Update 8: Hazy Maze Cave



Morning.
Good morning.
Why're you up here? Usually you're training when we're all sleeping.
True, but even I tire of training every now and then.
...
What? What's that look for?
Just surprised. You seem like you have infinite patience.
I...would fancy myself a very patient man, yes, but why would you assume that it's infinite?
Because you don't sleep. I couldn't handle that, it'd make me want to stop existing. I can only handle so much happening in one day.
I see. If it's any consolation, I cannot imagine what a life where one loses several hours of each day to nothingness must feel like.
Mm. Do you get lonely when the rest of us have to sleep?
In the strictest sense, yes. I've spent enough time in isolation to mentally gird myself against its ill effects, though.
...
What were you doing up here before I came up?
Oh, I was observing the sheep, off in the distance. Their mindless wandering sets my heart at ease, in a way that's difficult to describe.
The sheep are cute. Cute things make people feel nice.
I'm afraid I don't know what you mean by "cute."
...I have much to teach you.



Man, having to fly back and forth between Tharsis and wherever we're exploring's going to be a real pain in the ass.
Unfortunately, it's either this, or we experience that violent teleportation sickness every time we have business in town.
I'd almost take the sickness, man. I'm telling you, this is going to get unworkable if we go any further.
I...find it difficult to disagree, but all we can do for now is put up with the travel time.


Ah, it's... Y'know, it's not really anything... Well, mmm—
Hm? Speak up, dear, I can't hear you.
Right, I'll take over from here. Ahem... Thanks.
You're welcome. I think a celebration of your accomplishment is in order! Does ostrich sound good to you, dearies?
Yes'm!
Yeah, sounds good.
Wonderful! Bring the rest of your guild here for dinner later. We just got a fine ostrich earlier—I'll wring its neck later and prepare a wonderful feast for you all.
...Yep! Okay. Thanks. We're going, Shelly.


Okay, a lot just happened there.
Listen, I can't help it if I get tongue-tied around women I like.
See, being tongue-tied is one thing, losing your ability to talk is another.
Eh, maybe. Fact of the matter, though, is that it's just who I am.
I guess. Anyway, uh... Was I hearing things, or did she sound kinda...excited, when she talked about wringing the ostrich's neck?
Yeah, I noticed that too.
...You got any thoughts on that?
Yep: now it's going to be even harder for me to talk to Dalla.
You're a godsdamned disaster, you know that.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.


Oooooh, dis is so excitin'! New land, new mats, new things ta make!
We'll make sure to bring back nothing but the best junk the Scarlet Pillars have to offer, eh?



You have scarcely arrived but have already succeeded in going beyond the northern barrier.
No-one has managed to do that before us?
Not within my lifetime, at least.
One has to wonder how that is possible, especially given that the bloodbear uprising was not a factor until recently.
True, but it's also possible that the bloodbear uprising was actually a boon here. The path down to the third floor might have been blocked and hidden until the bloodbears charged through it, for example.
...I can't rule that out, actually. That then begs the question, however, of why the tablet was in a area that was hidden until recently.
That, I cannot speculate on. Perhaps you will find the answers as you explore this new land.


Cooking guild member:
Hello again.
Ah, I remember you. You heard that one of those new guilds managed to open the path to a new land?
Mhm.
Ahhhh, I'm so excited!
Oh, are you an explorer too?
Huh? No, you couldn't pay me to set one foot in those deathtraps explorers call labyrinths. What I'm here for is the ingredients. I was able to fly around in the new land for a bit, and man, I can barely contain myself, thinking about the dishes I can make with these...
I know there's ostriches out there. Uncle Ranger never cooked ostrich—I wonder what ostrich meat tastes like. Also, how well it pairs with fruit sauces...
I can't say that was my first thought, but... Heh, you don't mind if I borrow that idea? Oh, one thing, though. For as good as the food out there is, the monsters like it just as much, so be careful. The sheep will inhale the mushrooms, and the mantises...take a very worrying delight in carving up and eating the birds and fish.
Mantises...like...birds and fish. Okay, thank you.
Yarakahna's fortress:
Hey, Daffodil, how's it going?
Have we met?
W-What? C'mon, you guys stay at the inn, right? You hafta have seen me around.
We sleep on our skyship.
...Dang. Well, even if you're not staying there, you know that Dalla'll let you use the storeroom there, right? Just 'tween you and me, guilds normally only get space for 10 different kinds of things, but I've deffo seen some guilds with bigger stashes than that.
Oh! Perhaps they're using some form of spatial manipulation in order to compress their holdings into a smaller volume.
Wha? No, my thinking is that Dalla just gives 'em more space, probably as thanks for doing her a favor. What kinda asks she's got for explorers, I dunno, but there you go.
Haunted runemsater Menou:
That's a huge book. The hell is it?
It's the Zoologics. I'm trying to memorize it, so I can know what materials monsters drop. Now, please, go away. I'm busy.
Zoologics is an item that unlocks the Analyze burst skill, which costs 1 burst gauge, and unlocks an enemy's Monstrous Codex info. These show up in every EO game from now on, since you can view the Monstrous Codex mid-battle, but even for a new player, I think the utility of seeing an enemy's Monstrous Codex page is limited. This goes double for EO4 and EOU, which don't list an enemy's disable vulnerabilities in the Monstrous Codex.


Somewhat nervous, if I'm being fully honest.
Same.
Understandable, I suppose. Everything from here on out is uncharted territory. But braving the unknown is what explorers live for, in the end.
Correct, but that doesn't preclude us being nervous.
Our guild's still only a few weeks old, after all.
Right. Seems like it was just the other day that you established your guild. Still, your accomplishments speak louder than the dates on the paperwork. Try to stay bold, hm?


It's a pain in the ass, yeah. At least Wiglaf and Kirjonen are willing to help us out there.
Oh, great, yeh already met them. Saves me the trouble.



Keep at it, Guild Daffodil. As long as you continue exploring, I will do everything I can to accommodate you.
And we'll do everything we can to keep impressing.



A request from Dalla? How serendipitous.
I suspect that she intended for your guild to accept this request. In any case, Dalla is looking for mushrooms from the Scarlet Pillars, to aid in creating new dishes. She provided a basket for the request—you can simply place the mushrooms in here, and then return the basket to me when you are done.
I do not find mushrooms particularly appetizing, but I hope Dalla's new dish pleases those who do! Oh, and what about this other request?
Yes, this one is from a travelling sorcerer. It seems he wants you to find him a Plant Reference. Unfortunately, this particular volume has been long out of print, but I do know there are a few copies floating around town.
Would the atelier have any in stock, perhaps?
Possibly. I know Wynne occasionally purchases items that have no purposes for her usual smithing, if they're rare enough.
I see. We'll also take this one, then!
Many thanks. Kismet be with you, Guild Daffodil.



Good day, Wynne! Would you happen to have a Plant Reference in stock?
Yeah, actually. What's got ya asking?
We took a request from a sorcerer that was looking for it.
Ahhh. Yeah, it's always da magic types dat look for dese. Ya'd think plant science people'd want it more. Anyhows, if ya wanna buy it, 1000en'd be fair, but...
Ooh! I assume the "but" is implying that you know of a different way to procure a copy?
Yup, I figured you'd be excited 'bout dat. Anyway, dere was dis soldier dat came around da other day, braggin' about how he pulled a Plant Reference from a bloodbear's body. Why a bear had one? No clue. But hey, if ya wanna try your luck, dat's dat.
I'll let the others know, then. Many thanks, Wynne!
No prob!
You can take the boring way out of this quest and just pay Wynne 1000en for the Plant Reference, but where's the fun in that? There's no difference in the reward you get at the end of the quest, but still.


Sorry, but, uh, why are we down here, Xiaohu?
You just excitedly tell us to run down to the third floor of the Lush Woodlands with nary a word as to why, lass.
...Oh, yes, sorry! One of the requests at the Dancing Peacock involved tracking down an out-of-print tome of botany, and to make things simple, there's reason to believe we can find one down here.
There's a soldier over there—he looks scared. Let's talk to him before we look for the book, okay?
Oh dear, yes, he may be in need of assistance.


You wouldn't happen to be the guard that had a copy of the Plant Reference, would you?
How did you— Wynne told you, didn't she.
Yes!
I really should learn to keep quiet around that girl. Anyway, the book was in my pack. If you want to go get it, be my guest. I'm not going to risk my life to get that thing back.
Where did you drop your pack?
Uhh... Oh, right, it was near the rocks that have water flowing from them. The monster ambushed me there. Now, if you'll excuse me...
The soldier clasps you on the shoulder before walking off, most likely back to town.
The water-rocks were right...here. Let's go.


The bloodbear just kind of appears once you step on this tile. It's weird.
As you squint, you can see a torn pack hanging from the monster's deadly claws. If you wish to take back the book, you have no alternative but to challenge the monster.


How underwhelming.
This is just a regular bloodbear, not a special event version.

You rummage around inside and find a luxuriously bound Plant Reference! Exactly what the client wanted!


Great success! Thank you, everyone, and my apologies for not being clearer about why I wanted to quickly head out.
Hold on, the pack isn't empty...
You also find a number of medicines and a large knife for exploration! What a stroke of luck! You are able to claim them as your own without any further effort on your part!


  • Machete (47 ATK, 1 Slot, 9% Leg Bind Imbue): Made from 1 Mountain Claw (Great Lynx Drop). Costs 1220 en.
  • The machete is nothing special, but hey, free amrita.


    Oh, wait, ya got it already! Heh, I knew it. Way ta keep on top of things!
    No party dialogue here, just showing that Wynne has dialogue for if you return to her after getting the Plant Reference.


    Here is the Plant Reference!
    That was quick. Did you purchase this from Wynne?
    No, we found it inside the Lush Woodlands! Why do you seem so surprised?
    Oh, pay me no mind. Here is your reward for a job well done.





    There's technically no direct extra reward for not getting the Plant Reference from Wynne, but the items we got from the pack are basically extra reward items.


    No real special reasoning for my skill point investments this time, besides Harper needing to increase Flank Shot to rank 2 in order to get arguably her strongest skill once she hits Veteran.


    Oh, we got one of the new forge effects. Pierce forges add a line-piercing effect to normal attacks. Stacking pierce forges increases the damage of this line-piercing effect, with each forge being worth 1/8 of the initial attack's damage.

    Since pierce forges only apply to normal attacks, they're really not worth burning materials on. EO4 lacks any particularly power regular attack-enhancing passives, which could've made splash/pierce forges useful as cheesy, no-cost methods of clearing out random encounters. What I would give to try them out with Double Attack and Fencer...


    ...Oh, right, treasure maps. Anyone opposed to just getting these out of the way?
    You sound real unenthused-like about that.
    There's no fun in treasure hunting when you're just going where a map tells you.
    Yep, what she said.
    We've only got a few maps for this first part of the Scarlet Pillars, so might as well do them.

    More dampening mist, eh?


    Hmm. A completely clear liquid with low viscosity.
    Judging by its runic composition, I'd say this is some kind of neutralizing solution.
    Think we could throw it at monsters to get them back to normal when they power up?
    It's certainly worth a shot!
    Metopons purge all buffs from all enemies. They're generally inferior to just using debuffs to cancel out buff applications, but can be useful when you're dealing with multi-target enemy buffs, of which there are...exactly two in the entire game. Both of them are fairly dangerous, at least, so metopons are worth keeping around for them.

    Snooze.


    Disappointing.
    This is the +5 TEC accessory, remember. The one we could buy at the start of the game.
    But it's freeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

    I thought the jars we found before were packed full with energy, but this takes it to a whole new level.
    No.
    Oi, I didn't even say anything!
    Blast jars are fire jars, except they target all enemies and have a bit less accuracy. Exact same damage and speed modifier.

    Please be very careful with these.
    Nerve gasses attempt to inflict paralysis on all enemies, with a 40% base chance. Ray already had Nerve Circle, but I guess she could combine these with the end-of-turn circle infliction to attempt to inflict paralysis twice in one turn.
    Nerve agent.

    There we go, that's one mushroom for Dalla's request.
    Going by how worryingly big these mushrooms are, I think three should be enough.
    Every time you inspect a vegetable point in the Scarlet Pillars while Shroom at the inn is active, you're prompted on whether or not you want to put the mushroom you just got into the basket. Internally, each mushroom is worth a different amount of points; apricot maitakes are worth 1 point each, oyster shrooms are worth 2 points each, and gold stinkhorns are worth 3 points each.

    4 or less points will get you the lowest reward, 5 or 6 points will get you the medium reward, and 7 or more points will get you the maximum reward. You can get the max reward with either two gold stinkhorns and one apricot maitake, or two oyster shrooms and one gold stinkhorn.

    If you haven't already gotten the harvest charm from either Kirjonen or Wiglaf, this quest can be a huge pain, given the amount of RNG involved. Even with the harvest charm, it can still take a bit to get a gold stinkhorn.
    Several hours later...

    Wake up, everyone! We've finished gathering mushrooms.
    ...They're all still out cold. I can't blame them, I guess.
    No, no, I'm still here.
    Dgh— Sorry, I forgot that you don't sleep.



    Ah, are you— Goodness, you look exhausted.
    I feel fine! I possess the ability to stay fully alert until my body finally forces me to sleep.
    That's not a good thing, Xiao.
    Merula is correct, that is...quite unhealthy. I'll deliver these to Dalla as quickly as I can. Allow me a moment.


    No, seriously, that is not healthy.
    Perhaps! But also, perhaps Naijou can teach me how to handle a lack of sleep—
    Naijou doesn't need to sleep because he is a large lion-man with significantly different physiology from us. Please, try to sleep like the rest of us do.
    ...I'll consider it!
    I suppose that's the best answer I could expect from a researcher as fanatical as you...


    Dalla is uncompromising when it comes to food—it is quite a rare sight to see her as excited as she was. I did not, however, inform her of your very apparent exhaustion. I suspect she would be quite cross with you if she were to get wind of that.
    ...I'm having trouble mentally picturing an upset Dalla.
    That is for the best. Ah, also, she asked me to give you these medicines as a bonus, on top of your increased storage privileges.


    ...Well then, that's a, uh, very generous bonus.



    You get 4500 total EXP for the lowest reward, 5000 for the medium reward, and 5500 for the highest reward.

    Also, you only get one amrita for the middle reward.


    As promised, our storage space has been increased from 10 types of items to 25.


    Pork, huh.
    Izzat a bad thing?
    No, we just didn't each pork much. Pigs and pig-like monsters are weirdly rare in Yggdrasil Labyrinths—that's what Uncle Ranger said, anyway. Apparently he and my moms fought some boars, but their meat wasn't suitable for culinary use.
    Well, hey, you've got some new recipes to teach the bloke once you go back, eh?
    ...Recipes that Uncle Ranger doesn't know.
    I'll be eating basically nothing but silk white pigs for the entirety of the time we'll be in the Scarlet Pillars. You can look at the previous update to see my reasoning why.

    Oi, mind if I tag along?
    I— If you stayed back when we get into combat, I don't see an issue, but is there any particular reason why?
    We're explorin' my home! Could give you all some real important pointers, y'feel?
    Well, it's hard to argue with that, I suppose.




    Hm. The Lush Woodlands and the surrounding minor labyrinths were choked with trees—this, on the other hand, is choked with mist.
    Damned near impossible to see through even these twiggy trees with this mist, aye.
    Yeah, get used to that, the trees around these parts just kinda naturally attract all kinds of vapors what make it hard to see.
    Good thing we have a map.
    Beyond the misty trees, these flowers are strikingly red. I don't think I've ever seen their kind before.
    Ooh, yeah, careful with those. That's dragonsbane all around us—real poisonous.
    Sure does sound like everything's going to be out to get us.
    Dare I ask why these flowers carry the name "dragonsbane?"
    Funny you should ask, one time, there was this real huge dragon that came down to menace the Pillars, and it just wouldn't leave, right? So what we did was we took a bunch of the dragonsbane, fed it to one of the sheepies that wanders around the Pillars, killed it instantly. The dragon sees the sheep, thinks it's a free corpse ripe for the eating, takes just a small bite, and y'know what happened? Damn thing instantly flies way the hell away, makin' the most disgustin' noises I've ever heard all the while.
    ...And we are...surrounded, by the flower your compatriots used to make this dragon violently ill.
    Yup.
    I was not expecting the danger we face to escalate so severely and rapidly.
    Eh, could be worse. You could've come when the black dragonsbane's out and about, whoof.


    Right, what else... Oh, wait, 'fore you open that—
    Literally nothing going on in this first room.

    Wugh—
    Aaaaaaaaaagh!
    Mlp...
    Ray, what— What is this miasma?!
    It's... It's almost like some kind of super-concentrated sulfur, ugh!
    Yeah, I was tryin' to warn you. I don't fully get what's up with this gas, but a bunch of the animals here don't really take well to it. Never been bothered by it, myself.
    I don't smell anything, either.
    Oh, how I envy you two right now...
    Okay, let's...let's move quickly.


    Every second in here is worse than the last.
    Hey, you're holdin' up better than most other living creatures do.
    That's hardly worth...celebrating...
    Marlin? Are you alright? You seem—
    The...the rest of you might want to...stand b—


    Marlin?!
    I have some—! Urk...
    I...don't feel good...
    Ah, shit...
    The others rush to Marlin's side, but by then, everyone has noticed the ill effects taking hold. You feel severe lightheadedness and nausea wash over you... The world sways as if an earthquake had struck.


    ...I messed up real bad, didn't I?
    Such are the dangers of having to give advice ad-hoc.
    What in the...?! What are you doing here?!
    Oiii! If it ain't Great Queen Disapprovin' Mugs! How ya been, eh?
    I... You, Sentinel! Help me get these four to safety!
    Of course.

    ♪ No music ♪


    ...Uuogh...
    That should be all of them.
    Thank you for your assistance, ma'am.
    Do not thank me. You two should have moved to immediately get these four to safety.
    Doesn't mean we can't thank you.
    ...
    sigh
    I have spent who knows how many days, weeks, months, worrying about your well-being after you abruptly left to "see the outside"—on foot, no less—and the first thing you do is call me, what was it again?
    Great Queen Disapprovin' Mugs.
    That is truly how you think of me?
    Eh? No harm, eh, auntie? Some folks're just like that, 'specially to one-in-a-lifetime rebels with a cause like myself. Ain't no hard feelings! You're a sweet sorta auntie.
    ...Your travels have not changed you one bit, Wen. I would be more perturbed by you were it not for the bizarre group accompanying you. You are traveling with a Sentinel, even.
    Is that an issue?
    The Sentinels have their land to watch over, and we Vessels have ours. To see a Sentinel in the Scarlet Pillars is unprecedented. To see a Sentinel, a Vessel, and four humans travelling together is...unfathomable. Did you arrive on that flying monstrosity?
    Un...fathomable? Monstrosity?
    Ah, thank the heavens, she has awoken.
    Your companions did not injest a lethal amount of miasma, at least.
    Who are you?
    I suppose I should be courteous, regardless of the circumstances.



    My name is Harper. My passed-out friends are Shelly, Marlin, and Eine. The "Sentinel" is Naijou. It sounds like you already know Ray. We're explorers—we recently found a path from the Windy Plains to here.
    The lands to the south...? You discovered how to dispel— No, that does not matter. Heed my words: this is cursed ground. If you do not heed your steps, you will succumb to the miasma from the night shard.
    ...Maybe that's what Ciaran needs to make the Air B'n'B fly higher.
    I have no idea what you are mumbling about, and I do not wish to know. I have spent enough time here as-is. You humans are our creators. It is out of respect for your guidance that I assisted in saving you. However, the ties between us were severed at the Battle for the Holy Tree, and we have no wish to restore them.
    ...Hm?
    Understand that you are not welcome. Our preference would be for you to do nothing here and leave at once.
    The woman finishes her speech, but as she begins to depart—
    Oi, what about me?
    ...You left of your own volition, Wen Ray-shin. I will not stop you, or force you to return with me, but know that any knowledge you share with this Sentinel and these humans is dangerous. Whatever consequences may arise are yours alone to bear.
    Having said her piece, the woman disappears somewhere. Though she seemed displeased at the idea of you remaining here, you can continue your search if you wish.

    ♪ No music ♪


    Here's the gimmick of the Miasma Forest: you can only take ten steps in the central room before you're forced to retreat to the door you entered from. Nothing too difficult or complicated, just "plan out how you need to get to where you're going, and try to reach new doors you can enter the room from."
    When we get deeper we're going to have to pick up a bonfire, see...


    Ugh. How long were we out for? What happened?
    Not too long. A woman who looks like Ray found us; she helped Ray and Naijou get us out of the miasma room.
    Her name's Wufan, by the way.
    Did this Wufan have anything to say to us, or was she merely a good-hearted passerby?
    She...doesn't like us being here. Told me she'd prefer if we just left.
    She also seemed distrustful of my kind, or at least distrustful of me for having wandered away from our home.
    Also that humans were her peoples' creators.
    Well, that's a new one. I've heard of man-made walking-talking automatons out in Armoroad, but...flesh and blood creatures?
    Much as I like humans, I'm havin' trouble picturing them creatin' me.
    Barely a few steps into the second leg of our journey, and already, this is quite a lot to take in...
    Maybe we'll get more answers later. She also said that the miasma comes from something called the night shard.
    As awful as that stuff smells, I'd bet getting the rock that generates it might be helpful for getting the Air B'n'B to go higher.
    I thought that, too. It means we'll have to put up with the miasma, but is everyone okay with looking for the night shard?
    Well, there's not much else we can do until we can fly higher, and the night shard is the best lead we have.
    Aye, I'll put up with that gas.
    Well, the gas doesn't affect me or Naij, soooo...
    Let's go, then.


    Quickly quickly quickly!


    That's quite the large lizard.
    Slow as a frozen ocean, though.
    Poison lizards patrol a set area, taking one step for every two that you take. If you get too close to it, though, it will aggro on you and start chasing you.


    Why do you suppose the mushrooms look as though they're screaming?
    Being a walking, living mushroom must be painful.
    ...That is a rather distressing thought.

    Trip Mushroom
    Level: 16HP: 175STR: 18TEC: 22VIT: 15AGI: 16LUC: 16DS: 54
    EXP Given: 597

    Damage Vulnerabilities:
    100% 100% 100%
    100% 100% 100%

    Disable Vulnerabilities:
    125% 100% 25% 75% 125% 100%
    100% 100% 100%
    150% 100% 100%
    • Panic Spores: Attempts to inflict panic on one party member, with a high chance. Slow.
    • Panic Spores: Attempts to inflict panic on one party member, with a 50% base chance. Has a speed modifier of -5.
    • Trip mushrooms are likely to open with Panic Spores.
    • After the first turn, trip mushrooms have an equal chance of either attacking, or using Panic Spores.
    • If this is the first turn:
      • 70% chance to use Panic Spores, targeting player characters who are not afflicted with panic.
      • 30% chance to attack.
    • If all player characters are afflicted with panic:
      • Attack.
    • If none of the above occurred:
      • 50% chance to use Panic Spores, targeting player characters who are not afflicted with panic.
      • 50% chance to attack.
    Drops:
    • Muddle Hypha: 70% chance. Sells for 47 en.
      • Rune Wand (41 ATK, 1 Slot, +10% Max TP): Made from 1 Muddle Hypha and 1 Lazurite (Mine: Miasma Forest). Costs 1210 en.
      • Kazak (28 DEF): Made from 2 Muddle Hyphas. Costs 730 en.
      • Jackboots (8 DEF, +1 AGI): Made from 1 Muddle Hypha. Costs 550 en.
    • Umbrella Lump: 40% chance. Sells for 56 en.
      • Round Shield (20 DEF, +5% Max HP): Made from 1 Metallic Horn (War Bison Drop) and 1 Umbrella Lump. Costs 1120 en.
      • Sleep Guard (+80% Sleep Resist): Made from 3 Umbrella Lumps. Costs 900 en.
    When I was in military academy I had this one acquaintance who swore by the hallucinogenic effects of certain mushrooms, swearing that they made him a better student and trying desperately to get me to try them because if I, Waylon van Houten, ate them, I would turn into "a mega brain god".

    This is a terrible idea, and in particular, these mushrooms will not turn you into a mega brain god. Their hallucinogenic effects are for the sake of killing you. Do not eat them. For that matter, do not let them make you hallucinate. That goes triple for you, Greg.
    If you didn't fight any ragelopes back in the 1st Land, then trip mushrooms will serve as your introduction to panic, and how dangerous of an ailment it is. Thankfully, they can only inflict panic on one party member at a time, and are also quite easy to take down.

    Ngh... Come on, Shelly, you can hold it— Be brave, motherfuckers!
    Oh, hell, Bloody Valentine is seepin' through you, isn't it, lass?
    Yeah, of all the godsdamned things to be heredi— Nut up, ye lily-levered codswallops!

    Please don't admire this, Eine, I see those stars in your eyes.


    Achoo.


    Let's just put this thing out of its misery.


    Wonderful, my mace is covered in noxious spores.






    That thing's...inhalin' the miasma?
    Gross.
    It appears to be inhaling and spewing in equal measure.


    New botanical finds means new medical concoctions.
    Obtained osmunda frond x2 and monks cress x1.


    Ohhhhh bunny...
    Bunny...
    Snap out of it, you two! Do these rabbits possess hypnotizing powers?!
    I think they are simply entranced by the rabbits' rotundness.

    Forest Hare
    Level: 15HP: 192STR: 18TEC: 20VIT: 17AGI: 19LUC: 17DS: 54
    EXP Given: 545

    Damage Vulnerabilities:
    100% 100% 100%
    100% 100% 75%

    Disable Vulnerabilities:
    100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
    100% 100% 100%
    125% 100% 100%
    • Lightning Call: Deals heavy volt damage to one party member.
    • Lightning Call: Deals 90% ranged TEC-based volt damage to one party member. Has a speed modifier of ±0, and a base accuracy of 99%.
    • Forest Hares are guaranteed to use Lightning Call when in the back row.
    • When in the front row, Forest Hares slightly prefer regular attacks over using Lightning Call.
    • If the Forest Hare is in the back row:
      • Use Lightning Call.
    • If the Forest Hare is in the front row:
      • 40% chance to use Lightning Call.
      • 60% chance to attack.
    Drops:
    • Rabbit Tail: 60% chance. Sells for 39 en.
      • Hard Plate (34 DEF): Made from 2 Rabbit Tails. Costs 1020 en.
    • Rabbit Ear: 40% chance. Sells for 52 en.
      • Simple Scope: Made from 1 Rabbit Ear. Costs 100 en.
    There are a few implements on the Air B'n'B that have prongs much like the ears of a rabbit. I believe they're called 'plugs'. They conduct electricity through wires, and the two prongs serve as a meeting point to 'plug in' to other objects. I believe the hares in Ray's homeland operate on a similar principle to these objects—that their ears serve as conducting rods for electrical energy. If you enter into a battle with them, attempt to close the distance—they have difficulty doing so at close range.
    Forest hares don't have a ton going on, they just lob high-damage electricity at you. The fact that they're guaranteed to do so while in the back row is a good reminder that enemies behave differently based on their row, I guess.

    Their skulls are...surprisingly soft. I almost feel bad.


    ...They didn't even use Lightning Call once.


    Mrgrgr. I hate it when monsters don't show off what they can do during the first battle.


    Oi, you really gotta park yourself there?!
    Can't move, can't breathe, someone use a thread!



    Pahhhh...
    Perhaps that was a bit hasty...but on the other hand, we did run a very high risk of passing out in front of an angry FOE.
    It was the right thing.
    ...Shelly, lass? A thought occurs.
    You're wondering how we're supposed to get the Air B'n'B back here after using a thread, aren't you?
    Bingo.
    Good, hopefully you've got an idea, because I don't.
    No worries, Xiao and I're prepared for this. Oi, Xiao, we had to thread outta the forest. Can you get someone to drive the ship to Tharsis?
    Great, thanks, love.
    I am quite confused.
    I think she and Xiaohu figured out how to use runes to make sound travel very far.
    That's probs how it works? I just answered her questions about sound as she threw 'em at me. There's some circle magic in there, too.
    One must wonder if there are any limits to what our runemaster is capable of...
    Probably not. But she's a good person, and helping us.


    Yeuch! Why's all this junk smell like sulfur?
    Probs on account of the place we got it from. Oh, and maybe some light dragonsbane got on there, too.
    The new place's already gettin' weird with it, huh?
    Berund Atelier has the following new items in stock:

    We can buy theriaca As now, so that's good.
    i can never remember which theriaca is which
    Theriaca As are not for ailments, and theriaca Bs are not for binds, is how I think of it.


    So, if we may take a second to slow down and think: given that attempting to sneak behind the poison lizard has not worked so far, perhaps we should attempt to pass it while it's to our side?
    With a thread, we don't have much to lose if it doesn't work, eh? Let's give it a shot.


    Getting the poison lizard aggroed on you while it's around thereabouts on the map will prevent it from being able to catch you if you just run in a straight line towards the next door.

    Good planning, Eine.


    I can clear some of the trees.
    Ooh? How's that?
    A very powerful arrow.
    This shortcut lets you get back to the southeast door without having to do the whole "go to the southwest door first and then evade the lizard" bit.


    Hm.




    No, this cat isn't cute.

    Great Lynx
    Level: 17HP: 300STR: 22TEC: 17VIT: 17AGI: 20LUC: 18DS: 53
    EXP Given: 1150

    Damage Vulnerabilities:
    100% 100% 100%
    150% 100% 100%

    Disable Vulnerabilities:
    100% 100% 100% 50% 100% 100%
    100% 100% 100%
    125% 150% 100%
    • Bite Off: Deals heavy bash damage to one party member.
    • Bite Off: Deals 170% melee STR-based bash damage to one party member. Has a speed modifier of ±0, and a base accuracy of 99%.
    • Great lynxes are more likely to use Bite Off when they're at low HP.
    • If any player character has a defense debuff, when a great lynx is above 70% HP, great lynxes are guaranteed to target them with Bite Off.
    • If the Great Lynx's HP is below 70%:
      • 70% chance to use Bite Off.
      • 30% chance to attack.
    • If the above did not occur:
      • The Great Lynx has a 50% chance to perform one of the following actions:
        • If any player character is afflicted with a defense debuff, use Bite Off.
        • If the above did not occur, 50% chance to use Bite Off, targeting the player character with the lowest amount of HP.
        • If neither of the above occurred, use Bite Off.
      • If the above did not occur:
        • Attack.
    Drops:
    • Mountain Claw: 90% chance. Sells for 66 en.
      • Shamshir (56 ATK, 2 Slots): Made from 1 Metallic Horn (War Bison Drop) and 1 Mountain Claw. Costs 2300 en.
      • Wildcat (65 ATK, 2 Slots): Made from 1 Mountain Claw. Costs 2550 en.
      • Machete (47 ATK, 1 Slot, 9% Leg Bind Imbue): Made from 1 Mountain Claw. Costs 1220 en.
      • Pigsticker (52 ATK, 2 Slots): Made from 2 Mountain Claws. Costs 1990 en.
      • Luring Bell: Made from 1 Mountain Claw. Costs 50 en.
    • Sealed Claw: Obtained by killing the enemy while their arms are bound. 100% chance. Sells for 77 en.
      • Lucky Choker (+5 LUC): Made from 1 Dangerous Bud (Petaloid Conditional) and 1 Sealed Claw. Costs 1400 en.
    My associate Ace swears up and down that lynxes are horrifying, murderous monsters. Certainly they aren't fun to engage, but personally I think the hype is somewhat overblown. Please tackle these as you would any other large cat attempting to kill you. If you don't know how to deal with those, please refer to my previous text, "How I Nearly Died To A Large Cat In Tharsis".
    The scourge of EO3 returns, except this time it's a complete non-factor. Bite Off still hurts a ton, but it's not the guaranteed death it was for low-level characters in EO3.

    No scratching.


    My coat...! Hmph, guess I'll be spending some time with a needle tonight.





    Woaaaaaaaaaah. How'd you do that, Mar?
    Quick steps let you get behind anything easily.



    Hm. There's no easily accessible door from the one we just came through.
    Think you can blow a hole through those trees before those four've gotta run back?


    Good idea.


    Okay, Eine's getting purple-faced, time to run back.


    GAH-huuuuuuh...
    Let's give the poor guy a second.
    Thank...thank you...


    With any luck, there will be a door we can rush to through the shortcut.


    Thank the heavens...


    A convenient shortcut back here, so you don't have to run through the miasma room each time.

    The gas appears to be emanating from this rock. I believe we've found the night shard.
    ...We should probs let the others breathe before we start minin' it.


    A...copy of the Monstrous Codex?
    No, it is something more.
    Hey, I already explained this. Neat.

    Oh, for fuckin'— 'Course there's junk here, why wouldn't there be.


    ...


    There, that's better.
    Great, now let's get out of here!



    Okay, new plan: we keep a stock of Ariadne threads aboard the ship, so we can just return when you need us.
    Using a thread on the ship is disorienting, but at least it doesn't cause teleportation sickness.
    Good plan. Anyways, good news, we got something that'll help my baby fly higher. Probably.
    Oh, nice! Hopefully it wasn't too much trouble?

    That is an interesting expression you're making.
    We have quite a lot to inform you four of, but first, we should go see Ciaran.


    Can you make our ship fly higher with this?
    Whoof, that's a helluva smell. Still, this thing's just giving off gas without anything causing it... Very interesting. Lemme go run some tests, sit tight.
    A short while later...

    Oh?
    Installing this'll give yer ship's lift a real boost. Good work findin' this. Yeh got any hands yeh can spare to make this go faster?
    Like hell I'm gonna let someone tinker with the Air B'n'B without my help.
    Heh, fair enough.
    I can assist, as well.
    Good, I think that's plenty of hands. Let's get to work.


    ...Hafta say, I didn't expect to be working with yeh on a skyship, Waylon.
    It's been quite a while since I've last had to work with one, yes.
    Last? Huh?
    Yeh haven't told them about how yeh came to Tharsis, have yeh?
    Well, no, it hasn't come up.
    No, hold on, what are you two talking about?
    Mind if I explain, Waylon?
    By all means, though don't take offense if I interject.
    Alright, so. On the record, my da's the one that invented the skyships that everyone in Tharsis uses. Big improvement over the old pieces of junk yeh see everywhere else in the world that eat fuel like nobody's business, and can't get too far off the ground. Off the record, though... A tad over ten years ago, on a stormy night, something big crashed just outside the town. A flying machine.
    With Whirlwind and I on it.
    Wait, what? You were traveling with him? I know you two have a history, but—
    I had no say in whether or not I went on that voyage. Believe me, I would have said "no" to traveling with only him if I had a choice.
    Don't see what you could possibly have against the man, but I won't pry. Anyhow, yer friend Waylon here pretty much immediately got to settling down here in Tharsis after the crash, but Whirlwind set about helping us fix the crashed ship. Took us over five years to get it up and running again, and that was with Whirlwind's help. Between both his discovery of iridescent ore and his suggestion to replace whatever special fuel source the ship had with it, if he hadn't been there, we'd have never fixed the thing.
    You...didn't help with repairing the airship?
    I like Tharsis and the people that live here, what else can I say? I chose to settle down and become an engineer over getting our ship back up and running.
    Yeh also wanted to get far away from Whirlwind, I'm guessing.
    That was also part of it, yes.
    That's...a lot to take in, but I'll process it on my own time. I'm guessing the new iridescent ore-powered engine you put in their ship became the basis for every other Tharsis skyship?
    Bingo brongo. By the way, props to whoever designed yer ship. Yeh had some real talented engineers in yer crew, Heedless Blaze.
    You— You know about that? How?
    I watch the skies for a living, Shelly. I hear and see a lotta things. Plus, well, yeh know, yer average skyship pilot isn't taking a godsdamned dreadnought around these parts.
    ...It needed to be big, given how big my crew got.
    Heh. Just wish I could've met yer engineers before yeh disbanded. Oh, the upgrade's done, by the way.
    Wait, really? That was fast.
    Oh, we finished damn near immediately. Turns out yer engine's real forward-thinking; again, wish yer old pals were part of my team here. I just wanted to talk a bit. Let's get a move on back to the rest of yer friends, eh?


    ...So the mass production of skyships was the impetus for the Count's call for explorers?
    Yep. Pretty sure he wants to meet the rest of yeh lot, open up relations, that kinda amicable city-state leader kinda stuff. Probably learn more about how yeh build skyships, too—even now, that one yeh crashed is still leagues above what we can do.
    I see. I can only hope that we don't disappoint.
    Heh. Anyway, we should pipe down about now.
    Um, how did it go?
    Yeh're all good to go, the Air B'n'B's gonna fly a lot higher than it could before. Best of luck, Daffodil. If yeh'll excuse me, there's probably a mountain of papers I gotta tend to.


    More sulfur-smellin' mats?
    Hopefully, this will be the last time we will have to deliver anything that smells this foul.
    Berund Atelier has the following new items in stock:

    Luring bells increase the encounter rate for a set amount of steps. In the absence of skills like New Challenger, they're your best bet for speeding things up if you need to grind out battles.

    Pigstickers are a very big upgrade for Shelly's damage, so I grab her one.


    There's no new town dialogue, but there are new bar conversations.

    Yarakahna's fortress:
    Man, the whole town is abuzz. Everyone's talking about new skyship upgrades, going higher than before...
    Wow. Good news spreads fast, I guess.
    ...Y'know, there's another small labyrinth back in the Windy Plains. No-one could get to it before, but if you flew at the right spot, you could see it. I wonder if anyone'll remember it, now that everyone's gonna be swarming the heights of the Scarlet Pillars.
    Probably not, but hey, thanks for the tip.
    The Windy Plains are unique among overworlds in EO4, in that it has four caves, not just three. This fortress just gave us a big hint as to where to find the third one.

    Wandering dragon chaser:
    Your clothes are interesting.
    I will take that as a compliment.
    What are the shining parts made out of?
    Dragon crystals. I'm a hunter, you see. We follow dragons around and gather the crystals they secrete as they fly through the skies.
    Dragons leave crystals behind? Huh.
    ...Listen to my advice. Humans, recently, have taken to the sky like they own the place, but don't be fooled. The dragons rule the skies. If you see one out and about, keep your distance.
    A dragon could probably really hurt a skyship.
    Exactly. 'Course, long as you don't get in their face, they won't actively chase you. We humans should be grateful that they tolerate our presence at all, I tell you.
    Getting the first flying height upgrade has enabled the ability for dragons to randomly show up on the overworld. I'll explain more once we see one.

    ...Which will happen in the next update. See you then!
    Oh fuck?! Dragons?! What do I do?! Which party do I bring?! You didn't tell me I'd have to deal with more of them!! God damn it!! JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS OUT YOU PULL ME BACK IN


























    ...Huh. So that's what that light was. You're up late.
    I was writing a letter to one of my moms. I told her I'd send her letters while I'm out in Tharsis, but haven't had a chance to write anything yet.
    Good kid. Well, not a kid, you're as old as I am, but I mean in terms of you writing to family— You get what I'm trying to say.
    Yes. Thank you, Ace.








    Dear Money Mama,

    Hi. Sorry for not writing in a month, things have been very busy. I formed a guild the day after I got to Tharsis, and nine other people signed up to join it. We then went through an entire labyrinth in a week. It was shorter than the one you went through, I think, but we also spent time in smaller forests separate from the big one. After we got through the first floor of the main one, all of the red bears that lived in the lower parts of the woodlands started attacking and killing guards. The Outland Count, the man who runs Tharsis (I think he might own it too), made it an official mission to put the red bears down, and we took it. Then it turned out that there was a giant red bear at the very bottom of the woodlands, the boss of the rest of them, the Berserker King. This is where I expected to write "it was a long and hard battle, but we managed to kill it," but it was actually very easy. One of my friends blinded it, and it spent the rest of the battle unable to see.

    After the King died, and we pulled one of our friends out of the ground (I'll explain later), it turned out that there was a giant stone tablet, which opened the way towards a completely new land that no-one in Tharsis has ever been to. I will be honest, I don't know how no-one managed to do that before us. It wasn't that hard. I don't know if that's because we're all just very good at being explorers, though.

    Speaking of my new friends, I wanna tell you about them. Shelly's important, so she goes first. All of my friends are important, but she's the one that had a skyship already. Shelly was a sky pirate before she became an explorer. I asked people in town why she gave up, and it sounded like she robbed an innocent merchant. I can see why that would make her quit. She's very kind and also understands me a little. I like just sitting down and talking with her. We spent a while talking before we went out to kill the Berserker King in front of her room's fireplace, and it made me feel safe. Her mom's one of those really famous pirates that operates around Armoroad, Valentine. Maybe you know her, maybe she's gone to see a play. I don't know. Also, she knows who you and Fireworks Mama and Bow Mom and Gun Mom are. She was really surprised to hear that all of you are my moms. She also mentioned Doctor Grandpa Ph.D and Grandpa Yodeler; I think her grandparents were part of their guild. I'll ask her so that I can tell you next time. Oh, and she's a landsknecht, she does cool element things with her swords. Covers them in different chemicals and then makes them explode, and then the chemicals explode even more when we hit the same enemy as her. It reminds me of something Fireworks Mama would make. I'd be kind of scared of having explosive chemicals cover my sword, but she's completely fine with it. Shelly is cool. She doesn't like being called cool—I think she doesn't like the idea of being some famous pirate like her mom—but she is cool.

    I wrote a lot about Shelly. I'll move on. Next, there's Merula. She's our nightseeker; she makes monsters feel sick, and then she uses their sickness to kill them faster. She's very good at it, but doesn't seem that proud of it. It seems like the way she fights was something her family taught her, and it sounds like she doesn't like her family that much. Maybe that's why she doesn't talk about how good she is. She's just generally not really shy, but she doesn't like to stand out much. She can talk to people in town and the rest of us fine, but kind of shrinks whenever she's the one being talked about. It makes me feel sad for her, a bit. Being told I'm doing a good job makes me feel warm inside, but she doesn't like to hear things like that. Maybe she'll get more comfortable with it after we spend more time together.

    There's also Ace, our fortress knight-thing. Ace is big and strong. They're so strong that getting hurt ignores them a lot of the time. The Berserker King fell on them and drove them into the ground, because the pain forgot to hit them. I think a lot of things might forget to hit Ace. I think that she could take a rocket right to the chest and ride it into space. That might be a fun day trip. She talks a bit rough, but she's not a bad person. Apparently she tried to explore the Armoroad Yggdrasil Labyrinth, but found that there wasn't any actual good work or fighting left to be done, so they came here. I don't think they like Armoroad very much, which is sad. Maybe when we're all done, and if Ace goes back to Armoroad, we can show her why it's is a nice city, maybe even take them to a show.

    We also have a medic, like you. His name is Eine. He told me his full name when we met, but it kind of fell out of my head. I wish I was better at remembering full names. He's only 13 years old, but he came out to Tharsis to learn how to be a good adventurer-medic, without his parents. Still, it's kind of hard to remember that he's a teenager sometimes. He's very responsible and eloquent. Really hard to make angry, too. He's a good medic, though he does sometimes really freak out at the ways we get hurt. Is that normal for medics? Did you get freaked out when you were an explorer? Anyway, he kind of wants us to treat him like he's just like the rest of us, but I can't not want to make sure he's okay before anyone else. I don't wanna have to explain to his dads how he got really badly hurt, or worse. Oh, he really really really likes adventure stories. Any time he's not sorting through his supplies or treating us after a day of exploration, he's reading tales of derring-do. That's how he describes them. He kind of reminds me of you with the kissing stories.

    Oh, there's also someone who does things with fire, ice, and electricity, like Fireworks Mama. Her name is Xiaohu—she traveled all the way from Ontario to Tharsis. She's very enthusiastic about runes, which she says are the building blocks of all things. She has an entire special chant language for making runes attack enemies, and she can add and take parts out of the chants to make the attacks work differently. It's like how Fireworks Mama can add and take out different parts of her jars to make something new happen, except it's with reality itself, sort of. She's always very cheery about it. It's impossible to upset her, except when she's hungover. Then she's very grouchy, which is understandable. She also seems to dislike the fact that she has to sleep or eat instead of continue her rune experiments. She's very dedicated. Oh, she and Ray—I'll write about her in a bit—also are a two-person band. I don't know if that's what they think they are, but they seem like one to me. Please don't tell them I said this, but they're not very good yet. They'll get better, though.

    Marlin is here too. He's a professional dancer, but hasn't danced in a while, because he put the club he wanted to open on hold. He has that kind of sailor talk that would be scary if it wasn't coming from his face and his partially-naked body. Even with the pirate talk, he's still liked by everyone in town. All of the townspeople we talk to and do business with already know and like him, so meeting everyone was easy. Also, he let me stay at his house for free on the night I got here. He just does that, apparently. It was a good thing, too, since I forgot to take enough money to stay somewhere. He's like a really nice uncle, though no uncle can beat Uncle Ranger.

    Ray. Ray is a person, but she's not human. She has stick-thin limbs, which made some people worried, but that's just normal for people like her. She also has magic that breaks enemies' arms and legs, somehow. She combines that magic with her guitar, because sound amplifies the magic, I think. Or maybe she just does it because the guitar feels good to use. She also has a very unique accent, a lot of shortening long phrases or associations down to one word, almost like giving a word a completely new meaning. "Have a butcher's at this" when she wants someone to look at something, for example. It's very interesting. The other Vessel—her people are called Vessels, I learned a few days ago—didn't talk like her, so I don't know where she got it from. She's a teenager, like Eine, but a lot louder. You may have guessed that from the guitar. She's a lot more eager to jump into danger and experiment with new things we find. Oh, she also walked all the way from her home to Tharsis on foot. Our skyship takes hours to go from there to Tharsis; her managing to walk that whole way amazes me.

    There's Naijou. He's a giant lion-man with incredible strength. I was kind of scared of him when I first saw him, but he's very patient and kind. If Marlin is like an uncle, Naijou is like a dad, if a dad could turn red and get even stronger when he needs to. He came from a very faraway place, like Ray, but even farther, I think. I'm slightly less impressed by him coming here than I am Ray, though, because he's very large and sturdy. I could almost see him as a hero that selflessly takes hits for his friends. I say "almost" because Ace is here too, and their ability to ignore getting hurt seems good for that. Oh, also, he doesn't need to sleep. His body just doesn't go to sleep. I feel kind of sad for him, sleep is nice.

    My last new friend is Waylon. He's an engineer from somewhere that isn't Tharsis, but he's lived in Tharsis for a while now. He and Marlin were good friends before we all got together, I think. I say he's an engineer, but he's also a scientist in general. Every time we meet a new monster, whether he's in the party or not, he writes a lot about them. It's very helpful. In battle, he uses giant swords with engines attached; he calls them "drive blades." It's fun to watch him do one of his big attacks on a monster, even if it does make really bad noises sometimes. I feel like Fireworks Mama would have fun talking to him, finding ways to make props do cool effects on-demand. I'll see if I can convince him to visit Armoroad after we're done exploring. I'd like to have everyone visit, so you can meet them all, but I also know that would be impossible to organize, between getting everyone to Armoroad, and finding places for them to stay.

    There's a lot more I want to talk about from my time out in Tharsis, mainly pookas and all the different dishes I've gotten to cook. But this letter's already very, very long, so I'll leave it here. I'll try to write more from here on out. Please let me know how everyone else is doing, and make sure to ask Uncle Ranger if he's come up with anything new since I left. Thank you, Money Mama.

    Love,
    Harper

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