Part 44: UPDATE 39: The Disillusioned
Penthesilea, I don't know what to do with you anymore. After I force-fed you at least 50 Goblets of Destiny, savescumming to get a Luck bonus out of each and every one, you still lost your chance to be an Angel Knight to someone who wasn't even cold yet. And your name is really annoying to have to remember how to spell. Now I'm out of Needles of Light and you're out of chances. You just sit in that unit with that wizard and those soldiers and think about the mistakes you've made.
Well, I guess it's about time Panic embraced her new destiny as a flying rear-liner. Sheen's unit is actually taking a bit of a hit offensively when I sub her in (possibly because she was raised as a spellcaster) but with some DEX therapy and an inevitable shift to Seraph I'm sure she'll make it up. The Main Gauche is, of course, non-elemental, but since she's never going to be attacking physically anyway there's no risk there, and it made Banish more powerful for some reason. Make a note.
As Panic's replacement, I turn to Lemon, the only spare character raised as a spellcaster I've got lying around. She's a bit behind in more than one way, but I've got the resources to do something about it.
First off, thank God for our alternate source of Urns of Chaos. Without these, our only recourse would be to have Lemon intern in Asnabel's unit for a while, which would (a) weaken Asnabel and (b) cause Lemon to level more as a Sorceress instead of a Siren. I like this way better.
Once she reaches the correct alignment, Lemon still doesn't have quite what it takes to be a Siren immediately, but luckily I've got some Crowns of Intellect and Mirrors of Soul sitting around to use as well. It only takes a couple of each and Siren is ready to turn in her khakis for a cocktail dress. Of Power.
With the application of Panic's old equipment and some Champion Statuettes I didn't have any other use for, Freddie's unit is almost as good as new!
We didn't get a whole lot from Romulus in terms of equipment, but if you'll recall we DID wind up with some pretty awesome armor. And who better to wear it than our general?
Finally, this didn't work last time, but out of blind optimism I am going to convince all of my Zenobians to don disguises for the duration of this mission. Meet Saladin the Archmage and Eisha the Priest.
Devin and Dustin are both closest to Sword Masters, so that's what they're cosplaying as. Dustin has lost his third middle-row attack, unfortunately.
Finally, our beast unit is now led by Dilbert, in what would be a much better premise for a newspaper comic strip than the real one. Yeah, I know, his Blood Whip should be pointing up to symbolize his powerlessness over his own life or something. This is close enough.
Anyway, at this point we COULD march straight past the Blue Basilica to the capital to end the war quickly, or we COULD dick around the Central Region for a while because nobody's gonna stop us. Let's see what's up here in this region I'm not quite sure how to pronounce!
Update 39: The Disillusioned
With the young and dynamic Amrius gone, I guess by default the face of the Central Division has got to be Procus. Hopefully all those firey purples have burned the cowardice out of him by now.
: "The Revolutionary Army has breached our front, and is now advancing on us. It's only a matter of time before they arrive."
: "They never give up... and you knights are pathetic. What do you think you are doing...? Have you lost your pride!?"
Huh. Y'know, getting possessed by demons just may be the best thing King Procus could have done for his kingdom. Hell, let's just try letting him rule for a couple years, maybe he'll turn things around!
The lights dim for a second. This is only really odd if you take a second to recall that gas lighting hasn't even been invented yet, much less electricity.
C'mon Procus, it means the show's about to start!
(also, note Procus's snazzy new title. Has more of a ring to it than "Procus the Spineless Jellyfish," doesn't it?)
Suddenly Procus and the knight have some visitors. I'm not sure why they chose to dim the lights first, then bring them back up, then dim them AGAIN, but these guys look like the type that should be allowed whatever kind of dramatic entrance they want.
Oh hey, Yumil's back. Hi, Yumil! At this point that knight realizes that the place for a guy with no name and no face, who is actually wearing red armor, is probably well out of the way of whatever's going down here.
Yumil advances. Rather than stepping out of his way, his entourage teleports into a better formation. Yeah he's got them pretty well-trained.
I'd make some crack here about Procus going back to his old self, but this is actually a pretty understandable reaction to your missing son teleporting through a demonic vortex into your room, flanked by THOSE guys.
: "......Father... I'm glad to see you again."
: "What are you doing at a time like this!? ...Wh, who are they!?"
"what are you doing wasting your time dicking around with demons and hell-portals, don't you know there's a war on"
: "I discovered the secret behind my birth... my destiny. I know why the color of my hair and my eyes are different from yours. And... I now have the power. Father, you must obey me. ...I will lead this kingdom."
Huh. Well let's be honest, Palatinus appears to be on the fast track to a demonocracy no matter which one of them ends up on top; we might as well back the one who appears to have some semblance of morals. Carry on, Yumil.
: "Yumil! Enough of that!!"
: "I don't know what power you attained, but I hold the ultimate power... I have the power of a god. You don't even have proof that you are an Auric... a member of the royal family."
Note: According to the Hugo Report, the name of the royal family is "Dulmare" (which ALMOST means "of the sea" but not quite); "Auric" as you will recall is the general name for someone with blond hair. In other words: "bitch why you steppin, you aint even blond"
: "You took your mother's life... I never thought of you as my child!"
really glad I'm not that knight right now, his survival chances aren't looking so hot
"okay i guess"
Yeah that doesn't end so well. There's a flash of light and that guy just... disappears. Don't mess with the Jolly Green Giants.
: "These are my knights... the Knights of Danika."
: "D... Danika!? ...Knights of Danika?"
Yeah we're currently ass-deep in Palatinean mythology right now. Hugo Report dump coming soon, but basically whenever you read "Danika" you should think "Persephone."
: "Do you finally realize, Father, what my power is? Will you assist me... with my divine plan?"
We don't get to see it, but you should probably assume the answer is "yes." I mean, imagine you're Procus, the wimpiest coward ever to wear a pink tutu. Your son's always been kind of a nancy, but he's now the sole heir to the throne and he's got those Lovecraftian horrors at his beck and call. You're not gonna say no to that, no matter how firey your purples are.
: "Let's get started..."
Well, since that was about to get interesting, it should come as no surprise that we now cut to the Hugo room with no additional plot.
: "We need to liberate the old castle."
Big map this time. Looks like if we take the "liberate our fellow Palatineans" route we're looking at more snow, just in case we didn't get enough of it in Chapter 3. I'm pretty sure the Central Region is supposed to be lush and fertile and whatnot; we currently appear to be right on the borderline between "perfect farmland for happy rich medieval folk" and "Fargo." It's a pretty sudden change.
: "I am certain they're planning to attack our headquarters. We should be prepared."
yeah what else is new
: "...They don't seem as well organized. They may have a different purpose. We must get to Vitegith Castle, even if it leaves our headquarters vulnerable to enemy attack. You will be open to attack from all sides. Be extremely cautious."
...Hugo, you've seriously got to be the worst tactician ever.
So, the number one way to get a Game Over in this game is an unlucky crit on Freddie, but the number one easily-preventable rookie mistake if you're currently still in the part of the game where you're working for the Southern Division (ahh, remember those days? So young and naive we were) is to leave your headquarters unguarded or underguarded, inadvertently knock an enemy unit toward it, and watch helplessly as it falls. If you have gotten to Chapter 4, you necessarily know not to do that. I'm not exactly sure why Hugo is trying to goad us into doing it here, other than to prank gullible players. Nice try Hugo, but you're not getting me!
: "Their ranks consist of demons, and soldiers from Lodis. Don't underestimate them. You may lose more than your life, you may lose your soul..."
Ugh. Go take your nap, Hugo, I'll deal with this.
Looks like those unorganized troops Hugo mentioned are half the size of our entire force. That Diana in the middle is patrolling that tiny stretch of road pretty zealously, but otherwise they ain't moving. Conversely, those Templars to our north are moving steadily toward us. Guess we know what to focus on first.
Nothing we haven't seen before so far. Careful going up against Curtis with too squishy of a back-row; the damage from three fully-loaded Dianas can start to add up pretty quickly.
Just in case you forget which side this unit is on, this guy's name is there to helpfully remind you. I think it might actually be ironic that he's the one walking around with the Law dragons, but as usual I'm not quite sure.
Ankiseth took care of Benedict pretty easily; Troi managed to wipe Badguy the fuck out in one battle. That leaves Curtis...
...who I quite enjoyed siccing my Dragons on. I managed to get a shot showing off how much damage TWD is doing with Divine Ray (it's quite nice) but just barely missed the shot of Boudica running Curtis through. Well, he's dead. vv Let's take a look at those units in the East now that this first invasion force is dealt with.
Mallon here is taking some time off from ranching to conquer the Earth for the denizens of the netherworld. It's a nice relaxing way to spend your vacation days.
Ahh, the triumphant return of the all-mage unit. Now with more Archmages! Could still probably have put them in the back and the Wizards in the front, but in the meantime this unit is still slightly dangerous, especially if they manage to get any combos off.
The paradox of Griffins: They're at their strongest when led by a Beast Master, but cannot fly unless led by a Hawkman. Only one reason of many why they're never worth it no matter what.
Oh, also there are some flyers. They STILL don't have new designs. Wyrms? Really? Get some Wyverns and then we'll talk.
Well, a basketball team sharing this guy's name is in the process of sweeping the Lakers the fuck out of the playoffs as I'm typing this, so he can't be ALL bad.
Better safe than sorry, though.
Yeah, it's about time the AI mages learned to combo. Luckily since they're both Earth-element they can't cause status, and since there's only one second-tier spellcaster back there they can't attack my whole unit. Still a decent chunk of damage.
Nothing Reynolds can't take care of!
Goddammit not another one!
That was a brand new Siren, you douchebag! <>
At some point Yugo bumped into a mageless Freddie, sideways and sans Gremlins. It worked out pretty good.
Man, Troi is getting less and less likely to leave any survivors these days. Not that I mind. He and Asnabel were always intended to be opposite sides of the same coin, and they're pretty much my main shit-wreckers.
Well, that takes care of most of them. Ankiseth, if you would do the honors? man for all its power the notos sure does look like a plank of wood
Thank you, sir.
Now maybe I can think about getting off my HQ. I'm 70 images in already.
Another one, really? What is this, Tremos Mountains?
I'm starting to think maybe that's not such a great name for an angel after all.
Zel ran south to a formerly-Neutral stronghold to heal up; Sheen took care of him before he could. Panic finished the unit off with her second-ever Jihad. Can't take the Stronghold without capturing it, though.
Spoils! Since you guys wouldn't let me keep the map that sold Rings of Eloquence for like a nickel each (for which I will never forgive you ) this is my second one. Also my second Hwail Mail but I don't think those are buyable anywhere.
At this point I finally got around to liberating the northern town of Furge. You're gonna want to make sure you Enter Stronghold here, especially on low-CF runs.
Entering Furge (with any unit, not necessarily Freddie) yields this scene with the third palette-swap of this same kid we've seen so far. One for each main ethnicity.
: "There's a guy fighting some soldiers, alone!! Can you help him!?"
Now, whenever I enter a stronghold, it's because someone inside has some important information to give me about a potential ally. This kid has no important information. He doesn't know where this guy is, what he looks like, ANYTHING. There is a guy somewhere who needs our help. Thanks for nothing, kid. AND YET the aforementioned guy will utterly fail to exist unless this kid tips you off. Because that totally makes sense. Well, alright, let's make a mental note and maybe he'll turn up.
In our path to the west, meanwhile, is Norris in yet another integrated demon / templar unit.
Make absolutely sure while exploring Ptia that you send someone down to this slightly-out-of-the-way clearing.
And here's why. We've reached the point in the game where we start just finding Drakonite books on the ground. Unfortunately our first one is the exact same one we spent our life savings on a chapter ago; I would have preferred a little variety. I mean I'll still take it, I'll just whine about it first.
Meanwhile after chasing one of those flyer units all the damn way to the damn corner of the damn map, Sheen found another Mjollnir. They're a bit outdated by now, but still nice to see.
Because he is in equal parts desperate and obsessed with wasting my time, Brat the Saturos leaves his post to charge my fortified position at Rete.
He gets a hearty meal of pumpkins for his trouble. Katreda's unit is at its best when the spread is especially wide; I'd put her on Attack Strongest if I didn't want to make sure that the front row's melee attacks always went to the leader.
It is at this point that I noticed Willy the Saturos trying to quietly slink his way over to my HQ, on the offchance that I listened to Hugo during the briefing and sent all my units in a blind headlong dash for the castle.
Even if I HAD left my HQ unattended, though, he'd never get the chance to attack it, because he turns around if your units get too close to his stronghold while he's still in the area. I didn't distract him on purpose, but made sure to seize the opportunity to let him taste Dustin's steel.
There really aren't many enemy units left on the map now, freeing me up to just go on a liberating frenzy.
You'd be pretty hard-pressed not to since it's so out-of-the-way, but make sure you mostly clear the map before liberating this southwestern stronghold of Torab Ni. Because that, predictably, will trigger another escort mission!
Behold our new charge. Charming fellow we've found here. Reminds me of Paul more than a little.
Katreda is not the sneakiest person in our army. It doesn't help that she smells intensely like pumpkins.
: "P, Please wait! ...We belong to the Revolutionary Army. We're not the followers of darkness!"
: ".........Revolutionary Army? ...I see."
: "...Are you alright?"
: "I'm just a little tired. ...My name is Carth. You say you're with the Revolutionary Army... I don't know why you're here. I don't plan on getting in your way. But if you get in my way, I will show no mercy!"
: "What are you talking about!? Look at yourself! You can't go on like that! You're exhausted."
jeez, thanks MOM
: "Why do you care!? I'm of no consequence to you! I must go, and finish my task... even at the expense of my life!"
Yeah I guess standing in the forest talking to himself about how he must finish his task was an integral part of finishing his task.
I'm not sure what this task is, but I'm gonna guess it's got something to do with killing this area's boss since that's what his newly spawned unit appears hellbent on doing. As we are informed by our omniscient gameplay controls, this fellow's name is Carth.
Let's just go ahead and beat him to the punch, since I've had three units sitting on top of the enemy HQ for like half the mission. He'd probably get a unique scene, but meh. He's not THAT interesting.
The boss in question is
WHOA AMBUSH TIME HOLD THE PHONE
I seriously did not remember this was here. Totally took me by surprise. We've got demons leading Templars, we've got Templars leading Ogres, it's just a hot mess.
This battle was ridiculously one-sided. Every single enemy attack was aimed at Europea and that's how much HP she still had by the end. I didn't catch it, but the Saturos's Bane-element axe did 1 damage to her due to the Starry Sky.
This one was pretty bad too. 4/6 Ogre attacks and 1/1 Templar attacks blocked.
Man, while I was finishing those units off Carth got all the way up to where Ankiseth is. Better step on it!
: "Be honored... You're about to witness the strength of a god! This is the might of the heavens!"
man I guess EVERYONE i fight thinks they're a god now or something
: "Heavens? ...You're horribly mistaken. THe power you gained is only that of darkness... It is nothing more than the power of the netherworld!"
"you can tell because of all the demons"
: "So? My power is beyond human comperehension, and that's all it matters! My god commanded me... to stain this soil with blood, to bring souls to him! Die, infidels!"
Dude's got a lot of balls to go throwing around the I-word after saying he doesn't care that he's working with demons.
My theory about Amazeroth is that they wrote Pruflas into this fight before deciding to kill him at the end of Chapter 3, then swapped in some completely different dude after that decision got made. He didn't die after one round, but he sure didn't make it through the second one.
Oh, also apparently he's immune to Sleep. That's the kind of thing you learn by taking Biske into boss fights.
I have already forgotten your name.
Our reward for killing whats-his-face is this sword which I was totally afraid was going to be another Glamdring, but apparently isn't! New sword for Freddie
Before we wrap up here, we've got a date with our new friend Carth in this garage which seems to be as omnipresent as Hugo's briefing room. My theory is that Freddie has a mobile fortress on wheels that gets pulled around with him, and since there are no horses all the pulling is done by his legion of completely-unused Soldiers.
: "...Didn't I tell you to stay out of my way!?"
Wow, nice guy we've found here.
: "......I'm sorry... You saved my life..."
And don't you forget it
: "Don't worry about it. But who are you, really...?"
: "I should tell you... everything. You may have already known I belonged to the Caliginous Order... I was a Knight Templar."
: "...So you are... a Lodisian. How did you end up here?"
: "I was in the battle at the Temple of Berthe, with other knights. I discovered that the true intention of the Caliginous Order was to make contact with the netherworld. We risked our lives for the just cause of eliminating the heretics, but it turns out that we were sent to open the gate to the netherworld. ...It didn't make any sense! ...I fought. I fought against the demons and those who fell to darkness... I kept on fighting! I wanted to be true to my Lord's teachings. I didn't want to lose my faith. ...I couldn't forgive myself for my idiocy."
: "...I'll return to Lodis, and spread my message."
: "It's dangerous! You'll be branded an infidel..."
: "I know the danger well enough! My beliefs are more valuable than my life! ...Farewell."
Well, Carth will join you if (a) you have no Zenobians and (b) your Chaos Frame is low. Someone in the thread claimed earlier that Biske was a special case in requiring no Zenobians to have even asked to join your party; I put them in disguise just in case Carth would be fooled, but alas, no dice. It's probably just as well; I don't really have a use for another unit as generic and unspecialized as his, and I have too many units in general. The main upside to Carth is that his sprite looks friggin' AWESOME.
Liberating Ptia opens up the Tundra of Argent on our world map, but of course the Blue Basilica is still available! See you guys next time when I go to one of those two places.