Part 102: Endings and Beginnings

Listen to me, human beings.

And to entrance VFD such that she takes your guise with pride—I desire to know how this transpired.

You weren't listening to Orochi earlier, so why would you listen now?

You're not the kind of guy who loses often, huh?

Khahahaha! Chattel speaking with such airs? Perhaps if VFD is correct about you, it shall justify the journey I have made to claim you.

You True Dragons are such broken records. No offense, Orochi.

No, I can see where you're coming from.

We're at the boundary of his throne.

loot to the side there

What the hell is that?

Fomalhaut's personal guard species, by the look of things.

Surprise! Five Dragons from the end of the counter, we've got one last new variety—the Massive Dragon. As you can see, these guys are a third tier to the Destroyer and Criminal Dragons, and they are nasty. With a whopping 9437 HP, huge offensive presence typical of the line, and nasty attacks with some rough status riders, they're our final challenge to prove we can tango with the big man.

Enacting Heavenjack!

Oh no! They're learning!

Super Headbutt deals solid damage and can also inflict Stop for 2 turns. Stop is bad.

I would request that you stop for a moment yourself.

Tch. This one's tough.

Okay, I'm alright.

I've just got to keep swinging until it stops moving.

A biokinetic feedback loop?!


Chaos Eye is only single-target, but Curse on a damage dealer still isn't exactly nice.

It's heating up! IT'S ON FIRE!

Youka, please hang back for a moment!


It's the lariat!!!


Super Burning Lariat can't miss, hits 5 times randomly, and can inflict a Burn that chunks damage to 80%. Ouch!

Haha, this one's no joke, huh?

I think I need some help here!



Alright, all of you get up.

I'm preparing Ignite Mode!

Okay, good, I'll need that.


Thanks, Richter!

Of course.

It's almost down!


There you go, buddy.

Oh, come on.

1! 2! 3!

Down for the count!

You okay over there, Orochi?

I still have no idea how you can take things like that. You're something else, Youka.

I try.

Unsurprisingly, on the other side, there's a similar setup. You aren't making it to the end without dealing with a solo Massive Dragon.

thanks, but i've got guns already.

Those are nice. Where'd you get them?

They're a gift from Reimi.

Second-best guns.

Anyway, the second Massive Dragon goes down cleaner and quicker than the first.

One more of those, and two blind Dragons. Past here is Fomalhaut. I can feel him.

Aww, our last small fry? Now you've got me feeling all wistful. Think of all the good times we've had!

We've had a lot of good times, but it'll also be nice when we're done.

Let's not write them off too easily. These varieties are quite powerful.

They couldn't take us down in a million years!

Oh, I can't wait to see the look on Fomalhaut's face.

Three left! Much like in the first game, our final setup is one sturdy dragon and two flying dragons, but here, the offensvive is significantly stronger. It's possible to lure the Blind Dragons away with random encounters, but I'm cool, and sicknasty.

Keep it off of me. I'm ready to swing.

You got it!

One of the blindfold guys is getting ready to hop in!

This ought to help.

There you go, Youka. Have fun!

Alright, alright, if you insist.


THe second one's approaching!


Scatter like petals on the breeze!

One down! Two to go!

Youka's been halted!

I'll handle this!

Oh come on, it's still standing?

Here comes the third one!

Okay, I'm good again.

Let's ensure this remains online.

Fall to Earth, burning as a shooting star!

Aaaand that's two! One more, baby!

Ugh! It doesn't seem very deterred by the loss of its comrades, at least.

a valuable trait, but we're a team, so this isn't really fair.

I'm flagging again.

Oh, shit, Richter's asleep. Wake up!

Ow! Ow ow ow! Sorry, what?

Should be aiming for me, buster!


My chugging skills are second to none!

...What's that look for? You want to see me chug a bottle of water? I've got one right here.

C'mon, c'mon! You can hit harder than that!

It's tightening its muscles!

What's wrong? Afraid?

We'll likely have to survive a bit longer...


Aww, let's let him rest. He's been working hard.

Sorry, sorry! I'm up!

Doomed from the outset,/any move you take from here/will surely kill you. Mate in 16!


And that's game, everyone! The winners are, by unanimous decision, Unit 13!

Why is that one 'Mate in 16', anyhow?

Well, its 'proper' name is Jyu-roku-tezume, but I just thought Mate in 16 sounded cooler to say, honestly.

That's fair.

Ah, I can get a relay point working here.

Connection's been established!

Everyone... good job!

We've stopped seeing much Dragon activity on the ground outside the Skytower.

Let's go, everyone.

Unit 13! Fomalhaut is dead ahead, but I don't think you needed me to tell you that.

With the True Dragonslayer in hand, this is it, isn't it? This is really our last battle.

Everoyne, please, show us the strength of your 'will'.

Will you quit trying to act cool? Sheesh. You're such a dork.


I believe in you, everyone. We believe in you. You won't lose, not with so much at stake.

What, did you write down a speech for this?

But I mean, this is a historic event! Cut me some slack!

You just wanna impress Richter. Down bad.

Down bad...

Where did you learn to talk like that?! Which one of you taught them to talk like that?!

Orochi. The sword you're holding...

I know. I can't prove it works properly if it won't be the killing blow.

Mm-mm. I meant to say... that sword is you, but it's also me. It's the Lucier, and humanity, too.

Everyone's wills are in that sword. Everyone is with you!

You guys are all so sweet. Here I'm trying to hype myself up and now I just wanna come back and squish all your cheeks!

Wait, even mine?

Yes, of course. You're adorable.

A sword with the wills of all this planet's people...

There was a time when this planet developed countermeasures to fight me off, seeing me as an invader. Once I slay Fomalhaut, do you think it will accept me?

What are you talking about.

As a representative of the planet's countermeasures, my opinion is more important than an oblate spheroid made of rocks and water, so—

What the hell's an 'oblate spheroid'?

Essentially, a shape obtained by distorting a sphere while maintaining two equal semi-diameters and circular symmetry. The effects of gravity and rotation mean that Earth itself is not perfectly spherical, but is actually flattened in the direction of its rotational axis. It is, in other words, flatter than a sphere. 'Oblate' means that it's flattened along its minor axis, like a lentil, whereas a 'prolate' spheroid is flattened along its major axis, elongated like, say, a rugby ball.

Huh. I did not know that.

Yes, well, anyway, I'm glad you're here.

Thanks, Koron.

So am I!

Oh yeah, of course we're all happy you're here.

Everyone is with you, Unit 13! So let's get out there and win this!

By now, we'd left the space debris and entered onto Fomalhaut's throne—a trail of pure compacted space dust. The stars glittered and shone all around us, and the Earth was fully in view from this height.

The sun shone in the distance, visible past the beam of light that pinned together this dragon's domain.

Fomalhaut had no need for stairs, but a flair for the dramatic was well within his character.

Trails of the golden informational energy of the beam—a similar set of fated threads to Niara's domain—scattered into the distance and into the vacuum of space.

And at long last...

The 5th True Dragon stood before us.


Skillfully done, for a pack of vermin to come this far. To butcher ten great Dragons and tread on my very demesne—excellent, excellent, verily.

Do you truly believe you can pierce my essence, VFD? Wipe me from this reality, render me a null value in Grateful Seventh? What arrogance you possess, to mock me so as to face me in the guise of a mortal. Khahaha! What a feast of rot you shall make! A world so deluded as to accept a Dragon as one of its own children—this is what I have been waiting all these eons for!

I don't think you understand the situation you're in, Fomalhaut.

...Again, there is that curious 'other' within you. What a strange scent it is you possess. And yet unlike the woman of Hypnos, the 'other' within you only makes you a greater prize.

Hey, asshole. We're here too.


In a way, I pity you. You can't understand why it is you're about to die. You couldn't understand it if you tried. You've always been alone, and you'll always be alone.

Fomalhaut. To you, evolution is despair—to destroy the lives of others and feed on them. You're wrong. You're an agent of an evolution that cannot succeed.

Is that right.

Evolution is to coexist, to cooperate with others. That's what I'm fighting for—and I'll prove it, right here, right now.

Ahem. With that said.

Sound off, team!

As a representative of the Lucier and of street rats everywhere, I can't abide the use of pesticides, and you're under ordinance!

I might not be getting the killing blow this time, but I've torn one True Dragon apart and I'll do it again!

As mankind advances into the future, the world of the divine will fall by the wayside—it's time for you to see the fruits of our labor!

The powers I was given are good for quite a lot—but chief among them, here and now, the meaning of my life will be burning you to cinders!

Prepare yourself to witness the moment you're surpassed—the darkness within my soul shall devour your very existence!

With this blade of everyone's wills in my hand, I'll carve a path to a future where devils like you are no longer necessary!

We are the Dragon-Elimination Strike Team, Murakumo Unit 13!

We struck a pose together, and Sumie lit off an explosion behind us for effect.


Okay, what was that? When did you practice a dynamic intro? When did you even have time?

The power of friendship goes a long way.

I'm never doing that again. That's all you get.


did you like it foamyhut

'Foamyhut'? That's a cute name.

Enough of this. I will not be party to such buffoonery any longer!

We'll take the front line for now! Sumie, Youka!

Oh boy!

Let's rumble!

Come at me however you like. I will devour you all the same!

Hey, that's Niara's battle theme. Put that down, Fomalhaut, you've got your own, c'mon.

Being the final boss of our adventure, Fomalhaut naturally has two phases. We'll be handling his first phase with the same party that defeated Niara (mostly (SATSUKI isn't here but don't worry about that part)). With only 9437 HP, Fomalhaut's first phase isn't too sturdy, but his defenses are high and he's got overall high resistances to status ailments. No immunities, but he's nearly immune to Curse. He's also got a pretty large moveset.

You'll have to strike us fairly hard for that.

Hm. You are sturdier than last time.

Be silent, manipulator. I have no need for your bothersome artifice.

My Gauntlet's malfunctioning!

Wings of Rending deals 2 random hits and has a coinflip to inflict Skill Seal.

You stand back, Richter. I've got this!

Blam, b-b-b-blam blam!

Think you I would fall so easily the way Niara did?

Nah, but if I shoot you enough you'll definitely fall down.

Rush Shot is up to its max level, so this is a total of 8 hits. No crits on this roll, though. Bummer.

Here, lemme see...

Okay, just needed to tap at it a bit more.

Thank you.

Did I not say I had no need for your bothersome artifice?

T-that's... That's the Sleepy Hollow's neurotoxin?!

Claw of Curses obviously inflicts, well, Curse, but it also has a high chance to inflict Chaos, which isn't great. Thankfully, Richter dodged that proc.

You've got a pretty tough body, buster.

...Yes. Obviously.

His cloak is quite tough! We'll need to strike harder to pierce through.

Here. Are you all okay?

Honestly, so far I'm pretty disappointed.

Disappointed? Khahahaha! What cheek!

!!! Watch out! He's drawing in energy from the Black Bloom on Earth!

Good. C'mon, show me a good time!


Ugh! You are like flies buzzing about a carcass. I grow tired of these games!

Fomalhaut drew in the fell energy of his plants, then launched it in a wave at us, strong enough to at least partially pierce our resistance.

Ugh! Damn!

Piece of shit!

Um uh hawawawawa

Nightmare of Darkbloom is a nasty move. The damage itself isn't too awful, but it's got status riders for Chaos, Curse, and Skill Seal. Richter missed all three, but Sumie got the latter two and Youka got the former two.

Without that stance of yours, you are helpless.

I'll show you helpless, shitstain!

Not to worry! Engaging garbage collection!

Unfortunately for Fomalhaut, none of his status inflictions are higher than 5 turns, and most are 2~3. Get Trashed

While I'm waiting, uh, here.

Woof, sorry.

It's fine.


Reactivating defensive measures!

Hey! Heal Sumie, but let me take some hits.

If you insist.

Do you desire death so strongly?

Then you may have it. still stand?

Gonna take more than that to take me down!

Astute viewers may notice that I happen to have Exhaust on my party.

What is this? Have you no desire to retain your life? You bother me.

That cloak's feeling a bit shabbier now, ain't it?


Richter! You know what to do!

That I do! Strike with impunity, Youka!


Strike as much as you wish—

Aaaargh! What the—?!

Youka's fist drove through Fomalhaut's cloak. I heard a cracking noise, which, frankly, shouldn't have even been possible.

You want terror?! Then get scared! Sumie!


So, this is this strength you hold in such high regard?

And there's Fomalhaut's first form. I had to redo this fight to get the canon run of the second form, so a few more points. One, Fomalhaut has a skill called Roar of the Abyss that can dispel ailments on him. Second, once he goes below 60%, Fomalhaut can gain a second move he can use off of Omen of Ruin—

Dark Flash, which has no status riders, but deals significantly more damage. Don't be fooled—this had Defense Beat up. It hurts a lot.


A storm of black petals swirled around the arena as Fomalhaut began to laugh.

Khahahahaha! Very good... very good, humans! So, this is the power of this planet that you speak so highly of, VFD?

I don't care. I'll beat you as a human. You don't have a chance no matter how many forms you show off.

Of course he has a second form.

Why does he have a second form?

The same reason he had the crest, really.

A placeholder?

This planet isn't his yet. Unleashing his true form means he's fighting for keeps.


Fomalhaut's cloaked body reared up, and unleashed peals of his black lightning, which began to coalesce into the air above us.

It formed into another sphere, within which Fomalhaut's true form lay in wait, rather like an egg.

Couldn't you just, like, burst out? Come on.

As the last of Fomalhaut's essence left his previous form, it turned to stone...

...and shattered on the ground.

This... is my true shape.

Counter to the darkness of his ordinary forms, his wings shone with a prismatic light.

Tremble and grieve, yourselves, your world. Quail in the presence of entropy itself—

Of course he'd be a dragonfly.


You've got four wings, no arms, those two stubby little legs, a tail. You're a dragonfly if you're anything.


Haha, yeah, I guess so! He's not quite right for a wyvern, right?

I'm disappointed in you, Fomalhaut. I was really hoping you'd at least have the good taste to be a real dragon.

I think that the conceptual form of VFD—like, all VFD, not me specifically—is actually the only 'dragon' among the True Dragons. Biologically.


What's Iod?

Well, they don't really have... I don't even know if Iod has a proper draconic form, so I think Shizuka would be right, they'd be a pseudo-jabberwock.

I'm not really sure how to classify Haze, and Nodens would definitely be a wyvern.

So you're telling me that the pinnacle of Dragons is the only dragon among the Dragons? It's almost like the universe agrees with me.

Truly, you should be proud.

You know, for once, I'll agree. Great job, Koron.

Do not ignore me when I am speaking to you! I bade you GRIEVE!

With the Earth as our backdrop, Fomalhaut charged into battle. I went to meet him.

Mio! Koron! Let's go!

See, Fomalhaut? There's your theme song.

Divine Fomalhaut is our last battle, and he's pretty nasty. He's got 14,994 HP and much stronger offenses, with a number of nasty skills that can deal heavy damage and disable. He does, however, actually have lower defenses than his first form—this isn't liable to be all that long of a fight. Much like before, Fomalhaut is a heavy inflictor of status ailments, and will do his best to debilitate you to prevent you from killing him. A major skill he uses for this, he didn't use in the canon run, so here's a gif of it to show it off:

Crystal Plague is real nasty. It can inflict Skill Seal, Confusion, and Freeze. Confusion is obviously the worst here. Anyway, from here, let's actually do the fight.


Do not disrespect me so! You stand in the presence of a god—show the proper respect!

We are.

Betcha can't hit me!

I shall devour your existence! Perhaps that will repay me for the cheek you have shown me!


Oopsie, you missed!

Whirlwind hits everyone and has... uh, a 7% chance to inflict Skill Seal. Orochi got unlucky here.

Watch out. You don't appear to be doing all that well.

there you go, orochi

Thanks, but my hands aren't flexing right.

Have you not impressed the proper respect to be granted to me?! Pathetic creature!

You're scared of me, is that it?

Cursed Gleam... inflicts Curse, shockingly. It's a very nasty Curse, a 5-turn duration and 40% damage reflection.

Hey, Fomalhaut!

Chill out, why don't you?


Alright, there we are.

Go get him, girls!

Even in the vast nothingness of space, a voice rings out! The Dark Countess Mio Akaneno arrives, ready to take her place on the heavenly throne from Earth's false ruler!

Oh, thanks for the pyrotechnics!

This burnt Orochi's Motionless, but that's fine.

No problem.

I shall destroy you!

Sounds like someone still hasn't achieved updog.

He's gathering energy!

Okay wow, he's really rearing up to clap you back for that one.

It's likely to be quite powerful.

No worries! Blah blah blah, Defense Beat!

I have Orochi guard here.

A burst of shining, prismatic light blasted forth from Fomalhaut's maw, staggering and searing us.

Khahahahaha! Think you you can mock me without suffering the consequences? Quake in fear, mortals! Submit to your better, VFD!

Oh, that 'blah blah blah' reminds me. You know, I've been holding this one back for a while, Mio.


You know, for years, I thought maybe I should keep some of my hotter takes to myself, since I didn't want to come across as too rude.

But I've developed as a person now, so I'll be honest.

You only think Tales of Vesperia is any good because you think Yuri and Flynn are hot!


End Breath is Fomalhaut's early-fight telegraph skill. It deals damage.

That game's pacing is horrible! The story is a mess that doesn't go through with most of its themes, the third act is a disaster, and the gameplay takes so long to introduce new mechanics that by the time you can actually play, it's almost over!

It's a good game! The gameplay's fun, the characters are really strong, the world's cool, who cares if the actual overall plot is a bit messy?

There's as many good characters as there are bad ones! Yuri is a terribly written character!

You take that back RIGHT NOW.


Aww, what's wrong? Sad that your sister has better people to talk to?

You're small time, buddy.

Whoa, hey, chill out, buddy. Let's take a chill pill. Let's get mellow.

Yeah, you should calm down.

Be cool, Fomalhaut.

Super Mellow Time is an Order Action skill that commands the other characters to use their Reacts. It's good.

Mock me all you like, but you shall fall by my hand ere long!

I... disagree!

Koron?! Are you okay?!

For a moment, Koron's power burst out in shining blue wings—


Ugh. Shit, that hurt.

Koron that sounded like it was really painful

I'll get used to it if I have to. Physically, I'm better now.

Our final SEX Skill, Miracle Cure, is a curative skill that fully heals HP, ailments, and revives from KO. Considering it has absolute priority by virtue of being Exhausted, the utility of this should be obvious. It's not an upgrade on Dark Invasion offensively, but does Koron really need more than Dark Invasion? No. Anyway,

Yeah, baby, that's hella rock!

The Tier 3 Order Action skill. ...I don't get any skills, so it's just 116 damage total.

Thank you, Koron.

Prepare yourself, Fomalhaut.

Watch out! He's attempting to achieve a burst of adrenaline through...

Establishing feedback loops?!

Your paths shall be strewn with curses!

Fomalhaut's React is actually quite scary. If he has any ailments, he'll heal himself on the extra turn and remove all his ailments with Pain Eater—otherwise, he'll... well, let's show you.


Khahahahaha! I shall devour all the rot which emanates from your body! 'True Dragonslayer'?! Don't make me laugh!

Damn you!!

Dark Gale is Fomalhaut's go-to in the Extra turn, an attack that deals heavy damage and inflicts Confusion.

Joke's on you! I live to dodge big, annoying guys.

Oh, yeah, attacks in enemy Extra Turns can trigger player Extra Turns, by hte way.

Calm down, Orochi. You've got this.

Thanks. You're right. I do got this.

Go, go, go! Tear him a new one!

Prepare yourself, Fomalhaut. I'll show you what it is I've been fighting for.

What the—

AAAAAAGH! M-my body! What have you done to me?!

You... you...!

Begone from here!

You're getting whacked 'cause you're weak. Simple as that.

Fomalhaut has one more trick. At low HP, Omen of Ruin's following skill changes from End Breath to Blackspear Fomalhaut, which does enormous damage.

You shall regret those words!

The curses weighing you down feed me! I, who rules over the destroyed, the dessicated, will—

Wanna bet?

Coming to you live from above the planet, it's the Dark Countess's third time in space! Today we've got a round trip to and from the True Dragon's Domain—

—starring special guest star, Human Dragon Orochi Hosokawa! Anything you'd like to declare, Orochi?

I'm not exactly used to the stage, even now, but I'd like to thank everyone who helped me make it this far. And, one other thing I'd like to say, to Fomalhaut—a long time ago, you asked me a question.

Here's my answer!

I severed the curse as I slashed through his body.

What?! Y-you—?! AAAAARGH!

And that's it from Fomalhaut.


Fomalhaut roared in pain, his body cracking and shattering from the damage he had taken.

You! No! How can this be?!

You cannot possibly be here! You... You! You perished, eons ago, along with all of your foolish notions! This 'other' within you—not human, nor VFD—


Wait, what?

You mean to tell me—it is you?! You never perished?! This pain, this suffering, the strength of these mortals, this is what you desired?!


Answer me! Answer me, Tyrant!

I told you. My name is Orochi Hosokawa. Whoever I was before—whatever labels I was given—none of those matter. I am Orochi Hosokawa, a woman of Earth. I believe in mankind—I believe in humanity. And I believe in myself now, too—in my ability to see my dreams through to the end.

From whence this strength, this belief, this determination?! Whence this from this ilk?! How—how could you have become more powerful through debasing yourself so?! I understand it not. I understand it not! I understand it not, I understand it not, I understand it not—!

He's really pitiable, isn't he?

He doesn't get why you guys are so strong, even after you've thrashed him?


Everyone. I hope you don't feel lied to. To be honest, I only just figured it out myself.

honestly who cares

Yeah, it's not a big deal.

Frankly, it makes more sense than all that isekai chicanery.



So, that was you we fought?

It was the proudest moment of my life up to that point. I was so proud of them—and happy you came to help them.


Well, hey. I guess we still met in strange circumstances—it was just a bit later than I thought.

You don't mind?

I already knew you weren't who I thought you were. But you're up now, you're moving. You're not stuck down there anymore.


You're you, Orochi. Nobody else!

Even if who 'you' is seems like it keeps changing.

Hahaha, true.

But this one seems like it's going to stick, so—well, not to say I don't—you're good people, Orochi.

Orochi. It's time.

It is.

Fomalhaut. I wasn't killed—I got the chance to be born again as a human. So, with that said—

Wanna be the first True Dragon to truly die?

Youuuuuuuuu! Devour you, I shall not—an honor undue you! You are only rubbish to be swept away!


Damn you! Damn you, damn you, damn you!

He's all talk! He's got nothing left!


It's over, Fomalhaut.

Wherefore do they not fall?! Wherefore do they not break?!


At last, I drew the Dragonslayer. It materialized into my hand in a flash.

It cannot be over... this cannot be over! I cannot end!

This is the instrument of your destruction. Make your peace with the universe—the wheel of your samsara is on its last turn.

Everyone, stand back. I've got this!

Fomalhaut continued to launch his attacks...

but they weren't strong enough to break me or my blade.

He gasped for air, and I took the initiative, leaping forward—

You know where to aim, Orochi!

Strike true! You can do it!

Tear him to shreds!

Make sure you get him all the way through!

Gooooo, Orochi!


My blade struck true, slicing straight through Fomalhaut's heart.

Even the Progenitor abandons me for their favored child... So this is the true face of evolution? What... a farce...

I dematerialized the Dragonslayer, brought it back within myself, and began to gently float back down to the ground—

—as Fomalhaut, utterly destroyed, shattered and vanished from this world.

...That the world may no longer need creatures like you—that is my wish. Rest now in eternal oblivion, Fomalhaut.

Whoa. What was that?

I suppose that's what it looks like when a True Dragon dies.

That didn't happen when I killed Niara, right?

Well, yeah, you didn't kill him for good.

Is it... is it really over this time?

I think so. I mean... this is definitely over. Right?

My friends—my family, Unit 13, were waiting just behind me. So I began walking over to them.



Let's go home.

As dawn rose on September 27th, 2021, the Second Dragon War, a conflict between the people of Earth and interstellar invaders known as Dragons that lasted only twenty-four days...

...came to a decisive end with the obliteration of the 5th True Dragon Fomalhaut, at the hands of Murakumo Unit 13.

Next time, we talk to everyone. Again!

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