fight with this undead, which is called "Samurai Master," though it's pretty much just a special version of the regular monster Dulahan. Yeah, most bosses are also regular monsters. There are few unique bosses in the game. Even the elder dragons appear more than once, like the blue one in Two Moons Temple and the same blue one at the bottom of the elevator shaft at Flying Island.
Anyway, this guy's "six men" seem to be accompanying him. Their names are "Humans?" lol. At this point, I was really missing Grace and her amazing Ice Needle art! But at least Roy had Random Arrowshot at his disposal, and even glimmered Parashots, the strongest hit-all weapon art in the game.
Iskandar also glimmered DHS!! (If you're curious, it stands for double-headed snake, though I don't even think the game ever tells you that??? But you see a lot of returning weapon arts from previous SaGa games, kinda how Final Fantasy reuses the same magic spells a lot. Though the names are often translated differently between games, too.)
It's a pretty cool-looking spear art. Basically, he leaps back and thrusts forward with the spear, which sends out two spiraling energy beams. When each hits the enemy, it kinda explodes and the screen flashes red and blue. Coooool. Most weapon arts are kinda simple-looking, but there are a few that have really cool effects. Grand Slam, the staff art that Ruby glimmered a while back, is really cool-looking, too.
I'm not gonna expect to glimmer Poker's Wild this game, but that means the only arts I really have left to get that I want are Doppelgangers, Bloody Mary, and 1000 Needles. I'd even be okay foregoing Bloody Mary since I have DHS. Doppelgangers shouldn't be too hard to glimmer since Hiro has a L4 Sword panel, but I'm still waiting for a L4 bow panel on Roy so I can have a better shot at 1000 Needles!
Anyway, defeating the "field" (fiend?) activates the device in the central area of the ruins.
Which lets you see all the lights in the city flicker on! And then the name pops up again. Pretty cool ending to the adventure, honestly. You can also see how there's an upside-down area "above" the lower area... I don't really understand how gravity works in this place, but whatever!
So we finally have an interesting ending to an adventure, hahaha.
BUT! IMPORTANTLY! After this...
SAPPHIRE GOT MAGIC BLENDER
Magic Blender is a very rare panel (this is my second time seeing it; my first time was during my SCC on... a character that wasn't my single character) that allows you to customize your magic arts by combining four arts into one. Generally this just powers up the 'base' art greatly, but certain combinations will actually result in hidden magic arts that can only be obtained this way. That means there's a whole slew of magic arts you can only see by having this panel and knowing the "recipe." And usually the recipes are going to require you to have learned many arts from lots of different tablets...
But guess who got Magic Blender, and guess who also has been learning many arts from lots of tablets for the whole game...!!!!
So, I'm really excited about this! This is my first Magic Blender I'll ever get to use, and I may even get to see some of the rare arts!!! There are multiple "recipes" for each hidden art, so it's possible for you to 'stumble' upon them yourself.
After developing panels, we leave the ruins I guess, and Jeanne swipes the Tetra Force from Ruby. But unlike before, Ruby seems to have a bit more resolve, and demands it back.
But Jeanne refuses, marking Ruby as an "instrument of evil." Looks like we're the bad guys now. Ruby tells her to stop babbling before she gets mad, and Jeanne says she won't let anyone stand in her way... and then she dashes at Ruby and attacks her, knocking her unconscious. o___o
Ruby starts to have a dream, which includes Iskandar, and some of the people important to the history of the world. First is Alyce Ambrosia, the most powerful witch of all time. Judy's mother is rumored to be a second coming of Alyce Ambrosia (not a spoiler, really; Judy tells you this in the first few seconds of her story).
Alyce and Iskandar are about to seal Pharos (the city is normally sealed off and no one can reach it -- most likely Ruby and friends were able to go there because Iskandar can control the seal, though this isn't ever explained in the game) but Alyce had apparently fallen asleep and dreamt of a battle in which she lost.
The next sequence Ruby sees in her dream is of Leith Torles and, again, Iskandar. This time, Leith and Iskandar are about to go slay Draco Archaeos (is that the name of the blue elder dragon...?) on Flying Island. Leith says he had a dream in which Iskandar was there, but he was much older.
Note that there is a theme in the dreams here -- Iskandar accompanies the most powerful mages of all time to conquer one of the Seven Wonders, and just before they're about to go, they seem to fall unconscious and have dreams.
In the final sequence Ruby sees, a girl and Iskandar are about to conquer Nakle Lines. The conversation goes like this:
Iskandar: Are you really going to go through with it?
Girl: Are you saying I shouldn't, Iskandar? You may be unsurpassed in another world, but here you're merely an old man.
Iskandar: I don't intend to stop you. What happens in this world is up to all of you.
Girl: Have no fear. I can control both the Arcanian relics and the magic tablet's ultimate spell.
Then Ruby wonders if the girl in the vision is herself. She was quite confident the other two were just random people, and it had to be a dream, but with this one, she wasn't so sure...
(ETA: I was kinda caught up writing about the story, but side note: oldman!Iskandar is pretty cute! I think "Ruby's" Iskandar is kinda cute, too, hahaha. But I think that's mostly because he vaguely reminds me of Luc Rousseau in appearance, who is one sexy sleazeball hahaha)
And, just like Alyce and Leith, Ruby wakes up from a dream as she's about to tackle her final Wonder with Iskandar. Everyone is in Leith Torles's supposed home, as I guess they took Ruby back there after Jeanne knocked her out so she could recover.
The old lady again asks Ruby and Sapphire if they solved their problems. Sapphire says that her vision to see the future is simply vision, just like eyes are able to see the physical world. It's nothing special. Ruby says she's come to the same conclusion, and that's it's okay to be uneasy about what the future holds. You just have to accept that the future can hold many things, and concentrate on the present.
Iskandar comes into the room and requests that Ruby and Sapphire perform a reading. He wants to know what they see about their trip to Hanging Garden.
Sapphire says, although she didn't want to see it, she saw the end of the world again.
Ruby, however, says her vision was different. She was able to see further -- the end of the world, but then it begins again.
Later, Ruby wonders aloud if her reading was wrong, since it was different from her sister's. Hiro says her attitude isn't like the Ruby he knows, the "gutsy girl who tells fake fortunes with such flair."
And that's when Ruby realizes -- the fortunes can be changed, just like she changed the fortunes back when she was running the shop. The future is in her own hands, not determined by her readings.
And... this is the thing I knew I had seen before LOL. Like the weird Iskandar flashback dream thing, with one of the people looking like Ruby and Ruby thinking it was her. But I think this is as far as I've gotten.
So Ruby is going to go to Hanging Garden, and there, encounter... possibly the end of the world. But she's also realized that she has the power to change that future.
But for now, we have subadventuring to do. I want to learn some more magic with Sapphire, get a L4 bow panel for Roy, and glimmer those last few arts that I'd like to have for the end. I have decent equipment, and plenty of good panels now. Not perfect, but I think we'll be okay. We've gotten through some pretty rough spots, and the party is pretty powerful at this point, just missing a few key things I think we need.