Saga: Suzaku arc
Prerequisites: Completion of previous missions in arc
Suzaku mentions just before he leaves that he now has exactly what he needs to put his biggest plans in motion, thanks to the powers he drained from Psi. Lynness mentions that his actual plan is to amass enough energy to invoke a mass-draining spell of some sort, essentially sucking the entire populace in a very wide area dry and making Suzaku frighteningly powerful. As the three make their way back up to the castle roof, sections of it appear to be missing, leaving behind only a surreal red background that pulsates with apparent power. Unfortunately, they don't arrive in time to stop Suzaku - the spell is invoked, literally draining Sooku and Lynness to death along with the rest of the surrounding populace. Psi is only saved in that his Gem of Chaos replenishes his lost energy as it's drained. By the time Psi alone does manage to confront Suzaku, it turns out to be an unwinnable boss fight as the player is barraged endlessly with overpowered, near-undodgeable attacks.
When the player is dropped to a certain amount of health, an ingame cinematic triggers in that it's revealed that Suzaku had been using Psi's mind control abilities all along, faking his power increase, the surrounding environment and the entire energy drain spell, in an effort to capitalize on Psi's helplessness and remove the only actual obstacles to his plans. Psi dispells the illusions and begins the fight proper, and his two partners rejoin fight as it's proven they didn't actually die during the hallucinations Suzaku caused with Psi's powers. Together they make a comeback and eventually manage to kill Suzaku outright... but not before he makes some startling plot revelations regarding Psi's Gem of Chaos, and the human that was once Jean Eric.
[As the player ascends the castle in search of Suzaku, large sections of the walls are observed to have been removed, and the area outside to be a red-tinted celtic landscape rather than the snowy Mr Frostbite that's actually outside. Imps still attack regularly, but in smaller numbers - the main challenge for this mission is that increasingly large sections of the castle turn out to have vanished, changing the primary path and requiring a lot more platforming to advance, plus the risk of enemies knocking you back down to lower levels. Once the player is midway through, Lynness stops in her tracks as an ingame cutscene starts.]
Lynness: No... we're too late!
[A massive, bright red wave sweeps down the castle and across the landscape. As it passes over the screen, the foreground area is further coated with a red tint, and energy visibly drains from the trio in the form of a fine mist that drifts back towards the wave's source - Psi's in particular is a purple colour, the same as his associated gem. Sooku dies as a result in an instant - Lynness only lasts long enough to make some parting words.]
Lynness: That glow... You were right... it's the only thing keeping you alive. No such luck for me, though... You're the only one left who can do something about this... don't let us... down...
[The castle becomes increasingly sparse as the player makes their way upwards, until eventually it becomes composed untirely of thin platforms within flight distance of one another. Psi's energy draining towards Suzaku serves as a blatant reminder of which way to go next at all times, though as explained, it doesn't have any gameplay ramifications due to it being constantly restocked. The ruins of South City becomes visible in the distance at the level's peak. At the top is a large, flat platform as an arena, with Suzaku on the other side. He has a very dense red aura on him due to his accumulated energy, similar to that of Nightmare's.]
Suzaku: You again. How are you still alive? You have a lot of energy for someone who is otherwise an insignificant threat.
Synn: Spare it. You've already done too much damage here, and now we're the only one left. We have an obligation to make sure you don't go any further than this.
Suzaku: Hahahaha... what makes you think you have a say in the matter?
[Suzaku unleashes a massive red shockwave, knocking the player over to the other side of the arena and taking actual health away in the process. It won't kill them, but realistically any decent player shouldn't already have health low enough to be killed by it at this point anyway.]
Suzaku: Do you not see the power I now wield? I have the combined strength of a continent at my disposal, and you are mortal and alone. You don't stand the faintest chance of defeating me now.
Psi: ...so you might say. But all the same, all of my efforts will still be dedicated towards stopping you. No mere words will change that.
Suzaku: Oh dear, I will honestly miss that enthusiasm of yours...
[Suzaku draws his sword, entering his default fighting pose]
Suzaku: ...but I'll grieve for it only when I'm done cleaning your dessicated corpse from my sword.
[Boss fight begins. Suzaku is virtually untouchable in this state, as his combined moveset now provides omnipotent zoning capability in addition to being stronger than normal. His AI will play defensively when the player is advancing, only attacking when he has a near-guaranteed chance of hitting (if necessary, he will use the shockwave attack from the previous cinematic to outright deny a hit at most of Psi's melee ranges), but if the player is still or retreating he will use long reach attacks and wide-scattering projectiles to further limit the player's options. Needless to say, the player will be able to deal very little, if any, damage in this state. Once Psi's own health drops to a certain level, another ingame cutscene triggers.]
Psi: *breathing heavily* Damn it, I can't even touch him... he's too strong...
Synn: Don't give up yet... we can still - wait.
[The camera zooms further in on Suzaku. Closer up, it's easier to see that he's flickering subtly.]
Synn: Psi, look at that. Do you see it?
Psi: Is... that what I think it is?
[A very brief montage of Psi's hallucinogenic tricks plays, showing them to all possess the exact same flickering effect. Suzaku's flickering continues when the scene at hand returns, only this time the image of standard Suzaku appears briefely between the flickers of the Nightmare one, appearing progressively closer as dialogue continues.]
Psi: That flickering... that's exactly what my mind control tricks do. But that means...
[Psi attacks the flickering Suzaku as he approaches. When he connects, he is sent reeling back as the false Suzaku disappears, and the surrounding area disperses to reveal that Psi and Suzaku are in fact on the roof of the castle rather than some celtic void in the sky. Lynness and Sooku reappear as the illusion dissipates, obviously confused as to what happened exactly.]
Synn: ...that this is all a cheap parlour trick.
Sooku: Umm... the heck just happened?
Lynness: Did you not catch the part where Suzaku can steal other people's powers? Obviously Suzaku copied the little one's mind tricks when he grabbed him earlier. I was wondering when someone would fix that.
Suzaku: Damn you all! You might have seen through that ruse, but I can tell you're all tired and wounded... I'll see you burn in hell yet!
[Boss fight resumes, this time with Sooku and Lynness in the player's party. Suzaku no longer possesses the ridiculously far reaching attacks he had previously, but due to all three party members already being damaged at this stage, he still poses a considerable threat. Contrary to his usual fighting style, Suzaku will instead fight more aggresively, attempting to advance straight into the player's attacks and overriding them with his own. He also now has access to his Shattered Sky finisher, but will save it for the last party member, at a point where getting hit by it would be a guaranteed instant kill. After Suzaku is defeated:]
Suzaku: That's... not possible. Where do you get all that power from? I had all the strength in the world... and yet I still lost?
Synn: Hmph. That's what they all say.
Psi: Wait a minute. Didn't we all gather that was an illusion?
Lynness: It was. That's not what he's talking about.
[Suzaku reaches around and procures the red Gem of Chaos in his free hand.]
Psi: But... that's just like...!
[Psi pulls out his own gem.]
Suzaku: ...ha. Hahahahaha! Now it makes so much sense!
Psi: What makes sense? What are you talking about!?
Suzaku: Then that must make you one... Jean Eric, I believe it was?
Psi: How did you--!?
Suzaku: Oh please. I'm 4 millennia old. When you live through several apocalypse events you tend to remember the key players.
Psi: Then... then you must know what happened to me!
[Suzaku, with great effort, gets back to his feet again and slowly shuffles towards Psi. He is clearly weary and won't last much longer. His eyes flicker a subtle red glow as they exude Nightmare-ish mist.]
Suzaku: ...of course. You don't remember. That sounds like a trick he'd play.
Suzaku: No matter. Listen to me, because this is important. You need to stop looking into your past.
Sooku: [in the background] The heck is going on? Is Suzaku helping him?
Psi: Why the hell should I?
Suzaku: Because when the time is right, the past will come in search of you. And it is there you will need all the strength and passion it brings to you.
Synn: What's that supposed to mean?
Suzaku: It will make more sense when it happens...
[Suzaku falls to his knees just short of Psi. Psi supports him to stop him from falling forwards.]
Suzaku: One last thing... why do you believe you won this fight, in spite of being at an obvious disadvantage? Tell me, truthfully...
Psi: ...I didn't really think about it. I guess I just wanted to win more than you did.
[Suzaku chuckles to himself.]
Suzaku: Then maintain that belief as long as you can. From one gem to another, belief is your greatest weapon, and for as long as you maintain it, you'll be as powerful as I was. Never... forget that.
[Suzaku falls backward out of Psi's grasp, and finally dies. The red Gem of Chaos falls out of his hand in the process and rolls to Psi's feet, who then picks it up for a closer look. After a delay, though, an extreme closeup of Nightmare's eyes is superimposed across the screen, causing Psi to drop the gem reflexively. Lynness picks the gem up instead as she approaches, though with a shadowy tendril rather than her bare hands.]
Lynness: He respected you, you know. Even if only in the very end. That kind of respect he only reserved for the most powerful people he'd ever met.
Psi: I know...
Synn: But don't expect us to return the favour. I'm not about to respect a man intent on killing a city population just for his own power trip.
Sooku: Amen to that. So what're ya gonna do now? You gonna take his advice?
Psi: Probably not. If these gems are still all over the place, that means they could already be in the wrong hands just like that one. It also seems like they're connected somehow, so I might learn something by finding the other ones.
[Sooku starts walking towards the edge of the screen.]
Lynness: I don't like to think about it, but I feel like part of this whole ordeal is my fault. Perhaps hunting the remainder of Suzaku's forces down will help clear my concience. After that... who knows, I might just end up taking the hero business for a living. What about...
[Lynness glances about for Sooku, not realizing he'd walked away during her line. From the edge of the screen he gestures back, before walking away and ending the saga.]
Sooku: This's just my cue to relax again. You two can just call me when you need me.