Music: Flamesgrace, Guiding Light

We've got another twofer today, though since it's more about Lianna I'm having Ophilia as lead.

And I'm partly to blame for that. I helped lead them into madness, together with that man who called himself a savior. I know that so many people are trying to recover from that experience and rebuild their lives...

I think I have to go back to Wispermill. Maybe...maybe if I do, then...

Unsurprisingly, Lianna still harbors a lot of guilt for helping the Savior, which almost resulted in the entire village being sacrificed. She wants to make amends in any way she can.

Which means we'll also be heading to Wispermill.

Music: Gazing Over the Great Plain

And there's Lianna, chatting up with another familiar face...

They did. It is most vexsome.

Her father once headed the Knights Ardante.
Pray don't mention it, Lianna! His achievements are not my own.
We came here to try to find out more about the ruins where that altar lay...

Well, if we all know one another, that makes things even easier. Never mind the niceties. The point is this...

Yes. We had even gathered together a goodly number of people to aid us in this venture...
But someone doesn't want us to. Our provisions have been ransacked, and we meet with obstacles every step we take.
We've made no progress at all, as a result. It is truly a bother.

Naturally, that's where we come in.

And the villagers who had been willing to help us are now growing wary. Do you think you could help us unravel this mystery?

There's a neat detail about how she's lost the trust of those who followed her due to her actions, something that probably could've been played up a bit more to really sink in how low Lianna must be feeling, and why she's so invested in making things right.

The Bishop's Staff has the second-highest ElemAtk of any staff, and the light boost is pretty nifty as well. Expensive, but worth the money. Or rather, it would be if you didn't get a free one just for completing this side story.

There have been rumors that some followers of the dark flame are still among us, though they hide their identities. Word has it the thieves' den is deep in the Forest of Purgation. I wonder if we might find something there.

With the whole Redeye business wrapped up, Eliza's able to help out with the aftermath of this cult. And by that, I mean she's having us do it for her.

At least she's willing to cheer us on! Though I pass on the offer since I'm worried bringing her with us will break the side story.

The Forest of Purgation has a hefty level recommendation of L58, which I'm nowhere near with my characters around the low 50's.

Music: The Trees Have Eyes

That said, it's not really that bad. At least for this side story. We'll be back here in the future, and it will not be a pleasant experience...

But the actual encounters here aren't that bad. At least, the couple I faced weren't.

I also spent far too much time trying to capture a foe since I didn't bother bringing Olberic along like an idiot. This foe caps out at 20%, but having it broken raises this to 40%. Of course, good luck breaking a foe if it's at 1HP without it dying. But I also found out inflicting a status effect on a foe also raises the catch rate, which is handy...except the only skill that inflicts a status effect is Empoison, which is not great for purposes of raising the chances of catching a foe. Fortunately, that's what those items that inflict status effects are good for.

In the northwest corner of the forest is this suspicious-looking man...

We may have lost our savior, but the accurst flame will not be extinguished!

You know, I get the feeling this guy may be associated with Mattias's cult.

This fellow uses a variety of magic, including a couple of two-hit and even three-hit spells.

He's still no match for H'aanit, even if it takes awhile.

After we knock him out, the game immediately switches to cutscene mode, with the fellow completely gone for whatever reason.

The culprit truly was a follower of Mattias, that madman who called himself the Savior.

I worked at Mattias's side, leading such people down a path of darkness...

...That is true. I can understand why your heart and your conscience pain you so.

They have turned their eyes to the future. They smile and they laugh and they live every day as a new day.

Allowing yourself to drown in guilt is not atonement. Both you and the people of this village have suffered the same wounds. Yet they have remembered how to smile again. I do so wish that you would as well, Lianna.

Now that we've unearthed the villains who were hindering our efforts, we can look into those ruins at last.

And so we get ourselves a second Bishop's Staff, which should be handy to have.

Now Eliza and I can finally begin our investigation...and start moving forward. The people of the village have not been defeated by their past. They are living each day to the fullest. I'll do the same. I'll keep on smiling.

There may still be more of them out there than we even realize. We mustn't let our guard down yet.

With that twerp out of the way, Lianna and Eliza are now better equipped to learn more about the cult Mattias led and perhaps end it once and for all. And hopefully now Lianna has the strength to move on and try to find happiness once again.

Next time, we'll take another trip around the world as we revisit the towns from the mid-game.