A detachment of the SDF should already be in place when you arrive. Let's play it safe and proceed with caution, okay?

You got it!

Aww, what? I'm always cautious, aren't you?

Hardly. You just back up the recklessness with good combat sense.

Aww, I'm touched. You think I'm sensible!

You okay, Richter?

I'm just...

I'm sorry. I'm just worried. About Kirino.


So am I, but if we sit about here twiddling our thumbs, he'll be disappointed once he wakes up.

Hey, can I say something?

Oh, everyone! Miroku learned how to ask for permission recently! It's really great!

Shut the hell up. Hey, Chisa. Why does your little brother even know how to use polearms?

Well, he got good at it because he took up spear fishing, but—

Hm. The operation of a single-ended polearm is fairly different from the use of a naginata...

The Inomiko family tradition was that the future head of the family took up the blade, whereas any further children would take up the naginata—since it's a weapon for those who stay at home, and all. Since I, a woman, was the heir apparent, I'm pretty sure they gave Taichi at least a few lessons in the naginata.

So I think he learned the basics of wielding polearms at all as a child and then honed that skill out of necessity as he got older.

Huh. Neat. Think he'd teach me sometime?

Could you even lift any of his spears?

I can work out! I can take on muscle mass!

Ah, I get it. You want a spear so you can do a pole-vault and feel really tall, right, kiddo?

Youka! I—no!

Don't worry, Miroku, I'm sure you have at least a centimeter left in you!

I'm leaving!

But we work right next to each other, Miroku.

He's not talking to me anymore.

He's such a nice boy!

Just a treasure.

There's nothing new until we get back to the point where we stopped last time, so I'll skip there.

Loud and clear, General!

Good. We're patrolling by the station now. Nothing dangerous here yet, so keep going.

These vines...

Oh hey, they're covering some lockers!

you want me to pick some locks

I feel like whatever's in there is long since past its usefulness date.

What about theeeeeeeese

These will help.

Youka let out a heavy sigh, but then perked back up.


Sorry. It's just, at first, I saw this blocked path and I got mad. But then I realized we don't really have a particular goal as of yet. It's not like we're trying to go anywhere specific yet. So it's fine.

The second this fucker tries to put one of these in our way when we're going somewhere specific though? I'm gonna get mad.

As is your right, I believe.

Ah, it's Tatsuji!

Glad we found you so quick, pal.

There is a disaster, though.

Tatsuji: ...Fair.

Do you suppose if we find him, that Shibuki will be back on his path?

Oh for sure.

It only just hit me, but salamanders look like they came straight out of a PS1 or even a DS game. It's the combination of the very simple texture and the angular design, I think.


You got it!

Oh yeah that's a crumpler.

They should consider evolving scales, or something.

Hey, Sumie! You like loot, right?

DO I???

Then I think it would be pretty cool if we got more!


Methinks this one will be a touch more lucrative than normal.


Gig Guarantee is a funny little skill. Basically, for a certain number of turns after you use it, the Az you obtain after battle will be multiplied. I think it's like a 30% increase for 3 turns at the moment? Really levels 1 and 2 don't matter much because level 3 is actually an infinite-duration 2.5x multiplier. Once you hit that point there's no real reason not to throw one out to get some $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ on a free turn. Mio makes the numbers economy of this game much smoother when I've got her around, which is nice because... you know... I have six characters to outfit instead of three.

If you're only running a party of three characters, then Gig Guarantee just completely breaks whatever semblance of an economy this game thought it had.

Anyway this guy gets dumpstered.

...Jeanne? How thick are the Dragon readings here?

Oh, um... Not very, actually? It seems there aren't too many here.


Sorry. I'm just concerned. That might imply Fomalhaut has enough confidence in this Imperial to postpone that...

I think we're all worried. It took Nagare dying to beat Niara's first, after all.

I will admit it's pretty, at least.

Pvt. Kawabuta: Hey, Unit 13! You save your data often?

Yes, of course. I actually have the data on my Gauntlet set up to auto-save changes to the mapping program every two minutes.

Pvt. Kawabuta: Good, good. That's good.

That's rough, buddy

Pvt. Kawabuta: ...Man, that Kirino's got it made, huh? Injury aside, I mean, perfect guy falls right in his lap and he's into men? Sheesh! Save some luck for the rest of us.

Oh, no! Was Kirino seeing someone? Should I have informed his partner?

Pvt. Kawabuta: ...

Pvt. Kawabuta: (Is he serious)

(Somehow yeah)

Pvt. Kawabuta: (Oh my god)

(Dude yeah I know it's crazy)

No, Richter, Kirino is not seeing anyone.

Oh, phew. If I hadn't done my due diligence, I would be crushed. I could hardly face him after that!

Pvt. Kawabuta: (God what the hell)

(Dude you are preaching to the choir it is literally insane)

Pvt. Kawabuta: (He's lucky he's in a unit with two couples and your mom can you imagine? I mean he is into guys, right??)

(Okay get this apparently he's dated like, MULTIPLE people before??)

Pvt. Kawabuta: (What.)

(Yeah like apparently while he was hitchhiking across Europe he like. Dated people in different countries but it always broke up after like three months? Like at one point I joked like 'ah yeah i heard it from my girlfriend in liechtenstein you can't meet her' and later he told me that actually no he had a boyfriend in Liechtenstein??)

Pvt. Kawabuta: (I can't even picture this???)

How old are you?

Pvt. Kawabuta: Huh? Uh... Thirty-two.

What age range?

Pvt. Kawabuta: If you go by the seven-year rule, uhh... 23 to 50, I guess...?

Hm. I'll keep in touch.

Pvt. Kawabuta: ...????

What were you talking with Private Kawabuta about, Sumie?

nothing important

Lazy Bloke: Three, two, one... blast off! I did it! I flew through hyperspace! And now, to return to our universe! ...Alright, success is ninety percent mental! Okay! Three, two, one... blast off!

I handed him an Escape Kit.

Lazy Bloke: I did it! I'm flying through hyperspace! Wheeee...

Back to Kawabuta.

i love looting.

And Chisa loves hoarding!

I do. It's true.

Eh... ehhh...


Yeah, got it!

Yeah, you got the idea!

The Twinhorns' greater sturdiness in action. I win this one, but it's not too interesting. I did use Richter's new toy in it, but it had no actual effect, so I'd rather save it for a point when its effect matters.

Ah. There's the other side of this wall.

If we hadn't gone around, we may not have rescued Tatsuji.

I'll call this one a successful, inoffensive detour, then.

if we take a right here there's loot

Ah, sure enough.

The Breastcoat is a piece of physically-oriented light armor. I give it to Richter, since he has the highest MDF of anyone here even with the 1-point decrease.

Oh, hey! The full floor map! Thanks, past me.

When we stepped onto the next floor of the building, there was a rumbling overhead, and the ground shook beneath us.

What was that?!


Oh, no. The signature I'm reading is absurd—the needle is spinning around the gauge!

Once it appeared, I could feel it in the air, every hair on my body standing straight up in preparation for the mighty foe.

The origin point is... a hundred meters above you? It's right in the path of the SDF!

Oh, shit.


Pvt. Sasuga: Did it just get darker or is it me?

Sgt. Makita: A Dragon... and it's a huge one, too.

Sgt. Makita: Commander, what can we do?!

Calling General Dojima! Retreat from the area at once!

Easier said than done! Main forces, retreat at once! Sasuga, Kamachi, see they get out okay!

Col. Kamachi: Leave it to me!

Pvt. Sasuga: Roger!

We'll fire anti-Dragon rounds to cover! Makita, cover me!

Sgt. Makita: Alright, we're ready to rock!


Please, you've got to go rescue her!

Wait! This signal is exceptionally strong. You can't possibly win right now.

Piss off!

We're going to back up the SDF, and that's that. If you want to yell at me, you can do it when we get back.


In that case, our top priority is covering the SDF retreat! Time is of the essence; spare not a single moment.

Roger! Let's hurry, everyone!

You got it!

This area is rather closed off. It shouldn't be too difficult to find the path.


Still don't fully understand what sense it makes balance-wise to give idols a cheap all-target attack at the beginning of the game, but I shouldn't complain too much.

Pvt. Toneri: Dragons... Dragons! Everybody told me to run away, but how can I get away by myself? I can't do this on my own!

That's the way up, but the chest over here...

...rewards us curving around.

Man, this place is completely wrecked. How's this whole 'hyperspace' thing even work? Is it like that big computer you're connected to, Chisa?

No, 'hyperspace' is...

Well, while I'm sure you've heard the term, I think figuring out how it works in this context would require us jumping in, and we shouldn't do that.

yeah fair point

This ought to let us up!

And so we climbed upon the prismatic vine, up and up into the sky, to reach the apex of the Marunouchi Skyrift.

There it is, over there!

Its wings, though a solid color, shined the same way as the prisms it created. Another great, heavy, murderous red beast... A brute, but one with a sense of bombast.

What's the retreat status?

Sgt. Makita: Having trouble with the wounded! They still haven't made it back to the safe zone!

Damn! How are we gonna get everyone out?

Heard you needed a distraction! I'm great at those!

Same here!

Thanks for the help. We're low on ammo!

All of you, heed my words! That Imperial is too much for you to handle at present!

Oh, trust me, I can tell.

If she can tell, we're definitely not ready for this.

Initiating defensive maneuvers!

Alright, let's go! I've drawn attention from worse than you!

You're such a big man these days, Richter!

I try!

As stated, this isn't the real fight against Tiamat—we just have to survive for three turns.

I tried to write a joke about Tiamat, the dragon in Final Fantasy XIV, but came up with nothing. I don't think any joke I can make about FF14 dragons will be as amusing to me as when I used the line Nidhogg says at the start of the Final Steps of Faith for the EO2 LP. Wriggling maggots, etc. etc.

Right, sorry, as Kinu said, this is a cutscene battle.

Let's see if this does anything!




Bastard! I'll kill you!

Buying time! Retreating! Focus!

Right, sorry.

The ground was shaking beneath our feet from the force of the beast's strikes.

The foundation's crumbling! Run!


This isn't over!

As long as you go into the cutscene fight with three people alive, it's impossible to lose. Cutscene Tiamat always does Attack -> Attack -> Typoon Howl. It can only kill two people.

As we ran, the rainbow bridge we'd crossed to get up there collapsed onto the ground, leaving it instead a sort of crosswalk across the tracks.

Sgt. Makita: We... got away?

Hoo... Don't worry, I'm fine...

i'm good at first aid...

Yeah you are... hoo...

You guys're here... Thanks.

Lots of injured, but... no casualties. This is wonderful, everyone.

aww, was someone a little worried

Yes! Of course I was! That thing—

Tiamat. It's called Tiamat. An Imperial Dragon whose claws can tear rifts in space.

Nobody asked you!

You were going to once we got back.

That's beside the point. Be quiet. ...Unit 13, General Dojima, let's debrief. Return to Murakumo HQ.

Ain't gotta tell me twice.

Same. Ow.


I remain surprised by your willingness to take blows for other people.

It's kind of the story of my entire life.

Still... the Imperial picked an awful time to show up.

Well, s-still! It was an accomplishment in and of itself to confirm its presence, no?

The Imperial Dragon of Marunouchi, Tiamat... That thing's strong. If it could flatten Fudoji in one hit...

It would fit with Fomalhaut's strategy. Warcry was a vanguard, meant to announce itself with brute force, but Fomalhaut did his own announcement—Tiamat's simply a killing machine.

Captain Inomiko, may I ask a question?


Are the two related?

Well, I don't know exactly, but I would hazard a guess they're both conceptual evolutions of Spectus, an Imperial Dragon the 2nd True Dragon uses. The basic idea worked, so there was no need to completely re-invent the wheel, just fine-tune it to try out different methods. They aren't the only ones, either, I don't think.

I see, I see. Thank you.

In that case, there doesn't seem to be much of a trick or gimmick we could employ to even the playing field, does there?

We'll just have to overwhelm it, will we...

How are we gonna do that?

Oh, god.

And who would strut in but American special forces unit SECT11, led by the illustrious Sakuraba siblings.

Wha—who are you?

You're all here, then.

Great. Good for you.

Thanks for making the long trip. Shouji and Izumi. Last I saw you two, you were just recruits.

We've been promoted. Leader and lieutenant of SECT11.

Congratulations on that, then. Sorry to say, but you won't have time to unpack—we need a war council on the Marunouchi effort immediately. If you would?

There was a moment of silence.


Hahahahaha! What a laugh.

Palling around with a bunch of little kids, even being friends with some 'human dragon'? What happened to, "By the time we're done with them, our descendants won't even know what we called them"?

Oh my god, KY! Read the room!

We won't be operating under you, or your little Murakumo.

And why... would that be?

Well, enjoy the battlefield!

You're seriously going to go out there and try and kill it by yourselves?

I can't let you do that! Pride goeth before destruction!

The hell it does? The data says that Imperial's strong, yeah, but that doesn't change things—you'd just get in the way.

We'll go get the job done, so go hide in the corner or whatever you do.

American exceptionalism at its finest.

I mean, you folks have your 'Yamato spirit', it's not like you're special.

Awww, is the little baby angry nobody cares what she thinks?

You bitch—!

Don't you speak to her like that!

Hey, cutie in the fatigues? Once you're done whining about it, you can come see the results.

How dare you?!

Richter stomped his foot.

You believe you have the right to come in here and belittle everything we've done? I don't care how strong you are! This is not a joke, and if you can't treat it as one, then frankly, we don't want you! You don't have the right to mock us, or Miss Emille, or the SDF, or any of our comrades!

What, 'cause this backwater hole's the only military that would take a deadbeat deserter like you?


Hey, be nice. Everyone's got their reasons for dropping out. Anyway, we'll be off killing that Imperial. Later!

This isn't over.

Sure it is. Kumbaya, right?

Leave, now. But this conversation isn't over.

They did.

Please let them be evil. Please let them be evil. Please, listen, Buddha, I don't ask you for much, man, but please let them be evil.

I unclenched my hands and let out a breath I hadn't realized I was holding.

Hey, Chisa.


If you ever do go full dragon and eat the planet, can you do me a favor and destroy America first? I don't think Hikasa was thorough enough.

Yeah, sure. That sounds great.

I mean, what the hell is wrong with these people?! Who just comes in and says shit like that?!

I miss Takehaya, man. I mean he was kind of a tool for a while but at least he was like an experimental subject and also he really wanted to kiss Aitelle.

There's no time to mope around!

We can't just let them do as they please!


Right! We're going, too!

Yeah! Let's stick it to 'em!

Buncha fuckin' punks. Oughta learn to sit down and shut up once in a while.

...I'm not...

I'm not... I'm not a deadbeat. I didn't... I didn't just 'drop out'. I didn't. I didn't leave because I wasn't good enough. I didn't. I...

Richter? You... you okay, buddy?

Mio... I...

You know nobody's gonna push you, right? You can talk about you at your own pace.

You're you. And we all know you.


Right. Yes, I do know that.

..."I need to be myself, and not somebody else—but it's not so much that I need to find something that makes me myself, so much as me not being myself if I lose something."

What's that?

Something a friend of mine told me once, is all.

We should hurry on. It seems time won't wait for us to become stronger.

Next time, no, really, like, fuck off, SECT11.

The United States in the first 2020 was a pretty average fictional depiction of the US.

The United States in 2020-II is how I would actually expect the US and its soldiers to behave in the case of a Dragon apocalypse.

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