Part 24: Outsmarted At Every Turn
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, we crossed the Grey Peak and attacked one of the Republic army's camps near the capital, in order to entice Helga's men at the nearby Kaiser Pass to join our side. At the same time Matilda, who was about ready to turn her back on the war, had to help fend off a Republic attack on Fardorf, led by Drakovic. When all hope seemed lost, it was Wilhelm who stood up and turned the tide of the battle there, and his men drove the Republic out. Likewise, Helga's men from the Kaiser Pass witnessed our attack on the Republic camp and joined us. With the Kaiser Pass in our hands we now have a clear road to the capital, but before we do anything, Randolph said he had news back at the Geo-Science Station, so it's time to see what's been going on there in our absence. Let's get to it.
We've seen this screenshot an awful lot over the course of the LP. I sense this isn't going to be the last time.
We find Konrad on the eastern side of the station.
Are you okay? Did you really go to battle against the Republic? I heard rumors about it, but I couldn't believe it.
Haha, don't worry about me. I don't go down so easily! Why, even at my age I can still send them running! But forget about that. What was the news you needed to tell me about?
What the fuck? What kind of douchebag attacks a scientist?
Attacked!? Don't tell me it was the Empress's troops!?
No, no, it wasn't around here. You remember we wanted to find more sources for the glowing rock. Well, we sent out a team to check out promising locations. That's where it went wrong. There were already people at one of those places. People from the Rosehart Kingdom.
So it's true that they're also investigating the material. If I remember correctly, you told me something like that before, didn't you, Ethan?
I don't know what exactly they were doing with it.
I see... very interesting. Oh! Sorry. I got all distracted by this train of thought. Konrad, you said they -attacked- us?
Yes... I don't know if they thought we were spies or just wanted to keep their presence a secret. Most of the team made it back, but... not all of them were as lucky.
I'm sorry to hear that. If the Kingdom's army's involved, there's not much we can do about it. Not while we're busy here. Konrad, you'll have to cancel the investigation missions, at least until I'm back.
Yes, I already called back everyone after I heard what happened. I can't let them run this kind of risk.
What's wrong? Are we under attack again?
I don't know exactly, but the Republic is up to something. General Grauss will tell you everything.
Randolph, do you want to stay here?
No, there's nothing I can do here. Konrad, take care. Let me know if anything happens.
Good luck, Chief. I'll tell everyone to be very careful.
Fade to black...
There's a lot that I don't know about what -he's- doing. In the end, we became enemies exactly because I found out how little I really knew. You feel an attraction to the rock as well, don't you?
Yes... but I can't explain why.
Then... it must be something that's related to the Havali. I wonder if it's something that Castor is doing on his own, or under Ortas's orders...
I don't know... What could they be doing with it?
There's only one way to find out. Maybe, in the future. But it's not the time. We must restore order to this country first. The longer it stays in chaos, the more they'll profit from it. Come, we'd better go with the others.
I want all those soldiers captured and hanged! No, quartered! I will not accept this kind of treason! I am the Empress!! How can they do this to me!? And you, Augustus! Where is the help you promised? What are your allies doing!?
Please calm down, Your Highness. It's only a temporary setback. Instead, we should celebrate what we have accomplished. Your position is still untouchable.
Hmph, drinking is the only way I can feel better lately.
The wine! It... it was poisoned!?
Since I drank the wine as well, I won't look too suspicious. Of course, I took an antidote earlier, so it won't be fatal, just a little uncomfortable.
Augustus, you...!! Y-You can't do this! I'm the Empress!!
Do you really think I'm afraid of you, Helga? Who will mourn for you after bringing the nation to the brink of destruction? No, the people will gladly welcome a new leader. They'll be happy to be rid of you.
I... I trusted you!
Well, that was a stupid move. But then again, you never were very bright, were you?
Holy shit Augustus. You know, I've played a lot of games, but it's been a very long time since I've seen a character utter a line as completely fucking ice cold as Augustus just did.
Haha, you have no idea how long I've waited for a chance to tell you the truth. I hate you, Helga. I despise you and everything you stand for. I always have. Why did you become Empress? You have never accomplished anything. You just happened to be Leopold's daughter. You have no idea how much it infuriated me, to see you rant and rage like a spoiled child.
I have always hated you nobles, who never had to work for their wealth. I wanted to show you all. And so, I took matters into my own hands. I found an old duke, a widower, childless and alone. I set up everything. I worked my way into his household by appearing to him as the perfect son. He let me into your little world, but it wasn't enough. I wasn't satisfied being one of you. I wanted to be better than you. And now, finally, I've reached the top. I can't help but laugh when I think of how I set all you greedy bastards up against each other.
Do you see, Helga? I worked myself out of the gutter with my own hands.
As much as I love this scene, this is the one part of it that I don't get. Admittedly all I know of succession law comes from Game of Thrones and Crusader Kings II, but since Helga doesn't have any children, shouldn't the crown now pass to Wilhelm? Or does warring against the emperor invalidate one's claim to the throne? In any case, Augustus seems quite certain that the law makes him the new Emperor, so I'm just going to assume I'm missing something and roll with it.
No matter. It felt good to let it all out. It's about time to call for help.
Hmm, so you saw? We both know that we couldn't let things continue like this. Helga was a danger to the entire empire. I am not afraid of soiling my hands for the good of the country.
Have you been using me as well, Augustus? Have you also been cursing me behind my back?
Of course not, Felgorn. We are the same. You also worked hard to reach your position. You deserve it. I wish to create a new empire, with your help. One based on merit and strength, not on class. Don't forget. We have both killed an emperor now. There is no turning back. Nothing would hurt the country more than if the truth got out. Helga was poisoned by rebel spies, correct?
I am appointing you as Chief General instead.
I know you didn't want to be in a position of leadership, but you are the most capable soldier we have. What's more, you are the national hero. Your presence will calm the people and motivate the forces. Don't worry. This is the turning point. Now, our allies can step in.
Fade to black...
After a quick hike back to Fardorf, we go and speak to Grauss.
Yeah, we did. What does it mean? Is the Republic attacking again?
Not exactly. They're being quiet now, but they'll be launching another attack soon. This time, however, we already know where and how they will strike. We must prepare immediately, and we're going to need your help.
You know what their plans are? How did you find out?
After your raid on the Republic camp near the Kaiser Pass, all their forces surrendered and were captured. We sent several of our men to their main base as spies, pretending to be survivors of the attack. Thanks to their bravery we managed to get our hands on this information. One of the enemy officers was careless and left the plans of the attack unguarded.
And what is this plan?
They know a direct attack would be too costly, so they're going for a different approach instead.
Essentially, they intend to strike at as many vital targets as possible. If we hadn't known about this in advance, they could've inflicted considerable damage on us.
But we know about it now, so we don't have to worry about it, right?
It's not that simple. The Republic is sending few troops, so this is a low-risk mission for them. That means we have the most to lose here. We must divide our forces evenly and avoid severe losses.
But if there's not that many of them, then what is the problem?
It's not like in a regular battle where you can hole up in your fortification and repel the enemy. They're coming from everywhere at once, and we can't let even one of them get through.
Yes, indeed. Now that we know their plans, we need to stop them at as little cost as possible.
Hmm... Then we should help out as well. Did you already have something in mind for us?
I want the remaining two to stay here to protect his Highness just in case. It's up to you to decide who should go where.
So, to split up...
Do you have any more information about these attack teams?
Yes. The first team consists of a few elite soldiers. They are strong fighters, so be careful. The second team is mainly magic-users. They're not as tough, but very powerful. The third team is a large group of summoned elemental creatures. If you don't watch out, they'll swarm you. Finally, team four contains the enemy commander himself, along with some soldiers. We don't know how strong he is, but don't take him lightly.
So Drakovic will be there too... Then I should be the one to face him.
A group of mages? We could send someone resistant to magic, but we could also choose someone who is physically strong. I think Hilbert should decide who goes where.
You don't have to choose right away. Take a little time to prepare, then come back to me.
Fade to black...
Control is returned to us here. As Grauss just mentioned, we're going to have to send four of our characters to fight some solo battles. But while this is the kind of thing I'd normally call a vote for, the segment lasts all of five minutes, and all that sending different characters does is change a few incidental lines of dialogue (aside from the last one, where sending Matilda results in an extra event). Since I don't want to hold up the entire LP for something so minor, you guys are just going to have to deal with my dictatorship for the time being.
Anyway, we're about as prepared as we'll ever be, so let's get this show on the road.
Fade to black...
(This track will be playing continuously, including during battles, until otherwise noted.)
Who will you send there?
The second target is Fardorf again. They're mainly sending wizards here. Who's your choice for this battle?
That swarm of elemental creatures is next. They will try to strike this fortress from the mountains. Who is going there?
Finally, Commander Drakovic himself and some soldiers are attacking Antar Camp. Who should go fight him?
You have chosen Hilbert, Ethan, Lorenza and Matilda. The remaining two will stay behind. Is this what you want?
Fade to black...
Our first battle is against two Republic Elites. These guys are pretty simple, with only two attacks: a regular attack for 40, and a technique called Heavy Blow for 50. Pretty much anyone can take these guys down, though you'll probably have to pop a Green Herb or bring a Heal spellcard.
Fade to black...
Are you going to take your chances or run?
The second battle is against a Republic Soldier, identical to the ones at the camp near the Kaiser Pass, and two War Mages. This is the battle where the choice of whom to send here is arguably the most important.
This is mainly due to the War Mages' techniques: they can use Fury Magic to inflict berserk and a small amount of damage, and Black Curtain to do the same with blindness. For a physical character this isn't a huge problem, because the soldier will likely knock him or her out of berserk before things get too bad, but if you brought a spellcaster then having them get berserked is likely going to lose you the fight before you get a chance to heal.
There are a couple of ways to deal with the statuses the War Mages inflict. The obvious method is to equip your chosen character with a Knight Shield, which prevents berserk. But I didn't bring one, so instead I experimented with Disenchant's Crisis spell, Blessing. This sets Ethan's LCK to 999, making it so that even while berserk and blind he's still landing the majority of his attacks. That's probably not the way SCF intended for the player to handle this battle, but hey, whatever works.
Fade to black...
I'll keep this place safe for you!
The third battle is against six Gnomes. Lorenza may not know why I sent her here alone, but I sure do.
Fade to black...
And for the final battle we have Matilda facing Drakovic. As I mentioned earlier, having Matilda come here leads to some extra dialogue.
I could say the same about you. I thought I told you to go home. You'll never conquer this land.
You can't fault me for trying. But are we going to have to fight here? We've never sparred before, but I don't rate my chances highly.
This is no time for jokes. I won't hold back for you or anyone else.
BOSS FIGHT: Drakovic
Drakovic gets the boss music, but I wouldn't really call this a boss fight. He's not much of a challenge.
Drakovic only has two real attacks: a regular attack for about 40 damage...
... and Zephyr Gust, a wind attack that does roughly the same.
There's not much in the way of strategy here. A few Swings take care of his lackeys...
... and then we attack him a few more times and he goes down. Bring a Green Herb or a Heal spellcard and you won't have any trouble here.
Winning the battle lands us the new Yeti Hex tile and the Eagle Crest, an accessory that grants +12 INT and +12 RES to the wearer. Meh.
Forgive me if I wasn't too much of a challenge. I'm more of a strategist than a fighter, after all.
Why did you even bother coming to fight by yourself, then?
I'm glad you asked! I do have some pride in my work, you know. I don't mind telling you, now that it's already too late to react.
It would've been nice if we could've hit a few targets, but it's not our main concern. As you've probably already guessed, I knew you would be here to stop me. The reason? I had the plan leak to you myself. Did you think I wouldn't notice the spies in my camp?
So it was all a setup!?
Exactly! I'm glad it worked so well. There's always the risk that you wouldn't act like I predicted.
Why do you think I chose this location for myself, here at Antar camp? I didn't pick one at random. It would've been hard to escape after the fight without this escort. Give me a report, soldier. Did everything go as planned?
Excellent. Good work. There you go. Do you see now?
It was all to capture the Kaiser Pass!?
Maybe this plan was a bit overkill, but it's definitely an elegant victory, don't you think? I'm sorry you had to hand over that pass just after you took control of it.
Damn you, Drakovic. You played us all for fools. Don't think I'll forget this. This isn't over yet.
I'll be waiting for you, Matilda. Anytime you want. You know... I had a feeling it'd be you who'd come to fight me, so I brought something with me. Hand it over to her.
This is the real reason to send Matilda to fight Drakovic. The Crescent Moon is a powerful lance that deals light-aligned damage instead of physical, and the only way to obtain it is to bring Matilda to this fight.
What is this for?
I respected you as an ally, Matilda, and I still respect you as an enemy. We'd make a good team.
You fool. Do you think you can buy me with something like this?
Haha, no. I know better than that. I'm not asking anything back for this. Consider it a sign of hope, that we'll one day fight on the same side again.
I'll never understand what you're thinking, Drakovic, but whatever. I'm not too proud to accept this. And don't get any strange ideas. You know I'm already married.
Well, better luck next time. It's not a good idea for me to stay any longer here. I should make the capital my target first. With the Empress assassinated, they'll be in chaos again.
Oh, you didn't know yet? Of course the rumors say it was our doing, but we both know better than that. I heard she wasn't liked very well. Who knows what really happened. See you around sometime.
Fade to black...
We completely underestimated him. He's a whole different breed from the imperial commanders we've fought.
I should've known better. He had a very high reputation back in the Republic army. It was stupid to think we could trick him so easily. I've known him for years. I'm to blame for this mistake.
It's a costly lesson. I'm certain our spies will not be coming back either.
And what's worse... Helga is dead. It would've been to our advantage if the Republic hadn't shown up. Now it's they who'll profit from it.
I can barely believe it. No, after all that's happened lately, I shouldn't say that. But two emperors dead in such a short time, it's disgraceful. It pains me deeply to see the Empire like this.
How did Wilhelm take the news?
He took it well. He's becoming a stronger man with each passing day. He'll be a great emperor, if... if we can just...
If it really was the Republic, they would've been in control of the capital by now. It was someone from the inside. We won't know who until we hear who is taking the throne now.
But they're completely surrounded by the Republic now. There's no way they can win this fight.
What's more, holding the Kaiser Pass will be easy enough for them to stop us from helping the capital.
That's enough for now. I'll have to ask you all to leave.
I need some time to think. This is our darkest hour yet. The fate of the imperial dynasty depends entirely on what we do next. If we fail now, all hope is lost.
The next morning...
After staying the night at the fort to allow everyone to recover, we abruptly find Hilbert in one of the fort's rooms all by himself. Well, not much to do but head out.
Is something wrong?
No, it's... I was... I was just wondering. How long do you want to stay here?
I'm sorry. I'm not following you.
I've always lived in a quiet small town. I can fight to defend myself, but I'm not a soldier. I just... don't feel at home here.
It's okay if you don't want to keep fighting. I'm not forcing you to do anything you don't want. Joanna and Valentin are being taken good care of. You could stay with them.
No, it's different. You know how many questions I have. I couldn't settle down without trying to find answers first. And you... well, some of you, I know there are connections between us.
It's just that... I'm afraid. I feel safest when I'm with all of you, but... What if this war won't end soon? Will you keep fighting here, until the end?
Lorenza... you don't have to feel ashamed about that.
All of you chose to follow me. If something happened because of my decisions, I don't know what I'd do. And yes, I want this war to end too, but that's exactly why I'm fighting. I know we're almost there. I came here just because I wanted a safe place for my sister to stay. I didn't know it'd turn out this way. The prince... I know he's just as afraid as I am. All this responsibility was pushed on him, he lost his father and sister, and now he is everyone's last hope. He wants to be of use so badly, but he knows he has to rely on us. I haven't forgotten yet, Lorenza. I wanted to become a hero for the good of all people.
Oh, I'm sorry. I ended up talking about myself instead of trying to help you.
No, it's okay. I don't feel so alone anymore now. Thanks to this, I know that I'm not the only one who's having doubts.
Are we interrupting something?
Well, it seems the General is meeting with the Prince as we speak to discuss our course of action. We should go and see what they've decided.
Next time: It's time for the final push.