Update 33: Harisuzume no Naku Koro ni

Okay, people, Gram needs some help here. Kaelin's fancy suit's impossible to wash, and the smell's starting to get to Greg.
Hmm. I don't believe I've actually seen his coat. Would you mind describing it?
Y'know those really ornate coats that go to the knees that nobles wear? Linings and accents everywhere? Yeah, it's one of those. And this one's especially fancy.
I take it Genetta refused to incorporate it into our normal laundry, then.
Here. Tell me you wouldn't refuse to wash that on top of the rest of the inn's normal loads.
...Yes, I see where she's coming from. I can also see why this cost several hundred thousand en...
Do most fancy coats have two gold dragon ouroboroses on the side and back?
Last I checked...no. Something tells me Kaelin took outside inspiration there.
So how do you intend to actually wash this garish fashion nightmare?
...I have just the perfect idea. A, B, C, dears, prepare for a reverse Curse Bomb...
Hrm. A purifying Bomb? You sure that affects physical things?
It never hurts to try~
We begin not with the amazing new Stratum, but with cleaning up some old loose ends.

Hello, my lumpy, rocky friend! It's been a while, hasn't it?

Golem's conditional, if you'll remember, is "kill while paralyzed." Since Golem itself is immune to all disables, you have to paralyze a Mini-Golem and wait for it to combine into Golem to do that.



Cradle (+187 ATK, +195 MATK, Explosion, Gold x3) is made from 1 Paralysis-Marked Barrier (Golem conditional). Costs 395000 en, sells for 158000 en.

Explosion: Uses the head. Deals ranged INT-based fire damage to all enemies. Has a 60% speed modifier and a base accuracy of 150% at all levels.

Pretty much designed for Herbalists. What, you forgot that Herbalists can equip scythes too? I mean, you're gonna end up buying a Cradle for a Reaper, yeah, but Explosion won't amount to much if you have an Earthrun/Therian Reaper. For my purposes, Magda can actually make pretty good use of Explosion, due to the fact that she's Lunarian, and has the INT to match.
Herbalists, you say?

Next up is the angry screeching fucker.

You'll notice my party is different. Hippogriff's conditional is "kill on the first turn." Here's my strategy for that:

Bind Hippogriff with Chain Blast.

And then ruin its day with Lead Blow.

ez-pz, once more

Answerer (+196 ATK, +176 MATK, Bind Claw, Gold x6) is made from 1 Ephemeral Axebeak (Hippogriff conditional). Costs 438000 en, sells for 175200 en.

Bind Claw: Uses the arms. Deals melee STR-based cut damage to one row of enemies. Attempts to bind the arms of hit targets. Has no speed modifier and a base accuracy of 99% at all levels.

Doesn't do much for Illusionary Fencers, but it's a fairly reliable multi-target damage option for Thunderclap Fencers when they're not busy with Chains.
A much easier mission than Occupy Arteria Carpals.

And then there's this pompous, zombified jerk.

Undead King's conditional is kill with fucking curse damage.

Formaldehyde is selected.
To that, I say fuck that several ways from every cardinal direction, and then some that don't exist.

Agh, oogh, the smell...
A smell that bad's gotta have some mystic power behind it...

At-- Urp... At least it worked... Who is responsible for that foul-smelling substance...

Is that...a kilt?
It most certainly is. The most mystical kilt in all of Sidonia. I've been petitioning the Corpse Party for quite some time now, and each time they'd refused... Until they'd heard of my work in taking down the Undead King~
That, um... Does-- Do you wear anything else with the kilt?
Hm? No, why would we? The kilt itself must be undisturbed.
Do, uh... Do the lady Necromancers wear that as well?
I see no reason why they wouldn't.
Corpse-User's Garb (Necromancer ultimate armor; +80 DEF, +116 MDEF, +30% head bind resistance) is made from 1 Curse-Marked Cloth (Undead King conditional). Costs 240000 en, sells for 96000 en.
I buy this for Lanzon later in the update.

And then I go off to fill out the Monstrous Codex and Item Compendium as much as possible for this point (Crystal Dragon's conditional excepted). The empty spot is the real, proper Wandering Flame-Phantom, not that weird event version we fought.

One last loose end: the lizard quest.

As you enter the 19th floor, you're greeted with the signs of chaos. The beautiful crystal Labyrinth has been despoiled, most likely by the rampaging lizards you've taken a request to stop. You have no idea where their boss is, but odds are good that if you keep fighting lizards he'll show up eventually. As long as you're ready to face him at any time, you should begin.

For the duration of this quest, every tile on the floor is forced to these encounter groups:

After a few battles, this happens.
As you end the battle and prepare to move on, a crystal suddenly rolls to a stop before you. It's one of those valuable crystals characteristic of the this stratum, the ones that fetch a high price back at town. You can pick it up, if you like.
I've never seen a situation that has screamed "bad idea" quite like this one.
On the other hand, we'll get nowhere standing here like idiots. You, shy boy. Grab it.
Wh-- I-I guess?
Thanking your luck, you pick it up.

Obtained Dragon Crystal Fragment.
But right as you're stuffing it into your pack, you're caught by surprise! A large monster jumps out at you and delivers a fierce blow!

If someone knew Feats of Strength, they'd be the only ones that take damage. Choosing to ignore the crystal avoids the damage entirely.
You're sent flying by the blow, and as you recover you get a good look at our opponent. It's a large lizard who is currently leaping about as if mocking you. It's clear that if you let him escape here, he'll simply hurt someone else. It's time to end his rampage once and for all!

Greedy Chieftain

HP: 3279
STR: 101
INT: 120
VIT: 72
WIS: 93
AGI: 67
LUC: 72


Damage Resistances:
100% 150% 50%
100% 100% 100%

Disable Resistances:
50% 100% 50% 0% 50% 150% 100%
0% 50%
150% 100% 50%

Oh yeah he can summon Marauding Swordsmen and Pillaging Lancers too, if anyone cares.

I certainly don't.

May those bipedal wastes of life never trouble explorers again.

You hit the brutal lizard with everything you've got, and his body collapses to the ground. As this happens, you can feel the lizards nearby quietly slink away, and the previous riotous atmosphere gradually fades. With this, the tranquility of this Labyrinth has been restored, and the other animals should be safer too. Your request is complete! All that's left is to report it to the bar.
I guess Genetta's onee-chan got the bad ending...

Welcome back everyone. Good work with the monster subjugation. This should help prevent needless injuries, for both people and the forest itself. Here's you're reward. You just be tired, right? Make sure to get some rest before your next trip.

Obtained Silver Ingot!

The Gates of Hell now deals 223% damage.

Affection's % max HP restore goes up to 4%, from 2%.

Should note that now is when I bought the Corpse-User's Garb for Lanzon.

With all of that finally out of the way, let's start the 5th Stratum.

(Floor subtitle: The forest of linked rings)

What do you suppose these strange things littering the area are even for?
Oh, this happens all the time in games. You go to some place at the end and POOF suddenly there's a bunch of futuristic stuff everywhere.
So, uh, we're acting out a cliché?

Shortcuts here are stark white rocks.

Here's what the skybox looks like from the east/west.

R-Raven, c'mon, please, look, it's just got a leaf on its back this time! It's different!

Giant Stick Insect

HP: 1123
STR: 105
INT: 84
VIT: 95
WIS: 89
AGI: 64
LUC: 84



Damage Resistances:
100% 100% 100%
150% 100% 100%

Disable Resistances:
100% 50% 100% 50% 150% 100% 50%
50% 100%
50% 150% 100%
Giant Stick Insects, unlike their shielded brethren, are extremely boring.

They don't take much of a beating, and don't dish out much damage either.

Obtained 1 Thick Stem naturally, 1 Thick Stem from Sasha, and 1 Coriander from Cecil.
21F, F4 Mine Point
I'll need a Clockflower to get the full reward for that one quest.

Y'know, if it weren't for all the monsters, this'd be, like... A perfect place for a walk.
Or a picnic.
Oh, the monsters are nothing. Cecil and I have been going for morning jogs in each strata for months now.
W-wait, really?
Yes. If we run into any monsters on the way, the ghosts haunt the monsters into staying in place, while I punch them until they either run away, or die.
That seems like it would ruin the peace of a morning jog, but hey, different strokes.

Panda Ant

HP: 792
STR: 100
INT: 78
VIT: 87
WIS: 88
AGI: 79
LUC: 91



Damage Resistances:
100% 150% 100%
150% 100% 150%

Disable Resistances:
150% 100% 150% 150% 50% 50% 150%
100% 150%
0% 50% 50%
Feeble Acid is the only really notable thing about Panda Ants, since quite a few enemies in the 5th Stratum have nasty disables.

Iron Acorn

HP: 406
STR: 97
INT: 70
VIT: 94
WIS: 94
AGI: 68
LUC: 102



Damage Resistances:
25% 25% 25%
25% 25% 25%

Disable Resistances:
100% 50% 50% 50% 100% 100% 50%
150% 100%
100% 0% 100%
Such as these fuckers. Iron Acorns have effectively 1624 HP, and if you don't take them out within one-and-a-half turns, they'll petrify, on average, three of your five party members, possibly more with Feeble Acid.
150% Death.

Zombie Powder's a fairly easy way out of having to actually fight Iron Acorns, at least.
150% death, thank you Ragnar.

(Double Bite.)

I'm not the biggest fan of being bitten, and I'm certain you're not the biggest fan of being squished under a coffin.

Incidentally, we now have the thing we need for Edgar's quest.

As you continue along the Labyrinth, you notice that the lane you're walking along is surrounded on both side by bushes full of Labyrinth Berries. The area seems quiet, with no monsters in sight. If you like, you could pick the berries at your leisure.
Hmm... Hey, Mio, I wanna try making pancakes tomorrow. What kinda berries do you want on it?
Um, there's only Labyrinth Berries here.
Oh, uh, did I never show you what happens when you pull the leaves off them? Behold!
You reach out and pick only the ripe ones.
...It's...rapidly cycling...between different types of berries.
And all you have to do is just touch it a little during this, and--
It...became a raspberry.
It's convenient for baking all kinds of different things!

Obtained 5 Labyrinth Berries!

Satisfied with a job well done, you're suddenly attacked from behind!
Aw, come on.

Not an ambush, for once!

...You manage to defeat the monsters, but your blunder weighs on you. You decide the best way to forget it would be to renew your focus on exploring.

Labyrinth Berries

You were attacked from behind while distracted by gathering berries.

I went back to town to rest up and turn in the acorn quest.
Hey, folks, you find that nut I asked for?
It's more a lump of molded metal than a nut, in my opinion-- Oh, in any case, here.
Hm. Here we are. Good, now I don't have to worry about Bredge's teeth getting even longer. Sheesh. Boy's always so damn high-maintenance. ...Or, er, so my wife tells me. Anyway, this'll be a big help, woulda done it myself but I've been swamped with work lately. All these green explorers signing up these days. Thanks, Nameless. Melina's got your reward, so go pick it up when you report. Later.

Seems like the request has been completed without a hitch. Good work. Edgar tries not to show it, but he's really quite the family man. I was hoping you'd get to see that side of him when I sent you to him directly. We all met here in Aeolis, so what's the harm in getting to know each other better? But Edgar's the type to hardly ever talk about himself, so you might not have gotten the chance otherwise. Although maybe it's because of all the people I meet in this business, but I do have a bad habit of sticking my nose where it doesn't belong. Oh well, I'm sure Edgar would forgive me if I sent over some cookies. Oh, oops. Keep that a secret, will you? I don't think he'd like it if he knew I was telling people about his sweet tooth. Anyway, here's your reward. Thank you.

Obtained Panic Scythe!
So what, this is here but Ceric doesn't know Melina's name? What a fuckin load of shit why I oughta

Hypno Cannon is arguably the best non-Buster Cannon direct attack skill.

Cecil is still beefing up the last part of the Lead Blow combo.

I went into the Labyrinth at night for variety's sake. The 5th Stratum's skybox doesn't change at all during nighttime--which makes sense.

...Sigh. We couldn't go out without one more squirrel, now could we?

Ice-Lightning Squirrel

HP: 749
STR: 86
INT: 83
VIT: 79
WIS: 92
AGI: 91
LUC: 95



Damage Resistances:
100% 100% 100%
150% 50% 50%

Disable Resistances:
50% 150% 0% 100% 50% 100% 50%
50% 100%
50% 100% 100%
Ice-Lightning Squirrels are complete non-factors unless you lack a defensive support entirely, for some bizarre reason.

Slightly chilly.

It's somewhat demeaning to be summoned from the soul of an acorn.

(Preparing Petra Bomber.)
Not pictured: the fact that the acorn's head is bound.

Pictured: the fact that the acorn is dead.

...Hang on, wait a minute, no, one second.

Look at the map. Something seem wrong with the sector numbers at the top?

Man, keeping track of that's gonna be hard without the map showing our exact location...
Welcome to the primary environmental gimmick of the 5th Stratum: its edges loop around each other, kinda like Pac-Man or Mario Bros. The "Ring" part of Pristine Ring Forest is important here--the space biodome is more like a space bioring, and it loops around.

As you enjoy a comfortable stroll in this nice weather, you come across a thick growth of vegetation along the path.
Right here is a check for...some passive we're unsure of. Clarste's pretty sure it's Labyrinth Search Skills, but I dunno. If you fail it, this happens.
As you walk along the Labyrinth, thinking nothing of the greenery surrounding you, a sharp pain suddenly runs through Sasha's foot!

As you walk along the Labyrinth, thinking nothing of the greenery surrounding you, a sharp pain suddenly runs through Sasha's foot!
Gwaaaah, uh, um, I think I can--
In a panicked attempt to remove them, Raven gets their hands impaled by these thorns as well, and lets out a scream!

Some of you fall to your knees trying to endure the pain, while others frantically search their packs for medicinal salves, but all this movement only result in your entire party having their flesh pierced by the thorns!

Ha! Ha ha! Bwahahahahaha!

...Okay, no, stop.
...Eventually, Cecil has the presence of mind to order everyone to stop moving. Afterward, you all slowly and carefully remove the thorns from your own bodies and patch yourselves up. You somehow manage to remove all the thorns and can finally move on, extremely carefully so as to not let this happen again.

Unfamiliar plants

As you passed through the unfamiliar vegetation, you failed to notice that it was designed to prey on passersby and got into a lot of trouble.
If you pass the passive check, you get a choice and are able to investigate the plants.

Black Blade now gives a 19% damage boost when Raven inflicts an ailment.

Obtained Bronze Ingot!

There's an event here that I'll need to come back to with someone that knows Hunting.

Obtained 1 Coriander naturally, and 1 Thick Stem and 1 Coriander from Sasha.
21F, E6 Mine Point

Look out!

Nothing happened nope no sirree I just went back to town for no reason.
Beast Greatbow (+84 ATK, +73 MATK, WIS Up 2, Silver x3) is made from 2 Fluffy Tails (Ice-Lightning Squirrel normal) and 1 Black and White Leg (Panda Ant normal). Costs 26900 en, sells for 10760 en.

Cockpit (+80 ATK, +109 MATK, TP Up lv5-9, Silver x3) is made from 1 Sturdy Iron Shell (Iron Acorn normal). Costs 35600 en, sells for 14240 en.

Cossack Coat (+38 DEF, +57 MDEF) is made from 1 Fluffy Tail (Ice-Lightning Squirrel normal). Costs 18200 en, sells for 7280 en.

Nature Mitt (+24 DEF, +28 MDEF) is made from 2 Sturdy Iron Shells (Iron Acorn normal) and 1 Swordbug's Switch (Giant Stick Insect normal). Costs 10300 en, sells for 4120 en.

Mio got a level from more boring squirrels.

She's getting really good at hugging people after they've been hurt.
I'm good at that too!

You arrive in a room full of flowers of every color, all in full bloom, and a sweet scent wafts through the air. You can't name a single flower, but as they blow gently in the breeze the smell gets even stronger. The thought of taking a break here seem pleasant, although you're of course free to leave.
...Uh, this feels familiar somehow...
Something from a game?
Probably. I can't figure out which one, though...
Oh, let's relax and enjoy the flowers.
You relax amid the sweet-smelling flowers. However, it seems that you weren't the only ones attracted by this scent. You're no sure when it happens, but you're now surrounded by monsters! It's too late to avoid them, so you ready your weapons!
This is a pretty clear callback to that one 3x3 room in EO1 B1F where you get ambushed by Venomflies if you choose to relax.

These wimps are far less threatening than Venomflies are to a party on B1F, though.


A bed of flowers and monsters

While you were basking in the joy of the flowers, you were surrounded by monsters. However, you successfully cut your way out of the situation.

As you continue through the mysterious forest, you come across a large hole underfoot. Based on its appearance, it's probably the entrance to an ant nest. However, you can't see any ants either nearby or in the hole itself. Perhaps they're simply not here right now. But either way, you have no reason to stick around here, so you return to exploring.
There's two of these things on the floor. We need to check both of them to start a quest.

The doors in the 5th Stratum are some Star Trek shit.

Is that a...blob with wings?
It certainly resembles that, yes.
I have...several questions about the physics of how that thing stays afloat.
Say hello to Rebellious Needle-Sparrows, henceforth birds. They aggro on you and will chase you for every turn you are in the same column or row as them, and will de-aggro when you are no longer in the same column/row.

This room is simple. We start in a rectangular area with a 1-tile wide way forward.

It's not hard to get this bird behind you, at which point you just gotta run for the door.

This room has a similar layout, except there's a narrow, tall loop with two birds patrolling it.

This is...not the solution.

I bumbled my way into getting one of the birds behind me, and the other one a sufficient distance from me.

Secret passage here.

Obtained Soma Prime.

This room is--

Ah, fuck.

Now I gotta walk all the way back.

...Sunsets here are somehow prettier than they were back home.

...Bah, fuck this.

Rebellious Needle-Sparrow

HP: 17041
STR: 118
INT: 92
VIT: 88
WIS: 96
AGI: 93
LUC: 107



Damage Resistances:
150% 150% 150%
75% 75% 75%

Disable Resistances:
50% 50% 25% 50% 25% 50% 25%
10% 10%
75% 50% 25%
Head binds completely shut Rebellious Needle-Sparrows down, and they're susceptible to them. You do the math!

How would you describe Cecil's face right now?
Extremely grudgey.

Good start, good start.


C-Cecil, it doesn't even look like a bear...
Y'know, I love One-Two (alternatively: Hoo-Ha), but man it's a pain to capture.
You- You monster! You bastard! You did the thing before I could do the thing! You are TEARING ME APART, Ragnar!
It's easy to notice a pattern when you've got a GitHub diff viewer for every bit of commentary.

Pincushion stopped by head bind.

Holy moley.


I'm so close to a full Lead Blow combo, sigh.

2301 damage. Pretty good.

There, that's better.
(The Gates of Hell.)

The Pincushion cast is done after the "check for naturally curing ailments/binds" check? Fucking really?

Oh, whatever, it's almost dead.

(Equivalent Exchange, using A.)
Equivalent Exchange is untyped damage, so I just used it to get some damage on a turn where no-one was gonna be able to attack.

Aw, look at it, it looks so pathetic when it's close to death.

I can't stand it, get it out of my face.

Another point into The Gates of Hell.

Killing one bird makes this room a cakewalk.

Another ant nest.

...Weird stairs.

Back to town we go.

You guys are SO famous now that even my darling little sister thinks you're the bee's knees!
And since I, the fabulous inkeeper Miss Genetta, speak to you on a casual, friend-like level on such a frequent occasion, I think she's beginning to see me in a different light as well! So. In order to win her respect on a sophisticated, older sister-type level, I'm gonna need to talk to you more, like, way more, and on a thoroughly mushy, bosom buddies-type level!
Erm, Genetta, dear... Please remember to give us space. Frequently.
I wanna be bosom buddies with Genetta.

I sold things to Ceric before talking to him.
Iron Maiden (+106 ATK, +123 MATK, Clinch, Gold x3) is made from 1 Cracked Spine (Rebellious Needle-Sparrow normal). Costs 59200 en, sells for 23680 en.

Clinch isn't actually that bad of an idea on a Necromancer, especially if you already have the Corpse-User's Garb, which gives head bind resistance.

Titan Ring (+30 HP, +20 STR) is made from 1 Burnt Leafblade (Giant Stick Insect conditional). Costs 25000 en, sells for 10000 en.

Howdy, Nameless! Business has been going aces lately thanks to you; "This store is used by the best explorers in town" is quite the draw. Everyone always comes here asking for the same stuff Nameless is using, and hey, considering how long you've been at this that's pretty much everything! People look up to you, y'know.

So apparently you were telling the truth. The fifth stratum really is above the sky. Now that you've opened the path, the city is being flooded with Lunarian scholars from Sidonia. I'm guessing they're thinking that verifying that the summit of Yggdrasil really is above the sky, they'll somehow unravel the mysteries of the world.
I think after I wrote to the Corpse Party of our exploits with the Undead King, they were probably set on that anyway...
I hope you realize that conquering Yggdrasil once and for all will be huge deal. And I hope you're ready for that too.

Hansuke has some dialogue, but we don't care about him. We do care about this guy, though.

Earthrun glancing around:
Shifty Guy: Hey there, have you ever heard of a guild called Nameless? Rumor has it that they've gotten to the fifth stratum. There's something I'd love to ask them about, but I dunno if I'll ever be lucky enough to meet them...
Hi, you're talking to Nameless's currently-active party.
Shifty Guy: What?! You're the Nameless?! Thank the heavens, how lucky can one man get?! So can I ask you something then?! Are there any insect monsters up there?
There's, um... There's the ants. The Panda Ants.
They're kinda cute, really.
Shifty Guy: I see, I see... So, there are ants with a black and white pattern... There really are all sorts of insects out there. All right! I think I'm gonna put up a request for you! I'll be heading over to talk to the bartender now, so let's talk again when you've accepted it!

I, uh, kinda forgot to check the quest list until the end of my footage.
Nameless. How's it been?
Easy-going, all things considered. The 21st floor was no problem, and now we're up to the 22nd.
The 22nd floor, eh? Well, it's just another rung on the ladder to success. ...By the way, level with me here--the fifth stratum is above the clouds?
Way up in space, yep.
That's... What's the feeling I've got here... That's nuts. I can hardly believe it--you've been past the clouds! The most blastedly drunk playwright in the world couldn't come up with something that outlandish. ...I do trust your word, though, so... Still damned crazy.

We've seen to informing the leaders of all four races that you've reached the fifth stratum. Earthrun, Lunarian, Therian, and Brownie alike were stunned agape, but they sent a message--they expect great things from you. If you really do reach the top safely, your names will go down in history, and even legend, you know.
We assumed that from the start, yes.

Ahem. Anyway. Quests.

#1: The destination of sin:
That request is from me, actually. I...can't discuss the circumstances right now though, sorry. I'll tell you once you've finished. I realize that this is bad form as a client, but please, just let me have this. As for what you'll actually need to do, well, you've been past the fourth stratum into the fifth, right? Which means you found a way through the 19th floor.
So, there's something I want to know about the 19th floor. When you were exploring, did it seen like there was anywhere that might lead deeper into the western side of the floor? If you have any ideas, please let me know. Thanks in advance.
There's a shortcut we couldn't activate on the 19th floor. Until now, that is. We gotta look for it.

#2: Vernon's entomology journal:
So you really took it, huh? It sounded like you've already spoken with the client, but he's an entomologist named Vernon. He's, uh, still here waiting for you, bouncing on the edge of his seat, so why don't you go talk to him again?
...'Kay then.

Vernon: Hello again, Nameless! So you took my request! Thank you! Why don't we get right down to business! According to what you've told me, there are black and white Panda Ants all over the fifth stratum, right? So what I'd like you to investigate is what kinds of food they prefer. Specifically, the tastes they seek out. Here, I have some things you'll need for this test.

Obtained Extremely Sweet Bread!
Obtained Bread So Spicy You Can See It!
Yes, that second one is its actual name.
Vernon: Those are both special breads you'll be using for the experiment. I made them myself! The seasonings I used to make them distinct were quite, um, extreme, so they're not really suitable for human consumption though. Anyway, I'd like you to leave that bread where Panda Ants are likely to appear, and then observe their behavior from a safe distance. Note whether or not they eat it happily, if they seem to reject it after trying it, or if they won't eat it at all, that sort of thing. As for where you should do this...well, something like a nest would obviously be the best. Now I'd love for you to test both varieties I just gave you, but I wouldn't mind if you can only try just one either. Thanks!
Our objective here's pretty obvious: go to the nest spots and do some dialogue.

That's for next time, though, which will have 22F too.
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