That last chapter was a cakewalk. This one, on the other hand, is legitimately dangerous. Not only are Lethe and her younger sister yellow allied units who I always forget to direct out of harm’s way, but there’s a turn limit, some more fog of war, a guy with a longbow who can hit (and very possibly kill) your healing units if you put them in a certain spot early on, and just enough reinforcements to make things slightly uncomfortable for everyone. I really, really like this stage.
I don’t think I mentioned it, but the last chapter’s target was a place called Flaguerre. For this chapter, the Laguz Alliance is targeting a place called Mugill. Both are incredibly important to Begnion’s defense, so taking them doesn’t just put us in a good position, but also sends a message that we’re not to be denied.
Mugill is a fortress, and the survivors from Flaguerre have warned them that the Laguz Alliance is coming. That means that the gates are already closed and a direct assault is futile. Skrimir can’t wrap his head around the idea that an enemy wouldn’t march out to fight fairly, and eventually storms out, demanding that everyone else comes up with a plan that involves him making use of his strength.
Ranulf explains that most laguz are “arrogant and stubborn” like Skrimir, and when Ike asks him why Simba isn’t leading the army, he tells him that the beast tribe’s lack of mobility compared to the bird tribes means that any time he leaves, it’ll be for a significant amount of time. Since he can’t be away from his people for that long, he has to stay. That’s probably why Giffca was usable at the end of Path of Radiance rather than Simba himself. Speaking of Giffca, Ike asks why he’s not leading the army, and Ranulf says that he has other stuff to do. Not very convincing.
Soren deduces that the real reason Skrimir is here instead of Giffca or anyone else is that he’s expected to be the next king of Gallia, and this war will give him the chance to learn about strategy hands-on, something most laguz don’t have a real grasp on. A handy skill for a future king to have to ensure his country’s safety.
The base conversations here are more fluff like in the last chapter, though it’s interesting seeing the interactions between characters. Here, Mist is helping sew clothes (apparently Oscar does that usually, but he’s been busy and Mist has been helping) since Boyd has grown in the three years since Path of Radiance. Also, Rolf and Boyd argue about whether skill or power are more important, and Mist tells them that they’re both idiots because you need both. Which is obvious; without skill your blows aren’t likely to land, but without power those that do aren’t going to matter.
Gatrie is an unrepentant skirt-chaser, and he brings Shinon along to show him the latest object of his affections. Shinon uses the term sub-human because he’s still an awful person after all these years, and this gets him in a fight with Lethe’s sister Lyre. She complains to a laguz officer named Kyza, but he defuses the situation to avoid causing problems between the army’s beorc and laguz. Shinon is insufferable as always, asking for an apology to rub it in and drive her crazy. Anyway, she storms off without apologizing and it turns out that Lyre is the one Gatrie is obsessed with.
The third and final base conversation here is between eventual murdergods Mia and Ike. Basically, she’s obsessed with challenging him because she’s hyper-competitive and Ike is one of the few who doesn’t go easy on her (the support conversations she has with Largo in Path of Radiance involve him not wanting to fight her because she’s a woman—I’ve only ever unlocked a C-level support between them, but apparently she goes on to explain that she trains so hard because she’s “been told too many times that a sword doesn’t belong in the hands of a woman”).
Since the gates are closed and a direct assault therefore wouldn’t work, Soren comes up with a new plan. Mist, Lethe, and Lyre enter the fortress while hooded and trick the watchmen into thinking that they’ve been sent to hand out food.
Obviously the food is drugged and causes them to all fall asleep, but in their defense, there were walls blocking enemies from coming in. These people don’t have experience with the laguz’s physical prowess (I assume Lethe and Lyre leaped inside with Mist in tow or something along those lines, though the specifics aren’t addressed), so something like this isn’t a possibility they’d know to plan for.
This guy with an awful haircut tells his men that reinforcements are on their way, which is probably why the mission has a turn limit. The goal here is to kill everyone within 12 turns, and doing so automatically opens the gates so that Skrimir and the rest of the Laguz Alliance can finish the job. Or maybe the turn limit comes from Skrimir’s impatience? Whatever the case, we can’t afford much dawdling.
Everyone starts in the bottom-left corner, and there are enemies who immediately come from the bottom-right, the top-left, and the middle-right. There’s a wall with columns separating the bottom-left and top-left, and this doesn’t block indirect attacks, so longbow guy will attack from there. Boyd and Titania have ranged weapons and can take a hit, so they move up to draw attacks while other characters form a wall to protect characters like Mist, Rhys, and Rolf. All of whom have offensive capabilities in this game, but probably shouldn’t be relied on.
The longbow guy is the most frustrating part, because he’ll often attack from far enough away that you can’t hit him with a ranged attack. You have to lure him next to the column wall to kill him, because until that point, moving a healer up two squares from the wall to heal Boyd puts them in his range. As for Ike and Mia, there are a ton of armored enemies coming from the bottom-right, and they wall off their advance. This also serves to put them side-by-side while they fight to ensure that they’ll have a great chance of supporting in the next chapter.
Once everyone’s weathered the initial onslaught and taken care of those enemies, the groups move forward; Boyd and Gatrie defeat enemies near the column wall and try to move up, and the Ike/Mia team move along the bottom and circle back up and around to take care of a few remaining enemies. There was an enemy I didn’t remember who was hidden in the top-right, and Rolf ended up running into him and ending his turn, but Oscar got a lucky critical hit to finish him off. Rolf would have probably survived, but it was still pretty dumb to so carelessly explore the shadows.
The gates open and Skrimir rushes in with his allies, which is a relief for Ranulf.
Some old friends show up along with our old convoy, and it turns out that Ike called them to help out. That means that we don’t only have Ike and Mia and Soren on our side, but also Nephenee. And we can now buy items and forge insane new swords. It’s a little exciting until you remember that we’ll have to fight this army as Micaiah.