So Siegfried's dead. Yeah, kind of a thing that happened. Real sad-making and all.
But the group's decided to move on and keep up the whole war thing. Well, most of the group.
: This is where we make our final turning point.
: We've been pretty even with Magnus so far. However, now... Our morale...
: It's extremely low. I know you heard what I said to them... You saw how they reacted. Right now, our numbers are low, and our morale is even lower... But if we can win this, we can convince everyone that there's still hope. When we remind everyone that Siegfried wasn't everything, and we remind them of what they're truly fighting for, they'll be able to defeat anyone who stands in their way. Anakin, it's up to us. No matter what, we can't lose. The Imperial Generals, Emperor Louis, Lahar, the Senators, my brother... And Siegfried. We'll surpass them all!
Not too hard to surpass Siegfried, but let's not get sidetracked from how dramatic this is. It's even got Kelik's theme song blaring in the background, it's so dramatic.
: I shall protect this royal mansion with my life.
: I don't doubt that you will. Their forces are nothing without their General... Although I must give the remaining rebels some credit for showing up. There are few people as stubborn and foolhardy as they are.
: Indeed, Your Majesty.
: There is a lot of treasure here, General Lanmark. Our royal army may be reinforced by Galagar's ether-infused armor, but you cannot take that for granted. You mustn't give the rebels any hope of ever defeating us! Do you understand?!
: I understand, Emperor. I will not let them get hope.
Hey, man! You can take protagonists away, but if you get between me and my treasure, we will have words.
: At the footstep now is an enemy of unimaginable evil... But their leader is gone, and their hearts are heavy! Hold nothing back! Show them the true power of Magnus!
And boy will they ever. Chapter 25 is, bar none, the toughest chapter in the entire game, just for the sheer density of units that they send at you. You may have picked it up, but Chapter 24 had one enemy of each class coming at us. But they...oh, they were just a warmup.
Check out the stats on these guys. Some of them could pass for our party members.
And for extra fun, we have these two guys, always willing to put the topping on a crap sundae. I lost more recordings to these two than I can count, and it's only by virtue of using save states that I could even get this chapter done in a sane amount of time.
In addition to General Lanmark himself, we've also got this guy, and he's intimidating. Fortunately, we won't have to fight him. You'll see.
Instead, we've got to contend with this guy. Though not as obscenely powerful as Fenix or Nebilim, Lanmark is ridiculously fast for his class, and we're actually going to have trouble laying a hit on him, except with certain characters. As I said, get used to this.
Oh yeah, you want to know the best part?
Shon's out for this one. I mean, yes, he's griefstricken by the loss of his dad, but it doesn't make being without one of our hardest hitters any less annoying.
Man, I wish I could skip this chapter.
The chapter itself may be a pain, but the music sure isn't. The enemy phase one isn't quite as good as the player phase one, but they're both quite fun.
Right out the gate, we encounter our first annoyance: a thin corridor guarded by snipers.
Fortunately, we have a way to counterattack.
Long-range attack is going to be key in this fight, since these guys will take a nasty chunk out of your health if you engage them on their own terms.
And of course, we've still got to work our way to that Dark S-rank.
Just getting out of this starting area is tricky, because there are so many enemies that can whack the person in front if you don't creep cautiously forward.
Look at that hit chance too. Liquid is a speedy little sucker with a weapon triangle advantage, and even so, he's only got them down in the 40's.
And of course there's a Sword Crusher. Why wouldn't there be?
It's nice having a competent axe guy.
The big risk about surging forward too quickly is this Sage here, perfectly positioned so that if you don't stay in the thin corridor, you're going to aggro him.
Enemy positioning is the real jerk move of this chapter. There are so many places where you absolutely HAVE to draw the ire of three or four guys at once.
Stay competitive, guys.
Case in point: these paladins, who are likewise positioned to rush you if you don't creep ahead at a careful pace.
One of them is just your typical high-powered type, but the other...
Yeah, that's not the kind of thing you want mixed in with this group.
Well, at least they're getting tankier.
It takes so long to get safely out of the starting area that we trigger the special event for this map.
: Yes, General?
: Your kid... Her name is Rachel, correct?
: ...Yes, indeed...
: Do you know of the Royal Palace's secret hall of life?
: Of course... Wait, you don't mean...
: That is where your daughter is being kept. You should go release her, Senator Frederick.
Not the Hall of Life!! Wait...what the heck is a Hall of Life?
: W-What?! General, why are you telling me this, all of a sudden? I don't understand...
: I felt like telling you. That's all there is to it. You go ahead and save her. She is precious to you, no? I don't need you here telling me how to fight this battle. I am the Great General Lanmark. I can handle it myself.
: I-I see... Thank you, General. I would have not thought to check such a rarely visited chamber... Even if you told me simply because you dislike others giving you orders, you have made me rejoice. Farewell, General Lanmark.
: I can use as many troops as I want, without worry of them holding back in a futile attempt to minimize casualties. I'll give the rebels a battle they will never forget! Not even in death!
Whatever the case, Frederick is gone now. We'll see him again in a few chapters.
This clump of four warriors is hard to face without sufficient preparation.
Though it could just be because the game doesn't like me.
Close call number one...of many.
And the Bolting guy is in range of us. Not good.
Skill is not a creative stat.
Oh yeah, and if you had pretensions of actually going into the right side, paladins suddenly spawn in. This is one of those cases where you really have to be careful about who you send forward, because you're going to get stomped otherwise.
I hate Nosferatu. I destroy it at range.
I level up.
I hate Bolting. I destroy it with a crit.
Kelik's pretty much the de facto solution to these warriors.
They won't lay a hand on him.
Moving Storm up like this is actually quite risky.
Too many dudes. Seriously too many.
Close call number two.
With delicious results.
Game still hates me.
Check it out! More paladins!
It's a bit of work just keeping them all down.
Yes, that Swordslayer is droppable. Why did I even bother going shopping?
Well done, Ace.
Look at me, wasting this Hero's Flare.
This isn't a bad payoff though.
Oops! More warriors!
And close call number three!
Well, time for mass healing.
Get lost, you killer of runs!
How does he keep proccing 30% growths and not his 60% strength?
Creeping into usefulness, eh Ben?
More defense? Really?!
There's only one thief in this chapter, and he's a chump.
Storm's fast, but he's not tough.
I question Sonic Shot's purpose. It's lightweight, but so are bows in general, and despite being called a fast-shooting bow, it doesn't actually have a Brave effect or boost speed.
Itsuke's going to catch up to Cia's speed eventually.
Cia's capped, but isn't improving her magic either.
While Althares is occupied in the right side, the rest of the group is using Keys.
I hate Nosferatu. I really do. Except when I'm using it.
Interesting treasure. Luxus I'll show off in a second, and I don't know who to give the Energy Ring to.
Kelik sure as heck doesn't need it.
This will be nice for the inevitable Secret Shops.
Anakin's surprisingly durable.
Since 23xx gave me a free Flamberge, it's time to get ranged with it.
I don't care how terrible a guy he is if he makes the game less painful.
Time for my despised enemy number two.
TLP provides quite a few fascinating bows, like this one.
The Winter Bow is a resistance-striking bow, and it's not the only one.
A gift from the creator to someone who needs a boost to growths.
Now it's time for some leveling as we work our way up.
A lot of leveling.
More paladins. Great.
The Divine Sword is close to breaking. I might need to fix that.
Wow. He capped his defense. I don't know what to think about that.
There's a respawning sage in this portion too.
We settle the issue.
Stay average, Ace.
Itsuke and Cia have an interesting relationship. One's power-focused, while the other one's good.
Speed capped. Nothing's stopping him now.
Once we've thinned out the enemies on this side, we'll go through the cracked wall.
Oddly, despite how we're apparently so far up on this end, we're not that far behind Anakin's group at the end.
Hopefully he won't get doubled at this point.
Uh oh! We're full again!
Would you believe that this move had to be tried five times before someone didn't die?
Liquid has really high speed AND he's fighting a reaver, but this guy still has a 50/50 chance of hitting. That's bizarre.
Meanwhile, Kelik cannot be stopped, capping skill.
This guy with
I will say one thing about facing overleveled enemies: you get a lot of experience per kill.
Yeah, sure, let me throw it in the back with the rest of the random junk.
After a bit of inventory juggling, Rana frees up a space to grab the Hammerne, because...
When you're a mage with not a lot of speed, Hero's Flare is a real boon.
I like that!
Oh good, more items for the bulging pile.
Close call number...I don't even know at this point.
I'm liking this trend.
If you're going to just rain down weapons on us, why did you give us Preparations?
Time to demonstrate the might of Drizzle!
A killer javelin is pretty dang useful.
It gives you super growths and a Killing Edge.
Just being in the general area helps Storm too.
Pfft! Like I have room for that.
Down to just a droppable Physic staff, this fellow's getting his comeuppance.
As can be seen, Lanmark is ridiculously tough, and he's going to kill Emma in the enemy phase.
So we wait for him to strike first.
After what I've been through, if I couldn't beat you, I would break someone.
Getting him to switch to his Tomahawk is actually beneficial for us, since we've got a lot of strong sword users.
So Luxus. It's a faster and more accurate magic bow compared to the other one, but it's weaker.
Its special effect could use some work.
Wow! He's actually getting good.
These paladins are getting out of hand, so Cia's dealing with them.
She didn't get hit once.
Well, one out of two isn't bad.
I should note that Lanmark has a couple unique conversations. Feast your eyes!
: Ah, Sir Kevin! I remember you! You were one of the new recruits... In fact, I knighted you myself! If only I had known you would betray your oaths so quickly! I'd have killed you back then!
: I'm sorry, Great General... Had I known Magnus would be so cruel... I'd have never become a Knight...
: Don't worry, Kevin. All will be righted, as soon as you perish.
: Tsk... Howard... Another man, corrupted by the ways of the rebels... The Senate was right to remove you as the Emperor's bodyguard. Given the chance, who knows what you may have done to him...
: Great General, I'm not the same I was before. Following my heart... has made me stronger.
: Hahahahahah!!! What bogus!!! You've lost it, Howard. You've lost everything. Your dignity, your honor, your loyalty, your name, even your sanity... and next is your life!
Bogus, huh? I ought to use that somewhere.
I guess it's up to Kelik and Tekun then.
Onigiri was practically made for people like this.
: I...just...wanted... to see...him... One...more...time...Urgh...
Take a freakin' shot!
And now we have crit protection. Outstanding!
I should note that I was booking it, even if I was being careful, and yet this map took 20 turns, 21 if you count the next turn where I actually seize. The requirement for this chapter's gaiden? 26 turns.
: Yeah. And?
: I... don't know. I guess I'm just shocked...I didn't think we could...
: Yeah... to be honest, I had my doubts, too. But now that we've won, those doubts are gone. Anyway... we should definitely tell Shon what happened, after we finish up what happened here. He still hasn't said anything, right?
: No... nothing since then. He's hardly eaten or drunk anything, either.
: Gah... I don't have time to deal with him... How long is he going to be like that and cry?
: Kelik, he lost his Father... It's not something you can get over in a day...
: ...I guess I wouldn't know. The only family I have left, I'd be happy to see dead.
If we'd missed the requirement, that would be the end of it, but since we didn't, here's a little extra:
: Have you heard the rumor about the sounds?
: The ones that people keep on hearing in the prison?
: Yeah, exactly that one. Someone found an underground pathway that extends a bit out... It's been bothering me. I want to check it out.
: Go ahead. I don't care.
: No, come with me. I have a bad feeling about this.
: Why's that?
: It's a long story... But essentially, Magnus was doing some research on runes. One type of rune is called a Raison Rune. It has unique properties. With some help, I managed to steal documents about these runes... And I asked someone else to forge a sword for me. What's bothering me though, is the documents... It said that the rune was first inscripted on a sword... A sword that, when originally made, was heated with dragon's fire.
Ah yes, the Raisin Runes. You remember those, right? They talked about them just...oh, half a game ago.
: Dragon's fire? Dragons do not exist on this continent, Kelik. They're beyond the Sea of Flames to the east, beyond Drakaii... On the humans(sic) old homeland of ages ago, Blaine. This Raison Rune sounds like it's just made-up...
: Hear me out, though. If they made a sword and used Dragon's fire in the process, perhaps they somehow managed to get a Dragon... With the power and resources that Magnus had, it's not entirely impossible. After all, the hero Magus originally warped an entire tower to a land he had never even stepped foot on before--this land, Solum. And this would explain the beast-like sounds...
: Kelik, you need some rest. You've let this all get to your head...
: Anakin... I can't think of any other ceature(sic) that Magnus might keep underground. But in any case, we should check it out. It could be dangerous, but that's why I'm curious.
: Fine, fine, I'll come check it out with you... Just don't blame me if nothing good comes out of it.
Yeah, for real. I mean, what are the odds that we'll actually run into-
Next Time: A freakin' dragon?!