Part 75: High in the SkyHigh in the Sky
I went on a bit of a farming spree and unlocked a bunch of equipment and items. I also unlocked Medica IIIs, so I went and bought a ton of those.
Now the Volt Gun is needed for that quest, so I buy one. It's a downgrade for Fedot, so I don't buy one for him.
So this is gonna be our party for the rest of the Stratum.
By popular demand, I went and had Pauline equip the postgame bow. She'll be hitting pretty hard until the postgame hits.
It must have met a gruesome end by a monster's claws... The ghastly sight reminds you of the tale Cass told you at the Stickleback Bar... The adventurer who believed what no one else thought possible, and climbed the Labyrinth... It's certainly possible that these are the remains of that courageous soul. You hesitate, wondering if this is where you should leave the Old Coin that Cass gave you.
: Think this is that gal Cass told us about?
: Hmm... but there's so many fallen adventurers here... I doubt-
: Just leave the coin somewhere, there's way too many corpses in the Labyrinth. Our chances of finding her are slim.
: Yeah, the boss is right. We'll just have to let Cass know that we couldn't find the girl. Or maybe this is her. I dunno.
You place the coin next to the corpse and say a silent prayer for its safe passage. But there are so many corpses littering the Labyrinth... There's no way to be certain this is the same adventurer that Cass once knew. You take your leave, as full of doubts as before...
: Oh, yeh're back... Did yeh find her?
: Uh, sort of? We left it on this skeleton that was wearing super heavy armor. Was that her?
: Eh...? I'm not so sure about that... She wouldn't wear that kind of armor...
: I knew it...
: Oh, but don't yeh worry! I mean, what were the odds of yeh finding her, really? Haw haw haw! It's all right... I was a maudlin old fool to make that ridiculous request. Thanks anyways... I do feel a mite better. It's time I got that out of my system. All right, time to deal with the patrons. Oh yeah, and don't forget to take yer reward!
: But we didn't-
: Don't yeh worry about her... I've got a guild to keep me company!
: Really? Which one?
: Huh? I mean yeh lot, of course! Keep working hard, all right? It's always good for a laugh. Come back anytime! Haw haw haw!
: No! This is not how this should end!
: Uh, Gilbert: You there? You kinda spaced out for a while there.
: Oh. My apologies. What happened?
: We were talking about the request Cass gave us. You know, the one where he wanted us to leave the coin with that girl? If we can even find her.
: Should we just leave it one of these, ugh, skeletons and just tell Cass that we couldn't find her?
: NO! I mean, we must be certain that we leave the coin on the right body.
: Well I doubt any of these are her. There's too many bodies to search through. I'm sure there will be some sign if we stumble upon the right one. Let's just keep the coin with us for now.
: Oh, thank you!
: ...The hell are you getting all melodramatic for?
You hesitate, realizing that the Labyrinth is littered with such corpses. The last thing you want to do is leave Cass's coin with the wrong corpse... You decide against leaving the Old Coin with any corpse for now.
So there's gonna be some spots that you can leave the Old Coin at. Only one of those spots is the correct place. Leaving the coin at the wrong spot won't give you the full reward.
: Ow! Pauline, you sure you wanna be up here? The front lines are kind of a rough place, you know.
: Yes, they are not a place for the fragile to be. There's room in the back for you.
: Hey, as long as I'm not the one taking all the hits, I'm fine with this.
: Ugh! Don't worry, I'm fine up here!
: If you say so...
I placed Pauline on the front lines just so the damage spreads out between 3 people. Survivalists can kind of operate on the front, since they do have slightly more VIT than Ronin, and just a little less than Dark Hunters. I wouldn't recommend doing this, since in normal circumstances they have really terrible damage and the front lines are best saved for an actual damage dealer.
: Hmmhmmhmm! Now we're talking!
Pauline's current damage output. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Remember that Diatrimas are weak to Stab attacks. Pauline's damage output is slightly above Ken's.
He barely reacts as you come near, merely glancing in your direction.
: A lot of your kind have been visiting lately. Tell me what you want and make it quick.
He may be the one wise in the lore of the Labyrinth's monsters... If you believe him to be the one, you may offer the gun and state your case.
He waits for you to speak, then resumes gathering twigs when you remain silent.
: If you have nothing to say, get out of here. I'll never understand your kind.
Unable to get any advice, you leave the area.
: Uh, we've got a little gift for you. Here.
The man accepts the gift with great interest.
: It's a fine gun... It's for me?
: Well, you know your etiquette... What do you want to know?
You ask about the monster while you are in his favor, and if there's any peaceful resolution.
: This monster's been rampaging around in the Labyrinth, and we're trying to find a way to calm it down.
: Yeah, we're not trying to kill it. All we could find out about it was that its nest was empty. You know what's going on? I think the monster had a kid, but we couldn't find it.
: That sounds strange... I don't think it would leave its young's side until it's fully grown. Maybe the child was lost in the forest, or... Well, it'll calm down once you return its child.
: That seems pretty obvious. Well, thanks anyway.
You thank the man for his help, and decide to return to the Duke's Palace with his advice.
Remember this spot for later. You'll have to come back here a few times.
: Okay, are you seriously telling me you couldn't figure out why the monster was rampaging in the first place? This monster happens to be very angry, and you find evidence of a missing child. How do you not make the connection!?
: I thought that sort of thing was obvious as well. What parent would not overturn every rock in the vicinity in order to find their missing young?
: W-we were trapped and we were panicking, okay? We didn't have time to think about that!
: ...You know, now that you and that guy mentioned it, it is pretty obvious in hindsight. Sorry, boss.
: Whatever, let's just go tell the Grand Duchy about this.
: We found out that the monster had a child that was supposed to be in the nest. But its gone missing. He said that if we return the monster's child to the nest, it should calm down. I can't believe that this is what I have to report to them.
: I said I was sorry, boss.
: The monster's child should have been in the nest...? I wonder what could have happened... But he was certain that if we return its offspring, it will calm down? I understand. I appreciate Guild Firefly's help. You may collect your reward at the bar. I will continue to expect great things from you.
: Ahhh, yeh're back! I heard from one of the guards that yeh'd finished the quest. They sent yeh to meet some weirdo, eh? He didn't do anything strange to yeh?
: Uh, not really. We just talked.
: Well, yeh're a pretty strange lot yerselves, so I guess yeh'd get on well with him. Hey!
: Heh, you're one to talk to us about being strange. Weirdo.
: Eh...? Who are yeh calling a weirdo!? I'm nothing like yeh! What rude children yeh lot are. Take yer reward, weirdos! See yeh weirdos around!
Now that we've finished that quest, this one pops up.
: Oi! That's one of the stranger quests I've seen posted... Yeh remember when yeh had to meet the animal expert in the forest? He's the client.
: So, what's he want?
: I don't know much... He said he wants yeh to see him for more details. Please, Firefly! Pleeeease save my shoooop...! That sound like him? Haw haw haw! It's a good thing yeh lot are the ones to do this...
: Why's that?
: Eh? Well, because I don't even know where he is! Just go wherever you met him last time, I s'pose. Wasn't it on the 18th floor? Well, g'luck!
It stands up from its work of picking up twigs when it notices you approach.
: Uh, hi again.
: You've returned... Are you here to grant my request?
: Indeed! What do you want us to accomplish?
You nod, and he starts to fill in the details of the request.
: Your kind is strange... My request is not hard. I only want you to retrieve something. You may be glad to hear that I know exactly where it is. But there is a problem...
The man frowns after saying this, then slowly continues.
: The way there is so narrow that neither myself nor your kind could get through. But I've seen your kind use beasts here. I thought one of them could make it through. Northeast of this floor is a small passage. I want the black mushroom growing at its end. When you have it, deliver it to the man at the bar.
His request made, the man stoops again to gather his twigs. You tell him you'll be finished before long, and leave the area.
: We shall be swift in our duty!
You crouch down to take a look... It doesn't seem that any human could fit through.
: I don't think we're getting through this.
A beast may be able to pass, but...
Once again, we need a solo Beast to get past this.
: Stay safe, Ling.
It seems to have been made just for animals to use... You roar in excitement and squeeze into the passage.
You just have to walk down this really long hallway. What captivating map design.
You look down to see a black mushroom growing, just as the strange man said.
: Hmm? Blech!
You sniff the mushroom and leap back at its horrible stench! You don't know what it's used for, but it doesn't seem tasty. You'd rather eat monster meat! Gagging at the smell, you manage to get the mushroom in the bag. You have obtained the item requested by your client! You give a proud roar before leaving the area.
: Ahhh, welcome back! Hmm... I didn't know beasts were good for that kind of thing.
: Nice going, Ling!
: You guys trained that panda well.
: Maybe I should train one to watch the bar or something... Well, yer job's done. Here's yer reward, and thank yer pet beast for me! Thanks a lot!
Increases the party's resistance to all elements. But it's weaker than the specialized mists. It does stack with them, so that's something to keep in mind.
The Voltking to the south of the 18th floor has been getting in my way a lot, so I decided to take it out.
: So, is it true that you guys fought a dragon!? And won!?
: ...Yes. We fought a dragon. And won.
: Aw come on, you guys have to tell me the details!
: Uhh... Nick and Aliara did most of the work. Nick hit Dragon with his... whip, and Aliara used her curses on him.
: Do I even wanna know what Nick did?
: Oh yeah, that Dragon and I had a goooooood time!
: ...Oh god, you didn't- I knew it was a mistake to let you borrow those comics!
: You are responsible for teaching him those grotesque techniques?
: Hey, I didn't know he was gonna learn how to stroke-
: Stop speaking before I remember the details!
Keep in mind that Voltkings have a resistance to Stab attacks. Pauline's postgame bow lets her deal respectable damage.
: Oh, you learned a new whip technique? How do you do this one?
: Well, you just-
: I'm not even gonna say it.
: Uh, I guess tell me some other time.
: Spared by the beast's fury.
And Apollon's damage gets absolutely ridiculous with that bow.
: Oh come on!
A bit of a damage comparison between our classes.
Okay, no more goofing around. Let's do the 19th floor.
-Drop 1: Gold Quill - 1 needed for Round Helm. 2 needed for Body Aspis. 3 needed for Wing Tunic. 1 needed for the quest The wise King.
--Glowbird feathers that shine brighter than gold.
-Drop 2: Gold Claw - 1 needed for Juzumaru (Katana.) 10 needed for Dark Saker.
--Sharp claws that easily rip through flesh.
-Drop 3: Death Stem - See 3rd Stratum Chop info.
Description: A bird whose sharp beak and high dexterity must be met by a warrior of equal speed.
Weakness: Stab (150%)
Glowbirds are monsters that can make some encounters very deadly. They have very high AGI and LUC (58 and 54) so they're fast and hard to hit. They don't hit too hard, but Corrode lowers your entire party's defenses, which enables enemies that already hit pretty hard to hit even harder.
: My arrow flies!
: Uh, I think I got them.
Oh yeah, Ken? Absolute monster now. He dishes out fantastic single target and AOE damage. Aliara lost her role of mob clearer, but Ken took up that mantle. Keep in mind that this is without buffs.
: Oh hey, there's a bird over there!
: Aw, it flew off.
: Huh. What was that about?
: No clue, but be on your guard.
: Uh, what's this thing?
: It appears to be a platform of some sort.
: Let's take it for a ride!
: No wait, I'm not ready! Let me off!
: Ken. Dude, it's over. You can get off of me now.
: Huh? Oh. S-sorry,
: Huh. It's just like the lily pads.
So the gimmick of this floor is that there's a bunch of islands, and these gold platforms will take you to another one. They all travel in a straight line, and some of them are one way trips. Yeah, this is pretty much EO1's lily pad floor, only under a different aesthetic.
This is when you can properly fight the Wrathbuds by themselves.
: AAAHHH! Giant flower! Get it away from me!
: Long story.
: Dude, it's been like a really long time since then. You're still scared of flowers?
: The teeth! Oh god the teeth!
: You can stop crying now, Nick. It's gone.
It's also when you can actually get their conditional drops, since the game checks to see if they were killed on the first turn, not in one turn.
Here's this floor's Mine point.
The platform to the right is a one-way trip. On the next island, the south platform will take you to some treasure.
There's a new FOE on this island.
: It doesn't look like these ones are gonna fly away.
: Then let's take them out.
Behavior: Time of day
-Common: Stone Beak - 1 needed for Halberd (Axe.)
--A broken beak that has lost its stoning power.
-Rare: Pale Quill - 1 needed for Gauntlet and Quill Boot. 3 needed for Wing Dress
--Raven feathers with a variety of uses.
Description: A large, chicken-like creature that lives in the Labyrinth. Its beak turns men to stone.
Weakness: Stab (150%)
Resistance: Cut (75%)
Cocatris aren't really that scary. They can hit fairly hard and petrify your party members, but their petrification skill is single target. They're really easy to take down at this point and shouldn't pose a threat. Carry some Therica Bs, but that's a given at this point.
Some more nice damage from Pauline.
: Oh, I thought I had that shot!
: Too bad, you'll have to be quicker next time!
I shudder to think just how much damage she would be doing without that bow. She's matching Fedot and Ken in terms of raw numbers right now.
So this floor has another gimmick. Time sensitive FOEs. There's a total of 15 Cocatris on this floor. There's three different time periods in which they spawn, with 5 spawing in different locations at each time period.
You might have noticed a bit of a gap in their spawn times. From 4 to 6pm, they won't spawn at all. You can use that time to go through the floor (which is 60 steps) without worrying about all the Cocatris. You can also plan out a route to avoid encountering any at specific times. Or you can just kill every single one that gets in your way. Guess which method I'm using to deal with them. Anyways, I'll label the Cocatris with the corresponding letters from now on. One spawns in the afternoon, but two spawn at night on this island.
Some nice treasures. The Therica BX is gonna be really handy for the rest of the Stratum. At this point, I go back to restock.
I just got a new katana for Ken and you're already giving me a better one? Wow, the game insists on making Ken a murder machine.
Now there's a Cocatris on this island.
Here's the spawn times for them.
This time, I'm going up.
This island only hosts a Cocatris at night.
Another thing to note about Cocatris, they never use Petrify at full health or on the 1st turn. So if you're gonna take one down, do it quick.
: Oh my goodness! Where did we put the Therica Bs?
: Don't worry, I'll avenge him!
: Time for the big cli-
: I steal from the slow.
Cocatris are really nothing to worry about as long as you don't drag out the battle.
A few ways off this island, I take the middle left platform.
There's a Cocatris here in the morning.
I happened to snag the Gold Quill needed for the quest.
: Didn't that doctor want this for a patient?
: Yep. Just, uh, keep it safe for now.
: Will do.
Kienzan has a pretty slow activation rate, and tends to go after all the enemies had their turn.
1st Turn completely fixes that problem.
: My feet fly!
: Are we still hunting for food because of Nick, cause I just cooked us a bunch of... what kind of birds are these?
: Hey! We made some of that money back!
: Thanks for the concern, but you don't have to worry about that as much. Somehow, we got our hands on even more money. No clue how.
Fedot gets a level up. So yeah, Pauline and Ken can pretty much clear out mobs on their own.
2-Hit now has a 16% chance to proc.
: Hey, maybe this skeleton is-
: Ugh, are we really gonna find this girl Cass is looking for? I mean any of these corpses could be her!
: Well, it can't hurt to hold onto this coin for a bit longer.
: I dunno, I'm kind of having my doubts about this whole thing as well.
: Don't worry Gilbert, we'll find her.
: I hope so...
Another incorrect spot for that quest.
On that previous island, I go left.
Nick is working on capping out his STR since I got most of the abilities I wanted on him.
Normally, the island to the south contains nothing. However, it's the destination for the Pride of the gunner quest.
The FOE here is the target.
Skills: Evil Cry, Fang
Item Drops: N/A
Description: A violent beast that killed the chief of the Ducal Bombardiers with its sharp fangs.
Weakness: Fire (150%)
Resistance: Ice (75%)
It's just a stronger and far tankier version of the Wolf. You don't need to have the Gunner to get the finishing blow, just having one in your party is enough.
: That was easier than I thought it would be.
: This is the monster that killed that leader guy? How'd he die to that thing?
You edge towards the monster to confirm the kill, when a lone guard approaches from behind.
: Yep. See, it went down like this...
You explain the situation, and the wide-eyed guard nods, his mouth slightly agape.
: I see! Don't worry, I'll vouch for you. In fact, I'll head back now and give them the news!
The guard eagerly shakes each of your hands and bows deeply before taking his leave. Congratulations! You have honored yourself by avenging the Ducal Bombardiers' leader!