Part 69: Chapter 28 - Preamble
Ike has avenged his father by defeating the Black Knight in single combat. That night, he sleeps until well past dawn. It is the first time since Greil's death that he has done so.
The Crimean army and its laguz allies have passed the trial of Nados Castle. At last, they've arrived at their final destination: the Crimean capital. Yet the opponent that awaits them is none other than Ashnard, king of Daein. If they lose here, all of their hardships will have been for naught.
Preparations for the attack proceed with the utmost care. The final battle is approaching. An air of exaltation pervades the camp, but Ike remains focused on the road ahead, readying himself for what is to come.
If Nasir is dead (as per the "bad ending" to the last chapter), his lines here are basically handled by Ena, with, as usual, no substantial changes.
That's right, isn't it, Ena?
How do you know that?
I was searching for information, and that search led me to a troop of Daein soldiers that had been assigned to the tower. It was the extra knowledge I needed.
You won't tell me any more than that, will you? No matter how important it might be to our upcoming fight.
... I beg your pardon.
I figured as much. I've already decided to trust you, so all that's left to do is move out.
For what purpose?
That's where they're holding Leanne.
Fairly certain, yes.
As will I.
Yes, I have.
Naturally. I will remain here and see to it that preparations for storming the capital continue as planned. However, you must promise to return. And to bring my lady Leanne with you.
I hear you.
I think seven consecutive Vantage-Crits is worth an MVP award, don't you?
Well, let's get our Base on.
Only one conversation today...
Holy Knight (***):
I do not know how to lie or offer false praise. I am deputy commander of the apostle's bodyguards. If you were not destined for greater things, I would petition the apostle herself for your enlistment.
Oh, thank you! I can't believe it myself. If not for your instruction, Tanith... This would not be possible.
Training new recruits has long been my duty. And yet... I believe this is the first time anyone has been so appreciative. My other pupils commonly referred to me as the Great Demon. Isn't that so, Marcia?
We all adored our sincere and devoted deputy commander. Great Demon. Pfff! More like Great... uh... Angel... Lady...
What? N-not that! She's not ready for that! You're crazy!
Tanith, I... I'm not sure that I'm ready...
Listen to me, Princess. The foes we are facing are Daein's elite troops, led by King Ashnard himself. How do you expect to fight them without at least one killing attack under your belt?
You do it, Deputy Commander, and we'll keep practicing. Right, Princess Elincia?
I want... to grow stronger. To reach that goal, I will do whatever it takes.
Well spoken! Now then... to match your desire, I will fall back on the methods I used while training the apostle's bodyguards.
Ugh... She really is a demon.
Do you know what this means? This means that Elincia, Marcia and Tanith can now perform a Triangle Attack so long as all of them are using swords. The Triangle-Attacking Pegasus Knight Trio has been a proud Fire Emblem Tradition dating back all the way to Fire Emblem: Gaiden.
Of course, Elincia won't be joining us in this fight, so... yeah. Shame, that.
Earth/Heaven: Avo +10, Hit +10
Princess Elincia? You're still here?
Oh, my lord Ike. W-well, I was getting a little practice in. I don't want to be a burden to everyone else.
Wouldn't it be better to have a training partner?
I'd feel guilty asking someone to train with me. It would be a waste of time... I am no match for their skill.
I meant what I said earlier... About not hesitating to ask for help? But I guess you decided to ignore me.
N-no, no... it's not like that at all. I heard what you said, but I still feel so...
I know how powerless and frustrated you must feel. It was a terrifying feeling when I discovered my dad had left me in command of the Greil Mercenaries.
But there's a huge difference between inheriting a country and a band of mercenaries, isn't there?
Not at all... You're absolutely right. It's hard... knowing what kind of responsibility I have, and just how unsuited I am to take it.
Over the last year, I learned a lot from all the battles... Mostly. I learned that there are many things I can't do on my own. Everything I achieved was possible only because of the people around me. I trust them completely. And I'm not ashamed to ask for help. That goes for you, too. You're not alone.
That's a great way to look at it. Thank you!
Fire/Heaven: Atk +1, Hit +15
Your Highness... Please, I beg you to reconsider.
I am aware that you took offense to my disobeying your order... But... You cannot ask me to leave you alone and undefended! I am a royal knight. It is my duty and honor to ride by your side and defend you on the field of battle.
Your Highness, please! On bended knee, I beg this of you.
Would you stop defending me if I stripped you of your title?
...T-take away my knighthood?
I see. I had no idea you wanted to avoid me this badly.
No, Geoffrey. That's not--
I may have spoken out of turn, but all I wanted was to honor my oath and shield you from harm. I'm sorry...
Wait... Geoffrey! Geoffrey!
Fire/Water: Hit +7.5, Atk +3, Def +1.5
Ulki! Oh, my dear friend Ulki! I'm so looking forward to the next battle! I mean, fighting is terrifying and I'd like to avoid it and all that... But I'm going to be so useful!
I'm glad to hear--
But I have to hang on to your back! No matter what... Oh, may I practice with you just one more time? Please? Pleeeeeease?
Er... No. I can't use up any more energy before battle...
Oh, I see... I apologize... Yes, very sorry... Um... Say... Does shifting tire you?
What!? Oh no! But... You let me practice with you! For days! Yesterday we flew for nine hours!
Well... It was my fault for not saying anything. You looked so happy that... I didn't have a chance to bring it up.
You know what? I think you're pale... And your eyes are all bloodshot... ... I'm sorry... Let's just forget it...
Perhaps we should. It might be dangerous for me to go into battle like this.
But... if we ever have some free time, I will take you on a ride.
Whooo-hoooo! Yes, thank you! That would be great, Ulki!!
Dropping Rhys may have opened the way for God-Mist to shine, but... man, if only Rhys and Ulki could actually work together like this.
Dark/Heaven: Atk +1.5, Avo +7.5, Hit +15
This war will be over soon enough. Why are you still pretending to be something you aren't?
Why do you keep bringing this up? I don't know what you're talking about!
You're Branded--there's no doubt about it. I can tell. I'm just like you.
You've grown quite good at hiding it. But, it's merely a matter of time before your heritage becomes... evident.
You may have already started to notice. We age differently than the beorc. Of course, the specifics of it depends on the type of laguz blood that flows in your veins.
I thought I was aging normally... Well, until about three years ago.
You won't be able to remain in the same place. Beorc aren't very observant, but even they will soon catch on.
That may be true... But I will not leave Ike's side.
... When the time comes--and you will know when--ride to Grann Desert. You have friends there.
Fire/Wind: Atk +1.5, Hit +15, Avo +7.5
You fought... hard... that time! Who do you think won?
It was close, but I think you beat me again.
Are you sure?
Yep. I'm bushed.
You didn't go easy on me because I'm a woman, did you?
Not at all. It's just that I'm no match for that sword arm of yours.
...Ooooh, boy... I'm beat! I think I'll go grab some sleep.
Wait... I know you're tired, but can I ask you one question?
Why push yourself so hard?
Because I've been told too many times that a sword doesn't belong in the hands of a woman. I've got something to prove.
Oh... I get it.
I understand if I lose to someone with better technique. When that happens, I can always hone my skills and work on getting more combat experience. If I lose, It's not because I'm a woman. It's because someone trained harder than me. And if that happens, I'll hone my skills and come back to beat them.
Ahhh... Now I understand how you clobbered me so badly! But I can't just lick my wounds. I'll have to take your advice, get back to practice, and challenge you again one day.
You said you wanted a rematch. When do you want to do it? You want a chance to redeem yourself, right?
Bwaaa ha haaaa! I'm impressed, kid! I'll just have to keep fighting you until I win!
I'll take you on anytime, Largo!
I'd like to think that whenever they fight they just get stuck in an endless loop of Vantage activations until they get bored.
Light/Earth: Hit +7.5, Def +1.5, Avo +15
Where's Ilyana? I told her to wait right here! Where did she run off to?
Ilyana? Did something happen?
No... Just so... Hungry... So hungry...
Hungry? Haven't you been eating?
No... Not enough... I just had five helpings...
What? Five helpings?!
Yes... Oh, and I took Soren's lamb shank when he wasn't looking.
How much do you usually eat?
When I cook, I usually make... six or seven helpings...
Er... You're not a laguz, are you?
Listen, Ilyana. I've put you through some hard training over the lost few days, and it got me thinking... There is something seriously wrong with you!! But I can't leave you like this. You've made it this far, and we'll get through whatever it is together.
Yes... That makes me happy. You make me delicious meals... You're so beautiful and strong... I want to be with you, Lucia...
Oh, fine. We might as well go get some food!
Your cooking... I can almost taste it...
You're always so hungry... All right, I'll make you whatever you want. But you had better train hard!
Yes! Oh, I'm so happy!
Wind/Wind: Hit +15, Avo +15
You still want something from me. Otherwise, you wouldn't be here.
When does your contract with Commander Ike expire?
Heh. Why do you ask?
There is a very delicate matter I'd like you to attend to. It's something only you are suited to... address.
I've known you for a long time now, and I've never seen such a desperate glimmer in your eye.
I'll get you twenty thousand. But you'll have to attend to it right away.
That sounds... tasty. Unfortunately, I have a policy against taking two jobs at once. It will have to wait until this one is over.
Don't fret, Bastian. My contract with Ike will only last as long as this war, and it's already coming to an end. It's not clear yet who will win, but it's certainly coming to a head. When my plate is clean, I'll find you.
This is absurd! You won't take the job?
Oh, I'll take it. I never pass up a lucrative offer. Plus, I've come to think you're not so bad, Bastian. You've always paid in full and on time. I like that in an employer.
So I'm an excellent employer? Perhaps I should set you up with a pension! Ta ha ha! In any case, it appears that I will have to wait until the of this miserable war to secure your services. But do not dawdle, Volke. It is a matter of utmost urgency.
Oh really? I wonder if this will ever amount to anything...
Wind/Fire: Avo +7.5, Hit +15, Atk +1.5
Um... Hello, D-Devdan.
Mua ha har hee ho hee hoo! Nephenee never says hello first. That makes Devdan happy!
I'm smiling! See! So... happy... Smiling... so... hard...
It is hard for Devdan to hear Nephenee say such things...
Devdan loves to see people smile! That's why Devdan smiles, too. But seeing a pained smile is sad. You try to smile because Devdan asked you to, but you are still full of sorrow. It reminds Devdan of the dead child that you heard about the other day... The poor, dead child... Devdan is sorry, Nephenee. Let us speak no more of it. I will get... upset.
U-upset? D-don't do that, Devdan!
Maybe I've been... uh... too negative! If I think positive, I'll smile a lot. Like you! See?!
Of course you will! A smile helps you and your friends! Can you smile wider? Here, Devdan will help!
Ah! Wait! No! Look, I got it! Smile, Nephenee... Smile big... Smile and back away...
Wind/Dark: Hit +7.5, Avo +15, Atk +1.5
Oh? What's in the bag? Did you run an errand. Nephenee?
I saw some beedle nuts on the trees near here so...
Oh, I see. And what, pray tell, is a beedle nut?
Oh, they're swell! We use the oil on the shell to treat insect bites.
Oh? I had no idea there was such a thing. We don't have many trees in the city... My, country wisdom is amazing! Oh, but listen to me ramble! May I sample one your nuts?
Well, sure but... Oh, be careful, Calill! The shell is real sticky! Don't touch it with your bare hands.
Ah, I see. But perhaps if I hold the top and bottom edges of the shell like so... The oil won't contact my skin.
W-what? How did you...?
...You're not from the city at all!
Shush! You didn't see anything! I'm a sophisticated urbanite, right?
What? Surprised? Oh, come now. You're not the only one who doesn't want to be known as a country bumpkin. That's why I know how you feel.
Oh... But... now I know that I can be like you if I work hard. That makes me happy. I will... I will work hard, Calill.
Hallelujah! She sees the light! Now you just have to find a good man to bring back to your village!
Earth/Thunder: Avo +22.5, Def +1.5
What is it, Zihark?
I picked this for you.
I've heard the beast tribes are fond of the leaves of this kind of herb. It's fairly uncommon, but I've learned how to spot it.
I picked the wrong herb, didn't I?
No, no... It's fine. Unfortunately, it is not something that we tigers have a nose for.
Oh... I didn't know that. Sorry. An old girlfriend of mine loved the sent of it. I guess I just assumed that all laguz liked the smell as much as she did.
You... were involved with a laguz?
That is very uncommon. I've heard stories of love affairs between beorc and laguz. It must have been difficult. I do not imagine either society would have accepted it with ease.
It... was too much for her. We couldn't be married, and the pressure was too much for her to stay with me. But I've never loved another woman. To this day, I think that I never shall.
Can I have that bundle of herbs?
What? But I thought...
It has no effect on me, it's true, but I accept the gesture of kindness you have shown in bringing it to me. And I apologize for bringing up a painful memory of your own.
Thanks. You're very kind. Heh. I guess that makes us even, doesn't it?
Another reveal! Well, I guess this explains Zihark's anti-anti-laguz streak pretty well.
Wind/Wind: Hit +15, Avo +15
Hello, Sothe. Thank you... for the other day.
What, for talking? That isn't worth thanking me for.
No, you deserve thanks. I feel better.
I thought you noble types were too good to thank anyone, but... You're different...
You are. Most nobles get rich by trampling on the commoners, then spend their lives basking in filthy luxury. I've known them to be that way since the day I was born. They've never seen a blister or sweat for a day's meal in their lives. Do you know how lucky you are?
But there's no freedom! My brothers are the pride of the house. As soldiers, they lead glorious lives. But my sisters are traded like commodities, promised to fiancés they don't even know. They don't know love. I receive letters from them once every few years. The pages are warped and stained from tears.
You didn't want to end up like them.
No, I didn't. That's why I have no intention of leaving this war until I see it to the end.
I see... You're nothing like the nobles I've known. You worked hard... You're just like the rest of us. Sorry for thinking you were just another pampered noble.
Keep up the good work. You've earned your freedom. Never let them take that away!
Wind/Fire: Avo +7.5, Hit +15, Atk +1.5
Give it up. We're not friends.
You're going to be my friend whether you like it or not.
Why are you so determined?
Muarim? You mean that tiger? What about him?
Well, he looks sad every time I see him... He thinks it's his fault that I don't have any beorc friends. That's why I wanted you to be my friend--to make him feel better.
You should have said as much. Then I wouldn't have thought you were crazy.
That changes things?
He's like a father to you. I understand why you don't want to cause him grief. I also have... someone... who is like a parent to me.
Oh, I get it! Hey, you grew up a lot like me, then! We're going to be best friends forever!
Er... well... We'll talk. Sometimes. But don't get the idea that we're best friends!
Why? We have so much in common!
No offense, Tormod, but thieves are loners. I can't have you tagging along, snapping twigs and making lots of noise!
What's this about a "someone"? Presumably, it's the person he was looking for way back when... eh, it's probably not going to amount to anything, right?
Thunder/Wind: Def +1.5, Avo +15, Hit +7.5
Oh, there you are! Hey, Haar!
HAAR!!! Wake up! Oh, no! Look! Here comes General Ike!
Nothing will wake him up! He has a lot of guts sleeping before a battle like this. You have to respect that! Even debt collectors would be intimidated... I need to be more like him! Then I'll never have to pay anyone back! All right! I need to get training! The first thing I need to learn is how to sleep anywhere. ... Zzzzzz...
... Quiet down! Who's interrupting my nap?!
... Zzzzzz... Phew... Grrrr... I was wrong... Sorry, Marcia! ... Zzzzzz...
Let me ... zzzz... borrow some money... zzz...
Look at him, sleeping before a big battle. It's a miracle he's survived in his state. He must be really lucky. I hope he pulls through!
Fire/Wind: Atk +1.5, Hit +15, Avo +7.5
Um... Devdan? Do you have a moment?
Devdan always has time for you.
Look... I'm... sorry that I got scared and ran off the other day. I've been agonizing over how to make it up to you, but I can't think of anything that'll make it right. So, I'll just... apologize. Sorry, Devdan. Sorry, Nadved.
You worried that much for us? Poor Largo! Nadved is fine!
I am Nadved's friend. And friends are always close by! I just have to draw a picture like so... Hum de dum... See! It's Nadved!!
Laaaaaaargoooooo! I miiiiiised yooooooou! Whooooooooooooo!
Oh! It's you! I'm so sorry, Nadved! I put you through pain just because I lost my temper.
Thaaaaat's all riiiiiiight, Laaaaaargoooooooooo!
Whew! I'm so glad. Thanks, you two! You're both good people! The best! Bwaaah ha ha ha haaaa!
No, no. You're the best, Largo. Let's stay friends! But first... come closer... Nadved wants to tell you something...
Um... yeah, all right. Let me just take a step closer here, and... YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!
Earth/Wind: Avo +22.5, Hit +7.5
Lady Lucia, I'm not going away until you declare the true, roaring-hot passion you feel for me!
Count Bastian... You may talk like you're completely psychotic, but I know it's just an act. And as much as I hate to admit it... I don't think you're all that bad.
Then you feel the same?
Well... When the war is over... and Crimea is once again back on her feet... I might consider it. Might.
Oh, my beloved!
As hard as I've tried, you're just impossible to hate. Oh no... I completely forgot! I need to go help Princess Elincia.
W-wait, my love! What are your plans tonight? I'd like to spend it gazing into your sweet--
--Sorry! I need to be with the princess. I won't be free for a long time.
Oh, dear... I see the road ahead will be bumpy indeed!
C'mon, Elincia. Speed.
Largo gets it!
Astrid has actually managed to fall a bit behind strength-wise. No matter. She's got axes.
The shop is now stocking Silver Blades, so we buy a few for Mist and Mia/Stefan to chew through. They're actually among the most powerful generic weapons in the game.
And that concludes the Base Phase.
(... Ahh? ... Where am I...)
Then he gives all these special commands! Don't let her escape. Don't let her get sick. Don't let people kill her... More than anyone else, His Highness should know how hard it is to keep one of these birdies healthy...
Um... I'm here to relieve you on guard duty.
Standing guard, eh? Don't see much reason for a guard in this place. But armies always have all their rules and regulations and appearances and hullabaloo... Ah, no way around it, I suppose.
I believe that guards and watches are important.
Wheee! In other places, yes. But Gritnea Tower is currently overflowing with veteran soldiers. Not to mention those repulsive beasts... Those Feral Ones, you know? Trying to escape from this place is the same as committing suicide! Not that I've tried, mind you.
So a watch is necessary.
Hmmm? Wheee! What's that now? Who said that?! Oh, it's you. Important, eh? Why's that?
Ooo! You found a blind spot! That's the problem with us scholars! We concentrate on one thing and miss something as fundamental as--
Listen, you! You stay right here and stand guard. Don't let that heron girl take one step outside this room! Do you understand me? Wheee! I told you we needed guards!
... Sigh... Don't worry. I'll take care of everything.
Bah! Always when I'm in the middle of something... Snaggle-toothed, cheese-stealing...
Hello, little heron girl. There's nothing to be afraid of. I won't hurt you. Just sit there and be quiet, all right?
(Where is..this place? Who are you.....?)
I believe so.
What is it?
I sense several of the beast tribe, but... what is that? ... Sniff... Ugh! Something smells terrible!
Are you talking about the laguz that can't change forms? Like the ones we fought in Begnion?
Do you know how many and what type are in there?
As far as numbers... a conservative estimate would be thirty. Types? There are tigers and cats from the beast tribes, hawks and ravens from the bird tribes, and... dragons...
There are some from the dragon tribes as well?
We have to fight ten dragons like you?
They are not like me, Master Ike. They are much stronger.
...That's hardly encouraging...
It's rather embarrassing, but we of the bird tribes don't move well in the dark.
On the other hand, darkness means next to nothing for my kind. Depending on who we face, it could prove to be a significant--
Listen, you... Are you sure you want to be on our side?
... Hm? Yes, of course. That is why I provide accurate information.
What do you think, Ranulf? My grandchild is impressive, is she not?
That's not what I was going to say, Grandpa--
You're too calm about this for my tastes. This is going to be a--
Enough, Ranulf! We don't have time for complaints. We need to find the entrance to the tower.
Yeah, yeah. I'm coming.
Huh? Where's the heron girl? And the... guard? Helloooo? Guard? Bird girl? Wheeeeee? This can't... NO! I've been had! Nooooooooo! What do I do? If this is discovered, His Majesty will... He'll hang me up by my thumbs! Oh, no... Oooooh noooo...! No, no, no! I will not report this! Um... Uh... Think, Izuka, think! Hmmm... If I can somehow divert attention from myself...
Yes, sir! A mixed group of sub-humans and humans.
Ah... I see, I see. Then we must give them a warm reception, no?
General Heddwyn's mages have engaged them, but they're not nearly enough. We must apply to the capital for more reinforcements to--
Th-those monsters? But...
No need to worry. I have just given them their medication. They've all been trained not to attack any Daein soldiers.
V-very well, I--
Do it now! The enemy must not be allowed inside the tower.
Now then, I will take this moment and prepare to make my escape.
Well. This looks interesting.
King of hawks! This is no joking matter! They--
Hold on, my brothers. Just a little longer. Soon, I will grant you all release.
Tibarn is not the only one who is filled with rage. To warp the gift that the goddess has granted us... This crime shall not go unpunished! Yaaaaa!!
Come, Ranulf, let's join them.
Well, the bad news is... pretty much everything, really. Besides the clusterfuck of tigers, cats, hawks, ravens, and motherfucking dragons, there's also the customary Sleep and Silence Assholes, and the boss has both Bolting and an obscenely powerful Thunder tome.
Here's what a shifted Dragon without a Demi Band looks like. These motherfuckers are very nearly on par with the Black Knight, but for their low speed. Think about that.
There's some good news too, however.
Tibarn is joining us, as a Partner unit this time, and he is just as broken as before.
A reminder. Fuck Yes.
...we have a dragon of our own. That's right; Nasir is joining our team, and he sure doesn't fuck around. He takes a while to get going, but he sure gets the fuck going.
His special skills include being able to ignore enemy skills and also free status-healing on adjacent units - great for countering aforementioned Sleep/Silence Assholes.
Note that if we'd let Nasir die, we'd instead be joined by Ena, who, while still Being A Dragon, isn't quite as formidable a fighter as Nasir (even in spite of how much of a pain she was to defeat way back when. She hasn't leveled up since then, see).
All of which brings us to another exciting edition of Voting Time!
We're allowed twelve units (not including Tibarn), so let's see. Ike and Mist of course, Soren for comprehensive magical utility, Mia because I want a swordsperson besides Mist, Rolf I guess, and I do believe Nasir is entitled a round. So, yeah, six spaces to vote over.
Choose from Oscar, Marcia, Volke, Nephenee, Jill, Astrid, Stefan, Muarim, Janaff, Reyson, Tanith, Tauroneo, Ranulf, Haar, Bastian, Largo. Don't forget that Elincia is sitting this mission out because of plot, which is a shame because she could use the training.
In fact, you should bear in mind that this level is great for training when voting. Maybe.
As for forging... I'm technically behind because I was a moron and forgot to forge a lance named Ephraim last chapter, but in the meantime, we can still try and name our last forge now. It will be an axe, and will probably end up being used by either Astrid or Haar (since our last one has bonus crit and is named after a brigand, and as such is suited for Largo).
You've got... however long you've got, I'm making this one up as I go along. Proceed!