Part 88: The Gordius KnotWe're pretty much done with the optional stuff for now, but someone who shall remain nameless went and sneezed Frey through time and space before he could go get the plot back on track. While he's trying to get back from wherever he flew off to, we'll take a little peek at what happens in a parallel timeline.
I think this can be done as soon as Frey is left to his own devices, without anyone forcing themselves into the party and making a mess out of things, but I'm actually doing it after the next event because... I dunno, I just did. Anyway, it doesn't really matter.
This is an opportunity that must not be wasted. Team Sausagefest, assemble!
(Kyle says something like "I have to go with YOU guys?!" when you put him in an all-male party.)
My destination is about as free from enemies as it's going to get.
I don't think they'd have the balls to come back.
But our actual destination is a little ways away...
If we chose to defend the castle, Georg took care of this place on his own. And before this, we've always had a female bodyguard tagging along, so we haven't been able to get in.
And as such, in this timeline this is our first encounter with Nick and company.
You gotta let me look for him!
Although losing Roy does mean we can't beat the game with all 108 stars, that doesn't mean we've missed these guys entirely. We just have to jump through a different set of hoops.
Cavalry Soldier: No! There might still be some of Godwin's assassins inside the dragon horse lair. I can't allow a trainee like you to go in there!
Since it's our first time here, we wouldn't know what this place is, either, even if it's really really obvious.
That Queen's Knights guy said he took care of 'em all, didn't he?! It's gotta be safe now!
Hey, nameless NPC! Are you doubting the word of the Georg Prime?
Cavalry Soldier: I said no, and the answer is no! I know how important a mount is to its rider, but we're talking about Nether Gate assassins here! What would you do if they're still in thee? What would you do if you ran into one? You'd die, that's what you'd do!
It sounds like you are!
I can take a--
Cavalry Soldier: So leave the searching to us. Trust that your mount knows how to take care of himself, okay?
Hey, Nick... That guy's right. You wouldn't stand a chance against even one assassin! We gotta go back!
Uh, feel free to notice me anytime!
Cavalry Soldier: You see, Nick? Yoran's talking sense. You should listen to him.
Fine! I see how it is!
I know Ax better than anybody! I'd find him no problem, if they'd just lemme in there!
The two of them run off as if the loudly dressed guy with silver hair was just part of the scenery. Rude!
I didn't do anything in this timeline though.
Cavalry Soldier: This leads to the dragon horse lair, but it was infiltrated by Nether Gate assassins recently! If they're still in there, they'll be very dangerous, so only Cavalry soldiers are allowed inside! Thank you for letting us do our job, Your Highness.
We'll see about that. But first, I gotta see a m... boy about a dragon horse.
What's up, Nick? You look worried!
Ax is missin'! That Queen's Knights guy drove out Godwin's men, but Ax is still in the cave somewhere!
Damn! I can see why you're worried!
Your Highness, lemme explain things for you... This here is Nick, a Cavalry Soldier-in-training. And that's Yoran, a stable boy.
Hold up! Did you say... "Your HIGHNESS"?!
What, you didn't know? This is Prince Frey, leader of the Iodine in Hell Army!
It's nice to get the recognition we deserve!
I wanna help Nick find his missing dragon horse, Ax. That's okay, right?
It makes me feel generous.
You don't mind?!
Yeah! That's our Prince!
Your Highness, I fear it may prove dangerous.
Yeah, that's exactly what I'm sayin', Rahal! It's way too dangerous to let these two rookies go in alone!
That wasn't precisely my... *sigh*
Very well. I'll go with you. But please, let's all exercise extreme caution. ...Nick and Yoran in particular.
That doesn't sound like caution to me. But it's okay! We can handle ourselves, even if we're missing Miakis.
We'll be careful, Sir Rahal!
Nick is the same terrible 15th-level waste of space he was on the other path, but at least it's justified in that he's just a trainee. All three playable cavalry dudes get a third rune slot upon hitting level 55, so if you want to train Nick, you probably won't regret it. (He gets his second rune when he hits 50, which is late, but on the other hand Frey's already up to 51 so it shouldn't take much effort to bring Nick up to speed if we wanted to use him.)
For now though, Nick goes in the reserves, and also in the running-behind-Frey-like-an-idiot position.
Hi. Step aside, please.
Cavalry Soldier: Well... I suppose it's all right, so long as Sir Roog and Sir Rahal are with you. Still, Your Highness, the safety of the dragon horse lair has not yet been verified. Please exercise due caution.
It's still the same area.
What? Here? This is the dragon horses' nesting ground. Godwin's men were holding the dragon horse eggs and foals as ransom, threatening to harm them! Thankfully, Sir Georg Prime was able to save the day... Still, when we counted the dragon horse eggs just now, one of them was missing. Our soldiers are searching for it now.
Tell them to stop. I'm on the job now.
...and into the cave where the foals were being held.
That's surprising. I always thought this passage was completely sealed.
I come here all the time to play with Ax, so I know this place really well!
Really? So Ax knows this place, too?
Let's investigate, then, Your Highness.
I really needed to be told that.
Hey! There's somethin' there!
More like draghost horse!
Ax! Oh, we finally found you!
Man! You had us worried there, buddy!
Hey, why do you think Ax is hidin' here? It's not like a Gordius dragon horse to get all scared!
Hmm... The answer to your question may be back there.
Yoran picks it up. By which I mean he walks up and then he walks down again.
This is a dragon horse egg! Most definitely!
No, Frey, no...
He couldn't have! Ax is a guy!
Seriously, you're embarrassing me here.
Indeed. It has to be.
Hey, I get it! When those scary guys barged in here, Ax must have taken the egg and hidden to protect it!
Ha! He wasn't cowardly! He was smart! You got yourself a good dragon horse here, Nick!
Great job, Ax!
All right! We got Ax and the egg, so let's hurry up and head back! Let's tell the other guys that they can stop lookin'! We beat 'em to both!
Like Nick, Ax is... not the greatest when he joins. He gets better, though, especially since you don't have to sharpen anything to use him.
Yeah, and that's not all!
We hand over the egg.
Cavalry Soldier: What's this?!
Ax was guarding it in back!
Cavalry Soldier: You don't say!
...he sounds sarcastic. I think they just left it there so we could feel useful.
Cavalry Soldier: And we were so sure that those foul Godwins made off with it...
Or maybe not!
Cavalry Soldier: It's rare to find such intellect in a foal so young... What an amazing dragon horse!
Cavalry Soldier: Your Highness, thank you very much for assisting in the search!
Well, I'm still feeling generous.
No, we didn't do it alone! These guys helped out, too!
Thanks a bunch!
Cavalry Soldier: Anyway, leave the rest to us! You should return up top.
Indeed. Let's go.
And what a relief to find Ax...
You guys can move to Sauronix Castle pretty soon, if you want.
You mean... we'll be full members of the Dragon Cavalry?!
Sure! I'll sponsor you!
It will be an honor to have you two as fellow members.
All right, Your Highness. Let's return to Salzburg Castle.
You're leavin' already?!
And on that subject...
Really?! Are you sure?!
Thanks a bunch, Prince! I know I'm kinda inexperienced, but I'll do my best!
Me, too! We'll help YOU next time, Your Highness!
Great! Come on, you guys!
I'll talk to the Commander later.
And just like last time, the three of them are a package deal. Supposedly they won't join straight away if you pick the wrong answers inside, but I don't care quite enough to experiment with it.
We'll head right on over to Salzburg Castle!
Yoran! Ax! Let's get goin'!
I-I'll be more focused next time! Promise!
And from there on out, it's all the same.
Next, back to our regularly scheduled arghlebarghle!
(While we're on the subject, if you stay and defend the castle you can also allow Childerich kill Roy, but if you let that happen, you're a terrible person and should feel terrible. Let the guy have his glorious plot death! He's just as dead either way, you know.)
And of course the Failures have different lines as well.
So the guy who killed Roy... is in Stormfist?
Spoiler, we don't get to kill Childerich in the next battle either (although it should be pretty obvious since we might chase after the Armes people instead). Faylen is so sleep deprived, she confuses the guy who got smacked in the dick by Roy with the one who had him shot. That probably can't be good.