Part Eighteen: A Desert Rose
We open with Nacht and company camped out in the middle of the desert. Sigurd has told them to go to Gardenia, a city outside of the Empire's control. There we can find Desert Moon, a resistance organization.
I hope they're more help than the elves and dwarves.
We regain control in the middle of the desert. From there, we have a hike through a desert-themed dungeon. On the other side is Gardenia, which is a gambling metropolis. Most of the denizens don't seem bothered in the least by the lack of daylight.
As one might expect, there are a whole bunch of casino minigames here. I'm not really a minigame kind of person, though, so they'll probably go unplayed.
We go to the bar to inquire about Desert Moon and get there just in time to catch Matoya
, a famous dancer. On her way out, she gives Nacht a code that to find Desert Moon we have to go West.
To the North of Gardenia is a forest guarded by a guy in a bandana that won't let us past. Darn NPC Broken Bridges
The only thing to the West of Gardenia is the slums where people who have lost everything now live. There's a man named Azhar there who is part of Desert Moon. He says that in order to meet with their leader, we have to get 4 people in the slums to trust us.
Sidequests ahoy! There are 5 people in need of help here. A mother needs a Sand Pearl to cure her child's Sand Fever
. An old man needs a cactaur needle for his acupuncture treatment. A young woman dreams of wearing a beautiful dress just once. A man has fallen down and can't get up. And a man wants to dig a well so that the people in the slums have fresh water.
The Sand Pearl is acquired by going back to the desert dungeon and fighting the bonus boss Antlion on a square the sparkles. There's a White Dress at the Casino for 500 coins, which means lots of save scumming on the slot machines. The man who has fallen down needs an X-Potion. And the guy who wants to dig a well needs a pickaxe you acquire through a Chain of Deals
The cactaurs are in the same desert dungeon as the Antlion, but they are a super rare encounter, extremely difficult to kill, and run away after a couple rounds. After a couple hours of hunting for them I give up on 100% completion. Four is enough, five would have just been gravy.
Returning to Azhar, he tells us that he still doesn't trust us yet. But he directs us back to the tavern in Gardenia and tells us Desert Moon's password: "Desert Rose
The bartender is more than a little shocked that we know the super-secret password. He's not the leader, though. The leader is Matoya the dancer, who reveals herself to be 118 years old, to boot. Pretty well preserved for a supercentenarian.
She tasks us with destroying the Imperial base to the North to prove we're not Imperial spies. Doesn't want much, does she?
Now that we have the password, the guy in the Norhtern forest will let us through. The imperial base is not far from there.
The base is crawling with Imperial soldiers and Nacht determines that a frontal assault would be a bad idea. He's so much smarter than Sol. Then again, some rocks are smarter than Sol.
We go around the long way but get ambushed not too far in. After two battles in a row, Nacht calls for a strategic withdrawal, and we make like scalded dogs for a supply shed.
When we get there, Glaive realizes they've forgotten something important: Diana. He wants to go look for her but Nacht and Alba tell him he should be more cautious since he can't help her if he's dead. He's having none of that logical crap, however, and runs out alone.
The game is nice enough to only send one soldier at a time into battle against Glaive. Thank you, game! After a bit, Glaive enters a boss battle against the Unit Captain, who kicks his illogical but passionate butt. Fortunately for him, The Mask shows up, heals him fully, and joins the battle.
The Mask is awesome. He has up to 6th level Black Magic, 4th level White Magic, and Clarity, an ability that restores MP to all allies. His class is Magus.
We beat the boss handily. You just got so lucky, you hothead. That taken care of, Mask accompanies Glaive as we continue to look for Diana. I take the opportunity to steal his Peace Ring accessory.
Hahahaha! Suck on Thundaga, mooks!
We finally find Diana being held captive by three Imperial soldiers. Why is she not summoning fiery death? Are they holding on to her upper arm?
At any rate, Glaive and The Mask blast the Imperials to sub-atomic particles. After the battle, Glaive comforts Diana and blames himself while Mask slips away. Diana thanks Glaive for coming for her and tries to tell her how he feels, but he just Cannot Spit It Out
Nacht and Alba show up just then. Glaive is surprised they came for them, but Nacht tells him that they could never abandon their comrades. Aw.
Only now does Glaive notice that Mask is gone. That's gratitude for ya. Glaive and Sol are a lot alike.
There's a save point here, so this seems like a good place to quit for now. Next time: We join La Résistance