Ku, Land of the Scarlet Sunset (Night)
Hikari needs to investigate a potential plot Mugen's troops may have to turn against the current king. Let's proceed to the castle courtyard and figure out what we can learn.
(A merchant flourishing in the shadow of the castle. If anyone can tell me what goes on inside its walls, surely it would be him.)
Looks like we've got our lead.
Time to utilize Hikari's night path action, Bribe.
Bribe is another way to obtain NPC information, and all you have to do is pay some money. Definitely a lot less hassle than Temenos's way of extracting information.
Ah, the young prince. I believe I can be of service.
You'll be fairly compensated. Is this enough?
Ah, our lord knows well the ways of the world...
Soldiers get chatty during long watches, you see...
Mugen may be stoking the embers of war...
(I have to ask him myself. Look Mugen in the eye.)
The Crest of Heroes is outside town, at that hill of dead people Hikari liked to chill at.
But before we go, let's learn more about the citizens of Ku? Why not, have a free mini-town update.
Ku, Land of the Scarlet Sunset (Night)
I mean, who better to know the king's weaknesses than the king himself? It's always the person you least suspect...
Here's a guy living his best life.
This mysterious building will have to wait until much, much later.
Sounds like he's not very good at his job, but at least is polite enough not to piss anyone off.
Hey, good for this guy.
I mean, fair. You don't want to limit yourself to one job your entire life, I can understand wanting to expand your horizons.
There's only so much he can do once the military wants his horses, all he can do is give them the best lives he can while they're in his care.
No clue how his wife feels about the whole thing, though.
I like that the citizenry of Ku work together to help each other out, I'm sure partly due to the guidance of Hikari, but also because they're just ordinary people helping each other out like any community would.
There's a lot going into this secret plot to heal a sick mother.
Go figure, you treat people with respect and they'll treat you the same!
Military life certainly isn't for everyone, and this line of work is certainly more peaceful.
Of course, the constant wars of the past did have lasting consequences among its citizenry. All the more reason to maintain peace as long as possible...
He didn't get caught, so hey, good for him. You gotta look out for yourself.
Here is the ailing mother in question, with her two children.
The times when you are powerless to do anything to change a terrible situation are the most agonizing of all.
This boy could probably use some guidance from an apothecary, but his heart is in the right place.
You know, I think this is for the best.
Training can only do so much, but at the same time, it might be enough to mean the difference between life and death.
Finally, here's Tsuki, Hikari's attendant. I'm sure her life experiences helped a good bit in shaping Hikari to who he is today.
It's time to head out to the sands and confront Mugen.
Hikari has plenty of foes to practice his bladework on.
Between that and beating up the townspeople, Hikari quickly gets enough JP to gain a skill. Time to go over them!
Aggressive Slash - Unleash a sword attack on random foes 3+BP times. These hits aren't that powerful, though they still do decent damage. This is mainly useful for shredding sword weaknesses on single foes (or groups with Sealtgice), which it does well at. Situational, but handy.
Piercing Thrust - Unleash a powerful polearm attack on a single foe, and have a 0.25+0.25*BP chance to deal a critical hit (at max BP, it's a guaranteed crit). It's great if you have a better polearm than sword, and the boosted crit chance helps with damage too. Warrior generally has good options for dealing physical damage, and this is one of them.
Abide - Raise your physical attack for 3+2*BP turns. It's self-target, so it's a bit more limited in scope, but generally you'll want to priotize boosting the P.Atk of your Warrior anyway, so if your Dancer has more important priorities, this is certainly not a bad option.
Enervating Slash - This one is confusing, because the game's description is wrong. What this skill actually does is remove all of the user's buffs, then does powerful sword damage, doing more damage the more buffs were removed. The base damage without removing buffs is lackluster, but even removing just one buff ups the damage by 75%. The damage scaling slows down with more buffs (removing four buffs triples the damage, while removing ten only quadruples it), with diminishing returns between 1 and 2 buffs, then between 3 and 4, and over 6 it's not even worth adding buffs to boost it. And honestly, buffs are usually too useful to waste on this skill, so it's only really useful if your buffs are about to expire soon anyway. A lot of words to say, meh skill.
Stout Wall - Raise your physical defense for 3+2*BP turns. The P.Def version of Abide, more situational but mostly exists to supplement the next skill.
Incite - Draw foes' single-target attacks to yourself for 3+2*BP turns. Pointless against more magic-focused bosses, and late games there are more effective ways to handle physical bosses, but this is still a good option to have, between the Warrior's high P.Def and the Stout Wall buff, plus could work with other stuff like the Merchant's Sidestep. Very useful skill for certain bosses in the early and mid-game.
Vengeful Blade - Grant yourself the ability to counter physical damage with a sword attack 2+BP times. The counterattack reduces the enemy's shield points regardless of their weak points. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing it's a regular physical attack with a sword. Pretty situational, but might be handy against certain bosses where your party is struggling to hit boss weaknesses, and it pairs well with Incite. Not the best skill, but rarely it might be your best option to break bosses, so it has some use.
Divine Skill: Brand's Blade - Unleash an extraordinarily powerful sword attack on a single foe. This is arguably the strongest physical attack in the game, and what the Warrior should always be using to deal single-target damage when available, unless somehow their polearm significantly outclasses their sword. Definitely one of the best divines for sure just for the sheer damage it does.
Bolstering Break - Gives the user a P.Atk buff for two turns after breaking a foe. I've been vocal against passives that proc upon breaking a foe, as you generally don't really plan for who breaks a foe, but this is probably one of the better ones. Still, it's filler until you get something better.
Summon Strength - Increases the character's P.Atk by 50. Again, these stat buffs are filler abilities, but this is definitely one of the better ones to have, simply because it's more damage. It'll do well until later into the mid-game when you have a larger variety of passives to play with.
Latent Power Plus - Raises the amount of latent power gained by the equipping character. I cannot confirm how much, all I could find was someone testing it out a bit and guessing it's around 25% more. This is a bit tough to rank, both because it's hard to know how significant the effect is, and also whether it's worth using over other passives when you could just use Lychees or other latent-boosting skills. Latent Skills are definitely valuable and using more in a boss battle can change things significantly, but I honestly can't say how useful this skill is for that. If nothing else, it's a great choice if you have nothing better to use.
Deal More Damage - Increases the maximum damage that can be dealt by the equipping character to 99,999. Kinda surprised this still exists as a passive skill, to be honest. For end-game content, this is required for your damage dealers if you don't want a miserable experience with the final bosses, but otherwise this will probably be overkill for the final chapters once your party's powerful enough to destroy chapter bosses in just a few hits. It's dumb to rank this because it's mandatory for the very end-game but can trivialize everything before then.
I opt for Abide, as the extra P.Atk helps more than anything else here, and the only other decent ability at this stage of the game is Stout Wall.
Hikari carves up a few more foes and then makes his way to the Crest of Heroes.
(I suppose I'll wait a while longer.)
It may be hard to see here, but King Jigo is looking at a very odd-looking sword.
Their blood has stained the desert red, and our nation has become great in turn.
Glory through sacrifice... Such are the words that guide Clan Ku.
For only the strong can herd the droves of the weak. Such is the way of the world. Strength reigns supreme, always.
Mugen, my son...
...I know. You've come to a decision.
You are old, Your Majesty. Frail. As is the nation you lead.
To think I once looked up to you. Now fate seems to have brought you low.
Ritsu? What are you doing here?
It was a trap. One you were all too eager to walk into.
Ah, it's started already.
Our nation cries out for change, and Lord Mugen will bring it.
What's gotten into you, Ritsu?
I have to follow the strongest. I told you history would remember my name. Lord Mugen has promised me it will echo through generations.
In Pursuit of Kingship
I must protect my people. So I say once more, and once more only...
Video: Boss - Ritsu
Critical Clash I
To save his kingdom, Hikari must cross swords with his former friend and ally, Ritsu.
But first, we must eliminate his help.
Ritsu may not have been able to beat Hikari in a duel, but he is certainly no slouch with a blade.
Alright, now to take on Ritsu one-on-one.
I was not ready to break Ritsu here, so all I could do was defend and take the brunt of the attack, which...still hurt pretty bad.
Ritsu is not one to play around. He is always on the offensive, perhaps to his detriment.
I find the perfect opportunity to set up a beautiful turn of Abide/Break/Wreck. The only flaw was I could only use Double Slash as my big attack since I was so low on SP.
With some time to heal up, Hikari is ready to be more aggressive, particularly in the slashing aspect.
Hikari's starting to gain the upper hand now.
Don't let their screams distract you, Hikari! You never did take me seriously...
If you want to save them, you'll have to cut through me first!
Armor Cleaver both does damage and inflicts a P.Def debuff. Which isn't great since Ritsu stabs 99% of the time and throws sand in your eyes the other 1%.
The Blind debuff fades out quickly, though, and Aggressive Slash does enough to fill Hikari's latent gauge.
Like Ochette, Hikari's Latent Power grants him access to one of three special skills. Tenretsuzan does a powerful sword attack on a single foe, Hineka does two sword attacks then gives Hikari an extra action at the end of the turn, and Sougetsusen attacks all foes with both a polearm and a sword attack.
A max-boosted Tenretsuzan ends the battle instantly, which...well, I did not expect this battle to be this short.
Consider this just a taste of how absurdly powerful Hikari can be.
By the tempest... Why does it always end the same...?
What're you staring at!? Finish this! Do it!
Even at this point, Hikari sees no point in ending the life of the man who betrayed him...
Go away... Go away...
Ritsu, clearly confused by Hikari's sudden bout of confusion, takes this opportunity to valiantly run away, like a noble hero should.
"The accursed clan..."
For now, more urgent matters...
Mugen has unleashed his wrath upon his own nation...
The soldiers set fire to the castle... I'm afraid the city is...
Only your gentle hands...can guide us back...
Why...!? My allies... My friends...!
There will be no mercy for you, Mugen.
Hikari prefers peace, but he is certainly not afraid to fight for it.
You must...save Ku... With your...gentle hands...
With his final breath, this soldier gives us a weak consumable that will get thrown in with the thirty-something other ones I'll probably never use.
At least he didn't die in vain!
Now to avenge the soldier who gave me a Lychee, and everyone else too I guess.
Video: In Search of Allies
But worry not. By my hand shall its glory be restored. Its strength...
Hikari has all the makings of a great king.
And what would those be?
...And you do?
Everything you built was only an illusion.
King Jigo may be old, but he's still strong enough to hold his own against mere soldiers.
But against Mugen...
I will...I will be king...
Mugen...is too strong... You cannot hope to face him...alone... Run... Gather your strength... Your allies... Only then...
Only I am fit to be king.
That was the same world that Father lived in his whole life. A world he regretted making.
Hmph. A coward like you?
Why, Mugen? Why did you set fire to the homes of innocents!?
Somehow you've won their love. They might have opposed my rule after your untimely demise.
...Now, don't be a fool. You know your meager skills are no match for me.
Hmph. It seems a rat got through the cracks in my wall.
Your father chose to put his faith in you, and so shall I!
Don't worry! It'll take more than this gang of ruffians to take Benkei down!
...But their sacrifices won't be in vain.
Is it as bad as they say?
Seems the young prince wasn't satisfied with his lot and tried to take the throne by force.
How dreadful... We've had peace for so long...
Hikari, the Warrior
(First I must cross the sea and journey east.)
(...I hope your mind is still keen as a blade, Kazan.)
And so begins Hikari's adventure, as too so ends the beginning of our own journey into Octopath Traveler II.
We have our eight stalwart companions, ready to face whatever obstacles necessary to fulfill their own missions, and perhaps something greater.
We need to prepare for the journies ahead, however. Next time, we will gather our strength, explore new areas, and unlock access to the eight base jobs, so we can truly be prepared for the trials ahead. Until next time!