Part 91: Shula Valya
After the battle (either one of them) and post-battle scenes, Frey wakes up alone in his room again. Sadly there's not much optional stuff left for us to do at this point. But there's still some, and we're going to do it!
Should we crush Stormfist first, or concentrate on Sol-Falena? Both choices have good points and bad points...
Well I'm sure they'll come up with an excuse to do the former because
- We need to kill everything
- This is a video game, they wouldn't let us skip parts
- KILL EVERYTHING
Lyon is getting some rest, just like the doctor ordered.
With all the running back and forth, I haven't really been paying much attention to Oboro. Here's the last update on Cathari, for all the good it does us. I'm putting him on Rahal next, in the hopes of A, Oboro being able to do something, and B, hilarious crossdressing stories.
Taylor has also been working hard.
The Dawn Times - Issue 18 posted:
Front Page - Doraat and Sable Recaptured posted:The Prince's forces have recaptured Doraat and Sable in two separate, spectacular military triumphs. After the valiant defense of Salzburg Castle, the Prince dispatched units to pursue the fleeing enemy. The main force of the Godwin Army holed themselves up in Doraat, where they were defeated.
Meanwhile, the Armes Southern Mountain Corps fled to Sable, where they were intercepted by the Prince's forces and repelled. With the two victories, the Iodine in Hell Army has succeeded in regaining the territory originally lost in the shocking Armes invasion.
"The Dawn Times" has confirmed that General Bahram Luger, Commander of the Godwin Navy, and General Jidan Guisu of the Armes Southern Mountain Corps, both perished during these most recent skirmishes.
Back Page - Prince Defeats General Luger posted:Just after the Iodine in Hell Army succeeded in liberating Doraat, the main force of the Godwin Army attempted to flee the area by ship. The Godwin forces were quickly surrounded by Raftfleet, and it seemed the Godwins would be routed right then and there.
In order to create a weak point in the Iodine in Hell Army's lines, General Bahram Luger brazenly began hand-to-hand combat with the Prince's forces. However, His Royal Highness managed to defeat General Luger, preventing an enemy breach.
Unfortunately, though, "The Dawn Times" must acknowledge that General Luger did achieve his goal to some extent, as Queen's Knight Childerich, General Novum, and other enemy forces managed to escape Doraat safely. They are believed to have headed toward Stormfist, the Godwin faction's stronghold.
Serials - Portraits of the Enemy: Bahram Luger posted:General Bahram Luger, Commander of the Godwin Navy, risked everything with a desperate offensive aimed at buying time for the other Godwin units to escape Doraat. In the end, he wound up going down with his flagship, the Kulsasper.
It is well known that Luger was once the assistant of Admiral Raja, who was also then the Commander of the Navy. But it's believed that, being of noble birth, Luger at first felt resentful about having to work under Admiral Raja, the daughter of a fisherman.
However, Luger also had an open mind, and soon recognized the Admiral's abilities. He devoted himself to his duties as her faithful assistant, and the two developed a "student-master" relationship. Luger's help was invaluable during the Armes invasion eight years ago.
Had he not allied himself with the Godwin faction, he would have remained an important asset to Falena. "He had so much talent, but he had to go and do things his way in the end," Admiral Raja said. "It really was an honor to train him, though."
Now the canon for this run is that Frey went to Doraat and killed some dude I can't remember the name of, so we get articles relevant to that. The front page is identical, but if we had gone to Sable instead...
The Dawn Times - Issue 18 (Sable version) posted:
Back Page - Prince repels Southern Mountain Corps posted:Leading the pursuit of the Armes Southern Mountain Corps, His Royal Highness and General Dinn stormed into Sable. They defeated the enemy General, Jidan Guisu, and completely expelled the Armes forces, finally liberating Sable from the iron fist of Armes.
According to information gleaned from the battlefield, part of the reason for the Armes collapse is due to the traitorous actions of Southern Mountain Corps Commander Maha Sparna, who secretly fled back to her native Armes while Guisu was engaged in the defensive.
Furthermore, Sparna even demolished Sable's southern gate, creating a blockade so that the Prince couldn't pursue her. As a result, Guisu and his men were boxed into Sable, forced to fight to the death. After stabbing her own men in the back, Sparna will surely not be welcomed back with open arms in Armes.
Serials - Portraits of the Enemy: Maha Sparna posted:Maha Sparna, the great Commander of the Armes Southern Mountain Corps, cowardly deserted Jidan Guisu in an attempt to save her own skin. But after all the trouble she went through to escape back to Armes, her country apparently didn't give her a very warm welcome.
The nation of Armes is an alliance of five major clans, and the Sparna family is a prestigious member of the Darja Clan, one of these five.
The recent invasion of Falena came about because of collusion between the Darja Clan and the Godwin faction. However, even from the very beginning, there were apparently many who feared that an invasion would be imprudent.
Even King Jalat himself could not have been called enthusiastic about the idea. And when the invasion ended in failure, the Darja Clan turned on Maha, making her a scapegoat for the entire Armes defeat.
This means that after being used by the Godwin faction and betraying General Jidan, Maha was betrayed by her own clan as well. Due to her selfish actions on the battlefield, 'Portraits of the Enemy' cannot say that her ultimate fate is undeserved.
The ultimate outcome of the Armes invasion, then, may well be a positive one. The military failure has greatly weakened the hard-line Darja Clan's position within the country. Wanting to avoid future conflict, the more moderate Ishvaak and Madra Clans have taken over leadership.
...Taylor would focus on that for the back page and serials, and we'd find that Maha seems to have got what she deserves even if we didn't get to kill her personally (boo.)
(Transcript for the Sable version shamelessly stolen from Gamefaqs because I couldn't be arsed to check it for myself.)
Anyway, we don't have any pressing matters to attend to, so let's take a bath.
It sure is.
I feel like I'm turning young again!
Now, Fuyo. If you get any younger, you're going to need diapers.
I'm not teasing you. I'm being honest. "Honesty" is my middle name, you know!
I'll pass. *grumbles* What a pain...
A pain...? You are such a--
Now, now, Fuyo. He's just embarrassed about taking a bath with us, that's all.
Oh, is that what it is? Come on, Shigure! Don't be such a child.
I'm not! That's the problem! Grown-up men and women don't take baths together -- not if they're normal, anyway.
You don't like it?
You don't like taking baths with us?
I... uh... Well, it's not like...
N-Never mind me. What about you, Sagiri? Don't you hate taking a bath with an old guy like him?
Heeey! Don't call Detective Oboro old! He's still so young!
That's okay, Fuyo. Shigure only said that because he considers me his "old man."
I do not! Just shut up!!
Say, Shigure, can you tell...?
When I'm really smiling, and when I'm not?
Y-Yeah, I guess...
How about right now?
Time's up! Looks like you lose, Shigure!
Now, face your punishment. Quit being so stubborn and get over here!
They're the most adorably dysfunctional ninja family.
And since we're nearby...
..."Fashion faux pas"? Oh, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing! Just a FASHION DIVA conversing with herself!
Someone is acting awfully suspicious...
Well then, I guess we better go see what's up.
We've received an interesting letter from Yashuna Village.
It seems Shula Valya, commander of the Armes Western Marine Corps, would like to meet with you, Your Highness. He's already arrived in Yashuna Village with a couple of assistants. They're staying at the village inn right now.
That magnificent hunk of a man wants to see little ol' me?
Invade our nation one day, and then come to meet His Highness the next? Surely he mocks us! If you would allow me, Your Highness, I'd like to march straight there and give him a sword to the throat!
You don't have to be jealous, you know. Not everyone can be as handsome as Shula Valya. The world needs plain looking guys like you, too.
Now, now, Cius, calm yourself.
What do you think, Your Highness?
I'd like to dress up for the occasion, but I'm not sure my dress can get more "up" than this.
Wh-What?! You must surely recognize this as Armes trickery!
Actually, I agree with the Prince. Shall I join you, Your Highness?
My Lady, not you, too?!
It's too risky! It must be some sort of trap!
I doubt that. There are only three of them, after all. And besides, what could Shula possibly gain by setting a trap for us now?
For a supposed military genius, Lucretia doesn't seem to think things through a lot. There are so many things wrong with that, I don't even know where to begin.
My Lady, that is one small point, however--
No it fucking well isn't!
The Western Marine Corps barely laid a finger on Estrise. There were a number of small skirmishes, but they were all initiated from Estrise's end. They didn't escalate into major battles because of Shula's careful restraint.
Aren't you curious about what Shula wants to say to the Prince?
Well I sure as hell am and I'm in charge here so I'm going whether you like it or not.
All right... But only if you let me accompany you as a bodyguard, my Lady!
And I shall accompany you as well!
I already said there's no need to worry... Still, it's nice to take a little trip with you two every now and then...
They're going to complicate matters, aren't they...?
Well anyway, the three of them force themselves into the party and we go straight to meet Mr. Dreamboat.
Wh-Who knew a man could be so... pretty?
We haven't been back to Yashuna in a while!
Village Man: The springs are closed! What am I gonna do? Where am I gonna find girls to check out...?
It's much the same as the last time we were here.
Except now there's some really great people here.
Thank you for coming out to meet us.
Thank you for being here for me to meet!
My name is Sharmista. I'm an officer of the Western Marine Corps serving under Commander Shula Valya. A pleasure to meet you.
See, Lucretia, some people actually surround themselves with polite bodyguards.
I assure you, the pleasure is all ours.
I'm sorry I had to ask you to come all the way out here. Normally, we would have visited you at your castle... However, my Commander seeks an "unofficial" meeting.
I'll be blunt. The truth is, we don't trust you. Not one bit. If you make even the slightest move against my Lady, I will kill you where you stand!
Come on Lelei, you're like level 20 at best.
Please, you two...
Forgive me. They take their jobs a bit too seriously. ...Particularly Lelei here.
No, no, they have every right to be suspicious. I'm just happy you decided to come all this way.
My Commander awaits on the second floor. This way, please.
Sharmista joins the party.
But she's not the reason we're here.
??? Thank you, Sharmista. Come in, come in.
Thank you, I'll
You better shut up while the adults are talking.
And here he is. The man himself. (And his theme song.)
Can I... help you?
Guys, I think she likes me
That's about the extent of Nifsara's involvement in the game, but I'm strangely fond of her. Maybe it's because she looks more like she should be fronting a punk band than stabbing dudes with a spear.
Well, you can do both, I suppose.
But it seems the springs have run dry, at least for now.
Oh, it doesn't have to be a hot spring. A normal bath would be fine with me.
My Lady, no! Absolutely not!
...Er, I suppose Lelei here prefers to take a shower instead...
If Lucretia spent half as much time trolling her subordinates as she does being an omniscient plot device, I'd like her a whole lot better.
Tsk. And here I was hoping I could scrub this pretty boy's back.
Watch your mouth! You dare address His Highness that way, you Armes harlot?!
Now, now, Lelei.
Shall we get on with the discussion?
All right, I'll get straight to the point.
I apologize for my recent intrusion into your lands. But that's not really why I asked to meet with His Highness.
The truth is that I, along with Sharmista and Nifsara here, would like to work for you and His Highness.
I will NOT work with that Armes harlot! I won't let her near the Prince, and I certainly won't let her near my Lady!
And you... You androgynous freak! You're on MY hit list!
Damn it you two. I can't bring you people anywhere.
Each option results in a point with one of the parties, and you better believe I'd rather make Shula's crew like me better than back up the jerks in the Nazi uniforms.
Your Highness?! Please, wait!
What are you really after?
This is no Armes trick. I wanted to bring the entire Western Marine Corps with me, but that would've been too much of a burden on you. So, at the very least, I thought that we three should offer to help you.
So you say... But what's the catch?
I was afraid you wouldn't believe me. However, I assure you... I speak the truth. Even Armes would like to see His Highness triumph in this civil war.
You see, like Falena, Armes, too, has deep fissures in its unity. Commander Sparna's Southern Mountain Corps and her faction acted alone in the recent invasion.
In return for Commander Sparna's assistance, Godwin promised to cede all former Barows territory to Armes.
Commander Sparna took the bait and even won over a number of factions at the Grand Council of Chieftains. Meanwhile, Godwin was aggressively pursuing his research on the Sun Rune.
Once they have full command of the Sun Rune, they'll use it to bring Armes under their control. They have no intention of ceding any lands. They want it all for themselves. It was an empty promise all along.
The elders at the Grand Council of Chieftains eventually realized that. But not before Commander Sparna had fled back to Armes in disgrace.
Godwin must not be allowed to remain in the Sun Palace. Armes is far better off with your faction in power. His Majesty the King and the Grand Council of Chieftains also agree.
That is why we were unofficially dispatched on a goodwill mission to provide whatever assistance we could.
Don't act so innocent! That was all for Armes' own selfish interests!
True, but that's what politics is all about : doing what's in your best interest.
What should we do, Your Highness? Personally, I think we should accept their offer.
You don't have to tell me that!
Also, it's gonna piss off Cius and Lelei and, well.
Thank you, Your Highness. I'm so happy you understand.
If that's your decision, Your Highness, then so be it, but--
This is your final warning! Do not touch the Prince! Do NOT touch my Lady! Especially YOU, Armes harlot!
You never let me have any fun
Of course, of course.... Well, glad we could join you.
At your service.
Hey, don't worry, Prince! I'll make sure no one messes with that pretty face of yours!
Yes. And he's all mine. You can't have him.
As we return to the castle, we accidentally bump into someone on the stairs...
...Yuma, what are you doing here?
Yuma's such a vile, uncultured name!
You're still spouting this nonsense? What a brat of a little sister you are.
What?! Whose little sister?! Who are you talking about? I don't have the faintest idea!
I must apologize, Prince Frey. This is actually my little sister, Yuma. It shames me to admit it, but she fled from home a little while back. I never suspected that she would be in Falena...
I am sorry for the trouble my... eccentric sister has caused.
How rude! "Eccentric," indeed! I am a FASHION DIVA!
Prince Frey's army is fighting with Commander Sparna's Southern Mountain Corps. What do you think would happen if it became known that the eldest daughter of the House of Valya was involved? The House of Valya would be treated as traitors, and people might think that His Highness was in cahoots with Armes. Furthermore, you would be the target of attacks yourself. If you can't even see that, then "eccentric sister" is too kind for you! "Blithering idiot" is more like it.
I'm sorry. Thank you for watching after my little sister.
Anything for you
Speaking of ridiculously pretty men, Oboro's investigation is done and might be useful if you didn't already know he has a unite with Flail, I guess. On to the next one!
And also on to the war room.
Why? What's wrong?
Your Royal Highness, our scouts attempting to infiltrate Stormfist were assailed by some sort of powerful magic. It was most fortunate that the attack was poorly aimed. Had it been a direct hit, none would have survived.
They say it was just like that crazy hocus-pocus we saw in Doraat!
??? The Twilight Rune...
What do you mean by that?
I suspect that whoever is wielding the Twilight Rune now may well have been ...chosen by the Rune itself.
It does not matter who. The important thing is to stop them at once.
You're probably right.
I get the feeling they may just be leading us into a trap, but we must go investigate at once.
One trap after another...
I will not have you speak of Commander Valya that way
I was hoping we could ignore Stormfist and go straight for Sol-Falena, but that no longer seems possible. They must be plotting something in Stormfist as well.
No shit! I told you this would happen.
Childerich and General Novum are in Stormfist at the moment. If we head for Sol-Falena now, those two will probably strike at our flank.
And if they bring the Twilight Rune with them, we'll be in even greater danger.
Therefore, I suggest that we take out Stormfist first.
I'd say something about how that means our flank would be just as open to attacks from Sol-Falena, but it's Gizel we're talking about and he doesn't seem to want to move anywhere unless he absolutely has to, so whatever.
Stormfist is the stronghold of the House of Godwin. A strike against Stormfist, therefore, would hurt them not only strategically, but psychologically as well.
Well, why are we just standing around talkin', then? Let's stop the mumblin' and start the rumblin', I say!
Shall we prepare for battle, Your Highness?
Well we could!
But I don't wanna.
All right. We'll be ready to start whenever you are, Your Highness.
Which won't be for a while.
Time to settle things with Dilber!
Oh, don't worry, Prince! I'll definitely win!
No you won't, because you won't be participating.
Childerich has gone too far, even for a monster such as he. He deserves nothing less than a swift and terrible punishment.
I think I remember something about loathsome corpses being deposited in nearby bodies of water.
The moment of truth has finally arrived!
Eh. It's not Gizel's neck on the chopping block.
Stormfist's defenses are nearly impregnable. For anyone but the Dragon Cavalry, that is...
You'll get your chance. Soon-ish.
The enemy's naval strength is limited, but the way Stormfist was built, we can't attack from the river alone. We'll have to move our troops in on land as well, which means breaking through Childerich's and General Novum's units.
I don't mind! I'm good at breaking through units.
I'm confident that our Iodine in Hell Army can bring down even the impregnable Stormfist!
What a coincidence, so am I!
You must find out who used the Twilight Rune and stop them from doing so again. And you must do it immediately!
...I'm in no rush to get nuked in the face again.
Or to do anything you want me to do.
We're going, too! If anyone should give the enemy what's for, it's us dwarves!
I, too, was hoping we could hurry to Sol-Falena and get this war over with. But I realize now that we can't just ignore the Twilight Rune...
You're too much of an optimist.
Strange that they'd use the Twilight Rune that way. They're practically inviting us to attack Stormfist...
So they are, and I'll take them up on it one of these days.
I thought that maybe you should have gone directly on to Sol-Falena... But now that the Twilight Rune is in the picture, I realize you couldn't have...
You have to send exact copies of this letter to twenty-seven people within twenty-seven days. If you don't, you'll be a "filthy devil." FILTHY DEVIL!
Anyway, we have mail. Now I know I already got this one.
For better or for worse, he's a rigid man. I can't count the number of times I told him to be more flexible.
That strategy of his was pretty drastic. I'd hate it if he died... Ah, what a troublesome student!
And this must have been sent before the last battle.
She was always talking about how backward her home country was. Now I see she was talking about Armes.
I don't think any culture can be called "advanced" or "backward." Different flowers bloom in different regions.
Bastan has a poet's soul.
Possibly in a jar of some sort.
He refuses to tell me how he entered our forest. How can you associate with men like him?
He's a hell of a lot more useful than you!
You know, at first, I told him to stop gambling on the dragon horses... But ever since it started, the dragon horses have been getting better and better. Maybe it's not so bad after all.
Come back when they start betting on themselves.
How come she's always over at the Draggiehorse place lately? I know the Cavalry's filled with all them prettyboys. Wonder what she's doing with them...
She sticks her head in and goes "boo" and then all the trainees who haven't seen a woman in years all run and hide under their beds.
And then she has all the draggiehorses all to herself.
Man... I've never been with a foreign chick, but I wouldn't mind a little "exchange program" with her!
Oh yeah, I should probably warn our new guests about him.
Well, him being the guy who took over my town and all, I thought I'd go give him a piece of my mind. But after I met him, and we talked man-to-man, I didn't feel like complaining anymore. I don't even know how he did it. He sweet-talked his way right past me!
He's sort of amazing that way.
Don't talk to me about engagements.
If you call me "Yuma," this FASHION DIVA will unleash her fashionable fury!
I'm sure no one wants that, so I'll be careful.
Speaking of exchange programs, though!
And Sharmista, you're from Armes. So that mean everybody here is non-Falenan!
Hey, I guess you're right!
You never know about a place until you see it with your own eyes. I used to think Falena was a hellhole. We'd hear stories about slave trading, about how the Queen was a tyrant and used an assassin group... When we heard about the Prince rising up against his own little sister, I came running to smite him down... Never thought I'd wind up on his side. Me, fighting for a "traitor."
The Island Nations and Falena go back a ways, so we've always pretty much known what they're up to. But all we ever heard about Armes were horror stories. Pirates, bandits, all across the country, just pillaging and burning everything. No offense, Sharmista.
None taken! That's the way it goes with foreign countries and rumors. Makes sense, I guess. No one wants their people to think someone else is better off than they are... So they go out and plant rumors that put other countries down, just to they look better by comparison.
And, of course, people buy into the lies and spread them further, not knowing they're being fooled. Myself included, I suppose, before I came here.
Well, but coming here cleared all that up, right? Maybe if our countries interacted more, our people wouldn't be so suspicious and hostile.
That's a nice dream. Of course, these days, most people live out their whole lives all in one place. For now, all we can do is make the best of the good fortune that brought us together like this.
Of course, I plan to contribute as much as I can as well. You can depend on that!
Shula and his crew set up shop in one of the rooms in the tower.
Thank you very much indeed for accepting us, Your Highness. We'll try to express our gratitude directly during the next battle.
As long as you leave Childerich to me.
Hey there, pretty boy! When this is all over, wanna have some fun?
I like fun!
Now, then. I believe we had a siege to see to...
How can anyone complain about this guy's fashion sense? Look at that hat. Look at it.