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Putting Rhea behind us, it's time to roam the world again and look for things to do and collect materials to make cool weapons. I mean, look for Scarlet Shards...



A while back, I found this yak standing around a cabin that had just shown up Hibernia, but I purposely ignored it because I was "in the middle" of something else, and didn't want the play diary to become non-linear again. But afterward I was kind of mad at myself for that, because I should just play how I want. Plus the play diary is meant to share the experience of the game, as in, my actual experience, not like... some forced way to experience the game.

Anyway, I guess it didn't matter much because not a lot happened here.



We approach the hut, and this girl asks us if we wouldn't like to try some of her yak's milk and tell her what we thinks. And if we tell her it's yummy, she may even think about selling us some this once.

Leo wonders if this murky stuff she gave us is even milk, and then we're outside for some reason, and there's smoke coming out of the cabin. Liz asks what's going on, and the girl tells us that she's been trying to teach herself magic to make the milk yummier, but it was just a mistake.

Then she keeps trying to cast magic, and her sister keeps yelling at her to stop, and every time she does this, a monster appears. We can fight them and then talk to her again and it just keeps happening, so I kinda gave up and left.

8)



So, we head back to Normi to mess with the ice caps some more. After fighting one of those random frozen corpse things that shows up, a weird ghost ship appears south of all the ice caps.



Approaching it, we're able to fight some undeads, everyone's favorite.



And then... a snowman appears near the grave of the three heroes that we saw before. Talking to the snowman, he tells us that he has two more friends. Haha, grave of three heroes, three snowmen... I see where it's going.

Once we have summoned this snowman, all of the ice caps disappear except for the two that were there from the start. Nothing new appears here, so I assume we have to mess with them again to try to find the other snowmen.



Now, I need to stress that I spent days doing this subquest. Partly because it took a long time, but also because I'd just play little bits at a time. This was during my Hell Week I had recently, so being able to mindlessly grind out the rest of this quest was actually very helpful.

Before, I thought that the spacing of the monsters you fight to make the ice caps appear could make them appear in a certain "column" or something, but I was just guessing. It seems that you just fight any monster along the south part of the region and an ice cap appears.

The ice caps appear in the same positions in the same order every time. The same ones will have bears on them, and at certain places, if you walk on them, you'll find either a seal or a frozen corpse. The frozen corpses initiate battles, and if you do enough of these, the ghost ship appears. The seals just give you some free items.

There are, I think, sixteen total ice caps. And battles in this game can take a while, and the monsters you fight to make the ice caps appear are entire series of battles. So this took forever.

Between battles, if you approach the coast, you might find some floating bottles. If you don't have any honey, you can find some honey, which is used to convince the polar bears to leave the ice caps, and then in some of the bottles you'll find a map.

If you find a map, the camera will move to a part of the region and say that there seems to be something there. Approaching it will discover a new cave. These caves don't seem to do anything other than offer a variety of battles. Or maybe I needed to find more maps and didn't find them all.



From doing these battles, I got TONS AND TONS of water crystals and other water materials, so I did sometimes run off to craft some weapons, stopping to battle in a random cave or something if I needed a bit more of another type.

I found this super cool-looking bow called Grim Reaper. It lowers your Stamina, but improves your Concentration and comes with a special bow art called "Death Arrow." I didn't actually get to make this, though, just preview it in the shop.

I've realized fully how weapon glimmer sets work. When I first started this game, I said that it seemed each weapon had a unique glimmer set, then realized they had a certain glimmer 'type' listed in their description, and weapons that shared that type will all have the same set of arts possible to glimmer from that weapon. And once you glimmer an art, you can use it with ANY weapon of that type -- it doesn't have to be in the same glimmer set. Just you can't glimmer an art from a weapon that doesn't have it in its set. Once you glimmer it, you have it forever.

Later, I found that I would have two weapons of the same glimmer type, but they'd have different sets of arts... the differences were small, but it still was a difference, so I thought that maybe some weapons had special glimmers or something unique to them, and this was... stressful.

But fortunately, that's not how it works. Like I originally thought, the glimmer sets are divided into the types in the description. So a spear with "Utility Type" will glimmer all the same arts as any other spear with "Utility Type." The only time this differs is just that the higher level weapons have an additional art -- but still all the high-level Utility spears will have that same art. It's just that there's a bonus art added to that weapon type once it reaches a certain level.

There are weapon-specific arts, however. These do not need to be glimmered; however, you can only use them if you're equipping the weapon with the unique art. Death Arrow is one of those arts.



Another weapon that I was able to make, was the Golden Bat, which counts as a hammer weapon. There's actually a Silver Bat, too. Golden Bat has appeared in SaGa games before, so I was delighted to see it here. Later, when I got the guide book, I looked to see how my weapons were after clearing the game in the list of weapons (like, comparing them to other weapons), and it seems like Golden Bat is the strongest hammer.

Though in this game it has a... very unique special art called "Swing Artist" that you can only use by equipping it or the Silver Bat.



When you use this art, a baseball plate just... appears on the ground where your character is standing. And they get ready to swing...



Then a fireball appears! (Firebaseball?) And they smack it out of the park. Or rather, at an enemy.



Actually, it does look like it's going far away but... then the camera shows the enemy you targeted, and you see them get beaned.

It's pretty fun, and it's pretty powerful. It costs a lot of BP, though. And while it looks like it should be an indirect attack (as in, one that can't be countered because it doesn't require the user to physically approach the enemy and get near them), it counts as a direct attack, so the enemy can actually counter it. It's not labeled as indirect, but I thought, "surely, it must be..." and tried it and well, got creamed.



While we were doing this snowman thing, besides just upgrading some weapons, we also glimmered ranked up a bunch of arts and stuff.

Rico ranked up Swing Down,
Liz ranked up Dive Bomb, Flame Arrow, Sonic Arrow
The Mayor ranked up Leg Sweep (twice), Perfect Three, Windmill, Flash Pierce, Swing
Lamar ranked up Swing Artist, Heat Beat
Julia ranked up Life Rain
Balmaint ranked up Mind Stare



I didn't capture all the glimmers, but Julia learned every magic art in the game during this, too (there's only 15). Including that thing where you fling the enemy into the sun.



Between turns, the game will briefly show a character from a dynamic camera angle, and then zoom out over the whole party.

But... I'm pretty sure the game knows me or something because it just started going "So, I heard you like Rico ;)" and literally every single time it did this, it would give me a view of Rico's ass.



And speaking of Rico, he glimmered this cool greatsword art called... Chizuri Zangetsu (this is... very hard to translate, but it's like earth debris + morning moon LOL) in which he drags the blade along the ground while running, and it ... creates a line of fire somehow that shoots into the enemy. It's also not an indirect attack though it looks like it should be, but fortunately it's also not a ground attack. The only thing the 'ground attack' property does is make it miss flying or floating enemies.



Like, this isn't hyperbole. It was actually doing it every single time And pretty much continued to until the end of the game. IDK if the RNG got stuck on Rico's butt or what, but I certainly didn't complain.



Anyway, after getting all the ice caps back and delivering some honey and fighting monsters that pop out of frozen corpses, we found another ghost ship and fought it to make the second snowman appear. And he told us there was only one left. And then we had to... go through all of that again.



At some point during all of this, too, I got the trophy for having cast all of the magic arts at least once. The icon is a little Roh Sung (who I erroneously called Lawson before -- thanks, official book!)



After... a lot. Of time... we finally find the third snowman, and it thanks us for defeating the ghost ships that had killed the three of them. Then it just says "take this" and disappears. But doesn't give us anything.

But upon approaching the grave again, a strange object appears that looks a lot like the big sword that we found from the volcano!

Indeed, it is another Wu Xing weapon, this type the Mercury Bow. (Yeah, a bow... it looks like a sword on the map though, hahaha) It also has the "Worn" status that the Mars Katana had.

With our new weapon in hand, we're off to do some more exploring somewhere. And we can finally get away from these ice caps...

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