Part 43: The Man With The Plan
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, Drakovic distracted the Kingdom army by giving away his location, allowing us to infiltrate Stonewall and go after Castor. We found him, and he threatened us by claiming that he would now be bringing his full strength against us, but we were nonetheless able to defeat him. But our victory was not without consequences, as Castor freaked the fuck out following his loss and started experiencing flashbacks to a traumatic incident earlier in his life. He called out for his brother Ethan, and hearing that allowed Ethan to remember what he had forgotten: that he was the boy in that burned-out town in the Kingdom who stabbed Wolfram, and that Zawu was the woman who saved both him and Castor at that time. What are we going to do with this new information, and how is the fight against Castor going to proceed from here? It's time to find out.
So that's it. That's what I was trying to forget. Castor...
We begin this update controlling Ethan. But it's not for long, because...
Oh, Ethan. You woke up.
Hilbert. what happened?
Fade to black...
There's the sound of someone smashing a window, and suddenly a few Kingdom soldiers rush in, followed by Flynn.
Boss! What's wrong!?
Ah, huh...? Flynn?
Boss... What did you do to him...? You three! Stop them! I'm taking the General out of here!
Wait, not so fast!
And we're forced into battle once again. Thorve automatically replaces Ethan in the party here, which makes things slightly interesting since he's not wearing any armor. The soldiers still go down easily enough though.
But by the time we're back on the field, Flynn and Castor are gone.
Should we try to pursue them?
What are you doing here?
The Commander sent us back here. We've got most of the city under control again. We need to prepare quickly for when the Kingdom army comes back.
You've taken back Stonewall? Drakovic's plan worked?
Yeah... But the Commander himself...
Fade to black...
You won't get away now!
Hey, wait a minute... he's all alone?
Who cares. Commander Earp said the resistance is nothing without their leader. Get him!
Be careful, guys. The floor is kind of slippery.
You really thought I'd come back empty-handed? A good strategist always has a backup plan.
Wait. Wait a second here. If the plan involves oil, is he gonna--
Wow, look at it burn. It's spreading faster than I thought.
Ahhh! Run!! Forget about him! He can't go anywhere!
*cough* *cough* Good. They're panicking. That'll keep them from launching an effective counter-attack... or at least it'll buy us some time.
Fade to black...
Look at all the dead. They're all Kingdom soldiers.
I don't believe it... You idiot...
!! Over there!
Of course I am. I'm not quite ready to die yet. I just fooled them into thinking they had me trapped... but I barely got away from the flames. It looks like it was worth it, though.
Haha, that's no way to talk to a wounded man. But tell me, did the plan work? Did you do it?
We failed to kill the General, but he fled from the city. Thanks to the troops you sent, Stonewall is ours again. They won't take it from us again.
I knew you could do it, Matilda. What about the Consul?
Oh, he's fine.
Fade to black...
I now have the wonderful mental image of Hilbert going around the council hall and asking this to everyone he finds. "Are you the Consul? No? Are you the Consul? How about you?"
My name's Hilbert. We're here to rescue you.
Hilbert... that name sounds familiar... That's right! The Colonel told me about you. But... you're known as the hero of the Empire. Why are you here? Is it the Empire's turn now to try to control us?
No! I'm not here for the Empire! I came here by my own wish. No matter what happened, this country is my home. I just wanted to help.
Consul, the capital is virtually under control, but it's not over yet. The enemy is coming back. You must show yourself in public. You must give the people hope.
I've done much wrong. I allowed certain people to lead this country to ruin. But just like you, I truly care for this country. I wanted the Republic to be strong and prosperous. If there is anything I can do to make up for my mistakes, I will.
We're far from all right.
Boss!! What happened to him? Is he wounded?
I've already treated his injuries. They're not life-threatening.
He lost against that boy.
And the city?
As good as lost as well.
Then we need to get out of here. Forget about the Republic. The boss needs to be taken to a safe place. We'll leave immediately and meet up with Helio.
Fade to black...
Just like we were hoping, the remaining Kingdom forces on the island were in chaos. Some tried to get back home through the port, some just surrendered. The few that still tried to make an organized attack on the capital were no match for us.
Aren't we still in danger? What if they come back with more troops?
I don't think we have to worry about that. Don't overestimate the Kingdom. As impressive as their tactics have been, they didn't accomplish anything through sheer force.
The Rosehart army may be larger than all others, but it's not enough to take on the world directly. More importantly, they have no more allies left. They can't afford any reckless actions.
Remember, the Kingdom has fought against both the Republic and the Empire before, fourteen years ago.
But let's forget about the Kingdom for now. Consul, it would be in our best interest if we made peace with the Empire as soon as possible. We need to apologize for what we've done.
Commander... I mean, Colonel Drakovic, we'll discuss this in greater detail at a later time. Our political strategy has only brought us misfortune. We can't afford to make enemies now. I will probably not survive the next elections, but you, Colonel, have a bright future ahead of you. We'll have to share the responsibility of protecting this nation. And let's not forget the rest of you. You are all heroes of the Republic. We are in your debt.
Consul, what do you think about the story we've told you?
Yes, it's certainly an... unbelievable tale. Normally I wouldn't have given it serious consideration, but in these circumstances... I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.
If it's all true, then you'll have a hard time ahead of you. You're going to keep fighting, right?
Of course. I feel that if we stopped now, we'd be leaving something unfinished.
The Kingdom has been pushed back to their own territory, but that doesn't mean it will end there. I don't expect them to just give up.
I feel sorry for you, really.
Haha, it's true. We don't have an army or anything, but... The real danger here is not an army either.
Him? I bet he won't come back after we gave him such a beating.
Don't be so sure of that. We may have only made matters worse. Castor has been driven into a corner. He's been rendered powerless. He will be desperate. Maybe he will break down and stop fighting, but if he doesn't...
The next morning...
Good morning. Why did you ask for us?
I received some good news. There's no time for you to rest.
What are you talking about?
Don't you still want to capture that general? It would give a boost to the morale here and deal the Kingdom a heavy blow.
Of course, but... didn't he get away?
So he did. His ship is gone from the port. But where do you think he's going? I'm pretty certain I know. He's not going all the way back to their capital. He'll head straight for the nearest friendly port.
Exactly. But I think he's going to have a hard time over there.
No way... So -that's- what you did with those men from the Empire!
You planned this far ahead?
I'd like to say I did, but I'd be giving myself a little too much credit. It's not that I had a concrete plan, I just had a few ideas of what to do with those extra men. It wasn't until after I decided you'd invade Stonewall that I sent a message to the Emperor.
That's why you need to hurry. As soon as the Kingdom finds out what happened, they'll send troops to recapture it. But I have no intention of holding the city. I ordered my men to pull out immediately if that happens. We're just after that one guy.
So we have to move quick if we want to catch Castor.
That's right. Don't worry, I'll take care of things here. The Republic will be fine. Serinal Port is at the southernmost point of the Kingdom, northeast from here. Go there as soon as you can.
Thanks for everything, Drakovic.
We're not done yet, Matilda. Neither of us. Good luck.
I'm sorry, Ethan. I knew you didn't remember. I should've told you. You deserved to know.
It's fine. I know why you did it. If I could've lived without remembering, it would've been fine. I would've been fine like that. You saved us, Zawu. You've always done what you thought was best for us.
But, let's go. We need to catch up with the others. If we can catch Castor now, it'll all be over.
Fade to black...
Well, guess it's time for us to be heading to Serinal then. Before we do, though, there are a couple of small things we can look into. Consul York has taken Castor's place in the main room of the council hall, but what we're actually looking for is behind the door on the right.
There's nothing in the room beyond aside from this guy who tells us about the windows nearby, but we still want to talk to him, because...
... he's a Hex player, and he carries the Selene tile. Selene is a pretty good tile, all things considered, but we are not going to be hanging on to her for very long, because the trade for her tile is arguably one of the best in the game. Selene trades for two Warding Charms. What's a Warding Charm, you ask? Oh, it's just an accessory that grants its wearer the small advantage of complete immunity to all detrimental status effects. And Selene trades for two of them. I think it's time to get our trade on, don't you?
Next up, we're going to be making a stop in a place that we really have no reason to ever come back to: Lawshire.
Why are we here? Well, it's to visit someone we haven't seen in awhile...
... our old friend Saraswati. This is probably one of the tougher places to find her, since the last place we saw her was Nolan Vale and she said she was heading east. Lawshire is definitely east of Nolan Vale, but it's a hell of a lot more north, so I can see players just kind of forgetting about her as the plot continues. But we've found her now. Maybe she's mellowed out a bit since last time?
These people are nothing. They are of no use to me. Only you are a worthwhile opponent. We must play. It is our destiny.
Hahaha, what were you expecting? Saraswati's still completely off her rocker.
On top of that her tile selection for this go-around is fucking awful. The majority of her tiles have reaches of two directions or less, and the ones that don't are weak as hell.
So I own the shit out of her and take her new Flothark tile.
I will travel around this country some more, perhaps southwards. When we play I can feel a mystic power surge through me. You must come and find me again.
Then I go outside to save and come back in, and she's already gone. This means we've already hit the trigger for her to move to her next location.
So before we head out, I trade in Selene because seriously how the hell could you pass this up.
The trades for some of the new tiles we've picked up are also quite appealing. Earthquake is the top-tier earth spellcard, and it's made even better by its crisis, which casts both P-Shield and M-Shield on the entire party. Unholy is the top-tier dark spellcard and is extremely powerful. And the Invisibility Ring is a very useful little accessory that completely turns off random encounters. If we can get our hands on enough tiles I'll definitely be picking these up.
Right then, it's time to head to Serinal and capture Castor. By the way, I don't think I mentioned this earlier, but you can catch a glimpse of a tower in the top-left of the screen here. We can't reach it, but it'll probably be good to remember it for later.
A Republic soldier stops us as we head across the docks.
Yeah, I am.
Good, you're just in time. The man you're looking for arrived just a little earlier.
He's here? Where!?
Well, they tried to break through our barrier, but we managed to keep them away from the city gate. We've cornered them inside a building in the east part of the city, but they won't come out.
Good work. We'll take care of it from here on.
Oh, and by the way...
Yeah. Thanks to that they were slowed down enough that we could easily block their way.
Castor... Let's hurry!
As you might expect, all of Serinal is now open to us, but before we head on in, we make a quick stop at the arms salesman we saw last time we were here. I clear some junk out of my inventory and end up with enough cash to buy both a Ranger Bow and a Silver Fork. Yes, I'm well aware it's supposed to be a trident or somesuch, but I'm going to choose to imagine Matilda running around with a giant fork from now on.
The first thing we find upon heading into the city proper is a familiar face.
Perhaps only YOU understand. Come! Bring me closer to solving the mystery of Hex!
This is getting kind of ridiculous.
In addition to a Sahagin, which I somehow never picked up, Saraswati carries a blast from the past in the Cave Griffin, our first boss tile. Just as there are twenty character tiles scattered throughout the game, there are also twenty tiles based on boss monsters, though the boss tiles are merely rare as opposed to one-of-a-kind.
It shouldn't be too hard to figure out where Saraswati's heading next. Unfortunately this time she sticks around when I leave the screen and come back, so we'll have to wait to continue this sidequest.
While we're on the subject of Hex, there's also a Republic soldier hanging around the city square who carries...
... the Jord tile, to go with the Selene we just picked up. Jord trades for twenty Soul Elixirs, which will probably be awesome in the post-game content, since those things are rather rare. For now, he'll be sticking around as our strongest attack tile.
As far as the actual city goes, there are a number of new things to buy around town. A new tier of armor is available, but in all honesty, even if I was concerned about my armor, what we currently have equipped is close enough in strength to be sufficient. There's also an item shop in the building with nothing new.
Also, there's a girl upstairs who talks about the nearby tower appearing out of nowhere, just like we heard about the Tower of Punishment. The reason I'm showing her is because she implies that all of the events of the game thus far have taken place over less than a month. We've fought in multiple wars and sailed across the entire planet several times now. Has it really been such a short time?
The spellcard shop nearby carries some crazy expensive cards, one of which we haven't seen before:
Barrier (22MP): Temporarily grants one ally resistance to all elements.
Crisis: M-Barrier (54MP): Temporarily grants all allies resistance to all elements.
Stat changes: +1% max HP, +4% VIT, +4% RES
The Barrier card would be pretty decent, but it's also notable for being infamously bugged, in such a way that it can trivialize virtually every fight in the game when combined with another special item. I don't know if the bug has been fixed (perhaps SCF can answer that), but if it hasn't, I'll show it off when we get its item counterpart.
Anyway, it seems we're stuck in the city for the time being, as some Republic guards are blocking the way out to the north. So let's go find Castor.
The eastern screen of the city is devoted entirely to the building where Castor and the Omega Team are holed up.
You blocked our escape route. Very clever.
But you'll never get your hands on the General!
What happened to Castor?
What happened? You know damn well what happened. It's all your fault.
Stop it already. Castor needs help. Can't you see? He can't take much more of this fighting. He's destroying himself. Surrender. It's the only way to save him.
We can't do that, Zawu. To surrender now would mean to betray Castor.
The boss entrusted us with his life. We'll protect him till the end.
BOSS FIGHT: The Omega Team
Hoo boy, here we go. This is probably one of the toughest fights in the game.
None of the Omega Team members are threatening by themselves, but the three of them all together are nasty. As long as all three of them are alive, they simply will not let up, so we're liable to be picking ourselves up off the floor an awful lot in this battle.
To begin with, it is absolutely imperative that we kick off the fight with someone casting Guardian. If we don't...
... the Omega Team will reduce us to this in just two turns. I'm not going to lie, this fight took me an awful lot of tries to get right. The one bright spot is that whether we win or lose is usually decided very quickly.
Flynn is far and away the priority target in this fight, as she is the group's main damage dealer. She brings back Comet Strike from our first fight with her, a two-hit combo for heavy damage. Fortunately she does not bring back Starlight Flurry--if she did this fight might as well be impossible.
But Flynn has some new tricks up her sleeve, as well. I have to admit that I'm eating my words about Gelatinous Coats not being useful. Flash Flood deals moderate water damage to the entire party.
She also has picked up two powerful elemental techniques in Divine Thunder Sword and Great Wind Sword. Both of these do heavy damage to one character and will likely one-shot Lorenza if we don't have a P-Shield up.
And then to top things off she can also Bolster herself. Lovely.
Helio is also a major nuisance in this fight, as he's faster than our entire current party, so bringing Zawu may be worthwhile. As before, he fights with bombs and mostly dismisses raw damage in favor of status effects, which is fortunate seeing as how half of our party is now completely immune to them. Frost Bomb makes a return in this fight, dealing light ice damage and inflicting slow.
He also enjoys tossing out a Crippling Bomb from time to time, which inflicts enfeeble instead.
In addition to his bombs, Helio has a variety of single-target attacks, such as Poison Claw, which inflicts, well, poison.
And new to his repertoire is Nasty Sting, which inflicts a good chunk of damage and silence.
And then we come to Earp. Flynn and Helio are both major threats in this fight... but in all honesty, Earp just kind of sucks. Not only is he slower than Matilda, his attacks are all highly inaccurate and don't do that much damage to begin with. Hell, even his attack selection is lame. Aside from his regular attack, he brings back Cross Cut, whose damage is pretty low...
... and Cleaving Strike, which hits hard but is quite likely to miss.
The key to this fight is the beginning. Do everything you can to stay alive the first few turns. Hell, blow a Sacred Orb if you have to--I ended up using two. If you can survive the Omega Team's initial onslaught and get P-Shields and M-Shields up, you're well on your way to winning this battle.
Once you've done that, you can start focusing on grabbing the team's steals. Flynn carries the Rosehart Emblem, an accessory that grants a +11 bonus to all stats except LCK. Not that great, but it's worth a pile of cash.
Helio's steal is probably the most important, as he carries our first top-tier attack spellcard:
Iceray (100MP): Deals major ice damage to one enemy.
Crisis: P-Freeze (110MP): Deals major ice damage to one enemy, ignoring enemy RES.
Stat changes: +5% INT, -3% SPD
And Earp carries the Great Halberd, an axe for Ethan. It's actually slightly weaker than the Obsidian Axe he currently has equipped, but it also grants +20 VIT.
If you can survive long enough to take out Flynn, the fight is essentially over. Without her, Helio and Earp simply can't do enough damage to take anyone out.
Helio should be next, if only because he's annoying as hell.
And once Earp is the only person left, you really shouldn't have any trouble at all.
Whew! That feels good to be done with. We land even more experience and gold than we got from Castor for winning the fight, along with an assortment of capsules.
Even with all three together... We're not strong enough?
Will you finally surrender now? Castor won't come to harm. I promise.
Never! We will never surrender!
We don't have a choice! We have to break through! We can't allow the General's dreams to go up in smoke because of our own failure!
Get together, now!
Ah! I can't see a thing!
They're trying to escape! Stop them!
There's only one way they can go. Out of the city!
Yeah! And surely those soldiers outside will help slo--
Next time: A certain character lets out all of their pent-up emotion... and it's probably not someone you're expecting.
The Omega Team