Part 61: With His AlliesChapter 28: With His Allies
(Or, "Route A In A Nutshell")
We finally have Errands back! ...and no one we can promote yet. That said, there's one neat quirk I forgot about :
If you have Alhambra promoted or you're using Galahad, then everyone leaving presents you with an opportunity to get their Seal a hell of a lot earlier than on Route B. It's very nice, especially since the next stage finally signals the return of Errands. Promoted Alhambra as early as chapter 30 if you play your cards right! Not bad.
More importantly, I send Rukia out for three Topaz Amulets. If I get lucky and get the "double purchases" success, then I'll have just about all the Amulets I need for the rest of the game. (Not kitting my healer for defense means I need a lot less of them.)
Same team as last time. Igraine's injured, but I remember to give her my +magic rings, so she only loses about 20 magic. A 20% damage loss hurts, but it's not crippling. I buy her Invoke Mind 2 to help.
Altrius maxes Null ZOC and Vital Power and picks up Lion Strike 1. Izuna will probably reach level 36 by the end of this map! I can't wait to give her Fearlessness, especially since I have enough points to immediately max it.
You must have faith, Altrius. Faith that we will make it through, no matter what.
Unlike the last map, where it's quite possible to bypass a few enemies and get to the end, everyone here is directly in your way. Clearing this stage by anything other than rout (or very nearly rout) would be much more complicated than the alternative.
There's a single enemy with skills on this level and no magic users. Once again, the Snipers are positioned such that they have no real defensive lines.
Despite how it looks, this is actually one of the better levels. I don't think you'd quite understand why if I took it seriously, so I'm throwing caution to the wind. Enjoy the results.
There's no conversations available. Let's get on with it.
Lure beat to death yadda yadda yadda. The Swordsmen can't damage Altrius and Izuna more than they regenerate unless they gang up on one of them, which means it takes two turns to heal instead of one. First turns are never very interesting.
Remember how I said that more stages need to have aggressive enemies? Every single enemy here is activated from turn one.
There are a lot of enemies, most are durable types, and they all move together. Take this stage lightly because no one has any skills and you'll regret it. You don't have a Margus or Serdic to throw out into the melee, after all.
At the start of turn 2...
I think pretty much everyone expected this to happen eventually. Even so, this is a ridiculously short turn around.
This is a pretty notable detail to mention in passing.
Even so, though, it looks like Prince Serdic is still okay.
Ah, not quite, Yumiluna.
He seems to be calling himself Altrius now.
Looks like Aegil realizes exactly what message Marie was sending with that name!
It matters not to me whether he goes by Serdic, Altrius or anything else. Let us link up with the man's forces!
Izuna misses the Swordsman and one-shots the Scout. That's okay, though!
We have Alhambra.
Igraine is at the very edge of Sniper range; Abyss Gate 3 has 8 and they have 7.
At the start of turn 3...
I was hoping we'd be the first ones to show up.
All I'm saying is that since we were already home, why wouldn't you let me do some research?
What are you saying!? Master, we nearly missed the battle! What would we have done if the Bretwalde army was wiped out!?
Don't worry so much, Selmer. They won't lose.
There you go again... What possible justification do you have for saying such a thing?
Hmm? Do you need some sort of justification to believe in them?
I-It's not that, but...
Then start believing. Now, let us go and help them.
No one else is coming this time, so let's dump all of the conversations! Everyone who appeared this stage has something to say to Marie or Altrius. Except Arios, who talks to Igraine instead. None of these conversations have any lasting effect; they're back in the party the moment they appear on the field, and it doesn't matter if they die. First, the Veronan group:
Altrius and Yumiluna
Yes, I am. I'm glad to see you here too, Yumiluna.
Oh, Pope Aegil is the one you should be thanking. I was so tired when we got back to Verona that I fell asleep on my feet, right there and then. If she hadn't woken me up, I probably wouldn't have come...
Oh... I see...
Look at what you did, Yumiluna. Now Altrius is all bummed out. Do you know how long it takes to cheer up that sadsack?
Marie and Simon
Simon! You came as well?
Yes. I did vow to protect you, Princess Marie. Pope Aegil was very graceful in obliging my request to come here.
But what of Altrius? Have you forgiven him so quickly?
I did loathe him at first...
But I'm sure Altrius regrets that day as deeply as I do.
Oh, please. Don't flatter yourself; you don't regret it even half as much as he does. Family or no, you hadn't seen each other in years and you were a continent away.
And if that is so, then instead of blaming him, I feel I must support him even more strongly.
Hmm... It seems my time enjoying your favor is drawing to a close!
Sir Simon! Th-That isn't true!
Hahaha... If I could be so bold as to ask a boon of the Princess... Allow me to serve as your knight until the war's end.
It's nice to see Marie acting like something other than a saint. She's a good person, but she's not perfect... Just very good at controlling her responses and thinking before she acts.
Altrius and Aegil
Aegil! Yes... I'm still in the fight. I wasn't sure you would show up, Aegil.
Hmph. Don't think I was worried about you. After all, you've committed a great sin with your deceit. I must watch over you carefully.
Y-You're in no position to be thanking me! You waste time on words when you should act! Hurry up and free Egvard!
Now for the Almeria group.
Marie and Selmer
Very much so, Selmer, thanks to all of you.
We meant to arrive sooner, but... There were some... complications.
That's quite all right. Everyone has their own circumstances to deal with. I can imagine how difficult things were to deal with once you were back in Almeria.
Oh... No, it didn't take very much time to convince the Council. It's just...
Thank you very much...
Selmer is trying very hard to be vague instead of just saying, "Master Arios was acting like a giant manchild again."
Speaking of which...
Igraine and Arios
I won't let you!! Altrius is all mine!
But isn't he currently devoted to another woman?
Y-You think so too, Arios!?
Ohhhh... This is terrible...
Now, now, don't be so sad. Why don't I give you a complete physical to help you relax?
Arios... That's what I mean... You have no idea what it means for a lady to have a broken heart...
You are bad at normal person jokes, Arios.
Altrius and Elmer
Huh. Well, guess you don't need me, then.
No... I'm so tired, I can barely move. I'd really appreciate your help.
Hrmph... you smooth-talker. Well, good enough. Let's go.
Thank you, Elmer.
What, like I'm doing this for you?
I know how kind you are.
Elmer gets no respect. This is right and proper.
I like Elmer. He's bratty, but he manages to be amusingly bratty rather than irritatingly so. Mostly because of the aforementioned complete lack of respect.
Owl lands a critical on the second Sniper.
Alhambra's in a slightly risky position, but I feel safe putting her out this far, especially with what should happen later this turn.
Igraine may not have killed with this Abyss Gate if not for that Owl crit, so it was very nicely timed.
Moving up. Should have moved Izuna and Altrius further forward.
Because, you see, Simon's suicidal charge ensures he gets all the attention this round.
Yellow ally AI is utterly fearless... Which is pretty much always fine, since there's no point at which a yellow unit dying matters. It's a useful tendency, provided you know to compensate for it.
A level 1 Brave Ray still chops half life off of these two Jousters.
Izuna charges in, but takes a counter before she can attack the Armor.
Alhambra picks up the slack.
Owl pulls through when I need him, landing a crit and killing the Infantry. Marie might have died otherwise.
This is unlikely to save him from the bench.
Especially since he still got countered.
If you haven't sussed it out yet, enemy Armors have high counter rates. Combined with their durability, this makes them more dangerous than they appear, especially since there's only one skill that reduces counter rate (Frontal Fury) and it's both side-dependent and rare. (It's on Alberich, Cold Monarch, and the third classes of Kay, Simon and Rukia. One good character, three okay ones, and Rukia. At least Alberich is easy to fit in.)
It's worth remembering that you can do this, especially once Izuna or Shino learn Ten'i Slip. Those two spells are the only way to get around the "move or cast" limitation on magic.
Alhambra goes down, but it takes damn near every unit they have to do it.
Izuna's still Crazed, which is a complete pain. Sure, a large part of her strength rests in her very powerful weapon and high HP, and neither are affected by Crazed, but it's still dragging down her uses.
Igraine casts on the Infantry in front.
Altrius kills the Armor. Owl finishes off the Infantry and weakens the Sniper, ending his turn below Izuna.
This time it's Altrius who has to weather the storm. Thankfully, while his HP may be comparable to Alhambra, he has twenty more levels and more Amulets.
Izuna misses the Sniper. Sometimes her +0 accuracy weapon really bites you in the ass.
If she had hit, she would have killed, and she probably would have survived this round. She only needed to dodge one attack if the Sniper was dead. As it is... Well, it's her problem now.
Everyone pulls back.
I'd be worried about Altrius's low HP, but...
Aegil's got that covered.
Izuna goes down. She'd have survived if she dodged once and killed the Sniper.
Brave Ray's getting a lot of use this stage.
Owl gets the kill, even Crazed. Marie uses Martyr, and Igraine weakens the damaged Armor further. One more hit will do it.
Another close call. It's over now, though.
This looks bad, doesn't it?
It isn't. Arios and Selmer pick up the spare.
This is how you should win the map. Take advantage of your AI spellcasters and the aggressive enemy AI to lure them back into a killzone, then clean up. You'll never have more mages available than you do here, so take advantage of it. Fight them head-on and, well, you've seen what happens. Rondo of Swords is very blunt about this: Fight superior numbers head-on without some kind of clever gambit and people will die.
(Remember this for later.)
From here, Owl kills the Sniper while Altrius chases down the Guardian. No point in showing any of that; it isn't complicated.
Having Izuna at ~70% capacity should make the next stage more interesting. All the more because her untimely death kept her from hitting level 36 and learning Fearlessness, which would have made up for it in spades.
The Seraph Medal is the highest level of the Throne and Cherub Medal line, improving status recovery time by 50. That's probably a 50% cut to status duration -- fairly useful, especially since it should apply to Crazed as well.
You mustn't say such things.
...You're right. Everyone! Egvard is just ahead!
By the way. Remember the shopping earlier? Peeking ahead...
Rukia, you're officially back in my good books. Night Amulets are +8, but I'll probably just sell them right back for more Amulet money -- they're worth 1000 gold each. More immediately, this means Izuna's Hurt status won't affect her durability in the next stage, since the amulet improvements will offset or overcome it.
Total resets since chapter 20: 4 (+0)
Next time: War of Liberation