Part 49: I Lust for FOE DeathUpdate 40: I Lust for FOE Death
We begin today by starting An ethical dilemma.
Yep. What's bothering you?
Um... I'm not sure if I should be coming to you for something like this... But you're climbing Yggdrasil, and you're trying so hard to find the flying castle... And you're always fighting the monsters, or other animals like them in the forest...
We've encountered all kinds of strange and borderline-nonsensical beings in the Labyrinth, yes.
I... I really can't ask you to do this... I'm really sorry for the trouble! Don't worry about that request!
Abigail, come on, what's bothering you? We'll take care of it.
Th-Thank you very much! You see, one of our adventurer customers came back and told me something... They defeated a monster in the northwest area of the 19th floor, but it seems like it had a baby... What's going to happen to the baby without its mother? I can't stop thinking about the poor thing... Since you fight monsters every day, maybe it's not the right thing to ask you for, but... Could you please do something to help the baby before something happens to it? I-I've prepared some feed that I think the monsters could eat!
I'm begging you! Please...save the poor little baby! Thank you so much!
I'd normally be hesitant to help out monsters, but it's just a baby.
Why don't we go take care of it now? I somehow doubt an infant will survive long without its parent...
You three go take care of that, I'm going to get some sleep...
SYSTEM: There is a small indentation in the floor, and you see a monstrous chick sitting inside, covered in fluff. The chick curls up without the slightest peep. It just watches you stubbornly, staring with deep, black eyes. Do you remember the quest that you
accepted from Abigail? She wanted you to find and feed the juvenile monster whose parents were slain. No threatening monsters appear to be in the vicinity... This must be the baby monster described in the request. You examine the chick anew. Upon second glance, it looks much thinner than normal, and its movement is languid and sluggish.
I'm trying my hardest to remember that it's still a monster... Nope, can't do it.
A monster that small hitting me would probably just feel like a ball of lint.
SYSTEM: When it comes down to it, though, this chick may grow up to be a monster that will fight you like all others... If you are still unfazed, you can feed this baby monster with the special feed you received from Abigail.
Alright, where'd I put that feed... There we go. Eat up.
SYSTEM: When you extend your hand with the feed, the chick shows no sign of suspicion--it just digs in, eating the offered meal. It is a monster, and will thus come into conflict with explorers. In other words, you are helping, and indeed saving an enemy. However, your graciousness in providing for even your foes in their times of need is truly noble and praiseworthy. Abigail's pure heart, moved by the idle account of a passing adventurer, is also deserving of recognition. The chick finishes its meal. It seems to have regained some of its energy. You let out a sigh, relieved that it has recovered. To your surprise, it spreads its stubby wings and takes off.
That's one strong baby.
SYSTEM: Wide-eyed, you note the near-instant convalescence. If it can fly away thusly, then you need no longer worry for it. You have completed your request! You should go back to report to Abigail and tell her what happened.
We don't actually have to talk to Abigail first, we can just turn the quest in now.
Oh, welcome back. I heard the story...some kinda monster baby, eh? Yeh lot sure about what yeh did?
Not entirely, but it was hard to refuse something that small and that helpless.
The forest is already packed fulla monsters, yeh know. If that thing grows up to be big and violent, then that'll be all thanks to yeh.
It will be but one of the many monsters that inhabit the Labyrinth.
...Heh, but that was what yeh settled on, eh? Then I s'pose that's fine as it is. I mean, yeh did a good job fulfillin' that little missy's request. Oh, almost forgot. This is yer reward. Good work! Careful yeh don't get eaten up by some monster that yeh saved in the first place! Haw haw haw haw!
Let's go tell Abigail what we did.
...U-Um, what happened to the little monster?
We gave it the feed. It actually just got up and flew away right then and there--kinda surprised me a little.
...So the baby's okay now, then! Oh, I'm so relieved... I'm glad I asked for your help! Thank you so much!
Running into all these Great Moths has given me an incentive to level up Refresh some more. Level 4 just reduces the TP cost from 4 to 2.
Ranger has all the attack skills I want from him now, so I start leveling up Force Mastery. It unlocked Vital and Mind Shut, neither of which I care about, and passively increases Ranger's Force gain by 3%.
Morale Boost now increases buffed party members' Force gain by 10% while Rheine is alive.
I remembered that I collected the previous ad campaign's earnings without setting up a new one; let's fix that.
The Gourmet King is in the Slums right now, so I just toss in the dish I have that costs the most.
There's a festival going on in Uptown, too.
Some random town development, mostly because the West Ward had only one small population group in it.
And that's the last of the campaigns for now.
And here's the stuff I got from offloading our current materials.
Scorpion Maul (+106 ATK, +3 VIT, +3 AGI) is unlocked by selling 3 Meteoric Spikes. I buy one for Realga since I prefer the VIT bonus to the raw HP the Madness Staff gives her, and it also gives a bonus to Vital Hit.
Heaven Bow (+101 ATK) is unlocked by selling 3 Arc Branches and 2 Meteoric Spikes.
Gale Whip (+112 ATK) is unlocked by selling 1 Razor Edge.
Oomiyari (+109 ATK) is unlocked by selling 5 Scent Woods and 2 Razor Edges.
Sky Dress (+39 DEF) is unlocked by selling 5 Lilac Vines.
Wind Armguard (+22 DEF, +2 AGI, can be equipped by Beasts) is unlocked by selling 3 Razor Edges. It's a small yet decent damage boost for Survivalists and Gunners.
Oh my gods, I'm never going to live this down...
The mean, sarcastic money-grubber conking out in the middle of the Labyrinth, forcing her best friend to carry her back to town and back to bed. Heheh, you'd better believe I'll never let you live that down!
That was a pretty nice spot for a nap, though.
It, ah... I suppose it was good exercise?
If you all will finish mulling on the events of the past, we have the final floor of the stratum to explore.
Or, we could go looking for Artelinde like that old gunner asked.
SYSTEM: The guard pauses, then goes on...
Saw a little girl walkin' around alone not too long ago. Hope she's all right... I called out, but she just ignored me
and kept right on marchin' past that locked door.
SYSTEM: He looks worriedly at the locked doors.
There's no tellin' what's behind 'em. We're only on the first stratum, but nobody's fully explored past them doors... Y'all make sure to take good care now if y'go lookin' for her.
SYSTEM: Having said his piece, the guard moves back toward his position. It's up to you whether to resume your journey, or to follow the guard's direction and go beyond the doors.
I'm gonna go ahead and assume that's Artelinde.
SYSTEM: It is the lady you've been seeking... Surprised to see you, she addresses your party.
SYSTEM: You falter slightly at the intensity and coldness of her stare... You pause, unsure of how to delicately answer her question...
Sir Wilhelm sent us. He's quite worried about you.
I see. I thought this might happen, but... I still need some time alone. Tell that old worrywart not to panic just yet.
You're not planning to do anything...irreversible, right? Nothing drastic?
SYSTEM: She frowns at the wording, baffled. After a moment, however, it dawns on her, and she barks out a grim laugh.
Don't worry about that. I've got no plans for anything that depressing. Heh. That old stiff must have been worried sick if he sent you after me...
Well, yeah. We wouldn't have gone searching for a murderer otherwise.
Fine. I get it. I'll go back to town to meet up with that old fogey.
SYSTEM: She glances back to the path leading further inside, and for the briefest of moments, smiles quietly to herself.
I guess...there's no point looking for...
SYSTEM: She stops, looking uncomfortable; however, when you inquire further, she just waves it off dismissively.
Farewell, Lumen. Thanks for coming all the way out here to help a couple of people like us... Good...bye. See you later!
SYSTEM: Artelinde smiles brightly, as if nothing had happened, and starts back on the path towards High Lagaard. The quest has been completed. You can choose to go back to the bar and report what happened. But, if you suspect there may be something more beyond the road she was gazing at, then you can choose to go investigate.
Like the game says, we could either go back to the Stickleback and turn the quest in early, or we could try and find what Artelinde's looking for.
I'm sure you can guess what I do from here.
There's something in the center!
SYSTEM: And indeed, you find something gleaming further within the brush!
SYSTEM: Could this be what Artelinde was searching for so ardently? As you ponder the hair ornament, monsters suddenly appear to ambush you! Noticing them at the last moment, you draw your weapons and face the beasts!
These are literally just a Crawler and Rafflesia with increased stats--even their skills are exactly the same.
SYSTEM: You look around warily, but you seem to be safe from further ambushes for now. You are still gripping the silver hair ornament tightly. As you note with relief that you didn't break or damage it, you suddenly feel some terrible threat imminent!
SYSTEM: For now, you see no enemy, but you don't doubt that whatever threatens you would eat you whole!
I-I get the feeling... We're in some deadly monster's nest...
A-all in favor of not becoming monster chow, bolt for the door!
SYSTEM: You have already completed your objective, and must now simply return the hair ornament to Artelinde! Though you don't know where she is to be found... Perhaps you should head to the bar for now.
Welcome back! Looks like yeh found her safe and sound? She's right here. Seems like there was somethin' she wanted to say to yeh lot. I'll give yeh some privacy.
I have to thank you. When I got back, the old man came right out to greet me... He keeps surprising me.
We found this thing in the big room. It kinda looks like a piece of a Byeah.
Wait...huh...? Hold on, let me take a look at that hairpin!
SYSTEM: Artelinde stole your Silver Hairpin!
It really is...! This is the hairpin my sister used to wear...
Hey... Lumen... You didn't find this for me, did you?
Finding things is what we do.
...What? That makes no sense.
Lumen... Thanks. I didn't think you'd manage to find things other people are looking for, too... This was...my sister's hairpin. Before she became the ice princess. She lost it a long time ago, back when we were first exploring around that area, and I was looking for it... Finally... it's been found... Rrrgh! I can't make any sense of this anymore... I need some rest before I try to think about this properly. Anyways, thanks.
I suppose we can.
Here, this is yer reward. Take it.
We get more Holy Gifts and EXP for finding the Silver Hairpin.
Hazy Arrow now deals 549% damage.
There, we're all rested up now. Think you can avoid falling asleep again, Realga?
If you don't shut up about that, you're gonna be real sorry.
SYSTEM: The winged one repeats his familiar request.
We have, indeed.
SYSTEM: When you produce the Ancient Periapt given to you by the Duke's daughter, he seems surprised.
By the will of the Star...! They may indeed be the ones we have waited for...!
SYSTEM: The clearly excited winged one gives you an appraising look.
It is as the pact said. Tell me, earthbound ones... What are your names?
Just call us Guild Lumen.
Lumen... I shall remember that name well. I am called Canaan. I am chief of my people, children of Father Sun and Mother Moon, the ones bound to the will of the Star. You bear both the words of the pact and the pariapt. You may cross the threshold of the sky.
Before we traverse this floor, might you avail us with some information regarding your people?
We obey our fates and live within the forest. We do not mingle with earthbound ones and live by the Star's will. Hear me, Lumen. Though you are earthbound ones, you bear the proper credentials. We are bound by our teachings to direct you to the path leading into the heavens. But think carefully... Do you truly have the resolve to throw yourself on the sky's mercy?
Would we be here in the first place if we didn't?
SYSTEM: Canaan points to the forest behind him, speaking slowly.
It is true. The path to the throne of the Star lies beyond here. But it is also a gateway to death. A winged beast perches before that sacred gate. We call it the Queen of the Skies, after our dread of the demon bird who hunts us as prey.
There's something vaguely cannibalistic about a bird person preying on other bird people.
If you would head to the castle in the heavens, you must face the Queen of the Skies...
SYSTEM: Canaan continues, as if testing your resolve.
Though I doubt that those who bear the pact would back down out of fear.
SYSTEM: With that, Canaan spreads his formidable black wings.
Farewell, Lumen. We shall meet again once you've reached the path to the heavens.
Well, at least the winged ones do not seem actively hostile.
Great, the yellow birds are back.
I-it's preparing to charge!
Yawn. Just step to the left.
Why are you intentionally getting in this thing's sights, Realga?!
Because these things are dumber than literal sacks of rocks.
Physical Guards reduce all Cut/Stab/Bash damage to the holder by 10%. They're pretty trash, yeah.
More importantly, though...
Is fighting this thing really a good idea?
We've got tons of Blast Grenades and Mr. Vaporizer over there.
How much would a bird made out of gold be worth?
That's what you can look forward to if you don't shut up about the sleeping, Nadia.
I haven't even brought it up for a few hours!
Realga's on Blast Grenade duty.
Ｉ＇ＬＬ ＭＥＬＴ ＴＨＩＳ ＧＯＬＤ ＢＩＲＤ ＤＯＷＮ ＡＮＤ ＳＥＬＬ ＩＴ！
Finally, something I can agree with.
Both Stardust and Ranger's damage is slightly hampered by the Luminous Bird having 75% resistance to all elemental damage.
There we go, much better.
A monster that can withstand bundled matches... Hm. A formidable foe!
Delayed Chase's second hit actually ends up outdamaging Fire Wave due to the fact that it's Cut+Elem composite damage.
Between the Luminous Bird being blinded and Nadia turning on Illusion Step, she has a practically guaranteed setup for Hazy Arrow...if the bird targets her.
I'm wide open. Totally not anticipating you hitting me.
Ohoho, big mistake!
Even when his damage is cut by 25%, Ranger still hurts like a truck.
Ranger's got enough TP left that I feel he can justify using Extend.
I can finally show off Hazy Arrow now.
Can't dodge me if you can't see me!
Granted, Nadia is hitting a 150% Stab resistance, but still, damn.
ＹＯＵ ＴＨＯＵＧＨＴ ＴＨＥ ＳＵＦＦＥＲＩＮＧ ＷＯＵＬＤ ＥＮＤ, ＤＩＤＮ＇ＴＣＨＡ？
Extend resets Transform's duration back to 3 turns, essentially giving you two extra turns at no extra Force cost.
A tempestuous death.
That is quite the regal-looking avian...
HP: 1729, STR: 41, TEC: 31, VIT: 32, AGI: 27, LUC: 35
- Petrifying Stare: Uses the head. Attempts to petrify one party member, with an 80% base chance. Has an 80% speed modifier.
- Normal: Ancient Beak. 70% chance. Sells for 572 en. 1 needed to make Stone Ring (Immunity to petrification). 5 needed to make Hayakaze (+122 ATK). 7 needed to make Doujigiri (+138 ATK). 7 Glinting Beaks and 2 Ancient Beaks needed to make Rostrum Shield (+40 DEF). 3 Lilac Vines and 3 Ancient Beaks needed to make War Bow (+108 ATK).
"A Cockatrice beak that can shatter even rocks. The beak is strong, though it can't petrify."
- Ingredient: Cockatrice Leg. 3-5 given. 5 needed to make Strawberry-Jam Loin Steak (Western Food 4; +10 VIT). 3 needed to make Pepper Cockatrice (Chinese Food 4; +80% Curse resistance). 4 needed to make Stone Bird Nikujaga (Japanese Food 4; doubles the chance of additional effects on Grimoires).
"Muscular meat that supports much."
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A large bird-like creature that is known to petrify its foes.
Cockatrices aren't that big a threat on their own, but can be real nuisances in fights with other monsters, since petrification is basically instant death. Carrying around some Therica Bs from here until the end of the stratum is a necessity, since while Realga can treat petrification with Refresh, we're kind of screwed if she gets petrified and I have no Therica Bs.
I always thought Stardust would have statues OF her, not MADE OF her...
You think 75% of the revival fee is fair for petrifi--
Never let your guard down...
Maybe its thigh meat is really tough.
Deuuuuugh. Reading about the feeling of being petrified in a story is one thing, living it is another...
Mind if I ask what it feels like?
It's kind of like... You can't feel your heart beating, you can't move any part of yourself at all, not even your eyes...but you're still conscious of everything going on around you.
Well, this is a pretty crappy situation. The idea behind this puzzle is you have to evade the Luminous Bird while also going down the one-tile-wide pathway such that the Enraged Raptor won't catch you.
And I've basically sandwiched myself here.
Back to town, then.
Gold Claw (+128 ATK, +3 AGI) is unlocked by selling 3 Gold Claws.
Stone Ring (Immunity to petrification) is unlocked by selling 1 Ancient Beak. Petrification shows up a grand total of maybe 3 times on normal enemies, and no bosses besides Basilisk (all the way back on Ginnungagap B1F, remember) make use of it.
I normally have a pretty large patience for FOE puzzles...
But I just opted to kill the Luminous Bird this time.
I will never say no to more Return Flutes.
Can we just kill that frog instead of playing its stupid games?
Y'know, I don't see why not.
I'm sure I can find some application of frog cheeks for effects...
HP: 10979, STR: 45, TEC: 36, VIT: 38, AGI: 34, LUC: 35
- Jump: Uses the legs. Deals 150% melee STR-based Bash damage to one target, with splash damage. Has a 70% speed modifier and 99 base accuracy.
- Normal: Frog Skin. 100% chance. Sells for 1690 en. 1 needed to make Crapaud Dress (+38 DEF, +10% Bash resistance).
"Frog's cheek skin said to stretch 10 times its size. Good for making impact-resistant armor."
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Their leap attacks tend to ward off attackers, but if not, these frogs will cry out for aid.
Great Frogs can only do two things: summon helpers on the first turn (we'll see them very soon), and Jump. After they've summoned the helpers, they will literally never do anything but Jump. Do you have Front Guard? Great, this thing's easy to deal with. If not? Your frontliners can probably survive the primary hit, but make sure you keep up on healing their HP in that case.
150% Bash resistance means that Realga gets some bonus damage on the frog.
Keep an eye on Ranger's Force gauge throughout the fight, incidentally.
Are those eyes made of stone or something?
Okay, now the frog's just trying to annoy me.
HP: 1680, STR: 31, TEC: 27, VIT: 28, AGI: 23, LUC: 33
- Hex: Uses the head. Deals 90% melee STR-based Stab damage to one target. Attempts to inflict curse on the target, with a 50% base chance. Has an 80% speed modifier and 99 base accuracy.
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Adventurers who are struck by his tongue go mad, behaving as though possessed.
The Delusion Frogs are bigger threats than the Great Frog, since there's four of them, and both the damage and curse inflictions stack up after a little bit. I made a mistake by having Stardust cast Compression, since she and Rheine could've just nuked down the Delusion Frogs in the span of 2 or so turns.
Summer Rain's actually not that optimal of a choice for dealing with the Delusion Frogs, since it's limited to 16 hits at a max of 4 per target.
I've never understood why frogs in EO always have a weakness to Bash.
There's too many of 'em!
Well, she got all of the Delusion Frogs really low, I suppose.
Please tell me that evil laughter's coming from you, Nadia.
At least neither of these two are my primary damage dealers.
I opt for the lazy man's option for purging off the curses and healing up everyone.
A quick checkup on Ranger's Force.
Stardust is still under the effects of Compression, but this should be able to finish off the Delusion Frogs.
My services include curse removal, too... I guess.
I hereby institute a new law banning curses!
5 turns, and Ranger has over half his Force back--bear in mind, he's only under the effects of a level 5 Morale Boost and level 1 Force Mastery.
I...don't die that easily...
You can't be serious.
9 turns, and Ranger now has all his Force back, after starting the fight at 0.
There's not much left of 20F after this room, so I just have Rheine use Proof of Nobility so I can get some TP back.
I can see why you were irritated upon the sight of the frogs on the last floor, Realga.
Believe me, the red frogs were infinitely worse than that.
...Oh, screw it, we can take one of these things.
HP: 9418, STR: 47, TEC: 39, VIT: 37, AGI: 35, LUC: 40
- Gale Wings: Uses the arms. Deals 110% melee STR-based Cut damage to the party. Attempts to inflict blind on hit targets, with an 80% base chance. Has a 110% speed modifier and 99 base accuracy.
- Tearing Claws: Uses the legs. Deals 250% melee STR-based Cut damage to one party member. Has an 80% speed modifier and 80 base accuracy.
- Normal: Black Feather. 100% chance. Sells for 2500 en. 1 needed to make Feather Choker (+57 DEF, +3 AGI). 1 needed to make Haste Talisman (+7 AGI).
"Slim, firm black feather. Unless treated carefully, its beauty will soon fade."
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A bird of prey that stuns its enemies with large gusts of wind before slashing at them.
I normally wouldn't risk fighting these things since Gale Wings (110% damage) plus 47 STR plus 40 LUC plus 80% blind chance = extreme pain. I'm banking on Nadia getting a paralysis off, otherwise I'm just gonna Return Flute out of here.
Ranger immediately transforms since he really needs the extra HP to not die to Gale Wings.
I really hope this works.
Welp, that was a nice life--
...Alright then. I have never seen an Enraged Raptor open with anything but Gale Wings.
This should be good.
Not so fast now, huh?
Paralysis is the superior debuff to blind right now, since it not only means the bird has a 50% chance to not act, it also means that any attacks against it don't check for accuracy at all--a really nice thing when you're potentially dealing with blind.
As for why it's superior to blind, it's because the accuracy check bypass works both ways--if I blinded the Enraged Raptor, it'd still be able to hit anyone in our party who's also blinded.
Nadia's damage almost seems piddly, in comparison.
I'm pretty sure we'll kill this thing before Transform's over.
Getting Rheine that Volt Prelude Grimoire was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I don't think electrified bird meat'll be very tasty.
Force Mastery now increases Ranger's Force gain by 5%.
And Morale Boost provides a 13% bonus of the same kind.
I normally wouldn't cut an update in the middle of the floor, but this one's getting a bit long in the tooth. Next time: we finish (most) of 20F.