Part 17: Let me guess... new haircut?
The first part of the excavation is kind of a boring maze. You can press the action button to light the torches, allowing you to use them as breadcrumbs to figure out where you have and haven't been. There aren't any new enemies here, only a new item: the Mogay Bomb.
It's actually a really good combat item, because in addition to regular damage in an area, it also does IP damage, knocking enemies back in time on the IP bar. The item name is a Grandia I reference - the Mogay were a race of rabbit-like merchants.
Navigating the maze leads to a small transition area which was the cause of much confusion when I first played the game. You see, this area is marked as Liligue Cave 2, but both exits lead back to "Liligue Cave 1". I got turned around quite a few times before figuring this out.
It didn't help that both halves of Liligue Cave 1 look pretty much the same. This ring is a Reflection Ring, which occasionally reflects 10% of damage taken. There's another Mogay Bomb here, but that's about it. An exit soon leads us to Liligue Cave 2 proper.
Here we find the one new enemy of the dungeon, the Ghoul.
HP: 1250 (from 670)
Abilities: Gravity, Ice Prickle (~220 AoE cancel), Power Drain (~180, Lifesteal, -1 all stats)
Concept Art: Here.
I really like these guys, because unlike most random encounter enemies, they have a clear battle plan.
Step 1: Cast Gravity, bunching up the party.
Step 2: Use Ice Prickle, doing a respectable chunk of AoE damage and canceling the action of everyone hit.
There's 3 Ghouls in every pack, so they'll pull off some variation on this combo often enough to be dangerous. Plus, they have another special move:
Power Drain heals the Ghoul for the damage done and reduces all of the target's stats by 1, which is pretty rude. That said, most of their damage comes from Ice Prickle, so I've learned a new spell to put an end to that:
Fiora inflicts Move Block on enemies in an area, disabling their special moves. Since Ghouls are immune to Sleep, it's pretty much the best debuff you can use on them.
After fighting through a few packs of ghouls, we find this area. The tablet reads: "If you wish to open the portal, light the red, blue and green candlesticks." Not much of a riddle. The button opens some stone doors earlier in the area which lead to the appropriate switches.
The blue switch can be found here, guarded by this pack of mantises. They're not as threatening as they used to be and the blue orb is easily lit.
Up next is green, in a room with a ghoul and gargoyle pack and some really good accessories. The Bonds of Trust give +5 ACT and allow the user to sacrifice their turn in order to speed up another party member's, while the Confusion Charm prevents exactly what you think.
Taking a different exit out of the green orb room, we find these. Holy Wound Salves heal twice as much as the regular kind, the Fire Pendant gives +10 DEF and lv3 resist, while the Flamberge is a fire-elemental sword for Ryudo that can be used to cast Burn! in battle.
These messages are so ridiculously inappropriate for ancient stone slabs.
That message in particular was referring to these boxes. That's a Poff Nut, by the way - I'm sure you can figure the puzzle out yourselves. If it also puzzles you why I took this screenshot while the party was apparently dancing, it's because the game zooms in a lot if you're not moving.
Also guarding the red orb is this ghoul-in-a-box. That's the last obstacle in Liligue Cave 2 and we can now light the third 'candlestick'.
Doing so reveals a fourth, yellow one back where we first found them. Lighting this one is what actually opens the way forward.
Before we move on to the final area, I've prepared a writeup and videos of Elena, Roan and Mareg's moves, since they weren't in the party last time I did this. Simply scroll down to the next screenshot if you'd rather just see plot.
VIDEO: Elena's Moves
Impact Bomb (25 SP) - Standard Canceling special move, probably the lowest damage of all of them.
Nightmare Ball (18 SP) - Low damage in an area with a high chance to Sleep. An OK alternative to Snooze.
Droplets of Life (99 SP) - Costs more SP than Elena will even have for a while, so I can't show it off yet. Definitely her best move - it revives and fully restores the entire party.
White Apocalypse (80 SP) - Her version of Fallen Wings, basically. Would rather use her SP on Droplets of Life. Plus, the video for it is buggy and Gargoyles have some kind of weird resistance to it. Bug Count: 16
VIDEO: Roan's Moves
Golden Hammer (22 SP) - Standard Canceling special move.
Dragon Rise (38 SP) - High damage single-target attack.
Snowball Fight! (40 SP) - AoE ice-elemental damage.
Vitality March (20 SP) - Probably his most interesting move, it removes all debuffs from the party, including stat reduction. Unfortunately, it looks... wrong as hell in the PC version. Bug Count: 17
VIDEO: Mareg's Moves
Beast-Fang Cut (26 SP) - Standard Canceling special move.
Beast-King Smash (44 SP) - High damage single-target attack.
Beast-King Blast (52 SP) - High damage area of effect fire attack, centered on Mareg himself.
Lion's Roar (18 SP) - +2 ATK to the entire party, which isn't very good to be honest.
With the exception of the cancel moves and others I mentioned to be useful, these probably won't be seeing much use, since upgrading the cancel moves and unlocking skills tends to result in more bang for your SC.
We're... quite far down, aren't we? I've always liked this area. My only complaint is that Flyin' Jim Phoenix's name should totally have been carved on the side of the cliff.
Past the save point lies our destination...
This is a Seal of Lord Granas! It is used to seal in a Piece of Valmar...
But... this Seal is broken! Could whatever was sealed have left here?!
... Ryudo. The culprit in this crime is not your brother...
I may have timed my screenshots poorly. To make things clear, it just ATE ELENA.
Right. We're dealing with a Piece of Valmar here.
Great. She's back.
What? What just happened?
Oh! Is that you Miss Millenia? We meet again!
Nobody ever explains anything to Mareg.
It stomps away from the party.
C'MON! Chase after him! That thing's the cause of all of it!
"It" is so vague... What're you referring to?
Forget it, just GO!
Millenia having just been regurgitated back into our party, it's nice of Valmar to have left us some new stuff for her in his doom cave.
Unless Melfice has put on some weight, this isn't him.
This beast is the source of the village's troubles. Caution! Its SMELL augurs danger.
You look delicious! You little ones... I shall strip your bones of your fine flesh, yes?
So tender... So succulent... Come, let me taste you! And the Wings of Valmar shall make a fine main course, yes?
That voice is familiar... ahh... Gadan, Gadan. Let me guess... new haircut?
(Valmar-specific boss music; bonus sweet remix here)
VIDEO: A bunch of its moves, mostly.
Attack: 600 for normal attacks, 200-400 for everything else
Abilities: Starving Tongue (Hits all, Lifesteal), Gluttony (AoE, drops DEF, Cancels), Huge Leap (hits all), Freeze!
Head Abilities: Snooze, Burn!, Burnflame
Hand Abilities: Flamethrower, Spew Poison, Eat 'em Alive
That is a lot of things, as you may have noticed. While most of its attacks are quite devastating, it gets stunned for a really long time whenever any of its parts are hit, and whenever a given part hits ACT, it has to finish its move before the next part gets its turn. What this means is that you get a bunch of free turns to pound on it while a hand or the main body tries to get a melee attack in, allowing you to focus down the main body before all the AOE damage runs your healers out of mana.
Some preparation is still required - packing Sleep resist is basically mandatory and if you don't have either Alhealer or a dedicated Healing Herb thrower, you might take more damage than you can heal. Still, I'd call it a surprisingly easy boss fight, especially if it decides to use Freeze! a whole bunch - all it does is decrease MOV, which is easily reversed by Runner.
From a story standpoint, some of you are probably thinking that the developers were going for the Seven Deadly Sins with the whole parts of Valmar thing, and you'd probably be right. That said, they don't quite fit - while the Tongue is obviously Gluttony and Millenia is probably Lust, the people of Liligue fit Greed better than any embodiment of Darkness.
Miss Millenia! What just happened!?
Wha- what exactly did you just do!?
Hee-hee, that's a S-E-C-R-E-T♥ See you later, Ryudo.
Uh, hey! Millenia!
In a flash of light, Millenia disappears, leaving Elena in her place.
The SMELL... is gone... So it was not Melfice...
... Ryudo? Where am I? It happened... again!
You remember anything after being swallowed by the Tongue of Valmar?
Well, Millenia appeared again. And, according to her, Gadan was possessed by the Tongue of Valmar.
I won't comment on THAT, but apparently, this was the source of the town's troubles.
... Our holy book contains a passage that speaks of this... First Valmar possesses one's soul... and then devours it.
Maybe this is what happened to Gadan. The poor man. Valmar took advantage of the weakness of his soul...
Each Piece of Valmar can feed off of another to increase their own power... How revolting...
This man must have had his soul devoured...
I can't believe she'd... do such a thing.
Me too. Didn't we manage to fix the town's problems... only thanks to Miss Millenia?
I can't believe it either... I think it's just a coincidence.
Mareg's a bit of a warrior poet.
Are you saying that Melfice is... possessed?
I know not. No matter, he is dangerous, possessed or otherwise. But I WILL have my vengeance.
Mareg, when I'm finished with Elena... uh, this job, let me go along with you.
I know not where to begin my search, and this land is unfamiliar to me. You would not be unwelcome should you choose to come.
... I am sure that the Wings of Valmar are within me.
Every night, I can feel the Darkness drawing across my soul like a shroud... The cold... ... I must see His Holiness Zera soon.
The townspeople seem to be all better!
Okay, so we go straight to Granas Cathedral.
Hahaha, no we don't, I've got different plans. Next time: a nice chat over a hearty meal.
Official Art: The Tongue of Valmar