: So, uh... Where do we go now?
: I... I don't know. Hmm.
: Maybe we can go to Portoga after all, someone there could know-
: Gonzalo, that reasoning got us halfway across the world, only to find places she's already been to. Chasing her like this is a fool's errand.
: You know I'm not giving up.
: I'm not telling you to give up. I'm telling you to change strategies.
: Huh. Alright, I'm listening. What do you have in mind?
: Instead of trying to go where she is, we could try to go where she hasn't been. Chances are, sooner or later, we'll meet up somewhere!
: Oh! That's brilliant!
: Okay, sure. But, uh... Where hasn't she been to?
: I... I don't know. Hmm.
: How about we take a step back for a minute. You know, look at the big picture.
: What do you mean?
: We know where she's been. She conquered monster-infested towers, bandit lairs, and a cursed tomb. Everywhere, all doors were open, all treasure chests were empty, and the most dangerous creatures were dead. She's done what we've done, except with more danger. I get that we want to help her, but... can we? I mean, she's clearly not just some regular teenager, right?
: Yes. I suppose I hadn't seen things that way.
: So what do you propose?
: Well, we could just... not chase her. We could just do our own thing, try to make the world better in our own way, and get stronger. So when we finally do run into her somewhere, we actually have something to contribute, and we're not three randos she has to drag around.
: That makes a lot of sense.
: I know, right?
: So... Where do we go now?
: I... I don't know. Hmm.
: Oh for goodness' sake, it doesn't matter. Let's just go somewhere we haven't been to. We saw Jipang on the way to Muor, right? We could start there.
: I approve of this. Let's go!
We'll be spending a bit of time with the B Team again while Zofia's crew recovers from their emotional travails. They had about 2100 gold last time around, but we can only take out money in 1000 gold increments, so they end up with 2968. This is kind of heartbreaking, given that the A Team still has literally 60000 gold in the Vault, heh.
Now then: seed distribution! It takes a very long time for a Sage's stat growth to slow down relative to their soft caps' growth, not to mention that they start with higher stats than any fresh character, so Mercedes does without this time. Gonzalo gets three Agility Seeds for 6 points, and Leonor gets three Strength Seeds for 7 points. Pretty average, I suppose.
Let's look at everyone's stats for a bit.
Code: Select all
| Lvl | Str | Agi | Vit | Int | Luc | Atk | Def | HP | MP |
Gonzalo | 20 | 77 | 27 | 92 | 17 | 15 | 132 | 82 | 192 | 0 |
Leonor | 21 | 61 | 41 | 68 | 29 | 20 | 101 | 65 | 137 | 0 |
Mercedes | 12 | 33 | 34 | 48 | 34 | 89 | 68 | 60 | 92 | 32 |
Everything's pretty much as I'd expect at this point, though Leonor and Mercedes having practically the same defense is a bit surprising. I really wish Intelligence did anything at all though. Merchants are much smarter than Soldiers but they get no benefit from it. If it helped them, say, resist magic or status effects, it would positively differentiate them by a considerable margin.
Alright, let's get back in the saddle.
: Oh, yes, she came through. She was hard to miss. Within a week the townsfolk were talking about her like she was a war goddess.
: What did she do?
: She destroyed some sort of demonic hydra that was passing for the queen here. Nasty business!
: That's beginning to sound like her.
: Now when a storm rolls in, the children have taken to say that she must be fighting somewhere in the world, and the thunder is her battle shout.
: ...wow. Okay.
: Where was this hydra exactly?
: Oh it all happened in the castle over there. Everybody who cared to see it saw it. But I hear she went to the volcanic cave in the northeast first.
: I certainly wouldn't mind seeing us forged into war gods by this cave!
: Yes, yes, of course, it was the cave that did it.
: Eh, at least if we can make it through, we might prove ourselves worthy of cleaning her boots.
It would be easy to get overconfident now that we finally have access to magic, but the entire A Team was around level 21-22 when they arrived in Jipang, and they had many more spells at their disposal. If we had to kill Orochi again, we'd just have to grind a lot to even stand a chance. Still, making it to the secret passage out of its cave is probably going to take some doing.
We can't really afford new gear right now, but as soon as we have enough money, we'll get a couple suits of Magic Armor from Tedanki. I can't justify them knowing to go there right away in terms of storyline, but it's going to have to be a compromise I make so I don't end up tearing my hair out, heh.
As far as weapons go, the Zombie Slasher is the best weapon in the game for Merchants and Sages, and the Orochi Sword is only two points weaker than the Zombie Slasher and can be equipped by Sages (but not Merchants), so we'll have Mercedes with the Orochi Sword and Leonor with a Zombie Slasher at some point. Gonzalo of course will keep having access to the best weapons, so we'll upgrade him basically as we did Zofia, gold permitting.
But... that's not for right now. Let's see if we can make it through Jipang's gauntlet of Derangers and Lava Bashers first.
Oh good grief. Wow. If Mercedes was still a Goof-off, this would be a run-ending disaster. We manage to flee though, and Meche heals herself.
We make it about, I don't know, one third of the way through before we have to turn back, but it's not because somebody died or we ran out of Herbs, it's because Mercedes only has enough MP left to cast Outside. I can tell this is going to take a while, but I don't feel like I'm hitting my head against a brick wall at least.
A fight like this is made enormously easier now that we can put one or two bears to sleep. Gonzalo will even one-shot a bear half the time, which I don't think is something that could be said for even Alvaro back then.
On our third attempt, Mercedes finally learns Healmore! That's gonna be a huge help for sure.
...but not enough help for our run to survive Gonzalo being confused again. Welp.
We do have enough cash for a Magic Armor though, so we go on a quick trip to Tedanki before heading back in. Inasmuch as a trip from Japan to South Africa can be quick. The first Armor absolutely goes to Mercedes, because her low HP makes her especially vulnerable to spell damage. Her Cloak of Evasion goes to Leonor, replacing her old Half Plate.
This is the Merchants' secret shame: apart from a rare drop from a late-game enemy, Half Plate is their "best" armor. The Cloak is only five points weaker though, so the 20% evade chance is more than worth the trade-off. Even though Leonor has nine levels on Mercedes, her defense is now 20 points behind. On top of that, the Iron Shield is their best shield, and the Turban is their best helmet. Once we get her a Zombie Slasher, she'll have her endgame equipment.
It's a good thing that Merchants level up faster than other classes, because from mid-game on they become enormously stat-dependant. Of course Fighters are also stat-dependant, but their stat gains are much better.
Alright then, run number four.
Haha, wow, the secret passage has disappeared. It's good enough either way, we've got Outside.
I had the good sense to have Zofia's ghost carry the Orochi Sword, so Mercedes can have it right away. (Again, sorry, no plot justification, I just don't want to have nightmares about grinding!) It's 8 points stronger than Gonzalo's Sledge Hammer, but he already hits hard enough, and it's also 28 points stronger than her old Staff of Judgement. One day we might get her a Zombie Slasher because of the occasional bonus damage (and she knows Defence besides), but that 9800 gold expense is the lowest possible priority.
: That was a workout and a half! Well done, everyone!
: Yes, I sure got a lot better at getting hit in the face with a sledgehammer without dying!
: It's good to see you're staying positive about this.
: It's that or I incinerate him on the spot!
: You have my apologies.
: Eh, I know it's not your fault. We can't all be born with cosmic insight.
: ...would be nice if at least one of us was.
The A Team explored Russia at that point, then founded Panchoville, and went on the quest for the Final Key before overthrowing the Boss Troll in Samanao. That's a long stretch without any dungeons! For this crew, I want to try something else first.
: What ho! A tower!
: Talk about the ass-end of nowhere. Maybe we have Zofia beaten to the punch this time.
: You wanna bet?
The flute's tower is pretty hard, but we don't have to worry about Chaos or much elemental damage, so we're actually well suited to the place. Eliminators aren't particularly dangerous to a melee-focused group, and Mercedes knows Antidote so Venom Zombies are no real threat. Lethal Armors take some doing to bring down though, as our offensive ability might be beginning to fall behind the curve and high-defense monsters are getting to be a problem.
On the way to our third run, all the way from Jipang every time, Leonor gets Limbo'd by a Hades' Condor. Oh boy.
Third time's the charm, though.
: All opened, and recently too.
: We might be getting closer!
: Yes, you can keep telling yourself that.
: So, do you have any suggestions for our next destination?
: Come to think of it, if Zofia went all over the place, she could have found a way to unlock the old Travel Door network.
: Ah, that seems worth checking on.
: We won't necessarily run into her, but it could be easier than spending all this time on the ocean.
: How do we reach these Doors?
: Well I know there's one in... Portoga? Or thereabouts?
: Wait, actually... Um...
: What is it, Leonor?
: Do you have a better idea?
: Not... really. No. But... Maybe... Do you think we could return to Dhama?
: Hmm? Right, maybe a companion of-
: No, no... It's... for me.
: Oh! What about taxes and overhead, then?
: Well... How I felt about being a Merchant... The more we've been traveling together, the less true it became.
: There is more to you than you thought, isn't there?
: Yeah! That's... that's exactly how it feels.
: Shall we go, then?
Oh dang, we never did visit Dhama at night, did we?
...this is the old man who wanted to become a young girl.
Heh, that's adorable.
: This is your last night as a Merchant, then.
: I guess so!
: I hope you've given a great deal of thought to who you want to become. This is important.
: Yeah, I know. I have.
: Ha, you'll see tomorrow!
: I swear, if you get one iota of smugness about this in your head, I'm changing back.
: I didn't say anything!
: Besides, you couldn't exactly change back right now-
: Ugh, yeah.
: I promise I have nothing but respect for your decision, Leonor.
: Yeah, okay.
I actually didn't plan on doing this, and in fact if the A Team had a Merchant by popular vote I'd have stuck with her all the way, but we've seen everything the class has to offer by now, and trying to imagine crossing the Necrogond with the party we had until moments ago seemed nigh-insurmountably masochistic.
Anyway, what are Leonor's stats like now?
Merchants don't typically bring anything remarkable to any class they change into, though once the early-game advantage of their unique equipment is no longer a factor, they make good candidates to use the Book of Satori on, especially since they're likely to hit level 20 before anyone else. That said, with the B Team being how it is, I'd rather have a second Soldier than a second Sage. We need sources of damage that don't depend on MP.
On top of that, once we upgrade her gear a little, Leonor will have caught up on her old self in everything but HP, and Soldiers have better HP growth than Merchants in the first place. And speaking of upgrades, she can't wear her Turban anymore, so we get an Iron Mask from Muor to replace it.
: Oh, and, um, here.
: Oh! Thank you. Are you sure?
: My magic will suffice for now, don't worry.
Just upgrading Leonor's Battle Axe to the Orochi Sword gives her back almost all of the attack power she had as a level 25 Merchant. And getting the Iron Mask gives her more defense than she used to have, while she's still wearing the Cloak of Evasion. Which we have enough cash to replace with Magic Armor immediately! She only has 5 less Agility than Gonzalo; if they had the exact same gear, she'd be nearly as durable as he is, despite her lower level.
That's a shift from stat-dependance to gear-dependance right there.
Anyway, enough of that! Time to head for Samanao!
: So it is unlocked.
: Are we sure that Ortega's daughter did it?
: We are not.
: Eh, we kind of are though. Let's be honest.
: I'm starting to think the world's not big enough for two groups of adventurers.
: It would be plenty big if her party didn't have such a head start.
: Speaking of which, Gonzo, if helping her is so important to you, why didn't you leave sooner?
: Oh, uh, well... I was a guard captain and... I... I didn't want to lose my pension.
: I'm quite sure that my current opinion of who I was back then matches yours.
: Actually, it's more sensible a reason than I expected.
: If it wasn't for you we'd all still be in Aliahan, we have no business being harsh on you there.
The monsters here are a couple notches tougher than anything we've seen yet of course, but we make it to the newly-liberated castle with minimal difficulty.
: Okay, let me guess, Ortega's daughter came through here and defeated a monster that was masquerading as your monarch.
: Yeah, yeah! That sounds about right!
: Wh... What?
: It was a real shitshow for a while, but the real king's on the throne again and we're back to the usual number of executions!
: How... how many executions is that?
: That's zero. I meant zero. Sorry, I'm just so dang happy all the time now. That Zofia sure is swell!
: She sure is.
: While she was here, did she go to some sort of... tower or cave maybe?
: I couldn't rightly tell you. But there's the old monster pit across a big bridge in the southeast. I wouldn't be surprised if she cleared it out!
: We wouldn't be surprised either.
: Man, she's the best!
Oh, cripes. Okay. So.
All three of us here want a Silver Shield, there's no getting around that. We won't need a third Magic Armor, because Gonzalo's going to inherit the Armor of Terrafirma once someone clears the Navel of the Earth, and we'll only need one Dragon Killer, since we have a Snowblast Sword waiting for us once we clear the first level of the Necrogond tunnel. So that's... 41400 gold.
Aaand here we see the dark side of being gear-dependant, heheh.
Still, the cave of the Mirror of Ra is the first dungeon that the A Team has neither fully explored nor mapped nor looted, so we'll be here for a while and even cover new ground! Mercedes recently learned X-Ray too, so we'll be safe from any Mimics.
Voodoo Shamans were always total bastards, but now that their RobMagic has only one potential target and that her MP is low to begin with, they're extra dangerous. We're not carrying a Wizard's Ring and we have no backup caster, so if Mercedes runs out of MP, we can't cast Outside unless she steals some back. We'll have to play it very safe.
This highlights one of the rare unique strengths of Sages: they are the only class naturally capable of casting healing spells that also has access to RobMagic, outside of class-changing or an impractical late-game edge case that we'll see when it becomes possible. That's a big deal.
Anyway, our first run ends when Leonor gets killed by a Tortragon who put everyone else to sleep. Rough chuckles.
Ha, I didn't realize the ship pops up in this lake when you Return to Samanao. We can't even get to it from here. Or, well, Ramia pops up next to the castle so we could get to it from here but we're not supposed to have her yet.
: Ooooh! A trail of chests!
: Hot damn! I forgot there even was such a thing as a closed chest!
: Doesn't it look kinda suspicious to you?
: I can't hear you over the sound of treasure!
: Sweet treasure!
: That's not very-
: I don't care! Treasure!
Oh, they've earned those. Mercedes eats them, for 2 points.
: Oh my goodness.
: This is beautiful.
: Forgive a man his tears, for he must weep.
: At least let me check them for traps.
: Yes! Checking for traps! Now I feel like a real adventurer!
: Sorry, not this one.
: But... But...!
: It will eat us. I mean that literally. Ortega's daughter was smart to leave them behind.
: Not this one either.
: I'm sorry. All of these chests would kill us.
: This is the worst dungeon in history.
Man this is some trick! You've got all these harmless chests with minor treasure leading straight into four of whatever those are, probably Mimics. Good grief.
All of those X-Ray casts depleted Mercedes' MP, so we have to call this run. On our way back, a Kong drops more Acorns of Life, increasing her HP by 4. Leonor gains a level too, and I only mention it because she now has exactly as much Agility as Gonzalo despite being seven levels behind him. It looks like she's seeing some benefit from her Merchant days after all!
Gonzalo also levels up at this point, which is of note because he's clearly hit the Strength soft cap already.
: Um... let me guess... Great? These are great, right?
: They sure look great!
: Aaaaaand they're bad.
We have to leave here again, then come back and pick it up right there.
...or we would if we didn't have several runs where Mercedes kept getting all her MP stolen before we got back. We have to try so many times that we get enough money for a Dragon Killer. Leonor gets it, and Mercedes gets the Orochi Sword back. Gonzalo's Sledge Hammer should be enough to last him a while, so we'll be looking at those Silver Shields next. Aaaand it probably wouldn't hurt to replace Leonor's Magic Armor with a suit of Dragon Mail from Panchoville sooner or later... but the shields come first.
Oh dang, talk about stacking mean on top of mean! This chamber is partially reversed, with the Mimic at the entrance, and one of the chests inside containing actual useful treasure. We make a trip to the inn again, and return.
As we reach this floor, Leonor levels up to 21. Coincidentally, Mercedes is also at level 21. That's a taste of how much more experience than anyone else Sages need.
Dang, Mercedes gets all her MP drained, and we get wiped out before she can steal back enough to cast Outside. Gonzalo managed to map the last parts of the cave before a Skeleton finished him off, though.
This did cost us 2400 gold and send us all the way back to Dhama, and we have to spend most of the remaining 2400 on revival. But I'm gonna count it as a win! (Because I wouldn't know what to aim for if we went back!)
: There's another place I can think of: a shrine in Lancel where one's courage is put to the test.
: That does sound like a place a hero like Zofia would go to.
: That describes every place, Gonzo.
: Still, it doesn't matter if she's been to or not. I want to go.
: You hardly need to prove your courage to me, Mercedes.
: ...I'm not doing this for you.
: Alright, fair enough. To Lancel!
: To be honest, when I first met her, if you had told me I'd once see her go alone into a dangerous dungeon and fully expect her to perform admirably and come back in one piece, I would have laughed.
: Best not to judge people by their appearances, eh?
: ...did you know she had all this power in her back then?
: Nah, we were just drinking buddies. I guess I was still pretty judgy too.
: I... I wonder if there's something more to me too.
: You're... actually... Well...
: Eh, I don't know, I was just thinking... Maybe if Zofia wasn't around, the world would have been in good hands just with you.
: Oh, I-I wouldn't say that...
: You're not giving up, and it's for a good cause. Lineage or not, it counts for something.
: ...thank you.
: Well, don't get all mushy on me yet, we've still got a long way to go and you've got plenty of time to disappoint me.
: Ha! That's one goal I would prefer failing to reach.
I don't know how far she can get like this, but she won't need to reach the bottom floor where the Orb was. If she can just finish our map, she'll "bring back" the Armor of Terrafirma for Gonzalo. And she has two advantages over Zofia: X-Ray and RobMagic.
Okay, that first big crossroads is an east-west infinite loop. Let's get to the main room with the pillars, then.
Well hey, that's literally it. Let's see if Meche can make it to the Armor's chest at least.
Gonzalo's finally getting to upgrade from the Full Plate he's had since Isis!
: Welcome back.
: Welp, Zofia was here for sure.
: Eh, doesn't matter. We'll catch up one day.
: So how was it? Do you think we should go too?
: Uh, no. You'd die. No offense.
: O-okay then.
: Anyway, let's hit the hay, I need a drink and a break.
: Hey, did you guys hear? A dormant volcano south of Isis erupted a few days ago. You can see the ash cloud all the way from here! Crazy times, huh?
: ...south of...
: I wonder if the Navel of the Earth's gonna blow up one of those days.
: South of Isis... that's the Necrogond, isn't it?
: What's the Necrogond?
: That's where the Pit of Giaga is. If there's an archfiend somewhere on our plane of existence, it'd feel right at home there.
: Wait, you knew where the archfiend was all this time?
: Yeah, but we couldn't reach it anyway, there's a river running across the pass at its only entrance. A river and... and a... volcano. Holy crap!
: Do you think Zofia caused that eruption?
: What, are you kidding? Of COURSE she caused that eruption. Let's go!
So here's our final objective for today: traversing the Necrogond tunnel. Zofia was level 30 when she threw the Sword of Gaia in the volcano. Right now, Gonzalo is level 26, Leonor is level 21, and Mercedes is level 22. It's gonna take some doing, but levels and gold ought to be coming fairly quickly at this point, as long as we don't get instantly vaporized in the first couple fights.
: Yeah, that lava hasn't been here long. Come on.
These fights are nightmarish. Mercedes is a long way from Firevolt, and neither Gonzalo nor Leonor always one-shot Frost Clouds yet. We have to settle for opening the first turn with a Firebane cast instead, then facetank a bunch of ice damage. I can't imagine an enemy formation we're less suited to fight.
We make it to the entrance of the tunnel after three attempts, though Mercedes' MP is so low it's not worth going inside.
The sixth run is unsuccessful, but it ultimately leaves us with enough money for a Silver Shield. Mercedes gets it, replacing her Bronze Shield, and taking her defense from 89 to 112. She now has more defense than either of her comrades, and this will remain true until... well... they both get their own Silver Shields.
Ooh, I tried to use the Orochi Sword on King Tortragons, and it turns out that it bypasses Bounce! I presume this is the case for all usable items.
There goes run number 8. Fire breath from on side, Snowblast from the other.
Whew! Run 11 gets us to the Thunder Sword chest, earning Gonzalo the Snowblast Sword Zofia's ghost has been toting around. That's huge! I mean, it doesn't help us against Frost Clouds, but it replaces his Sledge Hammer, taking his attack power from 166 to 191. Just to compare, Zofia has an attack power of 179! This puts a lot of monsters here within easy one-shot range, and that's a big deal.
That trip doesn't get us anything else of note, though. I'mmmmmm thinking I'm gonna stop counting at this point and just let you know when something neat happens.
I'm beginning to suspect we won't make it through this until Mercedes learns Healall. Gonzalo and Leonor have so much HP that they can receive three Healmore casts each and still not be full, and Meche herself at level 28 has as much HP as Isabel and Rebeca in their early 30s.
: ...this is... this is pretty hard, huh?
: That's one way to put it. How long have we been at this again?
: I could tell you, but you'd hate to know.
: Yyyyeah probably.
: Well there's-
: Oh hey, phoenix.
: Meche, the phoenix is an old wives' ta-
: Oh hey, phoenix.
: Okay, fine, all stories are true, I get it!
: ...Zofia's riding it, isn't she.
: Well we're closer than ever, and I'll be damned if I give it up now! COME AT ME, TROLLS! YOU CAN'T STOP US!
: Gonzo, maybe, uh... we could be a little-
: You rang?
So, this is taking forever, and I gotta call it prematurely before it delays the update any further. We're kind of at a point where success is luck-based right now; there have been five runs in a go where we didn't even reach the tunnel entrance at all, and we've never even seen the final floor. I can't imagine how this would be going if Leonor was still a Merchant. (It could work in a balanced party, but not here.) That said, I can perfectly imagine how this would be going if Mercedes was still a Goof-off: I would quit. Heheh.
We have enough money to get Leonor a Dragon Mail, but Frost Clouds are still the biggest problem, and the Dragon Mail doesn't reduce incoming ice damage, or protect from the Lionheads' and Minidemons' fire spell damage either. Everyone's got their Silver Shield by now, and we have the best weapons available unless we farm up a second Snowblast Sword, and that's not happening.
Before we go, let's talk about stats! I'm including both squads here for comparison purposes.
Code: Select all
| Lvl | Str | Agi | Vit | Int | Luc | Atk | Def | HP | MP |
Gonzalo | 32 | 122 | 37 | 151 | 23 | 23 | 202 | 123 | 309 | 0 |
Leonor | 29 | 110 | 42 | 139 | 41 | 38 | 187 | 116 | 277 | 0 |
Mercedes | 29 | 64 | 64 | 95 | 63 | 100 | 127 | 118 | 202 | 90 |
Zofia | 34 | 94 | 62 | 127 | 51 | 75 | 179 | 141 | 247 | 94 |
Alvaro | 32 | 153 | 255 | 123 | 30 | 107 | 183 | 147 | 238 | 0 |
Isabel | 33 | 50 | 76 | 93 | 85 | 92 | 115 | 124 | 207 | 159 |
Rebeca | 33 | 31 | 81 | 86 | 92 | 123 | 41 | 75 | 179 | 181 |
Gonzalo gained 12 levels, for 45 Str, 10 Agi, 59 Vit, 6 Int, 8 Luc, and 117 HP. He's not as strong as Alvaro, but his attack is higher because of course the Snowblast Sword is a much better weapon than the Iron Claw. Criticals balance this out, though. I'd say they're equally effective as damage dealers at this point. The main difference is in how Al is much, much faster, and Gonzo can take more punishment before going down.
And yeah, Alvaro's Agility is maxed out at 255, with his actual base Agility at 150-something. This means a portion of the Meteorite Armband's bonus is wasted, but I don't dare take it off him because it still counts for about 50 of his defense power and I need him on the frontline! If you have a party with a Fighter in the third rank (for example, Soldier/Hero/Fighter/Sage), it gets a lot more viable to give the Armband to someone else. As things are, he has more defense power than anyone, and he also has the Cloak of Evasion's dodge chance, which makes him enormously resistant to physical damage. But of course his lower HP means he can't facetank as much elemental damage, and Healall is less efficient on him.
Since she turned into a Soldier, Leonor gained 28 levels, for 75 Str, 20 Agi, 99 Vit, 26 Luc, 25 Int, and 195 HP. One of her levels earned her 20 HP! Her Merchant heritage makes her slightly faster and luckier than Gonzalo, and she's otherwise a pretty even match for him, to the point where I'm beginning to think it's a good idea to start all Soldiers as Merchants just so you can have a less grindy early-to-mid-game. She's only three levels behind him, but unless he spends a lot of time dead, she's probably not going to catch up. That's okay though, she already hits harder than anyone on the A Team.
From the start of the update, Mercedes gained 17 levels, for 31 Str, 30 Agi, 47 Vit, 11 Luc, 29 Int, 104 HP, and 58 MP. I believe her latest spells are Defeat and Firevolt. Her combat ability is already better than Isabel's, but I don't think she'd be a better fighter than a hypothetical still-Merchant Leonor would be by now. The trade-off is that her MP's really low, of course. She'll probably have more MP than Zofia before long, but Zofia's not her team's only mage.
Man, talk about Sages leveling slowly, though. Leonor made it from 1 to 29 in the time Mercedes took to go from 12 to 29.
The main other thing that jumps out at me is that Rebeca's Agility finally hit its stride. She was the slowest in her party last time we checked, but she's second only to Alvaro now. This makes her spellcasting all the more effective: it's extraordinarily satisfying to vaporize five Frost Clouds with Firevolt before any of them get to do anything.
Alright, this'll do it for now. Stay tuned, true believers! The prize is within sight!