Part 27Chapter 24
This is easily one of my favorite parts of the game. There's a lot of talk about how magic works in this game, a lot of subtle plot lines start popping up, and we begin one of the crazier partnerships in the game. Plus the dialogue in this particular segment is probably the best in the entire game.
So let's get started!
What's on the top floor, anyways?
The...the Monastic Seal.
Get used to this. Leonora stutters. A lot. And she uses enough ellipses to supply an entire game.
So you grab that, come back, and you're an Epopt?
For the clear water and lush forests you have bequeathed us, I offer you our thanks...and our prayers.
Well, that's certainly neat. I think using a key would have been cheaper, though.
Y-yes... I, uh, are you ready to go, Lord Palom?
I'm pretty sure we're the same age.
...How do you know how old Palom is? Are you some creepy Palom fangirl or something?
Palom doesn't notice this, as he's too busy focusing on being the biggest ass possible.
Th-that's...er, that's perfectly fine with me, Lord Palom.
Like I said, enough with the "Lord."
Yeah, you may be wondering why I think the dialogue is so great if Leonora's stuttering more than Porky Pig.
This next scene... Well, I'll let it speak for itself.
Ready to start with your training?
Certainly! Please, tell me what I need to do.
The first thing you need with magic is the ability to project an image of the magic in question. That's part of the idea behind spell transciption, too.
Wow! That's amazing!
Now you do it.
What I like besides this scene, besides that awkward moment that's easily the best part of the game, is that they actually explain how magic works in this game. It pretty much involves some imagination and great mental focus. Not the most innovative interpretation, but it works for this game.
Scorching red flames, burning brightly... The searing fire of a furnace...
For this segment, Leonora only gets Black Magic. In this case, she has access to the Fire? spell.
It's essentially a wimpier version of the Fire spell. Which makes sense, considering she's still training it.
Hit it one more time to defeat it.
A real battle!?
Training has no meaning if you can't do it in real life situations, right? Can you maintain your composure and visualize that image with a monster staring you down? That's the key.
You've lost it already, haven't you?
N-no! I can do it!
Seriously, how can you not love this part?
Time to actually explore.
Here's how to handle random battles for this dungeon.
1) Make sure Palom flips off the enemies every chance he gets.
2) Have Palom cast Fira.
Leonora will gain quite a few levels, and as a result will gain quite a bit of White Magic. You know, while she's simultaneously training in Black Magic.
A guardian, huh?
Yeah, by yourself. Now, go on!
Mini Red is a chump.
He goes down in one hit to the poor man's Fire.
But defeating him means Leonora's mastered the real man's Fire.
It's not something to be that happy about...
Palom's method of teaching involves being a dick even when his student has accomplished something big. You know, like learning their first real Black Magic spell.
Still, you can't blame Leonora. Even Rydia had trouble with the Fire spell!
Fira, and then Firaga. The more powerful the spell, the more you'll need to concentrate your energy.
Take a few steps to the right for another cutscene.
Take a look.
What is it?
We mages are just regular people when we run out of MP.
I-I understand. I'll be careful about that!
That... doesn't answer her question at all, Palom. And no, I didn't skip a line. This is actually how it plays out in the game. Guess it's just a hiccup in the translation or something.
At least Leonora's getting the useless White Magic out of the way now.
Well, I'm not the one in training here, am I?
Leonora doesn't need luck.
Though I guess we did get good luck. Silver Armlet's a nice free upgrade for Leonora.
That was merely passable, at best.
Black magic is certainly harder to learn than white magic.
It's not a matter of difficulty. You're either good at it, or you aren't.
What? Oh...of course not! Never in my wildest dreams!
...That's what I thought. Let's continue.
Yeah, Leonora's certainly not aspiring to become a sage. No siree!
Once we go up a floor, Leonora's training continues.
Y-you mean ice magic?
Right, but don't think about ice. Think about the feeling of cold itself.
I like that subtle distinction. It's not even necessary. They just threw it in as a bit of flavor text.
This is my favorite section of the game.
Next up we gain the Blizzard? spell. As you've probably guessed, it's a wimpier version of Blizzard.
I...I'm doing the best I can!
Another Blizzard? takes the doll out.
I...I guess so...
Seriously, that is one creepy face you're making.
The next floor's a bit different. You'll end up going up, then down to the other half before going back up again. Still linear, but it's different at least.
This is the third White Magic spell Leonora's learned here. It's not the last.
I accidentally used Bluff this turn. It boosts Palom's Intellect and makes monsters cringe. I don't know how this actually affects the monsters, but it apparently does something.
Time for another guardian!
Of course. Now, just keep that creepy face of yours going.
Leonora successfully creeps the Mini Blues to the point of suicide.
She also learns Cura. Finally, something useful!
Oh and she learns Blizzard too I guess.
I...I did it!
Are you seriously trying here?
Cut her some slack. She just learned two spells from two different magic groups at the same time!
I'm not the one you should say "sorry" to.
I'll try even harder from now on!
She's certainly eager to learn.
Y-yes, what is it?
An Epopt shouldn't need to know black magic for her job. So why are you so set on learning this stuff?
I, er...want to further my mind and spirit.
Troia's a peaceful nation. Its Epopts aren't supposed to be fighting battles.
I couldn't make this up if I tried.
Alright, next floor, so you know what we're going to do next.
Yeah. Let's get started.
Palom doesn't even need to tell her what to do here.
It's harder to tell with the other two, but you can see here that Thunder? actually has a different animation than the actual Thunder spell. The thunderbolt is much wimpier in this version.
Again, I think it's something lost in translation here.
Anyway, another casting or two brings the doll down.
Thank you very much!
Don't get too confident. This is usually the point where people let their egos sink them.
Er, yes, I understand!
Aw man and I just bought one too.
Cura AND Slow? Now we're getting into the good stuff.
First instinct is to give it to Palom to upgrade his current helmet. Second instinct is to give it to Leonora as you always want to protect your White Mage as best as possible.
The correct answer is to see what stat boosts it grants and give it to the person who makes best use of it. Sage's Miter boosts Spirit by 5, so Leonora is the right choice.
I won't let my ego get the best of me!
Don't tell me. Show me.
...I did it!
But don't think that's the end of it. You've only just made it to the starting line.
Black magic is all about knowing different things' properties.
Y-yes...it's all a matter of training, I suppose.
That's right, and if you don't have the talent, you'll just have to work that much harder at it.
So of course right after this, the moon switches to a phase that reduces Black Magic.
And in the one Tale where you'll actually use Black Magic on a regular basis!
At level 15, Leonora learns Poison. I don't know if she'll learn this before you learn the basic three, or what happens then. Still, pretty neat that you'll probably learn Poison just after learning Thunder if you're doing random battles at a regular rate. It shows that Leonora's getting the hang of this Black Magic stuff, as she's already moving on to other stuff. Granted, she doesn't really get much variety in Black Magic.
Plus, she's gaining ground on Palom, though Palom will still be a step ahead of Leonora, just because it takes her a long time to reach the -ra spells and the two have a big level differential.
Here's the top floor. I'll explain the gimmicks with these treasure chests in a minute.
Y-yes, it is!
Let's see here...
There you go. The classic "What you're looking for is actually these words" gag.
As you may have guessed, Palom is not pleased with this.
But when it comes to the Epopts... I won't just stand here and let you insult them right in front of my face!
Troia is important to me. Everybody's so gentle and kind to me there.
For as shy as she is, and for as much as she usually stutters, Leonora will not take anyone talking shit about Troia or the Epopts.
Leonora is a much stronger character than you'd expect. She doesn't let Palom's dickishness to her get to her at all, which you might expect. If someone were to outright insult her, she'd let it slide off her back, even if she'd act otherwise. But insult something she cares about, and she'll defend it without hesitation.
Look at her speech there. Few ellipses, not one instance of stuttering. Leonora is not nearly as meek as she lets on. Either it's all an act, or she's harboring a major crush for Palom.
For the first time so far, Palom actually apologizes rather than escalate his dickishness. Leonora's sudden assertiveness certainly catches him off-guard.
If you're a prodigy, then all that happens is you get lazy and quit pushing yourself to improve.
Hmm, I wonder what Palom could be talking about here?
Probably the most encouraging thing Palom has said so far.
Anyways, let's head back. You've got an Epopt post to fill.
After we get some treasure.
See those four switches on the left? The bottom two and top right open paths, while the top left closes them. So how do you get the treasure in the top left?
Secret path, of course!
Palom gets a new spell on the way to the treasure.
An armor upgrade! This also gives a Spirit boost, so it's another treasure for Leonora.
The bad news is that for some stupid reason, we can't use Teleport.
The good news is that we can use Warp, which fortunatley Palom learned just when we needed it.
A few Warps later, and we're done.
Next time, we trudge through more parts of the game that could never hope to be as awesome as this part was.