Update 85: No Nerds! Fight Milk

♪ Teatime Joy ♪


Still unnerving. I feel like Rhea is staring into my soul.
♪ Life at Garreg Mach Monastery ♪


Were it not for supports, I'd be just entirely skipping over monastery days.

Bernadetta/Leonie C.
♪ Respite and Sunlight ♪




She's so diligent I can barely... Oh, look at her elbow.
There we go, all set. Now, a little water.
Her sleeve's all torn. She should get that fixed.




Uh, Leonie. I was, um...
Hm? What is it?
I was just...admiring your hard work.
If you've got time to stare, you may as well help me out. Is that all you wanted to say?
Uh, not exactly.
Well, come on. Out with it.
Uh... It's, uh... Elbow!
Your elbow looks fine to me. Is it bothering you?
Not mine—yours. Your sleeve's torn.
Huh, how about that? You're right. I didn't notice. You could have just told me right away, you know.
It's just a little tear though. Nothing to worry about.
If you don't mind, I could fix it for you. It would only take a minute.
You can do that?
I'm actually pretty good at sewing.
I never knew. Well, if you're offering, by all means!


What?! Hold on— Don't— You can't just— Aaaah!



♪ Life at Garreg Mach Monastery ♪


No need to be so flustered, Bernie.

I'm reminded of L'Arachel getting into a bizarre tizzy when Ephraim took his armor off at her request so she could try to mend his scars.
L’Arachel: ...Oh, dear. I’ll bet your body is just covered with scars under that armor, isn’t it? I can heal them all for you. Let me see them.
Ephraim: Thanks. Let’s see...
L’Arachel: Oh! Oh... Oh my! Wh-what are you doing?
Ephraim: I have to take my armor off if I’m going to show you the scar on my shoulder–
L’Arachel: Cad! Beast! Pervert! Devil! I simply will NOT allow you to take advantage of me in my confused state!
Ephraim: Conf– What!? Wait, L’Arachel! What about my scars...?
Poor guy.

I fed this spare golden apple I had to Constance. Much like Ignatz, though she has an Authority strength, her base Cha growth is poor, at 25%.
♪ Corridor of the Tempest ♪


Did you want some unit progress from auxiliary battles? I hope you did.

Oofa-doofa.

heart eyes

I feel like everyone's gonna get overshadowed by Bernadetta's level there, but this isn't bad at all.

Not a fan of her missing Str, but +1 Spd, +1 Crit, and +1 Cha aren't too bad all together.

I mean, you do need Def.

Magnificent.

Good, good.

Ouch, what happened there?

Another good level.

This hybrid Adan isn't exactly going to be very effective at being a hybrid.

Not unexpected, but still disappointing.

sickos face

Well, that's beyond bizarre.

Meh, okay.

Sadly, I'm always prepared for disappointment from Sylvain.
♪ Life at Garreg Mach Monastery ♪


For...whatever reason, I decided to buy Faith A for Mercedes. I don't need Fortify early, why did I do that?
♪ A Lonely Figure ♪


Sylvain gets this secret book I found in the Holy Tomb, to help with his inevitable Hit issues.
♪ Life at Garreg Mach Monastery ♪


Ingrid/Raphael C.
♪ Funny Footsteps ♪


Raphael, what are you doing here?
Oh! I was just enjoying some of this roast! Did you want a bite?
No, no. I meant what are you doing here? This isn't the dining hall.
Hahaha! That's funny. Of course I know this isn't the dining hall!
You know that, and yet you're stuffing your face here, rather than where it's appropriate. You're not even seated!
Is that the best way to eat? If you think so, let's sit down!


I don't have a plate with me, so there's nothing I can do about that now. But since when are you so proper, Ingrid?
I'm not proper at all! You're just downright crude. Have you no respect for yourself and your journey to knighthood? Knights must work from a very young age to be upstanding in all facets. You are making a mockery of all that we stand for! You—
Slow down! I can't do all this listening while I'm trying to eat!
Disgusting! Now you've spilled gravy all over your shoes and your chin! You'd better wipe that up.
Now you need everything to be neat and tidy? You're really particular.
This has nothing to do with me. It's what's expected of a knight!
Wait. All I have to do is be neat and tidy and I can become a knight? Forget all that studying then, I'm just gonna work on being the neatiest and tidiest one here!
I— Wait. Th-that is not what I said!
Ugh. Really? You're probably right. I shouldn't bother with the neat and tidy stuff.
You are impossible!



♪ Life at Garreg Mach Monastery ♪


Bizarre.
♪ No music ♪


Hey, look, mission time already.

The abandoned tower those thieves are using as a base... Conand Tower.


Back then, this tower was built for both surveillance and defense. It will be difficult to seize it.
You're very well informed, Gilbert. Please, tell us more.
Well, I... Ah. You're joking.
Professor. Did you see the local villages? They were in rough shape, no doubt because of the thief attacks. They're not going to make it through the winter in that condition. If the thieves had taken up pillaging in order to survive, that would be deplorable...but understandable.
But this... This is something else entirely. It looks as though they destroyed those villages purely for pleasure. No matter what their reasons may be, that sort of behavior cannot be allowed. Ever.


Sylvain... The thieves' leader...the one who stole the Relic. Word has it he's your older brother. I know he's been disowned, but...
He is no longer a member of House Gautier...or my brother. He's nothing more than a common thief.
Are you sure about that? It would be understandable to find this situation...well, regrettable, to say the least.
Regrets? Heh, you must be joking. You know we're far past the point of regret. And it always falls on the younger brother to clean up the mistakes of their elders, doesn't it?
This rain threatens a coming storm. We must hurry and begin our war council before the heavens let loose.



♪ As Swift as Wind ♪


Did you miss this circuitous mess? You did? Great, now there's more enemies and reinforcements now get to act on their spawn turn.

Thanks to the Fire Emblem Wiki (the one that ends in .org, not the Wikia one), I've now got a way to easily show the differences between maps on Hard and Maddening at a glance! Purple enemy units are Maddening-only. Not only are we dealing with six extra normal enemies, there's also a total of 13 reinforcement units now, up from 11.

The axe users and archers are statistical copies of already-existing enemies. The white magic user, however, is entirely new. He, unfortunately, has Physic, and being right next to Miklan means it'll be a while before you can approach him. Only one Physic user is annoying, but manageable. Any more would've been a problem.

Remember, you don't have to deploy your lord on this map, so I opted to let Dimitri hang back as an adjutant. Dude's already plenty strong, and he can easily catch up with the passive +20% EXP he receives. We can let other units get their turn.

Miklan, compared to Hard, has +6 max HP, +5 Str, +2 Mag, +4 Dex, +1 Spd, +5 Lck, +3 Def, and +5 Cha. He hits quite a bit harder, and is more resistant to gambits. That's it, though—he's still vulnerable to being one-rounded by magic, without having much of an answer for it.
♪ Fódlan Winds ♪


Stride always helps with very slow map starts.







Dedue's got the Chalice of Beginnings, so that archer is in for a rude surprise when they attack him.


Without Ingrid having that bow, that kill wouldn't have been possible. Bows on non-archer units: still useful.






A reasonable trade.

...Until this prick comes in.




Early Bolting is so fun to play with, even if I'm not supposed to.

Hey, Mag.







So nice I gotta do it twice.



Hey, look, these guys.




Like I said: action-on-spawn-turn. Get used to this, very few reinforcements on Maddening don't do this.

A respectable hit from Gilbert.


And now he's almost dead.

Gimme a break, man.

Lots of enemies are already starting to make the trek around the circular part of the map. Uh-oh.



Thanks.



Okay, I don't like how close these three very fragile magic users are to the thieves.

Running away won't really help, so... This is the best Marianne can do.


Cya, chump.

God I love the Crest of Noa.


Why not?











The Chalice of Beginnings is a very powerful item, if you haven't noticed.

And there goes Gilbert.

Grr.



Nnnnnnot good!



Wow, okay, I'll very much take that. Very timely Res, there.





blink





Well, it's most of what he needs.

Most.


Imagine if Poison Strike's HP drain was lethal. What a horrifying thought.

stop thaaaaaat



Well, both Def and Res isn't bad, I guess. Got +1 Crit, too.



Reasonable.

Why yes, I'm just trying to clear out this area in preparation for the massive mob of enemies headed my way, why do you ask?



Just a big deathball.



At least most of the archers are dead.

Really not liking how Dedue is turning out. He's not the defensive powerhouse he should be.




Gauntlets are such a nice counter to magic users.

Until it's enemy gauntlet users countering my magic users. Then they're frustrating and bad.



An identical-to-the-last-one group of thieves and mages spawn at the entrance.



The reinforcements are just out of range for most of this group, so it's Stride time.



Group Lance Attack isn't on a lot of battalions, but it's pretty useful. A 3x1 targeting area can be a bit awkward, but when it works, it works well.


That miss is annoying, but not fatal.



shrug



Ouch, that's not good. +1 Crit isn't enough of a power increase on its own.

I know this strategy of letting the deathball come to me isn't exactly exciting to watch, but, well, it's what I did. Sorry!







Oh, right, that guy's still alive.




If you're wondering where that sudden spike in Balthus's damage came from, it's from King of Grappling. He's well below 50% HP.







Alright, this won't kill the Physic guy, but damage is—

S-Stay away!


...Very well then! Thank you, Bernie.

A few turns later, the deathball is banging at my door.

There's the Dedue I know.

Should've used Impregnable Wall...




Given Sylvain being one hit away from death, I figured the Hit boost from Tempest Lance would be worth it.

You, keep quiet for a sec.

Meh.



I told you, King of Grappling is very powerful, especially early on.





I know, gauntlet combat art, but it gave Dedue the highest Hit of any of his attack options.




No enemy attacks that turn, just them moving up.



These three can hold still.





Unfortunately, that was the best target Ingrid could hit this turn.


She set Bernie up for a kill, at least.




...I could. But I won't.



Dammit.





Doesn't feel so good when it's turned on you, huh?


Dammit!

Decided not to burn a rewind on th at, need to save some for Miklan's monster form.


Mercedes used Restore so Dedue could do that.



Good, I like that, Caspar.



Mmmmmmm don't like that.













Finally, a level I'd expect from Dedue.


She wasn't gonna kill him, a gambit couldn't hurt.







I hate archers on Maddening so much.









A turn later, I am approaching the north of the map extremely cautiously. I do not want to trigger the reinforcements while they're in range of anyone, because they are deadly fast.

Two turns later, once Dedue passes this post...





Yeah.





Oof...

That's much better.

Meh.






Hey, no, don't you start.



There's another round of these guys after the first ones spawn. Again, be careful with where you position your units.

Frankly amazed that Ingrid can avoid being doubled by these guys.

That point of Def Bernadetta got earlier saved her goddamn life here.








Eh, he does need some Spd to be effective.

And so begins the long trek to the other side.

Don't be disappointed, Mercie, you got the one point of Mag you needed.

Riveting gameplay.



Gotta kill this guy, for posterity.











Would like to note that this guy still gives extremely low EXP for no real reason. Constance got 7 EXP for that kill.




Oh man, you don't know how much of a mistake that was.



You activated King of Grappling exactly.

Just for that, you get to die at Balthus's hands.

Thanks, pal.

Riveting gameplay.



I didn't feel like tangoing with that 21 Crit, so I just had Dedue put Impregnable Wall on Adan.



Remember: Miklan's using a Relic without a Crest. Therefore, he suffers from the requisite 10 HP drain after any round of combat.


I let Caspar get the kill EXP.

Now that we have to fight the black beast, I gave Sylvain Impregnable Wall.



Hey, he weakend the armor tile.




Battleground Clean-Up is good for monsters.



Poison Tactic may deal fuck-all for damage, but it's got an extremely big area of effect for an E rank gambit.

Notable: shattering the black beast's armor gives the same amount of umbral steel as it did on Hard.





S-Stay away!



Hey, that was useful! Thanks, Bernie.

Honestly, I'll take that. HP, Spd, Def, and Cha—all of that at once is pretty okay.


You're in the way!



Ouch. I think that's Dimitri's first bad level.


Try this on for size!




...Okay! Sure!

Mediocre levels for both of them, sadly.


Open wide!


Okay!

Hot damn. I don't anticipate using Marianne for much combat, but when I do, that level will help with it.










Strong enough?




I'll take that. That Def stat is very nice so far.
♪ No music ♪


I never like revisiting this level, and Maddening is no exception.
♪ Gazing at Sirius ♪


Anyway, I answered this question very differently this time.
I will not.
What is the meaning of this?
Ahem, excuse me.


Now, may I please have that lance? I have received direct approval from my father to take possession of it.
As the next head of House Gautier, do you swear that you will never cause such a deplorable incident to transpire?
On my family's name...and on my brother's life, I swear it.
Very well. However, I have one condition. You must never allow another to wield this lance. Your brother clearly demonstrated what fate awaits those who break that restriction.
Yes. I...I will not soon forget.


And that's how you get the Lance of Ruin early.
♪ No music ♪


Are you weary?
I was just thinking about something.

♪ Arcana Code ♪


It's far from uncommon for someone to lose their ability to lead their house because they don't bear a Crest. Just like Miklan. It happened to my uncle as well. The eldest child of the king, and yet he never ascended to the throne. All families whose bloodlines carry the Crests of the 10 Elites are much the same. But House Gautier takes it a step further, and absolutely requires an heir who possesses a Crest.
Why are they so obsessed with it?
To that house, the power of Crests is a necessity, not a luxury. House Gautier holds the most northern territory in the Kingdom, and they have fought with the people to the north for many years. The head of that house is responsible for protecting that territory from fearsome invaders, whom they keep at bay with the power of Crests and Relics. In exchange for that responsibility, they are granted special privileges within the Kingdom.
Strength is strength, with or without a Crest.
I believe the same. Ability cannot be measured by the possession of a Crest alone. I believe that Margrave Gautier was wrong to disinherit Miklan simply because he did not bear a Crest. Still, there is always a reason for why such customs stand the test of time. Imagine what this world would be like if no one placed any stock in Crests... Bloodlines that carry Crests would dwindle. The metaphorical blade used to oppose threats would eventually rust. This same argument has been made time and time again across the years. Both sides are at once right and wrong.
What do you believe, Dimitri?
I believe those with Crests and those without should acknowledge the others' strengths and learn to respect each other based on personal merits. And that doesn't apply only to Crests. The same holds true for lineage, race, faith, ideologies... If we could just accept each other and make mutual concessions, one step at a time... Perhaps... Who knows if that's even possible. Everyone has something that is unacceptable within them. I certainly do, and I'd wager you do as well. I wonder which is best, Professor... To cut away that which is unacceptable, or to find a way to accept it anyway...


Ah, yes, the "both sides" arguments for inherited wealth.

Maybe that's being overly reductive, I don't care.

Next time: poor Flayn, honestly.

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