Part 65: Quests. Yep.Update 54: Quests. Yep.
Well, we've saved both the Duke and the world. Now what?
In addition to finding the Foul Grail, I've heard rumors of another stratum, above the castle.
Why not take care of both at the same time? The Foul Grail's gotta be close to the Overlord's room.
SYSTEM: There, a mysterious voice rings in your ears, as if entering your mind directly... The voice acknowledges your presence in the room. You hear the sound of clanging metal... The Strange Shard received from the Minister has disappeared from your hand! At the same time, a silver object hangs in the air, defying the laws of gravity. It is a grail, crafted from black silver and emitting an ominous light...
Something tells me that's the Foul Grail.
SYSTEM: Carved into its surface are faces contorted in pain, their eyes laid with jewels.
Yep, definitely the Foul Grail.
SYSTEM: Captivated by its radiance, you quickly snatch the grail and stow it in your bag.
SYSTEM: This completes your quest. All that remains is to go back to the bar and report to Cass of what happened.
Now that that's taken care of, how about we go poke around the Overlord's room?
My word, the rumors were correct!
Where can we even go from a castle in the sky, though?
Welcome to... Heaven? The Garden of Eden? I'm not really sure.
...I dunno what I was expecting, but I'm sure it wasn't this nice.
I feel like I could just lie down here and sleep forever!
I wonder where we are... Giant floating islands, perhaps?
I'm not moving from this spot.
If we walk too far, the islands will fall.
We have no time for this. Ursa, carry Ranger from here on out.
How about we get this weird murder cup out of our bag before we go further?
Hey there! Welcome back! Don't worry. I won't ask what yeh were up to out there. I was just afraid yeh might die in a quest they left yeh totally in the dark about. But here yeh lot are, back in one piece! Haw! Hm...? Is that a grail? Sorry, but I wouldn't even know where to start on somethin' like that. I don't want to get mixed up in confidential business without the Grand Duchy's permission. But I'll contact them for yeh. Until then, don't let that thing out of yer sight. Here's yer reward. Thanks!
Aw, come on, having this thing in our pack's making me nervous.
Oh, hey, new DLC quests.
NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE
Okay, nope, sorry, we're taking this one first.
Oh, that quest. Well, uh, yeh see...
Hey, stop laughin'! This is serious! So it looks like...somewhere on the first stratum...there's a talkin' chicken on a rampage.
Mmpf...pfheh...haw haw haw haw haw! Gah! A talkin' bird? That's the silliest damn thing that's come through here so far! Uh... Ahem. Guess I couldn't keep a straight face. But it's ridiculous! A talkin' chicken, I swear... Haw! Well, whatever it is, it's on a rampage, is the thing. Lots of folks have already gotten hurt from it. Sounds like it's around the center room in the 3rd floor. Seems to be fond of one-on-one combat, askin' folks to come alone. I dunno how true all of it is... but I'll leave it to yeh to investigate it. Personally? It sounds like a dumb joke to me.
It sounds like a dumb joke to all of us!
Still, g'luck, and be careful! Haw haw haw!
This is too weird to not investigate immediately.
Right after some bar patrons.
Hi again, Marmott.
Oh, welcome, Lumen. How've you been? ...Well, I guess you're always in top form. You're pretty famous. We're just the same as always, here. Tramonte's still hunting monsters for Lilly's sake every day... I was gonna stop her, but that Lilly fanatic gets so determined about this stuff. It's actually kinda...weirdly inspiring.
I'd call it "cute," but that works too.
Check it out. This is what she got today. A Petrified Scale. She had to find a Mokele-mbembe, petrify it, then defeat it...rinse and repeat. She's trying so hard for Lilly... I mean, she's supposed to be a gourmet, but what kind of friggin' gourmet eats scales?
I just don't get it...
I do! ...The eating, that is.
I mean, adorable or not... Why's she trying so hard to please a damn bear...?
All this time, I thought Tramonte was trying to make her girlfriend happy. Instead... She's just giving food to a voracious bear.
I wish a certain someone would give me rare materials for dinner...
Man with a smarmy smile:
There's even more...past the flying castle...? That's some exciting stuff! I mean, even though I'm not some big famous hero, it kinda makes me want to go in myself! ...I mean, I'm not actually going in. Can you imagine? They'd beat the crap out of me. But still!
Zachary, what are you doing? What is with that irritating smile?
Oh, hey, everyone. Just practicing laying low in case we end up getting creepy stalkers.
Uh, any particular reason you're doing that?
When you work as a princess's bodyguard, you end up meeting some weird, unhinged people.
Oh, Lumen... You guys are...really amazing. I thought finding the flying castle was the point of the Yggdrasil exploration, but I guess that wasn't all, huh! If I keep searching... I'll find amazing places that even you guys haven't found yet. Right!?
By virtue of how large the world is, surely.
Heh heh heh. I won't lose to you! Everyone's gonna know me as the adventurer as good as--no, better than Lumen!
The chicken is in the giant room where the dinosaurs were.
...Oh my gods, Cass wasn't joking.
SYSTEM: Do you remember the quest involving a talking bird rampaging in the Labyrinth? This must be the bird in question. However, it doesn't seem to be much of a rampage. The bird shows no signs of moving, nor does it seem hostile. Staying on guard, you decide to carefully approach the bird monster.
Cass said the chicken talks, right? He doesn't seem evil. Why don't we talk to him?
I can quite safely say that going from destroying the Calamity to talking to giant chickens is incredibly jarring.
SYSTEM: It then slowly opens its great beak...
Good morrow, ladies and gentlemen! It is a pleasure indeed to make your acquaintance.
Um, uh... H-hi?
SYSTEM: To your surprise, the crested bird speaks in human tongue!
Not only does the giant chicken talk, he has voice acting. I don't know who his English voice actor is, but I distinctly remember people talking about his Japanese VA being a really prolific anime and game VA, or something along those lines.
You'll see his voice when I get around to fighting him on video.
So... Who are you?
Who am I, hm...?
SYSTEM: At your question, the bird looks wistfully off into the distance.
That is truly a difficult question, for even I do not have the answer. This is because... I am a bird with no past. I know not from whence I came. I know that this is the Yggdrasil Labyrinth, yes, and that I can understand the language of you humans... Yet... since when have I lived in this forest? Was I a mere chick? Were my parents also chickens? How did I learn this tongue? ...I have no answers to these mysteries.
Honestly, those questions aren't even in the top 10 of weird things we've seen here.
However, there is one thing I do know. My heart's truest desire...is battle! The thought makes my blood boil, my body tense, and my feathers quiver! What I truly yearn for...is a clash of life and death! I've fought countless Labyrinth monsters to the death, but none of them were enough to satisfy my need for a true opponent! And then, as I despaired for lack of a true test of skill and power...you explorers appeared before me!
Ah, explorers! Truly paragons of your kind! Some fight alone as individuals, and others fight as a horde to aid each other! Such tactical might, such spectacular skills, such raw power! Ah, it makes the flames in my heart blaze anew!
SYSTEM: The crested bird then turns its gaze to one of you as it opens its beak again.
Does the chicken want to make chicken out of me?
Now then, adventurers. If you have come to defeat me, then I bid you welcome! Allow me to speak plainly and honestly. My dearest wish is for a heated one-on-one battle--a true clash of soul against soul! However, if that is unreasonable, I would also accept a sufficiently determined duo! In other words, two-on-one would be fine. Then again, what are adventurers if not allies? If your entire party wishes to join against me in combat, I shall not object! Adventurers... if you are ready, then let us do battle at once!
This isn't just grandstanding, as the bolding may indicate. In addition to a standard item drop, Master Bird also gives us an accessory every time we defeat him, and the accessory gets better and better depending on how big your party is. You get the lowest level for a 3 to 5 man party, the middle for a 2 man party, and the best for a "1v1 me mid."
Fighting Master Bird one-on-one at this point is absolute suicide, barring maybe taking Nadia along and hoping she gets very lucky with a bunch of RNG. Two-on-one would possibly be doable with maybe Nadia and Colette. It's definitely possible with Freyja and Sophie plus Stigmata, but I'm not doing that again. A five-on-one is perfectly doable, but I didn't have my normal audio-recording setup during this, so I opted to back off for now.
Let's do some cursory examination of the 6th Stratum.
Can't say I've ever seen the ground shimmer before.
Approach it with caution.
SYSTEM: However, it does not seem to trigger any reaction. You walk away, feeling slightly disappointed.
Fun fact: in the dun_26f text archive internally, this is the only entry.
A wide, empty corridor. I've got a bad feeling about this.
Asterii have invisible spawn points, and will spawn when you walk on the same horizontal or vertical axis as the spawn. If there are multiple Asterios spawns in the same room, triggering one will trigger all of them.
I have the oddest feeling that we're not finished with the floor.
Walking on this spot triggers this event immediately.
SYSTEM: You feel as though you are being watched by someone... A sword is on the far side of the room. Its blade pierces the ground, and a strange magical circle has been formed around it... However, your fear of the unseen presence is so strong that you can't get near the sword. It seems as though there are steps you must take before claiming the sword. You decide to walk away for now and rethink your strategy.
Hrr... Hrr... Hrr...
Ursa looks like she's getting exhausted from carrying Ranger...
I'm not taking one step.
Perhaps it would be wise to just go back to town for now...
"Milady..." Hm, perhaps Wilhelm posted this?
What's this about an "ultimate gun?!"
Haw haw haw! Every explorer in High Lagaard comes runnin' at the phrase ultimate"! Remember when yeh granted that old geezer his request to find the lady from his guild? He said he'd show yeh where to find the ultimate gun, as a way of showin' his thanks. The old man said that the gun lies behind the closed doors of the first stratum... He also said that Guild Esbat will be waitin' for Lumen there. He hasn't given me any more details, so good luck findin' it!
Imminent destruction is next. Like The other grail, if you want to go any further into the 6th Stratum than we did just now, this quest is very important.
Oh, taking that quest, are yeh? I've been havin' trouble tryin' to find the right person to take it. Found a letter when I came in one day. No idea who stuck it in here. It was just a little note, sayin' I'll be waiting at the Sanctuary of Wings on the 20th floor."
The Winged Ones came down here to post a request? How odd.
It came with a set of directions, but the whole thing doesn't smell right. Nobody wants to take it. Here, this is the map with the destination marked on it. Go on, take it with yeh.
Lastly, Old scars, flaring anew:
Gonna take that quest? It's from the Grand Duchy's investigation branch... Could be some cash in it! There've been reports that the south part of the 9th floor was boilin' hot the other day. A scholar looked into it, and declared it...eh, what's the word? Risin'...geotherms...?
Rising underground temperatures? Also very odd.
Where there's an effect, there's gotta be a cause. So that's where this quest started. A few guilds already took it, but none of them have brought back any proof. Not one! Ah, but someone said the Guildmaster at the Explorers Guild might know somethin'... Well, she didn't say anything in the end though! She's such an old prune. So picky about who she shares her info with... Hmm? Don't yeh think she'll let yeh in on some secrets if yeh kids went to go ask her?
Maybe? She seems to trust us fine, I guess.
Awright! Yeh lot head on over there and get a lead on this! G'luck!
We heard something about the 2nd Stratum getting really hot.
Cass said some scholars said it's because of rising geotherms.
Geothermal activities on the south of the 9th floor? ...Who told you that?
A quest posted at the bar.
I see... Even you decided to accept that quest... Even if I keep silent, I expect you'll probably just go off on your own and find it...
It's a long story, but I'll try to keep it short. It was years back. There was an instance when similar geothermal activity was found at the same place on the 9th floor. A few guilds back then also did some investigating, but none of them could arrive at the origin of the abnormality. In the end, one particular guild decided to investigate and resolve the issue. And the investigation team was...my allies and myself. At the time, we were known as the strongest guild in the Duchy.
Ooh, you used to be in a guild?!
What, you're surprised? Well, I guess I don't really work with other people, even inside town. If I do, it's usually with the guard corps to go rescue novices from the Forest. ...Tch. I went off track. We continued our investigation and came to a conclusion that the cause must lie in the hidden woods on the 9th floor. And when we reached the deepest chambers of the 9th floor... That was where the journey became a nightmare... In an instant, a sudden gulf of hot wind roared over us, and in an instant, one of our number was dead. The rest of us fought the demon, with its enormous red wings and sharp black spines... One after another, we fell. Its tail claimed one, its claws another, its breath most of all. Victory was impossible. Our weapons were useless, and it was impervious to our spells. I was the only survivor. I still bear the scars on half my body, and one on my face...
It's a monster in the truest sense. I don't think even you could hope to match it. Perhaps it would be foolish for any human to try to win against that thing.
I wouldn't be so sure of that!
We won't know unless we try. Five of us already killed the Overlord, and we just saved the world from the Calamity yesterday!
...Hand me your map. Go to the place I just marked. It's on the Second Stratum, 10th floor.
Go through the door, and go as deep into the forest as you can. That's your destination.
Our guild already did that quite some time ago.
One last thing. Running away is not shameful. Keep that in mind during your investigation. ...I have nothing more to say.
Our actual destination is the giant empty room at the end of the secret area.
Anyhow, let's take care of Imminent destruction.
But I'm afraid you have caught us at an inopportune time. We are..somewhat shaken at the moment, but pay it no mind. Klanvaline is running amok, and has damaged the vault holding our most sacred treasures. It is a grave matter... Over half the treasures cannot be recovered. But for what reason have you come? We are always willing to help those we consider family.
That treasure stuff sounds bad, but... What the heck is a Klanvaline?
A golden reptile that has lived here for aeons. It soars across the skies and wields lightning. It is sometimes known as the Dragon Who Walks With Thunder.
Oh, that thing I asked Jackie to make a plush toy of.
That's gonna take a while, by the way.
We have never beheld it with our own eyes before... We could not have guessed at its size.
It wasn't big enough. I still wanted to eat more of it before it flew away...
What? You have met Klanvaline? What a fate the Star is bestowing upon you... You meet often with our legendary ones.
In any case, we were given a quest pertaining to your problems.
A...quest"? A word of the earthbound ones... If I recall correctly, that is when one asks another to work on their behalf. In which case, our request that you defeat the Queen of the Heavens must also be considered as a quest. Still... leaving our fate for another to resolve... But you said that one of us has asked you on this...quest", did you not? In that case, I would see your proof. Are you certain that this quest has come from us?
One sec, the letter Cass gave us is in the pack somewhere... Here you go.
This penmanship... It was written by a child of the village. They must have sent it to you, worrying of our predicament... ...I understand now. Your visit during our time of distress must also be a part of fate. As I have mentioned earlier, due to Klanvaline's rampage, our vault is damaged and will soon fall. Before such a tragedy happens, we wish to rescue as much of our valuables as possible, but we lack the numbers. It is against our code to pass our valuables on to the earthbound ones...but please lend us your aid.
Your cooperation was instrumental in our quest for the Grail. Simply tell us where to go.
The vault is located to the west of the 23rd floor. Bring the treasure from the vault to this location. Time is limited, as the vault is nearly destroyed already. Please take appropriate caution, Lumen.
SYSTEM: You find a number of winged ones trying to move something. You remember being asked to help with the relocation of the treasure. You approach one of the winged ones...
Chief Canaan sent us to help with your treasures.
SYSTEM: You tell him that you have spoken with his leader, and that you are to assist in the evacuation. At your words, the winged one smiles.
Ah, that would be a great help. Please, come this way.
SYSTEM: He leads you to what appears to be a destroyed wall. Inside, you see all manner of shining objects and artifacts, old documents, and scrolls.
I am sorry to ask, but we must first move all this out of the wall into a safe area.
SYSTEM: Following his direction, you hurry to move all the treasure to safety before the vault collapses.
Thank you, earthbound ones... Because of your efforts, we managed to recover everything before the vault crumbled. Now, we need only return these to the village. Can I ask you to--
SYSTEM: The winged one is interrupted by the roaring of monsters... From the sound, they may be just outside the room!
Oh crap, we put a bunch of stuff near the door!
SYSTEM: A great deal of treasure is resting just outside the room, where you had set it down during your work! With no time to think, you dash out of the room to confront the threat!
SYSTEM: The lizards are trying to eat the gems! At this rate, the winged ones' treasure will be seized by the monsters. You ready your weapons and charge at the lizards!
SYSTEM: The winged ones immediately hurry to assess the state of their treasures...but aside from some extra grime, all seems well.
This must be the will of the Star, for earthbound ones as strong as you to come to us now. I would ask one more favor... Could you bring these documents back to the village on your own? These documents are of great importance. We would entrust them to one of great strength, to see them safely home.
SYSTEM: To finish what you started, you take the documents and head back towards the leader of the winged ones.
Couple of sacred thingamajigs, right here!
SYSTEM: You tell him of your successful evacuation of the treasure, and of the documents you have brought back to him.
Oh, these are...some of our most important texts from the vault... Lumen, you've been of great help. I must thank the children who sent for you, as well as you yourselves. I have heard that successful quests are to be rewarded. I had the children sent something to the bar--please find it there.
SYSTEM: The leader expresses his thanks in his own peculiar way, and begins looking over the documents you have recovered. This completes your quest! All that remains is to go back to the bar to collect your reward.
...Hey, there's a letter addressed to yeh. It was at the bar before I knew it...and it's got yer reward inside. So, out with it...what kinda client has handwritin' this bad!? C'mon...yeh know I'm curious! Yeh did the job--yeh gotta know who it was!
We are not at liberty to say, unfortunately. Apologies, Cass.
Argh! Wipe that bloody grin off yer faces! Fine... forget it. But if yeh want to talk about it later, I won't be listenin'! Take yer reward and get out!
Finishing Imminent destruction opened this quest up. This is the last quest we need before we can go any further into the 6th Stratum!
This quest's addressed to yeh lot. The winged ones want to meet yeh. I'm sure yeh've heard from the fella at the Grand Duchy that it seems a mite suspicious... But they did pay me the broker's fee and left a reward, so it's more or less on the up-and-up. The requester said they'd be waiting at the entrance to the castle in the sky. Is it just me, or do yeh meet the strangest people in this line of work?
Can't deny that. I don't mind, though--these weird adventures lead to neat food!
...I guess that includes me, eh? Haw haw! G'luck!
I have called you here that I might ask you a question.
SYSTEM: Canaan gazes at the sky before he speaks again.
The Star, who heard the voices of my people, supposedly exists here... Even the stars in the sky may disappear. But our guiding Star is said to never disappear, transcending time and space. If we were to borrow the words of the earthbound ones...t is a being that you might call a god.
Lumen, I wish to ask you. Our Star... Did our god live here, in this castle? Did our god exist at all?
Do we tell them the truth? I know Canaan's a calm guy, but...
Let Rheine handle it. She's good at this stuff.
Assuming the Overlord was the Star... No. He was not a god. He was a man who was born a millennium ago, and transferred his mind into a machine body, in hopes of finding the secret to eternal life.
I suspected as much...
SYSTEM: Canaan looks sadly at the clouds as he continues to speak.
Are stars, then, fated to disappear? Or is that not so? How much of our lives was predestined? For what reason do we exist?
We're the wrong people to ask, honestly.
As the chief of my people... No, as an individual, I wish to know the answers. Would you grant me a favor, that I might satiate my curiosity? The answers I seek may lie in a place called the Forbidden Wood, above this castle.
SYSTEM: Canaan looks directly into your eyes... You may cooperate with him, or refuse to go.
I cannot deny that all of us--save Ranger--are curious about that 6th Stratum... Very well. What do you need from us?
SYSTEM: Canaan smiles joyously as you nod your assent.
I heard that you carry the artifact known as the Foul Grail with you.
SYSTEM: His words remind you of the other grail you obtained, which is still in your pack.
It is no ordinary cup. It is the key to open the Forbidden Door. However, it cannot be used at present. You must first awaken its power.
SYSTEM: Seeing that you don't understand, Canaan continues to explain.
It requires a blood sacrifice in order to awaken.
It need not be your own. Slay the demon with blood fit to be offered to the Grail...that of the protector of this castle, the Juggernaut. If you offer its blood, the Grail's true power will manifest, and it shall become the key to the Forbidden Door. Thus, with the Grail in hand, you may reach the forest above. I shall entrust the Grail's awakening to you... Good luck.
SYSTEM: The chief of the winged ones spreads his wings and flies to the forest below. You may defeat the guardian now to begin the sacrifice, or return to Lagaard to prepare.
Can't be too bad.
Might as well get the conditional while I'm here.
Incidentally, Link Order has a special animation if it activates on Fire/Ice/Volt damage, like Burst Shot or Akashic Nova.
And that's all the strata boss conditionals taken care of.
SYSTEM: The liquid soaks into the cup as if the grail is drinking the blood! After the blood has fully soaked into the grail, it glows a faint, malevolent red...
Something about this feels very, very wrong.
SYSTEM: Is this what Canaan meant by the awakening of the grail? The chief's request has been fulfilled... Go to the 21st floor to deliver it to him.
SYSTEM: You give the grail to the chief. He gives it a look of approval before speaking again.
You may already know, but on the 27th floor, there is a seal created by the former Star. With this grail, that seal can be broken... Come. Let us meet there.
SYSTEM: Canaan spreads his wings, and goes aloft with the grail.
It will take time to remove the seal. Return to your town and rest before we proceed further.
SYSTEM: The quest is complete! Report your success to the bar when you return to Lagaard!
Oh, this request? Yeah, I was wonderin' what happened, since I didn't hear from the client. How'd it go?
It certainly went something, alright. That's all we can say, I think.
Yeh finished the job, right? As long as yeh lot vouch for the client, I'll trust him too. It's stressful being a manager, yeh know? Maybe yeh can give me a massage... Haw haw haw! Ahh, enough joking around... Here's yer reward! Well done, yeh lot!
Mmm, yes, pile on the Amrita IIs.
More passives, woo.
I can't think of anything else I'd really want on Rheine, so I just opt to level up Prevent Order so I can get its duration up eventually.
We'll close out on the thing made from Juggernaut's conditional.
Sky Metal Mail (Ronin ultimate armor; +92 DEF, +3 STR, +3 AGI) is made from 1 Sky Metal Tail.
Next time: ...I dunno. Depends on what happens with the vote.