Part 3: His Tarnished Manor
Taking either of the two northern exits to the town is a faster route to the manor, but this way allows the acquisition of more things on the way there. More important things as well.
Oh, right, 11 HP. Yeah, I bought the Life Vessel from Naomi; only took a little over 20 minutes to gain enough money from repeatedly cutting the plants outside Elene's home. I say "only" but the game clock is sitting a little over an hour at this point.
From the southern exit, this is the first screen that can be considered part of the "world map" as it were. You can occasionally hear this kind of roaring/croaking sound; those are Turtles. Yes, Turtles. They attack by breathing fire. We won't be going near them for a while.
We will, however, traverse onwards towards the East, and come across the first real enemy: a bee. These are pretty much harmless and are, by far, the weakest enemies. Even the Dagger takes them out in one shot.
A little further onwards is a Slime. Until you get close to one, they don't actually appear as anything more than a little dot which can blend into the background really well on some maps. They die in just under half a dozen hits right now, which makes them more tedious than difficult.
These two chests lie on the next screen across. There's no way to reach the one on the left from here, but the one on the right can be gotten now or later. Just walk behind the tree.
It's probably the first set of Herbs you'll get, and there's going to be no need to use them for quite a while. Unless, of course, you do what I'm going to do...
To the south of the Herbs, there is a swamp area. There's no reason to come here for quite a while, but it's along the way to the manor and has some decent items but there's a bit of a risk involved in coming here so early. That risk is because of the Lizard you can see at the bottom of the screen; Lizards are giant douchebags at the best of times let alone now. They have a ton of health (take roughly 10 hits... if not more... to kill right now but it isn't worth it), deal a third of your maximum possible health in one hit and if you don't time your attacks pretty much perfectly they will block your attack with their shields. There are like 6 Lizards here, so it's one hell of a risk but there's a few things here that make it worthwhile.
The first of which is this little thing. Gilded Falcons are the main collectible. There's 50 of them, and they're hid pretty well for the most part. There's at least one in every dungeon, without any exceptions that I can think of, and many dungeons are one time only for various reasons. You need to get at least 45 of them to reach max health but there's one hell of a reward for getting them all. Said reward is more than worth spending ages scouring every dungeon to make sure you didn't miss anything and will be obtained without any real problem.
Just south of where you can get the Gilded Falcon, there's the entry to the actual swamp part of the swamp as well as a seemingly inaccessible area to the southwest. It is inaccessible for the time being but we'll be back here later to see what's beyond there.
In the actual swamp, there's a free Strength Tonic that's pretty easy to get if you carefully navigate around the Lizards. Just to the left, there's a pathway that leads to something that I won't be using for quite a while:
Money, of course. There's a fair few chests with easy money in them, mainly either 10 or 30 Gilder which is why the buyable Life Vessel can be obtained within a few dungeons. That way does take longer than grinding the money but it's less monotonous. I normally just wait a while to buy it because of that reason alone.
On the next screen to the north, there's this little area. That block at the top of the stairs is currently unbreakable but that's not why you come this way. You see that chest to the left? There's actually three, as well as the path to the unobtainable chest atop the mini-cliff next to the Herbs from earlier. Ordinarily, you wouldn't be able to get through to there for a long while since the "right" way to do this requires waiting until a little over halfway through the game for a specific item. Naturally, there's no need to do this unless you don't realise one little thing: you can jump over to those items.
It's not much of a sequence break, sure, but at least it's better than waiting half the game or so. This isn't the last we've seen of this particular area, since we'll be back here at least once more with an even better item in store.
Oh, and there's very powerful enemies (for his point in the game) behind that stone block. They can sometimes drop down to where you are from an inaccessible area. I've only ever seen this happen once though.
The chest on the left is unobtainable right now, but even if it was reachable there'd be no use for it at the moment. It's not a Dream Elixir; it's something far, far better. The bridge on the right being blocked is annoying, sure, but even if you could get past there it wouldn't make a difference since you'd hit a different unpassable obstacle.
Just north of there, is where we wanted to go in the first place:
Next time: What's this book even for?