Part 52: Slip Slidin' AwaySlip Slidin' Away
This must be the floor where the fearful beast dwells!
: Now where could that fish be?
: I'm sure we'll find it somewhere.
: Huh. Think we can walk on that ice?
: Uh, I don't know if this is safe to walk on. I mean, what if it cracks. What if we slip and fall?
: Oh my gosh, I'll go!
: Whee! See? Safe. Now you try. Chicken.
: Whoa! Help!
: Doesn't seem like we can stop ourselves when we step on this.
Introduced in this game is a new type of tile. Slippery tiles. Walk onto these, and you won't stop until you hit a wall or a regular tile. They've been used in every game since this one except for the remake of the first game. I'll mark these with cyan.
: I don't think it's a good idea to go on at this point. We're running low on supplies. Yet again. And we already have a quick way back.
: Oh crap, you're right. All right, we're done for the day.
: Yeah. It's still pretty chilly up there.
: Your appearance belies your strength. I have underestimated you explorers. Tell me, what will you do if you do find the floating castle?
: Hmm, maybe look for more adventure. This is pretty fun.
: Huh. Good question. I didn't even want to do this whole exploring thing in the first place.
: Perhaps retire somewhere with the huge amount of money we somehow got. I don't plan on doing much after this.
: Maybe keep on adventuring, like what Pauline said.
: I... don't know. Cursing things is fun, but what can I do after this?
: The Duke has offered a title to those who discover it. Is that ultimately your goal?
: Okay, I know I don't want that.
: Sounds like too much responsibility. Pass.
: Uh, same. I didn't really sign up for that.
: I'm already royalty. There is no need for me to take on another title.
: I joined up with a guild so I could go on an adventure and not have to worry about too many responsibilities. So, no thanks.
: We consider it a small price to pay, but if you wouldn't accept it, then... I confess I'm not certain those with an explorer bent would be willing to become nobility. Oh, but please excuse me. I am rather getting ahead of myself, aren't I? You are ascending through the Labyrinth so quickly that I got a little carried away!
But it's been like 4 months since I started this LP? I dunno, I'm not getting through the game that fast. I would've been done by now on a normal playthrough.
: Are you used to the ice and snow? Even veteran explorers have trouble with the cold. But for the monsters, it's home. They have the advantage of it being their native environment. If your surroundings give you trouble, you'll have to devise a new strategy. That's all the advice I have for you. Never underestimate the Labyrinth.
: None taken.
: I hate winter, so there's no way I could stay up there for long.
: Oh, but it's really beautiful.
: It's beautiful, yeh say? Yeh sound like yeh're going there on vacation! The place is packed with monsters! This town gets freezing cold during the winter. Icicles as far as the eye can see! I don't even like to get out of bed in the morning cause it's so friggin' cold!
: Uhh... I don't like the sound of that.
: Well Ken, I do have a spare scarf, but you'll have to find your own shirt. Mine are too expensive for commoners to wear.
: I wish I could live someplace warm... and drink whenever I wanted... But for that day to come, I'll have to keep slaving away here! Haw haw haw!
Even though the 3rd Stratum isn't really colorful, I really do like how it looks. Honestly most of the Strata look really pretty, even on the DS. EO2 has the best looking Strata in the series.
: Oh, can we take this one? I wanna help out the town some.
: Aw, but that one sounds boring.
: Hah, yeh're taking that quest? Truly, yeh're heroes to the folks of Lagaard! I warn yeh... it'll be rough. This one involves carrying a huge load. Yeh've seen just outside the gate, right? And the shops that line the street...
: Your point being?
: Yeh must have noticed that the roads here are an absolute shambles. I'm not just talking about bumps in the road--some of them have huge boulders jutting out! And the problem is just getting worse with all the new explorers. To fix up the roads and add some new ones, we'll need a bunch of big rocks. There's some quarries on the 3rd, 5th, and 14th floors that we use for times like these. Yer job is to go get rocks from there, one by one. Backbreaking work, that is. So we figured we'd let yeh do it while we sit back and relax! Haw!
: I regret taking this job already.
: Aww, don't get sore... Yeh can only carry one rock at a time, of course, because of their size and weight. We need three rocks in total, so you'll have to make three trips. Take your time... It's a brutal job, but it's for the good of the town. Just put yer head down and power through!
Here's another tile hunt quest. But it's one we can't complete right now.
: What's this about?
: Ah, yeh're taking that quest? It's from the Grand Duchy. Apparently there's a monster going berserk on the 11th floor. It's not yer usual beastie. The worst part is that it's really close to a prime spot for chopping wood. They dispatched the guard corps to take care of it, but yeh can guess how that went. Go talk to the Minister at the Duke's Palace for the details. G'luck!
This is the start of a new questline, and an introduction to a new type of quest.
: This should be good for a laugh.
: Ah, it's one of those... I accept any posting, but this kind of request... Meh. Ah well, no harm in telling yeh. There's a beautiful woman some ways off. Yeh wouldn't know her. She's a fickle one, with a new type of man every day. Most men know to stay well clear. But not this unlucky fella... He's an old friend of hers, and they're on reasonable good terms. So he figures, What the hell? and decides to propose. He lavishes gifts on her, but she refuses every one. He's tried every method of proposal in the book by now, and more'n a few that aren't. All he can think to do now is try the stuff in the Labyrinth. There's a solid mineral there, called an Ice Sheet, or sometimes alabaster. It's no easy rock to get ahold of. If a man gave it to a girl, she'd be swept off her feet. It's a silly-sounding request, but... If yeh find some, bring it here, all right? Thanks!
The Ice Sheet is a rare item from a Mine point. There's some on floor 12, so we can complete this while we're up there.
You can't take this quest until you complete Many happy returns.
: Hmm, this one sounds worthy of our time.
: Ahh, yes, this one... Yeh know the Monsterous Codex, right?
: Uh, who doesn't?
: Course yeh do. They're looking for more details so the guard corps know what to expect in the Labyrinth.
: Like that'll help much.
: Remember when yeh lot brought back those stones for the Duke's daughter on her birthday? The Grand Duchy was chuffed about that! I've been in like Flynn with them since. Yeh're getting better and better at these! It makes my wicked old heart swell... Anyways, this job is another one for the Grand Duchy. Just head to the Duke's Palace for more details. And wear yer best clothes!
: Who cares?
: What do yeh mean, Who cares!? Yeh need to learn a thing or two about etiquette! Get outta my bar and to the Duke's Palace! March!
: Okay dad. Hey, how about-
: As you may have heard, there is a violent monster on the 11th floor of the Labyrinth. The guards tell me that it's unusual for this monster to be on that particular floor. We've determined that it's a mother with child. Its nest is to the northwest of that floor. That being the case, we assume something must have disturbed the nest.
Oh hey, clear and good hints for once! If you did a good job in mapping out the 11th floor, you'll know instantly where to look.
: Okay, so we'll just kill it.
: It's important that we be able to coexist with the Labyrinth. This cannot go unaddressed. It would be easy to slay the rampaging beast, but the Duke's daughter is firmly against it. To find a peaceful solution, you must first discover what is causing the monster's distress. When you've concluded the investigation, report your findings back here. Remember, don't kill the monster, and know that we are all relying on you!
: He has to be joking.
So here's a new quest type. Sometimes you need to reach a certain location, but an FOE may get in the way. Except killing the FOE will result in instant failure. For obvious reasons this kind of quest didn't get used in any of the other EO games. These monsters are unique, and technically missable since you can avoid fighting them and they disappear after the quest is done. Thankfully missable monsters do not get recorded in the codex, even if you kill them so you don't have to worry about that. Now about that other quest.
: First, let me extend my thanks for all the jewels you found for the Duke's daughter. As for the next job... You know, of course, that we explore the Labyrinth as well. It's an important site for us, filled with natural resources. But our work would go more smoothly if we knew what kind of opposition to expect. We would like your help in researching the habits and characteristics of the monsters. Catalogue over 50 types of monsters in the Codex and show us your work. When your gallery is sufficiently full, you can inform the bar. You're not the only guild we have assisting, of course. I wish you luck, and godspeed.
So these kinds of quests are really easy. You should either have the required number or be close to it when these quests are available. We only have 48 at the moment, so we should be able to complete it after exploring the 12th floor a bit more. Remember to actually report your findings by checking the monster codex option, otherwise the quest isn't considered finished.
: Know something neat? I heard from Cass at the bar that the whole town is fascinated by you.
: Ha ha, tell me about it!
: Everyone's saying you'll be the first ones to climb Yggdrasil and find the floating castle. I think so, too! Even when you get famous, don't forget this shop! Don't forget me...!
: Oh, we won't!
: I've got a patient here who's badly injured. He's in critical condition... Be careful! The third Stratum is filled with strong enemies. If you feel endangered in any way, do not hesitate to escape!
Advice that I should probably follow more often. I'm sure my playstyle would make several EO players scream at me.
: There you go, all done.
: Oh, thanks.
: Be careful! Pickpockets could be anywhere, you know? Maybe not around my inn, but... Better safe than sorry! Why, just the other day, I fell on the street right onto my keister. My back hurt for the rest of the day! There's danger everywhere, not just in the Labyrinth! Always be careful!
: Alright, now that we're rested up, I guess we should go back.
: I'm afraid I can't do that.
: Something has gone wrong with my formulas. Unless you want me to be dead weight, I suggest letting me stay back so I can fix them. Why not take Frederik and explore that place we couldnt get to? Maybe complete that quest or whatever while I'm busy. The team could people that are better versed in defense anyway.
So we're gonna be exploring Frederik's shortcut and completing that quest on the 11th floor.
: What was that?
You think back to the quest you accepted at the bar... You agreed to find the reason for a monster's rampage and report to the Duke's Palace. The monster is breathing heavily... it must have picked up your scent! You have been enjoined against slaying it, and you can do nothing now but flee! You must quickly find the cause of its aggression before leaving the area!
It's just a stronger version of a Sleipnir. Don't kill it or you'll fail the quest and be forced to try again. It's also aggressive when it first appears. If you have an FOE item or skill available, you can just stun it and immediately go in the door.
If you don't, you'll have to walk all the way around, which can be tricky since you'll have to get past that Darksoar if you haven't taken it out.
: Yow! You're sure it can't get in here, right?
: Positive! Now, just what the hell riled up that monster?
The monster should find it more difficult to follow you now... You head further inward to investigate the area.
Could this be the monster's nest?
: So if I'm getting the details right, the monster is a mother? The where's the child?
: Huh, that's weird. Nothing's wrong with the nest.
But what you find as you inspect it causes your shoulders to drop... Contrary to your expectations, there are no indications that it has been disturbed. In fact, you cannot even find the monster's child here! With no other avenues of inquiry, you decide to return to Lagaard.
: Maybe it ran away or something?
: No clue, but we better report back with what we found.
: Yeah that's great and all, but that monster is still out there! If we get cornered, we'll have to kill it, and that'll go over real great with that minister.
You must be careful, however... The rampaging monster still has your scent! You are aware that if you slay the monster, the quest will end in failure.
The quest isn't over until you report it to the bar. Killing the Madsteps will force you to start over.
You're not trapped in there, and you can get out with a Warp Wire.
The flavor text for this is the exact same as it was in the first Stratum.
Unfortunately Foesense has a few downsides to it. One, it can't track invisible FOEs.
It also can't track FOEs that only appear when you step onto a certain tile. So it can't keep track of Razekings or other surprise FOEs. Oh and when the Darksoar spawns, it's already aggressive and will chase after you.
Exit, wait for it to go back a bit, because going back in immediately will cause it to be aggro'd again.
And you should be able to sneak by while it's going back, or you can ambush it.
Hey wanna see some big numbers?
: I HAVE SO MUCH POWER!
A 60% damage boost on top of the Ronin's already ridiculous damage output? Yes please! Oh god, imagine if Ken, Gilbert, and Frederik were all in the same party. Ken's damage would be through the roof.
An armor upgrade was being guarded. I put it on Ken because as strong as he is offensively, he is really squishy. Anyways we're done here, so I go Warp Wire out.
: Yeah, this is our report on what we found. There was nothing wrong with the nest from what we saw.
: Mm? The nest was intact? Then what could have possibly caused its rampage...? This is a dilemma. I don't know how best to proceed... But your efforts are commendable. No one else has managed to so much as reach the nest. We must investigate the matter further... Please collect your reward at the bar. Should we need your assistance again, we shall call for you.
: Ahhh, yeh're back! So how was the job?
: We couldn't find out what was going on. The Grand Duchy said they'll look into it.
: So that's how it went, eh...? Then why'd the beastie go berserk? I hear after yeh left that floor, no one's seen hide nor hair of the thing. I was worried yeh'd accidentally killed it! But yeh did the job, so yeh get the reward. Come back anytime!
Should be very handy for an upcoming situation.
I'm gonna go for Pauline's shortcut now.
But I'm also gonna buy that bow we got from Chimaera's conditional drop for her. Just look at that power boost. I've said that Survivalists are one of the worst classes in the game, but that doesn't have to be the case. For the main game anyway.
Well that's a great start.
Fortunately, Bewilder doesn't seal the arms. Now 2-Bolt was unimpressive before, so how powerful is it now?
Yeah, way too powerful at this point. I won't be using this bow now. (Unless people really want me to use it so Pauline won't be dead weight) I'll probably slap it onto her when we get to the 5th Stratum, when it won't utterly destroy everything.
I use that level up to level Pauline's Bow mastery some more.
The flavor text for these are a bit different when the required class is solo.
It seems that the path continues beyond the wall...
: Heh, shouldn't too much trouble to get up there.
The forest wall seems impossible to climb, but as a survivalist, you know certain tricks. You look above the wall and spot the branch you hoped would be there, then leap up to it. You move from branch to branch until you can see a hidden path through the wall below. From here, it would be child's play to move to the other side of the wall.
Only a slight bit of resistance to all elements? Blech, no thanks.
Now with that out of the way, we are completely done with the 11th floor. There is nothing more for us here. Been a while since we fully completed a floor. Now let's actually get to exploring the 12th floor.
As you pass, he suddenly recognizes you and begins to speak.
: You're explorers, aren't you? Is there anything I can help you with?
: Uh yeah, you know where we can find an Ice Sheet?
: A guy posted a request for one. He wants to propose with it. To a woman that's fickle with men.
You tell him the story of the Ice Sheet, and he gives a slight chuckle in response.
: Ah, yes, the Ice Sheet. I actually saw someone mining it on this floor. But it's not easy to find... You'll have to look long and hard for that one, heh.
: Really? Ugh, well thanks for the help at least.
You thank the guard and move on. It appears this quest will take longer than you thought...
Skills: Ice Breath, Freezing
-Common: Torn Tail - 1 needed for Cutlass (Sword.) 3 needed for Biliomg (Axe.) 15 needed for Doom Mace (Staff.)
--Snowzard's tail with flexible skin.
-Rare: White Chip - See Darksoar bio.
Description: Similar to the Firezard, but with an affinity for Ice. Its breath can freeze anything.
Weakness: Fire (150%)
Resistance: Ice (0%)
They're just palette swapped Firezards, right down to the attacks even. The description even pokes at it. Ice Breath is a single target ice attack, while Freezing is an AOE ice attack.
: Oh hey, a bunch of ice monsters. Perfect time to try this out!
: Hey, save some for the rest of us!
: Says the girl that leaves nothing but poison and destruction in her wake.
: Not my fault you're too slow with those formulas.
It's pretty easy to get to this treasure. Just get to the bottom and go up.
I replace Ken's Life Belt with it. It's use as a defensive piece of gear falls off at this point. The defense boost from any pieces of armor is more important. Unless you're using a Revenge Hexer.
It's easy to get to this door, just walk to the left, go to the bottom, and go straight up to the door.
Wondering who it could be, you turn in the direction the voice came from.
: Yeah, that's us.
A soldier's forlorn voice pierces the cold air. The soldier walks to you, his teeth chattering as he fights against the wind.
: We were s-s-specially selected by M-M-Minister Dubois to find the S-S-Snow Blooms, but...
The guard falls silent and stares at the ground before he continues, chastened.
: The forest is t-t-tougher than we thought. The slippery ice g-g-gets in the way... We c-c-can't find any flowers! We only work during the day to avoid d-d-danger, but...
The soldier sadly meets your eyes before continuing.
: We weren't up t-t-to the mission. C-C-Can we leave the rest to you...?
: Yeah, we're on it.
The pitiful soldier stands there, hugging his own body from the cold and fear. It falls to you to investigate the ice-covered forest and find the Snow Blooms.
If you didn't accept the Find the Snow Blooms mission for some reason, the guard would stop you here instead of asking you to go on. We can actually talk to him again.
When he notices you, he speaks in a pained voice.
: Did you f-f-ffind the flowers? We only search during the day to avoid d-d-d-anger, but... We haven't found a s-s-single one. Maybe we should search a w-w-wider area...?
The pitiful soldier stands there hugging his own body from the cold and fear. You leave the poor guard and resume your hunt for the Snow Blooms.
: Get it off get it off get it off!
: Back off, you oversized bug!
: What the- when did that thing sneak up on us?
: We're really bad at this whole keeping a lookout thing.
-Common: Space Husk - 1 needed for Aspis, Head Guard, Aqua Claw (Claw), and Therica AX. 2 needed for Chain Mail and Volt Axe (Axe.) 5 needed for Kuzunosada (Katana.)
--Carapace with metals beyond human ken.
-Conditional: Stag Horn - Kill with Cut. 1 needed for Gore Chain (Whip.)
--Mustache-like growth around a beetle's mouth.
Description: A large crab whose shell is harder than human swords. Its whirring wings drive men mad.
Weakness: Volt (150%)
Resistance: Physical (25%)
Clawbugs are a returning enemy from the 1st game. They were a way to make sure that you had some form of elemental attacks in your party. Here they picked up an annoying new trick. Whirr is an AOE headbind, which is bad if it lands on your casters since you need elementals to kill them easily. If they're solo, they're a guaranteed blindside.
: Zip zap!
They're not too much trouble if they don't head bind your casters.
So what this whole floor is about, is that it's kind of one big ice sliding puzzle. There's a huge frozen lake in the middle, and you're trying to reach a bunch of side areas. It's not too hard to navigate around, there's not too many exact movements you have to make. It can be kind of a hassle at times, especially when you find out the other mechanic this floor introduces.
So here's a map I pulled from Gamefaqs (And cut part of it off because it would've broken tables) to give you an idea of what I have to go through. I won't do this often, but I did this because it would be kind of a hassle to explain everything single bit of movement you have to make on this floor.
Going up and to the right lets you reach this spot. Go to the left from here and you'll reach an event, but you have to be facing the ice to get it.
: Ah, this gives me an idea. We can try some ice fishing here.
Has the ice thinned and cracked? You can see crystal clear water flowing beneath the icy surface. If you enlarge the hole, you may be able to enjoy a bit of ice fishing here.
: Oh oh, can I try first?
: Uh, go right ahead.
Eager to try ice fishing, Aliara drops the first line.
: Ahh! Help!
But Aliara slips on the ice and falls into the frozen lake!
: Oh god! Somebody get her out!
: I got this! Grab on Aliara!
You hurry to pull Aliara out of the water, but it's too late...
: I don't wanna fish anymore...
: Maverick's gonna have to take a look at that.
Aliara has severe frostbite! The fishing trip is hastily abandoned...
A random party member loses 100 HP if you say yes to this.
Pauline gets a level up after some more battles.
Just another point in Bows.
If you come back once the sun has set, the resemblance may become even stronger.
: So, are these the Snow Blooms we're looking for? Doesn't look like a flower to me.
: That guard did say they couldn't find any during the day. Maybe we have to come back at night.
: Wait, seriously? You have to be kidding me.
Yes that's right, if you're exploring this floor at day, you cannot complete the mission. You have to come back at night. That said we still want to explore at day, because there's an area I want to get to that gets blocked off at night.
That reason is because of these things.
: Crap! It's one of those dragon things we saw earlier!
: But, it looks like its sleeping. I don't think it'll move anytime soon.
: Perhaps its nocturnal?
So these are the Helldras that the Snowsouls can summon. They don't move at all during the day, they only patrol at night. For the record, trying to fight them during the day will not have them start out asleep. The other reason to explore at night is because they're blocking off certain areas during the day. Oh and these nocturnal FOEs get used as roadblocks throughout the game. Okay, all the EO games have a day and night system, and there weren't really any differences between day and night in the first game. It only mattered for a handful of quests. So they tried to make up for it in this game. And the result was that in some parts of the game, you cannot progress unless you are traveling at the right time of day. Thought being roadblocked by the story was bad? How about being roadblocked by the game mechanics themselves? These nocturnal FOEs block off important paths during the day, so you're essentially told by the game to go fuck yourself and go back to town to change the clock. If you're wondering, why don't you just say screw that and just go kill the FOEs? Oh, well...
Behavior: Nocturnal, Patrol
Resistance: Fire (50%), Ice (50%), Volt (50%)
Yeah, good luck with that. At this point in the game, you can't kill these. Nocturnal FOEs have super beefy stats that make them very hard to take down until you're much stronger than when you first encounter them. And since they're resistant to all elements, you can't call on your Alchemist to make the big bad FOE go away. You won't be able to get these things into Climax territory, I've tried. You can't skip the puzzle, you have to play by the game's rules. It's annoying, and it's like that with all nocturnal FOEs, not just the Helldra. Thankfully EO3 toned down FOEs that act differently during the different times of day. The worst you'll have to do is take an alternate route. You're not roadblocked for coming at the wrong time of day. EO4 just dropped that concept entirely.
More level ups.
Nick is 3 levels away from unlocking the bait skills.
Bellamy has unlocked Analysis. Which should help him clear mobs more easily.
Down near the bottom right is the first of the mine points.
Common: Celestine - 1 needed for Bipennis (Axe), Rune Gage, Bug Piece, and Head Guard. 5 needed for Nikari (Katana.)
-Sky-colored coin that turns red when heated.
Uncommon: Adularia - 1 needed for Pure Plate, Ice Wall, and Stab Wall. 3 needed for Fire Saker (Gun.) 5 needed for Flissa (Sword.)
-Icy, transparent variant of orthoclase.
Rare: Ice Sheet - 1 needed for Brio Wrist, Haste Pin, and Fate Beads. 1 needed for the quest Playing Cupid I.
-Soft plaster used in carvings and sculpture.
This Helldra is blocking a path to a Snow Bloom.
Through the middle door is this treasure.
Which is a weapon that no one can use.
Up near the top right is another Helldra.
Head right from there and you'll reach a Mine point.
But more importantly, you'll find a Snow Bloom.
Here's Ken's shortcut. You can't come here during the night because the Helldra's patrol path would block it off.
: Oh another one? Eeeny meeny- this one.
Walk all the way around and you'll get to this sweet treasure.
: Whoa! Awesome, I could use a new katana!
Which is a pretty hefty upgrade for Ken. Like, he really didn't need this. EO2, do you want Ken to tear you apart?
: What are those things?
A row of small, black creatures is lined up here. The group carries a flat pedestal. You freeze, thinking that they may be a new type of monster, but they don't seem hostile.
: What kind of monsters are those?
: They don't seem like they'll attack us.
You stand puzzled before the black creatures when your hexer pushes you aside to step forth.
: Oh, those things? Just let me handle this.
The hexer mutters a few words and the black creatures respond with sudden excitement. Your hexer explains that they are called Kotodama, and can be ordered about with curses.
: They're Kotodama. They can be controlled with curses.
: Interesting. Would it be possible for you to do that to monsters?
: Maybe? I dunno, they'd have to be weak enough for me to control. Maybe if they were like scared or something. Hmm.
: Well, let's just get over the wall and worry about that later.
With them at your command, you can use the pedestal they carry to climb over the wall.
The Snow Quill does provide a good amount of terror resistance. The problem is that nothing can inflict terror at this point.
Now this area in the bottom right leads to the stairs, but...
The desolate atmosphere is broken by an incongruously cheerful voice.
The impish girl gives you a probing stare.
: So if you're here... I take it you're looking for Snow Blooms on the Minister's orders.
: Oh, hey. Uh yeah, we're doing that.
: Well, you won't find any past here. Nothing back there but the stairs upward.
The girl's eyes flick toward the door momentarily, then back to you before she continues.
: You're on an official mission, so you'd better finish it before you do anything else.
: Are you serious.
The black-haired witch is none too subtly blocking your progress further. You have no choice but to turn back for now... You nod to Artelind and leave the area.
: Yeah, you have a point. We'll do that first.
You can go back in for another scene.
: Let us through!
: Right, right, I know you want to move on... but you have to stick to one thing at a time. Just finish your mission and I'll be out of your hair.
Artelind is determined to prevent you from going further. You have no choice but to turn back for now... You nod to Artelind and leave the area.