Part 95: Cleanup: The Fifth StratumCleanup: The Fifth Stratum
Okay, you've already seen this.
: You there, of Firefly. I have a message from the Minister. He has expressed his wish that you come ot the Duke's Palace when you have a spare moment.
Having delivered his message, the soldier returns to his post. It seems the Minister would like an audience with you. Meet him at the Duke's Palace.
Time to finally turn in that mission we got back in the 4th Stratum.
: It's true, then that you have penetrated to the heart of the floating castle... And retrieved the Grail of Kings... The Holy Grail!
: Got it right here.
: The Duke's life is saved! I will inform Lady Gradirel immediately!
Fade to black.
: The Holy Grail... I hardly dared to dream that you would find it. You traveled so long, and fought so hard. I have heard rumors of your battle with the Overlord. Only Guild Firefly could have accomplished so much!
: Already? But we just got back here.
: And my father... the Duke will be saved. My heart has not felt such joy in a very long time. I shall spare no expense in granting whatever reward you desire! Please, take this!
: I must go now to prepare the Panacea for my father. A thousand thanks would not be enough, Guild Firefly, so I shall thank you only once more!
: If you recall the first time we met, I made you an offer... Should you retrieve the Holy Grail, we would be prepared to make you an titled noble.
: Uh, I don't know about that.
: Sorry, but I'll have to decline.
: But even then... I knew you would turn down such a reward. An explorer desires freedom above all things. Even this old man understands that. Rather than nobility, then, let me give you this as a token for all you've done for High Lagaard. Here... take this.
: Now that's a reward!
Let's see what he has to say normally.
: Our men keep me informed of what goes on in the castle. You are doing a tremendous job. I am truly sorry for making you solve the problems our ancestors have caused... If I could, I would give a public apology, but the citizens cannot know of this. It would only cause a panic. Please keep this matter between the two of us. While you were up there, the sky let loose a hail of stones, throwing the town into chaos... Even our most stalwart citizens were seized with terror, and could only think of survival. How blind I have been... It is not the officials who make this nation. It is the people. We have been so focused on imposing order, we forgot that citizens could help one another. This is a fine nation... but it wasn't the Grand Duchy who made it that way. Every man and woman pooled their strength to build a home where they could be proud to live. Before this old man forgets again... I thank you with all my heart for what you've done. The day isn't far off when it will be me coming to you for advice! I would like to reward you with one of my books. It's called "Perceiving Multilayered Space."
: My bladder is crying out for sweet release. I must go!
: What's that look for...? This book is fascinating! Hey! Where are you going!? *sigh*... I guess you're explorers through and through.
If you try to leave...
: I- uh- have to go... um...
: Pipe down. What is it?
: We met someone from that race you've become so familiar with... The winged ones.
Did you forget about them? They're still a part of the story.
: He has informed us that there is a way to eradicate all the monsters from the Labyrinth.
: ...Go on.
: The resources found within that forest have brought this nation prosperity and tranquility. If we could venture into the Labyrinth without putting our lives at risk... Well. Of course, this winged one's claim has not been verified. I briefly considered having the guard corps investigate, but... Well, I don't know of anyone more skilled at exploring the Labyrinth than you. What say you?
: Mm... I see. I apologize, then. I thought of all you'd done for us so far, and, well... Do forgive me. The situation is not urgent, and you may take your time in answering. Should you decide to accept my offer, come back here and let me know. I look forward to speaking with you again.
: I'd say something like that is definitely worth checking out. We'll go ahead and investigate. I guess we'll be staying in High Lagaard a bit longer.
: I was hoping you'd say that! I cannot express how much I appreciate all you do for us. This winged one claims that there is another Stratum of forest atop the castle.
: Whoa whoa whoa. We're not done!?
: Why am I not surprised?
: He seems to be referring to the floating islands that hover around nearby... Your mission is to find a way onto those islands and retrieve a certain sword. Alas, not even this winged one knew what the sword looks like. But once you have it, you can supposedly gain total control over the Labyrinth. Still... I hesitate to put our full forces into a search based on such incomplete data. Thus, we have been in contact with Mr. Cass at the bar, who will offer it as a quest. If you wish to take the quest, you can ask him for more details at the Stickleback Bar. I trust that you will bring about the desired result.
The Ducal Mark is a neat little accessory. Provides a very nice increase to HP and TP. I put this on Aliara.
In every Etrian Odyssey game, after you complete the main game, you'll unlock the music player. You can choose to listen to every track in the game, even ones you haven't heard yet. A neat little feature.
: If you're tired, I suggest you skip the bar and head directly to the Flaus Inn to rest. Finding the floating castle... Retrieving the Holy Grail... You are heroes to Lagaard.
: I guess so...
: ...Why, then, don't you seem satisfied?
: Turns out we're not done exploring the Labyrinth. There's another Stratum above the floating castle.
: Ah... there's an unknown Stratum beyond the floating castle?
: So, could we-
: Hah... Of course I wouldn't mind if you explored it. Do whatever you please. You do want to explore the new area, I assume? That's what you formed a guild to do. That's all I can say. May the Labyrinth's blessings be with you.
: Oh... I shouldn't have said that, should I? My mistake. I don't know what happened up there, but yeh won, right?
: Oh, you bet!
: Well then! The next round's on me! Let's get hammered till we can't remember our names!
: Not now. There's something we need to see on the request board.
: Huh...? Yeh want to look at the request board!? What kind of freaks are yeh!?
Once you hand in your report to Dubois and say yes to his request when you try to leave, this quest will pop up. It is actually a VERY IMPORTANT QUEST TO COMPLETE!
: Ah, here it is.
: What's it say?
: 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 tyeh did pay me the broker's fee and left a reward, so it's more or less on the up-and-up. Is it just me, or do yeh meet the strangest people in this line of work?
: Not the first time I've had to deal with stuff like that.
: I guess yeh could count me in with that sort, eh? Haw haw! Here's the directions to the place yeh're meant to meet. G'luck!
: We heard a huge noise form the top of the Labyrinth, and all this stuff fell from the sky! I... I was so, so worried that you might be... be... *sob*
: Whoa whoa! We're fine! See?
: But now that I see your faces, safe and sound, I feel much, much better!
: Don't relax just yet. There's a new Stratum above the castle that we have to explore. Ugh...
: Huh...? There's another Stratum beyond the castle? Wow! That's great news, though!
: What? Why?
: If you haven't finished exploring, you'll stay here in High Lagaard! Yaaay! Th-Thank you very much for all your help! I'll keep working hard to help my father here! Sitoth Trading will always be open when you need us! Please come visit us again!
Selling the Lord Wrath from the Overlord unlocks this item. Don't throw it out, or you won't be able to get 100% completion!
It unlocks a fairly decent piece of armor, but not the best. You can buy as much as you want, it's not limited in stock.
: I don't even need to ask what happened... Everyone heard the sounds from the top of the tree.
: Is everyone okay? We heard that some debris fell down here.
: Don't worry, though. No one was harmed. We evacuated into underground shelters to prevent the falling debris from causing casualties. As for me, I worked overtime to admit and treat anyone injured by the catastrophe. It's hard to explain, but... Something told me I couldn't sit by and do nothing. We might not have had to fight as hard as you did, but we had to do our part all the same. Not just me, of course! The inn's owner, the bartender, everyone helped out... We worked together as a town to save ourselves. You set a great example for this city... Everyone is proud of what you accomplished. And now, as your physician, I prescribe plenty of bed rest!
: I can get behind that.
: Not now, Ken.
: Oh come on, boss! You've been working us to the bone nonstop!
: Indeed. We've done a lot. I know there's another Stratum to explore, but we just got back from a battle with the Overlord himself.
: As much of a wimp that guy was anyway.
: Well... I guess we can take a short break.
: I don't know much about it. All that matters to me is that you're safe! Such a relief... If you're tired, the beds upstairs are waiting. I was so worried... My daughter was, too. You're in her prayers every night. She always wishes for you to come back safe. Isn't she thoughtful? I tell you, she's the spitting image of me when I was younger!
A quick nap later, I set out to complete the quests in our backlog. The first one being the tree quest.
The tree's colossal branches are sparser here... You can see the sky. You think back to the quest you accepted at the bar... You have been asked to cut certain parts of Yggdrasil to take back into town. If you are certain this is one of the designated areas, cut the branch and use the spray.
: Think this is the right spot?
: No, Cass said that the branches we needed to cut are north of the 5th floor.
Your supply of medicinal spray is limited... There is no room for error in cutting branches. You decide not to cut this branch just yet, and step back to confirm your position.
So each of the floors we have to go to has one wrong spot and one right spot. If you cut the wrong branch on a floor, you won't find out until after you've used up all your medicine. Oh, and after you cut a branch, right or wrong, the game starts lagging because it's checking to see if you got all the right branches or not for every single step! At least this quest doesn't cause time to pass while turning. Anyways, the flavor text for cutting and not cutting a branch are all the same for each Stratum.
Yggrasil's branches spread in all directions, blocking the light shining down on Lagaard. You carefully cut through one of the branches, remembering to spray the medicine afterwards.
If you have cut down all the branches, then return to Lagaard and report to the bar.
You get that reminder after every branch you cut down. It's kind of annoying.
Nick learns Ecstasy, which is nice. But more importantly...
: HAHAHAHAHA! THE POWER!
Aliara learns Revenge. All shall quake and tremble in her presence... is what I'd like to say, but Revenge sucks at low levels. The damage isn't that great, and the accuracy is pretty bad. It's 100% at level 1, but the accuracy of the skill also factors in the Hexer's and target's TEC. If the Hexer's TEC is much lower than the enemy's, it'll miss very often. So you can't use that skill to cheese enemies that are a huge cut above. Well I'm assuming that was the sole balancing factor, but that completely goes out the window at level 10, where the accuracy rises to 190%. At that point, it doesn't matter how low the Hexer's TEC is, it'll never miss at that point. Good job Atlus.
The sky you can see through the red leaves makes for a pleasant change in scenery. You think back to the quest you accepted at the bar... You have been asked to cut certain parts of Yggdrasil to take back into town. If you are certain this is one of the designated areas, cut the branch and use the spray.
For the most part, the flavor text is all the same, but the first two sentences change depending on the Stratum you're in which is a nice touch. Anyways, this is the wrong spot for this floor.
Here's the right spot.
Now I remember to whip out Nick's ultimate weapon. No mercy for the postgame. I decide to complete the quest Beyond the depths while I was at it.
As before, he is gathering twigs, but this time he raises a hand in greeting.
: Good morning. How was that...? I found out how your kind says hello to each other.
Confusion must be evident on your face, because he tilts his head to the side.
: Did I do it wrong...? I tried, at least. You should show some respect.
: Oh, I'm sorry.
: Ah, you just said it at the wrong time. At this time, you would say something like "good evening." So, what did you need?
You return the greeting and ask about the quest. He answers your questions slowly.
: A day ago, I got a message from your leader, asking me how to find that monster's offspring. They smell of steel, a scent that is foul to me. I feigned ignorance, but it was a lie.
: So what do you know?
If he's telling the truth, this could be important... You ask him to elaborate.
: You gave me a gift once, and I repaid the favor with useful information. This time, the price will be the whip called Tormentor. I have seen your kind with it. Bring it to me, and I shall help you.
He falls silent after saying this, and resumes gathering his precious twigs. You say your farewells and decide to leave the area.
And this is why I bought the Tormentor earlier, though I don't have it with me now.
Here's the wrong spot on this floor.
And here's the right spot. Now I take out the Tormentor from storage so I can give it to that Winged One.
He raises a hand confidently and waves to you.
: Good morning! Isn't the weather great today? ...How was that? Perfect, wasn't it?
: Good morning! That was a lot better. Here's the whip you wanted.
You return the pleasantries and give him the whip. He smirks and responds with information.
: That monster has a natural predator which lays its eggs in the monster's offspring. Tell your leader that if he finds the Huelord, there he will find the beast's young. But he must take care... That insect is one of the strongest monsters in the Labyrinth.
: Thanks, that'll help a lot.
You thank him, and decide to leave the area. The quest is complete! Report your success to the bar when you return to Lagaard.
I have no idea where the wrong spot for this floor is, but this is the right place to cut the branch. After cutting all four of the right branches, you'll get this message.
Once you return the Lagaard, go to the bar and report your success.
: Ahh, well done! Looks like yeh cut down all the branches! Want to hear something funny, though? One of those huge branches yeh cut... Maybe it was just the wind, but it crashed smack into someone's house, clear through the roof!
: Oh dear.
: Are they alright?
: They're not mad at us, are they?
: Eh? Naw, no one's angry at yeh. Haw! Don't worry about it. They've no idea it was you! And the best part? The house belonged to a total wanker! Haw haw haw! Ahhh, well done indeed. I wish yeh could've seen it... It brought a smile to my face! It were truly something special. Here's yer reward. Come back anytime!
Could have been handy for the Overlord fight if I did this earlier, but aside from that, it's kind of a mediocre accessory.
: Ahhh, welcome back! Did yeh say hi to yer weirdo friend for me? Haw haw! But seriously... the monster on the 11th floor is rampaging again. And this time, it--
: Don't worry, we found out where its offspring is.
: A monster called a Huelord kidnapped it. Tell the Grand Duchy to look for that thing.
: What's that? Yeh know where its child is? Really!? That's great! Excellent work! I'll tell the Grand Duchy straight away. Oh, I nearly forgot... Here's the reward! Thanks a lot!
Now I set out to do the Test of strength quest.
You must slay as many monsters as you can by dusk! Remembering that only strong monsters will increase your score, you prepare for battle...
: Let the carnage begin!
: Now this is a contest I can really get into!
You don't have to kill anything. You can just waste time until it's nighttime and you'll complete the quest. Of course I'm not going to do that.
I have no idea if Colossus counts as a kill for the quest, but I do it anyways to asset my dominance over the game. And because I want to sell its drops for cash..
That's a level 3 Ecstasy by the way.
A level 3 Revenge doesn't really do much, though.
Didn't get the conditional, but whatever.
It's really easy to get the drop on the Beamedges, and you should definitely do so because they're really tough to deal with.
-Common: Damask Bit - 1 needed for Claymore.
--Crimson fragment of a swordsman's arm.
-Rare: Metal Chip - See Deathman bio.
-Conditional: Sword Chip - Kill in 3 turns. 1 needed for Rubylight.
--Tip of a ruby sword.
Description: A mechanical soldier that wields its high-intensity beam edge without pity.
Weakness: Volt (125%)
Resistance: Fire (75%), Ice (0%), Physical (50%)
You want to take out these things fast. Not only to get their conditional drop, but because they hit really hard. Sever is an AOE Fire attack that will kill your whole party if you don't defend against it properly. But it only uses it once it gets below 50% of its health.
Standard opening tactics.
Yeah, Beamedges are tough. There's a reason why I said to save these things for the postgame.
: Knock it out, Ken!
: Now that's more like it!
Fortunately, Bait can still proc off of deaths.
Rinse and repeat for every Beamedge.
Now this is an FOE that's exclusive to this quest.
This is a missable enemy, so this enemy doesn't get recorded in the codex. It's just a stronger version of an Armorman.
I don't know if you're supposed to kill these things only, or if you're supposed to kill every FOE. At any rate, I killed every single FOE on this floor. The dumb part is that even if you killed every single FOE, leaving early will disqualify you. You have to wander around until dusk.
: I think that's all of them.
: There's no way we didn't get first place!
The competition is over, and you have fought well. You don't yet know the final standings, but you can feel proud of your attempt! Return to the city and await your results!
Here's the last of the equipment you can unlock in the 5th Stratum. All that's left is the postgame stuff.
: Ahhh, yeh did it! I've been waiting for yeh lot!
: Did what?
: Eh? Yeh haven't heard? First place! That's right--yeh won! I can't believe it... First yeh find the floating castle, now yeh win the test of strength! How famous do yeh have to be before yeh're satisfied? Haw! Amazing... The Grand Duchy sent yeh some prize money along with a note. Here, I'll read it for yeh.
: What's with the highfaultin' language! They should have just wrote, "Congratulations!" It's a good thing yeh won, though! I put practically my life savings on yeh! Haw haw! Here's the money I mentioned... It's all there! Haw haw haw! Yeh really did it this time! Congrats!
The best possible reward.