: ...the hell? Wha... Where...
I assume protesting will do me about as much good as it did him. At least if there's some sort of court, I might have a chance to talk with someone in charge.
Unless that would be Thor.
I have to believe Isamu's still alive. There's no way even these blockheads would outright kill a prime source of Magatsuhi, right?
: A court, huh? What kind of trial do you guys usually hold?
: A trial decided by power...
: If you claim to be innocent, then pound your enemy into the ground! When he is just a quivering mass of flesh, you'll be set free.
: Huh, it's not what I was expecting, but I can deal with that.
I can't imagine this kind of court system is so overloaded that they'll let us stew in here for long. Maybe it's just the principle of the thing.
And there's complimentary treasure in here. It's like a mint on a pillow. *: There's precious little to do in here, but we can examine both side walls.
> You can hear a voice from the other side...
Voice: Oh, a newcomer? You were probably thrown in here for a crime that you didn't commit, right?
: I might have been technically trespassing.
Voice: But, reason won't work with those Mantra guys! You probably figured that out already. If you want to get out of here, you'll have to impress them with brute strength.*: And on the other side...
> You can hear a voice from the other side...
Voice: Let me out of here!
: Would that I could, brother.
Voice: The Mantra are crazy! I can't fight. Someone, save me!
This isn't even really trial by combat. There's no justice here; clearly the Mantra just want to see people getting stomped into paste.*: As if on cue...
*: The gate opens, but the Pyro Jack doesn't even escort us out. The encounter indicator is blue, so at least we're not likely to get jumped before the trial begins.
: I'm innocent! Let me out of here!*: There's clearly a chest in that cell, but there's no way to open the gate.
: They've probably never seen a demon like me, so they jumped me to the top of the queue.
Demon prisoner: I don't wanna be locked up in here... I wanna fight! I want the blood of a young man! Blood! I want BLOOD!
: I suppose it's a relief at least one person here wants to go through this nonsense.
: Yo, big guy.
: That my way in?
: Your entrance is on the other side.
: I'm not saying that it's not what I'm doing. You know anything worth paying for?
: WHAT!? I can't believe you!! What the hell are you thinking!? You need to pay up before I spill the beans! C'mon, before anyone comes! Gimme 200 Macca...
: Ha, fine. But it better be worth it.
: The way we handle disputes is with three battles. If you lose even once, you're dead. You better make sure that you're prepared.
: Oh come on, I could have figured that out by myself. Is that really all you got? What kind of two-bit mook are you?
: ...What? You want me to tell you more?
: Knowledge is power. Even in here I gotta get me some.
: Then gimme another 200 Macca.
: I recommend you don't push your luck much further than that. Here.
: Now that's better.
: First off...
: You're not up to shenanigans, are you?
: N-No, I'm not! This guy... That's it! This guy got lost, so I was tellin' him off!
: Hmmm... Is that so... Well, alright then...
: Nice save, I'm impressed.
: I didn't hear him sneak up, since he doesn't have feet.
: Don't waste any more time, just give me the goods before he gets back.
: ...Alright, let's continue. It was about your opponent, right?
: That's right.
: Your first opponent is a demon that uses fire. You know what fire's weak against, right?
: Yeah I got this.
: The next is a lady that attacks with Force. And you know what? She's hot!!
: I didn't need to know that, but okay.
: Maybe there'll be some electricity between you two!
: Ha, gotcha. What about the third opponent?
: And lastly... The Mantra's number two.
: So, Thor then. Damn, if everyone has to fight him, I don't see a lot of prisoners getting out of here in one piece.
: His lightning packs quite a punch! So, look out! Bad news about that guy is that he has no weaknesses.
: Yeah, we'll see about that once I'm done with him.
: ............ ...That's all the info I have.
: If you've been telling the truth, it was money well spent.
: Hurry up and get ready. The door's over there. ...Hope he doesn't suspect me.*: The correct way out is indeed at the other end of the corridor. Before we go, I ingest Shiranui to protect against fire, and reform my party. Chatterskull absorbs fire, so that's a no-brainer. I want Momunofu to stay in the party and gain experience, so he's in for this one as well. I also bring Forneus along for his Dia.
: I call upon the defendant, ZedPower. Please come to the arena.
: On top of that, demons saw you in the Great Underpass. You may be a Nihilo spy...
Gah, I should have known that would look bad. Can't believe I didn't think of it.
: I further charge you with being a little sneak. Ikebukuro is the territory of the Mantra! Even if you are a newcomer, it is crime enough that you've shown us such flagrant disrespect!
: Oh, shut up, you windbag. I know I'm here to kick ass, so get on with it!
: CAPITAL PUNISHMENT! THERE IS NO OTHER CHOICE. THINK OF HOW YOU WANT TO DIE. I'LL GIVE YOU TIME.
: I don't know how many assholes you have, but you'll have one more when I'm done with you.*: Analyze fails right off the bat, so paying that Oni was worth it. On the first round, Chatterskull's Stun Gaze gets Voided, so it's probably immune to Nerve. Fortunately, Orthrus uses Fire Breath to little effect. This is gonna be a cake walk. I don't even bother using any more skills, we just keep going with basic attacks.
: Bring it!*: It nails Forneus with Agilao for near half its HP, but I'm not too worried. Forneus can heal single targets without problems and all my dudes that can take any fire damage will survive one Agilao at least.
One turn later, Orthrus uses Maragion instead, which is beginning to be marginally more worrying, so I get Momunofu to use Focus and Lunge just so I don't put him and Forneus at risk more than I have to.*: And he's dead.
: Your sentence is death... Ahh... I want to cut you up right now! But, I'll give you some time. Make it fun for me.
: Much obliged, miss. I promise it'll be a fight you'll remember for the rest of your life.*: We're again asked if we're ready, so I take this opportunity to reform the party. Other than Zed being equipped with Hifumi, we don't really interact with force damage in terms of weaknesses or resistances. However, Unicorn and Gui Xian both know Zio, so they're in. I'd like to keep Momunofu again, but he's weak to ailments and I expect Yaksini will know Sexy Gaze or Marin Karin or something, so it's probably not the best idea; I replace him with Bicorn for his ailment resistance. We should be good to go.
: Is it okay, now?
: Absolutely. Let's dance.*: Zed opens with Focus, and Unicorn's Zio shocks Yaksini on the first try. Yeah, this is looking good already. Everyone uses up their free crits for the rest of the turn; Zed's Focus-enhanced basic attack does 256 damage. Then Yaksini uses Mazan, which isn't threatening. Next turn's pretty much a repeat, except Gui Xian's Zio does the Shocking this time, and Zed's Focus attack crits for 280.
: Is this the power of the Mantra? Is this the strength you boast of? How DISAPPOINTING!*: The floor is shaking pretty hardcore. There can't be a third battle very often, I don't know how much of this the building can take.
: I am ZedPower.
: I commend your ability to fight.
: I commend your ability to club unarmed teenagers in the back.
: But... Will your power work against me?
: Worked against everything else so far.
: My hammer shall be the judge. I will give you time to prepare.*: Once more we're asked if we're ready, so I take the time out. I expect Thor will use some sort of lightning attack; unfortunately that's when I realize that Unicorn, Gui Xian, Bicorn and Forneus are all weak to electricity. This leaves us with Momunofu, Blob, and Chatterskull. I do also expect that Thor will pack some physical damage as well, which Zed (thanks to Kamudo), Momunofu and Blob all resist, so this shouldn't go too badly. It doesn't leave us with a lot of healing power beyond Zed's Dia, but I can still use items, and worse comes to worse I can probably risk getting Unicorn in to use Media.*: Thor packs a punch, but like his SMT1 incarnation, he has high Strength and low Magic, so as long as you're not outright weak to electricity, his Zio spells aren't too scary on their own. He does get a few crits on Shocked allies but that doesn't get a chance to turn the tide before we can debuff him into irrelevance. He can Dekunda himself, but the one time he bothers to do it is too little too late.
Still, going in this battle without as much physical resistance as we had could get pretty disastrous pretty early.
: Had enough already? I thought this was a fight to the death!
: You have done well.
: You mean I kicked your ass into next week.
: It seems you have something other demons do not. ...This is for keeping me interested.
> You obtained the Magatama Narukami.
: Our leader, Gozu-Tennoh, aims to build a utopia where only the strong may live. Gozu-Tennoh is at the top of this building. Your power may change the world. Remember that.
: I will.
: Huh!? Innocent? ...O-Okay!!
: Not used to prisoners getting out of here in one piece, are you?
: By the order of Thor... No, out of respect for your power, ZedPower... I hereby declare you innocent!*: This marks a turning point in our journey. Until now, we had been an unusual nobody, barely a curiosity. But today, we've defeated the second in command of the Mantra demons, and everybody knows it.
Thor is, of course, the famous Norse god of thunder, but as a major figure in the Germanic pantheon he is also associated with, among other things, martial power, storms, oak trees, protection and fertility. He's fun-loving and quick to anger, but the worlds of gods and men rely on his strength and his enchanted hammer Mjölnir him to defend them, and by and large he's a brave and steadfast warrior and defender.
: When he isn't a nuke-happy son of a bitch, that is.Right. In SMT1, he... kinda dropped atomic bombs on Tokyo on God's orders and ushered in the nuclear apocalypse. Curiously he was of the Majin/Deity race back then, and has been demoted to Kishin since.
Kishin are mighty war gods. In Nocturne most of them are from Asian mythologies, with Thor being the one exception.
Music: Playing the fool
: You lucked out, fool. I can't believe Thor approved your release...
: You... didn't actually watch the bouts, did you?
: Now, get lost!
: Thor says that you've proved your strength. You're free to enter our headquarters anytime.
: Of course I can. Who the hell would stop me?
: That really pisses me off!
I immediately sit on the floor.
: Holy shit guys. Holy shit. We're alive. That was the god of thunder. Holy shit.
: We kick ass!!
: NYEH HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH!
: That was a hell of a battle. If I had known you were gonna pick a fight with Thor, I woulda joined up for free!
: I never really had a shot that day back then, did I?
: Wait. Are you telling me you're okay with what just happened?
: Son, when you get to be my age, any fight you can walk away from is the best kind of fight.
: Talk for yerself, old timer! I live for the thrill of...
: The thrill of getting your head bashed in by a magic hammer? Why I oughta...
: nO aRGuinG! yoU TEaR fAMilY ApaRt!
: Everyone's well now. It's all that matters.
: Now get your butt off the floor before anyone notices. Your street cred is my street cred now, you dig?
: Right. Right! I just... I just had a moment. Well fought, everyone. Let's go!*: Narukami is an electric-aligned Magatama with purely offensive stats, which would teach us Shock, a multi-hitting electric skill. I do re-equip Kamudo for now, though. If the Thor fight taught us anything, it's that Zed's Dia is a waste of time with his low Magic stat, so I'll be replacing it before long. He's pretty much better off using Medicine instead.
Our first stop is the Fountain, of course. It costs us about a thousand total, but no one died so it's still less expensive than the Matador fight was. We did use up a couple Beads, but again, that's not as bad as the bunch of Chakra Drops we had to spend back then.
In any case, we have nowhere to go but back to the Mantra HQ. However, when we get back to the central hall...
Huh, another one then. That's worth investigating.
: It was a foreigner.
A foreigner carrying a weapon? It couldn't be...
: A man in red was looking around here for someone.
: He was looking for a demon named ZedPower.
: Wow, I don't know what to think of that.
: ...Do you know anything?
: Not a clue, my good man.
Well, there's no foreigner in red here that I can see. I got more pressing business anyway.
But... the candelabrum...
Eh, it's probably nothing.*: The battle with Dante has two phases. At first, he's getting you used to dealing with Rebellion and Ebony & Ivory; the former hits one target, is undodgeable, and has very high critical chance, while the latter hits one target four times but has otherwise nothing very remarkable about it. His damage output is fairly high, but manageable even if you don't have any allies with physical resistance. Unlike Thor, he's not shy about using Holy Star to remove debuffs if he has any on him at the start of his turn, and you can actually use this to your advantage. He has two icons to play with, but if he's spending one to remove a debuff, then he's not using it to attack you. Considering Rebellion's crit rate, manipulating him into using Holy Star usually means you take two attacks instead of four.
It's worth noting that a viable strategy, should we have been in control of Dante, would have been to only use Holy Star if we had a half-icon in the queue from critting with Rebellion first.
Once Dante takes enough damage, he switches to his second phase, where he starts using Bullet Time and Provoke. Bullet Time hits all opponents with undodgeable physical damage and a chance to inflict Panic. Provoke is essentially Taunt, but it also recovers a butt-load of Dante's MP. At this point, not having physical resistance is a nightmare, and even a tanky demon like Gui Xian is in very real danger of being one- or two-shotted by Rebellion. Fortunately, our two main damage dealers, Momunofu and Zed, were both resistant to physical damage. We really saw Focus shine in this fight. Interestingly, a Counter attack will use up the Focus buff, which is why we saw that one counter deal like 420 damage (which also resulted from Provoke's offense buff).
In any case, that was a close one. Zed got Panicked towards the end there, making him essentially unable to replace fallen minions or cure himself, so if Momunofu hadn't put an end to the battle when he did, we would really have been up the creek. To be honest, this is certainly one fight I didn't expect to win on the first try.
: I may take the coffin someday, but you can keep the dumpster for yourself.
: Not bad.
: That was a fun one. You almost made me break a sweat!
: You look like a demon... but you don't seem like one.
: It's a long story.
: I'm a demon slayer.
: A colleague, then.
: This old guy asked me to hunt down guys like you, but...
: I need to find out what that guy really has in mind. Depending on how things turn out, maybe we'll meet again. Until then, try and keep yourself alive. ...Who knows? Maybe I'll have another chance to kill you.
: Ha, you're welcome to try. I'm looking forward to it!
As soon as he's out of sight, I fall to my knees.
: Holy crap.
: No, no, no, none of this again. We won. Get up.
: I guess we did.
: We beat him. He yielded.
: That was a hell of a price to pay.
: This is battle. There's no such thing as a perfect commander who never loses a man.
: We've all been at this for a long time. We've all fallen more times than we can remember, not always to worthy opponents, and rarely for leaders who would pay dearly to see us returned to them.
: You're right. I understand. I... I won't let this happen again.
: You will
: But I'll stay on my feet.
*: So that's another trip to the fountain. It costs us 1200 just to bring back the dead, and another 1000 to recover fully.
Dante's a half-human, half-demon swordsgunsman, and is first among the holy trinity of patron deities of stylish combo-based slash'em-ups, along with St. Cereza, who presides over quad-wielding, and Our Metal Father Raiden, lord of cutting everything into tiny bits.
Alright then, Mantra HQ, third attempt. We'll get in there sooner or later!
: Living and dying must be hard, too...
: Nobody's having an easy time of it, buddy. It just sucks more for some than for others.
: Huh, am I? I hadn't noticed.
: Oh please, we've all seen the lightsaber, we know you think you're hot stuff.
: Do I detect a hint of jealousy?
: Of course not! Cutting suckers apart with a blade of raw energy is so 1977.
: Jealous, and a hipster too. Nice!
At last, no one is trying to stop us this time.*: It's still Mantra central though, so random encounters are turned back on.
: Still going to see your boss. We could all have avoided a lot of hassle if you had let me in in the first place.
Of course I'm also looking for info about Isamu, but they don't need to know that.
: You seem to know your way around a fight. And you've seen what I can do. Wanna come along?
: You want me to join you? ............
> Taraka is still wary of you.*: She requests about 700 Macca.
> Taraka is hesitant.
: This is not enough. Give me 1 Life Stone, okay?
: Don't spend it all in one place.
: Sorry... but I don't feel comfortable putting my life in your hands. This should be enough to make do with.
> You recovered HP.
: If I wanted healing, I'd go to the Fountain. You're just wasting my time.
: Then, I guess I'll be going.
> Taraka left.
*: We also start running into pairs of Oni as random encounters. As special one-shot fights they weren't too threatening, but as normal battles they start taking a hell of a toll over time.
Lv20 Femme Taraka
In Hindu mythology, Taraka was a member of a race of demonic cannibal ogres, living in a forest between the Ganges and Sarayu rivers. She was a brigand and pillager, ravaging the countryside and assaulting travelers. One day the heroes Ramachandra and Lakshmana cut off her arms, nose and ears because they didn't want to kill a woman, but she used sorcery to throw rocks at them, so Ramachandra shot her dead with an arrow, and that was the end of that. Shibaboo has a high chance of afflicting a single target with Bind, a Nerve-type ailment that prevents all action.
: Me no care about weaklings. Orthrus and Yaksini lost. They weak. Me no care for them!
: Pfft, I bet I could take you, now that you don't have your buddies backing you up.*: A cube in that rooms contains a Mamudo Rock. After a fight with a couple Nekomata, Zed levels up and learns Mind's Eye from Kamudo, a skill that reduces the rate of back attacks. They're fairly uncommon to begin with so far, and I don't see myself keeping it for long, but it'll serve us better than Dia right now.
Hmm, another exit.
: You're not getting past this Great Gate.
: We'll see about that, once I talk to your boss.
: The Mantra's most important facility is beyond this gate.
: Yeah. We can't let you get to Kabukicho.*: They have a small terminal here, linked to the large Ikebukuro terminal.
: It's not a habit of his, I presume. Yeah, it's me.
: ...Then, go see Gozu-Tennoh. He's probably waiting for you on the top floor.
: Are you guys telling stories about me already? I can't say I ever dreamed about being a champion gladiator, but it does feel pretty cool.
: You used physical attacks, huh?
: That's a fancy way to say I punched a buncha dudes.
: I mean, you can deal major damage if you get a critical hit. Well... if your attack hits, that is.
: I beat Thor. I know about critical hits.*: We finally recruit a Taraka, for about a thousand Macca, a Revival Bead, and a Life Stone.
: Is there?
: Humans are a great source of Magatsuhi, but it's hard not to kill such a weakling. ...Check him out sometime.
As much as I want to see this Gozu-Tennoh, Isamu comes first for now. To the basement it is.
Uh. Hmm. How does this even...? First button on the left, I guess.
: Don't do anything funny! Gots that? Don't do anything funny!
: Oh please. You know what I think of your jail by now.
*: These Pyro Jacks are enough of a pain in the butt that I ingest Shiranui in order to void fire damage. They come in in groups of up to five, so that's a lot of Agi and Maragi to facetank. I'd hire one just to get them out of my hair, but we're fresh out of slots.
Lv19 Fairy Pyro Jack
The details vary, but by and large, it is said that Jack was a clever chap who somehow tricked the Devil, and either as reward or punishment (depending on the story) is never to be allowed into Hell. He was also lazy and greedy, and was therefore denied entry into Heaven. So he wanders the Earth, forever undying, holding his own soul in a lantern, or possibly a carved pumpkin, or a turnip, or maybe even his own hollowed-out head depending on whether the Devil took it to hell or not. Let's just say there's lots of variation to the tale. Game-wise he's Jack Frost, but with fire!
: I was caught again...
: Well, if you escaped once, you can do it again.
: Not really, no.
: Yeah, really.
: Isamu! Cripes I'm glad to see you alive. What were you thinking?
: Francois! So you're here... ugh...!
: You're in terrible shape. Don't try to move.
: ...Damn those demons. How long do they plan to keep me locked up?
: Dude, if they give you a chance to pass a trial, don't take it. Even if you weren't hurt, I don't think you have a shot. I'll... I'll figure something out.
: I heard the news. You won the trial by combat, huh?
: Surprised the hell out of me too.
: I've managed to stay alive, too... Well, sorta. I don't think they'll kill me just yet.
: Yeah, you're still valuable to them. These Mantra guys are assholes, but some of them aren't idiots.
: I'm gonna find a way out, but I need some more time. My back's still store, so...
: You hit that brasier pretty hard. Hell, I thought you were a goner. You're tougher than I ever gave you credit for. What were you trying to say, back then? Something about Ms. Takao?
: Good man! What was it?
: You know Nihilo has that Maiden, right? That's Ms. Takao.
: Good... um... good detective work there, buddy. That's important info for sure. I'll have to find some way to break in there.
: There's no time to lose! The Mantra are about to launch a full-scale attack on Nihilo! If she's caught... She'll be killed!
: She sounded pretty valuable herself, but... Yeah, those Oni don't mess around.
: Francois! You gotta save her!
: Working on it. I really am.
: You can do it with your powers, right?!
: Yeah. You can count on that.
: I can't do anything... Please, Francois!
: Don't worry about it. Just take care of yourself for now. I'll do all I can, and as soon as I find a way to get you out of here as well, I'll be back for you. Leave it to me. I promise I won't let you down.
Well, at least he's safe for now. In fact he's probably safer in here than out there. I hope he can keep his head down until I can get him out.
: I'll tell ya somethin' good! The Mantra keeps something real valuable behind the door in the back.
Hmm, this must be the door in question.
> You are not strong enough to open it.*: I'm pretty sure that door straight up has a Strength requirement. Well, that's where we're investing, so we'll get it open sooner or later.
: They drain the Magatsuhi out of you at the prison. It's bad. It's torture.
: Oh hell, I hope they don't send Isamu there.
: The Mantra can't appreciate true beauty!
: I-I'll shoot!
: Eh what?
He's bluffing. I'm more surprised he has any idea what a gun is. Maybe Dante dropped by while he was here.
: A demon just won his case, and was set free. I hear he was young, but I'm sure he's a freak.
: Well, he's freaky-looking, in any case.*: A stairway back to the ground floor. That's odd, I didn't find a way down from there.Oh, it wasn't hidden or anything, it was just a passage in the elevator room I had overlooked. The designs on the walls of this place must have tricked my eye. We've taken a bit of a beating, so I use the small terminal to go heal at the fountain and register my squad at the Cathedral. In fact, seeing my options, I decide to pop Riberama and waste some time waiting for full K.
...and then my plans are dashed when I see that Blob is 3000 experience away from learning Mana Drain. And I really want Mana Drain. Hmm, let's see if I have other options to free up a slot in the meantime.
Alright, I do. So.
Wilder Bicorn + Fallen Forneus =
*: At this point I want Blob, Taraka and Unicorn to gain a level, so I reluctantly bench Momunofu for now. Returning to the elevator in the HQ, we go to the second floor this time. Zed gains a level and learns Shock, so I replace Mind's Eye with it. Unfortunately, Narukami inflicts him with Stun, so I use a Dis-Stun to get rid of it.*: There's some sort of arena here, but this isn't the floor where we were imprisoned and tried.
Lv25 Night Incubus
In Christian folklore, an Incubus is a male demon who seduces women and has sex with them to steal their souls. Most notably, according to some traditions, Merlin's father (of Arthurian fame) was an Incubus.
: Me want... Me want eat... More losers...
: And, I clean up after them...
Man, Manikins are lower on the totem pole than Pretas.
: This is what it must feel like to be a celebrity.
: I've become your fan.
: Oh. Err... good. Thank... thank you. I'm.... your fan too.
: I'm not trying to do what you think I'm trying to do.
: Dibs on the groupies, then!
: It's open season on the ones trying to kill me, at least.
: I hear ya, boss! I'm goin' in hard!
: Just... do me a favor and, like, don't ever, like, talk, alright?
: Eh, I'm not the "promises" type.
: Starting now.*: There's a staircase down to the ground floor which I had also missed the first time around, and more stairs up to the third floor, which I take instead of the elevator. Man I hope I'm not missing other rooms.
We run into one loose Orthrus, but he refuses to join us because he won't associate with "weaklings". I have to assume Zed's level isn't high enough.*: Ah, so this was the site of our victory. Oni are becoming even more common, but they're weak to Taraka's Shibabu so they're considerably easier to fight.
: Gozu-Tennoh is on the top floor. You can use the elevator just past the fighting arena to meet him.*: This room is right above the other "arena" below, which... isn't an arena after all, it's just where they throw the losers' bodies down. We go investigate our old cellmates before we leave.
: ...Even if I win, I'll be sent to Kabukicho...
: Oh crap! They caught you, huh?
: They found out about me leaking info to you, and tossed me in here.
: I'd be feeling more sorry about that if you hadn't charged me.
: Hey, can you tell me who's my opponent?
: Got any cash on you?
: Yeah, didn't think so.
: Yeah, it was pretty easy. You have nothing to worry about.
Demon prisoner: It's good being young. I want the blood of a young man! Blood! I want BLOOD!
Ah, this must be the one.*: We gotta stand there while the floors slowly tick up. The Mantra aren't much for elevator music.
Our first battle up here is against a pair of Badb Catha, and the second one joins up in exchange for its life.
> It's really high...
: What a view, though.
> Will you jump off?
: How about no? Dante's a nutcase.*: 3000 Macca in that cube, not bad.
If this is not where the big cheese lives, I'm gonna have to sprout wings and fly. Well, I didn't know I could sprout a lightsaber, so who's to say?*: So, a question has come to us at last, and therefore to you. What is our answer? Do we accept the great Gozu-Tennoh's generous offer? Do we reject him and everything he stands for? Or do we try his patience and request more time?
If you've played the game before, or otherwise know the future, I can't tell you what to do, but I would suggest something. Don't think about endings, alignment points, Reason flags, or any other game mechanic. Be in that room as you are, having seen what you have seen, having heard what you have heard, believing what you believe, and speak what is in your mind.
Kagutsuchi is watching.