Isn't that laughable? I was willing to hope, myself, and I should've known that only pessimism would be rewarded in a situation like this.
—The 5th True Dragon, Fomalhaut. He was called the God of Plagues, for he destroyed planets with ailments designed to strike terror into a rapidly-deteriorating populace. He devoured too quickly, devoured too small a subsection of the whole of all consciousness, to have ever achieved VFD—and yet the same traits which made him incapable of achieving the truest pinnacle made him a far deadlier opponent than Niara had been.
Our luck was about to run out.
Part 76: Endless Crisis
I woke up with a curious, not-quite-painful feeling running through my body. The air was heavy, and I could hardly sleep. No, I was energized—but there was an eerie quiet in the air that made my hairs stand on end.
There's a bit of a red fog effect. Oh boy.
Ugh... W-what the hell's wrong with the ventilation today?
Koron was staggering out of bed.
I don't feel quite myself either. Do you need someone to support you?
Here, I got you.
She started coughing.
Okay, so it's not just me.
We should probably go see what's going on.
Are you alright?
Yeah. I mean, I don't feel great, but I can live. You?
We walked out of the room to see Will on his knees, and the Sakurabas just in front. I'd have asked how he figured out how to make a bento properly so quickly, but we had more pressing concerns.
Just yesterday this place was popping. This... isn't normal, isn't it?
Do I... look like it's normal?
Looks like you're in the same state we are. Everyone in SECT11's feeling broken-down, too. Probably oughta... report to Ms. Emille.
Tony: Ah, c'mon... I get it, I get it. (Lemme tell you—I love seeing this chick get mad and scrunch her face up.)
Nami: Everyone's suffering through this, and we can't even properly treat them...
Asumu: What on earth... do you want? Here to... tell me I need... more training? I'm well—aware, you old... fools... I don't need your pity!
Himuro: Even with SECT11 signing on, our forces are at less than half overall strength. If that underground Imperial comes knocking or something...
At least you seem to be doing alright, sir.
Himuro: Oh trust me, I feel awful. I've just dealt with worse. I think.
*cough, cough!* I'd seen the reports, but I needed to experience it firsthand.
Yeah, that would explain it.
Fuck... come on, I already...
Unfortunately, Koron, no amount of reconstructive surgery could assist your immune system against ambient toxicity as extreme as this seems.
So. Any ideas what in blazes is happening?
Uh. Yes. One.
The emergency alarm system began to blare.
Who's good to fight?!
Damn, what is it this time?!
Dragons, here? How unlucky can you guys get?
This one's new.
Shouji, Izumi. Are you alright to fight?
Yeah, we're working through it.
Come on, let's go!
Anyone who could stand—Murakumo, SECT11, and SDF alike—headed out to in front of the Diet Building. The sky had taken on an ill tint, and the air only got heavier outside.
Large group of incoming Dragons... first impact in twenty seconds!
It's like a freakin' flock of swallows!
But they weren't landing to begin an assault. They were flying overhead, making a show of it. This was the second time I'd been caught in a storm like this.
No. They're just setting the stage.
W-wait, you're not—
Show yourself! Quit screwing around!
What the hell is that?!
W-we weren't quick enough...
Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.
What?! No, this has to be wrong! This reading could only be... Fomalhaut?!
Some time ago, we had been crushed simply by the force of this projection. We could stand now, to be certain—but the purpose of this projection here was not to declare ownership any longer.
A sphere of unearthly space began to worm its way into the air, crackling with energy unlike any we had faced before—
—and then split, wrent asunder by its occupant's entry into our world.
Thus did Earth lay its eyes on its new king for the first time.
I could feel my heart burning. Every cell within my body lit aflame at the sight of him. My bones, my muscles, all of the pieces that made me 'me' wanted to tear themselves out of my flesh to attack him.
He turned his head down to see me, and in response,
licked his lips.
He let loose a howl which tore through the air, blasting away all those who he cared nothing for.
SECT11 and the SDF were powerless against his edict.
The black lightning that surrounded him began to corrupt our home.
And the sky turned black, as clouds of his fell wyverns closed in to choke the life out of us.
God damn it, what the fuck?! He could've done this the whole time?!
We—we need to stay calm! If we don't—
Stay calm?! You want us to stay calm?!
I can't—I can't—
How dare you intrude upon my home?! This planet is mine!
My thanks for informing me. I shall be sure to etch those words into my memory.
I'm outta here! Nope! Nope! Nope!
I'll kill you! I'LL KILL YOU!
Die! Die! Die! Die!
...Is that all? I wait for you with arms outstretched, and this is all you give me?
There's no way for you to beat it! Richter, Youka, please, take the rest of them and run!
No—let me, let me fight—!
Alright, idiot, c'mon!
Youka grabbed Mio and the rapidly-fading Koron, and Richter did his best to corral Sumie.
Unit 13, get the hell out of there!
This isn't over! I'll kill you!
Petals of Bloom were already choking the lobby of the Diet Building. Kirino was halfway to hacking up a lung.
It's—it's the Black Bloom! Everyone! Get underground now! This position is compromised! Evacuate!
Mio, please, get up!
I-I'm not... I'm not dead...
Incidentally, we're taking damage over time just from running this short distance.
Hurry! Close the hatches!
Everybody kitte kudasai! This is a disaster throughout Tokyo-to! Get in the Diet as sassato as possible! ASAP! Let's beat feet, people!
Sec. Makabe: *cough, cough!* We must get underground at once! I always told you we should've dug deeper...
MP Ariake: This is not the time for such talk, Makabe! We must get everyone underground safely!
Prime Minister Inuzuka: At all times, we must be composed, resolute—
Evacuation of civilians is 98% complete, but it's dangerous to stay in HQ any longer!
You've done enough. Thank you.
But there are still people out there, and no one's guiding them... I-I can't—
We can remote into HQ from there! Jeanne, let's try it!
We found ourselves deep underground, in the ninth basement level of the Diet Building.
Fomalhaut's ill mist, though, refused to relent.
We blocked off the upper floors, but this Black Bloom's still coming in through the cracks. If the basement is shot, we've got a problem.
Alright. Open the warehouse as a shelter. We can gather all the evacuees there.
C'mon, we gotta keep going. Do you need to go lay down?
Don't you—p-patronize me—! *cough, cough!*
So... everyone's in here, huh?
Shattered MP: What do you think you're doing?! The Diet is occupied by Dragons?! SDF! Murakumo! Just what have you been doing all this time?!
The Warehouse has a lot of useful things it would really, really be in our best interest to pick up.
Wan Schoolgirl: Those things are s-s-so creepy... And there are like, billions of them up there?!
Sobbing Girl: I w-won't cry... I-if I cry, the Dragons will probably come, won't they?
Soothing Mother: I know, I know. You're a good girl, so please, try to hush.
Forgettable Guy: Can't believe you saved me... I thought I wouldn't have to worry about Dragons anymore, but that's a pipe dream.
Young Scientist: Th-th-this is... O-oh my god...
What do we even do?
I... I don't know.
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