Part 12: Uncle Dolph's CabinWe've kept Marina waiting long enough, so let's get to that daring rescue thingy. The Western Woods actually seem more like Southern Woods, but eh, we'll let it pass.
The entrance is actually so close to Stormfist, you'll probably not run into any random enemies if you just head there the way you're supposed to, but as you know, I'm not in the business of doing what I'm supposed to.
Hmm, let's see... It was around here somewhere... Aha! Here it is. Found it.
I can only assume it's harder to spot when you don't have a bird's eye perspective. (music)
You weren't kidding. I wouldn't have guessed this would be here.
It's been such a long time, I was worried it had grown over by now... Thank goodness it's still here.
Lady Sialeeds... You used to come HERE?
Back then, I was even more of a tomboy than Lym is now.
I bet you were quite a handful for the Queen's Knights assigned to guard you.
If they made a game where you play as Sialeeds 15-20 years before the events in Suikoden V, just getting into trouble and giving your attendants grey hairs... I think I would unironically love it.
All right, enough chitchat... Let's get going.
The trail is not a proper dungeon; just a short path.
There's some reasonably good loot, though.
This would be helpful if you have a bunch of slow characters, but most of ours are pretty quick so it's not really worth it. Aside from that, the most interesting thing that happens here...
...is that Sialeeds decides to activate Long Throw, which is a skill for boomerang-type weapons. When it triggers, the attack hits the entire enemy row. Kind of meh as far as Sialeeds goes - if I want to attack multiple enemies, that's what her unite with Frey is for - but it's permanent, so we might as well enjoy it when it works.
It only takes a couple of encounters to reach the cottage.
The thugs are keeping watch... by the front entrance. music)
Not particularly good watch, either, since they manage to miss Georg's long fluttering sleeves and gold-trimmed robe.
Another couple of idiots are hanging out inside, and they have Marina tied to a chair. I'd be worried if they weren't so incompetent.
Lyon, too, escapes their notice.
And the enemy?
There are two inside. I'm positive those are the guys that attacked Belcoot.
???: And there are about five more in front.
I'm not sure why they decide to make Georg look mysterious for this line since it's obviously him.
And he gets a portrait for the very next one, too.
What do you think we should do? Do you want to wait a while?
No, they might start getting impatient and cutting parts off. Also, we have the elements of Surprise and Georg Prime on our side.
I'm sorry... I just can't wait anymore!
Oh yeah, and Belcoot too.
No wait, I mean, leave some for me!
Does no one in this party know how to open a door normally?
???: What the HELL are you doing here?!
Belcoot beats up the thugs off screen...
...hard enough to make the screen shake.
I guess he didn't think to leave any for us, but it's not as if there was much of them to go around anyway.
More importantly, let's get Marina out of here. Belcoot starts untying her.
Marina! Are you all right?!
*whispering* Belcoot... What are you doing...?
Belcoot probably would have patiently explained exactly what he's doing, but we're spared that...
...when the rest of the morons barge in.
Dangerous Man: What's going on?!
Hey, didn't I tell you to skedaddle? Should have listened to me the first time. Now you're gonna get hurt. Again.
Arrogant Man: What's wrong?!
Rough Man: What happened?! You!
Arrogant Man: H-How did you...?
In order, the fact that you're a bunch of kidnappers, Belcoot beat up your friends, and through the back door.
Frey and Lyon nod. Georg doesn't even bother.
We've freed the hostage. If you don't want to get hurt, you'd better give up now.
Dangerous Man: How many times do you have to get in our way before you're satisfied?!
I got nothing. (music)
Rough Man: Aw, c'mon, the real royal family is MUCH better looking than the likes of you! I can barely stand the sight of you!
Ouch, that hurts...
We have to stop it!
I think he's mad.
Dangerous Man: A lot you know. That girl is a citizen of Falena! It is her duty to go along with the plan! So just back off!
I love how not even our characters are taking this seriously. The hostage was the only thing they had going for them, and now... it's just sad.
No matter how you try to justify it, it doesn't change the fact that you've failed. So just give up now, while you can.
Even if we die trying, Belcoot, we're gonna bring you down with us! We can't let you fight in the championship tomorrow!
Even I am too busy laughing at them to really hate them for their horrible opinions on, well, everything.
Fine! Come on, then!
Belcoot is really mad, though. Think I'll just sit back and watch this time!
The fight isn't anything worth talking about. There's a lot of this happening...
...and a lot of this, too.
Parries (and "weapon defence" although I can't for the life of me figure out what the difference is supposed to be) and counters are influenced by the Skill stat. Belcoot and Georg are some of the most skilled people in the game, so they'll be doing this a whole lot.
On an unrelated note, Lyon with her shiny new Power Rune deals nearly as much damage as Georg now! For the most part, what kind of rune setups you can employ matters a lot more than base stats.
They don't even drop any good loot.
Arrogant Man: Aaarrgggghh...
And the worst part is, they thought they were doing it for the nation and the royal family!
And getting that poor girl mixed up in it, too!
Speaking of girls, we were about to do something when those morons interrupted us. (music)
Belcoot doesn't mind beating up thugs, but he's not trained for this.
...he tries his best.
The party politely decide to give them some space.
"I just came to show you how dapper I look. Okay, bye now."
(The music dies.)
"I feel the presence of an incredibly stylish person!"
"Huh? I could have sworn there was a sharp dressed man around here somewhere."
"But Auntie, why do I have to turn my back?"
"...I'll explain everything when you're older."
Once Marina calms down enough to get in the party, we're ready to head back. She's a support character; she can't participate in battle, but she can be added to the convoy and will provide a bonus to the ones who do fight. In this case, we recover ~5% of our max HP after every round of combat.
Not that we have any particular use for it at this point - though I'll make use of it later on (spoiler, Marina is a Star of Destiny).
While Frey and his party make it back to the inn, we'll check in on Gizel. (music)
Dolph: Indeed, sir. I gave her the item, as you instructed.
The moment that corner went off screen, the stylish outfit (and the guy wearing it) materialized in it.
Sir... If I may ask... do you think she'll use it?
And if she doesn't... I've taken other measures as well.
And just as quickly...
...he disappears again. Oh, I'm sure there's nothing sinister going on here whatsoever...
Meanwhile, Belcoot has managed to drag Marina back home. (music)
Proprietor: Belcoot, Prince, everybody... I can't thank you all enough!
I want to thank all of you, too. From the bottom of my heart!
Please! Really! That's enough.
Besides, it's not as if we did anything. You just stood there and countered everything to death while we stood back eating popcorn.
That goes for the two of you, as well.
Proprietor: A-All right...
Anyway, would it be all right if we all stayed here tonight?
I don't think anything else will happen, but just in case...
Inn Proprietress: Oh, yes! Of course! You'd be doing us a wonderful favor!
In that case... I'm pretty tired. I'll think I'll just head straight to bed...
You'd better get some sleep, too, Belcoot. Tomorrow's the final, after all.
Yes, well... I don't know... I... I wielded my sword outside of the arena, so...
Hmph. Is that what you're worried about? You're a hero who saved a kidnapped girl! You won't be disqualified for that.
You don't think I will...?
Well, you would, but then the peasants would probably revolt or something, and I don't think even the Godwins want to risk that. So yeah, we're in the clear for now.
I guess I should be glad... but I still feel a bit guilty...
You can't win if you're upset. Get some rest and forget all about it.
Our party retires for the night. Next, we're given control of Frey right by his bed. But, before we hit the hay...
...we can go out and have a word or two. (music)
I could ask you the same question, Prince.
Thank you so much for rescuing me. I should have said thank you earlier, but I was jsut so...
Oh... Yes... I think I will. Tomorrow morning, first thing...
Um... Your Highness? If Belcoot wins the match tomorrow... he'll be marrying the Princess, won't he?
Maybe I'd better get some sleep!
Marina disappears down the stairs. If we follow, we won't find Marina, but...
...Georg has parked himself inside the door. I pity the fool who tries to break in here during the night. Not that it'd matter, I guess, since it looks like Marina left? ...don't ask me how this works.
I'm taking the night watch. I doubt those thugs had any ulterior motive, and it doesn't look like there's any more of them...
But better safe than sorry, right?
I can't disagree, especially since it doesn't look like I'll have to do any work.
I'm probably just worrying for nothing, though. Don't give it another thought and go get some sleep.
And with that, there's really nothing else left for us to do.
Next time, we watch the final match of the Sacred Games. I'm sure it will all go smoothly with no complications at all!
That wasn't very long, so I'll take this opportunity to go over skills. Again, there's no need to read this if all you're interested in is the story.
Each character can equip two skills, although sometimes they'll have something permanently equipped, such as Georg's Combat Teacher or Sialeeds' Long Throw. Such abilities also tend to be unique or semi-unique.
Skills can be upgraded either by using a skill one of your party members knows, or by NPCs in most towns. There are ten "standard" skills. They are as follows.
Stamina: Increases max HP.
Attack: Increases physical damage dealt.
Defense: Increases physical defence and activation rate of defensive skills such as Parry.
Technique: Increases accuracy and counter attack rate (the game calls this "thrust back" for some reason.)
Agility: Increases speed, evasion, and ability to make multiple attacks.
Vitality: Increases critical hit and charge rate.
Magic: Increases magic power.
Magic Defense: Increases magic defence and ability to take reduced damage from spells.
Incantation: Speeds up spellcasting.
Sword of Magic: Increases damage dealt while under Magic Sword status (I'll talk about that when we see one.)
Out of these, the first six are physical, and taught by Combat Teachers; the last four are magical and require a Tutor. There are more of them, as you've already seen, but I'll talk about the remaining ones when they show up.
Upgrading skills costs SP, which exist in two varieties: personal SP, which can be used by the character who "owns" them, and party SP, which can be used by anyone; characters may transfer personal SP into the party SP pool, but 10% of the points are lost in the transfer.
Winning a battle nets you SP of both kinds, but the party SP fill up slower.
The lowest skill rank is E, and it goes up to A, then S, and finally SS. How far skills can be upgraded depends on the character; for instance, Georg can hit SS in Vitality, but only D in Magic. They don't tell you outright how high you can go, but you get little cryptic messages like "Hard work should pay off" or "Incredible potential," and after a while you start getting the hang of interpreting them.
Other than permanent ones, skills can be changed any time you can access the menu.