Babies, Crabs, and Polar Bears?!
Oh, and Librarians, Too!
I spent a lot of time kinda running around and doing whatever, so I hope this isn't too random. I have about 400 screenshots on the Vita from these play sessions since the last time...
But yeah, I'll try to cut out a lot of the random stuff, so it shouldn't be longer than normal entries for these, and some pretty interesting stuff happened!
I feel like this game has an unusual amount of story for a SaGa game. And Leonard is supposed to have the least amount of story, so I really wonder what the other characters are like!
So, I wanted to gather some materials and get some fights in before trying to really move on with what seems like the 'main' storyline (going to the Imperial Library). So last time I left off, I left where I was an in Cindrea, there were ... crabs... everywhere?
Inspecting the crabs at any of the spots gives the same few little lines of dialogue about how there are so many crabs and we can't enter or reach whatever it is.
There was also that dog next to some meat. The meat is jammed into a bottle, and the dog can't get it out. Also, Liz notices that the dog's name tag says "Eight." Actually, it says "8" but the game tells us to pronounce it as the English word "Eight."
We are able to get the meat out of the bottle, and we are actually presented with the option to give it to Eight, or to just eat it ourselves. Leo is a good guy so he gave the dog the meat. Plus why would you eat random meat you found sitting in a bottle laying on the ground...
After Eight chows down, they run over to some boxes. Talking to Eight, Leo says something like "This box, then?" and so I guess Eight is... telling us which box to pick? I picked the other box and got in a battle and died, reloaded the game later, and picked the box Eight was standing next to... and it was materials from the old Saqqara. Like, as in, the one that got destroyed in the dam flood, not True Saqqara which appeared in the empty lake after the flood.
This happens several more times around this big open area -- Eight running to different sets of boxes. And we keep getting materials from Saqqara. After we finally pick up all the pieces, the old town of Saqqara just... pops back up! Even Liz seems surprised. I don't really know what the point of this was, as there's nothing to do in Saqqara. Maybe it will become important later...?
Next, I go to check out the giant spider sitting behind the destroyed dam. Inspecting it, Leo calls it a "giant crab." It... definitely looked like a spider to me... But Leo makes a joke about cooking it, and Liz responds that we're not going to be able to eat it without fighting it first, so she doesn't question that he just called a big spider a crab...
And even in the battle... it looks like... a spider... But its name is "Crab Queen" so I guess it's a crab. IGUESS.JPG
It honestly wasn't that hard to defeat -- I was kinda worried about it, but it was pretty easy. Afterward, all the crabs disappear and we can re-enter everywhere like before.
Eight is hanging out in another open area, and so we check that out...
And Eight brings us a hot springs... somehow! And turns into like a white wolf thing. Entering the hot springs makes Liz warn Leo not to 'peek,' even though she didn't do this when we got in the other hot spring. And it restores 3LP to everyone.
I went back into Hadasht just to check on the blacksmith... and got another scene with the unfortunately misclothed woman here. She asks if we found anything in the ruins of True Saqqara, and Leo tells her about our scuffle with Savnok's lackeys there. He shows her the staff that we found, and decides to entrust it to her -- since Saunoc's disciples are looking for it, it's probably safer with her.
Then I went back to Baby Province to continue taking notes on all the blacksmiths. I normally don't look at the names of locations much when I go up to them, because they just say the same thing the English names do, but in Japanese. So I only really look if I can't figure out how to pronounce something.
Though I happened to notice as I walked past Bicornia that the name would disappear and appear again. So I kinda ran back and forth and noticed the name didn't appear when I was in the middle. And then I realized the name and description were totally different on each side... there's actually a Bicornia (East) and Bicornia (West). The eastern side seems to be the remnants of Bicornia Castle, and the western side seems to now be a hideout for bandits. I don't think it was ever explained why half of it is in ruins.
I went to each one, because I don't even know which one I visited before when Leo was asking everyone about stuff. It seems like I had gone to the eastern one, because I met a new guy in the western side.
He seems kinda proud of being a bandit. When Leo asks him about Ai Hanumu, he says something like "As a bandit, we have lots of bandit stories!" or something lmao. Then he starts telling a story...
Apparently in Ai Hanumu there were sometimes corrupt people, just like everywhere, and of course there were bandits. But there was a Robin-Hood-like 'good bandit' named the Chickie Kid. And like his name suggests, he would chirp like a baby chick. And no matter what, Chickie Kid could not be caught. Until one day, he was caught. (That's... really how the story went lol) After he was captured, clouds covered the sky and there was a terrible thunderstorm. Before you could even notice, Chickie Kid was gone, and he was never to be seen again.
After leaving, Liz comments that she bets Chickie Kid was cute and wishes she could meet him. Leo says he has no interest in some stupid waddling thief.
I tried going around to everywhere again with Baby but still couldn't figure out what to do. I even fought the monsters outside the hut in the forest again (they come back every time you re-enter the province...) and Creeper Sunglasses (what was his name...? Francis?) demands Baby, we don't give Baby, and we leave. Like always.
So I headed south to a new province. This is Hibernia. I didn't do much here; I was just kinda looking to see if there were any good blacksmiths close because the only water specialty one I had written down was in Yaxart, and that is very, very far away at this point, so running all the way back there is a huge pain. Especially because once you're there, you can't take Rowsui Tower back to Kei, you have to go all the way through the mountain path and through Megdasse again to get back...
Liz scolds Leo for heading the opposite direction of the library, but he says he's looking for Scarlet Shards
Anyway, she says she didn't know he was such an obsessive collector, and that it doesn't seem like him.
And of course, only a couple steps into this area and boom! Big Long is back again.
I'm already here and I didn't see any minions, so I figured I may as well go ahead and fight him. For a "Hard" fight, Big Long never seems too difficult, but since it's a Hard difficulty fight, we get a better chance of things like glimmers, rank up, and flux.
Such as Balmaint glimmering Shadow Sew :)
There were a couple towns and blacksmiths, including a water one! There were some mines, some kind of 'rainbow bridge' thing that apparently connects to the capital but isn't working right now, and some mines with elemental themes.
The sexy gold armor above told us that even if he knew something about Ai Hanumu, he has no reason to tell us. The lady in the other town told us that Ai Hanumu is a legend. That's it.
There's also some kind of war going on with the minions that usually pop out around Big Long. All kinds of crazy stuff seems to be going on in a forest in the southern part of this region. I didn't come here for that, so I avoided it and went back up north.
So, I went all the way north, past the place where they were building that tower to pray to the phoenix or whatever, where Liz said we should go north to find Ai Hanumu. There's a battle in the Gust Gorge here and it gave good rewards, so I decided I may as well try it and see if I can open up another area.
I had totally forgotten, but this is the Normi region, where the Norm people live. Someone had told us about them before. I don't remember what I'm supposed to know about them, other than they live up here.
The first battle here was not so bad -- actually, a lot easier than I was expecting. I've started to realize that you really need to carry heavy hitters into battle with you. I mean, I realize that probably sounds obvious, but in most games, the difficulty is not so high, so I like to focus completely on support and try to win through a bunch of gimmicky stuff like poison and instant death. You can't really do that in this game. You really need to have at the very least your strongest character in a position to deal a lot of damage at all times, or you're going to die. It usually helps to have more than one, though.
But unlike other games where you can easily just spam your strongest attacks and win, you need to have a strong support game here, too. You have to be able to stun, paralyze, poison, sleep, and lower stats as well as buff your allies. I haven't discovered any healing abilities yet, so minimizing damage you take through manipulating speed and buffs and debuffs is critical.
The second battle was a lot tougher. It all came down to this final turn. There are a lot of super close battles like this. It's like Tagut vs Grace but like it happens ALL THE TIME and it's constantly scary. Except now it's... Caspar vs weird sexualized vampire bird lady thing.
She won though T_T
But I rematched and defeated her the second time.
After a couple battles, we get a lot of nice materials and arrive at Normi. This seems to be the farthest north, and people told us Ai Hanumu was north, north, north. So... here we are.
Also, it's pretty big on the map! It's almost the size of the entire rest of the world we've covered so far. Of course, half of this is ocean, so I guess that's not particularly impressive, and the rest of it is pretty empty...
Upon arriving, Liz complains about how cold it is, and says she might die. I don't know if this is hyperbole, or if she's actually concerned for her safety, wearing that in what is essentially the arctic of this world.
But then she's just suddenly happy and says it feels warm, and Leo notices that the Scarlet Shards are glowing.
In the northwest corner of this area, there are ilke these little icecap things you can walk on, but they don't seem to do anything???
There's this grave here and you can read the epitaph. It talks about the three heroes resting here and how they're still protecting this land. This is probably some critically important thing and I didn't even bother to screencap it lol.
In the little town of Wesdorf just north of the grave, and like always, Leo asks about Ai Hanumu, this time mentioning that he heard it was around here somewhere. The ridiculously underdressed gal (it's snowing!!) says we should try checking out the ruins in the northern waters, though she doesn't know if it has anything to do with Ai Hanumu or not. But that's the best she's got.
Liz asks how we're supposed to get out to ruins that are in the middle of the ocean, and the lady says that the Holy Emperor would just part the sea and walk there. Like, she says this like as if we're supposed to just... go do that.
There's this boulder sticking out into the water, and walking on it we can see the ruins poking out of the water ahead, but we have no way to get there. I was kinda expecting the Scarlet Shards to glow and the waters just part suddenly. I mean, we did destroy a dam out of nowhere before. But nothing happens and we seem stuck here on land.
Heading to the eastern-most part of the region we find a little town next to a sluice gate. The blacksmith character here is... recolor Caspar. Who looks really freaking weird because I'm used to seeing normal-colored Caspar.
But this means there are Rico recolors out there for me to love...
And speaking of Rico, there are kinda these monsters just hanging about in the southern part of this area, and they gave some good materials, so I decided to try fighting them.
It came down to another one-on-one close call battle between Rico and strangely-colored werewolf...
This time Rico won :D Poor Caspar, getting shown up like that... XD
Rico victory face :) The camera like zooms in on the character for a bit and then zooms out very quickly, so it was hard to get this picture. And he's in transition from his normal standing pose to his like arms-crossed-everyone-does-it pose. So it's a little weird, but this is the closest and clearest shot of his face the game ever gives, so I tried to catch it with a screencap. Because I'm like super crushing on Rico right now. I like Caspar (and Julia is really growing on me somehow?) but Rico is LKSDJGLKJDG
After defeating them a weird little ice cap with a bear on it floated up?!
I tried to walk on the other ice caps, but nothing happened. So maybe I have to fight the other monsters down there and I'll be able to build a bridge to the bear? I didn't really want to do this right now because the fights were kinda hard, and if this is the way to Ai Hanumu (even though I really doubt it is), I don't want to go there just yet. So I head over to the sluice gate, which is the only thing I haven't really looked at yet, and a bottle floats up in the ocean. Apparently it's a bottle of honey that bears love.
The sluice gate does nothing, so it's time to move on. I figure I should probably get around to actually going to the Library, because I don't feel like exploring any more new places yet.
Inside the library, this super cute girl appears! Also, she has a little thing under her eye like Marian did. Marian had a heart. She has like a star or a snowflake or something? I should also mention that once Marian joined the party, she didn't have the heart anymore. My guess is that it probably caused the game to crash or take an extra 10 minutes to load so they just deleted the heart from her battle model. I'm not really joking, though...
Anyway, she doesn't seem to have a name, which is sad, and she's labeled as "Imperial Librarian." I was really hoping she was going to join the party, because how awesome would that be?? But instead we just talked a lot.
She greeted us by saying it was rare to have visitors at the library. Leo immediately asked if she had any books about Ai Hanumu. She offered him that same fairy tale book that Leo referenced in the very beginning of the game. He just responds that he's read that book a million times.
She tells him that regrettably they don't have any other books that he can read. Leo responds that he heard that all of the knowledge of the empire was stored here, but it seems that's not actually the case.
Library gets mad and says that all she said was that they don't have any books Leo can read, nothing more. Then she grabs this stone tablet and shoves it in his face like "can you read THIS???"
Then she explains that it is the job of Imperial Librarians to transcribe these ancient tablets into books. She ... didn't really explain why Leo couldn't read it, so I'm guessing it's in another language, or an old enough variant of their language so people wouldn't be able to read it without learning it?
Anyway, Leo says in that case, he'll just get the information from her directly, so he asks her if the location of Ai Hanumu is written anywhere.
Library says unfortunately the location of it is not written anywhere (what were you expecting?) but one thing is certain -- it doesn't exist within the Empire's borders. She says our best bet is to try going to the far northeast point of the empire and look from there.
Leo thanks her for her help and leaves the library, sadly without a new party member.
Once outside, Leo's wonders if the northeast point is very far. There's kind of a big conversation here, so I think it's better if I type it out. Please note my translation skills are terrible, but I'll try my best to make this sound natural.
By the way, the part where he's talking about his grandfather's back... I think it's some kind of idiom that I don't understand. So I'm sorry that that part doesn't really make sense.
Leo: Past the northeast border, huh? I wonder if it's nearby...
Liz: Um, Leo... Crossing the border means we're leaving the entire empire, and Azhuacan is in the center... So it's gonna be really far away...
Leo: Huh. Well, then, we better get moving.
Liz: Wait, you're really going? Don't you think you've done enough? You don't need to go through all of this. I don't get it...
Leo: Liz, I decided to do this, and I'm going to see it through to the end.
Liz: What the hell? Isn't that childish? You even said yourself that being an adult means being able to go with the flow.
Leo: My grandpa got a full back from all his hard work in the fields. That's why I started doing farm work -- I want to have a back like that. That's the kind of adult I meant when I said that. So I can't just give up in the middle of something.
Leo: Liz, you've helped me a lot by coming this far with me. You know I'm embarrassed to say stuff like this, but thank you. From here onward, there is no need to follow me anymore. You don't desire to work to have a full back like my grandpa. You're really still a child...
Liz: What the hell, talking to me like you're my teacher or something? This isn't like you at all! We've done nothing but travel with you, so if you have something to say, don't mince your words and just say it.
Leo: Fine. I'm going. You guys can do whatever you want.
Liz: "Do whatever you want" my ass! Coming from you, who can't do anything on his own. You have no right to be saying stuff like that, Leo.
And with that, they leave together.
Personally, I thought this was a really cool scene! This was like... more personality than all of UNLIMITED:Saga's stories combined? In one little scene? But yeah, it's an interesting conversation. I feel like at first you could think that Liz is just following Leo around because she likes adventures and maybe has a crush on him (her jealousy with Marian pretty much confirms she probably has a crush on him, though), but I'm starting to think that she is also following along perhaps out of a genuine worry. Like she feels like she needs to be there to protect him. Which I think is pretty cool? And I really love the dynamic between Liz and Leo already, and I think this kind of fleshed it out a bit. And I really love Liz, like, a lot.
Anyway, now that we've gone to the library and it just was more vague clues that may not even be sending us in the right direction, I figured we might as well fight Big Long since he's here, too. Remember how he popped out when we first visited Azhuacan?
There were minions standing about, too, and we can't fight Big Long directly (BTW, if you're wondering, its name is just 'Earth Snake" in the battle menu, but Leo called it "That big long thing" and I like that name better XD), so we have to fight a two-battle series with the minions first and Big Long last.
The first battle was against the minions, and they had some kind of demon thing with them, too. The normal little black knight guys were not so bad, but the one with the big axe was pretty tough. The minions are immune to being paralyzed, too. Fortunately, the big demon was not, though, and axe man was very slow.
I also learned that interrupts can be interrupted -- Liz used her earthquake interrupt, and then axe guy used an interrupt. His was terrifying. He jumped into the air and landed down on her Sephiroth style... but chopping with a big axe. The whole screen got dark and red and it looked like a shadow of blood dripping over the screen?! It was scary... Somehow Liz lived through it though, which was wild.
After that, Big Long came out. And now already has Small Shorts from the start, so it doesn't waste a turn summoning them at first. And the Small Shorts are already there and get to attack. Oh, and it summons new Small Shorts even when some are already out, so you get whole hoards of them...
So it's a bit tougher than the Big Longs we've fought before. Also, I was using Double Combine formation this time, which was not a good idea, it seems -- Leo can defeat a Small Short in one attack in Crooked Cross (if he's the front post), but in Double Combine he doesn't seem to be able to, and I have to choose between using the rest of the BP on another attack and finishing off the Small Short in the same turn, or using that BP to try to poison or paralyze Big Long. Not a choice I like making.
Big Long's attacks are much scarier than Small Shorts' attacks, so I would usually opt to try to paralyze Big Long. But if he was already paralyzed, I'd prioritize killing a Small Short, because that's guaranteed less damage to the party. Earlier poison means a faster kill, so theoretically less damage to the party but... not necessarily. Poison and paralysis are cured at random rates (based on Endurance; I'm assuming you roll a check between every turn) so it's hard predicting really what is going to happen with that.
Feeling bold after our cool cutscene and defeating Big Long, I went over to this army here, where there's a "Very Hard" battle waiting. I haven't had one of these yet, so I'm going to try it...
Talking to the group, it seems that after the phoenix landed on one of the temples (remember when this happened like, ages ago when we first came here?), suddenly monsters started pouring out of the temple and the temple started making a loud noise. The knights assembled to fight the monsters, but they're willing to accept any help they can get.
We offer to help and start our series of battles. I figure if it's too hard I can just reload the save and come back later. Even the first battle was kinda tough -- the enemies here seemed to have huge defense and could cast magic that could hit the entire party. They were also immune to sleep and paralyze, so it was pretty tough to keep them under control. Well, some of the enemies were like this -- there were a mix of these magic-based enemies and some physical enemies.
My best bet seemed to be to keep the physical enemies paralyzed and work on taking the magic enemies out as fast as possible before their casting times were up. But even with 4-turn casting, they were hard to defeat in time.
The magic wasn't too strong, but the physical enemies could deal tons of damage as well as confuse party members. But the magic enemies had strength in numbers, so focusing on the few physical enemies meant you got hit with lots of magic that added up over the course of the battle.
I made it to the Very Hard fight and died, though I feel like I was actually doing okay. if I had gotten luckier with my paralysis, I may have been able to do it. Well, probably not, but it seemed within reason, at least.
But afterward, instead of a game over screen, we returned to the map and the knights said they were able to defeat everything and thanked us for our help. I missed out on a lot of rewards by dying, though. I thought that was pretty interesting. I didn't really want to save scum it, so I left it like that and headed out of Azhuacan. (For some reason I didn't take any screencaps at all during those battles, sorry O_o)
Oh, but one nice thing about the capital -- there are two blacksmiths and combined they cover discounts for all types of materials! So you're guaranteed to have the discount you need here, plus on items that have more than one elemental material type, you could get discounts on both parts (for example, if something costs 100 fire crystals and 100 earth crystals, and you went to a fire blacksmith, it would cost less fire crystals but still 100 earth crystals. But go to one that has both fire and earth, and you get a discount in both!)
It's really just a matter of how willing you are to put up with the tedium of running all the way across the world to a blacksmith that's far away. I don't mind so much, because sometimes I notice random stuff I missed or whatever while running around, plus I love listening to the map music. It's really good.
When I got back to Baby Province, I decided to go southeast, since I know there's a gate right there and I haven't been here yet. The primary method of obtaining new weapons and armor and stuff seems to be from the gifts you get for visiting towns for the first time, so I kinda want to run around and see lots of new towns, but not get involved in all these side quest shenanigans and Big Long fights.
But when I approached the gate, I was able to talk to the guard and ask about... not Ai Hanumu, but the Scarlet Shards! I was really surprised that this happened.
The guard talked about how when he was little, his grandmother used to tell him about how when Firebringer was destroyed, he was separated into a bunch of red stones. His grandma would always get teary-eyed when she told the stories. He didn't understand then, but now he finds himself crying when he tells old stories, too.
We leave the gate and Liz asks Baby if she agrees that it was a nice story. Leo says he doesn't understand why the grandma would cry over the story. Liz gets annoyed and tells him he has a long way to go before he really grows up.
I walk around and notice that the description of all the areas have changed to "maybe we can ask about Scarlet Shards here" or whatever. So now I have to go around and talk to all these people again. And yes, they all tell some story or whatever like they did when we asked about Ai Hanumu. And then Liz talks to Baby afterward with her comments, with Leo usually disagreeing somehow.
These aren't that interesting so I'm going to gloss over them even more than last time. Though maybe they add a bit to the lore. Maybe.
The Marigan priest says that the god Marigan destroyed Firebringer and broke him into shards, and that you should return the shards to Marigan. Liz doesn't like it and says Baby looks bored, too.
The Adamas priest says you can use the Shards to find lots of minerals while mining. Liz says she's glad that that guy didn't have any Shards, and Leo says it has nothing to do with Baby (as in, stop talking to Baby about it).
This other guy said he'd love a red stone because it could fetch a high price to sell it to the House of Iracurio in Cindrea. There was a peddler trying to sell one, but he couldn't buy it because the peddler's price was too high. He wasn't sure where the peddler was from -- maybe someone from the House of Julanius past Catherine, or someone from the Bicornian Knighthood.
Leo wonders why the guy talked to Baby the whole time when Leo himself was the one asking questions. Liz says it's the natural thing to do.
This lady at the western gate said she doesn't know about Scarlet Shards, but if we're talking about red stones, she sold one a while back. But she doesn't remember who she sold it to -- a priest, but she can't tell the difference between all the temples. I don't blame her, since everyone is just a recolor of the same priest.
The guy at Testika says that when Firebringer was broken into shards, they vanished.
The bandit guy from west Bicornia says he sold a counterfeit Scarlet Shard to someone, but like everyone else, can't really remember who. Maybe a Bicornian knight, maybe a Marigan priest... lol. Afterwards, Leo told Baby not to make forgeries. Liz says there are a lot of fake rocks and fake people in the world.
The Bicornian Knight was great. He said that scarlet was the favorite color of the Holy Emperor and so the color was reserved only for nobility. Scarlet-colored items were given as gifts from high-ranking people. I didn't screencap the next line for some reason, but he probably talked about people stealing them or making forgeries. And after that he posed dramatically and shouted, "We Knights of Bicornia will never forgive such criminals!"
And then after that he looked at Baby and was like "How was that? Wasn't that cool?"
Afterwards, Liz said to Baby, "Wasn't that fun? That knight made a big fool out of himself."
So now Leo wants to go ask the priests again, as they seem to be some kind of suspects -- The Adamas priest tells us that the miners know about a red stone, so we should go to the mine.
Why did we have to talk to all these people like three times each just to be told to go to the mine?! Also, oops, I kinda... destroyed the mines when I killed all the miners and stole all their stuff...
But after talking to the priest, the mines appeared again! We revived them!
Heading to the mines, something seems to be going on. Leo rushes in to see what's up, and the miner says that bandits are ransacking the place and attacking everyone. Leo's immediate is reaction is "I'm here about a red stone." LOL
The miner says that the red stone seem to be what the bandits are after, and Leo offers to help stop them. Thankfully the miner doesn't seem to remember that time we killed him and took all his materials.
But when we get into a battle, it's not just bandits... there are people from all over -- Bicornia, Catherine, the temples... it seems everyone is greedily hunting this Scarlet Shard.
Also, during this battle, we were forced to use a formation called "Baby Guard." It gives no bonuses to any characters, makes everyone stand in an exposed triangle shape, and gives one less BP than normal to start, but has one more max BP than normal.
Marian learned a new role -- this one is called like... "Free Spirit" (I don't really know what to call it, but it's like... a person who acts freely LOL) and it makes you more likely to appear earlier in the timeline.
The way I am assuming the timeline works is that at the very beginning of the battle, all participants roll for initiative based on their Speed stat, and it creates the timeline order from that. From then on out, the order is never re-rolled, but is altered by actions taken in battle. At least, that's how it seems to work. So it seems like this role will help characters get a faster place on the timeline, kinda like a boost to speed, essentially.
Which sounds incredibly useful! So I'm going to try to get it on a few other characters, too, especially ones with mediocre speed who need to go first (like Balmaint, who seems to be building into a character that needs to go early to stun opponents and cancel their actions before they can act, but his speed isn't the greatest).
We finish the fight, but we don't manage to grab the Scarlet Shard. Liz is glad that Baby is safe, but she wonders who could have taken the shard... and... it seems we need to go ask around about it. Yeah, we have to go talk to all these people again.
Thankfully after only a couple converstaions, clues point right toward the bandits in west Bicronia. So I head there, and the bandit kid seems pretty mad that we're accusing him of theft (even though he bragged about being a bandit before this?!) and then a bunch of bandits attack us. We don't have to use Baby Guard anymore (I guess it's okay to hurt Baby now?!) and the bandits are weaker than the knights from the last battle, so this is significantly easier. Plus almost everything they do triggers Liz's interrupt.
Balmaint glimmered this really strange sword art where he like... lies down on the ground and then like... lazily lunges the sword up at the enemy? And it causes Bump, which makes the target fall down on the timeline (for the rest of that turn only).
After the battle, Balmaint releases two roles! One is the Free Spirit one that I was purposely aiming for, but the other increases his Bump ability.
After defeating the bandits, Leo demands that they hand over the Scarlet Shard. But the bandits claim they don't have it any more, and we will be able to find it at the forest hut. Yeah, that place where Francis the Weirdo hangs out.
Liz seems worried about Baby, but we have no other choice but to go there. Because, well, the Shard is more important than this human's safety and well-being, I guess.
There are some monsters outside the shack which aren't too hard to take out. Caspar died, but I had him try using foils to see if he could glimmer the poison art for them, and he did! He already has a poison art for spear, so I was hoping that he would learn some kind of role that would boost his ability to inflict poison.
When he learned a new role and I saw the first word was 'poison' I got really excited, but the role only boosts his poison resistance. It's a shame, because Cecilia has a role that boosts her paralysis infliction rate, so those kind of roles must exist...
Inside the hut, Francis reveals that he does indeed have the Scarlet Shard now, and this is another conversation that's probably better with a script.
Francis: So you've come. I have the scarlet shard here. Just leave the baby with me.
Leo: I refuse.
Francis: Oh? And here I thought the scarlet shards you're collecting were important to you.
Leo: We'll have the shard, too.
Francis: Am I understanding you correctly? You intend to take the shard from me?
Leo: Seems that way. If you understand, let's get on with it.
Francis: You really think I'd hand a scarlet shard over that easily?! You've really underestimated me... Do you know why even when the capital fell the library remained standing? It's because we librarians protect it! To not fear this uniform... is a disgrace!
So, it sounds like Imperial Librarians are more than just librarians... and they do more than just transcribe tablets...
TBH, I love the idea of Librarians being this like... elite magical guard of the library, and the library being a very important thing -- so important it's the only thing that was kept standing in the destruction of the capital.
So, time to fight the librarian! Not only can he fight, but Francis seems to have like... summoned some kind of weird hell dimension around us? Oh, and some undead, because, well, you know how everyone loves necro stuff.
The undeads have the most obnoxious ability to glare at you and make you instantly confused.
This is bad because there's two of them, so in two turns, it's possible for them to inflict everyone but one member of the party with confusion, so we have no control over our actions at all and all the BP gets eaten up on random stuff.
But apparently you can still rank up your weapon arts even if it's the confusion selecting them for you!
While everyone is confused, Francis casts magic. It takes four turns to cast, which is forever, but since the party is choosing abilities and targets at random, and there are three possible targets... the chance of us hitting him enough to defeat him before he can cast is pretty low.
And when he actually gets around to casting, it's pretty devastating. It wiped out the entire party except Rico (wow! -- both at everyone dying like that, and at Rico somehow surviving), but then, of course, it caused the enemy party to get a Rengeki, and that finished Rico off...
At this point I was pretty tired so I took a break, even though Gerome glimmered Flame Arrow and Rico got a rank up on a useful greatsword art. I had plenty of LP and could have continued, but I needed a break, and returned to the title.
Picking up again, I used Crooked Cross instead of Double Combine, and put Leo at the front. My goal was to do nothing but spam Leo's strongest arts in hopes of taking Francis down before he could cast. The undead minions would be a piece of cake with Francis out of the way, but focusing on the minions gave Francis way too much time. The minions could withstand quite a bit of hits, but they just didn't have much in the way of damaging power.
Here's Rico using Swing Down and looking particularly murderous ??? Doesn't it make you want to be chopped in half?
Francis fell with a bit of luck (Leo did get confused after a couple turns, but happened to use his strongest sword art on Francis anyway) and we defeated the undeads even while everyone was in confusion without too much trouble.
Afterward, Leo repeats that we're taking the shard and steals it from Francis. Francis begs us to leave Baby with him, and then Baby must not leave Gladion Province. Liz's response is, "Thanks for the warning. Bye."
Outside, Liz happily tells Baby that we're going to get to travel around together some more now.
Suddenly, a voice shouts out, "Scarlet!" and a woman comes running over.
Apparently, Baby's name is Scarlet, and she is the daughter of this woman's sister, who passed away due to illness, and she and her husband had been taking care of her in her stead. The woman seems very relieved to see Scarlet is safe.
Liz challenges her, "Taking care of her?! We've been risking our lives for her!"
To which Leo scolds, "Elizabeth!" using her full name.
But Leo does ask the woman to explain why we found a baby just rolling around near the street.
Sadly, I can't really understand what she says next -- after her sister died of illness... there was a moment when they were irresponsible adults and doing all sorts of things... but if you return Scarlet now that kind of hardship will never come again.
So I don't really know what it's saying, or if I'm even understanding it right. It just sounds like her explanation was "we were careless" and that's it?? Like is that really enough explanation for why your baby was abandoned on a road?! But maybe she's talking about other people or something; I don't even know. But there's no more detail than that. I'm just not really sure if she's referring to herself or getting mixed up with some bad people or what?????
Leo hands Scarlet over and wishes her well. The woman says she wishes she could repay us in some way, so Leo asks her about Ai Hanumu lol.
She says that Ai Hanumu was known as the Scarlet Capital, and that's the baby's namesake. (A note here: the baby's name is "Scarlet," as in the English word. The phrase "Scarlet Shard" is written in Japanese. Literally it's just "red shard" but they use a different character for red than normal to indicate that it's not meant to be interpreted as any old red. So an English equivalent would be saying scarlet or crimson or something. I like the word crimson and despite the name of the game, I never really thought much about it and just chose to call them crimson from the start... but since the name of the game is Scarlet Grace and the baby's name is literally Scarlet in English, and the baby was named after the Scarlet Capital which is written in Japanese with the same "red" character as the shards...)
Because of having a baby named after Ai Hanumu, the woman decided to research about it, and is more than happy to tell us everything she knows about it.
I guess this story was intended to happen only after you have visited the Library? I'm just guessing that visiting the Library triggered Leo to start asking about the Shards in town. But that's just a guess. Because they probably didn't want you to get to the part with Francis without first seeing the capital Azhuacan in shambles with the Library still standing.
Anyway, I'm glad the whole babysitting quest is over, and I like the way it ended. In the end, I thought Francis was kinda cool. I do like his Librarian uniform thing, even if his sunglasses look super lame. It makes me interested to know more about the Librarians, but being SaGa, this could also be the last we ever hear about that.
And that's where we'll stop for tonight. This did end up being a bit longer than I thought... It took me like 3 hours to write up this post (including uploading the screenshots and everything, and going through all 365 of them to pick out the ones to use lol >_>)