Last time, we were at last introduced to Cierra, the voted-upon love interest. We were also crashing to our deaths when last you saw us, but that hardly matters; all it does is drop us back in the forest, and that's easily remedied, right? Right?
Anyway, we're saved from potentially painful injuries by that mushroom from before. Good thing I didn't cut off a piece and deflate it, isn't it Lina
? Cierra then introduces herself, and asks if we're looking for magic ingredients. When Ein tells her that we're looking for the Accursed, she assumes it's some sort of plant. After getting a proper explanation, she mentions that she's looking for her friend Gateau, whoever that is. We agree to help find this "Gateau", and everyone introduces themselves. Lina seems surprised to learn that Cierra knows of the existence of Elendia, despite the presence of a decently-sized magic association there and the fact that Cierra's a magic user. Cierra promptly joins the party, and Bat Jr. is released to make room for her Ruby Staff. Anyway, now it's time to talk about Cierra:
- Time for a rather bizarre comparison that I've been meaning to do anyway. In one update of CaptainGarlic's rather well-done Icewind Dale II LP
, he mentioned that Urggzob the half-orc barbarian was his best character simply because he's so focused on one thing (namely, crushing) that it doesn't matter that he can't do anything else. The reason I point this out is simple: Cierra has the same sort of thing going, but with magic. Almost all of her Over Skills run off of her Magic, which in turn means that her Magic is so absurdly inflated that she can outdamage other characters who happen to be using an enemy's weakness, when Cierra herself is using an element that the enemy resists
. Furthermore, almost all of her regular attacks are based off her Magic, too. In addition to that, she has an absurdly huge selection of Over Skills, and thus enough HP and Vitality to shrug off physical attacks too. Heck, she only has one set of Over Skills that run off her Strength, and they're with whips. She is, however, incredibly slow. She resists fire and is weak to ice.
Anyway, without some training she won't do much of anything, so I'll see you shortly with the following Over Skills:
- Ruby Staff: Flame Toss: Level 1, 3-hit magic fire-elemental attack, power of 59
- Ruby Staff: Red Regulator:Level 2, 3-hit magic fire-elemental attack, power of 78, can't hit flying enemies
- Pendant: Shining Star: Level 2, increases everyone's Agility and gives them regeneration
- Iron Sword: Blade Shot: Level 1, 1-hit magic non-elemental attack, power of 93
- Rapier: Huge Spike: Level 1, 1-hit magic non-elemental attack, power of 70
- Longbow: Magic Arrow: Level 1, 3-hit magic non-elemental attack, power of 28
- Silver Rapier: Holy Needle: Level 1, 2-hit magic holy-elemental attack, power of 67
- Fire Orb: Fire Resist: Level 1, raises everyone's fire resistance
- Lightning Orb: Lightning: Level 1, 1-hit magic lightning-elemental attack for 15% of the target's HP, can inflict Dazzle status
- Mage Ring: Magic Blast: Level 1, raises everyone's Magic
- Meat: Magical Cooking: Level 1 - Look at your Meat. Now back to Cierra. Now back to your Meat. The Meat is now Steak.
- Egg: Magical Cooking: Level 1, turns all remaining Eggs into Over-Easy (sic)
- Book of Laura: Flare Disaster: Level 2, 1-hit magic fire-elemental attack, power of 106, unstoppable
- Rose Whip: Snapping Rose: Level 2, 3-hit physical non-elemental attack, power of 71, Mot-Vit, does extra damage to Beast-type enemies
- Pendant: Etherlight: Level 2, gives everyone regeneration
- Ruby Staff: Cinder Squall: Level 3, 4-hit magic fire-elemental attack, power of 111, last 2 attacks hit all
Note that, up to this point, I've had to carry everything from Chapter 2 that Cierra can master with me. As of now, my inventory is significantly less limited.
Anyway, I head back to that huge flower from before and examine it. After Ein decides that it's apparently worth any risk there is in looking inside a giant flower in a thick jungle
, the entire party is fully healed by the supposedly sweet-smelling flower (never mind that actual giant jungle flowers are known for their absolutely horrible
smell), in addition to gaining a point of Magic each.
I then head into a path on the mushroom screen that wasn't here the last time I came through this area, which Cierra insists is a shortcut. Naturally, it isn't, and we're dropped off in a special area that has its own theme music
. This area uses a purple version of the normal forest background, and contains a single sign. The sign says the following:
Summer, winter, spring, and fall...
N: White Snow
S: Bright Sun
E: Blooming Flowers
W: Vivid Leaves
The forest shall shift as the seasons change. Time passes in cycles.
As you might expect, I have to follow the directions on the sign to get the seasons to change in the specified order. The thing is, the directions to get to each season change whenever you move from one screen to the next, so you need to check the sign. Over time, it becomes more and more faded, to the point where figuring out where you're going becomes a minor math problem.
Fortunately, we have walkthroughs in this day and age, so I know that the solution is to head south, east, west, and north in that order. However, first I want to head north, south, north, and south again. This leads me back to the first area, but now there's an open treasure chest there. It contains the Aran Doll, which is a rather bizarre doll that someone seems to have tried and failed to burn. Surely nothing bad can come of taking it with us, right?
Actually, the only bad thing that happens is that everyone but Cierra gets an affection decrease. Cierra likes the thing, though, so keeping it significantly increases her affection. Naturally, that means I'm keeping it.
Now that I've done that, let's move on using the proper directions. Doing this changes the sign to read as follows:
N: ...... ...
S: ..... Snow
E: ... ...
W: Bloo.... F..wers
Spring, summer, fall, and winter...
Fail, and all will be undone.
This means that if I get the order wrong now, I'll be dropped off at the very start. Again, though, I have a walkthrough, and it tells me to go west, south, north, and then south, then any direction to escape. This leads me to the entrance of the ruins, granting me 20000 points for successfully escaping the one part of the game most likely to make you tear your hair out.
I'll leave it here for now, largely because the combination of training Cierra with a fully two-thirds of my inventory and going through the Four Seasons Forest has left me feeling rather drained. Next time, we'll head deeper into Nelde.