There's a chocobo forest to the Northwest of Deist. The white chocobo's MP restoration ability makes grinding cheap and easy. I also get the Chocobo summon from one of the yellow chocobos, which makes me paranoid that I've been missing summons.
I've also figured out F-Abilities fully. You don't have to actually use both abilities to unlock it, you just have to have both equipped and use one of them, and it might trigger the fusion ability. I could see this as being annoying if you're trying to heal a critical wounded ally and get Magic Bomb, instead.
With that in mind, I make sure everyone has relevant F-Abilities learned, and unlock two more by trying random combinations of abilities: Gale Crescent (Sylph + Kick) and Nab Gil (Bash + Pickpocket).
There's an Imperial soldier keeping everyone out of the Dragonweed Gardens, which lends a lot of credence to "the Empire poisoned the dragons" theory, since, as V taught us, dragongrass heals dragons.
Grinding done, I head back to town, where the bonus dungeon is still too hard for me. Can't even make it to the first chest. We also find an NPC we missed the first time around, named Ricard
, who is crippled and bedridden. He is blaming himself for failing to protect Barbara.
There are only two places to go from here. The nearby Dragon Valley is blocked by a dragon who won't let us pass
, so off to the Dragonweed Gardens.
Now that I've talked to Ricard, a cutscene is triggered when I enter. A kid is in the gardens, surrounded by Imperial soldiers. Uh oh. He's here to get Dragon Grass for the dragons, but the Imperials are planning to burn the field. Our heroes are having none of that, so boss fight!
The kid thanks us for saving him and the dragongrass. Sol announces his intentions to save the dragons. Dusk thinks he's being stupid, since the dragons attacked their airship, but Sol doesn't blame them for attacking the Empire.
The dragongrass hurts you when you walk over it, but we bravely sally forth and pick the one that looks different from the others. Maybe it's mature or something. One chocobo ride later, we're back at Dragon Valley.
The dragon doesn't trust Sol and attacks him for getting too close. Sarah asks to try and Dusk thinks she'll be able to calm the creature but it attacks her, too, and flies off. She says we need to go after it, as it's very weak and afraid.
Halfway through the valley, the Drake attacks us again. It won't listen to reason but it does flee halfway through the battle.
I'm starting to run out of JP and jobs to level, so I hope there's new jobs on the horizon.
Just when I'm about to run out of Potions and MP, I finally find a save point. Progressing from here triggers a cutscene, where someone offscreen demands we leave. Selecting "No" triggers a boss fight with the pink-haired dragoon who is probably Barbara.
After smacking us around a bit with Jump she, too, flees the battle. Dammit, these bosses need to quit tricking me into using up all my MP.
On the other side of the valley is a teeny tiny village full of moogles and dragons called Dragon Roost. In the back of the village is Barbara's house. She tells us to go away, but doesn't attack us again. She takes off, telling us that Ceres is laying an egg in Highwind Tower. After her!
Next time, on Adventures in the IOS Dimension: We become dragon midwives.