Part 19: Chapter #10: Kaidul's Revolt, Part 2Chapter #10: Kaidul's Revolt, Continued
Last time: Kaidul led, and was summarily executed by, a group of Avalon soldiers dedicated to removing Duke Zeira from power. We dealt with them in a manner befitting traitors.
Yeah, having your subjects trying to murder you tends to have that effect.
Ah, it's Ione, good. So far she took a man she didn't know who repeatedly made comments about 'settling old debts' to meet her commander, let Ganlon almost consummate his plan to steal Gratia, and now her dad committed high treason. Are we sure she isn't some sort of diabolical genius bent on our destruction?
: Duke Zeira, I apologize for what my father has done. I therefore tender my resignation from the Corps.
: I'll not accept it. It's due to your unselfish bravery that the people of Aylin are safe. I've not needed someone like you in the Corps more badly than I do at this very moment, Ione.
: Thank you, Zeira.
: In my head, I've been playing back what Kaidul said, over and over. I've realized one thing...He was right. Avalon's in tatters. It was nothing but poor leadership on my part not to see it sooner. I despise the manner in which he brought it to my attention, but I feel his argument was sound.
: You're taking this too hard. Your country seems to be in fine shape to me, Zeira.
: Appearances can be deceiving, Bastion. But, I intend to make it what it should be. If I had been a more effective leader, I would have tended to the problems here sooner.
Are you ready for Duke Zeira's bold new plan for reforming the Avalon Principality?
: Don't fear that I'll cease fighting the Empire because of this. To the contrary! I'll fight harder!
Duke Zeira's response to war protests? More war!
: Kaidul was wrong about the Empire. They must be stopped at all costs, and we're the ones to do it.
: I just found out something that you both definitely need to know!
: What is it, Reyna?
: There were three Imperial spies within Kaidul's group of mutineers!
: Spies in the Avalon Corps?!
: You're certain of this, Reyna?
: Yes. In our search of the mutineers' hideout, we found correspondence between them and the Empire. They had tried to burn the letters, but we were able to read enough of the contents to learn that...That...
: You learned that they contacted my father and convinced him to mutiny against Zeira.
Um...are we supposed to be shocked that a guy trying to convince his leader to make peace with the Empire had had contact with the Empire?
: Between his discontent and his ignorance about the Empire's true motives, it must have been simple. Is that correct, Reyna?
: Yes, Ione, it is.
: I still can't believe the Empire was able to infiltrate so deeply into the Avalon Corps.
: I can scarcely believe it myself, but the fault lies squarely with me for underestimating Faulkner. Just look at how completely he's fished us in with his foul scheme.
: What do you mean?
: This revolt is not something the Empire did for fun. It was all a part of Faulkner's grand plan.
: Of course! After the Ultragunner was found, the Empire needed to buy time and determine what to do next. And the perfect way to do that was by causing a coup d'etat in Avalon.
: This revolt was merely a distraction?
: But how did they know we would all return to Avalon? What if only Zeira had come back and the rest of us had continued to advance into Imperial territory?
: They knew that wouldn't happen, Reyna. They knew Ultragunner and Bastion would come here.
: But how, Zeira?
: Faulkner knows you're an honorable man, Bastion. He knew you wouldn't desert me.
: Correct. It's part of his job to figure out how people will act...and react. It's frightening.
Yeah, frightening in how bad he is at it. Faulkner lost Araba Castle because he misjudged Zakov. He then didn't anticipate Sadira stopping him from taking Ultragunner. So...uh...he's not exactly some sort of master psychologist.
: I feel like such a fool!
: Don't fault yourself. We have to just try to be less predictable. Keep the Empire guessing.
Well, Faulkner keyed onto your moral character, so I bet it would throw him off if you massacred some civilians.
: And, when Faulkner guesses wrong, that's when we hang the stone-cold bastard from the nearest tree.
Well, I guess executing prisoners-of-war would be a good step in that direction...
: You're right, Zeira. We need to think like Faulker sic does. Use his own tricks against him.
What the hell does that mean? Kill innocents? Take hostages? What tricks are you talking about?
: With luck, we can crush him forever!
Later, at the Bastion-cave...
: You were unable to find Milea.
: I am sorry, Your Highness, but we found nothing. I will send another search party if you command it.
: No, Galvas. I know that with your enormous efforts, she surely would have been discovered by now. I am grateful for what you did.
: Thank you, Your Highness. I have more encouraging news for Your Highness, as well.
: I think we'd ALL like to hear it.
: Stories of Ultragunner's appearance in Aylin are making their way across the Continent. More and more people are learning that it is not a legend, but a reality...Which has, in turn, sparked a wave of new optimism that the Empire is on the verge of collapse.
So...the Kingdom's only ally only almost being taken over by mutineers has convinced the people that the Empire is near collapse?
: Excellent! You've got the unwashed masses on your side, Bastion!
: I'm certain Faulkner didn't expect that reaction to Ultragunner, emmm?
: I also received new regarding a squad of the Kingdom Army which is trapped within Imperial territory. The squad is being led by one General Thomson, who refused to retreat even as the Empire surrounded him.
: Has Thomson's squad been defeated?
: No. Thomson and his men have somehow managed to hold out against overwhelming numbers. He doesn't have adequate manpower to launch offensive strikes, but he is in an ideal defensive position. We have long wanted to launch a rescue mission, but the Imperial resistance was always too great. Thomson somehow learned that the Ultragunner was revived, and was inspired to attack the Empire. This is the perfect time to join with Thomson and swarm the Imperial forces with superior numbers.
: Agreed. Regardless of their bravery, Thomson's group won't have enough strength to win without us. This is a chance to deal the Empire a crushing defeat and increase our manpower at the same time.
: To battle, then!
No...first, I do believe that it is time for the seed I planted so long ago to bear fruit...
: What is it, Soldier?
: Our scouts have sighted the ATAC of Duke Radcot of the Muspel Nation! It is headed directly for Araba!
: Radcot again?! Will that fool never grow tired of being defeated?!
: But why does he attack us alone? Radcot may be slow, but he isn't THAT incompetent!
: Who knows what scheme Radcot has conjured up? I only know that I will make him pay for his crimes!
Er...unless you learn necromancy, that probably isn't going to happen.
: Prepare our ATACs for battle!
But what's this? A second messenger with even more urgent news? Why, it's almost as if the developers couldn't be bothered to animate a more interesting scene?
: And what is more urgent than the approach of Duke Radcot, soldier?!
: Commander Galvas, Radcot's ATAC has come to a halt...and a young girl exited the cockpit.
: She demanded to see Prince Bastion, and her cries were very persuasive.
: Oh, Bastion!
: Nana?! Why has your father brought you here?
: Daddy didn't bring me, Bastion...
: Where is he, Nana? What's going on? You have to explain!
: Daddy is dead!
: Is your father in danger, Nana?
Danger? No, Zeira, Nana's dead father definitely is no longer in danger.
: No, he was MURDERED by a man who said he was a friend of Faulkner's!
: Faulkner had Radcot killed?
: We have long suspected a connection between them. This confirms it.
: Faulkner was sure to be unhappy when Radcot wasn't able to capture Bastion and Gratia.
: Faulkner works for the Empire, doesn't he, Bastion? I want to go and fight the Empire with you! Faulkner must die for what he has done to my father!
: I can't let you come with us, Nana! You're just a child, not a soldier! We all risk our lives every time we take our ATACs onto the battlefield. I won't let you risk yours!
: Daddy taught me how to use his ATAC, Bastion, and I'm really good at it! Please let me fight with you!
: Absolutely not, Nana.
: Okay, Bastion. I'll just go and fight by myself.
Yeah, why not go and tell me how that works out for you. I'll be keeping your ATAC of course...
: Reyna, are you insane?! Nana is just a child! She has no place in this war!
: She's also a child who knows how to operate an ATAC, and is dead serious about having her revenge!
: The desire for revenge is something I understand quite well, Reyna...
: If she stays with us, Bastion, we can protect her. We can train her.
We can turn her into the perfect killing machine...
: And I will gladly take responsibility for her if you will allow it.
: This is madness, Reyna! We cannot expose a child to the horrors of war! We have already lost enough innocent children! We have no need to add this girl to the list of casualties!
: Reyna, I do believe you have taken leave of your senses. But...I suppose I'll support you on this one. Bastion, I believe taking Nana with us has some merit.
: You're alright with it, Zeira?
: Duke Zeira, I can't believe a man of your considerable experience would sanction this foolishness.
Huh...maybe those rebels trying to get rid of Duke Zeira had a point.
: You're willing to let Duke Radcot's daughter fight alongside us?
: I am, Galvas, because I know Reyna will keep her out of harm's way.
: Nana, you know that the battlefield is a dangerous place, don't you?
: Yes, Bastion.
: You could be injured if you come with us, Nana. You might even die.
: I know, Bastion.
: And you still want to come with us?
: Yes! Please!
: (She wants revenge, just as I do...and she can pilot an ATAC, just as I can...so how can I deny her the chance?) Alright, Nana. You're in Reyna's care from now on...and you're one of us.
: Yay!! Thanks, Bastion! I'll fight hard for you! Thank you, too, Aunt Reyna!
: Aunt? It's going to be a while before I'm used to that...Now that I'm your guardian, Nana, I need to start setting some rules. Rule 1: You should always refer to me as "Beautiful Aunt Reyna."
: Rule 2: Always stand up straight when I am addressing you! Posture is very important! Rule 3: You will give me at least four footrubs per day!
Well, I guess there's no cause for concern that Reyna is apparently out of her mind.
: You're scaring me!
: Hey! Come back here!!
: Is it too late for you to change your mind. Bastion?
: That's not amusing...
: Do you have any idea why Reyna has taken such an interest in the girl?
: Perhaps it's because she can relate to Nana's situation, Galvas...but I'd better leave it at that.
Yeah, because if we knew anymore, this scene might be interesting! We'll never actually learn anything else about Reyna's past. Also, I like how this game took the approach that "child soldiers are wrong, but, meh, might as well have a few!"
Right, then, back to work.
: How much longer until we reach Thomson's stronghold, Galvas?
: It shouldn't be much further, Your Highness. I'm mildly surprised that we haven't reached it yet.
: Check out your scanners, people! We have a serious outbreak of ATAC combat just over the hill!
: Andrew's right! I'm reading both Kingdom and Empire ATACs - fully engaged in combat!
: Are we too late, Galvas?
: Doubtful, Your Highness. Thomson will be able to hold the Imperials at bay until our arrival...But it would be the course of wisdom to make haste...
Next Time: Status Update!