Part 59: rd_heavenlykeepUpdate 48: rd_heavenlykeep
...And that's, by far, the dumbest thing I've seen in that anthology.
Soldiers falling in love with each other over the course of a few months, having children near-immediately, and then sending them to a space-time pocket that ages them up rapidly?
...That IS dumb.
I mean, I already told you about that Millenium Girl story. Are you really surprised after that?
Not entirely. It does beg the question of how people in the past predicted Etria, though.
Only two floors left before we reach the end of the main story. Let's get going.
This is a pretty big floor, so get comfortable.
HP: 960, STR: 47, TEC: 35, VIT: 37, AGI: 39, LUC: 37
- Nightmare: Uses the head. Attempts to inflict sleep and fear on one row, with a 40% base chance. Has an 80% speed modifier.
- Night Run: Uses the legs. Deals 140% melee STR-based Bash damage to one target, with splash damage. Has no speed modifier and 99 base accuracy.
- Normal: Black Hoof. 35% chance. Sells for 640 en. 4 needed to make Dark Horse Bow (+120 ATK). 6 needed to make Dark Horse Glove (+28 DEF, can be equipped by beasts). 8 needed to make All Mist (+20% party Fire/Ice/Volt resistance). 1 Black Hoof and 1 Moonstone needed to make Wild Collar (+67 DEF).
"Pitch-black hooves of a dark horse. It's easy to work with, and valued for crafting."
- Conditional: Sleeping Hoof (Kill while asleep). 100% chance. Sells for 1090 en. 1 needed to make Forest Runners (Survivalist ultimate non-body armor; +37 DEF, +20 HP, +3 AGI).
"Hoof gained by putting a Nightmare to sleep. A volatile power is sealed within."
- Ingredient: Fatty Horse. 2-5 given. 4 needed to make Steak Tartare (Western Food 5; +10 STR). 4 needed to make Horse Shabu Shabu (Japanese Food 5; disables rare breeds).
"A very fatty meat."
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An otherworldly horse that gallops wildly, rarely stopped to rest.
Nightmares can seriously mess you up if they use Nightmare. Otherwise, the primary target of Night Run will probably be left hurting quite a bit, but will probably live.
Let's see what a level 10 Chase Heal can do.
A bunch of bandages, coming right--
At least have the courtesy to let me know you can patch yourself up...
That's the Auto-Heal Legendary Grimoire effect Ursa has equipped activating--it's a 50% chance for Ursa to restore a flat 50% of her max HP, remember. Combined with Chase Heal, unless Ursa gets one-shot by something, we can say goodbye to her ever dying from here on out.
All those bandages, wasted.
Um, please don't trample on us.
I remember tasting sliced rattlesnake, long ago. Tasted like rooster.
Wouldn't eating a rattlesnake poison you?
Okay, everyone, just remember what hat guy's guild drunkenly sputtered at us.
HP: 2028, STR: 50, TEC: 37, VIT: 40, AGI: 30, LUC: 38
- Revenge Claw: Uses the arms. Deals 190% melee STR-based Cut damage to one row. Has an 80% speed modifier and 110 base accuracy.
- Normal: Meteor Fragment. 65% chance. Sells for 1190 en. 3 needed to make Spangenhelm (+33 DEF, +10 TP, can be equipped by Beasts). 5 needed to make Meteor Nail (+150 ATK). 10 needed to make Brawn Ring (+7 STR). 1 Meteor Fragment and 2 Tourmalines needed to make Poleaxe (+154 ATK).
"Part of a Huge Statue, it can't be pierced by a blade. Skill is needed to craft with it."
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A colossus with a strong shell for protection and claws which never go dull.
Huge Statues have slightly special AI. They won't do anything when they're at full HP. Once they take even 1 point of damage, however, they will start spamming Revenge Claw, which can very easily just kill our entire front row in one go. They thankfully have no resistance to arm binds, meaning as long as you have a Dark Hunter or Hexer, you can (usually) deal with these things handily.
I hate Swallow Strike sometimes.
And using Volt Formula, evidently, isn't worth it.
Alright, there, I'm being proactive this time.
I had Realga use Overheal on the last turn, since she wasn't going to do anything else.
That's more like it.
Perfect timing, too.
It's more efficient for Asriel to just use Flame Grater on Huge Statues instead of Swallow Strike, since that doesn't incur the 50% damage penalty due to the Huge Statue's resistances.
Huge Statues are manageable on their own, but can become real pains when combined with other monsters.
Someone mind telling me why we're taking bits of the floor?
It looks like an ingredient.
Alright then, new question: in what way does the floor look like an ingredient?
What kind of person designs an automaton with only one arm?
HP: 942, STR: 45, TEC: 45, VIT: 36, AGI: 42, LUC: 33
- Silver Bullet: Uses the arms. Deals 90% ranged TEC-based Fire damage to 3 random targets. Can hit the same target only once. Has a 60% speed modifier and 99 base accuracy.
- Normal: Gold Shell. 40% chance. Sells for 632 en. 1 needed to make Sagacity Earring (+5 TEC). 4 needed to make Winged Spear (+144 ATK). 6 needed to make Composite Armor (+70 DEF). 10 needed to make Onimaru (+164 ATK). 8 Gold Shells and 2 Black Gelatins needed to make Kaiser Shield (+46 DEF).
"Piece of armor for a mechanical gunman. It seems manmade, but its origin is unknown."
- Ingredient: Empty Chassis. 1 given. 1 needed to make Tortoise Takikomi Gohan (Japanese Food 5; 80% of adding 7 levels to newly-generated Grimoires).
"Silver shell of a gunman."
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A humaniform machine with a particularly deadly firearm.
Silver Gunmen are annoying if you have no way to deal with Silver Bullet, but otherwise there's not much else to them.
200% resistance to arm binds means that it's incredibly easy to stop Silver Gunmen from doing anything.
Seems like that whip's jammed up whatever makes that gun work.
No trouble, really.
Asriel's skill point goes into Peerless Stance.
SYSTEM: You draw closer to find large, rainbow-colored fruits beyond anything you've seen before growing on them. Though their color is strange to you, they may be safe to eat...
If that strange food from the machine was safe to eat, these are probably safe.
SYSTEM: The fruit feels so light as you pick it that you wonder if there is anything inside. You take a wary bite... The fruit's texture is soft, like cotton, but juice erupts from it with each chew until it fills your mouth! The strangely enjoyable texture and perfect, sweet-sour taste enthralls you as you devour the entire fruit!
SYSTEM: You glance around and notice that some of the fruits are not yet ripe. By the time tomorrow comes, the fruits will surely be edible... You are already looking forward to eating more of the fruit as you return to your investigation, feeling greatly satisfied.
This encounter looks incredibly mean, but as long as you just have your damage dealers only go for the Forest Bat, the Huge Statue won't touch you.
SYSTEM: It seems to have been neglected for years, but it somehow manages to catch your interest.
Tyler said pushing these buttons makes a voice play...
SYSTEM: Though pressing it seems to accomplish nothing, before long a disembodied voice sounds.
Succeeded...machine...body... But why...? ...Leave...earth... You...leave...behind... Your...research...gene will...people...forever... Ark plan...failed... No, I...continue...even alone...
SYSTEM: The mysterious voice abruptly ends there. You cock your head, marveling at the strange phenomenon, before returning to your quest.
Sounds like there was drama on the ark that we didn't know about.
Shame we can't find any records beyond these buttons.
Freyja got a level up from a random encounter. I opted to have her start investing in Curb ATK Up instead of HP Up, since Ursa being on the team means she shouldn't be taking too many hits.
Another boring encounter gave Ursa a level up, which I use to give her slightly more HP.
After seeing that empty space in the map, I did some backtracking to get the secret area. Soma Primes are pretty useful, I guess.
I went back to town at this point because I'd already blown most everyone's Force Breaks dealing with irritating encounters.
Here's some food, too.
Beggar's Fowl gives the party +80% resistance to fear. There's one part of the Overlord fight that this can help greatly with.
Horse Shabu Shabu disables rare breed encounters. I can't think of any situation where you'd really want that.
Steak Tartare increases the party's STR by 10. This massively boosts most physical damage dealers', well, damage.
Stone Galette increases the party's TEC by 10. Alchemists obviously benefit from this quite a lot, but aside from that, it's not as universally good as the Steak Tartare. Sovereigns benefit from it for Link Order damage, I suppose.
I eat the Stone Galette because Stardust is my primary encounter clearer, and +10 TEC means she's even better at that job.
And new campaigns before I go.
And here's some random bits of equipment I unlocked.
Poleaxe (+154 ATK) is unlocked by selling 1 Meteor Fragment and 2 Tourmalines.
Wild Collar (+67 DEF) is unlocked by selling 1 Black Hoof and 1 Moonstone.
Spangenhelm (+33 DEF, +10 TP, can be equipped by Beasts) is unlocked by selling 3 Meteor Fragments.
Black Chausses (+21 DEF, +10 HP) is unlocked by selling 4 Coal Bones.
...Why are we fighting this thing?
I cannot let a machine surpass my skill with a blade!
Do we ever have a sensible reason for anything?
Sky Metal Knight
HP: 14349, STR: 61, TEC: 43, VIT: 44, AGI: 41, LUC: 35
- Slaughter Blade: Uses the arms. Deals 4-6 instances of 100% melee STR-based Cut damage to random targets. Can hit the same target multiple times. Increases the Sky Metal Knight's physical attack by 30% for 4 turns after use. Has an 80% speed modifier and 99 base accuracy.
- Normal: Wootz Shard. 100% chance. Sells for 4500 en. 1 needed to make Damascus Claw (+159 ATK, +30 TP).
"Crimson fragment of a knight's arm. Made of a now-lost metal called black steel."
- Conditional: Sky Metal Shard (Kill before turn 6). 100% chance. Sells for 16000 en. 1 needed to make Sky Metal Blade (+160 ATK, +20 TP, +2 TEC).
"Sword chip made from material called Sky Metal. It's faintly warm, as if alive."
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A mechanized soldier wielding two beam swords. Defeat it fast, before it detects your presence.
Sky Metal Knights almost necessitate a Beast, honestly. Even Front Guard won't help you if Slaughter Blade hits someone in the back row, and if that wasn't bad enough, the damage buff means even its normal attacks become lethal.
Freyja will try her best to get two binds on the Sky Metal Knight--I'll consider that acceptable for Ecstasy.
I have Ursa turn on Desperation, in case Freyja doesn't get the arm bind off.
Realga really has nothing else to do.
P-power down those swords...
Gag would've been the better choice here, honestly, since cutting the Sky Metal Knight's TEC down means that Stardust would deal more damage.
Asriel's job is just to spam Swallow Strike.
I thought for a long while that Desperation and Overheal didn't stack, but I'm about to prove myself wrong.
Forward without fear, or something.
Hot damn that's a lot of HP--2315. That's more than even Huge Statues have.
It's kind of sad, really.
Alright, two binds. I'll take it.
Honestly, I'm kind of surprised the arm bind has stuck on for this long. The Sky Metal Knight literally has not gotten a single attack in yet, because it keeps trying to use Slaughter Blade, even though its arms are bound.
Oh yeah, getting that conditional is going to be super easy.
The arm bind fell off, but does that really matter by this point?
I decided to go back to town to sell the Sky Metal Knight's drops, although I probably should've just kept the Sky Metal Shard, for reasons you'll see later.
Sky Metal Blade (+160 ATK, +20 TP, +2 TEC) is made from 1 Sky Metal Shard. The ATK bonus on its own is good, but the TEC bonus is even better for War Magi or Fafnir.
Damascus Claw (+159 ATK, +30 TP) is unlocked by selling 1 Wootz Shard.
Lovely, more bombs.
I'll get my supplies ready. Someone else take the map for a bit.
It's just another room where bombs are the only obstacle. The floor gets more involved, though, believe me.
Not yet, though.
SYSTEM: You suspect it is one of the monsters which guards this castle.
No. I'm done asking "what the hell?" It's becoming too common.
SYSTEM: In addition to the monster you see here, you sense another presence in the room!
SYSTEM: It seems this monster can call upon others of its kind for aid... You think very carefully about how to proceed through this floor in light of this new knowledge.
Oh, great, self-replicating FOEs. How about we just take the long way around?
Taking on a Silver Guardian without a very specific plan against it is a terrible idea, so I really have no other option but taking the long way around.
24F's main FOE puzzle is luring the bombs into Silver Guardians. This particular instance is amazingly easy, mostly because this is the only Silver Guardian patrolling this small area.
I mark Silver Guardian spawn points on the map with the question mark icon.
Now we have two of them to deal with--we only have to kill one, though. Killing one is enough to give us some room to get out of the patrol area.
Just lure the bomb over to the top by standing here, and then move so that the bomb won't turn again.
When you step into a Silver Guardian's patrol area, all of the Silver Guardians patrolling that specific area will aggro on you. Since there's only one here, though, we can just run to the safe area.
This next puzzle's slightly trickier, since the bomb spawner is all the way down there, meaning you have to first lure the bomb up by standing on the left, and then move so that it'll end up going to the right.
These types of puzzles can take a bit of getting used to, especially on your first go-around, but once you know how to work them, they're pretty damn easy.
This next puzzle steps up the difficulty by making you blow up two Silver Guardians before proceeding.
And we're good.
Last puzzle of the floor. There's a whopping four Silver Guardians patrolling the area here, and two bomb spawn points--the one close to us, and the one to the north alllll the way on the other side of the room. That one will blow up Silver Guardians on its own, but we have to goad the ones near us towards the Silver Guardians.
It's easier than it looks.
Where does the Overlord get all the explosive ordinance needed to make these bombs, anyway?
The last floor. (Of the main story, anyway.)
Town dialogue time.
There's hot water in the tub, so wash up. Dinner should be ready by the time you're clean. Haha, she was so excited... She said she wanted to be as much help to you as she can!
Who? Why, my daughter, of course. She won't even let me help! She said she wants to do this on her own. She's the one who heated the water, and she's cooking dinner right now. Haha, she's such a sweet girl. I tell you, she's exactly how I was when I was her age. Wouldn't you think so? Bahaha!
Yep. The 25th floor. We're getting real close to the end.
...So it is true! Congratulations! Once you finish exploring that floor, it'll all be over! Oh...um, it just occurred to me... What are you planning to do after you finish the exploration? You're not...going to leave, are you?
Depends on what my final bill is--gotta count it up before I decide.
I'd like to get right back to work. This exploration's let me make so many advancements in effect impact and convenience.
Might settle down somewhere close after everything's said and done. I've been through a lot, dunno if my head can take much more.
I'd...like to travel. Maybe see Armoroad and Tharsis...
B-But the people who find the castle are supposed to become Lagaardian nobles, right? S-So you'll stay, right? I-I mean...if you leave High Lagaard, then what will I...
Woah woah woah, Abigail, calm down. Don't start freaking out on us yet, we're still here.
Oh... I-I'm so sorry! It's not my place to say such things.
Regina started talking as soon as we entered.
...I think it's about time I had a talk with Grandpa.
You remember? I told you the reason I accepted this job was to prove to my family I can make a living as a chef?
Well, some of my relatives are getting...impatient. They're starting to pester Grandpa about me. Apparently we're all going to sit down and have a family dinner to discuss all this.
According to them, I need to show some proof that my skills as a chef will allow me to make it on my own. They'll be a tough crowd to convince... They're all high-class nobles, and they're used to rich and lavish meals. ...Do you think I'll be able to convince my family...?
No doubt in my mind that they'll be convinced.
Your cooking is sublime, Regina... I-I'm sure they'll see.
...Thanks. Heh, it's strange...with you supporting me, I feel like I can do anything.
Hah...alright. I think I'm ready now.
...I'm not doing this to rebel against my family. I cook because I want my customers to enjoy their food, and be happy. That's what's most important to me. Well, time to start thinking of what to cook! Things are going to get busy!
This also triggered new FOEbucks dialogue for the rest of the town. Let's start with Regina herself.
I've already made up my mind. I'll just do the best I can. ...Thinking back, I've never been a very versatile person. I don't have to try and pretend I'm something different. Heh. Even if I tried, I doubt it would work out that well for me.
And lastly, her normal dialogue.
I've been watching you through your whole exploration...but I've never seen you this worn out before.
Well, that last floor was exhausting.
Try to get some rest while you're here in the city, at least. Okay?
I thought I might go take a look at my competition, but I ended up sittin' down, and--hell, the food there's great! And the cook there, she's somethin' else. I thought she was some high and mighty noble, but turns out she ain't that bad. Wonder if I can get some kind of delivery service goin' from the cafe.
I...guess we can give you some kind of discount, if you really want to go forward with that.
Oho, the money girl showing mercy.
Shut it, sword man. It's in our best interests to get as much business as possible.
Haw haw haw! Guess gettin' a couple more stores in the area ain't all that bad!
Oh, it's yeh lot! Man, I was gettin' pretty bored.
Huh? No, nothing's wrong. Yeh just get these kinda slow days once in a while where nobody's around. *sigh*... I mean, I always complain about not havin' any free time... But I've finished cleaning the kitchen, the tables, I'm done with all the cookin' prep... The hell am I supposed to do now? I'm dyin' of boredom, here. Yeh folks don't have anything to do, right? Why don't yeh tell me one of yer stories.
I went back to the inn to get the FOEbucks dialogue.
How should I put it...she looked even more handsome than before! I don't mean her looks, though...more like her demeanor.
She's certainly less abrasive than when we started.
If I were a little younger, I might have fallen for her myself. Bahaha!
Quona has dialogue too.
When I tell her something I know... She gets all surprised and says she had no idea... Hee hee... I like Regina...
I had a lot of stuff on my mind... I guess I must have looked a little down. She was worried about me...oh, and she said sweets are always the first step to feeling better. Hee hee! She's such a kind person... I love Regina!
My dialogue progression's certainly scattered today, isn't it?
Hmhm. It's thanks to you that my brother and I were also able to board the flying castle. Quite a strange place... Well, if I say strange... Obviously, Mr. King Gel would be the first to come to mind. Have you met him already?
Can't say we have.
He combines his powers with his allies, and at once they attack, with flashing, cracking, sizzling, crashing! An utterly horrid team. Aha, but! If you defeat all of his allies first, it's an easy matter to punish the king when he's all alone.
Couldn't you have picked a better verb than "punish?"
It was exhilarating to watch the King Gel as his allies fell one by one... For a monster with no face, he still looked terrified. It seems he gives other monsters orders. How intelligent do you suppose he is? Hm... Perhaps he knows you're coming for him. Of course, since he scared my little brother so much...naturally, I destroyed him.
Girl in a white sundress:
*sigh*... What is this strange feeling...? I've been frequenting FOEbucks only because their food is so delicious... Right. Their food is delicious...that's all. That's the only reason...it was supposed to be the only reason... FOEbucks is practically the signature store of modern Lagaard now. Customers even come from far-off lands... I'm happy that the store I like is doing well...and I'm happy that the chef is doing well... But, I wonder. When I'm watching the chef talk to the other customers with that warm, open smile... Why does...my heart ache...?
Well, I've got a pretty good idea, but it's not my place to talk about it.
They recommend dishes to me, tell me about which materials in the Labyrinth they think taste good... It makes me happy to hear how popular it's gotten. It's...something of a relief.
You've gotten pretty far into the castle... I imagine your exploration will be over, soon enough.
It looks like that so far.
...Ha. The day you first arrived in this city seems so long ago, now. When I first saw you all, you just seemed like helpless kids... And look at all of you now. There is nothing left for me to teach you. You've all grown...strong. Well, that's all I have to say for now. I hope you find fortune on your travels.
Pretty cold thing to say about your granddaughter.
Hmm? Do I sound a little too cold? Oho ho ho, I'm not just an old man that spoils his grandchild. ...I know she will be able to overcome something like this.
Ah, Guild Lumen. Were you able to find the Grail of Kings yet?
As Minister of this country, I am quite concerned for the Duke, as well as Lady Gradriel. She barely sleeps at all, yet she tends to her father and fulfills the duties of her title... At this rate, I fear she will fall ill as well. Remember, finding the grail will not only save the Duke, but indeed, save Lady Gradriel as well. I am counting on you, Guild Lumen.
The last quests of the main story.
Task for the tracker:
Ah, yeh're here! Take it, take it now, take it all! 'Specially that one! Yeh know the guildmaster, of course. Yeah, that's right... Miss Congeniality herself. Sometimes, she heads off into the Labyrinth all on her own. Since she's a guildmaster, though, she can't just sneak off to explore whenever she fancies. She helps lost explorers, finds materials for the Grand Duchy, and does a little investigation of her own when she can. It's practically a full-time job on its own! Last time, seems she saved an entire guild's bacon. They were pinned down by a huge wave of monsters, and they'd lost all hope. Each and every one of them owes their lives to that lady. If it wasn't for her, they'd be in a beastie's belly. The woman came out of the forest with four grown men carried on her back. Unbelievable, innit?
Zzz... Wh-- Oh, yeah, unbelievable.
Some guards came to help when they saw what was happening, but she had no injuries at all. She took down that whole swarm, and made sure no one, not even her, got a scratch. Makes yeh wonder who the real monster is! Haw haw! Anyways... she's always carryin' around those little trinkets and charms and whatnot. Like a brooch. Yeh use them to keep yer mantle secure. Hers is one of the fanciest ones I've seen. Sounds like it was somethin' she had in her military days... But she dropped it during the fight. She's a woman straight outta hell, that one, but...well, even she deserves cheerin' up, eh? I wasn't sure how to go about findin' a tiny little pin in the great big Labyrinth... But then it hit me--what about an animal? Get one on the scent, and yeh could track down anythin'! What do yeh say? Good idea, eh? Not that I'll be the one out there searchin'... Haw! Here, this is the scarf she always has on. Get an animal to sniff it and maybe they can find somethin' else of hers.
Cass. Why do you have this?
You didn't steal it, did you?
Wh--Idiot! I-I didn't steal it! She just forgot it last time she came here! She fought that swarm on the 16th floor, so she must'a dropped it 'round there. Try searchin' there first. And... if yeh don't have an animal in yer guild, maybe yeh can borrow one from a customer at this bar. And a little lady over there at the bar just so happens to have an animal with her. We humans think we can take on the world ourselves, but sometimes yeh just gotta rely on man's best friend, eh? G'luck!
We thankfully have a Beast on us, so we can just take Ursa to 16F and get on the quest whenever convenient.
An inquisitive child:
Ahh... If yeh do this one, I know the client's gonna be grateful. It's from a widow whose husband was a well-known explorer. He did a lot of jobs for me back in the day... Yeh know that place where they found that first Labyrinth? Etria, right? Yeah, he was there too. Made a big name for himself. He was a good fella. A real regular here, too. Told everyone his stories... yeh'd always find him at the center of a group. Seems everyone took a likin' to him. He eventually got married to the sweet young lass next door, and had a kid not long after.
A story that starts out that well can only end terribly.
Hat guy told me that he and his guild had to gather mementos for an explorer with a story like that back in Etria.
But that was a while back. The Labyrinth had just been discovered...and one day, a bunch of kids got lost in the forest. Back then, nobody really knew how dangerous the Labyrinth was...except him, of course. He ran after the kids, vanished into the Labyrinth... and came back with the crying kids on his back. But...the monsters had got him bad. There was blood everywhere... He handed the kids over to a guard, and just...fell on the spot.
Always wondered why the Duchy doesn't post guards at the forest entrance.
...His kid's 5 years old now, and nobody wants to tell him what happened. His mom told him his dad's up in the Labyrinth still. So, the lad's askin' questions now...wantin' to know if his old man made it up to the castle in the sky. 'Course, his mom told him his dad's up there explorin', and he'll send some souvenirs down for him. So... can yeh go up to the castle in the sky, and bring back some kinda souvenir for the kid?
...Of course. Did the widow ask for any particular thing?
They said anythin's fine...but...y'know. A guy like that would bring back material from a monster that ain't a pushover. I mean, it'd be great to get one of them special rarer materials, but it's up to yeh. I want yeh comin' back in one piece. Anyhow, go to the castle in the sky and bring back some kinda material from a powerful monster there. It ain't gonna be easy, but yeh're the only ones I can ask for this. G'luck!
What Cass meant by bringing back "materials from a monster that ain't a pushover" is that he wants us to bring back drops from an FOE--either a Sky Metal Knight, a Cursed Knight, or a Silver Guardian. "Special rarer materials" refers to conditional drops, which only the Sky Metal Knight and Cursed Knight have. The quest doesn't care about what specific drop you bring back, just what type it is.
We'll take care of both those quests, and 25F, next time.