Part 11: Ezra
Now, we need to go the Zord Headquarters but, uh, just where is it? Maybe someone here knows where to look.
: This is an indication of the Zord headquarters.
Well, that's convenient. There's just one thing we have to worry about first; let's go see a man about a boat!
: Would you like an Ark? [Yes] But... I don't have any Lapis here. I can't make an Ark without some. Can you go to Crotona and get Lapis from my wife?
Fortunately, this fetch quest is remarkably simple and doesn't involve trekking through a dungeon or anything. It's basically a quick walk to next door.
: Thank you for saving him. I would like you to have this. This is the lease we can do to show you our appreciation. Lapis has the power to fly the Ark!
We're effectively done already; all we have to do with this, is hand it over to Hiram and get our ability to fly around everywhere!
: Unfortunately it's going to take some time. It can't be helped.
Whilst the game doesn't clarify on what he means by "some time" it's pretty apparent that he means to go advance the plot a bit more so we don't skip an entire dungeon or anything.
Unlike with the Zord Castle, you need to use the Bard everytime you want to re-enter. Once you're done here, though, there's no reason to come back. It's not even a good place to grind!
Whilst the sewers were a nice dungeon, this one is not. This is where the game remembers it's supposed to be a MegaTen game... it doesn't do much with that information but it will try to act tough.
The three most common enemies in this place; Fury are, by far, the easiest things here. They're weak to fire, so I hope you've got the Fire Staff on hand! Gomora, on the other hand, resist everything (and are even immune to fire...) so they take a while to kill. Anubis is the worst thing we've encountered thus far, including bosses. Dude knows Curse 2, so he has a more potent instant death spell and I've never seen HIM fail to kill someone with it either (other monsters later on have it, but they have the reverse problem). He probably can, but at this point Enkidu has 40 intelligence and it hits him without fail...
Flare 2 is Samuel's final spell, via level up at least, and it hits everything for fire damage. Like the Fire Staff only with a 15 MP cost attached, and the ability to deal damage against later enemies.
Heal 3 is Kali's. The game really wants her to be spamming healing spells, but it's better for her to be on the offense since you don't need to heal if you don't get hit because you're killing things too fast.
This dungeon only has 6 treasures, all in the same room, but 4 of them are pretty nice;
In addition to the final bone for the final zombie, we get some nice new equipment that can only be worn by either Samuel or Enkidu. I gave the Photon Shield to Samuel and the other two to Enkidu since the sword is better than the Masamune and he needs the armour upgrade at this point.
Oh we got all of Amon's bones, so let's cast Escape and walk all the way back to Tilmun!
...Well, that was disappointingly underwhelming for such a long wait. It's not even as good as the Dragon! 11 Intelligence and only 1 spell? Impact 2 isn't even that good! Really should've just waited for the Ark; I'd feel less ripped off then.
Back at the dungeon, we run into Zodia following two really long corridors full of dead Zord and the occasional priest. This seems super ominous, so there's only one way this can end...
: But, I'm determined to defeat the Gaia Masters. Then I will defeat Lucifer, the lord of the monsters. OK, Samuel! I will continue training in Moila!
I, um, I'm not entirely sure why we're fighting here but we are. I think Zodia has lost it after having his last base invaded. He doesn't exactly waste time playing around but he's not that difficult either. He mainly relies on status ailments, so it's more a battle of attrition than anything else. He can be handled like any other boss so it's just a matter of buffing and going all out. Holy 1 deals a bit less damage to Zodia, since he resists it but its still effective enough with both Cerberus and Orthrus utilising it. All things considered, Zodia's a little too easy to be the boss of a dungeon that actually fights back...
: You may be able to defeat the Gaia Masters. Samuel! Please defeat them. They are the ones who created the monsters.
And with that, Zodia dies and 3 people teleport in to take his place...
: He got what he deserved for stealing the Orb. He died with the sin of the murder of the Ramuh priest.
: Zodia will be able to rest knowing that his student had exceeded his Gaia power. He would have been defeated by us anyway. Unfortunately, we have a prior engagement. The monsters are waiting for us.
By "us" and "we," Belial just means himself and Baal. Mephisto sticks around after those two leave...
: That's right! Like you said... It was us who killed the priest of Ramuh.
I hope you didn't get kicked around by Zodia too badly, because Mephisto lives up to his rank of being a Gaia Master. He's easily the hardest boss to date, and that's because not only is he strong he's also incredibly fast. He'd be able to put up quite the fight on his own, let alone immediately after another boss who tries to cripple you. Mephisto falls to the tried and tested technique of buffing and smacking him around with powerful attacks and Holy 1... but I hope you have at least one human who can move before him so you can avoid casualties because you're gonna need someone to heal fairly often. Just in case, I even brought some Pana Care and Mana because two bosses in a row is gonna be rough no matter the game.
After beating Mephisto, he dies and you get to just... leave. We invaded the Zord Base to rescue them or whatever, and yet Zodia attacks us because he's, presumably, gone insane and then killed Mephistopheles out of self defence. It feels like we just wasted our time, doesn't it? Still, one Gaia Master down; three to go. You'll probably be fairly weak after two bosses (or at least low on MP) so now's a good time to rest up at an inn.
It's been quite a while now, so let's go back to Atlantis to see if Hiram's finished or not yet.
: It's right outside of the town. It's a masterpiece!
Well, say what you want about it but Hiram wasn't kidding when he said he made an ark... I wasn't exactly expecting that ark though.
Oh, and you're gonna want a Rune for what we're doing next. It's something mentioned in the manual, but it's still easy to miss if you never read that thing.
Just south of Crotona there's an island where we can find a few Shrines of Sages; we'll start with the one on the top.
: I was defeated by Mephisto... He has turned into a monster. The only way to defeat him is to use the Force. By combining Gaia with the Force, you can unleash the ultimate power.
We can do that now, but we'll save it for later. There's only a handful you can talk to in the first place, and only some of them are worth talking to. We'll also be proving this guy wrong as you don't need to become a Jedi to defeat Mephisto; it just helps.
Enough rambling, let's check out the other Shrine of Sages since we're in the area already!
He gives us a Water Charm for this. Okay... let's save (!) and then talk to him again. This is where we fight the only optional boss in the game, and we already know who it is.
Well, we've only defeated one so... Unless Zodia counts? But, we know Mephisto beat up some dude just north of here. He could have done that before we kicked his ass, sure, but he didn't.
: Ha, ha, ha. I ate a monster and came back to life!
But, wait! What if we either leave the shrine and return later after getting the Water Charm or turn the game off after saving but before either talking to the Sage again or beating Mephisto?
Mephisto takes his place in the Shrine. It's quite a nice touch that, for such an old game. Anyway...
Even though we just beat him, Mephisto is back and... he's easier than before. He has an entire vat of health and then some, and that's basically it. He takes forever to kill because he's more resillient but since he's a demon now he takes more damage from Holy 1. You could leave him 'til later to re-kill but that's not as fun as fighting him underprepared and still winning. Once you beat him here, that's it; he's dead for good. Not much of an optional boss, is he?
A bit to the east, just past some mountains lies this cave and there's even more sages here... as well as a nice shiny new sword.
The Spark Sword is a very nice upgrade... for Kali. It's at this point you can bank the Fire Staff if you're still using it and have her finally attack, since she can deal half decent damage at this point!
Anyway, there's another reason we came here; a bit to the west of the sword, there's four sages. Three of them give us upgrades... or, rather, they give our demons upgrades!
Yes, they make our Zombies... un-undead... alive... what would resurrecting a zombie even be? Either way, it's that.
In addition to regaining vitality, all three of them gain some new tricks to bring them even more up-to-date! I'm surprised too.
Dragon is still the best, and can now throw Curse 2s of its own around along with some decent healing and is able to appropriately burn everything. Kirin's a lot more usable now, and will see some use. Amon... Amon is still Amon, and is pretty much worthless unless you want really slow, disappointingly weak (for the level) healing.
Now, what about that fourth guy here? He gives us something very nice indeed...
: Kali, think about it... This is a little gift for you.
Revive 2 is very similar to Revive 1 in that it revives someone out of battle with only 1 HP. The difference? Revive 2 works on Samuel and Enkidu! It's very nice for that reason alone; it would have been better if we got it before the Zord Headquarters (Anubis sucks) but it'll have a use at some point, I'm sure.
Taking the Ark to the desert area surrounded by mountains just south of the Zord Headquarters (immediately north of Crotona) leads to this Pictoglyph. This leads to Terra. Terra is the very-definitely-end-game. If you choose "yes" and find out that, no, you're not prepared after all, you can return by use of another Pictoglyph there.