Ni no Kuni walkthrough, Part Nine: Golden Grove
King Tom is safe, Oliver has a new wand, and Ding Dong Dell is back to normal - for now. Now Oliver must make his way to the desert city of Al Mamoon, and that means going through Golden Grove. Bid farewell to Ding Dong Dell and head out.
(Before you head to Golden Grove, talk to Old Father Oak back in the Deep Dark Wood. In exchange for the tale of King Tom's rescue he'll give you five Bars of Milk Chocolate, which raises the attack of your familiars by double what you'd get from a mere Chocolate. Excellent.)
To reach Golden Grove, you must head southwest of Ding Dong Dell, towards the expansive clusters of autumnal trees. You'll notice along the way that the enemies will be, for the most part, avoiding you; note this for later, as foes only fight heroes they think they can beat. If Oliver and his team are strong enough they'll encounter little resistance on the world map. If your HP is low enough they might change their mind, so be wary.
Described as the 'forest of plenty', Golden Grove is conspicuously empty of fairies, despite the 'Lord High Lord's calls. Oliver offers to investigate on the wall to Al Mamoon; maybe you'll get the chance. Save at the waystone and start making your way south. The enemies here are stronger than in Ding Dong Well, but if you've been feeding your familiars lots of treats they should be no huge worry.
Take a right at the first branch in your path to find a Sandwich. Go back east and follow the trail a ways until you reach a batch of mushrooms you have to hop across. The path branches here; go north, then up the next set of mushrooms to your left. At the top you'll find a treasure box containing a Set of Beast Fangs, and… a robot? It's not moving anywhere right now, so leave it where it is. Return to the mushrooms, go back down, return to the split, and head east.
The journey remains largely uneventful until you hit a three-way intersection. Check east first and walk down the trails to find a Sandwich. Go south next to find a Bottle of Iced Coffee. West is last, and it leads to… another split! South takes you to small mushrooms you can't use; north, likewise. You have no choice but to carry on west. Soon you'll hit another juncture, though this is much shorter - a few steps north, up a hill, you'll find a blue chest containing a Hoarfrost Harpoon. You don't have any familiars that can use it yet, but that will change soon enough. Grab it and head south.
At the end of a long dirt furrow you'll find a strange, twisted tree, and in the middle of it - a familiar egg! Drippy gives a short lecture about familiar birth, then notes that this egg won't be hatching for a while, as the forest is looking a bit withered. Oliver can solve that! Walk up to the egg and use Rejuvenate to bring the little creature to life. Oliver finds the Seed Sprite cute - but he decides it's still too little, and leaves it behind to grow.
Run back through the woods to the east. You'll be ambushed along the way by the Seed Sprite, which seems to want to show you something. Follow it through the forest and it will lead you to a set of mushrooms that were seemingly useless before - but which the Seed Sprite now shows you lead to a page of the Wizard's Companion, Quicken Growth. The Seed Sprite will then invite itself along on the journey, and Oliver grudgingly accepts. Name it as you wish. Drippy will tell you a bit about counterattacking, and you'll be on your way.
(In case you were wondering, yes, the Hoarfrost Harpoon is for your new Seed Sprite. Just don't send him into battle for a while. He's at level one, and quite weak.)
Hop back down to the path and follow it west to the first set of small mushrooms. You can use Quicken Growth to make them large enough to hop across. Before using this set, though, check the ones to the north - they'll create a path back to the entrance if your team is hurting badly.
The path past here is quite straightforward, and soon enough you'll come to a purple chest (soon, soon, you can open them soon) and a waypoint. Save, heal, and head into the clearing. Drippy will discover the problem with life in the woods… and the cause of it all a massive beast named Gladiataur, will come loping out of the woods for a scrap. Boss fight!
Gladiataur is similar to Guardian of the Wood, though a bit faster and more aggressive. He'll spend the battle chasing you around and trying to deliver powerful melee blows, along with the occasional long-range special attack, like Everblade. Defend whenever he telegraphs these moves (he takes a while to charge up) and spend the rest of the time running around as either Oliver or your newfound Seed Sprite, assuming you've spent a lot of time power-levelling the little devil. Do not try to melee this brute or you'll get knocked over constantly. Frostbite from a distance, over and over, will whittle away Gladiataur rather quickly, and soon enough you'll be able to use a Supercharged move. Gladiataur will eventually throw away his weapon, but this only decreases his range and leaves him slightly easier. Eventually Drippy will intervene and allow you to bash Gladiataur into submission while he's stunned. Winning will earn you a Spirit of the Glade and a page for your Wizard's Companion.
After you beat Gladiataur, the beast will retreat into the woods. It was another guardian, ensorcelled by Shadar into wickedness. Once it's gone, use Rejuvenate on the Spring of Life to bring it back to, well, life. You'll earn another tale for your book, and you'll be back on course to Al Mamoon.