Part 20: It's a damn shame
Time to slog through the snow and hope we don't freeze to death.
HP: 1800 (from 750)
Special: -1 on hit
Weak to , Resistant to
They hit like trucks, certainly, but they're weak to fire, which is our strongest attack element. Our shiny new Burnstrike, fully upgraded, hits for over half their health. You'll be seeing a lot of it in future boss fights.
The first part of the forest is pretty short, just a couple of easy fights and an Insecticide Bomb, which does bonus damage against insects. Also, the snow on these trees falls when you run under them, which I find strangely adorable.
The cavern contains a bunch of roots, some of which you can slash through, as well as naturally occurring treasure chests full of gold. A wondrous ecosystem.
HP: 1300 (from 560)
Attack: ~250 (10 hits)
Special: , on hit
Abilities: Sleep Dance (~150 damage, Sleep)
They've got a lot of neat little features - they jump around really fast when they see you, making it hard to surprise them, and their attack is a 10-hit combo, which is really easy to counter but ignores dodge chance. On hit, they have a chance to block both your moves and your magic. Also, it's funny to watch them put someone to sleep by dancing on their head. They're easy, though.
There's another Lumir Flower in the caves and a bunch of gold, but that's about it. The exit to the next part of the forest is easily found.
Nothing much changes in the second part of the forest. The Big Foots start walking around in packs of 4, which increases their threat level from "joke" to "speedbump". Also around here, I ran out of MP, but that's mostly due to curing all my move/magic blocks and throwing Burnstrikes around with a little too much vigor.
Our next destination is this massive tree stump, the base of which contains an entrance to the next cavern area.
This place is actually pretty neat. The roots lock us in when we enter, and killing the roots that are sucking up water from these pools clears them away. One opens the way back, another the way forward; the rest of the rooms contain either nothing, enemies or treasure - there's an Oracle Staff (+50 ATK, cures on use) for Elena.
The last new enemy for the area are these guys.
HP: 1600 (from 630)
Special: -1 to a random stat, as well as on hit
They have OK stats and immunity to Sleep is always annoying, but they're cursed with the slowest attack animation in the game. It seriously takes them like two seconds to puff up and spew poison at you, it's pitiful. Plus, there's nothing they can do if you stack Runner. That said, Confusion is a pretty crippling status effect, so they get two stars out of sheer respect for it.
Also, they occasionally drop Pretty Rings, which are useless accessories that sell for a big pile of gold. They're worth fighting for that alone.
The forest area after exiting the cavern is much the same as the last two. This treasure chest can be a little tricky to get to, as the party moves slower in the snow while the Big Foots do not. It contains frozen treats:
An Ice Pick, a Blizzard knife for Roan;
an Arctic Cape, an accessory that gives +10 DEF and level 3 resistance;
and an Icefang Stone, a combat item that basically casts Crackle for single target ice damage.
Also in the area is a Blueberry, the SP equivalent of a Lumir Flower. They restore 25 each.
Wow, this is some thick fog.
The fog is so thick...
Is this really the right road?
Does it really matter?
Wait a second!
Odd. There is no SMELL of life in this place.
The fog clears.
... Why do flowers bloom in such a cold and barren place?
(this isn't even remotely music, but... well, you'll see)
This is the Garden of Happiness. My precious, secret place. Everyone who comes here forgets their bad memories and gets happy.
If you come here, it means that your heart wants to be saved. Look. Aren't all the flowers so pretty?
Um... um... but... Your eyes... are they perhaps...
Yes. My eyes were bad ever since I was born. But I'm fine now! Thanks to Granas, I can see everything now. So I'm not lonely any longer.
That's 'cause you're not trying to see. You're trying to be someone you're not. Warm your heart. Like these ones...
Fairies gather around the girl.
Miss, I thought you would understannd how good this place is...
What do you mean?
Don't you understand? Then you should ask the girl with the black wings!
Anyway, keep this place a secret. Promise?
She disappears behind the tree.
(this song gives me the shivers)
What's with that girl?
Oh well. Let's go on.
There's nothing else we can do in the Garden of Dreams, but I like to stick around a while longer to listen to the music.
Hey, that little girl and her garden... Where did they go?
... Could it have been a dream?
The fog no longer picks up in this area, so we can't go back to the Garden. Of course, it might just be beyond this fence and we somehow stumbled past it in the fog, but we can't interact with it or go around it. Oh well. The other path leads to the world map.
(this is the best town music in the game, I will allow no argument)
Villager: Oh! The Sister has arrived!
Villager: I'm so glad... Now the village is saved!! Chief! Chief! The Sister has arrived! She's here!
The green-haired villager runs off to get the village chief.
Are they... speaking of me?
Huh? What's going on here?
You've lost me, chief. I don't think any of us put in weekend reservations here.
Huh? Wait... So you haven't come to save this village?
Our journey is to Granas Cathedral. We are merely passing through, but...
Villager: So you haven't come to save this village... I thought for sure they'd be here by now.
Other Villager: What does this mean for us?
Good question. What's going on here?
These things shouldn't be spoken of in this place... Please, come to my home.
At first we thought it was just fatigue, but they keep sleeping... Days and days at a time.
And you do not believe that they are merely unwell?
I wish it were so, but...
A curse!? What leads you to believe this?
The dreams. Ever since falling asleep, all of the villagers keep having the same dream.
A... presence. Watching. Waiting. Its eyes... great and terrible... Terrifying!
We have no solid proof. Yet, we could not bear the dread of it; we sent to the Cathedral for aid.
So that is why you thought Sister Elena was here to save you.
Yes, that's exactly so.
But, but... May I ask one thing of you...?
What is it?
Um, will you please stay here for just one day? The Priestess from the Cathedral should be here soon.
I don't expect you to take her place... but if your Sister stays here, the curse may be somewhat allayed.
Chief's Wife:... Another one fell asleep today... We are all uneasy...
Well, it is dark out...
And here I was hoping this village would get us away from creepy, horrifying things. Next time, we'll be taking a look around town and checking out this curse of theirs for ourselves.
Official Art: Equipment concept art, because I'm out of things that are both relevant and timely.