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... Is when, out of over a hundred possible player characters, the coup de gras to your former-party-member-turned-betrayer is delivered jointly by (a) that character's lover and (b) best friend. Not because you planned it, but due to a complex series of turn-by-turn battle choices and game mechanics.

I am listening to the "you just won!" victory music and gaping at the screen.

So. It's almost the end of Suikoden V, and it's time for the big battle to liberate the Queendom of Sol-Falena from the usurpers. All that stands in your way is dear Aunt Sialeeds, who's trying to take out two noble families, or get her hands on a Rune because she's tired of playing second fiddle to her sister and nephew, or perhaps she's starting to go a little psycho because of the Rune's power, or maybe she just wants to destroy Raftfleet so she can kill her best frenemy Lucretia. (The correct answer: all of the above.)

(ETA: whoops, I forgot. She was trying to drive the prince's army off to protect them from a Godwin trap.)

I often make battle choices are often dictated by story rather than logistics. So I packed all the Queen's Knights into the party to recapture the Sun Palace.

In the Sialeeds showdown, I was experimenting with various Union spells and Coops combining the abiltiies of various party members. After a few rounds, the killing blow came from Kyle and Georg with their joint "Flash of Steel" Coop attack.

Ouch.

When the game started, Georg seemed to be Sialeed's unofficial bodyguard and often served as co-chaperone with her, watching over and guarding the younger party members, much in the same role that I see Auron and Lulu when I'm not messing about with AU. Old hands, both well-versed in cynicism. Their banter suggests a very comfortable friendship.

Except that Georg killed Sialeeds' sister to stop her from killing her own family in a Rune-induced frenzy, and that murder-- justified or not -- is eating him up inside.

So now I just made him do it again.

Plus, there are hints all through the game that Kyle was sleeping with Sialeeds -- even on the very night when she disappeared, and she apparently ran out on him during foreplay. ("We were just...never you mind.") Also, Kyle is missing her on the night before the big battle, if you sneak into Sialeeds' bedroom where he's keeping vigil.

So there's that.

Incidentally, on the night before the big battle, there's a ton of optional cutscenes if you take the time to wander around. The Dragon Cavalry will play a gorgeous multi-part flute tune if you go chat them up. The music keeps playing through all the other cutscenes until the next morning.

Okay. So. Sialeeds' swansong. It will be angstfest galore, but I just made it worse. I am mentally inserting some coolly ironic remark from her to Kyle and/or Georg.

*hits "proceed" button*

Post-battle comment: I understand why Sialeeds did what she did: she was trying to wipe out both warring noble factions, and keep Lym's and the prince's hands clean by doing the dirty work for them. However, I still don't understand why Gizel gave her free rein to do whatever the heck she felt like and even supplied her with the Twilight Rune. He had to know she was working against him...didn't he?


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