Part 16: Moria Yours Than Mine
We've put off going to the Moria Mine for quite a while, so let's finally get to it.
Here's the Axe we got in the Cavern of Burning Sands. It's mostly uninteresting aside from being Thunder elemental so we might just be able to find a use for it. It's not even close to the Mech Halberd in even Slash so it's not worth prioritising.
The mine is just a bit north of the dock to the Freyland desert, so it takes all of 20 seconds or so to reach from there.
: We have the approval of the King of Alvanista. We also have this permit.
Guard: Oh, pardon what I said earlier. Please go right ahead. By the way, in the depths of the mine, there are altars to the Four Great Spirits. At least that's what the exploration team said.
I'm intrigued as to how they could know that but we'll get to that before long.
Still, let's get down to business. The mine itself is a bloody huge dungeon, and is far larger than anything else we've been through so far. At a good 10 floors from top to bottom it's going to take a fair bit longer than what we're used to thus far. Fortunately, there's a set of stairs in the centre of the first floor that double as a short path through to the 4th or 9th floor. Unfortunately, it's locked on those floors until we open it.
This switch hiding out in the top-left corner is a bugger to find unless you know its there. Without it, you can't get past the first floor and it's always hiding just out of sight.
The dungeon absolutely adores its switch puzzles. Most of them are pretty simple stuff; the ones with switches like this are usually either "stand on the one with a black !" or "place a statue on it." Some of them are trickier and at least one is super sneaky.
This chest is a dick. If you leave the screen without getting it, it will despawn and never come back. Better hope you didn't miss it!
It's kinda telling when this is one of the better items to be found on the higher floors. The other chests just contain some Beef (lame) and 2000 Gald.
This is a slightly less obvious switch puzzle. The door here is open normally, but if you step on either of the two "?" switches in front of it, it closes.
Fortunately, there's a float pad just around the corner. Unfortunately, there's a well placed... de-float?... pad on the way to the door. It's easy to get past but it's annoying if you just go barrelling down the corridor and accidentally hover over it.
: Huh? It looks like this torch is actually a lever.
Naturally, this hidden passage way is required to advance.
But, there's two doors. The one on the right is open by default, and it closes if we open the left one instead. Let's take a look at what lies within it first.
A sort of annoying switch puzzle. Both the "?" switches in this room have to be stood on simultaneously. This usually amounts to "pick one, wait for the NPC to blunder onto the other" but I got lucky and the timing worked out quite well for once.
Probably not worth trying to put up with NPC pathfinding, but a free Rune Bottle is always nice.
Anyway, with this we can go back and take the left door instead.
I'm sure you can work out what we're supposed to do here. This doesn't open the door in this room though. Oh no, it opens a door on the previous screen.
This lever opens up the shortcut between the first and fourth floors. There's another "!" switch on the floor that opens the door in the previous room. The stairs down eventually lead to the 9th floor but there's a door in the way there too.
From the 5th floor onward, visibility gets worse and that just leads to more running in circles than anything else.
This switch exists basically just to remind us that we have the Sorcerer's Ring and might need to use it occasionally. We can't have Arche just fly over there and press it, because.
Speaking of rings, the Technical Ring is an interesting accessory. It enables manual control over whoever it's equipped to. This means that when you press an attack button (for either a regular attack or an arte) they'll perform it where they're standing rather than run up-to the enemy first. This also means that Cless is going to spend most random encounters in the air since the easiest way to kill anything is to jump and then attack normally. This will stunlock just about everything and it works regardless of the weapon equipped. I personally wouldn't use Manual for most bosses since it's not particularly fun and the few it actually helps against just laugh at any attempts to be stunlocked anyway.
That pad warps you back to an earlier point on this floor. It's supposed to be used to get that chest behind it but its just a gel so I don't really care all that much.
Another place to use the Sorcerer's Ring and in this case it makes more sense to use the ring than hope Arche doesn't burn us all alive.
Lighting the torch causes this pad to appear. This one is used to advance through the mine, but there's a catch!
It only spawns us in this small room with no entrances or exits. There's a treasure chest just above us, but if we try to get it we get kicked back to the previous room instead. Trying to come back just leads to this room again with the same problems as before.
Just next to where we spawn, however, there's a sign that tells us how to get the treasure. Run around the room to get it by opening it from behind instead.
Totally not worth the hassle. After getting this, we have to run down to get out back to where we were before. Taking the same pad will lead to this room again.
This is a bit more worth it; much like the Coral, we'll be selling this for a fair amount of cash later.
Repeat this once more time and we get a nice weapon upgrade for Arche. We could've bought a weapon for her at Olive but it's not even close to being as effective as this and it's barely an upgrade over her initial broom anyway.
Now that we have the broom, if we take the pad one last time we end up in this room with 10 candles that we have to light (5 candelabra with two prongs each). Lighting them all lets us finally advance through the mine.
Hopefully you still have that pickaxe, otherwise you better love backtracking. Fortunately, this shouldn't catch you unawares.
If you're still wondering, it's between this wall still being here and the need for a Sorcerer's Ring twice already that made me wonder how the exploration team could claim about altars for the spirits. For the switch they could use a long stick or something but the magical fire to light a torch to make a magic pad appear... I got nothing. Same thing with this wall.
You see this candelabra? It's a dick; it actually has a hidden switch on it that you press. Don't try to light it with the Sorcerer's Ring! (Or do, it's actually kinda cool.)
In the next room, there's nothing but spikes. That would suck to walk across, so there's a "!" switch here that causes a float pad to appear on the previous screen.
Only one floor left and we can't reach it yet. That switch is used to turn off the flames that hurt like hell along that corridor. Unfortunately... they're only in the way if you're coming from the other side of the room. Where there's no switch to turn them off.
This is a neat thing that will let us get some bonus EXP after every battle.
If we turn it on in the Customise menu, it keeps track of our longest combo in battle and gives us exp based on how long it is. Later we can abuse this for easy EXP but for now it's good for making sure we don't fall too far behind for whatever reason. There's a couple of contingencies for it though; every attack must be to the same enemy otherwise it doesn't count and every attack must deal at least 1 HP worth of damage. For the time being, it's pretty simple to get at least a 15 hit combo assuming whatever you hit with Efreet doesn't die. I suck at timing attacks to get any massive combos but I'll leave it on for the rest of the game just to see how bad I end up really doing. Maybe this'll help me improve.
Oh and there's a "!" switch in here that lets us advance to the next floor too but who cares about that?
Now we can run back to the 9th floor from the 1st and vice versa. This will come in handy, like now, since it's a good idea to run back to Alvanista and pick up a few supplies if you're running low.
I basically use it to pick up some Rune Bottles though; nothing else is worth buying. Using a Rune Bottle on a stat herb makes it a Red version of the same herb. This makes it raises the stat by twice as much as normal, so Red Sage raises HP by 10% (for example).
Using a Rune Bottle on a gel makes it a better version of the same gel. So, Apple becomes Lemon, Orange becomes Pineapple (60% TP restoration), Lemon becomes Pineapple, Pineapple becomes Lemon (it just does) and...
Mixed becomes Miracle. You can buy Mixed for 1k each. Rune Bottles cost a little over 3k each. It's not a cheap way to get 15 Miracle Gels but its worth it later. For now, I'd just hold onto them for whenever they're needed.
...I'd do the same with Elixirs but I have a tendency of selling those since they're pretty much worthless until the last hour or so. Plus they sell for 5,000 Gald each so that's some good money all things considered.
For once, that doesn't make it apparent who the ring is for. It does the same thing as the Moon Crystal though so it's kinda worthless as an accessory (30% TP increase; the Moon Crystal is gotten via using a Rune Bottle on the Black Onyx we got from Jamir).
Flipping a switch here causes their respective pad to spawn. We'll take the one on the right first, since it holds something rather important.
: There's something carved in it... They almost look like characters of some kind.
: This is...
: Impossible for me to read.
: Um, you know...
: <<When you feel the Breath of Life, bring forth the Giver of Life. The Maiden that weeps for the dying sits at the right hand of Death. The Wind blows across the Stream of Time, the span between Life and Death, toward the Maiden.>> ...is what it says.
: How do you know these characer!?
: It's Primal Elven Lore. This was the ancient language of the Elves. You're human, so I'm not surprised you don't understand it.
: That's amazing, Arche. I'm seeing you in a whole new light.
: I'm Half-Elven, so of course I know it!
: What did you think? That I was good for nothing!?
: Don't get so upset!
: So do you understand what's written here?
: Wait just a second... I guess it means that you have to summon the Spirits of Earth, Water, Fire and Wind somewhere to open the door.
: But how are we supposed to know which Spirit should be summoned in which location from that?
This puzzle is super goddamn irritating. Let's go back to the previous room and take the left pad now.
: Is this where we're supposed to summon the Spirits?
: This must be the place. Four rooms for four Spirits.
: All right, you all wait here for a bit.
There's a finite number of combinations but it's goddamn annoying having to try them all. I'm no stranger to complex puzzles but this one just made me give up and look up the solution the first time I tried it. I'm sure someone could figure it out from the clues given but I have only a vague idea of what the logic here is; the rest of this "explanation" is just guess work.
Efreet goes to the north. Fire, out of the four basic elements, is the most likely to be considered the "Bringer of Destruction." I'd guess here that the "way of the dead" refers to heaven in some capacity, hence the top of the room (or the northern chamber).
Gnome goes to the south. The "Giver of Life" most likely refers to the earth itself. Though this is really just because it can't go anywhere else and have the rest of it still make some kind of twisted sense.
Sylph is in the eastern room. Given how Efreet is positioned, this is the only place Sylph could go. By being between Efreet and Gnome, this allows the wind to blow "across the Stream of Time."
Lastly, Undine goes to the west. This allows to sit at the "right hand of Death" as she is positioned to the right of Efreet from his perspective.
With all four positioned, we get accosted by an old man who's not on-screen.
???: Who has called me here!?
: W, what? Where is that voice coming from!?
???: Return to the slate...
I'd save before continuing on to the room with the slate again...
: I am. And you? You're the one that called me here?
: Thats right.
: What business do you have with me?
: I'm searching for the ring required to form a Summoning Pact with Luna. Therefore, we would like you to open the way to the inner sanctum.
: Now I see... the sanctum is a vault of treasures. The object of your desires most likely lies within. However, you will first have to prove your worth!
Maxwell is a dick. Not in the same sense as Gnome was; no, Gnome was tedious and irritating and takes forever to kill. Maxwell just throws you for a loop, abuses invincibility frames and will fucking murder you.
No weakness, a chance to nullify any element and that absorption? That's a high chance to absorb any non-elemental attack. The best weapons available at this point, for Cless at least, are the Mech Halberd (non-elemental), the Gungnir (non-elemental) and the Strike Axe (thunder elemental, but next to no range). The nullification thing becomes a staple from this point onwards, but the absorption thing is just Maxwell being a douche. He's not just some gimmick fuck who'll put up no real resistance but hide behind a chance to maybe take no damage every once in a while, either.
Yes, that's Thunder Blade. Yes, that's Maxwell using it. Yes, that fucking hurts.
He also has his own unique move. Molecular Attack is a pain and he loves this. During this attack, he bounces around the entire fighting area kicking the shit out of your team. Unless either Klaus or Arche get a hit in on him during this, he will be effectively untouchable (a lucky Thunder Claw or Rising Phoenix can take him out of it but that's not worth the hassle unless absolutely necessary).
The absolute best part though? In spite of all this, Maxwell is not that hard. Fundamentally, nothing has really changed that much since the earlier boss fights. Maxwell just throws you for a loop because, for once, the boss actually fights back. Don't let my apparent bitching up there deceive you either; I love this fight. Maxwell is incredibly goddamn fun. I'd still use the Mech Halberd over the Strike Axe, in spite of the non-elemental absorption; the longer reach is way more useful.
: In that case, Maxwell, we would like you to open the door to the sanctum.
: V, very well. Hohoho... You're an interesting bunch. I wouldn't mind lending you my power as well...
: Why so surprised? You did say that you were seeking pacts with the Spirits.
: Incredible! I can't believe it, a pact with Maxwell, the leader of the Four Great Spirits!
: Thanks, gramps!
: (G, gramps...) Ahem... T, then bring forth the Turquoise Ring.
The title is "only" for gaining the ability to summon Maxwell, but fundamentally it's the same as gaining 5 spirits. There's no way to obtain Max without the other four after all.
: Hohoho... This is only a fraction of this spear's true power. I've simply drawn out a tiny bit more of it.
The upgraded Gungnir is much, much better than its initial counterpart. Even the Mech Halberd isn't that great in comparison; it's more balanced... but its still a spear, and spears aren't for balance. They're for stabbing things from a distance. Thus, the Gungnir (v2) is superior and should be used over the Mech Halberd.
: This is amazing!
There's 12 chests in this room. 12!
: ...That's just an ordinary ring. It can't be a pact ring.
: Ring here!
: There's one here as well.
: They're both broken.
: Isn't there anything else?
: There don't seem to be any other objects that look like rings.
: So what'll we do now?
: There's nothing I can do with these... It's probably best if we return to Alvanista for the time being.
Yeah, great, whatever. More importantly: loot!
Skit: Maxwell And Something More
: Maxwell commands the Four Great Spirits, right?
: That's pretty awesome. We're making great process already.
: Are you sure you don't mean progress?
: Whatever. Next is...
; Yeah, we need to search for a way to repair the broken rings.
: We have to find some way to repair the broken rings.
: Lungdrom might have some idea about what to do.
: And we can sleep in those fluffy beds again.