Chapter 2 - Searching With FriendsEdit
Town of EteEdit
Heading to the Sernal Company, Fino is surprised to find Cefilia waiting for him with a request - to accompany him into the Garden Caverns to retrieve a sacred blade. Fino is a little put off when he realizes that Zalex must still think he needs a babysitter, but Cefilia isn't letting him get her down.
At room 3, Cefilia will activate a mechanism to remove the pillar blocking the stairs. Head up to the Garden Cavern.
This is the most expansive map you've been to yet, but you'll only need to explore part of it for now. Bring a couple of items to take care of hunger and fatigue issues, just in case.
In room 9, you'll come across a shell on the ground as you're exploring. When Fino tries to toss it, Cefilia chews him out for discarding something that somebody in town might find valuable (and not being too subtle about the fact that she is that "somebody.") Eventually Fino breaks down and lets her have it.
Room 12 will probably be the first irritating fight of the game - it contains a ghost which does very high damage and takes very little damage from attacks. Move in close and hope that Cefilia's holy magic is able to hit it (on the positive side, positioning yourself so that the magic hits you will minimize the need for healing). A device in Room 13, just beyond, will remove the barrier in the middle of the map, but you should return to town to rest and repair before attempting to move through.
As you enter room 15, Cefilia spies the sword you've been asked to retrieve and picks it up - but only a few seconds later, you find yourselves under attack.
Boss: Rat Horde
You'll quickly find yourself completely surrounded by enemies, so letting Cefilia handle this fight and absorb the blows with her heavy armor is the ideal strategy. Take advantage of her spear's range by attacking two hit two groups of rats in a row whenever possible. Provided that you didn't come in here already exhausted by the rest of the level, this should be an easy fight.
During a temporary respite in the battle, Fino and Cefilia decide to make a run for it, but Fino suddenly stops and heads for cover upon sensing an ominous presence. The dark shadow resolves itself into a warrior with strange markings, who notes with some amusement that you are "its guardian" before disappearing again. Both Fino and Cefilia are shaken by this encounter; Cefilia doesn't recognize him as a knight from any order she knows.
Town of EteEdit
Back on the surface, you make your delivery and formally complete the request, marking the end of your partnership with Cefilia. Jinos says somebody else has asked to accompany Fino, on another job from Zalex. When the subject of the strange man from the labyrinth arises, you decide that it's best to be cautious, but not to jump to conclusions - he didn't actually try to harm you, after all.
The next day Fino goes back to the company, wondering who the partner is. He assumes it must be another knight, but Natal is the only one he can think of, making him not look forward to today's work in the least. Instead it turns out to be Myiri, whose practicing has finally paid off. Your instructions are to go back to the Garden Cavern and continue investigating the nature of the demons there.
As you move into the unexplored half of the cavern, Fino warns Myiri to be careful - there's no sign of the strange man from before, but this is new territory for them both. In room 25 Fino comes across another shell; Myiri shows as much interest in it as Cefilia did, so he hands it over to her. In room 26, Fino finds a secret door, which the pair eagerly charges through in hopes of finding treasure. Instead...
Boss: Frost Lords
Myiri's magic is essentially for fighting these king-sized slimes, but simply standing in place and casting will result in their overwhelming you. Instead, give each one a shot and then start running. Take advantage of the room's layout and make them chase you around; every so often they'll divide, until soon the individual slimes are weak enough to be killed in a single blast. Myiri will likely end up with a higher level than Fino once this fight is over.
The fight is interrupted when jets of boiling water begin to spray from the walls - the result of an unexpected shift of the labyrinth, perhaps. This makes short work of the remaining slimes, but the two explorers barely manage to avoid being scalded themselves. The water doesn't wash away the loot, though, and they cheerfully set about scooping it up. After a minute, Myiri stops and asks if Fino heard a voice. He hasn't, but a moment later she hears it again - and then a woman appears in front of them. She looks as though she wants to speak, but when Fino demands that she identify herself, she fades away again. Fino is left with a different, less ominous impression than from the man he saw before, but still no explanation - only questions. Was she responsible for the water spouts that saved them? Either way, it's clear they're not strong enough to stand against some of the dungeon's residents. As they part ways back on the surface, Myiri promises to study extra-hard for the next time they work together.
Town of EteEdit
An event with Sauli at the workshop will result in his giving you the blue leopard's key, which opens a door in the southwest part of the first level. This leads nowhere plot-critical, but there are some nice goodies to be had here.
At the Sernal Company, Jinos will give you your next job - to retrieve some special ore from the Stagnant Corridor.
Earthen Ore, B06 (Map)Edit
Head beyond the room where you killed the boss of the previous chapter. The barrier that previousy barred your passage at room 6 has been removed, allowing you to continue downward.
Stagnant Corridor, B08 (Map)Edit
You'll want a few healing items when you arrive here - the undines can cause a lot of damage very quickly (and at range!) by casting spells at you. You have no weapons that will be effective against the wisp enemies, so use the terrain to quickly get around them whenever you meet them. If rats or other enemies bar your path, consider leaving the way you came and re-entering to get a more favorable configuration.
Your path will take you around in a big circle, allowing you to open a shortcut from the stairs later. Proceeding a little further will bring you face-to-face with an unfamiliar man - although not the one you saw earlier. He's equally surprised to see Fino, and comments that the topsiders must be shorthanded to be employing children. When Fino demands his name, he says he was called Evan once - and unexpectedly, he recognizes Fino's name and deduces that he is Jedas Sefit's son. Although he didn't know the man personally, all those who make their home in the Root of Distortion know the names of Jedas and Laura Sefit and Zalex Raphaie.
Fino points out that those who spend too much time in the labyrinth go mad, but Evan says he's still perfectly human - he merely stays down there to collect the horns of demons. Fino realizes this is the horn collector Jinos warned him about, who attacks knights as well as monsters. Evan seems uninterested in fighting Fino; instead he tells him to go home, as this isn't a playground. This doesn't sit well with Fino, who yells at Evan not to look down on him just because of his appearance. After some thought, Evan agrees - if Fino endures his attacks, he'll look on him with a little more respect.
Evan will be too strong to fight at this point, but all you need to do is make him chase you around one of the corner pillars until ten turns have passed. Evan has seen enough, and isn't particularly interested in killing Fino despite his weakness; instead, he tells Fino once again to go home. Frustrated, Fino tells him that he can't leave without the ore he was sent to find; without missing a beat, Evan pulls a chunk of the ore from his pack and tosses it to him. The horn collector then leaves, ignoring Fino's threats of a real thrashing the next time they meet.
Town of EteEdit
Back at the Sernal Company, Jinos is shocked to see the request completed - but is even more shocked to learn that Fino met the fabled horn collector and walked away. His bravado returned, Fino cheerfully repeats that their next meeting will have a very different ending.
The next day, yet another request has come in, and Cefilia has once again been assigned to accompany you. Word about Fino's encounter with Evan is beginning to spread among the officials, but for now you're simply tasked with retrieving another holy relic, this time from an unexplored part of the Stagnant Corridor. Bring a lot of healing potions with you when you go - preferably the large variety.
Head through the room where you fought Evan and head up the stairs towards B04.
Only a couple of rooms in, Cefilia will stop in front of a door and identify the sign of the god Arcparis - the relic is nearby. However, the two of you also detect an approaching demon, and it's quite a bit more powerful than the ones you've met thus far. Fino realizes with some shock that the Eardrop of Flight won't work - and since the monster won't listen to his warnings to stay away, you'll have to slug it out.
Boss: Decaying Troll
This is the first of many boss fights where losing will actually cause a game-over instead of causing Fino to warp back to town. It can be an irritatingly luck-based fight, as the troll can deal over half your health in damage with a singe attack, forcing you to spend all of your time guzzling potions instead of fighting back. Luckily, it's not too accurate, so if you brought a decent supply of potions, you should prevail in the end. Cefilia's holy magic can also do in a pinch, although it heals for far less.
After dispatching the troll, Fino quickly finds the grail you've been searching for. Looking back at the dead monster, he recalls Evan's words about how many beings find themselves trapped here in the Root of Distortion, and wonders where the troll came from originally - still, there's no time for reflection; you need to get the grail back to the surface before yet another demon tries to take it from you.
Town of EteEdit
Jinos reacts to your return with his usual mock-surprise. As Fino and Cefilia walk through town, she comments that they work well together. She'll probably be paired with somebody else on her next excursion, but it's only a matter of time before they're cooperating again.
The next day, Fino finds himself once again paired with Myiri, although he's reluctant to let her come along to such a dangerous place. Lutina steps in on her behalf, reminding Fino of Myiri's unusual background and suggesting that this will be good practice for when Fino formally joins an adventuring party. Their job this time is to sweep the rest of Stagnant Corridor B04 for demons. Jinos warns Fino to run away if he should happen to run into Evan again.
Continue around the level in a big loop from where you entered. When you get to room 10, before you move to the middle of the room, place a trap at the corner of the obstacles on either side (so that an enemy in that corner will walk over the trap on its way to you). When you walk further in, Myiri will find an earth card on the ground - and a second later, enemies will appear all around.
Boss: Carnivorous Earthman x4
Immediately have Myiri equip the new card and blast the two earthmen on the west side of the room. Then run into one of the corners on that side, making sure to lure an earthman across the trap you set. You should have just enough space to blast another before it's inside of your card's range; with luck, Fino should be able to finish off the one that stepped on the trap in hand-to-hand combat.
With the monsters driven away, the two of you take a look at the ruined statue in the room's center. It looks to have been intentionally smashed, and Fino recalls the earlier conversations about the Labyrinth's wards being destroyed. They decide to tell Jinos about this. At that moment, another monster leaps out of the dark at Myiri; Fino is able to intercept it, but gets scratched up a bit in turn, driving home that the less time you spend here, the better.
Town of EteEdit
Jinos says it's not terribly uncommon for stuff in the labyrinth to be falling apart, but when Fino says it was deliberate, he agrees to send somebody to take a look at it. In the meantime, he wants Fino to move on into the Expanding Gallery, down below where he fought Evan. Myiri still blames her inexperience for Fino being hurt, but insists that she wants to come along and help him as he pursues his dream.
The barrier at Room 3 should now be removed. Head on through and go down the stairs.
After the long slog down here, you'll probably need to go back to town and rest up. The narrow hallways can be bothersome, particularly if you end up with undines in the inaccessible areas - they can blast you with impunity while you try to get through with no real way for you to retaliate. The teleporter at room 7 will provide a welcome shortcut past both narrow rooms.
At room 10 you'll find an odd spectacle - a massive beast apparently in the process of being devoured by some sort of living wall. It seems to be mad with pain, and Fino has no choice but to fight it.
Boss: Predatory Wall
The boss' two claws are treated as separate enemies, and if you try to move up and attack its head, you'll be taking fire from all three targets at once. Inch forward and to either side, throwing knives diagonally at one of the claws until it's ben destroyed; then move up on that side and attack the head until the beast dies. Note that if you have the resources to destroy both claws, it will get you more experience, and all three targets can be stolen from individually.
The monster doesn't die easily, but Fino eventually manages to put it down. He's barely had time to catch his breath when Evan appears, drawn by the sounds of battle. He seems at least marginally impressed by Fino's show, but now expects Fino to hand over the demon's horn and leave quietly. Fino, naturally, refuses.
Once again, you'll have little option on a first playthrough but to run away. Depending on your position after defeating the first boss, you may have difficulty getting a lead on him.
Fino's strength eventually gives out; when he still refuses to give up the horn, Evan prepares to finish him off. His attack is interrupted by a dwarf, who jumps into the fray and takes the hit on his shield. Evan recognizes the dwarf as Kuroe, but neither he nor Fino seems very interested in having the newcomer interfere. Evan finally gives in, saying that killing a kid under these circumstances would leave a bad taste in his mouth, and leaves. Fino, of course is not the least bit grateful to Kuroe for his interference, but the dwarf takes it in stride all the same.
Fino creates quite a stir when he comes out of the labyrinth dragging the demon's head along behind him. Lutina and Zalex decide that he's progressed far enough that it's no longer safe for him to go by himself; he needs to form a party before they'll let him take any more requests. Fino asks if he can make a group with Cefilia and Myiri; Lutina is a bit reluctant to let Cefilia go into the labyrinth with him, but finally consents.