Part 11: Chapter 11
: "Take the White Mask to Mysidia."
: "Get the Ultima magic as soon as possible!"
On to Mysidia (for real this time!)
What? FRY is evolving!
FRY evolved into SLIGHTLY LESS USELESS FRY!
These things are annoying as hell when you're trying to get to Mysidia early; they have a lot of attacks, and cause petrification on hit. Even if you exploit the leveling system to get enough HP to survive all the other encounters around Mysidia, having 5000 HP won't help you when these assholes petrify your whole party in 2 rounds tops. By this point in the game it's not hard to have enough evasion to neuter them, though.
The mages' dialogue all references this quest arc even if you get here early, so now it finally starts making sense.
: "So, you want to break the seal of Ultima? Well, you'll need the two Masks, each hidden deep within the earth. Plus, you'll need the Crystal Rod to crack the seal.
: "The Black Mask is on a small island in the middle of the sea."
: "The Goddess Statue is enshrined near here. It guards the Crystal Rod."
Also, we've got a lot of new keywords to try out at the Great Library of Mysidia's one bookshelf. Talking to the books, here's what they have to say on the new quest topics:
: "One Knight by the name of Haan spent 30 years to retain friendship with the Hiryuus. He became the first Dragoon."
: "The magic they had created was so strong, they feared they themselves would ruin the world by fighting over its power. So, they formed Mysidia as a haven and migrated there in peace."
: "The White Mask's destiny lies with a maiden of solid stone... Black with the likeness of a drone."
This riddle is retarded and not translated especially well, but it's pretty straightforward. One of the mages mentioned something about a statue of a goddess, so...
Time to dispose of the White Mask and reclaim another inventory slot!
It's only going to get worse, too; we still have to find the Black Mask. First, though, a little shopping:
There is almost literally nothing to buy after you've gotten whatever you want from Mysidia, so might as well start shotgunning Elixirs.
One of the mages mentioned it being on a small island in the sea, which you probably spotted on the way to Dist earlier. At least if you were checking the map, because it is freaking annoying to find this little island otherwise.
Like Phin's basement, the Black Mask dungeon features some rather underwhelming enemies and treasures. The Valium casts Sleep 16, which is not among the more useful one-shot spell effects. Garlic casts a special spell effect that does fairly marginal damage to undead (and only undead), which is rather useless since undead have a bajillion weaknesses anyhow.
Very early on in the second floor, for example, there's a self-contained side route leading to... a forest full of Shy Guys?
Complete with a Shy Guy merchant. Oddly, the equipment he sells is weaker than what's available in Mysidia and even Phin--the Demon Axe is a particularly egregious ripoff, with less than half the attack power of the Ogre Axe you can buy in Mysidia but boasting a similar five-digit price tag.
The one interesting item you can buy here is the Earth Drum, one of the more useful battle items in the game. It's also overpriced, but it's not like you have anything else to spend money on at this point in the game. You can get a free one a bit later, though.
Mixed groups of slimes are among the more common encounters here. They're kind of annoying, because they're virtually immune to weapons and have non-overlapping elemental resistances and weaknesses, and they're one of the few things that's actually resistant to being polymorphed... but the Holy spell does non-elemental damage, so it kills them just fine.
: "Wait, you just cast a spell to turn it into a toad?"
: "Unbelievable. Hey, guess what? I just cast a spell to turn you into an stupid asshole."
Backtracking from the Shy Guy village and continuing on the main path. There are some crappy black magic spells along the way (there are actually doubles of both of these available in this dungeon.) Again, I have no idea why they don't just give you these at the start. Especially since you've probably earned them from enemy drops by now anyways.
A dead-end staircase leads to a rather apropos monster-in-a-box (not that it's worth blowing a $5000 item on low-level undead. Or more to the point, blowing one of your ever-dwindling inventory slots carrying it around just to use it on low-level undead.)
Some of the monsters in this cave are pretty laughable at this point (although these things look pretty laughable regardless of stats.) There's nothing stopping you from coming here immediately after getting the ship, and in fact this place is probably easier than the Dist Cave, so it probably would make sense to come here first and then tackle Dist and the Coliseum with the extra experience.
Another longer branch ends at a pair of Valiums and a free Earth Drum, guarded by the customary pointless monster-in-a-box.
The Earth Drum casts Quake, which is a special spell that can't actually be learned. It does a very large amount of non-elemental damage, considering that it's spread out over all enemies (you'd need near-max Intelligence and skill levels to get this kind of damage out of the basic elemental spells on enemies that don't have elemental weaknesses to exploit.) Not only does it do quite decent damage that can't be resisted, it's reusable--I don't know if it has a set number of charges or simply disappears randomly (probably the latter, since it involves keeping track of less data) but you seem to be able to get about 8-10 uses out of it. It also has the interesting property of doing double damage to earth-type enemies.
"Earth" is kind of an odd creature category that gets assigned to burrowing enemies, amorphous enemies, earth-themed enemies... basically Quake just ends up randomly doing double damage to a lot of things that it has no real reason to, including some things that hover (it does full normal damage to fliers, too.) I'm pretty sure this behavior is pretty buggy, since 1) it makes no sense and 2) it works differently in the GBA remake.
I find a Death God idol in another short dead-end branch. It's is a multi-use item similar to the EarthDrum, except it casts a much-less-useful Fear spell.
Back on the correct path at last, and there's a Sleep spell for the taking. It's one of the most reliable status spells in the game, but if you're relying on status spells then at this point you should have a Toad spell that's much higher level, and much less widely resisted. If you're desperate for some Sleep-based action you can hunt WzOgres for a spellbook drop... but really, by the time you can easily take on WzOgres you're probably too powerful to have any use whatsoever for Sleep.
Finally at the end of the dungeon, which means time for a skill roundup.
A thoroughly unimpressive boss. By now you probably know how that it is the inevitable fate of all bosses to live out the rest of their life as small amphibians.
Well you'd be wrong. Nyah!
: "I guess that would make this... the Battle of the Little-"
: "You do not want to finish that sentence."
Masks: 2/2. Now it's time to hunt down that Crystal Rod, which is probably kind of annoying if you don't know where it is already, because I can't find anyone who actually tells you where it is.