Part 6: The Best Laid Plans...
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, we went on our first mission with Matilda's special forces team, a mission to investigate Farin Island and clear out the monsters that had inhabited the place after the Empire's massacre there. The mission went off without a hitch, though partway through we did run into a strange but otherwise harmless old man who called himself Phantom. Now that we're back, it's time to see what else the Republic army has in store for us. Let's get to it.
Everyone in the city is talking about it. I asked the Commander, and he said it's true.
So the rumors were true... We're gone for a couple of days and war breaks out.
Does this mean we're going to be sent to the frontlines?
I don't know yet. The Commander said that a strategy is still being discussed. However, since we just returned from Farin Island, we'll at least have the next three days off.
Sheesh, so it's really war now...
I also got a letter for you. It's from your sister.
... Yeah, just like I thought... She got worried when she heard about the war breaking out.
You've got three days off, right? You should go see her. It might be the last chance you'll get for a while, if we get dispatched.
Yeah, you're right. I'll go back to Whitelake to talk to her.
What's wrong, Thorve?
Don't you think it's strange?
In just a few days, the news spread south, she wrote this letter, and it traveled all the way back here? Perhaps this letter wasn't sent by her.
Well... I don't know. Why would someone send me a fake message? Besides, this is her handwriting.
People are already talking about the descendant of Alexander being in the Republic army now. You're no longer unknown. I don't know what this could be, but it's suspicious.
I agree that it's suspicious, and we should be careful at a time like this. But Selene was right when she said this could be your last chance to see your sister in a long time. Even if we don't know if this message is real or not, you should still go to see her. I can't ask the rest of you to give up your days off, so I will escort you myself, Hilbert.
I'll go as well. I have nothing important to do, and I'm curious about this.
Thank you, I'm really happy. I'm sure Joanna would like to meet you as well.
Hah... my husband will be disappointed that I'm not coming home again. He's used to it, though.
What? Why are you looking at me like that? Something wrong with it?
N-no no. I was just surprised.
Enough of that, we're leaving. Selene, Jord, go do what you want, but make sure you're back on time.
Whoops! Looks like someone's portrait disappeared.
Fade to black...
All right then, it's time to head back to Whitelake. But before we do that, let's take a look at our new party member.
As I mentioned last update, Matilda is built for one thing and one thing alone: stabbing things in the face really hard. She is Last Scenario's physical powerhouse, boasting the highest STR of any character, as well as very high HP and VIT. The downside to this, of course, is that her INT, RES, and MP pool are complete garbage, and she's also rather slow. She definitely won't be doing much spell-slinging, but she'll get the most mileage out of any gray spellcards we have, and it can also be worthwhile to give her some spellcards that aren't affected by INT, such as status heals.
Matilda's weapons of choice are lances, and she also comes with a free Royal Signet, which seems a little odd considering she's a soldier of the Republic that gained independence from the world's only kingdom. The Signet grants her +5 STR and +5 VIT. She's also our first character who can wear heavy armor, though as SCF and others pointed out, that doesn't really mean much at this point in the game.
Now then, it's time to get moving. Most of the NPCs in town have new dialogue about the war, but there's nothing too important in what they have to say.
Also, Sinsel's boyfriend is gone.
If we head back to the house in the central plaza that had that random guy with a portrait in it, we can also find out who he is: Matilda's husband.
But please come visit if you still have some time left once you get back.
I'll be back soon, I promise.
We can also find Selene on the eastern side of the city.
It's something you think only happens to other people.
And if we head to the port, we find Jord picking up where he left off.
No cockblocking allowed, though.
Also, this lady has shown up on the docks.
I'm traveling the world to study Hex and the way it's played everywhere. If you have some time, I'd like to play against you.
Saraswati here is the sidequest NPC I mentioned when I first explained Hex. We can find and play against her at various locations throughout the world.
For our first game, though, her hand isn't too impressive. The only new tile she has is the Wandering Mage, second from the top.
And now she doesn't have it.
I'm going to have to start planning my next destination some time soon. Hmm, there was this small fishermen's town across the sea. I wonder if they play Hex there too?
That's about all there is to do on the north side of the island right now. Let's head back to the Redhill Pass.
We find a new face as we're heading back.
Oh, Captain Matilda, it's you.
Major Drakovic? What are you doing out here?
Oh, there was a rockslide here, so I got some men to clean it up. I'm just inspecting the area.
Don't you have lower officers to do a job like that? Sounds unnecessary for you to come here.
Haha, I should have known you'd ask further. Most people would've just left it at that. Really, I just needed a break from dealing with the people at the capital. I'm getting tired of it. Don't tell anyone about that, though.
Fascinating. As he mentioned, the rockslide we saw on our first trip through here has been cleared up, which means we have a shortcut that lets us skip most of the pass.
And from there, we return to our hometown.
Dwight, Marv, and Rat status: still dicks.
Also, Cathy has forgiven us.
Now then, let's head home and see our sister.
Looks like she's out. Please come inside.
So this is your hometown. It's a nice place.
Yeah, it's nice, but hardly anything happens around here.
I remember hearing about Whitelake. Wasn't there a lot of piracy in this area about a decade ago, when the Republic was still young?
Yeah... but that was a long time ago. Nowadays it's all peaceful. What about you, Thorve? You said you never get any letters. Don't you have any family?
Oh, I see... Joanna is the only family I have left... that's why I want to protect her.
I heard you were back in town, so I came home straight away.
I'm here to see you because I have a few days off. You sent me a letter, right?
Yes, I did. You read it, didn't you?
Ah yeah, of course. Never mind.
Oops, I'm sorry. These are Captain Matilda and Lieutenant Thorve. They're my superiors.
Pleased to meet you. I'm Joanna, Hilbert's sister. Do you have something important to do in the area that Hilbert didn't just come by himself? You two must be busy at the moment.
Thorve with the save.
Oh, I see. So... there's a war now, right?
Yeah... But don't worry! I'll be fine! It's me we're talking about! Besides, all the people on my team are really strong! We don't have to be afraid of anything!
It's exactly because of that attitude that I'm worried... Please, take good care of my brother. He'll turn into a great man some day, I'm sure of it.
I won't let any of my men come to harm if I can help it.
I think he's more than capable of taking care of himself. Although we'll have a difficult time ahead of us, you shouldn't need to worry about his safety.
I think you've found good company, Hilbert. I'm glad. I'll be sleeping easier now that I've met all of you.
Fade to black...
Yes, I didn't think that was possible, but apparently I was wrong.
Shouldn't we be glad about that? Sure, you came here for nothing, but it means my sister is safe and there wasn't any trap.
Yes, you're right. There was no harm in being careful, but it's a good thing it turned out unnecessary.
Now that this is resolved, our first priority is to go back to the capital and report to the Commander. Our time off is almost over, and he may need us right away. Let's go.
Hilbert suddenly stops.
I just remembered something I had to do. Please go on ahead, I'll catch up later.
So apparently Zawu was just kind of hanging out behind Hilbert's house. That's not creepy or anything. I'm not going to bother trying to figure out why Hilbert was the only one who noticed her.
That man you were with... he is very sharp. I didn't think anyone would notice something suspicious about the message.
What did you do?
I told your sister about the upcoming war. That is all. I foresaw that happening as well.
Why did you do that? Did you want to meet me?
Yes. Things are happening quickly now. I can't see far ahead, but this is the first sign of the awakening threat. The pieces are already in place. This war is a prelude to the upcoming global conflict. This is your time. How you perform in this war will decide the future. Fight hard, and your fame will rise. When the time comes, you must be able to unite everyone.
I understand. I can't become a hero with my current skills. I need to become stronger.
It will be difficult for you, but you must persist. The fate of this world is resting on your shoulders.
Isn't there anything more that you can tell me? Anything that would help?
I am not a soldier, Hilbert. I can't tell you what you must do. I'm only a medium for my visions. I can't be more than a guide to you. The ones you should turn to for help... are your new allies. They'll be the ones to share your destiny. They will be there in your time of need.
Fade to black...
Following the scene in Whitelake, there's not much left to do on the Republic island except head back to Stonewall and get our new mission. As we're heading back through the Redhill Pass, however, Stabbey_the_Clown reminds me that there's something to pick up here. Now that the rockslide is gone, this small pathway near where Drakovic was standing is now open.
And behind it is some damn good treasure. The Serpent Fang is the next tier of MP restorative, restoring 100 MP to a character. For reference, Thorve's max MP is currently 23.
The second chest holds our first blue spellcard.
Scan (1MP): Displays information about one enemy's stats and item drops.
Crisis: Pinpoint (6MP): Temporarily raises the entire party's SKL.
Stat changes: +2% DEX, +1% SKL
And to top it off the last chest holds another copy of the Cure spellcard, which is always handy.
Anyway, with the shortcut open it doesn't take us long to get back to Stonewall, and from there, we head to Tazar's office to advance the plot.
(The Colonel? Who is he?)
(That's Colonel Newick. He's the supreme commander of the Republic army.)
Captain Matilda, the time has come. We will be making our first move very soon, and your unit will play a pivotal role in this offensive. The Colonel will explain.
Our primary concern at this point is to establish a foothold on the Northern continent, where the Empire is located. This will allow us to make a land-based assault upon their capital. The Commander and his men will be our vanguard. They will be transferred to an outpost near the continent. It will be their task to storm the southern coast, seize their trading routes, and set up fortifications.
There's one defense post blocking our way, however. And that's where you come in. The target is Fort Walstein, and it's not just a fortress. It doubles as a research facility. The Imperials are using it to train beasts to fight for them.
Training beasts? I thought that was just a rumor. If they want to use them on the battlefield, these must be dangerous beasts.
Yes. They are experimenting with many different species, some of which are extremely dangerous. The facility's purpose is to determine which ones can be successfully trained for use on the battlefield. This is also their weak point. At the center of the fort they are keeping many of these beasts.
There, you must open the cages so that all the beasts are released. This will cause massive chaos.
If you are successful, they'll have their hands full containing all these beasts. That way, we can avoid a direct assault, and cut them off from the rest of the Empire while they're occupied.
So, after we complete the objective, we leave the area immediately?
Yes, leave the fort once you've released the beasts. We'll be using a fisherman's boat to transport you, as not to arouse suspicion.
We want this mission to succeed. That's why I chose you, Captain. I believe you're one of the most capable officers in our special forces. Do you think you're up to this task?
Commander, Colonel, I will not fail you.
I trust you will bring us victory. We will provide you with additional information on the fort and where you need to go. You have one day to prepare for this mission. Report to the transport ship at the port when you're ready. Do you have any more questions?
Fade to black...
As before, we're given a brief chance to shop and prepare before we begin our mission.
We're good on equipment, though, and pretty much the only thing that's changed in town is that Jord and Selene are back in the barracks with new dialogue.
Some people who have no experience against actual humans end up being unable to fight. By the way, are you done with your preparations yet? We'll have to board the ship soon.
All right, let's get moving. This soldier will show up at the port following our briefing.
Are you going to board the ship?
Fade to black...
The boat brings us to our staging area. Apparently Tazar beat us here, because the soldier next to us tells us to go see the Commander and let him know we've arrived.
Before you go, talk to the sergeant at the supply room. He'll give you your supplies for this mission. Good luck, Captain. We're depending on your success.
We can get to the supply room by heading east. There's a number of soldiers milling about here that we can talk to.
Most of them talk about the upcoming battle, but there's also this guy who lets us know a little more about how the Republic gained independence.
Fourteen years ago when the Kingdom tried to quell the rebellion, the Empire attacked them as well. Because of that, they had to focus on protecting their own territory and withdrew from Pargon Island. But as you can see, the enemy of your enemy is not always your friend.
There's also this guy who has his doubts about Tazar. I have to wonder how Tazar could have been promoted to Commander without ever actually leading any troops in battle. Hopefully this won't be too much of an issue.
But the main attraction of the outpost is this woman here, who turns out to be a Hex player. Considering this place is basically a temporary area, though, I can't imagine that she has much in the way of--
--uh. Welp. See you all in an hour or two!
Lonne's tile selection is enormous compared to the players we've seen previously. In addition to a second Undine, I pick up six new tiles from playing with her. She has a seventh tile we don't own, a Wraith, which has an absurd 5 attack, 2 HP, and a reach of only one direction. But all the games where she used it ended in draws, and after the above victories I couldn't seem to get her to use it again, so we'll have to pick that one up later.
Also I just wanted to include this picture because . I wonder if it's feasible to get a shutout in Hex? It'd take an awful lot of luck, that's for sure.
Anyway, the room to the north holds the sergeant with our supplies.
Received 2x 'Serpent Tongue'! Received 2x 'Soul Essence'! Received 'Tent'!
Oh, take this too. I'm not supposed to give out any more, but we're all depending on you.
Not bad. The Lion's Mane is an accessory that prevents Enfeeble, a status effect that greatly reduces the afflicted character's STR. Matilda puts it on and I am suddenly overwhelmed by a desire for fanart.
We can also rest here if for whatever reason we decided to come before healing up...
... and the other guy in this room functions as an item shop. He sells the usual Brown Herbs, Silver Dusts, and Tents, but he also has a few extra status-heal items that we haven't seen yet. Energy Drinks cure Enfeeble, while the Mememto cures Amnesia, Enfeeble's magical counterpart. Softs cure petrification, which is quite nasty, but I don't think we'll be needing any quite yet.
If you look closely at Jones's sprite, you can also make out a treasure chest behind his head, but we can't reach it because he won't move out of the way.
Right then, that's all there is to do here. It's time for some tactical espionage action.
Are you sure you want to leave?
Next time: Acting like a hero doesn't always lead to the best results...