Today's team. Olberic and Therion have banters, so they're obvious picks. Continuing the gimmicks, Cyrus is a Cleric, which suits him quite well. I still want to avoid job pairings to make things slightly more challenging, so I keep Ophilia as a Hunter, Therion an Apothecary, and because the thread requested it, Olberic a Dancer.

There's a trail to the forest, but it's uneventful.

Music: The Trees Have Eyes

This is the Murkwood. Not the Mirkwood, of course, that "U" makes it legally distinct and there's no jerk wood elves in sight anyway.

It's a forest dungeon, so your usual winding paths. Well, this one starts out as a big circle, then we go east from the top and it's pretty much a straight line besides all the paths for treasure, so for a forest dungeon this is more linear than usual.

I have quite a few encounters in this dungeon, with all these enemies.

Many of them make the mistake of being weak to fire, so Cyrus ends up burning down half the forest.

Today's purple chest has a Clarity Stone, which prevents Confusion. I rarely bother with status-blocking accessories, but I still appreciate having them if I need them. I just need to block specific statuses on Alfyn and he can easily heal the rest of the party if I run into such a nasty boss.

The only reason Cyrus isn't ripping stuff apart is because I still haven't had a good staff upgrade yet, leaving my highest staff below 80 ElemAtk. That's worse than some of my other weapons! I'm probably going to have to overpay for a good staff sooner or later. As if bosses aren't already trivial...

At any rate, eventually we reach the center, and so...

And how far in here am I...?

I have to find that brooch!

I-I'm sorry, I haven't found it yet! Please, just give me a little more--

But the dog--
Forget about the stupid dog!

D-did you hear that?

Music: For Light


Derryl jumps in front of Emil to protect him. I mean, that beast is probably going to eat both no problem, but it's the thought that counts.

Sister Ophilia!?
Thank heavens I arrived in time. Now get behind me--both of you!
Don't worry--everything's all right. You two were very brave.

Video: Boss: Hróðvitnir

Music: Decisive Battle I

Today's boss battle is Hróðvitnir. I'm going to call him Groovy Hroovy instead.

Hroovy wastes no time getting groovy. His first action gives him two turns a round for the duration of the fight. We haven't really seen this much yet, but multiple-turn bosses will be a staple soon enough.

Of course, Leghold Trap will work on all of these turns.

Things go as usual. Find weaknesses and break 'em.

I use Lion's Dance on Olberic. Lion's Dance gives one less turn than the Warrior's Abide, so this seems like a stupid move. However, it does mean we get to hear Olberic's dancer lines, which is a more-than-sufficient trade-off.

At this point, my party throws their usual barrage of max-boost attacks and together knock off close to a third of this beast's max HP in one round.

This wolf isn't quite the pushover that I make him look, however. Hroovy gains two groovy shields every time we break him, up to eleven. And now that he's under half health, he jumps up to three turns a round.

I shake things up mainly to show off more battle lines. Why not?

As for Hroovy's attacks, they're not that groovy. Bestial Fang deals huge damage (at least to non-Ophilia characters) and can debuff PhysDef. He also has a party-wide physical attack, a PhysAtk buff, and an attack that both debuffs PhysDef and can inflict Terror (which prevents gaining and using Boost) to the entire party. So he can be annoying, but honestly he's not too threatening even with three turns.

Especially when my party can tear through Hroovy's HP like a...

*checks rhyming dictionary*

...groovy goofy juicy looney. Sure, that can vaguely make sense, let's go with that.

Anyway even if Hroovy survives, his groovy home will be ashes.

The foolish wolf throws what pathetic attacks he has at us...

...before I kill him trying to break him. And with that, the forest has become significantly less groovy today.


You kicked its butt...

Y-you said it!
Come on, Emil. Let's go back home.
Hang on... If you'll just give me a little bit more time...

But I... Aaah!

Emil, you...
Nice going, Emil!
Haha, thanks!

Emil, I think that Derryl has something he wants to say.
He does?

Music: Bonds of Friendship

I'm sorry! Sorry for being so mean to you...
When my mum died, it seemed so unfair...

I...I'm sorry, Emil... I'm so, so sorry!
It's okay. I knew you were sad, and I couldn't do anything to make you feel better either...

But you understand each other now, and that's what counts.

I really am sorry, Emil.
It's all right. Besides, you saved my life.


Music: River of Life

We're back in Saintsbridge, so let's do some banter.

You're very quiet, Therion.
Are you thinking how heartwarming it is, to see quarreling friends make good again?
...Not exactly. They just reminded me of something.
And what might that be?

Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to pry...
No need to apologize. It was a long time ago. It's nothing but a memory now. And I know I'm not the only one around with such an uplifting past.
I admire your attitude, Therion. It's very brave.

This is a bit unusual, since this one's more focused on Therion mulling over his past. Of course, we know he had a childhood friend that for all we know has betrayed him and caused him to adopt his loner persona, though the details will have to wait until his latter chapters. But it makes sense that watching those two children make friends again has triggered some long-dormant feelings within him. But that's stuff we'll dive into more during his latter two chapters.

For now, let's head back to the cathedral and retire for the day.

Video: A Gentle Flame

Welcome back, Sister Ophilia. And how did you find our humble town?

Children, you say?
I am not sure of what you speak, but it seems you had a pleasant encounter in Saintsbridge today. Your smile beams as bright as the Flame.

Every twenty years, one of our faithful sets off on the Kindling, following in his footsteps.

...The heart of the Flamebearer?
Twenty years ago, when the archbishop brought us his ember... I recall that his flame burned bright and strong, full of vigor and passion.

I know not which children you met, but I have no doubt your kindness was a comfort to them as well.

Music: Ophilia, the Cleric

I sure did! We found it in the woods.
The woods!? You actually went in!? But there are all kinds of nasty beasts in there!

It was friggin' outrageous! Wasn't it, Emil?
It sure was!

It's true though, isn't it?
Aww, I wish I could've seen it, too!
The beast?

Now just a second...

She really is!
Bah, why do you two get to have all the fun!? You'd better tell me all about it!

And with that, I should journey on. To Goldshore!

And with that, the friggin' outrageous Ophilia continues on her quest after beating Groovy Hroovy to a bloody pulp and helping two children become friends again. An inspiring tale for the ages.

Let's close things out with one last travel banter.

Hehe. It sounds like you are speaking from personal experience.
...There's a young lad back in my village. I was teaching him the sword.
Are you worried for him?

'Twould be a lie to say I do not think of him from time to time--but I do not worry. I taught him what I could of the sword, and other things besides. He took the lessons well. I have faith in the lad.
...I cannot tell you how happy that makes me.
How so?
Well, it's a belief of mine...

The last banter pairing we haven't seen, Ophilia and Olberic are the most upstanding and noble of the group, so they of course get along quite well and have much respect for each other, as well as very similar life philosophies.

And speaking of The Unbending Blade, after the usual diversion of exploring Saintsbridge and tackling another Side Story, we'll close out Chapter 2 with Olberic as we travel to Victor's Hollow within the Woodlands. Until next time!