Part 6: Joshua
If we head back to the first continent, we can find this cave in the northeast. We have no real reason to come here right now, other than to make grinding some cash easier and this place is, easily, the best for it at this point.
Remember those Zord guys that were mentioned before? Well, this is where they're located apparently. There's more things here than Zords but they're unimportant comparatively.
So, for whatever reason, Zord H is a fish. Sure, let's go with that. You'll notice that Enkidu is primed to cast Curse 1 against these 3 guys, and for a good reason; they have a crippling weakness to it. It's not that he's overpowered Intelligence wise or anything, it just (essentially) never misses against them. Sure, it could but the chance of it happening is so minute its not even worth worrying about. So for 12 MP, you can get this from one fight in one turn:
You don't even need to spend that long here; about 5-10 minutes and you'll be able to upgrade something for both Samuel and Enkidu no problem.
Oh, and at some point Enkidu got Recover All which is only situationally useful. It removes all ailments (bar Unconscious, natch) from the entire party for 5 MP. This sounds like it's going to be awesome, until you remember that everything it heals wears off within a few turns or the end of combat, whichever comes first. There ARE times it could come in handy, one of which we'll see later this update even, but they're pretty few and far between.
Climbing back up the tower, after equipping 2 Kintal Shields, we come across our third boss; Minotaur. Minotaur can actually put up a decent fight, hence why I upgraded our equipment for once. The reason he's harder than anything else we've seen so far is because he can do one of two things: hit a single character for pretty decent damage (about half their max health or so, depending on level/equipment/etc) or hit the entire party with Flare 1. Flare 1 is, naturally, fire elemental damage and easily outdamages Blaze 1 even if you've been pumping all of Samuel's stat gains into Intelligence for some insane reason. There's not much you can do about this other than mitigate it as best as possible, and that spell is the real reason for upgrading the equipment; every piece of armour has a magic defence value as well, though for some reason this value isn't mentioned in-game. Based on the few examples in the manual, it can be assumed that this value is either the same as (or just slightly lower than) the physical defence value. Plus, it's a magic attack so the damage dealt is based on the Intelligence stat.. which is why it's basically only ever gonna hit Enkidu for single digit damage. Aside from these two attacks, Minotaur's just a big ol' bucket of health so boosting your damage output with Offence Up and Defence Down 2 (Owl's a random encounter just outside the tower) makes it go quicker. Having decent weapons doesn't hurt either, but I couldn't be bothered grinding enough cash to get them.
Following Minotaur's defeat we can rescue Rafael and... two generic priests? Where is Rafael?
: Thank you for saving me! Please come with me to Ramuh.
Surprise! Rafael's just a generic priest. He doesn't even get a unique sprite; you'd figure that since he's a named character he'd be important, right? Well, if he's not gonna join the party after all, then that just leaves one possible candidate...
: Now you have the power to talk to animals!
Heading back to Ramuh, we get a key item that we need to access the next dungeon. Talking to Rafael again just has him tell us that Uranus should be at Harappa. Guess we're off back there, even though we know she's kind of MIA.
Meanwhile, in the antechamber of the shrine the three Gaia Masters have moved in. Baal, Vaerial and Mephist(o) aren't doing anything interesting, and talking to them doesn't give us any new information either so we can just leave them be. Until now, they were in Remlia and did the same nothing there as they're doing here.
More importantly, remember that monkey in Moira I pointed out? Now that we can understand him, he'll give us some free Magnetite. That's nice I guess. There's a horse in Arrow that we can talk to now as well, that gives you an even better item, but I forgot that it was there until like just now.
: But after they entered the cave, Uranus disappeared... But I found this in front of the rock.
Back in Harappa, talking to the duck gives us the item we need to actually access the dungeon. This is what we needed the Sol Ring for, so with this we can enter the Nest of Zord. Oh, we could technically go there sooner, sure, but we couldn't get very far since there's a boulder blocking the way and we need to use this key to move it... somehow. I don't get it either. In case you didn't know it was the Nest of Zord you need to go to, talking to the duck again makes it obvious, since he says to go to the "North Cave."
The Nest of Zord is an easier dungeon, in general, than the Tower of Magan since the only enemy that can be considered a threat is the Zord H which only appears by itself in groups of upto 3, are hilariously weak to Curse 1 and give decent rewards for being massacred. If you're underlevelled coming in here, somehow, you won't be by the time you're done and the dungeon is wondefully short too!
Just past the boulder lies a chest containing another bone. This time it's not a dragon's bone, but rather one beloning to a Kirin. Same deal as with the Dragon Bone, though; can't do anything with it, so sticking it in storage.
This guy to the left? Eh, he's a nobody. Not worth worrying about;
The Zord P is a more powerful version of the Zords, but he's still a joke; he barely counts as a mini-boss, and that's being generous. He's not cripplingly weak to Curse, in my experience, but he's still going to die in a turn or two at the most.
Just past him is a chest that contains $1500 (not pictured) and this tough guy a- hahahaha, you know how this is going to end.
Following the two jokes, the game deems us fit to finally take on the boss. Being low on MP from spamming Curse 1 a whole bunch, I opt to Escape and heal at an inn.
Upon doing so, I noticed that I had just over $15k sitting around so I legged it to Ramuh and bought this.
On the left, the Spirit Sword. On the right, the Hecto Axe. To say it's a better weapon is an understatement. Of course, such a great weapon does have a drawback: it has an awful accuracy rating. This can be offset by putting a few stat points into Luck (which seems to affect hit/evade rates too, so it does the same things here as it does in pretty much every other RPG).
Before taking on the boss, I give Enkidu a Cross Sword (Samuel can't wield it, to my surprise) and fill the rest of his inventory with Pana. The three pieces of equipment and the Sol Ring leave him with only 4 slots for it, but that should be more than enough to last through the next few dungeons easily.
Oh and Samuel gets Blaze 2 at level 24, which is somewhat more powerful than Blaze 1 but costs 18 MP. Blaze 1, at this point, isn't worth a damn so the upgrade is nice.
At the end of the Nest of Zord lies the next boss, Buster. Despite wielding a giant club with spikes in it, he's easier than Minotaur because his repertoire is, for all intents and purposes, exactly the same only he uses Spark 1 instead of Flare 1 (same deal, different element) and can try to mute the entire party. This is basically a waste of his turn, since once you buff/debuff you don't need magic. Oh and his attacks miss less. He also dies quicker, since he's roughly as powerful as Minotaur (maybe a level or two higher at best, about the same HP) only Samuel has a decent weapon now and breaks triple digit damage with it, easily, and Enkidu's physical output isn't half bad with the Cross Sword either.
: I feel sorry for them. But you! You've got some nerve killing those monsters!
She runs off through the exit at the back of the cave at this point. I'm not making that up, either. There is literally an exit right behind where she's been this entire time and she never thought to use it until someone saved her. She also pulls a massive attitude change here too, since in the cave she's annoyed at being rescued and back in Harappa...
: I heard that you are investigating the monsters. That sounds interesting. You know what I think? I don't think the monsters are really bad animals. I'm going to make sure of it!
And with that, we have all three human main characters!
Much like with Kishe, there's no surprise as to whether or not Uranus will be the one joining the party since you get to name all three right off the bat. The manual even makes this painfully apparent, in screenshots (which contain post-game content oddly) and examples of who can equip what.
Uranus seems like she has a very simple role (i.e. token healer) but I'm not gonna have her play that role (until she gains her one offensive spell, she can't do much else though). Oh no, I'm going to do something else... but first I need to give her some of her unique equipment from Ramuh. The Tangaloia is, basically, the best weapon you can buy for her so that's a given. The robes at Ramuh are also hers and hers alone, so I'll be giving her one of them too. Since we have no hint as to what to do now, heading to see Rafael does sound like a good plan to me.
Uranus is, unlike El and Kishe, not a biblical referense in the slightest (if it is, it's a horrible mistranslation of one). Much like Zodia, her name comes from Greece though in this case it's the god of the sky. Being the female main character she's pigeon holed into being a healer, because gender equality is not a thing in video games especially in the 1990s. Her Luck stat is the lowest thing she has, but I'm gonna focus on it because, hey, why not? She's already derived from another mythology than her two cohorts, but if anyone can come up with a better name (7 characters max) I'll be open to it.