Update 17: Barnblitz

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Oh my, has he finally learned how to sleep...?
Ah, excuse me, is there something you needed, Xiaohu?
I will take that as a no.
Correct, I was meditating. On a topic relevant to you, actually.
Indeed. I was pondering the dichotomy between explorers who employ weapons and martial arts to combat monsters, and those who do not.
Mm. "Those who do not" would include the likes of myself, I assume.
You and Ray are the best examples in our guild, yes.
I see... You said a "dichotomy between" the two groups, yes?
Correct. Specifically, I was contemplating why there seems to be so little crossover between the two types of combat.
I... Yes, okay, I believe I understand what you are talking about. How, for example, I do not use weapons or martial arts, and have little interest in finding ways to utilize them with my runic arts.
Exactly. For how many explorers there are in Tharsis, and for how many different disciplines are practiced here, I have yet to see any sort of mystic martialist.
Hmm. I had not considered that, but it is true. Perhaps it has something to do with balancing mental load in combat? I would surmise—
Ah, if it is alright, I would prefer you stop there.
Oh? I could, but why?
I wish to continue meditating on this by myself, with "balancing mental load" as my new starting point. In addition to the mental stimulation it gives me, it is also just a pleasant opportunity to... Separate myself from this world, is how I would put it.
I see, I see. Enjoy your meditations, then!

Well met, Guild Daffodil. It has been quite a while.
Indeed. Hopefully you have been holding up in the face of these freezing temperatures.
It has been...a challenge, but I remain committed to my mission.
Mission? Did the Count assign work without us knowing?
No, "mission" in the general sense. Without delving too much into the details, there is something I must accomplish in these lands. In fact, I suspect that my objective lies somewhere in these mountains...
I see... Well, if you ever require assistance, we would be more than happy to provide.
The offer is appreciated, though this is a task I must undertake on my own, at least for now.
Hm. Understandable.
Here's some sweetfish. Before you go.
Oh! Thank you, thank you, I was actually feeling quite famished—now I can fill my stomach with truly delectable seafood.
One good turn deserves another... Here, please, take this.

Hmm. This looks like equipment for our ship, but it is much smaller than usual.
Most of what the emergency pole does is metaphysical. It allows you to create a small pseudo-pole attuned to your ship. While you cannot use this pole to return to Tharsis, you can use it to warp from Tharsis to where you set the pseudo-pole.
This could be useful. Thank you.
No, thank you for these heavenly sweetfish. If you'll excuse me, I need to prepare to do some cooking...
Kirjonen quietly bows to you and starts up their skyship. You see them off before resuming your own journey.

Outside of the narrative, I ran into Kirjonen again, and got a gold icon from them in exchange for another sweetfish. I did not equip it to anyone yet, though.

Yo, Guild Daffodil. Good to see you're still up in the sky.
Likewise! I hope you are managing to avoid frostbite in this weather, especially given your attire.
Heh, I've been in worse, don't worry.
I am curious, actually, why do you dancers seem to prefer thinner, more revealing attire? Marlin dresses not dissimilarly from you.
Putting aside the whole "looking good" thing, freedom of movement's the big one. Less you've got on, easier it is to move, make sense?
Fairly intuitive, yes.
...Ugh, dammit, none here, either.
Oh, don't mind me, I'm just looking for happiness hares. Someone at the bar put up a request for one, saying that they're "really good luck," and like a dolt, I took it, not realizing that hunting for these things is an incredible—
Here you are!
That's a happiness hare, I'm guessing.
Indeed. Please, take it!
Well. Okay then. Thanks a lot, I've been looking for one of these for two days.
...Bleh, I'd feel gross if I took from you guys without giving something back. Gimme a sec, I should have something...

Remember the horn I gave you way back when? Same deal, kinda. Put this on your ship, and it'll attract rare birds.
Thank you very much!
Fair's fair and all that. Gotta get going now, need to get this bunny to Kirtida. Later!

Again, outside of the narrative, I assisted Kirjonen in a battle, and got the fisher's manual in exchange.

I apologize for saying so, but while I appreciate your fish, they, as they say, 'taste like ass'.
Wow, really? I don't have taste buds, so I can't tell.
Read up in this book and try improving your skills.
That's true, I do need to live vicariously through other people.
Next you'll tell me you don't have fingerprints...
I'm undetectable by the law and modern-day forensics!
Oh, help me...

Wow. Exactly as miserable as you all described, right on the dot. Impressive.
Xiaohu, are you okay? Your equipment is quite heavy and thick...
I am fine! Please, do not worry about me!
(...Whatever monster is causing this awful heat will regret it.)

First order of business is to make this cave actually navigable.

Well, uh, some of them, anyways, but I remember the one with green armor, and the blonde kid!
Seems like you found your troop without issue.
Kind of a pain to deal with all the water and ice and whatever, but yeah!
An older man, who seems to be the leader of the troop, raises a hand in greeting and approaches you.

Oi, man, nothin' wrong with that. We all gotta spend time in this cave, might as well help each other out.
...Regardless, thank you. We can finally decamp and return to Tharsis. Here, please take these, for your trouble.

S-Sir, I think you gave us the wrong bag, these are advanced amritas! Aren't these in extremely short—
Take it. You're the ones that have to go deep into this cave, you'll need all the help you can get.
Well... Thank you.
Don't mention it. You should get along now, looks like my men are still enjoying a chance to hoot and holler.

And now, time to see how far we can go with this new section of B2F.

There is vegetation to be harvested here, but...
This strange mural caught your attention, I assume.
I am unsure what this is meant to represent.
The tree-headed humanoid is dispersing...something from its branch-like hands. I assume those are meant to resemble branches, at any rate.
Think the sun's supposed to be the giant yellow circle. Always a safe bet when you see drawings of giant yellow circles.
The humanoid subject must have been immense in stature, then. Perhaps the cyan elements are mountains, but that is the limit of what I can surmise from this.
Are you okay?
I feel as though I have seen this before, but I have no memory of doing so. This is very frustrating.
I have finished collecting the vegetation, by the way.
Obtained dried vine x3.
Much like the take points we have found that can give different materials based on whether or not the current floor is heated or cooled, this chop point will give us different items once we have cooled the floor.

Got two turtle beasties mad at us.
Perhaps we can give them the runaround at that loop we just passed.

...Curses. Their slow movement actually worked in their favor this time.
I believe it is time to get out of this cave, before they both attack us.

Growlin', didn't bring back much junk, guessin' some nasty monsters got ta ya?
Nah, that's the insultin' part, we got pincered by turtles. Turtles, Wynne.
'Ey, chin up. Could be worse. Turtles coulda killed ya. Dat woulda been real embarrassin'. Ya'd be dead, too, and dat'd make me sad.
Right, right, heh, I get it. Anything you can make outta the junk we got?
Uhhhhhhhh I can twist dese vines inta a cool shape. See?
Berund Atelier has the following new items in stock:

...Yeah, cool shape. What's it do?
Buy it'n find out!

On my way back to that part of B2F, everyone got a level up.

Skill point investments. Nothing truly significant here. Main thing to note is that Ray actually had 3 SP built up; 1 SP went into Hood Circle, which creates a circle that attempts to bind all enemies' heads, while the other 2 SP went into upgrading Chaos Circle.

The actual way to progress in this room is to aggro only one of the tortoises, give it the runaround in the back of the room, and then head for the door.

This is an ice stake chop point. Like B1F, all of the ice stake chop points on B2F give two ice stakes per day.

Great big waste of time that was.
It seems we need to destroy the source of heat on this floor before we can progress any further from here.
How vexing.

To progress, we actually have to take the other entrance, while B1F is cooled.

Right, this'll be easy, just give it the ol'—

I see these FOEs are as fond of the ice as we are.
If a blade tortoise crosses an ice panel, it will slide across the ice panels, much like us. All of this happens in one step, so these things' mobility has just been increased significantly.

Of course, there is a small patch of solid ground on the southeast of this room that you can use to get yourself ahead of this first blade tortoise.

From there, as long as the more northerly blade tortoise isn't standing near the door, you're free to move on.

Are you okay? You look quite distressed.
I am...unsure why, but I have an awful sensation in my chest. Perhaps it will pass in a bit... Please, go on ahead.
...Very well.

Once you are close enough to speak with him, you realize that you have misunderstood something... The helm you had thought to mimic an ox's head is in fact the man's head itself!

This is a surprise! I thought new monsters had shown their faces, but I see we have guests from the outside world.
What gave it away, my stick-thin limbs, or most of us lackin' fur?
Hahaha! I take it you are a child of the Vessels, while the rest of you... You are humans, no doubt. It's been well over ten years since we last had a human visitor...
Ah, you're already familiar with humans, that saves us some time. We are Guild Daffodil, a group of explorers, come from Tharsis, a city far to the south.
A human settlement to the south? Fascinating... But where are my manners? My name is Kibagami, and I welcome you to our village!
The ox-headed man's stouthearted voice echoes throughout the cavern.
Another round of introductions is in order, I see... My name is Waylon van Houten, engineer in service to His Majesty, Emperor Alfodr.
Ray's the name. Chuffed to meetcha, big guy.
I...am the Medium. I am not an explorer by trade, but Guild Daffodil is escorting me while I am on important business.
I am Jia Xiaohu, a scholar of runes. Would there happen to be any in your village familiar with the manipulation of runes, incidentally?
Hmm... I am sorry to disappoint, but that sounds like magic. We Sentinels are a martial people.
Oh, I am not disappointed, please do not worry.
...The manipulation of runes is not magic, however. It is a science, imprecise as it sometimes is.
I see. My apologies, I did not mean to offend.
All is well!
With that cleared up, I am Eine Afilitaria Aurelis, our guild's medic.
Medic, medic, medic... Oh, are you a healer?
That is one way of describing me, yes.
Haha, how serendipitous! We could both learn from each other, I think—I tend to our sick and ailing villagers.
Oh, a chance to learn another culture's medicinal practices, how exciting! Yes, we should find some time to sit down and talk.
By the way... Is that figure in the distance another one of your team? I have been wondering why they did not approach with you all.
Oh, yeah, he's...
Ray trails off as Naijou slides across the ice, then slowly approaches Kibagami.
...Well, well, well. I would recognize you anywhere. Hahaha, Naijou, you're finally back! I never thought I'd see the day! Oh, you have no idea how overjoyed I am!
I am sorry, but... Have we met before?
The joy upon Kibagami's face instantly melts away. He quickly smiles again, but it is impossible to ignore the newfound anxiety in his eyes.
Haha, that's a good joke, my friend.
I am deathly serious. You and I are very clearly alike, but I have never met you before.
...Well, my friend's jokes aside, you all must be tired. Follow me to our village!
Heh. Much nicer welcome than auntie gave us.
Call it a hunch, but I could tell that you all had not come here with trouble in mind. If you had, though... Well, my fangs would've snapped your thin necks! Wahahahaha!
Ahh, I merely jest. No need to look so scared. Shall we?

He walks straight towards the crossroads up ahead and beckons for you to follow.
Naijou? Are you alright? Should we perhaps return to the ship and take a moment to consider things?
No, no, I am more than fine with going to the village. Pay me no mind.
I will "pay you mind," because you are my teammate, and my friend regardless.
I am fine, truly, I simply do not recall who that "Kibagami" person was. I have vague memories of living in this cave, but none whatsoever of this village he mentioned.
Maybe visitin' it would help jog your memory?
I have my doubts, given Naijou's age, but if there is no personal discomfort involved, then it is worth a shot.

W-Wait, no... You're travelling with one of us? I-I don't remember any Sentinel ever leaving, b-but...
Are you alright? You're stuttering quite a lot.
O-Oh, yeah, i-it's just the cold. I'm not g-great with the cold.

This is another ice stake chop point.

You see a building hewn of stone inside the cavity, as well as what appear to be monuments. It appears to be where the Sentinels, the beastly warriors you met earlier, dwell.
My word, this is comparable in size to Vessel Town.
It is larger than what I would imagine when I hear the word "village," yes.
Impressive, given the restrictions on buildable space imposed by being inside a cave!

Every one of them has beastly features somewhere on their bodies. The type of animal varies from person to person. A number of them notice you and seem surprised, but not alarmed. Some of them even nod to you in greeting. Kibagami may have told them of your coming, but perhaps they are simply not overly concerned.

This is an important shortcut! We'll need to keep coming and going through the Sentinel village in order to progress through the Golden Lair, and this gives us easy access from the room where the giant scale pile is.

Come, sit! Help yourselves.
The smell of cooked fish and vegetables from the cauldron next to Kibagami fills the cavern. It makes your mouth water.
Judging by the scent, I assume you are serving salmon.
Right you are, old friend. These are some particularly good salmon we caught the other day. You're quite lucky to have arrived here when you did, haha!
It does certainly smell, to be blunt, scrumptious.
Please, eat your fill, everyone. There's plenty to go around!
Ooooh... I've seen Harper and Dalla cookin' up fish, but haven't gotten to try it yet...
You've...never had cooked fish before?
I've never had more than that, big guy.
Beg your pardon?
Look, that made more sense in my head. Point is, we Vessels eat veg and pretty much nothin' else.
An all-vegetable diet... I see why you lack muscle. No better time than now to try something new.
Took the words right outta my mouth!
The party fully recovers its HP and TP. All status ailments are healed.
On another note, there is something I wish to tell you all.
This may take a while, so please, feel free to keep eating. For many centuries, we Sentinels have bowed to the will of our creators, the humans. We were left with a great many instructions, but paramount among them was this: "Tell whoever comes from the outside world the history of the Sentinels." Judging by the fact that you are travelling with a Vessel, I assume you are all aware of the legend of the Titan.
Could say that, yeah. Humans lived near Yggdrasil, made us, made you beefy lot, Titan showed up outta nowhere, Yggdrasil disappeared, there was fighting, that's the gist of the important stuff.
Yes, that matches with our own tales of the demon tree.
Sorry, "demon tree?" Are you referring to the Titan?
Hm? No, I am referring to Yggdrasil.
...I see. Please, continue.
Your expression betrays your true thoughts, little one. The Titan was birthed from Yggdrasil, and it has slept within Yggdrasil ever since its defeat. I do not know how the Titan was roused from the demon tree long ago, but... What I do know is that where it walked, the earth broke, and all near it were cursed to become plants.
Are you being metaphorical, or—
In the middle of Eine's question, a young Sentinel approaches and whispers something to Kibagami.
Dear me, time already? My apologies, but I must step away for a moment.
Kibagami then gets up and leaves through the cavity's western exit.

...You're all as baffled as I am right now, right?
I struggle to find the words for how I feel right now, yes. Yggdrasil, a "demon tree..."
Nothing in the Vessels' legend of the Titan contradicts what Kibagami told us just now. Perhaps Yggdrasil and the Titan are one and the same, even?
Might wanna keep that thought to yourself if we ever end up in Vessel Town again.
That goes without saying. I am, admittedly, playing devil's advocate, but if the Titan were simply another form of Yggdrasil, would that not explain the disappearance of Yggdrasil in the Vessels' legend?
I am verging on sacrilege here, aren't I?
My apologies, but "verging" is putting it lightly.
I see. I will refrain from speculating further!
Every step of our journey has continued to heap question upon question, without ever deigning to give us any clear answers.
Not to be rude, Naijou, but you are not exactly helping in that regard.
How did you not remember the Sentinels' version of the legends of the Titan? Or Kibagami, who speaks of you as a brother would? Is there something we need to be aware of? Are you—
I am not lying, nor am I hiding anything from you all. I am as perplexed as you are, Eine.
...I'm going to see what demanded Kibagami's attention.
I'll go with you.

Dear gods!
You gasp to see his pitiful condition. Vines are intertwined with the fur on the child's arms, as well as what seem to be scab-like clumps of sap.
This poor child...
...I know that you have not seen the likes of this before, but try not to show such surprise, my guests.

Ah, you did mention having medical knowledge.
Indeed. I take care of our young ones from time to time.
What... What is afflicting this child?
Mm. We refer to this sickness as the Titan's Curse.
Is this...what happened to those that approached the Titan?
Indeed. It is punishment for standing up to the Titan's godlike power—that's what we've come to believe, in any case. It's been about ten years since the disease first sprung up here...
Kibagami's eyes are distant as he explains the disease. He helps the child drink the elixir, and then moves away; presumably, he wishes to continue the discussion where the child cannot hear.
It affects the weak first. The young ones, who are still growing, have it the worst.
Is there a cure...?
Haha... Oh, if only. I cannot begin to tell you what I would give for even just something to soothe the afflicted ones' pain. We have tried countless herbs, and spent many hours in prayer. Nothing has ever worked.
Kibagami closes his eyes and takes a deep breath before continuing.
Those who catch it spend a few years in constant pain. I and our other healers do our best to ease it, even just a little, but... Once their bodies have finally given out, the sick turn into grass and trees.
All of them?
Yes. No-one has ever survived the Titan's Curse. None have managed to die without turning into plantlife, even.
Your group is headed towards the demon tree, no?
Correct. Yggdrasil is in danger, and...as the Medium, it is my duty to investigate.
That "important business" you mentioned earlier, I assume. And your five companions are escorting you.
There are more members of their group—their guild—but yes.
I see. I won't stop you, but you should know the risks. Even you, Medium, may suffer from the curse, should you approach the demon tree, to say nothing of your escorts. The Titan may be slumbering, but it surely still lives.
Just then, another voice sounds from behind you...

Whirlwind is there, an incongruously solemn expression on his face.
And who are you, visitor?
That can wait until I've said what I wanna say, can't it?
...Very well.
First, though, where's the rest of your group, Waylon? I doubt you took the Medium into this cave alone.
Due east, partaking in the Sentinels' salmon. What do you want?
Always with the distrust, huh... Well, maybe this'll help you see I'm here to help you guys.
Whirlwind opens his pack and begins rifling through it.
Dammit, I really gotta learn how to organize my things better... C'mon, I know it was right— Here!
After some difficulty, Whirlwind pulls a book out of his pack.
Take this.

A burst technique, I see.
Yep. Got it from the guildmaster a long time ago, but I think you and your friends'll make way better use of it than I can.
...Thank you.
Heh, been a long time since I heard you talk to me like that.
Don't push it. One burst technique does not a mea culpa make.
Yeah, I know, I'm just taking baby steps. With that said, Mister Leader of the Sentinels—
Please, call me Kibagami.
Gotcha. Oh, my name's Whirlwind. Hear me out: between you and the power that girl has, we can save everyone. I guarantee it.
Are there any other teenagers with Yggdrasil's power? That'd be convenient, heh. Anyways, listen. We need two things. One is the Titan's Heart—I've been told the Sentinels have been keeping watch over it, whatever it is, for centuries. That right?
Whirlwind's inquiry is followed by almost a minute of silence. Kibagami, after much internal deliberation, addresses the explorer.
...It is safeguarded in these caverns, yes. What does this girl have to do with it, though?
It's pretty simple. This curse is caused by the Titan—which, if the stuff I've heard is right, is part of Yggdrasil. The Medium can hear Yggdrasil's voice, so she's got some kind of special connection with the world tree. I can't guarantee anything—
You just said you could guarantee this will work.
I— Look, that's just a rhetorical flourish, alright? C'mon, don't look at me like that.
After a bit more exaggerated moaning, Whirlwind collects himself.
My point is... This is gonna sound weird, but Medium, can you try praying for that kid? To Yggdrasil, I mean.
Of course.
Stop! Are you trying to expose yourself to the sickness?!
At Whirlwind's urging, and despite Kibagami's shouting, Xiuan kneels in front of the ailing child, closes her eyes, and begins to pray. Small orbs of light suddenly materialize around her...
This again...
The lights gather around the sickly Sentinel child and glimmer. Eventually, the sweat on the child's brow cools, and he falls into a peaceful slumber!
I pled to Yggdrasil, but I think this is the most it can do, unfortunately.
You speak as though you have not performed a miracle! The plantlife sprouts from the child still, but the pain seems to have disappeared entirely...!
...We can go further than that.
As much as it pains me to admit, Whirlwind's theory has merit.
Doesn't that burst scroll I gave you earn me the right to have you talk about me without the sarcastic asides?
Does a tree fall after one swing from an axe?
...No? Not usually?
Then only a poor logger indeed would think this is any different.
Banter aside, I believe what Waylon means is that with something to amplify my communion with Yggdrasil at hand, perhaps it could do more than simply alleviate the pain of the Titan's Curse. Given that the Titan's Heart is deeply connected to Yggdrasil, I think it would be exactly what we need.
You alright, big guy?
I am conflicted. While your theory is enticing, it is forbidden to us Sentinels to touch the Titan's Heart. Even beyond the fact that it could be used to resurrect the Titan, it contains great power on its own. There is a reason we chose to hide ourselves away in this inhospitable cavern, deep within the mountains, and why before Naijou, we had not had contact with the outside world for centuries. Which begs the question...
Kibagami locks eyes with Whirlwind.
Oh boy...
Traveler. Whirlwind. How did you come to learn of the Titan's Heart?
While he does not raise his voice, Kibagami speaks in an unnerving monotone. His stature and positioning combine to cast a shadow so long that it nearly envelops Whirlwind whole. Both of these, in concert, intimidate Whirlwind enough to reveal an expression that even Waylon has never seen on him before: fear.
Aaaaahh, W-Waylon, remember how I spent a few days doing recon on the Hollows, making sure the Medium wasn't hurt, all that?
Yeah, see, while I was skulking through the forest... I found some books, near the Hollow Queen's—this is the best way I can describe it—throne room. Old books. From what I could tell, they were collections of the Vessels' legends of the Titan, full of stories about how the different species fought the Titan. Part of that was talking about a disease that made people turned into plants, and how the Titan infected anyone nearby. Safe to assume that's the Titan's Curse. Now, the fun part is that this book...talked about a cure the ancient people had for the disease. I won't bore you with all of the details, but it was basically what we're proposing now: find a piece of Yggdrasil, and combine it with some intense prayer.
Whirlwind turns to Kibagami, as if eager to change the subject.
So, what're you gonna do? You're the Sentinels' leader. No-one's gonna go looking for the Titan's Heart without your say-so.
Kibagami crosses his arms and falls silent as a stone. Xiuan watches him, worry evident on her face.
I don't think I can really make a better case for going after the Titan's Heart. All we can do is hope Kibagami helps us.
A number of Sentinel warriors have filed into the room unnoticed. They, too, gaze intently at Kibagami.
What the...?
I assume they heard us talking. A potential cure for the certain-death disease that's been afflicting them for a decade is going to attract attention.
After lengthy, silent deliberation, Kibagami opens his mouth, having made his decision.
...We will retrieve the Titan's Heart! Though it is forbidden to even approaching it, we are at a crossroads. Either we break from the proclamations of our ancestors, or we face potential extinction at the hands of the Titan's Curse. As the leader of the Sentinels for many centuries, I say we do what we must in order to banish this curse! This will be no easy task, however. The Titan's Heart is enshrined deep below, guarded by the Boiling Lizard, a guardian bred by our ancestors. For centuries, it has stood vigil in front of the Titan's Heart, ready to punish any potential thieves. No-one has ever bested it. Even finding it will be a challenge. But our fangs are sharp and our will is strong! My bushi! It is time to show the fruits of our training!
The Sentinel warriors roar with excitement over their leader's bold decision. At the same time, Kibagami looks to Waylon, Xiuan, and Whirlwind...
Humans. I cannot thank you enough for giving us this ray of hope. Please, stay in our village, inform your comrades of what's going on, and await our good news! Nothing will stop us from taking the Titan's Heart. The Boiling Lizard... It will be a worthy adversary!
Kibagami and the warriors march deeper into the cavern, most likely to begin planning for the hunt. Whirlwind bears a baffled expression on his face as he turns to Waylon and Xiuan.
Am I missing something, or did we just get told to warm the bench instead of help with the search?
Is that a problem?
I mean... Yeah. It's pretty fair to say that your guild and I, we're both pretty strong. Plus, like... I'unno, maybe the Medium's gonna be needed to actually take the Heart somehow? Look, there's zero reason to not have us help.
He does have a point, Waylon.
...Yes, he does. Additionally, we aren't exactly exploring this cavern for fun. We came here, first and foremost, to find a way to dissipate the winds in the northern ravine. Call it a hunch, but whatever object is needed to dispel the winds is most likely near the Titan's Heart.
Safe to assume that. Something big's going on, and I'm not gonna just sit and wait for the Sentinels to give us what we need to get going. You all should probably go talk to Kibagami and let him know that this current plan of action is, undiplomatically, idiotic.
Are you not going to join us?
I mean, point A, I'm just one guy, my words aren't gonna carry as much weight as the explorers that were judged worthy to escort the Medium. Point B, even if I did join up with you guys, I'm used to fighting and exploring on my own. I'd just get in the way, you feel?
I see... Both of those do make sense, as regrettable as it is.
We'll explain the situation to the other four. You go off and do what you feel is necessary.
As Waylon and Xiuan head back towards the feasting table, Waylon turns back and looks at Whirlwind.
One last thing. L— Whirlwind.
Stay out of trouble.
...Is that a distrustful "stay out of trouble," or a worried "stay out of trouble?"
The latter. Happy?
Heh. Actually, Waylon... Mind if we talk for a bit? There's something thataway that's made me feel... I dunno.

Hopefully the Sentinels don't mind us taking the contents of these boxes.
This is the public treasury. There's like ten times more if we come back here with the Earth Crystal.

Flowers, dolls, and liquor bottles are left in front of the markers. It seems to be a graveyard for the Sentinels. One of the Sentinels is cleaning up old offerings.
Oop, sorry, didn't mean to intrude.
Nothing to be sorry for, just doing a bit of tidying.
I assume this is a graveyard?
Yep. As far as I know, pretty much every Sentinel that's died since we came to these lands is buried here. Unfortunately, it's been growing more quickly than we'd like the past few years, due to the Titan's Curse. Do you two want to pay homage as well? One of these graves belongs to a human.
Kibagami mentioned that a human came by the village ten years ago, but he didn't mention anything about them dying here.
I'm not surprised. It'd be a bit morbid, you know? But yeah, ten years ago, while some of us were outside doing some hunting, we found a human just outside the entrance of the cave! First human any Sentinel had seen since...heck, probably since the days of the Titan.
So humans don't just come by every decade or so.
Unless I've missed something, yep. That human must've been a fierce warrior—he was clad in heavy metal armor, and had a sword unlike anything we'd ever seen.
...It's fine if you don't remember, but did that sword look anything like this?
Waylon shows the gravekeeper his drive blade. After quietly examining it for a bit, the gravekeeper speaks again.
Yeah, it did. I think his was a lot bulkier, but it had weird stuff sticking out of it, like yours. None of us could figure out how to use it.
How did he die?
When we found him, he was badly injured. Looked like a bunch of his bones were broken, and he was bleeding all over. Kibagami and our healers did the best they could, but...he died a few days after we took him in.
It was kind of you all to give him a proper burial.
Mhm. It was the least we could do. Dying in an unfamiliar land, far away from his loved ones... To this day, I pity him.
Did he say anything before he died, at least? Something about how he ended up here?
He did come to, but only on the day he died. Didn't really say anything, though. Must've hurt to talk, given how badly he was injured. Not to pry, but why all the questions? Did you two know him?
Yes, actually.
A mutual acquaintance of ours went missing around ten years ago while he was testing—and I hope this doesn't sound unbelievable—a machine that lets people fly. Did he manage to tell any of you his name?
Might've. Kibagami administered last rites to him. He's got a pretty good memory, so if the human told him his name, he might still remember. It's worth asking him.
The Sentinel, having finished cleaning the old offerings, moves towards the door.
Sorry I couldn't be more helpful with the name thing. Hope you two get some answers about your missing friend.
The Sentinel then leaves, heading back to the village.
...That human had to have been His Majesty, huh?
I can't be certain, obviously, but too many of the circumstances line up.
Didn't wake up today thinking we'd get closure for ten years ago, heh.
Neither was I.
...Hmm. How awkward. For ten years, I've been introducing myself as an engineer in service to a dead emperor.
Eh, I don't think anyone besides us would care. That said, though, boy is this gonna be awkward to report, if we ever make it back home.
Speaking of home... Well, no, we can discuss this at a later time.
There's the matter of the line of succession, but we can speculate about that later. For now, I should get back to our group.
Good idea. I'm gonna...be here for a bit. Lemme know if anything comes up.
Will do.

The room with the graveyard also, for some reason, has a shortcut back to the room with the two tortoises.

I apologize for being late. Did the Medium tell you all what's happening?
Yeah. Not happy one bit about bein' told to sit n' wait, y'know?
I am quite vexed as well.
I appreciate your offers to help, but I cannot bring you along. The monsters below here are extremely dangerous. Even my bushi must be cautious around those beasts.
That does not matter.
For months, we have continually pushed farther and farther into various labyrinths, often going in completely unaware of what new dangers each floor brings. This is hardly any different.
We are explorers, Kibagami. Unknown threats come with the territory. You are a wise man—surely you can see we are far from ill-equipped to assist in the search for the Titan's Heart.
Kibagami sighs.
What strange lives those outside our cavern must lead... Very well. On one condition: you must fight me!
Kibagami looks into Naijou's eyes.
If you and your comrades wish to continue braving unknown threats, then you must prove to me you are strong enough! Be warned, though, this is no mere sparring match. I will fight with all my strength, and I expect no less from you!
It seems this is the best compromise he can offer. There is no other way than to prove your worth in battle...

Naijou looks towards the other members of the party.
If we gotta beat up a big slab of beef to go further, then that's that, aye?
Indeed. I have no reservations about this not-sparring match!
I am ready if everyone else is.
...Is something the matter, Eine?
Far from it. Kibagami is a warrior-medic. Engaging him in combat is bound to yield much for me.
Huh, you've got some fight in you? Yeah, that tracks.
I...do not feel confident enough to participate in battle yet, but I shall provide encouragement!
We are in agreement, then. Come, Kibagami!

Hahahaha! Do not disappoint me, old friend!

Level: 33HP: 3510STR: 38TEC: 27VIT: 30AGI: 31LUC: 28DS: 83
EXP Given: 10064

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

Disable Vulnerabilities:
40% 30% 20% 50% 50% 30%
LR 3 LR 3 20%
40% 40% 40%
  • Blood Surge: Increases the user's damage by 80%, but makes them lose 220 HP after every action.
  • Deep Breath: Ends Blood Surge. Restores 800 HP to the user. Slightly slow.
  • Moon Slash: Deals heavy cut damage to one row of party members. Slightly slow.
  • Ice Slash: Deals severe cut + ice damage to one party member. Slightly slow.
  • Fire Strike: Deals severe bash + fire damage to one party member. Slightly slow.
  • Roar: Only works if the target has buffs. Deals heavy STR-based almighty damage to one party member. Dispels all of the target's buffs. Slightly slow, and cannot miss.
  • Shockwave: Deals heavy ranged cut damage to all party members. Damages the user for 10% of their current HP after use.
  • Charge: Doubles the damage of the user's next attack.
  • Healing: Restores ~10% of the user's maximum HP. Slightly slow.
  • Knockout Blow: Deals heavy bash damage to one party member. If the attack does not miss, attempts to inflict sleep on the target, with a high chance.
  • Recovery: Removes all binds from the user. Slightly slow.
  • Refresh: Removes all ailments from the user. Slightly slow.
  • Endure: The first time the user reaches 0 HP, they will recover 1755 HP.
  • Blood Surge: Increases the user's damage by 80%, but makes them lose 220 HP after every action. Has a speed modifier of ±0.
  • Deep Breath: Ends Blood Surge. Restores 800 HP to the user. Has a speed modifier of -3.
  • Moon Slash: Deals 100% melee STR-based cut damage to one row of party members. Has a speed modifier of -3, and a base accuracy of 99%.
  • Ice Slash: Deals 170% melee STR-based cut + ice damage to one party member. Has a speed modifier of -3, and a base accuracy of 99%.
  • Fire Strike: Deals 170% melee STR-based bash + fire damage to one party member. Has a speed modifier of -3, and a base accuracy of 99%.
  • Roar: Only works if the target has buffs. Deals 100% ranged STR-based almighty damage to one party member. Dispels all of the target's buffs. Has a speed modifier of -3. Cannot miss.
  • Shockwave: Deals 100% ranged STR-based cut damage to all party members. Damages the user for 10% of their current HP after use. Has a speed modifier of ±0, and a base accuracy of 99%.
  • Charge: Increases the damage of the user's next attack by 100%. Has a speed modifier of -50.
  • Healing: Restores 339-344 HP to the user. Has a speed modifier of -3.
  • Knockout Blow: Deals 130% melee STR-based bash damage to one party member. If the attack does not miss, attempts to inflict sleep on the target, with a 50% base chance. Has a speed modifier of ±0, and a base accuracy of 99%.
  • Recovery: Removes all binds from the user. Has a speed modifier of -3.
  • Refresh: Removes all ailments from the user. Has a speed modifier of -3.
  • Endure: The first time the user reaches 0 HP, they will recover 1755 HP.
  • For the first four turns, Kibagami has a set pattern.
    • Turn 1: Moon Slash
    • Turn 2: Ice Slash or Fire Strike (50% chance for either)
    • Turn 3: Charge
    • Turn 4: Ice Slash or Fire Strike (whichever one he did not use on turn 2)
  • Like in the above pattern, whenever Kibagami wants to use an elemental attack, he will always alternate between using Fire Strike and Ice Slash.
  • Kibagami's behavior is somewhat phase-based, but unlike most bosses, he does not determine his current phase based on his current HP. Due to the fact that he can heal himself, his phases are instead based upon whether or not he has ever been below certain percentages of his maximum HP at any point in the battle.
    • Note that when Kibagami changes phases, unlike most bosses, he does not completely abandon previous phase behavior—i.e. once Phase 2 begins, if Kibagami does not use any Phase 2 actions, he will instead determine his behavior using Phase 1.
    • Phase 1: Has not been below 70% HP.
      • On any given turn, Kibagami has a 40% chance to use his current preferred elemental attack.
      • If he does not use an elemental attack, he randomly uses one of the following skills, with a slight preference for Shockwave:
        • Moon Slash
        • Shockwave
        • Attack
    • Phase 2: Has been below 70% HP.
      • Has priority over Phase 1 behavior.
      • If Blood Surge has not been used yet, Kibagami will immediately use it.
      • If Kibagami is ever not in the Blood Surge state, and has used Healing at least once (which can only happen starting in Phase 3), he has a 40% chance to reapply it.
      • If the party has three or more buffs:
        • If Roar has not been used yet, Kibagami will immediately use it.
        • After that first use, Kibagami must use a charged attack before he can use Roar again.
      • If no other Phase 2 behavior occurred, and Kibagami has not used Charge yet, he will immediately use it.
        • After that first use of Charge, Kibagami has a chance to use it again on future turns, but must use an uncharged elemental attack between each use of Charge.
    • Charge: Charge is active.
      • Overrides phase-based behavior.
      • Randomly uses one of the following actions, with Moon Slash having a slightly lower chance:
        • Moon Slash
        • Current preferred elemental attack
        • Shockwave
    • Phase 3: Has been below 20% HP.
      • Has priority over Phase 1 behavior, but is overridden by Phase 2 behavior.
      • If Blood Surge is active, and Kibagami has not used Deep Breath yet, he will use it.
        • Kibagami will not use Deep Breath after this.
      • If Kibagami's arms or legs are bound, he will use Recovery.
        • After the first use, Kibagami needs to use Shockwave before he can use Recovery again.
      • If Kibagami is afflicted with any ailment, he will use Refresh.
        • After the first use, Kibagami needs to use a normal attack before he can use Refresh again.
      • If Kibagami hasn't used Healing yet, he will use Healing.
        • After the first use, Kibagami needs to use Moon Slash before he can use Healing again.
      • If Kibagami hasn't used Knockout Blow yet, he has a 50% chance to use it.
        • After the first use, Kibagami only has a 10% chance to use it if no other Phase 2 or Phase 3 actions are used.
  • Kibagami has a set pattern for the first few turns:
    • Turn 1:
      • Use Moon Slash.
    • Turn 2:
      • 50% chance to use Ice Slash.
      • 50% chance to use Fire Strike.
    • Turn 3:
      • Use Charge.
    • Turn 4:
      • If Ice Slash was used on turn 2:
        • Use Fire Strike.
      • If Fire Strike was used on turn 2:
        • Use Ice Slash.
  • If Charge is active:
    • 30% chance to use Moon Slash.
    • If above did not occur, and Kibagami has used Fire Strike since the last use of Ice Slash:
      • 40% chance to use Ice Slash.
    • If neither of the above occurred:
      • 40% chance to use Fire Strike.
    • If none of the above occurred, use Shockwave.
  • If Kibagami has been below 70% HP at any point in the battle:
    • If Blood Surge has not been used yet:
      • Use Blood Surge.
    • If Kibagami is not in the Blood Surge state, and has used Healing at least once:
      • 40% chance to use Blood Surge.
    • If the party has three or more buffs, and Roar has not been used yet, or if the party has three or more buffs, and a charged attack has been used since the last use of Roar:
      • Use Roar, targeting player characters who have buffs.
    • If Charge has not been used yet, or if Kibagami has used an uncharged elemental attack since the last use of Charge:
      • 30% chance to use Charge.
  • If Kibagami has been below 20% HP at any point in the battle:
    • If Kibagami is in the Blood Surge state, and Deep Breath has not been used yet:
      • Use Deep Breath.
    • If Kibagami's arms or legs are bound, and Shockwave has been used since the last usage of Recovery:
      • Use Recovery.
    • If Kibagami is afflicted with any ailment, and a normal attack has been used since the last usage of Refresh:
      • Use Refresh.
    • If Healing has not been used yet:
      • Use Healing.
    • If Moon Slash has been used since the last usage of Healing:
      • 50% chance to use Healing.
    • If Knockout Blow has not been used yet:
      • 50% chance to use Knockout Blow.
    • If Knockout Blow has been used at least once:
      • 10% chance to use Knockout Blow.
  • If none of the above occurred:
    • If Kibagami has used Fire Strike since the last use of Ice Slash:
      • 40% chance to use Ice Slash.
    • If the above did not occur:
      • 40% chance to use Fire Strike.
    • If neither of the above occurred:
      • 30% chance to use Moon Slash.
      • 40% chance to use Shockwave.
      • 30% chance to attack.
Kibagami's got a broad skillset, but he's still a pretty straightforward fight. First thing to note is Endure. 3510 HP is kind of a lie, because there's no way to prevent Endure from activating. As such, Kibagami effectively has 5265 HP. Because Endure does not reset AI flags, this also means that Phase 3 lasts far longer than "first occurs when Kibagami has fallen below 20% max HP" would imply.

Kibagami's attacks range from severely messing up one person (the elemental attacks and Knockout Blow) to hitting multiple people (Moon Slash and Shockwave). In a vacuum, his offensive capabilities are somewhat lacking. However, the supporting skills he has alongside them can cause the fight to go south quickly. Roar is bad news in a game like EO4, where basically every buff a character can have is important. Best case scenario, you lose offensive buffs that are not important to a character's survival, but are still key components of their offense. (Gods help you if you're running both Vanguard and Improved Link on a landsknecht.) Worst case scenario, you lose buffs important to your defensive strategy.

Charge is a nightmare scenario, and if Kibagami uses it, it's time to hunker down and halt your offense until after his next attack. Charge turns the elemental attacks into guaranteed death, and Shockwave into a potential party-killer. If you've managed to complete Rise of the baboons before doing this fight, you'll have access to Aegis Guard, which can completely block Kibagami's charged attacks. Easier said than done, of course, but the option is there.

Blood Surge is also a signal to break out whatever defensive tools you've got, but unlike Charge, it lasts until Kibagami stops it with Deep Breath. Unfortunately, Deep Breath is not on a fixed timer, but rather is only used after Kibagami falls below 20% HP for the first time. You can't turtle through Blood Surge, you need to keep dealing damage to him to make it stop. Extra unfortunately, after the first usage of Blood Surge, Kibagami throws the concept of "being able to make him end Blood Surge" out the window, as he will only use Deep Breath once. After that, if he uses Blood Surge, he will stay Blood Surged for the rest of the battle. The only saving graces there are that Kibagami will likely be at low HP when he uses Blood Surge for the second time, and Blood Surge causes 220 damage to him each time he takes an action. Take note, by the way, of "causes damage", rather than "drains HP." Blood Surge can kill the user if their HP is low enough. This applies both to player bushi, and to Kibagami.

As for solutions to Kibagami that isn't just vague "beef up your defenses", binds are fairly obvious. In particular, if you can keep a head bind on Kibagami when he first falls below 70% HP, then his first usage of Blood Surge will get blocked, and that'll be that for the rest of the battle. Kibagami will not attempt to reapply Blood Surge to himself, because he needs to use Deep Breath first to do that, and can't use Deep Breath unless he is specifically in the Blood Surge state. Arm binds also shut down Kibagami's offense nearly full-stop. He can still do normal attacks, which will still hurt if they're under the effects of Charge, but that's it. It's best to make use of binds earlier in the fight, though, because once Kibagami reaches phase 3, he can just purge them with Recovery. Remember, accumulative resistance is permanent in EO4, so you only get two inflictions of a given bind, and the second one will be against a 10% vulnerability.

For a more unreliable but still useful strategy, putting Kibagami to sleep either on the turn he uses Charge (but only after he's used it) or on the turn he's about to use a charged attack will save you some pain, since the Charge effect ends on the turn after it was initially used, even if the user did not attack. In the same vein, panic and sleep are useful in the later stages of the fight, once Refresh starts becoming something you have to worry about, since Kibagami can't use Refresh to purge those off of himself.
It's scribbled in the margins...
Note to self. Ask Kibagami how to stand on top of that one statue in his village. I've got a good feeling there might be something hidden there.

Auto-Surge did not activate, so Naijou has to use it manually. Waylon uses Sharp Edge so that he can use Charge Edge, Xiaohu uses Ice Rune to create a weakness for Runic Guidance, and Ray is going for an early head bind less for its defensive uses and more for amplifying Xiaohu's damage.

Eine, sadly, does not have anything useful to do yet.

Well now, this is an odd sensation. It almost feels as if the air is biting me.
I assume you are experiencing what it is like to feel cold. Potentially for the first time.

Regardless, it doesn't seem to have inhibited him.
What a fascinating blade.
You've even forgotten about katanas...?

Oh, thank you, that's quite a pleasant tune!
Wh— No, mate, it's supposed to— Dammit.

Hah, now there's a face I haven't seen in a very long time. I'm glad to see you're taking this seriously, old friend.
To do otherwise would be disrespectful.

Quite a weak strike for such a heavy weapon.
If you'll give me a bit, I can show you how destructive a drive blade can be.
By all means.

Naijou and Waylon'll both burn this turn on charging up. Eine will heal Waylon (Naijou will heal himself with Calm Breath), and Xiaohu will get to start dealing damage.

Eine goes early in the turn order here, which is good.

Oh? You said your combat style was entirely martial, but that strike—
I assume it had some ice runes on it, to skip the technical details.
Haha, I could not tell you how my bushi forebears learned how to perform these elemental strikes—only that they serve us well to this day.

Hm! I felt that one more than the last, but judging by the noises your sword is making, the best is yet to come?
You catch on quickly.

N-Now that, I was not expecting...
Apologies, but you did encourage us to fight with all of our strength!

Man, I'm messin' up on purpose, and he just keeps actin' as if it's the best song he's heard in his life.

Time for the fun to really begin.

...You did not even flinch.
Because that strike barely hurt, old friend. Evidently, the years have dulled your martial prowess, as well as your memories. You are not even making use of a katana!
Clubs have served me well enough for as long as I can remember.
One weapon can suffice, but being able to utilize two in tandem is what makes a bushi fearsome.

S-So, that is not magic, but some form of science, you said?
Correct! Runes are an observable and consistent phenomena.
Our legends speak of our creators' devotion to science, but I had never imagined that would involve seemingly creating ice from thin air.
I am glad you find it impressive!

...Well, what did you think?
That was more an explosion than a sword strike... "Magnificent" is the only word I can come up with.
Thank you.

That wasn't a 'Deadly', or a 'Carnage', or even a 'Brutal'... I would place that strike alone at an 'Atomic!'
Slam dunk! Cuh-rayzee!

With that said, you all had best prepare yourselves!
If only everything we fought was as courteous.

We're well into the point where a head bind application would be useful for stopping Blood Surge. Kibagami would already be in his phase 3 behavior, were it not for being forced into a set pattern for the first four turns. On the turn after next, he's going to use Blood Surge,

Since I've already gotten so close to activating Endure, I decide to press the attack a bit, and have Xiaohu use Ice Coffin in addition to Glacier Rune.

...Hhahh... Your "runes" are quite formidable, Xiaohu.
I am glad you think so!

Downing Eine in one strike is no mean feat, especially from such a disadvantageous position...
Please do not begrudge me, my fellow healer.
And that is why I made such a big deal out of Charge in the boss intro. I'm starting the back half of the fight on the wrong foot, since I now have to deal with getting Eine up and healed back to "not getting one-shot by an uncharged attack" level.

So you're capable of surpassing your mortal limits too.
Waylon's last swing should have knocked him down.
Ah... Like when you...endure attacks that should have been fatal...
It's just good sense to set aside some vitality for when you need it.
You say that as if you aren't talking about, bluntly, metaphysical nonsense.
Haha, you're free to think of it as nonsense, I suppose, but we Sentinels' mastery of our bodies and vitality is as real as Xiaohu's rune science.

Always stings a bit to burn a high-level consumable, but why bother carrying around nectar IIs if not for situations like this, where I need someone up and at full HP immediately?

Hah... Now then, I believe it is my turn to show what I can really do.

Hah... Thank you, Waylon. Putting aside the intense pain, that fire-imbued attack was quite impressive, Kibagami. More than I would have expected from another practicioner of medicine, even one as versed in weaponry as you.
Being able to subdue threats can save you from having to tend to later wounds.
Not dissimilar from "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
I am honored to have inspired you, but please focus on our battle.

Oof ow ouchie. Roar only has a 100% damage modifier, but under Blood Surge, it's nearly enough to one-shot Naijou.

Between your sword and my surge, we may heat the cave back up before the scales return, haha!

Ray is just not having any luck this fight.

Thankfully, Kibagami is close to being defeated for real.

Hahhhh... You five have put up a much greater fight than I had expected.
Seems like your old friend chose his comrades well, no?
Indeed he did.

Our battle is far from over, however!

I...need assistance...
No half-measures, huh...?
If it is any consolation, creating a shockwave like that takes no small amount of exertion.
Whatever pain that exertion causes is nothing compared to the pain we are feeling right now...

Ah, your weapon is shaking wildly again.
Yes it is.
I doubt I will be able to stay standing after another one of those frigid explosions.
Most likely not.
In that case...

Perhaps knocking Waylon out is unsporting of me, but the monsters below would do far worse.
For someone that talks like a grampa, you sure don't pull your punches.
As I said earlier, to bring anything but your best against an opponent is immensely disrespectful.
You all should consider it a point of pride to have forced me to resort to such tactics.
I will tell Waylon that once he is conscious.

Thank you.
Thank me when we've knocked gramps to the ground, yeah?

Ugh... Being on the verge of exhaustion and recovering from unconsciousness is somehow worse than just being on the brink of death.
Haha, my apologies.

If the circle ain't gonna do anythin' useful, might as well make it useful.

I had better finish Kibagami off quickly, or things will get very bad for me, very quickly.



...I concede. Congratulations, Guild Daffodil.

Despite being a boss, Kibagami gives a pathetic amount of EXP.



Please, forgive me for disrespecting your strength.
Ehh, beatings aside, no harm no foul, eh?
As long as you recognize that we are capable of explorers, I see no reason to remain vexed!
Next time you fight humans, though, could you please be more careful with that knockout blow? That sort of attack could cause permanent damage.
Ah, I might have overestimated how sturdy human skulls are.
Even if you do not remember me, Naijou, I hope that match was good practice.
It very much was, Kibagami. It also showed me that I have forgotten much about how a bushi fights.
Hundreds of years of traveling alone will do that to someone, I suppose.
Mm. If you have some time in-between our upcoming exploration of the lower floors, would you mind helping me remember? Both how to fight as a bushi, and the friendship you mentioned.
Naijou extends his hand to Kibagami.
Nothing would make me happier than to take you up on that offer, old friend.
Kibagami takes Naijou's hand, and gets up off the floor.
With that said, in crossing swords with you, I observed that your power is... I would say, "too pure." It has been honed for one purpose.
I'm not sure I follow.
How should I put this? Iron alone can make a magnificent katana, but it will be frail and snap against unexpected force. A katana of alloyed metals, however, does not easily break.
Kibagami reaches into his clothing and takes a scroll out.
With this, I grant you the means to find harmony in different styles of combat.

Give this to your guild's instructor. They should be able to discern its secrets. Hone your strength even further, and then return to us that you might walk at our side.
...I still don't follow!
It is difficult to put this into words, haha. Believe me, though, the knowledge in this scroll will be invaluable for making the journey to the demon tree. Now...ngh, I must treat my wounds. Return once you've been able to put the scroll into practice. I am excited to see you all reach new heights.
Kibagami then limps away into another hall to treat his wounds.

Welp, don't think anyone's got a problem with goin' home for now.

Ancient secrets, ventures to retrieve powerful artifacts, a reunion between two friends after many centuries... Today has been nothing if not exciting!
And to think, we still have something important to take care of.

Ah, Guild Daffodil. What brings you so late?
Here. Got this from a bloke we just met that wanted to... Y'know, I'm not entirely sure what he's angling for, but I'm pretty sure it'll make us more powerful.
Plenty of guilds have come here before with what they thought were keys to ancient power, and without fail— Strike me blind! This is the twinfang scroll! My predecessor told me of how his master's master's master lamented the loss of it so very long ago... Where the hell did you find— No, that's not important for now. We need to put this into practice immediately.
I've never seen you so animated, guildmaster. What's in this scroll that has you so worked up?
Well, let me put it this way. Each of you has a particular skillset. Shelly has her recurring sword-triggered explosions, Harper has her archery, Xiaohu has her runes. On top of that, Ray has the Vessels' natural affinity for the arcane, and Naijou can...perform that technique that turns him red and ferocious.
A blood surge.
Right. The twinfang scroll is a wonderful, somewhat terrifying thing. When read in the presence of another warrior—or, for you all, just any of your guildmates—it teaches you how to mix that other warrior's techniques with your own. I'm...greatly simplifying things here, of course, but I hope that gets the gist across.
Surely it doesn't immediately impart complete knowledge of how the reader's partner fights?
No, it just teaches you how you can mix what they do with what you do. No shortcuts around proper training.

...I suspect it'll be much easier to understand what it can do when you actually read it, rather than listen to me struggle to explain it. Feel free to keep it for tonight, after each of you have figured out who you want to mix your techniques with, but please return it here when you've finished that. The twinfang scroll will improve the overall caliber of explorers in Tharsis, no doubt in my mind.
It certainly wouldn't hurt to have other explorers that are at least capable of approaching our caliber out and about.
Ha! That'll be the day. Anyway, recovering such an important document deserves a reward. Let me see... Ah, this should be perfect!

That's a very terrifying visage on that statue...
Wahaha! True, but I'm sure you'll find safe passage through tornadoes to be an acceptable tradeoff.
Shelly would have appreciated this sooner, I'm fairly sure.
Probably, but I can't exactly give away treasured artifacts on a regular basis, even to guilds as skilled as yours.
Fair enough. Thank you.
No, I should be the one thanking you five. Now, get going. Take care of your business in town, and then put the twinfang scroll to good use. Remember, though: learning how to use someone else's skills means you'll have to train twice as hard!

When I see them off in the morning, they're bundled up warm, but when they come back in the evening, they're wearing next to nothing! W-What kind of place have you dearies been going to?!
A cavern that regularly fluctuates between horrifically warm and deathly cold.
Dear me...

Guh, busy busy busy...
Wow, didn't know you could swing that hammer that fast.
Ooh, my favorite gal and pals, a real sight for sore eyes. Yeah, da boss's got me workin' overtime. Lotsa explorers're gettin' ta da mountains now, and all'a them are needin' new'n better gear. Glad ta help where I can, but damn, I kinda wish they'd slow down a bit. Only so much da boss and I can do in one day.
...Y'know, somehow I'd never put it together that you two are the only ones here, even though I've never seen anyone else workin'.
Yeah, I don't mind it usually, but when we get a rush like dis... Bleh.

Ah, Guild Daaaaachoo!
Thank you... Accursed Sacred Mountains. All of the requests pertaining to them have given me a cold.
Well, a noble wants to eat ice. An artists wants to sculpt it. Someone wishes to show ice to their dying grandfather. The requests keep coming in, and the ice comes with it— Achoo! And I am ultimately responsible for handling it...
Time is the only true cure for a cold, but... Here, take this before you go to bed each night. It should relieve congestion and, hopefully, reduce the frequency of these sneezes.
Many thanks, Eeeeechoo! Ugh...

Nervous Vessel:
O-Oh, M-Medium. I hope y-you and your escorts have been doing fine.
The Golden Lair has been...trying, but we are managing. Thank you for being concerned.
O-Of course. Oh, I, um... I actually did manage to get into a guild. I-I told them about Tame Ground, like you suggested. Th-They asked me how soon I could start when I said I could s-stop the scales from burning them.
That's wonderful news! I'll pray to Yggdrasil for you and your guild's safety and good fortune.
Th-That's very kind of you, Medium, thank you.
Heavily bandaged explorer:
Oh dear, I don't think I've ever seen someone with so many bandages applied before.
Oww... Yeah, I slipped on ice in the Golden Lair and broke my leg. Gotta wait to get it in a cast. Some big furry dude—kinda like your friend over there, actually—helped me get back to the geomagnetic pole. He was a bit weird, but a good guy.
Man in only accessories:
Yo, you over there.
Yeah, you. I gotta question. That sword of yours looks pretty heavy, probably gotta carry that thing with two hands.
I see, I see. You ever thought about equipping two weapons you can hold in one hand each?
Even if I could miniaturize my drive blades down such that I could wield them one-handed, my defense would suffer. So no.
Ahh. Well, your loss. Flexibility's a good thing in battle, you know. Two weapons, seven different ways to use each of them.

Word really does travel fast in this city, I've noticed.
I mean, yeah, but I heard that particular nugget from Whirlwind. Sounds like they've got their own big problem, like the Vessels did.
Unfortunately so. Their leader was kind enough to at least give us a significant gift after we proved ourselves worthy of assisting them, at least.
Heh, sounds like they trust humans more than the Vessels did at first. Put everything yeh've got into helping them, yeh hear?

Good evening, everyone. The guildmaster has already informed me of the latest updates on your ventures. I hear you've found the long-lost twinfang scroll?
Yes, but it was received under poor auspices.
Oh dear, what's the matter now?
The Sentinels—my kin—are suffering from, seemingly, an ancient disease.
Kibagami, their leader, referred to it as the Titan's Curse.
The same Titan as referred to in the Vessels' legends, I take it. What sort of disease is this?
I would need to study it closely to be sure, but it resembles a very horrifying parasitic infection. I only briefly glimpsed one of the Sentinels suffering from it, but they had vines protruding from their chest and limbs, wrapping around them.
Kibagami said that when someone finally succumbs to the Titan's Curse, their body turns into grass and trees.
Ye gods... I know that reaching Yggdrasil is of the utmost import right now, but is it possible for you to assist the Sentinels in combating this curse?
We're already ahead of you on that, actually. Whirlwind came across an old Vessel book that gave instructions on curing one of the Titan's Curse. We'll have to venture deeper into the Golden Lair for something called the Titan's Heart.
You would've most likely had to reach the depths of the Golden Lair in order to proceed through the northern ravine anyway, so it all works out. Would it be safe for us to send medical assistance to the Sentinel village?
Unfortunately, no. I think the Titan's Curse can infect you if you get too close—Kibagami briefly panicked when I approached a suffering child to pray for them. I am fine, as far as I can tell, but... I can't be sure that isn't because of Yggdrasil's blessing.
I can't rule that out either, as much as I wish to help the Sentinels. How aggravating...

Well, no reason not to make it an official mission. Please, Guild Daffodil, assist the Sentinels in freeing themselves from this curse. If anything I can provide will expedite this mission, let me know as soon as possible.
I assume you will want to meet with Kibagami after all of this is resolved.
Yes, I would. Once the Sentinels are no longer facing extinction, establishing official relations can only benefit us both.
Understood. With that, we have business to attend to with the rest of our guild.
Right, right. Well, good night, then, and good luck.

...We forgot to check what requests Kirtida had available.
Oi, I knew we were forgetting something...
It's fine, I'll take care of it.

Sorry, Kirtida, but I'd like to keep this brief. What are these requests on the board?
Find the demonic voice:
In short... The bottom one is another request from the Count. As per usual, he can tell you the specifics of what he wants.
Medicinal poison?:
Meanwhile, this one in the middle is from a local clinic. They're working on a new medicine, but need something called cork bark to finish it. From what they told me, the bark can be found at the Toxic Cave...but only when a specific type of wood that grows in that cave is exposed to the venom spewed by a poison dragon. How you are meant to gather that safely is beyond me, but I have faith your guild will manage it.
...And the request all the way at the top?
Ah. That one is special. The guildmaster gave it to me earlier today, but then later came back and requested that I wait "until the time is right" for your guild to accept it.
That's unhelpfully vague.
I agree, but I cannot disobey a client's instructions. My apologies.
Mm. Well, I must be going now—good night, Kirtida.
I do not know why the game lets you accept Rise of the baboons this early, other than to let newer players get viciously murdered.

As much as I would like to introduce subclasses right now, I think any reasonable person would conclude this update is long enough as-is, so I'll save introducing the system for next time.

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