Update 71: The Binding Coil of Supports - Turn 2

♪ Three Crowns ♪

Claiming the monastery at Garreg Mach as its home base, the Alliance army joins forces with the Knights of Seiros. Together, they begin to take up arms against the Adrestian Empire.

♪ Respite and Sunlight ♪

Thanks, Claude, but all I did was piggyback on your scheme. I saw your eyes telling me to make some magic happen!

Oh please, it was nothing! We're just doing our part as former students.

Hey, don't think twice about it. We're all allies in the resistance against the Empire, right?

The way I see it, the emperor wants to take over all of Fódlan and destroy the existing order of the world. I can't see her allowing the Alliance to continue to exist. We're in this just as deeply as you are.
Actually... We were hoping to use this place as a base. The Empire begs to be meddled with, and we're first in line.
What? Why would you want to make your base here of all places?
Garreg Mach is situated in the center of Fódlan, both geographically and spiritually. We want to secure this location while the Empire is still overlooking it. But if we simply decide that it's ours to occupy, that does nothing to inspire the hearts and minds of the people of Fódlan. Luckily, good ol' Teach has finally returned to us. If the professor Rhea entrusted with the Sword of the Creator fights at our side... Well now. That's a just cause anyone could get behind.
What's more, here we are, working alongside the legendary Knights of Seiros. It smacks of divine providence, doesn't it? Can you feel it?
I have heard what you have to say, Claude. And you, Professor? Where do you stand?
I will fight the Empire.
Hm. On our own, we lack sufficient military strength. But with the help of the Alliance... The archbishop said if anything should happen to her, that we should entrust the affairs of the church to you. If you intend to fight alongside the Alliance, then I will follow you as well. Is that acceptable, Claude?
Of course. I can't think of anything more reassuring than having both Teach and the knights on our side. Together, we'll stop the emperor and her reckless ambitions!

♪ No music ♪

Oh boy, are you ready for a cavalcade of supports?

Adan/Raphael A.
♪ Somewhere to Belong ♪

The battle's gonna keep going with or without you, but you're the one doing the most out there! It's real impressive how you can focus on giving orders and fighting! I don't think I could do both in the same battle. I see you running all over the place, even after the battle's over.
I just don't want you to wear yourself out.
I'll be OK.
Oh yeah? As soon as you say you're fine, that's when it hits you. You gotta take a break when you can. Even when you're feeling fine, it can suddenly hit you! No offense, Professor, but don't you think some folks might be taking advantage of you? Claude keeps asking you to do things, but you never say no. Like when you gave that speech to the troops. That didn't seem like something you wanted to do. I know you gotta follow orders on the battlefield, but you shouldn't have to do things off the battlefield if you don't wanna.
You've done things you didn't want to do.
What do you mean? Like studying?
Sure, it's not my favorite thing in the world, but that was to keep my little sis fed. I had good reason for it.
It's the same for me.
The same, huh?
I think I get what you mean. You do things you don't wanna do for the sake of everyone else. That's real noble of you, Professor. I guess I can't get in your way if you're doing it for the right reasons.
OK, then. I'm gonna keep trying to do my best, but now I'm gonna do it for you. My little sis is important to me, but you're real important too. I always work hard for the people who matter to me. And having more of them in my life just means I gotta work even harder! What do you think?
I think you're important to me too, Raphael.

We gotta keep working hard together then. At least until this war's over. I'll work to make sure you don't collapse from exhaustion! You got nothing to worry about, Professor. I've been training nonstop. I got your back, no matter what!

♪ No music ♪

Man, I love Raphael.

Adan/Lorenz A.
♪ A Gentle Breeze ♪

Thankfully, no.
Good. For any trouble I may have caused, please accept my most humble apology.
I've decided that it would be inappropriate for me to continue my search for a spouse while we are at war. I expect that means you will not be receiving any more complaints. I hope that puts you more at ease.
Actually, the introspection I've gained setting aside my search has motivated me to amend my conduct.
Embarrassed about your past behavior?
Not the phrasing I'd choose, but you're not wrong.
Selfishly pursuing my own desires caused me to behave inconsiderately. For instance, it was arrogant and rude to invite ladies to dine with me purely to evaluate them.
Our experiences in battle have also given me cause to doubt certain preconceptions I once held. Previously, I had considered it a requirement for my future spouse to come from a noble line. I once thought that commoners lacked the power to influence the wider world, as history might suggest. To find a commoner who made a real impact, one has to look all the way back to Nemesis. That was my belief, at any rate. But I realized that I have actually had an influential commoner right in front of me all along.
Don't you see? I'm referring to you. You may wield the power of a Crest, but you are so much more than just that. You have managed to charm everyone around you. To compel them to trust and follow you.
Though you may not realize it, that is no mean feat. It is altering the course of history in Fódlan!
Your example puts my prior beliefs to shame.
There's nothing to be ashamed of.
I appreciate the kind words. I have always sought to embody the ideal of nobility. That, at least, is a goal I continue to stand by. But now I know that bloodline alone is not sufficient to gauge a person's worth. I've learned much of this from you. You are humble and open-minded, despite your power and skill.
That is why I, at least, find you so charismatic.
Perhaps that is the wrong way to say it. What I mean is that you set an admirable example. I can only hope someday to be your equal. Of course, you had better keep an eye on me, because I can achieve anything I set out to do.
For I am none other than the handsome and talented Lorenz Hellman Gloucester!

♪ No music ♪

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

Well, it's not as extreme as the first Binding Coil of Supports, but that's still a lot, mainly concentrated on Adan.

Claude/Lysithea A.
♪ Recollection and Regret ♪

Lysithea, are you up late studying again?
I am, but I don't see how it's any of your business.
Look, you don't need to work yourself so hard. You're already as skilled as they come. There aren't many people out there who can match you. Everyone knows that.
I apologize for my sharpness. I just feel pressured.
Why would you of all people feel pressured?
I place a lot of personal pressure on myself—I need to become as strong as possible, to put my parents at ease.
When I met with Count Ordelia before, he said you were his pride and joy. But he also said his only concern was that you might be pushing yourself too hard. If you really want to make your parents happy, surely you should start by taking care of yourself.
That's true.
Then it's settled. Get some rest. Save your energy for tomorrow's battle.
You really are very mature, Claude. Despite the impression you give off. And I clearly have plenty of growing to do. I probably don't have much room to come down on you for harping on me.
Oh, really? Does that mean you won't get mad if I treat you like a child from now on?
That is absolutely not what I said! Just after you'd finally earned a small degree of respect from me too.
Hey, just think about it for a second. You're the only one in the world I treat like this.
That means you're a pretty special person to me.
You think I'm special?
Take it however you like. Or maybe the thought is too much for a kiddo like you...
How dare you!
Gah! Don't do anything you might regret! I don't want to be turned to dust!
I'm feeling generous, so I'll let you off easy this one time.
Well, that's good of you. All joking aside, go get yourself some shut-eye, OK? After all, if you don't hurry up, the boogeyman might came out and EAT YOU!
All right, buddy, you asked for it!

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

Rest in peace, Claude von Riegan.

Ignatz/Leonie B.
♪ Calm Winds Over Gentle Waters ♪

I'm sorry! I didn't mean to interrupt you.
Relax. You're not interrupting.
I'm sorry. I didn't know you were training out here.
I sometimes come here to practice by myself. It's more like a real battlefield, you know? Shooting the targets in the yard lets you train your aim and all, but the tension just isn't the same.
You're right. A real battlefield feels quite different. But if that's the atmosphere you want, I feel even more like I'm intruding.
Oh, knock it off. You're already here. May as well stick around while I catch my breath.
Ah, OK. Sorry. Thank you. Sorry to bother you.
You know you've said you're sorry about a dozen times since you got here?
Oh, I'm so... Ah.
It's fine. I guess it's part of your charm.
Hey... What's that bundle of papers? Oh, did you come here to paint?
I remember now! Someone said you're a great artist. You paint a lot, right?
Uh, yes. Yes. When I have the time, that is. I enjoy painting. It helps me relax.
Ah! Well, that could be your thing.
My...thing? Huh? What do you mean?
Last time we talked about it, you said you didn't have a thing you were really amazing at. But if you like painting so much, it must be a skill you're looking to master.
M-my paintings are nothing but a hobby! Besides, I'm not that good. I never took art lessons.
When...when I was little, I drew a picture for a young girl. The picture made her so happy that I decided to keep at it. That's how it started.
So, you're practicing your art to make other people happy? Is that it?
Oh, no, that's an overstatement. I must insist, again, it's just a hobby.
Even if I were to become a master artist, it wouldn't be a useful skill.
Aren't you from a merchant family employed by the nobles? I'd think it would be really useful there.
I'm not inheriting the business. My brother is. My father said that I'm to become a knight.
So my art won't do anyone any good. At all. Ever.
Oh, Ignatz.

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

Annette/Hilda B.
♪ A Gentle Breeze ♪

I'm pretty good at cleaning, I found out. I guess I was being lazy before. I figured that if I left it to somebody else, I might lose another vase.
Heh, I'm sorry again about that. And about all of the other things I knocked over too...
Yeah. The shelves and the chairs and my clothes and my makeup...
Ah! I'm sorry! I said I'm sorry! I put everything back, didn't I?!
I'm kidding, I'm kidding.
You know, Annette, you should try to be a little more selfish.
Huh? That was a quick change of subject!
You said how hard you've been working not to disappoint your family. You cleaned my room, or tried to, because I was feeling overwhelmed. You're always taking on other people's burdens.
Hmm... You might be right. It could be nice to do something for myself sometime. But if I hadn't tried hard for other people's sakes, maybe I wouldn't have tried at all. I might not have made it this far. So really, I don't regret a thing. Who I am now is the sum of everything I've done.
You're so soft-hearted, Annette.
You really think so?
I didn't mean it as a compliment. But anyway, I just thought of something you can do for me. You can take a nap with me.
A nap? But I'm not done with my chores...
Yeah. I could use a little shut-eye, and it feels nice to snuggle up with someone.
So, why don't we lie down for a bit?

Oh, it's fine, it's fine. Later, I'll help you with your stuff, and it'll be done in no time.
Oh, fine. Just for a bit. The sunlight coming through the window is awfully nice...
Isn't it? Nothing better than a nice lazy nap in the middle of the day.
Mmhmm. It really is...relaxing...
Zzz Zzz Zzz
Already dozing! She must have needed this nap really bad. I'm feeling a little drowsy myself. Sleep well, Annette...

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

That ending was adorable.

Adan/Leonie A.
♪ Recollection and Regret ♪

I feel terrible about the last time we spoke. I was trying to apologize, and just ended up losing my temper again. I'm really sorry.
It's all right.
I figured you'd say that, but I still feel like an idiot. Somehow, I just have a hard time keeping my feelings in check around you. And I think if I don't just tell you what I'm thinking, we'll never be able to have a normal conversation.
So, let me clear the air.
I want us to, uh...engage...
Engage in what? A duel?
Yeah! Exactly.
I know it's a sudden thing to ask, but I'm not going to feel settled until I know where I stand. Would you do that for me?
All right.
Good. Don't hold back, OK? I want to see you at your absolute best!

You held your own.
Maybe, but you were definitely stronger. Honestly, that's what I needed to see.
You're a true successor to Captain Jeralt's style of swordplay. I almost felt like you were him. I thought I was competing with you...but that's as pointless as competing against him would've been. So instead of that, I'm going to focus on keeping the promise I made to him.
What promise?
Captain Jeralt said that, if anything should happen to him, I'd have to support you in his place.
He didn't sound serious at the time, but it was right before he...you know. Before we lost him.
So, I've decided. I'd like to do just what he said. I know I'm not as strong as I need to be. But I swear to you...I'll train until I am. What do you say? Can I call you my employer?
I know I can count on you.
Yes! It's official! I'll protect you, no matter what!

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

Wow, Leonie grew out of the issues that her worship of Jeralt caused.

Adan/Balthus A.
♪ No music ♪

I'm covered. But just to be safe, I need you to check on my mother and Kupala.

♪ Recollection and Regret ♪

Who was that?
A spy. I pay him money I don't have to monitor my stepmother, just in case something happens to me. Whether I'm above the dirt or below it, it's on me to protect my mom and her home, Kupala.
Would your stepmother really harm her?
No doubt about it. She's been honing her crazy plans lately. All because I've taken to fighting at your side.
She thinks I'm making a name for myself before my glorious return to House Albrecht. Being delusional is her sport. There's little advantage to her going after my mom, but she's unpredictable. Gotta stay vigilant.
What's your mother like?
Guess I haven't talked about her. After her and my pops split, she returned home. Where she's from...it's kind of an odd place. You know the folks who live in the mountains of the Alliance? Heh, guessing that's a no. Few do. Imagine a place with no influence to speak of, nestled in the mountains on the Almyran border. That's Kupala.
People live there?
Well, they're not mountain goats. And it's not like they never interact with the lords of the Alliance.
They're incredibly isolated, though. Even their trade relations are remarkably limited.
Doubt that'll change. The land lacks resources worth fighting over. Probably for the best, honestly. Oh, but back to my mom. She was different. An exception to the rule in Kupala.
She left the mountains, was rescued by my dad, and fell madly in love with him.
Did his family accept her?
Ah, the one-million-bullion question. Of course not. He's a noble. She isn't. Acceptance was never in the cards. My birth helped matters, but only a little. House Albrecht just wasn't where she belonged. My dad was in a tough spot. He was obligated to marry a fellow noble and produce a fitting heir.
Nobody'd want to live out their days where they're utterly unwelcome. So my mom returned to Kupala.
I see...
Then it happened. I was enrolled in the Officers Academy at Garreg Mach, and everything changed. During my enrollment examination, they discovered that I bear the Major Crest of Chevalier. My dad decided to resist his family's wishes and make me the head of the house after I graduated. Thing is, the truth of my special Crest was kept a secret, by decree of the church.
He couldn't tell anyone about my prized bloodline, so I was forced to step down as the legitimate heir.
The church hid it?
It was for the best. My Crest was inherited from mountain folk who prefer to keep to themselves. Imagine what would happen to Kupala if it got out. We both know it would destroy their way of life.
People will do anything for a rare Crest...
Too true. I'm guessing the church thought my Crest would cause trouble in Fódlan. But don't get me wrong. No matter what life's thrown at me, I'm no victim.
Like I've said, I prefer it this way. I've gotta be free. Even if things were different, I'd still choose this life.
But I can't let my mother and her people pay the price for keeping peace in Fódlan. Wouldn't be right. All I can do is make a name for myself in battle and secure enough power to protect them. Failure isn't an option.

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

That kind of insight and forward planning is entirely not what I'd expect from a man who keeps accumulating debt because, according to him, he already has so much, and none of it will matter when he dies anyways.

Adan/Constance A.
♪ No music ♪

♪ Somewhere to Belong ♪

I had precious few materials as things stood! Where will I get more once these run out?
I'm really sorry...
Oh, don't act so rueful. You carried out my directions faithfully. Neither the credit nor the blame ought to be yours.
My grand achievement is further away than I had hoped... House Nuvelle's future seems so dim.
You shouldn't lose hope.
You're correct, of course. I mustn't be discouraged.
It is hard to maintain one's patience after five years. But in the greater context of the history of House Nuvelle, five years is barely worth counting!
That's the spirit.
I have been in a low place indeed to require so much reassurance...
And for your reassurance, I am truly grateful. You have spurred me to continue my research. You've been useful to me in many ways, in fact. Research assistant...confidant...test subject... All of this is preparing you well for your greater role to come.
Which is...
My personal attendant! There are few as naturally servile as you in all of Fódlan.
When House Nuvelle is at long last restored, we simply must find a proper position for you.
Granted, this will be difficult—perhaps even impossible—to accept, given your current status.
But I rarely let the impossible stop me!
I shall see it all done—the restoration of my house, installing you as my servant, and more!
Are you ready for the next steps? Ahaha!
...I'm glad you've perked up.
Oh, come now. My sulk ended minutes ago. Do keep up.
But on the rare occasion that I find myself at a loss, I grant you permission to lift my spirits.
Of course.
I don't know that I care for the hint of resignation in your tone, but no matter. I expect you to do your all for the sake of my house, nonetheless!

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

Ah, Constance. I know that the ojou-sama trope isn't exactly uncommon, but something about her specifically draws me to her.

Adan/Ignatz A.
♪ A Gentle Breeze ♪

You don't normally find stones like this around here. I ought to grind it down. I wonder if it would still be the same color.
Why would you grind it down?
To make pigment for my art! Good supplies don't come cheap. I prefer to make my own. Blue is especially expensive. How fortunate that I chanced upon this remarkable blueness!
Oh, I'm sorry. There I go again, blathering on and on about painting.
Well, it's just a hobby, right?
Oh yes, but I know that I can get rather caught up in it and, ah, enthusiastic.
You know, Professor, no matter how impassioned I become about my art, you never hold it against me. One could argue that I'm better off preparing for our next battle. I am becoming a knight.
You should become an artist.
Oh, Professor. Please don't say things like that.

♪ Recollection and Regret ♪

To support my family, I will be a knight. That's that.
You'll regret that choice.
No, I won't. I'm doing the right thing. I'll continue with my art as a hobby. I don't think I could ever give it up.
When I see something beautiful, I can't suppress the urge to paint it. I don't have a choice. And if my art can bring happiness to even one person, that's good enough for me.
As long as you're sure.
...Professor, I have a favor to ask. I'm painting a portrait right now. When it's finished, I'd like to give the piece to you. Would you take it?
Perhaps it can bring you a little happiness. That will have made the effort well worth it.
Adan nods.
Oh, excellent! Is that a promise? Because I'm really going to put my heart in it. Ah, that is, I'm going to enjoy partaking in this casual hobby of mine!

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

I really think Ignatz would be happier if he could devote himself to painting full-time, but... Well, given the reality of things, I'm happy he's able to find a compromise that he's okay with.

Anyway! I'm gonna stop skipping over most monastery dialogue from here on out, though I will skip over lines that are shared between Verdant Wind and Silver Snow. Such as this one!

I mean, he's dragged the knights into this. You ought to be careful, Professor.
You too.
Don't worry about me. I'm here because I wanna be. Also because being around my big brother feels like a real chore.

Hilda functions as Claude's retainer, for the purpose of distributing the repeatable monthly quests during Part 2.

Anyway, now that we're reunited in the land of the living, I must fulfill my promise!
Right, the promise.
That's right! I promised the captain I'd protect you in his stead, and now I'll make good on my word!

And don't worry about my little sis. Right now she's back home helping out with the family business.
I kinda figured I was gonna be stuck going back and taking over for her.
But thanks to you and Claude, I get to work on my dream of becoming a proper knight!

There is not much for me to gain by returning to Alliance territory now. But by staying, I will be able to influence the course of events directly, on the field of battle.
Will you get along with the Alliance leader?
We will not be friends, but I will cooperate with him as much as is necessary to secure victory.

Thanks to a little promise five years ago, our buddies have all gathered, and even the knights have returned. It's like we were all just waiting for you to awaken.
And now we're all going to band together against the Imperial army.
You should go and talk to everyone, if you can. There may be some who are still on the fence.

It's also that Captain Jeralt asked me, his first and greatest apprentice, to look out for you.
Of course, it wouldn't be enough just to keep you alive. It's my duty to make sure you win too.
So, do your best, Professor. And count on me to watch your back.

To think that a glorious cathedral, with a thousand year history...would end up like this. I'll rebuild this place someday. This cathedral is the symbol of Fódlan. Maybe I should paint a picture of the beautiful cathedral of old, while I still remember what it looked like...

At your age, I'd expect your whole demeanor to have changed greatly over five years...
Though I suppose I haven't changed either, right? Thank you for noticing, by the way. Ah, just the two of us, forever young. Oh, let me have my fun.

The Church of Seiros will follow you from now on, but please do not abandon the search for Lady Rhea.
We'll do whatever it takes to find her.
Thank you. I know the battles ahead will be dire, but we will support you with all our strength.

♪ The Forgotten ♪

It's you. You're still alive! It's been five whole years, hasn't it? Time flies when you're standing guard. That's right. I've been here the whole time. Day in and day out. Not like I have anywhere else to be. Looks like the Knights of Seiros have returned. I wonder if Mr. Backup is back too...

Before you ask, yes. My superior spellcraft is yours. It's your reward for waiting so patiently for me.
It would help me a lot.
Your quick acceptance of the truth is gratifying.
But my assistance has a price. I expect you to aid me in fulfilling my dream of restoring House Nuvelle.

I don't have family ties worth fighting for, so these muscles are up for grabs. Use me as you see fit, pal.
I'm counting on you.
You're a smart one. Just point me at a problem and I'll smash it up for ya.
If you're worried my skills have dulled from disuse, think again. I've been fighting thieves to stay sharp.

This is a hell of a quest. Sure, you have to burn a battle activity point on it, but killer knuckles+ normally cost 5000 gold, in addition to 16 black-sand steels, to obtain. I say that with certainty because you cannot buy killer knuckles directly, nor find them in chests. Even if you're somehow not using any brawlers, or already have enough killer knuckles+s to satisfy you, you can still sell an unused one for a few thousand gold.

In short, this quest is worth doing.

I thought you might have died. But I didn't have anywhere else to go, so...I stayed here.
Thanks for sticking around.
You're welcome. It wasn't easy.
I've been kinda lonely. As you might have noticed, we've lost a few people down here.

I flew here just as soon as I heard you were alive. I care more than you may realize.
I'm happy you came.
Are you now? I will admit, hearing that does make my heart flutter a bit.
I reailze this isn't the kind of commentary I normally provide, but I'm right and I'm gonna say it: Part 2 Yuri is hot.
♪ Learning Lesson ♪

Yes...ha ha ha...yes!

This is a good get, too.
♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

Adan/Manuela B.
♪ Calm Winds Over Gentle Waters ♪

Are you praying?
I've never been very good at praying. I was here to confess my foolishness. While I'm at it, may I confess something to you too?
No need to ask. Go ahead.
I realize what a burden I've been. On you, I mean. After every break-up, I neglect my work. And I know how that affects you. I'm completely worthless as a woman. Can you imagine how that feels? I'm going to be single for the rest of my life. I just know it. You think so too, don't you?
Really? So, if I couldn't find anybody else, you'd marry me?
Oh, don't worry. I can tell by the look on your face you didn't mean it. Who am I kidding? I've known for years how hopeless I am. What's wrong with me? It's not my looks. I'm still gorgeous. Or am I? Be honest. Do I look old? No... Not possible. I'm the songstress who swept the Empire off its feet... Men professed their love for me hourly! It can't be my looks.
You're attractive.
I knew I was right! I'd be in real trouble if I weren't this beautiful.
Oh no. If the problem isn't my looks—and they are not the problem—then it must be...what? My personality?
I know you're trying to find a way to say it gently. But you think there's a problem, don't you? A girl can tell a lie when she hears one.
I suppose I can be a bit...unkempt.
I do have a short temper, and I may be a little lazy... Sometimes.
But I've always heard fellas, you know, like a woman with a few flaws.
Seems to me, there are plenty of flawed girls who have landed themselves a good man. So maybe...my trouble is I'm not imperfect enough. Do you think I could use a few more flaws?
Are you saying I'm perfect as I am? Come now. You'll make me blush...

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

Adan/Alois B.
♪ Respite and Sunlight ♪

You know, I can hardly go fishing without thinking of ol' Jeralt. He and I would just sit here, casting our lines again and again.
I'm no better at it now than I was then! Not a single nibble.
Maybe if you were quieter...
Ah, just like your father. You know all the tricks of the fisherman's trade.
I was hopeless at it, but he was a master. In the time it took me to catch one fish, he could fill his basket to the brim.
You know, talking to you, I'm feeling very nostalgic.
Why don't you join me? We can trade some stories about the old man.

Once, when he was drunk, he let the secret slip. He said he'd had an infusion of Crest-bearing blood, and it had greatly extended his life.
You're kidding, right?
Well, we'd both been drinking. I figured he was joking, so I just laughed it off. Then I asked him his age. He said he'd stopped counting after he hit one hundred. And he was telling the truth! In those 20 years he was away, he didn't age a bit. An incredible person, to be sure. And I probably don't know the half of it. Actually, I'd... I'd like to ask you something about Jeralt, if you don't mind.
When Jeralt was away from the monastery, what was he like?
He liked to fish.
In other words, he was exactly the same! When he was with the knights, he always found time to go fishing. He was hooked on it, you might say!
He'd say there was no greater pleasure in life than sinking his teeth into a fish he'd caught, and washing it down with a drink. But on the battlefield he was unequaled. That's why people used to call him the Blade Breaker. I have to say, right now, fishing with you, it really takes me back.
This feels just like the good ol' days, when Jeralt was sitting alongside me...

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

We've definitely gotten hints that Jeralt had a bit of an unnatural lifespan... Bu, seriously, over 100 years old? What kind of crest could cause that?

Moving on, I decided to spend some renown to immediately get Lysithea access to Warp and Abraxas again.

And then it was the end of the month.
♪ Golden Deer and Crescent Moon ♪

We are now building our forces in order to rise up against the Imperial army. But it wouldn't be smart for us to fight under the banner of the Alliance. That would only incite the lords who support the Empire. We've also combined forces with the Knights of Seiros. Therefore, I suggest that we operate under a new symbol. That's why I've prepared this...

We're attempting our own miracle, so it seems like a suitable symbol for us.
So... Until we welcome the dawn of a new age in Fódlan... Let's fight to the very end, as one, under the symbol of the Crest of Flames!

If you'll recall, I never technically asked anyone to join us. If anything, we have Teach's achievements to thank.
Now that you mention it, I guess I should express my gratitude.

♪ Beyond the Crossroads ♪

Without you, the knights never would have joined our cause. I could never pay you back for that.
You're welcome.
Just leave it to me, Teach. When this fight is over, I plan to see all of my dreams come to fruition, and yours as well.
What are your dreams, Claude?
Well, for example...to bust open Fódlan's Throat. There's a massive fortress there, which is responsible for protecting the eastern border of the Alliance. I like to think of it as a lid on a bottle. The people of Fódlan only know a small part of the world. Their prejudices are born because they don't know what lies beyond their borders. And the opposite is true too. Those outside of Fódlan don't know about this place. Ignorance breeds discrimination. Whether you look inside the bottle or outside of it... If you really look, all you'll find are people who you can get along with, if you only try.
That's why I wanna bust open that lid, which is keeping us locked inside. Or destroy the bottle entirely.
Are you going to tell our allies about this?
I'll find the right time to bring it up. Even if I talked about it now, it doesn't seem realistic, does it? First we need to defeat the Empire and restore peace to... Huh?

I guess we'll have to cut our conversation short. What's going on, Leonie?

♪ Dark Clouds Gather ♪

I've got to hand it to Edelgard. Nothing gets past that woman.
Let's take them down.
All right! I'll show you how much I've improved, Professor!
This will be our first battle alongside the Knights of Seiros. Let's kick off our new partnership with a magnificent victory!

Protecting Garreg Mach is the same as it was in Silver Snow, so let's just look at the levels!
♪ Chasing Daybreak ♪

At least he's tanky...

Speedy man.

Claude, that's not helping your case.

Felix has the right idea.

The big three-oh.

Constance is no slouch in the "accumulating massive levels of her damage stat" department, either.

Still too slow for my liking, even if it's technically where you'd expect him to end up on average without class-based boosts to his Spd growth.

You're really angling for an endgame deployment slot, huh, Balthus?

Oh, Lin...

26 Str (that's how much Alois has without the boost from his class) at level 23 ain't too bad, even if he is slow.

Honestly, he's got enough Str right now that I'll take a two-stat level with Spd.

Yuri's Str is a bit lacking (probably due to Trickster not providing any Str boost), but that Spd (26 without the boost from his class) is amazing.

Thank you. Where were those levels before now?

Very good.

Eh, it has his damage stat.

Do you like 120 total damage? Because I know I do.

That's the map, by the way.
♪ Beneath the Banner ♪

Now the enemy knows we're on the move. What do you plan to do?
I intend to ask the Alliance lords to share some troops with us to bolster our forces.
I will speak plainly. No matter whom we beseech for reinforcements, our envoys will inevitably pass through Gloucester territory.
My father is being cautious not to give the Empire a pretext to intervene. Therefore, he is unlikely to allow even envoys to pass through.
No matter where we send our envoys from here, they'll have to go through Gloucester territory, right? I doubt that family will sit quietly and allow envoys to pass.
Why not request reinforcements from the Kingdom?
Ah... I guess I haven't told you yet, Teach. The Kingdom isn't in a position to be sending anyone reinforcements. After losing King Lambert during the Tragedy of Duscur, a Regent had been handling its politics. But then... There was a bloody coup. The Regent and Prince Dimitri both... Apparently the whole family was killed. All Blaiddyd territory, including the Kingdom capital, is being ruled by those who are cooperating with the Empire. The Kingdom is no more. It's now called the Faerghus Dukedom. The vast majority of the former Kingdom lords bent a knee to the overwhelming power of the Empire and the Dukedom, and now fall under their jurisdiction. Some who formerly held power are continuing to resist, but it would be difficult for them to regain it.
Oh, hey! I can think of one person who we can ask for reinforcements. Someone whose territory is really close, and who's on good terms with Claude...
Ah! The Hero of Daphnel, I presume?
I've seen her before, and she does seem to be reliable.
You're talking about Judith, right? I bet she would lend us a hand...
She seems strong.
That's right, you've met her once before, Teach. She's a fearsome one-woman army. She did a lot for me, even before I was recognized as the heir to House Riegan. I don't like the idea of owing her more than I already do, but given the current situation, sacrifices must be made. I'll reach out to her. As for the rest of you, prepare for our next battle.

♪ Spiderweb ♪

I feel a bit sluggish.
Well, you were asleep for five whole years, after all. It'll probably take time to get you back to top form. Though I'm relieved to see you haven't lost a step as far as combat goes.
Your command bringing my schemes to life... That's just how we fight best.
Any word from Judith?
Not yet, but there's no need to worry. That woman adores me.
Once we've bolstered our forces, it'll finally be time to start taking decisive action. But I wonder... Do you really think Rhea is still alive?
I don't know.
There's no telling. But it's also hard to imagine the death of someone as important as her staying a secret. I wonder where she is and what she's doing...
Do you hope she's dead?
That's a dangerous question, Teach. To be honest, I've given it a lot of thought.
All I know is that I still have a lot of questions I need to ask her. About the true history of Crest Stones and Heroes' Relics...and the truth behind the legend of Seiros and Nemesis. She has secrets. Too many of them for my comfort. Considering the state of the world...it's suspicious. You must be curious about what was done to you and what her plans were for you, right? And you never did learn about your mother, did you? None of our doubts will ever be cleared unless we hear these answers from Rhea herself. In that sense, I absolutely hope Rhea is still alive. But as far as Fódlan goes, I do wonder what a world without Rhea would look like.
A world without Rhea?
The majority of people in Fódlan believe in the Seiros faith that Rhea preaches. That's why they accept the noble system as if it were the only option, and refuse to associate with those who believe in anything else. That closed-minded philosophy is the reason why Fódlan's Throat is locked tight. But if you remove the archbishop who strictly advocates that doctrine, that world view is no longer an absolute. There's room for free thought. The leadership of the church would undoubtedly fall to you, and you would hold the power to change the shape of the faith. Of the world. Then, for the first time, people would truly be free to think for themselves. To decide what's right, and what's wrong. Honestly, I believe Edelgard is probably hoping to achieve something very similar.
But her methods require too much bloodshed. That's not something the world can get behind.
Anyway... The best thing we can do is find Rhea and hear what she has to say.
Heh, oops... I guess I've been going on for a while now. Sorry about that. You should get some rest.

I think it's debatable whether what we're doing carries less bloodshed than what Edelgard is doing, but... Well, it's too late to back down now.

Next time: we do the Ailell stuff again.

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