Part 53: How to smile, and how to kill
With all these new characters, I've booted Genoh so I can show off the Circle Formation. It's not great for our current party since we only have one L-range attacker, but the form skill will unbalance all enemies for a round, meaning they can't do shit while you beat on them. It's quite good.
I realized I forgot something (unimportant) on the mountain, so I figured Dinn might as well get to do something. Look at that sword! He's definitely compensating for something. Sense of humour, probably.
Roy and Frey also have a unite between them, which is about as interesting as most other unites in the game.
Just like Sworn Protector, the damage starts at 1.2x and goes up with every Roy point to a maximum of 1.5, but there are nowhere near enough Roy points in the game to get that far unless there's something else going on behind the scenes.
Neither Roy nor his buddies are especially great or particularly bad. All three get two rune slots, so they're competent, but will fall behind the really good characters as the game goes on. Still, we could do worse, and Roy is somewhat notable for his 5-hit attack string - he's not only taking after Frey in appearance.
Then it's back to Salzburg. Something is conspicuously missing from this picture... but our pet reporter is at it as usual, so we'll go grab the latest issue.
The Dawn Times - Issue 3 posted:
Front Page - Euram Barows Behind "Bandit Prince" posted:"The Dawn Times" has learned that, as expected, the Prince was indeed innocent of the "bandit-like activities" ascribed to him by witnesses in Sable. The Prince's forces succeeded in capturing a band of bandits on Ranro Mountain outside Sable; the bandit ringleader had been pretending to be the Prince.
It turns out that Euram Barows was the mastermind behind this scheme; in his words, he wished to "sully the Prince's name." But the Prince's forces were able to lure Euram to Sable and revealed his scam in public, clearing the Prince's name. Instead, it is the Barows family whose name has now been "sullied."
Sable Corps Joins Prince's Camp posted:With the "Bandit Prince" scandal resolved, "The Dawn Times" has learned that Lord Raulbel of Sable has declared complete support for His Royal Highness. Lord Raulbel officially announced that the main force of the Sable Corps, led by General Dinn, would be placed under the Prince's command.
On the condition that he join the Iodine in Hell Army, Roy, the leader of the bandits was pardoned of the crime of "gross impersonation of a regal with the intent to profit and deceive." Roy himself has now personally sworn fealty to the Prince; he is currently residing in Salzburg Castle.
Serials - Portraits of the Enemy: Euram Barows posted:In this instalment of "Portraits of the Enemy," we examine one Euram Barows, the man behind the "Bandit Prince" scheme.
Due to his incompetence and other shortcomings, we strongly considered whether he was even worth including in this serial. However, his plot could have severed ties between the Iodine in Hell Army and Sable, so we will take a closer look at him.
As our readers doubtlessly know, Euram is Lord Barows' second son. Because his eldest son, Hiram, was assassinated during the battle over succession between Princess Falzrahm and Princess Shahrewar, Euram is in line to eventually become head of the Barows family.
Euram is certainly not the ideal candidate to head up a Senatorial faction, lacking common sense, strength, and bravery. Furthermore, he is hugely unpopular among the citizenry. "Portraits of the Enemy" has reason to believe that this chicken-hearted man is not done scheming against the Prince.
According to Luserina, Euram's sister, the two of them were very close when they were children. But as she got older and began to help their father with his work, Euram became cold and distant. Around this time, he became deeply -- indeed, some might say obsessively -- attached to Princess Lymsleia.
We've resolved the... issue... quite handily, I'd say!
And of course there's mail to read. I could have sworn I already got this one.
(The gorgeous calligraphy is illegible.)
I think he might just be a mad Arab after all.
When Subala and Lun were young, those two were like sisters. When did it all change? At least she remembers how to behave when I'm around.
My father had business dealings with him. Sairoh's been around that long! I remember my father saying he was quite aggressive, but got the job done.
I can believe that. Sairoh doesn't exactly look young.
The Godwin faction has never been stingy when it comes to arms, so they're quite close with the merchants. Godwin officials would often take bribes in exchange for placing high-priced orders. Mohsen, though, conducted an honest business. He had quality products, so he didn't have to use any cheap tricks.
Good to know!
And finally, on to the debriefing.
Oh, I'm sorry to have to keep apologizing for my family! I don't know what comes over them! I'll make amends for his misconduct! If it's within my power, I'll do whatever you say, Your Highness!
Well in that case, take a breath!
...is what I'd say if I had a real choice, but this is the one that gives us a (completely worthless) point with her.
It hurts the Prince to see you with a sad face, Luserina. After all, you're our friend!
Oh... I didn't realize that.
I know that you may not believe us...
But nobody in this castle thinks any less of you because of your father or brother. On the contrary! We think you're amazing!
I didn't... realize you all felt that way.
Thank... you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Isn't that so cute you just wanna throw up?
Anyway, let's put all that behind us! The important thing is that we've solved the "Bandit Prince" mystery!
Yes, and that, too.
It has been a long time, Lucretia. It shall be a pleasure working with you again.
The pleasure is all mine.
Raftfleet, Estrise, Lordlake, Lelcar... and now Sable! We have almost half of Falena on our side now!
Still, none have been easy battles!
Actually, all of them.
Yes, and the Godwins are going to start getting desperate now. They'll use any dirty trick they can! If we don't become even more vigilant, we could still come out the losers...
No doubt the Godwins feel the same.
Prince, you must be exhausted after traveling so far and wide. Why don't you take a long-deserved rest?
Let me get my dictionary.
"You should go to bed so we can wake you up with a Significant Night-time Scene."
Lyon's in on it, too. Screw you guys!
This whole damn mess has made me realize how thick-headed I can be! I gotta try to think things through a little more, or I might cause you more grief!
Stop that. I don't want you becoming Dinn.
I can't stand my wretched brother! I know I shouldn't, but sometimes I can't help but envy the Princess.
Oh, I-I shouldn't have said that! Please forgive me, Your Highness!
It's been so long since we last saw her.
The very word "Imposter" is exciting, isn't it?
...What? Is it just me?
I never knew the little Barows boy was so vindictive. I guess I underestimated him, in a sense. Or maybe overestimated him.
I think the problem is you estimated him at all.
Even in Lelcar, we've heard that the Barows siblings are as different as night and day. I see the rumors couldn't be more true.
It's getting a bit old, honestly.
I don't like it. Everything seems to be going too well... Eh, maybe it's just my age getting to me!
Chance of Frey getting the good night's sleep he so clearly deserves, rapidly approaching zero.
Stop trying to make me go to sleep! It's creepy!
You talked the bandits into helping you, too? You must be a master of diplomacy!
I'm the best there is at what I do. And what I do is still everything.
The Failures have installed themselves as well.
We used to be bandits, but everyone here treats us like friends. It's weird. No one's ever been this nice to us before.
Don't worry, we'll be making up for all the mushy feel-good shit later.
It looks like you've managed to gain tremendous support, Prince! I am honored that you would include me among your allies as well!
And I don't remember if I showed off this line, but transcribing it is quicker than looking it up.
Anyway, I mentioned before how you can only recruit (most) NPCs between missions. We are now officially off the clock, so that means it's recruitment time!
Please join us.
Join you? What in the...?
No way! So you really are the Prince, huh?! I wish you would've told me sooner! But, why would the Prince have any interest in someone like ME?
Well, I did give you a run for your money, and I'm actually quite happy about the invite... Soooooo, how about this... If you can win 5000 Potch against me at my game, I'll join you. This time I won't cheat. Whether of not you trust me is your decision. Hee hee... What do you think?
I think you should prepare for a whuppin'.
I accept your challenge.
A royal one.
That's the answer I wanted to hear! Okay! Let's get started!
Linfa is true to her word, and this match is totally fair.
Like I said last time, she's not terribly good at her own game. Yeah, that card totally sucks, can't you tell?
I think we all knew this was inevitable.
(This kid might go places...)
What? No, no, I didn't say anything!
Anyway, about the whole "joining you" situation... Well, you see... I owe that wretched tram-- I mean, nice little lady 5000 Potch. I can't leave until I pay her back. So, er, although I hate to ask, perhaps you could spot me the 5000 Potch? If you do, I'll join you, and do my very best to help out!
It's 10000 now. Five for her, five for me.
But 5k is chump change at this point.
Serious?! Right on! You're the best, sweetie!
She joins the party just long enough to drag her over to the NPC on the left.
You won, Your Highness. There's no reason for you to pay her out of your own pocket!
Keep quiet, old hag! If the Prince says he'll pay, he means it!
Older Lady: I can't take it. Forget about the debt! It's gone! I can't take money from His Highness!
(Also, there's the fact that we don't actually have to pay it. Lucky us, huh?)
Older Lady: I was planning on selling you on the black market if you dared cheat the Prince, but you played a fair game. You've proven yourself, so I'm willing to erase the 5000 Potch debt.
Don't mess with grandma. She'll fuck you up!
What?! You're kidding!
Older Lady: But under one condition! You trot over to the Prince's castle, and make yourself useful!
What?! Are you serious?
Older Lady: You have a problem with that?!
I... uh... n-no, not at all. You trusted me when I said I wouldn't cheat. And no one's ever trusted me before... And I promised I'd join you if I lost.
I think we'll have good times together, handsome! Meet you back at the castle!
Anyway, we'll return to base.
Those two suffered at the hands of my brother. I want to make them feel as comfortable as possible in this castle.
Luserina is like something out of a political cartoon, except instead of DEBT, the label is GUILT.
Well, I wanted to write something a little more specific. The problem is our newspaper sells so well... I didn't want the Godwin side to find out about Your Highness' decoy.
Taylor is quite the professional. I like him!
Linfa has installed herself in a convenient place, right next to Marina who'll allow us to save the game so we can reload if we lose all her money.
And it's just crawling with suckers! I'm gonna make a fortune!
I mean, uh... Heh heh! Nothing!
I'm glad you're happy. I think.
Hey there, Prince! Wanna play a game?
And now we have access to more options. Linfa is her usual self, kind of obvious, but beating her doesn't net you a lot of money.
Shigure is a little harder to read, as one might expect from a ninja with hair over his eyes. He's still not too bad, though.
But then, there's... there's this.
I have savestates. Let's do this.
All right. Please go easy on me, okay?
So yeah, Jeane is an absolute fucker.
The blank stumps where my F1 and F3 keys used to be, that's what. They're the save and load state buttons, respectively.
We can make some decent money winning against Jeane, but if we're going to cheat already, there are quicker ways. Anyway, I've put up a video showing off how it works; Shigure comes in at 2:40 and Jeane at 4:35.
But it's time to move on. For our second and last recruit, we have to go back to Sable.
He'll actually be up as soon as you've chased Euram off, but all he'll say then is "Where am I?" and nothing will happen until the mission ends. Which is annoying, but understandable, given you sometimes have to go off and do random shit in order to recruit people, like the Big Hole trip or bringing Zunda to Lunas.
I'm a prisoner of war! No need to conceal my identity. I'm Nakula, a lancer in the Southern Mountain Corps! What are your plans for me, captor?
Rest until your injuries heal.
Ha! Quite a generous offer, coming from one of my captors! Don't you think I'm gonna let my guard down! I've dealt with captives myself! I know the drill! I accept my fate, however brutal your plans are!
However... I have one final moral obligation in Falena. They believe my actions on the field of battle were to ensure Jidan's escape. No. That man means nothing to me! I fought to the bitter end because I have... unfinished business in Falena. I only ask that you allow me to finish what I started! After I'm done, you can hang me, disembowel me, whatever!
What is your "business"?
It's none of your concern.
Someone's determined to be difficult.
Maybe we should talk to Lord Raulbel about this, Your Highness.
..."Your Highness"?! You're the Prince of Falena?!
If that's true, I have something I must ask you! You must know if you're a member of the Falenan royal family! You must know about Nether Gate!
Wait, why would someone from Armes know ab--
They killed him! They killed my father!
It was 13 years ago... My father, a member of the Grand Council of Chieftains, was slain by a mere girl, like it was nothing at all!
I eventually learned that the "girl" was a Nether Gate assassin, but by then the group had been disbanded. At that point, I had no other leads to follow, so I almost gave up... But then I caught word they'd reunited! Once again, the driving passion coursed through my veins, bringing me to Falena! Tell me! How great are their numbers?! Where are they hiding?!
Spare me the feigned ignorance! I know Nether Gate works for the Falenan royal family as its personal assassin squad! Clearly, you would know about them, "Your Highness"! Tell me everything you know!
Nakula... His Highness also lost his parents to Nether Gate...
What?! Nether Gate killed the Queen and Ferid?!
It's true... The new Nether Gate is a private army working for the House of Godwin.
Godwin? Argh! Dammit! Enough! Leave me!
I'll find her, and then I'll slaughter her! I'll cut her throat, just like she cut my father's!
That's one serious grudge.
He might be able to think of something...
This is a bit of a problem if you don't have Oboro, obviously. But since we do, and have no pressing matters to attend to, we'll just warp on over.
Oboro... I have to tell you something...
And a quick exposition fade later...
I see. I think it's best we all go together.
I'm not sure what would happen if we triggered a scene like this and tried to advance the plot without resolving the issue. We probably won't find out either.
One look in the mirror and a word with Viki is all it takes.
Ah, you must be Nakula. Nice to meet you.
Who the hell are you?! Your face... I've seen it before... Wait, I know...
...You killed my father 13 years ago!
Damn you!! I'm gonna slit your throat, just like you did to my father!!
Stand aside, or you'll share her fate!
C'mon, you gotta listen to what we have to say first!
What are YOU smiling for, murderer?! You find the loom of your own death comical?!
I don't know any other expressions. I know only how to smile, and how to kill.
What the hell are you talking about, you bloodthirsty freak?!
Before becoming the assassin you now see standing before you, Sagiri was permanently brainwashed. SHe only knows how to smile, no matter how much pain she's in, or how heavy her despair.
You're just protecting her!
We're not condoning her crime. But her training as a loyal killer began before she could even think for herself... Before she ever felt human warmth, or could grasp the preciousness of life, she was molded into a mere weapon. She had no control over her fate.
We're not expecting, or even asking for, your forgiveness. But I wanted you to know the truth.
Nether Gate...?! That's insane! It's complete madness!
Indeed... It's the reason we decided to... disappear eight years ago.
What?! You, too?!
I beg your forgiveness, Your Highness. I hadn't planned on keeping this a secret... I was waiting for the right time to bring it up, but then this happened.
Nether Gate killed your parents too, didn't they?! How the hell can you stand to work with these murderers?!
..."Not the real enemy"?
That's right. It was Godwin who brought back a nightmare we thought we'd ended forever...
We need to end this thing, once and for all. Nakula, we're asking you to set aside your vendetta until we're finished.
Bah! What do I care about your plans?! Dammit! What do you want from me?!
Your name is... Sagiri, right? I will never, EVER forgive you! But I think the Prince's battle is move important than my own right now.
I'll fight with you! I'll destroy him AND Nether Gate!
I understand. No more running...
It's settled, then. Your Highness, please take care of Nakula. We'll head back first.
Ideally, I'd like us all to return together, in the spirit of good will. But I don't think he's ready for that.
How could I have been so stupid?!
I guess I gotta do what I gotta do...
Killing a person means that a person gets killed. No matter what the murderer's situation is, none of it matters to the person who is killed. There's pain, heartbreak, grief... It's just horrible. For a murderer to take the easy way out and forget that... That should never be allowed to happen...
...and Sagiri have new things to say. As for Oboro...
...he just does what he's always done.
He's not a very good detective. Although when it comes to Viki, I can't say I blame him.
This is also where the final investigation into Oboro himself becomes available. Although I don't think it's going to say much we haven't already heard.
And with that, it's time we went and got some rest.
Okay! Pleasant dreams!
I fucking knew it.
If you don't mind, I'll just be going back to bed.
Sagiri artwork, now that she's finally joined up. And also Luserina because she actually did something this update... I guess.