I have a feeling I might regret not making a Hitchcock reference in the title.
The bad news is that part of what took me so long to get this out is that I had to do a little level grinding to actually make it through this section. Why, you ask? Well, remember that little warning I made for fighting Sierra in my text play of Legend of Mana? Turns out it applies in the boss fight against the guy who lives in the tower, simply called the Apprentice. He wants to go one-on-one with the hero to test him before he gives up anything on Artea. The first time I fought the guy, I'd forgotten how hard he was.
In the course of grinding for an extra level or two, I went back into the Old Cave to dig around on the third level a bit. I picked up a few extra items that I'd passed up before, which included some decent new armor for Lufia and the hero or Aguro, and a Broad Sword for the hero or Aguro. The good news is that it'll put your attack power through the roof for so early in the game. The bad news is that it's a cursed item, which means that it not only damages the user every time they attack with it, but that it can't be taken off without the aid of the priest at the temple where the game is saved. The latter wouldn't be so bad if the SOB wasn't charging 600 gold to do it. Now that I think about it, if I was a betting man, I'd wager that this boradsword would have been the next mini-quest the guy in the Spring Basement sent us on if I hadn't taken it now.
At any rate, I thought I'd hold onto it and see what happened when I tried it on the Apprentice. The idea that it was a bad idea turned out to be about as bad as I thought. So once I got my ass handed to me a second time, I figured it was time to find a strategy guide to refer to as needed, like I did with Legend of Mana. I found one at a site called Gamewinners, though I'm not sure how trustworthy this thing's going to be since it's going on fifteen years old now and a 0.4 version. But better than nothing, I suppose.
The suggestion it gives is that I have the hero at at least level 13 to kick the Apprentice's ass, so I've got a little level grinding to do. Since things have been a little weird in my life lately and I'm not sure when I'm going to be able to get to that, I'll end this right here for now and start a new entry when I get everything taken care of. See you then!