Last time, we defeated a lazy homage, but apparently, that's because Blazer was saving his effort for this chapter instead.
: I don't like these odds. Magnus is bound to have fortified their defenses at Yulia after Siegfried's initial take over...
: Then I guess it'd be better to hold back our assault.
: What, don't tell me you've already lost all that fervor from before?! Retreat is the optimal option. Think it through.
: Retreat may be more advantageous, but we can't abandon Siegfried! I'm sorry Kelik, but we have to rescue Siegfried!
Wait, are you for or against assaulting? Make up your freakin' mind!
Evidently, Anakin is "for," since these two dodos come bursting in.
: I would like to say that we heartily support your plan! Your nobility is an elegance that we can no longer falter against! On your mark, and we shall do battle!
: Kelik is the swordsman to conquer all other swords! We must follow his lead!
These two are Risk and Ben, respectively, and they're not my favorite dudes.
: ...I don't mind the compliment, but you two need to knock it off. We're a bit busy...
: Anakin, are you sure you're going to go through with this?
: You didn't call me an idiot! And so my decision stands.
: So that's how you decide? Seriously, I can't believe you're the commander...
: If it's such a big deal, why don't you be the commander?
: Battle commander, maybe. But you're the only one here suited to lead this pack. People look up to you for your "motivate-me!" magic.
: Hahaha, thanks!
: That wasn't a compliment. It's pretty stupid, actually... Anyway, listen up... Once I got word Siegfried was captured, I took some action.
: It doesn't matter "who". He went to prepare for assault in case we had to take Yulia back. I received a message from him yesterday saying that he secured a good area near the border where we can commence an attack on Yulia. He's also recruited a small ancillary force for any skirmish.
People have claimed before that Kelik has some Mary Sue-like qualities, and while I wouldn't go so far, what follows next does stretch my suspension of disbelief.
: I have more though. Tekun defeated some bandits in Clepto to the south a while ago. Magnus had been using the bandits as a method to keep villagers and potential resistance at bay. Once the bandits were defeated, Levion helped the people of Clepto retake their castle from Magnus. In addition, I have a friend in the city of Lujia to the southwest. Two days ago, he set a fire in a key supply camp. As you can see, neighboring areas will be caught up in their own problems. They're just minor distractions in the grand scheme of things, but it should help us be able to focus on this battle here. And all this wasn't my original intention... I had planned most of it before I joined the rebellion. But now, it should prove to be an advantage to us on the battlefield.
See, I was sold on the whole idea, right up until Kelik claimed that he had all those things arranged before the rebellion even came together. That turned him from a good planner to being outright psychic, and that's just stupid.
: That's great news! We shouldn't have to deal with reinforcements for a long time!
: Sir Kelik would most surely not let us down! He had to have this secret strategy withheld until now!
: Why are you still here?
I'm wondering that myself.
: I am Ben, and the swordsman you saw earlier is Risk. We're the mercenaries under Captain Drake that you hired.
: Alright. Have Risk join the second division. Althares will give the details. Ben, you'll be hanging with the main unit. You're dismissed.
: Thank you.
: Right, right... The main unit can't falter or the entire army does. Even though we've quickly gained numbers--you, my mercenaries, soldiers from Alexia, and other people we've liberated who've joined our cause-- we're constantly outnumbered by our enemies. So we have to make it up with talent.
: Yeah... that's how it goes. I remember Siegfried was the same way, only ever taking a handful of people with him to fight the main army, appointing everyone else to other jobs. But with those handful of people, he managed to break me free of prison.
: Oh? So you were in that prison, were you now?
: Yeah...Wait. Do you even know which one I'm talking about?
: Sure I do. I was employed by the leader there, Mina. But I can't say anymore about that topic than that. It's confidential information. Technically speaking, I'm still under contract. Even if she's dead, I still have to complete that mission...
: Eh, well, if I need to know, I suppose I'll find out...
That still doesn't answer the question of how Kelik knew that Anakin was captive in the same prison guarded by his employer. What, did he patrol the halls one day, peeking in the cells?
From that scene, we go to a completely unrelated interlude with some characters we may have seen before.
: With both this area and Clepto secured, the rebellion may now continue to Yulia Castle. Master Ke-I mean, Kelik, will arrive soon. I recommend you join him.
: Sir Levion, you mean you are not to accompany us?
: I must go and search for Siegfried's son. I believe I can be more useful in helping him than I would be here That one man may have helped you all escape, but Shon is still there, in need of aide...
: Heh, so that's it... Still, attempting to take Yulia back is suicide!
: Shuuda! What are you saying?
: I didn't stutter, did I? The rebels may be powerful, but... They are nothing to Magnus... Nothing.
: Which is why we must go and assist them!
: Ah! Y-You were just joking, Shuuda. You got me worried for a moment.
: Haha! I needed a moment to ferment my resolve.
: Corben, your horse will have some trouble traveling through forests. Just take your time and catch up when you can.
: That's true. Just one thing...
: What is it?
: Save some Magnians for me. I haven't made them pay for my time in prison.
: Heheh, alright.
: Good luck, everyone!
But wait! If you thought those character asides were over...
: We'll rescue you soon, Captain Drake...
: Emma?! Is that you?
Well, we only recruited her last chapter.
: Emma... I'm so sorry. I've been gone so long...
: I knew you wouldn't die. I knew you were alive...
: It's alright, Emma. I'm glad to see you.
: Why are you here, Ben? I can't believe it...
: What? That's my line to you! Since when have you been a part of the rebellion, sister?
: I just joined recently. I was being chased, but they agreed to take me in... I've been helping heal their injured ever since.
: O-Oh... I see...I'm sorry that happened...
: Ben, don't tell me to leave. I won't do it. I won't leave.
: You think I don't know that? I've only known you your whole life. You're one of the most mature and stubborn women I know. You don't need me to tell you to leave, and you wouldn't leave even if I did. I'm just thinking of a strategy to keep you safe from harm.
: Oh, you never change, always trying to solve things by making up some fancy strategies...
: No, this strategy is pretty simple. It goes "I'll protect you".
: Teehee... well, at least I'll see you whenever I want.
: Oh, I'm sure you'll get sick of me sooner than later, Emma.
: Maybe later. But for now...I'm just glad you're with me.
See, one issue I have with TLP is that there's way too much characterization being passed around. I like the character-building moments in this game, as they're rather interesting, but they're also packed in so much that it feels a little rushed.
What do you know? It's a field map where you cross bridges over water while going right to left. Only this time, the boss is content to stay on his castle.
Hey, we know this guy! He was all like, "Hey Lena, don't get killed in Chapter 14, OK?" Looks like he's come prepared to enact vengence on her behalf, as he's going to be tough to hit while delivering some nasty ones in return. I'd just like to say in advance that gate/throne bonuses are obnoxious.
: Then again, he kind of gets on my nerves. Well, I think I have a good strategy down for this battle. I should focus on the mages, due to my advantage in training. Few can say they've trained in Alicia and learned how to defend magic better like I have... And I can always flee over the rivers if I get in trouble. Maximizing my chance for survival...That's what matters the most.
Oh yeah, buddy. You are just the best when it comes to avoiding magic. Except, you know, for the part where you're not fast enough to actually kill the mages you're fighting or lucky enough to avoid being critted. That's always a consideration.
Also, hooray for supports with characters we haven't even met yet. It's good to know that unless we use two specific characters, we're not getting an A and B out of you.
Enough cynicism. We've got children to orphan.
Had we bothered to consult her, Hortensia would have suggested splitting the forces, and that's actually a decent strategy, believe it or not.
Nothing special about Tekun's crit. He's just as bizarrely deformed as the rest of the myrmidons.
Eat that, master strategist!
I still can't get over how powerful Althares is right now. He's a thief, for crying out loud!
We are using him to plug gaps. A thief is our frontliner.
Although I do have to be careful about looking at enemy equipment.
That maxed speed really comes in handy.
: By avenging you, perhaps I can atone for my sins...........I can't let my emotions get the best of me. His Majesty is relying on me to win this battle.
Yes, that is the accurate number of ellipses. Don't tell me you've never lost your place in a dramatic speech.
Let's just get this possible problem out of here...
And Althares' blade hand becomes deadlier. He won't be getting more crit at that rate, but Killing Edges are accurate enough.
You ain't the boss of me, weapon triangle!
Two can play at that game, I see.
For the group raiding the top, this Hero Flare guy can be a problem. Getting hit twice when you've got average resistance like most of my squad is not a picnic.
But we've got them now!
And Emma's game of magical catch-up begins.
Safely in the forest, Kelik attracts over the next crowd of victims.
I love this game series.
Well...most of the time.
This is why it's a good idea to take a team down the bottom, in order to clear the way for these guys.
: We're back into the open fields! This is great. Now it's time to show these rookie rebels a thing or two... We've been with Siegfried since the early days of the rebellion. You can bet we'll be helping out with his rescue!
: Yeah! The Commander has been so kind to us. He's been caring, friendly, fair, and virtuous, unlike any other employer we've ever had before...
: Yeah. Just think. Somewhere in Yulia, he's waiting for us.
: Let's go, Shuuda!
Caring and virtuous? Are we talking about the same Siegfried?
Ugh...while these would perhaps be adequate starting stats for a prepromote in base FE7, this is just unacceptable for TLP. I fear that Inanna's days are numbered.
Shuuda, as always, is the one slamming people with giant swords. And they gave him the perfect weapons for the occasion.
First order of business: gathering intel from the locals.
Oh, it's you.
Final stretch of the level, and we really haven't seen a lot of reinforcements.
I'm not asking for a full stop, but you could try to slow us down a little.
It ticks ever upwards.
Okay, Ben. Show me the growths of a master tactician.
Did you see that coming?
I think Inanna may be doomed to only attack small fry. Her strength's not the best.
Look who finally decided to show up.
: Siegfried, Shon, I'll definitely rescue you. After all, we've been with each other since the beginning! Now, time to show'em what I'm made of!
That's right! The Emblem weapons are back! And they brought Corben with them. He's better than Eduardo or Shon, but I can't say that I'm fond of the cavaliers in this game in general. We'll make something of him.
Oh, one more thing. Inanna and Lirin, if they talk to one another in this chapter, have a conversation together.
: Lirin! Lirin!
: Oh, Inanna! Don't call me like that! You're such a child...
: I'm just so excited to see you, big sis!
: I am too, you know. So, how have you been doing? Are you treating your Pegasus well?
: Of course! We're flying well and together.
: That's good.
: Big sis, why are you here?
: You really don't know?
: Well... I...
: I heard you were captured, so I came to help you!
: Oh, that's so nice. But we managed to escape by ourselves. A pirate helped us out!
: A pirate, huh?
: Yeah, a real one!
: Well, you'll have to tell me all about it later. Isn't your employer trapped inside Yulia?
: Yeah... we need to save him. Will you help, Lirin?
: Of course. I'm your big sister.
: Even if you're only a year older than me?
: Even if people think you look older, Inanna.
: Heh... alright then!
A pirate, eh? Sounds like a future party member if I ever heard it.
Have I mentioned how much I appreciate having arrow protection? Only one to go around, sadly, but it's sufficient.
Good comeback, Ace. Those are the stats I like to see.
What an unusual troubadour.
Time for the man himself, with a new...rather underwhelming battle theme.
: Here goes my life!
Scary. Of course, in return, Inanna will barely be able to scratch him.
There's a mage constantly popping out of the fort here.
I appreciate his contribution to my characters' growth.
My strategy for fighting Roarik is to drop Cia on him. In retrospect, if I'd chosen Fire instead of Thunder, it would have taken less time, since I would have missed less.
With Thunder, it's a pretty slow process.
If it wasn't for the part where I die of terminal boredom, I'd probably just take the time to grind Anakin up. He's a little on the weak end right now.
Could have been luck.
Kind of pressing my luck here. Inanna could have easily died in one round.
Better defenses on a myrmidon is fine with me.
Whoa! Hey now!
Cia even chips her way to a fantastic level with all the back and forth that goes on.
At this point, it occurs to me that I have other ways to speed up the process.
Don't know why I didn't think of this sooner.
And Inanna can put on the final touches.
That's okay. For a knight, you dodged lightning very well.
That and you had something other than speed.
Before seizing, I top off Anakin and Emma's experience. The levels are minimalistic, but I don't mind them.
: Couldn't do what?
: My vengeance, for Lena... She was innocent... But you... you killed her... you bastards...
: There wasn't any other choice. I know that's not a great excuse, but... Lena did what she wanted to do. She could have fled, but she didn't.
: Lena... After all I did... I was the one who had her comrades killed... Yet... she was so kind... she never showed any anger...
: I'm sorry... I wish there was something we could do.
: I... I wanted to make it up... I never meant...to murder...her friends... It was...an...order...
That strikes me as a rather unhealthy relationship. Killing your lover's friends is something that may come up in conversation once or twice.
: It's... tragic.
: Magnus's cruelty is boundless. Imagine if they took over Solum... The continent would be in perpetual chaos.
: Yeah... Kelik, do you mind if I bury Roarik?
: Even though he is an enemy, and burial is the enemy's job?
: Despite that, yes. It's a bit unorthodox, but... I can't help but feel guilty for his and Lena's suffering.
: Sure thing... just make it quick, alright?
Also, they only knew Lena and Roarik for approximately five minutes each, so while I suppose it'd make sense for them to be all sad for the guy, it still seems a little odd to me.
But wait! You remember how this chapter was Plot Thread Central in the pre-battle? Well, you ain't seen nothing yet.
: They are currently breaching the gate!
: Alright. Can you do me a favor, soldier?
: Of course. What is it, commander?
: Get the Zeros to leave this castle immediately.
Ah, the Zeros. Perhaps the dumbest name possible for a group of elite soldiers.
: What?! What could the commander possibly be thinking?
: I don't know... the situation must be bad. But trying to give orders to those guys won't end well...
: No... The Zeros'll murder us all! They are Magnus's only assassin group, elite killers! If we so much as try to bring them out of their quarters, they could kill us!
: Orders are orders... we don't have a choice. We'd be executed for treason if we didn't obey. Even the Zeros have to follow their orders, don't they?
: Wait! Don't go! You won't make it back alive! I'm telling you!
And seeing as Orange Soldier doesn't appear again, I guess that Red was right.
Hello, Cero! Yes, the leader of the Zeros is named Cero.
: ...Ah! Don't kill me! Please! I have a family!
Don't worry, man. They do kids and women too. Try their family plan.
For Pete's sake, man, you killed my soldiers again? How many times do I have to say no?
: There's no reason for you to stay here any longer, Cero! Leave, and quickly!
: Agreed...There is no reason to stay here. We will take our leave.
And I guess they go out the garbage chute or something, since we never see them leave.
: There's likely an entire force spanned inside poised to defeat us.
: Oh, you have got to be... Sigh...
: Hm...Someone's coming...
: What? On your guard, everyone!
: Hmm? Kelik, get ready! You heard me, didn't you?
: Yeah, I heard you. But they're not enemies.
: Why, I'll be damned, it's Siegfried's son, Shon!
Yes, I can see how two riders could look like an army unit at a distance.
: Shon, how'd you escape?
: Shon, are you wounded?
: No, I'm fine. And I escaped with the help of this knight, here.
: Hm? Have we met?
: I am Levion, a former Blaine knight. Now, I am a humble mercenary... Pleased to make your acquaintance.
: Likewise... Shon, how did you acquire such an ally?
: I'm not sure... He came inside the castle, helped me get a horse, and then he passed through all the soldiers so I could escape.
Apparently the folks inside have a good sense of self-preservation. Or maybe, with the Zeros running around, they're just trying not to stand out.
: Levion, are you alright? I've had you do a lot lately...
: I'm fine. This is nothing.
: So says the grey-haired Knight.
: Hah... you know my hair is naturally grey, young Kelik.
: You know him? Is he one of your mercenaries?
: Yeah, he is.
: Why doesn't he lead the group? He looks much more powerful...
: This discussion can wait. The castle interior cannot. We can rest afterwards.
: Right! My dad's still in there! I'll rescue him no matter what!
: Excellent! Let's go inside!
: Anakin, I'll remain here. We need someone to watch the gate, just in case Howard... Or someone else, appears as reinforcements.
: No, I won't leave an ally alone like that.
: Would you mind quitting with the "ally" thing? I'm only cooperating with you for my own reasons. Think of me as your enemy who's just using you.
: Kelik... Argh, fine, we don't need you anyway!
: I don't think there's any need to remain in the shadows... Is there?
Nope! Let's keep this plot train rolling.
: Only one person could sense my presence...
Yeah, most people try not to pay any attention to Renault. Nice red wig though.
In all seriousness, this guy's name is Fenix, because we didn't already hit our dumb name quota with the Nothings.
: I don't know who you are, but... I know you're a threat to me and the rebellion. Get ready for a thrashing!
: Foolish boy. Just because you noticed me does not mean we are on the same level. You have much to learn if you cannot even recognize that much!
Hooray! It's a janky animation fight with dissonant music! I'm surprised that my keyboard didn't sprout poisonous barbs.
: Your sword arm... lacks refinement. It is incomplete. It is a shame you trespassed upon me. I will leave you here to die and suffer...
Now, what's coming up next can't be expressed in just pictures. For this next sequence, we have to go to video!
Yeah...while I once again applaud his attempt at voice work, it's just embarrassing in execution.
: Dammit... Anakin... I'm trying...
I'm at 0 HP, kid! what, you want me to unkill myself?
: But you should know... There is absolutely no way you can defeat me.
: It's not up to you to decide whether we can win or not!
: Do you think you can best me?
: I'll never know until I try.
: Anyone who has called themselves a warrior has fallen before me. If you were to fight me, you'd succumb to the same injury as your friend.
: Well then, would you mind backing off?
Ah, Anakin. Probably the only FE protagonist I've seen who's tried just asking the villains nicely to leave.
: That, I cannot do. I came here to kill you, on behalf of my master.
: Then I suppose we'll see how my magic can fare against you!
: Not very well, I assure you!!!
Not that it works, but it's hilarious that he tried it. Fortunately...
: What?! What do you mean?! Was it not your original intention that I slay these rebels...?
: My mind has changed. Their time is not now. Preserve them for another day. They're faring well against Magnus, and Magnus is not exactly our ally. Let them inflict more damage upon Magnus before we eradicate them. And when they become a true nuisance, I'll take their ether for myself.
Would this chapter stop introducing villains already? Jeez, is every boss from here on out going to trot up to the heroes and give a little spiel several chapters before you fight them?
: If Magnus doesn't slaughter you themselves, that is. This is the last time you'll get lucky, I promise you. Lahar's mercy will not come twice!
Lahar is the name of dark-voiced dude there. He may or may not be an endgame boss.
: Here, let me help... I have a spare elixir with me. Use it and rest for a little.
: ...Alright. I'm sorry...
Like I said, I don't mind all this plot stuff, as it isn't inane or pointless, but it is time-consuming, and when you're just trying to get to the save screen, that means a whole lot.
Next Time: Secret shops! More voice acting! And our favorite evil protagonist returns.
Class: Tactical GeniusWyvern Rider
Weapon Ranks: C in lances
HP: 30 (55%) Lck: 3 (35%)
Str: 12 (45%) Def: 10 (40%)
Skl: 12 (45%) Res: 10 (20%)
Spd: 10 (60%) Con: 11
For a man who claims to have min-maxed himself for mages, Ben is actually better off just going toe to toe with physical types. For one, his growths in the offensive and defensive stats are all pretty good, his constitution actually lets him heft lances without nearly the amount of problems that Karina has, and his bases, except for luck, are well off for his level. His starting lineup of weapons may make him seem puny, but there's actually a lot to appreciate from this man of a thousand plans.