As you stand at this distinctive door at the heart of the Labyrinth, the girl calling herself Archon appears before you.

You stand before the summit of Yggdrasil—the highest floor, as of yet untouched by man.


Does something trouble you?

Wait... hold on. This isn't... sorry, um, keep going.

...Before you may reach the summit, there is one final obstacle you must overcome. Once, this was a ruined world. The water had dried up, the atmosphere had depleted, and all the world's life had perished, and vanished without a trace.

Was I... here for this?

This ruin came to have its own form; born of the world's primordial darkness, clad in a cloak of death incarnate. If life were to spring again on this world, this incarnation of darkness had to be removed from the equation... and this is why Yggdrasil was born—

Wait. Wait, hold on a second. No, that doesn't make sense.

Do you have a problem?

That's not how True Dragons work.


No, True Dragons create life. Then they devour it, sure, but—no, what you're saying doesn't make sense. That's not how the universe works. That's... That's a lie! You were lying!

You believe me to be speaking falsehoods? And what does a child of man know of the True Dragons?

None of that made sense... Why didn't I think about this before? I've known about this for over a year—why did I never question it? Why did I never question you? Nothing about your story makes sense! A gigantic tree just suddenly appears to trap a True Dragon inside, and the True Dragon never leaves?

Then tell me what you believe.

Tyrant, the monster behind that door, he...

...he made the Yggdrasil Labyrinth? Tyrant... He's the only one who could've, right?


And you—there's no separate race of spacefaring lifegivers! That's not something that exists in this universe! I know that! You, you're—you—

It's you, isn't it? It always was you. At Raven's home, at Chisa's home, here in the Labyrinth—

Your name isn't 'Archon'. You're Iod. The 1st True Dragon.

...When last I heard that name in 'this' world, it was on the other side of that door. Are you, too, not lost? Were you 'here' for this?


Have you awoken from your reminiscence?

I can't believe it. Well, I can, but... under that mask this whole time, it really was you. You've been here all along.

Do you feel satisfied having figured this out? Does this answer satisfy you?

...What does it matter what satisfies me? I'm dead.

Are you?

I gave up my heart. I'm dead. I chose death.

Hm. And yet you are speaking to me.

This isn't the physical world. It's informational, conceptual. I'll probably fade away soon, back to wherever something like me goes.

Is there nothing about which you might wonder?

Of course there is. I have so many questions for you. Like... why did you come to visit Raven? Why did I remember you having a different voice? Why did Tyrant die, even though there wasn't even a Dragonslayer involved? Why did you lead people to kill your own friend? And why... why was I born? Why was I ever here in the first place? There's so much I want to know.

...You asked why you had not thought about it. I believe that for some time now, despite your desires, you have been afraid of answers. Not merely since you awoke as VFD, no—for much longer still.


Tell me something. Who are you? Are you Raven Hillshead? Are you Chisa Inomiko? Are you the 7th True Dragon, VFD?

How am I supposed to know? I don't... I've never known.

I have spent quite some time pondering the issue. Your situation, since the beginning, has been a very unusual one. However, if you would hear it before you vanish into nothingness, I have a story I wish to tell you. To me, it answers all of your questions.

A story?

You may leave, if you wish. Pass on, and vanish, awaiting whatever form of Samsara comes for you.


No. I want to hear. Even if it's just for a bit before I vanish, I want to know. If anyone would know, it would be you, wouldn't it?

I am happy to hear that. Then let us sit and speak.


My story begins at a birth. Not my own—none but myself were present for that. No, this tale begins at the birth of the 4th True Dragon. Tyrant was not born as a usual Dragon was, not a Dragon grown to incredible power like Niara, or Fomalhaut, or Haze. Tell me. Do you have a memory of the 'Shadow Realm'?

What? No. I don't think so, anyway.

A long, long time ago, amidst the fullness of time, there was a woman who succeeded at defeating the Dragons. Not simply fending them off, no—eliminating them. There exists, within the myriad iterations of the universe that Grateful Seventh gazes upon, this world where a woman named Yaiba defeated the Dragons. I had met this woman Yaiba, and scoffed at her ideas.

How did she do that?

Yaiba was a candidate to become VFD herself. Indeed, she very nearly did—however, in the instant before the world was wholly erased, she manipulated Grateful Seventh to recreate her world without the presence of the Dragons... among other things. In truth, that is when I obtained this form.

Wait. What?

She was an odd woman. Presumably, her internal logic of preferring cute things extended to me. I did not complain. A new body meant that I no longer needed to support myself to walk about.

...Really, though?

Yes. I know. It is deeply bizarre. At any rate.

Right, sorry.

You know better than anyone the importance of the Dragons. Certainly, freeing her people from them was a success for her—and yet, Dragons are a central facet of the universe. This absence of Dragons took its own shape—a dark place within Grateful Seventh that memorialized what was lost, and what would never be. This is the 'Shadow Realm', as Yaiba called it.

There, representing those dead possibilities, one final Dragon was born—one destined to become a True Dragon, to breathe life into worlds in another reality. Yaiba and her own group of allies reached the nexus of the Shadow Realm, and a decision was reached—she opted to spare the life of this infant Dragon.

You have thought on, many times, the idea of 'sentiment'. The sentiments of love and hate govern the sisters of Hypnos, and such strong sentiments can carry great force even to Dragons—Fomalhaut, for instance, feeds on despair. This Dragon, too, was born of a sentiment.

What was that?

He described it as 'loneliness'. It made sense to me. He was the manifestation, after all, of a realm where the possibilities of any others like himself had been snuffed out. He was all that remained of an entire universe's worth of possible lives. When I brought him into this reality, he, indeed, became a True Dragon—the 4th True Dragon Tyrant.

Loneliness... He was... lonely?

He felt it deep within himself. Tyrant was a True Dragon, alone in the cosmos, yet he yearned more than anything for companionship. He wished not to be alone. He did not know how to weep, yet I am certain that had he known, he would have. I bore some parental responsibility for him, having been present for his birth, and he and I spoke many a time.

Do you ever wonder if perhaps the mortals we raise have something we do not?

How do you mean?

Within the span of their short lives, they live and die with satisfaction. Is that something that a True Dragon might ever really understand? Our deaths are impermanent. Can we really say, then, that what we gather is all of evolution?

You believe evolution revolves around death?

Life is the absence of stillness. This is true of us as it is for them, and yet... is the way in which I live any different from stillness? It doesn't revolve around death, no, but mayhap it responds to it. These creatures... Their evolution is spurred by ways to improve their lives before death. Would they move at all were they incapable of death? Would they evolve, or simply stay the same?

That's... a good point. I think, anyway. Time and time again through all this, people have gotten stronger because of trying to work past death. I can die.

Is it not the case that you have fought for the right to remain mortal?

...Huh. I... guess so.

You are human. You possess a human identity. That human identity is what makes you the Human Dragon, VFD. It is mortality. You, too, fight against death. You, too, grow in response to death.

So Tyrant... wanted to die?

Hm. That is a complicated question. It took me some time to understand what Tyrant's true feelings were. Like me, he was a True Dragon. True Dragons facilitate evolution. He had his duties, and he carried them out. I do not think that Tyrant wished for his existence to cease entirely. In fact, I believe he wished the opposite—he wished to live.

That is why Tyrant created the Yggdrasil Labyrinth.

We exist to facilitate evolution. Any who do not become VFD are merely stepping stones—there isn't any sense in a race to it.

Then you do not desire to become VFD?

No. Why would I? Whether it is me or another who becomes VFD, the result is the same, and I have much to think about.

This tree... upon this barren planet?

Progenitor. We as True Dragons govern the beginnings of life and then leave. I will not. I wish to stay on this planet. This tree—it shall be my resting place, my throne, and it shall also be my challenge.

My Imperial Dragons shall rest within it. I shall wait. By disseminating myths among the peoples of this world of riches, knowledge, fame, power—they will come, and they will attempt to climb.

Then you yourself shall serve as a target—something for the children of this world to surpass?

If it comes to that.

So he wanted people to come to him. He wanted them to settle, train, grow, battle—he wanted them to reach him. And he just stayed there?

From high up at the peak of Yggdrasil, he sat and waited. He would watch the life he governed begin to spread, and grow.

He... wanted someone to reach him. Not just physically, but...

Is that what you believe?

It just makes sense to me. He must've been hoping that by getting through all of that, seeing what brought life to the level he was on, that he would be able to figure out why he existed. And he probably wanted someone to tell him they understood him.

That is a curious thought. He had many, you know. Curious thoughts.

What would happen if a Dragon were to evolve to the point where the evolutionary imperatives of Dragons were unnecessary?


If one of us were to evolve to a point where... say, VFD proved to be suboptimal, or not the only way forward. What would happen?



I don't know. I have never thought about it.

It's a curious thought, isn't it? We all run on this instinct, and yet none of us have once questioned it? How do we know that we are correct? We can feel certain of it because of our place in the universe, but there are things that even we cannot know. We cannot experience that which we cannot experience.

Do you desire to find some path such as that?

...Would you despise me if I said I hoped to one day see it?

Are you so concerned with my opinion?

Yes. At the very least, I am concerned that you do not think less of me for mine.

He really loved you.

It was not a sensation that I understood, or at least not in the sense that you mean it. It took me quite some time to truly understand that he cared for my existence.

You were his parent, there since the day he was born. Of course he loved you. That's how it works with mortal life—you're supposed to love...


You're supposed to... love your parents. You're supposed to.

Is that it? I suppose it makes sense, then, that Tyrant felt the way he did about the people of that planet. Tyrant loved his people dearly. He did not wish to wait forever, so he had faith in their abilities. They were more than livestock to him—they were something to be admired.

They possess so much, Nodens. There is so much spark, so much beauty—the lives of mortals can be incredible.

Oh, really? Perhaps I should give something of that nature a try myself. Hearing you prattle on, I can't help but be a touch endeared myself.

...If you do, please, leave this world alone.

Ahahaha. I understand, Tyrant. I am a parent myself, you know—but to experience the love of children so must be incredible.

You prattle away your time on one planet? Look at them... Would it not be better to break them and feast upon them now? Whatever they may give you by waiting is nothing compared to that!

You do not understand, Niara.

Of course I do not understand. What you stand to gain could never surpass the heights of the grandest of self-evolutions.

I do not mean to stop you. If you achieve VFD, Niara, then I shall be glad for you.

To grant them joy and then crush them... A brilliant strategy indeed.

No, Fomalhaut. I do not wish to harm them so.

Do you feed on their joy, then? Does the spark of their lives sustain you? Do you not hunger?


To obliterate a planet at its peak and hear its lamentations... To me, that is the greatest of pleasures. You sit here in this chamber for eons, waiting—and for what?

It's a wonderful idea!

You think so?

Gyahahahaha! Of course! To force them to adapt so that you may adapt in turn—had I your patience, I would try the same. They will build weapons, learn skills, evolve all to destroy you—and to overcome such an obstacle would grant me even further power!

Haze... well, I suppose you are not wrong.

When you destroy this planet, you must give me the chance to take on their greatest. I will surpass them the same as all the rest.

Do you wish to know why I came to see Raven Hillshead that day?

Yes. Of course.

Tyrant was the ruler of that planet, and he governed its evolution. Eventually, his desires for the world became strong enough that some small piece of him began to seep into them. That single swoop of red hair—it is proof enough of his blood within that boy's lineage.


Is it not obvious? He wished to travel with them.

To... you mean, he wanted to go with whoever conquered him and managed to get to space, or something like that?

He wished for some small part of himself to linger within the mortals he cherished if they did indeed surpass him. Tyrant wished to exist, and moreover, to have proven himself to exist.

...Right. Of course.

It took a toll on him, I believe. He was still a Dragon. He still hungered. You know the hunger well—he was not immune to it. Even to the mortals he loved, he could never be a companion so long as that hunger existed, so long as he needed to devour others to sustain himself.



Progenitor... You've come. Thank you.

I can feel it. Something strange has happened to this world. There is someone from outside my realm here—it may be that soon, my time in this cage shall end.

'Cage'. Once, you described it as a throne.

I have paced the rims of this garden time and time again, scoured every inch of this labyrinth. Nothing that I truly desire lives within here. Progenitor... Iod. Can I trust you to guide them if they arrive here?

...Tyrant. You wish me to guide mortals to defeat my own friend?

Whatever happens, should they pass your muster, I will know that they are satisfactory. And... I shall see you again, eventually, no?

What happened to them?

They lived mortal lives and perished, the same as any other mortals. They saw much here, and their souls, their beings, accelerated this world's evolution.

You never told them, then.

There was no reason to burden them with needless knowledge.

...He thought he'd see you again, but... he was wrong.

You are correct. The weapon which Raven Hillshead slew Tyrant's body with was not a Dragonslayer. There was nothing in it with any power to damage information... and yet, soon after, Tyrant vanished.

Did he choose to die?

Do you believe that Tyrant desired to die?

No, of course not. He would've wanted to get to know them better. He would've wanted...

Though he never said it in these words, I knew him well. What Tyrant desired was a world where Dragons no longer needed be destroyers, those who were necessarily set apart from all others in the cosmos.

He wanted to be mortal. He wanted to be human. He wanted...

The potential to be more. 'Will'.


So, why? Why did Tyrant vanish from this world?

Why are you asking me?

I know much, but I cannot know all. I do not know whether I am correct. Tell me. What is your belief?

Hm. It's pretty inexplicable. I'm not sure what would've...

...Is it possible he was reincarnated somehow? Into a different form? If that's what he wanted, that would make sense. But would that cause his concept to just vanish like that?

Well, I guess maybe it would if that's what he wanted. If he was afraid of the draconic hunger causing him to harm whatever mortals he was reincarnated into resembling... I mean, I forcibly ignored all those parts of myself, acted like they didn't exist, for ages, even before I knew I was a dragon. Well, maybe that's why I didn't realize I was a dragon. Well—no, people knew I was VFD. If it was you, you'd know it was Tyrant too, right? You'd be able to find him. You wouldn't be telling me about this if you knew where he was, who he was, if he got reincarnated at all. Unless maybe it hasn't happened yet? No, that's ridi—

Wait. Hold on.

Wait, hold on. Hold on. What? That's ridiculous. Why did I think that? Come on, that's the best I could come up with?


Can I... can we go somewhere?

There is nothing stopping us.


This place is called Sendagaya, yes?

I was born here, and I grew up here. I have a lot of memories in Sendagaya... well, I've spent my whole life in Tokyo, obviously, but Sendagaya... A lot happened to me here.

This wasn't quite the physical Sendagaya. No, it was the conceptual Sendagaya, a place taken both from my memory and the current information on reality. The sky was brighter than it was in reality, I was sure.

Tokyo is quite a large city, is it not?

That's for sure. It's huge. There's so much to do, so much to see... So much space, so many cities and towns... You could probably spend a hundred years in Tokyo and not see everything there was to see.

You are smiling.

Am I?


I guess so. I guess after all of this, I still do love Tokyo. I've spent a long time here, but it's not like I want to leave.

Iod and I headed to one of the destroyed buildings. I hadn't visited in seven years or so now—actually seeing the Inomiko manor destroyed was quite a shock, but I kept walking. Iod followed me quietly.

I'd point to somewhere and go, "Taichi and I played there." Or, "That's where Taichi broke a vase once, and we had to panic and try to fix it." It was almost like I could see him running down the halls. But, before long, I found it.

In real life, that room's door had been destroyed, I'd heard—the ceiling torn off, the door obliterated, the walls burnt. But here, it stood the same as it ever had—the room at the center of the Inomiko homestead. The Cold Room.

There was a shaking in my heart, but I bit it back and held back my tears. As I went to take a step forward, I looked to my side to see Iod standing there—and they smiled at me.

So I opened the door—slid it open, like it had never been locked in the first place.

The light flooded into the room, piercing the dark and the cold. I could see the running water, the table at the back wall, every inch of this small, enclosed space I had spent three months trapped inside.

And I saw, then, what I had lost.

That piece of me, sitting at the bottom of my heart, still, quiet—she sat there. In her hair, there was not just one strand of red hair, but several. Her red claws, the stumps of her torn-off wings...

"Hey," I said. I walked forward and knelt down in front of her. She didn't move. "I'm sorry. I've been hurting you for a long time, huh? From one cage to another..."

She twitched, just the slightest movement.

"You're scared, right? You've always been scared," I said. "I mean... I'm scared. You were scared you wouldn't be able to live as yourself. You had to find a way to lock yourself off. I... had to. And I kept doing it. Everything, everything I ever did—"

"Don't... look at me."

I shook my head. "No. That's ridiculous. It wasn't Raven Hillshead who was born into this world. And it wasn't Chisa Inomiko, either, not here, in this world. It was you. From the moment you were born, you were you."

The tears began to fall. "I'm so sorry," I said, still keeping up my smile. "I've been looking for you for so long, but I kept hurting us both. There's nothing to worry about. You were always here. There's nothing stopping us. We're—"

More light flowed into the room. The cold wasn't there any longer. I felt the sun on my skin, as everything got brighter and brighter.

"I'm human," I said. "I'm human! I can fight like anyone else. I can feel like anyone else. I'm not alone!"

With an anguished scream, the piece of me that had been hidden away for so long fell into my arms, sobbing. I wrapped my arms around her. "It's okay," I said. "You can be human. It's not impossible. We're alive in this world."

After so long, I held the hands of the 'self' inside me. I grabbed tightly onto her, as she, too, faded into the light.


Was Raven ever really called by Project NEW GAME? A form of him was, yes, an 'image' of him at that moment. But what was really called was that thing that lingered in his blood, that which had come with him to that moment, that which yearned to be human anyhow. That being was who was born into this world to the Inomiko family, grew up, and received that 'image'.

I was once the 4th True Dragon. However, I was given the chance to be born again as a human. Could it have happened if not for Project NEW GAME? Possibly. It's not as though I enjoyed having all of these confusing circumstances placed on top of my pre-existing complexes. But...

I was born into this world in the way I was. That is a fact. And, in the end, I'm glad I was born into this world.

Do you still mean to disappear?

Are you kidding? I have a lot of people who I'd disappoint if I did that. You, for one.

...Am I so obvious?

Now that I've figured out how to read you, I think it's actually pretty endearing.

What did it matter if I'd given up the heart of the 7th True Dragon? So long as I desired to continue living in this world, I could keep going. I still had my human heart, and I was still myself. That 'conceptual' heart had nothing on my real, physical heart—the heart of the Human Dragon, who had once been 4th.

My friends, my family, my city, Mio... They're waiting for me. And I have a promise I still have to fulfill. Besides, that sword they're swinging really ought to be mine.

My friend... I am glad to see you smile.

Still, hearing you talk about me like that... I never thought you'd miss me that badly. Sorry about that.

Think nothing of it. The melancholy of these eons has been more than paid for by this moment. And that blade, the 'True Dragonslayer'—

It's humanity's path forward, yeah, but it's Dragonkind's, too. I am VFD, and I live in this world. I'll find the path to my dream—the way forward for Dragons to be more.

But right now, the path forward involves planting that sword in Fomalhaut's skull and opening a Fomalhaut-shaped hole in the database of Grateful Seventh. Nothing's getting done until we've saved the world.

Before you go... There is one more matter I would hear from you.

What's that?

I asked you a question before our discussion began in earnest. I would hear the answer. Who are you?

Oh. Right, I guess it's about that time.

You have claimed your true identity. You are the 4th True Dragon, Tyrant, no longer. You are a woman of Earth, the Human Dragon. So—tell me. What is your name?

My name, huh...

It had been a while since I'd named a person. Frankly, naming yourself is one of the hardest things you can name. Still, I thought, and it didn't take me too long. For one thing, I was Japanese—I wasn't about to flout that. I was not Chisa, and I was no longer an Inomiko, though I was still very much Taichi's sister.

I was a dragon of Japan—a blade that struck forth bearing the emblem of Murakumo. When I thought about the name of the organization I'd found my family in, it came to me—like a bolt of inspiration, I knew what my own name was. Not for anyone else, but for myself—the person who I had become, and chosen to be.

Orochi. My name is Orochi.

For the surname... Let's go with Hosokawa.

Orochi, is it? The name suits you. Is there any meaning behind Hosokawa?

All the way back at the start of this, a boy named Renji asked me if my online handle was after a historical figure named Gracia Hosokawa. It wasn't, but to be honest, I like the name. It's a good surname. Besides, the two go together well, don't they?

Orochi Hosokawa. So it does. It is a strong name, full of pride. Then, Human Dragon Orochi, go on—those you love await you.

I will. Thank you for everything, Iod. I'll see you again soon?

...Hm. Perhaps. I think I would like that very much.


Part 100: Truth and Dreams

I awoke in the dorm room. The sword that Izumi had meant to give me was laying by my bed, its name engraved in the hilt.

'Abeyance', hm? Sure. You seem like a fine sword. I'm sure we'll get along.

I started doing some stretches to ensure that laying dead for a day or two didn't trip me up. There were a few pops in my muscles, but I became limber quickly.

Alright, first on the agenda...

What's the status on the Skytower mission?

Oh, it's going pretty well. Mio just rejoined the team, and they're fighting up theeeeaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!

What is it? What's wrong?!

Ghost! Ghost! There's a ghost!

There is not! Ghosts are only real under extremely specific circumsta—

All three of them finally properly looked at me.

I'm not a ghost, you know. You can touch me, if you want. I have muscles, and blood, and functioning organs.

What the—

Going off-mic for a moment!

Both Jeanne and Miroku leapt away from their screens to run over and hug me. Jeanne I wasn't surprised by, but it was really shocking to see Miroku so open about it.

Whoa, hey, I'm happy to see you, too.

You're alive! Chisa's alive!

What the hell is wrong with you?! Why would you scare us like that?! Why, you, I—! What's wrong with you?! I hate you! God! You're the worst!

You're alive! You're alive!

You're... you're back. But your heart—

I had some soul-searching to do, but taking one heart isn't going to kill me that easily.

You're... There's something different about you. Isn't there? Am I crazy, guys?

I don't care what's different about you! I'm gonna—I'm gonna f-find a voodoo doll of you and scribble all over it!

That sounds like a terrible idea.

Once the two of them had gotten that out of their systems, I cleared my throat.

That look in your eyes... There's definitely something different about you. Are you even Chisa Inomiko anymore?

Well, I'm still essentially the same person you know, if that's what you're asking, but no.

I finally found myself. I'm Orochi Hosokawa.

Of course you pick a pretentious name like 'Orochi', ugh. Come on.

Be nice, Miroku! I like it!

Well, then. So, Orochi, uh... how are you alive?

Long story. I can explain it, but that'd take time we don't have right now. You said the rest of Unit 13 is heading up the Skytower, right?

Yes. Unit 10, the SDF, and SKY have entrenched themselves, and SECT11 has just set up a relay point near the top.

Oh, good. Convenient. I'll be moving to catch up, then. Assuming I remember the layout, heading up shouldn't be a big deal.

Should we let them know you're coming?

And distract them in the middle of enemy territory? No, they're probably going to want to slap me. I should be there for that. I'll catch up.

If you're sure about that.

I am.

Welcome back, Orochi. I'm really happy you're awake.

I am, too.

I stop in to stock up with my murderous riches.

Hey, Waji. Keima, Reimi. I'm just here for a delivery run.


I've seen stranger.

My goodness! A dashing revival on the day of the final battle? Just another startling development from our Unit 13~

Shibuki: If it isn't Unit 13's captain! I won't question why you're awake, but I will tell you this.

Shibuki: That's the final milestone I think can be reasonably expected of your unit. Just another incredible show of profound kindness that I must show my own profound gratitude for!

Is it time for the Final Showdown Set, then?

And two Miracle Aeros and three Hypno Crystals. Consumableeees! Woooo!

Shibuki: But your unit has worked to spread hope everywhere through your relentless hard work. Darkened caverns, dizzying heights, frigid and frozen seas, through acid storms and ancient ruins, and into the heart of plagues themselves!

At long last, we've finally completed all the rescues.

Hey, I know this is kind of an odd question, but there's someone I need to see before I head out. Do you know where Homura is?


I found Homura in the private room at the lounge. She had a number of bottles ready to be drank, but instead I found her in silent contemplation.

Sorry, who's there?

Oh. Huh. Well—

Wait, what?

Hey. Do you mind if I sit?

My presence baffled her enough that she wordlessly nodded and scooted over.

Hi, Homura.

...Hi. You're not... you're not dead.

...Well! That's, uh, that's great. Really, uh... sorry, I've been having a hard time seeing, sorry I didn't see you at first. I think I might need glasses.

It's okay. Are you? Okay, I mean.

...I've... I've been thinking. I mean... Sorry, I really am happy that you're alive, like I'm really happy you're alive, but I'm trying not to let my face do that too much.

I looked in the mirror and really like, got the lay of my facial expressions, and I really did never realize how hard it was for me to not smile, y'know? I've got kind of an, uh... Oh, they've got a German word for this. 'Ba—'

'Backpfeifengesicht', right?

Right. Yeah, that.

It's funny. Once I stopped thinking of myself as someone who was always doing that, it got a lot easier to stop. ...Hey, are you... Is your name still Chisa? I realized I never really asked. I mean, with all that stuff going on—


Orochi. Gotcha. So, I was doing some thinking, and I think I've figured it out. For real. I figured out what happened. I know you all probably didn't want to tell me, but I did some thinking and I figured out. I've got a psychic power, right? Some kind of... 'delusion' ability?

Richter's taken to calling it the Akaneno Delusion Field.

Man, imagine that, right? It makes sense, but... There's a bunch of my life I'm only now clearly remembering. It didn't line up with my self-image before, so I just...

I was never even really a scientist, was I? I'm not a genius. If I'm anything, I'm kind of a cheater. I break things until they work in ways they aren't supposed to and the world has to do the work of figuring it out for me. And that goes for me, and the... other me.

That's why Nacchan hated me. That's why Mio hates me—well, one of the reasons. Everything came so effortlessly and I didn't question it. I should've. Things just kept going right for me and I never thought about other people. Not enough, anyway. Not in the right ways.

How do I even know what the 'real me' is anymore? How long ago did I lose myself? Or is this really all Homura Akaneno is ever going to be?

Orochi. I'm sorry. I hurt you. If you hate me, I understand. I just want you to know that I'm sorry. And... I want to fix things. Somehow.

How do you want to do that?

If the other me managed to do what she did, then that still exists. I want to try and find it. I want to find... uh, you know... the 'real' Chisa Inomiko. The one who isn't here anymore. I want to find out what happened to her.


This might come as a shock, but I do know at least a few things about actual science. I want to do something good with my life. And I... I took that girl's life away from her. She deserves to know she hasn't been forgotten. You deserve to meet her. So I promise—I'll find her. And then...

Don't know what I'll do after that. Hell, I'll need to find something to spend my days doing now.

As a kid, I always wanted to give piano a try. Maybe I'll try that.

That's good. Homura?


You're a very strange woman with a lot of personality problems. Mio hates you, and I don't think she's unjustified in hating you. And it's her choice whether she ever decides to talk to you again. But...

You were there for me when I needed you. Even if you also hurt me, I'm glad you were part of my life.


Thanks. Thank you.

Alright. I've got places to be. Wars to fight. You know how it is.

Get out there and kick some ass, okay?


As I headed toward the Skytower, I felt something. Not bloodlust, but a challenge—someone's spirit approaching me.

Izumi Sakuraba awaited me on the road toward the Skytower.

So it was you. I knew they wouldn't go off mic at the same time for no reason. You're alive, huh?


Now you're a swordswoman and a sword, huh? I—

I got your presents. This is a good sword. Could do without the RFID tag, but for the time being, it'll be good.


What's with you people?! Going off and dying all dramatically like it's no big thing. You and Sho are both idiots!

Sorry to bother you like that.


Izumi. You didn't come here to yell at me, right?


You're no good at starting to talk without swinging your sword, so express your feelings the way that feels right.

Fine! Don't you go easy on me, or I'll never forgive you!

I don't know how to go easy.

My name is Orochi Hosokawa! As the captain of Murakumo's Unit 13, I will not lose to you!

I'm Izumi Sakuraba, commander of SECT11! And I'm gonna kick the shit out of you until you cry!

Alright, Orochi, time for me to finish this!

Before this is over, I'll show you the true power of Chaos Control!

Sorry, what? Anyway, here's our final SEX Skill Quest—a 1v1 between Orochi and Izumi. This is by far the most difficult SEX Skill to unlock. If you come in here without the best equipment possible, you're probably going to get pasted. Izumi's gotten a lot tougher since last time—she's still got two actions per turn, and has a whopping 6650 HP. Moreover, she has a 20% resistance to Fire, Ice, and Aerial, high stat resistances, and she finally has the base stats to back up her bluster. Just on the action economy alone, this is a tough fight—much more brutal than the already-tough Rabbit Type Zero battle from the first game.

Incidentally, you actually start this battle by visiting her in your room with your solo Samurai. You do have to talk to Masaki to start the quest, first, though.


Show me what you've got, Izumi.

Fine! You want some?

Take it!

Yeah, so, Izumi does a lot of damage.

That's the way. More!

Don't cheer me on, dumbass!

Pain React is basically mandatory here, and having enough Renki First Aid levels that you can cram full health into yourself is a huge help—you really want to be healing up to full and no lower here.

Ugh, looking at your stupid smile makes me sick!

Then give me something to frown about!

Pour It On is just as much of a charge move as it was before, so I respond in kind.

yeah so you should guard on turn 3

Fine! Here I come, and I'll even give it some pomp and circumstance! Sakuraba Style, Outsider Form!

Justice of Solomon! Piss off!

Ugh! Y-you've been practicing.

Damn right I have!

Justice of Solomon is a 1.7x damage attack that is further multiplied by Pour It On, which has gone from 1.5x damage to 1.7x damage. So, it's 1.7x times 1.7x. It does a lot of damage. Most of the time, it blasted Orochi from full to dead in my numerous failed attempts if I didn't guard, or at least damaged me low enough that Renki First Aid couldn't completely restore me.

And she gets another attack right after.

You sound angry, but I can tell you're having fun with this.

W-what?! I am not!

Let me return the favor, then!

Haja Kensei!

Midare Sanzan Sakura!

Yes, the animation still involves stabbing Izumi in the head. It's really funny.

Hahahaha! That all you got? C'mon, I'm still raring to go!

Haha, hardly!

If there is ever a use case for one of your extremely limited Dragon Eggs, it's right now. The ability to bust out a second Sakura Cyclone is central to winning the fight without having to re-up Pain React, which involves a *painful* loss in action economy.

Alright, come at me! I'll knock you flat before you can even blink!

You asked for it!

Sakuraba Style—!

Haja Kensei—!

Our sword arms swung to find their mark just a millisecond faster than the other—

—and I think you know who won that contest.

No way...

Looks like it's my win, Izumi.

I really haven't beaten you once. Hahahaha! Man, you're really incredible. Straight out of bed and you can fight like that...

You've really improved, Izumi.

The two of us sat on the ground, seeing as we'd just had a heated swordfight and needed to take a moment.

Back when Sho and I joined SECT11, nobody gave us the time of day. I mean, who was gonna think anything about a pair of scrawny Asian kids, right? Sho was so good they had to accept him, but I was always the odd one out. I just...

I donno. Being accepted by you... it means a lot.

You're not bad, but you've still got a long way to go, Izumi. I think you could be something really incredible if you keep it up.

Alright. Let's get going. We've got places to be.

I'll head up the tower. You head back to the top. I'll catch up.

Oh, hey. Random question. What does VFD stand for?

It stands for Vmind Fyour Downbusiness.


Taichi: C'mon! I can take on as many of you as you want! I can—

Taichi: ...Huh?

Hey, Taichi.

Taichi: ...N-nee-san? That's—I—what are you—

I'm a mess of a big sister, Taichi. I left you alone for far too long. I'm a mess, really worrying, and a bother.

I love you, Taichi. I can explain what happened later, but right now I need to get upstairs. I just wanted to say... you've grown into a really incredible young man. I'm proud of you.

Taichi: ...

Taichi: I believed in you, you know. I always thought you'd come back someday. I really did. Even when I doubted myself, that never lasted—more than anything else, I believed in you.

Taichi: ...You're back. You're finally back.


Taichi: It's you. I can see it in your eyes. You finally did it. You're back.

Yeah. It's me, Taichi. I'm home. And I'm not leaving again.

Taichi: I'd, uh... I'd hug you, and probably cry and all, but we're in the middle of the final battle of a war, so I feel like I shouldn't, you know? Asumu and Shichiro might bully me, too, and—

It's fine. It's fine, Taichi. I'll see you soon. I've got places to be.

Taichi: And you're coming back?

You think that clown can beat me? Come on, Taichi. Have some faith in me.

Taichi: Haha, okay.

By the way. I did some thinking about all these circumstances, and I decided it didn't really fit to keep calling myself Chisa Inomiko.

Taichi: Oh, you finally thought up another name?


Taichi: Hey, we rhyme!

We do, don't we?

Taichi: Alright, good to know. I'll work on internalizing that while I blow up more monsters.

You can get a lot of thinking done that way, huh?

Taichi: It's crazy! Okay, get going. Love you, sis. Think I'll punch you later for making me grieve, if that's cool?

Sure, sure. I'll let you know where I haven't been hit so you can get fresh ground.


It's fainter than last time. I don't know what's going on, but watch out!

Fomalhaut's signature is dead ahead!

It's just that crest.

So this isn't the main event yet, huh? Please, engage it and destroy it!

I remember how hard this thing hit last time. Are we ready for this?

Of course we are. I—

Hey, do you guys hear someone coming up behind us?

Seeing as I found them right about to enter a fight, I put my hand on Abeyance's sheath and stepped past them, moving around to arrive at the front of the formation as I did.

Long time no see, Fomalhaut. Sorry, I couldn't help but step in.



Everyone, stand back. I've got this one. Though...

Some help, Mio?


After a moment of silence from everyone on the roof, Fomalhaut's crest included—

Is it really you?

It's me. Sorry I've been such a pain.

You're going down.

I'm sick of looking at this guy. Tear him a new one!

Heavens and earth joined,/my blade cries out its command—/rend them asunder!

Hakai Kensei! Ten-Chi Tachi!

My blade shall sever the chains that bind the earth and the gods!

Earth Splitter, or by its more proper name, "Destruction Blade: Splitting of Heaven and Earth", deals more damage than Sakura Cyclone, is multi-target, and also happens to inflict a Bleed rider for a bit of extra damage. It's really damn good.

The mark of Fomalhaut's divinity dispersed on the wind as so many of his spawn had done before it.

At long last, the battle which I had lost on the 3rd of September was won.

Vanish into the annals of history. Your true form will not be far behind.

The rest of Unit 13 were staring at me as I sheathed Abeyance and turned to face them.

I'm sorry I went behind your backs, everyone. I owe you all an apology. I didn't realize it, but I needed to sort some things out. Ever since I became the captain of Unit 13, I've caused you all nothing but problems—and I've been causing you problems for a lot longer, Mio. But...

I'm alive. The piece of me that became that sword may have been my heart, after a fashion, but I'm not about to let that stop me. I live in this world the same as anyone else. I want to protect it, too, and I want to fight for the right to live and die in this world.

I'm the Human Dragon. My name—the name I possess from within myself—is Orochi Hosokawa. If you all would take me back despite what I've done to you all, and this world, that would be the greatest honor I could ask for.

There was a moment of silence before Richter came up and slapped me across the face.

I am so angry with you.

Ow. Okay, understandable.

I understand the logic—that is to say, it was tactically sound for the long-term. However, as your friend, I am furious.

Then he slapped me again.

The fact that you felt so presumptuous about our feelings that you sacrificed yourself without our consent was very rude. I'm happy you're alive. Welcome back, Orochi.

Richter stepped to the side, and Sumie was up next. She punched me in the gut.


You are such a butt! What's with you?! I know I barely have any room to talk seeing as how I also died for a bit, but like...

We mourned you, you jerk! And now you're just walking back in here with a new anime supermove like it's nothing?!

You could've at least given us a bit of warning! No, "hey, guys, I'm gonna die for a bit but I'll be back later", no, you just went off on your own! And you made Marina help! Does she know you're back?

Hi. I was told. Welcome back, Orochi. I'm... really happy to see you.

okay that's sweet.

If you ever die again, I'm going to kill you myself! And I won't make you a grave or put any of your swords in it! Jerk!

Next up in line was Koron, who lit a flame on the back of my uniform to watch me scurry about.

You are one of the most infuriating pieces of shit I've ever met! I can't believe the audacity!

Then she kicked me in the shins while I was running.

Fuck you! I'm glad that I wisened up and had the chance to not be a tool like you! And take your damned sword. Mio has it right now—who makes their squadmates wield a sword that none of them know how to wield? What, do you think we're all samurai?

Go step on a cactus, you over-dramatic, self-serious bitch! I'm very glad you're alive!

Next up in line was Youka.

Oh no.

We found Daigo while you were out. He's alive.


Oh! Really? I must've missed him on my way up.

That's great!

Yeah. I mean, two kids I've been responsible for coming back from the dead on the same day? I'm having a really lucky one. That said, he was really tired, and I didn't wanna ruin the moment—I was crying and all, very busy work.

So you're gonna take this instead.


Youka picked me up by the shoulders and headbutted me. I cannot express to you how much that hurt.

I'm not great with words at moments like these, so I hope that got enough across. Fuck you.

With that, it was just Mio left, walking up to me as I was reeling from that headbutt.

I hope you know how much it hurt to lose you. I could barely move for an entire day. I was gone.

It took me so much work, so much firing myself up, to get back out here. I had to do a lot of thinking about myself. Even with that, I felt a hole in myself I wasn't sure was ever going to go away.

Did you even think about that?

...I can't do anything but apologize.

I understand. I mean, I know that in the long term, what you did was a good idea. I'm selfish sometimes. I know. And I'm not alone anymore, even without you. I knew I had people who could help me. But I wanted to finally become someone strong enough to stand on my own without you. Chisa—no, Orochi.

Are you... happy? Do you...

I'm me, Mio. Nobody else.

...I'm so happy to see you again.

Instead of striking me, Mio leaned in to hug me. It made the headbutt hurt slightly less.

If you ever, ever, ever do something like this again, I'm gonna tell everyone about your bad anime takes.

You wouldn't.

You wanna try me? Huh?

Well, if you ever try something like this, I'll tell everyone about your bad anime takes.

That's good. So we've got a mutually assured destruction situation, then?

That seems alright.

...I'm back, Mio.

Welcome home... Orochi.


As I reeled from Youka's headbutt and attempted to get myself standing properly again, a beam of light appeared on the roof.

Since we destroyed his crest, it's opened up a path to his domain.

Ah, by the same principles as the relay points we've been using!


Then Fomalhaut is somewhere up there. Go, Unit 13! You can do it!

It's time to take back our world—for good! Let's go, everyone!

Next time, we crash Fomalhaut's pad.

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