Update 10: Myst

Alright, I have to ask: aren't tea breaks usually a time for, say, gossip? Talking about each others' days?
For most, yes. We three have come to an unspoken agreement that we much prefer a quiet break every now and then, however.
When you're an explorer, the vast majority of your days are extraordinarily hectic, I think you'll agree.
The three of us find tea—both the drink itself and the ceremony of preparing it—in combination with the quiet presence of each other to be an effective de-stressing method.
...I also just kind of like doing "fancy" things.

Our pack is free of clutter this time, yes?

It's stumbling time, lasses and lads.
Oi, you best not leave meeee!
Ah, right, you were interested in accompanying us here.

I see this labyrinth is wasting no time in confronting us with FOEs.
It seems disinterested in us.

Ah. Now it makes sense.
Opportunistic creatures, aren't they?
Nah, they just don't like fightin' near their nests.
Big moths will take one step towards your position with each turn that passes in battle. They do not move when you're not in battle, however.


Not much going on, again. Marlin gets a point in Guard Tango in order to unlock further skills once we get to Veteran.

At least walking around the beasties is easy enough when we're not fighting.

♪ No music ♪

What the—
At first, it seems to be a trick of the wind, but you listen closer and know that you are not hearing things. Could it be another party of explorers up ahead? What awaits you there...?
...Let's move.

Small, firefly-like lights float silently around her. It is she who sings the song that drew you here.
The tune she hums, oblivious to your presence, is wordless. It is quiet and exquisite, with a hint of loneliness.
Eventually, it ends. The lights that had been floating around her seem to have dissipated. She gives a small sigh, stands, and happens to look your way.

Her mouth opens and closes, but she seems unable to find the right words to express her shock.
O-Oh dear. Ah, we are—
In an attempt to break the ice, you address her, but it seems to frighten her and she takes a step back.

Its unearthly form looks like a shadow in the shape of a woman. Seeing it, the girl gasps.
What is a Hollow doing here!? Back! S-Stay back!
All the way up here?!
What the hell is that?!
A-An apparition?!
This is no mere ghost. Prepare yourselves.
Naij has the right of it, I'll—
The shadow's head wrenches in your direction, and it draws close. You unsheathe your weapons to confront the enemy!
Listen, I'll grok— Explain— Groksplain later!

First, malicious flora and fauna. Now, monsters that are half-there.

Hollow Rambler
Level: 16HP: 310STR: 22TEC: 20VIT: 20AGI: 17LUC: 16DS: 52
EXP Given: 2700

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

Disable Vulnerabilities:
100% 125% 150% 150% 150% 100%
100% 100% 100%
150% 150% 200%
  • This enemy has an extra 50% evasion, on top of their natural evasion.
  • This enemy does not build accumulative resistance to binds.
  • Blitzritter: Deals heavy STR-based volt damage to one party member. Fast.
  • Long Thrust: Deals heavy stab damage that pierces rows. Very inaccurate.
  • Cover: Redirects all attacks towards one enemy to the user instead.
  • Blitzritter: Deals 150% melee STR-based volt damage to one party member. Has a speed modifier of +5, and a base accuracy of 99%.
  • Long Thrust: Deals 150% melee STR-based stab damage that pierces rows. Has a speed modifier of ±0, and a base accuracy of 40%.
  • Cover: Redirects all attacks towards one enemy to the user instead. Has a speed modifier of +20.
  • When the Hollow rambler is above 50% HP, it has a chance to use Cover on the Hollow exile.
  • When any party members have their legs bound, the Hollow rambler is likely to target them with Long Thrust.
  • If no other enemies are using Cover, and the Hollow Rambler's HP is above 50%:
    • 30% chance to use Cover on a Hollow Exile.
  • If any player characters have their legs bound:
    • 70% chance to use Long Thrust, targeting player characters whose legs are bound.
    • If the above did not occur, 30% chance to use Blitzritter.
    • If neither of the above occurred, attack.
  • If the above did not occur:
    • 40% chance to attack.
    • If the above did not occur, 40% chance to use Blitzritter.
    • If neither of the above occurred, use Long Thrust.

Hollow Exile
Level: 16HP: 228STR: 19TEC: 22VIT: 20AGI: 17LUC: 16DS: 54
EXP Given: 2700

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

Disable Vulnerabilities:
100% 125% 150% 150% 150% 100%
100% 100% 100%
150% 150% 200%
  • This enemy has an extra 50% evasion, on top of their natural evasion.
  • This enemy does not build accumulative resistance to binds.
  • Icy Blast: Deals heavy ice damage to one party member.
  • Dark Healing: Restores 97-102 HP to one enemy. Slightly slow.
  • Shadow Bind: Attempts to bind all party members' legs, with a very high chance.
  • Icy Blast: Deals 90% ranged TEC-based ice damage to one party member. Has a speed modifier of ±0, and a base accuracy of 99%.
  • Dark Healing: Restores 97-102 HP to one enemy. Has a speed modifier of -3.
  • Shadow Bind: Attempts to bind all party members' legs, with a 70% base chance. Has a speed modifier of ±0.
  • The Hollow exile has a chance to use Dark Healing when either it or the Hollow rambler are below 50% HP.
  • After the first turn, the Hollow exile has a chance to use Shadow Bind if no party members have their legs bound.
  • When not using either Dark Healing or Shadow Bind, the Hollow exile heavily prefers using Icy Blast over regular attacks.
  • If any enemy's HP is below 50%, and no other enemy is using Dark Healing:
    • 40% chance to use Dark Healing.
  • If this is not the first action the Hollow Exile has taken, no player character has their legs bound, and no other enemy is using Shadow Bind:
    • 40% chance to use Shadow Bind.
  • If none of the above occurred:
    • 80% chance to use Icy Blast.
    • 20% chance to attack.
Ah, the Hollows. They're a very interesting sort of creature, their physiology existing in a semi-gaseous state that causes many attacks to miss entirely unless you manage to contain them. Additionally, though no communication has been established, I believe they at the very least possess the ability to communicate with each other and perform tandem attacks. I would need to perform more field studies to learn the details of their society, if applicable, but for reasons of circumstance I was unable to. Perhaps another time. For the time being, be aware that they are capable of sorcery and the usage of tools.
This battle against two unique enemies is EO4's way of introducing you to Hollows, a group of enemies that almost uniformly have special passive effects that set them apart from other enemies. Hollows have a whopping +50% evasion, making most attacks you can perform against them have a greater-than-even chance of whiffing. To compensate for this, Hollows are extremely vulnerable to disables, and leg binds especially, giving snipers and arcanists an easy way to nullify their defining passive. Additionally, most Hollows have accumulative resistance against binds disabled, though the usefulness of this in random encounters is debatable at best.

For anti-Hollow strategy, well, I already gave away the big one up there. Snipers and arcanists can very easily render Hollows not just sitting ducks, evasion-wise, but also flat-out incapable of doing anything, due to their generally high disable vulnerabilities. Additionally, remember, snipers have skills that flat-out ignore evasion, which can result in being able to effortlessly one-shot frailer Hollows with no chance of failure.

Now, if you don't have a sniper or an arcanist, things get tricky. Nightseekers are the other major source of disables in EO4, and while both Sand Throw and Nerve Throw would take care of disabling evasion, they are attacks. They still have to actually hit a Hollow before they'll even attempt infliction. Sand Throw and Nerve Throw both have base accuracies ranging from 99% to 101%, so even if your nightseeker has an extreme advantage in the accuracy formula, their chance at hitting a Hollow with either will cap out at 81% (not accounting for accuracy forges). Less than ideal. At that point, your best bet is carrying around a stock of blind gasses or nerve gasses. An annoying prospect, but in my opinion, still preferable to constantly rolling disadvantageous odds of hitting your attacks. One thing to keep in mind, in this case, is that burst skills cannot miss, which at least gives you a consistent method of attacking Hollows even without disables.

As for these two Hollows in specific, they each serve as an introduction to two different Hollow sub-types! A tutorial within a tutorial. There are physical Hollows, represented by the Hollow rambler, who have higher HP, and combine that with their evasion to waste your time while more dangerous enemies do their work. Then there are spellcaster Hollows, represented by the Hollow exile, who are easily dispatched by even just one attack after a certain point, but have skills that can make fights go south quick if you're not careful.

Pulling out the burst already, Naij?
These fiends are incorporeal. Where conventional weapons may fail, one must utilize the unconventional.
...Damn good guess, actually.

They're...working in tandem? These are no mere monsters we're dealing with!

Hold still.
How the heck did you know where to hit it?
Gun Mom taught me a lot about always picking the right place to target.

...Was kind of hoping for some kind of ectoplasm explosion.

Agh! C...cold...
I believe that counts as "too close for comfort."

I can...fight, even when I'm cold.

I think you'll all agree explosions are an effective way of—

Wait, right, the girl.

♪ No music ♪

I'm very sorry, miss, are you injur—
She had been struck dumb during the battle, but now that it is over, she hastily bows to you.

I thank you for saving me. A-Are your wounds severe, miss...?
Harper. I'll be okay. Eine can fix any pain.
I am glad to hear that. Pardon my rudeness, but...you four are humans?
The girls asks this question with restrained curiosity.
You... I have heard tales of your kind. You are a Sentinel, if I'm not mistaken?
I have been referred to as such, yes.
Ah! Miss Ray, you've returned? I'm sorry for not greeting you earlier, your companions are...
The stuff you know turns to mush when put next to stuff you don't know? No worries, I getcha.
Yggdrasil spoke truly... I was told that if I waited here, humans would come!
She seems too excited to realize the import of her own words...
Yggdrasil...spoke to her?
Stars above, things just got even stranger.
Oh, forgive my rudeness. I'm known as the Medium in town. The woman with yellow hair said her name is Harper, and I assume the young man in the blue coat is Eine, correct?
Yes. It is a pleasure to meet you.
May I ask for the rest of your names? Ray excepted, I know her well.
Shelly Valentine. I'm a skyship pilot. Good to meet you.
We'll explain later. I'm Marlin, a dancer by trade. Cheers, lass.
I am Naijou. It is an honor to make your acquaintance.
...I will admit, it is refreshing to not have to explain my appearance for once.
We're a group of explorers—Guild Daffodil. We have four others back on our skyship. Exploring with too many people makes things difficult.
Forgive my impertinence, but... Please, tell me more about yourselves, and where you came from. I would love to hear about your travels as well, Ray!
We're not really on a schedule, so...shoot.
The girl's wariness has subsided and her eyes are bright as she questions you. She seems to be opening up...
You...! Get away from the Medium!
But the conversation comes to a crashing halt as a woman rushes in from the south, staff in hand.

Unbelievable. I thought I made myself clear when I saved your lives. You are not welcome here!
...Great to see you too, auntie.
That includes you, Wen Ray-shin. I see you used your knowledge poorly.
Oi, what?! You let me stay with 'em! What, am I supposed to say "yeah I come from this weird mysterious new land but I don't remember where my bloody home is?"
I warned you that there would be consequences for your poor decisions. Not only did you lead them here, but you let them address the Medium! This is a disgrace... I shall banish you from this place myself! Prepare yourselves!
She seems ready and eager to attack!
Yeah? Well, I'm not going to let you hurt my friends!
Woah, woah, woah, you two, what's gotten into you?
Regardless of whether Miss Wufan has been rude and hostile to us, she still saved our lives!
She's the one who— Oh, whatever, no, you're right.
I was merely preparing for if it came to blows.

I do not know what may have happened when you ventured to the lower forest, but... Please, those four are just like me. They're human too. I want to talk to them more. Can't I, please?
...You won't back down no matter how many times I refuse, will you?
Please. We want to talk to her.
If you must. But please, continue your conversation from inside the town walls. I've not heard any other reports of Hollows intruding upon this upper stratum, but we must be vigilant.
That's fair.
I will be going ahead with the Medium. Vessel Town stands just down this path. Do not make her wait.
If I may be so bold, why the sudden complete turnaround on allowing us to be here?
What the Medium wants, she gets.
Wufan sternly takes the Medium's hand and turns her back to you.
Ow... Hey! What's gotten into you? I'm sorry, everyone, Wufan usually isn't like this.
...I suppose I should say it. Thank you for saving the Medium from the Hollows. Your bravery will be rewarded.
With that, the Medium and her apparent guardian disappear into the mists.

Can't say I disagree.
That Vessel woman is...extraordinarily trying.
She's... Yeah, you gotta learn how to really talk with her. Not a bad person, just got a lot to worry about, y'feel?
Hm? Sorry, I'm trying to keep everything Wufan said straight in my head.
Did the Medium sound lonely to you?
I'm...not entirely sure "lonely" is the word I would use. I felt something more specific— Ah, alienation, that's it.
She was very excited about meeting other humans. I...hope we don't make her even sadder.

...Something's not right.
We teleported.
Huh? I didn't feel anything.
I can very clearly see where we came from behind us.
Nah, Harp and Naij are right. The mist here's real funky. One'a the townspeople told me that it "stitches disparate physical space together seamlessly." Makes different parts of the forest connect in ways they probably shouldn't, something like that.
Still better than the gas, eh?
The primary gimmick of the Misty Ravine is that it is not entirely physically connected. Sometimes, walking somewhere will cause you to end up at a completely different location on the map from where your physical presence in the labyrinth would indicate.

It's hard to explain. Hopefully it'll become clearer as we start having to engage with puzzles that use it.
If I recall correctly, the way it works is that there's vertical and horizontal wrapping on a sort of invisible 'box' on the floor except for the specific entrances and exits you need to take. You won't wind up walking one way and suddenly be facing a different direction, it is consistent.
That's actually a very good explanation of it, yes.

The light bobs and dances, and then disappears without a sound.
Hm. It looked similar to the fireflies around the Medium earlier.
She's leading us to the town.

Any time we move somewhere and end up at a different part of the map, I'll post the screenshots of each step back-to-back, so that you're not left with a map that's constantly jumping all over the place.

That way.

Right, yep, we're here.

Quite impressive, especially given that we're in the middle of a labyrinth.
Wait, how come we didn't see these when we were flying around here?
Glamour magicks, and lots of them.

What the— A Sentinel?! Humans?! What business do you have in our town?!
The man standing by the gate raises his voice in alarm. He must be a Vessel himself. With astonishing speed, he reaches for the quiver on his back.
Oi, oi, cool it!
Fortunately for all, a small figure rushes in to stop him. It is the girl you met in the forest.
Hold! Do not hurt them!
She intervenes between the Vessel on guard and your party.
Did Wufan not mention it? These are the ones who saved me in the forest. They are my guests.
...Didn'tcha even see me, besides?
I...am sorry, Medium and Ray, but you must understand—
Ahh, stuff it. Those five are my friends, and the Medium's guests. Don't shoot 'em.
I am sorry, Daffodil... I hope you did not run into any difficulties on your way.
Not really. You've got a weirdly high amount of magic rabbits around here, though.
I am glad to hear that. About not having much trouble, I mean. Come, we prepared a meal for you all!
A meal...
I-Is that a problem?
No, I'm excited. I like trying new foods.
Wonderful! Please, follow me, everyone.
The girl takes Harper's hand and leads you further into town.
The Vessel soldier lowers his readied bow, but he seems unconvinced.

Hey, uh... I don't mean to be rude, but if this is a town, where is everybody?
They're not hiding from us, are they? Surely not...

The few people you see on the open roads are all Vessels. They glare at you coldly; some speak to each other in hushed whispers.
Seems like Wufan's attitude towards us isn't an outlier.
Are we...doing something wrong?
When you look uneasily at the Medium, her eyes are downcast with shame.

She smiles at you, but it does not reach her eyes.
Here, please, enjoy yourselves. I prepared these dishes myself, but I lacked enough time to make something truly worthy of the occasion. I hope you can forgive me.
The girl retrieves bowls filled with fruit and seeds and offers them to you to eat...
Nah, yeah, a fruit bowl's what I'd expect for how much time you had.
Edible seeds? How peculiar.
Not really much different from nuts.
Still, that's a lot of them below the fruit.
Oh! I get it, this is like a meat bowl. Just with fruit as the meat, and seeds as the rice.
Ah, what is this "rice" you speak of?
It's both a food and an ingredient. I guess there's not really enough space here to grow it. See...
...Ray. This appears to be a large amount of seeds. There aren't any...dragonsbane seeds mixed in here, are there?
Nah. Dragonsbane seeds are real healthy and tasty, but the way I'm told it, when the Medium first tried 'em, they, uh, didn't get along great with her.
They didn't poison her, did they?
Nah, nah, nah, probably not. Point is, ever since that happened, we keep dragonsbane seeds away from the others. Don't wanna risk them gettin' mixed into the Medium's meal n' all that.
In spite of the Vessels' hostile stares, lively conversations continue across the table.

The Medium's questions come one after another in a cheerful barrage. But you wonder if the ingenue act is deliberate...
So, uh, just to confirm. There's no other humans here besides you and us, right?
Correct. Before you arrived, I was the only one. Until today, I thought I was unique. As far as I know, I do not even have parents.
...Did the Vessels find you in a basket? Did someone leave you here?
I do not know. No matter how many times I ask Wufan, she refuses to answer. The other Vessels are the same.
Most I know is that she was still a little baby when I was born.
Ray and I have grown up in parallel, it's true. Vessels don't have children that often, so I am thankful I had someone my age to interact with.
...Even if I'm not entirely sure what she sees in her musical pursuits.
Did you feel like sisters?
Bit of an odd question.
No, I see where she's coming from. While I am thankful to have grown up with Ray, I cannot say I felt that sort of familial relation with her.
More like a funny cousin than a sister, eh?
What makes me a "funny" cousin?
Bein' a singin' bird what won't accompany me's what.
If I may interject, I am very curious about something. You may live entirely amongst Vessels, but still seemed surprised to meet other humans. Why is that?
A fair question.

...Are there others like us? How many humans would you say there are where you come from?
I— Mmngh.
(Lass? You alright?)
(I don't know what to tell her. I'm sort of scared that if we tell her about the outside world, she may get really upset that she'll probably never get to see it...)
(I hate to interrupt, but the cat is already out of the bag on this one, no? We either confirm it, or she spends the rest of her life wishing that it—)
Shelly and I both came from a city in the middle of the ocean named Armoroad. Eine came from very far away west. Each place we came from has a lot of humans.
You tell the Medium about Tharsis and the many other cities in the world far beyond it. She is shocked to hear of an entire world she has never seen. Her eyes go soft as she loses herself in reverie.
Are you okay?
Oh, yes, yes, just... That's amazing. Even just the distance between Vessel Town and this Tharsis sounds so vast, and yet it is barely a fraction of the entire world. How I wish I could see the places you've been.
...I haven't been many places. Just Tharsis and parts of Armoroad. Mostly my house.
Even just Armoroad sounds like a wondrous, fantastical place to me. A city surrounded by water colored deepest blue...
Her words are off the cuff and genuine, but a cold voice spoils her delight.
Medium. You must not listen to what these humans tell you.

...How long were you listening?
That is none of your concern.
You do realize that's extremely creepy.
Your insults do not wound me. In any case, I take it that you know nothing of what happened in these lands long ago. It certainly seems like the Sentinel has not bothered to tell you of the past.
I have spent much of my existence in solitary meditation and training. I care little for the past.
Hmph. In that case, since I doubt you will leave empty-handed, I will tell you the legend of the Titan. After that, you will leave at once.
Going by all of the Vessels armed with bows over there, I assume we don't have much of a choice.
I have no comment on that.
Wufan, please! They mean us no harm! However humans may have acted in the past does not reflect on—
I don't think she's listening to you, sadly.
Hundreds of summers ago, many of your human ancestors lived in prosperity at the foot of Yggdrasil. The great tree provided them with necessities and comforts alike, and all were content. Out of reverence for the blessed tree, your human ancestors created other races of people to help them take care of Yggdrasil. It was then that we Vessels were brought into existence, alongside the Sentinels.
For many a year, a great peace ruled over the land. Your human ancestors, your Sentinel ancestors, and our Vessel ancestors lived in harmony and shared worship. However... One day, it all ended. A Titan, tall enough to reach the heavens, hid Yggdrasil. Without the great tree's blessings, a great many lives were lost. Rather than standing and fighting for their birthrights, the humans and Sentinels of the era fled south, wishing to hide from the Titan. We Vessels were all that remained, and out of love for Yggdrasil, we worked together to slay the Titan. With the horror's death, Yggdrasil returned to the world. The land bore many scars from our battle, however. It was for this reason, along with disgust for those we thought were our comrades, that we Vessels travelled to these scarlet lands. Here, Yggdrasil's spiritual energies are at their greatest. And so we have lived here for many hundreds of years.
If you truly despise humans so much, then what is your explanation for the Medium?
Wufan's expression quickly turns dark as she sneers at you.
The Medium is human, but she is nothing like the cowards who fled from the Titan. She has oracular powers... She alone can hear Yggdrasil's voice. Through her, Yggdrasil speaks to direct we Vessels. She may be human, but she is nothing like you.
I'm getting real sick of this sins of the father bullshit. If you hate us so much, then kick us out.
Do you not remember what I said earlier? Despite our...misgivings about you humans, you did save the Medium from wayward Hollows. I would be remiss to not reward you. As you are, evidently, skilled in combat, you may find it useful.

That is what I will grant you. Do not return here. You are not welcome.
Oi. I know we've got a bit of history with humans, but—
Silence, Wen Ray-shin. The humans' and Sentinel's banishment extends to you as well.
You— Wh— Are you batty, Wufan?! I may be travelin', but I still live here!
Without your assistance, it is likely these outsiders would never have found the Misty Ravine, and Vessel Town by extension. You cast your lot with those who fled from the Titan. It is only right that you live with them.
...We'd best be on our way, then. I think the point's been made plenty clear.
Living with such deep-seated hatred sounds like a nightmarish existence...
I suppose I should count myself lucky that I did not attempt to seek hospitality here during my travels.
Wufan is with you every step of the way out of town. As you reach the door, she draws near and whispers into Harper's ear.
Why did the Medium choose you to open up to...? You will not take her from here. She is happier with us!
T-Too close, too loud...
The burning hatred in her eyes is unmistakable.

♪ No music ♪

The Medium's protest against your shabby treatment can be heard even outside the town.
I'm... Gods, I'm too angry to think right now! Where the fuck does she get off treating us like that?! Stuck-up self-righteous godsdamned—
Cool your head, lass, anger isn't good for you. Anyway, I wager it'd be best if we went back to the Air B'n'B and told the other four what happened.
I suggest we inform the Outland Count of everything, as well. In the worst case scenario, other explorers will need to be informed to stay away from the Misty Ravine.
I... I got thrown out of my bloody home. I can't believe it...
Please do not shed any tears, Harper.
I'll... I'll be okay. Okay.
...Haaaaaaaaaaaaah. Okay, deep breath taken. Look, what just happened there was a lot. Let's at least map out what we can of this floor, and then meet up with the others.
I'll...let Xiao know that we're headed back to town soon.

This shortcut is just far enough from the entrance that I wouldn't call it an easy shortcut to Vessel Town, but it's...a shortcut to Vessel Town, at least.

I'm almost too exhausted to be taken aback by these floating flowers.
They don't even have wings...

Level: 19HP: 230STR: 18TEC: 25VIT: 20AGI: 17LUC: 18DS: 61
EXP Given: 1354

Damage Vulnerabilities:
150% 100% 75%
150% 100% 100%

Disable Vulnerabilities:
100% 100% 150% 25% 100% 100%
100% 100% 100%
150% 100% 100%
  • Sleeper: Used when the user is at full HP. Attempts to inflict sleep on one party member, with a high chance. Very slow.
  • Sleeper: Used when the user is not at full HP. Attempts to inflict sleep on all party members, with a high chance.
  • Petals: Deals medium ranged cut damage to 3 to 4 party members.
  • Sleeper: Used when the user is at full HP. Attempts to inflict sleep on one party member, with a 40% base chance. Has a speed modifier of -8.
  • Sleeper: Used when the user is not at full HP. Attempts to inflict sleep on all party members, with a 50% base chance. Has a speed modifier of ±0.
  • Petals: Deals 100% ranged STR-based cut damage to 3 to 4 party members. Has a speed modifier of ±0, and a base accuracy of 99%.
  • Petaloids get far more aggressive when they've taken any amount of damage.
  • Petaloids do not use Petals when at full HP.
  • Once a petaloid has taken damage, its chance of using Sleeper instead of Petals increases based on how many player characters are not asleep.
  • If the Petaloid is not at full HP:
    • If all player characters are afflicted with sleep:
      • Use Petals.
    • If three or four player characters are afflicted with sleep:
      • 20% chance to use Sleeper.
      • 80% chance to use Petals.
    • If two player characters are afflicted with sleep:
      • 30% chance to use Sleeper.
      • 70% chance to use Petals.
    • If one player character is afflicted with sleep:
      • 40% chance to use Sleeper.
      • 60% chance to use Petals.
    • If none of the above occurred:
      • 80% chance to use Sleeper.
      • 20% chance to use Petals.
  • If the above did not occur:
    • If all player characters are afflicted with sleep:
      • Attack.
    • If the above did not occur:
      • 70% chance to use Sleeper, targeting player characters who are not afflicted with sleep.
      • 30% chance to attack.
  • Dangerous Petal: 70% chance. Sells for 59 en.
    • Fragrant Wand (46 ATK, +2 TEC): Made from 2 Dangerous Petals. Costs 1960 en.
  • Small Flower: 50% chance. Sells for 45 en.
    • Nectar: Made from 1 Small Flower. Costs 200 en.
  • Dangerous Bud: Obtained by instantly killing the enemy. 100% chance. Sells for 118 en.
    • Lucky Choker (+5 LUC): Made from 1 Dangerous Bud and 1 Sealed Claw (Great Lynx Conditional). Costs 1400 en.
When I was a child, I oftentimes recoiled from strongly-scented flowers. Being that my homeland is what it is, naturally, I could not avoid them, so sometimes at school I needed nose plugs in order to remain sane during my studies. I was not a very memorable child otherwise, but those who did notice me christened me "Waylon the Nose" because of it. I didn't like the nickname one bit. My nose isn't even particularly large.

Petaloids bring back these unpleasant memories by being doubly unpleasant to encounter, and the next time I fall asleep in the middle of combat because of these gods-blamed flowers, I'm going to take a crate from the wharf and smash it all over a box of topiary.
Petaloids are pretty similar to war bison, if you remember that from last update, in battle functionality, to be honest. They get real mad when you deal any damage to them, and possess tools that can really mess up your party if you don't play smart against them. Unlike war bison, though, petaloids are quite fragile, which is a nice mercy.

Having a "kill with instant death" conditional this early is somewhat odd, but we're not far off from Veteran skills, where nightseekers get access to a pretty straightforward method of causing instant death, by way of Assassinate.

My point about petaloids being fragile. That was over half of the thing's HP, with just the initial hit of Blazing Link.

At least things aren't so disconnected from the rest of reality that fire doesn't mess up flowers.

Wait, wh...nngh...
I... I can't move! What is this?!

Aye, okay, monster flowers can knock us out in the middle of combat. That's a new one.

...Was that a form of sleep paralysis Naijou was experiencing?

Ow, okay, that thing shocked me.
This will give us access to volt elemental forges, which I will probably not use.

Remember that shortcut I showed earlier? This one is actually an easy shortcut to Vessel Town from near the entrance.

It may be a good spot to take a few minutes' rest to enjoy the clean air and rich scent of the local flora.
I think we all deserve a chance to stop and smell the flowers.
You inhale a lungful of the heady air before returning to your search with lightened steps.

...Unfortunately, we should probably use an Ariadne thread and go back to Tharsis. I do not look forward to seeing where this goes.

Ugh, I've got a stress headache from all of that.
The others should be returning fairly soon, by my estimate. We should take them with us to the Outland Count.
Explain what happened to all of them, kill two birds with one stone?
As you stand in the square and contemplate your next course of action, an explorer approaches you.

Hey, Daffodil! Been a— Woah. What the hell happened to you all? Three of you look exhausted, and the other three look like they got run over by a train. Nasty run-in with a bigger monster?
FOE. We call them FOEs. No.
I'll try to remember that. If it wasn't an FOE, then... Well, what was it?
It's...a complicated story.
I...got thrown outta the place where I grew up. For helping humans find it.
...Oof, that's—
We met a girl who needed help in the Misty Ravine, she's called the Medium, and she can talk to Yggdrasil, and she was happy to see other humans because she'd never met them before, and her mom hates us but let us into their town to talk to her, and we had a nice meal with fruits and seeds, and I told the Medium about the outside world and about all of the humans here, and she got a bit sad and her mom got very mad at us, and she told us about the Vessels' legend about humans and Sentinels running from the Titan in cowardice and how the Vessels were the ones that brought Yggdrasil back, and then she kicked us out and told Ray that she can't live there any more, and and and... I, I...
W-Woah there, hey, I... Wow, that sounds like a lot, but... Ah, hell, "don't cry" doesn't sound right.
I think she'll just need to cry it out once we're done for the day.
Probably, but it still sucks to see someone you know cry. Here, uh, this probably won't fix anything, but... I dunno, take it as a sign of my sympathies. I don't think you did anything wrong.

Th...thank you.
The gesture is much appreciated, Sir Whirlwind.
No worries. You're all clearly affected by what just happened, but if you want my advice, talk to the Count about this.
That's our plan once the others arrive, yes. I dislike being pessimistic, but in the worst case scenario, explorers will need to be cautioned of the Vessels' presence in the Misty Ravine. I can't imgaine they'll be amenable to any humans potentially discovering Vessel Town.
That's my thinking, too. Course, if the Count's diplomatic touch pulls through, we could also smooth things over, and make going through the depths of that place easier for everyone. Even I could benefit from having a place in the middle of the labyrinth retreat to and recover at.
Always with that unshakable optimism.
Heh, it's a blessing and a curse in equal measure.
Didn't say it was a bad thing, lad, hoho.
...Ah, the others are here.
I won't keep you, then. Whatever happens from this mess, I'll do my best to help, alright? Take care of yourselves, Daffodil.
...Ack, wait, I just remembered what I wanted to say! If you need to get some practice in without going back near the Vessels, I'd recommend stopping by the Moth's Garden. It's guarded by a big purple alligator-thing, can't miss it.
We'll keep that in mind.

...So that's how the Vessels see the story of Yggdrasil, huh? This "Medium," too...

Hells below, what happened to you all? Harper and Ray look like they got—
Run over by a train? That's how Whirlwind described it.
Yep, that's...what I was gonna say.
Should we...head back to the ship? Give you all time to rest? Can this wait—
No, it can't.
...Okay then.

...Judging by Shelly, Harper, and Ray, I assume you do not have good news for me.
It's a long story. You might want to get comfortable.

Several minutes later...

Wow. What an asshole.
I am surprised someone with such a clear respect for preserving history could be so close-minded.
Hmm. I'm of two minds here. I had my suspicions that there were others like Ray not too far from Tharsis, but an entire town contained within a labyrinth... It almost beggars belief. I would normally, to be frank, be bouncing off the walls in excitement. Being able to establish contact with other living, thinking beings—people—sounds utterly wonderful. But... Unfortunately, the Vessels do not sound like they have the highest opinion of humans.
It ain't just aunt— Wufan. Distrust of humans runs deep in Vessel Town. Always has, if the legend of the Titan didn't make that crystal clear. Hell, I, uh... I didn't really trust anyone when I made it to Tharsis first time. Not 'til people started givin' me food when they saw me hungry.
And this Wufan woman didn't sound very amenable to my good man Naijou either, it sounds like.
She spoke of my people with a similar venom in her words, yes.
I will admit, I am perplexed by how she treats the Medium. Judging by your report, there's a strange mix of seeing her as a holy prophet, but also as an unruly child.
It is bizarre, but it also points us towards an undeniable truth: the way towards peace starts with the Medium.
But that's... That's just not possible. She even threw Ray out, and—correct me if I'm wrong, Ray—it sounded like she's known Ray ever since she was born.
Mhm. Helped my parents a lot, since I was the first Vessel born in a long while. Even when she was taking care of the Medium, she still found time to help make sure I grew up right. Hell, I keep wantin' to call her auntie right after she threw me out of the only real home I've ever known, that's how much she did for me.
If she... I won't mince words here, disowned someone she helped raise from birth, how are we supposed to even make contact with the Medium again?
Is sneaking into Vessel Town out of the question?
A novel idea, my good woman, but if it backfires, then I fear it would permanently snuff out the possibility of relations between humans and Vessels.
Hey, Xiao, long shot, I know, but you can do some really cool stuff with runes. Can you do the, uh, talking to peoples' brains directly thing? Dammit, what was that— Telepathy, right.
I have been studying that for years, actually. Sadly, not only is it far more difficult to manipulate personally-attuned runes than it is to manipulate natural runes, I suspect that all but the most careful manipulations of runes that comprise a person's neurological system would cause a very painful and protracted death.
...Right. Let's, uh, let's not try that on the Medium. That was a waste of time, sorry.
Sometimes sensitive problems require very out-of-the-box solutions, my friend. Your thoughts are appreciated.

We need to talk to the Medium. The only way we're going to do that is by going back to Vessel Town through the front door, when everyone's awake. If we try to be sneaky, it'll just make Wufan trust us even less.
...In the absence of any clever solutions, I think Miss Harper has the right of it. The Medium is our best way of establishing diplomatic relations, and the only way to practically reach her involves going to Vessel Town again. I won't lie and say I'm not nervous about this, but if there's anyone I'd trust to do it, well, it'd be Tharsis's foremost explorers.

I'll need some time to put exactly what I want to say to paper, but when I've finished, I'll have one of our soldiers deliver the letter to your skyship. After that, I trust that you will do your best to get this letter into the Medium's hands. Beyond establishing formal relations with this heretofor-unknown society of people, I am deeply curious to learn about this lost history between humans, Vessels, Sentinels, and Yggdrasil. Our relationship looks bleak now, but... Well, I don't believe anything is ever truly irreparable, and this is no exception.
We will do our best, sir.
...If nothing else, then I'd at least like to get us some closure for what happened today.
I appreciate your need for closure, but do be careful to not let it affect the diplomatic mission.
R-Right, sorry.
That'll do for today. "Wait, that wasn't much actual dungeon," I hear you say. Yeah, well, we've basically finished B1F of the Misty Ravine. It's a small floor, basically just somewhere for Vessel Town to exist.

Next time: huh, I wonder what the deal with those Hollow things is?


Good evening, Harper.
It's quite late. I don't think I've ever seen you outside your room when it's this dark out.
Are you feeling al— No, that's an inane question. I know you're upset about what happened at Vessel Town.
...I ruined everything. We can't go any further into the Misty Ravine. Ray can't go back home ever again. The Medium's going to be sad that she'll never get to see the rest of the world.
All of that is hardly your fault.
It is. When we were leaving, Wufan... She got close to my ear, and...and told me...
"You will not take her from here. She is happier with us!"
I... I, I wasn't... She wanted to know, and I thought she'd be happy, because...because seeing a new part of the world made me happy when I left, but...
I still don't think this is your fault in specific, Harper. Wufan is... To be truthful, I can't say I have the anger towards her that some of our friends do.
I don't think she's acting out of conscious malice. Rather, I think she's acting like a worried and desperate parent. I don't think that excuses how she treated you all, but it...explains it, at least.
I...I don't understand. She really hurt Ray and the Medium. Why does your brain being able to explain to you why she acts like this matter?
Yeah, no, I don't get it either, Waylon.
Oh. Shelly.
Hi, I heard you crying earlier. I didn't want to interrupt, but—
But you don't understand my "explains, not excuses" line of thinking either.
Yeah. What good does it do anyone to get an explanation for why someone hurt other people, when it won't fix what they did? Especially when it's a parent hurting their kid.
That's a good question. Let me put it like this. When I'm harmed, I always prefer to understand. I find it difficult to deal with problems I do not understand. If I don't understand why someone is angry with me, my mind can sometimes fret and fret and find some way for everything to become worse than it is. Do you not find it easier to deal with if someone is angry with you for reasons you understand? The unknown is the greatest fear of all humanity.
...Huh. That does make a lot of sense, yeah.
While Wufan and most Vessels may despise humans for historical reasons, I don't think Wufan necessarily hates us in particular. She may act angrily towards us, but it stems from whatever parental fear has a hold of her.
...Ah. Just like Gun Mom.
When I told my moms and Uncle Ranger that I wanted to be an explorer and see new parts of the world, Gun Mom wasn't happy. She thought it was too dangerous. She didn't want me getting hurt while I was out on my own. She...got mad at Bow Mom and my mamas. She even got mad at Uncle Ranger.
No. No, no, no, no, no! This is way too dangerous!
And our careers as explorers were any less dangerous?
This is different, Nadia! We already had a core group we knew we could rely on when we started, and Yggdrasil was right there! If anything happened to us, or we had to give up, we could've gone right back to the lives we had before.
Harper is careful. I know she'll keep herself safe.
Being careful only gets explorers so far. We were careful, too, and we still came way too close to dying way too many times. We don't know who Harper will be exploring with if she goes to Tharsis. How can we know that the guild she joins with won't all leave her for dead once something goes wrong? We can't!
We explored Yggdrasil with a bear, Jacqueline.
What the hell has gotten into you? Why are you suddenly so risk-averse when, to this day, you're the most impulsive person I know?
BECAUSE MY CHILD COULD DIE! No self-respecting parent would let their flesh and blood go out and become an explorer on their own!
...Our child, Jackie. Our child.
We all helped Harper grow up. And now she's grown up. She'd go even if we all said no.
She could, but I would hope that hearing one of her mothers tell her how bad of an idea it is would convince her to stay with us.
...I'm going to bed.
...You okay, Harper?
Mhm. I stayed in bed for a few days. Uncle Ranger brought me food, and told me everything would be okay.
I don't know what my moms, mamas, and Uncle Ranger talked about while I was in bed. But Gun Mom came up to talk to me after a while. She...cried. She said she was sorry for not trusting me to be able to look after myself. That she let the fact that she was scared come before what I wanted. She told me she didn't deserve to have a child as wonderful as me.
I hugged her tight. I don't care if she got scared and hurt me. She's my Gun Mom. I love her.
You're a good daughter and a good woman, Harper. I dunno if I could've been so forgiving if Mom pulled that on me...
I assume you see my point now. I choose to have some hope that if we can just talk to Wufan, we might be able to get her to see how she's hurting the Medium. That's why I didn't have the same anger as some of us did. And it's why I said this isn't your fault, Harper.
Thank you, Waylon.
I dunno if I can find it in me to be as optimistic as you, Waylon, but hell if I won't try.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the ship...
The sky is quite beautiful tonight, isn't it?
Mhh? Oh, uh, yeah. Stars. They're...rock.
If I'm intruding on something, then please forgive me. I can head back below deck if you—
Nah, nah, you're cool, mate. I'm just outta sorts.
Understandably so. If you don't want me to go back below deck, then would you perhaps prefer some company?
Don't got much to say, but sure, go ahead.
Thank you.

I, ah... Truly, I did not mean to disturb you. It's just that I've taken a liking to stargazing out here in the Scarlet Pillars.
This place specifically?
Yes. The evening breeze is perfectly conducive to inner reflection, and the elevation provides a superior view of the heavens than one would get down in Tharsis.
Yeah. The humans that live there dunno what they're missin'.

Oi, Eine?
Y'mind if I ask you something serious?
Not at all.
You, uh... You weren't kicked outta your home, right? That ain't why you're out here alone?
Oh, heavens, no. I traveled to Tharsis of my own volition. I'm sure my fathers are worried sick for my safety, but this journey is for my sake, and mine alone. I would not trouble them with asking them to accompany me.
You wouldn't, or you couldn't?
The former. I have no doubt they would have accompanied me, had I asked, but I have my reasons for embarking on my own.
Right, I see.
...The incident with Wufan is what's spurring these questions, isn't it?
Uh. Well, y'see, uh. Um. Y'know.

Rest assured, my family situation is normal. However, I feel obliged to ask, while we're on the topic: is there anything that I can do you for you, in the wake of what happened today?
Nah, but thanks for askin'. Just gotta let it sink in that I... I can't ever go back home. When we're done with explorin', I won't have anywhere to go back to. No bed'a my own to crash in and go "we did it, and that's rock." Cripes, how're my folks gonna take this...?
Are you particularly close with your parents?
...Nah, they're weird kinda special guards that hide out deep in the forest. Think they're meant to watch out for Hollows. They spend a lotta time livin' outside the village, but wanted me to be around other people, so they let auntie— Aaaaaaagh! It's gonna take me forever to quit callin' her that!
Does Wufan not deserve— Well, no, of course she doesn't, she deprived you of your home...
Anyway, my folks let Wufan do most'a the work in raising me. You need a recap on that?
No, I remember your elucidation during our audience with the Count.

It's weird, y'know. I left and went on that great big trek 'cause I felt like I didn't belong. Like, hell with whatever the legends say, if humans and Vessels are that different, maybe humans'd like me and my music better. Glad I was right about findin' others with a mind for music—at the least, Xiao's not that into the creative side of things, but she finds all the mechanics real fascinatin'—but it kinda blows that I didn't belong even more than I thought, y'know what I mean?
If it is any consolation, I don't think your marked differences from the Vessel zeitgeist played any role in your banishment. If I am to be fully truthful, and a bit optimistic, I don't think your banishment will really last. Wufan appears to be grappling with many complex emotions, and... Perhaps calling it a "crime of passion" is more than a titch extreme, but I think my intent is clear.
Prob'ly. I dunno how we'll get Wufan to start thinkin' with her head again, but... I just hope I get to go home when this is all done. I wanna...give everyone a good impression'a the outside world. I think we Vessels—hmaaaaaaagh—need it...
Are you getting tired?
Li'l bit, yeah. You?
I was close to excusing myself in order to prepare for bed, yes.
...Y'mind if I crash with you tonight?
I would not mind that, no. By all means, be my guest.
...Actually, huh, aren't we all kinda Shelly's guests here? Or are we Harper's guests, since she's the guild's lead chick?
That's something of a philosophical debate...

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