The Dream Devil's Realm
In our last episode, we recruited our third member of the harem party, so there's only one more to go! We were supposed to be headed to the cave where the pirate Black hid his treasures to look for the orichalcum dolphin, but we're going to put that off for a bit, because we have one more harem member to recruit.
Our final man requires us to embark on a couple more adventures before we can actually find him, but the adventures are very fun and we get a delicious mustache reward at the end.
But we're not going to be seeing him right away, because we have other business to attend to.
We stop by the workshop in Pidona, and we need to offer ingredients for everything now. We don't have any of them, but to make the Francisca, all we need is a Hand Axe, so I went out and bought one for only 85 Aurums and got Cain and friends working on it.
Sadly, we can't work on any armor right now because we need harder to find ingredients like Death Fragment, Monster Hide, Meteorite, and Fish Scale...
Since we're in Pidona, we go to check on our good friend Muse. Well, I knew that this event would happen; that's why we went.
Something seems to be wrong with her -- all the children are gathered around her bed worrying and telling her to 'open her eyes.' A bit scary, but talking to Sharl at the table, he says that he's going to go help Muse.
Mikhail seems to understand that Muse isn't actually here, and asks where she is. Sharl tells us that Muse unknowingly drank the Dream Devil's Potion. When someone drinks the Dream Devil's Potion, they enter the Dream Realm, and the Dream Devil takes control of their consciousness.
Sharl plans on drinking the Dream Devil's Potion and entering the Dream Realm to save Muse, because you can fight the Dream Devil from within the Dream Realm. He asks us to stay here and keep an eye on things, but we're given the choice to stay or to accompany him.
When we offer to go, Sharl warns that by entering the Dream Realm, we're taking on the risk that we may never wake again. Mikhail says he's aware of the danger, but we're going to go anyway.
There seems to be only enough potion for five people total, and one of those is Sharl, so we can only choose four members from the party to accompany him to the dream realm. Sadly, this means Sara has to stay behind, because it's more important to utilize and train the members of our intended final party.
So I guess she'll be the one keeping an eye on things.
We drink the potions (quite dramatically!) and pass out on the floor near Muse's bed. Things get blurry, and after a while we wake back up right where we were on the floor.
But Sharl seems to know that we're in Muse's dream now, and Muse must be off fighting the Dream Devil somewhere.
Walking out of the house, we enter a strange mansion, rather than the streets of the Pidona slums we'd normally expect.
There are many doors here, and if you go in one door and come back out, you might not be in the same place you entered from. This can get pretty confusing, and there is a bit of a trick to getting through.
There are also a bunch of women walking around who seem to be some kind of nuns or mages or something. If one makes contact with us at all...
It turns out to actually be a demon! These things are Baku, and they're a very interesting enemy. They seem to be considered a pretty high rank of enemy compared to the party, because we get lots of glimmers and stat ups from fighting them. But they're not particularly dangerous, though they can be.
They do have a hypnosis attack, which if you get unlucky, can really hurt you. It can put your party members to sleep. And unlike some games, you can't just smack your own party members to wake them up, because you can't target party members except with abilities that are meant to target them like healing magic. And we don't have any potions or magic arts that can wake people up right now...
After finishing a fight with a Baku, though, it will always drop Baku Tears. Baku Tears is an item that completely restores the entire party -- all LP, WP, and JP. So you're fully healed after every battle.
This means you can use the Baku as an opportunity to strengthen your party. While I did make good use of this to get lots of glimmers, the most important thing we glimmered was Hypnosis Evasion.
In addition to Weapon Arts, you can also glimmer Evasion Arts. These are kind of rare, and even worse, you still have to master them by "using" them in battle before you can keep them permanently and spread them to the party. However, they're extremely useful, because anyone who has an evasion art equipped will evade that type of attack 100% of the time.
Of course, you have to use up one of your eight precious Weapon Art slots for it, too. So along with having to glimmer it and master it, which is hard enough, you have to get rid of a weapon art for it, too.
Add to this the fact that they're often fairly specific -- for example, Hypnosis Evasion only works on Hypnosis, not just any kind of sleep ability or something -- and Evasion Arts are pretty well-balanced. They're always a really welcome perk to finally acquire, but they're situationally useful. But in ways that can be extremely helpful for different situations.
Because this place is nothing but fighting Baku and trying to understand how to get around, you're going to be hit with Hypnosis a lot, and especially if you use Desert Lance formation to make the Baku often target the same front character, it won't be long before you're able to master Hypnosis Evasion.
I happened to glimmer and master it easily the first time I played, but it took quite a few battles this time. But it's fine, because I made a lot of other progress along the way.
Mikhail's Seiryu Arts level rose a bit, and now when he does Wind Dart, he gets to fire two darts instead of one, which is pretty cool. A lot of magic arts are like this -- once your level in that school gets high enough, they will change to be more powerful, sometimes gaining new abilities like hitting more enemies or adding status effects, and the animations will change a little, too.
Also something I didn't mention before is that if someone has access to a school of magic arts, they will always have the "basic" art of that school, even though you didn't teach it to them. Seiryu's basic art is Wind Dart. All the schools have a basic offensive magic art like this, and they always cost 1JP.
Herman glimmered the War Song Axe art. This is a self-buff spell that raises the user's attack power. It's not as helpful for Herman himself, but since he has a much better time glimmering Axe arts, he was able to glimmer it and master it while Ward could focus on using his sword arts. Then once it was mastered, I taught it to Ward, and as long as he's holding an axe, he can use the art.
Trucks was able to master Matador (which he had glimmered long ago) by fighting the Baku. Matador is a counter art, so when it's used, he'll just stand in position, and if he gets hit with an attack that is able to be countered, there's a chance that instead of taking damage, he'll swing a red cloth and get to attack instead, taking no damage at all.
It's also a very powerful attack, which I guess makes up for it not always working. While the stronger weapon arts of the party were doing around 300-350 damage to the Baku at most, Matador did almost 1000 damage.
There's a room with a chest you can open, and it has Baku Tears in it. But if you keep entering this room from the right door, the chest will be closed again, and have new contents.
The second time you open it, you'll find a Dreaming Jewel, which is an accessory that gives you 18 magic defense (!!) and wards off sleep.
The third time you open the chest, it will contain the Silver Arm. This is a unique gauntlet that gives 7 to both physical and magic defense, which is very nice, but more importantly, when equipped to Sharl, it will change his base stats! If you remember before, he had extremely low strength and skill levels, but when he has the Silver Arm equipped, his strength jumps to 21 and his skill to 19! This greatly increases his power.
There's probably some sort of backstory to this, but I don't know what it is. Maybe we'll find out later in the game.
While wandering you'll eventually come across this room. I've never used a guide for this, so I have no idea if I really understand the solution or if there may be something easier but...
In this room, the women do not move around, so you don't have to worry about bumping them. But you can still go talk to them, and they'll reveal themselves as Baku and you'll have to fight them like all the other Baku.
But the one in the top right corner will just face you for a second and then disappear rather than fight you.
If you enter the table room and only interact with the woman who doesn't fight you, then leave, you'll be in a new hallway instead. From here, you can take stairs back up to the main hallway with all the doors from before.
But if you enter the central door here, you'll be in the table room again. Interact with the disappearing woman again, ignore all the Baku, and exit the door. You'll be where you came from, but now if you go up the stairs on the left, you'll be in a new area.
And here we find Lady Muse! She is surprised to see us here in her dream, and says that since she's under the influence of the Dream Devil, there's no way she should have been able to call for help or anything.
Mikhail tells her that we drank some of the Dream Devil's Potion, too, and Muse is shocked once again that we'd risk our lives like that. But now she doesn't have to fight alone anymore. So we head off to face the Dream Devil together.
Entering the door, instead of the Dream Devil, we find some kind of throne room with a big blue mustache (kyaa) sitting there.
He is glad to see that Muse has returned, and asks her to come back to him.
"Father..." Muse says, seeming to be in some kind of trance.
Likewise, he asks Sharl to fight together with him, and Sharl refers to him as "Lord Clemens."
To snap them out of it, Mikhail smacks Muse and Sharl in the face. I guess it was very fortunate that someone who doesn't know this Clemens guy was here in the dream, too... I wonder what would happen if you chose to stay behind instead of coming with Sharl?
With Sharl and Muse back to their senses, we're able to battle the Dream Devil. I should also note that before entering this room, Muse joins the party and we could have added her to the formation. But she's VERY weak with her starting stats and has no abilities at this point, so it's not really a good idea.
The Dream Devil is a pretty formidable foe, so it's good that we had all those Baku to fight to get in some training before now. It's also one of my favorite enemy sprites in the game. Not only is it a sexy naked green man, but I love the pose and the weird dream throne (?) that it's sitting on, and the wings, and the like... pink vine thing wrapped around it? It's just really nice to look at.
I also realized the Dancing Leaf is much better than I had thought in the last entry. Rather than raise defense, it acts as a sort of shield art (like Aegis Shield in UNLIMITED:Saga).
The target is protected by a dancing cyclone of leaves, and sometimes, when they get attacked, they will take no damage and disappear into the whirling leaves instead. So it completely negates attacks now and then!
And not only that, if the elemental field is wind, anyone protected by Dancing Leaf will also restore HP after every round of combat! It's a small amount, but it adds up if they manage to go turns without getting hit -- which is more likely with Dancing Leaf!
I've never really used this art much because I didn't think it was very helpful, but using it now has really changed my mind!
Sharl glimmered Mizuchi, which is a pretty strong spear art. I'm very lucky that he also mastered it in this same battle, or else it would have been lost after this since he'd leave the party again. Though it probably helped that I just spammed the art after glimmering it :P
Ward glimmered... this good thing. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be Bulk Rush, Bull Crash, or Brook Rush or what??? It could literally mean any of those. Because it makes a sort of explosion animation, "Bull Crash" seems to be the most likely intention, since I think Japanese people are familiar with the word "Crash." But it's also the dumbest sounding name of the three.
Anyway, this is one of the more powerful Greatsword arts, so I was glad to see it glimmer here.
Also important to note is that the Dream Devil has the ability to use Hypnosis... on the entire party at once! This is why it's very useful to glimmer and master Hypnosis Evasion before this fight, and make sure everyone in the party has it equipped.
And yeah, Herman and Sharl died. Since the Dream Devil has attacks that could hit the entire party, that means each time it used one, Herman would lose another LP. With only 4 LP total, this was very scary! Fortunately it didn't use those abilities very much...
After dealing enough damage, the Dream Devil groans and calls out for Muse. Then a bit more damage, it'll do this again, and die.
I kind of wonder if it would constantly target Muse if you brought her into battle? That would be even more of a disaster than her already bad stats at this point lol. Muse is a great character but really should stay out of this fight, even though it's "her" fight.
Afterward, the children are happy to see Muse wake up, and Mitch jumps into bed with her. Muse thanks everyone for worrying and caring about her.
It seems that Gon had gotten the potion from a man in a robe. He was probably trying to find something to make Muse feel better. I don't think it ever explained what was wrong with her, but she seems bedridden up until this point.
Gon says that the robed man who gave him the potion seemed very kind, and wore a red earring.
And in case you've forgotten, a red earring was one of the two clues that Nora had to finding her father's killer and recovering the Holy Emperor's Symbol. The other was the name "Jackal." But it seems like we may have just found a lead...
The third child (did she have a name? I can't remember...) tells us that the potion robe guy is the most important guy from the church.
Sharl realizes that they're talking about Maximus, but can't understand why Maximus would give Gon a Dream Devil's Potion.
At that moment, we realize that all of the items we found in the dream are no longer with us. All the extra Baku Tears have disappeared, the Dreaming Jewel has disappeared...
But the Silver Arm is still here! It's possible to clear this quest without picking up the Silver Arm, so it's very important to do so if you want to unlock Sharl's full potential. Even if you don't want to use Sharl, it's a pretty nice piece of equipment. I made sure to unequip it from Sharl before fighting the Dream Devil.
Before we go and investiage Maximus, we're going to check on the workshop in Pidona. Everything possible to make now requires ingredients that I don't have... Just before going, I sold a bunch of stuff because my inventory was full, including my only Club.
Well, to make the Golden Bat, we need a Club...
I ran around to every city open right now and checked the shops, but I couldn't find a Club at all... so I guess we're just not going to make a Golden Bat right now.
While traveling everywhere, though, I decided to expand Mikhail Company by buying up a bunch of businesses after finding the agents hidden in each town. I'm really getting the hang of the company minigame now, and it's become pretty fun. But it's a little tedious, too.
We actually made it into the top 20, and continued to rise... and then suddenly after finishing an acquisition, we just... appeared in the house in Pidona in the room we met Fullbright in. And Fullbright is there.
He rewards us with 10,000 aurums for helping him out! And I don't mean the company, but our adventure party! He also invites us to his place in Wilmington. To be honest, I've never gotten this far in this minigame before, so I didn't know this would even happen. I also thought you had to do a lot more to finish the minigame...
It seems done because people who previously acted as agents went back to being normal NPCs again.
When we head there, we can enter the House of Fullbright and go into a room that was previously locked. Fullbright is inside and welcomes us, and asks if we like Wilmington.
We're given the option to ask him to join the party or to talk about business.
Choosing to talk about business, Fullbright tells us again that there are many companies out there besides Fullbright Firm (why does he feel the need to preface everything with this? We're literally one of the top 20 firms now... I think we'd know!)
But there are some firms out there who engage in shady business, like trading illegal goods (note: it's literally things 'banned by the Holy Emperor' lol). Dophorle is the worst offender, but they're also a huge firm.
But Fullbright and Dophorle are part of the same alliance, so there would be no reason for them to compete. And that's where he's wanting us to help. Of course, he'll be willing to provide backup.
It seems like the business world is a messy and complicated one, but we choose to help out. Now the agents become 'active' again and we can start doing business once more, now with the goal of trying to run Dophorle out of the market.
But we have a harem party to finish putting together, so that will have to wait for later.