Barely half a floor after Iwaoropenelep, my path was blocked by the two deadly women who had been assisting my journey. I worked on this encounter for days and in my sleep, and truly doubted my ability to overcome them. I also finally discovered the true function of the grimoire doubling food effect. It doubled/enhanced the skills of my equipped grimoire, and not(?) the levels of newly created ones as implied by the description. What I was up against: Ren in her first 50% settles into a predictable rotation. She will enter Drawing Stance, use Frigid Slash, a selection of normal attacks and Beheading Cut (Instant Death) for 3 turns, a final Frigid Slash, then exit Drawing Stance. She will then repeat by entering Drawing Stance again. At lower health for either herself or Tlachtga, she may use Breath to heal both girls for ~1500 HP. Below 50% she becomes a major issue. Once her Drawing Stance Rotation ends, she will switch to a different stanceless rotation. The first turn will be a Slantwise Cut, an extremely powerful multi-hit that can outright kill my Protector with enough slashes. The next turn will be either Frigid Slash or Beheading Cut. Without pause, she will use Slantwise Cut again the next turn. With Tlachtga also throwing debuffs and binds from the back row, I could last all but a few turns if I am lucky. Tlachtga will begin the first turn by using Revenge Curse. She then uses Sapping Curse (Phys/Ele ATK down), Abdomen Curse (Arm Bind), Crainal Curse (Head Bind), and normal attacks with a less predictable rotation than Ren. At 50%, she will reintroduce Revenge Curse which can deal deadly levels of damage at critical health. Coupled with Ren's onslaught, I would be left to relying on Aegis and En Garde to sustain me long enough to finish her off. My first attempts were targetting Ren. Upon discovering how deadly she became at 50%, I experimented a bit more with Blaze Oils, Arm bind (not reliable, and does not prevent Slantwise Cut), and a Hide Ring instead of Jewel Eye for slash resist. The Hide Ring mitigates her Slantwise Cut to slightly more reasonable levels, but places me at the mercy of Beheading Cut. I was able to get her into red HP once and could never reproduce it. Tlachtga became my next target. With a Physical weakness and lower HP, she did not take as much to weaken even with the Meteor Axe. Revenge Curse became problematic, so she had to die quickly upon reaching 50%. I switched my strategy here, farming a decent Sagittarius shot and swapping to Arc Drawer. Much like Vengeance Bash from IV, Sagittarius shot offers a delayed turn attack with a generous damage multiplier in exchange. While still tricky, I was able to take down Tlachtga a few times. Unfortunately, Tlachtga's death enrages Ren as a consequence. She will use Breath a few times then enter her stanceless Slantwise Cut rotation. Unless I had entered with the Hide Ring and prayed Beheading Cut did not land, survival was meek. It became very apparent Ren's Slantwise Cut was the major issue in this encounter. Frigid Slash was dealt with easily using Ice Wall. However, with no way to counter both Beheading Cut and Slantwise Cut I had to dig deep into the game mechanics available to me. At first I opted to get my hands on Fire element skills and Formula Mastery, but nothing was of significance to deal with her quickly. I returned to my notion of Sagittarius Shot. With ATK Up, Bow Mastery, buffs, charge, and debuffs, surely it would deal a large payload at her 50% mark. I farmed high level Sagittarius Shot, Bow Mastery, Triple Charge, Forest Barrier, ATK Up, and combined it with Bloody Offense I received from Streetpass. Bloody Offense appeared identical to Warcry as far as I could tell boost-wise, so I had no issue utilizing it. Sleep would have boosted my damage even more, but was unreliable to stick. I also tested with a third attack buff, but 4 turns of preparing would often leave me susceptible to Sapping Curse if not timed immaculately. Timing was still essential with this strategy. Unless I landed everything perfectly with sleep, Ren would still survive the payload. I had to time Sagittarius Shot to hit as she was early into Drawing Stance to leave time for a second Sagittarius to finish her off. My first attempt was successful, but Tlachtga's enrage leaves her spamming Chaos Curse which may inflict any possible Status. She ended up cursing me as a Sagittarius Shot hit, and I killed myself. The second successful Ren kill I came prepared with Theriaca B. To my surprise Tlachtga died instantly with a buffed Sagittarius Shot, and I had finally trumped the encounter. I apologize for the fanfare, but it was a huge obstacle I had overcome. I'm extremely close to having soloed the main story of every Etrian Odyssey game (EOI excluded)!