Part 64: Seashells by the Seashore
Music: The Coastlands
Before we can get to today's dungeon, we have to take the path to today's dungeon.
It's the usual affair. Branching paths to treasures along a rather linear path.
There's a rock tortoise that can use lightning attacks. I guess that's neat! Otherwise it's varieties of crabs and Sea Birdians.
My party's pretty much what I've used before. Warrior complements Therion very well, while Merchant Alfyn is great as a BP Battery. Cleric Cyrus is nice even if I don't really need the healing due to Alfyn, and I wanted to put Hunter somewhere, though Primrose getting more options is never bad, even if it's a waste of her solid ElemAtk.
I do unlock Cyrus's seventh Scholar ability, as I wanted two-hit Fire attacks more than I expected! Always being in the party does mean JP is easier to come by, after all!
And now for the actual dungeon!
Music: Dark Caverns
It's...a cave. It's just like every other cave we've seen.
While I really like the open-ended structure of the game in general, since this concept of story-telling in JRPGs is really under-utilized, it really does mean the dungeons suffer a lot due to the sheer number required. It's a fine sacrifice compared to what's gained, but it's still a sacrifice.
There are two purple chests here. The Falcon Garb isn't too special compared to our robes, but it's still an upgrade over our fourth-best armor, and the Evasion boost is significant enough to build around that. A solid get!
The other purple chest is the Spiked Armor, and... I really don't see the appeal of the numerous armor pieces that only boost PhysDef. There's just too many magic attacks, and generally these pieces only give a few more points than the armor types that also give ElemDef, let alone the ones that give another stat boost. Why the hell would I take an extra 14 points of PhysDef over the 84 ElemDef and 82 Evasion that the Falcon Garb gives? There's not even anything that boosts only ElemDef beyond a couple late-game accessories, and at least that would be useful for boosting healing skills!
Even the few bosses that use only physical attacks have better ways to cheese them (Hello Incite/Sidestep combo)! A swing and a miss on this armor idea.
Lots of Barnacle-named enemies. Bats are always welcome since they carry the wonderful Curious Bloom components, which have some weird and wonderful effects.
Also, there are buccaneers here for whatever reason. It's a cave by the coast, of course pirates are going to lurk around here.
These guys have nasty status effects, including confusion and poison.
Looks like we've found the end of this path, so...
Video: Vanessa, the False Apothecary
Music: Creeping Dread
Who'd have known this job could be so profitable?
That medicine you gave the townspeople for their fevers was brewed from Gaborra evergeen, wasn't it?
That was your plan all along. To induce the side effects so you could sell the remedy at a premium.
I travel the land, selling my potions and salves for more leaves than you'll see in a lifetime. What do layfolk know of illnesses and their cures? Nothing--that's what makes this job so easy.
What happened to your "sworn duty to ease suffering"?
A stately masnion, lavish dresses, fine wine... Why shouldn't everything I want be mine?
You're free to have what you want--but I won't let you deceive the weak and vulnerable to get it.
Doesn't it make you feel anything to see people suffer?
Should it? The ailing, the injured... They're tools to an end. Just like the little kittens I test my tonics on.
It's a JRPG so gotta ramp the "I only care about money" mantra up to 11.
Perhaps you'd care to die instead? Hmmm?
Music: For Succor
You're a threat to my business. And you don't seem like the type to go home quietly. ...Or the type to keep your mouth shut even if you did.
On the contrary, I'm gonna brew a remedy and help those people. Not for profit, but because easing people's suffering is what I do.
How noble. But here's my diagnosis...
Video: Boss - Vanessa Hysel
Music: Decisive Battle I
First off, totally should've been DB2 based on the context and stakes, but whatever.
The gimmick here is we cannot break Vanessa until we kill her Sellswords.
Fortunately the morons made the mistake of being weak to arrows.
These are weaknesses all of my party can exploit with area attacks.
They hit decently hard, but if you're keeping up with gear and such this isn't really a difficult fight.
Of course on my first playthrough, I wiped because I had like one subjob and no new gear since this was my first Chapter 2 fight. I certainly learned my lesson there!
Alfyn really doesn't use his BP since he's usually busy healing with Concoct, so Merchant is there mostly so he can feed BP to Cyrus and Therion for their attacks.
I use buffs a lot this fight, so even if Primrose isn't doing much damage she's still invaluable for her buffs and for shredding these bow weaknesses.
Though she can still put in a good hit!
Though I have those buffs up for a reason!
As an Apothecary, Vanessa loves to throw status effects like Poison and Sleep on our party members. Of course, herbs or our own Apothecary take care of these easily.
Two of these post-break is the closest I come to having any issue with this fight, and...
...even that is not really an issue.
The issue is that Vanessa really isn't a big threat herself. She can buff her Sellswords and inflict status effects, but her own attacks aren't really that scary. She doesn't even have an ultimate attack!
So once her Sellswords are down, this fight gets a lot simpler. That said, she can revive them, so you don't want to faff around here.
This is pretty much the height of her damage capabilities, so...
Vanessa seems to have high ElemDef, as Cyrus isn't the monster he usually is here. He's still solid, of course, but I'm relying more on Therion for this fight.
After the break is over, I take a shot at Thousand Spears, hoping to rip apart a polearm weakness. As you can see, I succeed.
That's bull, we know she have several hundred thousand leaves just from the last update.
This is the only other thing of note Vanessa will do, and...meh.
Alright, time for the kill shot.
And what a killshot it is! If you can manage the adds, maintain your healing, and realize the power of buffs, this isn't too bad a fight.
Music: Dark Caverns
The game's up. I'll be taking this moss now.
All right, you've got me. I repent, I repent...
Sussed out your escape route already? I'm not as naive as I look.
Heh, I had a feeling you'd recognize it.
One prick, and the next thing you know, you'll be waking up on a dungeon floor.
Maybe one day, you can start over as a real apothecary--if they ever let you out.
That'll keep her quiet until the guards come. Now, I'll just help myself to some of this moss.
So yeah, as kind and friendly as Alfyn can be? If you get on his bad side, he will mess you up.
Music: A Sea Breeze Blows
We're back in Goldshore, and just in time for another banter.
Vanessa? I reckon I'll let her stew in gaol and ponder all she's done.
Gaol or no, she doesn't strike me as the type to turn introspective...
Maybe, maybe not. But I figure she's tossing and turning somethin' fierce right about now.
...What do you mean?
If there's somethin' in your heart you'd rather avoid, it'll come out in your sleep instead...
That's right. How she'll deal with that when she wakes up is up to her. But I warrant she is having second thoughts about what she did.
...Well, I hope so.
Why? For my sake?
Don't screw with Alfyn, he'll mess you the hell up. You can tell there's a bit of respect and maybe fear in Therion's reaction.
Alfyn and Therion's banters are some of the most interesting in general, but more on those later on.
For now, we have people to save!
Her cough...it's gone!
And my throat... It doesn't hurt anymore.
Music: Bonds of Friendship
It's on the house. The moss didn't cost me anything, after all.
Pray forgive my rudeness earlier, good sir.
Finally, I can go gather seashells with Ellen again!
Hahaha! Go have all the fun you want.
And once I've done my job, and everyone in Goldshore is hale and hearty...
Till we meet again!
An apothecary's work is never done. There's always more people to heal...
Video: Journeying On
Where out there is someone in need of a fixer-upper?
Oh, Ellen, Flynn.
Aww, we were trying to surprise you!
You're already looking a hundred percent, ain't ya, Flynn?
I'm all better now, thanks to you!
But what's this? Have you two been rolling around in the dirt all day?
Music: Alfyn, the Apothecary
We found them together, Flynn and me!
...Take care, okay?
We found as many as we could. We know you're poor. Is this going to be enough?
Y'all take care of your mother now, ya hear?
Grown-ups aren't supposed to cry!
...You too, Alfyn.
But heck if I ain't gettin' closer by the day!
And so Alfyn leaves Goldshore richer than he came in, though in spirit rather than coin.
We have a couple of banters before we close things off here, so...
Alfyn, are you crying?
What? N-naw, of course not... I just--I have something in my eye... S-sweat, that is! My eyes get sweaty and... No, I mean, a bit of dust! In my eyes! Both of them!
Those little ones adored you, after all.
Now do look after those shells, won't you?
Aw, shucks. Another speck of dust...
As mentioned before, Story Primrose and Banter Primrose are like two different characters, but moreso because the content of her story means we never get the opportunity to see the Banter side of Primrose, the playful, teasing, kind-hearted romantic she has to put aside to focus on her mission. The side she finally has reason to show now that she has loyal companions on her side.
She really likes messing with the men, and though it doesn't really work on oblivious Cyrus, she does catch Alfyn off-guard here. But at the same time, she is being supportive here, and she really does care for her companions despite all the terrible things that have made her so cold-hearted otherwise. I mean, I can see how it may seem shoddy, but I really am impressed with how they handled Primrose's character in general as far as contrasting her banter and story personalities.
Anyway, time for the final banter.
You do? For what?
For healing Flynn.
I don't need thanks for that, Ophilia. Easing folk's suffering is my job. I'm just doing what I came here to do.
My behind. It gets mighty itchy any time someone starts singin' my praises.
Before that bizarre turn, you can see the obvious strong common ground Alfyn and Ophilia have in helping the sick and weary. I think their banters could've gone further with this, but they generally do a good job supporting each other when they need it.
And with that, we're finished with Alfyn's Chapter 2. This is a formality I'm sure, but I might as well ask it anyway.
Which character will we cover next?
We'll explore Goldshore and do some other stuff before we continue on. Until next time!