Part 29: Episode XXIII: I Am Not Listening
Music: Last of the Blood
Alright. Our time in Royburg is finally concluded and Julienne has joined our band of misfits as a guide to get across the damn iced over sea that has been barring our path for the last two chapters.
Julienne is a fairly strong physical fighter and isnt too shabby with magic either. Shes third behind Endir and Nidr on physical strength and ditto behind Kir and Setsuna on magic. The trouble is she just kind of doesnt have much in the way of tools at her disposal and wont remedy that for some time. So shes just decidedly average. Ill leave her in the party for a while just so she can attempt to make up a few of the half dozen plus levels shes lagging behind at this point.
With all the materials weve recently dumped, I was also able to pick-up a couple more Command Tech Spritnites for Julienne before we depart. Her default ability is Jump, which well get to shortly. Additionally, she can now perform an Ice attack and buff weapons with Ice elemental magic. Shes also got a Fire/Ice Combo with Kir well never use because still Kir gets KOed from a brisk wind gust.
In any case, back we go to the Floeberg Waters to do this dungeon properly after two previous false starts.
Music: Flowing On
Floeberg Waters is the same as we left it the last two visits. Though the Scarly penguins have all de-spawned. Presumably, they all died an agonizing death due to their innate chronic illness backstory...
While were in the neighborhood, I might as well show off Juliennes Tech: Jump. You ever played a Final Fantasy game with a Dragoon class or character? Guess what. Its wholesale just that.
When issued the command, Julienne will jump into the stratosphere for a couple turns where shell be unavailable to target for the duration...
...then she will drop back down to earth, causing significant damage to her target and anyone in the impact radius. Its a strong attack and all, but its really only useful for boss encounters seeing as we could wipe out much of the common opposition with quicker techs in the same period of time.
The party proceeds back to the iced over sea...
Why do you say that?
The waves are calm, and the ice is still. The temperature is also ideal. We shall be able to cross the surface of the ice without worry.
Perhaps its thanks to you Julienne.
You think shes got special powers?
! Dont take everything so literally! Of course she doesnt! Right, Julienne?
If I did, I would be more astonished than anyone.
No, you see Im asking that cuz if you dont, in fact, have any special powers... that means if wed listened to me initially and just crossed the damn ice when we first got here, instead of listening to the idiot child that couldnt handle a trash mob when we met him, much less manage to not slip on some goddamn ice into the ocean, we wouldnt have wasted the last two frikkin days with all of that crap!
*nervous laugh* Well, hindsight and all that... We did give the ice time to solidify for the crossing... right?
No, it takes approximately a month for these conditions to be met and they stabilize in this state for a month following that period.
*sweats* Well... we should probably make up for lost time! Haha.
You cannot see it with the mask, but I am glaring VERY hard at you right now.
*sigh* Lets just move on...
So the invisible wall barring our path further into the area has now been lifted. Despite running on ice and fear of falling into the ocean, there are no ice physics or fall hazards for negligible damage. The ground texture is just icy and thats it!
The only new enemy in the second, rather lengthy half of this dungeon is a cousin of the Muffy creature from the woods with Kir the Chocolly. Theyve gained the ability to use Lightning in addition to the previous abilities like biting our party or calling in reinforcements. If two of em are left too long in the battlefield together, theyll from a Bushy Bond (gross) and buff their strength to actually kind of dangerous doing 3-digits of damage range. But pretty much any reasonably powerful Tech can sort a single Chocolly out in short order. So its not that big of an issue.
This area is actually fairly lengthy and its just zig-zagging westward across narrow ice channels that open up into larger ice fields for battles.
We do find a couple Talismans of little note and the occasional chest full of common consumable items. One Talisman is called the Blood Pact which is pretty metal, but all it does is show enemies HP. The one chest of particular interest in the area has a new weapon for Kir: The Anima Staff. Well, the last time I dealt with an Anima it was a metal as all hell summon creature housing the soul of a major villains dead mother. Lets see what weve got here...
...Okay, fess up. This was just pilfered off the corpse of a dead magical girl, wasnt it? Well, Kir. Im not going to judge you for your choice in magic wand. But I dont think this shit is going to go over well in Hogwarts or whatever your end goal is after this journey.
Skipping ahead, we eventually come to a save point meaning theres probably a boss fight ahead. Well let Julienne hang out for this one. I mean if Kir got to go face off against the two story tall death laser golem, the knight princess can go face off against...
...Err. A trio of Pengy and... some kind of giant orb? What in the...
Music: Relentless Advance
Oh... Well... thats new. No pre-fight cutscene or theatrics. Were just going to jump straight into it with a battle against King Hoppy and his posse. The little minions are just the same standard Pengy variants weve faced throughout this dungeon already. A single decent Tech like Cyclone will finish them all in one strike. King Hoppy, on the other hand, has a surprisingly large pool of
The penguin kings primary attack is its Power Dive, which is just a butt stomp attack that will target one of our party members. The shock wave will hit for the most damage on the target and increasingly little on anyone further away. If we can have our party separate a little in positioning, itll save us some headache since it wont target everyone each blow. Juliennes Jump and Endirs Cyclone are both decent for moving them out of the way. But were still at the mercy of kind of random chance and the enemys positioning itself.
Pengy Missiles is a much rarer, but more dangerous attack. This will fire balls of... you know, I dont want to know... These will explode, potentially hitting everyone in the party from 60-90 HP of damage. I had to dick around a bit to see this attack. It favors Power Dive and the next attack much more. That being...
Holy SHIT. Well, this monster design got a bit more horrific out of nowhere. Turns out the cute penguin face is just for show and the actual mouth is a massive maw on its torso. This can be used to bite a single party member for 70-90 HP of damage. I wish more of the dopey mascot character ass looking monster designs actually cracked open into some Cronenberg ass nightmare creatures. Thatd certainly make the threat of monsters more tangible than most of what weve been seeing.
Using Blowbeat to lock down this boss isnt QUITE as effective as it has been on other bosses. Royal Hopper tends to no-sell the Paralysis part that made it so effective. It still does the trick lowering its Attack and Defense, leaving way for the rest of the party to just pound on it with their best Techs. Juliennes Jump is particularly effective, since it leaves her free from getting chomped on or Power Dived for the duration.
Really, this boss is just about laying into a big mountain of HP. Theres not a whole lot of chance for it to get ahead in the battle of attrition when its three against one and Endir can refill most of everyones HP in a single turn.
For our troubles, we do get a sizable amount of EXP. Julienne still has a ways to go to catch up with the rest of the party. But shes getting there.
Ugh. Royal Gallstones? That better sell for a damn good price...
With our regicide of the penguin king completed, were free to finally progress past the Floeberg Waters. Hurray.
Music: Walking the Walk
Remind me that I need to bust out that world map at some point to chart our journey. I think were somewhere on the Northern center of the continent at this point. Maybe a bit on the western half by now? Its hard to tell when you dont put an actual world map into your game. Were on the far side of the iced over sea, at least.
Just as we venture a bit further into the region, we come upon a Cracked Broken Mirror that simply must be shoved in our Bag of Holding alongside those gallstones we acquired. The mirror is of little significance...
The important thing is we finished another regions shiny collection and gained a decent chunk of EXP in the process! It might not do much for you, but I get a slight tingly of joy having obsessively clicked all the shiny bits with dumbass names.
Due west of the Floeberg Waters, we come upon an easily missed area in the Winding Snow Prairie. Can you have a snow prairie? I know what a prairie is and I can easily picture it in my head. But hell if I know the exact definition... Lets see...
Music: The Warmth of the Sun
1. an extensive, level or slightly undulating, mostly treeless tract of land in the Mississippi valley, characterized by a highly fertile soil and originally covered with coarse grasses, and merging into drier plateaus in the west.
Compare: pampas, savanna, steppe.
2. a tract of grassland; meadow
3. a low, sandy tract of grassland often covered with water.
Well... I mean, theres nothing saying it cannot be covered in snow. There might be grass under that. Sure. Its a prairie. Anyway, there is absolutely nothing of interest here save one random dude wandering the wastes. Lets see what his deal is...
Take my advice, and dont get yerself involved with the Magic Consortium... They know everythin...because theyve done everythin. Im sure theyre still up to no good, even now. Hehehe... Oh, and dont tell anyone you saw me here...
And... yep. Thats it. Thats all there is to this area. I have literally no idea what this dudes deal is supposed to be as it will never come up again. Nor will this area have any use that I can tell.
Continuing south along the coast from the Winding Snow Prairie, we come to a rather easy to miss location. Theres another massive cave carved into that mountain there? See it?
What about if some clouds lazily float in front of it, completely obscuring the entrance? Would that help you find it? Didnt think so. Ive played through this game before and I still had to wander around for a couple minutes trying to find the entrance like a dumbass because of these clouds. I hope you like dungeons, because were jumping straight into another one immediately.
New Music: Ruins (This is a good melancholy version of the main theme)
Welcome to the Archimell Ruins. Its another rather futuristic looking dungeon, like the Apparth Ruins we encountered prior to all that silly Royburg business.
Only this time around, the ruins are not sealed. Indeed, theres a very inviting looking bright green button. Of course, we ought to activate it without the slightest hesitation.
And it turns out to activate a Star Trek-esque transporter beam. Sure, why not? Lets see where this goes...
The party has zero discussion about how they were just broken up to the atomic level and transported to... lord knows where? I mean, snow woods... icy caves... more snowy woods... ice ocean... techno ruins... Its all just keeping up with the trend of areas weve encountered so far. Nothing new here.
The world briefly freezes and turns desaturated. Only Nidr seems to notice...
I hear a constant inner monologue telling me joining this journey was a stupid idea.
Weird, mine keeps telling me that letting you join this journey was a stupid idea.
At least our steadily growing dementias are in agreement.
Nothin... I mustve imagined it...
Be on your guard. These ruins are not to be taken lightly. The power of the spritnite here is so strong that it can play tricks on ones mind. You must not allow the ruins to consume you...
Spritnite can do that...?
Magic is not restrained to any constraints of human reckoning.
...So it can do whatever the plotI mean, divine machinations have in store for us.
Oh well, Im sure its fine and nothing to worry about. Lets just mosey into this stone path suspended above a void. Were really not going to discuss this place at all...? Really? Sure...
Tune in next time when we actually learn of all these past secrets in the chapter title. Its a *very* short chapter.