Part 8: Chapter VII: To Meet The GuardiansApropos of very little, our next major adventure is going to take us to the Groza Mountains of Aegisthus. You may recall this being Victoria's suggestion as what to do next, but I'm not sure what prompted the party to decide to head there next after wanting to find information in town. Well, whatever.
THIS is why you want to steal the Cuprum. 100,000 Gold at this point in the game is no laughing matter. We'll also need it for some money-based commissions right about now. Actually, after I returned from beating the Neo Garuda, there's an event in the Hunter's Guild about a hot spring behind found within the city, and they need money to develop it. Obviously, that means us. Trust me when I say we're going to be like 100% of this place's fundraising by the end of the game.
The first hot spring request is for 5000 Gold, which is a pretty penny at this point in the game. After that, we have a few more events to go through, so Update VII bonus video. After all those events, complete requests 363, 364, and 367, all money-based. That Cuprum is already paying off. Finally, complete requests 35 and 36. 35 is for using Aina, Felenne, and Victoria's Original Skills, and 36 is for 15 battles completed with a team of Weiss and the three generation one heroines.
After that whole mess of events, we can finally move on to the Groza Mountains. From the portal, just keep heading east and you'll hit them in no time. To the Gruut village
Though this road carries a lot of commercial traffic, it's still not in very good condition.
As the eastern port is currently blocked, the Groza Mountains could be called this continent's lifeline. Is the blockade of the port related to the demon scourge in some way?
That could be a factor, but... Bandits have built a fortress in the Gai Desert, which spreads from the center of the continent, and are using it as base of operations from which they harass travelers and merchants.
I take it you and your people have been keeping an eye on them?
Along with the port being blocked, people have stopped traveling through the desert altogether. Because of those reasons, casualties have been remarkably light. We've sent troops north to protect against demons and we've increased our surveillance of the bandits.
I take it that means the inhabitants in the area haven't been too affected by what's going on?
Correct. At the present time there's nothing of consequence to worry about.
If what you say is true, then -strange- doesn't even begin to describe what's going on. It's almost as if the bandits have volunteered to act as a defense against the demons, right?
I couldn't see why the princess and people wouldn't be happy with that.
There's no need to go through the desert to reach the Gruut village, is there?
That is correct. After clearing the Groza Mountains to the north, instead of heading east, turn west.
Is there anything, or anyone, we need to worry about while heading to that transfer portal you mentioned?
However, it will be a far more perilous journey than continuing on towards the north.
So, in other words, we should stay on our toes no matter which way we go. Well fearless leader, it looks like the rest is up to you.
And so, the next dungeon begins. Among the enemies you'll fight here are Chimeras, Lizard Men, Earth Knights, Jatayus, Orcs, Specters, and Dragons (Over Kill two of them for a commission to be fulfilled after meeting the Gruut). None of them are especially mean, except for the Chimeras. These guys have a lot of magical defense and HP, making them worthy of pummeling with Original Skills. Finally, they are vulnerable to Wind, but you don't have any Wind-based Original Skills. Otherwise, you shouldn't have much trouble with the Groza Mountains.
This is one property of Victoria's Original Skill, Rushing Jaeger. When an enemy has a boot with a slash through it, that means that enemy cannot take any offensive actions whatsoever until it wears off (like three turns later I think. They can still heal and use EX Skills). Sounds really nice, and it is, but its usefulness is limited by Jaeger's wonky hitbox, the fact it doesn't even work on every normal enemy, and doesn't work on bosses.
Still, might sound like I don't like it, but that wouldn't be the case. It is very helpful, and why Victoria is a standard-bearer in my party. After clearing just one battle point on the way to the destination, you'll get a scene at a place called Terpsichore.
Damn, look at you go. I guess you more than earned the right to lead others. Even after seeing it, it's hard to believe that you can go toe-to-toe with Weiss.
No, what you've just seen is nothing. I still have much to learn. Could it be...? Could it be, Weiss, that you weren't using your full strength when we were sparring?
No, that's not the case at all...
You were going easy on me because I'm a woman, weren't you?!
While it might be funny to make Weiss a dumbass in this scene, the first is not the correct choice. This decision lowers Aina's affection, but raises Eva's, Victoria's, and Felenne's affection.
But you still went easy on me, didn't you? If it was not my womanhood that made you stay your hand, then, pray tell, what did?
Nothing?! What, exactly, do you mean by -nothing-?
I wasn't planning on going easy on you; it's just that I didn't know how far I could push you. Remember, in addition to my own strength and skill...I have the power of a god within me. If I were to tap into that power, you could never hope to defeat me.
If that is the reason why you did not fight to your true ability, then you were worried for nothing. I, too, am blessed with the power of the gods. That is why I was chosen as a -Maiden of the Pillar-, yes?
Someone here is really hung up on gender, and that someone isn't Weiss.
I am not... No, you're right, Jainus. I think part of it stems from the fact that I lost my mother when I was young... I've never really thought of myself as a woman before now. I studied the martial arts alongside men so that I could be a valuable asset to my king. It's not as if I dislike being treated as a woman, it's just that I am not quite used to it... I was raised to be a proper lady in terms of mannerisms and language. But, it's uncomfortable to be reminded of my gender. Strange, don't you think?
No, all things considered, it seems reasonable. And you do come across as pretty manly on occasion.
People in the castle always seem overly sensitive to my feelings...
No need to worry about that with us. In fact, let us know if you think we've crossed the line.
No, I can ask for no more than this. It is refreshing to be treated as a regular person.
If that's the case, I guess we'll just keep doing as we have been.
I would appreciate that very much. Weiss, do not go easy on me next time. It is okay for you to use your full strength, all right?
And so, the adventure continues. Also in the mountains, you'll find Iron Golems, Water Spirits, and Fire Spirits. Around this time, I decided to reshuffle my party to make it Fiona, Aina, Felenne, and Victoria, for another commission where you have to finish 15 battles with that team. I also decided to go back and equip Fiona with a Yggdrasil Blade, which increases her accuracy and magical power from the pathetic Lucky Dagger she was using before now.
After clearing the Mountains, on the wastelands west of the desert, you'll run into battles like this. You may notice in the top right, there's a bunch of enemy icons in a box labeled "Next". What that means can be kinda vague. For some battles, if you don't finish them within a single turn, more enemies will join the party. Sometimes enemies will join the fun either way once the initial group is taken out. Not sure which this one is, but I did have to fight these four after defeating these two Fire Spirits.
Luckily, Jaeger can bind all of them once you finally get a chance to act. I'd say if you lose more than couple characters, withdraw and reload your save. These fights just aren't worth 3000 Gold.
Finally, we arrive at the Puissance Palace. Let's hope Jainus' skepticism of the guardians turns out unwarranted. The pride of the guardians
What's wrong? Why are you stopping all of a sudden?
Actually, I think I'll just wait right here, if you don't mind.
What, after you came all this way? Are you an adult or a spoiled child? Don't be so selfish.
I mean...I don't feel so hot.
Are you all right? If you aren't feeling well, I could...
Ah, no, it's not as bad as that, so don't worry about it. It'd be best for all involved if I just rested here for a bit.
Then do so. Weiss, let us go without him.
Sorry about this. But really, be careful.
Felenne, what's wrong? If you want to ask me out, I'd be overjoyed to wait until after you come back.
Ah, how unfortunate. Actually, I was kind of in the mood for a romantic day out.
If that's the case, I'd be especially grateful if you kept that in mind for when you return.
There may not be a -next time-, you do realize that?
Ah, what a cruel mistress, Fate.
Then, is your being here fate as well?
Well, who knows?
Huh... Ah, everyone's already that far ahead?! I've got to get going, too. All right, later then.
Tell them I'm sorry about staying behind like this.
If I can be bothered to remember.
We aren't asking for your assistance. We simply would like to ask you if you had any information that...
A number of people have been injured by demons, and almost all are suffering in some way. That being the case, why can we not gain your cooperation?
-Why-, you ask? What a foolish question. You said you are from the Alister clan, correct? As a guardian, how can you lower yourself so, lending aid to people such as these? Do not tell me that your people have forgotten their responsibilities as guardians?
Of course we have not forgotten. The Alister abide by the teachings and fulfill our appointed duties. However, there is nothing in our oaths that forbid us from aiding those not of our clan...
You must think yourself clever. So your explanations are influenced by the situation, are they? If you wish to manipulate words to suit yourself, then that is entirely your affair. We have more pride than you. The Gruut abide by the words spoken by the gods themselves, and we will abide by our sworn oaths to protect the world until the appointed time.
So that's your excuse for not helping us.
I will not call those who do not know the truth ignorant. However, to put the concerns of mere humans above those of the gods is foolhardy and blasphemous.
I understand your position in this matter. But is it not equally foolhardy to say that the words of the gods are absolute? I do not believe it is mistaken to be devoted to one's assigned role, in and of itself. However, is it all right to focus solely upon that role at the expense and dereliction of others? You avert your eyes even as people suffer right at your feet, and you remain bystanders, refusing to offer aid even when doing so would cost you nothing. That's not devotion to duty, that's unconscionable negligence. And to claim your actions have been ordained by the gods is the worst kind of arrogance.
You speak as if you know of us. What do you know of the guardians?
I know nothing.
If that is the case, how dare you speak so? Do you mean to say you serve a higher justice than us?
It was because of that truth that my king...my father...abandoned his duties as a guardian.
Interesting. So you are Wolfgang's child and one of those who abandoned their village and their vows. I cannot condone your obvious ignorance. Nor will I say that it is the reason I withhold my aid. The paths we follow are different and they will never cross; that is the only reason there is.
It appears as if we have wasted our time coming here. But do not think I hold you entirely responsible for this. As long as the present circumstances remain, we will only continue to talk in circles. So with that in mind, do you not think that we should be on our way?
Yeah... But before that, have a look at this sword.
?! No, this sword...
Do you have information regarding this sword?
No...I don't. I have never seen a sword like it before.
I see... Sorry for bothering you.
We will be on our way now.
I have no clue. Also, it is rare that the sword can be seen at all.
That person is hiding a secret even he doesn't know. And although I do not trust him at all... Something momentous is happening to the world. That is the only thing I know for certain. I highly recommend you remember that fact, if nothing else.
Well that was unproductive. Although the Gruut are useless, we still have three guardians clans we can ask for help. To begin the search for them, head back to the Groza Mountains. That battle point with a red icon over it is new, and we now have to head to the southeast part of this screen. The eastern part of the mountains have Devil Tentacles (giant squids), Lamias and Tree Spirits as new enemies. Lamias are pretty unremarkable, the Tentacles are weak to Lightning, and the Tree Spirit is weak to Fire. As with preparing for all Hunter's Guild quests, Over Kill them as much as possible.
Once you reach the southeast point, you'll leave the mountains and be informed for a working transfer portal nearby that Victoria found while on patrol in the past.
There we are. To Fendias
Well, there's no use delaying the inevitable, right? You should try to be more like the other beautiful ladies and be a bit more decisive about things. You know, more of the -Men are MEN!- mentality.
And with that said; good luck, Jainus.
Felenne pushed him into the portal.
I'd appreciate it if the next time you do something like that, you warn me first, all right?
You're not dead, quit whining and get a move on.
We'll go on ahead.
That was quite a stroke of genius she had. Jainus, we'll be relying on you to take the lead from now on.
Now then, let us go.
Uhm...I'm glad you're all right, Jainus. Err... I'm not just saying that out of obligation, you know?
I guess it's better than being ignored entirely, right?
Y-Yes, I see...
And here we are at snowy, mountainous Fendias. Although you can see the icon for the temple if you really squint, we're going to pass on that for a bit. For a while...
Back in Frensberge, a demon hunt event summoned me back to the wastelands of north-central Aegisthus. This fight is really, really hard at this point in the game. Let's get a move on... Versus Neo Orthos
I gotta level with you, I have no solid strategy for this guy. He is brutally hard and he will make your life a living hell so long as he lives. I got like six or seven Game Overs against this guy before I finally managed to grind him down.
First off, you're in bad straits if one of the Fire Spirits uses Drifting Cloud to increase their evasion. If they don't, you should be good to go for at least getting halfway to an Ultimate Point on your first turn. Great...
Now then, a few turns later, I used a Rushing Jaeger to kill one of the Fire Spirits, but the blast radius included the Neo Orthos. He responded to that by using a counter attack against Victoria, KOing her. Counter attacks are when you strike an enemy with a physical and / or magical attack, and they respond by shooting an orange (for physical attacks), or a blue (for magical strikes) beam from the top of the screen on the perpetrator(s).
There's an EX Skill that counteracts both kinds of counterattacks, but as for the moment I don't have access to that. That's the reason I'm not bothering to rare steal from him during the fight or attacking him with anything but magic. Counter attacks, when coming from this guy, will almost assure that the perps are KO'd.
This is the reason Aina is along: the Neo Orthos is weak to Water. The reason Eva is here is because her formation bonus increases the power of magical attacks and magical defense. With her as team leader, Aina can hurt him for a bit more, but he'll still survive like 5 or 6 Crying Happiness's. On second thought, I should have not used that Jaeger and instead killed the Fire Spirit with Aina. Oh well.
Also, be advised the Fire Spirits can and will heal themselves or any teammates if you give them the chance. Don't.
Damn this guy to hell. At the time I was recording this, it was like 2 in the morning, but I was too pissed to be tired. I blew through my entire stock of Blessed Leaves (came in with 9), a Fragment of Life, and a Blessed Fruit. And the worst part is that there's quite a bit of commissions to do before we head to the Fendias temple. His rare drops are Kaigetsu's Light and Argentum, and his Over Kill is DEX Up. Good riddance.
Commission 38 is for 5 Lesser Bats and a Cockatrice. Both are hanging out near the Fendias portal, alongside Hobgoblins. They drop Goblin Coins, which is for another commission. Just so you know, Cockatrice are not vulnerable to Rushing Jaeger's binding. Others are for 7 Lizard Men, 7 Earth Knights, 2 Jatayus, and 2 Chimeras. One more for 5 Water and Fire Spirits, alongside 2 Iron Golems. Yet another is for 3 Devil Tentacles, 3 Tree Spirits, and 7 Lamias.
On the plus side, once all those are done, you'll have a metric ton of Gold, TP, and PP. At some point, the second rank of skill books became available. MasterLL never mentioned that I literally checked what the guy had available on a lark. I was recording all that fighting at like 3 in the morning, and finally wrapped up around 4. Is it possible I'm somnambulist who Let's Plays?
Anyway, before I headed back to Fendias to continue the story, I checked what I could make from the blacksmith. The weapon that most interested me was a Knuckle called the Adaka, which is a substantial improvement over the Gold Fingers Weiss is currently using. The Adaka requires Iron Knuckles (Feleene has been using those), 3 Orc's Clubs, 1 Iron Mass, and 1 Dragon Claw. Luckily, I had all those materials.
But I wasn't done there. I saw that the Adaka converted into Chain Knuckles, an even more powerful weapon. I converted the Adaka, then was lucky enough to have enough ores to fully upgrade the Knuckles. They give Weiss more power, defense, and magical power. Good eating. From completing all those commissions, we get more scenes in town. So, another bonus video.
Let's talk about the last two options from this guy. In this game, you can acquire items called Attachments, which are items you put onto weapons (and weapons only) that increase their parameters for free. Every weapon has what's called Grade, and Grade influences what, and how many, Attachments you can put on a weapon. This service is completely free, but at the cost of the Attachment itself. Once you put it on a weapon, it's gone forever.
The Remove option allows you to take Attachments off a weapon so you can free it up for others if you so choose. Like the above, this service is free but the guy will simply take the Attachment off and discard it. Once it's off, it's gone forever. I can understand this, as if you could use them at will, this service would be broken as hell. It also does make you conserve most until late in the game, because even with upgrades on, lower-tier weapons cannot possibly match the best weapons. And the best weapons become even more powerful with the best Attachments on them. I probably won't use this service for a bit, but as soon as I do, I'll let you know.
NOW it's time to go meet with the chief of the Nebula. The wisdom of the guardians
And you believe this tale and are using your place amongst the Alister to introduce them to all of us?
You are indeed correct. Would you be willing to share with us any knowledge you have regarding the demons?
Hmn...let me see... Unfortunately, as a result of the Day of Light my third eye has been blinded to the future. And not only has my sight gone dark, but that of all my people. Now my eye is merely a decoration. As of now, your elder, Gnade, may be able to perceive a great deal more than myself.
Jule and her people are called onerthes. They all have a third eye on their head which allows them to see the future. Trouble is the damn things never feel like working in this series. In the first game, Vira-Lorr's eye never worked, in Zero, Cal-Vina's eye did nothing, and, not to spoil this game too much, but the onerthes party member we get in the second generation also can't see into the future.
Well, at least here they justify it by saying the Day of Light screwed everything up, but still...
I see... My sincerest apologies for intruding upon you at such a difficult time.
Never you mind. While I am no longer able to see the future, I am far from weak and powerless. And worry not about this continent or its inhabitants. The demons you seek have yet to appear, and should they ever do, we will make it a point to inform the local Hunter's Guild.
Thank you very much.
It's quite all right. And should the time come, I trust I will be able to rely on your assistance.
Please forgive me for being so abrupt, but does the Day of Light have anything to do with the demons?
I believe that demons have appeared long before that event, correct?
-That- itself is not inherently evil. Hmph, judging by your choice of raiment, you are a soldier by trade, are you not?
Due to the current situation I have taken leave of my command, but I have led others against the demons.
Hmph, do you think that -power- itself is evil?
No, I do not believe that it is either good or evil, power simply -is-.
The same could be said about -that-.
Then, if someone has access to... Let's call it a -special power-. Could they have used that special power to summon the demons to our world?
The answer to that question, is -nay-.
Then, do you mean to say that there is no relation between the demon scourge and the Day of Light?
No, and I didn't say anything like that. If I were asked if it had no relation, I would answer -nay-.
Then just what exactly was that -light-?
I have nary a clue. You should look for the answer to that question yourselves.
If only we had the time to spare.
Hmn... Occasionally the truth can be more than painful. However, you mustn't look away from it, ever. Also, do not lose sight of what makes you, you. To have focus is to be able to maintain yourselves. And once you banish uncertainty and doubt, your existence is assured. In this world, anyway. Doors, no matter how securely fastened, are designed to be opened. After all, if they could never be opened, then they'd fail at their intended function. And fear not; the doors that lead to the truth contained within you will one day open. So be sure not to charge blindly forward in haste until that day comes.
The same thing could be said about you as well, you know?
... It appears that you delight in speaking in pointlessly convoluted riddles.
When you get older, you'll find that riddles and wordplay are the only things that remain entertaining. Well, how about this old woman stops bandying words with you now? It seems to me that you don't have much time left to you. If you wish to go to the lands of the Yurle, use the transfer portal located within the village. Once through the portal, head east and follow the mountains that lie to the south to reach the Yurle. It would not do to get your hopes up in any way, but maybe just meeting with them will help your cause.
I thank you for your cooperation. I give thanks in my elder's stead.
Yes, and be sure to exercise caution in your travels.
We shall take our leave.
See you again, Miss Jule.
Come back to play with me again sometime soon.
Yeah, let's play a lot more next time!
To think that a high elf still lives in this day and age. And a little girl such as her... It seems as if the highly implausible is, in fact, now occuring. Whether the world will be illuminated with light or engulfed in darkness... Hm... Even though I have come to where I have become weary of life, it seems to have some value.
Like Jule says, the transfer portal to Graccea is just around the bend from the temple entrance.
Graccea has a wide open plain to greet you when you first arrive, but its most distinctive feature is the wetlands south of the Yurle temple. Speaking of which... The haughtiness of the guardians
We came here via a transfer portal after receiving permission from Jule.
Jule, what an impulsive and meddlesome thing to do... I have no words to waste on you. As for the demons, our strength makes them no more than a nuisance!
We have no intention of fighting on your people's behalf. I am obligated to slay demons in fulfillment of the role I have been given. Nothing more.
Then do what you will. Where you choose to fight and die is of no concern of ours.
I have no problems with that.
Then go! I give you leave to enter our lands, but I forbid you to enter this village again. Remember that well.
Yeah, we'll definitely keep that in mind. We're not ones to engage in meaningless battles.
Yeah, he's kind of a dick. He barely gave the party a chance to speak.
I've heard rumors about the Yurle elder, but he was definitely more so than that.
Well, things did work out in our favor, right? Just getting permission to be here is enough for now.
And given his current state of mind, speaking with him further would just make things more difficult.
Who are you?
My name is Danaos. I am of the Yurle.
You, that skin...
Do you find the hue of my skin unusual or disconcerting? As you have obviously surmised, I have the blood of the syrium flowing in my veins.
Even though you're a guardian...?!
It is because of that fact that I am a guardian.
Syrium, being the spawn of Chaos, are largely reviled due to their creator being the leader of the gods of darkness. By the same token, dark elves are generally disliked, but don't face the same amount of oppression as the syrium.
Putting that aside, please do not think ill of the elder. Everything he does is for the benefit of the Yurle, first and foremost.
We understand. Given the upheaval in the world, he must have many things on his mind.
Ah, I am quite gratified to hear you say so. The tasks given to use are far more specific than the other guardians, and so we keep to ourselves. However, our reluctance to cooperate with others was beginning to soften due to the elder's influence. But with the chaos that followed the Day of Light, he closed his eyes and mind to the outside world. Many of the others in the village followed his example and are now more obstinate than ever.
Well, there's no helping that, as it is impossible for anyone to change the events of the past.
Ah, to think that I'd voice my concerns so with outsiders is quite embarrassing. Should things grow worse, I will get into contact with the Hunter's Guild. I hope I can rely on your help?
As we hope we can rely on yours. Good-bye, then...