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After finding Jupiter's Anvil and Behemoth's Chain, Yun still needs some time to decipher the Metal item on Iskandar's rainmaking tablet, so we're off to do some more shopping and subadventures to hopefully grab some more money and items.

When we stop by Zomar, we do some chatting in the inn. We find this big muscle man named Vearst who says his friends talked him into going to the abandoned castle, but he got scared and ran off before they got there. None of his friends returned, and now he's just... here.

Armic asks why they were going to such a place to begin with, and Vearst says they were looking for these Obsidian Boots. Armic comments that they sound uncomfortable and he doesn't like uncomfortable things. When we leave, Vearst begs us not to leave him alone and follows us.

And now we know where we can get some Obsidian for our shopping list!

As we continue our shopping trip, we run into this kid in Wanda. He's lamenting the loss of his parents who were killed when Escata was destroyed. Armic tells him to "Buck up!" because at least he's still alive. Which I think is very... uncharacteristic for Armic, honestly. I'd more expect him to say like "That sounds scary!" or something. Not "Buck up!" lolol.

Anyway, after this, encouragement from Armic, Henri tells us that the Dragonscale Knife is among the Regal Lion's Treasures and may be useful in rebuilding Escata. I don't really see how, and we already have the knife anyway... but Armic invites him to come along with us as we look for treasures, and he thanks us, introducing himself as Henri. Note: It's pronounced like... French or something, so kinda sounds like how people say "awnry" (for ornery) but the stress accent is on the second syllable. lolol.

Anyway, we now suddenly have two new party members!

After a bit more shopping and trading, Yun still doesn't seem done deciphering the Metal part of the tablet, so we head out to the desert to participate in the Lumina Stone gathering contest. Because that's where we can find a free magic tablet!

Let's look at our new friends:

Despite his size and apparent muscle mass, Vearst is a coward and seemingly a weakling. His Strength Making is only 1! And Skill Making is not much better at 2, so he's pretty bad at just about any weapon. He comes equipped with only some socks and a knife, so it seems he doesn't seem to recognize his own strength -- magic arts! He has a Magic Making of 4, which is really nice, and some decent Elemental Makings, with Water Making being his best at 3. It's also not near the magic corner of the growth panel, so you can raise both Magic and Water without interfering with one another.

Henri starts with only 52 HP. And his LP is 12, which isn't terrible, but he's still quite fragile at this point.

His Makings in general, though, are really great! Strength Making of 3, Skill Making of 4, and Magic Making of 4 mean you can really use him in any way you'd like, and he'll probably be pretty good. He also has a 3 in both Wood and Earth Making, which is really nice, too. And even Fire is 2.

Henri also comes with a special knife called "Blade of Escata." Its attack power is only 11, but it has unlimited durability! No worrying about breaking ever!

And since Henri's HP is low, I try to give him lots of actions in battle. So he's good for standing at one of the flanks and stabbing a lot. With his high Skill Making, he'll eventually be great at dealing LP damage like this. For now, though, he has no decent panels (and no panels that contribute to Skill at all!) so he's overall very weak.

Vearst, however, doesn't seem to know how to wield a knife. You don't need to use two hands, buddy. And don't just... hold it up at your face like that...

But what is nice is that he also starts with a nice chunk of HP, and even better, his LP is 22! B is not bad for HP recovery, so he makes a really nice tank. He can't do a ton offensively unless you get him some nice magic tablets, but there's always use for damage absorption in this game.

While in the desert, we were able to make use of the slime hoards to get some Diplomacy practice in.

In the end, we found a total of 13 Lumina Stones, which I think is the record for this play diary!

The magic tablet on the ground was a Water L2 tablet, so I gave it to Vearst to get him started on learning some magic arts. I was tempted to give it instead to Armic, since he also excels at water arts, but he at least already has some metal arts, and Vearst has nothing. And since Vearst is bad at pretty much everything except water arts (and uh, spirit), I feel like it's better off going to him.

Armic did get Obstacle Crossing L3, though, helping him complete a line of map skills. I'm actually considering possibly moving Armic over to metal arts, though, since he already has two tablets for it.

Henri got a shiny Dagger Arts L3 panel, which I placed in the center of his Growth Panel to give him a little boost to all of his stats. Nuage upgraded his Staff Arts panel to L3. Norff got Maharaja, which isn't helpful as an ability since we don't want to raise the prices of anything at this point in the game, but it at least gave him a joint combo bonus with Diplomacy, boosting his Wood Level a little bit. Pharr got an Eavesdrop L3 panel to create a joint combo of keys, boosting her Skill Level from 26 to 31. And Kong Ming got a Bow Arts L3 panel despite not using his bow during this adventure. I'm not going to complain...

We return to town and before we can do anything, Spry is already wanting to trade. Despite the fact that we were able to make many good trades with him, he still complains that we don't need Armic's help afterward.

After all our shopping and trading, Yun still doesn't seem to have finished deciphering the tablet, so we head off to Abandoned Castle

This is the one with the creepy guy running around -- the one who hired the wizard to learn some kind of necro spell, and he's been sacrificing people in the basement to try to revive his wife.

The one with the ridiculously low turn limit and convoluted solution...

Armic says a lot of funny things, though. Like I said in Kurt's diary about this adventure, one of the most fun things about this adventure is all the quotes from the protag which differ between scenarios.

He often refers to the creeper as "Sir" and politely asks him to wait or let us know where he is. And when we catch up to him in the throne room and he says "I'm the king of the castle! Hee-hee-hee!" or whatever, Armic is just like "Wow! That's amazing!"

The Obsidian Boots are sitting next to Judas's corpse in the dungeon (the place you go early on after finding the diary, where you find the first floor key on the corpse). So we've picked up another rare item for our shopping list!

Side note: Sometimes this game is very mean. Since I've been spending all the party's money on the shopping list, I haven't really been upgrading equipment. Only a couple of people even have armor with Life Protection and most of the party are completely unequipped in many different slots. So defenses are quite low, and the party is overall pretty fragile. Vearst's bulky 22 LP helps a lot, but if the enemies target other characters a bit too much, it gets dangerous quickly.

I used a random bit of Serpentine or Marcasite or something we had in the inventory to at least make a staff for Vearst. The debuffs from staff arts work as long as the attack connects, so it doesn't really matter that his Strength Level is low.

He also seems to put his entire body into that staff swing! He's even kneeling by the end. How is his Strength Making only ONE?!

By the time we got to the basement with the Joker picture, Henri had already been knocked out. His low HP is really not doing him any favors.

This means he wasn't able to help in the fight with the Wyvern at the end.

But that wasn't too important, because the key was taking out the Wyvern as quickly as possible, so we could get back out of the castle before our turn count expired. The star of this show was Pharr with her Twin Dragons art. She only had a couple of LP, but the Wyvern thankfully targeted Vearst most of the time, and the two of them were able to take out the dragon in only three turns.

Vearst had also learned Purify from his tablet by this point, which was also helpful -- I had him ready to cast it on Pharr as soon as it was needed.

We managed to make it out on time. Norff got Diplomacy L3, which matched the L3 Maharaja from before, and the same-level bonus was enough to push his Wood Level over 30.

Excitingly, Henri got Iron Body, which placed at the right of his growth panel made his Skill Level jump from 7 to 31!

I ended up replacing Pharr's Spear Arts panel with a Throw L3 panel -- I'm really hoping that Spear Arts comes up again soon. But I really don't want it in the spot it's in, so having no Spear Arts panel will make it easier to find a new one (since you can't receive an identical panel to one you already have for that character).

Back in town, I finally got lucky enough with my blacksmithing to get some special steel, and was able to craft some Damascus. Sadly, we're not able to make this into anything nice for the party, because we need to keep it in the bag to count toward our shopping list...

Here's how the shopping list is coming along. A lot of the left side was thanks to trading extra cotton, snake skin, and cedar with the other Chapas.

I also was able to trade my last of an item, so I found out that the problem is not that you can't trade away your last item. The problem does seem to indeed be that the item you have has to be able to turn into the material of the item you're trading for.

I tried trading the Obsidian Boots for Diamond from one of the others, but it wouldn't let me because there are no Diamond Shoes or anything like that in this game. Similarly, I was unable to trade some of my Cedar for bestial materials when I had more than 1 Cedar, because they were all Clogs.

And with that bit of shopping and trading with the other Chapas, we see another little scene of Yun's understanding, so it seems he has deciphered the next part of the tablet! So we'll start in Loch Vaan next time.


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