Update 13: Thanks For the Fog Wave, Grizz

Marlin! Good morning.
Hoy, lass. Good morning to you too.
...Pardon me. I hope I'm not intruding.
Hoy, other lass. No worries, I'm just taking the morning in.
I have not had the chance to speak much to either of you yet. I had...hoped to remedy that.
Please, take a seat! There is plenty of morning for us all to take in.
I would hope that would be the case. It would be quite worrying if observing the morning could...deplete it...
Still working on that small talk, eh?
...Yes. Unrelatedly, but... Forgive me, you were part of the group that passed out in the Miasma Forest, but I have forgotten your name. We did not get the chance to converse back then.
Marlin McCoy's the name. Dancer extraordinaire and future shipbuilder extraordinaire, not to toot my own horn, hoho.
I should give my own introduction in exchange, I suppose... I am Wufan, High Arcanist of Vessel Town. I am responsible for the instruction of junior arcanists, as well as the welfare of th— Xiuan, who we refer to as the Medium. Ah, what is your name as well, miss...?
Jia Xiaohu! Please refer to me as Xiaohu. I study runes, the fundamental building block of existence, in the pursuit of perfect manipulation of all things, both tangible and intangible.
Without nefarious intent, I would hope...
Of course! I study what I do in the hopes that some malcontent does not... Oh dear. Marlin, what is a good aphorism for an unscrupulous researcher making discoveries regarding runic manipulation before I can make those same discoveries?
"Beating you to the punch?"
Yes, thank you!
Manipulation of both the tangible and intangible... Perhaps there is—
Some overlap between the arcane arts and runic science?
Yes. You've pondered the same question, evidently.
Once matters have become less dire, I would love to exchange information regarding our fields! Pending your approval of my intentions, of course.
I will...consider it, yes.
Oh, how exciting!
Trust me, lass, you'll never meet someone more dedicated to their studies than Xiaohu.

I did some random encounter grinding to obtain drops I had not obtained yet! The results are as such.
Berund Atelier has the following new items in stock:

I take the opportunity to upgrade Merula and Marlin's armor. Nothing earth-shattering.

I realize that returning to the Miasma Forest is very likely the last thing anyone here wants to do, but we should defeat one of the poison-spewing lizards. The Count is relying on us to keep our Monstrous Codex as complete as possible.
I would assume one of those lizards would pose little challenge to us now. This should not take long.

...Oh. I recognize these. Explorers back home sometimes sold their meat to Napier. Uncle Ranger never liked it as much as the meats he could get in Lagaard, though.
Gettin' the poison out of that meat can't have been fun.
Detoxifying monster meat is one of the core skills needed to make Labyrinth Cuisine.

Greedy Lizard
Level: 19HP: 1365STR: 31TEC: 24VIT: 25AGI: 19LUC: 17DS: 58
EXP Given: 7322

Damage Vulnerabilities:
100% 100% 100%
50% 150% 100%

Disable Vulnerabilities:
50% 20% 10% 20% 10% 20%
10% 10% 30%
30% 30% 50%
  • Poison Sting: Deals heavy bash damage to one party member, with splash damage. Attempts to inflict poison on hit targets, with a very high chance. The poison deals 41 to 50 damage each turn. Slightly slow.
  • Poison Sting: Deals 160% melee STR-based bash damage to one party member, with splash damage. Attempts to inflict poison on hit targets, with a 70% base chance. The poison deals 41 to 50 damage each turn. Has a speed modifier of -3, and a base accuracy of 99%.
  • Greedy lizards always use Poison Sting on the first turn.
  • Greedy lizards are more likely to use Poison String when they are below half HP.
  • If this is the first turn:
    • Use Poison Sting.
  • If the Greedy Lizard's HP is below 50%:
    • 80% chance to use Poison Sting.
    • 20% chance to attack.
  • If the above did not occur:
    • 30% chance to use Poison Sting.
    • 70% chance to attack.
  • Lizard Back Fin: 100% chance. Sells for 503 en.
    • Sting (59 ATK, 1 Slot, +1 AGI): Made from 1 Lizard Back Fin. Costs 2480 en.
I would be more bothered by this creature's habit of breathing in fine air and turning it toxic if humans didn't do the same thing on a much smaller scale. Anyhow, this lizard is cold-blooded, and I recommend taking measures as such.

...With that said, do attempt to acquire the assistance of a Vessel if you do head there. The air is unpleasant.
Probably should've fought this thing a while ago to give it a fairer fight. Oh well, that's my mistake.

Greedy lizards showed up in EO3, where they gave an incredibly poor showing as the first FOE you run into. Here, they're not significantly more powerful (adjusting for showing up a stratum later, of course), nor are they any more complex behavior-wise, but their one skill did get upgraded to deal splash damage, rather than being single-target. As a result, it can deal damage to and inflict poison on multiple party members at once, making them far more dangerous in an at-level fight. On the plus side, their one skill now uses the legs, rather than the head, so you don't have to wait until getting Veteran skills to be able to make good use of binds against it.

Let's clear the air, eh?
Refresh Waltz renders any poison inflicted upon the front row moot, since it'll dispel any inflictions before they can deal damage.

...I am ready.

Damn spikes're put there just right to hit me too...
Man, you couldn't have done that to the front row?

Fortunately, Circle Boon activates...

...Before poison damage is dealt. Harper would've lived even without it, but still, this is a good demonstration of a good side benefit of Circle Boon. I've had my fair share of deaths caused by barely-enough poison damage throughout my time playing Etrian Odyssey games, and Circle Boon can do a lot to prevent those.

I'd like to see it hit us now.

Not even close, my scaly friend.
...Seven hells, talkin' to monsters is infectious.

Naijou's starting to pick up from his slow start in the 1st Land.

Oi, Meri? How do you murder the beasties that good when they're feelin' ill?
It's...uh, hard to explain. Best way I can put it is that something's weak points are more obvious when they're...is "sick" the right word? Blindness isn't really an illness. Um, you get the point, I hope.

Do you want some meat, Harper? For old time's sake, or something like that.
...A bit.

That wasn't really much of a fight, unfortunately. My apologies.

Oi, Wynne? Mind if I ask ya a question about makin' weapons?
Long as it ain't a trade secret!
How in the seven hells do ya take a dorsal fin and make a rapier outta it? Well, not just "how," but "why"?
Me? I just whack away until da first thing I think'a is sittin' in front'a me. Da boss is better at da whole design thing.
Huh. Well, you've got one weird imagination. That's rock.
It is?! Ooh, ooh, I can get real weird widdit if ya'll let me!
Lasses, I'm sure this is fun, but remember that we actually have to use these. Can't exactly be adventurers if we sell good monster parts and get art pieces in return, eh?
Aww. Dere goes my plans ta make fightin' brushes outta wood'n monster hair.
Don't get me wrong, lass, that sounds like a sight to behold. Just after we've gotten our swords sorted out, aye?
(...You serious about the fightin' brush thing?)
(I don't joke about somethin' I can't make.)
(I'll get whatever you need. I gotta see it.)
(...Can I say it?)
(I dunno what you wanna say, but go for it.)
(Dat's rock!)
Berund Atelier has the following new items in stock:

Sorry for the wait. We'll go look for Xiuan—
Take me with you.
...Auntie... You're feelin' better, right?
Her wounds do seem to have recovered, yes, though... Wufan, as a student of the medicinal arts, I implore you to be careful this time. Xiuan is important, yes, but—
Your concern is noted. I...do wish to save Xiuan as quickly as possible, but the presence of these five should serve as a sufficient check.
...I suppose. Please, though, do be careful.
Well... What's your call, Harp?
If Eine thinks she's okay, then I want her to come with us.
You...want... Thank you.
Let's get a move on, then.

W-Woah, are you okay?
Finally! Other people! I'm saved...! Do you happen to know where I could find the exit? This bizarre labyrinth has rendered my map useless. I'm at a complete loss...

Over here.
THANK YOU! Finally, I can get back to Tharsis! Next time, I'm taking a compass, maybe a friend with me...

Poor man. So lost and panicked, with the exit right there...

I don't think we've fought one of these moths? Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
I see nothing in our codex regarding these moths.
...Do what you must to satisfy your teammate. I will conserve my energy for once we reach the third floor, though.

I feel more confident fighting one of these now that we're not surrounded by eggs.

Big Moth
Level: 22HP: 1518STR: 30TEC: 28VIT: 26AGI: 28LUC: 22DS: 72
EXP Given: 8415

Damage Vulnerabilities:
100% 125% 100%
100% 125% 100%

Disable Vulnerabilities:
20% 10% 10% 20% 30% 30%
10% 10% 20%
30% 20% 20%
  • Nerve Spores: Attempts to inflict paralysis on one row of party members, with a high chance. Fast.
  • Devour Ally: Deals light damage to one enemy. Increases the user's damage by 70% for 4 turns.
  • Mince: Deals heavy cut damage to 3-4 random party members. Slightly inaccurate.
  • Nerve Spores: Attempts to inflict paralysis on one row of party members, with a 65% base chance. Has a speed modifier of +5.
  • Devour Ally: Deals 70% melee STR-based damage to one enemy. Increases the user's damage by 70% for 4 turns. Has a speed modifier of ±0. Cannot miss.
  • Mince: Deals 130% melee STR-based cut damage to 3-4 random party members. Has a speed modifier of ±0, and a base accuracy of 90%.
  • Big Moths will use Devour Ally on any of the following enemies:
    • Trip Mushroom
    • Petaloid
    • Fire Bulb
    • Glutton Vine
  • Big Moths are unlikely to use Mince compared to Nerve Spores or normal attacks.
  • If the Big Moth does not have the Devour Ally buff:
    • If any of the following enemies are in the battle, use Devour Ally on them:
      • Trip Mushroom
      • Petaloid
      • Fire Bulb
      • Glutton Vine
  • If the above did not happen:
    • 40% chance to use Nerve Spores.
    • 20% chance to use Mince.
    • 40% chance to attack.
  • Violet Wing: 100% chance. Sells for 626 en.
    • Moth Coat (36 DEF, +30% Panic Resist): Made from 1 Violet Wing. Costs 1260 en.
Opportunistic predators who only attack when they sense creatures weaker than them. Thankfully, it seems the races of men don't apply. They possess paralytic spores—unpleasant—and sickle-like claws, but in terms of the larger monsters of the Yggdrasil Labyrinth they aren't very special. To avoid them, attempt to avoid contact with any smaller creatures...or take them out quickly, your choice.
Funnily enough, big moths can actually be quite dangerous if they intrude on a regular battle, but if you just walk up and fight one? There really isn't much to them. They'll attempt to disable your evasion with Nerve Spores, and then...in all likelihood, not follow up on it, because their chance of using Mince is low, at 20%. Even at-level, these things are not hard to defeat.

Welp, that thing ain't long for this world.

Money Mama told me to hit the head of any moths I fight.
How strong are Lagaardian moths if your mother still remembers a key weak point all this time later?
Very. I think.

Nightseeker is a balanced class.
It's normal.

Gotta love an easy FOE fight.

Yay, level ups.

I thought for a bit about what I wanted to put Merula's skill point into, and I decided to use it to unlock Spread Throw. Spread Throw changes the target type of Merula's Throw skills from single-target to all-target for one turn. Having to burn a turn on setting up Spread Throw is a drag, but at the same time, it gives Merula a way to contribute against larger groups of enemies.

Marlin gets the next rank of Trick Samba, increasing its TP cost while also heavily increasing its damage.

Naijou unlocks Charge, which increases the damage of his next physical attack. Charge has been considerably nerfed from EO3, but it's still a very powerful skill for TP conservation and increasing damage. At max rank, Charge multiplies physical damage by 2.2x, providing a 10% damage-per-turn increase.

Harper gets her next class rank skill, increasing the damage her critical hits deal. Nothing earth-shttering, but it's a better use of her skill point right now compared to leveling up Squall Volley. Don't worry, she'll be getting it before long.

Ray gets rank 3 of Sleep Circle, which unlocks Chaos Circle. I don't have any burning need for Chaos Circle at the moment, but it'll become a very useful method of rendering multiple enemies completely helpless in the future.
It—it all—it all starts with—

Berund Atelier has the following new items in stock:

The moth coat isn't of much use. Nothing is really throwing panic inflictions at us.

...Well, okay, it's useful insofar as I can upgrade Harper's armor from the tweed she started the game with.

hey macklemore can we go thrift shopping
An upside-down castle?

actually if any of you personally know youtube mashup artist triple-q can you tell them to send me the file for that mashup so i can own the only copy my entire life has been worsened by the fact that thrift castle, the mashup of sonic heroes's hang castle and macklemore's thrift shop, is no longer available on the internet
As soon as I saw this comment, I googled this mashup and found it. Kinu is presently freaking out because she could not find it 10 minutes ago.

The day after you point the soldier towards the geomagnetic pole, this event will automatically occur when you step on this tile.

Had you not shown up when you did, I shudder to think of what could have become of me. Thank you!
With that, the soldier hands you a medicine bottle.

You nod and return to your search. The soldier sees you off, still waving cheerfully.
This is a very nice reward for tapping the geomagnetic pole on the touch screen.

Things're lookin' better, at least.
Despite my initial misgivings...and the continued misgivings of some hardliners...the assistance provided by the Outland Count's soldiers has been invaluable, both in repairing damage to our structures, and warding off further Hollow attacks.
Wait, they're still comin' up here, even now that they've got Xiuan?
...Nope, don't like that. We'd better hurry.
Time is of the essence, but try to pace yourselves. Your corpses won't do the Vessels much good.
Oh, guildteach. Wasn't expectin' you.
I assume you are here in a supervisory capacity.
On paper, yes. Doesn't mean I haven't gone toe-to-toe with a few Hollows myself.
...Don't tell the Count that.
The guildmaster—I believe I'm remembering your title correctly—has been of great help, yes. I found myself questioning how one human could carry that much wood and stone...
Decades of training yourself, hundreds of soldiers, and hundreds of explorers helps. Enough small talk, though—you six have an important mission.

I'm assuming you have not dispatched one of these moas yet, correct?
Mhm. We went through this floor very fast.
Let's get every possible distraction out of the way; go kill that moa.
Gettin' bossy, auntie?
...I'm merely suggesting what might save us some time if we need to fall back.

Waylon's gonna have a field day when we get back, isn't he?

Giant Moa
Level: 25HP: 1812STR: 33TEC: 28VIT: 25AGI: 25LUC: 22DS: 72
EXP Given: 9311

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

Disable Vulnerabilities:
30% 0% 10% 20% 30% 20%
10% 10% 20%
20% 20% 20%
  • Heavy Stamp: Deals heavy bash damage to all party members. Slightly inaccurate.
  • Heavy Stamp: Deals 90% melee STR-based bash damage to all party members. Has a speed modifier of ±0, and a base accuracy of 90%.
  • Giant moas always use Heavy Stamp on the first turn.
  • Giant moas are unlikely to use Heavy Stamp when above 50% HP, and are very likely to use it when below 50% HP.
  • If Heavy Stamp has not been used yet:
    • Use Heavy Stamp.
  • If the Giant Moa's HP is below 50%:
    • 80% chance to use Heavy Stamp.
    • 20% chance to attack.
  • If none of the above occurred:
    • 30% chance to use Heavy Stamp.
    • 70% chance to attack.
  • Moa Beak: 100% chance. Sells for 847 en.
    • Zerstorer (90 ATK, +10% Max HP, +20% Max TP): Made from 1 Moa Beak. Costs 3350 en.
    • Tourney Mail (53 DEF, +1 VIT): Made from 1 Moa Beak. Costs 2410 en.
Another flightless bird that uses its large weight to crush prey, but this one is fast. I have to wonder why so many birds in this region are particularly electrically conductive. Is it some form of convergent evolution...?
Giant moas are, much like dinogators, damage races. Leave one below 50% HP for too long and you'll regret it. On the plus side, binding a giant moa's legs when it's below 50% HP can result in a lot of completely free turns—though it does only have a 20% vulnerability to leg binds, which is annoying. Same with the immunity to paralysis.

Oi, Meri, you're on fire today!
Good job.

I might've bound the moa's legs too soon, but at the same time, now that it's afflicted with blind, I don't think it's going to spend very long above half HP.

Well, that was an unpleasant screech.
I guess it's got a lot of pain receptors in its legs...

Well, that wasn't much of a challenge.

Your expediency is appreciated.
I, um. I try.

Another trip back to the store that isn't happening in the narrative.
Berund Atelier has the following new items in stock:

In the vanilla game, tourney mails are, yet again, nothing that exciting. Zerstorers, on the other hand, trade forge potential and damage-increasing forges for some extra bulk and sustain, compared to the other 2nd Land drive blades I added in.

Oh, hell, I really fought an omnihunter here?

Well, guess we're evolving from "shop trips that are non-canon" to "FOE fights that are non-canon." Let's go!

Level: 30HP: 2176STR: 35TEC: 35VIT: 34AGI: 32LUC: 29DS: 93
EXP Given: 10022

Damage Vulnerabilities:
75% 100% 125%
100% 100% 125%

Disable Vulnerabilities:
30% 20% 10% 20% 20% 30%
10% 10% 20%
20% 20% 20%
  • Amputate: Deals heavy untyped damage to one party member. If the attack does not miss, attempts to instantly kill the target, with a moderate chance.
  • Scythe Dance: Deals severe cut damage to 2 to 4 party members. Fast.
  • Amputate: Deals 120% melee STR-based untyped damage to one party member. If the attack does not miss, attempts to instantly kill the target, with a 20% base chance. Has a speed modifier of ±0, and a base accuracy of 99%.
  • Scythe Dance: Deals 180% melee STR-based cut damage to 2 to 4 party members. Has a speed modifier of +5, and a base accuracy of 99%.
  • Omnihunters are very likely to use Amputate on the first turn.
  • Omnihunters start using Scythe Dance when they are below 50% HP.
  • If this is the first turn:
    • 70% chance to use Amputate.
    • 30% chance to attack.
  • If the Omnihunter's HP is below 50%:
    • 60% chance to use Scythe Dance.
    • 30% chance to use Amputate.
    • 10% chance to attack.
  • If none of the above occurred:
    • 40% chance to use Amputate.
    • 60% chance to attack.
  • Soft Sickle: 100% chance. Sells for 1166 en.
    • Harpe (85 ATK, 9% Stun Imbue): Made from 1 Soft Sickle. Costs 7480 en.
The fibers of the omnihunter's wings is brittle, and can be easily shattered with a good strike. This is about the only good thing about this breed of creature, an apex predator with scythes that can land precision blows to instantly cause severe damage. Moreover, it does so with such precision that armor seems to completely fail. Be very careful. In fact, perhaps avoid them. They will become hostile if you come near, but will not attack you if you keep your distance. Incidentally, their main diet is carp.
Omnihunters are not to be trifled with. Even with a preemptive attack on them, they can still utterly mess you up. One ill-timed death can cause a cascade of failures that will ultimately result in a game over. They deal a ton of damage, can hit multiple people at once when they fall below half HP, and have a decent chance of instantly mercing someone with Amputate, regardless of their current HP. Oh, and to top it off, they take 25% less damage from cut attacks, which is...fun. Attempting to inflict blind or arm binds on them are your best chance of survival, with blind inflictions being more likely.

Oh, and a note about Amputate. When I say "untyped" damage, what I mean is that the attack completely lacks a damage type. Amputate still calculates its damage like a normal STR-based attack would, but its damage cannot be reduced through defense buffs or resistance increases.

Uh-oh. I have one more turn to attempt to inflict either blind or an arm bind before things get nasty.

...Someone's about to have a very bad time, aren't they?

Fantastic. Just great. I'm now down my primary arm bind inflictor.

For the record, when the game says "Character has died!", that means that they were instantly killed.

Ray I love you

Omnihunters are weak to bash damage, so Naijou gets to deal a bit more damage than usual here. He's not setting the world on fire yet, but that's not bad consistent damage output by any means.

Oof. The omnihunter's high VIT and lower cut vulnerability are seriously eating into Merula's damage output very noticeably.
see? nightseeker is balanced

Good, I got a free turn.

Alright, time to really start fishing for arm binds. I'm worried that the blind will wear off soon.

That was fortunate.

And I've bought myself at least a few more turns of safety, good.

None too soon, it seems. The omnihunter is below 50% HP now, and that means that without the arm bind, it could start to get real nasty.

That's another brutal part of Scythe Dance, it's fast. That was the first action in the turn order.

Trick Samba in action. Marlin, effectively, dealt 121 damage on this turn, which is nothing to sneeze at—it's comparable to Naijou's damage output with Blood Surge right now, and it was mostly reduced by the 75% cut vulnerability.

I've gotten quite lucky with how long this arm bind has stayed on the omnihunter. I should finish this quickly, or else I risk pushing my luck too far...

Ray isn't a bad user of TEC-based limits. Not anywhere near as good as Xiaohu, obviously, but...well, she's contributing damage.

...Wow, okay. The game's really showing me mercy here.

Aside from Harper getting hit by Amputate's instant death, that went about as well as I could've hoped for!

That's also all of the 2nd Land FOEs logged in the Monstrous Codex. All I have left to do here is go through Misty Ravine B3F, and defeat the boss.

Berund Atelier has the following new items in stock:

The stun imbue on harpes is irrelevant.

The real draw is that ATK.

It's expensive, but I grab a harpe for Merula.

A nice side benefit of that is that Marlin gets to take her macuahuitl, providing a good damage increase for him.

While I'm here, I also filled in the last forge slot on Harper's ancient hindi with another LUC forge.

And now, back to your regularly-scheduled narrative.

Forgive my need to conserve my energy. I shall join you in battle now, if that is acceptable.
It's more than acceptable. Thank you, Wufan.
Please, hold any gratitude until we have saved Xiuan.

Fog's rolling in. That's no good...

Right, Wufan as a guest party member! She's pretty highly-leveled, and while none of her skills are at notably high levels, she makes up for it with a variety of them.

Running multiple arcanists, as I'm doing now with both Ray and Wufan, is both useful and bothersome. The two do step on each others' toes with regards to applying circles, as only one can be active at any given time...but on the other hand, both of them have Dismiss skills, meaning I can have Ray (the quicker of the two) Dismiss a circle once it's either inflicted its ailment or is otherwise no longer needed, and have Wufan immediately lay down another one.

These fowls' pursuit is relentless.
Trying to kill all of them would just waste time. Let's find another way around.

I'm not seeing things, those rabbits are supporting the Hollow, right?
I cannot rule that out, which is...worrisome.

Hollow Roamer
Level: 25HP: 221STR: 31TEC: 27VIT: 22AGI: 23LUC: 23DS: 73
EXP Given: 1908

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 volt damage to one party member. Fast.
  • Blitzritter: Deals 150% melee STR-based volt damage to one party member. Has a speed modifier of +5, and a base accuracy of 99%.
  • Hollow roamers are equally likely to use either Blitzritter or normal attacks.
  • 50% chance to use Blitzritter.
  • 50% chance to attack.
  • Lance Shard: 80% chance. Sells for 136 en.
    • Ballock Knife (61 ATK, 2 Slots, +2 LUC): Made from 1 Lance Shard and 1 Dolomite (Mine: Misty Ravine B3F). Costs 2540 en.
    • Espada Ropera (69 ATK, 1 Slot, +2 Speed): Made from 2 Lance Shards. Costs 3730 en.
    • Wind Rod (56 ATK, +5% Max TP, +2 TEC): Made from 1 Lance Shard and 1 Green Feather (Largebill Drop 1). Costs 3190 en.
Some Hollows are capable of fashioning nearby materials into a sort of lance that also serves as a tuning fork, allowing them to produce sounds that spur nearby monsters into assisting them in combat. I only wish I could get a whole one to take a look at it. I am an engineer, after all, not a wildlife journalist.
Hollow roamers are a prime example of "monsters whose contribution to the battle is preventing melee attackers from dealing reaching the back row." Their actual physical bulk is lacking, but that's what their naturally-high evasion is for, in theory.

Their role, weapon of choice, and one skill are, I'm fairly sure, a reference to the Hoplite class in EO3, which was that game's defensive support class. Much like Hollow roamers, they had access to a lance skill named Blitzritter that dealt volt damage (well, stab + volt damage, if you want to be exact).

Ahh! I suspect the Hollows have realized their attempts to torture me psychologically have failed...

I didn't mention it yet, but poison's a pretty good answer to Hollows' naturally-high evasion. Hollow roamers in particular are weak to it.


Slammin' the ground takes a lot out of you, I'm guessing?
Seismic activity takes no small amount of exertion, yes.
Shockwave is a bushi attack skill that can be used both with maces and katana. It deals ranged cut damage (regardless of what weapon you actually have equipped) to all enemies, but drains 25% of the user's current HP after use. It's also very expensive as far as TP goes, starting at 16 and scaling up to 20. Even with those downsides, it's a very good skill. It deals reasonable damage to every enemy in the battle, and deals full damage to the enemy back row. All-target player attack skills are actually pretty rare in EO4, so Naijou having something like Shockwave is very much appreciated.

Right, both of those corridors lead here. There's also a connection to the corridor the giant moa is in.

Simply running down that corridor isn't enough to let me proceed onwards, though. Not without engaging the giant moa in a battle, at least.

Aw, c'mon, Meri, you've got the perfect opportunity to make a "nip it in the bud" joke, that thing's literally a floatin' flower!
Do you often attempt to convince your teammates to make jokes in the middle of combat?
Jokes keep our brains steady.

That's how you know I made Ray, the fact that she never shuts up.

That's the petaloid conditional taken care of, finally.

Luring the giant moa to the end of its corridor, and then sneaking around it through the uppermost corridor is enough to let us proceed.

Well, that's a bust.
We should double back.

Can't move forward with that giant moa in the way. What's behind this door, then?

The Hollows are getting worried about us now, I think.
Four of them is nowhere near enough to stop us.
I'm still missing the Hollow believer's conditional drop in my Item Compendium, but I unfortunately have no way of inflicting panic right now, which is the condition for their conditional drop. Hopefully I can unlock Chaos Circle before we reach the boss room.


Obtained corundum x1 and dolomite x4.

Oh, right, I nearly forgot about the ballock knife quest. Guess I can wrap that up next time I'm back in town. And by "next time I'm back in town," I mean...

Pardon my rudeness, but curse your bag and its limited capacity!
I'm really sorry we had to go back. If the bag were any bigger, it'd slow us down a lot...
Rationally, I know that, but—
...Right, deep breaths, Wufan, they are just as committed to saving Xiuan as you are...

...Is there some sort of secret meaning to these utterances of the word "junk" that I'm missing?
It's just fun to say, auntie.
It's fun ta say because it means I get new junk ta work on.
Berund Atelier has the following new items in stock:

Oh, right, ya're done wit' dat request now. Go get ya reward when ya've got time.
Well, going back into the Misty Ravine isn't going to happen today, so...we've got time.
Author's note: I forgot to turn the quest in, so that'll have to wait until later. W H O O P S

(Oi, Ray.)
(Oh no, you're gettin' infected.)
(Wha? Oh, da "oi." Never mind dat, here.)

(Had some extra junk, so I made ya one'a da new knives. I even made it extra lucky!)
(Now that's rock. Why, though?)
(Eh, let's call it a gift from one junk appreciator ta another, 'kay?)

Oh, good! Levels just before reaching a boss are always helpful.

Merula gets another rank of Spread Throw, which reduces its TP cost by 2.

Marlin gets the first rank of Rush Dance. When Marlin has a Samba buff, he can use Rush Dance, which causes him to follow up on other party members' attacks for the rest of the turn. It's expensive, and requires burning a buff slot on a Samba, but it has its uses.

Naijou gets the next rank of Charge, bringing its multiplier up to 2x, aka the break-even point for damage when rotating between Charge and an attack skill, compared to just spamming the attack skill.

Harper finally gets the first rank of Squall Volley, which deals a lot of instances of stab damage to random enemies. The catch is that each hit is very inaccurate, and the skill's total damage output is very RNG dependent. At rank 1, Squall Volley ranges from 2 to 7 hits, and scales up to 6 to 16. Like I said, its damage range is very high. It'll take a good amount more SP before it's something I really use.

Ray gets her first rank of Chaos Circle, which I mentioned earlier—it's a circle that attempts to inflict panic. Hopefully I can snag the Hollow believer conditional drop on this trip.


Ray mentioned that you patrolled the lower floors of the Misty Ravine in the past, I think. That right, Wufan?
I've got a question: that ever get annoying, what with all of the weird ways the fog messes with the forest?
...No comment.

...Over there. Xiuan's fireflies.
I have to wonder... Is she controlling those fireflies?
As much as it pains me to admit, I do not know. They were there when I first found her, so they've been with her ever since she was an infant.

There, that's the Hollow believer's conditional.

This again?
Pretty sure that's the same symbol on the locked box we found in the Lush Woodlands. Weird.
Same marking, two completely different locations... Any idea about this, Wufan?
I doubt this is a coincidence, but...that should be impossible. You and your allies are the first humans, besides Xiuan, to set foot in the Misty Ravine, and I imagine Ray was the first Vessel to set foot in the previous labyrinth. How— No, this can wait. Xiuan is our top priority right now.

A shortcut back to the start of the floor. How useful.

Obtained corundum x3.

Same solution for these corridors as the earlier ones: lure the giant moa as far as it can go, then sneak around it using the furthest corridor.
♪ No music ♪

Firefly-like lights emerge from between the surrounding plants to gather around you.
It may only be your imagination, but it looks like the lights have a special interest in Wufan.
The lights eventually vanish, but something seems odd about her.
Xiuan... Surely, she couldn't have...?
Wufan mutters to herself, lost in thought.
Auntie? Do you know somethin' about the lights...?
Pay my mumbling no mind.
The door.
Eh? Wait, Harper, what're you—

You feel it too, I assume.
Xiuan's in that room.
So the Hollows' boss's gotta be there, too.
You three are not considering charging in there, are you?
We are mere steps away from saving Xiuan, you surely cannot think we need to retreat.
Think this through. We have been beset by an endless amount of Hollows on our way to this room. Beyond whatever strength the entity leading the Hollows must possess, it will almost certainly be assisted by lesser Hollows. Fighting it while we are at anything less than peak condition carries extreme risk.
I apologize if I come across as inconsiderate, but—
No, you are...correct. All I ask is that we do not delay any longer. Tonight, we rest, and tomorrow, we save Xiuan.
An agreeable plan of action.
Let's go clear that shortcut over there, and then use a thread.
Nothing new at the shop after I returned, so...that's it for now. Next time: the end of the 2nd Land.

Took me long enough, huh?


A while later...
...What is troubling you?
Much the same as what is troubling you.
An understandable answer, though I am curious as to why you chose to join me in meditation.
A combination of wanting to talk to you once you were finished meditating, and a desire for some time to reflect upon recent events.
You wished...to speak with me. I did not mishear you, correct?
May I ask why? I am sure there you have much more relevant matters to discuss with the others.
True, but that does not preclude me from being curious about you.
I fail to see what is there about me that could be considered curious.
I did not take you for the type to play coy. Here is a hint: Sentinel.
Ah. That is the term for my race, I have gathered. Xiuan referred to me as a Sentinel as well.
You have...gathered? Does your kind not have a term for yourselves?
We may have. Perhaps we even referred to ourselves as Sentinels, like you do.
Forgive me, but you cannot remember whether or not your kind have a name for themselves?
I have lived for many years, Wufan. I have done my best to hold onto as many memories as I can, but some irrelevant ones have disappeared as I have aged.
I...must confess, I do not know what the expected lifespan of a Sentinel is. May I use a circle to estimate how old you are?
Feel free. I will admit to being curious, myself. Living in a cavern made it difficult to keep track of time and, therefore, age.

...By Yggdrasil's grace. I do not know what answer I was expecting, but it certainly was not "over 500 summers."
I lack a good point of comparison for this.
Ray and Xiuan have both lived for 16 summers. Most of your compatriots are between 20 and 30 summers, if I am remembering correctly. I, myself, have lived 52 summers. An average Vessel can be expected to live past 100 summers, though not very far beyond.
You, meanwhile, have lived through multiple generations of Vessels. You were alive at the same time as my grandparents' grandparents...
Well, that's interesting to know.
That is a quite a blasé reaction to this sort of information!
It does not affect how I have lived, or will live. Most of my life has been spent in some form of seclusion—either consciously keeping myself away from others, or wandering these vast lands on my own. My age does not affect that.
...I take it you are unaware of what age you can be expected to live to, then.
Correct. When my time comes, I will pass on. Perhaps that will be tomorrow, perhaps it will be after several hundred more summers have passed. I cannot rule out the possibility that my time may never come. It does not matter much, honestly.
To treat such a great expanse of time as one would treat swimming through a river, and to live unbothered by mortality... You are an odd one, Naijou. Part of me envies you greatly.
I will take the envy as a compliment, though I am quite confident that most would not wish to live the lonesome existence I have.
I sense some wistfulness in the way you said "lonesome."
You are free to interpret what I say however you wish.

On the upper deck of the Zephyr...
Well, someone's up late. What brings you up here, Harp?
I was asleep with my eyes open.
Y-You can do that?
...No. But Fireworks Mama says that when she wants to stare into the distance and doesn't want anyone to talk to her. I'm having thoughts.
So... You don't want me to talk to you.
...I want to talk to you. I don't know what to say when it's like that.
Alright, got it. Let's hang out, then.
Okay. Thank you.

So, uh... You look kinda sad.
Don't wanna talk more about that.
"More"... Okay.
What's it like having two parents?
Huh. What's it like... Don't think I've ever really thought about that. Specifically having two parents, I mean. I've thought about each of them, sure, but never about the—
Didn't think about it because you grew up the usual way.
Yeah. Thanks for stopping me before I went in circles, heh.
Well, I can't speak for everyone with two parents, but for me, Mom and Mama both had specific things they did for me. Mom, well, obviously she did all of the pirating and making sure the Sargasso—the ship we lived on—didn't get boarded by other pirates or bounty hunters or whatever. When she wasn't busy with that, she taught me.
"Taught" like school?
Well, no, not unless this school taught swordfighting, or how to keep a ship and its crew in good shape, or sweettalking prison guards when you mess up and get caught... You, uh, get the point. Looking back on it, it's real obvious that Mom wanted me to be like her. But...for all the complaining I can do about her ego and all the shit she blabs about to whoever'll listen, I wouldn't be here right now without her passing all that down.
What about your other mom?
Mama kept me alive. Not in the "I was really sick as a kid and needed to get better" way, but like... Making sure I ate the right foods, didn't suffer from all the nasty ways you can get sick out at sea, helping one of Mom's friends teach me the kinds of things you would get taught at a school.
Did they raise you together?
Guess from the way I described it, it sounds like they just sort of passed me off between each other, huh. Well, yeah, they both worked together on a lot of things. Big one I remember is... Gods, this is gonna sound ridiculous, but alright, I used to have a lot of trouble sleeping as a little kid. Mom tried getting me physically worn out before bed, Mama'd sing to me, Mom'd...sing badly at me, Mama tried a bunch of different magic on me, nothing worked. What did get me, eventually, was story night, this thing Mom, Mama, and Mom's crew did after they beat a bunch of mercenary creeps to some ruins. I remember everyone getting absolutely sloshed, I was the only sober person on the ship.
Too young to drink alcohol?
Yeah, I was only, like, five years old, I think. Zero chance that even Mom's densest mates would've given me beer, or whatever they were drinking. Point is, after everyone was just absolutely trashed, they all sat around the dining room, and just started...telling stories they had. Most of 'em were real short, because, well, drunks, but point is, after a few stories, I was out. Just something about listening to everyone talk about all these weird experiences they had got me from fully awake to out like a light real fast. I wasn't even bored, just...a weird thing about my brain, I guess.
That sounds sad. You can't listen to stories without getting sleepy?
I mean, nowadays I can. I don't remember being sad about it? What I do remember is that from that night forward, Mom and Mama'd get together at night, get me in bed, and read me something. It didn't take much to get me to zonk out from someone telling me a story, but I do remember them putting everything into their reading. You'd have thought they were actors in a previous life, I swear.
...Fun fact, that's actually why the Air B'n'B's library is so huge. After Mom and Mama realized that stories helped me get to sleep, they started collecting every damn book they could find. Years later, after I finally had a ship to call my own, they gave me everything they'd found over the years.
There's a lot of not-stories in the library. Did they read you all of that?
No no no, that'd have been real weird. I think it only got so huge because they collected literally any book they came across, whether or not it was something they'd read to me. Guess they found it fun.
...You're your mom and mama. That's what having two parents is like.
Ehh... Sorta, yeah, but I think that doesn't really cover all the ways that kids can be really, really different from their parents. I mean, look at me, my mom's a famous pirate, still doing her thing, and here I am. Had to retire from pirating in disgrace because I—
Before Shelly can finish her thought, Harper hugs her from her side.
Ahh, sorry, every time I think I can handle thinking about that, I...
It's okay. I want to change what I said: your mom and mama gave you themselves.
...Yeah. Their time, their personalities, what they knew, who they knew, everything. They threw it all into a pot and waited to see what would happen.
At the start, at least. In one way, I'm a mix of Mom and Mama. In another way, I'm Shelly Laura Valentine.
Both, neither, and both, and neither. Forever.

That answer your question?
Now, lemme ask you one of my own: are you okay, Harper?
Given how much you're listing, yeah, that tracks.
I'm not going to bed yet.
Why not? You're tired, we have a lot to take care of tomorrow, I don't get why you wouldn't.
I want to stay outside and look at the sky.
...I also want you to stay, if that's alright.
I can't promise I won't fall asleep, but if you're okay with that, then sure.

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