Part 42: Post-Traumatic Stress
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, we met up with the Republic Freedom Army, led by Drakovic, in their camp in the mountain range near Stonewall. Drakovic asked us to investigate some ruins that his men had come across while trying to dig a tunnel to the city. While the ruins turned out to be a dead end, we found out that they were Havali in origin, and were a tomb for an ancient king. But this only raised more questions, since the Havali supposedly never lived on Pargon Island, nor did they have any royalty. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to investigate this further, since we now need to figure out what we're going to do next in our fight to liberate the Republic. Let's get to it.
We begin this update the morning after the events of the previous one. Let's go talk to Drakovic.
Yeah. It's nothing dangerous, but you might think it's not worth your time. You know what the enemy general looks like, right?
That's all you have to do, really. Just look out for him.
Well, I guess we can do that.
Thanks, it'd be a big help.
Uhhh, okay I guess. It'd probably be more helpful if you told us why you needed to know that, or gave us some sort of instructions in case he does emerge, but whatever.
And obviously the best way to scout out Castor leaving Stonewall is to just stand next to the gate in plain sight of the Kingdom guards there.
Apparently it works though, because we've been standing around here for two hours and the guard still hasn't had the presence of mind to register us as suspicious.
If you ask me, there's nothing out of the ordinary going on in the city.
How long do you think we're supposed to stay here?
I don't know, but it feels like a waste of time.
... A waste of time, you said?
Huh? Why do you ask?
It's weird. This doesn't feel right.
What, you mean Drakovic? You think he sent us here to get us out of the way for a while? ... No... that couldn't be. I didn't think it was suspicious, but now that you mention it...
I think we should go back.
Yeah, we've been here for long enough. Let's go.
One quick stroll back to the camp later...
Drakovic, no more games. What was the point of sending us there? You didn't really think the General was going to come out, did you?
We don't have time for this. You have to get out of here immediately.
What!? They've found this base?
But how do you know they're coming? We didn't see any troops leave the capital yet.
But... why would you do that?
Have you gone mad all of a sudden? Why didn't you tell us about this earlier?
If I'd told you, you might've tried to stop me. Look, we don't have time for an argument. It's already been done. They're coming no matter what.
All right. Tell me what your brilliant plan is then.
We're only a small group, so they're not going to send their whole army out to fight us. As soon as our scouts see them coming, we'll retreat into the mountains, and ambush them. Everyone's ready to give it their all. Defeating these first troops should be easy. What's the General going to do then? All he can do is send even more men. He knows this may be his only opportunity to destroy us, so this time he'll go out in full force.
A team like yours should have no problem breaking into the council hall and rescuing the Consul. If the enemy general's still in town--like I think he will be--even better. Take him out too.
This is ridiculous. What makes you think he's going to fall for this in the first place?
Why do you think that general returned to the island, when the Republic has already been defeated? There's only one explanation. They sent him back specifically to get rid of us. We're dangling a piece of meat in front of him that he can't possibly resist.
I don't believe this... How long do you think you'll last against their entire army?
Long enough for you guys to succeed. That's all we have to do. If we're on the verge of defeat, we can always pull out. We can always build another camp elsewhere.
Matilda... let's do it. It's too late to stop it. All we can do is make the best of it.
Just have faith in my plan, and I'll have faith in your strength. Just like the old days.
Let's go, Hilbert. We'll definitely get the Consul out of the city.
Yes, sir. The rebels are hiding in the mountains, right outside the city.
And you've confirmed this rumor?
Yes, sir. It's not a rumor. I personally sent scouts to confirm it, and they reported that there is indeed an army camp there. We've even spotted the rebel leader, former Republic Commander Drakovic.
Ah, this is excellent news. Captain, the fifth and sixth division together should be more than enough to deal with them. I'll give you command. Overwhelm them before they have a chance to organize themselves. Don't return until every rebel is either dead or captured.
Fade to black...
Welp. The game won't let us go back into the camp, so there's no choice but to head to Stonewall again.
Do you think there'll be few enough troops left that we can break through them?
Who knows. All I can tell you is that we'll have a much easier time than the men back at the camp. They're risking their lives to buy us time, so we'll have to do whatever we can to succeed.
Fade to black...
What? Weren't the men I sent enough? How is the battle going?
The rebel army was waiting for us. The sixth division was ambushed as soon as they entered the camp. They've been almost completely wiped out, and the fifth division is struggling.
So they were ready for it... Could it have been a trap?
Sir, what are your orders? Should we send the third division as well?
Only the first division will remain here. Everyone else must join the battle.
A-Are you sure?
Even if it's a trap, they're finally out in the open. This is a golden opportunity. They won't be counting on us to send a massive force. They think they can whittle down our numbers like this. No matter how clever they think they are, they won't last long in a straight battle. Earp, are Flynn and Helio still gone?
Yes, sir. Helio is still at Serinal Port, and Flynn is inspecting the harbor as you ordered. Should I call them back?
No, it's all right. We don't have the time. Earp, I want you to lead the reinforcements personally. Go and leave straight away.
But sir, what about you?
If they show up here, they'll be forced to fight out in the open. They won't stand a chance.
Fade to black...
And the Kingdom soldiers march out, not one of them turning their head to see the group of rebels a short distance away.
Damn, I wasn't expecting that many of them. Did they really send their whole army? We'll have to act fast, or there'll be nothing left of Drakovic's forces.
All right, is everyone ready?
Fade to black...
Hmm... We're some unexpected guests, I guess?
They're suspicious. Get them!
And we're tossed into battle against three Kingdom Soldiers. The world's human soldiers received their periodic level up while we were in Entalar, so these guys are now strong enough to hit us for about 325 damage a pop. That said, they're very inaccurate and go down quickly.
Now to get to the other side of the city...
The city won't be a problem. If we blend in with the crowd, the guards won't notice us. But the council hall itself will no doubt still be well-protected.
We'll worry about that when we get there. We've been through worse.
Fade to black...
We could take them, but... I don't want to draw too much attention here. The barracks are right around the corner.
Wait a minute...
You... You are all Republic soldiers, aren't you?
Used to be. There ain't no Republic anymore. Now we're stuck guarding this place for the Kingdom... but it's better than getting laid off.
Wouldn't you want to get back at the Kingdom if you had the chance?
Shh! Don't talk about things like that! If they hear you...
Did you know that, as we speak, the Freedom Army is fighting against the Kingdom troops? We're here to kill the enemy general and rescue the Consul. If we succeed, victory will be ours.
Wait... are you serious? We're that close to winning?
You have two options: either let us pass, or we'll force our way through.
Hey, hold on... I know you! You're Lieutenant Thorve, right? I heard a rumor that you defected to the Empire... but you really came back for us!
You've gotta do it. We'll be praying for you.
No, I've got a better idea! Is it all right if we spread the news about the battle in town? We'll get everyone together and rile up the people! I know a lot of us have been waiting for this!
Be careful what you do. There are still plenty of enemy soldiers here. I don't want a civilian bloodbath to happen in town.
You got it.
Oh, is the General still inside?
Yeah, I think so. I haven't seen him come out.
Good. Let's go!
Fade to black...
And with that, we get our first glimpse inside the Council Hall.
Our goal is, as you might expect, the main hall in the center of the building. Unfortunately, the door that heads that way is locked, so we'll just have to head upstairs and take the scenic route.
We've lost all contact with the eastern wing. Either they've fled, or...
The enemy general's better than I expected. Looks like he sent every single man he could spare. How long will we last at this rate?
Not much longer. If we don't do something fast, we'll be annihilated.
But it's too soon. If we retreat now, Matilda and Hilbert won't have enough time. What's more, we're getting swarmed. Even if we try to escape, we'll lose a lot of men in the process.
Sir, if I may speak freely... We all want to survive this battle, but the most important thing is that we win. If there is any way, any way at all to ensure victory, please do it. It's better than dying for nothing.
You're right. I understand. I'm changing the plan.
Lead as many as you can to Stonewall, and try to take over the city. If they sent such a large portion of their army here, we may have a chance.
S-Sir!? Why are you going back?
I'm the Commander. It's me they're after. If I run in the direction of the camp, they'll definitely come after me.
But that's madness! You'll--
Trust me. I have a plan.
Commander... We'll do everything we can to take control of the capital!
Back with Hilbert...
The Council Hall is pretty straightforward. There's no treasure or anything to look for here, and despite the tense music, there aren't any random battles, either.
Occasionally, we'll run into a few soldiers on the field, which starts a battle with the same three Kingdom Soldiers we saw at the entrance to the city. They're still not worth worrying about.
Though they do give me an opportunity to put Erosion in Lorenza's hands and try it out. Look at that beautiful damage
We head downstairs, through a group of soldiers...
... find another group a little further ahead...
... and then head downstairs again to reach the room north of the locked door we saw earlier.
After that, there's only one more group of soldiers between us...
... and Castor.
But I never expected that it'd be you people again. Even you have come, Ethan.
It's over, Castor. Your army's not here to protect you. We're going to take back this country.
It must be fate, Hilbert, that we keep meeting each other. But only one of us can prevail in the end. Last time in Entalar, I was holding back. I just wanted to test your strength. But this time, you have no chance of winning.
Castor, don't do this.
It's you who shouldn't be doing this, Zawu. It's pointless trying to oppose me. I've broken the Republic, the Empire, and even the Havali. Even you all are no threat to me. No one in this world is my master.
Shut up! You're just trying to buy time! I won't give your backup time to get here!
Oh well. If that's how you want it...
BOSS FIGHT: Castor
No longer holding back, huh? Well then, it's time to take this smug fucker down a peg.
True to his word, Castor is appreciably stronger compared to the time we fought him back in Entalar. His repertoire has been changed up a bit as well, but this is still a very similar battle, and I'd recommend gearing up everyone with Knight Shields or similar accessories again for just that reason.
Castor kicks off the fight by doing something that he never did in our first battle: attacking regularly. He's very strong, and not even Matilda can survive two of his attacks.
Castor's main addition in this battle is his brand-new buff spell, Surge of Energy. I'm not sure exactly which stats this buff increases, but it definitely improves his SPD at least, as with it active he's faster than Hilbert. This makes Disenchant a very desirable spellcard in this fight, as not only does it remove the buff, but once it's removed Castor will often waste turns trying to reapply it.
And of course, it wouldn't be a Castor fight without motherfucking Maelstrom. It's still basically the same move, which means we want to deal with it the same way: giving everyone berserk and chaos resistant gear so that all it takes to bring them back into the fight is a Soft. Our trip to the Tower of Penance also shows its worth here, as the Brass Icon we stole from the Key of Penance makes its wearer almost immune to Maelstrom's effects. With it on, Maelstrom only inflicts slow, which barely matters in this battle since Castor is faster than everyone except Hilbert anyway.
Castor also brings back Lifetaker in this fight, which has seen a serious power upgrade and still has a chance of causing instant death. Interestingly, Castor seems very predisposed in this fight to using Lifetaker immediately on a target he just Maelstrom'd. Ironically this actually makes Maelstrom easier to deal with, since Lifetaker almost always results in a KO at that point, but getting KO'd clears all negative statuses.
Lastly, Castor has replaced Blinding Flash with Searing Flash, which now inflicts amnesia instead of blindness. This isn't a particularly troubling move, but it's his main method of attacking the entire party at once.
As before, the key to this fight is to keep our party members active as often as possible. Castor is still quite the challenge, but as long as everyone stays in the fight, we can handle him.
We land a shitton of experience and gold for our trouble, along with a Soul Elixir. Castor also carries a Meteor Shell for the stealing, which is nice I guess.
Not so smug now, are ya buddy?
Hold on... Let me get up again...
You've lost, Castor.
No, no... I can't lose. I never lose.
No!! I... I will not bow down to anyone! I'm the one in charge! Me! I won't be at your mercy!!
I... I can't do anything. It's... It's just like that time. It's just like Cromwell again.
Wait! Don't leave me, brother!!
No... Don't tell me... You don't recognize me anymore? You... You saved my life!
The screen flashes abruptly, and then...
Fade to white...
It's the Empire! They're still here! Quick! Kill them all!
Music: (RECOMMENDED LISTENING)
A ways back in the thread, a couple of posters made the connection between this incident and Zawu saying that she had once saved Castor's life. At the time, I wasn't sure whether or not I wanted to respond to those inferences. On the one hand, my saying anything probably would have given this away. On the other hand, I thought it might be fun to tell those posters that they were both wrong and right at the same time, and see if the thread could work out which part was which.
See, the thing is, there technically wasn't anything wrong about the connections that those posters made. Zawu was present when Wolfram was stabbed and her actions saved Castor from death. But there was just one slight inconsistency.
That's not Castor.
You can drop that sword now. I'll protect you.
Please... Please... protect my brother.
E-Ethan... I'm so scared. I wanted to do something, but... but...
Are you two... the only survivors? It's all right now. You can't stay here. I'll take you somewhere safe.
Next time: ...