Update 10: Something Important Happens

My my, but that is a beautiful cello. How in the world did you make it?
Monster parts.
Dare I ask what monster parts?
The structure is made out of various Golem chips, while the strings are from Ropers.
I-I can make instruments too! ...Kinda.
That is quite possibly the saddest-looking horn I've ever seen. What does it sound like?
...Dosen, dear, perhaps you should stick to making medicine...

We begin with junk.
Plasma Fist (+54 ATK, +49 MATK, Lightning-Drawing Finger, Bronze x4) is made from 1 Bent Volt-Horn (Lightning Squirrel conditional).

Zhen Tian Fei Pao (+39 ATK, +40 MATK, INT Up 1, Bronze x3) is made from 2 Rat's Tailspines (Lightning Squirrel normal).

Leather Vest (+22 DEF, +22 MDEF) is made from 1 Rat's Tailspine (Lightning Squirrel normal).

Chemise (+16 DEF, +24 MDEF) is made from 4 Triangular Kitten Ears (Caracal normal).

Volt Charm (+30% volt resistance) is made from 3 Rat's Tailspines (Lightning Squirrel normal).

There's an event I needed Animal Husbandry for here, so I brought Dosen along.
As you navigate the treacherous rocky path, you come across a lone bird, covered in black feathers, by a small pond. Perhaps it's been separated from its flock, but it moves up to you with no sign of fear.
Hm? You're quite friendly, aren't you? ...Or, well, at least not hostile.
What sort of monster is this that doesn't attack us on sight?
Pretty sure a book I read said this is a cormorant.
An expert in animals, Dosen informs you that this is probably a Labyrinth Cormorant, a kind of bird native to the Labyrinth. Apparently they hunt fish in the Labyrinth. It squawks hungrily at you. If you have any fish, it wouldn't hurt to offer one to the cormorant.
Please get rid of some of these fish. We've had them for ages and they're just wasting space.
As you offer the fish, the bird shows a look of great surprise before joyfully swallowing it whole! It then flaps its wings and flies out of sight. You feel warm and fuzzy inside, and return to exploring.
This is the first in a sequence of events, and we'll see the next part on 7F.

So, who wants to go inform the drunk that we did the opposite of what he asked?
Ooh, ooh, let me, I've got a lotta words for him.

Insert Insulting Name: Bwuh! You guys?! So how'd it go? Did you get that mangy cur?!
We healed it. To spite you!
Insert Insulting Name: What?! D-D-Did I hear that right? Y-You ignored the request and helped it?!
Your hearing's apparently the only good thing you have!
Insert Insulting Name: That thing ruined my plans! If it'd just stayed in that cage, I could've sold it off for who knows how much!
You WHAT?!
Insert Insulting Name: That's...that's... Unforgiveable! I'll make you bastards will regret getting in my way! I'll remember this!
Yeah, try it! I've got years of acrobatics training and a bunch of swords with your name on them!
Jana, please. Let's just report to Melina.

Good work. The client was shouting so loudly I could hear your whole conversation from over here. I'm going to mark you as having completed the request. Maybe you didn't, technically, but you were satisfied with the result, right?
Not entirely.
Majority rules.
As far as I'm concerned, that's what counts. If you start compromising on your values like that, you'll ruin yourself sooner or later. Best to just keep a clear conscience. Oh, and you can forget what the client said about making you regret it. Handling that sort of trouble is just another part of my job.
What, you thought I was just a pretty face? Anyway, here's your reward. Normally I'd be collecting it from the client, but this one's from me. It's not a big deal, don't worry about it. Once again, good work.

Alexis learns Gourmet because why not.

Flicker's now level 4.

Kaelin learns Self Study.

And Magda learns Gourmet too.

As you walk through the rocky Labyrinth, you discover a blue flower blooming on the cliff face to the north. As you stop to admire the flower growing in the dry soil, you consider stopping to rest here.
I don't see why not.
I can see why not: we just got back to the floor no less than three minutes ago.
Eh, what's the harm?
You decide to take a rest near the flower. Your party spread out to sit where they please: some gazing at the flower, and some closing their eyes as they rest.

Suddenly though, Jana lets out a small yelp! Looking closely, they seem to have a small bug crawling on the back of their hand.
That's the harm.

Alexis, who knows Labyrinth Search Skills, recognizes it as a pygmy scorpion possessing a powerful venom! It's known for reacting to sudden movements by stinging.
Do not move. Just stay calm, and sit still...
Alexis calmly explains that it's unlikely to pose a threat as long as you stay perfectly still until it leaves.
As soon as they're told that, Jana desperately tries to keep still while staring at the scorpion. The scorpion, seemingly satisfied with simply crossing their hand, eventually steps back onto the dirt. As you watch it disappear among the rocks, you all breathe out a sigh of relief. Once again reminded of the dangers of the Labyrinth, you return to exploring.
This event can change based on whether the scorpion's target knows Labyrinth Search Skills--they automatically sit still. Otherwise, if no-one knows the skill, you can still have the character sit still, but the game doesn't tell you that it's the right option beforehand.

Venomous scorpion

You were surprised by a venomous scorpion, but managed to stay calm and let it pass by.
Good, don't hurt the baby.

(Obtained Amrita.)

Another Yggdrasil Key door.

(Received 1 Syrupy Resin naturally, 1 Strong and Thin Branch from Alexis, and 2 Strong and Thin Branches from Cecil.)
7F, F3 Chop Point
And that's the floor.

We're not going back to town. There's something important we need to see first.

Just as you're getting used to seeing nothing but towers of rock, you enter a vast room. Apparently something dreadfully large lives here, based on the footprints and collapsed pillars deeper in the room.
My self-preservation instinct is screaming that we should use an Ariadne Thread RIGHT NOW.
No. Let's see what's making this ruckus...
As you explore further into the room, you soon hear the thundering footsteps of whatever that something is!


Emerging from behind the the rocky cliff is a terrible demon beast far larger than any you've seen before! The earth itself trembles beneath its very footsteps, and its fearsome aura sends shivers down your spine. ...You should probably report this to the Council before you go any further.
Meet the Oliphant, whose name, I am told, is a Lord of the Rings reference. Remember Wyvern in EO1/U and Salamox/Salamander in EO2/U? Same thing with Oliphant--8F "midboss" who will absolutely slaughter us if we even think about taking him on before finishing the game.

NOW we go back to town.
I've been meaning to ask--exactly who cleans our rooms while we're out exploring?
Whaddawhat, you wanna know who does the cleaning? That'd be my little sister.
Hmph. More of you?
Yes folks, you heard correctly; Miss Genetta is not in the possession of just an older sister, but she also has a younger one! We are an indomitable trio; my sunny personality greets the guests and does the cooking, our littlest cleans, and our eldest handles the business end of things. It is a wonderful partnership!
That does sound like an efficient process, yes.
Well, my older sister does kinda take all our money and go out drinking...every night...and only comes home about a third of the time...

Have you heard the rumors?
There's tons of 'em, which one are you talking about?
Apparently there's this huge elephant on the 8th Floor, I mean like HUGE, the earth shakes just from it taking a step!
Yes, yes, we've met it already. What is your point?
Crazy. Just crazy, just think of all that leather and ivory you could get if you managed to kill it. I could arm one hundred men with that. I could arm one thousand men with that. Ten thousand might be a bit much, but man what a boon that'd be, over a thousand people armed and armored--
You seem to be forgetting that this is still a giant monster.
Oh, but wait, it's supposed to be incredibly dangerous. *sigh* The ivory eludes me...

Some final bits of junk for this update.
Pilgrim's Staff (+32 ATK, +50 MATK, VIT Up 1, Bronze x3) is made from 1 Strong and Thin Branch (2nd Stratum Chop 1).

Pudding Glove (+10 DEF, +13 MDEF) is made from 2 Pudding Cores (Pop Pudding normal) and 2 Strong and Thin Branches (2nd Stratum Chop 1).

I bought a Pilgrim's Staff for Kaelin and forged it a bit.

So you've finally made it to the 8th Floor too. Even in Aeolis, you don't see all that many truly capable explorers. But be careful. That moment when you recognize how much you've grown is also when the Labyrinth is at its most dangerous. The line between confidence and overconfidence is a thin one.


#1 is Hansuke again.

#2: Purple-haired lady Fencer:
Fencer: Oh, Nameless! I've heard tales of long-nosed monkeys! I hear they're liable to push over pillars in order to keep people out of their territory, and will otherwise chase you. And if you're really careless, you might even have a pillar land directly on top of you. Oh dear, that sounds rather painful.
#3: Frowning Brownie:
Brownie: Those damn Lunarians are terrible, always making a fool outta me. So there I was, tryin' to take a nap, when this Lunarian shows up and just hugs me outta nowhere! And then she tells me I'm just the right size, and honest to gods goes to freakin' sleep right then and there!
...Pfft... Ahaha...
And I thought being carried like a teddy bear was humiliating, ha!
Brownie: Always lookin' down on me... If you sympathize at all, then lend me some of your height!

Quests, yep.

#1: Fight poison with poison:
The request this time is a bit different. You'll need to go up against a monster, as always, but it's not enough to just defeat it. Here's the gist of it: an explorer came back from the second stratum, but the next morning they were feeling terrible. Apparently she had been poisoned by a giant scorpion monster. But the antidotes they sell in the market had no effect, and she's been bedridden and wracked with pain ever since.
Perhaps they should've tried one of my compounds first.
Knowing your experiments, the girl would've had all the blood in her body replaced by toxic waste.
Enough, you two.
So her guildmates came here asking for anyone who was familiar with the second stratum. Which is where you come in. I'd like you to obtain some Giant Scorpion Toxin from one of those monsters. To do that, you'll need to get close to one and stab it with this Painless Syringe.

(Obtained Painless Syringe!)
But be careful. You can't let it notice you. It'll be pretty much impossible to extract from a monster that's on guard from attacks. And one more thing. Unfortunately, you can't just kill the monster and extract the venom afterward. Apparently the venom starts to lose its toxicity the moment the scorpion dies. Got it? I'll say it again, just in case: your request this time is to extract the venom without being noticed. It may sound a bit fussy, but good luck.
This quest is fairly easy--I've already shown that I'm very capable of getting behind scorpions, when I'm not bumbling around and accidentally making a good path.

#2: Making the ultimate dress:
This request comes from a Lunarian named Thaddeus? Do you remember him? You took a request from him earlier.
Yes, we remember him.
Great. That'll make this quick. So you've heard that he's getting married, right?
His first request was because of the legend about the Sunstone and Moonstone, if I'm remembering right.
A Lunarian should know better than to put stock in old legends.
A Lunarian should also know better than to denigrate others for no reason.
Apparently he needs even more materials to make something for his wedding. Ask him yourself for the details; he should be around here somewhere.
Let's go talk to Thaddeus right now, shall we?
Thaddeus: Oh, hello, everyone. My apologies for not keeping you posted beforehand. I really do appreciate what you did for me earlier, but... well, I don't know what you've heard from the proprietor, but I find myself needing even more for the wedding, and the materials in question this time are even more difficult to obtain. As a result, I find myself in a bit of a bind, but if you've taken the request, then I feel I can rest easy. You're lifesavers. Oh, I should tell you; this time, it's some Silk Thread. It's for a wedding dress, you see. Apparently it can be obtained from the nests of the giant caterpillar monsters on the 2nd Floor.
Oh, right, the FOEs. ...Did we ever decide on a name for those?
I believe my initial description of "Crawling Venomous Bug" is sufficient.
Thaddeus: A local monster hunter informed me that they could be found...

Thaddeus: Somewhere in the region I just marked on your map. I'm sorry to bother you, but I'd really be in your debt.
Lastly, #3: The battle that surpasses twilight:
That request comes from one of the palace guards. To put it bluntly, he's challenging you to a match. I'm guessing he wants to see if the famous guild Nameless is really as tough as the rumors say, or something like that. I suppose this is the fruit of all your hard work? In a sense? Anyway, he said he'd be waiting for you near the stairs down on the 8th Floor. You can accept his challenge whenever you're ready.

There are these monkey monsters called Haughty Hermits on the 2nd Stratum. They're pretty crafty, for monsters. For one thing they never fight alone. When they're cornered, they'll even hide behind the other monsters they're working with, and use 'em as shields. Geez, I just can't see them as mere monsters.

Remus starts talking as soon as we walk in.
...I demand that you let me have an audience with Lord Remus! I am quite capable of handling the mammoth!
It's not every day that you see an explorer besides us in the Council...
You gotta admire someone that feels like they can take on something like that elephant on their own.
Oh, hello, Nameless. Has the Labyrinth treated you well?
If by "well," you mean "it just threw a giant mammoth in our path," then yes.
...What? A terrible monster in the 2nd Stratum? ...You've seen it too, then.
I haven't just seen it, I can fight it! Allow me an audience!
...I see she also possesses exceptional hearing and shouting.
There are a large number of explorers on the 2nd Stratum as of late, so we've received similar reports before. The impression I'd gotten was an enormous elephant, that makes the earth quake as it approaches. I had thought it was exaggeration by more cowardly explorers, but if people of your caliber can verify it, it must be true. ...With that in mind, the Council cannot stand idle. I'm going to put up a mission. I'd like you to take it.

Rumbling earth

A large mammoth has been seen in the 2nd Stratum, the Oliphant. We want you to find a route through the Labyrinth that avoids having to fight it. For that purpose, you'll need to investigate its territory.
...Hah! I knew I could persuade the guards...eventually.
Uh... 'Scuse us, but who are you?
Oh, pardon my lack of manners. I am the third of seven scions of the royal family of Queensland--Princess Iseria!
That's all well and good, but you are being a nuisance. Leave us to our explorer duties.
Hmph. Well, aren't you very self-assured and rude? I have as much a right to be here as any explorer.
L-look, could we perhaps step outside for a second? I'm sure you're very capable, but the 2nd Stratum isn't a place for novice explorers...
A novice? Oh, of course, we can step outside--if only so I may lecture you on the breadth of my achievements!
...Okay, yes, that'll work.

Gods, but she's annoying.
For once, I agree.
As is becoming a trend, thank you, Nameless.
Concerning the mammoth... No, well, first I should say I may have an idea of what it is. I've heard that, far to the west, in a land called Kinmeria, there were once massive, four-tusked beasts called "Oliphants." Their massive size was seen as a possible boon, and they were captured and forced into service as beasts of war. It sends chills down my spine to imagine what it must've been like to face a herd of those charging at you, the earth shaking beneath their feat... With that in mind, I'd say it's likely that the one in the Labyrinth could be aggressive, and poses an extreme threat to explorers like yourselves. As a result, we'd like you to investigate its territory, to see if we can scout out a route that avoids it.
Simple enough.
Lastly, Remus's normal dialogue.
Hmm... Oh, it's you all. I'm sorry, I was lost in thought. I've been stricken by quite a conundrum... Should I try making new cheese now, or exercise delayed gratification and start researching ways to make improvements to frying pans? Hmmmm...
A performer's only as good as the set around them, and a chef's only as good as their tools.

...What is she doing here?
Ahem, well...
After a polite discussion with Prince Alexis, I have decided to lend your guild my aid!
...In other words, you have decided to join us without discussing it with any of us.
Listen, I had my doubts when we first saw her as well, but she's actually a very capable fighter. I had her demonstrate what she knew of fencing--and she actually taught me some finer points that I had no knowledge of before.
To be fair, that is to be expected when you only have one week to learn fencing-- Actually, pardon me, but did you say earlier that you left your home kingdom to avenge a betrothed you have never met?
That's correct.
...Oh, so you're Prince Nope-Can't-Remember.
P-Prince Nope-Can't-Remember?!
Quite the fitting name.
Yes, ah... I believe we have some prior occupations to discuss.
Discuss them in your own rooms. I'm not gonna object to you joining, but just let the rest of us sleep...
Actually, Alexis informed me that the only open bed in the guild's room arrangements is yours, Magda.
...Ugh, I guess it is. Discuss it in Alexis's room, then, I'm extremely tired.

Meet our newest and last guild member, Iseria (created by alcharagia). Despite what the screenshot says (I initially created her as a Hound to make her Therian), she will be acting as our Chain Fencer, since the Chain and dodgetank Fencer skillsets are pretty mutually exclusive as far as building one character goes, but can actually combo together very well in battle.

And to close out the update, here's Iseria's full bio:
The third of seven noble sisters, Iseria is royalty of a small, matriarchal island nation whose primary export is politically arranged marriages to princesses.

Okay, actually, it's its lucrative spice trade, but the joke is there among many traders who note the frequency with which the nation's princesses are mailed out to become brides to other nations' dashing royalty. They have a lot of them, relatively speaking, and you'd be surprised how many arranged marriages suddenly fall through.

Such was the story of Iseria's marriage to a Prince Something-Or-Another, after his other betrothed died shortly before the marriage was made; King Something-Or-Another, father to the prior, had "a Dad moment, ahahaha!" and immediately went and got his son another lovely bride.

Struck hard by middle-child syndrome and hardly first in line for the throne, Iseria's patriotism yet burns hot within her soul; she dons the ancient ritualistic garb of her peoples' ancestors dating back hundreds of years at all times, and damn your sacrilege! A self-fashioned environmentalist, she has a history of disappearing for weeks at a time because she needed to take a swim off to another nearby island to "catalogue" its flora, fauna, and exactly how worth it it would be to declare it a part of their territory. She claims her all-green eye is proof positive that this is part of her lot in life.

Displeased by the marriage at first, Iseria was given the greatest of outs when Prince What's-His-Name dashed gallantly off to the Labyrinth, of all places, to avenge his prior betrothed. Iseria, ever impulsive, was shortly behind; her goal in the Labyrinth, twofold.

First! Catalogue the greatest untouched biome in the ntire world, and do it in a way that nobody can deny your keen natural eye!

Second! Do not lie meekly down and become a sacrifice for another nation! Prince I-Can't-Remember would not take Iseria as his wife- she would take him as her husband, and drag him back to Queensland to take the less-vaunted-but-still-important role of Vice-Queen!* She would become Queen and guide her great nation to even greater heights, or die trying in an environmentalist's paradise!

*Vice-Queen is a gender-neutral title. "Kings" are as foreign an idea as a memorable Brownie character.
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