Part 59: Red Lions ReduxChapter 26: Red Lions Redux
(Or, "Turning Points")
I wish I could cut and run, but this is too big to ignore...
Do you know of it?
Nah. I've only seen it while I've been with you guys. But it's disgusting anyway.
I am really, really beating myself up for not finding some way to promote Selmer until now... And also for not buying Topaz Amulets last level. This sucks. Especially since I was talking about promoting Alicia too...
Whatever. I'll have to live with their asshole decision to throw a No-Errands level in right as everyone's hitting level 30. Sasha's promoted!
Sasha, what are you saying? You're from the center of this continent. That is quite a distance from the east, let alone Not-Japan. And wait, since when did she have the Master Sword?
Her newfound status as the geographically-confused Hero of Time and/or Winds aside, there's not too much to buy immediately. Sasha picks up Lion Strike 3, a 30% OB gain boost. While I imagine she'll be the primary recipient of Union Soul, it'll still be useful to have Tiger Fangs available on short notice.
Selmer is level 30, so he picks up Torus Spell 4 (16% MP regen). Izuna picks up Vital Power 4 (16% MP regen). If ??? had 81 more experience, I'd give him Vital Power 4 and make it a hat trick.
Another map that should be familiar: This is chapter 22B. On Route B, it was before the Feudal Lord battle, but this time it's afterwards. Presumably this battle never happened in Route B because Serdic's faster pace let him blitz the capital before Clotho could mobilize.
The upper and middle groups of Thieves have Stigma and Mind Chains, respectively (poison-like status/can't use items). None of the three Swordsmen in the first half of the stage have any skills. The top War Mage has Yumil Magna, the lower one has Sedna Prison. They're mildly scary because of the terrain, but those are still very easy spells for non-AIs to circumvent. The Priest has Cure Drop.
Top War Mage has Spark Edge, bottom War Mage has Magna Volt. The Priest and both High Priests all have Cure Drop.
Both of the Infantry are the same.
First one is the top two Swordsmen, second is the bottom two.
Clotho is still unimpressive. Okay, she'll do around 200 if she crits, and she has a pretty respectable crit rate. But that's not a problem unless the rest of the stage presents a credible threat, and they don't. Familiar refrain here. One, two, three, together now: "Only the spellcasters are dangerous." The rest of them are going to bounce off of our characters, more-or-less. If not for magic then Izuna's new Vital Power means she could probably get through the stage without any healing at all.
Five conversations this time. Most of them share a theme, so let's get this one out of the way first. Warning: Features Route A Galahad.
Alicia and Galahad
Hmm... hmm. I see, I see...
Honored Sir... For some strange resaon, I feel a chill in the air. Do you need something?
And since you are acquainted with Sir Margus, I thought I would pay you a visit.
And with someone so old...
I'm sorry... Something just came up. We can talk later.
Y-Yes, of course.
...Was it something I said?
Apparently Alicia finds the idea that Margus would flirt with tons of other women and even an old man especially offensive in light of his refusal to hit on her too.
This conversation coming up is actually the first one that I've run into completely blind. Good thing I found it, huh?
Alicia and Ansom
The Red Lions are merciless. Even if you were their ally, at the first sign of weakness, they'd take you out themselves.
Is that what happened...?
Not really, no. The Red Lions didn't get there in time to help Jaglat; he was finished by the time they got there. I'm really not sure what Ansom's point is here.
Unless he's lying. He could be lying.
Well, there's no need to worry. You stand with us now, Lady Alicia.
Dwelling on it won't help matters. Let things happen as they may.
I detest that saying.
Oh dear, have I failed?
More much relaxed!
Glad to hear it. If there's anything I can do, just say the word... I assure you, I have no ulterior motives.
I know. Every man looks pure next to that Bretwaldean...
I'm telling you, I have none!
Enough of that! It is time to speak of vengeance.
Margus and Kay
Well... We have swelled our ranks since last time. But these are the notorious Red Lions we're talking about. I doubt even increased numbers will mean an easy battle.
I would like to remind you that killing Clotho in chapter 6, as shown in both of the runs so far, is the only way I know to get a non-Quest Robber Proof in time to promote Owl, Alhambra or Rukia to tier 2. Also that Clotho's lower durability means you can probably kill her with one level 3 Brave Ray in the first level. Just saying.
The odds practically guarantee a victory this time, right Kay?
Right, Margus. Let's show them our new strength.
Yeah... well, with that settled, I'm curious about something.
I don't believe this...
??? and Ansom
Thinking back... they were the cause of our long journey. But it's about time we settled this. It'll end happily, of course. We'll defeat them, finish off the Empire, and go on to reclaim Bretwalde and Shalem. And then it'll be time to enjoy the sweet life.
Th-The sweet life?
I didn't notice how much ??? stutters until I started counting.
That's right. Simple, easy, and free from all cares. You'll be joining me, of course.
See here, you can't just go and plan the rest of my life for me!
Hmm? Doesn't sound good to you? I just think you should have more leisure in your life.
I suspect you have too much leisure in yours...
This conversation does a very good job of giving you exact delivery off of what's basically pure dialogue, since the portraits never change. Ansom mainly uses relatively short textboxes -- the lines below the first image up there make up five different textboxes. It's a nice little visual pacing trick.
Aside from that, it's nothing new or groundbreaking, but it's very solid. It does a very good job of conveying Ansom's character; even if you've forgotten who he is, you'll remember afterward.
Ansom and Owl
Oh, hello Owl. Can I... help you?
You ever feel like killing Clotho?
Well, now that you ask... I haven't seen for myself the damage she visited upon Shalem, but she did take my home from me.
Makes sense. Well, I have a favor to ask...
If you don't want to kill her, that's okay. I'll do it.
What do you mean? Do you have some kind of drudge against her?
...But you don't intend to share the details. Well, I suppose. Clotho is all yours... Not that I ever intended to exert some kind of right to execution. So you do whatever you please, and I'll do the same.
Kid? Surely you're not much older than I am. I celebrated my 23rd birthday this year. Still young, and plenty potent.
Stop saying stuff like that... 23, huh? You know... that makes you older than me.
What!? You're younger than me!?
21 years old, yeah.
Silly Ansom. It's like he doesn't know he exists in fiction, where ages never, ever make any sense.
Marie and Owl
Never met her, Princess.
I alluded to this before in Route B, during the conversation with Owl's sister, but... If you pay attention, Owl really does suddenly become interested the moment Clotho's name comes up. It's a nice little detail, especially since you're so unlikely to connect the dots.
Ah... Hahaha! You're as sharp as a cactus' [sic] needle, Princess. Yeah, I know her. We met a long time ago, and she's had payback coming ever since.
Revenge. Punishment. Payback.
Then I would ask one last thing. Is your goal to kill the Red Lion?
And if her answer satisfies you... You'd let the past go?
Nah, I'm gonna go ahead with this no matter what... But I still want to know. Hahaha, now I'm in the same boat as that Prince.
Teehee... But yes, I too think it's better to know than to live in uncertainty.
When I said it was vengeance talk time, I wasn't kidding.
No need to split the team; I'd rather end this quick and rely on the Victory bonus to make up for any lost experience.
Sasha can't kill either in one hit, but she can weaken the front one for ???.
Alicia misses, unfortunately.
...okay, that magic is a hell of a lot stronger than expected. This calls for a more cautious battle plan. +1 Reset.
Revised battle plan! Spark Edge 5 has 7 range and ??? is 7 squares away; however, I'm doubting that it's maxed.
That said, if it is, he's probably dead and I'll need another plan.
Spark Edge hits, so it's maxed. Magna Volt doesn't... It has less than 9 range, then, so it's level 3 or lower. The Spark Edge Mage is considerably more of a threat, then, since level 3 Magna Volt has 30 less power, which translates to at least 45 less damage. Likely more, due to the comparative magic calculation.
Forgot to take the Yumil Magna War Mage into my calculations. (Did all of the set-up to this stage, then forgot it and did the stage the next day.) Messy. Does keep him from moving, at least.
Annnd now ??? has Leak. Lovely. (He's 10 squares away from the Yumil Magna War Mage, if you're curious, and it maxes at 9 range. Not running into that mistake twice in a row.)
The Spark Edge War Mage went after Sasha, not ???, in my first run. So did the Magna Volt War Mage. They must be set to low MC AI, then. Alicia has 62 MC, Izuna has 60.
Since the Magna Volt War Mage is weaker than the Spark Edge War Mage, Izuna shouldn't die.
*flings up hands* Whatever! That works. Alicia survives the round.
Come into my web, said the spider to the fly... Low-movement terrain makes Sedna Prison incredibly powerful. Mind, you don't really need it when these Thieves have four Move. That is and remains dumb.
RIP AND TEAR
It's okay, Izuna has 500+ HP. She'll be just fine.
This was a Clotho crit to Izuna's back. Since criticals ignore defense and Izuna doesn't learn Melee Guard, this is the most damage she can ever do.
...and she ends turn next to Izuna. When she could have moved about one space further instead, putting her out of Blade Blast range.
WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?
Reinforcements! Presumably to punish you for taking your time.
This is another reason not to split your force.
Clotho's bizarre death wish renders that irrelevant, though!
As you'd expect, Owl and Clotho can talk here.
Owl and Clotho
Well, if it isn't Owl. I thought you were dead.
Sorry to burst your bubble. How many of my friends do you think are dead because of you!?
I only did what I thought best.
I guess out in the desert, they don't teach you not to swim against the tide.
Is that why you sold out your friends? I'm taking revenge for all of them! You're going to bleed!
If you think you can... Then go ahead and try!
Okay, three things:
1) Now we know why Clotho betrayed Owl and his friends. Admittedly, a bunch of bandits trying to take down Empire forces was a hell of a long shot; it's likely they'd have ended up dead even without her betrayal.
2) Owl is from Grand Meir. If Grand Meir has any desert areas, then the player never sees them. After that, Owl lived in the mountains. Clotho's line makes no sense.
3) This conversation triggers when Owl ends turn next to Clotho. His "You're going to bleed!" line comes after he has either 1) already attacked her or 2) sacrificed his ability to do so in order to talk to her. Given the contents, this really should have been a "before attack" line, not a "while next to" line.
I'm not sure who stopped caring here, the writers or the localizers, but it's definitely not their best work.
I guess it's curtains for me...
...wait, we just killed one of the Grands? For real? Shouldn't you teleport away or something?
Oh well! Not complaining!
The Abyss Ring is the -MC equivalent of the White Ring, giving -10 MC. These Ruby Amulets are +10 Defense.
Hah! In the end, she was just some stupid woman.
We did it, Young Master!
I can't believe we made our revenge a reality...
At last! The road to Egvard is open to us. We don't have much further to travel before coming home.
We have... received a dispatch.
I see. What news does it bring?
It... How should I say this...
What's the matter?
What is the meaning of this? Are you, or are you not, Prince Serdic?
And the other shoe finally drops.
Total resets so far: 4 (+1)
Next time: The Crown Prince