The game continues with Arnas making occasional pleas to Lilliytis to reconsider taking on the role of Saint, but continuing to fulfill her other missions from the church and fulfilling requests from Hotel Ende in the meantime. 'Dear Sister Arnas' is also constantly receiving letters from someone who calls himself her 'brother' from the church - at first it seems like the letters are trying to just mold her into doing what the church wants and sacrifice Lilliytis, but they get more complicated over time. Arnas can't seem to grasp how her 'brother' keeps observing what she's doing, despite that black cat always following her around. That black cat reports back to the pope every now and then for some spooky cryptic foreshadowing conversations. One recurring theme in the letters is "You must be getting pretty thirsty for blood by now, how about relying on the church a bit and we can supply you with some?", which Arnas refuses to do. Despite being one of their holy knights she really seems to hate the church and their ways. We'll find out later that when she and Lulliytis were roommates in the church school, Arnas was the only student who refused to pray, convinced that God wouldn't save her and that people could only depend on their own strength.
Our next main mission to to go rescue someone who was supposed to arrive at Hotel Ende earlier, but hasn't arrived yet. The destination is a jayou-corrupted amusement park, and on the way there we run into a pure-blooded youma (I guess I should just call them 'spirits', they're like jayou in that they have blue blood and their lord is the Lord of Night, but unlike jayou they weren't transformed from other things, they were naturally born that way). Her name is Chlistphors (again, according to the awful artbook romanizations), but fortunately she goes by the nickname of Chris so I can ignore that. Chris wears a mask and seems to struggle with two separate personalities - she gives the half-blooded Arnas some words of warning about deciding if she wants to side with her human or youma half before the red moon waxes full. As the black butterflies that gather in places that the night is strong start rushing into her, she mutters about how her cover has been blown and that she's betrayed the night - before she disappears, she tells Arnas that the night can never be truly sealed, it has to be defeated.
After defeating another boss jayou, we rescue not one person, but two who were both drawn to Hotel Ende for different reasons. One is Lloyd, a self-proclaimed treasure hunter and shopkeeper who seems to have nothing but money on his mind. Another is Alcard (he's very insistent that his name is not 'Alucard', it's 'Alcard'!), a researcher obsessed with investigating spirits and all things related to them. They both happened to 'overhear' a phone call from the church that drew them here, a bit too convenient. They were told to expect one helper from the church, not two - so one is a fake? Not necessarily, Arnas gets a letter from the same 'brother' telling her that in a way, they're both the fake the real helper. Hmm. Anyway, Alcard has something of high interest - an ancient book that might contain an alternate way to defeat the Lord of Night without needing the Saint. Problem is, it's been mostly destroyed and needs to be repaired, so gathering the materials to repair it is our next quest.
Lulliytis has also been worried about sending Arnas out on dangerous missions all the time, but Arnas tells her that she'd really like Lulliytis to stop thinking of her as a delicate girl, that she's a knight who will protect her no matter what. Things get a bit yuri-flavored with some slow dancing and their faces get pretty close for a moment, but Arnas goes for a hug instead. This game also has various 'memories' from Lulliytis scattered throughout the game world, almost all of them about Arnas and how she's been thinking of her these past two years.
We gather the materials for Alcard to restore the book, but it was stolen overnight and nobody knows who did it. Incidentally, a couple days earlier Lulliytis received a strange and intricate lockbox from the church...Lloyd thinks that Lulliytis probably stole it and locked it in there, maybe she doesn't want Arnas trying to stop her from sacrificing herself. Arnas doesn't want to believe that Lulliytis was the one who took it, but they've searched all over and it seems like pretty 'convenient' timing to get something like that from the church so recently. A lot of side-quests start opening up, I'm not gonna even try to go over all of them (I'm not even covering all the main story events, much less the side-stuff), but occasionally you'll run into Lloyd and Alcard on the field in dungeons, with Lloyd looking for stuff to sell and Alcard studying jayou. Lloyd also has contacts with a merchant who gets goods from all over the world, and you can put in special orders with him to get unknown, but very expensive items from different countries. The orders take a few days to come in - I placed an order for something from the U.S., it arrived 6 in-game days later, for example. Speaking of time, each time you enter a dungeon for a long enough interval, one night and day will pass. During the day you can set Arnas' daytime activities, things she does that boost her stats so that she can learn new skills. Things like drawing, relaxing, cooking, etc. - more possible ways to spend the daytime with better stat boosts unlock as you progress.
About once per chapter, a 'malfunction' happens in the Hotel Ende elevator and Arnas gets sent to a half-real, half-illusionary place where she can talk with Lulliytis' dream self. Since it's Lulliytis' dream, Lulliytis can answer any question honestly and she won't remember it when she wakes up. Between dream Lulliytis and the priestess of Yorudo, Arnas can ask a variety of questions - asking the right questions or choosing the right answers will boost her affection with Lulliytis. For example, she gets asked at one point if she's considered asking Lulliytis to suck her blood, and if you answer no, that will boost affection. Probably has something to do with ending requirements, but so far I've just been choosing everything that maximizes interest in saving Lulliytis and minimizes any selfish urges like sucking her blood. At one point Lulliytis asks Arnas what she would think if their friendship wasn't a natural thing that happened at school, if it was something that the church ordered...but then says it was a joke and not to take it seriously, running off. Uh huh. The church has clearly been raising these two behind the scenes, although the details aren't entirely clear yet.
Next up is solving a mystery of a recurring case of Saint candidates disappearing once every 10 years over the past hundred years - the last one to disappear was a close person to Simon, the Hotel Ende manager. On our way investigating it, we run into Chris again, this time without her mask. It seems that her conduct in giving Arnas information means that she's 'betrayed the night' and has been getting attacked by jayou since they first met. Without her mask, she only has the one voice instead of two, but she suddenly realizes that her mask is missing and goes off the retrieve it, after giving Arnas some hints about the missing girls' case and showing her the way to a hidden room where the Saint candidates have been turned to stone. They also had to make a choice between the person they loved and the world, much like Arnas has to right now with Lulliytis. Anyway, Chris will show up randomly on maps from now on too (with her mask), giving trivia about the island they're on and some other subjects, sort of like Lloyd and Alcard. It's not clear what her objective is yet.
It's finally time for Arnas and Lulliytis to make their way to the shrine where Lulliytis will offer herself to seal the night, they think they've found it. Arnas is still planning to battle whatever comes out while Lulliytis is still planning on sacrificing herself - when they reach the shrine, Chris appears above it and acts like she's the youma responsible for carrying out the ritual, making Arnas and Lulliytis both pledge their intentions before her, with Arnas saying she'll defeat the night and Lulliytis saying she'll seal it. Chris laughs at the joke she played on them - this wasn't the real shrine, it was a fake, but now she got the two of them to admit what they're both planning on (especially Arnas, in still refusing to go along with the sacrifice plan).
It's clear now even to someone as thickheaded as Arnas that the reason Lulliytis wants to go through with it is to protect Arnas, who has been used like a tool by the church due to being a half-blood, Lulliytis feels really bad about it and she's also clearly still hiding some things. Arnas finally gets her to accept her plan of trying to defeat the Lord of Night, she promises to make it happen even if it should be impossible. Through a mysterious power (the power of yuri!) the red moon that signals the end stops waxing and actually wanes a bit - Arnas gets a letter from her 'brother' back at the church telling her that she, as someone who was touched by the blue blood but maintained her human consciousness despite it, is the only one who can stop the coming eternal night.
I should be clear that I'm not covering everything in these writeups, I never actually intended for any of these blogs to be a 'let's play' or anything like that. I just get a bit carried away even with describing the outlines of the story, and I have such nice screenshots to post! Anyway, I've got two new weapons and tried out new transformations in battle since last time too. The dual-swords are interesting but I like the way the regular longsword handles better. The magic cannon is interesting, it's a support weapon that can buff Arnas' servans and heal them, while doing some ranged damage as well. I don't have the hammer quite yet. As for the other transformation forms, the bunny form is incredibly fast, hopping all over the field and wreaking havoc on fast-moving or hard to catch enemies. Phantom form is another support form that helps heal and buff servans - useful, but I like being in the action myself. The first Demon form seems to be really good against bosses in particular, really strong damage and its special ability grants some invulnerability frames for eating strong attacks.
Sadly, one thing the game has NOT developed yet is any semblance of challenge. I'm not an action RPG veteran, I haven't even played DMC or other games like this, and I'm still having a very easy time so far...I think it's been about 4 boss battles as of now? None of them have been a serious challenge. Maybe I'm spending too much time doing requests from the hotel and getting too much Blood to level up with. I hope it becomes more of a challenge later on.
Random JRPG blogging about the games I'm currently playing.