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The ultimate magic has been a subject of research in Sorcery for generations, but no one at Akademeia has ever borne witness to its true power. Cadets who meet certain requirements are permitted to use the incantation, but they are also charged with the task of further developing the spell.
The Vermilion Bird is a skill that requires three party members to cast. It is described as the ultimate magic and that few cadets are authorized to use on missions, and those who are have been charged with enhancing it. It is obtained from a researcher at the Sorcery Division on the second break in chapter 3, after giving him a purple phantoma for the Task "The Phantoma Menace III".
In a mission loadout, the player can choose whether to be able to summon Eidolons, use the Triad Maneuver, or equip the Vermilion Bird spell. To cast during a mission, the spell needs to be charged up and can be charged up as many times as the player is able to, up to its current level. Casting the spell at its maximum level not only deals great damage to enemies, but also casts Reraise on the leader. As the spell is charged, however, it constantly drains the party leader's MP, and so the power of the attack is limited by how much MP the player has, and is willing to part with, making it generally less repeatable during a mission than the Triad Maneuver, but preferable over summoning as it does not affect the mission rank with added casualties.
In the Promotion screen at relic terminals, one can increase the level of the Vermilion Bird spell by spending Crystal Shards, which are offered up as rewards for certain tasks and as a special bounty for doing 100 Killsight strikes with a character. Level 99 roaming enemies on the world map also drop Crystal Shards.
This spell has the potential to break the 9999 damage limit, and is the only spell to be able to reach the 99999 damage cap easily outside of Ultima (which is subject to enemy magic resistances). Under the status of Freecast, this spell can be executed and charged to maximum without the expenditure or limitation of max MP.
The spell is named after the Vermilion Bird symbol of the Dominion of Rubrum. The Vermilion bird is one of the Four Symbols of the Chinese constellations. According to Wu Xing, the Taoist five-elemental system, it represents the fire-element, the direction south, and the season summer correspondingly. Thus it is sometimes called the Vermilion bird of the South. It is known as Zhu Que in Chinese, Suzaku in Japanese, Jujak in Korean, and Chu Tước in Vietnamese. It is described as a red bird that resembles a pheasant with a five-colored plumage and is perpetually covered in flames.