Part 48: Cleanup: The Second StratumCleanup: The Second Statum
I'm gonna start this off by doing that Many happy returns quest.
It appears as though the wall might have some sort of mineral inside... You may use your tools to chip away at the wall, or ignore it and move on.
: This looks like a good spot.
As you chip at the wall, you hear a clinking sound as your tool strikes something hard. Upon carefully pulling it out, you discover that it's a large mineral deposit. You recall now the quest that you accepted in the bar... The people of Lagaard anxiously seek stones to fashion into jewels for the Duke's daughter. To your untrained eye, this could be a precious stone or simply a chunk of rock. Either way, you decide to stow it in your bag and hope for the best.
These Sharp Rocks we find could either be a gemstone, or a regular stone. The gemstones will net you more money. There's 6 gemstones and 4 regular stones. This one we found is just a regular stone. Unfortunately there's no hints for these. The only clue on where to find these, is that you have to be facing a wall to get one of these. So searching in open areas or tiles won't do you any good.
By the way, you get the exact same flavor text for every one of these spots. It's kind of annoying. This spot just yields a stone.
This one's gives us our first gemstone. Anyways, there was one FOE we couldn't kill during our time in the first Stratum. Let's go fix that.
Skills: Amputate, Scythe Dance
-Common: Scythe - 1 needed for Sensui (Katana.)
--Thin, sharp scythe of a praying mantis.
-Conditional: Harvester Kill on the first turn. Unlocks nothing.
--A sickle blade said to cut anything.
Description: A carnivorous mantis that persistently chases travelers with its giant scythe-like claws.
Weakness: Fire (125%), Volt (125%)
Resistance: Stab (75%), Ice (50%)
They're pretty tough to take down. They hit hard, and they have a lot of HP. It likes to use Amputate a lot, which is a powerful single target slashing skill. When it gets below 50% of its HP it'll start using Scythe Dance, which is a single target attack with a splashing effect. If you can arm bind it, you'll render it completely helpless.
: This time you're going down!
Another thing you can do is have a Protector Provoke its attacks. If they don't have Parry they'll probably die, but it's better than having it kill your other party members.
: I unloaded my best shots into the thing and its still standing?
Getting that conditional drop probably isn't something you can do at this point. We'll have to come back later when we're much stronger.
Or you can have your Alchemist nuke it. That works too.
: Did I hear a squeak?
: Hey! You stole my kill! I was supposed to finish it off!
: No, what I just did was save everyone from having another mind scarring experience. You can thank me later.
And I don't have to hunt any more of these down.
Here's another gemstone.
When you get too many items, the game will ask you to throw some out. Thankfully unlike the first game, key items do not actually take up inventory space. Which is good because we're gonna get a lot of those.
This one's just a stone.
We don't have to go too far for this gemstone.
: I must have stepped on something.
Snatching up more FOE drops, don't mind me.
: No need to cook them, I already did it for you.
In order to get this next gemstone, we need to kill this Razeking.
And I don't get its drop again. Gah.
: Whatever that was, it was scarcely worth my notice.
: Dammit Bellamy, let me kill something!
It was hiding in this spot.
Had a bit of a close call here.
: Not this time, suckers!
Finally got the Razeking's drop after having Bellamy roast several of them.
Here's the last stone.
: So, you think we'll ever get to meet the Duke's daughter? Sounds like she isn't seen often.
: Why would we? We are just lowly explorers. We have no reason to meet with someone like her. Right, Fedot?
: Actually we might.
: Now what makes you say that?
: Call it a hunch. Oh, what's this?
Pay attention to the TP bars.
: Careful now, there might be monsters around.
You cautiously approach the cart, wary of any lingering monsters. But none appear... You think back to the quest you accepted at the bar...
: Didn't Cass mention something about treasure in this area?
: Ah yes! We may be able to find a present for the little girl at the inn if we search here!
: Oh right, that too.
Your task is to find a birthday present for the innkeeper's daughter. You recall hearing that a poor merchant's caravan had been attacked near here. Perhaps you may find a suitable gift somewhere in the bags strewn across the ground.
: Is this really okay? I mean this stuff used to belong to someone else.
: Labyrinths like these operate on finders keepers rules. Anything we find is ours. You don't want someone else taking your stuff? Then don't lose your things.
: Didn't expect to hear that from you.
: You do what you need to survive in places like this.
The rules of the Labyrinth allows whoever finds an item within to lay claim to it. Regardless of the caravan's destination, it must have carried something worthwhile. You rummage through the bags for something that could be used as a birthday present... Before long, Aegis finds a candle with a faint floral scent in an open chest.
: Find anything?
: I'm afraid no-
: Whoa! Nice find Aegis!
: ...Yes, I did.
: Ah, nobles loved using candles like this. Alchemists like myself have had a hand in creating these.
: Are you sure this is appropriate for a little girl?
: Well at the very least others may appreciate what we give her.
You recognize the candle as a type popular among nobles. Its clean, fresh aroma, created by alchemy, provides relaxation for the owner for years on end. It may be too valuable to give to a young girl, but it would certainly be well-received. Unfortunately, Aegis also finds a trap in the chest!
: GAAAHHHH!! What the hell Aegis!?
: Oh, my apologies. I didn't want to get hit by the trap, so I just grabbed the nearest thing to protect myself.
: You couldn't have just grabbed your shield?
: I was panicking.
So Aegis just lost all his, wait what? Why did Nick lose all his TP? Come on EO2! Anyway, each present has a consequence of sorts attached to it. There's no best reward for the quest, but there is is a best event that can happen. And this wasn't it. The thread happened to vote for one of the worse options, but this isn't really anything big since we can just Warp Wire out.
Once you grab one of the four presents, you're locked out of the others. So what are the other events like?
In order to get this event, you need to be not facing the chest, otherwise you'll end up examing it instead.
: Ah, didn't Angie tell us we could find flowers in this part of the floor? Let us search here.
You remember now the quest you accepted from the bar... Your task is to find a birthday present for the innkeeper's daughter. One suggestion you received was to gather beautiful flowers for the young girl. An exquisite patch of flowers is blooming not far from you.
As you bend to pick the flower, its sweet aroma tickles your nose again. It must be the season for the flowers near your feet to be giving nectar!
: Nice find Gilbert! This would be a great present!
You rejoice at the serendipitous find, and extract some of the nectar to be used as a gift.
This is technically the best result, because nothing happens to us here. All the other events have negative consequences.
You think back to your quest, accepted at the bar. Your task is to find a birthday present for the innkeeper's daughter. You recall someone telling you of a place where delicious berries grow...
: Hey, the Guildmaster said we could find berries here, right?
And indeed, you can see dark green leaves beneath a carpet of purple berries.
: Eh, berries are nice, but would that really be a good present? Ah, might as well. Help me fill up this jar.
You pluck as many berries as you can fit into the jar you brought along for the purpose. But the patch of berries is not altogether peaceful; monsters still roam the forest! The fiends which feast on the berries for their diet appears and attack you!
: Didn't we fight these things in the 3rd Stratum? What are they doing down here?
: I guess they come down here to eat the berries.
Yeah, you're pitted against 3rd Stratum monsters for some reason in this event.
They're honestly not that tough.
After defeating the demons, you were surprised at what you found inside of the jar. The delicate berries have been smashed, but on opening the jar, you still smell their sweetness. You can no longer offer the berries as a present... But perhaps in their place, you can convert the crushed mass into a high-grade jam.
: Oh no, what are we gonna do? We can't give this to her!
: Hmm, why not finish the job and turn it into some jam?
: Well, that would be more presentable than a jar of berries I guess. Help me out with this.
You spend some time working the paste into a fine jam, and take it back as a birthday gift.
Is that a bird's song...? The flute-like chirping continues for a moment before stopping. You think back to the quest you accepted at the bar... Your task is to find a birthday present for the innkeeper's daughter. You recall being told of a bird that hoards shiny objects.
: Didn't Abigail tell us of a bird that hoarded stones?
: Perhaps its nest is nearby.
Could the chirping have come from the rarely-seen bird?
You quietly move up to the bird's nest, taking care not to startle it. Peeking through the bushes, you can see a neatly-built nest with shiny stones inside.
: Almost got it...
You reach to grab one when you hear wings flapping overhead, as something drifts down. It is a multicolored feather, with several radiant hues. The bird that dropped it seems to be gone... In any event, the feather would make a good gift.
: On second thought, this would be a much better present. I'll leave this here as thanks.
You leave a few coins in the nest as homage to the bird, and depart the area.
We lose 100en from this event.
: Definitely looks pretty. She should like it.
And now back to your regular LP.
The last gemstone is found here. Now let's go turn that quest in.
: Ahh, have yeh returned with the jewels? Give them here.
: Can you really identify them?
: Trust me, trust me! I've got a jeweler's eye for these things! Haw haw haw! H-Holy... This is mad! Did yeh lot used to be in the Jeweler's Guild? I can't believe it...! Smashing work, Firefly! I know the jewelers will be drooling when I show them these babies! Here's the reward for a job very well done! Glad to see I can still count on yeh!
This would be considered a big reward if it weren't for the boss conditionals.
: Ahhh, Firefly! Perfect timing! We're having a birthday bash for the innkeeper's daughter! Why don't yeh join us? Yeh can give her the present yeh found!
: ......I hope my mom won't get mad at me for having this... Ha ha... It's a great present! Thank you!
: Well? Did yeh get a nice gift? Yeh certainly seem satisfied! Haw haw haw! All right... Let's get to business, Firefly. Here's the reward for doing the job. Nice work! The girl has her gift, yeh have yer reward, everyone's happy! Cheers! Thanks for helping out!
The Therica AX is a decent item. It removes 1 bind from every party member, which is good against AOE binds, but it can't remove more than one bind at a time. The innkeeper's daughter has different reactions to each present.
: Wow...! ......It smells good. How nice... This is a great present... Th-Thank you...
: ......! ......Wow... it looks delicious. Can I share it with my mom? Thank you... This is a wonderful present... Ha ha...
: Wow...! This is beautiful...! ......I-Is this for me? Hooray! U-Ummm... Thank you... This is a wonderful present...!
Yeah the EO games tend to be super in love with ellipses if you didn't notice already. Now that we've freed up some space for our quest log, let's see what's available.
: I don't see Pauline around. Oh well, we'll take it anyway.
: Ah, yeh're taking that quest, eh? Yeh've done work for the Grand Duchy before, right?
: Does everyone in this town have brain damage? Yes we did. You assigned us two jobs like this.
: Then that makes this a mite easier. A lot of guilds are volunteering mere babes. The higher-ups want to see better-quality volunteers, so they're being a mite stricter. I can't just let any weakling work for the Grand Duchy, or they'd lose all faith in me! This time, they need a strong survivalist. I expect good things from Firefly!
: Uh, about that...
: Is this some kinda joke? I just told yeh, the higher-ups are getting stricter! None of yeh are doing this quest until I see some improvement! Get with the program!
Cass will spit out a line like that for all the class quests if you don't have a class that fits the requirements.
: Great, where is she?
: We do have some other quests left unfinished. Perhaps we can do those, and she'll be back by then.
: I hope so. Oh. Oh dear, this sounds pretty bad. Cass, what's this one about?
We can't finish this one now, but I'm gonna do it since we can do it while we explore the 3rd Stratum.
: Now I have to warn yeh, this quest comes with its share of sorrows... The client is a poor lass who was all set to be wed last month, but... Just before the ceremony, she came down with a heavy fever. Her fiance, being a helpful lad, went into the Labyrinth to find some healing herbs. The guard corps... they looked for days, but all they found were his things. No body left behind, but we all know what happened. The girl's drowning in tears nowadays. Says she'll have her revenge for her fiance. I thought she'd gone round the twist. So I promised her if she posted a request, someone would take care of it. Nice guy, me. Haw! His things were found on the 12th floor. The monster's s'posed to be some fish-thing. If yeh can't figure out which one it is, just kill every fish yeh see! G'luck.
: It was probably one of those Fishman we ran into after killing Hellion.
: But how do we know which one killed her fiance?
: I'm sure we'll find out somehow. Hmm, Pauline still isn't back. I guess we better go on a harvesting trip for those requests.
I actually prepared for these fetch quests and put all the items I needed in storage, so I'm gonna go pull them out. I also grab my Survivalist from the guild.
The Grand Duchy is looking for a strong survivalist... And the survivalist currently in your party would be perfect for their needs! Return to the bar once you have a spare moment.
: Ah, welcome back! Holy... Did yeh really carry all those materials from the Labyrinth? Damn, I'm impressed at yer strength! All right, let's see here... Everything seems to be in order. Leave it to me! Here's yer reward! Use it wisely!
: Ahh, welcome back! Did yeh find what they needed for the medicine?
: I've got it all right here.
: Perfect! Now I've just got to pass these on to that health freak... Gahhh. Here's yer reward. Use it wisely!
Now we have two of these. I can think of an upcoming situation where they would be very useful. Very useful indeed.
: So I heard you needed me?
: Ahh, now that's one sharp-looking survivalist. Puts a little shiver down my spine. Shall we be off, then? The rest of yeh, stay here. This won't take long.
Cass leaves and comes back.
: I'm back! It looks like the job is to do some exploring alongside the guard corps. With that many survivalists, the risk will be cut in half! Yer one will be back here just as soon as the job's done. No sense in worrying... Let's have a drink while we wait, eh? Ehhh!?
: Come on, don't be shy! Why don't yeh pour the first shot for me?
Fade to black.
: ...Gahh! Don't scare me like that! Yeh need to warn people when yeh're approaching! How'd the work go?
: Oh, I just had to escort the guards. There were traps and ambushes everywhere.
: I see... Monster ambushes, traps aplenty... Rough work, eh? But I'd never know to look at yer face that there was any problem... Pure professionalism! Have yeh got that sixth sense or whatnot? Where yeh can feel when danger is approaching? I heard you shined out there on the job, giving everyone plenty of warning.
: Oh, it was nothing. Just some things I've learned as a Survivalist.
: Well, I for one am impressed! Here's the reward, and I'm counting on yeh!
A decent stat boost. Now that quest is like the Alchemist quest we did earlier. Your level doesn't matter. The skills you have do. You don't get the money if your Survivalist doesn't have the right skill. If they have Stalker, you'll get 300en. You get the maximum reward if your Survivalist has Sagacity.
: Ahhh, yeh're back, are yeh? Let's see... Oh! If I knew yeh were gonna be back that quick, I'd have asked for more!
: Haw haw haw! Just kidding... Here's the chess piece. Good luck getting that Queen! See yeh around!
There's no more new quests, we've done everything we can quest wise. However, we're not done with the cleanup yet. We still need to kill some more FOEs, and explore that secret area that needed 3 people.
When I said that Bellamy was the only one who had the firepower to kill these things, I meant it.
: Ha! Now it's the perfect time for the big Cli-
Although at this point, Fedot's Iceshot deals decent damage too.
: Got him.
Oh come on! Do I need to start manipulating the RNG again?
Seven Trigourds later.
Much better. I really wanted that Curse Bone drop. Mainly because it unlocks this weapon.
That is a 50 TP boost! It's great for casters like Alchemists and Medics, who'll eat through their TP fast. Now to take on the last FOE in this Stratum.
It's really easy to get the drop on the Firekings, so make sure you do that.
Skills: Fury, Roar
-Common: Spine Horn - 1 needed for Rapier (Sword.)
--Fireking's backbone, festooned with spikes.
Description: A dragonlike monster that can ignite the volatile liquid in its stomach to spew fire.
Weakness: Ice (125%)
Resistance: Physica; (75%), Fire (0%)
Firekings are probably not something you want to take on early, but you should be able to handle them once you're far enough into the game. Roar attempts to terrify your whole party, while Fury is a single target fire attack.
I got pretty lucky with Ricochet here, since it decided to proc the 5 hit version. Which puts it in range for this.
: I've been waiting so long to do that! I just couldn't hold it in anymore!
: That's great. Yeah, really.
: And I was hoping we would never have to see that again.
: Get used to seeing it, because he's pretty much our best bet against FOEs.
: Oh joy.
Nick's time of being the Labyrinth's punching bag is now over. Really, the first Stratum is where you're going to rack up the most deaths and game overs. After that, you shouldn't see too many of those. Anyways, the last thing we need to cover is that 3 party secret area.
We'll be going with these three.
The flavor text for this is the same as being able to pass through a Dark Hunter passage normally.
There's two Redwoods patrolling the area.
You have to be careful where you walk, because this can happen.
: Well crap.
I just decided to fight my way out.
If you're wondering about Pauline's absurdly high level, it's because there's a mechanic I wanna show off in the next update.
: Ah. Nothing like a good climax.
: You gotta teach me how to do that!
: Oh it's simple, you just gotta-
: Why would you want to learn how to do something like that?
: I kind of wanted to be a Dark Hunter before joining a guild. But I just wasn't good with whips, so I settled for bows instead. Say, you still haven't told me about Etria's Labyrinth.
: Maybe later.
There's a Razeking in the next area you can't avoid normally. What you're supposed to do here is use the Dark Hunter's Racket skill to lure it to a spot so it can be stunned while you sneak on by. In fact, some of these secret areas require you to use a certain skill from the class that was used to access it. But I don't have that skill on Nick.
So I just killed it. Ricochet is too good.
The Rouge Whip is technically an upgrade, but I find the stats on the Beast Tail more valuable than some extra points of attack.
Likewise for the Ring Mail.
: At least we got the map filled out.
We're just missing one area that we won't be able to access for a while.
Next time, retirement.