Go, Birdman, Go!
The Leg Collection Agency
We've now gone as far to reach beyond the southeast border. Though the Empire seems to have been disolved for a while now (it seems that Azhuacan was destroyed and Ai Hanumu disappeared around the same time or something?) so I don't know why we keep referring to everything in terms of the Empire, but...
Anyway, we're totally far away from where we're supposed to be going. Oops. Liz seems kind of annoyed that Leo is going all the way out here, and asks him what he had in mind. He says he didn't really have any particular plan, and if we don't find anything here, we'll just leave.
When we first walk in, there's a place called "Birdman Village," and as we approach it, an actual... bird man... comes out! He flies around for a bit, but then crashes somewhere off to the east.
We stop by Birdman Village and get a Feather Amulet as a welcoming gift.
We go over to see what exactly that was that flew out of the village when the village itself proves to be nothing of real interest. We find a guy picking himself up from the crash on the ground.
Leo asks him if he is alright, and he says he is -- he just slipped. Leo asks what the weird bird-wing-looking thing he has is, and the guy says it's called a Glider. It fulfills the dream of being able to fly in the sky.
Leo says he thought it was impossible for humans to fly, but the guy says that's not true. He just needs more feathers. Apparently he made his Glider out of moa feathers, but moa are very hard to catch. He asks us to please share some feathers with him if we happen to catch a moa.
Leo notes that there are all kinds of feathers around here. Does it really have to be moa feathers? And the guy lets us know that his post-production tests have proven moa feathers to be the most successful for making a Glider due to their durability and flexibility. And using something like cockatrice feathers requires monster hunting, which is even more dangerous than flying around on a Glider.
He heads back home to get to work on his repairs, and we explore the region some more. In the southeast, there's a little peninsula with a giant bird's nest on it, and the peninsula seems to point to an island with another giant nest; this one housing a giant egg.
There doesn't seem to be any way to get over there right now, though, so we decide to continue north along the long stretch of water here.
There's a set of twin waterfalls a bit north of the nests, and we find an odd man standing between them. When Leo approaches him, he says... something I don't really understand. What he says literally means he's praying to the Earth Lord for legs, and asks Leo to offer his legs. Leo just asks why, and the guy says to bring some other replacement legs instead.
I think that saying 'legs' can be like... a 'classical' term meaning money, and they did use a different-than-normal character for legs (?) but this is usually to specify that it means actual leg and not just a foot, since 'leg' and 'foot' are the same word in Japanese. And image searching this character just brings up a bunch of thigh fetish porn, so... I really don't know. People have mentioned money before across the game and always use the normal word for money (?) so...
There's really no context to understand what he's talking about, and this is all that happens at the waterfall, so... I'll have to wait til this event progresses to really understand. Probably a native speaker would get it, but... I don't lol.
So we go further north and find an old woman in a cave. Her title is given as something like "High Priestess."
Leo, of course, asks if she knows anything about Ai Hanumu. She asks why we would want to know about something like that. Nothing good can come out of it -- rather, we shouldn't be risking our lives. (?!)
Leo just tells her that we're going to Ai Hanumu to submerge the Scarlet Shards, and Liz wonders if that island might have anything to do with it. The High Priestess says if we think it might, we should go look for ourselves. Liz says we don't have a way to get to the island.
The woman tells us she can get us there, but it won't be free. She'll take one of the Scarlet Shards. I figure I might as well try, and ask her to take us.
Suddenly, we're just... on the island. Liz seems surprised as well, so it seems like she instantly teleported us there. We hear a voice say that the return trip wasn't included in the fee, followed by a bunch of laughter.
Leo seems pretty ticked, but there's not much we can do. The only thing on the island is the big nest with the egg in it, so we go to check it out.
Of course, upon inspecting the egg, monsters jump out and attack us.
It's a pretty easy battle, though.
Once we can see the egg, Liz wonders if it could be Phoenix's egg. Leo notes that it's a huge egg, so it probably is. Liz perks up and wonders what we should do with such a find -- just carry it around with us, try to sell it, maybe just eat it here...
Leo says a Phoenix egg will probably cover our travel expenses. But then we start to hear a cracking sound. Leo says that a Phoenix chick is probably about to hatch, so eating it or whatever is no longer an option.
The sound of the bird inside doesn't sound like a cute chick, though, but rather something terrifying. We're given the option to run or keep watching. Since we're on a little island, I don't know where we even could run to, so we keep watching.
And this black phoenix comes out! At the very beginning of this battle, some line of text flashed on the screen for less than a single second, and I didn't catch any of it.
I did manage to catch a screencap of it, though... but looking at a screencap means exiting the game software, so I really didn't want to do that.
This fight was pretty scary. The baby Phoenix is accompanied by four fireballs (Fire Elementals) that cast lots of scary fire magic at us. Thankfully, I have healing magic now, and the fireballs at least have long casting times, so I was able to survive for quite a while.
But no matter what, I didn't seem to be able to hurt the Phoenix itself. Attacks all did 0 damage no matter what I tried, and it couldn't be inflicted with poison. I could lower its defense and attack and stuff, but it still took 0 damage from everything, even Rengeki.
What's worse is that at the end of every single turn, more fireballs would join the fight if you defeated any, so there were always four at the beginning of every turn. Trying to keep them all casting and killing them just before they were able to get their arts off seemed to at least work at keeping me alive, but I couldn't figure out how to damage the phoenix. I tried defeating all four fireballs on the same turn, but four more just appeared the next turn...
Eventually I wasn't really thinking and defeating a fireball that was between two others on the Timeline, and it made the other fireballs move together and Rengeki against me...
But instead of a normal Rengeki where the involved characters that 'touched' on the timeline all get to gang up for a group attack, something completely different happened! The Phoenix actually ate the fireballs involved in the rengeki, and then unleashed a powerful attack on the whole party!
It was pretty scary, but I had been surviving in the battle so long that I had gained pretty good control over the flow and could keep up on healing pretty well. I also noticed that the Phoenix changed colors after this permanently. It still couldn't take damage, but maybe this was the key to the battle.
Each time I forced a Rengeki against the party, the Phoenix ate more fireballs, turned a brighter red color, and its attacks got even stronger.
I was really starting to worry that I wouldn't be able to take much more of the Phoenix's increased power -- it was getting a lot harder to keep everyone alive. Leo even ended up dying.
But after enough Rengeki, the Phoenix seemed to power up into a full-fledged adult or something, and didn't seem to care about us anymore. It got what it wanted, and flew away.
And we got a victory!
We got 173 (!) fire crystals and 2 Shiny Oils. And after the battle was over, we got a quest completion reward of 75 more fire crystals, 25 rainbow crystals, and 25 metal crystals.
Afterward, Liz seems upset that it flew away. There was no point in even coming to this island. Leo agrees that it's pretty much a complete loss.
Liz wonders how they're even supposed to get off the island. Leo says it's a pain, but they'll have to ask the old hag.
And suddenly, she appears! She says the return fee will cost another Scarlet Shard. Leo tells her she's getting a bit too cocky. She asks if we plan on fighting her, and warns that we'll be sorry if we try.
We have the option to fight or to pay, and I really do not want to lose the Scarlet Shards, so I decide to fight. Plus she trapped us over here and violence is the answer to problems.
The battle isn't too bad -- she does summon two undead to fight alongside her, but they're not the constantly-doing-status-effects type, so it's no real trouble. The High Priestess herself has some pretty powerful magic arts herself, it seems, but terribly long casting times.
We had already worn her pretty far down by the time she was able to even finish casting her first art. But even Rico's incredibly sexy power couldn't deal the final blow, and she did manage to use her magic against the party.
Her art was called something like Crimson Flare, and it actually launched Rico into the sun. He was at full HP, though, and it didn't defeat him. We were able to take her down before she could do anything else.
The battle spoils were an Earth Dragon Staff, a Hermit's Ring, 5 Shiny Oils, 7 Ashes, and 153 fire crystals.
Leo demands she take us back to the mainland, and she just laughs and says we're promising kids. Then suddenly, we're back in the cave we came from, and ... the High Priestess has now joined the party. Without explanation...
She does come with some pretty high elemental levels, and even comes with a couple high-tier magic arts. But Julia already has a ton of magic arts, and this lady's stats don't seem to be anything particularly special. Her Intelligence is high, and Concentration isn't terrible. But everything else is very bad. Her 6 in endurance means she's going to raise her max HP very slowly, and with it starting at only 205 and having 4 LP... she's going to be mostly a hindrance to the party if I try to work her in. Plus having to learn... all those magic arts...
Though it does seem that skill levels are more important than base stats -- making Strength and Intelligence almost negligible. It's very similar to the Romancing SaGa 3 stat system in this way.
But that is only referring to damage -- Skill still affects accuracy a lot, which is very important. Endurance affects status recovery and HP growth. And Concentration affects status infliction. These three stats seem to be the most important overall, and so having a party that excels in these areas seems to be the best way to go.
16 is still a ridiculously high stat, so I wouldn't mind trying her in the party in another playthrough. But since I'm still learning, I'd rather have a bit of raw power on my side, since my tactics and game knowledge are still weak.
Though I would like to have another mage in the party. Since Caspar can only learn the three water arts, I need to look for someone else. Chichi sadly can't learn other magic arts besides the fire ones, so she ended up being a bust, too.
That aside, once we're back on land, we run into a moa running around the mainland. Approaching it, it runs off the west side of the screen, and as we move over there, there are now a bunch of thick wooded areas we can investigate.
Two of the three seem identical, but one of them has a gazelle carcas sitting in front of it. Entering any of them seems to be the same effect -- we'll look for the moa there.
I try the dead gazelle path first, and it ends up leading to a battle with some cockatrices. But we do get a cockatrice plume, a cockatrice leg (...), and... a fossilized gazelle leg. That's... an interesting assortment of items...
Wait... I just realized looking at the screencaps that it uses the same alternate character for "leg" that the guy at the waterfall used when he asked for legs. Maybe he was literally talking about legs?!
When I was playing I was trying to remember if the cockatrice's feathers were good for the Gliders or not. I couldn't remember if Bird Man said they were just as good as the moa, and the only reason he didn't get them was because it was too dangerous, or if that was just an additional reason why it was worthless to get them. He didn't exactly specify, but he did say in his testing, the moa feathers were the best. But maybe he's never even tried a cockatrice feather...?
Anyway, I still want to catch the moa, and thankfully it returned to its central position. Approaching it makes it run off again, though. This time, the gazelle carcas is in front of a different one, so maybe they are randomized, and the gazelle tells you which one has the cockatrice at least.
I go to one of the others, and this time some other kind of bird comes out. We have the option to try to catch it or not, but I feel sorry for it and let it go. Especially since Leo wondered if it might be someone's dinner.
The moa is back in the center again, and this time when we approached it, it ran off to the east. Though the same scenario occurred -- there were three areas to investigate, and one also had a gazelle carcas. I should probably also mention that when you approach the gazelle one, the gazelle is alive at first and just kind of ... rots and falls over in a little animation as you approach... it's kind of creepy.
I choose one of the non-gazelle woods, and Leo says he's definitely not letting the moa get away this time. I guess we kill it because we get a moa plume and... a moa leg. Why are we collecting legs...? Like does Leo kill these animals and then Liz is like "Hey, grab the leg!" It's weird!! Or are we maybe doing it specifically because that guy asked us to bring legs?
I had kinda forgotten all about Leg Guy at this point, though, and I thought maybe they were collecting them kinda how people collect rabbits' feet or whatever?
When we start to head back toward Birdman Village, our friend flies out again on his repaired Glider, but he just crashes once more, this time north of the waters not too far from his village.
Also, if you're curious, his "name" is just given as 'Glider Guy' lol.
Leo approaches him and suggests he give up on trying to fly before he gets too injured. He says that Lord Bartlett is definitely watching, and he has to show him that he can fly freely through the air. (Another note, he just says "Bartlett-sama" which could be interpreted a million ways. I don't know if this is some kind of honored superior, a god, an obsessive crush, or what...)
Leo says that no matter what reason he has for doing it, it's still a hopeless endeavor (why is he being such a dream crusher?!) but he still pulls out the plumes we collected and offers them to the guy. He's very happy that we went through the trouble of getting them for him, and gives us 12 bone fragments in return. We're in the business of dealing animal parts now, I guess...
Anyway, he returns to Birdman Village, and when we approach again, he flies out and crashes again... talking to him gives the same conversation as the last time, but we don't give the plumes since we already handed them over. My guess is we probably need to collect more or maybe get the one from the other type of bird or whatever, and this event will keep occurring until we do.
Anyway, I think I wanted to go check out some shops or just didn't feel like I had much left to do in this province, so this is where our adventures in the land past the southeast border ends for now.