Part 120: A New PlanUpdate 29: A New Plan
...Oh, I almost forgot.
Welcome back, Sir Knight.
I'm glad too, Trand, but you need to rest up first. Let's hurry back to the inn.
Yeah, I guess... but the Black Guardian told us to go see Lady Gradriel first, right? It'd probably be best for us to do that quickly. Knight, Arianna, could you guys head over there?
Of course. Please rest at ease at the inn, Sir Bertrand.
Thanks. Means a lot to me.
You can leave Trand to me. I'll make sure he's okay.
Hm... Guess I'll go along with Bertrand, too. The Duke's Palace just turns me into a bundle of nerves.
Let's go, Arianna.
See you later.
Incidentally, Hanna and Quona have something new to say since we brought Bertrand back.
So, you have something to say to him, don't you? Go on. Hurry and go see him.
Okay, time to tell Gradriel what's going on.
...Where are the others?
They are fine.
Certainly if you say so, then you must have the situation in hand. However... The other day, a violent earthquake occurred, centered around Ginnungagap. Do you know anything regarding the matter?
Yes. If we may be frank... Something terrible has happened at Ginnungagap.
Fade to black.
...Truly, I had no idea such events had come to pass.
It is the truth. In the end, we were told to request your help in meeting the Overlord.
......... ...Please, wait. This is too great of a decision for me to answer on my own. I will discuss the matter with my father and with Minister Dubois before giving you my decision. This may take some time, so please, return to town and rest yourselves awhile.
The conversation ends. Dubois has something new to say to us.
Sir Bertrand!? What's the matter? You're looking very ill.
Relax, no need to worry. I've already patched him up. We were just talking. Right, Chloe?
Mhm. We were just saying how difficult it was, exploring that place with just the four of us.
Or how rough the fight was when we had to go against the old man. Gah, my back's still aching from that...
How many apologies do you need, kid!? And besides, you guys beat the crap out of me too, if you remember!
Ah, that's a relief. It looks as though everything is back to normal.
*sigh* Fine. If this is what passes for 'normal' around here...
So? Did the Lady Gradriel tell you anything new?
Well... She told us that she wishes to discuss this with the Duke, first. Accordingly, she asked that we return tomorrow.
...Should've seen that one coming. Welp, we oughta get some rest, then. We'll head over tomorrow.
I'm sure... we'll be able to find out something. I mean, Violetta told us we will.
*giggle*... Then let us rest for now, so that we are well prepared for what tomorrow will bring.
Time passes to the next day. Hanna and Quona have new stuff to say.
Oh, I'm sorry. It's just that I can't stop smiling when I see all of you together again.
...Oh, I'm sorry... I just felt happy seeing everyone in Guild Guild together again... ...Mom seemed happy too. She said seeing everyone together makes her happy... Ehehe...
Incidentally that little spelling mistake was the result of a coding mistake, not a slip-up on whoever edited the script.
It's always best to see Guild when everyone's all together! Now, take your time! Feel free to browse!
Come back again, sometime, alright? Make sure you bring everyone. I'll have a great meal waiting for you.
Cass and Marion have nothing new to say.
What you told me yesterday... I made sure to tell my father, the Duke. It appears that the time of reckoning has finally come. Therefore, my father has given his permission to tell you of a legend that has been passed down through our family.
...Please, tell us.
When the time of the Ginnungagap ends, the shield protecting the land from the Calamity will be no more. However, the knight will be released from the chains of fate that bind them. Seek the sky castle with the Fafnir's power. The meeting of the Fafnir Knight and the Ruler of Heaven spells the Calamity's end...
The Fafnir Knight... that must mean Knight.
So... that 'sky castle' stuff's referring to what's supposed to be at the top of the Labyrinth?
I believe so. It is said that the Ruler of Heaven has a mysterious power called the Grail of Kings in its possession. It is said to enhance a person's life force, and can heal or even resurrect the dead... Perhaps it means that by using this Grail, you will be able to destroy the Calamity.
Sounds a little too convenient to me.
Indeed. I have been told that we are to rely on this legend only when we have absolutely no other recourse. Most importantly, the road to the floating castle has yet to be discovered. Nobody can be certain if one can actually encounter the Ruler of Heaven by reaching that point...
However... it is a possibility it may aid us in preventing the Calamity, is it not? And it would mean we wouldn't have to sacrifice Sir Knight, or Sir Bertrand...
...It is not a reliable method by any means, which is why I have not made it public. But, it is the only method we seem to have. I will be counting on all of you.
The conversation ends. Let's see what Dubois has to say.
Though it may be inappropriate to say so... I am in admittedly high spirits. Knowing that you will remain here in High Lagaard... I believe the day we find the castle in the heavens is quite near. Hmhmhm. I shall be counting on you, Guild.
Are you not happy, Sir Knight? We have found an alternative path!
She's right. Neither you nor the old man have to sacrifice yourselves anymore... That's pretty good news if you ask me.
That's if we can even make it to the castle in the sky, right? We probably shouldn't be partying just yet.
But... You're with us right now, Trand, and so is Knight. If we can do this without having to sacrifice somebody's life, that's really, really good news.
To the reunion of Guild!
...Indeed! As Guild... we shall find this floating castle!
Looks like the five of us are going to be exploring the Labyrinth once again!
We'll find it together.
Yeah, you're right. With not a single person missing...
This time... I'm going to see it through to the end. This time, I'll do it!
Well it's certainly nice to see characters actually developing in the Story mode, given how nearly everyone in the first Untold game was as flat as cardboard, and the one character that developed didn't do so in an interesting way.
Anyways, let's head back to the Labyrinth. Oh I should note that in Story mode, floor jump for Ginnungagap B3F isn't unlocked until after you beat Demi-Fafnir. Classic can access it the moment they complete the floor though.
Now it's time to head to the 4th Stratum. For real this time.
Though there is no wind here, the petals gently fall, forming an exquisite vision of beauty...
Gracious...! How lovely...
We go from ice and snow into... flowers? What is going on with this Labyrinth?
It's better than the cold. I like this Stratum a lot more.
This weather DOES help. My joints ache when it's cold, you know...
But this view...! How can you speak of weather and temperature in the face of such vistas? Don't you agree, Sir Knight?
I'm happier that it's warm here.
I-Is it that important a topic of discussion? Even in the cold, would more layers of clothing not suffice...?
Nope. No matter how warmly you dress, a little chill still seeps through all the layers... It's really annoying.
Good lord, are you that sensitive to the cold?
Trand has bad circulation. He can't help it. He has to wear that metal armor.
...I guess things are tough for you too, old man.
As you chat lightheartedly with each other, you hear a voice call from an unusual direction... above you.
You look up towards the speaker and find what seems to be a person beyond the trees... But you are taken aback by the feathered wings this person" sports!
Father Sun and Mother Moon. Bless the earthbound people with the gift of new life!
With this, the demihuman spreads his wings and rises into the air.
H-He flew away...! What was that!?
He was impressive.
Indeed! I greatly envy the way he can freely fly through the air...!
No, no no no! What're you two saying!? Do you have any idea what you sound like!?
Trand. Do you know what that was?
Oh yeah! You would know, wouldn't you, old man? I mean, you've been alive for a hundred years...
Hey, I may be old, but I've never seen anything like that in all my years.
Although... I think I saw something about 'Winged Ones' in the High Lagaard legend? I thought it was a figure of speech, but judging by what I've just seen, apparently not.
Legend? What kind of legend?
Uhh... I don't know it too well, but it's something to do with the castle in the heavens...
Then... if we pursue him, we may learn something about the floating castle!
Let's go after him.
Yes... He seemed to speak the language that we do, which gives me great hope that we might converse with him!
You begin exploring the forest that lies before you, on the lookout for the strange winged creature.
Oh don't mind me, just admiring the view and the fact that we're in the sky! I have to say, for all the faults the original game had, the one thing it had over all the other Etrian Odyssey games was that it easily had the best looking Strata (Well, outside of one exception, but I'll get into that later.) Petal Bridge is one of my favorite Strata in terms of aesthetics, and I'm very glad that they did it justice in the 3DS remake. It just looks great. The added detail of showing the sky below you also really helps emphasize that you've been climbing up the tree the whole time. (In the original game, you could only see the sky below you on the 19th floor.)
Oh and there's another thing I want to make a note of. See these enemies? Their conditional drop makes Amritas. How do you get said conditional drop? Oh just by killing them while they're Terrorized, simple as that.
Oh wait, the only way the Story party can inflict Fear outside of Grimoires is through Chloe's Random Disease skill, which is by far the worst skill in the game! There's a more reliable method once you get to the 5th Stratum, but until then, yeah have fun with the RNG if you're trying to go for those drops. Oh and as a kicker, they're not even guaranteed to drop 100% of the time. Anyways, now that we've reached the 4th Stratum, let's head back to town.
There must be someone in there that might know about it.
Yes, I'm sure that Lady Gradriel will aid us.
Later. Let's see what the townsfolk have to say. Well, only Cass and Marion have anything new to say in Story mode.
... Guess I'm starting to lose my touch. The first time I saw yeh lot, I thought yeh were all hopeless. Now yeh're the biggest names in my bar. Haw, maybe I'm not as good as I thought at spottin' the up-and-comers... Hm...? Wait a tick. Yeh lot ain't explorers, yeh're part of the Midgard investigation team! Haw haw! If yeh aren't explorers, then of course my keen eyes won't pick up on yeh, right? Haw haw haw! That explains it!
It seems the other guilds have heard the rumors of your return. The idea appears to be giving them a newfound resolve... ...Looks like the people of High Lagaard recognize you as a true guild, now.
Onto the Grand Duchy.
Actually, we encountered an unusual race while exploring the Labyrinthlike humans, but with wings... We came to ask if you had any knowledge of them.
Hrm... Pardon me for a moment. I will go call for Lady Gradriel.
Fade to black.
There are some records of them within ancient texts passed down through the royal family. If I recall correctly... the passage went like so... The Ruler of the Heavens created an inhuman race, able to fly freely in the sky. These winged beings are human, yet not quite human. They safeguard the entrance to the Heavenly Keep. Only with this phrase can one gain entry. State these words: As agreed, I speak the words of the Overlord by the ancient pact. Lead our return to the heavens!" ... That is all that I recall from the documents. It would seem the text indicates that you must gain the aid of the winged ones in order to proceed.
...Aid of wings. Are they going to let us ride them?
*giggle* Who knows? If they truly can freely fly through the skies, perhaps that would be possible.
Let's try finding the winged ones.
Yeah, it looks like we'll have to have a talk with them if we want to keep moving.
I am thankful to have your assistance, even as the forest grows more and more dangerous. I will take my leave now, then... I wish the best of luck to you.
...So it seems you've gotten a clue to progress onward, hm? It would be no exaggeration to say that the fate of High Lagaard depends on your exploration of the Labyrinth. It may not be much, but I will be praying for you to find the path to the floating castle.
And here's Dubois' talk dialogue.
If they truly know the way to the heavens, then we must negotiate with them. The thought... does make me uneasy, though. Be sure to exercise caution, Knight.
Before we go back into the Labyrinth, let's take a nap.
As you sit there, you hear a knock at your door. Who could it be at this hour...?
Predictably, people wanted to see more of Bertrand.
Don't barge in like that.
Aw, come on, don't be like that. I just wanted to talk to you about something. Alright then...
Ugh, I'm getting all anxious now that it's come to it. But there's something I need to tell you. Hear an old man out... I want to tell you why I ran from the ritual a hundred years back.
I don't really want to hear it.
Aw, come on. I really need to get this out in the open.
I already told you that I'm from a noble family, right? We were well-known in Caledonia, and I lived a life of luxury... but I lost my mother when I was young. To distract myself from feeling lonely, I concentrated on my training. Then one day I got a new mother and sister.
My father was happy, so I was happy. But it was still kind of awkward talking with my new family... I spent as much time as I could away from home, training even harder to become a knight.
Then one day... My father up and died.
I never found out the details, but... it was when the seven knighted families all met to select a Fafnir Knight... That's when they told me he died. After that, for some reason, it was decided that the knight escort for Princess Violetta would be from the Gervaise family.
Under normal circumstances, every family takes their turn selecting a Fafnir. I heard it was actually another family's turn then. But at that get-together, they claimed that the brave heir of the Gervaise family would be best suited to the mission.
I almost gave them a piece of my mind... But then I thought it over some, and decided to go along with it.
One of the reasons why was they promised me the Gervaise family would get a huge reward for my service. I thought that would be the only way my mother and sister would be able to live comfortably with my father dead.
Another reason was... for the princess. I... I didn't mind giving up my life if it meant protecting Violetta.
Then what happened?
I went with Violetta and helped her past a lot of obstacles. After that, we went into Ginnungagap. But then I got a message from my people.
A man who worked as one of the servants for our house came to tell me my mother had died, and my sister had fallen ill.
I was... shocked, to put it lightly. I wanted to give my mother a funeral and be with my sister, who was alone now. I told Violetta everything, and she said I should go. She promised she'd wait for me until I came back...
But... when I got home, they thought I'd abandoned my duty as the Fafnir Knight. I had to flee the country with my sister. After I made sure she was safe, I went back to High Lagaard. But when I got there, Violetta had disappeared...
...It's pathetic, really.
I couldn't finish my mission, I ruined my family name, and now all I do now is stay alive, because I can't die...
That's why I was determined to sacrifice myself in the next ritual, a hundred years on. Until all this happened.
I don't think that way anymore, though. That's all thanks to you, Knight. If we can do something about the Calamity... Maybe then I can find some worth in my life.
Heh, I guess it's not like me to be saying all this.
Welp, there's new adventures in the morning. I think I'll head back to my room and get some shuteye.
Alone again in your room, you have only the silence for company. You think about all that Bertrand told you of his past, and then try to get some rest in preparation for tomorrow.
Okay, now that we've reached a new floor, there's quests to be done. And there's a few things I'm going to show off with these that weren't shown off in Ragnar's playthrough.
First up, Law and Order. It's the last quest in the thief questline, and getting the flute changes things up a bit.
Hey, I've been waitin' fer yeh! Finally got a lead on that thieving bastard from the cave. That fraud pretended to be a foreign adventurer and acted just like one of the guys 'round here. Yeh remember? So I had someone look into it, and the scumbag's wanted in four different countries. He's no small-time crook... But listen here. That outlaw's been sighted skulkin' around on the 1st floor, and he's keepin' his head down. Don't know what he's up to, but now's yer chance. He should still be on the 1st floor... It's payback time. And... here. Yer flute. If that bastard's controllin' monsters again, give this a toot. That should calm the beasties.
The Palace said that it might not calm down all the monsters, but it oughta at least make life easier if things go south. Alright, g'luck!
However, you will not be fooled again. You realize immediately that this is no ordinary guard! You ready your weapons, and the man disguised as a guard darts back to the bushes!
The man swiftly brings some kind of pipe to his mouth... It's the flute that controls the monsters! The sharp trilling echoes through the Labyrinth, and it is shortly answered by the roars of monsters and quaking ground!
I'm a busy man, so make your decision. My friends and I have some business over in Lagaard, see...? Heh heh hyeh...!
You can scarcely believe your ears... The man intends to set the monsters on the city itself! Though your stomach churns at the man's plot, you remember Cass's words. Carefully, you draw out the sky-blue flute... You blow into the flute, and a gentle tone rings through the surroundings. One by one, the monsters' glares soften. Their snarling fades, and they turn docile, quietly filing out of the clearing.
Damn it... worthless trash! Whatever. The ones that left were too weak, anyway. You want more? I'll give you more!
You adjust your grips on your weapons, and head for the outlaw near the exit upstairs - fighting the monsters on the way.
Getting the Tranquil Flute just gets rid of those two ants you saw, letting you go straight to the stairs.
Tch, persistent bastards... Alright. Fine. You really have a deathwish...? Then I'll grant it!
The thief whips the flute to his mouth, and plays a keening, discordant melody that pains your ears to hear...
No worries, we have our own flute.
It seems the monster may see you as mere food... it stares with bloodshot eyes, and lets out a gurgle of anticipation. You hastily try your flute, but the feral creature doesn't even register it. It seems you have no choice but to fight... To protect the peace of Lagaard, you must destroy this monster!
And that's all the differences between getting the flute and not getting the flute. The party doesn't even attempt to use the flute against the mantis, since it didn't work on the scorpion.
Next up, a Clever Ruse. There's actually new dialogue for this on in Story mode.
Oh hey a treasure chest! Don't mind if I do!
So it disguises itself as a treasure box, then goes for anyone who tries to open it. Crafty little bastard.
It would certainly have the advantage in a contest of hide-and-seek!
I'm good at that. Hide-and-seek.
I prefer tag.
Ah, I see... Which game do you prefer, Sir Flavio?
Huh? Oh, I always kinda liked shooting galleries...
I-I mean, now's not the time for that stuff! The thing's coming for us, so get ready!
Tch, what a pain... guess I don't really have a choice.
After the battle...
You sheathe your weapons. The monster disguised as a treasure chest has been slain.
Should we be more like monsters?
Uh... what do you mean? How exactly would we do that?
Well, a monster's weapons are its fangs and claws... Perhaps we could somehow grow our nails out, and sharpen our teeth!
No, we'd be more like weird-looking humans. Though I guess we might use them if we, uh, ran on all fours like monsters...?
Anyway. That thing attacked the explorer?
Don't know if the one we fought was thesame monster, but yeah, that's probably it.
Then, we can report that we've discovered the truth of the matter!
As Arianna said, the mystery behind the requester's encounter has been resolved! Having uncovered the truth, you may now choose to go back to the bar to report, or continue to explore.
I should note that the request was merely to discover what attacked the requester. Defeating the FOE is completely optional, and escaping from the battle will count as completing the task. There's no extra reward for killing it.
Next: An outing in the forest. If you collect from an item point with Quona in tow, this happens.
Do you want to try?
At your suggestion, her face lights up. She eagerly takes the gathering tools from your hands. The girl readies the hatchet, and with a careful swing, she manages to chop off one branch. This is a Ice Branch that you can chop in the frozen forest!
I-I did it...! I got one!
That's a pretty branch.
Yeah, it's really pretty. And it's all clear! I can see through it! I want to show it to mommy when I get back...
She stares at it happily, delighted with her souvenir. The sight of her so happy puts a smile on your face as well. You return to your exploration.
You can only do this once, but if you gather from an item point, Quona will get the rare item from that gathering point for you. You can't do this with any of the other item points once you've seen Quona get one. But that's all I wanted to show off for now. Let's get back to the Labyrinth.
Nothing grows in the cavity, and it is filled with sand. Scattered on top are a few withered plants and flowers.
Did there used to be water here once?
Maybe. Or maybe not.
Doesn't matter much to us, does it? I don't see anything useful here, so let's just move on.
You see no purpose in remaining here either, and so return to your journey.
You look and see for yourself... Near the roots of a tree, the soil has been unnaturally tampered with. It almost looks as though something may have been buried there.
Oh! I have heard that one may find something buried beneath trees with beautiful flowers!
Though... I cannot recall what that may be.
Huh... So, should we try digging it up?
Unlike in EO2 where there was no benefit to doing this, you actually want to dig up this place.
You crouch at the tree's roots, intent on digging up whatever valuables may sleep beneath the soil...
Wait a sec. Before you get started... we've got trouble.
You turn around to see what Bertrand is cautioning you against--it is a mighty swarm of bees pouring into the area!
Wh-When did they get here!? Wait... are we surrounded!?
Not a good time to dig.
Countless bees slowly close in on you... You see no chance of escape now. Draw your weapons and fight them!
A fight with some Waspiors ensue. After the battle...
Uh, sorry to say... I don't think it's close to being over yet.
Flavio is correct, for an even greater swarm of bees than what you just defeated is waiting to strike at you!
Please, no more!
Complain all you want, but it won't do any good! They're already here!
Give it up, Knight.
You rue your decision now to dig at the tree's roots... The result is that you must take your weapons in hand and fight to survive this predicament!
Yet another swarm of Waspiors attack our party. After that fight...
You finally defeat the swarm of bees... Only to be met with another, even larger wave after them! Fortunately, these do seem to be the last of the marauding bees...
Looks like they're out of reinforcements. We just gotta get through these and we'll be home free!
Then we can get back to digging!
Wha--You still hadn't given up on that!?
Hey, we've gone to this much trouble for it. It'd be a waste to abandon it now!
E-Er, pardon my interruption, but--
You feel a surge of momentum with the end in sight, as you raise your weapons against the final wave of monsters!
One Link Order II later...
I don't detect any more of them, no. Hm... that was quite an ordeal merely to dig up some earth.
With the long, arduous battle behind you, you take a deep sigh, relishing your freedom from the bees.
Well, now that there's nothing in the way anymore, let's dig!
You keep one eye on your surroundings as you begin digging near the roots of the tree. After a while, your hands brush against something hard, and you cautiously wipe away the dirt around it. What you unearth there is a number of small, white shards, and an old, leather-bound book. The white shards are too old to be of any use to you, but the book is still legible...
What could this book be...?
Probably a cookbook. It says Apicius on it.
In the original, you got absolutely nothing because your party gave up on digging to flee from a swarm of scorpions.
Ooh, we should take it to Regina!
But man... the guy went to some lengths to keep this a secret. I'm surprised anyone ever found this.
Why would he bury it here, of all places?
Maybe we'll find out if we dig more.
You're right. We might find something more...
Maybe we'll find what the shards belonged to. They seemed to be part of something.
As you discuss theories and whether or not to dig deeper, Bertrand, who had been gazing at the white shards, speaks up.
I think we should lay off. Just leave it be.
Leave it be?
Uhh, well, you know. If we stay here too long, more bees might show up.
W-We'd best avoid that, I think...
Yeah, let's go ahead and leave. It's... not good to make a big commotion around places like this.
Bertrand coaxes you to fill the hole in the earth before returning to your exploration.
So the thing Arianna was talking about with stuff being buried under cherry trees? (And by extension, the story the Classic party vaguely remembers about that) That was a reference to a Japanese story Under the Cherry Trees where dead bodies were stated to be buried under cherry trees. Yeah, those white shards? In case you somehow haven't understood the implications at this point, we were digging up Apicius' grave (The implications about being grave robbers are still in Classic, but the bone shards aren't mentioned at all.) In fact in the original game, the scorpions that swarm you here are much stronger than the bees, and were meant as a punishment for trying to be grave robbers, and unprepared parties would easily get a game over. Of course that was a bit of a problem for people who weren't even aware of that story in the first place.
It appears to be the mysterious moving plant monster.
This thing again? Shouldn't we attack it before it jumps on us this time?
No, let's just wait.
Yes. It looks so peaceful as it is now.
Then let's get going. If we're going to leave it alone, then staying is just asking for trouble.
At your first step after Bertrand's words, the plant monster begins immediately to shake uncontrollably!
Wh--What!? No way!
You prepare to stand your ground against the monster, moments before it flies at you!
Same enemy as the other 2 plants.
Hmhmhm... Dame Chloe, you look quite happy.
You can follow the elated Chloe's suggestion and return to town, or you can continue your exploration.
And that's all for now. Next time, we'll explore more of the 4th Stratum.