Part 49: Chapter 22 - Preamble
Overcoming many hardships, Ike and company finally arrive in the Daein capital of Nevassa. However, much to their dismay, King Ashnard is nowhere to be found. According to intelligence reports, the king is in Crimea's capital of Melior, preparing to wage war against Gallia. In addition, at least half of the Daein army, including its most elite forces, remain unharmed and at his side.
The Crimean army is again forced to march. This time, however, the battlefield will be their own homeland. Eagerly awaiting their arrival is a Daein army more powerful than anything they have faced so far. This fact, coupled with Nasir's act of betrayal, has filled Ike with apprehension and disappointment.
Yet, it is then, when all hope seems faint, that unexpected good news arrives.
Let's just clear something up right now: There is nothing "solo" about this chapter. I have no idea what the hell they were thinking.
Reinforcements? I haven't heard anything about this.
No, not a word.
Are you sure they're Begnion troops?
Yes, sir! They fly Begnion's insignia. There can be no doubt of their authenticity. And the man in command is one of Begnion's most beloved heroes, General Zelgius! There's no mistaking him, sir!
Allow me to meet with him first.
I am. And you are?
I am Zelgius, earl of Kadohl. I've been dispatched from Begnion with a battalion to support your army.
Your assistance is much appreciated, but... This is very unexpected.
I understand your surprise. For Begnion's imperial senate, this decision was made with unusual haste.
I imagine so. It took forever just to get the soldiers I have now.
Do you mean Sephiran?
Correct. Duke Persis is also senior statesman of the imperial senate. The duke returned from his travels and began working immediately to settle pressing affairs of state. First, he met with the apostle, and they exchanged reports on both foreign and domestic matters. Then they discussed Begnion's position in relation to the current conflict, and possible courses of action. In less than half a day, they brought the entire imperial senate into line and sent us here to you.
...So you're saying that Begnion has allied itself with Crimea. Is that it?
That's it exactly. I am at your service, General Ike.
Now then, please tell me what you would have my men do. I'm ordered to help in any way possible.
Um... You've caught me off guard. I can't think of anything right now.
In that case, do I have permission to make camp around the palace and rest my troops?
Yes, please do. That's no problem.
Thank you. Please do not hesitate to call if you have need of us. We are at your disposal.
It certainly was! It seems the apostle and Sephiran did the impossible by getting them to us.
First we take Daein's capital, and now this. Things are looking up.
You're right. Even if we don't receive help from Gallia, we still may be able to defeat Ashnard.
That's true. It's... like a dream.
Oh, look. Soren is upset again. Who knew?! What is it this time?
If the Crimean army is not the crux of Daein's defeat, this war means nothing.
What does that have to do with the arrival of these reinforcements?
The battalion that just arrived is greater in numbers than the one we originally received. Not only that, but all of these soldiers are marching under Begnion's name.
So... If these reinforcements are responsible for defeating King Daein, what do you think will happen? That achievement, the very victory itself, will belong to the Begnion Empire. Not to Crimea. If that happens, Crimea will be rebuilt however Begnion sees fit, and Princess Elincia will be a mere figurehead.
We'll receive some paltry sum of money and be swept under a rug somewhere. Mark my words.
Soren, you're being so rude! Surely the apostle, of all people, would never do such a thing!
And this General Zelgius seems sincere enough to me.
Come, Soren. I have heard of situations like that which you describe, but whether this is such a case... We've been fortunate to receive this good will. Must we always search for such ulterior motives?
Yes! We must! Have you forgotten Nasir?! It's that sort of naive attitude that allowed him to remain undetected for so long!
If they aren't, we could well be ignoring something that will lead to our defeat. Or to our death.
Let's take Soren's comments under consideration and discuss this at length. We meet in one hour.
Wait, Mia got MVP? Well, I guess that Vantage-Crit rampage was pretty badass. I'll allow this.
Let there be Base.
Say, if there's an enemy in my way, but I don't want to kill him, what do you think I should do?
Oh, Ike, you have no idea.
Well, it's all your fault! You had to go and tutor Daniel, and now I've been on this losing streak!
Tutor? You mean back when we were onboard the ship? It was just one hint!
Daniel isn't like me! He's smart. I'm the one who thought up this game, but he's the one who's getting better and better. I hardly ever win anymore!
Instead of playing that game, why don't you try some real combat?
Stop joking around. We're happy-go-lucky traveling merchants. We don't know anything about fighting.
Give me a break! It's nice you're having fun and all, but please... Can you save your stupid game for someone who's not fighting for their life day in and day out?
All we can do is play this game. Sorry... I'll just go lose again...
Oh, for heaven's sake...
Remember how we already knew this from Chapter 9?
Huh? Oh, t-thanks. ... Um... You know, we are what we are, but we'll be with you till the end. I hope we can continue to be of service. All right?
Yeah, thanks. Sorry for being so irritable.
That's all right. I know how much stress you've been under.
So, yeah. There's no way this is going to be relevant later. The writing in this game has its subtleties, but this is not one of them.
Oh, Commander Ike! Oops! I guess I'm supposed to call you General now, huh?
Commander's fine. So what's going on? Are you thinking about that person you were looking for?
That's... all settled. Actually, no... it's not really settled. It's just... I figured that worrying about it all the time wasn't doing me any good. I turned over every rock in Begnion during my search, but... It's just easier to assume that everything's going well... somewhere...
Well, as long as you're happy, I won't say a word. So... what were you thinking about then?
Is that so?
Yeah. Until a few years back, I lived in the slums of Nevassa and stole for a living.
So anyway, I went back to my old stomping grounds and saw some friends. The rest of the city's empty, but they're still here. They've got no other place to go, you know?
And what did they have to say?
It's so weird. Until now, all they had ever done was complain about this place.
You know, Ashnard wasn't such a bad king. At least, as far as we could see. If you were strong enough, you could rise up and become a knight one day. You could escape the filthy slums. He was the only king who ever gave us that chance. That hope.
Don't get me wrong. I don't mind fighting with all of you. But still, seeing your homeland scarred and trampled like this is tough. I'm sorry. I know Crimea is suffering in the same way, but... I can't change how I feel.
Fire/Water: Hit +2.5, Atk +1, Def +0.5
Um... H-hello! Hello there!
Er... I'm... I'm sorry! I didn't meant to make you mad! I just wanted to talk to--
I'm not mad. Can I help you with something?
Ooh! Oooooh! I'm so glad! I'm Rhys! N-nice to meet you!
Er... hello. I am Ulki.
Er... Well.. Say, you can really fly with those wings, huh?! I saw you turn into a hawk before... It was amazing! I envy you!
Oh, sorry... That probably sounds weird. I've always been sickly. When I was little, I spent a lot of time in bed. So... I used to gaze out the window and see all the little birds flying around the sky... It must be fantastic! Flying wherever you want, whenever you want?!
Um... Fantastic. Yes. I suppose. I never thought of it.
Oh, I don't blame you! After all, you've been flying since you were born... Soaring through the skies like a puffy cloud!
Mmm? Clouds do not soar... I am confused.
Fire/Dark: Hit +2.5, Atk +1, Avo +2.5
Excuse me, ma'am?
Um... Excuse me, Calill?
Hmph! I won't answer unless you call me... A lady. A pretty lady!
Nuts to that!
Well then, you can just forget it. I won't waste my time teaching magic to a brat like you.
Hey, pretty lady! Beautiful lady? Would you please teach me magic?
What a selfish brat! What about the spells I taught you last week? I won't teach you anything new until you've mastered those.
Those? Pshaw! I aced them! Heck, I aced everything in this book! I'm a magic genius!
Boastfulness does not become you, dear. And your brash tongue won't make me teach you any faster.
Yeah? I'll show you! Um... I mean... Can you make sure I'm doing them right? Please? Pretty lady?
Fine, fine. Show me what you can do. Sigh... So much work and so little time...
Thunder/Thunder: Def +2, Avo +10
Oh, look, it's the half-breed birdbrain. What a pleasant surprise. Peck anyone lately?
Don't start with me, you human jerk.
I hear you're a bodyguard for the king of Phoenicis. Not a bad gig... considering how scrawny you are.
I hear you knew Greil for ages. They say he betrayed his men and aided Daein before fleeing to Crimea.
Are you calling him a traitor?! Dastard! You'll die for that! No... I'm not going to do this. I'm a true mercenary. I won't give you the satisfaction of a free fight.
... I don't get you, human. You have no clan and no master... What are you fighting for?
I fight to live. That's all. Doesn't everyone? It's not like people kill each other for fun.
You don't kill for fun? You don't enjoy it?
No. Why, do you?
I thought you humans... like to kill. That's why you make weapons. Why you hunt animals for sport.
Ha! We make weapons to protect ourselves from you half-breeds! Only wealthy bluestockings with too much time on their hands hunt for sport!
Man, what an idiot...
Wait! I have more questions! Rrrr! Human jerk!
Earth/Water: Avo +10, Atk +1, Def +1
Oh, Muarim. What brings you here?
Did you find the sword powder?
Unfortunately, no. I'll need to replace it, I think. I hate to keep borrowing from the others.
Can you use this?
What's that? Oh, wow... This sword powder looks expensive... You're a laguz. How did you come to have this?
Force of habit.
I don't follow you.
I was once a slave. The nobleman who was my master made me sharpen his blades for him. I was quite adept at it. He would bring them to me unannounced. If I did not have the proper materials to sharpen his swords, he would beat me. I still do not feel comfortable unless I have these materials near me.
I'm sorry to have brought up such a painful memory.
It is in the past now. Would you like me to sharpen your sword?
Thank you, but a true swordsman takes care of his own blade. I appreciate your offer, though.
Then at least take this powder. I no longer have any use for it.
Muarim... Thanks. You saved me. I'm not just saying this out of gratitude, but... would you care to join me for dinner?
I would like that very much.
Wind/Fire: Avo +5, Hit +10, Atk +1
I was thinking... We're both lethal mercenaries and we're both about the same age, so we should be friends!
I don't think so.
No? Well, you can say that, but I'm still going to be your friend. You'll see!
Yeah...? Well... maybe I am! But it's not like being my friend is going to hurt you!
Wind/Thunder: Hit +5, Avo +10, Def +1
Good day, Makalov.
Hi, Astrid. We sure bump into each other a lot, don't we? Do you think we're linked by fate?
I'm not sure. Though... I'd be honored if that was the case.
Speaking of fate... I have a little favor to ask of you.
What is it? If there's anything I can do for you, I'd be glad to help!
Um... Well, the thing is... you see... Can you lend me some money?
Yeah! Just a few hundred! That's it!
I don't think I can help you... I don't have a single gold piece to my name.
What?! Not even one gold? What did you spend it all on?!
The last time I went to town, I stumbled upon a destitute family. They hadn't eaten in days... So, I gave it all to them.
WHAT?! That's madness!! If you're feeling charitable, maybe you should think about helping out one of your comrades, and not some stranger! What were you thinking?!
I'm sorry. I had no idea you were in need of aid.
Arrgg! Fine. I'll go hit up someone else.
Wait... just a moment.
Will this help?
Whoooo! Hey, look at that beauty! This pendant looks expensive... Are you sure I can take it?
Please do. Anything that will help.
Wahooooo! Thanks, Astrid! You're the best! I'll see ya later!
Fire/Fire: Atk +1, Hit +5
Hello there, great prince of the herons!
Please call me Reyson.
Are you sure? All right, Reyson it is. Can you spare a moment?
Certainly. This is about chanting for your laguz friends, isn't it?
That's right! You remembered!
Why don't you tell me more about what you have in mind?
Well, I was hoping you would... you know... use your magic chant to transform all that sand into soil.
Sand into soil?
Exactly! Rich, fertile soil that will yield a bountiful harvest. We'll build our village there.
That is... utterly absurd!
Hmmm, he sure stormed off in a huff. For someone that has such kind-looking eyes, he sure has a short temper.
Fire/Wind: Atk +1.5, Hit +15, Avo +7.5
Your horse looks completely healed! I'm so glad.
Yes, thanks to you. Let me thank you again! I, Crimean Roy--
Oh, jerky! Not again! Stop doing that! Sheesh... Say, what's with the bucket?
I was going to wash my horse. He hasn't been scrubbed down in a while, and he could use it. Besides, with all of my amazing adventures, my poor horse gets quite the workout. I try to treat him well.
Aw, that's sweet!
What is ?
You love your horse! That's so nice! I figure you'd be too busy flexing or something to notice...
He is more than just a simple horse... He is my brother-in-arms! Some knights, some Crimean knights even, treat their horses like their transportation... but I don't feel that way. And it's not just horses. Armor! Axes! Gauntlets! Boots! Er... this canteen! All fighting tools are my brother-in-arms!
No, Marcia, it is not admirable. It is simple common sense.
Ha ha! I wasn't sure that you had common sense! You're always so forgetful and distracted when it comes to other things...
Huh! Well! I can't say that I can agree! In fact, once while I was fighting the Giant Whippoorwill of Southern Crimea--
Water/Earth: Atk +1.5, Def +1.5, Avo +15
So, anyway... My oldest girl is well built! Actually, she's about my size. But don't worry! She can still work the fields like a man! I'm sure you'll love her!
Um... she sounds... lovely.
Stop giving me such halfhearted answers and start listening! I'm talking about the girl who is going to be your future wife!
Brom, listen... I didn't tell you this the other day, but... I have no intentions of getting married now.
What? Aw, shucks! Why not?
I had... I had an important girlfriend before. We couldn't be together because of... complicated reasons... But even now I still think about her. I can't get her out of my mind. I appreciate your kindness, but... Anyway, that's why.
I see. That's a real shame...
But I tell you what! The idea of joining your family was quite appealing.
Hmm... Then how about my second-oldest-girl?! She's a little younger, but don't let that worry you too much! She's a sweetheart, I tell ya! Why, once when the cow got loose, she lifted it right up and hauled it back...
No! Wait! That isn't what I meant... Aw, nuts.
...nothing good will come of this.
Let's have some freebie BEXP levels!
I'll take this!
Alright. I WONDER WHAT KIND OF GIMMICK THIS NEXT MISSION WILL HAVE HUH GUYS
Yes, that's the plan. However... Though we've taken the castle, there are still pockets of Daein resistance. It's possible they may try to mount an attack and retake the palace. I want you to be in charge of the watch.
That is, of course, not a problem. However, you're taking the princess along. Don't you think it would be safer to take more troops? Even if we split our battalion, we have enough men to handle both tasks.
I'm just not used to moving around with such a large group. And for this mission... I'd like to keep the number of people involved as low as possible.
It's not that I don't understand how you feel, but... we will compromise.
You know, for someone from Begnion, you're pretty flexible. It speeds things up considerably.
To be a soldier, one must be able to quickly adapt to circumstances around him.
All right. We'll be back later.
I hope whatever he was trying to tell me will become clear once we get inside and look around.
I still can't believe Nasir was on Daein's side... I just can't. And he let that dragon girl get away... Although I'm sure he had reasons for that, as well.
Although, besides my family, the only people I showed the medallion to were Titania, Princess Elincia, and Nasir... I thought I could trust him... I really did. Why? Why did he do it?
Thinking about the past isn't going to help. Let's take a look at this temple.
If, for whatever reason, Reyson is not in your team (either because you didn't recruit him or you got him killed), you'll get some extra dialogue here:
Ike! Look! There's a big white bird on top of the roof! Wait, is that...?
Yep. It looks like he's spotted us. Here he comes.
Ike! Mist! It's been quite a while, hasn't it?
What are you doing here? I thought you'd gone back to Phoenicis with the hawk king and Leanne.
I had... But then I suddenly felt as if someone was calling me. No... That's not right. I wasn't called... I picked up a very strong thought that said "Palmeni Temple." Even though I've never been here, I knew exactly what it looked like... And where to find it, as well. I was beginning to suspect that someone had led me here. And now, your arrival would seem to confirm it.
If you chose not to recruit Reyson, you'll get even more dialogue here:
You came by yourself?
Tibarn and the others were on patrol, and Leanne was sleeping. I think I can fly off on my own for a while.
Well, you can't fight, so I'd question your decision to come to Daein on your own.
Why? We heard from Gallia that you'd captured the capital. This territory's under your control, isn't it? I should be safe here.
We haven't conquered the whole country. There are still many Daein soldiers traveling about.
Well, I didn't transform until I found you. So as you can imagine, I was safe all along.
All I can imagine are your guardians flying here in a blind panic.
Mmm... What's done is done. I will apologize later.
We're going to investigate this place. Why don't you go ahead and return to Phoenicis.
No, I've come this far, I want to see who or what guided me here. You'll let me come, won't you?
That would be all right, wouldn't it, Ike?
I suppose so. There's something I wish to discuss with Reyson anyway. It's settled. Let's go in.
They want to investigate the temple. What should I tell them?
Crud! This ain't good. I don't know what they're after, but if they find us mercenaries who sided with Daein, they'll wipe us out!
It is all the will of the goddess. Resign yourself to your fate... Accept it.
Bat dung! No one's gonna roll over and die! Dying's for sissies! So tell me, how many are there?
There appears to be ten or so, including the women.
Gahar har har! That's good news!
If that's the lot of them, we can take care of this on our own. It'll be like stealin' a baby from the cradle! Right, then, here's the plan. Pretend like you wanna help 'em, then lead 'em inside.
B-but I couldn't... What you ask is beyond me--
Don't forget, we've got all the other priests under our control. Unless you want 'em to meet the goddess early, do as you're told!
Um... very well... Th-th-this... is... Er... A v-very large room... Um...
Are you all right? Why are you shaking like that?
Oh, Goddess... Please... forgive me...
Please... forgive me...
I thought something like this might happen.
I don't know how you got wind of us, but showing up in such a small group means you're outta luck! None of ya are gettin' outta here alive!
We've just fought our way to the Daein capital. You're not even going to slow us down!
Cocky, ain't ya? But who said this was gonna be a fair fight?
Hey! Bring out the others!
You fools are gonna be our shields.
Oh... mercy... Please help me...
Hey! If ya don't want them perty robes of yours to turn red, you'll attack these scum! If ya even think about betraying us, I'll kill every one of ya!
B-but... you can't...... Crimeans, please... Forgive us... We cannot allow our brothers to die.
This cowardice will not stand! These priests are being made to fight against their will. We've got to try and save as many of them as possible! Let's go!
There's rather a lot to worry about here. Ostensibly, all we have to do is kill Schaeffer. Not too hard in and of itself, but, well, there's the distractions to worry about. Most notably, there are the twenty-ish priests scattered around the map who won't really fight us but will still get in our way and keep us from killing the bad guys. And if you think there won't be a nifty reward that we can only get by not killing any of them then boy have you not been paying attention.
GEE I WONDER WHAT STRATEGY WE CAN EMPLOY TO SECURE THIS OUTCOME
Also, there are the six chests.
There's an obligatory Siege Tome Asshole, of course, and...
An enemy thief. Of course. Nothing like a time constraint in a fight like this, is there?
So. Who's up for some Voting Time?
11 units total, and needless to say we've got Ike and Mist as givens. Reyson will speed things up a spell, and for convenience I'm going to bring both Volke and Sothe. The remaining six are all you.
Choose from Boyd, Oscar, Titania, Rhys, Soren, Mia, Ilyana, Rolf, Marcia, Lethe, Mordecai, Kieran, Brom, Nephenee, Zihark, Jill, Astrid, Gatrie, Makalov, Stefan, Tormod, Muarim, Devdan, Janaff, Ulki, Tanith, Shinon, Calill, Tauroneo.
I'm also going to be forging something, although quite what, I can't say. So we won't be "voting" on forge names like usual, but if you've got a suggestion, feel free to suggest it and if it applies to what I end up actually forging, then who knows?
Here's a refresher on our current status:
You've got however many hours. 36 seems like a good bet.