Part 45: Part H3-1
While it's generally assumed that if we miss out on recruiting an Einherjar, their story plays out as normal except Lenneth doesn't intervene (hence why we can, say, recruit Suo even if we missed out on Shiho). The world map doesn't necessarily reflect it, though, one of the biggest notables being Camille. If we forget or not bother to recruit Kashell, Camille never gets petrified and the Oddrock Caves are never unsealed.
In any case, Chapter 3 nets us not only Kashell, but Nanami and Yumei. Fun story times were had by all.
This also means that we get the Dragonbane (and the Fragment of Lapis Gem, but the Dragonbane's a better prize).
Not much has changed. We go through the Oddrock Caves as normal.
We also make a visit to Brahms Castle.
Unlike before, however, we're not going to confront Brahms just yet. Instead, we're just going to loot his castle and run off giggling like a robber into the night.
There are some good prizes in the Castle, but the most important one (for Chapter 3 anyway) is the Beast Slayer. The Unicorn's Horn is also another good treasure worth picking up.
Also some decent levelling.
In the absence of the Gorlha Cult HQ, we have the Clockwork Mansion.
OST: 118 Distortions in the Void of Despair
The Clockwork Mansion is in my category of 'pretty, but annoying' dungeons. At least it's a relatively short one.
The only enemy here is the Necrophidius. They aren't really threatening one way or another - they have a bit of bulk, but 'a bit of bulk' in that it might take a low level Sorceress more than one spell to kill them.
The Mansion, for what it's worth, does have some nice backgrounds, so I'll have a couple screenshots of it here and there.
We missed out on Guts in the Gorlha Cult, but luckily there's a copy of it in the Clockwork Mansion.
"Beyond here lies danger. Move and the room rotates. Life is a one-way ticket. Return if you are wise. Only fools who need not need life should pass beyond. Foolish ones, take this scroll. If you cannot proceed even with this scroll, then you truly are fools."
A short way in is our puzzle. Ready for our gimmick?
The Clockwork Mansion's puzzle isn't incredibly new, but it does get annoying - made up of a square grid of 5x5 rooms, we start in the centre left and our job is to get to the centre right room. The catch is that every time we enter or exit a room, every room except the one we leave and the one we're entering rotates 90 degrees, their entrances rotating as well.
If we take too long in one room or get stuck, a samurai head eventually appears - touching it warps us back to the beginning of the puzzle and resets it.
Pressing Select brings up a view of the grid, at the very least. Which is why this puzzle isn't quite as bad as it could have been - the map is moderately helpful and at least there are no enemies in the puzzle. It can still get annoying, especially if you mess up and drop off a ladder into the bottom of a room where there is no exit, forcing you to reset the puzzle.
That said, here's one of the solutions:
Meanwhile, enjoy some of the scenery.
Once we're through the puzzle, it's a short path straight forward to the save point and the boss.
The Chimaera immediately starts the fight with Three Deck. It hits the entire party, and can cause Freeze and/or Poison.
Namely, I'm unlucky enough to have everybody but Nanami Frozen, with Arngrim Poisoned as well.
Normalize quickly fixes us up however, and the Chimaera's damage is really bad for this point of the game.
The Beast Slayer in particular makes short work of him.
Just like the Harpy fight, we want to get him to drop his Bracelet of Zoe.
The Mirage Robe is a decent mid-level robe for Sorcerers. The Mirror of Pleidaes is a nice possession that gives the wearer a 50% chance to bounce harmful spells back at their caster for doubled damage.
The Cave of Oblivion is not nice to me this chapter, throwing out nasty Fire Elementals.
This is becoming a recurring theme.
What does make the trek worth it however is, among other things, the Mighty Check I find in the Cave.
I'm going to keep Janus around for a little longer, so I send both Kashell and Lawfer up to make up for it.
Which is just as well, since they have a shared scene together if you send them up this chapter:
Oh, Kashell. I just thought I'd check out the equipment once more before we leave.
Man oh man... You're way too serious sometimes.
That's not true.
Yes, it is true.
Ah, that it is.
Let's show 'em what we're made of.
And here's Lawfer's other scene:
...Is somebody there?
A Vanir... Badly wounded...
I cannot draw my sword on a defenseless person. Hurry! Run before someone else comes!
Chapter 4 is going to be very, very busy. We'll get into the meat of it soon enough, but before we end the update, have a Spiritual Concentration we deliberately missed last time:
Listen: Spiritual Concentration 17
"Why? Why did it have to come to this? Lezard, why are you-"
"I am he who hath entrusted his soul to the eternal vortex of time."
"I... What's happening to me?!"
"Oh Goddess! Surely you cannot allow any more desecration!"
"What? What are you trying to say? If not that, then why?"
"Ye know me! It shall be engraved on thy very soul! Lezard Valeth!"
"Lezard, think this through! Please!"
No prizes for guessing where we're going next!