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Mid Game (Levels 9-16)

Levels 9 & 10

Reaching Level 9 in this game means you now have graduated from the early game and are now ready to travel to more dangerous territory. Be warned - the damage you'll be taking can easily reach double digits now, so be sure you've got the best equipment available (Broad Sword, Full Plate, Large Shield) before making the big journey.

To the south of Kol, you'll find a cave entrance mired in a poisonous swamp. Make sure you have at least 30 HP before you even consider making your way to the cave entrance - it'll sap 20 HP from you just to get in, and another 2 HP when you emerge the other side. (Ideally, you should have maximum HP reserves - but anything less than 30 is out-and-out suicide.)

When inside the cave, don't bother wasting a torch or 3 MP on your RADIANT spell - going from the mainland to Rimuldar is fairly straightforward - just walk south from the staircase until you hear a clunk signifying you're walking into a wall, then east, south, east, south, and west - and you'll end up at the staircase leading to Rimuldar. When going the other way, go east, north, west, then north, all the way to the northern staircase.
When you emerge, you might encounter a couple weaklings like Magidrakees and Scorpions, but as you make your way to Rimuldar, don't be surprised if you come across two very strong foes: Wolves and Warlocks. Wolves are extremely powerful for your level, and will take at least 2 turns to defeat, so avoid them unless you've got close to full HP. Warlocks are even worse - they cast the SLEEP spell on you, and that almost always means death at this stage in the game. Run away from them until you get to Level 10.
If you manage to reach Rimuldar, I hope you've got some Gold in your pockets - this is where you finally get to buy keys! Huzzah! You'll need 3 keys at the very least to complete the game, a fourth to open the cell to Princess Gwaelin, and a fifth to open the shops in Cantlin that sell the powerful equipment, so buy as many keys as you can afford up to that number. In the meantime, notice one thing - Rimuldar doesn't have an item shop. So use your Herbs very wisely in this part of the world.
Leveling up should go a little quicker around here, since the enemies give up more Experience than they did up north. I'd advise against straying too far away from town while working on this; all it takes is a surprise attack and a blocked escape and all of a sudden your screen's turning orange. When you get to Level 10, you'll earn the most important spell in the midgame period - STOPSPELL - which you should now use against Warlocks at the first opportunity.
At some point, you'll probably want to head back to Tantegel Castle. When you do, now's the time to put one of those keys to good use. Close to the northern exit is a locked door. If you use a key here, you'll open up the east wing of the castle. There are three things that are now available to you: another key shop (albeit more expensive), a knight hiding behind a barrier (which will do at least 45 HP worth of damage to you, and his information isn't too terribly crucial)... and the Stones of Sunlight.
That's right - one of the three ingredients to the Rainbow Bridge can be found right here in the castle. All you gotta do is go out into the eastern courtyard, walk along the eastern wall of the castle, and you'll find a staircase at the southeast corner of the map. (Be careful not to stray off to the east - if you do, you'll leave the castle grounds and the door will be locked again when you return. Go down the stairs, and a wise man will be ready to give you the Stones. Enjoy it - this is about as easy as it gets.
Now that this little excursion is complete, head back to Rimuldar island. At some point, you'll want to start heading southward towards the edge of this island. Here's where you'll find Wolflords and Goldmen. The Wolflords will give you 20 Experience points per kill, the most of any enemy you've seen thus far. And since you're likely gunning for at least the Full Plate Armor, you'll be glad to see a few Goldmen pop up now and then. Don't cross the bridge to the southmost island yet, though - you're still too weak to be taking on any Wyverns.

Levels 11 & 12

If you don't have the Magic Armor at this time, don't sweat it - just make sure you keep a close eye on your HP reserves. In any case, Level 11 or 12 is about the time you should head back to Garinham. As you know, you need the Staff of Rain as the second ingredient for the Rainbow Drop, but the guy who has it (in a small underground room west of Kol) won't give it to you until you find the Silver Harp. That harp is buried in the Grave of Garinham, a dungeon that was previously off limits until you managed to find some keys. Bear in mind that you'll need at least two keys to complete this dungeon, so if you don't have enough, go buy a couple. It'll suck when you're stuck in the first basement, trust me.
When you unlock the first door, you'll find yourself in a small room with about four or so people inside. The treasure chests are worthless and neither one of the guards in the small locked room have anything pertinent to say, but at first glance you might think you've hit a dead end. Not so! If you spoke with the man behind the barrier in Tantegel (and if you didn't, I don't blame you), he mentioned having to push against a "wall of darkness" to reach the grave. Here's what he means: If you position yourself three steps to the right of the leftmost wall and walk up, you'll discover a secret hole in the wall. From there, you can just make your way to the staircase. (Be careful not to stray off the path - you'll be booted out of the town and you'll be out one key.)
The Grave of Garinham is a relatively complex dungeon, so make sure you use the RADIANT spell to negotiate it. A little exploration will reward you with the Cursed Belt, but it's not nearly as valuable as the Death Necklace (it only sells for 180 Gold). In any event, be careful in the lower levels of the dungeon, as you'll find some nasty monsters waiting for you (including Wraith Knights). When you reach the Harp, use the OUTSIDE spell to get the hell out of the cave if you've already reached Level 12. Otherwise, just make your way back out. The Harp itself summons monsters (though usually of the Slime variety), but you're not supposed to keep it anyway. Go over to the cave west of Kol and redeem your Harp for the Staff of Rain.

Level 13

Now, it's time for another adventure. Head back over to the Swamp Cave, making sure you've got a full compliment of 6 Magic Herbs. This time, instead of heading straight for Rimuldar, you've got a princess to rescue.

Yes, yes, I know, saving Princess Gwaelin isn't necessary to beat the game, and it's kinda fun to leave her rotting in the cave while you're out waxing the floor with the Dragonlord. But she does spice up the ending, and Gwaelin's Love is a useful item. If you don't like it, write your own walkthrough.

Anyway, the Princess is guarded by a Green Dragon. At level 17 this thing is pretty nasty, and at the level you're at, You can expect to take at least 20 HP damage per turn. It might take you several tries to put this thing down, but just make sure you save before heading out. If you're lucky, you might be able to put it to sleep. In fact, unless you manage to get in a critical hit, that's pretty much your only hope.
When you get to Level 13, it's time to really test your mettle. Up until this point, you've been encountering enemies that, at best, could beat you only if you bit off more than you could chew or got caught with your pants down. Now the time has come for you to make your way to a region where the enemies hit hard, and a couple small mistakes could spell defeat. Head north from Tantegel, then west to the coast, south across the bridge, past the Treasure Trove, and across the second bridge. Almost as soon as you clear the mountain range, you'll find yourself treading in dangerous waters. Just south of Hauskness and to the west of the bridge you'll find enemies such as Knights, Wraith Knights, and the formidable Demon Knight.
Your best bet is to stick-and-move in this area, wandering around here with maximum (or close to maximum) HP levels, fighting one (or maybe two) tough guys, then retreating to replenish your HP. The great thing about this region is if things get really hairy, you can cross back into the northern areas and only have to worry about Scorpions and Magidrakees until you're strong enough to go at the heavy hitters again. In the meantime, you should be gaining Experience and Gold at a much faster rate than you were with Wolflords and Wraiths, which is good since you still have 24,600 Gold worth of merchandise to buy.

Level 14

Make sure you have the 24,600 Gold needed to buy the Flame Sword and Silver Shield, and double check that you have an extra key in your inventory, before you begin what is probably the most difficult part of the game: running the gauntlet from the Domdora Desert (where Hauskness is located) to Cantlin, the last inhabited town on your itinerary. On the way there, you'll rub elbows with the most fearful monsters in the overworld. Make sure to walk slowly to minimalize attacks, and run like hell whenever you are confronted. Starwyverns and Demon Knights will make mincemeat out of you if given half a chance, so don't give them the opportunity. Just when you think you're in the clear, though, you'll be greeted by another monster as you pass through the gate. It's Golem, the guard for Cantlin. He'll deal massive damage on every attack - upwards of 30 HP - so your only chance is to use the Fairy Flute in Kol. Be careful, though - Golem can still wake up, and you can expect to get whomped if and when he does. If and when you get through (make sure you save your game and have filled up on Herbs, as you'd be incredibly lucky to make it to Cantlin on your first try), it's time to do some shopping.
You'll notice that there are three weapon shops in town. Two of them are out in the open, but don't carry anything worth buying. A third weapon shop holds the two pieces of equipment remaining for sale: the Flame Sword and the Silver Shield, both of which will drastically boost your statistics. However, the store is behind a locked door, so you'd better hope to God you have another key. If you don't, well, it's back to Rimuldar to buy another one, and now you've gotta make it back here again. (On the bright side, at least you won't have to deal with Golem anymore.) Once you've bought these two items (and perhaps stayed at the Inn), cast RETURN and get the hell out of there.

Levels 15 & 16

Things only get harder from here. Your next task is to head into the town of Hauskness - that small town in the Domdora Desert that up until now we had ignored. The reason why, of course, is because it's been demolished and overrun with enemies. In fact, aside from the Demon Knight (who was probably omitted because he'd be invisible in front of the black background), the monsters you'll find here are just like those you'd find in the vicinity of Cantlin - the Starwyvern, Wizard, Green Dragon, and Werewolf. You may have gone up one level (or even two) since you last met them, but that still doesn't mean you're in any condition to start picking fights with them.
Your main goal here is to make it across town with relatively good health. That's because in order to retrieve Erdrick's Armor (which is what you came here for - I forgot to mention that, didn't I?) you'll have to pry it from the cold, dead hands of an Axe Knight who is ready and waiting to make you cold and dead yourself. As I've said before, make certain you've got six Herbs and you've saved your game (although having purchased the Flame Sword and Silver Shield, you no longer have to concern yourself with Gold) before even thinking of this venture. Be forewarned - this guy is armed with a SLEEP spell that, if he uses, will likely lead to your doom. You can try to use STOPSPELL against him, but your best bet is to simply go balls to the wall on him and hope he forgets to cast it. If and when he goes down, search the ground, and Erdrick's Armor will be yours.

Now that you're wearing Erdrick's armor, you'll notice that the screen no longer flashes red as you make your way out of the swamp. That's because you are now immune to the damage that's incurred both from swamps and from barriers. Also, this armor replenishes HP at four times the speed of your Magic Armor, making the upper-tier enemies a little less precarious.

We've still got business to do, though. Primarily, we still need the third ingredient for the Rainbow Drop, which is Erdrick's Token. It's a good thing you have Erdrick's Armor at this point, because in order to retrieve the Token, you'll have to make your way back into the area around Cantlin. This time, however, take the first bridge you come across. As you make your way through the swamp (now you know why you needed Erdrick's Armor!), keep referring to Gwaelin's Love. You'll want to reach the point where you're exactly 70 steps to the south and 40 steps to the east away from Tantegel Castle. When you find that point, search the ground, and viola! You've found Erdrick's Token. (How do I know it's 70 steps to the south and 40 steps to the east? Well, someone in one of the towns is supposed to tell you. But you're not talking to any of them, right?)
Now, here's the fun part. You've got to go all the way around the kingdom to redeem it. Luckily, the RETURN spell will take you about halfway there, and now that you've gotten the REPEL spell you won't be bothered by Slimes and Magidrakees like you were before. Now is the time to enter that cave to the south of Rimuldar. Previously, talking to the wiseman without the Stones of Sunlight, Staff of Rain and Erdrick's Token would get you whisked out of the cave post haste. But now that you have them, you have proven yourself as a descendant of Erdrick (one might argue that anyone could've obtained these three items, but then again you're the only one who isn't too cowardly to leave town) and you will now receive the Rainbow Drop, provided you have room for it. (May I suggest dumping that Fighter's Ring you've been holding on to?)
OK, now you have the drop. But what are you going to do with it? As the tablet suggested, this is the thing you need to get to Castle Charlock, which up until this point had been sequestered on its own little island. Head back to the northern part of the island, then head west until you reach the very tip of the island, where your island and the island Charlock is on are one square apart. Use the Rainbow Drop, watch the neat little color show, and a bridge will appear to connect the islands together.

And now, the End Game...

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