Byakuren and Murasa have, as if possessed by something, been running around randomly. Return them to sanity.
Pretty straightforward. Through the magic of reading the quest text◊
I now know to expect a double boss fight. Through the magic of not
reading the quest text I head to Byakuren's temple, where she isn't. In fact it's completely empty. Murasa is also gone, but Byakuren used to have a bunch of generic human followers hanging out at the temple.
As far as I can tell, there's no way to check your active quests from the menu, so I have to head back to the shrine and read the quest again to find out where she is. Turns out she's in heaven, the second half (Tenshi's stage). Well, I guess she is
This time I'm a bit more thorough in clearing out the enemies. The enemy set had never been completely overhauled, but it seems they're just replacing the weaker enemies with stronger ones one at a time, increasing their average level. And it's starting to show. While I'm still just spamming Last Spells and using the heal point a lot, nowadays it seems like I need
to. I'm using a party of Mokou, Lithos, Nitori, Reimu and Cirno, and both Nitori and Cirno are glass cannons. Reisen's in the commander slot siphoning experience and giving me preemptive actions. Which is actually kind of awesome. Preemptive actions used to cost 3 bombs on two different characters (the Aya + Sakuya trick described above), but I can just get them randomly by sticking a bunny in the back row? Not a bad deal.
Actually, I noticed something sort of awesome here. As you may not recall, Nitori has a series of spells called "Chasers" that cause her to follow up attacks of particular elements with her own attacks, causing big combos if everyone uses the same element. In the expansion, she gains physical element chasers (slash, pierce, and bludgeon) as well as a spellcard called "The Kappa's Anything Chaser" which is Exactly What It Says On The Tin
. She'll follow up anything that hits the enemy with a normal attack. If each of the 4 other party members does an all targeting attack, she'll hit each enemy 4 times.
Moreover, she currently has a gun, the Machine Cannon, that has a rather high random chance of making normal attacks all targeting. The way this works with the chasers is that when that happens it shoots every enemy once for each enemy that the effect procced on. So it a battle with 3 enemies, she can shoot them all 12 times each. In one action. Stay cool, Nitori.
Also, Lithos has a move she stole from her sister Bio called Aging Drizzle, that this time around seems to do damage equal to the target's current HP. So it's instant death, except not based on CAS. It seems to have some sort of threshold value above which it will just miss though. I don't really understand it, but it's a nice finisher after a full turn of Nitori combos, and it conveniently always goes last in the turn so it's not wasted on full HP enemies.
As I said earlier, I explored this dungeon more thoroughly. This was not exactly intentional, it just ended up that way because Tenshi's stage is a nightmarish maze of switches and backtracking. Much, much easier than before because I have a teleporter to the end, but it still forces me to cover a lot of ground. Cirno is actually approaching level 60-ish right about now, which means she's catching up with Nitori and my other lower level characters. Sadly, she no longer gets extra experience from being low level.
Unsurprisingly, I find Byakuren and Murasa◊
. For some unknown reason Murasa's name is always written in katakana. I can only assume that in Japanese people love shouting her name. I don't blame them, it is
pretty fun to shout. For the rest of the installment her name shall be shouted. Between Byakuren and MURASA, the choice of who to kill first is as clear as day and night. On the first turn Byakuren casts "Devil's Bulwark" and takes 1 damage from everything. MURASA also takes hits for Byakuren sometimes (but not always). It's your standard Sword And Sorcerer
combo, except this time the sword is a giant anchor.
MURASA herself is mostly harmless. She just guards Byakuren and halfheartedly hits me with her anchor for negligible damage. She doesn't even have a Last Word, which made me sad. Either that or I killed her before she did it, which would make me sadder. It's not like she died super-fast, but it wasn't exactly slow either. I was still in my "test the waters" phase so my party set-up was the same one I'd been killing normal enemies with. Nitori and Cirno make a pretty good combo actually, by tilting the Land gauge towards water very quickly and abusing it. Unfortunately that weakens all of Mokou's attacks. I may have to reconsider this party at some point.
Unfortunately, killing MURASA was merely the beginning of my problems. No, Byakuren did not go berserk. In fact, she kept doing exactly the same things for the entire fight. Unfortunately, those are bad things. First of all, she has a shield that makes her take 1 damage. I was kind of assuming that this might go away when MURASA died, but no such luck. I simply can't hurt her. I tried a variety of elements, but nothing works. Eventually it ran out on its own and then she recasts it
. So one turn to do damage and then wait a dozen turns? Well, it could
work, in theory.
Except for the fact that she constantly blasts me with light elemental magic. Specifically, her Last Spell "Devil's Recitation", which happens to be an amusing recreation of what it looked like in Touhou 12. This isn't so bad on its own, but it gradually fills the land gauge towards light. And I can't do anything about that. I have no dark magic at all (because Byakuren has it). So it just gets stronger and stronger until it kills my entire party. What fun! I'm pretty sure Reimu's healing spells also speed up this process.
Well, not quite as fun as I'd prefer. Byakuren actually has a pretty big weakness, and unfortunately it was already in my party. Lithos and Reimu both have strong resistance to light and, more importantly, can hurt Byakuren through the shield. How? I dunno. I don't make a habit of looking gift horses in their mouths.
Unfortunately Lithos is low on MP and bombs after MURASA, so cue the poking battle! Stab stab stab. As I mentioned earlier, Nitori and Cirno are Glass Cannons
who died early on, and while Mokou struggled for life (and keeps auto-rezzing, yay Mokou!) she's not exactly contributing much with her 1 damage. It gets close, in terms of damage outpacing healing and Reimu's MP, but right on the edge of death I manage to bring down Byakuren. That's actually kind of... sad. The game seems notably easier so far in this expansion, or maybe I just know most of the tricks already.
Not content to let this victory remain a mystery, after the cutscene (which I'll get to) I immediately examine their weapons to see what could have made the difference. And I find it. As it turns out, this whole shield thing is actually a mechanic that was introduced late in the previous game, but I never really understood it. Basically there's this property that I'll call "Divinity" because it seems to be possessed mostly by enemy angels and the final boss (who was a goddess, duh). It acts as a percentage damage reduction that applies to everything. Whenever I encountered it I assumed the enemies just had a lot of defense and worked around that premise. As you might imagine, Byakuren's shield gives her 100% Divinity.
However, there is a way to pierce it. Certain weapons and skills grant a property called "Exorcism" that reduces a set amount of Divinity, also from 1-100%. No, I don't know why Exorcism pierces Divinity. One of Reimu's commander abilities grants this property, but in this case it just happens to be on the random weapons I gave Lithos and Reimu at the beginning of the expansion. Well, they're not quite random, they're both the strongest weapons of their class (spear and sword, respectively), and I suppose its not unreasonable for strong weapons to have strong properties.
Or I could have just dispelled it with Sanae or Reisen. That was also an option. Except I beat her on the first try.
As for the cutscene, as always Byakuren and MURASA were affect by the heart/mind corrosion. Yeah, they're calling it corrosion, I just hadn't bothered translating that particular word before. We're somewhat surprised that Byakuren
of all people would be affected, but here we are. Apparently she felt an evil presence at Muenzuka and was affected while investigating it. MURASA, who looks really really scared◊
, described the experience as being swallowed up by a muddy stream of dark evil darkness. Seriously, they're very redundant with this dark evil malice stuff. I think we get the picture.
Anyway, Byakuren obviously accepts our invitation to join the investigation. She can't leave Gensokyo in danger, can she? She tells MURASA to take care of the temple while she's away. Again.
And that's the last of the 3 star character quests. 4 Stars seems to cover pretty much everyone else in rapid succession, so after that there's gotta be something. Like a new dungeon? Right? As always, I'm aiming for new characters first (to get them levels, among other things), so next up is Remilia Scarlet.