Music: Dark Caverns
Hah! Yer a fool for askin', and even more of a fool for comin' here alone!
That man looks familiar, doesn't he?
Is that you...
Music: On a Knife’s Edge
Wait... I know you.
I never thought I'd see you again, least of all here.
Likewise. I'd heard rumors of another tea leaf after the dragonstones. But I never thought it'd be you. I'm amazed you're still kickin'!
I see you've found yourself some new partners in crime.
So, how has life been without me?
Could that be why you're after the dragonstones?
Stealing used to be your only talent. It's the reason I kept you around for so long.
I guess you're right.
Leave 'im to us, boss!
As Darius and his underling leave, we have to fight the bandits.
They're an utter joke.
They even die like a joke.
Do you ever get tired of using people, Darius?
...Of course I do.
If I did what they wanted, they said they'd find a nice, high place for me in their midst.
I hate to break it to you, but this was bound to happen, mate.
You were blessed with such skill. I've never seen anyone as good as you. So when we met, I knew I needed you on me side. And you were so easily manipulated by cheap words! But then you started to doubt me, to question me...
But you just had to prove yourself better, didn't you? Telling me to do it this way or that way. Well, I've had enough!
...So you're going to kill me, and that's that.
Damn right! Without you around, I can do things me own way!
That's a bit drastic, don't you think...partner?
We're not equals! You're nothing but a stepping stool to me! You're worth less than the scum beneath me daisies, and I'll prove it!
Farewell, Therion! It was nice knowing you!
Music: Dark Caverns
Tch, this is no time to get sentimental. I'd better go after Darius.
Quite a lot to process there. At any rate, the two former partners have been reunited, albeit now as bitter enemies with the same goal of obtaining the dragonstones. Of course, Darius is still a bit of a sore spot for Therion considering his former partner did attempt to murder him and all...
...Hey, let's lighten things up a bit with some banter!
That's my name.
Is something the matter?
No. Nothing that concerns you, at least.
It's just that your expression is so uncharacteristically grim.
You seem awfully interested in the state of my face. Is it that fascinating?
...I'm sorry. I didn't mean to pry.
It's all right. But like I said, don't worry about it. After all, a frown suits you even less than it suits me.
W-well... In that case, I shall say no more.
Primrose may be the obvious flirt of the party, but Therion may well be her equal in his flirt game. Even when he's distracted by the man who betrayed him, he's able to throw Ophilia off.
As we chase down Darius, a worm bites into Olberic. Just another day.
We have to take the bottom path. It doesn't really matter any, as it's a short walk to the next cutscene.
Yes, sir. The exit's through here.
Lead the way.
Just follow me, sir.
So that man... Therion, was it--
You're curious about our history, I take it. Are you sure you want to know?
Gareth seems to have a bit of interest in Darius's personal life, not that it matters of course.
(But it'll make it all the easier to take that dragonstone from you.)
Anyway, we have a bit more walking to do, but first, one last banter.
...And why should I tell you that?
No particular reason. After all, it's not as if we are confederates.
Then let's get on with this.
Just remember you need not bear your burdens alone. There are people ready to lend you their strength. We may not be confederates, but we can help each other.
It's interesting viewing Therion's banters in the context of his story. His banters are a bit about him overcoming the betrayal of his former partner and learning to trust his new comrades. Of course, it doesn't work quite that well since the character stories and character banters are so separate from each other, but I like that they try to incorporates some of the characters' various story themes into these banters.
It looks like we've caught up. Time to confront Darius.
Video: Darius's Right-hand Man
Music: Creeping Dread
Tell me: why are you after the dragonstone?
Why does a tea leaf steal anything, Therion? I don't need a reason to want what I do.
...I should've known.
So cold and guarded... Distrusting and wary.
What does it matter?
Does my betrayal still haunt you?
Enough talk, Darius.
I recall you having wittier comebacks, mate.
It's in your hands, Gareth.
And so Darius leaves. What, you didn't think we'd resolve our issues with him in Chapter 3, did ya?
Music: For Freedom
Your fight is with me, not him.
Video: Boss - Gareth
Music: Decisive Battle II
Gareth appears with a couple of Master Thieves.
He gets two turns a round, of course.
The thieves can do standard physicals, but they also have a move called Smelling Salts which can heal Gareth from break status. So of course they must go down first.
At any rate, Gareth is a thief. He can boost his Evasion, and he can steal our SP and HP. Of course, the SP is meaningless to him, but it does damage our SP, and Steal Life is a pretty nasty way for him to prolong himself. Will o' Wisp is essentially multi-target Wildfire.
The adds are pretty pathetic and go away easily.
I decide to have Olberic use Incite and grab the single-target focus, since he's significantly beefier than my somewhat-fragile party.
Once the adds are gone, Gareth gets a third turn each round. Unlike most fights with adds, these fellas won't respawn.
Otherwise, Break and Boost!
Each time you break him, he'll protect against some of his weaknesses.
His HP is below-average, at least.
It gets hairy enough that I use soulstones!
And it's especially good I did! His big attack is Steal All, where he steals our items. By that I mean, we cannot use the Item command at all, including Concoct if we had Alfyn. That's...not great when Ophilia's my most fragile character against physical attacks and my backup healer is the Unbending Blade.
Staves and Wind, huh. I have no wind spells, but three staff users! Them and a Wind Soulstone could do the trick, but alas, I don't have time to...
LEGHOLD TRAP YEAAAH
Even if he stole our items, breaking him gives them back to us anyway, so it's kinda moot here. Still, happy to find a way to outmaneuver a thief.
After that, there's little left to do but finish him off.
Gareth's Helm is a really nice helmet. Solid in both defenses, and it boosts Critical a decent bit on top of that. Our best helm so far for the physical hitters.
Video: Tying Up Loose Ends
Of all the people, it had to be you, didn't it?
I hope you didn't run into too much trouble. What of the emerald stone?
Yet another thief?
But I don't intend to let it get far. I'll get it back for sure.
...And is that for our sake?
Of course not. It's to get this band off of me. And...to tie up some loose ends. It has nothing to do with you two.
Forgive me for asking, but...
Like I said, it has nothing to do with you two.
I thought them all so kind and caring, filling the empty space my parents left behind. Or so I thought... In the end, all they wanted was money. They didn't care about me...not at all.
I understand now why that look on your face haunted me so.
They're no small group, either, and are led by a man named Darius. They have dominion over the entire town, and rule it with an iron first. And it seems they are already in possession of the gold stone.
I will try to glean what information I can along the way.
Please be careful out there, Heathcote.
Of course. Please await my return, m'lady.
Is something the matter, Mr. Therion?
Music: Therion, the Thief
How can you still believe in other people?
Heathcote taught me something.
From the moment we met... Heathcote has never once betrayed me.
I won't pretend to know anything about your past, or by whom you were betrayed. But you believed in that person, didn't you?
You understand, don't you?
Please be careful.
Even as he takes the lonesome road to Northreach to resolve his issues with Darius and steal back the dragonstones, he's no longer alone thanks to the people who have faith in him.
At any rate, next time we'll do another pair of Side Stories before we tackle the Hot C himself when we take on Cyrus's Chapter 3. Then two more Side Stories and we'll finally be done with Chapter 3!