Part 64: Chapter 27 - Preamble
Of all the battles in the war so far, the contest for Fort Pinell is the fiercest to date. And from this horrific clash of weapons and wills, the Crimean army emerges bloodied and exhausted, yet victorious. The prize of Fort Pinell is no small thing, but it is the promise of additional reinforcements from Gallia-- and the large Begnion army encamped in Castle Daein--that keeps the breath of hope alive in the soldiers' hearts.
There is one other pivotal piece in Daein's defense of the former Crimean capital--the severely undermanned Castle Nados. As the day's end draws near, Tibarn's small force of hawks and Gallians cease their attacks and return to camp headquarters.
We claimed victory. Yet Daein had more troops than we expected, and it was a hard-fought battle.
I don't have the best news to report, either.
What is it?
As the day ended, we withdrew as planned. But as we were leaving, reinforcements began flooding in from the capital.
Mmm... That's a piece of ill news.
The men that were originally guarding the castle were nothing special, but... There was one who appeared midbattle and crushed an entire unit by himself. He was so much stronger than the others, it was as if a wolf had appeared in a kennel of blind, newborn pups.
What did he look like?
If my intuition's right, he is the villian you've all been talking about.
The Black Knight... He's in that castle!
Underleveled he may be, but irrelevant a Earth Pair Support is not.
There's one conversation to view today...
What is it, Titania?
I have... something important to ask of you.
All right, what is it?
However, I need to know. I have to. Just tell it once... It's all I ask. If you can't, I... His death will be something I'll never be able to face.
I feel I've done you a terrible disservice by not telling you earlier. It's just that... There was a lot I had to get clear in my own mind. I know I've kept you waiting.
So you'll tell me?
Yes. I think I've finally come to a point where I can face it.
All right. Whenever you're ready.
That night... I've already told you everything up to where I was on my way into the forest, right? At the head of the path, Father had told me to go back to the fort-- but I had a bad feeling and followed him anyway. When I entered the clearing, he and the Black Knight were already fighting. They seemed to be evenly matched at first. Then they exchanged a few more blows, and suddenly Father was sent flying.
Then the Black Knight threw a sword at Father's feet. I think he wanted Father to pick it up and use it.
But Father didn't touch the sword. He just readied his axe again and charged. ... ...It was over in an instant. I... I couldn't believe my own eyes. They... they looked like they were embracing... Just... Standing there. Frozen. But, I saw the Black Knight's blade... It was protruding from Father's back, and shining in the moonlight.
When the knight pulled his sword out, Father sagged and fell backwards... I ran and tried to catch him, but I couldn't hold him, and we both fell to the ground. The wound Father had taken was terrible, but at that point, he was still alive.
The Black Knight approached and said, "Give it to me." I had no idea what he was talking about. I do now, though. He had been sent by King Ashnard to retrieve the medallion. Father told him he'd thrown the medallion away, but the knight didn't believe him. Then he tried to get Father to talk by threatening to kill me... and Mist. I was so angry, I leapt up and attacked him, but it was useless. I didn't give up, though. I didn't care what happened to me, and I attacked again.
Of all the stubbornness...
After the Black Knight vanished, I simply... All I could think was that I didn't want Father to die. He... He was still alive. I thought if I could just get him back to the fort, we could save him. I clung to that... false hope... and started walking toward the light of the fort... I just kept walking...
...Thank you, Ike. It must have been so hard for you.
Commander Greil died on your back. His last moments must have been... much happier than I had imagined...
I, um... There's something else I haven't told you about.
You did well to keep your life.
I'm not the same boy I was on that night. I've grown a lot. I've worked hard. Yet, even so, I wasn't able to defeat him.
There's nothing you can do about that. Not even Commander Greil could defeat him. You're not ready to--
It's not that. It's not that my blade work wasn't good enough.
Then, what do you mean?
What? That's not possible. Even the strongest--
He said his armor had been blessed by the goddess. He said only weapons that were also blessed could hurt him.
Where are we supposed to get something like that?
I have one here.
Ah! Ike! That sword... Where...
The night after Father died, I went back to that clearing by myself. I'd hoped to... I'd hoped to find some clues that might help me hunt down the knight. The sword was still there. I brought it back with me, and I've been hiding it ever since. I wasn't thinking about using it. I believed that if I just carried the sword with me, I'd meet the Black Knight again. And it worked.
So this sword will work against him?
Do you think you have a chance?
... I'll win.
All right. I won't stop you. Use that sword to avenge Commander Greil. But listen, Ike... You must promise me one thing.
What is it?
There are times when running away is not the same as losing.
Don't you believe in me, Titania?
Of course I do. One day, you will defeat the Black Knight. I'm sure of it. That's why I don't want you to lose your life on the first go-around. When the time comes, I promise not to interfere. And I won't let anyone else interfere, either.
At times, withdrawing can be the key that unlocks a future victory. Don't forget that.
There are more hints in this conversation than most players will realize the first time through.
Earth/Heaven: Avo +5, Hit +5
Is there something wrong. Princess?
Oh... my lord Ike. I was getting prepared for battle, but... I'm having a hard time attaching this scabbard to my belt.
Hmm... let me see. Ah... here's the problem. The buckle on the scabbard isn't fastened. There's a little trick to this. Don't move for a second. ... All right. That should do it!
Thank you. I just can't seem to do anything right. I can't even get myself ready for battle! Everyone else is all suited up.
Everyone here was the same way when they first started. In fact, it wasn't all that long ago when I was having a hard time fastening my scabbard...
That's right. But my father drilled me hard and tested my swordsmanship and survival skills before I could eat breakfast. We come from different worlds, Princess.
So that's how you learned so much.
Well, you don't need to practice so hard. You weren't born to be a mercenary like the rest of us war dogs. You'll just get yourself killed if you jump into this rough and nasty war unprepared.
Just don't worry about it. There's no shame in asking for help from the rest of us. We'll be there to back you up.
Thank you, my lord Ike.
Anytime, Princess Elincia.
Fire/Heaven: Atk +0.5, Hit +7.5
Are you looking for someone, Your Highness?
Geoffrey. I'm glad you're here.
Is there anything I can do for you?
Yes, actually. I have a small favor to ask of you.
Ask anything of me, Your Highness, and I shall make it so.
Really? You would do anything?
Anything at all.
Well, then here goes... Geoffrey... I need you to leave me alone while I fight on the battlefield.
What?! Without protection? But, you know that is the one thing I cannot--
I don't want to hear any objections. This is... an order. You must obey.
But... Princess Elincia...
Fire/Wind: Atk +1, Hit +10, Avo +5
Oh, it's you again. Hey, um... Sorry about, you know, what I said the other day. My arms and legs are sorry, too. Oh... the bruises...
Don't worry about it. But you know why I'm here!
Huh? Why?! Please don't hurt me!
What else? I came here to get more sparring practice! I'm always in search of my true nemesis!
You want to fight again? I know you like to spar, but this is crazy!
So you're saying I can't win again because I'm a woman?
What?! No! No no! Noooooo! I didn't say that. I don't want to spar you!
I know exactly what you meant! Well, prepare to feel the wrath of my training sword again! And if that doesn't teach you, we'll train some more tomorrow!
Whoa... this is all a misunderstanding! You can't expect me to fight you again. Look at these bruises!
You should have thought about that before spouting off about male superiority again. Get your axe ready!
But I didn't say anything!! Oooh, all right. I'm going to be sore tomorrow...
Hah! I'll go easy on you!
Light/Earth: Hit +5, Def +1, Avo +10
All right, Ilyana. Start now.
Let me give this a try... Huuuufff... Haaaaaa... Huuuffff... Puuufffff...
... Wait, Ilyana. Can you come back here for a moment?
Yes? What is it?
I know you're not feeling great... But I still want you to do some running. Exercise is important. Why not start out slowly?
Yes... I'll try. I... I ran the best I could...
Hah! That was supposed to be running?!
... Er... Listen, Ilyana. I didn't mean to be so harsh. Nobody is born great at everything. It takes hours and hours of practice to get better at something. So don't feel bad when you don't excel at something right away. Is that clear?
Don't worry. I'll work on it with you. Go and give it another try.
All right... I'll do my best...
Then we can take a break. Perhaps you'd like some water before you try again.
Actually, I'm a little hungry...
Food? No problem at all. What would you like to eat?
Do you remember that meal you made me the other day? That was so tasty... I'd love that again!
You liked it that much, huh? Then I'll set to work making you another big helping! But... you'll have to run for it!
It's a deal. Thank you... for everything.
My god, I think Lucia's figured it out.
Thunder/Wind: Def +1, Avo +10, Hit +5
Count Bastian, you'd consider us close now, right?
You, sir, are as the dearest of my friends.
We drink and sup until the morning light!
All right then, why don't we play a little game? You may not know it. It's a favorite game of the common folk. But once it charms you, it never let's go!
A game played be the commoners, you say?
What fun! We must this enterprise engage!
Pray tell the rules of your wondrous lark.
that's another meter fail Bastian. Tut tut.
It's simple. You make a wager, and then you guess the pattern on these face-down wooden blocks right here. If you guess right, you win money! If you guess wrong, you lose... Simple really!
Ah ha! You do not fool me, my good sir!
This lark is played in all the gaming dens,
where fool and coin are ever parting ways.
Gulp! W-what? You mean... y-you've been to a gambling parlor before?
I know of such, but haven't in one stepped.
But I will say... my interest has been piqued.
Then let's go to the local gambling hall! Come on, you can just get a taste for it. I'll show you the way. Don't worry about being new to the game. Someone as rich as you can play all night and still come home with a fat wallet.
I shall not play. I must content myself with watching.
Whaaat!? Why would you just want to watch?
My homeland of long years is in dire peril.
I cannot play while sweet Crimea burns.
Oh look, the moon has risen o'er the hills!
I must retire now to sleep's cold grip.
Take care to not empty your purse! Tata!
Aaah! Nooo! He's gone... There goes my loot! Waaaait! Come baaaack!
Thunder/Wind: Def +1, Avo +10, Hit +5
How goes it, Muarim?
Largo. Thanks for your help the other day.
Bwa ha ha ha! That was nothing. You know, I've traveled all around the world, and I've never seen someone as burly as you. I'm pretty stout, but I bet you could mop the floor with me... So who do you think could lift the most?
It's hard to say...
The heaviest thing I ever lifted was this tree I cut down. It was three times my size! What about you?
Well... One time, I chiseled rocks from a mountain and carried them up to repair a castle wall.
Rocks?! How big were they?
Mmm... big. Taller than me.
That's incredible! ...Hey, how do you feel about a little strength competition? I bet we'd be pretty evenly matched!
No, that's just...
Don't be so uptight! Come on! It'll be fun!
... Hmmm... All right... But just this once!
Fire/Wind: Atk +1, Hit +10, Avo +5
Ah, what a great day! I think I'll wonder the streets and see what trouble I can... Hello? What's this? Hm? Well, if it isn't Devdan's friend, Nadved! Why are you just lying in the street? Here, let me pick you up... Hey, Nadved! Speak!... Speak! Speak, Nadved! I command it!
Oh, this is nonsense! Bah! How would a piece of paper talk, anyway... Speak, Nadved! Speeeeak! Grrrrr! This makes me so mad! Fine, then! You don't want to talk? I'll just crumple you up instead!
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! GYYYYAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAA!!!!
Yaaaaa! What the...?! N-no way! It screamed! Oh, I'm sorry! Are you all right, Nadved!?
Oh, by the goddess... What have I done? I'm a monster! A monster! ... I gotta dispose of the body!
Oh, hello Largo! How are you today?
Wha--?! Oh, Devdan! Um... how are you? I-it's such a nice day, and I was just... AH! F-forgive me! Yaaaaaaaaaa!
He ran away... Oh, poor young one. Perhaps Devdan is to blame for showing you this trick. But Devdan can't tell you how it's done, because it is a ... secret... Oh, the shame of it all...
What the fuck. What the fuck.
Thunder/Earth: Def +1, Avo +15
My homeland of Phoenicis is bordered by the South Sea. It's a wonderful place to live. There aren't that many of us, and everyone gets along... I've seen many countries with my own eyes, but Phoenicis is the best!
Did Phoenicis have diplomatic relations with other countries?
No, we don't associate with the others. We used to be allied with Serenes... until those cursed humans destroyed it. And Kilvas is ruled by a cunning and heartless king. We have no trust for him.
Did you ever associate with beorc countries?
Ha! That'll never happen! After the slaughter of Serenes, the beorc became our enemy.
I do not blame you for your anger... But as I have said, Crimea wishes to establish diplomatic relations with you. Our late king advocated friendship with the laguz, and enjoyed a good rapport with King Caineghis of Gallia.
So I hear. Look, most Phoenicians would be perfectly happy living their entire lives without outside contact... But I suppose a friendship with Crimea is possible. If our king so decides.
And what do you think?
What do I think? Huh... I used to loathe huma... beorc. Even hearing the word made me angry. But... Now I think friendship is possible. That's all because I met you.
Oh... Well... Thank you. I am glad to be of assistance.
Dark/Fire: Avo +5, Atk +2, Hit +5
Oh, there you are, Sir Geoffrey! You look especially rugged and dashing today!
Hm? Oh hello, Calill. How are you?
Hmm! How nice! You remember me... Perhaps love dares to speak its name!
Eh? What are you talking about?
No, no, I'm just talking to myself. Say, you're a knight escorting the princess of Crimea, no? It's such an honor to meet someone like you! Such a noble bearing! Such grace!
Um... it's actually not a big deal. You and I are on the same team, after all. We shouldn't worry about class or social standing.
Oh! He's even more debonair than I first imagined! Thank you for being so kind. So... decent. So handsome and strong. So filled with manly virility...
Um... you're welcome?
By the way, Sir Geoffrey. I don't know Princess Elincia very well. What manner of person is she?
Oh! Are you interested in the princess?
Of course! I'm interested in any woman who could become my romantic rival!
What did you just--
Nothing! Nothing at all! Just talking to myself. La da dum de dum... I just want to know her because she's... a dear person that we must protect! Could you tell me about her?
I can. Although... putting it into words is hard...
Why is that?
The words always sound false, yet... Hmm... The princess is like--
Everything about her is perfect. As her retainer, some might accuse me of bias, but it is not so! She is... invaluable. She is the treasure of Crimea...
Ooooh, I see how it is. You're in love with her! Blast! Blast and double blast! I'm always so unlucky with men! Oh, vile cupid! Why do you mock me!
Wait! Wait! Calill! You misunderstood! I... er...
No, no, good sir knight! Spare me your wicked tongue! I cannot bear another lashing across my heart! ... Ah, well. It's a shame I can't have him for my own, but... I enjoy a good love story all the same! I'll lend a helping hand to this naive knight and lead him to his one true love! Princess Elincia, your man is coming!
Thunder/Wind: Def +1, Avo +10, Hit +5
Ahhhh... Er... Naaaaaahhh...
Is something wrong?
Hmmm? Oh, it's you.
You've done nothing but stare at that piece of paper for hours. Are you crazy, man?
Oh, you have a point.. Crazy... Craaaazy... You may be onto something. I'll have to write that down. But it'll have to wait until later. I can't think about two things at the same time.
You can't? Well, what are you thinking about now?
I'm saving up the money I make here to open my own little place. I'm thinkin' a pub would be nice... Is that a good idea?
A pub? Yes, pubs are nice. Will you make savory meat pies? With buttery crusts?
Savory! Oh, yeah. They'll be the savoriest! They'll make your head explode!... I don't want my customers dropping dead, though... I want everyone to be happy. Hmmm... Hey, people like butter, right? There'll be free sticks of butter on every table!
That's a great dream. Where are you going to open your place?
Well, uh... it may not look like it, but I'm actually from Begnion. So I'll probably open my pub back home. But from what I hear, Crimea and Daein are nice places, too... This is going to be a hard choice...
... Do you want me to help you with the pub?
Oh, yeah! that would be great! Two people can think about two things at once. That will help for sure. All right, so we'll have savory meat pies... But what about the rest of the menu?
Oh man. I'm hungry now.
Earth/Wind: Avo +15, Hit +5
Count Bastian! Where are you?!
Lady Lucia... It's not like you to be looking for me. Or even acknowledge my existence, for that matter! Ta ha ha!
How badly are you hurt? Do I need to tie a tourniquet?
A tourniquet? Ta ha ha, aha! No, my dear. I'm not injured. Unless you include the heart which you have so eagerly stomped!
You aren't hurt? Really? I heard a funny-looking man with a mustache suffered a severe injury. Naturally, I assumed it was you. But I see that wasn't the case.
Lady Lucia! You were so concerned with my welfare that you rushed to my aid! Ah! You are a true delight! A majestic--
That isn't the case at all.
There's no use in fighting your feelings! I have already given in to the bottomless pit that is my love for you!
Did you not hear me? I already told you how I felt.
The more you try to hide it, the more your true feelings show through! You cannot fight true romance any more than you can fight the tides, milady.
Arrrggg... Count! Will you please listen to me?!
Earth/Earth: Avo +30 (!)
Are you going somewhere, Oscar?
Yes, milady. I was just about to prepare supper. Is there something you needed?
No, it's nothing important... I just wanted to thank you. Your insights into mercenary tactics have been helpful. I feel like I've learned more here than I did at the academy! Why, I'm starting to wish that I could take you back to Begnion with me, so that we could all benefit from your wisdom.
That's kind of you to say, milady.
By the way... you cook?
Yes, milady. As I've said, we're a small company. Each of us handles a variety of tasks, from fighting to cooking and cleaning.
You are full of surprises!
You think so?
I may be a fine warrior, but... It's embarrassing to admit, but I can't even crack an egg without hurting someone. The last meal I prepared at the academy took three of our finest generals out of action for nearly a month.
Shocking, isn't it?
Oh, no. I take it as a testament to your skills as a warrior. Just... remind me never to accept an invitation to dinner. Or... you know, if you'd like, I could teach you a little...
You'd teach me how to cook?
Only if you'd like.
Hm. I'm sure you're as good an instructor in the cooking arts as in the military ones. All right. I accept your offer!
...sorry, what was that? For a moment there I thought this was a Tales LP. Where was I?
Fire/Water: Hit +7.5, Atk +3, Def +1.5
What's wrong? You look depressed. Actually you haven't been yourself lately. Did something happen?
B-Boyd, I... Sniff... snifff... Whaaa! Whaaaaaaaa!
Whoa! What is it?
Oh, Boyd, it's... everything! Every... thing... Sniff... Boyd, I... Whaaaaaa!
Um... Ah, geez... I'm not much good at this kind of thing, but if you need to cry, go ahead.
Whaaaaaa! ... Snifff... Sniff... Awaaahaaahaaahaaaaaaaaa!!!
Um... Once you settle done, we can talk. All right? But go ahead and let it out. Let it all out. You'll feel better.
Whaaaaaaa... Whaaa... Sniff... ... Sniff... Tha-thanks...
Hey, don't worry. You have me and... everyone. You're in good hands. We'll take care of you.
... Sniff... Oh, Boyd...
Fire/Earth: Hit +5, Atk +1, Avo +10
So, you know... I was thinking... If possible... It would be great if you could overlook my punishment.
Punishing deserters to the harshest degree of the law has always been an iron rule. I cannot make a special exception for you...
Deputy Commander... Why do you have to be so mean?!
Why am I mean? Because you deserted. I had to--
You were always like that. Unlike Commander Sigrun, you never once commended our unit. You think you understand us, but you don't. You're just heartless and frigid.
Don't you get it? Why do you think I'm coming down on you so hard!?
I wouldn't normally say this, but... I had high expectations for you, Marcia. I thought you could take the reigns and someday lead the Holy Guard.
What!? Where did that come from? Back in Begnion, you said nothing about any of this.
Do you think I would say something like that on my own? I have no choice now. I'll offer counsel to the commander, and see to it that you have a place back on the Guard. If you come back, I might just forget all about your desertion.
Deputy Commander... I... I appreciate it!
Wind/Thunder: Hit +7.5, Avo +15, Def +1.5
Ah, I was so wrong... I wish I could apologize to my family.
Do you have any idea where your family is? Any clues? Anything?
...I've heard my wife left Daein and went to live with relatives in Crimea. I suppose she is still there.
Then why don't you go see her!
I'm sure they don't want to have anything to do with me. Even if I did find them, reappearing now would just reopen old wounds. I don't want to cause any more pain.
That's just crazy! I mean... I wish I could see my dad!
I've always told my brothers that I'm all right and I'm not lonely. But the truth is I want to see my dad. We've got so much to talk about.
My dad is dead. I can't see him again. But your boy can. You're still alive.
You're... right. But it is simply too late.
It's NOT too late! As long as you're still alive, it's never too late. Go on! Go see them! I'm sure they're waiting for you.
Maybe you're right, Rolf. Maybe I should...
Water/Heaven: Atk +1.5, Def +1.5, Hit +15
Have you found your answer?
You are one of the Branded. You are the child of beorc and laguz.
I believe so, at least. My proof is this mark upon my forehead.
You don't need to talk to me if you're afraid. Now that you know what I am, I make you uncomfortable, don't I?
I am unsure. A legend in Gallia speaks of the parentless. They are bad omens. When a parentless one comes into being, a century of destruction follows...
Yes, that's it. The laguz do call us that. "Parentless," as if to deny our heritage. As if to deny that we are their kin. That's how the laguz treat us--as if we should never have been born. The beorc may tremble when they see the brands we bear, but at least they do not deny that we share blood. That is why so many of the Branded hate the laguz--because they have rejected our very existence.
But how? How is it that you came to be? Laguz and beorc are different. They cannot bear children. This is how Ashera has made our world... It is her law.
I don't know. The laguz tribes cannot interbreed, I know that much. However, it seems possible, though rare, for a child to be born to beorc and laguz parents. But once the bloodlines have mingled, the trace of it can remain hidden for countless generations. Have I violated the goddess's laws? Have my parents? No. Whatever happened was done by some forgotten ancestor. My parents are beorc, as were their parents before them. I do not know who is responsible for what I am. But now, after many generations, their sin has appeared in me. I bear no guilt, but the badge of impurity is mine to wear.
My laguz blood gives me great power. I thought about using my power to gain revenge against the people who scorned me, but I decided against it. I have found friends, people who live outside the normal worlds of the beorc and the laguz. People who bear the brand.
What did you want from me, Stefan? Why did you ask about Gallia?
I was curious about Gallia's beast tribes. They looked different than those that live in Begnion. There are those among the Branded who think that a country willing to join hands with beorc... Might find a place for us as well. We thought we might at last find acceptance in Gallia and Crimea... Of course, it didn't work out that way...
Well, I guess that's the end of our little "friendship" now, isn't it? I intend to stick around until this war is over, but I won't bother you anymore. I know how you laguz are about us.
No! I will not pretend that you are not among us. I will not pretend that I do not see what is in front of me!
What will you do, Mordecai? Am I so wretched to you that you feel you must take direct action against me? You laguz are closer to nature than the beorc. Are you going to enforce the goddess's law? Is that it?
I have not met the goddess. But if her laws make you unwanted, then I will have nothing to do with her. You have taught me much, and I would not like to lose your friendship.
Hm. You'd want nothing to do with the goddess? Funny, but for the first time in my life, I'm grateful to her.
If someone like you can be so sincere a friend, then perhaps she's not to blame. Perhaps her laws aren't what we think.
Whew! Time for the customary BEXP feast:
This is just lovely (especially considering Ike's capped strength, and just now also capped speed and resistance).
In fact, this is pretty much a perfect level, considering that.
I've yet to regret leveling Reyson.
I confess to being disappointed at Elincia's speed so far, but at least she's mustered the strength to properly wield Amiti now.
Ah. Remember when we were worried about Nephenee having a defence problem?
Let's check out the shops today:
Lots of good stuff for sale, but the star item here is Stilettos, in limitless supply! We buy a couple so Volke can go to town and stop pussyfooting around with Daggers. They have 4 Mt for chrissakes!
Let's move out.
We're getting ready to have a war council and discuss tomorrow's battle.
There's little doubt of it.
It's his armor. It's apparently blessed by the goddess. Ordinary weapons, natural or no, can't damage it.
Leave that to me. I've got a sword that should be effective against him...
Now then, shall we determine who among us storms the castle?
Not right now, Mist. We're discussing battle strategy.
I know that. Even so... Please? It'll only take a moment.
Mist... I promise I'll make time later. Be patient and wait quietly.
I feel... a bit dizzy. May I rest a moment?
Oh, what foul deed is this that rears its head?
The gods of war do charge a heavy toll.
Bewitch us, and attack our very minds!
The princess, she is faint and o'er tired.
Forgive your humble servant this trespass.
Th-thank you. I'm sorry.
(The absence of Geoffrey and Bastian will have pretty much zero effect on the things that are said, although you will of course be denied Bastian's... singular... delivery.)
Come on, Mist. You realize the princess was making time for you to talk with me, don't you?
... Well, um... I thought I could talk to you later, but then I changed my mind and wanted to talk to you now.
I've been hoping to talk to you, too. I haven't heard very much from you since the other day.
Yeah... I'm sorry. When you told us that story... I was so shocked... That's why.
The part about Mother's death... and about Father, right?
That's only natural. So, you have come to some kind of understanding with it all? Is that it?
At first, I couldn't believe it.
And everything about Father... That was even more unbelievable. It was all I could think about. But... But I didn't want to think about it anymore. It made my head hurt. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't even sleep. I would just lie awake at night and stare at the tent walls.
Yeah, I was the same way.
I guess my body finally reached its limit. Last night, I fell asleep. And when I woke up this morning... I don't know. It was all gone. I only had one emotion left.
One emotion? What was it?
Must... not... make... reference...
Uh-huh. And for Father. I think more for him than anyone else... Father and Mother were in love, weren't they? And then the medallion, it made Father go... what did you say? Berserk? When he returned to himself, he found Mother... When, when Father died, it hurt so much... I thought I was going to die. Father must have felt the same. No, he must have felt even worse.
I think you're right. And Father kept it all to himself, too. Mother, the medallion, being hunted... He never said a word to us. It was his burden alone.
You're going to fight him, aren't you. For Father.
Yes, I am. That's one thing I won't let anyone else do in my stead.
Trying to stop you is pointless. I know.
Oh, Mist. You have no idea.
But... you must keep your promise. You promised to lead the company in Father's place, and to protect me. If you go and get yourself killed, I'll never forgive you.
I understand. That's why I'm not going to lose!
... I know!
Um... It was a lie. I'm not feeling unwell at all. I'm sorry I fooled you.
Ah, I knew it all along. It was all for Ike and Mist, was it not? It would appear, my dear Princess, that you care for them greatly.
I witnessed the death of both my father and mother... Soldiers fell one after the other... And then I... I was separated from Geoffrey... It was Ike and his friends who rescued me. If not for them, I... I'm sure I would be dead now. My lord Ike and Mist, too, know the pain that I carry with me. The pain of losing one's parents in war. That may account for why the two of them, right from the beginning, were so warm and friendly. They gave me the support I needed to survive. Mist and I have continuously encouraged each other to go on. So...
They rescued you and are your patrons. There are those among the soldiers who complain in jealousy of Ike's station, but...
... Ah, Bastian. I'm pleased to hear it.
Enough plain speaking! I must ready my silver tongue anew! Shall we return to the council?
Hmph. Resolve it.
I beg your pardon?
Yes, we just had a title card a minute ago. Thanks, game.
We must strike now, before any more can arrive. If the Black Knight appears, don't try to engage him. He is mine. I will take care of him!
Come one, come all, to another edition of Voting Time!
We start this chapter's edition by saying goodbye to some old friends, some of whom served us well. Let's hear it for Titania, Zihark, Gatrie, Tormod, Devdan, Ulki, Shinon, Calill, Lucia and Geoffrey.
Everyone still on the team is now going to remain so until endgame - and now that the options are sufficiently reduced, I can afford to be a lot more openhanded with BEXP than before.
Anyway, we need to select a team of eleven to storm this castle. Ike and Mist are, shockingly, coming along, as is Reyson. There's thievery to be done, so let's bring Volke too, and I guess we'll bring Soren. That leaves six spaces open to voting on.
Also, I may start allocating skills once the team for this mission is decided. I'll be adding a few each mission.
Choose from Oscar, Mia, Rolf, Marcia, Nephenee, Jill, Astrid, Stefan, Muarim, Janaff, Tanith, Tauroneo, Ranulf, Haar, Bastian, Largo, Elincia.
We're also going to continue expanding our endgame arsenal with another lance. Name suggestions welcome.
You've got 48 hours or thereabouts.