Part 16: FlightMusic: Where the Wind and Feathers Return
The news from the Sand Fortress spread like wildfire across Alistel... And those who had pinned their hopes on Rosch, Alistel's Young Lion, were filled with sorrow. He scarcely survived the battle at Gran Plain, thanks to Stocke's intervention... His condition was too critical to be treated at the infirmary set up in the Sand Fortress. Stocke escorted him to the hospital inside the Alistel castle walls... Little realizing that one man in the nation received the tragic news with delight...
Will he make it?
"...We'll do all we can."
The doctor goes down the hall to the left.
Is it true that Rosch was severely injured!?
You need to calm down, Sonja.
But what happened!?
I'll explain later. Right now, you need to save Rosch. He was on the verge of death, but he never gave up. He's survived this far. You're the only one that can save him now!
I'll do it! I'll keep him alive, whatever it takes!
Sonja continues down the hall, in same direction the other doctor went, and Stocke begins to leave the basement.
"Captain Rosch regained consciousness for a moment. He asked me to give you a message."
What was it?
That day... our brigade... We were... ambushed... they knew about the operation... already... They said... it was a contract... with "that man"... You have to tell... Lt. General Raul...
"That's all he got out before falling unconscious again."
"Well, that's the message. I'd better get back to surgery."
Ah, Stocke... I'm not sure what to say. Welcome back, in any case. I'm glad that at least you and the others returned safely. But Rosch...
He'll live. You can be sure of that... I have a message from him, from when he briefly regained consciousness.
Wounded as he is and he still woke up!? It must have been extremely important that he get it to me... What was the message?
Music: To the Battlefield
...I see. Do you have any guesses who this man might be?
...Why ask me? I thought you'd have figured it out instantly.
I'm only human. There are times when I want to know someone agrees with me... Especially up against a man so powerful.
...One man drafted this operation and assigned it to Rosch.
Then it's General Hugo after all. This is the sort of grand gesture he'd favor. But we have no proof. The document you showed me proves that the operation was leaked to Granorg, yes. But nothing in it ties the leak to General Hugo.
Then we find proof. ...I was a Specint man once. I have certain methods.
Stocke... Are you volunteering to do this?
Are any of your men fit for the job?
Point. So, do you have any leads?
Rosch mentioned something about a contract. I'll search Hugo's room to see if I can turn up anything related to this contract.
...Sometimes I'm very relieved that you're on our side. But given who we're dealing with, it's highly probable that he's already destroyed any evidence.
Well, standing around doesn't do us any good. We must do what we can. Who knows? Perhaps he's arrogant enough to have left something...
You're right. It's a decent plan to start with.
I also suspect that Heiss may be assisting Hugo in this. We'll eventually need to look into him, too...
Hmm... I suppose it's been long enough now that he's not doing this out of revenge. Heiss must be playing a deeper game here. ...In any event, everything depends on what you do now.
I know. First on the agenda is Hugo.
He's always visiting the Prophet Noah at this hour... He won't be in his office.
I'll need to hurry, then. I should search there at once.
Stocke leaves the office.
You've gone beyond the pale, General... And I will not turn a blind eye this time.
(I need to get this done before he comes back.)
Before we go into Hugo's office, we check every other office in the building. Every office has a hidden chest we can get now that we have Mana Sight. It's mostly junk, but we do find a Rhapsody, a pretty good knife for Aht.
We also stop by the reception desk for another sidequest.
"This is the reception desk. Oh, Stocke! I have another scouting job for you. Will you help me?"
I'll do it.
Make it quick.
"Oh, are you in a hurry...? Okay, then.
This time, I want you to recruit two mercenaries. Currently, we're not accepting volunteers, but... Lt. General Raul wants to make an exception for these two. One is Ditto, who is working as a bodyguard in the desert city of Skalla. The other is Cygnus' strongest gladiator Gadeff. It seems Gadeff won't talk to anyone unless they're strong. If you find a way to talk to them, ask them if they want to work for Alistel. I know you won't be able to get to the Cygnus region so easily. We're not in a hurry here, so don't push yourself too hard if you have other pressing matters."
(...Cygnus, huh. It looks like this job won't be easy... I should contact him if I can go to Cygnus, even if it isn't in this timeline...)
It'll be awhile before we can recruit these guys.
Now that we've done that, we can go to Hugo's office.
Heiss appears out of thin air.
Stocke swings his sword, but Heiss dodges.
Why so surprised? This is just one of the countless techniques you don't know about. But on the subject, I would have expected Raul to try something more devious... I'm surprised he's playing this one so by the book. It can only mean that he's cornered...
You're here for that confidential letter... The one proving Hugo conspired with the enemy commander to leak Rosch's movements. Isn't that right? I regret to inform you that said document is in my possession just now.
That's the look I've been waiting for... I'll let you have this on one condition. Come work under me again. If you do that, this is yours.
I'll throw in the answer to that question as well, to sweeten the deal, if you accept my terms.
A wise decision.
Heiss approaches Stocke, and...
Heh heh... That's my boy...
Heiss starts teleporting (?) around the room, while Stocke chases him around, trying to cut him.
(This video also includes the bit with Stocke chasing Heiss around, since it's hard to show with screenshots.)
Fight me... The intensity of your hatred will surely have an effect on history.
Heiss' basic attack hits twice, for minimal damage. He also has an attack called Blood Pain, which drains a moderate amount of HP from Stocke.
The default format of this battle is for Heiss and Stocke to alternate turns. Instead of sticking with that, I use Change and Turn Break to give myself six turns in a row.
After setting my turns up, I alternate Air Assault and Power Wave, so Heiss takes three hits for every two of Stocke's attacks. I beat Heiss in a single combo this way.
It seems you've learned a few tricks. Even more interesting...
He's strong... So this is what Heiss is really capable of...
"Hey, did you hear that?"
"It came from over here!"
Unwanted visitors... They always ruin things.
Stocke leaps forward, and swings his sword at Heiss, catching him off guard.
Stocke grabs the document and vanishes into thin air, as Heiss did before.
I'm taking this document with me.
He mastered that technique after seeing it in only one battle... ...... Heh heh... That's my boy! That's what I expect from a true wielder of the White Chronicle!
What are you up to, sneaking into my office like this!?
Nothing at all. There was just... a rat I was trying to get rid of.
A rather slippery one, alas. He got away.
That's impossible...! How could you have let him escape!?
Hmph... Don't you think the fault is yours? Leave around cheese, and you can expect rats. He completed his objective with flying colors.
Cheese...? No... That document...!
You really ought to destroy that sort of thing immediately. If you keep it around forever, this is what happens.
It was evidence of the secret treaty I had with them... I couldn't destroy it until they kept their end of the bargain. That's why it was written in a cipher.
Ah... So you were thinking ahead. But that doesn't change the fact that they have their eye on you. I'm sure you already know who started this mess... It won't be easy to clean up.
You don't have to tell me twice.
Hugo turns to the soldiers behind him (Who I guess aren't bothered at all by this suspicious conversation?)
Seal the city at once. Don't let this rat escape! And assign someone to keep an eye on Lt. General Raul!
"On Lt. General Raul...!? U-Um... Are you sure?"
Are you questioning my orders?
"R-Right away, Sir!"
The soldiers leave.
...Well, I'll be on my way. I assume you'd rather be alone with all the thinking you have to do.
I can't wait to see what he does with that power now that he's awakened...
The power of Vanish has been unsealed!
Vanish is the single most useful skill in the game. When active, Stocke turns invisible to enemies (he's visible, with an aura, on the player's screen), making it easy to avoid combat. Stocke's MP is constantly drained while Vanish is active, and he can't move objects like barrels around or swing his sword. While Vanish is active, enemies won't chase you, and it's actually impossible to initiate combat, even if you rub your face all over the enemy.
Now that we've got Vanish we can get past the palace guards in the Standard Timeline. But we're going to continue in this timeline until our next roadblock, as usual.
"We're to kill him on sight!"
"We've been told that Lt. General Raul may be harboring the collaborator. We must go after the collaborator with everything we have if we hope to save face!"
The screen pans slightly to the right.
Those soldiers aren't very good at this searching thing, are they? He was standing right there, behind the pillar!
(I wasn't expecting them to go directly after Lt. General Raul like this though... I can't stay in Alistel. Rosch will be in danger as long as he's in the hospital here, too... I'll have to take him.)
We're automatically moved into the basement. Vanish is pictured above. It's represented by the foot icon in the corner. After playing with Vanish a bit, we enter Sonja's office.
Stocke runs into the room.
Something urgent's come up.
Stocke! What's going on?
Was Rosch's operation successful?
Yes... I saved him, but... I couldn't save his Gauntlet...
Sonja... I'm sorry. We'll talk later. I don't have the time now. I need to take Rosch and leave immediately!
Wh-What are you saying!? Rosch is in no condition to be moved! If you take him out of here--
He'll die if I don't!
......! What in the world is going on?
Look at this!
It's a written order for the ambush of Rosch's brigade. A Granorgite soldier had it.
My god... Someone set a trap for Rosch?
Hugo, most likely. I'm going on the assumption that the entire army is our enemy. That's why I need your help. They'll certainly be here soon.
...I understand. I'll get him ready to leave.
(I'm worried about Lt. General Raul too, but for now, I can only save Rosch... Dammit! I wish we could leave Alistel under better circumstances.)
Sonja turns to Rosch, and the screen fades to black.
Stocke and Sonja are slowly leaving the city with Rosch, supporting him on their shoulders. The soldiers that are supposed to be searching for us must be really bad at their jobs, because there's no way you wouldn't notice two people carring a giant, unconscious man in bright red armor as they slowly walk down the city's main street.
Let's hurry and get out of the city before they find us.
I can take him from here. You need to stay in Alistel.
No! I'm the only one who can treat Rosch right now. I'm coming, and that's final!
...It'll be difficult.
Nothing could be harder than being separated from you and Rosch. It's all right. I'm prepared for whatever we'll face.
All right, then.
Do you have an idea of where we should go?
I'll reach out to Field Marshal Viola at the Sand Fortress. She may be sympathetic.
The Sand Fortress!? Out of the question! Rosch will never survive the journey! He's in a very delicate state right now. We need to let him rest, if only a little bit...
...You're right. For now, we only need to slip past our pursuers. Let's head south.
They continue to the south, and...
Oh no! Someone's finally noticed us!
(But can I hold them off on my own?)
(Ah, Kiel... He'd have a good laugh if he could see me now. After I promised him and all...)
Sonja! Take Rosch and go on ahead! I'll deal with our pursuers!
By yourself!? Stocke, don't be absurd!
I defied the man who controls Alistel. I'll have to get a little absurd to survive that. Am I wrong?
Don't worry. I won't let them lay a finger on you or Rosch. Now go.
"There they are! Over there!"
We're put into a battle with two soldiers. They lay down Power Zones, but as long as you keep them off the zones, they're no trouble.
Sonja carries Rosch into the shade and lays him down.
Hang in there, Rosch... I know Stocke will help us.
Sonja turns to look at the beast man.
Damn, that's a lot of corpses.
"I don't believe this guy! He's inhuman! Y-You monster!"
Stocke slowly takes a few steps forward.
"Aaaagh! Get back! Don't come near me!"
That's right... *pant*... I need to... get to Sonja and...
There he is! Over there! That must be the man that the lady we helped was talking about!
Funny thing. For this entire scene Aht's name is listed as "????", even though we already know her name, and it's impossible to see this scene without meeting her in the other timeline.
Blond hair and red clothes... He does seem to be the one.
Hurry! We need to help him! He's hurt real bad!
Calm down. ...Did he face off against all these enemies by himself?
I will. But are you sure about this?
About bringing outsiders, especially humans, into Celestia.
We can't leave anyone who's hurt like this. And...
There's something creepy around. I wanna hurry and go home.
...... If you say so, then we'll hurry back.
What is it?
Now that I see him up close... He looks really cool!
...Is that the real reason you were so bent on saving him?
The screen fades to white.
Music: The Melody Connecting the World
Are you all right, Stocke?
...I'm still alive, it seems.
Somehow, yes... You don't shy away from pushing your limits, do you?
What about Rosch and Sonja? Are they safe?
You will discover that for yourself once you wake up. Let us now add a new chapter to the White Chronicle.
Stocke climbs the stairs, and enters the door on the right...