Part 42: Protein ShakeChapter 36: Protein Shake
All right, we're already off to the last Dragon Cave. Doesn't time fly? Anywho, the exit from the Marius zone is just east and north of the Lionhead.
Hey, we found Neo-Vane. Cool.
Anyway, it's through that cave you see.
The area itself is rather mountainous and full of twisting, narrow paths. Where we want to go, however, is eastward.
If you look hard, you can see part of a ramp in the corner of the screenshot. If you recall, earlier this area here was blocked off with a small rock. As you can guess, it's gone now. If we were to leave off that ramp and go east, Dalton is just a stone's throw away. North of Dalton is Nota, if you were curious where cities are in relation to one another.
Anywho, new town.
: Ever since I was a kid, growing up here with Leo and Mauri, it's been the same... boring.
It's always had spooky music? Ronfar has a very different definition of boring than I do.
: Yep! North of here ya got the Serak Palace, and across the sea is Pentagulia! Hey there, kiddies, you look familiar. Have I seen you before?
: Grandpa, it's me, Ronfar! Don't you remember?
In all fairness, this time this guy could actually be Ronfar's grandfather.
: He used to be nice, but now all he does is talk about some guy named Zophar.
OH MY GOD YOU'RE SO TINY AWWWWWWWWWWW- wait, what?
: I've heard reports that she's the one making people insane. They say she has fire in her eyes... And they're forcing us to go to her to cleanse our souls... I'm scared!
So. Mauri seems not to be content with just wrecking physical shit anymore.
Still, how insane are we talking?
: Oh, this is terrible! I mean he wasn't handsome or terribly smart... but he was a good man... and now that he's been cleansed, look at him! He's cookoo for Cocoa Puffs! No... he's worse! What am I going to do?
And it doesn't seem to be temporary.
: If Mauri was cleansing the people for the Goddess Althena, why were they forced to drink that blood red potion?!
: Blood red potion? Holy cow! That's the same thing Mauri drank when...
Wait, what? I think there was a major chapter of this Mauri scandal that Ronfar neglected to mention.
: Tomorrow's my cleansing! But if I go, I'm certain I'll return here insane! What shall I do?
: Duh! I've got a brainstorm! Just don't show up!
Shut up R- actually, she's got a point.
: You don't understand! They send enforcers to come and get you! Oh dear...
Oh. Nevermind, that's a very good reason.
: I wonder if they can cure the madness that overtakes those cleansed by Mauri.
I wonder indeed.
: If it did work, we could never tell Mauri what we found out... She'd probably have us killed.
Okay, there's that little problem, but still. Actually, if she drank the same stuff she's making everyone else drink, then...
: The last catastrophe was a terrible disease that killed almost everyone here. The only person that got the disease and survived to tell about it was Mauri. Oh, and speaking of Mauri, she left this letter for you, in case you came back. I hope it's good news...
At this point, I'd have to expect it to just be the words "DIE DIE DIE" written in her own blood.
: I sit here shrouded in a fog of despair, enslaved to the way of evil. I hope myself, but cannot stop from performing the rites. I am like a marionette at the whim of a mad puppeteer. If you have returned and are reading this, know that I cannot go on like this. Please, if you have any love left in your heart for me, cut my strings... regardless of the cost. Love always, Mauri.
: I will find a way to free you Mauri. And, the only one who will pay will be Zophar!
Oh hey, look who's here!
: I've been waiting for you, Ronfar. It's good to see you again. How many years has it been since you visited Raculi? I think the last time you were here was during the epidemic...
: Leo... I...
: The disease was terrible. It claimed the lives of everyone who caught it... except Mauri.
: Leo... it was my fault. I... I gave her the potion that changed her...
: You musn't apologize. The potion you gave her saved her life. Even though she now is a tortured soul, there is yet hope of curing her. Without that potion, she would have died like the others. Ronfar, you have nothing to be ashamed of. You did the best you could. We must concentrate on returning her to normal.
: Leo! Is there a way to bring her from the trance? Don't give me false hope!
: ...there is a way, but... ...
: But what, Leo?! Don't leave me hanging! Leo! Tell me how I can get Mauri back to normal again!
: Ronfar... you gave Mauri the potion that would save her life, but you couldn't have known what you gave her.
...how the fuck did you even get a hold of that?
: It saved her life, but made her a slave to the dark master himself! And now, she's 'cleansing' the villagers one by one, enslaving them, too. The only thing that can restore her to us is the power of Althena. But now that Mauri has sealed the power of the Red Dragon, Althena's power cannot be unleashed. The situation seems hopeless...
...you know, you were the one who brought up the possibility of a cure.
: There must be a way! I can't let Mauri down again...
: Unless you can unleash the Red Dragon's power, I don't see how you'll do it.
: I will find a way. Bet on it!
: There's got to be a way to unleash Althena's power and save Mauri!
: Ronfar, does the Aura of Althena really exist?
: Yes, it was rumored to be in Serak Palace, contained within a stone. It's supposed to be a very powerful stone.
: Yes, the stone contains the essence of Althena's power. It might be enough to save Mauri.
: Really? You think it's powerful enough? And since Althena's power is sealed, will it work?
: I don't know the answer to those questions. But it's the only chance you've got, Ronfar. You must at least try... We must leave for Serak Palace at once!
You know, on the one hand I want to go, "you made your girlfriend drink blood what did you think was going to happen?!" On the other... I've heard of stupider things done in a pandemic.
: Did you two have some sort of a fight?
: Oh no... Leo! Don't do anything stupid...
...yeah, we definitely need to hurry.
But we have one last thing to do. Let's gear up.
Sixty-two thousand silver? Ouch. We're on the last buy-able tier of weapons, and by gum do they want us to bleed for them. The second most expensive item, the Thunder Claw, is "only" 49,000 silver. Aside from those two weapons, the only new pieces of equipment are the Goddess Clip for Jean, and the Mystery Tiara for Lemina, and those are more reasonably priced at 15,000 and 26,000 silver respectively. All that adds up to 150,000 silver, and if we add in some old equipment I need to sell (and the Fabulous Dagger because we're fabulous enough as is, thank you) we can barely afford all of it.
If you can't afford all of it, the Ice Blade is a must-buy. As you might be able to guess, ice will be a common weakness in the upcoming dungeons. Also the Goddess Clip allows Jean to cast Power Drive, the highest level of Lemina's attack buff magic. If you need Lemina's attention elsewhere, it's nice to have Jean do some buffing (that certainly would have been nice two bosses ago...)
As Ronfar's possible grandfather mentioned, the Serak Palace is north of Raculi. What you want to do is go up until you see-
The "fuck you Destiny" ramps.
Well, you know what, they put new enemies on this section of the map, and you're going to fight them, damn it!
You may notice that there's only one enemy on screen, but the game says there's four of them. Why is that?
They're invisible, that's why. Unlike Lunn's invisibility trick, you can hit them when they're invisible, although it might force you to lose an attack.
Also, they can attack you while invisible, and it's kinda cute.
There are other types of enemies here on the world map, but the game decided to only give one fight, so I didn't see at this moment. Sorry. But we're here!
Hey, an Althena statue! That's nice!
God damn it.
: Soon, the dark master will return to... relieve all of these miserable... souls... aaahhh... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
I know this might be surprising, but none of the folks inside are particularly in their right mind.
: Ma... Mar... Mauri... N... no... no... ahh! I'm sorry, did I just black out? That keeps happening. It's very annoying. Anyway, as I was saying, Mauri is not prepared for the next group of candidates for the cleansing. Please wait.
And no, we can't just go in and burst this operation up.
The Serak Palace has five floors, counting the first floor with the people. It has you constantly going up and down stairs, and it has teleporters, which sounds hard, but it's not. The hardest part is remembering where you were and trying not to get turned around. Otherwise, you can just go forward.
The third floor has the only real branching path. Go up.
See, told you there were teleporters.
Anyway, go through the teleporter and keep going until you reach the treasure.
MORE SILVERLIGHTS I NEEEEEEEEED THEM.
Now let's go back to the branching path and go down this time.
There's this piece of armor for Jean, but you really can't miss it. It gives her an attack boost. Not bad.
And there's another Refresher Ring. Considering this protects against the really nasty status ailments, it's pretty nice to have another.
And that's all I have to say about the dungeon itself. With that formality out of the way, enemies.
Hey there Neut- oh, it's just "Synapse Guard." Anyway, Neutroniter 2.0 here has a weakness to ice, so Hiro's Ice Blade + Poe Sword does tons of damage. Which is good, because they have tons of HP to go along with it.
Their tell for their special is a bit subtle, their orb around them rotates faster.
And their special is- stealing our MP! You bastard! Lucia needed that for nothing!
Just to be different, these guys are weak to thunder rather than ice, so Jean tears through them. Those four attacks she's got now really comes in handy against these guys.
They telegraph their special attack by flashing a little light.
And it's a bit of a doozy. Ouch.
They shoot arrows that poison you. Sometimes.
So, Necromancers. These guys are funny. Most of the time they don't do anything.
Instead, they reflect spells. This can be an unpleasant surprise, but if you're careful with Lemina's spells you shouldn't fall for it more than once or twice.
They'll heal themselves, but that's barely a problem. Poe Sword will hit 'em just fine, so really they're no big deal.
And finally we have-
Ha ha ha. Yeah right.
Once we've reached the fifth floor, we- wait, I thought it was the "Aura of Althena?"
Guess not. Oops.
: This flask contains the tears of Althena. Perhaps if I use...
: Use? What purpose can tears serve that could possibly help us?
: You don't understand. These tears contain a small fraction of Althena's power. But it should be enough to free this area from Zophar's control. I will try to use them to do just that. Hopefully there is enough power...
: I sense Zophar's presence retreating from this place. But, I don't know how long we will be protected. We must find Mauri and get out of here immediately.
: Lucia, I won't forget what you've done here. I will find some way to repay you... bet on it! ...but enough sappy talk. We'd better find Mauri before Zophar's power returns!
Note that our hurrying will be greatly hindered by the fact that the Wings are disabled here. Again.
Oh well. There's still more treasure to get, and it's all on the top floor here, so let's go to it.
Somewhat appropriately, the Justice Clothes are for Ronnie. Sadly, they don't have a wisdom bonus, which kinda bites. They do protect against stone though, and while he's not taking the Tri-Ring off any time soon, that's always a really good immunity to have.
To round out our Justice set, Ron also gets the Justice Rod. It's a decent weapon, and it casts an all-enemy spell, but it doesn't boost wisdom soooo... eh. (Although it does boost magic endurance, which might be worth the trade-off... might. Didn't equip it.)
I have six of these. I really should have used one in the battle with Borgan.
In any case, it's time to walk on down.