Previous Part: Going Deeper

Storyline text and attempted translations from...

Final Fantasy V

 Butz Lenna Faris Karulu (nameless cave)

But first, one more side trip. This unnamed cave connects the area around Bar Castle to the western side of the Big Bridge. For the most part, it's unremarkable, but a southern branch leads to an unexpetedly ornate doorway. A few steps beyond the doorway...

10ギルひろった! Found 10 gil!

Curious. The next step has twice as much money.

20ギルひろった! Found 20 gil!

It continues with the next step.

40ギルひろった! Found 40 gil!

The money keeps doubling with each step further into the tunnel, up to a maximum of 40,960 gil at the far end. They say greed kills, though, and it's true here, too. Each step deeper risks the wrath of Gilgamesh... er, not exactly. It's actually gilgame, or "Gil Turtle", also a probable pun on zenigame (literally "money turtle"), which is a colloquial name for baby pond turtles.

The Gil Turtle is immune to all useful status effects except 'slow', absorbs most elements (though it's weak against Ice), and has innate 'protect' and 'shell' on top of 32,768 HP, high defenses and evasions, Heavy and Undead typing, and a hard-hitting attack. Furthermore, it counters any damage it takes with two shots of Turtle Shell, which inflicts 'aging', 'poison', 'darkness', 'paralysis', 'confusion', and 'slip' status in addition to damage. If it runs out of HP, it ends the battle with a final Earthquake, with expected damage easily in the thousands. And it's impossible to flee the battle.

You're probably not really meant to win this, but if you'd like to try, make sure to have everyone floating ahead of time, bring all the physical damage avoidance measures you can (shields, Elf's Manteau, Main Gauche, anything that can give 'decoy' status, summoning Golem as needed). [black magic] Blizzaga and the Minstrel's Requirem song work well for attacking, but be careful about hitting too often, or the counterattacks could overwhelm your defenses.

Another unorthodox strategy I've seen on the Internet involves giving three characters Reflect Rings and casting [white magic] Curega, (or [black magic] Blizzaga if the fourth character can handle it) on your entire party. Hitting at least one of your own characters evidently prevents counterattacks from triggering, and bouncing the spell off three of them gives an effective 50% damage bonus against the enemy (three hits at half power). Use items or White Wind to heal.

エクスデス城 Butz Lenna Faris Karulu Exdeath Castle

Zeza's soldiers, though still here, now lie sprawled out on the ground.

Exdeath appeared...
We were no match for him...
エクスデスは上の階に… Exdeath went upstairs...

However, the door does open now, so we can follow him up.

Arage (アレイジ), a red bunny sometimes found here, has White Wind in its !Control list, useful both for anyone who still hasn't learned it and for general healing. Even better, it also has [white magic] Araise in case someone needs reviving and Treatment (ちりょう) to cure status, though neither is Blue Magic.

Unfortunately, we don't get far. The path ends at a large room on the 3rd floor. Butz reacts as we leave.

『行きどまりか… "A dead end..."

Karulu rushes back into the room. The others follow more slowly.

『クルル…どうした? "Karulu... what's wrong?"
Karulu: This is an illusion that
 Exdeath created...
Lenna: You can tell...!?

She nods.

Karulu: Grampa,
 give me strength...!

The scene changes to Kelger, still lying in bed, with other wolves surrounding him. Sad music plays.

: I see... even Galuf...
 Dolgan, Zeza, Galuf...
 they've all passed on...
 *cough* *cough*...
「わしも、もう長くはないな… : I don't have long, either...
「ケルガー様!! : Lord Kelger!!
: It seems it's time for me
 to enter the long slumber...

The flickering image of Galuf approaches from above.

「だれだ…? : Who's there?
: ...Galuf?
 Galuf, is that you?
「クルルたちが……? : Karulu and the others...?

Galuf nods, then floats away.

「ガラフ… わかった! : Galuf... I understand!
: Everyone... lend me your strength!
: Lord Kelger!
: We shall shatter Exdeath's
: This is the last of my life.
 Use your strength to send
 it to Exdeath Castle!!

Kelger seems to concentrate, then flickers and vanishes.

「ケルガー様!! : Lord Kelger!!

The other wolves bow their heads, then nod to each other and turn toward the screen. The scene fades, then resumes in Exdeath Castle with no music.

Karulu: Grampa...
 grampa wolf!!

With a deep humming sound, a greenish glow covers the area.

クルル「みんなの力が…!! Karulu: Their strength...!!

The glow intensifies, the area rumbles, and the illusion is broken, revealing the castle's true form, with the foggy atmosphere and fleshy architecture previously seen in a brief cutscene. More fitting music also plays, and a stairway leading onward appears.

This doesn't change the enemy encounters, but the healing spring downstairs no longer works, and the soldiers no longer appear, either.

The Magic Dragon (マジックドラゴン) often appears on floor 4. This enemy has a low random chance of using Aeroga (33% on 2nd of 4 turns), Level 2 Old (33% on 4th of 4 turns), and Guard Offer (33% on 4th of 4 turns), and the last two also show up in its !Control list.

Hitting an odd-looking wall switch on the 4th floor opens the way to a handy Ice Shield. The 6th floor has a secret passage in the lava leading to a Gale Bow.

Color-coded dragons start appearing on floor 7. This includes the Red Dragon, which still has Level 3 Flare in case you didn't get it earlier. As in the barrier tower, you'll need to use !Control and reflect the spell in order to learn it, but with [white magic] Reflect available, that's less trouble now than it was then.

The 7th floor also has a mini-puzzle in the form of a chasm with a bridge that appears after stepping on a skull tile, then shifts rapidly back and forth, stopping after a button press. Chests on the sides contain an Icebrand and Kotetsu, but stopping the bridge in front of a pillar results in a monster leaping out and attacking!

These ambushes include versions of monsters found elsewhere, and some of them have Blue Magic, though none of it is new. The Garchimacera here has Moon Flute, used as a counterattack to any damage, the Abductor has Aerora, used with 33% chance every other turn, and the Oiseau Rare (オワゾーラール, French for "rare bird") has Magic Hammer in its !Control list.

A small room between the 7th and 8th floors holds a convenient save point. Floor 10 circles back down to floor 9 and through the lava, so a Geomancer comes in handy, then continues to help back up on floor 10, where a room with an arrangement of skull tiles hides multiple trap doors. Navigate to the right for a Twin Lancer, the bottom to reopen the way forward, and the top to find a teleporter to the summoned beast visible nearby.

 さあて… 力をためさせてもらう
Carbuncle: I'll join you if
 you're stronger than me...
 Now, then... allow me to
 test your strength!!

Carbuncle boasts high defensive and evasive stats on top of innate 'reflect' status, which he uses offensively by bouncing spells off of it: [black magic] Fira, [black magic] Blizzara, and [black magic] Thundara initially; [black magic] Bio, [timespace] Stop, and [white magic] Confuse after falling below 10,000 of 15,000 hit points; and [black magic] Break, [timespace] Dejon, and [black magic] Death when under 3,000 health. However, after every three spells, he drops 'reflect' to cast [white magic] Cura, and his other defenses also fall dramatically during this window.

In particular, he loses the Heavy property, becomes weak against every element, and loses immunity to every status ailment except 'berserk' and 'incapacitated'. Plenty of nasty attacks ignore 'incapacitated' immunity in non-Heavy enemies, though, from the classic Death Claw to a single hit from sufficiently advanced Sword Magic. For an easy kill, enchant a blade with Bio, wait out his attacks, and strike immediately when he heals. You can also steal a Reflect Ring from him, or a Giant Drink if you're unlucky, and he might drop a Turtle Shell.

: You people are strong!
 I'll join you!!
  Summoned beast Carbuncle!

After another save point comes the 11th floor, a large open area with a suspiciously obvious treasure chest. It's empty. A stairway to the right leads to a Partisan and Fuuma Shuriken. When we try to continue up the central staircase, though, a familiar figure approaches from behind, then walks back to the treasure chest.

Make sure someone can steal, or you'll miss out on a unique item!

: Fwa hwa hwa!
 I have its contents!!

A bit of maneuvering later, and the fight begins!

Gilgamesh starts the battle in a six-turn loop, and has four different Blue Magic abilities he may use with a 33% chance on most of those turns: Little Melody on turn 1, Flash on turn 3, Frog Song on turns 4 and 6, and Time Slip on turn 5. You should already have all of these by now, but if not, here they are.

There's no special strategy to use here, just racking up damage, about 13,000 HP worth, until he starts talking.

ギルガメッシュ「こうして…… Gilgamesh: And so...
「おまえらと やりあうのも : it would seem this marks
「4度目になるのか…… : the fourth time I've fought you...

Here he pauses long enough to attack.

「なんか うれしいぜ! : I'm kind of happy about that!

And another attack.

ギルガメッシュ「ところで…… Gilgamesh: By the way...
「あの元気のいいじいさんは…… : That energetic old man...?
クルル「エクスデスと…… Karulu: Him and Exdeath...
ギルガメッシュ「……そうか…… Gilgamesh: ...I see...

And another attack.

ギルガメッシュ「…………………… Gilgamesh: .........

And another attack.

ギルガメッシュ「よし ここからは Gilgamesh: Very well, from now on,
「本気で戦わしてもらうぜ! : allow me to fight in full earnest!
「ギルガメッシュチェーンジ!! : Gilgamesh change!!

Gilgamesh transforms into a more monstrous eight-armed form. At this point, the battle is effectively over. The only thing left to do is steal the Genji Helmet from him before it's too late.

「エクスカリバーとやらのパワー : Allow me to test the power
「ためさせてもらうぜ!! : of this Excalibur!!

He strikes, but the damage is pathetic. After a delay, he strikes again, still for pathetic damage.

「ありゃ! : What!

He again strikes, but the damage remains pathetic.

「ば ばかな! : Th-this can't be!

He again strikes, but the damage remains pathetic.

「最強の剣じゃないのかー!! : Isn't this the strongest sword!?

Exdeath's theme cuts in.

エクスデス「ギルガメッシュ! Exdeath: Gilgamesh!
ギルガメッシュ「…… Gilgamesh: ...
エクスデス「役にたたぬやつめ! Exdeath: You useless rubbish!
「次元のはざまへ 行くがいい!! : To the Dimensional Cleft with you!!
ギルガメッシュ「そ そんな! Gilgamesh: N-not that!
「それだけは かんべんを! : Please, anything but that!
エクスデス「だまれ! Exdeath: Silence!

Exdeath hits him with [timespace] Dejon despite his Heavy trait, banishing him from the battlefield.

次元のはざまに放り込む Flung into the Dimensional Cleft
ギルガメッシュ「あーれー!! Gilgamesh: What the...!!

Gilgamesh leaves behind the not-so legendary sword Excalipur. Oops. No wonder it didn't work so well.

Similar to the fight at Zeza's flagship, stealing from Gilgamesh after he transforms in this battle is the only chance to get Genji's Helmet. Note also that Gilgamesh will not appear if you never open the chest, so make sure not to skip it!

The 12th floor is just a short hallway, and on the 13th we find Exdeath and the remaining Crystals.

エクスデス「じゃまをするな! Exdeath: Do not interfere!
 We won't let you get your way!"
: Fwa hwa hwa...!
 Do you even understand
 what I'm trying to do?
: I'm trying to return the world
 to its original form...
"To a world of evil!?"
: Not so...
 you really don't know...? matter.
 I won't let you interfere!!

Exdeath's special battle theme returns, and he's not kidding around. Though he at least doesn't resist any elements, his only weakness is Holy, making it difficult to take advantage of. The only status ailment he's not immune to is 'slow', but he reacts to [timespace] Slow or [timespace] Slowga by casting [timespace] Haste on himself, so that doesn't help much. (However, Level 2 Old ignores immunity when it hits, and he's level 66, so casting that will gradually weaken him.)

Exdeath also has new Blue Magic! During his initial phase, he has a 2 in 3 chance to cast Death Sentence on the first turn of his ten-turn cycle. This is just a delayed instant death attack that ignores 'incapacitated' immunity but doesn't work on Heavy enemies. The main advantage of Death Sentence is that it can't miss non-Heavy targets. That delay makes it inconvenient, though, and I find Death Claw to be generally more useful. Regardless, if you're determined to learn it here and now, use [timespace] Return to reset the battle if he doesn't use it on the right person right away.

He also has a 2 in 3 chance to use Level 3 Flare on the tenth turn of the cycle.

In addition to those two Blue Magic spells, Exdeath uses a wide variety of other attacks in the first phase of the battle. Be ready for anything and have plenty of healing prepared. After dropping below 16,000 (of 32,768) health, his pattern becomes both more straightforward and more intense, often attacking twice in a row and commonly using -ga level Black Magic. When below 7,000 HP, he switches tactics again, throwing [timespace] Meteor into the mix along with his other attacks.

Exdeath also has a chance to counter physical attacks with [white magic] Dispel. Magic-based attackers may prove more advantageous, especially if relying on defensive buffs. He's tough no matter what, though, so survival should be the first priority. Reflect Rings may help, too.

If you can spare the command slot and turns to try stealing, he'll usually give you an Elixir, or rarely a Staff of Judgment.

Exdeath is supposed to have innate 'regenerate' status, which makes sense given how much trouble the Four Warriors of Dawn had keeping him down. However, for whatever reason, it doesn't have any effect, and he won't regenerate health during battle.

After the battle, there's no sign of Exdeath. Butz steps forward as the castle begins trembling. The others follow.

Lenna: The Crystals...!
"They're shattering!?"

The shuddering intensifies, everyone falls down, and the Crystals do indeed shatter. An ominous red glow covers the area as the scene fades out.

When the scene resumes, everyone is outside, and the world map music from Butz's world plays. He gets up first, rather woozily, then helps Lenna to her feet, and they rouse Faris and Karulu. But then Lenna notices something in the distance.

レナ「あれは!? Lenna: What's that!?
Faris: Tycoon Castle...?
Lenna: We're back home?

It certainly appears to be the castle, and yet, the terrain isn't quite right. Wasn't the valley leading to the castle narrower? And where's the meteorite? The world map similarly looks like Butz's world, yet also not quite right. Was there always this much land? And if we are back, how and why? What's going on?

And if we've left Galuf's world, that seems to leave us with unfinished business there... the legendary weapons in the Sealed Castle Kuzer... the mysterious inaccessible basement in Bar Castle... the two unreachable towers surrounded by mountains... the trench in the eastern ocean... the oldest book in Surgate Castle's library, half-missing and unreadable... but wait, wasn't there something like that in Butz's world, too?

Previous Part: Going Deeper

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