Update 7: Headbangin' Grizzly (VS. Berserker King)

Hi, everyone. It's time to draw straws.
Pffwhhh. Had to happen eventually.
I will admit to being a tinge worried.
Meh. Whatever I draw's gonna make me freak out anyways.
...Because even if you stay behind, you're going to be worried about the group that goes to fight the Berserker King?
Razor-sharp deduction there.
It is somewhat incredible how much concern I've already developed for you all, given that we've only been exploring as a guild for... Twelve moons, by my count.
Meh. You trust someone enough to stare death in the face with 'em, you'll get attached to them real fast.
Especially when you are the one constantly treating wounds and handling end-of-day examinations.
Ahem. I have in my hand five long straws, and four short straws. Go ahead and take one, you'll feel better when it's over.
Short straws are the ones that'll be fighting the Berserker King.
Well, here goes...

Huh. Well, whoever else is going, at least you'll have me standing in front of you.
Good to know.
...Mngh. I'll do my best, I guess.
Sounds like we've got our group, then.
I will admit, I was somewhat hoping that I would have been able to experiment with incantations on a large, sturdy monster. May I perhaps trade—
We should stick with the sticks. No trading.
That is understandable.
I'll spend tomorrow preparing for potential traumatic injuries, I suppose.
Do you think you could use a second pair of hands? That sounds like a decent way to pass the time tomorrow.
I would gladly accept your help, Sir Waylon.
If it's alright with everyone, I'll...go to my room. I need some time to think and prepare.
I'll be in my room, laying down and staring at the ceiling, if anyone needs me.
I'm gonna go get some fireplace time in.
I'll do something.
And I will go and get a good night's rest. See you four tomorrow.
I should do the same, most likely.
I don't have much else to do but sleep.
I will be meditating for the rest of the night. Please do not disturb me.
...Oi, Xiao, you reckon you're gonna sleep tonight?
I could stay up a while longer. Why do you ask?
See, I've got an idea. Let's talk back in my room, yeah?

Hey. Can't sleep either, I'm guessing.
No-one else awake?
I didn't check. I also wanted to see your room's fireplace.
It's not much different from the communal one downstairs.
Wrong. It's a bedroom fireplace. They're special. Cozier than shared ones.
If you say so. It's just another one of those things that Gerry put in against my wishes, so I just use it when it's really late. Don't want to wake anyone up.
Ah. I brought plushies, by the way.
A big red dragon and a big blue dragon, huh?
...Mind if I hold the blue one? Blue's my favorite color.
Thanks. Is this thing hand-made? Soft as hell, too.
Gun Mom made them for Uncle Ranger, and then he gave them to me when I was a baby. Gun Mom told me she made them look like big dragons that she and her friends fought when they were explorers.
That's absolutely adorable.
I gave them names when I was a baby, too. The red one is Wyrr, the blue one is Dake, and the yellow one in my room is Dagon.
...I wonder where your baby self got those names from.
They're like our guild name. I just knew them.
Sounds like you were an interesting baby.

Hey, Harp? You're shivering. You need a blanket? I've got a bunch in the closet.
I'm not cold.
But...you're shivering.
...Huh. I am.
You alright? If you're not cold, then...is it something else?
Maybe it's like when we first went into the mine.
Ohh, right, you were trembling like that back then. Are you...nervous?
...I think so. We've faced big monsters, but...the Berserker King is really big. It's the king of the other bears, which are already really strong.
You say that, but you only "think" that you're nervous?
My body and brain don't match, sometimes. I don't know why.
Huh. Well, even if you're not cold, a blanket may help you relax.

Oi, Shelly! You awake?
Hi, Ray. Hi, Xiaohu.
Good night! Erm, good evening.
Oh, hi, you two, what's—
Have a butcher's at this!
See, see, me and Xiao found a way to make loud noises...but keep them just in one room! Practice and sing all you want, won't be getting any noise complaints while that's got you covered!
Puzzling out how to limit the propagation of auditory runes was very fun!
Oh! You're trying to make your practicing not bother everyone else?
Please tell me that shockwave stayed in this room, too.
Correct! It's inextricably tied to the sound.
Good, so I'm the only one on the ship buried under her own clothes after they launched themselves at her.
...Whoops. Hadn't thought of that.
Oh dear, sorry, do you need any assistance?
Nah, I'll be fine, just gotta get back up and shove it all back in...
What's so funny?
The bra that landed on your face—it looks like you're wearing it like a pair of glasses.
Bra glasses, huh? I betcha we're not far off from this becoming an actual fashion trend.
Anyway, good work, you two, but please ask for permission next time before you demo something to me.
My deepest apologies.
Nah, no need to apologize, you found a way to keep everything nice and quiet while you practice. Thanks for that.
Yup. With that, I'm gonna go get some shut-eye.
I need to record our results, then I should get some sleep, as well.
I'll help put things back in your closet.
Nah, you don't—
I'll help put things back in your closet.
...If you say so. Thanks, Harp.

Yo. You coulda knocked.
S-Sorry, sorry, sorry, my brain's all messed up, I don't know what to think or how to go to sleep, and Xiaohu wasn't in her room, and I've already seen you when you were stressed, so I thought—
Hey, hey, it's alright, take a deep breath. I get it.
You seem...calm.
Oh, no, trust me, I'm a fucking mess inside. I'm just choosing not to act on the stress, since that'd just make it worse.
How? I do not understand how you can have stress, but not act on it or express it or—
I dunno. It's probably not healthy, but it's how I do things. Helps me get to sleep a bit easier, at least.
That's literally unfathomable to me. How can you feel anxiety in your head—
Not my head, my chest.
Yeah, when I feel anxiety, it just makes a fucking mess of my chest. Can't feel anything but that awful warbling sensation.
...I guess anxiety is different from person to person. For me, it just...takes over my head. It gives me headaches.
At least we've got shitty physical sensations in common. Eine still up? Maybe he could give you some pills for the—
No, he's fast asleep. He goes to sleep early every night, remember?
Tch, right. I swear, it's hard to remember he's a kid sometimes.
Is it? He seems normal to me. At least, he's like how I was as a teenager.
Being a responsible person's one thing, being responsible because you're scared of what's around you is another.
What, did I say something wrong?
No, no, you're— I'm just—
Somehow I feel like I made sleeping tonight harder for you, not easier. Whoops.
No, you—
Be honest.
...You know what? No.
Whuh? What do you mean "no?" I've never heard someone just refuse to be honest.
Being honest never got me anywhere good. Please, just... Just learn to know recognize people have a lot going on.
"Learn to recognize when people have a lot going on?" Ha. Haha! As if I'm not the fuckin' poster-child of "having a lot going on."
...I'm going to go now.
Yeah, you do that. At least think about what I said, alright?
Aaaaaand she's gone.

Terra, you fucking dumbass.

♪ No music ♪

Morning, everyone.
Good morning.
Hi, yeah, let's go.

Skill builds for our first boss battle. Don't really have anything special to go over here, other than Harper having maxed out Arm Snipe, to give her the maximum chance possible to majorly affect the battle.

Nothing beats some well-cooked beef right before you take on a giant bear.
A bit of life advice I'd wished my parents gave me, hoho!
Eh, Mom told me it pretty early. Think I was about four?
...I-I was jokin', lass.

Right, last chance for you four to come to your senses and leave the adventurer life behind.
Fuck off.
Mhm, that's about how I expected that to go. Good resolve, lasses and mate. Now, let's kill a giant bear.

We'll be okay.
The video of the boss fight can be found here!

This guy ain't the most perceptive of monsters, huh?

Not much that needs explanation here, I feel.

The sooner this thing dies, the sooner we can all breathe easier.
Don't worry, that's why I brought the good stuff.
Is "the good stuff" the chemicals you're coating your sword in?
Yep. I made this batch extra volatile, so you know it's good.
She blows up her swords to hit monsters. It's okay.

Have to admit, I somehow wouldn't have thought to just throw rocks at the beast's head.
I'm not in any mood to shout, and throwing stuff is cathartic.

Oh. Okay.
All the smaller fry gave you fits, and suddenly you just...ruin the big beastie's eyes on the first hit.
I mean... I'll take it.
Fortune is weird.
Well, that's basically doomed the Berserker King.
Wow. That's just sad.

...Big arms are hard to break.

There's not much point in having Marlin or Ace do any defensive setup if the Berserker King doesn't stand much chance of hitting us right now.

That's, uh. That's a lot of blood spurting out from the bear's neck.
My family's toxins let me do that, yes.

Ha, I almost feel like a wimp in comparison.
That is an objectively weird thing to say when you just casually blew up a sword in the middle of combat like it's not a big deal.
Don't worry, I'll be fine.
You have hand-to-hand training?
Nope, I've just got a bunch more in my pack.
She's very well-prepared.
...Am I the weird one here?

Iiiiiiii was a bit too close to the after-boom for my likin'!
You'll get the timing sooner or later.


All that's gonna be left of the Berserker King is the grass being drenched in red if you keep that up, lass.
It's grisly, but...it works.
Can't say you're wrong.

Oh, good, I've still got a reason for being here.

Throwing my mace at the thing's head is both less fun and less effective than I'd hoped.

Gotta love Merula dealing over 500 damage in one turn. Against the first boss. For whom 500 damage is over 20% of its max HP.

Since it worked so well last time, I just take the same actions next turn. Everything proceeds the same, until...

That was a loud crunch.
Yeah, I'm gonna guess you shot through both of its arm bones. Impressive ricochet, didn't even know you could do that with arrows.
My moms worked a lot to figure that out.

That's just kicking the Berserker King while it's down, really.

Enemy health bars aren't a 1:1 representation of how much HP they have left, for reasons I don't quite understand, so the Berserker King is even closer to death than its health bar implies.

We're just sort of stomping on this thing.
I got so worked up over nothing...
I didn't even need to be here.

Get back!

Holy shit.

It's not like the BK's that strong but that was just absurd.

Are you okay, Merula?
Ngh... Yeah, I'm fine, just wasn't expecting it to fall forw— Ace!
Ah, cripes, where are they?!
Mrrrr mrrmrrr.
She— She's not dead, right?
Mrrrr mrrmrrr!
I... Oh, gods, I don't see her...
You lasses hear somethin'?
Oh, they're under the Berserker King.
...Shelly, Harper, help me get Ace out from under the beast's body. Merula, you can just take a bit.
No, I'm— Ow, okay, I'll wait.
That was almost unfair, really.

Pahhhhhhhh. Alright, don't worry, I'm fine.
"Fine?" "Fine?!" You were crushed under the body of a monster around eight times your size! If I'm bein' generous!
You act as if that's anywhere near the worst injury I've suffered since we started.
I... Cripes, mate, you're made of sturdier stuff than most.
Hey, being impossible to kill's not a bad thing.
It's not a bad thing, but... Please try to give us less heart attacks in the future.
Can't make any promises, but I'll try.
Thank you, Ace.
Wh— Hey, I didn't do anything worth hug-thanks over...
You saved Merula. That's worth hug-thanks.
Ah, cut it out, I didn't— Oh, fine, get it out of your system.

Right, Ace, I'm sure Merula wants to thank you, so go have a word with her. We'll look at that strange altar in the meanwhile.

Ngh... Hello.
Sorry for, uh, shoving you that hard. Didn't have much time to think about my own strength, I guess.
I won't lie and say that it...doesn't hurt, but it's preferable to being crushed to death. Speaking of which... You're doing a very good job of making it seem like you're not hurt. I'm impressed.
"Seem like?" I'm fine. Look, got full movement of all my libs, can stretch just fine, no bleeding anywhere I can see.
That's not... I'm sorry, but I can't believe you. No-one could come out of that unharmed.
Well, I did. Maybe I've got a bruise somewhere?
I'll do my best to make myself believe that. Promise me that you'll have Eine look you over once we're back, though? Just to be sure.
He's not gonna find anything, but sure.

Also, uh... Look, I'm sorry about last night. Didn't mean to be rude or make it seem like I've got the brainworms worse than you, but I did. So...yeah, sorry.
It's okay. I should also apologize for just...barging in. You had your own stress to worry about, and then I came in—
Sorry, I hate to interrupt serious talk, but you don't need to apologize for that. I don't have a problem with people coming into my room to talk to me, understand? I mean, clearly I've got a lotta room to improve on the "talking back to them" part of it, but. If my door's not closed, it's open, you hear?

That was the fucking stupidest thing I've ever said.
Pfft... A-Ahem. Anyway, the the thought is appreciated, but I am still sorry for barging in.
Gonna make forgiving yourself real tough, huh?
It's just my nature, unfortunately. Maybe we can do a mutual sorry-I-forgive-you?
A what— Ohhhh, wait, I get it. Sure.
There, you feel better?
Mhm. Thank you, Ace.

♪ No music ♪

You have eliminated the greatest threat to the exploration of the Lush Woodlands! Your mission is complete. Finally at rest, you take a look around the area. The altar-like object further on seems clearly man-made.

Great, not only is it unreadable, it's unreadable in multiple ways.
Looks like we can maybe take the tablet part out, at least?
I'll try.

It's...very heavy.
Here, we'll help.

Do you three need help with that?
Nah, we got it... Actually, can you go ahead and use a thread? That'd be easier than hauling this thing all the way back up...

'Kay, so, who wants to haul this thing back to the ship?

Damn. I thought that would work.
Nothing for it but to haul.
Unfortunately. Uh, don't forget to report to the Count, by the way.

Ah, good day, Harper and friends. Pardon me, ma'am, I don't believe we've met?
Mhm. My name's Merula. It's a pleasure to meet you.
The pleasure's all mine, I assure you. Now, what brings you three here? Good news, I hope?
Yes. We killed the Berserker King—
The big boss bear.
The big boss bear at the end of the Lush Woodlands.
Magnificent! I'm impressed that you've slain the leader of those beasts! You've come so far in a short time.
Thank you. We also found a very big tablet, with writing we couldn't read. I think Shelly and Marlin are still carrying it back to the ship.
Interesting. Where did this tablet come from?
A big altar behind the bear. Almost like it was guarding it, probably.
Hmm... I'll send my soldiers and sages to investigate the altar. Keep the tablet, though, I suspect you may need it.
I think you're right. I think the emblem on the tablet looked like the one near that ravine...
Given the proximity of the Lush Woodlands to that passage, a connection seems inevitable. Please do let me know if anything happens regarding that. For now, however, I realize that you must be tired.
Meh, less than you'd think. Sure, I got buried by the bear falling on top of me, but look, I'm as good as ever.
It's true.
...You explorers always come back with the most fascinating stories and tidbits. In any case, let it be known that I am proud of you all for returning safely, and you should be too. Rest well, Daffodil.

extremely Medic voice

Ooh, money!

♪ No music ♪

Hey, guys.
Hi, what's he talking about? "Fixed?"
Oh, right, that. Ciaran, you mind explaining?
Much as I'd like to get into the engineerin' nitty-gritty of it, long and short of it is that yer captain's ship mighta looked fine from the outside, but its equipment holds were busted to bits, 'side from the one you've been using. Fixin' all of them's gonna be a whole thing, but I got the second one up and running. Count told me yeh're going further north, so havin' at least another equipment hold up and running'll do you a world of good.

Thanks, See.
Oh no yeh don't. I've talked with the guildmaster, I know all about yer nicknames. Don't start.
Gotcha, See.
Yeh're doing this on purpose. Gah, whatever. Best of luck, rest'a yeh. If yeh'll excuse me, there's probably a real backup at the wharf I've gotta take care of.

More gold food!

So, your assumption is that the tablet and this monument in front of the air currents are linked?
Mhm. Look, the emblems are the same.
That they are. Still, how are we meant to activate any possible connection?
The tablet-shaped hole in the monument, maybe.
...I don't know how I didn't see that!
Please don't tell me I have to haul that thing again. Listen, I don't mind helping out, but you don't know how heavy that thing is.
Really? Let me see it.

I'm not sure what the issue is. I've lifted heavier.
How— You—
Naijou can lift practically anything and everything, trust me. Let's just let him handle it. You alright with that, Naij?
Very much so. I will be right back.

We spent forever destroying our arms to get that thing back here, and there he is, lifting it on his shoulder like it's a light cut of timber. I don't understand it.
Eh. Just be glad we don't have to do that again, eh?
I guess.

...I'm sorry, I am having trouble picturing this.
It's exactly what it sounds like. I shoved Merula out of the way of the collapsing bear, and ended up buried in the ground. A few good pulls from Shelly, Harper, and Marlin later, and I was just fine.
Yes, that much I get, but you must understand that this is just... Instead of having your bones crushed, you ended up buried in the ground like a carrot?
I'd call it a bold-faced lie if I didn't see it myself.
I suppose I must chalk it up to preternatural luck. In any case, as Ace said, she seems relatively unharmed by the experience. No broken bones, no symptoms of internal bleeding. Just...a bruise on her left arm. I'm almost surprised that such serendipitous fortune even left her with a bruise, instead of no injuries at all.
Maybe the gods chose to keep me safe as a reward for shoving Merula outta the way. Who knows.
I hate that I can't rule that out.

I have returned.
Anything interestin' happen? Glowin' lights, loud noises?
Unfortunately, no. I fear that we may be—

What in the—?!

Huh. Guess the monument was just taking its sweet time.
I wish it didn't blind us.
So the monument was tied to the air currents. Interesting...
You wanna study it later?
Later being the imperative word there. For now, I think we would all like to see what's beyond this ravine.
My response to that is also "absolutely!"

Full speed ahead.

Past the deep ravine are giant spires formed of a distinct reddish rock. The air is moist, compared to the Tharsis region. The abundant green vegetation stands out amidst the red. Your steady journey towards Yggdrasil has reached its next stage.
...That took a lot longer than I thought.
Zzzzz— Eh, wha? We're here? How long was I out?
Three hours, by my count.
Oi, oi, we stopped, does that mean we're— Oh, cor, good time for a homecoming trip.
Homecoming what?
What, I gotta define "homecoming" for you? You're the booksmarts one.
No, I understand what you mean, but— Is this where you travelled to Tharsis from?
Remember how I was kinda starvin' when we first met? That oughta explain it.
Even so, I... You know what? I must commend you, Ray, for I would not have been able to make the journey.
Putting Ray's inexplicable ability to find a route to Tharsis from these lands aside, I feel the need to point out that we are the first explorers from Tharsis to set foot in these lands. I'm sure the Outland Count will be very pleased to learn about— Hm. We don't have a name for this area, do we?
I ain't got one, either. No-one ever really leaves the village that much, so we don't care about what's outside it.
Let's call it the Scarlet Pillars.
Simple enough. I have no objections.
Sounds good to me.

Harper, do you know how to cook ostriches?
I can learn. Uncle Ranger never cooked them, but he also cooked weirder things than ostriches.
Such as?
Whole spiders. Walking metal. Giant caterpillars. Butterflies. Gel monsters.
And these were...fully edible meals.
Mhm. He preferred just using beef from whatever monsters could provide it, though. Apparently his dinosaur-with-orange-sauce was really popular.
We've got a new overworld, which means new food!
For my money, silk white pigs are the best food in this land. Oyster shrooms and gold stinkhorns can be useful for fighting various FOEs, but for just general exploration and other FOEs, silk white pigs offer a stat spread that's hard to beat. If you're not running any disable inflictors, or just don't care about disables, then you can probably partake of the poultry too, though that has more specialized uses than +STR/LUC.

Also, yes, the rare point standard meat is more useful than the rare meat. How's that for weird, eh?

Well that's an ugly customer, ain't it?
I think it's kind of cute. Look how happy it is.

OH!!! OH!!! OH!!! OH!!!

I never thought I'd see the day where a giant monster eats another giant monster, but here we are.
This is a clue for exploring this overworld—one we can't act on right now, however.

Huh. This is where the river in the Windy Plains comes from.
I wonder how far back it goes.

Stars above, that's a huge pole.
Wonder what it's like to have an entire ship use a pole.
Hopefully, not unpleasant.

More sheepies.
They seem wholly uninterested in us.
Don't you mean...wooly uninterested?
Dream eaters patrol a predefined path, although there's no consistent shape. The one to the northwest patrols a zig-zagging line, while the one in front of us patrols a square area.

Not a hell of a lot going on down here, huh?
Nope, but until we can find a way to give the Air B'n'B more lift, we're kinda stuck here.

That bird may not be safe to eat.
What makes you say that?
All the dead predators that were around it.

What has you "hm"ing?
I've mapped out a lot of this land, but there's no maze yet. Not even any small ones.
Slightly worrying, yes.
More than "slightly." Don't think Ciaran's gonna be able to give the ship's lift a boost unless we find him something new he can work with.
Significantly worrying, then.

Cool dead end.
That leaves whatever is to the northeast, then.

The trees obstruct your view inside, but by the looks of it, it is easily as large as the Lush Woodlands.

This is the geographical equivalent of laughing in our collective faces.
How the hell are we supposed to—
Look over there!

It is dark and eerie. The total lack of birdsong or beasts' calls give the forest a distinctly foreboding air. You feel slightly ill merely drawing near to the place... It does not give you confidence about what lies inside.
Yep, that's got the most rancid vibes imaginable.
Mhm. It's the only thing we can explore, though.
Joy of joys, eh? I say we call it a night, going in somewhere that forebodin' isn't gonna do us any favors.
I'd rather not go into a dense, dangerous forest in the middle of the night if we can help it. At least not when we don't know what we're getting into.
Yeah, that's gonna be a big "no" from me.
If I may, perhaps we should take some days to just generally recuperate? We've had a very eventful first week and change of exploration.
Exhausting ourselves will only lead to our untimely deaths!
You sound so cheerful saying that... Izzat a rune thing, or just general advice?

How are we meant to use this geomagnetic pole? I doubt any of us can touch it from here.
Much as the idea is frightening, I fear we may have to see what happens if we pilot the ship into the pole.
Everyone hold on to something.

That thing's a marvel of airship engineerin', yeh know.
H-Hello, Sir Cia— Ciaran...
The hell happened to yeh? I saw yeh not twelve hours ago, and now yeh all look like yeh're about to paint the square green.
A large-scale geomagnetic pole is what happened. My comrades took the trip far worse than I.
There's a what now?
Ha... Haha... So many runes... So much queasiness...
Out in the new land, north of the...the Windy Plains, there's a geomagnetic pole as large as our ship. You can use it by...by flying a ship into it. It'll take you back to town, but... Oogh.
But the trip back is real hellish, eh? I'm gonna go ahead and suggest that yeh just don't do that.
Aside from this large pole, we also found another maze. Unfortunately, it's positioned on a cliff that is much too high for our ship to ascend to.
Eheheheh. I believe I can help with that.
You're not gonna do something weird to my baby, right?
Depends on your definition of "weird." I noticed that the engine yer old crew put in there, well, I can make it better. Much better. All we need is somethin' that can make lighter gasses'n the iridescent ore yeh got on yer first day. If yeh find something like that, swing by the cargo wharf, and we can get busy.
Thank youuuugh.
Stars above, I gotta wonder just how bad that trip was to leave yeh in such a state.

Woahs! Dat's a huge claw.
We did take it from the large bear in the depths of the Lush Woodlands, yes.
Dag shame ya couldn't get more'a it, cause I've got the perfect weapon for ya!
Berund Atelier has the following new items in stock:

Where's the rest'a ya, by da way?
Most likely recovering from violent teleportation sickness.
Whatsawhat now?
I'll explain another day. For now, I fear they need my assistance...
Next time: we go into the only cave we can access.
ehehehehehe, hehehehehehehehe there was a dinogator

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