Right, we need to find Pala before the duorduor does.
Normal Battle I
Lots of foes here are weak to wind, so the minstrel is a good companion to have.
Gus's skills involve a double-hit axe attack, an accuracy debuff, and a brew that heals HP and SP. Arguably the best of the temporary party members.
Inside this humble abode is a nice armor upgrade for Agnea.
Agnea's talent is Dance Session, and it triggers when she has a companion and uses a dance move. There's a large variety of different effects, depending on who her partner is, and they affect the target if the move has one (or in the case of Dancing Dagger, they affect Agnea herself). The companion doesn't even have to be summoned, so this is basically infinite every time Agnea uses a dance skill. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the involved dances are Lion Dance, Peacock Strut, and Dagger Dance.
The minstrel boosts E.Def for several turns, which honestly isn't that useful for this part of the game. Effects include buffs, HP/SP restoration, gaining BP and Latent Power, and some weirder effects.
There's an accessory gotten by taking the river into the "dungeon".
Forest of Mystery
Anyway, here's the dungeon proper, a dense forest.
All sorts of foul creatures, as you'd expect.
Time to show off Agnea's skills!
Lion Dance - Raises an ally's P.Atk for 2+(2*BP) turns. Naturally great for physical attacks, and part of the Dancer's main role.
Ruinous Kick - Unleash a powerful physical attack on a foe, and reduce Shield Points regardless of weaknesses. Seems pretty strong, though it's mitigated by the Dancer's relatively low P.Atk, and a free shield point reduction can be convenient or even life-saving if a foe's weaknesses don't mesh well with your team. Solid skill to have.
Peacock Strut - Raise an ally's E.Atk for 2+(2*BP) turns. The magical equivalent to Lion's Dance, both are very useful skills to have available.
Sweeping Gale - Deal wind-based damage to a single foe. The standard single-target elemental attack most other jobs have, though since the Dancer favors E.Atk this is actually a stronger move and usually preferable to Ruinous Kick. The Dancer's main offensive weapon.
Stimulate - Move a single ally's next action up 1+BP turns, or to the front of the turn order at max boost. Situationally useful, but kind of hard to plan around, especially since Dancer is already a fast job. Really, its main use is the amusing animations that happen when used, especially with the male PCs.
Dagger Dance - Unleash a dagger attack on all foes. I'm always a fan of these crowd control skills, and this is another one that can be handy in some situations.
Bewildering Grace - Causes a curious effect (positive or negative) to occur 1+BP times. The more BP spent, the more effects may be selected. If you know OT1, you already know how crazy this skill is, and if not, you can get EXP or JP gained x100 for the battle, or you may have your party's HP reduced to single-digits and then immediately get wiped by the ground exploding. It's pure chaos, mostly useful if you're trying to grind and gambling for EXP/JP multipliers, though even then it's more efficient not to bother. Just a fun thing to play with if your Dancer has nothing better to do.
Divine Skill: Sealticge's Seduction - Extend the reach of a single ally's skills to all for three turns. Does not affect Divine Skills or user-targeted skills. Incredibly useful, both with the Dancer's buffs and with other job skills. Apothecary becomes a powerful healer for cheap, Warrior can use its powerful weapon attacks on all foes, Thief is no longer stuck with single-target moves, and so on. It's also part of one of the most busted combos available post-game. Fantastic divine.
The Show Goes On - Extends the duration of augmenting effects granted by the equipping character by 1 turn. Useful early on, though it kind of falls off later on. One big thing though is that this is one of the few ways to extend duration of Divine Skills, so it's still a decent option later on.
Ever Evasive - Enables the equipping character to more easily evade enemy attacks. Honestly not sure how powerful this is, but this only applies to physical attacks. I'd wager, like the other stat-boosting passives, it's good filler but not worth it later on.
Hard Worker - Receive 50% additional JP after battles. Multiple instances of this skill have no additional effect. Great for JP grinding, of course, and it's nice this skill isn't locked behind a late-game hidden job this time.
Invigorate and Inspire - Slightly fills the target's latent power gauge when the equipping character grants them an augmenting effect. I have no idea how much the latent gauge increases, but considering this only triggers when giving buffs and the effect is "slight", this probably isn't worth the effort compared to other passives that deal with latent power.
It's a tough choice between Sweeping Gale and Dagger Dance, but I go for the AoE first. Peacock Strut is great, but not for this particular chapter. The other two are luxury skills for later.
Alright, let's see if Pala's hanging out in this clearing...
...Where are you, Pala?
Wh-what was that noise...?
And he doesn't look too happy! I bet he's mighty hungry...
He's following the scent of the festival toward town... If we run now, he'll charge straight into the crowd.
C-Come on, Agnea... Be reasonable!
In Pursuit of Hope
D-don't tell me you're gonna fight this thing!
I can't believe this!
Video: Boss - Duorduor
Critical Clash I
Remember how it took a whole town to drive this thing off last time? Good thing Agnea has the courage of an entire town.
Fortunately, its weaknesses are simple. Dagger, Axe, and Wind, all stuff readily available to us.
The Duorduor is naturally a physical attacker, though it has a few moves like Snort to damage everyone.
Gus's Special Brew comes in handy for this fight, as recovering two stats with one move is great turn economy.
Otherwise, the strategy is to buff Gus and have him do the heavy damage while Agnea plays whatever role she needs, whether to chip away shields, heal with items, reapply buffs, what have you.
Agnea can do well in a fight, but she's built to enable others, and this fight is a showcase of that.
This thing can hit hard, so it's a good idea to hover around at least half-health.
This move also buffs P.Atk and Speed in addition to heavy damage.
Of course, just because Gus is my main damage dealer here doesn't mean Agnea can't get in on the fun!
I know you're upset because of your empty belly... So I'm sorry. But I can't let you go through here.
Somehow this didn't convince the duorduor to calm down.
Picking Dagger Dance turned out to be the better play, as it takes easy care of these Marmots.
Agnea's Latent, All Together Now, turns single-target skills to all. It's like a one-turn Sealtigce that only Agnea can use, which is still really powerful and useful enough to be one of the best Latents in the game.
Max-boost Lion's Dance on both characters. This is hugely useful even in this simple situation, now imagine how powerful this latent gets once we get a lot more options!
But we should probably take care of this thing first.
So I have Agnea kick it out of the stratosphere.
Agnea never skips Leg Day.
You really can do whatever you set your mind to, Agnea.
I'm glad... We protected the festival and everyone's smiles along with it.
D-did you do that, Agnie...!?
Where were you, Pala? We were so worried.
There weren't any berries 'round here, so I had to go deeper into the woods... I'm sorry.
...Don't be. I'm just glad you're all right.
Are you sure you can dance like that, Agnie? Your dress is all dirty...
Not really that obvious, but Agnea's dress does change after the Duorduor fight.
At any rate, time to head to the festival...
Video: I Can Still Dance
W-well, a lot happened, you see...
...You know how he is, Agnie. You'd best go to him instead.
I suppose you're right...
At Your Back
I'm sure you ruined those clothes helpin' somebody out...
Papa... You're right.
...Everyone's waitin' for you.
At last, the star takes the stage.
It's not a festival without your dancin'!
This dance is for you...with all my heart.
The Journey Begins
"For you and I will meet again someday."
"I await the day we are reunited with glee."
"I must be on my way. But there will be no tears today. Hope is in our hearts and there to stay."
The next morning...
Mornin', Agnie! It's almost time for you to go, isn't it?
They can't let you leave without sayin' goodbye.
It's time for farewell.
Including with our minstrel companion.
Agnea has a destiny to achieve.
Video: We Will Meet Again Someday
Agnea, The Dancer
So it's time for me to set out on my journey.
Still can't believe you're leavin', Agnea...
That's right! You brought happiness to everyone in this village.
So it's only right that we send you off with a smile! Ahahaha!
You better not come back here 'til you're a star. You got that?
When I do, I hope you'll still let me dance at your tavern.
I'll take care o' the house for you! You don't have to worry 'bout a thing!
I know I can count on you, Pala.
...Thank you. That was Mama's song.
One that'll make the whole world smile! Hehehe.
You too, Papa.
Our merry group has risen to six! Just two left...
...However, I'm going to change things up a bit. We've got two possible party members left, but based on past results, I'm going to assume Ochette will win over Hikari. So we'll be recruiting Ochette next, but we still have a vote we need to take care of.
You see, in OT1 the Hunter character H'aanit had an animal companion accompany her. The same is true for Ochette, except in her case she chooses one of two animal companions, either a jackal or an owl. As a Beastling, she can talk to this companion, and though they don't have a significant story presence, they still have a close bond with Ochette.
Vote for Ochette's animal companion!
Next time, a couple more side stories before we recruit our next character.