Aug 31, 2016 8:00 PM (PST)
Sep 6, 2016 7:59 PM (PST)
The Oathblade is a Raid Event scheduled to start on August 31, 2016 at 8:00 PM (PST) and end on September 6, 2016 at 7:59 PM (PST). It is the eleventh episode of the Dark Stigma story and sixth in the Malice Canon storyline.
Half-time Reward Calculation Period is from September 2nd 7:00 PM to 7:59 PM (PST).
- Hidden Boss 50% and 80% more HP (10 / 12 Million to 15 / 21.6 Million)
- Secret Boss 80% and 100% more HP (18 / 21 Million to 32.4 / 42 Million)
Raid Bosses Skill CardsEdit
- Tobi, Disaffected Recruit (UR) Anti-Raid Boss Skill Card, obtained from the Oath of Survival Card Pack
- Insect Princess Jennifer (UR) Anti-Hidden Raid Boss Skill Card, obtained from the Oath of Survival Card Pack
- Shrewd Mastermind Ashura (UR) Anti-Secret Raid Boss Skill Card, obtained from the Oath of Survival Card Pack
- Allies Riki & Rozanna (UR) Special Evolution Card, Skill against all Raid Bosses of the event, obtained from the Master of Fate Card Pack
When the Oathblade reveals it light, the war's conclusion will be forthcoming...
This world was not Neotellus, but its mirror image: Contratellus. After that truth had been exposed, the empire reacted violently. Thousands of years ago, Zylgan had been exiled from Neotellus into a world of his sister's making and ruled over it as the emperor Ildanev. He had been the one who called for the punishment Loftgygs, floating island of the giants, by way of the Karmada's Retribution Spire. With its might, it could eraticate an entire city with little effort.
The giants had been one of the three races that joined Zylgan long ago when the empire was established. However, any remnants of comradery had long vanished under his despotic rule, and so they gladly complied to your requests for aid. As you were accused by the empire as the origin of the Stigma, they had judged them guilty of collusion, and thus subject to the ultimate penalty. However, the chieftan's youngest brother, Murey, had accomplished something never thought possible: the repulsion of the Retribution Spire.
Yet you could not leave everything in the hands of the giants. In an effort to stop the Karmada, you marched upon the imperial capital with your former enemies: Stigmals and Ripened. Under Rooney's command, they fought against the imperial forces and the Lightholders, alongside you, Elimval, Salvador, and former Lightholder Riki until you reached Ildanev's castle.
However, you reached the throne room only to find the emperor had long departed. Furthermore, in your disappointment, you noticed the light from the Karmada had finally ceased, and Loftgygs yet remained, albeit with a column of ominous black smoke drifting away...
The name of his younger brother fell from Fudo's mouth and vanished, just as his body had. Fudo stared where he had once stood, the only evidence of his existence remaining in the impressions of his feet into the soil and the black smoke escaping into the sky. The strongest of the giants had used every ounce of his being to negate the Retribution Spire. The magnitude of the rage Fudo felt was beyond description, but he quietly raised his head and spoke in a calm voice.
"How long until the next Spire is unleashed at us?"
At once, Kanever looked in surprise. His elder brother was correct in not letting the sorrow of losing their brother cloud his judgment. The threat had not yet passed. Instinct told them to fear, but he knew Fudo's rage was overpowering that notion.
"No one knows, brother, as no country has survived more than one. However..."
Fudo's glare remain fixed upon the sky. Lightning ran along his arm, and he fired it into the air. The dark clouds parted for a moment, revealing the location of the Karmada.
"They must have an ether shield protecting them from any outside attack. In that case...."
He waited in silence for several moments, but there was no omen the Spire had been activated. It seemed there would be some time before the next. In a gruff voice, he spoke again.
"Elders, to my side."
"As you command."
Dozens of giants stepped forth. They were aged, yet their bodies were firm and sinewy. It was clear they were elite soldiers.
"Two of you return to the stronghold and undo the Levistone's anchor. Ignore any cries you hear from the stone itself. Once you've done that, the rest of us climb higher in the skies."
The soldiers all affirmed the orders in unison, yet Kanever was less accepting.
"What are you planning, brother?!"
"I need you to evacuate the people to the surface."
"No, I won't! What of our ancestors' wishes? What of Loftgygs' rightful return to the surface?!"
"We have always been right. But that wish will never be granted!"
With those words, he seized Kanever's arms.
"Brother, what are you doing?"
With a mighty grunt, Fudo lifted his younger brother over his head, and repositioned his body.
"No, Brother! Unhand me!"
Soon after the death of Murey, one large projectile could be seen careening from the floating isle...
"Hm? What's that falling from Loftgygs? It can't be a rock..."
From Ildanev's throne room, Elimval peered through the open window. With the setting of the sun and the fading of the Retribution Spire, the dark of night began to permeate the streets of the beleagered capital.
You had stormed the city in the hopes of defeating the cruel emperor, but he was nowhere to be seen, replaced by a ghastly angel who had also soon departed. Utterly clueless about what had transpired, you noticed that the outsite was oddly quiet. It seemed both forces had taken the cessation of the Spire as a signal for rest. Although Loftgygs appeared to have withstood the bolt of light, the ominous black smoke that rose from its surface seem to be in mourning of some loss...
"No way... The giants are starting to leave the island!"
Riki gasped in awe as she watched the enormous figures descend to the ground below. Some leapt straight from the edge while others boarded airships. You were watching the spectacle when a new voice addressed you.
"That's because Fudo is about to unleash the full force of his anger."
You turned to see Rozanna enter the throne room, wearing the armor of the imperial forces. After shedding the cumbersome arms, she looked around and soon surmised what had occurred.
"It seems Ildanev escaped, did he?"
"Yes, unfortunately. But what's happening with Fudo? Didn't they survive that terrible attack?"
Rozanna bit her lip and shook her head solemnly.
"Murey is gone. Not a trace of him remains."
You were shocked. As you recalled your visit to Loftgygs and how he offered his aid against the giants and the Lightholders, you gripped the hilt of your sword tight. Such a gentle soul did not deserve to perish by the deeds of a maniacal ruler.
"Now Fudo is going to release the Levistone's anchoring power to rise up and strike the Karmada. Kanever tried to stop him, but he seems he was thrown off the island by his own brother and landed somewhere around Windridge."
From her words, it was evident the first evacuee was the unwilling Kanever. His sturdy physique ensured no lasting damage, and he was even fortuante enough to encounter Shumon. They worked together to stop Fudo's crazed plan, and it was Kanever who personally visited Rozanna to inform her of the situation.
"My brother's planning something far too dangerous! If you don't want your city to be crushed under its remains, help me find a way to stop him!"
"What was what he told me. And it's true that even if he were hypothetically successful, the damage would be enormous. Fudo has certainly lost his mind, but it's a result of bearing the grudge of his ancestors. The death of his brother was just the tipping point."
"...Hm? What's... Everyone! Look outside!"
Suddenly, Elimval pointed through the window. A towering blaze could be seen and the sound of battle cries were heard. The brief respite in fighting had ended.
"Our forces will be at a disadvantage at night. I better go and lead them."
As Riki turned to leave, she lightly bumped the Stigma upon your chest with her fist before smiling and pointing to Loftgygs.
"In the meantime, you go do something about that."
It had been the first time you had seen a distinctly cheerful expression from her. Yet her beautiful grin soon disappeared from view as she continued to the door.
"Now then, who should go to Loftgygs? Yahqi and her witches are busy holding off reinforcements on the fringes, and while we have flying Stigmals and Ripened, it would detract from our forces on the ground. However, the king of Elgan is still heading to Drakevale..."
"There aren't any war dragons ready right now, just ones being raised."
The Stigma had taken much from his hometown, and it seemed they would not be able to contribute in your efforts. However, you had an alternate solution.
"...Huh? You want to use the empire's dragons? Look, I know I'm good, I'm no miracle worker, all right? ...Well, maybe I can get a couple for us."
"You mean the two of you will go alone? That's much too dangerous! The Lightholders are almost certain to follow you! Am I right, Rozanna?"
"I admit it seems rather reckless, but I'm certain you've considered the risk already."
She showed you a broad smile while Elimval looked on with discomfort.
You felt the same warmth in her smile as you did Riki's. It aroused a similar sensation in your Stigma. Although it had pained you on numerous occasions, now that you had restored your memory, you finally realized what it was. It was neither insanity brought about by evil, the urge for battle, nor rage at a bitter enemy; it was the desire to fulfill your oath with Belgantier.
"Oh... What a wretched sight..."
The commander of the Angel Brigade, Shilkniel, watched the chaos from atop a hill on the city borders. It was not a hill of soil and rock, but one of bones and flesh.
No one regretted the loss more than her. Normally, she would have been near the innermost wall surrounding the castle, but she had left the other angels to be in the relative safety of the makeshift graveyard. Although the fading of the Retribution Spire had brought a brief pause to the battle, she knew it was foolish to withdraw entirely. However, the moment she lighted, she nearly dropped her spear from weakness brought about by turbulent emotions.
"What worth is peace wrought by the spilling of blood?"
She asked her usual question to the grim winds, yet received an unexpected reply.
"Think too much about it and you'll just get a headache."
"Trapped by your emotions again, huh? Look, they're starting fires now. The second round's starting up. You know Ildanev will lose his mind if we let the castle fall. We better take care of those Elgan witches around here and send for backup..."
"Why are you here? Do you want me to cut off your wings?"
"Well, this is a surprise. Finally gone crazy from stress?"
"If anyone is crazy here, it's you. Do you think I'm unaware of how you let your anger get the better of you and you kill our comrades? That's to say nothing of your designs to assassinate me and take over the Brigade..."
"Heh. If you're so convinced that's true, how come you haven't killed me first?"
"Obviously. You've been deceiving yourself like a coward. There's no love or peace in this fake justice. I might be crazy, but at least I can recognize that much. That's because I know the truth, and I'm not stumbling around like you."
"So what's the truth then?"
"That's for me to know and you to find out. And I'm through talking with cowards. If you don't get over yourself, I'm going to snatch control from your cold, dead hands."
Vanael then flew back into the midst of the fighting.
"This way, Neala. We need to meet up with our allies."
Suddenly, a new voice could be heard from behind Shilkniel, and she froze still. Slowly turning her head, she saw two women at the bottom of the hill, both familiar faces. They had been formidable foes in the previous battle, one the apparent controller of the Stigmals and the other a formidable opponent. To be precise, they seemed to be a Controller and Ripened from Cadavus.
"What's the matter, Neala? Do your feet hurt? ...Ah, no wonder. It's twisted pretty bad."
The one called Rooney stooped over to rub the injured foot of the Ripened.
"There, good as new. Relatively speaking, at least."
Shilkniel furrowed her brow to see a human interact so closely with one of those monsters. She had believed them to be nothing but unruly insurrectionists, yet it seemed they were more than tools and their wielders. Just then, the Ripened pointed to the sky.
Although the skies were filled with smoke, stars were still visible in places. Miraculously, so was Loftgygs.
"Yes, that's where the giants live. They must've been fighting hard to get rid of the Spire."
"So the dark ones understand you?"
Shilkniel was nearly as surprised as the two when she approached them.
Confronted by a familiar adversary, Rooney pulled back on Neala. However, she soon realized there was something odd about the angel. She seemed entirely alone and vulnerable, with her spear driven into the ground.
"...Yes, you're totally right."
With a quiet sigh, she turned her back on the angel and continued in her search for Stigmals in the hill of corpses.
"W-wait... You still haven't answered my question."
"...We're all fighting. The giants, us, even you. Everyone is giving it their all."
"Me... giving it my all?"
"Am I wrong? You definitely fought us pretty hard back there. And even with your weapon and intent for battle thrown aside, you're fighting. ...Sort of like I was."
"Really? So why do you fight?"
"I fight... for myself, I guess. I just want to see blue skies. But then again, I want to show them to everyone I care for, too."
"Blue skies, you say?"
Shilkniel muttered to herself. She noticed that her hands were shaking, which meant strength was returning to them. And with it, the ache to obtain love and peace. She held the answer all along, but her means of attaining it was simply mistaken.
"Yes... I'm finally free."
"Huh? What do you mean?"
But at that moment, there was a rumbling from the air as a throng of black shadows soared overhead. The Angel Brigade was moving, and Shilkniel could only stare, mouth agape.
"You could've waited a little longer, Vanael..."
She pulled her spear from the ground as the leader, the one who had answered directly to her, accosted her in a cold voice.
"Shilkniel! You are suspected of defection! In the name of the empire, you will be eliminated!"
"Rooney, may I request your aid? I'm no longer affiliated with the empire, but I still wish to fight for love and peace! Let us both bring an end to this struggle and restore your blues skies to all!"
And so a new battle unfolded while far off in the distance, a lone dragon flew high into the clouds...
Even through the red glow of the chaotic capital, the dragon was conspicuous.
"Must be one of ours headed towards Loftgygs. I don't know what's going on, but I know it's going to be fun. Now we're really going to be able to cut loose..."
Y'pes chuckled ominously from the rooptops as Pungo sat wordlessly by his side. They were no longer of the Lightholders. Their disgust in being assigned to support roles while the elite soldiers engaged in the meat of the fighting chewed through the flimsy pretense of loyalty to the empire. Now, they acted independently, only intending to indulge in their greatest desire: the spilling of blood.
"Can't you smell the burning blood and mud? That's the smell of freedom, Pungo. We're free to kill, kill, and kill some more."
"...The dark ones will return to the darkness."
"I couldn't have said it better. Time to get hunting..."
"Riki! Where are you?"
The short-lived calm faded as quickly as it had begun. With the setting of the sun, victory would be determined by familiarity with the battleground, meaning the imperial forces had a considerable advantage. As the Stigmals fell to repeated ambushes, Rozanna ran through the carnage.
"Rozanna? I'm over here!"
"We've lost quite a few."
"That's what I figured. We just need to hold out until Rooney can find more usable bodies at the corpse piles, as unpleasant as it is."
The majority of their fighters were Ripened from Cadavus, but they were more fragile than Stigmals. Rooney was seeking imperial forces whose bodies could be revived with Ripener.
"Has the Hero and the others left already?"
"Yes, they're well on their way to Loftgygs."
"You seem to be in high spirits despite the situation."
"Heh, maybe I am."
Staring at her reflection in one of her daggers, Riki thought how this battle may have been the beginning of the end. She could lose her life at any moment, but she was not afraid. Although she was yet mad at the empire, that was not her motivation for fighting. Instead, she wanted to uphold justice by turning her weapons against the true foes. She considered it a blessing she was no longer on the side of falsehoods and fabrications. For that reason alone, she could rest in peace should she fall to their blades.
"...Oh, that doesn't bode well. Look, Riki."
Rozanna beckoned for her to turn around and she saw the Ripened, lacking a Controller, were biting into each other instead of the enemy.
"Wait a moment..."
"Here I come, you two. It's finally time to put your bloodlust to rest."
Before, she had joined them as they doggedly pursued the Hero across the land, yet she only reluctantly regarded them as allies. She could now end them without consequence, and so she fiercely gripped her weapons as she calmly ran towards them. The daggertips flashed between the gaps in the friendly Ripened. She intended to dispatch Y'pes first, as his strength was more troublesome than Pungo's agility.
However, something unexpected happened. Y'pes had attacked far quicker than Riki expected. She attempted to dodge his blow, but could not fully evade it as she was distracted by his warped face. Unsightly horns now protruded from his brow, and his fangs had elongated into a beast's. He had become a Stigmal. The prevalance of Creepmud on the battlefield had brought about this irony of ironies. What had truly distracted her was how it reminded her of her former self.
Intense pain ran along her side and she felt blood pour from the wound. It was one of Pungo's arrows. She fought the ache and looked towards him. He was also changing into a Stigmal.
Then she felt a sharp pain in her shoulder. One of Y'pes fangs had somehow found its way there. Mixed in with the blood dripped a dark, viscuous substance, like mud...
Loftgygs, bearing no one but Fudo and his elite soldiers, continued to ascend into the atmosphere, approaching the altitude of the Karmada. Before long, the giant chieftain spied it nestled within a cloud bank. The ancient grudge of his ancestors combined with the grief of losing his younger brother to manifest as white-hot rage. None of the other giants stood near him, for they felt as if they would evaporate should they do so.
Fudo sighted a single shadow also rising into the ashen sky, a figure aboard a black dragon. Its passenger was one who held the highest authority in the realm, enforcing it with an iron fist: High Emperor Ildanev.
He and Fudo glared at each other in silence until the giant, with gravitas and unlimited composure, opened his mouth.
"It has been ages since we last met, Ildanev; not since my succession ceremony. I was but a rash youngster then, but I've grown more mature with age... But you haven't changed in the least. You must be aware of my youngest brother, as you exchanged letters with him after the wedding. But you've never been on our side. You were responsible for everything bad that's happened to us since the empire began. And now, I'm going to see you pay for all of it."
"And that will happen when I destroy the source of your power, that flying ship."
With those words, Fudo raised a fist and the island's upward speed increased.
"Without the Karmada's power, you've no more power than a worm! Once it sinks, you life is forfeit!"
Electricity gathered in his upraised hand and mingled with his raging flames. Loftgygs shuddered as it climbed higher towards the floating craft.
Ildanev gave a mild grunt has he swiftly condensed his own immense power in his right hand. The dueling blazes intersected with each other as the air shook with the sudden building of might in such close proximity.
In that moment, an ill-suited phrase rang out and another dragon darted between them, carrying Salvador and you.
"You must be insane to try to crash that oversized pebble of yours into the Karmada, Fudo! At least as crazy as this fool, anyway."
As Salvador spoke, you glanced at Ildanev. At last, since your inauspicious arrival into Contratellus, you had met its emperor. Both his true identity as the deposed god of justice, Zylgan, and this world he had kept hidden from its inhabitants.
Salvador then turned to you.
"So the big guy says. What do you think about that?"
Your expression turned grim and you shook your head. Salvador smirked.
"That's what I figured."
"Fools! If you value your lives, you will depart from here! Our grudge stretches through ages past! He has torrmented all of giantkind!"
Fudo lifted his fist towards the Karmada once more, collecting a massive ball of lightning. Its power was so great that the very space around it seemed to warp.
Then, with a mighty shout, he flung the amassed strength, representing milliennia of anger, high into the air. However, the dragon you were riding darted upwards to intercept it.
"I hope you know what you're doin'!"
"What is the meaning of this?!"
Fudo was shocked by the recklessness on display. You stood boldly atop the dragon, one hand over the Stigma etched upon your chest. It was no longer a mere scar, for it shone with a brilliant light. It was the power conferred upon to you by your cherished Belgantier in her final moments. You then took that light in your hand and held it before you, its divine strength overflowing with righteousness.
The formless glow began to take the shape of a sword and you grasped its hilt tightly in both hands. It was the Oathblade, symbolizing your pact with the goddess of harmony. As its strength flowed through your body, you raised it above your head. The dragon roared as it approached Fudo's lightning bolt. Leaping into the air, you absorbed the entirety into the Oathblade, and it grew many times in size, yet you handled it as if it were light as air. Thunder rumbled and the blade crackled with the giant's lightning. Fudo burst into loud laughter, booming across the sky.
"Ahhh-hahaha! So that's how it is! To imagine even you could not only contain but wield my power! You're full of surprises!"
"Anything's possible when you're dumb enough to try! That's why we're doing to take care of the Karmada! We just need you to stop Loftgygs and hold off Ildanev until we finish!
"Precisely! Please leave everything to us!"
"Elimval?! How did you get up here?!"
"I held onto the tail before you left! You didn't truly believe I would stay separated from the Hero, did you?"
Salvador shook his head in utter exasperation, but you were heartened by her unexpected accompaniment. It only reinforced that you were not alone.
"Oh, look behind us! There are more dragons carrying Lightholders!"
"As if it wasn't gonna be hard enough bringin' down the Karmada... I heard rumors their crew is made up of creatures unlike anythin' you've ever seen. But hey, I'm sure you and your overgrown knife can do somethin' about 'em!"
"Hero! That lightning holds the might of the giants! Use it to sink that ship!"
Far beyond the clouds above, a litany of stars hung in the canopy of the cosmos.
Somewhere in the darkness was Belgantier's castle. You narrowed your eyes, hoping to find it.
However, what you saw instead was an ominous gathering of dark mist, hiding the flying ship as it writhed like some airborne creature. In the fading light, you could see small crafts departing from the sides and heading towards you.
Inside the mothership were the goddesses of justice, three arbiters who controlled the Retribution Spire, a force now unmatched in the entire realm.
The cloud cover thinned as you neared, and a chilling figure revealed itself. It was the ship's figurehead, modeled after a woman, and moaning in an unnerving voice...
In the pale light of the firmament, you could see the four Void Stars with the palace of the departed goddess of harmony resting serenely in their support. However, separating you was an imposing airship of judgment, the Karmada. It carried the three goddesses who determined the standard of justice in this world. Their patronage granted to Ildanev, they would smite anyone according to his will with the ship's Retribution Spire, an obliterating beam of light.
None had been able to stand against it until Murey of Loftgygs, but as he had perished in its most recent assault, the final hope rested with you wielding the blessing of Belgantier. It manifested as the Oathblade, a weapon of true justice that could assume the qualities of anything it touched. That was how it had come to hold the lightning of the chief of the giants Fudo, born of his regret at losing Murey to Ildanev's ambitions. To aid in your quest, he obstructed the emperor as you, Salvador, and Elimval hurried to disable if not destroy the Karmada before it loosed another Spire.
"There's not a scratch on the blasted thing!"
The dragon rider spat words of frustration. No matter how many times your bolts struck the flying ship, it remained unharmed. The figurehead's protective barrier granted passage from within, but defended from all external threats. Furthermore, its crew consisting of all manner of unusual creatures attempted to drive you away along with the Lightholders which had accompanied the emperor. As a result, simply approaching the Karmada was a tremendous effort. Glancing below, you saw Fudo and Ildanev locked in battle. The struggle of wills unfolded high above Contratellus.
"Hero! Now's our chance! Hold on!"
Salvador drew your attention forward, and you noticed the figurehead was visible through a small yet sufficient gap amongst the swarming enemies. He drove the dragon through the opening, and you at last found yourself within range of the shield's source. The shield's intense energy pulsing against your skin spoke of its power, but you knew there would be nothing else obstructing you from the goddesses if you could destroy it.
Salvador jerked on the reins to bring the dragon to a sudden stop, causing the momentum to catapult you towards the figurehead. As you soared through the air, you poured every bit of strength into your arms. Closing your eyes for a moment, Belgantier's vision filled your mind. Then, you swung the Oathblade wide, tearing a deep gash into the figurehead's chest. A loud moan came from its mouth as light filled your vision. You felt so little resistance that you thought the shield had vanished, but then the blade became stuck, half-buried in the auric film.
"The Heavens know justice."
"We shall not suffer evil unpunished."
"The time for purification has come."
Like wind from the depths of the underworld, strange voices emanated from the Oathblade. Their solemn gravity told you they were the words of the goddesses. Summoning your strength once again, you gripped the hilt tightly to unleash Fudo's lightning, but nothing happened. Neither could you push the Oathblade any deeper. Unwilling to give up, you continued to tug and shove, only successful in expending your limited stamina. That was until the voice returned to proclaim conviction.
"May light swallow the dark."
The inviolable light rapidly built into a blinding glare. It was immediately obvious there was but a few moments until it fired another Retribution Spire. Gritting your teeth, you prepared yourself to take a drastic chance -- you let go of the Oathblade's hilt and allowed your body to fall.
"Idiot! What are you doin'?!"
You heard Salvador's shout and a great flapping of wings before landing upon the dragon's back.
"What's the matter? Not even your fancy new sword worked?!"
Ignoring his question, you turned your attention upon the Karmada, the Oathblade yet lodged in its shield. It then vanished in a streak of light, leaving a small hole in the barrier that was soon filled. The Oathblade's light returned to your chest and flooded you with the comforting warmth of Belgantier. It was now clear that it was inseparable from you, as it was proof of the goddess' trust in you to save the world. Without forming that contract with her, you never would have had the power to stand against the emperor. You lifted your leaden body and retrieved the Oathblade from your chest, still brimming with Fudo's power. That reminded you to look below at the giant chieftain, slinging a barrage of bolts at Ildanev. Although they lacked the full force of his initial strike at the Karmada, it was plain to see they held the long-harbored desire of his clan to reclaim their pride.
"Hey, is it just me or the emperor actin' funny...?"
You strained your eyes to realized that Ildanev's movements were indeed unusual. His dragon deftly dodged each strike, but it maintained a certain distance above the floating island and he never retaliated.
"Look! Now the dragon is spitting something out!"
Ildanev's dragon vomited a strange fluid at Loftgygs below. At first, it appeared to be oil from a faulty bag that fueled its fiery breath, but its dreadful color and consistency revealed it to be something far more sinister as it tumbled through the air and landed upon the giant soldiers.
"This... isn't good..."
Salvador immediately recognized the danger, but Fudo was so fixated upon Ildanev that he had not noticed the dragon's actions at all. One by one, the giants knocked over by the weighty muck rose to their feet, breathing ragged and labored. Their skin was deathly pale. Their eyes glowed red. Their twisted grins spread from ear to ear, showing their teeth which had grown into grotesque fangs. Once they all stood, they leaned back and unleashed a chorus of howls, as if welcoming their state of undeath. Finally, crooked black wings emerged from their backs, denoting the transformation was complete. It was only then that Fudo became aware of what tragedy had occurred.
The chieftain ran over to the nearest Stigma-bearing giant, but before he could reach him, a slim, golden thread descended from above and curled about his burly arm. The same happened with all of the other giants, and once the strings were fastened tight, their bodies surged with dark energy, most apparent in their wings that now pulsed with an eerie light. The threads were from the tip of Ildanev's staff, and the sight reminded you of Rozanna's words when you first met her in in Cavadus.
"Actually, this city is nothing but an enormous laboratory for the empire..."
You were now witnessing the results of the experiments conducted there, for his techniques strongly resembled Rooney's . It was how he enforced his false morality, through forbidden methods he could never show before the general populace.
"Elders, no! Do not give in to his wretched power!"
Fudo was taken by panic as the Stigmalized giants flapped their wings and descended to the world below, the threads yet connected to Ildanev's staff, feeding slack as if it were a fishing reel. You glared at the evil emperor while he smiled triumphantly.
"Hero! Those were elite soldiers of the giants! if they reach the surface, they will spread untold disaster!"
Fudo called out to you as he struggled to restrain three of them from departing.
"Of all the rotten..., what now?!"
The perturbed Salvador struggled to control the dragon, likely nervous from the high concentration of evil power. You glanced at the Karmada once more. If you did not destroy it in short order, it would unleash yet another Retribution Spire.
Elimval murmured in a worried tone. There was no time to ponder your decision, but that proved to be unnecessary. There were still comrades fighting in the capital city, not to mention those who had no knowledge of the brewing calamity, and you knew that Belgantier would have wanted you to save as many as possible.
"Well... this isn't exactly what I'd call a cheerful sight..."
Looking out from the exposed top floor of the castle, Salvador muttered in shock. You had hastened back to the capital, but you were greeted by a nightmarish vision. Although your body had been tormented by a dull ache and your vision was hazy since striking the Karmada's shield, the grim landscape served as a cruel if temporary jolt. The disorder and chaos had built a mountain of detritus. Waves of soldiers battled and fell amongst the tall pyres where their bloody, grimy corpses melted into black ash. The warm winds then spread the foul, choking stench. Shadows of the twisted giants extended far past the wrecked city and into the amber horizon. The imperial forces, recognizing they could do nothing to halt their rampage, decided to withdraw and allow the titans to decimate the mindless Ripened instead. It was clear you had troubled Ildanev enough that he would abandon his grand seat of power to be crushed along with your allies. And once the carnage had settled, the blame would invariably be placed upon you, the "murderer," for your dark influence.
Elimval pointed through the dense smoke, far off in the distance. You indeed recognized the silhouette of a massive winged lion throwing himself into battle. And standing beside him was Kanever. He had attempted to stop his brother Fudo's rash plan and was thrown from Loftgygs for his trouble. However, that allowed him to join with your allied beastkin and retaliate against Ildanev's handiwork.
"Elders! I had hoped the day of your deaths would be yet far off!"
Even from your distant vantage point, you could see his cheeks were damp as he flung his enormous hammer at his former kind.
"I saw you fly in on your dragon, and not a moment too soon..."
You all turned at the voice from behind to see a beautiful woman leaning against the unhinged door.
"Rozanna! How nice to see you unharmed!"
"Thank you, but we have no time for pleasantries. What happened on Loftgygs?"
"Well, you see..."
Elimval recounted all that had occurred with Fudo, Ildanev, and the Karmada. When she had finished, Rozanna heaved a deep sigh of frustration. She likely reached a similar conclusion in her city of Cadavus being no more than a staging ground for his contrivances. Their techniques in controlling the Ripened were now his in controlling the Stigmals, stronger for the latter's increased resilience. That had been Zylgan's objective when he granted them autonomous rule several millennia ago to obtain revenge upon Neotellus. However, you also believed his ambitions did not stop there...
"Oh yes, and how is Riki?"
"...She's sleeping in the basement of an abandoned building right now. I had to evacuate her to safety along the city outskirts after she encountered some of her former allies. They had been turned into Stigmals at some point and greatly wounded her. She isn't in critical condition, but she was bitten by a tooth covered in something that might have been Creepmud, so there's a chance she will become a Stigmal, too. She's come down with a high fever and sleeps fitfully, but she'll pull through even if worse comes to worse. I'll make sure of it. "
Her final words seemed to be more to reassure herself, but her shoulders trembled regardless.
"Not a word, unfortunately. She and the other witches are probably still holding off the empire's reinforcements. I'm not too worried since I know they're all capable of handling themselves, but anything can happen at this point, it seems."
"That's true... We can only trust in her for... Hm? Is that Rooney fighting down there? And there's an angel cooperating with her!"
"Oh, yes. The angel's name is Shilkniel. She used to lead the Angel Brigade, but she somehow came around to our side. Rooney must have a way with words as well as Ripened if she could convince her so completely, and she has more than made up for our losses. I also asked Rooney if she could do something about controlling the giants but it doesn't seem possible."
"Hey, the angels are drawing up a huge magic circle, and a couple of our Controllers are in serious trouble. I better get down there to help out."
"I'll go with you, Salvador. I need to make sure our numbers don't drop any more, or we'll have no hope of winning."
"You said it. All right, let's go in a pincer movement. And Elimval, you go find Yahqi or one of the witches. We could really use an update on their situation, and we might need to call them in for back-up."
"All right, but what about the Hero?"
She seemed worried for your sake, but you had already stood up, prepared to fight. However, you were unsteady on your feet, and when you drew the Oathblade from your chest, it was noticeably dimmer, reflecting your current condition.
"I've put up with a lot of your stupidity, but I'm not letting you push yourself any harder. Take a nap or there's no way you'll get out of this alive. I'll be back once I've made sure Rooney's fine, then we'll go out giant-hunting and finally take down the emperor and his ugly ship..."
"Ah, I finally found you. Your elf friend means well, but her instructions tend to be vague. I mean, there are just so many ruined buildings around here..."
A man's voice roused you from sleep and your slowly opened your eyes. You could not distinguish the visitor's identity through your blurred vision, but you knew it was not Salvador.
"What, you don't remember ol' Ripley? ...Ah-ah, there's no need to get up. Just take it easy."
He gave his characteristic warm, yet cold, smile. You had not seen the traveling man-of-all-work since Drakeshire, so you were naturally curious as to his sudden reappearance.
"Seems everything's gone to pot since we parted ways. I have a good idea of everything, what with all the people I meet in my work, and I must say you are the reckless one. It takes a special breed to go as far as taking a crack at the Karmada's barrier."
Your suspicions were further roused at the mention of the celestial ship, but you did not speak.
"That barrier is formed of incredible magic power, something similar to a mother's love and attachment to her child. And let's face it, is there no force stronger or more fearsome? That's why whoever created the Karmada's figurehead made it so."
Ripley spoke in a singsong voice. It was a novel hypothesis, but nonetheless convincing. If the Belgantier created the world, she likely created the Karmada as well to watch over it. And if its figurehead was modeled after her mother, it would be Zylgan's mother as well. The greatest question was how Ripley was privy to such esoterica.
"Oh, it's nothing, really. Simply the prevailing rumor, nothing more. Say, aren't you thirsty? Have some of my water. It's a bit lukewarm, but it'll do you good."
Ripley lifted your back and uncorked a canteen. As he held the opening to your mouth, a tepid liquid passed through and moistened your throat. It was strange how even in your dazed state, you could feel your stamina returning.
"That should help undo any of the damage that barrier did. And I have another bit of good news: I know something that can help you turn this whole brouhaha in your favor."
He grinned a little wider as he brought you to your feet and led you through the door.
"And it's closer than you think, hehe. Just look down."
You peered through the frame of the pane-less window to see a veritable wall of barrels. Then, he leaned to your ear and whispered.
"That's all Creepmud. All for you. And it will completely turn the tide against Ildanev. Think about it: you'd be able to enlist absolutely anyone, even the Lightholders and the angels, without needing to spare any of your Stigmals!"
As horrifying as his offer was, you could not deny its temptation. However, you did not want to transform enemies against their will, and the mere thought of it gave you a headache.
His unnerving grin was all that remained distinct in your swirling vision. It was true that you had promised Belgantier you would not let her passing be in vain and so you nodded weakly.
"Hehehe, that's more like it. We'll bathe everyone who stands in your way in the stuff, and you'll finally be victorious..."
Victorious, indeed. You would save the world and grant Belgantier's wish. In your leaden head, you tried to imagine her face, but found yourself unable to fully recall it... Concerned, you pulled forth the Oathblade once more. Once radiating a pure light, it now seemed not merely dimmer, but darker as well. You were unaware it was influenced by the foul thoughts planted into your mind, but Ripley gazed at it with keen interest.
"Yes, that's it. Just follow your heart and fight with all your spirit. Your long journey is almost at its end..."
You held out the darkened Oathblade, its light cloaked in a writhing shadow. As it crawled up to your elbow, you held your free hand to your head in pain.
"Hahaha, that's right! It's not you that's wrong, but he who has pushed you to these extremes! Steep all of his foolish followers in the blackness and make them loyal to you! And then take that dark power and destroy the seal!"
A sinister energy continued to build in the Oathblade. His words did not penetrate your ears, but its tone instilled an irrepressible hatred within. Your Stigma began to ache as nausea welled from your gut.
"Yes, Hero! You yourself are my greatest weapon!"
But after his unintelligible words, a shadow fell over the ruined wall and the massive eye of a Stigmalized giant peered through.
Ripley leapt aside as the giant extended an arm to seize him, causing further damage to the building and tilting the entire structure. As the giant's fingers groped about, you lashed out with your sword. It was an instinctual motion, born of your righteous desire to save an ally, suspicious as he was. However, as your consciousness was yet mired in fog, the blow was relatively modest, and you had even forgotten it was laced with Fudo's power.
The giant's hand had been forcefully repelled in a great flash of white and he moaned in surprise. Your Oathblade had regained its pure luster. Not only that, but the tip seemed to radiate a film of light that cast a wide range around you. It had been that protective shield which had pushed back with such momentum. You stared at the bubble until you realized the reason why it seemed so familiar -- the Oathblade had obtained the Karmada's shield after piercing it. That was the catalyst which brought memories of the past several hours flooding back, washing away your mental fog. With your regained clarity, you then noticed that the giant had lifted its arm for another strike. Immediately, you planted your feet upon the floor, grasped the Oathblade's hilt with both hands, and thrust it above your head.
The massive fist was harmlessly deflected by sword tip. There was no longer any doubt that the Oathblade possessed the same properties of the Karmada's barrier when swung. Emboldened by the confirmation, you then made to leave the ruined castle. Your other allies were in all likelihood fighting nearby and in need of aid.
Ripley called out to you, and you turned towards him only to stare into a blinding light. It was the Karmada preparing to destroy Loftgygs, this time for certain. You shielded the source of the light with your arms and peered into the glare to see the giants were stumbling away from the castle in dread. Soon after, Salvador returned for you atop a flying dragon. With his back to the light, he had no need to shield his eyes, so he easily flew through the opening and landed the beast upon the stone floor.
"Hurry, get on! We gotta move!"
You immediately leapt aboard the dragon. Ripley yelled something at you, but you were already focused upon rescuing your friends to take heed. Salvador then departed as quickly as he landed, shielding his eyes with one arm as you were, frantically scanning the brilliant skies.
"Shoot, I can't make out a thing! Where's Loftgygs supposed to be? ...Huh, just fly higher? All right, if you say so!"
There was no time to explain your plan, but he nonetheless tugged hard on the reins to send the dragon higher and higher into the light. After reaching the clouds, you asked for the dragon to come to a halt before going into a steep dive. As the wind whistled around you, you stored the extent of your remaining strength in your arm. Then, with a heartfelt prayer, you hurled the Oathblade downwards. It plunged downwards, somehow visible through the stark light of the Karmada, tearing the air with an incredible rumble. Then, the instant it buried itself deep in the land at the heart of the continent, the barrier from the tip of the sword grew to immense size, encompassing the whole of the land, even reaching as high as Loftgygs. As a mother embraces her creation, so were the humans, the dragons, the giants, and the demons wrapped in the blessed dome...
You awoke to the clatter and sway of a horse-drawn cart.
"Cripes, about time. Don't you know how long you've been snoozin'? Well, I guess it's no wonder considerin' what you've been through."
"You've been out for seven days since the Oathblade created that shield, so you're probably wondering what happened..."
Stunned by the mention of how long you had slept, you quickly threw aside a canvas flap to look outside. There, you saw the dirt path upon which the carriage traveled running through a calm meadow flecked with wildflowers and a majestic mountain chain in the far distance.
"This is the northwest part of the empire, far from the capital. It's still surrounded by the imperial forces, but thanks to your shield, they can't lay a finger on it, not even with the Retribution Spire! Everywhere from Loftgygs to Drakeshire is protected, and our allies have taken to calling it the 'Blessed Dome.'"
Elimval's news was reassuring, but you soon remembered about your allies' dire situation and inquired of their safety.
"Everyone's fine, of course! Even more, Yahqi and her witches were able to cast an ancient spell that transported everyone to their homes. It seemed to require a lot of mana, but they all cooperated and even managed to return the giants to Loftgygs!"
It seemed Yahqi had carefully managed her forces to both fight and prepare the magic circle for the spell, and she had taken the rise of the Oathblade's shield as the prime opportunity to activate it. Kanever was reunited with Fudo, Shumon was sent to Windridge, and Rooney along with Rozanna had been taken to Cadavus.
She had been reading from small slips of paper, likely brought to her by carrier pigeons. Once she had finished, Salvador took over.
"Since we were still in the air when the shield went off, Yahqi's spell couldn't reach us. So I took your unconscious carcass, met up with Elimval here, and headed west. If you wanna know why we aren't riding a dragon like before is because I knew we'd stand out a sore thumb."
He glared at you as if displeased with needing to part with a close companion and hassled with arranging an alternate mode of transportation. You showed a bashful smile, but you felt true contrition. Your stunt had protected the lives and homes of your friends, but the world yet remained in Ildanev's grasp, and his grand ambition to return to Neotellus had not changed.
"Hey, there's nothin' to get worked up about. Our guys will have a chance to rest up, and as far as we can tell, there's no way Ildanev can touch them."
Your heart stopped at the mention of his name. What he had told you inside the castle had been reduced to incoherent murmurs in your memory, but it was assuredly unpleasant. However, as you could not properly convey your misgivings and did not wish to castigate one who yet seemed to be on friendly terms, you remained silent.
"Yep, so with that taken care of, it's up to us on the outside to dig up some more dupes... er, friends!"
"But since we are on the outside, it would be wise for us not to be too conspicuous as wanted criminals..."
"Yeah, yeah. It's not like we're gonna announce to the whole world that were rebels or anythin'."
The cart trundled through the idyllic scene, making the strife and horror from before appear as a fleeting dream. However, until the unjust emperor had been eliminated, you knew the peace would not last...
|1: Winged Pests||1-5||-1||+1||+20~24||Chobla, Young Mage|
|2: Winged Pests||6-10||-2||+2||+40~48||Chobla, Young Mage|
|3: Winged Pests||11-15||-3||+3||+60~72||(Flying Gems) Chobla, Young Mage|
|4: Merciless Cleaver||16-20||-4||+4||+60~72||Grandaxe Elite Andyra|
|5: Merciless Cleaver||21-25||-5||+5||+80~96||Grandaxe Elite Andyra|
|6: Merciless Cleaver||26-30||-6||+6||+80~96||(Crusher) Grandaxe Elite Andyra|
|7: Graceful Combat||31-35||-7||+7||+100~120||Prudent Major Fili|
|8: Graceful Combat||36-40||-8||+8||+100~120||Prudent Major Fili|
|9: Flawless Sheen||41-45||-8||+8||+120~144||Momorch the Silvercoat|
|10: Flawless Sheen||46-50||-8||+8||+120~144||Momorch the Silvercoat|
|11: The Oathblade||51+||-12||+12||+240~288||None|
|Type||Name||Level||Hit Points||Time Allotted||Damage|
|Main||Karmada Lookout Kursole||1||100||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||Karmada Lookout Kursole||2||600||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||Karmada Lookout Kursole||3||900||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||Karmada Lookout Kursole||4||1,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||Karmada Lookout Kursole||5||1,500||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||Karmada Lookout Kursole||6||3,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||Karmada Lookout Kursole||7||6,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||Karmada Lookout Kursole||8||10,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||Karmada Lookout Kursole||9||15,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||Karmada Lookout Kursole||10||20,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||Karmada Lookout Kursole||11||30,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||Karmada Lookout Kursole||12||40,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||Karmada Lookout Kursole||13||50,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||Karmada Lookout Kursole||14||56,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||Karmada Lookout Kursole||15||62,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||(Patrol) Karmada Lookout Kursole||1||68,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||(Patrol) Karmada Lookout Kursole||2||74,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||(Patrol) Karmada Lookout Kursole||3||80,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||(Patrol) Karmada Lookout Kursole||4||86,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||(Patrol) Karmada Lookout Kursole||5||92,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||(Patrol) Karmada Lookout Kursole||6||98,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||(Patrol) Karmada Lookout Kursole||7||110,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||(Patrol) Karmada Lookout Kursole||8||130,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||(Patrol) Karmada Lookout Kursole||9||160,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||(Patrol) Karmada Lookout Kursole||10||180,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||(Patrol) Karmada Lookout Kursole||11||250,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||(Patrol) Karmada Lookout Kursole||12||320,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||(Patrol) Karmada Lookout Kursole||13||400,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||(Patrol) Karmada Lookout Kursole||14||500,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Main||(Patrol) Karmada Lookout Kursole||15||1,000,000||2 hours||1 x|
|End||Karmada Engineer Ryart||1||1,400,000||2 hours||1 x|
|End||(Regulate) Karmada Engineer Ryart||1||1,700,000||2 hours||1 x|
|Special||Chobla, Young Mage||1||35,000||20 minutes||2 x|
|Special||Grandaxe Elite Andyra||1||110,000||20 minutes||2 x|
|Special||Prudent Major Fili||1||600,000||20 minutes||2 x|
|Hidden||Karmada Navigator Gochi||1||15,000,000||2 hours||2 x|
|Hidden||(Plot) Karmada Navigator Gochi||1||21,600,000||2 hours||2 x|
|Secret||Karmada Pilot Fossnic||1||32,400,000||2 hours||2 x|
|Secret||(Steer) Karmada Pilot Fossnic||1||42,000,000||2 hours||2 x|
|2 - 10|
|11 - 20|
|21 - 50|
|51 - 100|
|101 - 400|
|401 - 1,000|
|1,001 - 5,000|
|5,001 - 10,000|
|10,001 - 15,000|
|1 - 2|
|3 - 6|
|7 - 15|
|16 - 30|
|31 - 60|
|61 - 150|
|151 - 250|
|251 - 350|
|351 - 700|
|701 - 2,000|
|2,001 - 6,000|
|6,001 - 10,000|
|10,001 - 30,000|
|Mega Lucky||777||Murderous Y'pes & Pungo (UR) x 2|
|Lucky||222, 333, 444, 555, 666, 888, 999, 1111, 1500, 2500, 5000, 7500||Murderous Y'pes & Pungo (UR) x 1|
|2 - 4|
|5 - 10|
|11 - 20|
|21 - 35|
|36 - 50|
|51 - 80|
|81 - 110|
|111 - 150|
|151 - 240|
|241 - 400|
|401 - 500|
|501 - 650|
|651 - 800|
|801 - 1,600|
|1,601 - 2,900|
|2,901 - 4,200|
|4,201 - 5,500|
|5,501 - 9,000|
|9,001 - 16,000|
|16,001 - 30,000|
|2 - 3||15,000,000|
|4 - 10||10,000,000|
|11 - 20||5,000,000|
|21 - 50||1,000,000|
|51 - 100||500,000|
|101 - 250||100,000|
|251 - 500||100,000|
|501 - 1,000||100,000|
|1,001 - 1,500||100,000|
|Guild Repel Count||Damage Req.||Reward|