Part 27: Chapter #14: Faulkner's Ambition, Part 2Chapter #14: Faulkner's Ambition, Part II
: At long last! This glorious capital once again belongs to the Pharastia Kingdom! It was fifteen years ago that we were driven from this haven by the Empire. So many lives were needlessly lost on that dark day. His Majesty, the King...many of my soldiers...my friends. I believed that I would die without the chance to avenge them, Your Highness, but now I have. Their tortured souls can finally rest, as can mine.
: Galvas, there is no shame in tears.
No...there is. It's what separates a real man from Chris Bosh.
: I have never cried until this moment, Your Highness...but these tears must be shed. The burden of His Majesty's death has finally been lifted. The heart of the Kingdom has been restored. These are tears of joy.
: I share your joy, Galvas. But you realize we are nowhere near finishing off the Empire yet. Serious work lies ahead.
: Quite true, Duke Zeira.
: Now that we've taken the capital, we've got the chance to storm the rest of the Empire and end this war. But there's one thing we've yet to take care of.
Ah...yes. You get Devlin, I'll get the gun.
: And that thing would be the country of Hibernia, eh, Zeira?
: Correct. If we leave them untended, they could strike when we march on the rest of the Empire. However, if they can be persuaded to join us, we can hit the Empire on two fronts!
: I'd gladly volunteer to sweet-talk Lord Alden for you, Bastion. If he was a hot chick, of course. So I take it we'll be escorting you into Hibernia for a personal chit-chat with Alden, right?
: Actually, that's exactly what I had in mind, Andrew. How did you know?
What? How about because everyone keeps talking about going to Hibernia, and Bastion always travels with his party? It's not like Andrew had some sort of super-insight.
: Because you're a hands-on kind of guy, Bastion. I like that, and I'm sure the ladies do, too. But I digress.
: Indeed, you do. When shall we depart?
: At once, Your Highness. The sooner we obtain an alliance with Alden, the sooner we crush the Empire.
: Yes, Your Highness?
: Galvas, I want you to stay here.
Yep, Galvas is booted out of your party. I guess the sight of Galvas' tears turned Bastion off. Anyway, this can fuck you up if you don't know it's coming, because any experience that Galvas gained is wasted, and there's no opportunity to grind in Vanguard Bandits.
: I would have you protect the royal capital, inform Marquis Dionne of the latest developments...And attack the Empire's southern front while I lead the assault on their northern front. You are the only one capable of all these tasks, Galvas. You are the only one I trust to complete them.
: But, Your Highness!
: I will be in the company of Zeira, Andrew, Reyna, and the others. You have no need to fear for my safety. They are my friends, Galvas, just as you are. And if I trust them with my life, so shall you.
: Your Highness...I shall carry out your instructions with great care. And when I have completed my tasks and hardened the foundation of the Kingdom, perhaps I can rejoin you. I thank you for bestowing this honor upon me, Your Highness. I swear that I shall not fail you.
: I know you won't, Galvas.
: Well, then, perhaps we should begin preparations for the trip.
: The name is Andrew, old man, but I'm in a forgiving mood today. What do you want?
: Take care of His Highness for me.
: Heh...You got it, old man.
: When we first met, I judged you to be both unreliable and irresponsible...But now I realize that beneath your lecherous exterior, you are a man of great honor. I am proud to call you friend.
: Don't get too emotional on me, old man. I'm not used to it. Take care of yourself...my friend.
: I shall.
: (I remember the shock I felt at His Highness traveling with a group of women, children, and scoundrels. And now I feel the shock of realizing that I have grown to care for them as His Highness does. It has been an honor to watch His Highness develop into a great leader before my eyes...And to see the same traits I admired so much in His Majesty, the King. How much more will he have grown before I see him next? Alugard, my brother, I can feel the warm smile of your soul. You must be so proud of your...of your son. Ah, well, I have no more time for these rambling thoughts. I have a great many tasks to achieve for His Highness...And I cannot fail him! I cannot lose all that His Highness has achieved!)
And, with that, I am finally divested of my last temporary party member.
Also, capturing the royal capital has transferred a good chunk of land to the Kingdom, which is kind of a nice touch.
: Duke Zeira?
: Yes, Bastion?
: Why has Hibernia kept a neutral stance throughout the war between the Kingdom and the Empire?
: The rulers of Hibernia are relatives of the royal family of the Kingdom.
: What? I'm related to Lord Alden?
: Distantly...but yes, you are. Hibernia was created a LONG time ago by your great-great-great-grandfather. The Kingdom was in trouble, and the King needed someone to step in if things got out of hand. The King basically created a country for one of his brothers, and had him swear to observe the Kingdom. And that's what Hibernia has been doing ever since. Keeping a close eye on each new ruler of Pharastia.
Okay, that may seem completely insane, even by the standards of this game, but keep in mind that I'm pretty sure that New Zealand was created to observe Australia for a similar reason.
: What a bizarrely fascinating story. Has there ever been a need for the Hibernians to invade the Kingdom?
: No. Not yet. But there's not been a need for them to help the Kingdom, either, until now.
: If Hibernia is obligated to assist the Kingdom in times of internal strife...I would think that they are equally obligated to help us against external threats, as well.
I wouldn't bother trying to apply logic to this situation.
: I agree, Bastion, but I'm not the man you must convince of that.
: Someone's coming out to greet us.
: Greeting, Prince Bastion and Duke Zeira. We had been expecting you to call upon us.
: I remember you, miss. You're the woman who was with Lord Alden when we located the Ultragunner.
: I'm quite honored to have made an impression upon you, Prince Bastion! Please follow me!
: (I can't believe she's flirting with Bastion!)
: Thank you, Melior.
: An Imperial soldier? What's going on Melior?
Hibernia's just made a deal that will keep the Empire of their country forever!
: What's going on, Melior?
: He was merely a messenger of the Empire, Prince Bastion, and our discussion with him is complete.
: (A "discussion"? I certainly hope Lord Alden doesn't believe the lies being fed to him by the Empire!) It has been a long time, Lord Alden. Thank you for meeting with us.
: Indeed, Prince Bastion, it HAS been a long while, although I have heard of your exploits with Ultragunner.
: I will not waste your time or mine, Lord Alden. I have come here for a single reason. I want to form an alliance with you, that we may defeat the Empire and bring peace to the Continent.
: I see.
: I would obviously be disappointed if you declined my offer, Alden, but I would certainly understand. What I do NOT want is for Hibernia to become an enemy of the Kingdom, because we would both suffer.
Hmmm. I don't know that threats of violence are the best way to cement an alliance.
: Both of us, Prince Bastion? Are you certain of that?
: Certain enough to be my life on it, Lord Alden.
Ally with me or I will mother-fucking murder you and your entire fucking country!
: Prince Bastion, I realize the impropriety of my request, but may I interrupt for a few minutes.
: Uh...certainly, Melior.
: Thank you so much, Prince Bastion. Actually, my interruption concerns one of the members of your party. How did Devlin come to join you?
If I recall correctly, a gypsy cursed me to have 'the most infuriating party member that ever was, until the end of your days' after I killed her daughter in a skiing accident.
: (I knew I should have stayed with Galvas back in the capital city.)
: When you left here, you claimed that you were sick of war, and now you fight for the Kingdom? What has brought about this change of heart, Devlin? I demand the simple courtesy of an answer!
: ... ... ...
: Devlin, you must realize that your answer could greatly benefit Bastion. Please share your reasons with us.
: (I knew she would say that.) Melior, just because I'm your brother doesn't give you the right to make me feel so guilty.
: Devlin, you're Melior's brother?!
: Devlin, that hotty is your sister?! Man, am I glad you didn't see me try to pinch her posterior as she was escorting us in here!
: Actually, I did, and we're going to have a little discussion about that after this meeting is adjourned.
I imagine the meeting will last roughly twenty seconds before Andrew beats Devlin into a coma.
: As for you, Melior, I'll try to explain the best I can. We grew up watching the Kingdom and the Empire fight each other, and you know how much it upset me. While we lived in peace, the citizens of those two nations lived in fear, and we did nothing to helm them. I grew tired of watching the world collapse around us, so I left with the goal of helping the innocent. But for every life I was able to save, there were three I was not...and my desire turned despair. That's when I met Bastion. He pulled me away from the brink of death, both physically and spiritually. Yes, he engages in warfare, but not to expand his domain and revel in his power. He fights...for peace.
He's like the perfect pacifist! He loves peace, but isn't afraid to cave in a man's skull to do it!
: When Bastion defeats the Empire, the people of the Continent will be saved from a lifetime of suffering. That is why I have joined with him, Melior, and that is why Lord Alden should join with him as well.
: Thank you, Devlin...and thank you, Your Highness. Please continue.
: I don't quite know what to say after that, Melior.
: I would also speak to your friends, Prince Bastion. Tell me, Duke Zeira, are you as enamored of Prince Bastion as is Devlin?
: I am, Alden. I've yet to meet a kinder and more honorable young man.
: And you, warrior of Dionne? How do you feel about the Prince?
: Who, Bastion? Truth be told, I love the guy...in an entirely platonic way, mind you.
: Indeed, Prince Bastion, you seem to have the support of anyone who has entered your life. And I must confess that yet another person has been singing your praises to me for quite some time. Please enter....
Oh, man, who could it be? I hope it's Kamorge's force-ghost!
Oh, yeah, it's that girl...Milla or Meira or...
: (It figures. One cute girl walks into the room, and everyone forgets about my emotional confession of love.)
: Milea, how long have you been here?! Why didn't you try to contact me?!
: I...I wasn't ready, Bastion.
: Milea will be able to answer all of your questions soon enough, Prince Bastion. All you must know for now is that she has spoken of you on every day of her residence here. She has never stopped attempting to persuade me that you are deserving of my support. She really is quite a special young lady. But, you know that already, don't you? I now realize that Milea was telling the truth about you, Prince Bastion. You are a great man indeed.
: Lord Alden...
: I gladly ally the nation of Hibernia with the Pharastia Kingdom in its battle against the Junaris Empire.
: Th...Thank you, Lord Alden! You will not regret your decision! Thank you, everyone!
Next Time: The Chapter still isn't over. Chapter #14, Part Three: The Milea Variations! Also, a status update!