Part 28: The Dias KnightsMusic: Beyond the Wilderness
We run into a cutscene immediately to the north of the entrance to Itolia Wasteland.
Music: Impending Crisis
Arrows rain from the sky in front of us.
It's an ambush!
Ballistas...! I can't believe they're here! Dias' bowmen units must have brought them along!
If they had such large-scale weapons ready to go...
...Then they were planning to attack Cygnus from the start. Either way, we must do something about the ballistas! If we don't, the main forces from Cygnus won't be able to advance!
They'll find us more slippery than they expected, but the main force will be sitting ducks...
The arrows seem to be coming from the west!
We need to find and destroy those ballistas before the main force arrives from Cygnus! And don't let yourself get hit by the arrows while you're at it!
We have to avoid falling arrows as we proceed to the west. Each time we get hit our entire party (including inactive members) takes 50 damage, like the boulders at Judgement Cliff. Oddly, the boulders were weirdly malevolent and hunted us down, while the arrows here that are being fired by people who can (presumably) aim fall in random places.
If we try to proceed directly north to where Dias is, we hit some plot rocks (seen in the upper-left) that can't be destroyed, and some ordinary rocks. There are no explosives around, so the only place we can go is west.
There's two ballistas here!
All right. Let's destroy them!
This area doesn't really have anything of interest other than the two ballistas and tons of soldiers.
The ballistas function as wooden shields that can actually attack.
These arrows are about ten times smaller than the ones on the map, and also burst into flame on contact. They're a small threat to weak characters like Aht and Eruca, but the ballistas really aren't anything to worry about, their guard zones are the more obnoxious part of the battle.
One more ballista left!
This is the only ballista, and it's clearly not firing any arrows. Despite this, arrows the size of spears are still dropping from the sky.
Geez, it's almost like video games often have weird and unexplained quirks that exist for the sake of gameplay despite having no reasonable in-universe explanation.
Like the wooden shields they're clearly a sprite edit of, the ballistas are vulnerable to fire. The game cuts to Dias after we destroy both ballistas.
"Reporting in, High Colonel Dias!"
Well? Has the refuse of Cygnus been disposed with?
"A-About that... The ballistas that the bowmen to the west brought have been destroyed."
It seems I've been too lenient... ...... Deploy the eastern ballistas with all haste!
"At once, High Colonel!"
The soldier leaves to the east.
Garland, you worm... How dare you!?
But the boulders are still in our way! Even if Garland and his men get here, we're stuck!
We have no choice. Let's go back for now.
The first time I played this I went directly west without going north and seeing the boulders. Raynie's line here is a little confusing when you didn't see them and have no idea what she's talking about.
Anyway, we head back east to where we entered.
Garland? What are you doing here? You're not up until later.
I brought you guys a present!
I got word from my men that those bastards set up boulders to block your way. It doesn't matter how strong you are if you can't get near the enemy.
Geez! What were you gonna do if you got attacked carrying those explosives out here!?
You can't expect me to sit back and watch while you guys march into danger.
All right! Let's hold off Dias up north! Our surprise will be showing up soon!
I didn't omit any screenshots where Stocke walks closer to Garland, they've just been shouting at each other from across the map.
I'm kinda looking forward to it. Anyways, we just gotta hold off Dias until then!
We drag one of the barrels up to the non-plot rocks and blow them up. You can kind of see another barrel on the other side, so we can get back if we need to.
There are two Gutrals to the east, but we can't interact with them in any way. If we try to talk to them or walk by them, Stocke just says he doesn't have time for this.
If we proceed to the north, we find a cave. Garland catches up to us when we go inside. (Getting sick of Impending Crisis yet?)
We're almost to the north area. Once you deal with the men up ahead, come back immediately. If you take too long, you'll miss all the excitement.
The excitement, huh?
It's not missing it I mind... So much as the danger of being caught in it ourselves.
So let's beat them real quick and hurry back here!
Then we just need to take out the enemies up ahead?
That's right. We have to hold this area. I'll leave the other side to you.
There are two more ballistas to the north of the cave. The enemy placements that accompany them are a little more difficult than the other ballistas, but they're still not a problem.
Also in this area is an invisible chest containing a Poisoner's Scroll for Raynie. After we destroy both ballistas, the game cuts back to Dias again.
"High Colonel Dias! The ballistas deployed to the east have been destroyed as well!"
That Garland... He's suspiciously skilled for an ex-mercenary!
"The enemy will soon be at our base. Your orders, Sir?"
No more parlor games! We'll intercept them here! Reinforce the perimeter guard!
I believe so. All right, let's get back to Garland and the others.
We do so.
You don't have to shout, Garland, I'm standing right here.
Are you ready?
Good! Now we'll wait for the whirlwinds to come...
The screen starts to shake.
Oh...! Here they are!
Music: To the Battlefield
What are you doing!? Hasn't the rabble of Cygnus been dealt with yet!? If they break through here, they'll gain enough momentum to proceed to Granorg! We must hold the line!
The screen starts to shake.
Wh... What the--!?
"High Colonel Dias! There's something coming this way!"
What in high heaven are you babbling on about!?
There's a... flash, for some reason...?
"High Colonel Dias!"
More cyclones appear in a flash! (I'm pretty sure that's not how wind works, Atlus.)
Th-This is...! Garland has played us for fools!
Dias screams as the screen fades to white.
Palomides: Are you all right, High Colonel?
That Garland... This was his aim from the outset!
Some advice: if you're going to fight on someone else's turf, do your research first.
Ngh...! I can't believe I was taken in so!
In proper RPG fashion, our party steps out of Stocke's body.
P-Princess Eruca...! What are you doing here!?
I see... So that is where things stand... No wonder our most diligent searches failed to unearth your whereabouts... I would never have foreseen your joining forces with Cygnus.
Dias... The tide has turned against you. Lay down your weapon. It benefits no one to continue fighting.
Hahaha... Now that is amusing! I haven't a hope of victory, you say? And here I thought the betrayal of your homeland was grand jest enough for one day, princess!
I cannot tolerate my stepmother's tyranny any longer.
So you intend to take her place? Fie to you! I'll show you the folly of taking that tone with me, you--
Palomides: High Colonel Dias... I judge from the current state of affairs that we are at a disadvantage. You must retreat for now to devise our next operation. We will carry out the rest.
...Very well, Palomides. I leave this in your capable hands.
Palomides: Hm? You in the red... I feel as though we've met before. It's the strangest feeling...
Stocke...? Have you ever fought him before?
Yes... It was a while ago, but the Executioner taught me a valuable lesson or two. But it won't happen twice...!
Palomides: Ngh... I don't know how, but I can sense... You are an opponent not to be taken lightly! I must defeat you at all costs!
Palomides: I am Palomides, the Executioner! Let our battle begin!
Boss: Palomides and Gardner
Music: The Red Locus
(This video isn't one of my best. I could have beaten them a lot faster, but I had already rerecorded this video too many times due to technical issues, so I settled for this take.)
We finally get to battle Palomides, along with his partner Gardner. Palomides has high physical defense, and Gardner has high magic defense. They're both weak to electricity, but Gardner takes more damage from physical attacks, despite this.
They're a little dangerous, especially to weaker characters like Aht. Gardner can inflict Curse, which stops you from using items.
Gardner can also create two-space Heal Zones (You can't really tell it's two spaces though, because Palomides is gigantic), so a lot of the battle will be pushing them around to keep them from healing themselves.
Palomides and Gardner both take up two spaces on the grid, which can be used to our advantage.
Since they take up two spaces each, they both occupy the middle column at all times, so they're easy to push together onto traps. This screenshot also demonstrates their defenses, you can see Gardner took a lot more damage from Stocke's push, but Palomides took more damage from Aht's trap.
Since it's so easy to push them together and Palomides does more damage, I focused on pushing them into traps until I finished off Palomides. Even though Gardner takes less damage from traps, he still ends up pretty severely damaged by the time Palomides is dead, so it's easy to finish him off.
This battle can be pretty hard if you let Palomides live for too long, but once he's dead it's easy to finish off Gardner.
We beat him...! The dreaded Executioner Palomides!
Palomides glows black.
Palomides: My strength is... fading... I see... I'm already...
And then he turns into sand.
What in the-- Did he just turn into sand!?
(So... He was affected by the Black Chronicle's power too. Exactly how far does its power reach...?)
Wh-What's wrong, Raynie?
Dias is gone! He got away!
We couldn't help it. Our hands were full dealing with Palomides...
Music: To the Future that Awaits Ahead
The Dias Knights were fierce opponents... But we have won the day! It's a shame that their leader escaped, but I wouldn't follow him too doggedly. You never know what kind of ambush he'll have left for us along his escape route. No, we should return to the castle and prepare ourselves for the next battle.
Indeed, I couldn't agree more.
Then let's hurry and treat our wounded. Once that's done, we'll return to Cygnus.
After the battle, tension between Cygnus and Granorg heightened immensely. Granorg saw the incident as an act of war... A full-scale clash between the two countries was drawing near.
...Wondering if this may have been a mistake? If you hadn't met me or Eruca, you might not have found yourself an enemy of Granorg.
That's ridiculous. I'm set in my ways. This would've happened before long regardless. Plus... It's not such a bad thing to have Princess Eruca owe my nation a debt of gratitude. I'll be repaid in kind after she's coronated queen of Granorg, I'm sure.
...I see... I have a favor to ask. ...Will you take care of Eruca and Aht?
What do you mean?
We're planning to march into Granorg by ourselves.
Hey now...! What's this about?
The keys to this coup are the three major figures of Granorg. Queen Protea, Count Selvan and his assembly, and the military leader Dias. If they all need to be dealt with, then the three of us can handle it ourselves. We won't go looking for fights. All we'd need is backup to help get us in the door. It'll help keep your casualties to a minimum, as well.
...I see your point, but... Sneaking into the castle? That's too risky.
Not necessarily. That's what we've been trained to do.
Remember that Princess Eruca will be ruling Granorg in the near future. When you consider that, we can't bring her along in good conscience. As for Aht, she has no reason to be involved in this.
There's no point trying to stop us. We do this kind of thing all the time.
Then I'll come too! I can't just let you all...
If you're gone, who will unify Cygnus?
...... ...You really won't reconsider?
I believe this to be the best way.
Thanks for everything!
Please look after the princess!
Stocke, Raynie and Marco leave.
Awww, she found us.
Aht... Go back to Eruca.
...Nuh-uh. I'm gonna go wherever you go, Stocke!
I don't want you following us around!
Stocke leaves the city.
...Our mission this time really is a hazardous one. That's why we three are the only ones who are going. You understand, don't you?
We'll make sure to come back for you once the job's done. Sorry, Aht.
Raynie and Marco follow Stocke.
Music: Where the Wind and Feathers Return
We've still got a li'l shadow.
...Turn back. Nothing good can come of you traveling with us.
That's not true!
It's not... ...I only want to be with you, Stocke... *sniffle* *sob*
...All right. I understand. You don't need to cry.
????: Not very manly of you, leaving a little girl in tears.
Eruca!? Why are you here?
King Garland told me everything. Stocke... You're too self- centered. I know I sought your help... But I never intended for you to do all the work!
This isn't just a matter of governance, about who'll be the one to succeed the throne... It concerns the extermination of this entire continent. It affects everyone of all races. So tell me... Why do you insist on carrying such a tremendous burden yourself?
We're on your side. You can lean on us more than you are.
...All right. Aht, Eruca... We'll go together.
...Thank you, Stocke.
Oh, in that case... Could we stop by the desert town of Skalla up ahead? I'm supposed to meet someone there.
There's no need to worry. You can trust them. If we can gain their cooperation, we'll have quite an advantage against Granorg.
There'll be no need for that. We're going to assassinate Protea. Once the three key figures, Protea included, are eliminated, the war will be over.
That won't do! Even if the queen is assassinated, nothing will change by acting in secret! All they have to do is claim that her health prevents her from appearing, and we gain nothing. Worse, if those three were to die, others would soon take their place. The status quo would remain. To prevent that, we must fight in plain sight so that the people will know who the victor is!
(I see... Eruca is keeping a sound perspective on all this. For a better tomorrow, it may be necessary to do this the hard way...)
...All right. The desert town of Skalla it is. Let's get moving.
Music: The Melody Connecting the World
You chose wisely, going back to stop the information from being leaked to Granorg. Consequently, you saved that man's life as well. Keep up the good work, Stocke. ...Let us now add a new chapter to the White Chronicle.
Tune in next time, when we start Chapter 6 of the Standard History, and begin the most important sidequest in the game. (Well, it's important for gameplay, at least.)