Now was the time in the war when we could all come together, to remember those we'd lost, and fight onward to prevent any more needless casualties.
...Then came September 22nd.
Part 86: For the Day that Must Come
We awoke to a heavy shaking...
...and the alarm going off.
Calling Unit 13! Did you feel that just now?! We're on red alert, with emergency directives for you—please, head for Murakumo HQ!
Yeah, I feel you on that one.
Everyone feel awake?
I slept rather well, honestly.
Mrowr! Whine! I need sufficient amounts of sleep!
GASP! Is that our favorite customer post glow-up?!
The one and only. No problems over here, I hope?
Think we haven't got our things nailed down?
Well, this pair of tongs did get stuck in my hair.
I keep telling you to trim that damn mop.
I'm busy! This stuff isn't gonna build itself!
Ah, boys, eh, Satsuki?
Oh! Are we on a post-glow-up first-name basis now?!
You can take it that way.
I think I will!
Anything to declare?
Well, as it happens, yes.
I have a message from Mr. Masaki. He says, "EX! Uaaaaaaaah!! EX!!!! I'm not simply having EX, my entire being has truly become EX!"
Perhaps he's finally lost his last ties to reality.
I'm not sure what he meant, but please see him after your emergency directives to ensure he doesn't hurt himself?
AYO, what's good, folks?
Hey, you! Where do you get off?
Well, my stop used to be at Shinjuku.
Neko, honey, we've had this talk a few times now, I'm simply built different.
Izumi was being oddly quiet.
Hey, why aren't you saying anything, ya chatty Kathy? You look white as a sheet... aw, get out! Are you scared of earthquakes, girl?
Earthquakes are much rarer in the United States. They're scary if you're not used to them, I know!
I-I said I was fine! I'm not scared!
...okay, there we go. Thanks for waiting. Let's begin the emergency meeting.
You said it was a 5.0?
Somewhere around there, yeah.
You good with earthquakes, Richter?
I've gotten that joke before. As it happens, I've experienced a few, so you needn't worry about me. Have we found the epicenter?
West part of Tokyo, in Akiruno. Finding it wasn't the problem.
Thirty kilometers?! How far down do those ruins go?
Great question. You have any idea, Chisa?
Well, something like that is definitely the work of an Imperial Dragon. If you're talking about the ruins in the underground, I'd hazard a guess that the Imperial Dragon inside there must've been used in the conquest of a prior planet, and it's recreating a location it lived in there—but that's a massive structure for one Imperial to reconstruct whole-cloth, so I'm not sure how far down it would go... I'd need to get closer to have a better idea of what's going on.
Well, good. We need to meet it on favorable terms before it's too late to exterminate it.
But Akiruno's a hell of a trip. Who's going?
Sgt. Makita: Reception that deep's gonna be poor. No offense to you guys, but without a navigator you're gonna be hard-pressed.
We'll give them technical backup while they investigate the local surroundings.
Ah, much like the Yotsuya operation?
Well, hopefully this time I won't catch a cold while I'm out there. In my absence, Shizuka, I'll be naming you interim president.
Huh. Well, then, I guess it's decided. We'll defend the Diet Building. Counting on you guys for the rest.
That's our job!
Oh boy oh boy! I can't wait to go really deep underground!
Alright, everyone, dismissed! Unit 13, meet me when you're ready to head out.
Are you quite well?
Masaki: You taunt me with the scientific marvel standing before me and ask me if I'm well?! I'm more than well! I'm EX! EX!!!!!
Masaki: I don't have any interest in romance! All I'm interested in is EX! EX Skills, to be precise! It's time for the six of you to unlock your force once more! It's time for Fudoji to jump! For Inomiko to stab! For Nagataka to unleash her sick and twisted inner machinations!
Ah, yes. Have you gotten gg.bat working again?
Masaki: Have I?!
We've unlocked the EX Skills from the first game now... and also Mio's. They cost 9000. I'd saved up.
Huh. You're right, I probably am about ready to start doing that again.
Come to think of it, where did I put that thing? Sumie, did I leave Nanako's figurine at home?
yeah i think so
Masaki: Luckily, I have it right here!
Did you break into our home?!
How dare you?!
Masaki: Being a skill scientist means that sometimes you need to go beyond the limits of what's considered reasonable!
Then he stabbed me.
OW OW OW OW OW
Masaki: Show me your force, Unit 13! I need to see it! The endless well of inspiration within my skull can't be allowed to dry until I'm a husk on the ground!
I'm worried about this guy. I think this war happening so fast might be bad for him.
The excitement may be too much for his mind, you're right.
Masaki: By the way, do you all happen to have any backups of the folders on server 7C? A few of them seem to have gone missing.
Ah, yes. That's odd, though.
Masaki: I'll let you know if I figure out what happened to those, but they seem to have just vanished. It's the strangest thing. But I've given up on trying to salvage them myself—there are more important things! Like skill development!
One of these days we're gonna have to get you help for this whole needles thing of yours, Chisa.
What's your take, Hamachi?
Hamachi: Sorry, sorry. I... tried to say it all cute to break the tension from the earthquakes. I'm naturally a bass.
So you're trying to torture me so I can know Chisa's pain, is that it?
Oh hi, yo, hero-tachi! Nani the heck is good?! That jishin shook my jishin!
Got any errands for us?
Do I?! Ne, Youka-mama, am I Sharon Furusuga? Mochirof course I've got quests!
Oh, no. First I get stabbed and now it's time to deal with this again?
Ne, ne, remember this one? Believe in tenshis? How 'bout pixies? Fancy yourself a cupid? Manic Pixie-chan says she's heard rumors about SECT11, and wants to send 'em something!
Of course that lot were the only ones who didn't show to the Diet Building.
Is this what they call 'cultural exchange'? Ne, should we really be helping those guys out?
Dear Ma'am, hello, totally truly yours... letter writing is hard!
Why didn't she just mention she had a favor to ask at the meeting?
Neko works in strange ways.
Aww, she's just bein' shy, ne, Neko? Best of luck! Sincerely, Sharon!
Hm. And this is from the Navis. Perhaps they simply thought it was the wrong time?
I know this is sudden, but kitte up! SKY members are nemuri like heck! They've been working for maji days, but they can't do it forever like you, hero-tachi!
You think we can do this forever? If this doesn't end by the time October hits I'm just gonna keel over dead.
Also, we might all starve.
Don't be so glum, my chum-tachi! Point is, this request's to go find the cause! Vamanayaku!
We suffered totemo too many casualties in the black Dragon and darkbloom attack on the Diet. But, we're staying alive! We've still gotta go forward from here. Rin-chan's holding a remembrance ceremony for the dead. Shouldn't you guys attend as well?
Yeah. That sounds good.
Then let's go! Move forward, never forget, ganbarimasu!
Hey, Miku. How's it going?
Well. The room is spacious enough for me to pace in. One day, I should probably thank Prime Minister Inuzuka for his consideration.
Why haven't you?
I'm particularly hesitant about talking to politicians I don't know.
Yeah, I feel that. When your existence is inherently political it makes conversations feel like a landmine.
I like your ears.
But you're right. I'm also unhappy about his plans regarding the attack on the Diet, so I've been content to allow my thanks to be implied for the time being.
But other than that you're basically good?
Yes. I do wish I could help more, but I understand that my just being here has a positive effect on people, so I do my best to help out that way.
It is likely for the best that you allow combatants to handle the combat, unless you've been outfitted with weapons since last we spoke.
Maybe a rocket punch would be nice. Just to have.
Murakumo does have a dedicated roboticist. Maybe we can ask her about the feasibility of that.
You want a rocket punch that bad?
It would be nice. Just to have.
Now hey, we had to go check on Miku. You could've told us when we were in the meeting!
Hey, c'mon, I'm not that impatient. I'm just givin' ya guff!
True, that is guff.
What's going on?
Oh, MP Ariake? Yes.
Ugh, I knew it! I mean, I wasn't doing so hot, y'know. I was barely listening, and this dumbass fool goes off while I'm out of it and does this crap?
All this fewer mouths to feed bullshit?! He's the worst! It's so selfish!
I concur. Politicians are some of the most unpleasant sorts of people.
I mean, if it weren't for you guys and Kirino, the whole team, all those volunteers woulda died, y'know?!
I don't wanna see his stupid face right now, and I might smack him on his bald spot, so you go give it to him, okay?
God I totally get it. You can count on me.
Good! We're besties for a reason.
That girl's right over here, yes?
Manic Pixie: Wow, there were cat ears under those goggles?
You had a request for us, yes?
Manic Pixie: You remember last time, I tried to offer my angel an onigiri, but I heard he didn't like it much. So I'm trying one of these!
Manic Pixie: All those boring facemasks are so spartan. So I wove this out of flowers I picked myself! He'll like this for sure, right?
Maybe more? I guess?
Yeah, I don't like your odds.
I'm sure it'll go over well.
Manic Pixie: Oh, yeah, and of course, just as my angel requested, I included some bourbon and cigars! You know, the cigars were hard to come by—I had to settle for candy cigarettes. And I didn't really know what bourbon was... so I got some whiskey bon-bons! And... I heard he was injured, so I included some medicine!
Manic Pixie: So I really, really hope you can give this to him in time before he leaves. Thanks a bundle!
This one's gonna be depressing, huh.
Oh, thank you! We really appreciate it. How much?
Forlorn Girl: I just need 2000 Az, if that's okay.
as the unit treasurer, i hereby declare:
LOOT ! ! !
2 Heal Aero 4s, 3 Silver Waters, and 5 Nano Hopes.
Forlorn Girl: Ah, gosh! My hands are full! How do I keep it from spilling?! How do you?!
I'm a hoarder.
Novice Nun: The miraculous prophecylactic, the Stop Cut—
2500 to shut you up and take the thing.
Novice Nun: May the Lord protect you and watch over wherever you go, our heroes...
I can't hear that rant any more times.
Shame the toys are nice.
Crafty Woman: This time, I've got a set of bentos! Not like I cooked them for you, though—or would it be better to say I did?
Where did you get them, then? Perhaps those should go to people who aren't us?
LOOT ! ! !
1000 Az for 8 Fried Bentos, 5 Flag Bentos, and 5 Tasty Bentos. Tasty Bentos are 140 to the whole party, so this is really good value.
MANIC Manager: These SP Up 500s are seriously wicked. They're the last ones I've got! Even if I got more, you want these now? I think they're worth about 1500 Az, whaddaya say? C'mon, do it! Do it! Do it! Dooooo it!
We do it, because 1 Az for 1 SP is a good deal.
MANIC Manager: Boom! I knew you had a good eye. Alright, here're the goods! High five, seeya next week!
And that's when I ran out of money, so let's go somewhere else.
Rin. We got your notice.
What, about the memorial? Man, you guys are this busy and you're still—thanks. I'm sure everyone else is glad too. ...I should learn better what your active times on the board are, though.
Hey, we're a bunch of busybodies. Don't worry too much about it.
This isn't just about the SDF. Murakumo, SKY, SECT11... Everyone's lost a lot of people. Everything's just about ready, but I was wondering if you could find some representatives of each force to speak? I know most of us haven't come to terms, but I want anyone who can to participate. If any of you guys could, that'd be great too, but no pressure.
You got it.
We haven't delivered the letter yet, but we have a request from Major Dojima. Do you feel up to speaking at a memorial service?
What, like a common memorial? About time they do something like that.
...Yeah, I think we need this. We were at the front. Even now, all we talk about is Daigo this, Daigo that.
Hey, no moping around! You've got jobs to do! I'll let everyone know. Thanks for the heads up!
Taichi: C'mon, Shichiro, just a bit to the left. Just a bit.
Shichiro: This is quite the precision work. Are you sure you wouldn't rather someone else helped you out here?
Taichi: We're teammates, c'mon!
Doesn't look like they're listening. Wonder what they're working on?
Guess being the leader of SECT11 means I've gotta handle crap like this now. ...Ugh, Sho'll be pissed at me if I screw this up. Okay, fine, let's send Shouji and Tony off proper! Thanks for letting us participate.
This made me giggle, so I'm including it.
Got some mail for you, man.
MP Ariake: For me? ...
He took a moment to peruse it.
MP Ariake: Neiko... no, Neko of SKY. I understand her feelings, and I'll accept her how she is. However, I wish to have my say. Could you give me a moment?
He took a few minutes to draft up a note of his own.
MP Ariake: You must think it odd to ferry letters over this distance, but I fear we couldn't speak cordially if we spoke face-to-face.
It's not the oddest thing we've been tasked with.
Okay, NOW we delivered the letter. Here's his reply.
That's either 30 or 31 gs in that ugh. I lost count and my eyes blur together when I'm trying to count things like that. Very relatable!
Ohmigawd, enough already! I don't even understand what half of these words mean! Ugh!
Seriously. You'd think they'd speak Japanese like the rest of us.
...Does this guy, even after that stupid decontamination team strategy and all the crap he spouted, does he really still think he did nothing wrong? I didn't think anyone could be that stupid. Hey! You mind waiting a second? I've gotta write back!
I don't think this is going to go anywhere if you keep writing back and forth. It would be best for you to go speak to him yourself.
And what do you know? And how come I'm the one who has to go meet him, how's that fair?! I mean, he's the one who obviously doesn't wanna see me anymore in the first place!
Mine did, too.
My... my mom. Tried to volunteer for the suicide squad with Emille and Daigo. Didn't say anything about it. Thought that would make everything better between us, I guess. Tried to come out with us, too. Might've gotten kicked off the decontamination team, too, but she didn't mention.
I... what's with these adults?
I mean, I don't like her. It's real complicated, just like you and MP Ariake. But I didn't want her to just die like that. Charging off like that without actually solving the issues you've caused with your kid is an awful thing to do. I'm with you. But I don't think he's gonna get that that's how you feel unless you tell him that yourself. Mine didn't.
...Ugh, fine, fine, I get it.
If I've got something important to say, I oughta say it now.
Attagirl. You want us to come with?
Please, ugh, can you imagine?
MP Ariake: You were the one to demand explanation. I concede I'm not proud of the means, but your... living situation leaves me no choice but to express myself strenuously.
What's weird about my living situation?! What, you want me to stay with you? We've got no connections and nothing in common! That's what'd be weird!
MP Ariake: I'm simply trying to do my duty to you! I sit on the front bench of the Diet!
MP Ariake: ...as a statesman, and I dare say a sensible man, I feel I have an understanding of what is proper.
Jeez! Quit caring what all those people think! Why don't you care about what I think?! Were you like this when your wife died, too?!
MP Ariake: Tomoko—T-Tomoko... it was hard, yes, but she understood that I had duties I was obligated to fulfill.
I'm not gonna go easy on you just because you've got some stupid 'duties'!
You all just want to die on your own terms, and leave us with your messes! And I hate it! The people left behind matter, too!
MP Ariake: Neiko... I'm... I'm sorry, I—
I just—I just wanna make sure you don't come up with some other dumb idea! Let's go, guys!
MP Ariake: Neiko!!
MP Ariake: ...Thank you for bringing her here to me.
I hope you're not expecting sympathy. None of us approved of your plan, either.
MP Ariake: It seems I've got a long way to go before I can truly call myself a father.
I get it's hard. I get it. But it's not like I'm gonna go, "Oh, yeah, no, all is forgiven!" These politicians act like that gives them the right to do whatever they want. They're so stupid. I hate it.
I think he got that part, but whether he'll listen is another story.
But... y'know, it's like... at least I got to see his face. At least he's still here. Lotta people aren't. So...
Hey, you've got us, at least.
Yeah, guess that's true. Look, uh—I don't have much to give you.
We also get two SP Up 200s.
So, you want me to come over tonight and pet you on the head or something?
Hey, guys. From the looks on your faces you aren't ready to go just yet.
Not yet, no. Do you mind being in attendance for a common memorial the SDF is holding?
Maybe this will help to move on. Yes, of course we'll be in attendance.
now let's take a few steps beside you
I told you when their quest-taking hours were!
Yeah, but I told her to hide it!
I also told you she wasn't listening. But come on, Miroku. It's Unit 13. They never change, no matter how weary they are.
It's one of our best traits.
You're saying that like it's a joke, but it's true. You guys never abandon anyone in trouble.
We're still investigating the cause, but there's a strong correlation between the ones with enhanced abilities and accumulative fatigue. In other words—
It's cases of Akaneno's fatigue. Removing limitations or gaining new abilities also unlimits wear.
The dev team's got medication on hand to alleviate fatigue for Murakumo Akaneno's patients these days, but for some reason it's not compatible with SKY.
So, we're trying to find another way. Unit 13, we're hoping you can work together with the research team and get us a drug!
This damned disease won't leave us be.
Of course we'll help.
Yo, Marina! What's good!
Sumie! Hi! And Unit 13! Hi!
Hey. How's it going?
Um... good luck! To you, and Kirino, and the two Navis, too. To everyone!
That's sweet. Hopefully, we won't need it!
Oh we always need good luck. Sometimes I need to hit sweet spots and it just only works sometimes.
Mmhm. Luck's important.
Attagirl. You've learned well, child.
We have a request for anti-fatigue drugs for SKY.
Zealous Researcher: Oh ho! I wanted to make something new for them anyhow, how fortuitous.
Zealous Researcher: Back when the bay was still frozen over we could find it there, but I've heard tell that a Blizzasaurus has been found over in Ikebukuro, too.
Convenient. We were heading there anyhow.
Good to hear.
Everyone's gathering in the plaza. You mind coming with?
We headed out to the Diet Plaza and joined the crowd.
We're going to take a moment here, and put all our comrades to rest.
If we can all keep moving forward, keep pushing ahead, just as we did before... I think that's what they'd want.
So now, for all those who killed in this campaign, for all those who laid down their lives... please join me in a moment of silence.
Kirino has a few words.
But without them, without their sacrifice, none of us would be standing here today. The thing we can do for them is keep fighting. Without fear, keep fighting, every day. Keep believing that humanity can win. Let us continue to fight together, as one!
When Sasuga laid down his life, even though my head accepted it, I couldn't let him go in my heart. But... today, with everyone together, I felt like we said goodbye. Felt like we sent him off how he deserved. Instead of moping about it, I've got a new duty. To ensure his death won't be in vain.
It was a good memorial. We didn't really do much.
Having you here meant as much as having anyone else here. Besides, you had people you wanted to mourn yourselves, right?
Of course. Thank you, General.
And two SP Up 200s.
We're picking up a lot of bentos today, huh?
You changed quick.
You think I haven't been taking that stuff on and off for years now? C'mon, let's sit.
But sometimes I gotta admit it's nice to just relax in a swank joint and chat.
It's the sort of thing we don't get much of these days.
So... after all this, I gotta ask, just so I know.
If you want broad strokes, I'd say we're all interested in protecting people.
That's not an awful way to put it. In different ways, yes, but that is a running theme.
About the same thing that drives us, then.
But we've had to deal with two Dragon disasters. We've taken immeasurable casualties. It's hard not to feel like we've failed, y'know? I feel so frustrated, angry... like I can't forgive myself. But as long as there are still people living in Japan, still people daring to hope, we're going to keep protecting them.
I get the feeling. You're made of tough stuff, Rin.
He left a note?
It's a tradition in the SDF these days. Everyone in the Force has one in case something happens. It's just something we all do on our own. Because we've all decided we're willing to lay down our lives in service of the greater good.
You had a lot to get off your chest, huh?
Oh, yeah. You guys are lucky you have each other to yell at. If I said sappy stuff like this to everyone else they'd laugh at me. Anyway, Sumie. You've got the most use for SDF gear, so I figured I'd bring you this. Congratulations for... uh, becoming a catgirl, or something.
you're making me a very happy nyan, you know. you're ever so kind to me. how can i possibly repay your generosity.
Use this stuff to kill Dragons, is what I'd like.
We'll have to wait a bit longer for the ultimate guns, but Sumie is now decked out. Thanks, Rin! You have no idea how much easier this makes things on my wallet!
Not now, game, I'm sidequesting!
Anyway, thankfully we only have one destination outside of the Diet today.
When we arrived at the Hub at Ikebukuro, our targets were stuck in combat conveniently close.
Frank: Cram it, Ricky! Another wave's coming!
Ricky: Goddamn it!
Seems we'll be rescuing you again.
Frank: What the fu—is that a catgirl?!
This Freeze Dragon has less HP—only 3706—but higher stats by a fairly large margin, in particular losing its predecessor's relative weakness to magic and just having equal defenses.
It's good to be back, baby!
I think it's gonna rear up to blast us, so we should be careful.
How bad's the blast.
Well, this kind's predictable. Always like those.
Sumie, do us a favor and guard?
You got it boss
Owww thank you for your noble sacrifice Mio
No problem, I try.
Tch. Think this asshole's cruising for a bruising.
Try to stay safe, okay?
You want some more of this, asshole?
Wait Mio. I recognize that powerful aura. I think her true power may have finally returned.
That's true. She does seem rather angry.
In that case, go, go, Youka! Give 'em what for!
About sick of you assholes and your shit!
eeeehehehehehehehehehehe i have the coolest maternal figure
Y'know, I saw it a few times while were in space, but that never gets any less shocking.
Skyhigh Meteor has taken a slight nerf in terms of its raw power. But, like... it's still Skyhigh Meteor. And with Attack Beat on our side, whoahoho, yeah baby. That Freeze Dragon was still taking a 20% reduction from all damage. Simply get absolutely crunched.
Unfortunately, we weren't quick enough to prevent one member of the group from being direly injured.
Somewhere along the line, though, the 5th Platoon had also been called.
Pvt. Senba: Pupils are dilated... no pulse. Dammit, we might be a minute too late!
Pvt. Kagawa: We're rapid response! He's in critical condition, we need to get him to the Diet—
Ricky: L-let go!
Frank: You're here because of a misunderstanding. We're not a rescue priority for you. We're US soldiers, strong and proud.
Sgt. Yoshino: ...acknowledged. But at least let us grieve this loss, of a brave fighter who fell in battle.
Sgt. Yoshino: Fifth platoon, all units, retreat!
Yeah, yeah, whatever. Hey, so we've got a delivery for you.
Frank: Gah! Oh, right, the catgirl.
Quit reacting. You guys all came here to try and kidnap another catgirl.
Frank: These from the same girl as before?
You've got a real dedicated fan.
Frank: Sheesh, this garland's just like her. Don't even know where she found the time to get flowers together in a place like that.
Ricky: What the hell, candy and cigars again?! What, was this for Jon?! What is it with him and this garbage?
Ricky: Just a minute ago, he was whining about how he wanted candy for a change. Like... like nothing was happening.
(Let's not. It's probably better we let that go.)
Frank: ...Thanks, Unit 13. And thank that girl for me.
They were off before we could try and corral them into coming back to the Diet.
Seems we've still got more work to do before we can prevent all needless casualties.
Pigheaded idiots. You'd think they'd be a bit more concerned, being the last of their entire country's military.
Anyway, the Blizzasaurus we're looking for is over here on 400m, through the south segment of the Rim.
You lost over there li'l bud? Want us to bring you back home?
We'll send you back home to the waters of Tokyo Bay, baby!
In a shallow undersea grave?
You got it!
The Blizzasaurus isn't nearly as tough as the Freeze Dragon. It's pretty weak to magic and is generally frailer, with only 2834 HP. It also lacks any multi-target attacks, as it happens.
Come to me, power of my eternal flesh!
True Pro gives Mio a buff that gives her a Death's Door-esque auto-life effect. It's nice.
Much like the evasion accessories we've gotten, the SDF Guard's evasion buff stacks with the Hiding evasion buff. Sumie's rocking +40% evasion or so now. It's pretty good.
Happy to help!
my mystic eyes... their sight deepends
Might not need them though.
Gonna have to hit harder than that, buster!
Yeah I won't actually need them.
Oops, try again!
Woohoo! I'm really getting into the swing of things again. Yeah!
It's amazing what having relatively few problems can do for us, isn't it?
I'll say. Maybe you resting more often has something to do with it, too.
Huh. Yeah, that's true. I mean, I'm still tired, but.
Alright, there's the Frost Plasma we need. Back to the Diet.
Yes, but... well, unfortunately one of his squadmates died, and he wouldn't come back to the Diet Building.
Manic Pixie: But that's... so sad. I-I'd rather he were safe and sound... U-um, anyway, here's the reward I promised you! Please take this! And you don't go doing anything rash, either! I'm watching you!
And two SP Up 300s.
Alright, next to deal with this.
Zealous Researcher: Now, quickly! The Frost Plasma!
As usual, when the research team wanted to get something done, they could get it done quite quickly.
Zealous Researcher: Just for SKY use, a new wonder drug!
We'll go hand it out to everyone in SKY right now!
Zealous Researcher: It'll pep them right up in no time at all! I guarantee it! But, you know... I'm reminded that you two Navis have been modified in a similar fashion.
We-well, uh, no, no we're super different!
Yeah! No, and we're—we're not bothered at all!
I know how you two feel, but if it's offered to you, you should take it.
Look, it's fine! We're used to this kind of thing. It's been this way since the day we were born.
It's better if we save this sort of thing for those of us out on the front lines!
Zealous Researcher: It's fine to say that, but keep treating your bodies like this and they'll fall apart faster!
Tell that to her. She made it to twenty before she needed anything done.
You understand I'm not an aspirational example, yes? I did that in the hopes that others wouldn't have to.
...I don't want you two to die. None of us do. You're... you're family.
Uh... w-well, I mean...
We know, okay? But until this is over, they need it more than we do. Doing what you have to for people you care about is also part of being a family, right?
...You have a point, unfortunately.
Damn right I do! I'm a smart guy, I've thought about these things.
Hey, so have I! I just have a harder time talking about them.
I didn't say you didn't!
Yeah! We'll talk about this more after you beat Fomalhaut, okay? Oh—this is all I have, but please take it!
We also get an SP Up 500. The Giant Medal is +10 ATK, MAT, and Speed. It's super good, again.
We should see them before we go.
Mrs. Nagataka: If it isn't my favorite chief execution officers! Wow, look at you, Sumie. Looking like the cat's meow!
Aren't I just? It's a great look on me, right?
Mrs. Nagataka: It really ties the whole look together. Oh, and I love the gradient on your hair! Is that natural?
Yeah, actually. It's a Lucier thing.
Mrs. Nagataka: I got you this Bootknife as a present! How's 3000 Az sound?
Well, I did just get this really nice knife...
BUT MORE KNIVES!!!
Mrs. Nagataka: That's our Sumie, eh, Koron?
It's literally 43 less number than the Blazing Ifrit and lacks a status rider. I buy it anyway because MORE DEALS.
Polite Girl: This one looks like it might suit you, sir. This Fullmoon disc!
Ah, yes. Thank you. This is a lovely piece.
Yes, I did just buy two new weapons for the two people who have their best weapons already. Why?
There's no new deals on Res D.
There's no new deals on Res D.
Hey, we're here.
Sorry to bother you when you're busy.
I always feel so shy talking like this...
Hey, no need for that. So, what's up?
But we're sure you guys can do it.
After all you went through last year and this year, there's no way you'll lose! You're all just incredible!
You two have really grown a lot.
Do... do you really think so? I think it's because of you all, in that case.
I really do think the two of you are incredible. Being able to continue fighting under all this pressure at your age...
Well, we have people to look up to. None of you have it easy at all.
Yeah. Koron's been doing the same thing since she was our age.
I'm going to reiterate here that I am not an aspirational example here.
You can be inspirational, though!
And our mission as Navigators will end, too. It's a bit of a lonesome thought.
Oh, sure, like the last time it 'ended'?
I was worried. That maybe—
That's not true at all!
I stood up in my seat for a moment, before awkwardly sitting back down.
That's not true at all. You two have more value getting to live your own lives than burning out in Murakumo. You have so much to offer the world. You have unique viewpoints that nobody else can have. I'd never be able to live with myself if you died thinking your lives were useless! Jeanne, Miroku—you're important to me.
Even though you've got your real little brother back?
Were... you weren't worried about that, were you? You two—you two aren't replacements for anything.
Well, I was—fine. I was a little worried.
You... really mean that, right?
Of course. Always. I'm... I'm sorry I've been such a mess of a big sister. I really am. I want to be more reliable. I want to do more for you, and everyone who relies on me. Sometimes it feels like the only thing I know how to do anymore is fight, but I want peace, and I want that peace with you two there.
Before this broke out, they started trying to talk to that guy who worked on Koron. So maybe... maybe something will work out that's the best of both worlds. But even if not, there's always removing our condition like we talked about last year.
If you can get him to work with Murakumo scientists, I have no doubt you can find something.
We were putting off the decision for a while. It was a non-starter. I didn't want to lose being useful.
But... I think we're finally ready to tell them how we feel.
...If that's alright by you?
Right now, I really couldn't tell you anything I'd want more.
Yeah. You go and tell them, okay?
And we'll do our best to end the war as fast as we can for you kids' sakes, too.
Oh! Um, we tried to make you something together.
I mean, everyone likes the occasional sweet, right? I feel like we screwed up somewhere following the recipe—but, uh, they'll be fine! I'm sure you'll love 'em!
Thank you. Thank you both so much. I'm sure they'll be great. Okay, are you ready to head out to Akiruno?
Ugh, we have to stand right next to Kirino. Who wants that?
It's really cute how much you love them, y'know.
Well, it's only natural. Don't you?
...I think it was about then that a thought started forming in the back of my mind. Sure, of course, they said that. There was more hope than last time, and I was fairly certain that there wouldn't be another Dragon attack in their lifespans. But... could I guarantee that? What if things continued the same way they had? What if all of this uncertainty, the fear of two simultaneous worldwide disasters, led them to continue putting it off until they died? They were good children, with a strong will to help people. I worried that they might just keep going, putting themselves last time and time again.
It was only in the back of my mind, the thought that this started leading me to. But I think that's about when it started.
Next time, we head out to the ruins at Akiruno.
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