I'm not too familiar with the deadly sins, but I always thought there were seven of them - Envy, Pride, Wrath, Greed, Lust, Gluttony, and Sloth. This game made me go look it up on wikipedia though, and it turns out there used to be two more: Acedia (melancholy) and Vainglory (vanity). Zerbolos was Wrath before he fell to Trillion and was brought back by Faust. Lilith (the ghost ancestor who shows up in the throne room every now and then) is Vainglory. Astraroth was Acedia, which is the Demon Lord attribute that Elma has now inherited. As the new Demon Lord of Acedia, it's time to train younger sister Elma into a warrior capable of standing up to Trillion. Actually we're just killing time until I have her purposely step in one of Trillion's attacks and die for the sake of the true end, but let's pretend.
Thanks to the inherited power of all the Demon Lords through the ring, Elma is healthy for the first time in her life, she can run and go outside the castle without attendants like she always wanted. She ends up getting in a small fight with her loyal guard-dog Kerberos (yeah, I spelled it Cerberus earlier, but I found out this game spells it this way, whoops) who was lonely since Elma is spending all her time training instead of playing with him. She tells him to get lost in a rare loss of temper and then runs after him for an apology and reunion, obvious setup for the next chapter.
Elma talks a lot about the other Demon Lords, and how they were probably happy to be of use to the underworld and to Zerbolos when they were the candidates. Before Trillion came, Zerbolos was so powerful that he could solve most anything by himself, so she thinks the Demon Lords were probably feeling pretty worthless sometimes and that they were happy to be relied on for once, like Elma is right now. She and Zerbolos spend some happy and sad moments together, it couldn't all be happy this time since they've both lost their older brother and sister recently, and their nieces and friends, but Elma still makes the best of it. This whole chapter was too cute and sad, which only made it worse knowing what was waiting at the end of it.
I'll just get straight to it, Elma's death was brutal. Unnecessarily so, I think. I was even more repulsed by it than I was by Perpell's, I really think they went overboard. She cries out for her brother Zerbolos to save her as Trillion slices her apart and she bleeds out for everyone watching on TV back in the castle to see. I can't help but think these scenes would have been better off not being in the game - each time a Demon Lord dies, they do a dying attack which is pretty neat, putting their last power into one blow that does some damage or has some effect on Trillion or boosts the next candidate and then they fall over having used all their energy, like I mentioned at the beginning of this playthrough. That should be enough - they do their final attack and they fall over, just have Trillion chomp them once and be done with it. It never ends quickly, though - after they collapse from their final attack, we have to sit and watch the screen turn flash red and hear ripping and crushing sounds and their dying lines each time as they're killed slowly. I don't like it, it doesn't make me angry at Trillion, just mad at Compile Heart for putting scenes like this in the game. Maybe I'm being over-dramatic, but I really think it's distasteful, especially for characters like Perpell and Elma.
Since this game hasn't kicked enough puppies yet, next up we're going to have an actual dog be our candidate. Elma's death is the most painful yet for Zerbolos and everyone back at the castle. Faust feels pretty bad by now and Zerbolos is learning that there are things worse than death. Then the game's atmosphere is ruined as Kerberous' rage at his master dying awakens him as the new Demon Lord of Wrath in front of Elma's grave. So we have a new candidate to use.
I don't really see why this chapter was included in this game - I mean, I like a good loyal dog companion as much as anyone else, but the game just got done killing the protagonist's sisters, I can't manage to make myself care too much about a hellhound. Kerberos doesn't even 'talk', he barks, Zerbolos and some of the others understand what he's saying anyway, but it also contributes to making the chapter feel like a joke. Most of the chapter is spent with Zerbolos and Kerberos grieving over Elma together, which is totally appropriate, but I'm not sure this needed to be a full chapter long or have Kerberos actually be a candidate, it's a bit silly. Do normal players even need this many chapters to beat the game? It seems like you could remove this one and they'd still have nine, which should be plenty even for people who take a while to figure out good builds. Oh well, it's the usual thing here - I step in Trillion's attack on purpose when the time comes and Trillion puts down Kerberos. It was the most merciful death scene in this game just because all Kerberos can do is bark.
Returning to the real story, everyone is gathered at the throne room and Zerbolos is lamenting how they have the ring but nobody left to use it. If only his Demon Lords were still with him! As he thinks that, the holy relic that Uriel gave them from earlier suddenly appears next to them. Uriel goes into a rant about how God told him that it would save them through the power of love when the time was needed and some other of his usual cheesy lines, but in reality it requires more magic power to do anything, it's got a flicker of a miracle in it but not enough to power it. Royal advisor Baphomet tries to give his own life to fill it up, but it's not nearly enough - Faust offers her own magical energy to fill it the rest of the way before it's too late and Baphomet's energy leaks out. From reading the wikis I know that if you let her do it, you can bring back any of the Demon Lords from earlier that you had 100% affection with for one last fight against Trillion, so this is a good save spot to grind individual endings if you want to. I'm heading straight for the true ending though, so Zerbolos tells her to stop, and the jewel shatters, returning Baphomet's life to him, but losing any chance of us making use of the relic.
Lilith shows up - earlier the ring had reacted strongly when she came close to it and Faust was curious about it, but she's not been wanting to talk about it. Now though, she asks for the ring, and she's able to wear it despite being a ghost (normally she can't physically feel or touch anything, although that doesn't seem right since she has no problem kicking Uriel around, maybe she just can't feel inanimate objects?). As mentioned earlier, Lilith is the Demon Lord of Vainglory. With a ghost body there's not much she can do to actually fight. Normally when a Demon Lord dies, their seal (attribute) gets passed on to a new person eventually, but for all this time, Vainglory has been stuck on Lilith. She realizes something and she takes the ring off her own hand and slips it on Faust's finger, mentioning how much Faust reminds her of herself. I don't see the resemblance in looks or personality, but okay.
It's obvious what she's about to do and Zerbolos tells her to stop, but she disappears after giving her power to awaken Faust as the new Demon Lord of Vainglory, wishing everyone luck. This is a shock to everyone because only demons should be able to awaken as Demon Lords - if non-demons could do it, Uriel mentions he should have awakened long ago. Suspicious. Faust is surprised too, but she sighs a bit and mutters about how Vainglory might be a pretty suitable attribute for her after all. She offers to fight - Zerbolos tells her that of course he won't turn her offer down, but wonders why she even cares. She shouldn't have any connection to this underworld as an outsider besides getting Zerbolos' soul at the end of the deal. Just earlier she had offered her own life to fill the holy relic too though, so it's clear she does care. As for why, I guess we'll have to figure out next update.
Only two chapters to go. It's going to be annoying if I failed to trigger one of the true end flags somewhere. Sometimes random events can lower affection by 1%, so it's possible to get it to 100% and then absentmindedly have it drop to 99% and go fight Trillion like that. Hopefully I didn't do anything like that. Sorry to all the dog-lovers out there for the Kerberos chapter gloom, but it was just a bit underwhelming compared to losing Elma the chapter before and it felt a bit sudden and out of tune with the rest of the game. I guess we needed some time to cool the story down after losing Elma. It feels like it's gotten a bit too cold now though, probably because almost everyone is dead.
Random JRPG blogging about the games I'm currently playing.