This was a conversation that occurred a month or so after the incident in Yotsuya. Mio had joined us for a bit of routine material extraction from the outskirts of Shibuya, and we were heading back to City Hall.

—and y'know, personally I like playing as the mages. Rita was good.

i understand your opinion but i do not agree with it, aside from agreeing about rita being good

Who do you play as, then?

I can't believe you have to ask me that. I mean, consider the roster of Vesperia. Who do you even think.

Right, right, you're a dyed-in-the-wool Patty main. Chisa's vanilla, she just used Yuri.

of course she did

Had I been more tuned into this conversation, I would've had to actively stifle saying something on the subject, but my mind as elsewhere at the time.

Mio, I'm sorry to ask you this out of the blue, but have you gotten Mr. Ayafumi those labs, yet?

Think you me one who might not, Apostle of the Angelic Gauntlet?

...What?

Yeah, I'm gonna get them turned in today. Why does he want labs on me, anyway?

Richter looked away with an awkward grimace that said he was trying to avoid explaining how scientifically interesting he, and by extension Kirino, found her, because it would make him look weird.

He probably just wanted an excuse to get your measurements.

Excuse you. Even if I didn't already know her measurements, I would have no need to go about it in such a devious, underhanded manner.

No no, I get it, Richter. I mean, if you asked Chisa she'd say my measurements were pretty worth knowing—

So you're self-taught, right, Youka?

You see, my mind had been on Youka, who'd been taking the monsters in our path to the cleaners to facilitate casual conversation. She wiped the dust off of her legs and turned around amidst the awkward silence.

That I am. Why do you ask?

Well, it's just... knowing you were a pit fighter makes that all the more impressive. You didn't learn on the fly in the ring?

Sure I did. Not for all of it, of course, but I had to do a lot of on-the-fly learning. Why, some of my signature moves the announcers would call out as though it were from some sort of anime, I'd never even considered before I stepped into the ring.

...wait, was there a time where you weren't buff?

I'm hurt. You think I've been this buff my whole life?

I'm just having a hard time picturing it is all.

Well, no, I'll have you know I used to have the sort of physique you'd imagine of a high school girl, back when I was, y'know, a high school girl. Mostly I was just tall. A bit top-heavy.

Yes, I can see that. Why are you asking about this, Chisa?

Well, I was just wondering how she does it. I'd say she has the best grip on the fundamentals of combat of any of us, so I was thinking about trying to...

Um, pick her brain? Is that weird?

...I see.

I will be expecting you to pay in full once we return, Youka.

Never should've agreed to this bet.

Okay! Gather around for Pit Fighting 101 with Miss Youka, everyone!

Stats



So, the first thing you need to understand is that in order to win in a fight, you've got to go in fighting like it's your last. You take every punch like it doesn't even happen, or you lose. The person who flinches the most usually winds up on the floor. See, that's what getting in shape like this teaches you—you push through that pain, so you can push through a knife in your side, too.

What they don't tell you is how hot it feels when you get stabbed. How much it feels like everything in your guts are trying to escape you, the cold sweat, the shivers. You've gotta push through that, too.

And then you've gotta hit them right back. You can't win a fight without fighting. So you hit 'em hard.

That's how I'd lived my life up until then, anyway. Taking it a step further wasn't that big a deal, even if half the time I'd come home covered in sweat, about to vomit whatever I'd eaten on the floor from exhaustion.

And that's how the burly, indomitable lady you know and love came to develop her physique!



Wow, okay, cool. Now I know what to avoid.

Be glib all you like, kiddo, you seem like you're more of a wizardly type anyway.

You got that right!

Innate Ability

All attacks from the user, both normal attacks and attacking skills, attempt to inflict one stack of D-Depth on their target, with a 100% base chance.

D-Depth lasts 3 turns by default. The duration is reset to 3 turns if another stack is inflicted. Once a target has 3 stacks of D-Depth, more cannot be inflicted—and, by extension, the duration cannot be reset—until the stacks are either forcibly removed, or naturally wear off.

Alright! So, here's the basic fundamental of fighting with your fists.

Now, the advantages of your fists are pretty obvious. They're about as strong as you can make them, they don't weigh anything you're not used to lugging around, easily portable, and they're fast—you don't need to get used to them like you need to any other weapon. Plus you can augment them with knuckles, gauntlets, and the like.

On the other hand, they're short-range, can't output too much stopping power, and you need to be really damned strong to get them to work on anything tougher than flesh. If fists were all people needed, we wouldn't have needed weapons. But what people don't tell you about fistfights are what they teach you.

What would that be?

Say I were to throw a jab at your face, Chisa. What would you do?

I'd... probably try and dodge it, if I could...

No, no. On a more basic level.

...I'd throw up my hands, or my sword, to try and defend myself.

Right. You've thrown up your weapons into a defensive stance. Your body's considering your weapons—the amount of things you can react to is limited by what you're already doing.

You wield your sword with your right hand as the dominant hand, but you're ambidextrous, so either way would work. Whichever way, if you were defending you'd have both of your hands on the hilt of the sword to angle it to defend yourself, and that means one of your hands is away from your side—it's a perfect opportunity to strike there with a mid-height kick.

Oh, I—

Then you'd react to that, and you know that side is hurt now, you know it's slightly less powerful so you angle to try and keep it safer—and that limits what you can do, too. The more you guide your opponent's movements by how you hurt them, the heavier your offense can be.

Jab to face to throw the sword up leads to a kick to the side. As I advance, you try and swing, and I hook into your other side. Since your torso's hurt, your sword's a bit low, and I deliver a jab into your face, and then while you're reeling from the headshot I spin a backhand in there, too. You're staggered, so I have a moment to go for a gut shot, or to capitalize on the headshot with a couple more, maybe throw in a headbutt if I want to finish you off and send you to the mat.

All that from a single jab. See? Fighting with your fists teaches you the value of capitalizing on your opponent's instincts.

My word.

Uh-huh. Okay. Now I have marked down how to floor my girlfriend with my bare hands. Thanks.

Oh, you can just do that by shoving her lightly and flirting with her.

Very true!

This is another one of those lovely little side benefits you should consider on any attack—whatever you're fighting, you're likely to escalate its D-Depth any which way you go about it.

Tier 1 Skills

Forward Punch



Requires that the target have at least 1 stack of D-Depth to use. Deals melee ATK-based damage to one enemy.

So, your basic forward punch here—

Like this!

It's higher-investment than you'd think, but can be pretty rewarding. It's a basic move, sure, but it can really hurt, especially if you go for the head. Or the balls, though that's even higher investment. You're gonna be doing a lot of these starting out, but you shouldn't rest on your laurels—sticking and moving is the way of things.

It's a basic damage option that gets outclassed by later moves, but early on it's great.

Depth Charge



Increases the user's ATK-based damage for a set number of turns. Additionally, for the rest of the battle, the user's innate ability to inflict D-Depth becomes guaranteed, instead of a 100% base chance.

Now, one thing you need to understand is that there's a good reason instincts work like that. Injured spots hurt more. You get punched again in a spot, that hurts! It's more likely to cause injury.

You hit someone in the gut one, two, three times, and he's horfing up his lunch!

So sometimes it's good to get the lay of things and make sure you're getting the lay of where someone's weakest points are.

For instance, Richter's weakest point is his upper left leg.

Eeeeek!

Relatively. You're a pretty even man, Richter.

This comes in handy more often when you aren't running a Hacker in the party. It doesn't stack or anything, but you do get the guaranteed D-Depth either way, though. So that's neat.


Jab



Deals melee ATK-based damage to one enemy. Inflicts 1 stack of D-Depth on the target.

So this jab. What does it look like?

In response, Youka's fist rocketed out at lightning speed, then retracted.

Good lord.

It's a great way to open 'em up for a pounding!

lewd

Similarly, this gets outclassed later, but that doesn't mean it's not a good deal for offensive Destroyers in the earlygame.


Counter Stance



Increases the user's chance of being targeted by enemies for the rest of the turn. When the user is user is targeted by an enemy, they will deal melee ATK-based damage to the enemy.

Now, here's what you need to understand. I'd say this is the foundation of the Fudoji Style—can I call it that?

I don't see why not. It's a martial arts style and you're the lead practitioner.

When you're in the ring with a strong opponent, they know everything I just said, too. They're looking for openings, trying to lead you into a trap. When I started out in the pit, I wasn't as strong as I am now—plus, I was going up against an army of men, and that put me at a disadvantage.

The 'Fudoji' Style has one simple tenet. You plant your feet on the ground. If you can feel the ground, know that there's a line from the platform you're on all the way to your head, then you're in good shape.

...You'll have to forgive me. I like to think my conversational Japanese is passable, but my knowledge of kanji—

'Fu' (不) is a prefix meaning a negative. 'Do' (動), in this context, means 'motion'. 'Ji' (寺) is used in this context as a method of counting temples—the character itself specifically means a Buddhist temple.

'Stalwart temple'. A building which remains unmoving... I see.

If your feet are on the ground, and your opponent is leaning into attack you, then you're steadier than they are. You have the ability to twist their momentum back at them. The more you understand this basic philosophy, the more ability you have to fight back against foes who are stronger than you. So long as you don't crack, the enemy's offense and their defense are both opportunities to strike.

Here we are, folks, the bread and butter of Destroyer. Reading the LP up to this point should be plenty to get across what a good skill Counter Stance is, but to be clear—in a game where action economy is so paramount, a move that lets you redirect aggro to your tank and also regularly allows that tank to take two actions in a turn? It's amazing. It's the cornerstone of Destroyer's tanking ability.

Tier 2 Skills

Double Hook



Requires that the target have at least 2 stacks of D-Depth to use. Deals melee ATK-based damage to one enemy. Reduces the target's damage dealt for a set amount of turns.


Spinedge Blow



Requires that the target have at least 2 stacks of D-Depth to use. Deals melee ATK-based damage to one enemy. Increases the target's damage taken for a set amount of turns.

Now, when you start really laying into 'em, that's when you can start hitting them multiple times. The more you hit someone, the weaker they get, obviously. Now, what I've found is a nice one-two hook combo—sock 'em with your off hand, then your dominant hand—it makes people scared to fight back. Their hits have less power because they're starting to consider running away.

But I'm a big fang, as you've seen, of the spinning backhand. Open 'em up with a jab, then whirl around and slam into their skull with your arm—it's flashy and it hurts like a bastard. It's the kind of move people don't quite believe before they've been hit with it, and knowing that they can hit you that hard makes your presence a bit stronger. People's pain tolerance goes down, I guess, when you hit 'em with the spinning backhand.

I see, I see. So is this some manner of infophysical—?

I'm going to stop you right there. I don't know anything about that. I just know the look of fear in someone's eyes when I hit 'em with the double-hook.

Well, I'm just curious about the scientific implications—

Richter, I think the scientific implications are that Youka is scary.

Oh, well yes, I do know that. That makes sense.

These are two sides of the same coin, and which one you use more is usually a question of which debuff you value more. Both of them are awesome skills, and work to bolster any other party member, since they're physical and magical debuffs wrapped into one. Plus they do a truckload of damage.


Fang Breaker



Increases the user's chance of being targeted by enemies for the rest of the turn. When the user is user is targeted by a fang attack, they will deal melee ATK-based damage to the enemy. Additionally, the user has a chance to evade fang attacks that target them. If the user does not successfully evade the attack, its damage is reduced.


Claw Smasher



Increases the user's chance of being targeted by enemies for the rest of the turn. When the user is user is targeted by a claw attack, they will deal melee ATK-based damage to the enemy. Additionally, the user has a chance to evade claw attacks that target them. If the user does not successfully evade the attack, its damage is reduced.


Breath Render



Increases the user's chance of being targeted by enemies for the rest of the turn. When the user is user is targeted by a breath attack, they will deal melee ATK-based damage to the enemy. Additionally, the user has a chance to evade breath attacks that target them. If the user does not successfully evade the attack, its damage is reduced.

This is all well and good, but how do you transfer that over to dragons?

Easy as pie! Dragons have instincts like any other living being, don't they? You just have to move it over a bit. For instance, take those puppy dragons from the subways. The other day, I slammed my arm into the crook of its mouth as it was trying to bite me, dodging its teeth, and then grabbed it by the back with my other hand so I could swing around, grab both halves of its jaw with my fists, and tear it open.

Is that what happened to that one?!

It's about the same principle as how I took out this one guy who tried to come at me with a beartrap. I tore it in half and started wielding the halves as claws, and the guy pissed himself and ran away.

Speaking of claws, there's another thing. Claws are sharp in close range, and that's technically superior in many regards to blunt damage. On the other hand, they limit your options—to deal damage with them you've got to pierce straight on or swing with them to slash. They're pretty easy to counter if you can get a word in edgewise—you can predict the arc they're going to swing if you're not dead on in front of them.

And how do you deal with their breath attacks?

That's not so much battlefield experience as it is working experience. I mentioned I worked in sanitation for a while, right? Well, you get a lot of bad smells in that business that come up and blast you, and you've gotta learn how to stand it and bounce back. Same with an oven in a restaurant, or—

Those aren't pressurized, though.

I'm just telling it like it is.

Situational, but all very useful in those situations. Negating damage entirely for a brutal counter is hot, and great for survivability. It does require a bit of foreknowledge, but thankfully this game's systems are pretty conducive to that.


Parry Shield



Reduces the amount of non-elemental damage the party takes for the rest of the turn.

If a party member is revived after Parry Shield takes effect, they will not be affected by Parry Shield.

By the way, speaking of. I've been considering something. Why don't you all just stand behind me?

Huh?

When there's an attack on the way, I mean. I'm tougher than you all. I could probably take at least some of it.

Well, because what if you get blown back? You're heavy, Youka.

That's a fair point.

Still, your protection in the event you couldn't stop an attack from hitting us entirely would be appreciated. You are quite burly, Youka.

A utility skill that's useful if there's a big bomb on the way. How nice! Thank you, Mama Fudoji.

Tier 3 Skills

Mach Drop



Deals melee ATK-based damage to one enemy. Inflicts 2 stacks of D-Depth on the target.

Now, this is where we get to things I'm not allowed to do yet, so don't tell anyone, alright?

We all nodded.

Now, when your fists start moving fast enuough, you can ready up some pretty violent moves with less. The less speed you're spending on needing to reposition yourself, the more you can spend on a single action. Here, watch—

Youka found a trash can, and in the span of time she'd managed one jab beforehand, now there were three craters in the trash can.

Sei!

Then you can get right into breaking them a bit harder rather than working with basic stuff.

Oh my god, she is agile.

You're looking for your car but you're all turned around. She's almost upon you now, and you can see there's blood on her face. My god, there's blood everywhere!

The upgrade to Jab. There is an edge case for using Jab instead of Mach Drop, but overall it's just an easier way to get right to the stronger techniques. It's good.


Quintet



Requires that the target have at least 3 stacks of D-Depth to use. Deals melee ATK-based damage to one enemy.

I remember one time I was facing this really fast ninja type—knives in his hands, running all around trying to get a lick in on me. I got pissed off, plus I'd already been having a frustrating day, so when I landed enough punches to almost knock him down, I got a little violent.

I started raining down blows on him, then vented my frustration from a bad client by rearing my head back and slamming it into his. I swear I could hear his ankles snap from the hit, and he fell right the hell over and the match was over. The announcers started taking to calling that move the 'Bloody Quintet', and it was pretty effective.

Mmhm, mmhm.

Youka demonstrated for us, and I felt a chill run down my spine at seeing her face turned into another extension of that weapon.

The strongest skill on the D-Depth line, Quintet does absolutely absurd damage. Its raw damage multiplier outdoes Chisa's EX skill at max level (though Sakura Cyclone does have the EX 1.5x boost to consider), and it's coming off of Superwoman over here. It doesn't have any side effects, but does it need them?


Otoshi Mae Joto



When the user takes damage, they have a 12% chance to deal melee ATK-based damage to the attacker at the end of the turn. The attack also inflicts 1 stack of D-Depth.

If the target dies before Otoshi Mae Joto activates, a random enemy is targeted instead.

Now, if someone hits you pretty hard, and you counter them once, they usually expect that to be it—so every so often, if you capitalize on that the next instant, you really tear into them. It's not always feasible, but when I've done it it works damn well. People have gone down faster than you can say 'uncle' when I've torn into them with this one.

...Pit fighting is a scary place.

Yup. You should be glad you never had to go there.

It's free real estate. If you're banking on a certain later skill, it might be problematic, but otherwise it's free real estate.


Fiend Shifter



Increases the user's chance of being targeted by enemies for the rest of the turn. When an enemy attempts to inflict an ailment on the user, they will deal melee ATK-based damage to the inflicter. Additionally, the user has a chance to nullify the infliction, independent of their normal resistance to the ailment.

Every so often you get some wise guy who thinks he's gonna take you down by playing dirty. Breathing poison gas in your face, maybe, or hitting you in the eyes with pocket sand, or hitting you with acid.

I won't lie and say I didn't get hit with that sort of thing a few times, but you've got to understand that tricks like that are just another part of seeing what's going on. If you pay attention, you can get past that. Once I learned that, even if I did get hit, it stopped being as much of a big deal. You could probably throw sand in my eyes in the middle of combat and I'd barely even blink. Just gotta prepare yourself first.

There was this one real fuckin' wise guy, actually. This was all happening in this underground red-light district, see, and this punk thought he'd sneak into the brothel where I worked and poison the food to try and give me a stomachache or something. I see a little window open in the place where the girls who didn't have anywhere else to go lived, and I hold up my hands and yell, "Hold the phone!" and I walk over and I look at the poisoned soup we had and I shake my head.

"That's bad for you," I tell them. I'd bought ingredients for the next week or two of making Cocona bentos, and I'd brought them with me, so I pulled them out and started whipping out bentos for a couple dozen. Took me about half an hour, I'd say, but they all said it was one of the best meals they'd had in ages.

The kid who'd done it had come in and bought some time with someone around his age to make sure it went alright, but I wasn't standing for it. See, I don't care if you try and mess with me, but these girls were family to me, so I tore in before anything could happen and I pulled the kid by his hair, dragged him out of the room, and I gave him the receipt for the ingredients I'd bought.

"Listen here, you little shitstain," I said, "I'll give you two choices. Either you forfeit the match and pay me back for these, or I drag you into the ring right now and they'll find you a bloody fucking pulp."

He chose the former, and everyone lived happily ever after.



This one's less situational. A lot of enemies have ailment skills, and skills that deal damage and have ailment riders. This doesn't reduce damage, but it does make Youka more defensive against ailments, and it can proc a lot more often than you might think. Great skill.


Destroy React



For a set amount of turns, when the user inflicts D-Depth on an enemy, they have a chance to gain an extra turn.

You worked for a brothel as a bouncer?

Well, by the time I got in the ring I'd been working there for a while. Technically I still was, but a lot fewer people came in requesting me after I went into the ring and started breaking people in half. It was an informal role, but people respected it, and I got a pretty decent wage and the ability to protect the girls there.

You really have worked every job under the sun, haven't you?

Hu hu hu. I am a worldly woman.

Anyhow, I remember another match I won in twenty seconds. I countered a strike from this guy—huge guy, had a big ol' axe I had to catch and then yank on to get him in, but then I hit him and I just kept hitting him. Uppercut, full-in punch, spinning backhand, then I blasted him with a Bloody Quintet and he was down.

If you're moving into a combo, you want it to be fluid. You don't want to start and stop—every motion is part of your attack, so you keep going.

A great React skill—it can allow you to get extra actions quite easily, or guaranteed with a bit of setup. It's a really easy way to lay in for some of the higher D-Depth skills, and reminder that EVERY skill Youka has has a chance to inflict D-Depth.


Destroy On Sight



The user has a chance to deal melee ATK-based damage to all enemies, and inflict 1 stack of D-Depth on them, at the start of battle.

Sometimes I'd just stomp my foot and the panel under me would crack and whoever I was fighting would run away.

You've got impressive footfalls! You could probably take out monsters that way, honestly.

Ooh, good idea! Couldn't hurt to try.

I try.

It's free real estate.


Death's Door



If the user takes fatal damage, they will avoid dying, and have their LIFE set to a certain value.

Death's Door does not have a set duration, and will last until it activates. Upon activation, the buff is dispelled.

Sometimes, you'll go up against an enemy who's stronger than you. An enemy who can kick your ass to kingdom come. But remember—it's the one who toughs it out who wins in the end. That's the fundamental core of the Fudoji Style—you don't give up, not ever. Even if it seems like you're going to die. Even if there's no hope left.

It's a style that's a lot like you, Youka.

Well, it is mine.

This skill is deceptively good. I mean, I know, it obviously seems good, but it's deceptively good because it's a perfect lead-in to a later skill on the list, provided you don't level it up too high. Well, more specifically, if you value the defensive option more, you level it up, and if you value it more as setup to said later skill, you keep it at level 1. Either way, it's very useful.


Tier 4 Skills

Drill Crawler



Requires that the target have at least 3 stacks of D-Depth to use. Deals melee ATK-based damage to one enemy. Heals the user for a percentage of the damage dealt.

Here's where things get a little messy. One thing I specialize in is gut shots. People don't often think about the gut as a killing point, but if you barrel your fist in there hard enough, you can blow open someone's stomach, or even get to their spine.

Sometimes you'll draw blood. Sometimes you'll do more than that—you'll rip an open hole in them with your fist, cave them in like they're a crater. The bloodthirsty bastards who watch these love to see it—they love to see violence. So the crowd cheers, and you tune it out, and you know that leaving this hell means making your enemy dead.

I guess you could say I'm a bit disgusting. Drawing blood tends to make me stronger.

Don't feel bad, Youka. Drawing blood makes me stronger, too. You're just using your fists, whereas I use the unholy venom within my fangs.

Sure, Mio.

Ku hu hu hu hu.

It deals less damage than Quintet, which is to say it deals a truckload of damage still, and it heals you. It's a really nice survivability skill and it's sure to heal you for a buttload because... big damage number. Good skill.


Hard Target



Increases the user's chance of being targeted by enemies for the rest of the turn. When the user is user is targeted by an enemy, they will deal melee ATK-based damage to the enemy, and inflict 1 stack of D-Depth.

I was an only child, y'know. That meant my parents scrutinized me a lot. Obviously—I did get disowned and all. But it made me want to rebel in small ways. It built something up in me.

Similar principle. To be honest, I've been holding back on my counters for a lot of this. I could go a lot harder—I could really rip into something. No chance about it—I'd just tear them to pieces. You all saw...

Well, you saw a bit of that.

Indeed.

It makes me want to let loose. I'm hoping that sooner, rather than later, I can completely let loose on something.

Do any of us have siblings?

I don't.

Nope.

My parents didn't stay together long enough to have more than one.

I guess not, huh?

Anyway, what's next?

...

Hard Target is fundamentally an upgrade on Counter Stance, so much so that they roll the two skills into one ten-level skill in 2020-2. Higher damage and guaranteed D-Depth? Sign me up!


Rage Bomber



Deals melee ATK-based damage to one enemy at the end of the turn. The damage increases based on how low the user's HP is.

You know, they never called me the 'Ghost of Yotsuya' in the ring. They called me the 'Raging Bomber'.

Why is that?

It has to do with the first time I got in the ring. This guy had been fucking around with some of the girls at the brothel, really treating them like shit, and I was pissed. I was so pissed that I just kept standing and standing even where other people might've fallen down, because he was damned tough. But I got back up on my feet after everyone thought I was out, after I'd drawn a hell of a lot of blood.

I gave him a jab, then I followed up with a spinning backhand, and then I saw my opportunity and I aimed my fist right for his stomach. I blew a hole in him, like I mentioned, and I reached through and I grabbed his spine. Before he could react, I shoved my other hand in there too, blowing another hole in him, and then I grabbed his spine and I squeezed and I squeezed and I gripped and I tore until I felt him snap under me, felt my hands crack his spinal column and watched this guy become an object in an instant.

I roared and I finished the job by snapping it in two, and letting his corpse fall to the ground broken. His guts, or what was left of them, all started falling out of him. People always said it looked like a bomb had gone off inside of him—hence, 'Raging Bomber'.

After that, people said that the scariest time to face me was when I was almost dead, because every time I'd be nearly out of it I'd turn it around and rip whoever I was facing to pieces. There wasn't any mercy for those sons of bitches.

...

Sorry. I guess that was a little graphic.

No moreso than I'm used to with you.

It's a little moreso!!

Here it is, folks. An EX 10% HP Rage Bomber is the single strongest skill in the entire game, its raw multiplier even outdoing Chisa's EX Skill charged. It does ungodly amounts of damage, and there's no D-Depth requirement. This is why you might want to leave Death's Door at level 1—at 1 HP you're always going to have that full multiplier, and that damage is hideous. On the other hand, you're... at really low HP, so it's balancing act. Still, if you can get a full-strength Rage Bomber off, whatever you're facing is having a bad day.

I'd say that's about it. I've been getting a bit tougher with all the fighting we've been doing, but I haven't managed to figure out anything else yet.

what if you had like an anime supermove. like a serious anime supermove. like you'd yell out the name and then everyone would go whaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!! get out of the way mama fudoji's gonna do the thing!!!

That would be neat!

EX Skill

Skyhigh Meteor



Deals melee ATK-based damage to all enemies. Inflicts 3 stacks of D-Depth.

lol 1950%

So! That enough to satisfy you kids?

Yes, I feel very enlightened. If a bit terrified!

Oh, you're always terrified.

You don't have to be so honest about it...

Alright, well, if we've had enough, let's keep on keeping on. People are waiting for this stuff, y'know!

...you good, Mio?

Huh? Oh, yeah.

--------------------------------

This was a conversation that occurred later that night.

Mioooo?

Wah?! Youka!

You're looking pretty distracted, and not in a productive way. Something wrong?

Yeah.

It's uh, not your fault or anything! If you were worried!

No, it's fine. I'm not busy right now—what's up?

...Well...

I guess... okay, this is kind of hard to explain, but... I guess I just got reminded of something. Something pretty bad.

Well, a few things. I get bummed sometimes. You know how it is.

Mmhm. Mmhm.

I was thinking about... I think it was five years or so ago now at this point. You know Chisa's no contact with her bio-family, right?

...Yeah.

...

Chisa has a younger brother.

What?

Chisa has a younger brother. About six or seven years younger—I think he'd be starting his last year of high school this year. The last time she saw him was five years ago, at the Inomiko manor.

...And I've tried... telling her he exists. That she had a brother. That she loved her brother. I've tried. But she diverts the conversation and then acts like the conversation never happened, or she starts hyperventilating... So I just sort of have to pretend he never existed, because the circumstances she left under scarred her so bad.

And I just wish I had your ability to persevere, because it's... hard. I mean, it's—it's hard, you know? It's hard having to be in that kind of position. It's...

It's hard having to pretend that the woman I love is okay when I know it isn't true. And I don't know what to do, and I just... I'm scared. I have this awful feeling like reality's gonna set in, even nine years out, like even just being happy is going to vanish.

Come here.

Youka embraced Mio in a hug. Mio was a better crier than I was.

I just, I—aw, beans, not again—I—

...(I wish you were my mom.)

What's that?

N-nothing...

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