Appendix B: The Boy's Got Wings (Regarding the Events Eight Years Ago)

Okay, so.











Why are you staring at me, Mio?! You're one of the ones telling this story!

Throwing you a curveball, is all.

So, I think we're all interested to hear how our captain and our... what's your job title again, Mio?

...Um.

What are our job titles?

Mio, you're a writer, correct?

Uh-huh?

Let's call you Unit 13's 'archivist', then. We can figure out the rest of us later, but it is important for someone to keep a log of any advancements we make.

Oh, great idea!

...After all, I've seen Murakumo's filing system, and the lack of a primary source for the methods we're using to tackle the dragons are worrying, to say the least.

That's a great observation, Koron. I'll bring it up with Natsume next time I see her.

BUT GIVE US THE DEETS ALREADY



So, I, um. I don't tell people... this. This part. Of how we met. Often.

But with, um, you know... everything that's happening, I, uh... if there was ever a time for people to believe it, it'd be now. Right? Right.

So! Um.

Eight years ago, on a chilly early spring evening, I, Mio Akaneno, soon to enter my second year of high school, flipped open a present from my mother Homura—a Nintendo 3DS! I, of course, was excited to play all the new releases that had begun to flood the system after a weak release—Kid Icarus Uprising (international title used here for Richter's sake,)

Thank you, Mio.

Fire Emblem Awakening, Kingdom Hearts 3D, and even an early copy of Etrian Odyssey 4 that my mother, a fan of the series alongside myself, had snuck from the bowels of Atlus.

Etrian what?

But as I opened up my 3DS, I was accosted by a brilliant, terrible light! I felt my body grow lighter, yet lighter, and after my vision had gone completely white—!

She, um, fell from the sky and landed on me.

Sorry about that, by the way.

That's the thirty-first time you've apologized for that.

AY YO HOL' THE FUCK UP



You're telling me that you got isekai'd into a fantasy world by getting sucked into your 3DS and that Chisa is your fantasy world girlfriend who got reincarnated in our modern world for the sake of doki-doki romance?!






That's. That's basically the sum of it, yes.

HOLY FUCK THAT OWNS

You mean you believe us?

To be frank, why wouldn't we?

It makes as much sense as the world being invaded by dragons that spawn poisonous flowers and turn buildings upside-down, really.

With all due respect, Chisa, why would I be surprised by this when I am capable of lighting objects on fire with my mind?





Oh! Um. That went better than I expected.

See? Told you.



So! Um, with that out of the way. The world I came from—well, I don't know if the planet itself had a name, I'd never heard it, but I lived on a supercontinent called Arcania. It was... well, it was a nice place, I think. Back then, I wasn't, well, a debutante socialite, I was a young farmhand from a simple country farm, but I wanted to do great things and make a name for myself.



And... well, in the center of the whole continent was a massive tree that stretched up well into the sky, called Yggdrasil. The city of Iorys, right at its base, was a hub for adventurers. Yggdrasil's innards were a massive labyrinth, stretching up well past where anyone had ever reached, and each of the races there had their own legends for what you could find at its peak. Me... I just wanted to prove I wasn't a kid anymore. That I was strong, that I could do things. I wanted to be cool. So I headed out from my home in the country, saying goodbye to my parents, and started the trek to Iorys.

And then, you know,

Mio fell from the sky and landed on me while I was journeying to Iorys. I still remember how much it hurt, haha.

Was it love at first sight





I have no idea.

Anyway, so, since she had nowhere to go, she and I decided to journey together, and along the way... well, we ran into a number of other people, and eventually wound up forming the Nameless Guild, as it was called. I forget who came up with the name.

How original.

To be fair, we were teenagers.

I have a portrait I drew of all of us. Admittedly some of it was from memory, but my memories from Iorys were very, very fresh when I first regained them here in Tokyo, so I was able to get them all very well. Here, I'll show you.

It really is great.



So-

Oh, that's you there, isn't it? I recognize your little hair swoop!

baby

captain baby

I-I... well, um, yes, that is me.

You had wings attached to your outfit. That's precious.

I can't believe our captain was a goony chuuni



Yeah, it was a pretty funny outfit.

I-I—I thought that—you know—

I just wanted to be cool...

You are cool, honey.

You've grown up quite a lot. I never imagined you for the androgynous bob cut type, given how feminine you are.

Well... um...

So, level with me. You're trans, huh?



Um... yes. Well. I think. Does it count if—?

Of course it counts don't be a dingo.



Um, yes. I was living as a boy named Raven Hillshead back then, when I met Mio. I... well, I was beginning to quake a little by the time I was reincarnated in Japan, so I'm pretty sure I am transgender, even if physically I'm—

no no don't worry i get it. reincarnation with the whole package, nyeheheh. That's the dream. I've dreamed about that.

One's relation to the physical body is always tiring and bothersome. Nobody could blame you for your situation, and your labels are your own.

Still, that must've been quite a surprise for both of you.

I was too happy she was there to begin with to worry about that too much.

I spent weeks fretting about it!

The duality of woman.



And that's Mio there, I recognize the guitar case!

Ah, yes. Otacon is my erstwhile companion.

You were much smaller then.

Yeah, the latter half of puberty hit me pretty hard. Mom says the same thing happened to her.

I remember one day when I was 19 and she was 18, I was walking around in a tank top with my hair down and I saw Chisa just totally frozen in the living room, staring at me, and I asked her what was wrong and she said,

"Oh... I-I, um, I just... y-you're very pretty, Mio..."

MIO OH MY GOD

that's gay

That's very cute.

I-it's not my fault that my girlfriend is beautiful! And that she has such soft, smooth skin, and such voluminous hair, and that she's so kind to me in ways I was deprived of during my childhood, and that she's so charming and good at writing and creative and—!

Nooooo aaaaaaa stop looking at me like that

How sickeningly sweet. You've got her hooked, Mio.

It's mutual, I'm just better at not keysmashing about it in public.



So, these two here, the woman with the pink hair and the boy with the blue hair next to her—those are Sasha and Dosen. They were a pair of mercantile partners who actually picked us up in their caravan as they were heading to Iorys for a business venture.

hobbit

Yeah, basically. Sasha was a really impressive merchant in her own right. She could merchandise with the speed of one of our Earthling megacorporations. Dosen was more of the demographics guy, and he was a curious little man—he looked at the world in a strange way that I don't think I ever really got a grasp on.

He loved his mom.

I always wished I'd gotten to meet Mrs. Dansby. She sounded very interesting.

Dosen was kind of... um...

Norman Bates-y, but in a charming, benevolent way instead of a serial killer way?

So he's an eccentric momma's boy.

Good at his job, though. And a surprisingly adept blacksmith...

Even if we all wish he wasn't!

Yes, um, what is that he's holding?

He called it the 'Cradle Edge'. It was, um...

So you know Bayonetta, Satsuki?

Oh, it's Czernobog! It's a scythe with three heads whose heads can operate independently and shoot off! Right?

Except it's constructed out of the paralyzed remains of an actual living being and also works as a grenade launcher because of that living being. That's constructed out of a living being's nervous system.

That thing was alive.

Fascinating.

That's a worrying look in your eyes.

I'm horrified on a level I didn't realize it was possible to experience fear.

A-anyway, um, so...



The woman with the glowing eye there—

In the schoolgirl outfit?

...Yes, that is odd, isn't it? Anyway, that's Princess Iseria of Queensland. She was a headstrong wildlife biologist from a country whose primary export was... well, political marriages from their many, many princesses. Iseria always wanted to be the queen of Queensland herself, instead of being married off. She was supposed to be Prince Alexis's—him, the brown-haired boy—betrothed after Alexis's first betrothed, Marina, died in the Labyrinth, but then Alexis ran off to the Labyrinth to avenge Marina and Iseria got offended on some deeply personal level and charged off to beat him up and prove she was better than him, or... something.

Iseria was kinda weird.

Lovely woman, really. I didn't quite understand her sometimes, though, like that time she found that wand with a fist on the end and decided she wasn't going to be a fencer anymore and instead was going to hit people with it... and it worked.

Very bunny-ears lawyer.

So, Iseria always wanted to conquer whoever she was married off to and then take them as her betrothed as the new queen of Queensland, even though she wasn't the eldest, but she and Alexis turned into bickering friends and totally forgot about the whole betrothal thing. Actually, Iseria wound up becoming really good friends with Sasha, and eventually they fell in love and Iseria decided to make Sasha royal treasurer of Queensland and take her as her bride.

They were a really cute couple! Sasha called her 'Cece'. Sasha had this fast-talking, street-wise manner of speech that went well with Iseria being all... royal-y.



Do you ever get the feeling sometimes that Iseria felt a little too invested in the development of our relationship, actually?

Oh definitely. No doubt. She shipped it.

May I ask a question?

Yes, Richter?

Is Queen Iseria as terrifying as she sounds?

Kind of, yes.

So you're telling me this nudist friend of yours was a prince, too?

WAIT THAT'S THE NUDIST?!

Oh. Um, yes. Alexis was very... um, he was very focused on being gentlemanly and an upright, solid warrior. And he was also, um, very fast. So at some point or another he decided he was going to go into combat in his underwear to move faster and be...

'Be one with nature', Chisa! Remember?

I try not to remember. Yes, he was very, um... chivalrous? Stupidly chivalrous.

Which is why he charged off into a labyrinth to avenge a betrothed he'd presumably never met.

Yeah. Uh-huh.

What an idiot. What sort of brain-rotting plague was going around his nation to make him think that was a solid plan?

I really have no idea. You'd have to ask him.



Okay but like enough about the rich people. Tell me about that slab of beef.

Oh, that's Cecil! He actually was a noble when he was younger, I think, but he got lost in a forest and had to fight to survive for a decade. He wound up developing a passion for music, and his dream was to construct a whole orchestra only out of recovered pieces of monsters. It really was astounding to see in full swing!

Cecil was a really nice guy. I was pretty scared sometimes while I was there, but he had this fatherly energy that made it hard to stay scared when he was comforting you.

He could be a bit scary sometimes when he was fighting monsters, but he really was like an... not a father, but more like an uncle, to me. If we'd all stayed in Arcania, I would've loved to introduce my parents to him. I think he and they would've gotten along great. He was strong, too—I mean, obviously, but he was really strong. He pulled out these insane wrestling holds sometimes that I don't even know how he managed.

Watching him was like watching Donkey Kong go ham on someone.

HERE HE COMES BANANA SLAMMA

Hoooooooooo-HAH!

Not to be rude, but I can't help but notice there's another shirtless man in this painting. Is he okay? Those are some nasty scars.

Oh! Right.

That's Lanzoni. He was a really popular model back in his homeland of Sidonia for his roguish good looks. He was also a necromancer—those coffins of his were for summoning ghosts to manipulate. He had three favorites he always liked to summon, who turned out to be monsters? That raised some questions. He was a bit of an eccentric, and definitely kind of an egotist, but...

Well... you know. I'm—I've never really been attracted to men, um, ever in my life. I mean, I've had plenty of time to be, and I can honestly—I mean, I'm a lesbian. I'm only attracted to women, as far as I know. So it's not like I'm attracted to Lanzoni. But, well, objectively I have to—I mean, objectively speaking he's a good-looking man, right?

Oh, definitely. The skin color is a little worrying, but I imagine that's a racial thing.

Certainly. That's a very attractive man. I don't know if his personality sounds like my type, but—well, you're right, he is a very good-looking man. I can see how he got his job.

Not my type but like yeah tbh. What's your type, Richter?

Hmm... I'm not sure. I haven't figured it out yet.

I'm sure we'll all support you in your exploration of your sexuality, Richter.

Thank you, Koron.

As for me, I can't say that I find any interest in the man's body, nor do I have the frame of reference to determine whether he's attractive or not, but by overwhelming majority vote I can only assume that this is an instance of an objectively attractive man.

unironically that is the gayest thing you've ever said.

Yeah, wow.

Don't read subtext into my words.



Speaking of Sidonians, there's the happy couple right there.

Ah, yup. There they are.

The elves?

'Celestrians', but yes. The flowy wizard man is Kaelin and the doctor next to him is Magda. The two of them were... oh lord.

What a show of confidence.

Well, you know... alright, so Kaelin was a self-aggrandizing intellectual warlock who constantly puffed himself up like he was the smartest person in the universe, and Magda was an aspiring medic whose remedies always seemed to be poison instead, so she wound up being a big help in combat for reasons other than she might've liked. She was always kind of angry, and, uh...

Oh no

Oh no they were both tsundere

They were both tsundere.

Always bickering with each other, then turning around and getting mad at the same exact things. And Kaelin always had—

The biggest stick up his ass.

Enough so that it posed a health risk.

Well, that sounds exhausting.

You have no idea. Tearing those two off of each other was impossible.

And that's why we all laughed at Kaelin when he said he got a girlfriend!

Oh yeah, that was hilarious. He came down the stairs all,

"Gentlemen! I... am no longer single!"

Pfffffft.

Koron kind of reminds me of him in some ways.



They were good people at heart, but boy were they... a lot. To deal with.



And these last two?

i wanna live in the bunnygirl world

That's The Amazing Jana, the best stage magician in all of Iorys. She was an accomplished swordswoman, I think I mentioned her once, who could wield four swords at once because of the sheer dexterity she'd developed through sleight of hand. She was a really strong performer, and had a real flair for showmanship.

Yeah, I always try to remember stuff I learned from her when I'm trying to impress people.

How she was licensed to hold that many swords, though, I have no idea.

Remember? She got licensed three times over.

Oh yeah! And this here is Gram.

That's actually her real name, by the way, it's not for 'Grandma'. And the wolf is Greg, and the hawk is Falz, they were her aides. Gram was a hunter, who worked with these two to fight and keep us alive. She was a real crack shot with a bow, and had kind of a competitive streak. What was that she said?

She said she wanted to kill the final boss because she wanted to tell her wife in the afterlife that she shot Death in the face and lived.

Yup, that's Gram for you. Had a real sense of humor, too, a bit of a cackler. She was rough around the edges, but she was a good person, too. And Greg and Falz were always really affectionate. They were a joy to have around, and I hope that wherever they are now that they're having a good time.

It looks like a very lively bunch, all in all.

Yeah... I have a lot of fond memories of all of them. We journeyed together for months, and the twelve of us did some really amazing things—

Right! So,



There was this ages-old war that occurred at the foot of Yggdrasil when a mad Celestrian named Crow stole a treasure called the Ring of the Undying from the Tower of Sorcery in Sidonia. He wanted to conquer the world with his undead armies, and his sister Swan fought him to the death to stop him. To prevent the powers in Yggdrasil from being misused, several of their top wizards cast a glamor on the foothills of the tree, causing statues to move—the Cradle Edge actually was made of the body of a giant Amalgolem, here, here's a picture—

B-

BUTT

That is a lot of butts.

I could never explain it. Most explorers couldn't even get past the first tier of the tree because of these golems, and when we fought past it and broke through, our guild really made a name for itself.



The two most expert explorers in Iorys were a Sidonian necromancer named Lili, and her bodyguard, a scythe-fighter named Solor. I looked up to them a lot—Lili was kind to everyone she met, and Solor was so tough, and strong, and...

Well okay, basically I wished I could be Solor.

that's a mood right there

Anyway, it turned out that Crow, the would-be conqueror, had remained alive as an undead monstrosity even higher up the tree, in a sort of... in a sort of, uh, necropolis, a very dead place full of bones and skeletons and whatnot. Lili was the last descendant of Swan, and she'd come to take back the treasure that he'd stolen so long ago and put him to sleep forever.



So we fought a giant zombie king.

Yeah, we wound up getting wrapped up in it, because Crow was so powerful that nobody had ever managed to get past his domain on the tree.

And, um, it was really scary! There were a LOT of skeletons. And zombies. And ghosts. And a very large lich with a very loud laugh.

That does sound unpleasant.

It was a mighty battle. I, uh, actually managed to poison him! Somehow!

And then Mio started squealing on me, and hugging me, and—



So what happened next?

THANK YOU okay so

Then we were into completely uncharted territory, a forest absolutely full of crystals. The crystals could warp us about, and it was very convoluted. And...



...Actually... come to think of it, that was actually where we fought a dragon, before. The Crystal Dragon. I wonder if that forest was like the distortion field produced by the Imperial Dragons? It's not like we had any idea what it was like before the dragon appeared...

I don't think we saw any Bloom, but... I donno, maybe it was in a different form.

So you come from a world with your own dragons? ...Fascinating.



As we climbed ever further, we met a mysterious girl in a cloak, who kept appearing before us, wondering if we had the power to reach the top of the tree. The upper reaches of Yggdrasil, a forest with creatures unlike anything we'd ever seen, reached so far into the sky that we were right next to the stars—it was closer than I'd ever imagined I could come to the reaches of space.

Yeah... it was really incredible. People could hardly believe it when we told them what we saw. I think some of them barely even understood it.

The girl's name was Archon. She was a member of a spacefaring race who traveled between planets and attempted to nurture the beginnings of life, as I understood it. She herself had come to my planet and overseen the world as it began, until the world could handle itself—but what she found instead was this beast, here.



now that's a final boss!

What she found when she came was a desolate land, devoid of any life, ruled over by this being—the 'Tyrant'. The whole earth quaked when it walked, and the area around it was poisoned, warped, and pitch-black, wrapped in a sickly miasma that came from its very body. Archon had created the garden we'd found at the top of Yggdrasil to imprison it, and give life a chance to flourish, then spread the myths of Yggdrasil to eventually find people strong enough to conquer it and ensure the world's future.

And, um.



Well, I killed it.

I'd never been prouder of her! She stole that monster of a weapon that Dosen had, and she kept wailing and wailing on it until it fell down. We were already together by that point, but if we hadn't been then I definitely would've been in love with her by that point.

MIO

(...This woman truly is terrifying.)

So! Yes! I killed it.

Nice job! It looks scary.

Oh my god it was so scary. I thought I was going to die every second I was in that room of its because I was just gonna afraid myself to death.

It's very assuring to have such a capable woman as our captain.

...It's not the same. It's... a lot scarier, this time.



Anyway, then we went to space and fought Cthulhu.

Uh-huh, uh-huh, I see.

YOU WHAT

Yeah, um, Archon needed help to get to another planet because nobody had come to pick her up, so we had to help her get to space by defeating a star-devouring alien monster and it was very scary. I didn't draw it because it was scary. And then Alexis, Gram, Dosen, Kaelin, Magda, and Cecil went with Archon to go oversee another planet's life, and...



And then my 3DS started glowing, and there was this "NEW GAME" button on it, and we hit it, and...

...then I woke up here in Japan, as... a new person entirely, with two people's memories in my head. And Mio and I met each other again.



...

You know, I've never actually told this to anyone before, since Mio already knew. I only just now realized how scattershot that story sounds when I tell it from a wider perspective like that.

Yeah, you kinda just bounced between plot points there.

Well, sometimes life is like that!

Huh. Okay. So. There was that. That's how Mio and I met.

How nice! I'm very glad the two of you were able to reunite when you came back.

Yeah, you and me both.

but okay that told me NOTHING about what two getting together was like. how stupid were your love confessions. how doki-doki

Wawawaawawawawawawah?! T-that's secret! No way!

Haha! Maybe we'll keep that a secret for now, Satsuki.

Noooooooooooo

--------------------

That night, I wandered in front of City Hall, because I couldn't sleep when I normally did. Plenty of people were still awake, and I passed Unit 4 in the lobby, but nobody came up and talked to me. I sat down next to a flower bush and looked up at the stars, which now, were so much brighter in the sky because of the lack of lights from the city.

(...but... I've always wondered. That cloaked man I met, both on Arcania and in Japan... who was he? And what did he want?)

(Why is this... happening to me?)

You're pondering on existential matters, I see.

Oh, Koron.

You don't need to force a smile, Chisa. It seems perfectly obvious something is bothering you.

...

There's something that doesn't sit right with you about the whole endeavor. In a way, you wonder if that whole incident in that tree of yours wasn't some form of preamble to all of this. You want to know why this has happened to you.

At first, you were satisfied to take it as a sheer stroke of unbelievable chance—a miracle—that you came to Tokyo with Mio. But now, you wonder if it was some form of providence—or worse, someone's intent.

Reflection you haven't allowed yourself to have about the incident makes you notice those similarities, the strange commonalities you can find between then and now. Unanswered questions rise again to the forefront of your mind.

You're—um, you're surprisingly perceptive.

I try.

...There's no meaning to pondering on that as it stands now. I imagine my viewpoint on the matter would not be popular, but nevertheless I feel as though I must give it.

You are Chisa Inomiko, Captain of Unit 13. You are fighting for the world you love, and for the woman you love. While you may wish to ponder the existential aspects of this reincarnation of yours, you should not allow it to get in your way. Don't allow yourself to be dragged down by a world that is fiction, and ignore the reality in front of you.

I suppose you could say... that I would implore you never to forget your feelings for the sake of his.

...You have trouble smiling properly, don't you?

It's been a long time since I have. Forgive me for being out of practice.

Mm.





Koron?

Mm?

...I'm... scared. I'm... so scared.

...Mm. Maybe this feeling in the bottom of my stomach is fear, too. I'm out of practice with that, as well.

Until we went back in, we sat there together, looking up at the stars. I wondered to myself if my old friends were anywhere there... and if they'd even recognize me anymore.

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