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Chapter 7

The Path of Life

Above us looms the great Mana Tree, wind russling in the leaves, dwarving us as
we stand before it, determined to find the Mana Lord below. As we are about to
go in, Tess appears claiming this may be the last battle, and she is sure that
the Mana Lord knows also. She feels so useless surrounded by others who are
putting their lives on the edge all the time. But you remind her of all the
times she’s bailed you out, that you would never have made it here without her.

A glow then comes from within you. It is the object from your family at the
Ruins. It floats over to the base of the tree and open a portal to the
underground. The time has come to take on the Path of Life.

The mechanics here don’t vary too much. The rather obnoxiously green plants can
be brought down with the hammer, the small purple plants will inflict a random
status ailment on you, and the green shells and floating clouds will act as
barrels did back in the good old days of the Mana Tower.

-1st Zone
Gleamdrop: Defeat a certain group
Gleamwell: Hidden under a plant

The group to defeat are the orange ant-eater-like creatures, and the gleampool
SHOULD be around where the path splits on the right side of the zone. I
recommend taking the right path upward to get the glden chest, then back down
the left after going over the spikes. This level also sees the return of the
flying tomato men! I’d be more worried about the orange anteaters if I were you
though, they can pack a nasty rolling punch.

-2nd Zone
Gleamdrop: Defeat a certain monster
Gleamwell: Hidden under a plant

The drop is hidden by the red rat, and the gleampool is under the plant right
next to it. But before that you’ll encounter a very small section of path that
is FILLED with monsters to the brim, and they keep coming at you. They should
pose too much of a problem, but you have been warned, they can catch you off
your guard, especially the hedgehogs, since they can stop you from attacking
with weapons. The chests down at the bottom of the screen don’t have anything
of interest, but you may want to get them anyway if you’re aiming for Gold
Rank.

-3rd Zone
Gleamdrop: Hidden in a chest
Gleamwell: Hidden under a plant

This zone is REALLY nasty. You’ll find little fluffy seeds flying at you
slowly, almost harmless, but when they explode can inflict ridiculous amounts
of damage (we’re talking almost up to the 300 mark on a good night). Keep them
at bay with your flail, and make your way upward. Head right first, the drop is
in the far right, bottom silver chest. The one just above it is a trap, and the
other two should be harmless. There is also a path on the left with more
chests. To get this, hack through ONLY the bottom row of bushes, since the top
one will keep the floating block from hitting you. Otherwise you’re in for a
long beating session. Note that this block has spikes on it too! The GleamPool
is heading straight up the middle of the zone, under the plant at the end.

-4th Zone
Gleamdrop: Defeat a certain monster
Gleamwell: ——–

The tomatomen in the centre of the level are capable of launching those seeds
we saw before, so take them out first thing with your bow. Then head over to
the right hand side of the screen where we’ll see a red walking armour. He can
pack one helluva punch, so take extreme caution. If possible, weaken him either
with magic or sonic waves before knocking the bush down, as his hits will
sending you flying. He’ll give you the gleamdrop for the pool just below.

Now you’ve seen what the level has to offer, you may want to consider re-
arranging your gems to suit the situation, and save, by all means save.

-5th Zone
Gleamdrop: Hidden under a plant
Gleamwell: Hidden under a plant

Now we have some stone heads to deal with that spurt out random status ailments
at us. They only do so in one direction and at regular intervals, so they are
easy to avoid. You can even spin the head a new direction with the hammer if
you want. The Gleamdrop will be under a small plant on the left hand side of
things, around the middle of the level (there will be a small peninsula, as it
were, with plants round all sides and a shell in the middle), and you’ll want
to take it to the top right peninsula with a plant in the middle and a few red
rats and a pumpkin on it. The enemies appear few and far-between on this level,
as it appears the stone heads take up one of the max-enemy slots.

-6th Zone
Gleamdrop: Defeat a certain group
Gleamwell: Hidden under a plant

My suggestion for this level is to first head round the bottom of the level, up
the left and centre, then lastly head back round the centre to the right, and
up the second path from the right. The gleampool should be under the plant
there, and the leaving these monsters ’til last (in particular the anteaters
who have the drop) will mean the Gleamdrop will be right next to the pool for
you. If this pool is in a different location due to random selection, let me
know as I’ll have to ammend this. I will be playing through this level again
soon, but the more I know the better I can inform. 😉

-7th Zone
Gleamdrop: Hidden by a chest
Gleamwell: Hidden under a plant

This level is curious in that it forces you to deal with the spiked floating
blocks. Make your way down the path on the left, then up the second to find the
plant with the gleampool under it. Then head over the centre bridge toward the
third path, where there will be a cluster of chests and two spiked blocks
guarding them from either entrance. You can get the gleamdop one by using the
focused flail in diagonal from below on the bottom silver chest. The rest you
can try and get by flailing from the other path on the far right.

-8th Zone
Gleamdrop: Defeat a certain group
Gleamwell: ——–

Head for the top of the zone and bash down the plants to get at the red
armours. Again, if you can weaken them befre charging in to make your life
easier. I was lucky in that I had Wisp equipped, so I was able to send them
into
a bit of confusion which helped me with my final charge. Again, save your
progress and move onward.

-9th Zone
Gleamdrop: Defeat a certain group
Gleamwell: Hidden under a plant

Remember those Xs on the ground we saw in the Ruins? Well they’re back here
too, except they’re a rather conspicuous light blue that blends in well with
the ground, so keep a careful eye out for these. As before, vines will pop out
and unleash unholy hell on you. The middle of this level is very interesting
because it is covered with those Xs, has two ailment heads at top and bottom,
and yet you have to fight in this little arena because that is where a lot of
the orange wolves you need to defeat will be appearing. Luckily the Gleampool
is easily concealed under the plant just below this ring of chaos.

-10th Zone
Gleamdrop: Eliminate all monsters
Gleamwell: Hidden under a plant

Well that’s all we needed, another colloseum of madness. This time there are
three heads on each side of this square, 2 Xs in the topleft and bottomright
corners, and we have to defeat all the monsters available. To make your life a
bit easier, I suggest whacking the head that is facing inwards toward its
companion so at least you don’t have random status ailments giving you grief,
and take the chests on the outside while you do this, so you use this as
protection from the monsters. Then unleash some heavy fighting in the centre
while avoiding those sneaky vines. The gleampool should be toward the top right
corner of the ring.

-11th Zone
Gleamdrop: Defeat in a chest
Gleamwell: Hidden under a plant

There are tons of the ailment heads set up around the paths of this zone, which
are fun to try avoiding. You’ll also see another two golden chests on the left
hand side of the vertical path guarded by a spiked block. You can stop it from
getting you by maneuvering a shell in there that should appear toward the top
of the path, but I’d make sure you turn the heads the other way, as they can
knock you back in there and then your only way out is to fight your way out
against the block (which is a pain, trust me). Also watch out for monsters
moving the shell out of the way. The drop is infact in one of th chests among
the spikes on the right hand side of this same path, a bit further down.
Hopefully it is at the beginning, otherwise you have a long job of flailing it
back. The Gleampool is hopefully on the horizontal path about mid-top zone. If
you’re really unlucky, it could go right up the top, which means a long haul
avoiding ailments…

-12th Zone
Gleamdrop: Defeat a certain group
Gleamwell: ——–

The red armours will start coming at you fast, so move quick. Hammer one of the
floating clouds toward them, and hopefully you’ll knock them in to an ailment
plant that’ll stop them in their tracks long enough for you to charge in and
finish the job off. Now if you want some extra brownie points, go down and up
around the outside of the level, take out the pinochios, and then push a cloud
up the path. Knock it upward with your hammer toward the end to take out the
plant there, and then flail back the contents of the chests. You’ll probably
knock yourself back doing this, but you’ll be alright, we’re almost at a save
point, which you should definitely use since things are going to get nastier
still.

You find the Mana Lord at the end of the Path of Life, the seed glowing before
him. He welcomes you and says that the time has come to unleash the power of
the seed, and all shall be bathed in a sea of the purest life that is Mana.
(insert evil laughter here) He argues with you that there is no such thing as
purpose in this world, and that the imposition of humans is meaningless, that
your importance is just an illusion. But now it is time for the show, and he’s
glad you’re here to witness it.

As he cracks the seed open with the Mana Sword, the Geodes appear once more and
halt the new surge of Mana that was about to be unleashed. He can’t understand
how the geodes managed this… could they be crystals of living memory, thus
giving them a will of their own. Could they have come from the future
sanctuary? Ludicrous, they can’t stop him, he claims. He strikes the seed once
again, but it has become immune to the Sword of Mana.

A beautiful FMV sequence plays, with Tess standing at the foot of the Mana
Tree.

"The Sword of Mana is not a mere weapon. Don’t you hear the voices of the gems?
Life must go on, than that is where one finds true meaning."

The Mana Lord now angers, his rage bringing forth the power of thunder around
you to announce your imminent demise! Your time has come to face him.

– Boss Battle : The Mana Lord –

How on earth did they make this battle this easy… I lost a total of 30HP! His
attacks consist of lightning strikes, then he will move in your direction and
try to use a sonicwave on you. First off, I found that if I run in his general
direction, I’ll avoid the lightning strike, get a hit or two with your sword in
before he uses his sonicwave, which instead makes him just throw me back in any
direction. Lather, rinse and repeat. I defeated him within 30 seconds. Note
that if you get hit by lightning once, he’ll most likely manage to get another
hit in, as it paralyzes you and allows him to aim with another easily.

He will admit that you have power, but you are a mere worm against him. You
haven’t defeated him yet!

This time his attacks become more vicious. He will launch lightning balls at
you, rush at you landing three or four hit combos, added to the previous
attacks he had. But again, the same strategy as before applies, though this
time you’ll take a bit more damage. But this time he actually went down in 10
seconds flat, and I took 40HP damage.

The game registered a total of 38 seconds for this battle. I’ve since been able
to defeat him in 20.

Now the battle is over and you have received your ranking, time to see how he
reacts to this defeat.

He explain the goddes has just descended into this world, and her powers spun
out of control as she doesn’t know herself yet. This produced an entity that is
deliriously intoxicated with its own powers, roaming the planet like an
innocent newborn… the force behind the surges is a child: the Scion of Mana.

He tells you to give the seed of Mana to the maiden, for she will know what to
do with it. He then gives you back the Sword of Mana. When the columns first
sprouted, the goddess sent you the sword, she must have wanted you to stop the
chaos she could not. She could do no more than that as the Tree was already
shackled by the columns. After giving birth to the Lord and the Scion, she
struggled to stop them. The Mana Lord knew the will of the goddess to want to
stop the columns, but he continued on because that is what he is. That was the
reason he was born: to fill the world with Mana. But he now sees that the gems
are a fusion of the powers of Mana and the will of the creatures to live, and
wonders how far you will get fighting against the Mana that he longed to free.

With that he says "I am the Mana Lord! Dear planet, witness my end! Take my
life, my child!" and plunges himself into the flows of Mana under the Path of
Life. The earth begins to shake, and the powers of Mana grow uncontrollably.
You run for it, now in posession of the Sword and Seed of Mana.

Mana begins to surge from the foot of the Mana tree and accumulates above the
tree to form a portal, revealing the path to another world. The Benevodons then
circle the tree and the island, witnessing the rift above the Mana Tree.

Back in the village, Moti makes the claim that the Scion of Mana, the source of
the chaos, must be on the otherside of the rift. It looks like there’s no other
option other than to face off against Mana itself. You’re not so sure that the
Sword will even help, as when you show it to the others, it is covered in black
vines… has it forsaken the people? Watts cares not a tait, this is where the
real fight begins, when all hope is lost and you can’t fall any farther.

Moti still has his doubts with the sword in such a state, but Tess assures him
that it is blessed with the power to set things right, so as long as our
purpose is to set the world right it will lend us its power. Thus, our mission
is to enter the rift and stop the chaos, and restore everything to normal…
Good game, good game…

But before that, it is time to do some maintenance.

First off, we want to expand our Gem Frame to the max so time to activate the
subquest that will finally allow us to do just that. Chat with the Dudbear at
Dud Services. One of their team went to Lorimar to gather info and hasn’t come
back. He asks if we can go find out what has happenned to him, as he may have
had an accident. This will give us the subquest which leads to obtaining an
even bigger gem-frame, so you REALLY want to do this!

You should also at this point complete the last elemental subquest for Shade
which will now be available. You will also be able to access a subquest for
each individual character. If you are playing with Tumble, talk to Seamoon to
access her subquest. For Flick, talk to Watts to access the subquest. For
Wanderer, Chat to Millionaire.

So use these to get your level up above 65, recommended 70. Kit out with the
latest gear, and get your gems arranged as you feel fit. The final showdown is
ahead.

Suquests Available: Friendship Beyond Words (Dudbear), Benevodon of Shadow
(Shade), Character Specific Subquests (see Subquests section for more info on
who to talk to).

Continue to next chapter…