Part 52: Sunny Spot

Living out of the Diet Building. Had you asked me before all of this occurred, it would've sounded like a joke, but here we were.

Welcome home, Unit 13! I have an important message from Kirino.

You have been assigned a room in the Murakumo Dorm underground for the duration." I know where your room is, so come on in and let me show you!

Smiley Sentry: Happy hunting, soldier! Looks like another fine day out there!

Bright Sentry: Oh, wow, if it isn't the legendary Murakumo Unit 13! Never thought the day'd come that I'd meet them in person... it's my lucky day, pops!

Himuro: Now that you're out of bed, you ever think about helping, Nagataka?

If a moment strikes me, I'll consider it.

Little Rascal: Gwahahaha! Alright, one Dragon down! Who's next, suckers?

Playing Girl: He seems really excited... Oh, hi! How's it going?

Good, good. It's workin' time!

I'm sure you know that, of course, but it's worth mentioning.

Murakumo HQ is through the double doors on the west side of the hall. If you head through the hallway in front of you, turn left and you'll find the Factory, turn right and you'll find the Quest Office.

What's through the double doors on the east side?



You should stop in and say hello to everyone! I'm sure they'll be glad to see you all back to work.

Who else would we be?

Welcoming Woman: Oh, well, sure, the odds that there's another group of six Murakumo employees that happen to include people of these exact, noteworthy characteristics are low, but—well, you know, it's important to cover your bases, right?

Tamagawa: Do you want to hear about status conditions?

There are no new status ailments in 2020-2, so to review, we have:

-Blind (Decreases your accuracy and evasion)
-Burn (You take damage after every action and take a penalty to your offense and defense)
-Freeze (You take damage after every action and take a penalty to your speed)
-Poison (You take damage at the end of each turn, persists after battle)
-Bleed (You take damage at the end of each turn which has a funny little scaling mechanic on it)
-Curse (You take damage in recoil from dealing damage)
-Paralysis (You have a chance to not be able to take actions)
-Downer (You need double the Mana to use skills)
-Stop (You are stopped)
-Skill Seal (Gee, I wonder)
-Petrification (You cannot take actions, persists after battle)
-Confusion (You will sometimes randomly attack some entity in the battle instead of your chosen action)
-Instant Death (What do you think?)

The game claims that Chaos, the worse version of Confusion that Sleepy Hollow inflicted in the first one, still exists, but in fact it functionally doesn't. Player units cannot inflict Downer, Skill Seal, Petrification, Confusion, or Instant Death, but in return get the player-exclusive Hack (Richter Esslinger is about to kill you), Hack Weakness, D-Depth (Youka Fudoji is about to kill you), and Stun (that enemy is moving last this round).

Alright, we clear? Good. This will be on the test.

I would fail any test about 7D status ailments but would pass an EO one with flying colors. I can recite every version of the ailment hierarchy. EO3/EO4, EOU/EO2U, EO5/EON, just fuckin' hit me.

Hi, I'm still here too, by the way.

Gossipy Guard: A little bird told me... you can only hold 15 of each item, right?

Nodding Guard: Hm, yes, mmhm, definitely. Very true. No sense hoarding.

Gossipy Guard: Did this room just get heavier to you?

No, no. Bad!

Yes, sir, I do remember you. Congratulations on your new post.

Pvt. Yamada: Thanks! All that experience standing around for hours on end was invaluable. Please, leave standing guard here to me!

Always! You two were an incredible pair.

Pvt. Shinezaki: You're pretty incredible yourself, Agent Esslinger.

Okay wait gimme a second



Is that her? Our best customer, finally back?!

Satsukiiii! Oh my gosh, I haven't seen you on duty in ages! Please tell me we get your loot!

Do I look like a girl who doesn't bear incredible piles of monster giblets?

No! You look very much like that! It's one of the best things about you~

These other people delivering us their trash just don't get the same level of haul, you know? Do you guys know what a good trash manager you have here?

Of course we do.

It's hard not to. You think I'd manage all our trash half as good? I'd probably just throw it in a sack and toss it at you.

I don't have the innate understanding of the value of these miscellaneous objects that she does.

I'm a hoarder.

Anyway, we're still getting things ready, so come by when old man Waji gives us the go ahead to start selling you our crap!

I wanna make one thing clear, Keima.

Lay it on me.

I give you full permission to mess with the outside of Saingreed. But mess with his internals, and I will go on Sharon in the Morning to deliver the most brutal diss track you've ever heard.

What? How am I supposed to make your megaphone hit better if I can't touch the actual tech?

Just believe in the power of a sparkling young lady~

Fine, then I'll just make you new megaphones or something—


How am I supposed to work in this kind of environment?! What, you want me to just make you some cutesy decals and act like that makes it work better?!

Yup, basically!

Keima turned away and started muttering to himself.

...That's illegal, right? That has to be illegal, she can't do this to me... or no, wait, hold on, but old man Waji would never let me hear the end of it if I didn't take this as a challenge, right? I mean, I gotta figure out what I can do, then.

I don't hear you believiiiiing~

Megaphones is the same.

Cub Reporter: Long time no see, Unit 13! Newspapers might be dead, but journalism lives on! You're gonna give me the sitch, right? "Second Skytower Relaunches Revival", and your names are on everyone's tongues—

I have a strictly anti-paparazzi stance.

Sharon must be at work. Where's Miya?

Ah, Miya's been reassigned. Shizuka's taken her place at the second desk so that Miya can work more actively in the MP Lodgings.


We'll run into her soon. She's nice.

Pvt. Tosa: ...No problems.

Pvt. Kaga: My neighbor's pretty shy, huh? I've gotta find a way to get him to loosen up.




Pvt. Kaga: Something wrong?

We're all steeling ourselves to go into the politics room one time for our rounds so we don't have to go in again.

Dozing MP: ...zzz... zzz... Oh! A response, concerning... the matter... zzz...

Cynical MP: Phew. What a waste. These bills are always decided in the backrooms anyhow, so I don't see the point of arguing, but...

Starry-eyed MP: We're just spinning our wheels, debating. These old hands are too set in their ways. Ask me, they should bring in fresh blood. Like you—Fudoji, right? You've got the sort of attitude we need.


Starry-eyed MP: That's the rub, isn't it? Nobody who wants to be a politician has the attitude to just say 'no'.

Celebrity MP: Oh, Mio Akaneno! It's a real pleasure. Hey, between you and me—you'd agree with me that we need to be focusing on rebuilding our television industry, right?

Not as a full priority. Making sure everyone has a place to live is the biggest priority. Focus on entertainment should be on forms of entertainment that can make people happy before we have the infrastructure to focus on rebuilding things like a television network. Books, comic, music, radio... Stuff like that.

Turncoat MP: Or is a change of faction in order? If so, time is of the essence. That's the curse of being a politician.

We're leaving.

Masaki: If it isn't Miss Chisa Inomiko! Have you been practicing your twitch reflexes? I have. Geheheheh.

Oh, no.

You two have a lot more room here, huh?

It's good for stretching, at least.

It's really incredible how fast you all get back into the swing of things. One batch of monsters and you're already moving so much faster!

Just the training we women of war, and Richter, need.

Thank you, Koron.

Hey, that reminds me. Why are you using weapons, Mama Fudoji.

So this might come as a bit of a surprise, but it turns out when your body outputs enough force to kill a god, it can put a bit of strain on you.

No way! Really?

Yeah, I know, crazy!

So I've got these things on so I don't blast myself unconscious for a day like I did after I took out Golden Boy. Probably better for my long-term health too, or something. If I go at full blast like that again too soon I'll probably wind up killing myself.

...Have you two been pacing yourselves?

I know you're worried, but we just have to get through it and believe in the people around us, I think.

Look, if she can make it to twenty, we've got a few more years in us before we need to quit.

What is that supposed to mean?

And that's all to see on the Lobby. Next, the Dorm.

It's not half bad. Better than the last place, at least.

I should certainly hope so. Is anyone in that room over there?

Not at the moment.

...Is this... is this a bar?

Lively Bartender: That it is! And welcome back to you, Unit 13. It must've been a year now since you were all together like this. Please, feel free to relax.

We would, but we are technically on the job.

Lively Bartender: They gave you all a mission? The nerve! Such brazen cheek?

I get to have a bar in my house.

I'm gonna get drunk the instant we're off the clock!

Please be sure to drink in moderation.

Well yeah, but sometimes a girl's got to take a load off.

I do not drink alcohol for a variety of reasons, but I still enjoy the mental conception of drinking. The idea of drinking something to take a load off. I have no idea if that is weird or not.

Intense Worker: The new kids they've got coming in... I can't help but be reminded of my old partner, you know?

Yeah. Hopefully nothing like that ever happens again.

Jeanne was very excited to show us our new room, so we let her catch up.

And this is your room! Much larger than the last one, you'll agree.

Oh, sweet, couches. I can actually sleep.

You sleep better on couches?

Yeah. You get used to them when you don't have your own bed.


I like couches too but that's 'cuz I'm a cat

Thanks for today, Jeanne. Get some rest!

You all, too. This was your first real fight in a long time.

She turned to leave, but stopped herself.

Oh, um... and...

So, um—h-have a good night!

...I-I didn't do anything to upset her, did I?

She's just happy to see us again.

Alright, team, let's get resting!

Pardon me for assuming, but isn't such enthusiasm counter to the purpose of 'resting'?

It's part of my girlish charm and cutely overbearing atmosphere to deliver such inappropriate enthusiasm.

Youka walked over to the couch, crashed flat onto it, and was out like a light. It was genuinely pretty impressive.


It was our first day in the new environment, so who knew how much sleep any of us actually got, but by the time morning came around I, at least, felt alright.

Mio, though...


You good, fam?

Think my body's still getting used to the idea of getting hit on a regular basis.

As crass as this might sound, you get used to it.

It had been quite some time, but hearing Jeanne over the morning intercom still felt perfectly natural.

We've got a plan to go over at Murakumo HQ. Sorry to trouble you right after you all woke up, but please head over when you're feeling ready.


Mio clapped her cheeks, then pumped her fists.

It's 'Mio in the Morning' time!

Youka was already making use of the coffee machine, and Richter was primping his scarf, so it seemed to me like we were all ready.

At this point the game unlocks the fast travel feature, and we get two new floors to tool around in.

This is much nicer than the last one, I must admit. Benefits of government funding, one supposes.

Are you doing alright? Please do let someone know if it's a bad day for you.

Frail Nurse: No, no, it's alright... I'm better than I look right now. Thank you for your concern!

Hobbled Senior: Oof, the ol' hip is acting up today. Feels like a long way to the treatment room...

The kid here has an extremely funny name tag.

Hovering Mom: Oh, sorry about that. He really idolizes you guys, wants to join you in the future. But first he should focus on getting well!

Hello, Doctor.

Doctor: Nagataka? Sorry, but I don't have time for chatter. We've got a heavy patient load, more streaming in all the time. I'm not sure how we're going to handle it.

If you ever need some manual labor, I—

Oh right, I'm, like, in a posting now.

Hello, Private Musashi.

Pvt. Musashi: Oh, you guys remember me! Well, now all the hard work feels worth it!

Guchi hasn't been by to bother you in a while, has he?

Pvt. Musashi: Oh, no, I think he's learned his lesson.

This room is just nice. There aren't very many NPCs here right now, though.

Up here are the baths, but unfortunately we're missing Tomiko and Tatsuji at the moment.

And now on to the lavish places the members of our esteemed government reserve for themselves.

Aren't we government employees?

We go out and actually do work. These people sit and bandy about.

Sweetie, be nice. We're in polite company.

You've literally stolen government property! Multiple times!

yes but i was very polite about it

You've stolen government property???

Lady Rep: Isn't it such a shame our children can't study these days?

Comforting MP: Oh, yes, such a tragedy... (She's not wrong, but she's so intense. Help me, please...)

Reserved MP: ...


Reserved MP: ...Was there something?

Powerful MP: If it isn't Unit 13!! Are you well?!

I'm in the best shape I've been in roughly a year.

I got some damn good sleep.

My arm is sore from getting hit by a wolverine.

Powerful MP: I see, I see! Well, good health above all, I say! Gahahahaha!

...Hm. I'm not much of a fan of this carpet.

It is depressingly funny that in the midst of a post-apocalyptic restoration, politicians still insist on pomp and circumstance when it comes to the decoration of their facilities.

Also, I am very much of the same mind as Richter regarding the look of the carpet.

Sec. Makabe: People of all kinds love talking about their problems... the Prime Minister comes to mind.

i'm limber and tricky

This morning, I popped a rather nasty crick in my back, and I feel very nicely.

I'm hungry. For human food.

I made a bento last night. You want it?


PM Inuzuka: Well, er... Yes, you are symbols of this restoration, and I would ask you keep that in mind, but... Do you mind particularly much not eating on the carpet?

Gentleman Rep: Ugh. All I hear is 'later', 'later', 'later'. What the heck is with this government?

Politician life not treating you well?

Gentleman Rep: Oh, Youka. You're back to work?

Yup. Our room has a killer couch.

You know Representative Sunamori, Youka?

Arashi? Yeah, we know each other.

Rep. Sunamori: That's one way of putting it. Anyway, if you're here that at least means someone is taking action, so that's good, at least... but it's not like your boss has what it takes to run a country. People are all just consumed by their own interests. It's like our own country's a tunnel.

Zealous MP: You've got a good head on your shoulders, Sunamori. And you're damned right!

Of course I do. But the force of inertia, even with all the new blood, is such that any real change cannot be won easily. How many foolish old men did we save who simply turned around and decided to continue stuck in their ways in this new world?

Zealous MP: To think we'd make such an impression on the soldiers who fight to save us...

To be fair, Koron thinks about this stuff all the time.

It's true. I do have my position as a prominent public figure in a burgeoning minority to consider even beyond the fact that I find the subject interesting to think about.

Rep. Sunamori: Maybe she should be joining Parliament instead of me...

Call me when there's enough of an economic framework present for me to implement the teachings of Karl Marx and we'll talk.

Speaking of old men.

MP Ariake: Oh, Unit 13. Good morning. I can't get out much—go and check on Neiko every so often for me, would you?

As though I don't already?

Wise MP: You're Unit 13? It's an honor to make your acquaintance. Fujita has told me much about you.

Yes, I do.

MP Fujita: After that, my hard work being recognized, I announced my candidacy in the election and became a national representative. I've been honored to serve as MP Fujita over the past year!

...I know.

He's still got the same habits, I see.

Youthful Rep: Whoa, for real! If we don't get our infrastructure rebuilt, won't be able to do a thing else, ya know?

Elderly Rep: Unit 13, you say? Then you're famous! A year ago, you saved Japan... no, the world!


Okay, that's enough of that.

As we stepped into the Lobby, there was a loud yell from our left that I didn't recognize.

Hold on! H-hold on, er, please wait a minute!!


Whoa, whoa, hey! Watch out!

Shizuka, your glasses are—

Should we help?

Nah, she's—

No, no, please, I can do this!

like that.

The young lady who'd tripped herself over Mio's feet managed to re-establish herself on her feet.

That was a pretty rough fall. You good?

Yes, er, yes, I'm fine. I-I'm so sorry you had to see that! I swear I'm usually more coordinated than this, I—

Hey, it's fine. No need to panic.

Well, it's just—I-I mean, I've heard so much about the rest of your unit, but meeting them all in person in one place—


Oh! Oh, my gosh, you're Captain Inomiko. I'm so sorry, really I am.

Oh. I've heard your name.

You work at the second desk, right?

T-that's right, ma'am. You could say I'm a... special aide, er—or maybe a coordinator, or—maybe 'administrative assistant' works best?

Ah, I see. So since Mio kills things now, you're the new Mio.

Yes! Yes, ma'am! Not that I could—er, Mio-senpai is—

Shizuka, we've talked about this. This is the part where you have to use your lungs.

You're right, of course. Hoo! Hoo!

In lieu of having us actively delivering instructions between administration and the construction team, Mr. Kirino decided we should instead have a conference room with which to discuss how best to utilize our resources. Shizuka operates the conference room first and foremost, but she also serves in a number of assistant roles.

Yes! That.

Well, it's nice to meet you, then. I look forward to working together.


Right. Now, we had a meeting to get to, yes?

Right, of course. If you'll follow me this way?

Alright! Let me try this again. As your assistant going forward, Unit 13, I'll do everything I can to support you! Please let me know if there's anything you need! Mio has already briefed me on the particulars of your hoarding habits, Captain, so you don't need to worry about that.

Oh, that's thoughtful of you. Thank you.

As a dragon, it's a bit stereotypical of you to have a treasure hoard, no?

It makes me happy to have more of things than I need!

No arguments. Much as Sumie might like to make fun of you, in the situations we find ourselves in—

May I ask a question?


I've been doing my best to collate your draconic taxonomical classifications, Miss Nagataka, and correct me if I'm wrong, but Captain Inomiko is a bipedal, wingless draconid, which would make her a... 'pseudo-jabberwock', yes?

Oh, that's modern!

Yes, Miss Kazuki has kept me abreast of developments in your classification system!

Sorry, what's a 'jabberwock' here?

I considered for a while whether Warcry actually counted as a 'dragon', and decided that in the era of Dragons it was important to be as specific as possible. A 'jabberwock' is a bipedal, winged draconid. Shizuka is claiming that as a bipedal, wingless draconid, you would be a 'pseudo-jabberwock'.

Yes, exactly.

However, you've made two important mistakes in this supposition. First, Chisa's human form is not the form by which the classification would be defined—that would be her draconic form which none of us have ever witnessed. The second is that Chisa self-defines as a dragon, and if I were to get into the weeds of draconic classification regarding the identity of my best friend I would look like Japan's greatest asshole.

But it's fine with Niara, huh?

That guy? That guy doesn't deserve me not explaining his own classification to him.

On the one hand, expecting a True Dragon to know every arbitrary label humans decide on is a bit presumptuous. On the other hand, it was really funny, so you should keep doing it.

I can't believe this. You're enabling her to be racist to your own kind?

As the only Dragon that I know of that's made an active effort to communicate with human society, don't I have the right to determine what is and is not acceptable in a conversation between equals?

So you keep being you, Koron. I trust you to understand when it is and is not appropriate.

Attagirl. That's my captain.

Wow! So this is the kind of friendship a Captain and Vice-Captain have! I'll need to take notes...

To be fair, they are both very, very particular women.

Uh-huh. Okay...

Shizuka's schedules were always very clean and organized. Is it odd to observe about someone that they draw very straight lines? Shizuka Tomagi drew very straight lines—for someone who could be so beset by anxiety, she had some of the steadiest hands I'd ever seen.

Your current schedule leaves you free until the ribbon-cutting at the Skytower, but I've left some time open because Ms. Sharon has work at the Quest Office, and I seem to recall you all being afflicted with a case of 'chronic do-gooderism'?

Yeah you're not wrong

Please head on over if you'd like to assist her with her work!

On the way over, we can find Reimi at the shop.

She does a Waji impression since she's shop-sitting.

The instant we walked over to the Quest Office, Sharon let out a gasp that lasted—and Richter timed this—twelve seconds and thirty-seven milliseconds.

Ehhhhhh?! Is that my ryutome taichou-chan I see there?!

Is it that much of a surprise?

Koron-chan and Youka-mama, returning to the baito grindset also? My buddies Unit 13? Have my hero-tachi exchanged the holy gishki-tachi?!

What rituals?

You know, Youka-mama! 'Tadaima' and 'okaeri'! The ureshii words that make a family!

It's nice to see you too, Sharon.

Oh hey by the way, this game has blink animations. Here, have Sharon being uncharacteristically saucy to demonstrate that.

One consequence of the blink animations is that character portraits, when rendered in PPSSPP, are no longer scaled using nearest neighbor, instead using bilinear filtering. I personally preferred the nearest neighbor look. You can get portraits to not use bilinear filtering...if you globally disable bilinear filtering, which is not how the game is meant to look. A lot of environmental textures are very clearly drawn so that they look a particular way when filtered, and seeing the raw pixels is wrong.

Oh, and another consequence of the change in the way that portraits are rendered is that there is a small distortion, one pixel tall, above the top of every portrait. You're welcome. That also goes away if you disable global bilinear filtering, but see my notes above for that.


Ever since I started 'Sharon in the Morning', I've got requests from here to Mt. Fuji! My three little kodomos here, especially ASAP, gotta get to them As Soon As Practical!

Well, I am back on the job. Everyone up for some menial work?

AM I?!

Yes, sweetie, I know you love your errands.

How kawaii, ne? Let's Working!

We've got to complete these three quests before the plot will progress. After all, the game needs to finish introducing all the principal cast before we can get on with it.

It's like Etrian Odyssey Nexus, except Sharon isn't Kvasir, and thank the gods for that.

Oy vey. I look away for one week and Maki gets sick?

Ne, ne, Youka-mama, I see that glimmer in your eye! I know taking care of folks is your Big Favorite!

Who, me? I would never enjoy something like this.

Naturally! That's why you don't have any surrogate kids.

True, true!

it's really nice seeing her so happy about it.

I concur.

Demo demo, memo memo, to the Medical Ward! Then, to Shibuya!

They have Miya stationed at the MP Lodgings?

...Is Miya a politician now?

The most people who have orders for her are there, so it only makes sense.

Office ladies and gentlemen, make a change! Ittekitte to the Public Employment Office for a job with Miya of Murakumo Unit 8! The Diet Building needs more building!

Does it? Looks pretty nice to me.

There is a lot of basement here. I mean there is a lot of basement here and most of it is currently kaput.

Oh, gotcha.

Oh! They must've delayed it. It's today?

...Himuro wants us there? Isn't that a bit of a conflict of interest if I'm here?

It's not like you're gonna be passing or failing 'em, Chisa-chan! Just being the ryu-sensei for ryu-senshi!

That's fair.


Obviously we will be doing this. If we didn't, I think Chisa would vibrate out of her seat in dread.

Right. We'll get to work.

No crying! Ganbatte now, hero-tachi!

There they are. Yuki! Nami!

They were able to get everything ready in short order.

Nami: If we've missed anyone, or they're short, please tell them they can come to the Medical Ward any time they please.

Yuki: I can't believe those kids are still out camped in Shibuya...

Yuki: Aren't you their handler or something, Ms. Fudoji? Can you please impress this on them?

No. Shibuya's their town. It's got their soul in it.

And even if you managed to convince one of them, you'd have to convince 'em all. That ain't happening.

Do you really want me to have to deal with Neko trying to claw my eyes out again?

What happened the last time?

I tried to get her to eat a fish.

ah yup there's miya


So a new position, huh?

I got tired of working behind a desk, so I whined until they let me back on site. I'm in charge of refitting the Diet's interior. Lot of basement here. Really lovely stuff.


Anyhow, about that request. We're rebuilding our comms network, so we're rewiring the Skytower, but I need some manual labor.

Could you put in a request with the Dev Team? Besides my own workload, they listen best to Satsuki.

true, true.

Reimi, you know how to make one?

Anything for my Unit 13! I'll give this my li'l all ☆

They could work stunningly quickly when they set their minds to it.

Wanna test that theory?

What? No!

It was a joke!

This thing's so strong it'd take dynamite and a half to break it~! ☆ You're only about a dynamite and a quarter, Koron.

Say that again!

We aren't about to let Gramps show us up, working over there at the Skytower. Just a little bit of work left... Can't you just, like, not hardly wait?

Everyone in the city is going to be so exciteeeeed! Ooooh, I wish I could go toooo!

I tried to ignore the bad feeling in my gut that such remarks incurred. I'm never sure whether to call myself an optimist or a pessimist, but pessimism struck me worryingly often in those days.

Yup, that's our dev team for you. Top notch work as usual. This'll suffice to upgrade the cabling. Took me a bit to figure out what to give you, but...

Alright team, on three. One, two, three.



Paras, Paras!


it's something for people who watch foreign dubs of local shows you wouldn't get it

We also get two Heal Aero 2s, and the satisfaction of a job well done.


Himuro: You've probably heard from the SDF, but monsters are on the move again, so we're reinforcing them with Unit 10, with all available personnel for the mission. The trainees are still wet behind their ears, but we've picked the ones with genuine potential out from the laborers and scrubs.

Himuro: So I'd like you to give them a little demonstration of your prowess, if you don't mind. Show 'em how cool you are.

Yeah, Chisa. Show 'em how cool you are.

The field exam, huh... I don't exactly have good memories of mine.

Himuro: Oh yeah? What happened at yours?

The world ended.

Himuro: Wait. That was the same day as your entrance exam?


Himuro: ...Well, then you'd better be ready to get people up off the floor!

Himuro: Follow us when you're ready.

Helping Maki is probably more urgent. Let's go to Shibuya first.

Generally, if it's a level that was in the first game, it's got the same intro pan.

Hello again, 109.

The intro pan isn't the same thing that's the same, though—the fundamental layout of returning areas are, by and large, functionally identical. As such, this is the same room from the first game. Since this is a pretty quick trip to Shibuya, you'll forgive me for giving you the highlights of the trip over.


Wait, what do you mean I did the same thing multiple times in a past LP? You're mistaken.

Who's been keeping these boxes stocked, anyway?

Eh, sometimes Daigo and Neko. I chipped in once or twice. It's kind of a communal effort.

Ah, there's Ino and Guchi.

Ino: Oh my gawd, get out! It's been like, forever! You guys gotta come by once in a while!

For personal reasons I have been indisposed.

I've been having problems.

Ino: Aww, I see, you getting lonely?

Guchi: I mean yeah, the Dragons are dead, shouldn't you guys have nothing to do?


Guchi: ...Oh! You mean like what Maki needed!

Ino: No way, for real? That's frickin' awesome! She's back thataway with Neko and Daigo!

Guchi: Mama Fudoji coming through again! That's our old lady!

You know it!

That's all the looting we're doing here, since there's a fat lot of nothing in Center Street.

Akira: ...I mean, Maki eat something funny or something? ...Oh crap we all eat the same food. Uh—

Delivery service!

Akira: AAAAH

Tao: Man, we really are eating freaky monsters, huh?

I wonder what this man would think of Labyrinth Cuisine.


You good to be on the field?


This mug over here doesn't look like she is.

My face is just sadder than it used to be. Don't mind me.

Well that sounds like something I oughta mind, lady!

As much as that's true, we have business.

Ah, thanks, this is full of stuff! Frickin' Maki here hasn't kept any food down in three days.

Ain't much we can do here. Don'tcha think you'd be better off over in the Diet Building?

Shino: But we just got back to Shibuya. Maki said she was hoping to stay here.

Maki: Yeah... I wanna stay here... with Shino.

With her like this, it'll be hard to lug her to the dome. We'll keep an eye on her here for now.

It's like, putting the Skytower up is all well and good, but—Oh speaking of, how're things back there?

Goin' pretty alright! You oughta come visit, we can hang out.

Nyahaha! Can't stand missing everyone's idol, can you~

Technically I'm the idol here.

When things settle down here we'll pay ya a visit.


Oh! Right! Almost forgot to return this.

My Ariadne Thread?! What's it doing with you?!

Remember when I asked to borrow it a bit ago?


Well, I forgot to return it for a few days, obviously, and then Neko asked if she could borrow it.


Well what if I went inside a busted-up building and I couldn't get out, I got in a cave-in or something? The point is it's back with you, right?

That's... true...


Yes. Thank you for returning it. I appreciate it, Neko.

Wow that took you a second, huh. What are ya, a magpie?

Don't push it.

Yeek! Neko, shutting up!

We'll see you around.


For your benefit, 'Effusive Rookie' is the brunette, 'Polite Rookie' is the redhead, and 'Sardonic Rookie' is the purplehead.

The moment we got on sight, there was a commotion with the three trainees.

Himuro: Ah, there you guys are.

Effusive Rookie: Whoa! Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa! Hold on! You called Unit 13?!

Sardonic Rookie: Not like you weren't yelling about how cool they were the entire time.

Effusive Rookie: Yeah, but all of them?

Polite Rookie: It's an honor to meet you all. I've always wanted to be like you, hence my joining Tactical.

Sardonic Rookie: Tch. They just got lucky.

Hey. You with the purple hair. Wanna say that to my face? Or are you too scared of getting a demerit for mouthing off about superior officers?

Sardonic Rookie: ...

That's what I thought.

Himuro: Don't forget this is a live-fire exercise. You could lose your lives out here today! Unit 13's been polite enough to grace us with their presence.

I don't think it's that big of a deal. If we're here, we might as well.

Aww, you just wanna show off.

Himuro: Alright, let's get to work. Ready!

Himuro was kind enough to teleport a monster into the area.

Well, it might take me a few swings.

Go ahead and start swinging, then.


You're going to wind up showing me up here!

Then do better.

Ladies, please, you're both engines of destruction.



Blade Fang also heals the Death Jackal for 150% of the damage it deals, so it does an annoyingly good job at dragging the fight out.

Don't worry, I'll just be dodgier!

In the first game, evasion kind of just wasn't really a thing. Most attacks had no-miss riders or accuracy multipliers. This is not the case in 2, where accuracy is a real consideration. Another of the things that Mio is is a dodgetank—Dry Ice is a strong, self-target evasion buff, and when we get into one or another of some of her oooootherrrr mechanics that'll come up THERE ARE SO MANY MECHANICS TO IDOL YOU GUYS

Go down!

Not my cleanest victory. Maybe I'm stiff.

I'm sure that, in time, it'll all come back to you.

Effusive Rookie: Did I tell you, or did I tell you? They're aces!

Sardonic Rookie: I'd just assumed you were biased.

I'm sure you kids'll get the hang of it soon enough. The act of murder's something you pick up pretty quickly.

I think that is very much a you thing, Mama.

Himuro: Now it's your turn!

Himuro: If you're in over your head, come right back! And with that, all units, move out!

Effusive Rookie: I won't let you down!

Polite Rookie: Understood, sir.

Hey, wait—

Himuro: You know how it is. They made an attempt before you got here, but these kids are too proud to not try going it alone. It's too much for them. They'll get tired. Go round 'em up before they get eaten.

Please don't be so crass about this.

So you dragged us out here to impress the importance of teamwork onto them? The boy with the red hair had a Gauntlet—what does he think he's doing going out all by his lonesome?

Himuro: Hell if I know.


You worried about him?


Then it would behoove us to hurry.



The desert itself is also the same, and the random enemies here are much weaker variants of the random enemies from Kokubunji in the first game. Red Rabis still resist fire. Scorpions still do lightning things. That kind of stuff.

Random enemies aren't too threatening in either game, but they're a bit more threatening in this one, I'd say.

About here, I believe.

Since this is a reused area that's so large, you'll forgive me for not giving you the full play-by-play when there's no Dragons for me to kill.

There he is!

Effusive Rookie: ...Why did I think that would work?! Ugh, man, I hate sand!

Get away from him!

Don't worry, we got this!

Incidentally, a Rush Groove here is doing about 78 total damage.

Forward, mine fell servants!

Effusive Rookie: Man, that's really incredible! How do you even do that thing where you order them around?

Pure, concentrated dark energy.

Do you have any idea how much danger you just put yourself in? Of course this place isn't good for getting the kind of traction for the running leaps you'd need to make the best use of your fighting style! If you're going to be on the front lines, you need to take into account the kind of situation you're in!

Effusive Rookie: I know, I know, I...

He was trying to keep a brave face, but I could see he was shaking.

Himuro: You're pretty emotional about this.

It's just... I was just really worried for him.

Himuro: Damn kids.

Effusive Rookie: ...Yes, sir.

...I just don't want people to think less of him if this doesn't wind up being the right career path for him. If people put those expectations on him because of me...

It's not that bad. Himuro talks a big game, but I know he sees Taichi's got what it takes.

Oh thank god. Gimme that. Hate the damn desert.

We found the second trainee having managed to win her battle, but she wasn't in the best shape.

If you ask for help getting back.

Sardonic Rookie: Ask for help, the very idea... I'm passing this exam no matter what, you... be quiet...

Himuro: I'll just stick my nose in here and take her back.

Hey Chisa how many of these do you have

Twelve, at the moment. I didn't have my Ariadne Thread until just today.

Over here's the way to the Searsand proper, but it's blocked. We pick up chests work 50 Az, three Medicine 1s, and a Heal Aero 1 on the trip of clearing out this very large room.

...It's a big room.

Polite Rookie: It means I'm surrendering! No terms! You can't keep attacking me! It's not fair! I-I'm all alone... *sniff*

Good news about that part.

Get outta here!

Polite Rookie: This quixotic quest to emulate Unit 13 was so foolish of me...

Himuro: Hey, it's not bad to have a goal in mind. Just keep today in mind as long as you're trying to be like them.


Himuro: We fashion these kids into a SWAT team, maybe it'll give you guys a little break, but for now it looks like you'll remain our aces.


Himuro: Not much of a reward, but here you go.

Incidentally, that last chest behind Polite Rookie had a Nano Aid in it.

Thank you for responding to these requests! When you're ready, head back to Murakumo HQ, please.

Right. Got it.


I just... hope they don't have to see much combat. That's all.

I wanted to say goodbye to Taichi, but given the circumstances, I felt much too awkward to.

Next time, maybe we actually finish the Prologue maybe?

A novel idea.

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