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So, here's the deal. We're going to go fight a boss. I promised a boss and I will deliver. But first, we're going to finish up every remaining quest.

Mostly because we can and I'm pretty sure we're not expected to yet.

For beating up 10 Jack o' Lanterns we get the much more difficult task of... 3 Hellhounds? Uh, okay then.

That'll take like a minute to do, so let's upgrade our gear again. Just because. The Kukri becomes the Anglade, which is the capstone for the Thin Blade's evolutionary path. It's not the strongest Small Sword, obviously, and we'll shortly have base weapons that are stronger than it. We'll use this later.

The Sickle Sword becomes the Steel Sword which also caps an upgrade path. It is weaker than the Sabre so we'll use this never.

It being able to charge is kinda neat though, I guess. Medium Swords just shamelessly steal the best bits of the other two weapon types.

Estoc becomes the Firangi giving us the final capstone for the starter weapons. This is something we will use.

Not a nebulous time in the future, but right now. Big Swords are the most unwieldy to use efficiently so I might as well try to get used to it.

Using our patented and foolproof method of strength gauging, the Firangi has a distinct advantage. It can, indeed, oneshot slimes. We'll need to find something new to use from now on it seems.

We're literally just here for 3 Hellhounds, so the easiest way is to warp to the Green Hall.

Directly opposite is a very convenient Hellhound after all. Charged attacks from the Firangi do quite good damage, though it does take 2 to beat the hound. Or one and two regular attacks.

But that's still slow and bad. Big Swords simply aren't that good. So let's do this: jumping attacks. There are no air combos (...technically...), so there's no drawback to this. We also don't have the long recovery animation that we normally have when doing this.

Yes, jumping to hit stuff is just as efficient damage-wise but functionally negates or removes the drawbacks. The attacks still aren't
that quick mind.

3 Hellhounds is basically a softball, honestly. It's really not that challenging or even really time-consuming. With those Backbones on hand, we can do something wild:

We're gonna upgrade the Sabre to the Acicular. We could've done this before but needed those Backbones to do this next bit.

Immediately upgrade the Acicular to the Bone Izzard. This evil looking sword is capped for the layer, though. We can get iron ore, sure, but the other 3 are unavailable until we reach layer two.

This still ain't the strongest Medium Sword we're getting today. Just.. just think abut that.

Hellhound murder quota reached, we now have to get some fresh meat. We could go kill some more Hellhounds for it or we could buy it.

Or we could do neither and just make it ourselves. Definitely doing that one then.

The other kinda meat too. They both use the exact same materials to make, so it's super easy to get either.

5 Ribs is a free slice of cake with this, so we'll hand it in right away. Breath of Life is a neat item that revives you with 100HP when you die.

It is always 100HP, so it doesn't scale very well/at all. By the time you might need to genuinely use this, you take more than 100 damage a hit consistently. 'Sa shame, that.

Delivering meat unlocks two more quests. One is to deliver the other kind of meat.

You probably saw that coming when I made some earlier, huh. A poison resist skillbook is kinda fun as a reward for this.

Resistance isn't quite what you think though. Instead of reducing chance of it being inflicted, it reduces duration. Still worthwhile, though.

And this is where I realised... I mean decided to equip the other skills. Yeah, that's it.

Not Timing though. We're wearing glasses, so we have 100% Accuracy already.

Other quest that we have is to get an item from a big green slime. That's easy enough to do; we know where the only one in the area is already, so just gonna head over there and...

...beat it up repeatedly. For some reason, even I do not understand why, I switched to the Anglade here. Pro-tip for this? Don't.

Getting the lump took longer than I'm used to. Both in terms of fighting the gel and, like, general drop rate.

Oh well, got it now so that's 19 quests done. Mythical Hammers are basically Better Hammers, we can't buy them but we'll be getting plenty from quest rewards. And can evetually make them too if that's not enough.

Seax are throwing knives. Pass.

Clearing all 19 of the previous quests unlocks the 20th, and final, one of the rank. Kill 2 Ogres. That's it?

We know where there's one that's very good for this and it takes no time to reach. 3 charge attacks, or 2 and 2 regular, wth the Firangi makes quick work of it.

Rank Medals are key items that basically demonstrate that you've completed all quests of that rank (asterisk).

Lightning Edge is a Medium Sword that is...

...Well, it's functionally as powerful as the Firangi, with equal reach, but cannot charge. Instead it has the same combo length as the Anglade. And when we evolve it (which we cannot do until layer two!) it gets a charge attack. Just shamelessly the best parts of the other two weapon types with none of the drawbacks.

Obviously we have to use this just to see how ridiculously unfair getting it here is. Genuinely think the game does not expect us to have it yet.

Uh, right, we're going past the Harp Hall now. We've done all the sidequests. Only thing left to fill time with is crafting and nah. Hallway with two bats and two bugs. Very manageable.

There's also a flagstone here for some reason. The positioning of this one is kinda odd, because the rest that do the same thing are not used like this.

Basically just telling us that there's a boss fight right ahead. Well, say no more. Let's go!

One last small intermediary rom with a statue in it. It's a normal statue so we cannot break it.

As we step into the next room, we see Veres ahead and the doors close behind us.

First time this happened, my immediate reaction was surprise that Veres was gonna be the first boss fight. He, uh, he isn't. The game isn't that creative.

Ren, having made it deep into the first layer, felt a sense of unease at the strange atmosphere which had settled in the room.

Then, hearing footsteps coming from one of the corners, he quickly put up his guard.


Veres? Don't scare me like that.
Oops~ Sorry, my bad. By the way, is your search going well?
I haven't made that much progress.
How about you? That other thing you were on about...
Huh? ...Oh, that thing. Well, I'm getting there, inch by inch.
But never mind, I found something interesting. Have a read of this.

It's so dirty that it's hard to read. Let's see...
"We have committed a terrible sin... This stone is something that shouldn't exist...

No matter how superior our skills, we are still only human.
.. No, we are less.
We treat foot into a realm that should never be touched by human hands..."
It seems like it's a record from ancient times, but...
I got the impression that this 'Nation of Reville' it mention must have been heavily intertwined with these ruins.
The "Nation of Reville", huh? That's the first I've heard of them.

I'm counting on you!
H-hey! Veres!

I swear he's trying to act as suspicious as possible or something.

...That book certainly got my attention.
'The Nation of Reville...' People worshiped them like gods, but they had committed a huge sin...
That alone has me lost.

Ren, trying to wrap his head around the content of the passage he just read, was unaware that he was making a big mistake...

...having forgotten the eerie atmosphere he'd first felt when entering the room, before Veres had interrupted.

That's when...

Y'know, I don't think anyone would expect this big doggo to bellyflop into the room from... somewhere. Don't worry about it. It's fine.

Right in front of him was a ginormous beast with three heads.

It's hostility was plain for all to see. (sic)

I've never seen a creature like this before...
Is this another effect of the 'Magicite'?

...This is no time [to] be lost in thought! I've gotta do something [about] that thing first...!

Ren shook his head and gripped at the sword at his waist...

Cerberus (Small Sword) (Medium Sword) (Big Sword)

Not gonna do this for every boss, but for this one I opted to use each weapon type to easily showcase their differences. Small is Anglade, Big is Firangi and Medium is Lightning Edge because it's disguting that we have that already. Watch as many as you want. For the sake of the screenshots I'm going Big.

So, Cerberus is... well, Cerberus alright. Every single boss, without exception, starts the fight with a pretty generic roar. During this they're completely invincible.

Bosses here are weird in that they have weak points. That's usually their head. I can think of exactly one exception (technically two but...). It's only weird because regular enemies do not have this mechanic. It's one of the things that make bosses mostly underwhelming compared to the regular dungeon crawling stuff.

Cerberus is also pretty disappointing on his own merits too, frankly. He has Living Dead's poison breath. Throwing Knives can stagger and knock him out of it safely.

He also has Hellhound's leaping attack. We can duck or roll underneath it too. Leaping over it from the top platforms works too, but it's not as easy. The timing is much, much tighter that way.

Oh yeah, and just to showcase it, here's Cerberus getting hit from behind. Smacking his heads has roughly a 30% damage bonus.

Charge attack to his three-heads does more than 400 damage, wow. That's the most in a single hit we can do right now, pretty sure.

Cerberus' last attack is an actual new one though it's only used when he's low on health. He charges to, and then up, a wall going offscreen...

A few seconds later, he bellyflops back in landing wherever you were at that point. This does a decent chunk of damage and stuns you if it hits. It also leaves him open for a moment to do some free damage.

Cerberus has a little over 2750HP, by the way. Not sure the exact amount, but it's not much more than that. Once that's done, we see how ths game handles... A Finishing Move!

And it's not very good. Ren runs over to one side of the room, the boss drops into an injured pose standing in a specific point as well.

Ren charges up as we get a Persona cut in...

And he just does a Stinger.

Cerberus limps away being hurt even more...

Then collapses and spits out a big glow-y orb.

As a boss, Cerberus drops four things at once and they're all guaranteed.

This is the only one we can use right now though. It's also the most common we'll get as a regular drop shortly afterwards.

This is also a regular drop from other stuff later, but not as early as the Sharp Claw.

This is a rarer material that we'll only get a small number of, from what I remember.

Same with this. I think both of these are only available from like one other enemy way, way later but I could be forgetting something.

The glowy orb thing gives us this full-screen shot of Ren looking almost weirdly angelic. It comes up once for every single boss. It gets kinda tedious later...

Oh and this was an Oil Painting. What's an Oil Painting?


Why, it's our first Treasure of course! Now that won't be sat at 0% any more. We can find a couple in the ruins in chests after this, too. A tiny, tiny number are quest rewards as well. We'll end up getting... I wanna say almost half of them from bosses though.

Our real rewards for this are in the next room. Veres definitely didn't come through here; no other exits.

Just three skill books in here though. Which is, y'know, fine I guess.

Two of them are pretty much whatever, but one of them we need to make progress at all. Back on out we go then!

And it's time for a long, loooong string of cutscenes again. Had to happen eventually...

But, never in my wildest drea would I have guessed there were such beasts with three heads.
That has to be... the result of the Magicite.
Meaning there's a high chance that the stone is resting within the ruins.
I'm also curious about the 'Nation of Reville' in the book that Veres found...

As for Veres...
...Better to just drop it.

And how fares the ruins investigation? Is all going well?
There hasn't been that much progress as of yet, but...

Ren spoke of his encounter with the huge three headed beast, and the effect of the Magicite.

Which you mean to say, given that the giant beast exists, the Magicite must also exist somewhere...?
Yes. And, there is one more thing.
Is Your Highness familiar with the nation known as 'Reville'?

I'm not sure it they have anything to do with the stone, but...
Apparently, they're a people with a deep conection to the ancient ruins.
There was a description to that nature in a book that Veres found in the ruins...
Hm. It is certainly curious... You have uncovered more than we expected.

Return to the ruins and continue investigating at once. Understood?

After finishing his report, Ren left the Archduke and made ready to leave for Liruka.

Right then, I suppose I should get going...

You know... If you're back, you should at least come and say hi!
O-oi... There's no need to be so loud.
Don't forget the difference in our standing. Even just talking is--
That kind of thing doesn't matter.

Uhh.... Okay, I'm pretty sure we're definitely missing something here.

...It just means more trouble for me, though.
Ah! What a horrible thing to say!
It's the truth.
You really have no manners.
...I was worried, you know.
It's work. I don't have much choice.

Well, even if things get a little dangerous, when Ren and I are together it's pretty much child's play. Right?
Don't lump me together with you.

Heh heh. I thought I should come and show my face so I wouldn't worry you, Lady Elza.
...Don't just pop up out of nowhere.
Hah? Did you say something?
No, nothing.
Come to think of it, what was that other matter you had to take care of in the end?

...Veres is just asking to get punched. At least try to pretend to not be suspicious!

Woah~ Ren dear, that's a scary face you're making. If the wind changes, your face might get stuck like that, y'know?
Why you-- Treating me like I'm some kid...

Did we... break Elza...?

Yep, we're definitely missing a lot of context here. We'll get some backfilled now but it's still weird.

That's why it just made me happy.
Right? Right? As I thought it's just hopeless when I'm not around, ain't it?
Yes. And Ren too, of course.
I think it's always like this with the three of us, but...
...when I think about it, the two of you really haven't changed at all since we first met.

That's not a stroll. It's called an escape attempt.
You don't have to spell it out!
Back then, me and Ren were waling around the castle's courtyard on patrol.
...Right. And then we saw this shabby-looking girl...

So, we never could've guessed that her highness would be looking like that, ad we got the wrong idea thinking you were up to something fishy.
You did! The two of you were so rude, even I got a bit worked up and argued.

Uhh... yeah, uh, so I'd mostly cut it out when it came up back at the start but Veres is an absolute creep.

Incidentally, I kinda hate him and think he sucks. These facts could very well be related.

The other knights heard the noise and came rushing... and we got into a whole load of trouble.
Yeah... I practically had my ears chewed off after that... And we didn't even do anything wrong...
So trying to take Elza to your room was...?
No, that was... Right! That was because I wanted to take my time to question her about why she was out there and--
...Not that it really matters anymore.

...Thinking about how friendly we are not just~~ Just made me kinda happy.
So much time has passed since then but, here you are, quarrelling over something trivial again... You really haven't changed.
Haven't changed, huh...?

Hm, something about this line... It gives me this strange, foreshadowy feeling...

Something wrong?
Ah-- No, it's nothing.

Captain! Long time no see.
When did you get back? ...Wait, now's not the time for all that.
Lady Elza. The Archduke is calling for you. Please return as soon as possible.
Father is...?
Yes. Well, I have somewhere else I need to be, so Lady Elza, if you please...

Yes, I had better go too.
Ah, but the next time you're back, you have to come and talk with me properly. Alright?
If I feel like it.
Then... be safe, both of you.

Walking away slowly, as if she didn't want to say goodbe, Elza took her leave.

Right, let's go.

...That other thing of yours, huh? Can't you at least tell me what it's about?
Ah~ ...W-well another time, yeah? I'll catch up with you at the ruins later!

For now, I should focus on my own job and finish the rest of the invetigation.
First off, I guess I should drop by the guild...

We're just booted right back to town at this point.

So we'll take a break now. We'll head straight to the guild next time, and then finish up with the first layer. Gonna be taking on the second boss already!

Yeah, once we get to Cerberus the gameplay pacing really speeds up a lot. It won't be a boss an update from now on, though.