Now it's Steiner's turn to bust things up.
But first, it's time to correct something I've probably been getting wrong this whole time. The queen's name's an oddball one, so I suppose it makes at least a little sense that I've been spelling it wrong all the times I've used it thus far. Brahne is the more correct spelling, even if my spellchecker disagrees with me.
Anyway, on to the game. Vivi's plan is to use the teleporter pods on Brahne's airship, the Red Rose, to get the party back to Alexandria. It works, somehow, and Vivi, Zidane and Freya go beaming off to the castle.
At the same time, Steiner and Marcus are finally getting around to freeing themselves from their situation. It was just a matter of shifting their weight until the cage slammed into the ledge more or less at the same height as the cage. Once the cage gets wedged into the structure, the pair makes their escape. There is some effort from Beatrix's soldiers to stop them, but it's light, and the duo soon makes it to an exit.
Marcus says he's going to head for the Evil Forest to use the Supersoft on Blank. Conveniently, Zidane and his team materializes in the same place and tell the knight what's going on, as well as that they need his help to get her out. Steiner's as dense as always about this, but goes along with them anyway. For some reason, it's a timed event to get to Dagger, and it's a rather substantial time limit, all things considered. It's a half-hour time limit, which makes me think we're supposed to explore or something. Either that, or I was really lucky and managed to have only light resistance. The soldiers do pursue some, but they're easily avoided, and some even seem to give up their pursuit if the party gets too far away. This is another one of those situations where I was expecting random battles as well, but didn't get any.
The route to where Dagger's being held is a fairly straightforward and obvious one. At the end is the cathedral where Zorn and Thorn took Dagger's eidolons from her. It seems we're getting there not long after it happened, as the two jesters are still there, watching over their princess. We've kinda gotta beat on them for awhile to get through to her, which was no real problem since Zidane had his Trance meter all but filled, and using a few well-chosen limit breaks on them really took down comparatively quickly.
Once the scripted battle ends, the party finds that Dagger is in a coma as a result of what the red and blue guys did to her. Steiner goes overboard one more time and questions his right to even live, let alone be a royal knight, based on what just went down. The good news is that the others talk him into escaping, but before they do, there's a scene showing Marcus getting to the Evil Forest.
When the party gets back to the room where they first found the entrance to the path to the cathedral, there's some discussion of how both Zidane and Steiner are changing in their views of things as a result of what's going on. About that same time, it turns out that the Red Rose has gotten back to Alexandria as well. Beatrix shows up and knocks the party down to a single point of health each, after which Zidaine points out that they have the princess with them and Brahne wasn't just fucking around when she said she intended to kill her daughter.
Naturally, this changes everything for the general, who has a change of heart and uses some sort of spell to bring Dagger around. It doesn't seem to work the first couple times, and Zorn and Thorn, who had been watching all this for awhile, think it's a laugh riot until the third time really is the charm.
Finally, Her Yugeness puts in an appearance, telling Beatrix to throw Dagger and the others in the dungeon. Beatrix replies by pretty much telling Brahne to go fuck herself and joins forces with the party. She and Freya stay behind to buy the others time to escape with the princess. On their way out, Steiner finally decides that defending Alexandria and his princess doesn't mean always being with her, and goes back to help the ladies hold back the queen's forces. I guess the shock and trauma of the last hour or so and seeing all these other folks ballsing up had an effect on the guy.
There's a save point in the basement chamber where Dagger was being held, so I made use of that as a good breaking point for this issue. I also made use of my second save file, just in case I somehow managed to screw myself somehow here. I don't think I did, but it's possible. Finding out is something that will have to wait until next time, though, as I'm still in that unfortunate habit of doing all this way too late at night. So, until then, stay safe, keep gaming, have fun, and DFTBA!