Part 32: Rubbing their hands and muttering cursesTwo more things before we leave for Cyrum. Firstly, a trip back to Mirumu - let's see how those sad sacks are doing.
Don't mention it... I don't remember doing much that I could be thanked for.
But, no... We were all quite moved by what you did for Aira. We owe you a lot.
This village has changed since then. See for yourself - everyone is smiling! We've become a friendlier place.
Yeah. This place has definitely changed.
Ha ha! Yes, such a change! But we're not done changing, either. Soon this village will be covered with flowers.
Well I'll be.
There, in your womb? ... you are with child!? Why, congratulations!
Villager: Hee hee. Thanks! Now I've got "maternal strength!" If it's for my child, I can do anything!
Villager: They say the baby will be born next spring. That means a village full of flowers will greet my baby when it is born...
Villager: Hee hee! Maybe I'm expecting too much!
No, no, not at all! I am sure the garden and your unborn child will be blessings to this village.
Villager: No matter how long it takes, we won't give up! If we can't do it in our lifetimes, then our children will! Aira's wish will survive!
OK, OK, no need for melodrama.
Villager: Aira loved flowers, you know. Now everyone is planting flowers, just in case she gets a chance to see them.
What a thrill for her to open her eyes and find the whole village full of flowers!
Villager: Now I understand how Sandra must feel. Knowing what has become of Aira, I'm so ashamed...
Shame carries with it the winds of change. Use your shame to better yourself.
It brings a tear to the eye, it does. Speaking of which:
And, from the look on her face, she's happy. Although she's just trapped within her own dreams...
Even if she WAS awake, it wouldn't heal her soul. Maybe it's better that she sleeps. At least she can find happiness in her dreams.
Ryudo, remember Millenia's words. Aira's soul can be healed if flowers spring forth from the soil here.
Yeah... sure. We shouldn't just give up hope on the girl...
Hello. Sorry it has been so long. How are you doing? And the flower garden...
Yes, so many people have been helping with the flower garden. It's really coming along.
With everyone working so hard, a few hands have been cut, so I'm making some healing salve.
Oh... Looks like the people in this village are FINALLY working together...
I thought I'd be gardening by myself, but the entire village has turned out to lend a hand in making this flower garden.
Wonderful... That sounds fantastic.
We don't want to disappoint Aira when she finally wakes up. You folks must be very busy, too. Please take care.
Secondly, dinner conversation. Sadly, there's no new dialogue at the Inn in Mirumu, so we'll have to settle for the one in St. Heim.
Eating here with all of you reminds me of when...
When the priests suddenly showed up and snatched you? What a bunch of insolent louts.
Boy, was that ever a surprise... We did not even have a moment to say farewell. I was curious if I would ever see you again.
As was I... I thought we might never gather again around a table like this. I am grateful that we can.
After you left, Elena, we sat here and tried to talk, but mostly we just stared at your empty chair.
After missing you so much, it sure is a pleasure to be rejoined as a group again.
Hee hee. Why, thank you! I'm so happy to hear you say that.
Speaking of meals... Elena, is it true that all they fed you was bread and wine?
Right! Don't you fancy church types get anything better than that?
Well, I guess there was bread, to be sure. But, actually, I was so nervous that I really do not remember what I ate...
I could hardly eat with all those high-ranking church officials around me.
I was so nervous, constantly worrying about my table manners, using my fork and knife correctly...
I'll bet Elena can't even remember what she had for dinner, either... Ha! In classic Elena style.
So, anyway, it is great to have you back, Elena!
It is good to be together again. We can continue to run in a pack, together until the end. Ha!
I much prefer eating with all of you. I just hope we can continue being together.
Thanks for the meal! Can't wait for the next one - eh, Elena?
Time to go.
First up is the Pilgrim Road. Remember that huge door in the St. Heim Mountains? The game never lets us go through it, but it's supposed to represent the entrance to this area. We just use the world map instead.
Pilgrim: I tried climbing down the ladder at the side of the road, but there were MONSTERS everywhere! I can't believe it!
Pilgrim: I was about to be gobbled up by monsters, so I ran for my life. I'm just bushed...
Other Pilgrim: Excuse me... how much further is it to Granas Cathedral? I should be almost there...
Are you going there to pray? The Cathedral is only a short distance ahead!
Like the man said, climbing down the ladders on the side leads to monster-filled areas. They're entirely optional, though - you can go straight through this area in a matter of seconds if you're not interested in the piles of gold below. It's nice to have that sort of option in an otherwise very linear game.
Of course, I can't resist the siren call of treasure, so here's Elena making very large numbers fly out of a Big Foot. Speaking of numbers, let's check out the skills in the new book Zera gave us:
Life Up (+50/100/200/400/800 HP)
Mentality (+10/20/30/40/50 MEN)
Leafwater Chant (Powers up / magic)
Glacier Chant (Powers up / magic)
Woodland Chant (Powers up / magic)
A third copy of Life Up allows Ryudo to enter the beef club - I like to leave Mareg for last because he has fairly high natural HP growth, so he needs it the least. As for the new chants, they'll be nice for our support mage once I have the MC to spare. As it stands, I'm not done making increasingly ridiculous numbers pop out of Burnstrike.
Interesting treasure in the area includes a seed that permanently boosts SP and a new knife for Roan, which is actually weaker than his Warp Knife in exchange for poisoning enemies on hit. I prefer the crazy teleportation shiv, personally.
Even fighting through the monsters to grab their treasure, the Pilgrim Road is a very short area. This is because there's actually a second transitional area before we can get to Cyrum: the Raul Hills.
I rather like this area, but I think it's mostly the music. The layout of the first part is similar to that of Inor Mountains from way back - a big, open area with a road pointing you the right way.
HP: 3000 (from 1000)
Special: -1 on hit
Abilities: Runner, Howl (~300), Howlslash (~450), Shhh!
Concept Art: Here.
The game has apparently noticed that I love stacking Runner to nullify normal attacks and has decided that two can play at that game. Land Cougars are blindingly fast and have naturally high MOV - which they can augment by casting double-potency Runner. If two of them manage to cast it, you're pretty much never hitting them with a normal attack again unless you stun them with something else first. They hit for pretty respectable damage, too. That said, they only come in packs of three with no other monsters around, so they just don't have enough bodies on the field to be truly dangerous.
There's treasure scattered around the area. This is a Buster Flail, one of many weapons for Elena that has ridiculous +ATK in exchange for -5 MOV. Unfortunately, if Elena's using normal attacks, you're either fighting something really weak or in exceptionally bad shape, so it's unlikely to ever make a difference.
Also in this area is a Thunder Ring. (+10 DEF, lv3 resist, resist)
The most direct path to Cyrum is unavailable due to terrible infrastructure. I'll be writing a very stern letter to the King.
Our only option is to go through the maze we heard about back in St. Heim. Say... that monster in the corner... isn't that...?
HP: 3400 (from 960)
Abilities: Fireball (~400 damage, -3, Cancel), Burnflame (~450)
That's right, it's the dinosaur dudes from the opening cutscene! We would've also seen them in example fights had we talked to that thrice-damned archfiend the Tutorial Guy. There's not much else to say about them, though. They're beefy, but not particularly interesting.
Instead, let's discuss one of two battle mechanics that I keep forgetting to talk about. In the above screenshot, you can see that there's only one Dragonoid in the fight - this is actually because I accidentally ran away after killing all of his friends. If you ever run away from a fight after killing a monster, it stays dead - but you don't get experience and drops from it.
The maze is pretty short, really. There's a few different sets of steps on the ground level that lead you to different segments of the maze - most of them contain treasure, one leads to the exit. The stones on the right path are slightly whiter than the rest, as the man in St. Heim said. You probably wouldn't notice it unless you were looking for it, though.
Past the maze lies Raul Hills 2, land of the crazy inflating flesh-colored fruit. They actually hurt you if you stand next to them while they puff up! Slashing them usually reveals a consumable item of some kind - mostly Golden Nuts, which are vendor trash. Some of them contain buff and debuff nuts, which are completely worthless, or permanent stat boost seeds, which are fantastic and are reason enough to pop all of them, despite the threat of four chameleons being inside. Seriously, how did they even fit in there? One of them later on contains a Revival Ring, which just raiases further questions.
The ease with which Ryudo slashes rocks in half to get to this chest disturbs me. The Rage Ring increases ATK by 10 and restores 3 SP every time the user is attacked. This is a good opportunity to talk about the second gameplay element I keep forgetting - normal attacks and guarding both restore a few points of SP. There's no such mechanic for MP, sadly.
Near this patch of beach, the path splits into two, one of the branches leading back to Raul Hills 1:
We've made our way to the other side of that broken bridge, as you can see. There's some treasure in this area, so it's not just here to make you think about how nice it would've been had the bridge allowed us to skip the maze section.
Actual progress is made by jumping into the Silent Boat. I call it the Silent Boat because it shuts off the music and makes no sound while you're in it and it's kind of horrifying. Bug Count: 22
The fruit of prosperity is in abundance.
This peaceful scenery is just a facade. When the time comes, its true, ugly form is sure to show itself...
So is the Granasaber in this country? What do you mean by "descendants of the People of Darkness?"
Not like everyone's hunched over, rubbing their hands and muttering curses. You're saying that you're one of these "People?"
Yes, most probably have almost no memory of the People of Darkness.
... But only my people can never forget... That is why I left to learn about the confrontation between Light and Darkness.
Come, let's get a room first. Tomorrow we can start searching for the meaning of Zera's words!
Official Art: Cyrum Kingdom; Monster Concept Art 2 (Giant Mantis, Ghoul, Hammerhead, Hellhound, Land Cougar)