Update 99: The Level Cap

♪ No music ♪

I see... The Flame Emperor and Monica...and the mage who rescued Monica.
What is that guy's name?
I don't know, but if we keep listening, we might be able to find out.
An unexpected chance to hear their plans. Patience, patience!

♪ Mask of Fire ♪

I'm afraid you must remain, Kronya. There is something I need you to do.
Oh, of course. I am always happy to cooperate with Solon. Leave it to me.
How annoying.
Flame Emperor... Is she offending you? Unfortunately, we cannot take our eyes off her, so there is nothing to be done. You are our greatest creation. We used the defiled beast's blood as the fuel to your flame, that you may burn even the gods. Now is the time to cleanse Fódlan with that power, and bring forth our salvation.
There will be no salvation for you and your kind. Those responsible for such gruesome deeds in Duscur and Enbarr.
All so that you may acquire the strength you need. All for a purpose...
I've got you... Finally...


No... The dagger...
What about the dagger?
It...no. Never mind. It couldn't possibly be so.
Professor, those are the ones we must destroy. They're the bastards who killed my family and Jeralt. For now, let's return to the monastery and regroup. As for the Flame Emperor's dagger...I'll hold on to it for the time being.

I'll leave the meaning of the dagger as an exercise for the reader.
♪ Broken Routine ♪

Seems like forever since I last heard Broken Routine.

Dimitri/Ingrid B.
♪ Recollection and Regret ♪

What? Why do you seem so serious?
In a just world, you would be happily married to Glenn. He...he truly loved you. And it's clear that you cared deeply for him as well.
But on that awful night, he died right before my eyes. I could do nothing to prevent it. In a way, I'm responsible for you losing the joyous future that should have been yours. I know my words can change nothing, but... I'm so sorry, Ingrid.
No, Your Highness. There's...there's no need to apologize. Glenn's death... It still doesn't feel real. I always looked up to Glenn. He was the very picture of a perfect knight—noble and virtuous.
In the end, he laid down his life—the ultimate sacrifice. I feel proud of him in ways that words can't quantify.
Proud? Truly?
That's right. I feel proud that he died for those he was sworn to protect. Proud that he passed from this realm to the next as a perfect knight.

Needless death? How can you say that? Glenn gave his life for you—for everyone—and this is how you speak of his sacrifice?
You weren't there. You didn't witness his last moments. If you had, you wouldn't feel that way.
I don't care to hear your interpretation of his final moments! He was and will always be an ideal knight!
You would do well to rethink that ideal, my friend.
Pardon me?
He served in your guard! He took great pride in what he did—in protecting you!
The very least you can do...is not spit on his memory! If you'll excuse me.

♪ Broken Routine ♪

That was...wildly out of what I'd expect from Dimitri. That second screenshot read more like a line from Felix more than anything.

Dimitri/Raphael C.
♪ Funny Footsteps ♪

Hm? What are you talking about, Raphael?
Some folks are saying you lifted a whole wagon on your own, and you made it look easy!
Ah. I suppose I do recall something like that. I happened across a toppled wagon, you see. Those people needed my aid, so I aided them. But what of it?
You gotta teach me your training secrets! I wanna build muscles like that!
You want...my training secrets, so you can build more muscle?
I'm sorry, but...I honestly don't think I can offer anything that would help you. The royal family has always been blessed with immense strength. I imagine it's largely due to our blood, and perhaps our Crests.
Oh, c'mon! You don't have to keep your secrets from me!
As I said, I really wish I could help, but... Look, logistics aside, why are you so interested in my strength to begin with?
I wanna be really strong like you. I don't just wanna, I gotta!
I've had to provide for my little sis ever since our parents died.
If I wanna do that, I gotta get strong so I can become a knight!
I see. In that case, I suppose I could try to help you. Though I meant it when I said I'm not sure I have much to offer.
Really?! Aw, yeah!
I'm no expert on the topic of building muscle... However, for greater strength, you could try devoting more time to spear and sword training. You probably already know that, eh? Of course you do. Let's see... As a child, I was forced to train by running through the mountains all night in heavy armor!
You had to run all night in heavy armor? That sounds tough! What else did you do?
Aside from that... I trained by lifting large boulders, or carrying multiple barrels filled with rocks.
Got it! I'm gonna give that a try right now!
Wait a moment! You don't want to push yourself too hard too quickly. You'll damage yourself if you're not careful.
You shouldn't worry so much. I know my limits! My muscles are gonna be so big after this!

♪ Broken Routine ♪

If anyone can do Dimitri's training routines, it's Raphael.

Dedue/Sylvain B.
♪ Calm Winds Over Gentle Waters ♪

Yes, you do have some talent. ...
What's the matter? Have I got something on my face?
No, Sylvain. Recently I've heard rumors about you.
Oh yeah? Which ones? Is it that I'm terrible to girls? Or the rumor where I bring terrible misfortune to the girls I date? I don't, by the way. In case you're about to ask. Oh! I also heard about how I'm total trash and everyone should avoid me. That might be my favorite.
Well, you don't lack for self-awareness.
The way I figure it, if I can't be respected, I can at least be well-informed.
You are being described as indefensibly worthless.
Indefensibly? Heh, that's a bit harsh.
I already knew your reputation concerning women. But these new rumors deprive you of all redemption. I did try to correct them. But I doubt I was believed.
Well, thank you all the same. Listen. You don't need to worry what people think about me. As you well know, it's not easy to correct misunderstandings or change people's minds. And if I'm going to behave so badly, it seems misunderstandings are inevitable.
I could not be silent. You saw me as a person, rather than merely as someone from Duscur. I want you to be seen as a person too.
I appreciate that, Dedue. You think the world will ever see us that way?
I can't tell if you're joking or not. But I like it.
Then we will get along.

♪ Broken Routine ♪

Good on you for being willing to defend Sylvain from rumors that are, in all likelihood, not that far from the truth, Dedue.

A significant power boost for Ingrid.

I gave the energy drop we got from the last mission to Bernadetta.

After a week has gone by, we've got another support to do.

Dimitri/Annette B.
♪ A Gentle Breeze ♪

Of course. How may I be of assistance?
Well, I was hoping you could...tell me about my father. I imagine he was a very different man at home than he was at work.
Ah, so you wish to hear about the Gustave that I knew... As you know, he was a knight who served the royal family since my grandfather's reign. To me, he was a teacher of martial arts and tactics. He was someone I depended on since I was a small child. But he was also a very stern and strict instructor.
That doesn't surprise me. He was much the same at home.
He'd chide us if we made mistakes, whether it was with cooking or even how we spoke. I feel we can talk like this because of our time at the academy...
But if he saw me speaking so casually to you... Oh my goodness. He would probably faint.
Is that so? Funny. I suppose in front of his family he felt the need to demonstrate proper etiquette.
Wait... Are you saying that's not how he was around you?
Even all these years later, there's something I recall with perfect clarity. It happened in the autumn of my eleventh year... Before the break of dawn, he woke me suddenly. Said he'd heard a disturbance and had me grab my bow... Then he set me and a fellow pupil loose on a dark mountain. Our only directive was to "go catch a deer." As you well know, autumn in the capital is very cold. Now imagine being up on the mountain at night, with no idea what might jump out from the shadows.

Hehe, I can hardly imagine that! He was completely different with me.
I recall one other defining detail... He used to speak of you at every possible opportunity.
Really? What would he say about me?
Are you sure you want to know? There's one story he used to tell, from when you were very small...
No, stop! It's probably too embarrassing to bear... Is it?
Ah, perhaps...
Look, I'll promise to forget the stories he told me about you, if you return the favor. Deal?
Yes, that seems the only thing to do. It's a promise.

♪ Broken Routine ♪

Against all odds, I managed to actually clear the proper conduct tournament. Gimme that godsdamned brave sword.
♪ Learning Lesson ♪

So, in addition to the two Mv stat boosters, and the Fetters of Dromi, Annette's also got Movement +1 now. I'm pretty sure she's at the maximum possible Mv for a dancer. She's got Canto, too.
♪ A Lonely Figure ♪

I found a seraph robe in the Holy Tomb, which I gave to Dimitri, because +5 HP is a hell of a lot. Felix gets to eat the rocky burdock I got from the greenhouse, too.
♪ No music ♪

And then, it was mission time.
♪ Tactics ♪

It seems they're hiding in the Sealed Forest, right near the monastery. Lady Rhea has summoned all of the knights to return and take them down. And all of this is being done in secret. Why? To keep us...no, to keep you in the dark.
Why the secrecy?
Lady Rhea likely assumed you wouldn't be able to stop yourself from confronting the enemy if you knew their location. But that is not how this story ends, is it? Professor... We're at the ready. Order us to depart, and we'll fight at your side.

This discovery comes just when the knights are at their busiest. It is all too likely that our foes revealed themselves to lure you out there. They are the ones who took Jeralt from you... I know how you must despise them, but I must ask you to rein in your personal feelings for now.
You can't stop me.
Please, Professor. Do not act carelessly. I ask that you leave this to us.
Losing you so soon after losing Jeralt would be unbearable.
Lady Rhea, Seteth. Please, try to understand our reasoning before you refuse. With most of the knights still far away, we cannot afford for you two to leave the monastery undefended. The enemy's strength is yet unknown. The only warriors who likely stand a chance are those who wield Relics. With all that in mind, it's obvious who should be dispatched, is it not? If the professor leaves, we will go as well. We've already made preparations and are ready to depart at a moment's notice.
Surely you must see that we cannot wait any longer for the knights to gather. Please... Do what must be done and give us the order.
Professor... Do you agree with this strategy?
Understood. I will give you the order. Destroy the enemy that is hiding in the Sealed Forest... You have the protection of the goddess on your side. Whatever happens, you shall overcome.
No matter what enemy we face, we will not fail. I promise you that.

♪ Broken Routine ♪

Dedue's able to class into Grappler.
♪ No music ♪

Just in time, too.

This is for Captain Jeralt. I will not falter.
It is time to repay the kindness of the professor who saved my life!
Leave it to us, Professor. I'll give it my all.
Fighting Tomas... It will be difficult, that's for certain.
I don't really love the idea of fighting people I know...
We don't have a choice. Even if it's difficult, an enemy is an enemy.
Just kill them from behind. As long as you don't see their faces, you won't know if you know them.
We won't know unless we see their face... Yes, I suppose that is true. Professor... I hope you know I meant what I told you before. Your enemy is my enemy. And I will follow you until the end, whatever that end may be.
Let's do our best.
Yes...right. We'll fulfill our duty together. We've come this far. We can't stop now. I hope you know that you can rely on us. No matter who the enemy is, we are prepared to cut them down.

♪ As Swift as Wind ♪

I'm sure that last line won't end up meaning anything.

Two extra monsters on Maddening, designed to make approaching Kronya more difficult. Par for the course, really.

The crew for this map. Bringing along two healers, since just one isn't going to be enough to reach everyone with Physic.

As per usual, due to his reduced Mv, Yuri gets to take the march ring.

Felix is taking the Aegis Shield, because why not. He's also got a goddess ring in case he needs some passive regen instead of the Aegis Shield Def/Res.

Kronya may not have transformed yet, but all she's missing is her battalion (+20 Avo, +1 Cha) and the Agarthan Technology ability. She's as evasive as ever, and is now packing AS that wouldn't be out of place in an endgame map on Hard.
♪ No music ♪

We're almost near the end of Part 1. After this, it's just two more story missions. Let's go.
♪ Tearing Through Heaven ♪

Three of these four will be taking some physical damage on this opening turn, so I have Marianne use Absolute Defense on them.

Since we start so far away from other units, Stride is invaluable. Annette doesn't need it, at least.

Targeting the upper-left armor tile means the dark mage also gets hit with Ashes and Dust.

Here we go!

This'll do it!

Too bad that double crit was against an armor tile.

Ugh... If I could just move Caspar or Sylvain out of the way, Yuri would be able to get the +3 Atk from Honorable Spirit, and finish this HP bar off.

I'll just use the highest Crit option he has and hope for the best.

Let's dance!

...It worked out!

Pure grit!

Just need one dance on someone, and I should be able to kill this monster.


And there we go.


Very good work, Sylvain. Please get more Spd.

Now that should help Yuri out.

The joys of having a dancer.

Giving Balthus the opportunity to act as bait.

Caspar, too.

That's...quite a bit of hurt.

Thankfully, no other enemies could reach Balthus.

Another instance of needing to reach faraway enemies with Stride.

I'll keep it simple!

She's close to level 20.

The all-powerful King of Grappling.

Got a deathball forming on the east.

Well, that's incredibly disappointing.

I don't entirely get why I used Wrath Strike there.

I'll keep it simple!

The all-important level 20. Leonie's performing quite well, though I do wish her Str was higher.

Here we go!

Too bad that wasn't a double crit.

This'll do it!

Nothing a dance can't fix, though.

♪ The Verge of Death ♪

...Oh, shit, I didn't check Kronya's range.

She has surprisingly low Mt and Hit against Adan.


Okay, well, bad odds, but this gambit hitting would make things much easier.

C'mon, Felix, you can do better than that...

Well, that sucked.

Here we go!

Impressive, Caspar!

That crit let Balthus finish the monster off!

Christ, A-rank support bonuses, Curved Shot, attacking at 2 range, and Leonie can only manage 57 Hit against Kronya.

Stupid harlequin.

Let's see if you can do that again.

Thought so.
♪ No music ♪

Then Adan got sucked into Zahras.
♪ Those Who Sow Darkness ♪

They were swallowed by the mystical darkness of the forbidden spell. An eternity wandering in a void of nothingness, never to return to this world... To think we almost had the Sword of the Creator...
That's a lie! There's no way the professor is really dead!
That's right! Our professor is no ordinary human!
I do not believe our professor has fallen.
It is possible that death has yet to find your friend. But there are worse things than death. Drifting through the darkness with no chance of escape... Overwhelmed with hopelessness... It must be torturous.
We cannot abandon hope, Your Highness. Our professor lives. I know it.
You're right. We will save the professor. But first, let's destroy this fiend! I'll slice you into a thousand pieces as you watch with horror... You will know true pain before I finally allow you to die!
How trite. But if you wish for pain, I shall oblige. If you prefer it so, you shall also be added to the ranks of the dead!

Then the merge happened.
♪ Tearing Through Heaven ♪

Solon's reinforcements are the same on Maddening. No extra units to deal with.

However, any enemies we didn't already kill are still on the map. Thankfully, the merge means that all of our units get the ability to act again on this turn.

Of course this dark mage had to be in the forest...

Healing Balthus gives Yuri a near-literally-perfect level.

This thing is still a big problem, so let's throw Ashes and Dust at it.


There we go!

An opening!

Monster kills never stop being satisfying.

Have I mentioned my love for levin sword+s?

I'm taking this slow.

Very good, Adan.

A very satisfying exact kill.

That's the spirit!

Yay, Str! And...Res, too, why not!

I keep underestimating Marianne's damage.

That was more to break the armor tile than anything else.

Don't try and stop me!


No crit, but that should be enough for someone else to finish off the monster.


Seal Strength can't stop Sylv—



At least Marianne can finish him off.

Wow. That armored knight was so weak...

Don't try and stop me!

An okay level.

No action on the enemy phase.

Hey, damage stat.

...Okay, that's just an incredibly bad positioning decision on my part.

Easy fix: actually move Marianne.

Pretty much just Solon and that one monster left.


♪ The Verge of Death ♪

Later, man, was cool seeing you again.

♪ No music ♪

♪ Beyond the Crossroads ♪

What's more, Jeralt's foe is dead. Though we took little satisfaction from it. Professor... I must ask. What happened after we were separated? You look...different.
The goddess gifted me her power.
The goddess appeared...and gave you her power? It's as though...the legend of old has been made flesh. It's hard to grasp, in all honesty. But having seen you pierce the sky with my own eyes, I find myself unable to doubt it.
A legend of old?
Yes. The legend of Saint Seiros. It is said that she received a divine revelation from the goddess and was gifted with her power. Long ago, the goddess dispatched Seiros to defeat an evil king who went mad with power. Perhaps the goddess saw the goodness of Seiros within you too, and wished to help you in your quest to defeat evil. Hm. If you're Seiros, granted power by the goddess, then I suppose that makes me... Ah, never mind. I'm getting carried away.
Professor! What's wrong?! Are you...uh... Are you asleep?
What is happening these days? Well, it matters not. We must get you help, and fast. It'll be faster if I carry you and run. Sorry, Professor, but I have no choice but to carry you back.

What is happening these days? Well, it matters not. We must get you help, and fast. It'll be faster if I carry you and run.
Continuing this weird trend, Dimitri's final line changes based on whether this is Adan or Abby.
Sorry, Professor, but I have no choice but to carry you back.

Next time: the semifinal Part 1 chapter.

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