Music: Stolen Dreams, Lost Light

Today is the beginning of the end of Primrose's tale. We've arrived at Everhold, where Primrose is finally ready to get the revenge she's waited so long for.

This music plays for the Chapter 4 towns where things are not right. Which is kind of weird for Everhold's case, as the NPCs here are fine and relatively least as far as Everhold's citizens can be. More on them on the town update, though.

I fear it won't be a happy ending for you, Simeon.

This first cutscene is short, but it's still a cutscene so that means it's an excuse for some banter!

What is, Professor?
I'm puzzled as to why there is a theater here, of all places. They took it upon themselves to refurbish an old castle. But I just can't fathom why. All that time and effort...

At this point, I don't think we should be surprised by anything they do.
If you say so. In any case, we are in enemy territory now. We must proceed with caution.

Everhold's a weird place in general. At first glance, it's another town high up on the peaks of the Highlands, one built around an old castle. However, for some inexplicable reason, the castle has been turned into a theater, so Everhold's a bit of a theater town, despite being on the ass-end of the continent in an area where travel is difficult.

It does get explained eventually, but it's stupid.

I'm fine. I can handle him.
If you say so. But that man's not just wicked--he's cunning, too. There's no telling what tricks he'll try to pull. Better be ready for anything.
Thanks for the advice. I'll watch out.

It just occurred to me...

Courage is all well and good, but so is vigilance. Don't let your guard down.
I don't intend to. I look forward to seeing what you can do as well.

There's a neat secondary theme hidden solely in the banters for this chapter, where Primrose slowly discovers the power of friendship. Considering the banters and even having allies is optional, this is a clever way to develop something like that considering Primrose is otherwise going solo for this chapter.

Anyway, someone suggested bringing Bookworm Girl on the journey she always wanted to go on. Well, we'll give her an adventure she'll never forget, no matter how much she wants to!

And so we make our way into the Amphitheatre...

Music: Creeping Dread

The curtain is about to rise. I trust you will enjoy the show--before you go on your way.

Needless to say, I also penned the production we're putting on today.

I did write it for you, Primrose.
...How touching. But I'm afraid I came for a different kind of show.
Have you, now...? To have made it this far alive--it would seem you, too, have fortune on your side.
Perhaps I do. But I think you will be feeling less fortunate when the night is over.

Such strong words...

You have my deepest respect, Primrose--truly, you do. It is not an easy road you have chosen, is it?
I have only walked the path I had to walk.
Oho, now... Is that so?

This chapter is one of the few that actually changes things up a bit from the usual chapter formula. First off, we'll be watching scenes of this play as we progress in the chapter.

We see a couple cradling a newborn child, with the father looking suspiciously like...

Music: Reminiscence

She has your look about her, my lord. And a cry as strong as your cry in battle.
This is good. She will need to be strong, indeed. For the future of our house will one day rest upon her shoulders.

We will raise her to be a fine lady--strong, kind, and just. One who will treat all she meets with respect and compassion.
We will.
When she is a woman grown, we will fashion for her the finest suit of armor.
And the finest gown as well. She must stand out in the ballroom as well as on the battlefield, after all.

Even in her smile she takes after you, my lord. Yes, she will be a strong woman one day...

The play seems to be recreating the birth of Primrose, in which we also catch our only glimpse of Primrose's mother. It's assumed she died shortly after Primrose was born, but the game never specifies.

Also, weirdly enough, while Dahlia only has the one sprite (which is why I'm using such a weird one), Dahlia's stunt double in the play has a whole sprite sheet of her standing and what-not, despite being even less relevant. Go figure!

(I cannot let myself be distracted by this...this mockery...)

Primrose, naturally, is not taking this whole "Having my life produced as a play penned by my father's murderer" thing too well. Simeon is certainly a special kind of twisted.

At any rate, this triggers some more banters.

Music: Stolen Dreams, Lost Light

Playing with someone's heart like that...
Well, I won't let him get away with it! You have my full support, Primrose!
I appreciate it. But listen, Tressa...

What? No, wait! I wasn't--!
After all, not only are you pretty, but you've got a personality to match. Why, if I were a man, I'd marry you in a heartbeat.
H-hey, I was being serious!

Even in her lowest moments, Primrose can't resist teasing Tressa. It's...a bit of a weird choice for this particular instance, but alright.

It's mine. In nearly every detail.
Just as I thought...

Whatever it is, it's awful. Taking someone's memories and putting them up on the stage for all to see.
It is. But he's a fool if he thinks I'm going to play by his script. He won't get his way.
Good. And I'm going to be right by your side to make sure of it.
Thank you, Ophilia.

Furthering the friendship theme, Primrose is at her lowest point, with her mortal foe and former love tormenting her soul for his own sick pleasure. That her allies and friends are standing by her through all this is huge, and it's their strength and Primrose's will that is keeping her going.

Which makes all this even more affecting if you imagine doing this as solo Primrose. With no one to rely on in that case, Primrose really must have the utmost faith in her convictions to keep on. That, or she can rely on the emotional support of Bookworm Girl.

At any rate, once we head further...

Music: Forbidding Corridors turns out this Amphitheatre is our dungeon for today. Indeed, we'll actually be getting chunks of story during the dungeon.

Of course, this also makes this one of the largest dungeons in the game.

Due to all the banters, I'm opting to retrace my early steps after I get my next one, which is when Therion will rob the place blind.

Other than the usual elemental sentinels, guardians, and curators, Obsidian agents also patrol the premises.

Speaking of which, turns out they also pop up in the Grandport Sewers in Tressa's final chapter! Which means Esmeralda had at least some connection to the Obsidians...

It's only a couple of screens until we reach our next story cutscene.

Music: Enveloped in Kindness

Why, however did you learn to dance so gracefully, my little lady?
I've been practicing! For you, Father.
...Is that so. And you have scraped your knees. Show me.

Primrose...forgive me.
For what, Father?

Do not worry for me, Father. I am strong. And I will do anything for the glory of House Azelhart!

You are a strong girl, Primrose. You do our family proud.

...a cause that will bring you happiness.

(Enough of this. I must keep moving.)

And so we continue with another banter.

Music: Stolen Dreams, Lost Light

You are as pale as a ghost. Are you sure you can continue?
Of course. ...Besides, I have no choice. My path leads only forward. I can look back at the past--but there's no returning to it. No matter how happy, how sweet a time it was... Onward I must press, and honor the words that my father left me.

That's right.
If you are so resolved, then I shall be honored to march with you. Know that I pledge my blade to your cause.

Primrose is being haunted by the past, but at the same time, what use does the past have for her in this moment? All she can do is move forward and tackle the task at hand.

At this point, I teleport out and restructure my team. H'aanit and Alfyn have banters, Therion has loot. Since I don't want to redo the dungeon a third time, this will be my boss team.

Music: Forbidding Corridors

The Unseen Saber is our new strongest blade, with a respectable Evasion boost and the ability to inflict Confusion. I'm happy to have it.

We also get a second Ethereal Dancer Garb, which is a welcome get.

Not as good as the Wizard Rod, but a decent second option with a really nice debuff.

Otherwise, we tackle a couple more rooms as the Bookworm Girl becomes more and more concerned with what she's gotten herself into...

Why did you have to die? Why did you leave me?

Music: Melancholy

I thought you might say something like that. You're making this delightfully easy.


No matter how dark the night, look to the stars, and carry hope in your heart.

It's hard to tell with the lighting, but these sprites have different coloring from their real-life counterparts.

My journey is nearly over.

We're near the end. Which also means it's time to finish up the banters.

Music: Forbidding Corridors

But, I--

Aye. I understande thy feelings. It is a shameful thing to mocken another's life for entertainment. Yet such a thing he dareth to doen. I wolde that he payen for his wickedness.

Did I sayen something funny?
How angry you're getting on my behalf... It's quite charming, really.
Why sholde I not? We aren comrades...nay, friends.

Considering Primrose has been alone for essentially her entire adult life, save perhaps Yusafa, Primrose must be feeling pretty touched to have all these people standing by her and supporting her. This may be one of my favorite chapters as far as banters go due just to that. It's a really clever thing, and I wish more of the chapters built sub-themes like that.

You all right, Primrose?
...Yes. Sorry.
Shucks, Primrose... You're always chargin' forward with a full head of steam. Not lookin' left or right, just starin' straight forward at the goal in front of you.
But sometimes, you gotta stop and take a break. Take a look around you.

There...I looked around. Now let's get going.

This might've been better in an earlier chapter, or at least not right before the final confrontation with Simeon. Still, it's probably good advice for someone like Primrose whose had a single-minded focus for so long. Just, maybe better to do so at a time other than the instant she's about to get her well-aged vengeance...

Next time, it's finally time for revenge.