Part 15: A Meeting too Late
Chapter 2 begins with a scene in the Alma Mine.
Music: Shadows Dance in the Darkness
Here we are again.
Some irony, huh? Using the secret passage the enemy made to get an advantage over them...
Rosch turns to address the men.
All right, let's go over the operational details. We're here to scout out the enemy forces for our invasion of Gran Plain.
But... will it work?
I mean, won't the enemy expect us to use the secret passage?
There's always that possibility. Actually... There's no way they wouldn't anticipate it. But the enemy is focused on the Sand Fortress right now. They don't have many troops to spare. So we can probably accomplish this mission with a small brigade. ...That's what headquarters thinks, anyway.
I see... So that's why they're not sending many troops.
Yeah. The order came down from General Hugo himself. It seems he has faith in our skills.
The ceremony the other day sure was amazing... We need to live up to his trust in us!
Well, don't get too excited. This is still a dangerous mission. We'll start things off with a diversionary force from the Fortress. The enemy will obviously respond by sending out their soldiers, which lets us see their numbers. Once we've checked that, we'll briefly rendezvous with the diversion force and retreat. Any questions?
All right, then let's go!
Are you all right?
I've just got a scratch in my throat, that's all...
Th-That sounds serious...!
...Don't make such a fuss. It's nothing.
Music: To the Battlefield
Moving on, I'll outline your next mission. We just received word from HQ that the main force is prepared now to make a move. Rosch's brigade has entered Gran Plain from the path through Alma Mine.
That's the same route the enemy used back then... What should we do?
Stocke's brigade will enter the Gran Plain from the Fortress and rendezvous there with Rosch's. Once you've made contact, retreat quickly and bring Rosch's intel back to headquarters. That is your mission.
The prototype thaumachines will finally see actual combat in this operation. Once we have reliable intel on the enemy's position and numbers, we'll attack in force.
We're using thaumachines, huh? Then this really is a serious operation! As I recall, thaumachines aren't effective at scouting since they need so much energy to move. So our strategy is to pinpoint the enemy's position and send them into the targeted area?
Right. You've done your homework, Marco.
O-Oh, no... It's nothing special, haha...
We'll also send a diversionary force from the Fortress during the operation. They'll cover you and Rosch during your retreat.
Where's the rendezvous point?
To the west of the plains. Specifically, an area a little south and to the west.
That's quite a distance... They won't be cornered by the enemy there, will they?
No need to worry. We've planned this operation carefully as far as that goes.
...All right. Raynie, Marco. Let's go.
We'll be counting on you.
Now that we're in control, we turn around and speak to Viola again.
You don't look well. You should get some rest.
You don't need to tell me. I get all the rest I can afford. ...By the way. I collected some materials for that book idea that you mentioned earlier. They're stories that the Prophet Noah told me.
Obtained Viola's Diary
Stocke takes a moment to flip through the pages.
This... This is your personal journal.
After much thought, I concluded that my journal was probably the most factual account. I lived my daily life alongside the Prophet Noah's words. So I think it would be best if you gave him my journal.
...It's quite detailed. Are you sure you don't mind this being public?
It is perhaps as you say. But I want to believe in the people living in Alistel. I'll let you decide how best to use the journal. It's my personal diary, a one of a kind resource. So use it wisely.
Alright, next time we're in the area, we can take this diary to the man in Alistel who asked for information on the Prophet Noah.
There's a group of thaumachines by the north exit. Rosch and his men are on the Gran Plain, so let's head in that direction.
Just to the north of the fortress is a patch of vines blocking a couple of chests. This Wisp Blade is a fantastic weapon at this point in the game, increasing both our Attack and Magic stats, and giving us 50 additional HP. The other chest has 2 Herbal Tea, which restore SP.
Music: Impending Crisis
We overhear some soldiers upon entering Gran Plain.
"Once we confirm their position and numbers, we'll move out! Until then, keep the prototype thaumachines ready to go at a moment's notice!"
We're going to rendezvous with Rosch and his men on the west side of the Gran Plain, right? I hope they haven't gone far...
Aah, they'll be fine if the Captain's with 'em. We should get going too.
Surprisingly, the enemies here are the same goblins and such that we saw the last time we were here. No soldiers, so far.
This is where the checkpoint was in the Standard History. We're able to proceed unimpeded in this timeline.
Enemy soldiers, dead ahead. We'll break through there.
We can't! Our mission was to--
If we don't go through there, we can't get to the west side.
Well... that's true. All right, I'll cover you.
See that you do.
"What!? We're under attack!"
Two more soldiers join the enemy line
"Wait... They're not part of the advance troop. Don't sweat it, men."
"Between this and the ones from earlier, it seems our forces are being underestimated..."
"We'll show you what a mistake that is!"
We're up against four generic soldiers. Not a very interesting fight, but it's a good opportunity to show off a new battle mechanic.
We recently learned Air Assault, an attack that launches the enemy into the air. They'll remain in the air for a single ally attack, unless you use Air Assault at the end of your combo, in which case they'll just drop back to the ground immediately. When the enemy lands, they take about half the damage they received while in the air. When the enemy hits the ground the combo meter does not rise.
After the battle, Marco hit level 19 and learned Area Heal, a very useful skill. It costs twice as much as Heal, and heals about the same amount, but to every character. In battle it heals all three participating characters, and out of battle it heals every single party member you have, whether they're in your battle party or not.
I feel much better knowing you've got my back.
Indeed! I always breathe easier when I'm fighting alongside you, Stocke!
The same goes for you two. But this took much longer than I thought. We need to pick up the pace.
This half of Gran Plain is crawling with Granorg soldiers. There's also a new enemy type here, pictured above.
These shields create guard zones in the columns they're located in, which disappear when the shield is destroyed. Since they're made of wood, they're weak to fire.
On the overworld, they don't chase you (of course) and can't be knocked out (of course). You have to run right into them to trigger a battle.
These plants are another new enemy type, and they're bad news. On their first turn, they self-destruct, dealing about 150 damage to a single party member. If you're not powerful enough to defeat them quickly, it's best to just run from the battle before they get a chance to explode.
I can't see Rosch anywhere!
You're from Rosch's brigade! What happened!?
"Ah... Sergeant... Thank goodness... Hurry... Th-The Captain... and the others... Save... them..."
The soldier collapses
Hang in there! Marc, don't just stand there, heal him!
What're you waiting for!? Hurry!
...It's no use, Raynie. He's... already dead.
"Lieutenant Stocke! I have a message for you!"
"Report from Field Marshal Viola! Granorg's army has arrived! The enemy's numbers are great, and they may be able to break through our lines!"
"I must return to my post now. Please excuse me!"
The soldier returns the way he came.
What should we do, Stocke?
(Ngh... What's the best course of action? If we don't hold the north, this is a losing battle. But doing that would mean leaving Rosch and his men behind. I have to think about this one carefully...)
I'm worried about Rosch too, but we need to concentrate on winning this battle. We'll head north and join up with the main force! We have to drive back Granorg's knights!
Music: To the Battlefield
With emotions running high, Stocke and the others rushed through the battlefield. After joining up with Viola, Stocke fought furiously at the heart of the struggle. His efforts resulted in Alistel gaining control over the Gran Plain. The battle did much to elevate Field Marshal Viola's standing in the kingdom... She became a powerful voice of authority, equal to that of General Hugo. But Stocke and the others paid a terrible price for their victory. Rosch never saw his home again. Stocke was requested to fill Rosch's shoes as a commanding officer. He would come to be known as the Lion General... But his new slate of duties left Stocke with no means to stop the world's desertification...
"The Lion General"
Music: The Melody Connecting the World
You made the best decision you could, as a military man. But destiny thought otherwise. Your choice didn't do enough to avert the world's end.
Your position as a commander took priority in this case... And the people who were key to saving the world died in battle.
The world still needs Rosch... And you do too. Stocke... Protect him.
We'll find Rosch's brigade and rendezvous with them, per the original plan. There's not much time! We need to hurry!
You're right! Let's go, Stocke!
Hmm... Do you hear something from over there...?
The screen pans south, and we hear sounds of battle.
Rosch is in danger! Let's go!
We run to the south.
Paelzen: I didn't think a whole brigade would go down this easy.
Paelzen: Huh... You're still alive. Well, don't think we're going to take you as a hostage. Our contract with the man was very specific... "Prove to me he's dead by bringing me his head." Farewell! Have fun with your men in the next life!
Stop right there!
Rosch! Kiel! Dammit... I'm coming to save you!
Music: The Red Locus
Our first priority in this battle is to burn up the shields and get rid of their Guard Zone. After that I focus on taking out the archers. On his own, Paelzen doesn't stand a chance.
After the battle, Stocke reaches level 21 and learns Double Slash. It's about as strong as two normal attacks, its main use is raising the combo counter. Raynie hit level 20 and learned Regenerate, which is a buff that affects all allies and restores a bit of HP each turn.
Stocke runs to Rosch's side.
Music: Where the Wind and Feathers Return
Hey! Hang in there!
Stocke... I'm... sorry.
Ngh...! ...What can I do? How can I save them? Do I change what happened here? But how...? Or... can this moment in history not be changed!?
Obtained Secret Document
It seems the plan was to lure Rosch's brigade here all along...
Wait... If I have their plans documented like this... Maybe I can tell someone that Rosch's brigade is in danger, and we can move out earlier. Then we can get here before it's too late!
Rosch, Kiel... Wait for me... I'll find a way to save you!
The screen pans north, and a node appears.
It would appear your movements were known to the enemy. What will you do now, Stocke?
I lifted this document off one of them. If I give it to the commander, that should do it.
I see. You hope to use their knowledge of your movements to your advantage this time.
...Very well. We'll leave the rest to you.
We use that node to return to the beginning of the chapter. After we recieve our orders, I talk to Viola.
Music: To the Battlefield
Before you say anything more, I want you to have a look at this.
Is this... a Granorg army military document? "Classified: Gran Plain Ambush operational directives"...! This is...! Did they really!? I can't believe this... ...Where did you get this, Lieutenant Stocke?
That's... ...I can't tell you exactly how. I still have connections from my Specint days. But you can trust the contents.
Yes, I'd forgotten you were once part of Special Intelligence.
Regardless, Field Marshal, we need to act quickly or Rosch and his men will be in danger.
...... ...You're right.
Viola turns to face the nearby soldier.
Activate the thaumachines post- haste! We will strike at once!
"But... They're not fully calibrated yet..."
Then get them calibrated! This is an emergency! I'll take all responsibility!
They'll be closing in on Rosch's brigade very soon. I'm going to head to Gran Plain and try to head them off.
That might be a good idea. We'll follow you as soon as we can.
(Stay alive, Rosch... I'll save you this time!)
It looks like they've already deployed two thaumachines.
Music: Impending Crisis
We're sending two thaumachines to the enemy's foothold! Follow me!
Viola, the soldiers, and the thaumachines charge to the north.
We should get going too! Time to bust some heads!
We're to meet up with Rosch and his men on the west side of Gran Plain, right? I hope they haven't gone far...
Yeah... Let's go.
This time when we pass the area where the checkpoint is in the other timeline, we see Viola.
After we secure this area, we're going to advance! You should hurry and join with the Rosch Brigade!
We proceed west and quickly hit the point where we encountered that group of five soldiers.
Looks like we've got this area locked down...
The camera pans around and shows us some soldiers and the thaumachines. There are no enemy soldiers in the area this time.
Rosch and his men should be up ahead. Let's go!
This cutscene remains unchanged. We're even given the option that can lead to a game over again. We choose to look for Rosch (of course) and head south.
Paelzen: But once we kill you, our mission will be complete. It's nothing personal, you understand!
The mission plan... was utterly blown...
C-Captain... I'm sure we'll get reinforcements from the Fortress...
Stocke rushes in and cuts down a soldier.
Paelzen: What!? There were survivors!?
Rosch! Are you okay?
You're not dead, are you, Kiel?
I-I'm all right... Somehow!
We'll be there right away!
Stocke attacks and pushes Paelzen out of the way.
You sure... took your time... getting here...
These wounds look pretty bad... Can you run?
Stocke, Rosch, and Kiel run to Raynie and Marco.
Paelzen: Wh... What are you waiting for!? Shoot them down!
We'll hold this place!
Don't worry! At the very least, we can buy you some time! Go! Hurry!
I leave it to you.
Similar to the choice of whether or not to rescue Aht in the Standard History, each choice has the same result. If we tell them they can't handle it, they convince Stocke to leave them anyway.
All right! Let's meet back in Alistel!
Raynie and Marco leave our party, and we run north.
Granorg is beginning to gain the upper hand. Both of our thaumachines are wrecked, and there are dead Alistellian soldiers everywhere.
A couple of Granorg soldiers run by.
"The enemy's wounded! They can't have gotten far!"
Music: To the Battlefield
I... won't make it... You two... need to run...
Don't talk that way, Captain! Raynie and Marco risked their lives so we could escape!
"Alistel's new weapon wasn't much. Keep searching for the enemy soldiers that escaped."
"I heard they're Alistel's Young Lions. They're pretty famous over there. If we can be the ones to finish them off here, we'll see promotions for sure."
"All right, start over there!"
Heavy-armored soldiers... This is getting... really bad...
I'll go draw their attention!
No, you moron... You think... I'd let you go and...
I'll be all right! I might not look like a fast runner, but I know I can get away fine! Sergeant, the Captain needs to survive this! I have this feeling that he's important to Alistel's future...
Stop that stuff about... important or unimportant... I don't care... about that...
Then as Rosch's adjutant, I'll take the role of decoy.
You can't, Sergeant. Only you can protect the Captain if something were to happen.
No... Leave me behind... Stocke... Take care of... the brigade... You can't... let Kiel throw away his life... playing decoy...
Don't get me wrong, Captain. I'm not seeking death. The heavy knights' armor slows them down enough that I could easily get away from them. And while I'm running, you two could slip away as well... This plan will work!
To hell... with that... I... won't...
C-Captain...!? Stay with us!
Calm down. He's just passed out.
Sergeant Stocke... Please make sure that our Captain gets back to Alistel. Reform the brigade and claim victory over Granorg!
Kiel, stop! I want you to take Rosch back.
Kiel takes a few steps forward.
That won't do. Even if I survive, I couldn't rebuild the brigade. Alistel is best served by having both Captain Rosch and Sergeant Stocke around... Hope will live on in Alistel as long as its Young Lions return!
The screen fades back in, and Kiel isn't there.
Music: Where the Wind and Feathers Return (Piano Arrangement)
"There he is! Over there!"
...I couldn't stop him... I knew it would be too dangerous, but I let him go...! If only there was a node here, I could redo this moment! What good is the White Chronicle if there's no node!?
...At the very least, I'll keep my promise to Kiel by saving Rosch. And someday... I'll come back here again... Even if I can't now... One day, I'll find a way!
Granorg soldiers surround Kiel.
Damn! Is this it...?
A soldier steps forward.
"Where's the rest of you!?"
Wh-Why would I tell you...?
The soldier pulls his fist back, and...
Brilliant animation. Clearly no expense was spared, it really looks like Kiel just got punched in the gut.
Gah... ...I'll never tell you...
"What...? Do you want to die that badly?"
The soldier punches Kiel a second time.
......! *gasp* *gasp* I won't let you...
Kiel draws his sword.
"Hah! What's a common grunt like you going to do about it?"
I won't let you... extinguish Alistel's last hopes...
I can't let you do that! Have a taste of the swordsmanship the Sergeant taught me! Rrrrraaaaagh!
*gasp* *gasp* I'm sorry... Sergeant... I... I can't go on...
Goodbye, Captain... Sergeant... We'll... meet again... someday... somewhere...