Part 32: UPDATE 27: SuspicionSo in lieu of actually making a decision on the Tremos vs Vert/Capitrium thing, I've elected to continue pussyfooting around the issue by keeping a save of both paths and making my final decision after playing through everything based on the state of each save state. Anyway, update!
As you may recall, last time we received an influx of new (and unique-sprited) talent. I have a very specific destination for Meredia in mind.
Since I'd rather not replace Rose for (nerd-reference-related) reasons, Meredia gets switched in for Lime. She's a couple levels behind, but she'll more than make up for the deficiency with time. At this point, though she has served me long and faithfully, Ivory goes the way of Doreauxgard and Swift, and surrenders command of her unit to someone with a flashier-looking portrait.
Lime has the advantage of already being a Siren, of course, so I switch her into Leia's unit for Lemon. Let's be honest here, it's the superior fruit anyway.
Speaking of people not being Sirens yet, with the aid of a LITTLE bit of duping (because I was fucking tired of them STILL being Sorceresses) Panic and Rose officially go
Oh, and Troi. Even though I love Troi and love using his unit, I've consistently forgotten to upgrade him for a while. I switched leadership of his unit over to Doreauxgard for long enough to switch him over to some more imposing armor that's undoubtedly too big for him by an even greater margin than the old armor was. Also I'm just now noticing I forgot to give him back his mother's shield. Whoops. Sorry, Mrs Tyton!
Man, I guess I really overestimated the number of Freyas in my army when I was buying those spears. I usually have more than this.
And, after backing up my saves conscientiously, it's time to move onward... to VERT PLATEAU!
Update 27: Suspicion
Keep in mind that this is not necessarily the canon choice and not necessarily the non-canon choice. It's simply where I'm choosing to go first.
: "Let's get started..."
awwww we're back to boring briefings now. Ah well, it was nice while it lasted.
Hey, that's a misspelling of a town in Massachusetts. I think their Little League team lost the Little League World Series to the Japanese some number of years ago. By a lot. It was the most adorable competitive humiliation my home state and country have ever experienced.
: "We need to take Marrilaife Castle."
Hey look at that: a map made up almost entirely of Snow terrain. If you have any units made up of Freyas and nothing but Freyas (besides possibly flying or mountain characters) now's the time to use them!
: "There are plenty of rumors circulating about the Berthan Sentinels, but nothing's confirmed. They may give us some clues, at least. Our scouts have reported seeing a dragon in the area. We aren't sure if it's wild, or if it's been trained... You know that dragons are much more powerful than humans, right? Be on guard."
A dragon? Like, in the singular? As in one single dragon? Yeah, I'll be real careful.
: "The outcast Berthan Sentinel is now being pursued by the Central Division. The pursuer and the pursued... One of them must be aware of the situation."
Unless you're referencing the Jersey Shore here, Hugo, I think it's a safe bet that the Central Division is aware that they are pursuing a Berthan Sentinel. Unless by "the situation" you meant the fact that we're here, in which case both of them probably are, just sayin. We're not exactly stealthy.
But I guess that'll never be explained ever. Well, let's conquer ourselves some tundra.
Man I never noticed before now how consistently the game has been plonking the shop down right at our HQ. Not bad. Anyway the Main Gauche is the next rapier up from the Estoc. I continued my longstanding shop tradition and bought too many of them.
Found the dragon, Hugo!
After a reasonable time (~4 game hours), Nora was still the only enemy unit visible from my HQ, and she was still sitting doggedly on her HQ rather than attacking me. I took the opportunity to begin an attack somewhere else.
Turns out THE JOKE WAS ON ME! Not long after that, along came Boise with... a couple more dragons. Guess Hugo miscounted. That's four of them so far.
For whatever reason Boise stopped his assault in favor of following Ankiseth and Troi as they snuck around to the west. Hey, his funeral.
Man, this is a really disorganized HQ raid, each unit is like 12 hours to a day apart. Next up is Jessica, with... more dragons. None of them are venerable this time, though! So yeah I guess when Hugo was being all dramatic about having seen a dragon somewhere and not knowing what its deal was, what he really meant was that the entire enemy force was made up of like fifty dragons. That would be the impeccable Revolutionary recon/intel team at work again, I suppose.
Several hours behind her is
Meanwhile, in the West, Troi and Ankiseth have a showdown with Sergei to look forward to. Silly Sergei, that's not a Beast!
The Water-element Venerable Dragon. One of my personal favorites. Uses the awesomely-named, fabulously-animated attack Clear Disaster from the back row, which has a chance to put targets to sleep.
Speaking of which.
...Yeah, this is... not great for me. Clear Disaster lays down a single rainbow all the way across the unit. In addition to fairly decent damage, it put two guys to sleep.
Yeesh. Well, I'll take it, under the circumstances.
All's well that ends with Troi safely regenerating health in the town of... Chrisalouis. Keep in mind we fought a dude named Boise earlier. What's wrong with naming a town that and naming the dude either Chris or Louis? Food for thought.
Meanwhile Freddie's old-skool Plot Irrelevant Krew is representing pretty well. Dio's surprisingly limber considering he's spent the last two or three missions benchwarming at the HQ.
WHOA WHOA WHOA HOLD THE PHONE
An AI unit just hit me with an actual combo magic attack! Unfortunately it's not QUITE the mix of elements we need to promote MaskedHuzah and Equius to Baldr status or I'd be rushing Guy straight out here. Well, let this stand as evidence of how much bullshit that evolution condition is (hint: SO MUCH BULLSHIT)
Sheen's unit is relatively lightweight on power, meaning this took me two battles. Still counts.
Ah yes, we've come to the part of the game where low-level rare swords start to fall from the sky. I like this part.
Well lookie what I found! It starts to make sense why the entire enemy garrison is made up of dragons when you realize that the Vert Plateau is a goddamn dragon goldmine.
More spoils: Another Hraesvelg, and an Earth-element buckler which is going to Leia soon (especially considering I forgot to give her the Electric Shield I found last time).
Moving on, Group East is greeted by this sight across the river to the north. So THAT's where all the enemy units have been hiding. Unlike most other Legions we've seen up to this point, this Legion will actually advance toward you as soon as you cross the river. Be ready for them. Let's see what we've got.
I FEEL IT
I FEEL THE COSMOS
Look. Harold. I know all your buddies are traipsing around the plateau with their big intimidating dragons all the time, and I know how much you want to feel like you fit in, but this really does not accomplish anything. Yeah no bullshit I'm pretty sure this is the first Young Dragon we've seen since like Chapter 1.
Leonard certainly could not be credited with subtlety. On the plus side, I will have to tear through his human shields before being able to hit him in any fashion from any direction, but keep in mind wizards are pretty conducive to being torn through.
THERE's a Venerable Dragon, finally. Not the most original Unit, pretty sure we saw one just like it last time, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here since I'm just so glad it's not another Young Dragon.
Ooohhhhh boy. Here comes trouble.
The Earth-element Venerable Dragon and my personal favorite. Its back-row attack, Earthquake, is unique in that it is 100% guaranteed to cause a Power Down in every single character it hits. Power Down isn't the best status, but being guaranteed to put it on every single character in the opposing unit more than makes up for that. Of course, there is one serious weakness...
Keep in mind that Sheen's unit contains characters named Pidgey and Spearow. And what happens when you try to hit a Flying-type Pokemon with an Earthquake attack?
Something like this. Yep, Earthquake is completely ineffective against flying targets. You can totally plan for this, of course--if the Dahaka is on your side, just switch it into the front row for one battle and it'll have a grand old time breathing acid on stuff.
SPEAKING OF WHICH.
Yes, this happened immediately after I was able to talk about Ahzi Dahakas. If I choose this path I get to skip like an ENTIRE HUNTING TRIP. It does raise questions concerning what exactly Meredia considers "cute."
KAWAII DESU NE
i'm gonna name it Ozzie
Damn. I guess I kind of deserve this after downplaying Dragons so much, don't I? Once again, though, as long as that enemy leader dies and none of my people die I give no fucks.
Alright, the dangerous units are cleared out. Take us home, Leia.
Yeah so the intro cutscene from Katamari Damacy was actually a heavy-handed metaphor for this moment right here. I saw it on the Internet somewhere. I guess that makes Vad the King of All Cosmos?
While carving her way to Cosmos, Leia knocked Harold and Leonard out of the way (but didn't quite kill them). Now that their CO is dead, they're free agents and can act as autonomous units.
Leonard's immediate reaction, of course, is to turn his ass right the hell around and run quite literally for the hills.
An understandable decision, but it doesn't save him.
Harold was a bit more foolhardy. Man, he REALLY BELIEVED in that baby dragon. Well, thanks for the pony-sword.
And so the battle of Que$hay comes to a close. Time to clean up the mess.
Another opportunity to get an Urn of Chaos here. I'm mildly perturbed by the fact that I STILL haven't gotten any of the Lawful equivalent, but it's not like I particularly need them.
Another Sword of Firedrake, and the Fire buckler. I guess Rhade got sold a knockoff sword or something. That'd explain why it's not particularly good.
Meanwhile, Team West, recently joined by Freddie, has this additional Hydra unit to deal with. Well here goes nothing.
Oh. Shit. Freddie got critted into the middle spot. That is NOT where I want Freddie to be!
Yeah this is what it looks like to kind of get your ass handed to you by a Dragon unit. Getting put to sleep a lot kept me from even being able to kill the unit leader. Luckily I didn't get a Game Over here. Yeesh.
Luckily Ankiseth was able to step in and kill Elizabeth off fast before spending the rest of that battle getting similarly roughed up by that Hydra. Well, over with now!
Next up on Team East's chopping block is Katarina, who has placed her Flarebrass incredibly poorly. Tsk tsk tsk.
Good thing I'm around to correct this mistake of hers with a perfectly-timed critical hit! Heh heh hah hah
Luckily for me Flarebrasses still aren't very good. 2 out of 5 targets getting Power Down is really not so terrible in the scheme of things (as opposed to most other dragons that can take multiple targets out of action or the Ahzi Dahaka who debuffs EVERYONE).
With Katarina out of the way, Asnabel is able to take her hometown of Sarisk...
...and then immediately schlep all the way over to the (unguarded) stronghold of Dossoll because I only have one Chaotic unit. I should probably do something about that.
While he was schlepping, Troi finished off Elizabeth. Yeah, note that that unit took all three of the units I had in the area. It wouldn't have been so bad if I could have used the local Stronghold for healz, but I wanted to hold off on taking it for just a second. You'll see why shortly.
First off I had to get rid of this Golem unit loitering around the enemy HQ (notice Meredia and Rose still aren't friendly enough to combo reliably).
Now that he's out of the way, let's examine the boss. Fourierre's unit is yet another Dragon gang, not particularly unique on this map full of them. Since she will have dialogue and favors Lawful dragons, we probably have some sanctimonious preaching to look forward to!
Now that I've secured that area, time to deal with Fort Hillverich. I feel kinda dumb here because I could have had Troi and Ankiseth sitting there comfortably this whole time -- I forgot that the event on this Stronghold is only triggered when you send Freddie there. Well, might as well do that now.
What I'd like to know is why all of these unique-character introduction scenes happen in random-ass forests or mountains or something instead of, y'know, IN TOWN where normal people would meet. Anyway.
: "...My name is Europea. Until recently, I was captain of the Berthan Sentinels."
Unfortunately, if I recall correctly, giving her a Russian accent doesn't really work for any of her lines other than this one. It's too bad. That would have been awesome.
: "...Is it true that a Sentinel was possessed by a devil? Was he... Was Archbishop Odiron really involved? ...Why? Why did he do that!?"
Yeah there's that lack of social skills again. No "nice to meet you, I'm Freddie" or "come, let's talk more inside my nice warm fort," he just jumps straight to "So I heard one of your employees was recently possessed, tell us about that." Yet another reason why I am INCREDIBLY GLAD he doesn't get a romance subplot.
...not that it could really be any more awkward than Yumil's, really.
: "The Sentinel who was possessed by the devil... She was under my command. That surge of magical energy was surely not of this world. ...But I still cannot believe it! She would never have done such a thing!! ...It must have been a mistake!"
: "Surge of magical energy!? ...Just like that time."
About here is where I found out that I couldn't cause Ogre Battle 64 to contain any Family-Guy-esque flashback scenes no matter how hard I wished.
: "Same as Godeslas... Do you know if she ate a fruit of some sort?"
"A surge of magical energy? HOLY CRAP LEIA it's like that time my boss fed his wife and kids a bunch of rotten fruit and started glowing purple!" Then there's like a 5-minute-long unrelated Star Wars reference or something with no warning or explanation.
: "I'm sorry, I can't recall... But I do remember that she was invited to a banquet hosted by Sir Kerikov."
DUN DUN DUNNNNNN
: "...General Kerikov..."
I like to believe Freddie is correcting Europea here, just because it's an incredible dick move. "Uh, I believe his name is GENERAL Kerikov. Because he disgraced your boss and took his job. Don't you remember?"
: "Archbishop Odiron is a man of strong faith. He would never... never make a deal with a devil... Please! Let me go back to the Eastern Orthodox Church. I want to find out what really happened. ...I must know the truth."
uhhhh dunno why you're asking MY permission, but okay, sure
: "What would you do if the truth turns out to be what you fear the most?"
Yeah, Europea's pretty badass. And her full title is very nearly as awesome as Asnabel's.
: "I see your determination... but it is dangerous. We should liberate this area first. Besides, your pursuers may be able to provide us with some information."
: "Thank you so much for trusting me. I will help you as much as I can. ...I will see you at Marrilaife Castle."
: "Please be careful."
At this point Europea's decently-constructed unit spawns and begins moving toward the enemy HQ. Yeah, if you were playing this mission like a normal person this would be another escort mission starting now.
Luckily I already have the place surrounded and can just end it now!
: "Our only order was to eliminate the fallen lamb. ...Why, then, do you interfere? You too...? Do you intend to overthrow the Eastern Orthodox Church with the power of the devil!? ...So it is true... Just as Sir Kerikov said."
whoa whoa WHOA there lady it ain't like that
This is just a straight-up mission of conquest, that's all, I swear!
: "No, it's the Central Division who is plotting to overthrow the Church! ...Don't let them deceive you!"
: "You expect me to trust you!? Infidels! In the name of our Mother Berthe, I'll destroy you!"
yeesh, tough crowd
Luckily the Bahamut doesn't have enough levels on me for the Divine Ray to be that much of a threat with no status effects, and Fourierre herself only lasts 1.1 full attack turns before getting sworded but good.
And from there we get booted straight to the victory screen without even a parting shot. I guess we've got an EXPERT INTERROGATION coming up!
The Sword of Dragon Gem is a pretty awesome rapier. I think I see Ivory's consolation prize for losing her command!
jeez what a drama queen
: "God watches over everything. She does not exist for the benefit of any one person."
I'm fairly sure the Zeteginean religious system is a polytheistic one -- as someone pointed out earlier, Filarhh and Berthe are related, Olympian-style, which means that you don't believe in one of them to the exclusion of all others, you just pick one of them to favor in your worship. Which makes it a bit odder to me that Europea uses the proper noun "God" to refer specifically to Berthe (as evidenced by "she"). Pretty sure nobody else does it either.
: "Keep your ramblings to yourself! No matter what kind of power you hold, you won't stand a chance against the ultimate power... If you expect to move on... you'd better prepare... for... the worst..."
why exactly did my prisoner just keel over and die in the middle of an interrogation???
Man, so she got mortally wounded in battle, and Freddie denied her medical treatment until she told him what he wanted to know, and then when she didn't he just stood there and let her die even though he's got a Priest like right there in his unit. Damn, that's COLD.
Okay, wow. That clinches it. Freddie is now the game's antagonist. This is some serious Darth Vader shit up in here.
: "I don't think we can go further by ourselves... Freddie... Thought it may not be much, we will do the best we can to help you."
Despite having just witnessed proof that Freddie is an evil coldhearted bastard, Europea will join your army here. She takes her whole crew with her. It's an okay unit -- it's built to be competent no matter what angle it's attacked from, making it a bit suboptimal all the time but never crippled unless someone dies. Notably, Europea is a free Centurion and pretty much the only one worth having for that reason.
Plus she's awesome.
: "Certainly. In fact, our intelligence on the Eastern Orthodox Church is seriously lacking."
yeah no kidding
: "It would help us greatly if you could tell us anything about the Church."
(as he says this, Freddie gestures meaningfully at the mangled corpse of someone who recently failed to tell him anything)
: "...Thank you. I will tell you everything I know."
Yeah, she broke FAST
With Vert Plateau over and done with, the Tremos Mountains are no longer an available choice! Guess we're going to Capitrium. Next time!