After finishing the Cursed Gauntlet's Challenge Quest, head to the Barracks. That night, Walter awakens you to Isabeau's craziness on the rooftop. Apparently, she's just reading - manga, no less. Apparently, it takes place in the "fictional" country of France. Okaaaaaaay...
Meanwhile, in the distance, we see something more sensible, sort of - a crimson glow... FIRE! On Kiccigiorgi no less! As the four head down to the plaza, they meet samurai gathering in haste, only to find that apprentices are not allowed to go. Hope remedies this and the group departs for Kiccigiorgi.
They arrive at dawn to find a village in ruins and the people in a daze, fearing demons. That gets Hope's attention - apparently, the demons committed arson here. Those who survived the blaze fled to the forest. The group immediately heads there.
Local Demon Bestiary
Kiccigiorgi Forest: Side Road
Okay, Little Red Riding Hood, let's find Grandma's house. Begin by heading eastward to the east/southeast fork. Pick up the 1-Star Jewelry along the latter fork before going along the due-east path. Along it is a red-hued demon, which means...
Boss: Innocent Horde
|8||Horde||Ice, Light, Electric||Fire, Force||N/A|
To be honest, there's not a lot to say about this demon. It primarily will just abuse its two moves per turn for damage, although it can also raise its own Strength. Basically, abuse Bufu and Zio. There's no real need to concern yourself with HP restoration - worse case scenario, you need to heal back at the forest entrance.
If you happen to have something like a Mazio Stone item, you can also use that for about five Electric-elemental hits on this boss (Horde enemies are composed of five hittable parts as far as multi-target attacks are concerned).
After the battle, break the nearby wormwood and proceed further along the path to rescue some villagers. It is now a good idea to return to the forest entrance so as to heal. ... In fact, it's not too stupid an idea to consider grinding a bit, say up to Level 13 or so.
Return to the fork in the path and begin going southward this time. At the end of the path is a red humanoid demon using the ... Agh, I forget. Captain Planet or Captain Earth creedo, I think? Tells you why I should not be writing this at 3:30 A.M.
Boss: Element Horde
|8||Horde||N/A||Fire, Force, Ice, Electric||Dark/Light|
Okay, this one will be a bit tougher from your standpoint, having no weaknesses and resisting much of what you can toss throw at it. Luckily, it does not resist the kitchen sink, so such basic physicals and needle-based Gun attacks are probably the way to go. Which is nice, as it'll conserve MP.
Of course, there's also those that are based on MP and can inflict statuses, like Dream Punch, or those that hit multiple targets or multiple times. Just beware the party-wide Fire attacks, and you'll pretty much be okay.
After the battle, as before, return to the healers at the forest entrance for some ... well, healing. Afterwards, continue further along the southward path we just partially traversed. There, you'll find a fork - southwest or southeast? Head southwest for now and west at the next fork to find, surprise, a boss.
This is just another Innocent Horde, though. Further along that path are some more villagers to rescue. Return to the forest entrance to heal, then go due east of the last place we rescued from to find a man captured by the Strix! She oddly has an obsession against the Luxurors, an undemonlike emotion...
|12||Femme||Gun, Electric||Light, Dark||Ice (Repel)|
Pffft. This gal still retains the lengthy-and-dubious title of "not the hardest boss insofar despite bosses being meant to get harder". She can drain the HP out of you with Life Drain, but that's about as threatening as she gets.
Take a cue from Pikachu or from Dante and blast her full of electricity or bullets, whichever you prefer. She'll be dead on the second turn, easily.
After the battle, the man elaborates unto you the wretched ceremony that caused this long, sleepless night for the villagers. After he leaves to the forest entrance, Hope will call, relaying this same info to all. He suggests going further into the forest to find more. First return to the entrance for healing, though.
From the triangular fork near where these last two battles occurred, head south along the western of the southbound paths.
Kiccigiorgi Forest: Forest Depths
In the next area, continue south along it, defeating demons and destroying wormwood along the way. The path will soon curve around back to the north. As it suddenly turns east, head to the northern ledge and look down. Jump down to the bottom to find a Revival Leaf in the chest.
You'll have to backtrack up there, so go north, destroy the wormwood, and proceed to backtrack. When the path turns east, follow it this time. As you go, you'll find a chest with some Healing Water in it. Continue along, although you won't go much further before meeting Issachar. After some spoilerific conversation -- wha-?
Surprising as the coming of this fight is, don't expect it to be any more of a pain than the other bosses we've found in the forest. The main problem you'll encounter with this guy is Critical Wave, a move you've seen from your other partners.
Since you're unlikely to have any Light or Dark moves on you, simply wail away at him - this is more of a story fight than anything.
There are several choice-giving conversations during the fight. Choose as you will with them - your alliance in relation to the Luxurors, and whether to finish off Issachar and spare him this misery...
- Alignment -5 = Finish him off
- Alignment +5 = Spare him
After the scene there, you'll find yourself in a barren land with Stephen. He says that the girl is off to the east, wanting to see you, so head that way. There's not much said there, though. You'll soon awaken back in the forest, aroused but unaroused as it were.
Eventually, Hope calls, asking for the details, which Isabeau conveys. Hope, alarmed, requests you immediately return to the entrance.
There, the facts are tied together. The Black Samurai is able to summon demons, as well as turn humans into demons through her books. Given the presence of demons beyond Naraku, and the increased use of books (i.e. the baker) in the kingdom, this is likely her doing. But to what end...? In any event, we return to Mikado Castle.