The trials are behind us and nothing stands in our way (probably) except for the Labryrinth itself. Now it’s just a man (and an elf, and a meat shield) versus a dungeon. Will it suck? Yeah, that’s pretty much guaranteed given how the areas keep trying to one-up each other’s badness. Still, JERK has made it too far to quit now, so there’s nothing left but to force our way to the end and hope it’s worth it.
We take the teleporter and I’m immediately confused. Why do we teleport in facing a wall? This is just weirdly designed all around. This new area is pretty straightforward, though: the hallways loop all around, but there are enough dead ends to get a feel for which way is forward. This change is very much appreciated.
Slightly less appreciated are the enemies, who are a further bump in difficulty. The days of enemies doing a single point of damage are long gone, replaced by enemies who hit hard enough to bring everyone’s HP low enough that their boxes turn yellow. Among these brutal enemies are Reapers (who have the Desoul spell that can one-hit kill a character), Sentinels (that are basically statues identical to one that was in the early Labyrinth, which was presumably there to trick the player into thinking that they’re harmless), and Brikeyes (which are a stronger recolor of the earlier enemy who would drop in from the ceiling). Brutal stuff all around.
It’s not long before I have to retreat back to town to heal up and restore everyone’s MP, and when I walk into the tavern, Meat Shield Milo and Hairshifter Pyra’s parents are there. Pyra’s mom immediately begins spanking her because it turns out that my two allies didn’t get permission to join JERK on his adventures, and all I can think is that this is the kind of knee-jerk parenting that led to this outcome. Remember, parents: don’t spank your children lest they grow up to be mages fighting against enemies capable of separating their soul from their body in a single blow.
Speaking of spanking, we heal up and return to the Labyrinth, at which point enemies reduce us to a sobbing mess. We can barely hold our own, and that’s definitely not good enough to make it up several floors. While wandering around, I come across a chest blocked off by a gate and realize that every single dungeon thus far has included one of these. If it becomes mandatory to backtrack and grab whatever’s inside each of them, I’m going to lose my mind. For now, though, my priority is addressing how outmatched I am in this new area.
Brikeyes come in groups of threes, and like the crab from earlier, can be respawned infinitely by standing in a specific spot and spinning around wildly. It’s exceedingly rare to get a normal, non-Brikeye encounter doing this, and since beating them earns 600 experience points and 750 gold, it’s time for some more spin-grinding!
They hit hard, though, so I start relying heavily on magic. Both Milo and Pyra open up with offensive magic that does around 40-55 points of damage, and that combination is often enough to finish off one or two of them (sometimes all three, if you’re lucky). JERK attacks normally and moves last, so he thins out any remaining enemies—or finishes off the last enemy depending on how the magic went—and everyone attacks physically on turn 2 to close things out when necessary.
Despite this requiring constant trips back to town to sleep and restore everyone’s MP, it’s a pretty quick way of obtaining lots of gold for crafting, and that’s really the end goal here; it occurred to me that enemies were doing so much damage because I was still using equipment I had from several dungeons back, so I crafted JERK some Mithril Armor, made Mithril Shields for Pyra and Milo, and then bought some powerful equipment from the trader since I had run out of Mithril Ore to use.
The downside to this method of grinding is that Brikeyes can inflict paralysis. Granted, it’s possible to run around fighting normal enemies until it wears off naturally, but that’s risky so long as Reapers are around. The town priest is weirdly inexpensive when it comes to curing paralysis, too, only asking me for 5 gold. It’s not like he’s suddenly seen the light and decided to be less greedy, either—when a Reaper got Milo (the only one who has the Resurrect spell), this crook wanted 520 gold to bring him back. Paralysis is just a cheap cure for some reason.
I thought that Mithril Ore could only be found in chests, but then a Brikeye randomly drops some while I’m grinding. Enemies have dropped things before, of course, but those were things like small healing items that cluttered up everyone’s inventory. Knowing that these things can also occasionally drop the Mithril Ore needed for the crafting that I originally started killing them to afford feels like a nudge from fate.
God wants me to kill all of the Brikeyes. I will not disappoint.