...or, you know, three stages left. I keep staring at the "28" on the save file that came with the cart. But you can't save after you beat Stage 29, natch...
But we are in the Empire! Specifically the City of Xanadu.
A big map, and a tricky one. (And one I forgot to snap at the outset- sorry!) We're actually in the Highlands now, the heart of the Zeteginean Empire. These aren't the subjugated vassal-states we've been liberating up to now, these are loyal Imperial subjects. So every time we liberate a town our Rep will drop like a stone. So here's what we're going to do: We're going to station a Lich at the base to preserve FLAIL's Alignment, and send fliers out to collect treasure and take the shop town and the town nearest the enemy base. Then Rauny goes in and mops up, because the boss, General Hikash is... kinda her dad. So I'm gonna "let" her fight him, generous sort that I am. But hey, this might be short.
Kamui's got the shop town, and we Boot Lanselot over and pray he's strong enough to hold it these days. Not at all sure, but he'll give them a good fight. Kamui speeds onwards to the northeast to pick up more treasures while Canopus keeps collecting the piles of it in the mountain range to the south.
And as night falls we encounter our first enemies. A Freija with Gryphons. No worries there- a lucky Cockatrice could petrify Warren, but he has nothing to fear from this lot.