Part 41: Tales of Fire and Ice
Now to go to this tower for the last time. We already know what we're here for, and I'm sure you're smart enough to realise that we'll be using Ice Charms to be done in a reasonable length of time.
Right away, we're required to make a diversion. Okay, fine, I'll bite.
Not that I'm complaining; we get some nice new armour out of this detour.
On the one hand, Reflex is kind of weaker than the Rare Plate. On the other hand, it has some damned nice elemental resistances; it reduces Water, Wind and Thunder by 20% and Light by half. Can't complain about that.
I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that this is a Star Cloak.
More specifically, it's the last Star Cloak we need and can use. Not only does it grant resistance to Water and Non-Elemental attacks but it's got 17 more Defense than the Rare Plate too.
Oh and there's two levers or whatever that we need to flip.
Doing so opens the door we were blocked by in the first place.
Infernos are dicks who like to use either Fire Storm or Explode. Pictured is the latter and being the best Fire spell it kinda hurts the most too.
I'm sure you've noticed that stat boosting herbs are pretty much non-existant since we gained access to Alvanista. I'm reasonably sure that's intentional since we can get as many as we want there.
Oh and that fire on the floor is annoying. It still hurts you if you have the charms equipped; this pretty much means if you don't have Ice Charms this dungeon is even more dangerous. Taking damage just for existing AND walking on the wrong parts of the floor! You can't even avoid it most of the time. It's still not impossible to do without the Ice Charms but goddamn is it tedious and not worth it.
The Ankh Shield is a step down from the Rare Shield, grants no elemental defence and is even buyable. It basically exists here to be used if you can't afford the Rare Shield somehow, come here first or to be sold. Guess which one we're doing!
Another Duel Helm. This thing proves that there's no "right" order to which of the two dungeons you do first since you get the same crap in both. Figures.
Yet another one of these. By the time we're done with both this and the Cavern of Ice we'll have enough for everyone that isn't Cless. How nice.
At the end of this section lies the book for Explode. Just three spells left and then we've got them all.
Since we need to backtrack anyway... let's not return to the Cavern of Ice because that's stupid and we came here for the sword, not the spell.
No, rather, let's restock on some supplies and get 2 more Mystic Symbols while I remember.
Another door we can't open. Time to run off and flip more switches.
Another Star Cloak. I think from this point on any of these we get can't even be used for anything other than even more giant piles of money.
At some point, Mint hits level 50 and gains her penultimate spell. Resurrection restores 65% of the entire party's HP. It'll come in handy at some point.
This is just referencing the guardian of the Sword of Fire. Since we're nearly at the top, a few new things will pop up to try and annoy us. Only one of them is remotely noteworthy, for a given definition of "noteworthy."
Oh and ignore those two obvious statues for now.
I'm sure it goes without saying that this is a Star Beret, so I'll say it anyway: this is another Star Beret.
The deal with the statues is that you have to move them down to around here. This opens the door; moving them again closes it. I'm not sure why, so let's just pretend that makes sense.
This is the fourth of these now. Even the benchwarmers get to wear one of their own at this point!
Anyway new enemy around this area; the Balrog counts as the dungeons... "rare" enemy, even though it's not that unlikely to appear. I know, I know, just go with it. It's not particularly noteworthy since you'll more often than not run into two of the things at once. They absorb Fire and Dark but are weak to Water and Light and drop swords. Not just any swords though: ?Swords that you have to identify that, 99% of the time, turn out to be Longswords. How nice of them to give us just what we don't ever want.
There's very obviously a door missing from the left. Inside all four of the other rooms (three at top, one at the bottom) there's one thing:
Floating swords that aren't the floating sword we came for.
No, these floating swords are a mini-boss! Remember the floating sword from Thor that had a chance to nullify everything but Light, which it absorbed?
This has a chance to nullify everything but Fire which it absorbs. I'm sure that came as a shock to you. Fortunately, unlike the sword from Thor this one has a weakness; Water. We got Tidal Wave about 15 minutes ago so we can spam the shit out of that to murder these guys in no time.
After we beat them all, the missing door is revealed to be a staircase. This one leads to the top room, which (fortunately) has no environmental hazards in so we can re-equip everyone with their normal gear.
Or, rather, everyone except Mint; she gets the two Princess Shawls because nothing says "waste of time" like a boss fight you can have complete immunity against. If you really want to trivialise this fight, just bring Mint, Arche and Suzu with 2 shawls each and wait for about 5 minutes. It'd be quicker but Arche's spells make you wait for them anyway, Mint doesn't do much except tank hits that would deal no damage anyway and Suzu's damage output is shit. With her water elemental sword.
: You have come here for the Sword of Flame, have you not? The soul of Lord Odin sleeps within that blade... You shall not claim it so easily!
There is but one strategy you need to beat a boss like this...
Spam the ever-loving shit out of Tidal Wave.
Okay, so it's not quite that simple, but it's close enough. The biggest problem with Flamberke is that she takes reduced damage from Light. Considering Cless' best moves are, mostly, all either Fire or Light kinda leaves you with Thunder from him and that limits you to every variant of Lightning Claw which is kinda uninteresting. Arche gets to spam the shit out of Tidal Wave and murder everyone. Klaus helps with Aska and Volt. Mint's there to tank damage and not get in the way. If you're insane enough to use, or are stuck using, Chester or Suzu, er... my advice would be to not but that doesn't help much.
Of course, the three Infernos are what make this fight far from being super-simple. Solution? Stop time. Flamberke's immune but they aren't. Throw out a Chronoglass, Tidal Wave the two that start behind the party and they'll die not long after. The one that starts behind Flamberke is a bit more of a nuisance but Roaring Strike or Claw Slash will help take it down pretty quick.
Even if things do go super badly somehow, you've always got the Princess Shawls to prevent you from ever getting a game over. You won't get this luxury again, so make it count!
: T, to humans like you, I can entrust this life of mine. Now, take what you desire... The Sword of Flame!!
But that's not all we get out of this little trip;
Unfortunately, Rending Void is pretty shit so let's never speak of it again.
Okay, fine, I'll explain why. It costs way too much TP with a Fairy Ring to be worth a damn, takes ages to do anything resembling an actual attack, is a shittier version of Divine Field for the most part and deals piss-poor damage when it does actually hit things. And like all good artes, this one can be mastered too. Great...
And here's the Flamberge; a fire elemental sword that has okay stats I guess. It's basically a slightly better version of the Muramasa or Flare Basilard (drops from a Balrog if you're lucky).
When going back through the Cavern of Ice to catch up to where we found the Tidal Wave tome, Chester hit level 46 and learned his penultimate arte. Grand Fang has a slow build up, costs a somewhat acceptible amount of TP, deals a fuck-ton of damage and uses the weapon element. It's kinda clunky and slow but it slightly homes in on the target but will miss small enemies most of the time.
Likewise, Mint hit level 53 and gained her final spell. Time Stop eats through TP like nothing else for what IS a Chronoglass with a TP cost and a wait to use it. Since Chronoglasses are hard to come by without drop-farming a bunch of Hourglasses and then Rune Bottling them the sentiment is appreciated but good god is this spell not worth it in a lot of cases.
In the giant maze of ohgodwheredoIgo, we can get the last Ring Shield we'll ever need. Now everyone has one and will never take them off.
We can also get an armour "upgrade" for Cless. It's identical to the Rare Plate only with 1 less point of defense. It has no elemental resistances so the Reflex is still functionally better.
A new weapon for Klaus is always nice but this one's a bit different.
It's exactly as strong as the Seven Books of Hsan but with 50 more Accuracy.
Star Beret? Star Beret. The red chest off to the left contains another Ankh Shield and I'm not one to turn down free money any time soon.
This switch is for an overly convoluted "puzzle." All that matters for now is that it drains water and lets us proceed.
Pressing this switch locks you in but also does... something... in the next room. I don't remember what, but a safe guess would be that it opens the door you need.
This switch on the floor is what enables us to really proceed. Or in this case: backtrack!
It freezes all the water in the dungeon, so all we have to do is repress the switch that drained the water earlier and walk along that ice and we find...
The boss room. Unlike the one at the top of the Tower of Flame this room DOES still have environmental hazards. They don't matter now so you can still safely switch the charm out for your proper gear.
: You have profaned the sacred grounds of the Cavern of Ice! No doubt you have come for the holy blade possessed by the soul of Lord Fenrir! You shall not have it!!
There is an accessory you can get that nullifies all water attacks 50% of the time and 2 does grant complete immunity. This is a waste of time for this fight so don't bother.
See where it says "None" for his elemental attack? Yeah that's a bit of a bugger. Convenientely, the Fenbeast is laughably easy. Nullifying Earth and Wind isn't remotely a big deal nor is absorbing Water. Immunity to Dark is pretty much expected so we don't even bother with it. Just come in with the Flamberge or anything more powerful and just pound away. It's quite cathartic really, especially given how Crimson Blade hits a lot, every hit is naturally Fire elemental and deals quite a lot of damage for 5 TP.
Oh, fine, he does have a whole two attacks other than his physical. They ARE water elemental; remember the spikes from the ground? Yeah, this guy does them too for what little they help him (hint: they don't). He also has a far more lethal attack that he technically got to do here; whenever he howls, the entire battlefield is pelted with a hailstorm. It doesn't affect him but if you don't nullify water will make him something of a pretend threat. You know, assuming he ever gets a chance to perform it. With he shouldn't.
: I grant you this as well. Now, lay claim to what you seek... The Sword of Ice!!
Much like before, Cless gets a new base arte out of this.
Unlike Rending Void, Dimensional Divide is actually pretty damned decent and almost worth using.
Giant barrier that hits everything nearby followed by super-energy sword that hits right ahead for a decent amount of damage in its own right? All for a mere... or not so mere... 36 TP (or 18 with the Fairy Ring). Well, uh, at least it deals some fairly nice damage?
The Vorpal Sword is identical to the Flamberge only its Water elemental instead of Fire. Makes sense though; don't want one being objectively better than the other, now, do we?
Skit: Fusing The Artifacts
: That's true. Maybe we should try borrowing Origin's power?
: Origin's Slate had the power to restore objects to their original form, right?
: That's right. The real question is if he exists at all...
: Origin is said to dwell within the Treant Forest. I believe it quite likely that he will appear.
: Hearing you say that is reason enough to be reassured.
Skit: We Can Believe It
: Yeah, I would have never guessed that they held such fear of the Half-Elves.
: Of the Half-Elves, huh?
: W, what's going on? Everyone's looking at me...
: Well, I can understand that. They always do look like they're up to something.
: H, hold it! What are you talking about?
Skit: Not So Cunning Plans
: Forget it!
: Come on, if I dress up, nobody will know.
: How about if I zap the guard with some Sorcery?
: Come on! I just want to see the Ymir Forest a bit.
: Did you forget about that whole execution thing?
: Goodness, what do you have to do to teach this girl a lesson?
Skit: Forge The Sword
: I do not believe there is any other technique capable of binding Dhaos' time travelling.
: If we allow Dhaos to escape again, it would put us right back where we started.
: For now, let's just try to figure out a way to forge that sword.
In order to actually make use of the Flamberge and Vorpal Sword in any meaningful manner we do need to go and pick up Origin...