Part 7: Chapter Seven: Dark Woods
: By the way, where exactly is the tunnel? The King didnt say.
: Oh, just follow me. I will show you the way.
Pressing L or R will switch the party leader around. Now Ryu follows behind Nina. This can have certain effects depending on who leads the party once more characters are recruited.
: Stand aside, please. We are leaving for the next kingdom.
: This bridge is awfully long
: It is the only way to cross over into the next country. The northern forest is impassible to anyone except the forest folk, so my people built this bridge half a century ago to ease the trade routes from Tuntar to Nanai.
: I see. You know quite a lot, your highness.
: Please, call me Nina. Calling me your highness all the time is bound to get awkward, as well as giving away my identity when we cross over into territory held by the Dark Dragons.
: As you wish Nina.
: It certainly makes for an impressive sunset.
: Where exactly do you wish to go, Ryu?
: I need to find a port.
: The nearest harbor is in Auria. We will need to pass the Twin Towns in order to get there, though.
A new section of the world map means new enemies to fight.
These guys are Zombies. Zombies really suck because they can infect party members with the Zombie status. A zombified characters offense is doubled in exchange for reducing their defense to almost nothing. Its not a worthwhile exchange.
Meet the Blurb. Blurbs have low defense and die in one hit, so I have no idea whether or not they do anything fancy. If they do it doesnt matter, because they die in one hit.
Finally, we have the WarHog. Theyre big, slow, fat asses who can dish it out but cant take it. Their physical attacks are fairly powerful, but its worth fighting them because they give good gold and exp for this stage in the game.
Aside from them, the other enemies are the same as were used to seeing from previous dungeons.
: These must be the Twin Towns, Tuntar and Tantar. Just beyond should be a bridge where we can cross over the riverbed. From there it should be a short walk to Auria.
: Thats good. By the way doesnt that riverbed look a little bit too dry to you?
: I was just thinking the same thing.
: Dragons blood, not more obstacles
: I am sorry, Ryu. It looks like we will not be crossing over here for a while.
: Its okay. Its just all these delays are really adding up. I suppose we had best head back to the Twin Towns.
: Perhaps we can also discover why the river has run dry. We should speak to the townsfolk in both settlements.
: The people in this town they look like-
: They are the forest folk. They moved out of the woods a few decades ago and built this town, Tantar. The forest folk are excellent hunters and trackers rumor has it that they can traverse any wooded area, even if they have never been there before.
: Thats pretty amazing. You certainly are knowledgeable.
: Oh, I read it in a book once. Royalty must be expected to know about the lands surrounding their kingdoms.
: The Dark Dragons again. Why am I not surprised?
: Zogs cowardice continues to amaze me. The Tantar chief may be able to tell us more.
: I see that we can now add coercion to Zogs long list of crimes. It goes well with the looting, murder and attempted assassinations.
: Still, why does Zog want this treasure? And what is it, exactly?
: A ring, you say? There must be something deeper to all this if the Dark Dragons are willing to dam up a major river in order to get at it.
: If we consider the Dark Dragons tactics up until now there is a good chance they have a base somewhere nearby. Or they are using someone else as a cats-paw, like they did with the Wizard of Karma.
: Lets ask around some more and see if theres been any suspicious activity in the hills and woods around these parts.
: Apparently, Terry and Bo came across a group of Dark Dragons in there. Terry was injured and had to come back hes resting upstairs in the Chiefs house right now.
: That must be where the Dark Dragons have set up camp. Looks like thats our next stop.
: You wont get in; the trees at the entrance are too thick. Youd need to cut through them in order to gain entry. The local smith might be able to make a saw, but he lacks materials
: Let us visit the smith, then, and see what it is he requires.
: Well, that is a simple matter! I already acquired some I.Ore when I travelled to Romero. Please make use of it, smith.
: Should we be off, then?
: It may be wise to visit Tuntar before we leave for Lament Woods. They may have more information on the Dark Dragons in the area.
Before then, though, we need to visit the weapon shop.
A new weapon type, the bow, has appeared. Neither Nina nor Ryu can equip it, meaning a new party member is around the corner. Apart from that, I buy a Bandana to boost Ninas defense and a Scythe for Ryu to use in boss battles where the Foil isnt as effective.
: So this is a human town?
: That is correct. Tuntar has been here for far longer than Tantar, and started out as a place where weary Aurian merchants could stop and rest their horses on the trade route to my country.
: As if there was any doubt.
: Stone robot?
: I remember reading about something like that. Apparently it is a relic of the war against the goddess Tyr. It lies to the north of here.
: Tantar should give up the Ring to resolve the problem.
: The people of Tuntar have stood by the forest folk ever since Tantar was founded. Why would they now choose to abandon them?
: Whatever the reason, defeating the Dark Dragons will surely solve any issues between these two towns. It looks like its time for us to put this Saw to good use.
: The road ends here. Just like Terry said, the trees are too thick to move through. Stand back, Nina.
Lament Woods has a creepy atmosphere, with the black ground and wispy mist hanging over everything. It also has some new enemies for us to do battle with, so lets run through the customary list.
First off is this guy, the S.Rider. Hes very fast and has a reasonable amount of HP, but thats all. Not too tough unless you encounter two of them at once.
Sometimes, you run into his distant cousin, the G.Knight. They do a little bit more damage than the S.Rider at the cost of slightly lower defense. They are also incredibly, unbelievably fast they can get the first strike in even when the partys average level is over thirty.
Finally, theres the Stool. Stools can put your party members to sleep, as shown above. However they have paper-thin defense and die in one hit.
Overall, this area is a bit of a maze. It has a lot of winding paths that lead to treasure chests, and the enemies arent too tough, so its worth it to explore a bit.
: This forest truly is haunted. Spirits and the undead roam freely here
: Lets press on quickly. The sooner we find the Dark Dragons the sooner we can leave this place.
: I see a building of some sort up ahead.
: This may very well be what we have been looking for.
: Dark Dragons!
Isnt that adorable.
The music indicates that this is a boss battle, but its so pathetic Im not even going to record a video for it. The two guards didnt even get a chance to attack before being slaughtered by a Foil E.Key combo.
The layout of the fort is simple compared to the forest, but it makes up for it with an annoying gimmick.
Pitfalls. They only appear in entrances like the one pictured above, and if you fall down them you get sent to this room:
Theres no way to tell where these pitfalls are, so youll probably be seeing this room quite a bit before you reach the end.
During this time, Nina levels up and learns the spell Hold. It skips an enemys turn, which can occasionally be useful against tougher encounters later on.
This encounter is just as pathetic as the last.
Before I forget, theres another new enemy in here. Meet the Midget. He deals a lot of damage, but takes a lot too. Aside from that he doesnt have any other gimmicks.
: Nina, look. A staircase leading down.
: This explains why the building had such a low profile from the outside, and why it took so long before the Dark Dragons were discovered. They built downwards rather than upwards.
Where do these stairs lead? Tune in next time to find out.