Part 14: Defending the Sand Fortress
Now that we have Mana Sight, we can return to The Valkyrie and disarm the invisible bombs.
If you're curious about how far into the game we are, you can look at the number of completed events in the lower-left. This counts events, nodes, sidequests, and bad endings. A lot of those are sidequests and bad endings, which go by quick, but you can see we're still not very far into the game.
Music: Machinist Kingdom (Piano Arrangement)
(There are five total... But they'd be invisible to the naked eye. They couldn't be clustered together... So there's probably one or two per floor. If I can grasp the flow of Mana like Aht taught me, I should be able to see them. ...I should try searching the Fortress thoroughly.)
We have to explore the fortress and disarm the bombs, which appear as sparkles when you approach them. The first one is in the kitchen on the ground floor.
There are four more bombs left to disarm.
Each time you disarm a bomb, Stocke tells you how many are left.
All those pointless barricades hide hidden treasure. There's a lot of treasure hiding around the fortress.
The second bomb is right outside this room.
The third bomb is with the weapons on the second floor.
The fourth bomb is next to a pillar at the back of the second floor.
The fifth and final bomb is on the third floor, to the left of the stairs.
I think all the bombs in the fort have been disarmed. Hopefully that will cause some positive changes...
This spear scroll is by the fortress' rear exit. This will get Raynie a new technique, but I'm not going to worry about going to get it for now.
Now that we've disarmed the bombs, we can go tell Rosch we're ready to begin the operation. The Rosch Brigade stays behind to protect the Sand Fortress while Viola and her troops go to Gran Plain.
While patrolling the fortress, we chase an unfamiliar soldier outside of the fortress.
...We lost him.
Seriously, he was going as fast as his legs could carry him.
We were right behind you, so there's no way he doubled back into the Fortress!
"Enemy attack, Sir! The Fortress is breached! They must have advanced in the dead of night! We estimate that they're about 300 strong!"
...Then the Dias Knights in the Gran Plain were a decoy!? Damn it! Set up the main defenses in the center of the Fortress! We'll try to hold the north end where they're strongest, then deal with the ones inside!
Music: Impending Crisis
We return to the fortress, which is not on fire at all. The stairs aren't blocked, either.
That man the Sergeant saw must have been an enemy spy. They probably timed their strike with Field Marshal Viola's troops leaving for the plain.
We can consider that later. Right now, our primary focus is defending this fortress. Right, and to do that, we have to stop the enemy from getting in! Contact all the squad leaders! Have them send their men around! Go!
We need to go too! We have to drive them back, no matter what!
The fortress is crawling with Granorg soldiers now. It's worth fighting them to get Rosch's level up to match the rest of the party. (I didn't do this because I'm dumb and also lazy)
We need to get to the fortress' north exit, on the third floor. There aren't any enemies around the stairs, so if you run straight for your objective, you only pass two or three enemies.
Another handy feature of Mana Sight is to reveal those damn traps I step on all the time. Unfortunately, you need to get pretty close before they'll show up, so if you're moving too fast you might run into them anyway.
...That's all of them. Looks like we managed to drive them back.
It's not over yet.
Rosch turns to face the exit.
Damn it, they're persistent! We can't let any of them get into the Fortress!
Our situation must have reached Field Marshal Viola by now, so I'm sure she'll come back. We just have to hang in there a little while longer!
Wow, it pays to have optimistic subordinates. But Kiel's right... That one's the commander! Take him down!
Music: The Red Locus
We're up against a Grey Shadow, two soldiers, and two archers.
On his first turn the Grey Shadow always puts down a Power Zone in the middle column. Once it wears off, he puts another one down.
You don't want to let the enemies stay in the Power Zone. Note that he did 165 damage to Rosch, the guy with silly amounts of defense.
The Archers use Guard Up, prioritizing the Grey Shadow. You want to take them out pretty quickly, because Guard Up is severely obnoxious. When it's active, Stocke's attacks only deal 1 damage to the Grey Shadow.
Unfortunately, because of the Power Zone it's not really safe to change turns with the enemies, and moving enemies off the Power Zone needs to be a higher priority than making big combos, so the battle kind of drags on and is really uninteresting.
Music: To the Future that Awaits Ahead
Our orders were to defend the Fortress. We can't abandon our post.
Looks like we managed to defend the Fortress... Now all we need is Viola's safe return...
Field Marshal Viola! You're safe!?
I should be asking you the same question. Are you all right?
My subordinates helped us get through this.
Good, you can tell me more once we get inside. I can only say that because of the success we owe to you and your men. You honor our country with your service. Now, come.
The screen pans to the north.
"We had the bombs set in place. I know it! ...Damn, the mission has failed! Sound the retreat!"
I prevented the explosions, and we got rid of the troops that got into the Fortress... Hopefully we avoided the worst- case scenario. Still, we can't relax yet...
The moment I realized the troops in the Gran Plain were a decoy, I cursed my carelessness... But even amid such chaos, your men defended the Fortress admirably. You are indeed the Young Lion of Alistel. I'm impressed.
Your praise is an honor. But all I did was accomplish the mission.
Dias, the enemy knight commander, was on the front lines in the plain. But it seems that Count Selvan's troops were the ones given the covert sabotage operation... It was truly my mistake to have fallen for it...
...It's in the past. If there's a prize that needs only to be taken, you gain nothing by holding back. Had I been in your shoes, I would have marched to Dias without a second thought.
Had your brigade not arrived, this Fortress would be theirs now... This must be the fruits of the Prophet Noah's guidance... To respond in kind, I will inform headquarters of this victory personally.
Thank you very much, but... Well... Please don't go to any trouble to exaggerate the briefing...
...Haha, indeed. Their rumor mill can be truly dreadful. If a rumor were to put one of the dignitaries in a foul mood...
N-No no no! That's not what I was implying...!
Don't worry. I understand. ...Now, please take the rest of the day to recuperate. Starting tomorrow, I will need to rely on you yet again.
You're free to go. Dismissed. I hope you'll reward the efforts of your subordinates.
Yes, Sir! Thank you for your consideration. If you'll excuse me.
We leave and return to our quarters.
Music: Machinist Kingdom
"Ah, Captain! And Sergeant too! Look! Field Marshal Viola presented us with some vintage wine!"
Whoa... The Field Marshal may act like a hardliner, but she's just a softy underneath.
Well then, this calls for a toast! To the Young Lions of Alistel!
Oh come on... Can you cool it with the Young Lions thing?
Sorry, but even Field Marshal Viola's troops have caught on. If Field Marshal Viola is the Valkyrie, then Captains Rosch and Stocke are the Young Lions!
And for the record, I think it's very fitting! I'm just happy to fight under such amazing leadership!
Young Lions, eh? I think it's got a nice ring to it! Why can't you two just accept praise and move on? Doesn't it feel good every once in a while?
It's thanks to you two that we survived the day. A toast to our captains!
*sigh* Okay, okay. Just don't let it get out of hand, guys.
A few days later...
Kiel runs in from the north.
What's the matter, Kiel?
Field Marshal Viola and the Captain would like to have a word with you in the hall.
All right. I'll head right over.
Ah, there you are. I know this is going to sound sudden... But I've been ordered to return to Alistel.
...Well, that is rather sudden, considering we were just sent here.
Just you, though, Captain?
Yeah... Looks that way.
I reported your remarkable service in the fort's defense to headquarters the other day. It seems General Hugo was quite moved. My understanding is that they plan to celebrate your victory with some pomp and circumstance.
But why single me out? The entire brigade performed admirably. And we never would have succeeded were it not for Stocke.
Yeah? What's up, Stocke?
Stocke pulls Rosch aside
Do you remember our conversation from the other day?
We can't rule out the possibility that Hugo is scheming something.
...You're right. I'll be careful.
The screen fades to white
The soldier turns to sand, and the screen fades to black.
Rosch turns to face the others.
That reminds me. You should come along too, Kiel.
M-Me? But I'm practically still a new recruit, Captain... I believe Sergeant Stocke should go instead.
Come on, use your head. If he comes with me, who's going to look after the men that are still stationed here?
Go on. It's not like you should be arguing with the Captain's orders, anyway.
That's right, Kiel. Someone needs to pick up that medal in Stocke's stead.
...U-Understood! I'll perform my duty as the Sergeant's stand-in to the best of my ability!
It looks like everything's been taken care of, then.
Viola turns to face Rosch.
Don't worry about your men. I'll look after them too. I'm sure the Sergeant would appreciate any help he can get.
Thank you for your consideration, Field Marshal Viola.
Don't mention it. Anything for the Young Lion of Alistel, right?
As I said before, I'd appreciate if you didn't call me that...
Haha, I was just teasing. Now, you should depart immediately for Alistel. Hold your head up high, and stand proud to the public.
Yes, Sir! Well then, we'll head out.
I-Is something wrong, Sergeant Stocke...?
I want you to be cautious around General Hugo. Don't let Rosch out of your sight.
Huh...? What do you mean?
...General Hugo may dislike us.
B-But... How could General Hugo... Sergeant, you shouldn't say such things to such fragile young recruits. We--
U-Understood...! I don't see the big picture, but I'll be vigilant! And I'll stay right at the Captain's side!
...I'm counting on you.
Music: To the Battlefield
"And the Divine Judgement...?"
I'm not making sculptures to be displayed in the square, you know. The worst fate for men like me is to expect us to be satisfied without using our creations. How much longer are you going to force me to go on this way?
Who knows...? I recall you saying once you'd be happy as long as you could continue your research.
Grrr...! That's not the point!
If that isn't the point, Fennel, I advise you to stop trying our patience and come to it.
Fine, fine. I'll just ask. Why won't you send my thaumachines into the front lines? I keep hearing they're being saved for your own personal troops. Which, for all intents and purposes, means they may as well be sculptures!
Army policy must consider the long view.
Stop! Enough! That's not what I want to hear! I've barely had a scrap of useful combat data for several months. I demand more.
What I mean is, now is not the time to focus on manufacturing these things.
And what will you do when the mass-produced models have a critical flaw!? Theory isn't practice! A weapon isn't truly usable until there's data that supports it! Mechanical improvements, made little by little--that's what will create the perfect weapon! And for that I need data. Raw data, as much as I can get.
Hah... You're truly a difficult one to please. No wonder you're the most celebrated thaumatech engineer in Vainqueur.
General, I came here for one reason. I was told that I'd be able to do all the research I pleased. If my work is going to continue to be held back by the military's pigheadedness...
...... ...What do you want me to do?
I've been telling you... I want data. I'm not picky. Can't you dispatch a large force soon?
A typically troublesome demand...
...But is it really? Our recent skirmish at the Sand Fortress... It didn't go how we planned, but from another perspective, it would be a perfect opportunity.
Are you saying to take our losses in stride and keep pressing the frontline forward?
Yes, exactly... Then we can give Fennel here what he wants. And if you play your cards right, General Hugo, you can achieve some of your own dreams... Or are you still going to claim that there's a reason to draw out the war?
...There's nothing for it, then. I'll have to go with that. We'll have the Rosch Brigade make the first move and deploy four thaumachines to the Fortress.
Humhum... That would be excellent. I must hurry and make the necessary preparations. Ah, data! The beautiful crystals of promise and potential...
A flash of white, and...
Music: The Melody Connecting the World
You've returned, Stocke... You did a good job finding the bombs set up by Granorg. But a new threat unlike anything you've encountered thus far draws near. Please be careful, Stocke. ...Let us now add a new chapter to the White Chronicle.
Stocke climbs the stairs and enters the door on the right...