One additional gameplay element I discovered last time is that fighting random battles helps against the boss. The instruction manual mentions this but I thought they just meant it helped because you get items you can meld. But a Japanese site I saw did tests and it actually increases your stats against the boss fight the more random encounters you fight in the area with the boss. So that means you really can't hit walls where you just can't advance. This is important because you can't go back to areas you've cleared and fight the monsters again, and if you beat one boss of a multi-boss area that kind of random encounter won't appear anymore so you can lose the opportunity to get items.
Chapter 2 is in the land of Forestina, and we quickly pick up the third party, the party of Earth. As you can see in the screenshot, there seems to be a mimic party we're following through this area. In this kingdom there are actually several ways you can go, but in the end it's still essentially a fixed path since you can't move too far ahead if you're at the wrong level. You can get some items, though.
|This dude has a monster pet|
The big story section here comes in a library where you read about Zora's story. He's now working with you (sort of) against Shiral, who Zora thinks is going to destroy the world.
|Zora and Rishia|
Sorry for the short update but I didn't play as much this week -- I hope to get through chapters 3 and 4 at least this week.