Before Path of Radiance’s final chapter, I made a point to use up the extra bonus experience I had on Elincia in order to bring her close enough to level 20 that she could reach the level cap during the final stage. This chapter is the reason I did that. Don’t get me wrong—there’s nothing particularly hard about the enemies here, but we’re going to be babysitting a bunch of uncontrollable green allied units who are terrible beyond description at Fire Emblem. Including, of course, Geoffrey’s comically outmatched squad of idiots. Elincia will sit around and wait to be attacked by enemies during this stage, and Geoffrey’s idiots quickly surround her and go on the offensive. They have an uncanny penchant for making stupid decisions likely to result in their deaths, though, and since I’ve never been entirely clear on if them falling during this map results in them not being usable anymore, this chapter always becomes a rush to clear the map as quickly as possible to save these characters from themselves. But hey, at least this time I don’t have to worry about Elincia.
Seemingly acquiescing to Zelgius’ terms from the end of the last chapter, Elincia recalls all of her knights back to the capital and allows Begnion to move through Crimea unchallenged. Begnion then takes over some strongholds near the Gallia-Crimea border to prepare for their upcoming attack. The Laguz Alliance makes it back to Gallia, but find themselves on the defensive with the news that Begnion is already on their way. That they’re coming by way of ally Crimea makes it worse.
Begnion’s army was split into two (I think this actually refers to when Valtome ordered the Central Army’s northern forces to enter Kauku Caves), with one group coming through Crimea, so it appears to the Laguz Alliance that they’re trying to flank Gallia. Skrimir is outraged that their ally Crimea hasn’t stopped Begnion, but Simba (who literally gets called “Lion King” at the end of this conversation) calms him down, telling him that he trusts her judgment and that the decision was likely made for the sake of her people. Just a quick reminder: while I’ve been calling him Simba since Path of Radiance, his actual name is and has always been Caineghis.
Both Nailah and Skrimir are surprised that the king has so much trust in Elincia, and Rafiel expresses his doubts, but Reyson tells him that both he and Leanne count her as a friend and that she can be trusted. Ike backs that up, as well.
Tibarn and Soren want to engage the forces moving through Crimea while they’re split up, and Simba decides that Tibarn’s forces will protect the border from the other half of Begnion’s army while Tibarn, Skrimir, Ranulf, and Ike’s group strike in Crimea.
In the first base conversation, Giffca gives Skrimir a Satori Sign, and then he turns around and gives it to Ranulf. That’s heartwarming and all, but it’s not immediately obvious what this thing actually does. Non-laguz units obtain a special attack unique to their class automatically when they class change to their third-tier (for example, Mia received the Astra skill when she hit her class change during a stage), but laguz units don’t have class changes. Instead, they receive a special attack when a Satori Sign is used on them once they’re over level 30. I don’t remember using these much (something about them using up a ton of the allowed skill points, making it impossible to use other skills that are arguably more useful), but I’ll have to wait until Volug has leveled up enough to figure out how to best use this thing.
Soren receives some bonus experience to bump him up to level 20 since he currently only has 4 stats that can be raised. The idea is for both him and Titania to fight enough in the upcoming stage that they hit their class changes.
In Crimea, the Begnion army led by Valtome and Zelgius faces off against the Gallia army led by Tibarn and Skrimir. That’s when Elincia and her knights show up on a nearby hill. Both sides initially assume that she’s come to fight with the Begnion army, but the queen comes down alone to address both armies.
Instead of siding with anyone, she demands that both armies immediately leave Crimea. Both Valtome and Tibarn reject her demand, however, which leads her to set her sword on the ground and stand between the two armies.
Skrimir refuses to attack an unarmed opponent, and Tibarn respects the toughness (and craziness) of her actions. Tibarn flies up to Elincia and tells her that this doesn’t mean the end of the war, but the Laguz Alliance forces retreat back to Gallia.
Zelgius, too, respects the courageousness of her actions and orders his men to retreat. Valtome protests, but Zelgius and his forces leave anyway.
The senator, however, isn’t about to be denied, so he orders his own soldiers to kill Elincia and everyone else remaining. Ike’s group (which remained behind to speak to Elincia) decides to help protect her, and Geoffrey’s band of idiots also rush in.
Soren didn’t hit his class change. I really should have just given him a Master Crown. Titania, on the other hand, did hit her class change, so she now has the Sol skill that sometimes activates and allows her attack to restore her health. As for the stage itself, the goal is to move Nephenee and Boyd up to protect the suicidal Crimean soldiers as quickly as possible. Reyson refreshing Boyd helps. Basically, the more soldiers who can be lured to those two instead of someone like Astrid (who has no sense of self-preservation whatsoever), the better. The trouble with this is that the group will move to the right to engage the enemies there once the nearby enemies are taken care of, so the whole thing is a giant balancing act.
There are also a number of enemies at the bottom of the screen, and that’s where everyone else goes (including Soren—he’s still not durable enough to run into danger with Nephenee). Ike, Mia, Titania, and Haar are all incredibly helpful here, though once you get to the right side of the trees there’s an enemy with a Wyrmslayer sword that’ll do bonus damage against Haar. There’s also an enemy with a Short Spear that I failed to notice, and he damaged Mist. The numerous healers are another unexpected danger, as they also wield light magic (which Haar is pretty weak against at the moment), including one with long-range light magic. I really wanted to have Heather steal it, but it eventually became more trouble than it was worth. Anyway, there are a small handful of reinforcements that come in from the bottom, but they shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Once they and the others are taken care of, all that’s left is to loop the stronger units back around to meet back up with Nephenee and Boyd and help clean up the rest of the enemies.
Ike tells Geoffrey that he’s really loosening up, allowing Elincia to do something so crazy. He responds by telling Ike that he can’t say no to her. That’s what happens when you start thinking with your Brave Lance instead of your head.
Toward the end of the stage, Valtome fled and blamed Zelgius for not coming to his aid. Back at the Begnion army’s camp, he decides to execute Zelgius as punishment. Levail protests, but Valtome says that senators can punish prisoners however they see fit, and then explains that he’ll tell the people that he fell heroically in battle to keep Begnion’s people from troubling themselves “with details that they couldn’t possibly understand.” Levail responds with horror that he’d cover up the truth, and asks him if he really thinks the apostle will be fooled by his lies, to which he responds that he doubts the apostle “will ever get to hear them.”
He’s stopped, however, by the apostle and her pegasus knights (which means that Sigrun and Tanith are also there). It’s not explicitly stated, but the implication is that Sigrun rescued Apostle Sanaki after giving Zelgius his orders from the senate and helped her to escape the country with the forces loyal to her.
Sanaki addresses the assembled soldiers and tells them that she never wanted this war, and that it was started by the senate (and especially Lekain). She also tells them that the senate wants her dead so that they can rule Begnion by themselves.
Valtome tries to defend himself by claiming that Sanaki isn’t “the true apostle” and that they’re using a fake apostle to disable the senate and take over Begnion, but when he claims that the “vile Sephiran is their leader,” Zelgius grabs him by the throat and tells him that he’s one syllable away from having his neck snapped. Interestingly, Zelgius refers to Sephiran as his master. That’s definitely something worth keeping in the back of your mind for later. For now, however, Zelgius and the present Begnion forces are glad to see the apostle alive and well, and everyone’s goals seem to finally be aligned against the Begnion senators.