Part 45: Chapter #7: Traitorous Warrior, Part 2Empire Chapter #7: Traitorous Warrior, Part 2
Hey, there's nothing crazy about opening fire on your own troops because of hypocritical sentiments about loyalty!
: We worked for months to earn the trust of Ganlon, and you destroyed that within moments. If we had been able to claim Araba, we could have had a decisive edge in this war. Now, we have nothing!
: I must apologize once again, General. As you know, we have been working hard to rehabilitate Bastion. We thought he was ready to represent the Empire. We never intended to hinder your efforts.
: Apologies notwithstanding, I plan to convene a court-martial. Until then, boy, you are under house arrest.
Damn you Faulkner and your use of Due Process of Law in a case of treason! Have you no soul at all?
: Can he do that?!
: He cannot! And he would do well to treat the Princess and her friends with respect! Good day, Faulkner!
Yeah, because Bastion is a hero who...wait, didn't he just kill a ton of people for no really good reason?
Our old friend Thomson lives again in this reality! He comes in just in time to see Bastion leave.
: Begging your pardon, General...(That face!)
: (Why is that old man staring at me? Don't ask, don't tell, I suppose.)
Oh, Working Designs, you're better than that.
: General, might I trouble you for the name of that moss-haired youth?
: Bastion. A stupid boy in whom our Princess has taken a very strong and hormonally driven interest. Why do you ask?
: No reason, General. Just being a nosy old bastard. Let us discuss other more pressing matters.
: I should be able to prevent Faulkner from putting you on trial, but not if something like this happens again.
: I know Sadira, and I'm sorry...but I still feel what I did was right.
: Cecilia, why didn't you stop him? You must have known how much trouble his actions would cause!
: I'm sorry, Princess! I didn't know if I could stop him or not! You should have seen how angry he was!
: (I wish I HAD seen it. He looks most handsome when he's angry.)
: Begging your pardon, Princess! It's Thomson! May I enter?
: (Thomson? What does HE want?) You may enter, Thomson!
: ...but with the young man there. May I speak with him privately?
: With Bastion?
: (The old man who was staring at me in Faulkner's chamber. What does he want?)
: As you wish, Thomson. This meeting is adjourned.
: I just noticed...isn't that a uniform of the Kingdom Army you're wearing? Are you like Ganlon? A traitor who betrays the trust of his friends, and who lives without honor?!
So...uh, Bastion has apparently learned nothing from the unfortunate business at Araba, then.
: My wife was kidnapped by the Imperial Army. I was given a choice. Become a soldier of the Empire...or have the remains of my beloved delivered to me, one piece at a time. I selected the former.
: How unspeakably horrible!
: Yes. General Faulkner is not known for his subtlety, nor his compassion. I know that he will slay both me and my wife when I am no longer useful to him.
: It's true.
Well, it's a good thing that we have the Imperial Princess here to correct this injustice, now, I assume that we'll be striking at-
: I apologize, sir. I am sorry for what Faulkner has done to you. What did you wish to discuss with me?
I guess we're just going to let that whole hostage thing run its course, then?
: I know I am rude for asking this, but I wish to speak with you alone.
: Princess Sadira saved me from being imprisoned...or worse...by Faulkner. I need not keep secrets from her. Whatever you wish to discuss can be discussed here. I also have a request of my own. Please don't use such a formal tone! You're addressing me as if I was the Imperial Emperor! Treat me as you would anyone else.
: I cannot do that, young man. Not if you confirm what I believe to be true.
: (This old man grows stranger by the moment!)
: I have two questions of you. The first regards your name. General Faulkner and Her Highness call you Bastion. Is that correct?
: Yes, Bastion is my name, and I am very proud to have it.
: My second question regards the ATAC you command. It is a very rare model called the Alba. Where did you obtain it?
: From my father.
: Did he tell you how HE obtained it?
: No, but...
: What is your father's name?
: It was...it is Kamorge. But what does that have to do with...
: Then there is no mistake. You are the Prince of the Pharastia Kingdom.
: And how did you come to that conclusion, sir?!
: The evidence is beyond doubt. Your father told you his name was Kamorge, but his name by birth was Alugard. He was the leader of the Guardian Knights, and served as the King's personal bodyguard.
: What?! Father surely would have told me something like that!
: He disappeared fifteen years ago, during the Empire's assault on the capital of the Kingdom. And the Alba ATAC, which had been within the Kingdom for generations, disappeared with him.
: I always wondered how Father had obtained such a powerful ATAC.
: There was a third disappearance on that day. Prince Bastion, heir to the Kingdom. You.
: I knew it was you the moment I saw you in Faulkner's chambers. You look very much like your father did when he was your age. It is an amazing resemblance. His Majesty was a wonderful man. I am sorry you never had the chance to know him.
: This can't be true. Perhaps Faulkner has sent you here to confuse me with these bizarre stories.
: I realize this might take you a great deal of time for you to absorb, Your Highness. But it is the truth. And in your heart, I think you already realize that. The people of the Kingdom need you to return, Your Highness. They need you to lead them to salvation.
Nah, we already did that.
: How...How can I respond to that?
: You don't have to, Your Highness. Not yet, anyway. You must be careful, Your Highness. General Faulkner is already keeping a close watch on you. It would be the end of everything if he discovered your true lineage.
: Because if it was, then Father threw away his life to protect mine. It wasn't Father whom the Empire was searching for. It was me. Those Imperial soldiers attacked that village and endangered those innocent people because I was there. If Thomson was telling the truth...then all of this is my fault! The endless war between the Empire and the Kingdom...the death of my father...all because of my existence!
: The truth can be painful to bear, yes. Mmmmm. Indeed it can. But, even yet, the truth remains.
: I wish I could tell you Thomson was wrong, Bastion, but I believe him. Now I understand why Faulkner ambushed you and your father. I also believes that he already knows of your lineage, Bastion. That's why he tried to capture you.
It's the 'end of everything!'
: But I still don't understand what he intended to do with you, or what he might yet intend.
: I feel sick. What do I do now, Sadira? Where do I go?
: I have no answers.
Okay, any other ideas?
: Nor have I, unfortunately. Bastion, I believe that you hold the answers you seek within. Find them.
: I...I will speak to you soon, Bastion.
Uh...Cecilia, what say you?
And she hits him in the face...
: Stop feeling so sorry for yourself, Bastion! It's really dumb! Remember what your father told you? I do! 'Every moment you spend looking back is a moment you could have spent looking forward.'
: I know, Cecilia, but I'm flooded with so many emotions. It's all I can do not to scream at the walls.
: Get a grip or you get another slap, Bastion! It's not a tough choice!
: You're starting to scare me a little.
: Good! I think a strong woman is exactly what you need in your life! Don't think you're the only one with a burden to bear, Bastion, because you're not! Goodbye! And I'm sorry if I hurt you!
: (I'm honored that you care about me, Cecilia, but you can't possibly understand what I'm feeling...)
I guess Bastion needs another slap.
: But the Kingdom Army is driving him back. He urgently requests that we send any and all available ATACs.
: We cannot afford to lose that battle! Franco, Halak, and Cecilia...prepare your ATACs for combat!
: What about me, Sadira? You know I would savor the chance to smash the traitorous Ganlon!
: Bastion, I don't think it would be wise for you to come with us after last time, do you?
: I know what I did was foolish, and it won't happen again! Please give me the chance to regain Zakov's trust!
: It certainly would help us protect you from Faulkner if we proved your loyalty to the Empire.
: That's precisely what I was thinking. Please, Sadira...
: Yes, Bastion. You may come with us. This is exciting...for the first time, our entire corps will fight at once!
No, it's not. Remember the first two missions of this branch?
: With all due respect, Your Highness, five ATACs is not exactly a number large enough to brag about...
: But each of us has enormous fighting spirit, Franco! Isn't THAT something worth boasting about?
: Humble you must remain, yes. One who abandons humility is afflicted with a head of fatness.
To those Halak apologists, I ask: do you still hold fast your convictions? And, if so, how much more can you bear?
: I'll, uh, keep that in mind, Halak.
: The battle is well under way, Your Highness, and the Kingdom appears to have the advantage!
: Not anymore!
Next Time: Once more at the gates of Araba...