Update 78: Time Kompression

♪ Three Crowns ♪

Claude leverages his victory at the Battle of Gronder to secure reinforcements from Alliance lords. Meanwhile, the Imperial army continues to tighten its defenses at Fort Merceus in anticipation of an attack on the Imperial capital.

♪ Anxiety ♪

And what's that?
Fort Merceus. If we can't pass through, we won't be able to reach Enbarr.
Fort Merceus... The Impregnable Fortress, or so it's called.
If I recall correctly, it's sometimes referred to as the Stubborn Old General.
It is a massive fortress that was constructed to protect the Imperial capital.

We should be careful.
It would be best to take it before enemy reinforcements arrive. Still, there's a reason it's been called impregnable. The only real question is what our fearless leader intends to do...

So? Were you able to secure additional reinforcements?
It's gonna have to wait until next month. It doesn't look like they can afford to keep supporting us at present.
Then what should we do about Fort Merceus? Do you plan on waiting around?
No. If we wait until next month, the enemy will have bolstered their defenses. That said, the prevailing theory is that you need triple your enemies' forces to take a fortress with a frontal assault.
Right, that's what we were taught at the academy. And this is Fort Merceus we're talking about. It's renowned for its strong defenses.
Our current army isn't nearly strong enough. Hmm... What to do...
Whatever you do, just don't ask us to scale those huge walls. We'd end up dead when they hurl rocks down at us.
Yeah, no thanks! If only someone would open up the gates for us from the inside.
Unfortunately we don't have any spies in there. Wait a minute...

♪ Golden Deer and Crescent Moon ♪

Right! That's what I was saying all along!
Right. Nice one, Hilda. But how do you propose we go about sneaking in?
How do you imagine we'll be able to sneak in? Those fortress gates are locked tight.
Disguises? If we dress up like Imperial soldiers, maybe they'll think we're allies and let us in!
Do you really think they'd just open the gates for us? I'd be pretty dumbfounded if that worked.
Doesn't this all sound a little...suspicious?
No, no—she's on to something. It's a good idea, Hilda. We just need to refine it a bit, and we'll be in there before we know it.
Really? Go me!
What is your definition of refining the idea? I know your go-to strategy is nausea-inducing poison, but...
Urgh! I maybe ate too much. My stomach hurts...
Raphael... Why are you eating meat during a war council?!
So, fearless leader, I'm guessing you're going to keep the crucial parts of your scheme under wraps until the time comes, aren't you?
You know me so well, Judith. Whether we like it or not, this war puts a damper on all of our spirits. What's wrong with trying to have a little fun every now and again? Just leave the details to me.

War crimes are "a little fun," huh?
♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

Claude/Petra A.
♪ Somewhere to Belong ♪

Oh! I didn't actually think you'd be here.
You think I am not here, but you were calling for me?
It seemed best to call out as soon as I arrived. I can never tell when you're here and it wouldn't be good for my heart if you just dropped in from outta nowhere.
When I was arriving, I called out for Claude too. I was thinking it would give me joy if you were here.
Is that a fact? I'm honored. Anyway, I see you beat me here today. Say, Petra... Wouldn't it be great if, no matter how bad the war gets, at least this place stayed peaceful?
Yes, I think so. I like this tree. It gives me calmness.
I like this tree too. It feels like it's always welcoming and reliable.
But...when the war has ended, I must be leaving this tree. I must be returning to Brigid.
Claude... My grandfather has been saying I must be...must find a husband of Fódlan.
Whoa! Where did that come from? You sly minx, have you been searching for a suitor all this time?
If Fódlan and Brigid become bound by marriage, it will give my grandfather great joy.
Well, you are a princess, so it makes sense that you have obligations.
I am not having an obligation. I will only be marrying if I find a good person.
So you just need to find a man who meets your expectations? That could be tricky...
No, I will be finding one. It will not be a problem.
Oh? And who's the lucky fellow?
It is my secret. I will not be telling him yet.
I see. Do you think he can give you the kind of future you deserve?
I am not knowing about the future. But my perfection...my perfect husband could be him.
And if he gives refusal, I will be tying him up and dragging him home.
Tie up?! Well... I'm sure the lucky man will learn to accept his fate one way or another!
Besides, I doubt any man would reject a proposal from a catch like you.

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

Nope, don't approve of Petra's plan to drag the man she likes back to her home. Don't like that.

If your muscles are hungry, you gotta feed them, and let them rest when they're tired.
You can tell how your muscles are feeling?
Of course! If my muscles hurt, then I hurt. If they're hungry, well then I'm hungry too! What's with the confused face, Professor? You look like you don't get a word I'm saying!

As long as the system keeps working, we can win any battle, no matter the odds.
That's what everyone's saying anyway. Hope you can keep up with our expectations, Professor.

They said he walked off the battlefield clutching... His Highness's dead body... So long as Father's alive, I don't need anything else. I just... I hope to see him again one day...

Don't believe everything you hear.
You're right. I don't think anyone's found his body, so I guess he might still be out there. If, somehow, he's still alive...I hope we'll meet again.

I'm referring to that Imperial general who has been operating under that moniker.
I've heard of him.
Nothing is certain yet, but I get the feeling we'll have to face him soon enough.
Luckily for me, I've got a prodigy with an instant "delete skull man" button.

Are we really going to leave this to Claude? With a plan concocted by Hilda, of all people?
Have a little faith.
I would like to, but I am always troubled by how secretively that man devises his schemes.
Let us hope the end result is not too outlandish.

He was always by my side. You might even say that, at one time, we were best friends.
What happened?
I couldn't fathom the depth of his hatred for the Empire. So much anguish. Could I have saved him? Could I have stopped him?
...Man, I don't think I've seen Felix that openly vulnerable and down yet.

We cannot enter the capital without first capturing that fort. But once we have it, the city should be almost entirely at our mercy.
Whatever strategy you have in mind, I have faith that it will lead to victory.

Riches and poverty, glory and failure, that city has it all! And if I'm honest...sometimes I miss it. That's how the past works though, isn't it? It's always a different story than what you really lived.

With this strategy, we can really snatch victory from the jaws of...deceit!
That's a good point.
Yes... With you leading our fighters, I've no doubt the Empire will suffer an embarrassing deceit. Get it? "Deceit"? Again?

War is always a cruel affair, but luckily we have each other to lean on. We've steeled our hearts. We won't be broken.
I'm glad we have such reliable allies.
I couldn't agree more. Without them, we could never have made it this far.
Please...do whatever you can to keep their morale up.
Oh, and about taking the fort... I'll need a tad more time to prepare our plan.
It's called an impregnable fortress for a reason, after all. My contingencies need contingencies this time, or we may not pull it off.

But perhaps it's irresponsible to look away—to close our eyes to the horrors of war.
You don't have to force yourself.
Thank you. But I think I do actually. As survivors, we must ensure that all these lives were not lost in vain. We must see the tragic foundations upon which we'll build our future.
May an age of peace rise from the ashes, so that all this sacrifice means something.

Though I don't quite know who "they" are yet...
Nor do I know what tricks they'll use against us next. We can't afford to let our guard down...

♪ The Forgotten ♪

I hear there was a huge battle recently. Glad to see you made it back safe and sound. Maybe there's life after death, or maybe that's just a bunch of pretty words. Either way, we should live like our time here is all we've got.

But perhaps not to the point of shedding blood for her ideals.
Some ideals are worth fighting for.
Of course. But I've gone down a different road.
Peace in Fódlan and a restored House Nuvelle shall be my guiding star as I blaze my own trail!

Not too long ago, she was just a tiny girl who couldn't do a thing on her own. Now look at her. She's the fiercest of the fierce.
I wonder what Holst would say if he saw her now. I bet he'd be proud...just like me.

So before the war, when folks talked about how peaceful everything was, I thought, "What continent are you living on?" I get it now. A few isolated skirmishes here and there are nothing compared to a full-blown war. The one truly peaceful place I've known was the village where I grew up.

If we're not careful, it'll end up buried in rubble.
I won't let that happen.
Heh heh... Ever the valiant one. But nobody ever knows how a war will turn out. That's part of the deal, you know? Maybe I'm being paranoid, but I want to ensure there is still a refuge for people to escape to.

Here we go: dark knight Lorenz.

This may be a waste of a master seal, but, like... Eh.

This can't hurt, either.

Rest of the month passed uneventfully!
♪ No music ♪

I knew I was right to entrust that task to you. You've got that honest kind of face that makes it easy to fool people.
Is that meant to be a compliment?
What did you write in the letter?
I informed them that reinforcements were on the way. It would have been suspicious for troops to show up unannounced.
So, the plan is...

♪ Golden Deer and Crescent Moon ♪

Oh! You used my disguise plan after all!
We've also procured Imperial army uniforms.
Ooh, good work. I knew this was the only way!
However... That alone wouldn't be enough.
You did say the plan needed a little more refinement. Are you going to dress up like Edelgard, Claude?
I'm not sure that would accomplish much.
In the letter, I included the name of the Imperial general leading the reinforcements. While we're heading to the fort, a separate army is going to attack us.
We're going to be attacked?!
That's all just for show, though. It'll be our allies who are attacking us.
Oh, I get it! We're going to make it look like the Alliance is attacking Imperial reinforcements!
Right. When the troops in the fortress panic and open up the gates... We're in.
I'd love nothing more than for this plan to work, but I've got some bad news for you. Apparently the notorious Death Knight has been placed in charge of defending Fort Merceus.
The one who kidnapped Flayn...
The Death Knight... I did not wish to ever think of him again.
He got some acclaim in the battle to subjugate western Faerghus. They say he holds the most military prowess in the Empire.
Even so, we've got Teach here to command us. All will be well. You have to trust us.
So your big plan is to just trust your professor? Really, boy?
Under the professor's guidance, I'm sure we'll manage somehow. We're counting on the tactics you learned from Captain Jeralt!
Prepare yourselves, everyone. It's time. Teach... This is for your ears only, but there's actually one more part to my plan. I had hoped it wouldn't come to this, but I have no choice.
No choice?
Absolutely. We can't afford to hold anything back. Thanks to Edelgard's strength, the Imperial army is more unified than I would have expected.
It was a painful realization, but after our battle at Gronder Field, it's clear that we can't win if we don't pull out all the stops.

♪ Somewhere to Belong ♪

The reason we were all able to keep our cool in the midst of the chaos was because we all trust in you. In your command and in your strength.
Everyone here believes that we will win as long as we have you on our side. Our faith in you is borderline religious. You and I... We have what it takes to free Fódlan from the Empire's rule. I know in my heart that we'll make it through to witness the world after all the fighting has ceased.

♪ The Leader's Path ♪

Who are you talking about? You don't mean that professor, do you?! Doesn't matter. No one could take this fortress.
Will death's scythe claim you... Or will I fall to that sword of yours...

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

Onto Fort Merceus it is!

The map has some differences from Silver Snow, but not enough for me to really consider it different enough for a full write-up. We'll just be doing an abridged levels overview instead.
♪ No music ♪

...Claude, you sly bastard.

Anyway, that's the primary difference between the VW and SS versions of Fort Merceus: you get an extra deployment slot, for Claude, who starts at the top right, and you're assisted by Almyran forces, led by Nader.
♪ The Long Road ♪

Really confused as to why I didn't make Flayn a bishop yet.

Yep, that'll do.

That won't.

Okay, getting worried about Claude's Str again. 28 at level 35 (25, really, if you subtract Barbarossa's boost) is not acceptable.

Alois would actually be a decent war master, if I bothered to use him as a unit and not a Mt booster for Leonie. He's not that far off from Raphael statistically, he just has lower HP and Def.


Yep, that happened.

Poor Linhardt.

Yeah, there's a lot of enemies left, but I don't care.
♪ No music ♪

The javelin of light cutscene happens again, unchanged.

♪ A Dark Sign ♪

Javelin of light... That describes it pretty well. The fortress was supposedly impregnable, but look at it now. It's hard to imagine that the Empire would do something like that. But if not them, then who? And for what purpose? If they wanted to kill us, then why wait until now to use it?
We almost died just now...and without an answer to any of that. Speaking of unanswered questions, why is Nardel here?
Care to explain? I get the feeling there's something you two are keeping from us.
I'll go ahead and see my subordinates off to Almyra, kiddo.
Wait, Nader! Are really going to just leave me here and run away?
I hope to see you again, Judith. And you too, Professor. I'll be praying for your safety!
Nader? Are you saying that Nardel is actually Nader the Unstoppable?!
It's actually "Nader the Undefeated." Almyrans love grand titles.
I knew he was no ordinary person, but to think he was the great hero of Almyra...
Hey, um, can we really afford to be chatting right now? If another one of those javelins of light falls, we're all dead!
Claude. There are things I wish to ask you, but first we must hurry and withdraw.
Right you are. Come on, everyone! Let's hurry up and get out of here.

There's a significantly abridged version of the cutscene that has no sign of Nader or Judith, which starts with Hilda being the one surprised by the javelins of light. I have no idea what would trigger that version to be used, if it's used at all.
♪ Spiderweb ♪

Well, he did quite a bit for me when I was younger.
When you were younger... So, before you joined House Riegan. How and where did you meet him? There aren't many opportunities to meet a general from Almyra in Fódlan...
If that's what you believe, it's only because that's what you've been led to believe. After all, we have Cyril here among our allies, and he was born in Almyra.
Hey, now. Don't drag me into this.
There's a big, wide world outside of Fódlan, and it's overflowing with different places and cultures. You think interacting with outsiders is odd, but isn't avoiding contact with the outside world far more unnatural?
Don't change the subject, Claude. To the people of the Alliance, the Almyrans are—
It's true that there's a history of hostility, but why should that mean we're doomed to remain hostile forever? The Almyrans aren't monsters. Just look at Cyril! Does he look like a monster to you?
Hey, what's that supposed to mean?
Right, Teach? What did you think when you met Nader?
He's a reliable general.
Ha! I'll tell him you said that. And I'm sure that if all of you got to know him, all of your preconceived notions would change too.
I know you guys, and you aren't the type of people to reject someone without trying to get to know them.
But...how did those Almyrans even get past Fódlan's Throat? I doubt my brother would just let them pass without saying anything...
About that... I actually made sure your brother met Nader in advance.
What?! Lord Holst met with an Almyran general?
Oh, so that's why you were so interested in my brother. But wait, they're supposed to be bitter enemies! They've fought each other several times before!
I know. It was a big gamble. But rather than having me try to convince them myself, I knew it would be easier to just have them meet.
They were taken aback at first, but sure enough, they hit it off. They were even drinking to their newfound brotherhood before parting.
It makes sense. If you take the greatest heroes away from the battlefield, of course they'll get along.

Ultimately, someone's bloodline has nothing to do with the friendships they forge.
Relations between the Alliance and Almyra is a matter we'll tackle in the future. Still, I want to take this opportunity to make one thing clear to all of you.

♪ Beyond the Crossroads ♪

I want to let people and goods come and go freely, and in doing so, eradicate prejudices about the outside world.
Would it even be possible to achieve such a thing? It directly contradicts the Seiros tenets.
Does it? I'm not so sure. In any case, I'm prepared for the inevitable protests and criticism. New ways of doing things are always met with resistance. During our time at the Officers Academy, all of you overcame the barriers of birthplace, status, and ideology. Having gone through so much with all of you, I have no doubt that, in time, you'll understand.
I guess there were a lot of different people there. People we wouldn't have met through the normal course of our lives.
Duscur once opposed the Kingdom, but there was someone from Duscur there. Brigid once invaded the Empire, but the Brigid princess was there. We ate at the same table as those people. Sure, sometimes we didn't get along. But other times, we helped each other out. Can we really draw a definitive line in the sand and say one group of people is all good, and another all bad? If I can realize my dream, Fódlan will be reborn. The old age will end and we'll welcome a new dawn.
But, if—
Save your objections for another day, Gloucester boy.
I think everyone understands what you're saying. It just may take some time to accept it. That said, there are more pressing matters to discuss. Our next step is to invade the Imperial capital, right?
That's right. I'm sure Edelgard is eagerly awaiting our arrival in Enbarr. Reinforcements from the Alliance lords should arrive soon. Let's make sure we're ready to greet them.

I do wonder where the Church of Seiros's distrust of people from outside Fódlan came from. I mean, yeah, even amongst children of the goddess, there's probably the same inherent distrust of outgroups, same as us humans, but was it a byproduct of their clashes with the Agarthans?

Since this update was short enough, let's go to the next chapter, too. There's no more paralogues left in the game, and everything up to the endgame chapter is stuff we saw in Silver Snow, just with different cutscenes.
♪ No music ♪

♪ Three Crowns ♪

Claude's plan to call in Almyran forces succeeds, and the Alliance army captures Fort Merceus. Before they can celebrate their victory, javelins of light rain down from the sky and destroy the fort.

Forced to temporarily evacuate, the Alliance army regroups at Garreg Mach until it is ready to march on Enbarr, the Imperial Capital.

♪ Calm Winds Over Gentle Waters ♪

We still don't know where Rhea is, but if she's alive, she's likely in Enbarr. Hopefully we manage to find her without too much trouble.
I wonder if she's alive.
If the Empire has some reason to keep Rhea alive, then she's alive. I'm sure you must be anxious to see her again.
I need to see her again.
I understand. You need to see Rhea again so you can figure out who you really are.
But we're going up against Edelgard here... It won't be so simple.

♪ Words to Believe In ♪

What're you talking about? This is Garreg Mach! It's where we started.
I didn't mean literally, Raphael. I was speaking symbolically!
My earnest desire to protect the Alliance has carried me this far. It will not fail me.
I am sure the rest of you all have your own reasons to fight as well. Of course, I understand that the fight will not end until we defeat the Empire...
And now the time has arrived at long last to march on the Imperial capital and defeat the emperor...
It really gets you thinking, doesn't it? We all come from different places and have different goals and dreams.
But thanks to those two, we were all able to come together and overcome all sorts of challenges.
You are referring to Claude and the professor, I assume. Even within our own odd group, those two are particularly unusual.
Oh! So, you are aware that you're odd!
Well... That's... It was simply a figure of speech. I am speaking about Claude and the professor right now!

Huh? Claude and the professor are? What does that even mean, and who is which?
Oh, um... I was just thinking that if we're the birds, then those two are like the trees and the wind. The professor is a great tree that kindly embraces us and watches over us as we perch on its branches... And Claude is like the wind, pushing us forward as we soar across the open sky...
Hm. The metaphor about the professor is solid, but I think Claude just blows us around on a whim. Still, we owe him a lot.
I think that's beautiful, Marianne. I can really picture it.
When this war is over, I'd love to paint a picture of those two. Oh! And of all the people we've fought with as well!
You mean like a historical painting? I like that! Maybe our descendants will look at it a long, long time from now...
I must say, that piques my interest. I look forward to seeing how you portray my valiant efforts.
We really wouldn't have made it this far without them. Both of them. With their combined strength supporting each of us through the chaos of war... That's why we have a chance.
When you put it that way, we may be witnessing one of the greatest events in Fódlan's history. It's a lot of pressure, but the sense of duty I feel is even stronger than the fear.
I'm just happy to be here with all of you! I won't get scared, no matter what we face!
We have our goal. Enbarr, the Imperial Capital. Let's get to work!

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

Pretty much gonna be nothing but supports and one line from Claude in the monastery this month. There is a lot of shared monastery text between Silver Snow and Verdant Wind.

Hilda/Leonie B.
♪ A Gentle Breeze ♪

Whoa, what's with all these expensive necklaces? Why do you have them all laid out like that?
Pretty, right? I'll let you choose whichever you like.
Huh? Why would you do that?
Just choose! I want you to have one.
I'm not gonna accept a gift like that without a reason. Even with a reason, I'd probably decline.
Look how gorgeous they are though! Wearing beautiful things gives you energy.
Maybe for you.
Yes, for me. Why would it be any different for you?
Because to me, those are just fancy decorations.
Take this one, for example. How did you come by it?
This was the first necklace I picked out for myself. It doesn't suit my style nowadays, so I don't often wear it.
That's the kind of thing I'm talking about. The sentimental value of each one. These necklaces are nice and all, but I don't have any special feelings or memories about any of them.
But this charm, it's packed with things I don't want to forget. Captain Jeralt's teachings, and a lot of memories too.
Even if, to you, it's just a dirty hunk of wood.
Hm... I do understand.
But, still. You're not going to be very popular with the boys if you keep wearing that dirty old thing!
Like I care about that.
You can drop the whole stony-faced act. Come on, I'm offering to help you here. I could even make a charm for you, as a gift, if you're really hung up on "sentimental value."
Make a charm for me? You'd do that?
Sure! Why not? I don't want you to be alone your whole life.
Besides, this happens to be a talent of mine. It'll be really, really cute, so you'd better wear it!
Sure! I can't just accept a gift for nothing though. I'll make one for you too, if you'll teach me how!
And I'll put plenty of feeling into it, so when we exchange them, it will really mean something.
Oh, that sounds lovely! I'll gladly teach you how. But make me something cute, OK?
I'll...see what I can do.

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

Ferdinand/Hilda A. Finishing up a support chain that was left unfinished in Silver Snow!
♪ Somewhere to Belong ♪

I have some tea. You are welcome to drink some.

I found it. Here it is.

I returned your book a little while ago.
Oh. Thank you.
Ferdinand, how did you get so good at doing things for me? It's like you know what I need before I do.
I have lots of practice fielding your requests.
All I need to do is think for a bit, and I know what you need. I can practically read your mind.
Oh, you know what it's like in here, huh? OK. Tell me what I'm thinking about right now.
Hmm... You want a snack.
Sorry! Nice try. Actually, I was thinking...
I've become quite fond of you.
I suppose that is inevitable. I am rather fond of you as well. I find your laziness endearing.
Hey, the "fond" thing was just a joke! Really I was thinking about tea. Kinda thirsty.
I admire you, Hilda.
You what?
I said, I admire you. You are gifted and accomplished. I used to underestimate you.
I said I was kidding, didn't I? This is all a bit—
You feign sloth to obscure the considerable breadth and depth of your talents. Such delicate discretion, such noble prudence! If only I could emulate it.
I've never been called prudent before, but...I like hearing you say it. Thank you.
You're good at giving compliments. In return for all your help, I promise that I'll keep being prudent.
I appreciate that. Shall we go?
Huh? Go where?
I thought you wanted some tea! The dining hall is the place for that.
Oh, Ferdinand! You're too kind.

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

Hmph. I don't think the nickname "The Undefeated" applies if he flees from us. Though...maybe he only got that name by running away. Can't be defeated if you run off, right?
Real tapping forehead energy there.

I'll bet I'd know a few of them now, even after all these years.
They've probably left the capital by now. Although... I'm still worried about them.

Nader the Undefeated... With a name like that, he's bound to put up a damn-good fight.
Did you get a good look at Judith? She practically had hearts floating out of her eyeballs when she looked at Nader.
She must be in love.
You saw it too? Heh, I know that look well. She's got it bad. Honestly, they'd make a cute couple. It makes all the sense. Even seasoned warriors aren't immune to love, pal.

I hear they got a neat opera house there where Manuela used to perform. What was it called again?
Mittelfrank Opera Company.
Ah, that's the one!
My little sis always goes on about how much she'd like to see 'em perform. I know we can't see a show, but do you think we could at least see the building?

We have to get Lady Rhea back! And we have to crush the Empire, in the name of Captain Jeralt.
I don't know what comes next. But we can sort out those details later.

Truth be told, Fort Merceus would’ve made for a better base of operation.
But that weird pillar of light changes things. It's pretty scary, honestly... I wonder what it is...
Some kind of magic.
Makes sense. But whatever it was, I've never seen destructive power quite like it. I wonder where it came from... Well, I guess pondering it is a waste of energy for now. Let's just get ready to move out. The capital is Edelgard's domain, so she has the advantage. It's going to be a tough battle.

Think what might have happened if they'd have hit us during the battle at Gronder Field.
Assuming it was the work of the Imperial army...

I wonder how Fódlan will look without the backdrop of death and destruction. I can't wait to see it!
On the other hand, I'm terrified of what the future might hold. Who knows if I'll survive the assault on the capital?

To question it never even occurred to me. But Claude and Edelgard are different. They challenge the common wisdom. Even defy it.
It is uncomfortable to discard familiar assumptions. But that is an essential quality of the visionary.
Indeed, true greatness must lie beyond common sense. Hmm, that's good. I should write that down.

Once we smash the Empire, I'm sure his soul will finally be able to rest in peace.
I think you're right.
Monica killed Captain Jeralt for the Flame Emperor, and the Flame Emperor was Edelgard. I know that the future of all Fódlan rests on this battle. Nothing else is more important. But for me, this is personal. For Captain Jeralt's sake, I'm going to give it all I've got and more!

♪ The Forgotten ♪

We're viewed as different because of where we came from. There must be a lot of people like us.
There are a lot.
That's what I thought. People from the north, the west, and even some isolated communities within Fódlan. And if that's the case, maybe Claudester's got the right idea.

I've spent so long struggling to reclaim the past that Claude's vision of the future casts me in a poor light.
Oh! Did you think I was serious? Ahahaha! As if I would ever admit to a fault. Ensuring that the tradition of House Nuvelle continues uninterrupted is a noble task!

His ambitions are lofty and, well, reckless. One false move, and Fódlan is done for. Although, unrelenting idealism with a dash of recklessness can change the world.

♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪


Ah, what the hell, let's give war master Alois a shot.
♪ Learning Lesson ♪

That took way too long, but I finally got Movement +1 for Leonie as well.
♪ Scales of the Goddess ♪

I'm sure all of that was plenty exhilarating. Onto Enbarr!
♪ Anxiety ♪

It's not just big. This city was designed to protect the castle where the emperor lives. It's as though the city itself is a massive stronghold.
And the citizens?
They surely noticed us approaching some time ago, and yet...
It doesn't look like the citizens are being evacuated. It's possible they're being kept in town.
I've got to hand it to Her Imperial Majesty. Using her citizens as a shield to protect the castle takes some resolve.
I suspect those mages will be lurking within as well...
There are also reports indicating that Imperial troops who were deployed to other areas are being called back here. If we don't conquer the city quickly, things will get complicated fast.
I hope we find Rhea...
We can't search until we conquer the city. Let's focus on the fight for now.
Lady Rhea, please be safe.
We've kept the Empire waiting long enough. Onward!

Who's ready for levels?
♪ The Long Road ♪

Hey, he's got plenty of Str, might as well get more bulk and Spd too.


Damn damn.

There it is, 40 Mag!

Gotta say, for a class that penalizes Spd growth, Adan's getting a lot of Spd while being a mortal savant.

My fliers are slipping a little bit on their Spd.

Well, most of them...

Ah, lovely! I needed that, thank you, Yuri.

Insert that loud popping boom sound that enemy Flare spells make in FF14.

Ah, there we go.

More Mag! Stronger Boltings! More!

There's been a surprising lack of Str in Raphael's levels recently, especially given that he's a war master.

I guess Petra's responsible for that instance.

Yeah, sure, that's fine.

Ha-ha-hot damn. Literally everything I could want! Damage stat, +1 Crit, and Spd.


Okay, no, Claude, this isn't acceptable. Failnaught's keeping you from falling behind, but, again, this Str at level 37 isn't enough.

I don't think war master Alois actually got a chance to be deployed as an actual unit this run. Kind of a shame, he'd have torn enemies apart with gauntlets.

As expected.

Hubert's ignomonious death fuels Felix's killing power.

For those who are curious, yes, Hubert does have battle dialogue with Claude.
It's over, lapdog. Your military rule is at its end.
For every step you take along that path, our thorns will cut into your heels.
Ooh, that sounds painful. I'll have to wear thicker soles for the march.
If your boots are too heavy, you won't be able to lift your feet. But enough prattle.
And since this is the last time we'll be able to see it, he's got dialogue for Ferdinand too.
Running into you in the capital like this—I have to say, it's almost sentimental.
Hubert. She must leave.
You really think you can make her?
It does not matter what I think. Those are my orders.
There's also the obligatory dialogue against Adan.
I should have disposed of you a long time ago.
I will rectify that failure here!
Pretty sure we saw that in some other map in Silver Snow, but it's used here as well.
♪ No music ♪

We need to hurry up and attack the palace to block Edelgard's movements!

Edelgard is probably looking down on us from somewhere in that castle.
I wonder if she's panicking or just smiling smugly...
From this point on, she'll be giving it her all too. Expect her to be tougher than the last time we fought. This battle will settle things once and for all. We'll attack as soon as everyone is ready.

♪ King of Lions ♪

How long have you been in Enbarr?
I arrived not long after the battle at Gronder Field. I am here to kill Edelgard.
Well, if you want to fight alongside us, we'd be more than happy to have you.
We fight for different objectives. I swore to offer Edelgard's head to His Highness.
But... Should I fail, I will have no choice but to entrust that mission to you.
This is the information I have gathered during my time in hiding here. It includes details about the inside of the castle.
I appreciate this, but... What do you plan to do? Don't tell me you plan to go alone?
I've done what I came here to do. Farewell.
Hey! Wait!
He's gone. He's just as hard to understand as his liege was.

♪ Golden Deer and Crescent Moon ♪

What will become of Fódlan?
What will become of it? Well, that's for us to decide, isn't it? Odd as it sounds, I believe the forces responsible for destroying Fódlan are also responsible for protecting the livelihood of its citizens. Everything, even the land itself, has been harmed by the chaos of war. Restoring it will be no easy feat. To do that, the first thing we need to think about is a new ruling system for all of Fódlan.
We could unify Fódlan as one nation.
As usual, we're on the same page. I was thinking the same thing.
Even if the Alliance lords and any remaining influential nobles were to divide up dominion of all of Fódlan... They would simply pursue their own interests. Another war would be inevitable. That's why there needs to be a powerful ruler who stands above them all and unifies Fódlan as one nation.
I should be that ruler.
My friend... Do you really mean that?
My dreams await in a future where Fódlan is no longer ravaged by war.
There are things I want to see with you some day. I'll keep thinking about the best way to achieve that goal.
Whatever we decide to do, we can't do it until we defeat the Empire. Fódlan can't welcome a new dawn until we win the war. Let's prepare as best we can.

And now, it's Enbarr Castle time.
♪ A Vow Remembered ♪

The objective of this battle is to defeat Edelgard and rescue Rhea. According to the information Dedue gave us, the throne room is directly north of the castle's main entrance. It's safe to assume that's where Edelgard is.
I don't want to kill Edelgard.
She's a fellow student to all of us. If there's a path that we can walk together, that would be preferable. But that all depends on Edelgard. If she won't yield, then that's that. If showing pity would put my allies in danger, I will not hesitate to kill her. I ask that you and everyone here prepare yourselves to do the same.
Understood. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we are prepared.
The future of the Alliance—no, of Fódlan—is at stake. I have been prepared for this my whole life.
Captain Jeralt taught me that indecisiveness is a weakness. One must cast aside their doubts before fighting.
The lives of Lady Rhea and everyone here are more important than all else. I shall be prepared.
You know what? I wouldn't be surprised if she took one look at my overstuffed muscles and surrendered in tears, then and there!
I really hope that Edelgard will yield...
Edelgard is a stubborn one. I don't think she's likely to surrender.
Goddess... Please protect us...
I...I'll fight with all I got to save Lady Rhea!
Rescuing Lady Rhea is my dearest wish. We must prevail, no matter what it takes.
In the name of the Knights of Seiros, we'll bring the hammer down on the Imperial army!
Satisfied yet, boy? Everyone made up their minds a long time ago.
OK. Let's get started. We're yours to command, my friend.
Leave it to me.
Everyone, take your positions! The battle is upon us!

Time shall compress.
♪ As Fierce as Fire ♪

I'll stop for a brief moment to mention this.

Sadly, since we didn't recruit her, we have to kill Dorothea. My comments about her replacement in Silver Snow are the same here. I'll paste her battle dialogue here. In order: VS. Adan, VS. Manuela, VS. everyone else.
If it's our destiny to kill each other, then I cannot— will not—respect the goddess.
My only request is that if you win, you'll at least have the decency to kill me quickly.
Manuela? It's not like you to show up anywhere sober. What's the occasion?
I thought maybe we could talk. I could help you see the error of your ways.
Or we could just try to kill each other over what we believe in. You ready to do this?
No... But let's get to it.
Oh, that face brings back some memories. It's a shame we don't have time to catch up.
There's also battle dialogue for Petra, who would also show up here if we didn't recruit her. This is the last time we'll be seeing Enbarr Castle for this specific battle (it's used for an entirely different thing in Azure Moon), so I'll throw it in.

In order: VS. Adan, VS. Shamir, VS. everyone else.
Professor... I have been thinking. About why I came to Fódlan. To the Empire.
I am here to be protecting Edelgard...and to be stopping you.
I cannot bring myself to kill you... You're a princess of Brigid. A hostage of the Empire.
That was the truth in the past, but it is a different truth now, Shamir...
I am...the will of the emperor!
In that case, I won't hold back.
I can't be letting you pass. I will defend, and I will be killing all of you. We must be...must clear the way forward. For every person!
And lastly, Edelgard herself has some battle dialogue that I need to put here.

In order: VS. Claude, VS. Constance.
Your ideals, I understand they're not so far removed from my own. But without sufficient knowledge of this land's suffering, I can't entrust Fódlan to you!
Perhaps. I daresay it's true that I don't fully understand the history of Fódlan.
Still, I've seen many things in my life. Don't worry. I'll finish the job for you.
What use are words? We are both set on our path.
How predictable. But so be it. I will now show you my true power!
♪ The Long Road ♪

Leonie gets a somewhat-disappointing level off of killing Dorothea.

Raph gets some Str! Honestly, if he just repeated this level until endgame, I'd be perfectly happy.

Cannot overstate how fast this Balthus is. It's abnormal.

These are abominable stats for level 30. Even classing her into bishop or gremory wouldn't fix this.

Yeah, sure. Damage stats and +1 Crit.

Exactly what I wanted!

You missed the one stat you want most, Constance.

By the way, even though Enbarr Castle has some outdoors areas, it's treated as an indoor map for Circadian Beat, so Constance gets her Str/Mag bonus.

No, Raph, Str! How do you keep missing this?!

Incidentally, speaking of growths, Raphael has a 105% HP growth as both a grappler and a war master.

Ahhhhh, that level is a sight for sore eyes.

That one isn't bad either.


Now that's more like it.

Felix is set for endgame, honestly.

80 HP, good lord.

Hit 40 Str. You know you want to.

And then Raphael smashed Edelgard to bits. Her damage isn't even half of his max HP!
♪ No music ♪

This wasn't the conclusion I had hoped for. Even though... I... Never mind. It's over now.
The important thing is that we won.

A letter? Let's see it.
It looks like it's from...Hubert. Edelgard's vassal.
It's just Hubert's letter about the Agarthans, verbatim, from Silver Snow. You can check Update 47 if you want the full text of it again.
♪ A Lonely Figure ♪

You were a better man than I believed you to be. So, Rhea is alive. And the fight isn't over yet. Those who slither in the dark... It sounds like Fódlan will never know peace unless we defeat them. The allies of Monica and Tomas... Well, we knew about them already. I think it's safe to assume this is the same group who used Lysithea for their blood experiments. And they were also responsible for the javelins of light that destroyed the fortress. But who are these "children of the goddess," who they supposedly resent? There's just not enough information here. I don't suppose there's any chance that this is his idea of a prank... If so, wow. Good one.
Hubert... Rather than writing a letter, you should have just told us before we fought...
Let's ask Rhea about it.
Right. We still don't know for sure if this letter is telling the truth. Let's go find out.

♪ Song of the Nabateans ♪

Is this... Is this a dream? I have longed to see you again...all this time... Is it truly you?

Thank you for supporting the professor, and for rescuing me.
Surely the protection of the goddess has—
Wait, Rhea. What do you know about the children of the goddess?
Children of... What is this about?
Forgive my bluntness. Someone from the Empire filled us in on a few things. I know it must be painful for us to ask you difficult questions after such an arduous confinement.
But we have no choice. We must defeat a secret enemy... Those who slither in the dark. Do you know about them?
Those who slither in the dark...
Apparently, they resent the children of the goddess and the people of the world, and are planning something big. Something terrible.
They use blood for their wicked magic and are capable of dropping javelins of light from the sky, which are powerful enough to crush a fortress.
If you can think of anything at all, please tell us now. We need to know as much as possible about these enemies in order to stop them.
This is the critical moment that will determine whether or not Fódlan falls! Can't you see that the time for secrets has passed?!

♪ Gazing at Sirius ♪

I am sure you have heard the stories of a man named Nemesis...
The King of Liberation...
Nemesis, the King of Liberation. He's the hero to whom the goddess gave the Sword of the Creator.
Nemesis was originally the leader of a group of bandits. He plundered the Holy Tomb and stole the remains of the progenitor god. When Nemesis appeared in Zanado some time later, he already wielded the Sword of the Creator.
How did he get the Sword of the Creator?
I do not know how Nemesis obtained the sword, or why he appeared in Zanado.
But he used that sword to massacre the people there. The children of the progenitor god. From their corpses he gained even more power, and brought war to Fódlan...
That's completely different from what the legends tell us about Nemesis.
A mere bandit like Nemesis would not have been capable of anything so monstrous on his own...
Aha! So Nemesis had accomplices. And those accomplices must have been those who slither in the dark. They used Nemesis!
And this time they used the Imperial army to once again bring war to Fódlan!
I finally get it... And I even understand why Edelgard was associating with them. Just as they were trying to use the Empire, the Empire was trying to use them. Rhea, there's still a mountain of things I need to ask you. And I will. But I'll leave all of that for another day. You must be weak after living in confinement for so long. Please rest for a while. My friend... Let's prepare for battle. We need to strike Shambhala as soon as possible.
You must not allow Fódlan's bloody history...the Red Canyon Tragedy...to repeat itself...

♪ Calm Winds Over Gentle Waters ♪

Aren't they the people of Zanado?
She did say that the people of the Red Canyon were the children of the progenitor god, so I suppose so. But those evil guys continued to plot their revenge even after the Red Canyon Tragedy. Does that mean some of the children of the goddess, or their descendants, are still alive?
Could be. She was talking about what happened in Zanado as if she was there herself. If there's something special about her blood, we can't rule out the possibility. Huh.
What are these children anyway? And how are they connected to the goddess?
Bah! I almost disappeared into the bottomless swamp that is my mind.
I thought that after we defeated the Empire, I'd be able to see that sight I long to see...
What sight is that?
I've told you about my dreams before... I want to break down the wall separating Fódlan from the outside world. The sight I want to see lies beyond that. Honestly, it's a trivial thing to fixate on. Just people, gathered in their towns. Living out their lives together. Sometimes laughing. Sometimes fighting. But the people living there aren't just citizens of Fódlan. There are people from Dagda, Brigid, and even Duscur and Sreng. There could be people who were born in Almyra or countries even farther east there too... All of those people living together, like it's nothing special at all. That's the sight I long to see.
It's so simple, but still so far away...
But this is no time for complaining. We need to focus on capturing Shambhala. Let's hurry up and gather everyone together.

♪ Anxiety ♪

Um, if this map is reliable, their base is just south of my family's territory.
This story is a bit much to believe... And yet...
It does ring true somehow.
Remember Monica, the one who killed Jeralt? And the old man who was masquerading as Tomas? They were their allies. And the Flame Emperor and the Death Knight were merely their pawns.
The people who were after my blood?!
They were also the ones who used me to conduct their blood experiments...
As awful as it sounds, they're seemingly fond of using blood in their secret techniques.
Eww! That's really gross! I could never be friends with someone like that.
I believe they were also responsible for the javelin of light that destroyed Fort Merceus.
Hold up, boy. Do you really think that we can win against such powerful foes?
I don't know. But we have to try, don't we?
This is for Fódlan's future.
We've really taken on something big. I wonder if our names will go down in history.
My heroic name? Passed down to future generations? Haha! A worthy cause, indeed.
Since Edelgard can't do it, I guess it falls to us.
They were trying to use the Imperial army to plunge Fódlan into war, but we nipped that in the bud.
Now we just need to tear out their roots. And I know we have what it takes to do it.

Next time: more time kompression through the Shambhala chapter. And after that...endgame.

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