Part 15: East PalaceThe chapter title should give you a good idea of where we're heading today.
...I'm going to show off a really terrible design decision. See, when you enter Sol-Falena, you don't do it at the location where we left. Instead, you're sent down here to the harbour...
...and have to walk all the way up here...
...and cross this long ass bridge...
...before you get here. It's ridiculous! So, better make damn sure you don't forget something when you're heading out.
Since we're back here anyway, I do some skill juggling. All that boar grinding back at Stormfist left us with enough SP to upgrade everyone's skills, except Miakis who wasn't present.
Pictured above, Frey learning Magic. This is not very clever of me, but it does give you a look at how party SP works. Frey is 43 SP short of being able to raise Magic to C, so he dips into the Party SP pool. No one else gets to touch it, not even Miakis. She's level 20 anyway! She doesn't need it.
Right, now we can get back to work.
And... we're there already. The East Palace lies one screen to the right of Sol-Falena. You can't miss it.
So we'll just have to pretend we did. (And also listen to the world map theme.)
We're directly south of the East Palace here. Falena over all looks like a really nice place, if it weren't for all the random enemies...
...and speak of the devil, that's what I was waiting for. (By the way, Wind of Sleep is still shit.)
Let's have a look at our newest party member!
Miakis may be one of the best characters in the game, but she's also one of the best characters in the game. She has nice stats (comparable to Frey and Lyon), a five hit combo, and is completely free from locked runes or skills. She can parry and counter. And last but not least, she ends up with three rune slots.
...though, she does have worse skills than the rest of the party at this point, and just looking at the damage she's doing right now, you wouldn't know how awesome she gets.
She also has a unite with Frey which, in proud Suikoden V tradition, is just the same as Frey's unite with Lyon, except it plays Miakis' attack string instead of Lyon's.
Even when Miakis is around, Frey is usually better off comboing with Lyon, because their unite is, with a 99% certainty, going to deal more damage. This is another use for the affection points we've been getting throughout the game - apart from scenes like the sunset or Lym's greeting, they also influence the damage of unite attacks other characters have with Frey. Sworn Protector is described as dealing at least 1.2x the normal damage, but every affection point with Lyon (or Miakis) raises its damage by 0.01, to a maximum of 1.5. We needed at least 10 Lyon points for the alternate sunset scene, so they're dealing a bare minimum of 1.3 right now.
Miakis also comes with something else new and interesting.
1: Battle Oath - 40% chance to inflicts Fury (berserk) status, all allies.
2: Great Blessing - Heals 200 HP, all allies.
3: Battlefield - Magic damage up 20% for three rounds, all allies.
Returning from Suikoden III and an obvious child of the Bright Shield, the Shield Rune has some of the best buffs in the game and a nice multi target healing spell at a low level, but no fourth level spell. Battle Oath used to be the Bright Shield's third level spell and would heal 300 HP and status in addition to occasionally inflicting berserk, and I think that would have been a nice fourth level spell, but it's still pretty useful.
Also pictured, the boar from outside Stormfist is a regular enemy here, but doesn't drop as much fun stuff.
Speaking of boars though, this is the new miniboss for the area: Peckles, also returning from Suikoden III. He's somewhat tougher than the last one, partly because Miakis still doesn't hit as hard as Belcoot. Still nice loot, though-
-oh, crap. It's all that salt I'm carting around, isn't it...? Oh well, time to toss some of my eight quabillion medicines.
And that's the Armadillon thing Miakis was talking about. I feel vaguely bad about killing these things now.
Wait, they drop rune pieces? Never mind then!
This is another miniboss encounter, but it's nowhere near as much fun as the piggy and doesn't give out as many rewards either. It shows up if you run around the wooded areas.
Southeast of the palace, there's a curious location.
Of course we're going to check it out! (music)
Pretty impressive... if you ask me.
No one did, but I agree.
Over time, it's become a sort of floating town.
Sialeeds sounds really fond of the place. I imagine these people are too busy fishing to suck up to her.
Don't tell me you wouldn't have had the same reaction if you came here when you were ten.
The only way she's going to find out about it is if someone goes and tells her about it, you know. But... uh, we should probably be careful. In case someone does.
Don't give me that look. It won't work. Not a chance. Absolutely not!
Are you sure? So I'll just tell Her Majesty that the Prince let you disobey her orders?
Y-You can't do that! Frey will get in trouble!
*sigh* Oh, all right. I guess I just have to miss out on all the fun stuff...
Following the river up to the east, there's another weird location.
But during the uprising, the mob used it to get across to the East Palace. There just wasn't anything stopping them! That's why we built this new bridge. We can make it revolve from our end, but it can't be controlled from the other side! If an uprising were to happen today, we'd be able to stop it no problem!
...well they already stole the Dawn Rune, it's not as if there's anything else worth taking around here. Also it sounds awfully noisy and inconvenient.
We can also talk to the second guard.
Soldier: Ah, Your Highness! Were you hoping to make use of the revolving bridge? Personally, I would love to show you the bridge in action, but I'm afraid it's not allowed. Sorry for the inconvenience.
You railroading sonofafuck.
This is as far as we can get. Oh well. Maybe another time.
That's as much of a detour as we can manage at this point. We'll just have to do plot things for a while.
Pretty snazzy looking place we've got here! (music)
We've all been informed of the details of the ceremony. There's someone waiting for you outside the Rune room, so please proceed there now.
Yeah, sorry buddy, but we all know that's not gonna happen. Looting spree!
It's not as powerful as the Sun Rune, but it's said to have more power than most other Runes. In fact, I can't imagine how it's been kept hidden for two whole years...
Probably because the person responsible doesn't want to get themselves, and everything in their general vicinity, nuked from orbit, I'd wager.
We can also chat with the dude to the left:
Official: It's said that the really powerful Runes choose the person they want to possess. And it's very hard for a person to rid themselves of a Rune if they don't accept their calling.
Runes, still assholes, news at 11.
There are a couple of mostly-empty buildings around the area. This is in one of them.
It's pretty good! The character in front will take the vast majority of enemy attacks, so it's perfect for parry/counter monsters like Georg.
I would have taken my life to atone for my failure, but Lord Ferid forbade it. He said I couldn't run from my mistakes. So now I live on, hanging my head in shame with each passing day, lamenting my existence...
You haven't learned anything, have you?
Several chests are scattered throughout the area. Doesn't make much sense, but I'm not about to complain about free stuff.
Frey feels very pretty.
Georg will be confiscating this. To, uh, check it for poisons, you see. Very thoroughly.
This guy has nothing interesting to say, but it's a nice looking area.
There's also this thing hidden behind a rock. It gives your attacks a chance to inflict sleep on enemies. It's a bit of a waste of a rune slot you could be using to make things die faster instead, so it probably won't see much use.
But those heathens don't deserve any kindness or attention from the royal family whatsoever! All you have to do is give the order, and we'd be glad to finish them off!
We can also check the inside of the palace, but it's pretty small and doesn't have much of interest in it.
It was touching to see how much they obviously love and respect the Queen. I just can't understand what those people from Lordlake were so unhappy about... What sent them into a frenzy?
Insert standard smug line about how we most certainly won't find out about this a bit later in the game.
Finally, we get to the Rune room.
Official: Your Highness the Prince, Lady Sialeeds, and Queen's Knights, thank you for coming.
Sorry to be such a bother.
Official: How could Your Highness say such a thing? This is a great honor for us! Such a shame that the crucial Dawn Rune is missing at a time like this -- the engagement of the Princess! As one who was entrusted with the East Palace, I deeply regret--
That's enough. I can only stomach so much apology in one day. Grovelling won't bring the Dawn Rune back, anyway.
Sialeeds is so very, very tired of dealing with people like this.
Official: Y-Yes, Your Highness! Do forgive me!
So, what am I supposed to do here? All I remember is something about "the ritual of the Dawn Rune"...
Official: Yes, Princess... Beyond that door lies the Rune room. Simply enter that room, then come right back out again. That is all that's necessary.
Well, it does lose something without its key component. It's just "the ritual of the" right now, and that doesn't even make sense.
Official: Yes, ma'am.
Let's be... diplomatic here.
What? Can she really receive the Rune's blessing that way?
Official: Yes, of course! I would not dare be mistaken on this matter!
Is it really true, Aunt Sialeeds...?
What are you asking me for?
You were engaged, too, right? Didn't you receive the Dawn Rune's blessing then?
Annoying rituals like these only apply to engagements that come after Sacred Games. I didn't have to do any of this.
The Dawn Rune is gone, anyway, and Arshtat said this was just a formality. Just get it over with.
Well, whatever! It sounds easy, and that suits me just fine! Okay, Frey! Let's go!
Official: Oh, I almost forgot! I'm terribly sorry, but I'm afraid the Queen's Knights aren't allowed inside.
What? Why can't we go?
Official: That's the custom, I'm afraid. I hope you understand...
Now then, Princess, please go ahead.
Frey, Lym and Sialeeds head inside, and... this happens again.
Everyone bows to the empty pedestal, probably feeling rather grateful that no one is there to watch them...
...since it looks rather silly.
You know, now that I think about it, it seems like a lot of things started going haywire after the Dawn Rune disappeared. If only we knew where--
Terrible douchebag out of fucking nowhere! (music)
I don't like your style. Or your face. Or anything else about you.
The whereabouts of the Dawn Rune are still unknown. Happy now?
Hmph. That's what happens when incompetents are left in charge...
Hey, what did you say about my mother?
Do you know who we are?! How dare you insult the royal family of Falena like that!
I... well... fff! Well, you smell! So there.
Lym tries to charge after the ridiculous bitch...
...but Sialeeds grabs her before she can do something stupid.
Leave her be, Lym. There's something really creepy about her.
No!! You're not in charge here!
I don't have a choice, do I...?
However, as we get outside... (music)
Where did she go?!
Don't "Huh?" me! There was a woman! She was dressed all in black!
Um... we didn't see anybody except the three of you.
What?! You really didn't?!
I swear. And we were here the whole time. Nobody went in after you, and nobody came out before you.
So you saw her, too, Frey...
Is there a secret room or hidden door?
Official: No. There's nothing like that...
Oh, no... That means... that woman was...
A ghost, maybe?
D-D-Don't be ridiculous! O-O-Of course it wasn't a ghost!
R-Right! I'm gonna find out who she really is! Miakis! Come with me!
Official: P-Princess! Stop! You have an important rite to attend to, Princess. Don't bother yourself with such extraneous trifles. I assure you, we'll find out if anyone suspicious has been sneaking around the East Palace. You, however, ought to continue on to Lunas, now that you've completed the Dawn Rune blessing ritual.
S-So you'll check it out?
Yes, please do investigate. And be careful.
Official: Yes, ma'am!
But, if I have to, I'll leave the investigation to you and hurry on to Lunas.
That's a relief, huh, Princess?
What are you trying to say?! I'm not afraid of ghosts, and I'm not running away!
Nobody's saying you are.
Frey! We're leaving!
And so we shall. On, to Lunas!
...after some minor adjustments. *grumble*
Speaking of which, here's the formation skill.
The entire party just rushes anything unfortunate enough to be standing in the way. Sadly though, the column isn't very wide, so you can't usually catch too many enemies with it.
All right, that's all for this time. Next up, the holy land of Lunas!
We can also take the less diplomatic option...
Official: No, it's not stupid, Your Highness! Just coming into contact with the aura of the room that once held the Rune is a blessing in itself!
"Aura of the room"? Huh...
...and get a couple of different lines.
Finally, you can decide to answer the "mysterious woman's" question, but all that happens if you do is that you skip ahead to her talking about incompetents, so it's not worth showing off.