Part 42: Bordering on DestructionThings are finally moving forward again! Not that we couldn't run back to the ruins and delay the plot even further but then we'd be even more ludicrously overpowered for the next map.
Anyway, as we leave Haruna again, our party has some words.
Neither one will back down on their claim to the territory. However, there is a truce in effect.
"Depending on your definition of the word effect."
Which the Kooluk are ignoring?
Precisely. There have been recent reports of heavy Kooluk activity in the area.
"Which comes as a total surprise to us. Seeing as we're in Kooluk and all."
Setting up Rune Cannons, I suppose?
A Rune Cannon here, a Rune Cannon there... What the heck are they up to? Isn't El-Eal being rebuilt, too?
Oh hey, look who wants to show us he's still relevant! Now back to the bench. No, don't give me that look. Doesn't work. Bench. Now.
Ever since El-Eal was destroyed by the Island Nations, the whole Kooluk Empire has been focused on defense.
And clearly the best defence is Rune Cannons fucking everywhere.
Well, or it might if it weren't for the fishmen.
Yeah, it figures you would know.
Someone doesn't like to be reminded that he got his ass figuratively whooped by an eleven year old girl!
Well, anyone who snooped around could have figured that much out.
Go on, Corselia. Remind him some more.
At any rate, let's go check it out.
And check it out we shall! Let's head for this small border vill OH SHIT FUCK ABORT ABORT ABORT
What I meant to say is that it's time to go back to Haruna (despite being told that we're supposed to leave) and do some shopping. It's the first new town we've seen since Merseto, and that was bloody ages ago! It's a pretty cool looking town, and like all the rest, it has its own music.
There's a tavern with a familiar looking face (and also new music) inside... but we can't do anything with either of those at this point.
It used to be two separate towns, one on either side of the bridge, long ago. But they grew closer and closer until they finally joined together!
At least, that's what my grandma says. You think it's true?
There's also all sorts of weird gossip.
Other military officers leave local matters to the Patriarchal Faction members serving under them, but not Lady Ornela. We're all really proud of her.
Not all of it is particularly interesting, though.
Let me give you a piece of advice: if a cat man with a moustache asks you for gold ore, do not give it to him.
But I'm just putting off the good stuff here. Haruna has a smith who can sharpen weapons to level 5, which is a whole level higher than the one in Merseto whose work we've been running around with for a long-ass time. Unfortunately, we also need to purchase some other stuff in town, and I end up having to put off sharpening anything resembling dual swords. Don't worry, the people using them are more than capable enough of murdering things without it.
I love the power gloves. They're so bad. (Well okay they give +5 STR, so they're actually pretty decent.)
The shop also sells these little things, which will become standard equipment for absolutely everyone from this moment on because I like to delude myself into thinking it helps.
We've only been wearing the nay-kobold armour for a short while, but it's already time for an upgrade. The cats are probably going to wear this for the rest of the game, as it allows them to spam Shredding Claw with no drawbacks.
Finally, the runes... and as you can see, I'm pretty broke at this point. I could use that Warrior Orb on Mitsuba or something... but she's probably going to one-shot most things anyway, and also 30k. I do sell a couple of my gold medals so I can afford two Gale Orbs, though. In previous games, they offer a huge boost to speed. In this one... it's a rather smaller one. Still, putting them on Nalkul and Champo for now.
I also spent all my skill points... again. Sweet mother of fuck that's a lot of points. I hope you appreciate this!
And now I'm out of both money and SP. That was exhausting, so let's take a break before moving on.
What's on your mind?
I have been pondering the difference between the Evil Eye, which turns people into monsters, and normal Rune Cannons.
These conversations are usually just world and character building, but this one is actually pretty important.
Well... As Kyril said before, the two are very similar as far as their structure goes. But there is one slight difference: their Eyes.
Are you saying there are different types of Eyes?
No, the Eyes themselves seem to be the same. However, the Eyes of a typical Rune Cannon mounted on ships are normally closed.
The Evil Eye, on the other hand, is always open and can be readily controlled. It projects a sphere wherein people are transformed into monsters.
So if someone were to modify the existing Rune Cannons in that manner--
They could create an Evil Eye? Sort of "awaken" the Eye itself?
It's kind of an "oh shit" moment.
And if certain people were to realize this... Well, I suppose you can imagine the consequences.
I see... In that case, we really do have to destroy every last Rune Cannon!
It doesn't change our mission, but it does make it slightly more urgent. And important.
Anyway, border village. As we arrive, we're accosted by another familiar face. (Music.)
Yet again, the game pretends we don't know who we're dealing with.
(FREDERICA DOT PNG) Hmm, you don't look like Kooluk soldiers. What business do you have here at the border?
Oh, you know. Just border stuff.
Pardon me, but are you from around here?
Heinz, no. We have work to do. You can fail miserably at picking up chicks on your own time.
The name's Frederica. I'm not a Kooluk.
We have all sorts of people in this village. No one cares where anybody's from. And we don't trust people who do care. So who are you and what do you want?
Some respect would be nice
I see... So, you must be after those Rune Cannons they just set up...
He totally is.
Heh... Right on the dot, huh? I can see it in your eyes.
I can see it in his ellipsis. Trust me, I've been playing JRPGs for years. They can be very expressive.
And what brings you here?
Well, if you must know, I'm investigating the long-standing border dispute.
Even though the border region has been so calm lately?
No, the Scarlet Moon Empire has been quite busy here. That's probably why the Kooluk has deployed the Rune Cannons.
You're not here to grab them and haul them back over to Scarlet Moon, are you?
He totally is!
Kyril doesn't care though.
That's what he said!
The Kooluk have this terrible weapon, this Evil Eye, that can turn people into monsters. We have to stop them!
"Wait, let me think about that for a mome- oh never mind, it sounds totally legit."
Interesting. If what you say is true, I may be able to help you.
It is the truth. I wouldn't lie about that.
Occasionally about other things, though.
This is completely unnecessary because we're standing right where the map starts.
Frederica joins us at this point. Compared to Flare, she's very slightly faster but worse in most other stats, has less supports but can learn Extra Move, and is also immortal because she has like two lines you'd miss out on if she died.
You know your town is a shithole when it doesn't even get a name.
We're still going to kill all enemies; we just have to make sure we kill the human ones first. I'm down with that. Music!
But since they're here, let's get started with the cannons. Lazlo is even more overpowered on this map than he usually is, which is really saying something.
Champo dodges an attack. This is going to be a running theme for this map.
Mitsuba happens to be standing in the other cannon's firing range...
...and gets shot. She doesn't particularly seem to care.
The cannons can fire shots of all five elemental types and will leave big splotches of elemental terrain behind when they do. Here, Mitsuba is neutral to water so it doesn't really matter, but it's a very random factor when it helps or hurts you... or the enemy.
Champo is a cool cat. He's still overlevelled for the enemies, though; he doesn't even get XP in the triple digits for this. We may have some problems with this S-rank, too...
Mitsuba murders the remaining soldier, and three more spawn in. They should only prove a slight delay.
Rune Cannons explode in a most satisfying manner when they're "killed", kind of like the golems, and they leave these smoking wrecks behind when they do.
...fuck's sake Nalkul, you're wearing the cape that gives you extra dodging power and your evade is A-rank. How the fuck does this happen?
Suddenly, the music changes!
What are you guys doing here?
She sounds really glad to see them. I'm kind of eh. I mean. Elves. Still, I like Paula's new portrait.
And it could have been worse. At least Chief Pointy Eared Bastard is nowhere to be seen.
You all know each other?
You could say that.
It'd be kind of hilarious if the Kooluk just took a look at our party, realized we're bringing all the big heroes from the previous war, and gave up.
I'm Paula. King Lino of Obel asked us to drop by.
Lino: still the best king.
These owls are for you. Anyone should be able to ride them.
She's not exactly telling the truth - owls can be used by lancers, swordsmen and archers... except Seneca, because... you can't ride a giant owl in that skirt. Or something.
Thanks! That'll definitely help!
And so it will, because flight is occasionally very useful.
Paula, Jewel and Selma all join up at this point and will participate in the battle. Paula rides the Red Giant Owl and Jewel has a White Giant Owl (Armored). Both owls provide +2 MOV, +30% STR and +30% EVA. The red also provides +30% SPD but reduces PDF by 30%. The armoured one doesn't provide a SPD bonus, but still reduces PDF by 10%. Of course, now that we can get Battle Lust up to A rank, the damage output is very unimpressive, but the mobility is still very nice. One thing to note, however, is that since they fly, owl mounted units are not affected by elemental terrain, for good or ill.
Owls aside, the female knights are considerably more useful than the male ones as they both come with 6 natural MOV and can learn Godspeed and Extra Move. Jewel is a little weaker than Tal, but is faster and more skilled, and much more evasive. Paula is a bit iffy strength-wise, but has good SKL. Still, they are 1H sword users, and neither is particularly great.
But let's get back to the murder. Those wooden things will block passage through the tile they're on, but can be destroyed with any attack. Nalkul gets it and one of the soldiers with this swipe; Champo takes out the remaining Kooluk on his turn.
I've missed this attack. Naturally, the archer does not survive.
The owl riders are going to catch up with the rest of the group pretty soon (unlike Selma who is completely useless). But since the knights naturally have good will with each other, let's get to building it up.
Heh. You're as cheerful as ever.
It's because she spotted Snowe in our group
Who would have thought we'd fight together again, huh? Anyway, good luck!
Thanks. Let's do the best we can and make King Lino proud.
That's one support conversation down, about 73 more to go.
Kyril has inherited his father's irrational hatred for immobile wooden objects.
Champo decided this attack wasn't worth dodging.
He still isn't fireproof, however.
There's a chest over to the side of the path here. If you can't attack it at range, you have to walk all the way over there. Selma would be perfect for the task, except if you're doing this for the first time, you obviously won't know she's going to show up and so you'll send one of your own guys instead. It's slow. Much better to nuke from over here.
Uh, and it's a set of Silver Mail so it's not even worth the trouble.
Kika is back in town!
And catching up.
Nalkul took care of the soldier who hit Champo before, but now this one is going to ruin our fun.
Snowe tries to do something about it and embarrasses himself terribly. I've never seen this many misses on a single map!
Champo does away with them instead.
Which causes even more reinforcements to spawn in!
And now they're caught up.
Hi, Paula. It's been a while.
It sure has. How've you been?
I have to admit -- I have mixed feelings about meeting up with people I've fought together with in the past.
Yeah... It's good to see them again, but... still...
"It reminds me that most of them are utter morons who couldn't accomplish anything on their own..."
And so Lazlo's ridiculous list of supports grows a little more.
We didn't need that Smash because she'd have killed this guy in one shot from full health anyway, but I certainly don't mind seeing it. I imagine Mitsuba being all "See this guy? I'm gonna murder him extra hard!" and then the Kooluk is like "Oh f"
She's rewarded with more numbers. Nice Strength.
Jewel is, believe it or not, still not Lazlo's last support partner.
Hi there, Jewel.
It's been a while, hasn't it?
Good luck to you!
Thanks. You too.
It's kind of even though Lazlo is so .
Hey, someone did actual damage to Champo! Nalkul throws him some meds, but then he gets hit, and then Kyril has to medicate him.
They get their revenge, though...
...which causes even more reinforcements to spawn.
Let's ignore them and talk some more!
Oh, hi, Paula. Long time no see.
How are you doing?
Not too bad. I still got a lot left in me.
"none of you saw me miss that caster earlier okay"
Good to hear! Shall we get a move on then?
Good will! Good will everywhere!
Meanwhile, the soldiers start throwing elemental beads to protect the cannons. It won't save them!
It won't save this guy either. Snowe manages to not fuck this up and gets 1792 EXP for killing a dude ten levels higher...
...and, naturally, a level.
Jewel is pretty impressed.
Hey there, Jewel.
Is there something wrong?
You've... changed, somehow.
You think so?
Yeah, it's like... some poison has been removed from your system.
It's not like you've lost your soul...
You've calmed down, somehow. You're still as cool as always, though!
And if you don't mind, he has an urgent appointment all the way on the other side of the battlefield, away from the crazy lady on the owl.
Meanwhile, the cats continue their killing spree. Nalkul's magic is terrible! Good thing he's never going to be using it for anything.
That was a lightning shot. One of the characters it hit was Mitsuba, who is lightning elemental today. She just regenerated back more health than she lost from the attack.
Not that she needed it.
As long as they don't have any magic, the enemy isn't going to be doing a lot to her any time soon.
Snowe tossed an a water bead. Since his level is still so low, he gets over 200 EXP for it.
I could have targeted the cannon and got rid of it in one shot, but no, I had to target both of them. Naturally, the cannon survives while the archer takes 681 points of damage and explodes.
Well, never mind, Kika is in range and will be taking out the cannon on her next turn.
Champo is drawing some attention from the other cannons, but that's an earth shot and he's earth elemental so
Job well done.
I felt a great disturbance in the force, as if a bunch of Fire Emblem players just clutched at their hearts and screamed Get the flying units away from that archer! Fortunately, while the owl patrol have their PDF lowered, they are not particularly vulnerable to arrows, so it's perfectly safe for them to deal with this guy.
Speaking of which... Former Comrades isn't a bad track, but it gets pretty repetitive as it plays through the entire rest of the battle after these guys show up.
We're pretty much done. Just have to clean up some trash.
Whoops, I don't think he liked me calling them trash...
...but they are trash.
Totally worth it.
This unnecessary smash was totally worth it, too.
Meanwhile, Kika swaps out for Rene...
...not that it's necessary or anything. I had this weird idea that there was a really nice treasure here, but I misremembered and it's buyable in the next town.
Just one cannon left now.
Second chest out of two. This one has a Mother Earth Orb. I doubt we'll ever find a use for it.
Rene is slow as fuck, so let's have our people entertain themselves while she fumbles around. Selma has finally caught up with the rest of the group, and of course she can talk to Paula because elves.
How are you?
I'm fine, thanks.
All right... Time to show them what elves can do!
Like arrive late to the battle and fail to do anything useful whatsoever.
I'll do my best.
Eh. I guess Selma isn't that terrible, really - she has more SKL than Mitsuba and is almost as fast, though a bit weaker. On the other hand, she was a completely pointless character in IV and she's even more pointless here. Besides, Mitsuba is just more fun.
Speaking of which, Selma can talk to her, too.
I heard about what you're doing. You're conning travelers out of their money again, aren't you?
I wouldn't say "con", it's such an ugly word...
What?! I don't know what you're talking about!
Sure, it's true and all, but I wouldn't say it.
At least, not where Mitsuba can hear.
I mean, people just come up to me and put their money down, begging for a duel! Just because I always win doesn't mean I'm conning them.
What am I going to do with you?
Challenge her to a duel, duh. It'd be fun watching her turn you into elf flavoured jelly.
Anyway, let's fast forward a couple of turns until Rene finally gets to where she needs to be. General Armour! I love general armour! You know, in general!
Also, a level.
I feed the last cannon to Snowe, and he also gets a level.
This map took me like 45 minutes to clear. Nope, not too long!
(Well, it sounds like a lot, but a battle in an SRPG is more comparable to a full dungeon in a regular one.)
Our reward for this is a set of Drop Earrings, which grant +5 PDF and supposedly increase accuracy by 90% (!) - so basically it's the perfect accessory for anyone wearing a berserker belt.
On the negative side, they can only be worn by women. And Keneth.
Our party heads out, mission accomplished, but Heinz stays behind to grumble a little to himself before joining them.
Then, we cut to the campfire.
Yeah, I heard about him. He headed to Kooluk after that and died battling the Island Nations, right?
Well I wouldn't call it "battling", more like "getting horribly humiliated by" the island nations.
Well, just Lazlo, really.
Right. That's him. They say he only became a murderer because the nobles burned down his village.
Why would they do that?
The nobles wanted to distinguish themselves in battle, but they had no enemy. So they created one.
They torched Cray's village and made it look like the Kooluk did it, then used that as an excuse to attack them.
Still doesn't make him less of a douche... or less of a loser.
See? She agrees.
Cray found out who was responsible and took his revenge. He reduced their lands to ashes. Soon, my village got mixed up in the fighting, too... and was obliterated.
Good thing no one cares about Frederica or her village!
shut up, you don't count
When is war ever not terrible?
I'm fed up with this stupid fighting.
Too bad, we're going to do more of it.
I'm sure it will be very dramatic!