Part 11: The World Beneath Your Feet

...and that's everything. Clear enough, I hope?

You were perfectly clear. Thank you for the concise report, Captain Inomiko.

Good. In that case, we'll head off for the subway to Kokubunji as soon as we're ready.

I don't suppose you feel like explaining how you and Takehaya et al are acquainted?

You presume correctly. I will congratulate you on your deft handling of the situation, though.

You flatter me, Ms. Hikasa.

Flattering you would be telling you that I believed that your course of action was optimal, rather than sufficient.

Well, of course.

Not feeling very talkative?

I'm just worried, don't mind me.

Richter, you're a member of the singular squadron properly outfitted specifically for combatting an otherworldly band of ornery reptiles bent on obliterating us all. You have the strongest imaginable job security.

I acted in an insubordinate manner!

Richter, I really don't think you need to worry.

I'm afraid it's too late for that.

Hello, Jeanne.

—! Um, hi.

There's really no need to be so nervous.

Oh, no... um, I'm alright. Are you heading out for the subway to Kokubunji?

Yes, as soon as we fetch Satsuki and Youka.

Jeanne started looking away, and I heard Miroku audibly rolling his eyes over in his seat.

Hurry up then. Don't keep Gatou waiting.

We left them, then, and came to our room.

...where there was a package addressed to us on the table.

She left it for you while you were out there.

Occasionally, our Palz will deign to give us presents that will lay sitting on this table. These are basically unique items, so it's a good idea to pick them up. This Flag Bento is a defense buff item—very nice if we don't have Richter around. Thanks, Jeanne!

Whatcha up to, Captain-san

We're leaving now!

Don't run from your pride!!

Yup, that's a feeling I recognize. You've got your work cut out for you if you ever decide to have children.

Oh, I know.

That aside.

We're heading out now. Everyone, be careful—we don't know what to expect.

And that's my cue to get set up! Good luck out there, sweetie.


As we headed out from the nearest Access Point, Koron noticed...

Well, I had one of those looks on my face. You know the one.

Something bothering you?

Yes. Well, sort of.

It's just... Well, a lot of Tokyo is essentially the same, save for the Bloom and the... well, being destroyed. Why is Shibuya specifically overtaken by vegetation?

A good question.

I'm worried. Not that I doubt that SKY can handle themselves, but...

If there is something in Shibuya that's made its home, all we can do is take it as it comes.

I mean, unless you want to dig up every road in Shibuya to try and find an Imperial Dragon.

That would definitely make them mad. Thanks, Youka.



Why did you send out an SOS?! This is a problem for the SDF to deal with!

Sergeant Ikoma: Calm down, Rin! Our people are scattered, we've got almost no equipment... and that thing's out there. Don't you think we've got to do whatever it takes to get out of this dark hole?

Ikoma, I don't give a damn if the hole is dark, I'm still the commander of this unit! Before that thing attacks again, I'll rescue—ugh!

Sergeant Ikoma: Look at yourself, you're injured, too. Quit being rash and wait for help.


Tokyo Underground, the game's... third-ish area.

There wasn't anything initially off about the subways, but seeing them so dark and desolate itself was rather eerie. If there was anything I'd learned in the past eight years, it was that it took quite a bit to stop Japanese trains.

Hey, slow down, kid!

I'd expected to see Gatou, since I'd heard he'd gotten back on his feet—but I had to admit I was a touch surprised to see Aoi barrelling toward us (at a much faster clip than Gatou, for that matter).

Oh, our knights in shining armor!

Oh—good afternoon.


Good to see you're getting back on your feet!

Yeah, otherwise you wouldn't have left me alone until the day I died.

And I see Agent Unose has already been cleared for fieldwork.

What was stopping her in the first place?

...I know it wasn't the same exam, but I can't help but feel a little envious.

And Richter can't help but be envious of whatever salary you get that you can just skip on a job offer like this.

I didn't do it intentionally! It—it was a complex case, you know? A lot of ins, lot of outs, lot of what have yous. Anyway—so, this time, they just invited me directly to serve in Gatou's unit instead!

...The waiting list was months long...

Seriously?! D-don't threaten me like that!

Gahahaha! Well, if that's how you feel, then you better not make any mistakes, huh?

Yes, sir, senpai, sir!

I might be incompetent, but I promise to make it up to you somehow, senpai, sir!

It's been a long time since anyone called me 'Senpai'.

I've never had the pleasure before. At your nearest convenience, Agent Unose, roll over thrice and bark like a dog, will you?

Yes, sir, Senpai, sir—


I'm the one who takes Koron seriously when she says ridiculous things and makes her look ridiculous for saying them. I will not have you committing this sort of insubordination, Private! Do I make myself clear?!

...C-crystal. Crystal clear, Senpai.

Good, good. With that said.

One. Two. Three.


That felt wrong. Next time, can I do a cat noise, instead?

Serious time, Satsuki.

This is my serious face.

Thank you. Jeanne?

Right. Now that we've made introductions...

No need to worry about getting anyone out, Senpai. I'm prepared for a rescue mission! If anyone's left, I'll get 'em out in a jiffy!


I saw you at work back during the exam, but seeing you command your unit's new. Show me what you've got, Inomiko.

Alright. Satsuki? Hif-hif!



Nice find! Knowing how things have gone, they're sure to try and mess with our eyes at some point.

Alright, team, let's go!




Not on your life.

...What the hell?

Tokyo Underground is a lot of peoples' least favorite area, mostly because of how large it is—suffice it to say, this is only the first Tokyo Underground dungeon we'll be doing. They share a central gimmick and aesthetic, as well as the music, so it can admittedly get a bit samey. Still, they do some neat things with the concept, and overall I think they're pretty a'ight—they just have to compete with the rest of this game's crazy-ass dungeons.

A few fluorescent lights flickered above, but on the whole, the tunnels were not bright. Usually, at this time of day, they'd be bustling with people, and downright blinding, at that.


Brace yourselves!


The subway shook beneath our feet just as Koron called out. Once, and then again, a touch longer.

Everyone okay?

No problems here, Captain.

Alright. How are—

Wha—don't eat sweets like that on a mission! Oh god, you're picking it up off the floor. I—

And you're back at it. I can't watch this—here, go on, chow down, hungry girl.

Hey, you're giving me candy?! Whoaaa! I haven't had this kind in like, a month! If only I could have it and eat it, too...

Shouldn't that shaking spoil your appetite? Ugh, do what you want.

...Um, the mic is on.


Do you think that shaking could be localized to this area?

I don't know. We'll have to keep exploring.

Hey—Miroku, on the fly. Analyze those seismic patterns in case there's the possibility of a cave-in.

On it. Hey—quit eating when your mic's on!

In an attempt to be polite, I shut off our side's mic for a moment.

Why was Gatou carrying candy?

Standard issue in case of a psychotropic attack. Would you like one?

Standard issue?

Yes, Captain. Mr. Ayafumi was very specific about the brand, too.

Enough about candy!


They're kinda cute.

As are many things that can kill you.

Much like Koron!

What have I told you about reading subtext into my words?

I mean, that's basically plain old text at that point.

Badgers are capable of a two-hit attack and resist Fire, but that's about all they've got going for them.




We shouldn't underestimate it because of its size. It's clearly raring to go.

Some varieties of dragons will turn red and aggro you when you enter a certain radius, which makes them, let's say, a lot harder to get a preemptive on. Little Dragons here are one of them.

OW OW OW OW those are sharp. Those are sharp!

I have to agree, ow ow ow ow!

So, Little Dragons can do quite a bit of damage. Gnaw isn't enough to one-shot anyone at this point, but it does a lot of damage. Thankfully, they're guaranteed to not target the PC with the lowest HP, so they can't double up. But... still. Also they're very fast! Thankfully...

Koron, come on!

You are not a dragon! You are a drake.

Do you think they understand the difference?

...what's the difference again?

Apparently it has to have wings to be a dragon, ow ow ow please help me.

...they only have 250 HP, so they're really fragile. That Exhaust on Koron cleanly wipes this one out.

Battlefield medic Satsuki on the job!

I saw some odd colors as we headed deeper, and eventually we came to what I was noticing.

I wasn't entirely sure what it was, but some sort of technicolor, plant-like substance had taken over the underground, encroaching upon the concrete. It was clearly something different from the plants in Shibuya—frankly, as wide and varied as plant life was on Earth, I hadn't seen anything in these sorts of colors.


Ah. No doubt, then, that this is some beast's domain or another.

Whatever it is, it had better stay out of our way until we've finished our business. I don't feel like working out a nonaggression agreement with something making a mockery of my country.

Oh, frogs, by the way.

Poison Frogs can poison you.

...I know. It's a shocker, right? Just an absolute stunner? Just absolutely nuts.

Hold on, let me test something while we're working with small fry.

Biolink established! Autokinetic feedback enabled!

What's with the cube?

It wasn't by much, but when the badger struck me, I saw its movements sag.

I've hacked into their bodies to cause their aggressive movements to rebound the damage back to them.


EO vets may remember Curse. The basic concept of Curse is that a certain percentage of the damage the afflicted character deals is reflected back to them. In EO, Curse is the worst shit poopy garbage possible outside of really specific, otherwise-untenable gimmick strategies against superbosses or whatever. It's wholly awful, and frankly the only time I ever inflict Curse in EO is when I literally have to or by accident.

7th Dragon 2020 is not Etrian Odyssey. Feedback is an absolutely incredible skill. Resistance to Curse across the board, including for bosses, is much, much lower than resistance to other ailments—Feedback's base infliction rate is a 95% chance, so against most bosses you'll still be swinging for over a 70% chance... if they're not Hacked. If an enemy is Hacked, they're guaranteed to get Cursed by Feedback, even if they're otherwise immune to Curse. In addition, the backlash damage is not even remotely negligible—at level 1, here, it starts at 50% of the inflicted damage and lasts for 4 turns, and by max level, it'll deal 110% and last for 5 turns.

The best part? Remember luvshock? That skill I ranted about earlier, where Richter commands an enemy to attack itself or an ally? Here's the thing: Curse rebound damage works on that, too. Richter is fully capable of Cursing an enemy, then commanding it to punch itself, and then the enemy punching itself rebounds back to itself to more than double the damage. Luvshock's damage multipliers are not small, either—max level of Luvshock and Feedback in tandem will inflict an attack+Curse total of over fifteen times an enemy's basic attack damage, which in most cases will be an astronomical amount of damage. And it's Luvshock! It takes their turn!!

It'll be a hot minute before we get the chance to unleash Richter's full power on a worthy adversary, but every time I get to, I get a little bit of sick glee within my chest. HACKING NOISES

Let's see... some emergency supplies for subway workers, it seems. These should be good for something.


I just needed serious for that moment, Satsuki. You can be excited.


Jeanne, how far are we from Nakano Station?

You should almost be there.

Alright. That's a relatively fortified location, so Richter, Satsuki, be ready for triage of any wounded personnel if they've holed up there.


I only knew two people at the moment with such red hair as to stand out in the darkness of the tunnel, and one of them was behind me.

Major Dojima! Sergeant Ikoma!

Yes, ma'am. We received an SOS from your regiment.

Sergeant Ikoma: We got Unit 13 to help us out?! That's a real relief.

If you could fill us in on the situation?

Sergeant Ikoma: Well, Rin, you're the CO here, so I'll let you explain.

Major Dojima clicked her tongue and looked down.

Damn it all...

That only lasted for a moment, though.

Then the shaking began... and that thing showed up.

'That thing'?

Sergeant Ikoma: We weren't able to get a great look considering how fast we had to run, but it's probably a Dragon of some sort.

I see. We'll recognize it by the shaking?

...Probably. We had to run—there's three soldiers still unaccounted for, probably in the side passage you saw.

Sergeant Ikoma: There's dragons in there too, so our run-of-the-mill SDF equipment isn't going to cut it. It kills me to ask for your help, but there's not much else we can do.

No worries! We'll have 'em out in a jiffy!

Right. We'll be back once we've retrieved them. Please, stay here and ensure you stay safe.

If you have any flint, fire works well on the frogs.

The concrete gave way to stone as we entered into an earthen passage no doubt dug out by the dragons. The bizarre, alien life only glowed brighter in here.

It's squishy.

Do you suppose it's an Imperial?

It seems fairly likely. If the landscape's been modified like this, then we'll really need to stay on our toes.

Do you suppose there's any logic to where this has sprouted and where it hasn't?


If it's an offshoot of the Bloom at all, then it's certainly not nutritional value. Without having seen our antagonist, perhaps they're its droppings?

Oh, so it sheds.

...Actually, that isn't a poor hypothesis.

Get back here!

Make me run, will you?!

...but then sometimes they don't aggro on you and you just chase them around for a while. Such is life.

Given how small they are, it's astonishing how much we can skin them for, really.

It is, isn't it? I will give the dragons that they're awfully useful resources.

As is the nature of humanity—to conquer, thus to utilize.

Oh, these will help to mask our scent.

Satsuki Undergrouuuuuund! Satsuki Undergrouuuuund!



Wait are any of us still looking for anyone?


My family is still in Europe.

...There's my father.


The sentiment is appreciated, but what the hell are you talking about?

They do move in an awfully dog-like way, all bouncing up and down like that.

Get off me!

Okay, let's be a little more proactive this time!

Oh—thank you, Richter!

My pleasure, Captain.

Another neat trick Richter has is Airsoft Training. It gives him a chance at the end of any turn where a party member is below max HP to heal the whole party for a bit. I keep forgetting the exact numbers on this, but it's about a 35% chance to activate, I think? The point is, it happens more often than you'd think. It's pretty neat! Good skill.

Sei! Now...

...there's a hole.

No way forward. Just... a hole.

It's okay, Captain Baby. Trypophobia is a problem that faces plenty of people.

'Trypophobia' refers to an aversion to densely packed clusters of small holes, not one large hole, Satsuki. Words mean things.

Now, 'acrophobia', certainly.

I am not afraid of heights! I'm just nervous about going down a hole in a dragon-infested tunnel!

And maybe breaking my legs if the fall is too long.

I can ease your fall, Captain.

Thank you, Richter.

Of course, Captain.

Alright, here w

eeee gOOOO?!

As soon as I fell beneath the rim of the pit, it felt as though a great vacuum began to pull me along through the course of the tunnel.




Oh, huh.

AAAAaa-oof, okay!

Okay! So that's how that happens!

Jeanne, please send coordinate data to Richter when we head through those. I have no idea where we are.


Over the line, I heard Aoi screaming, too.

(Come on, it's just a vacuum tube!)

(It looks kind of fun...)


Let's take it out quickly, before the other one can barge in!

I was only ever able to handle one therapy dog, anyhow.

bring me a cat dragon, then we'll talk

One! And—here comes the next one!

Leave it to me!

Mission complete!

Now that's what I call clean, baby!

They're quick, and their teeth are quite sharp, but if we keep it up at this rate we could probably take a few more.

Yeah, I—


Howdydo, Private!

Private Kamachi: How do you know my rank!? Wait—

Private Kamachi: Okay, no, uh, no dogs.

He doesn't seem to be in a good state... I'll pass your location on to Unit 10—

No need!

Aoi quickly ran in behind us. Considering how much faster she was than Gatou, I could only imagine he was probably back there, perhaps having attracted the ire of a badger or two.

Alright, I've administered him a mild sedative. Don't sweat it—I'll make sure he gets out of here.

Appreciated. You're awfully fast, Aoi.

Well, I gotta have some skills if I wanna keep up, right?

That's the spirit!

This is a dead end. Let's see what's on the other branch from here.

It's loot, actually. Loot is on the other branch.

See? Loot. Useful supplies. Put them in the bag or in your mouth, they're helpful little tools for any enterprising agent. Loot. You ever notice how in English, tool is loot backwards? Maybe that's why so much loot is tools. They're two sides of the same coin. Tool and loot. Tools and sloot.

Are you okay?

My sniffer's sniffin' somethin' more important than loot. Right—


What on Earth?

Doesn't look like anything I've seen on Earth.

It was like a flower of Bloom had hardened into a crystal. A sharp, crystal flower, with a central stem containing something growing—by those beady blue eyes and the shape...

So the purpose of the Bloom is as a reproductive method. Hideous, parasitic hatcheries...

A larval Dragon... Captain, we should strike now, while we have the chance.

You won't run from us!

It had a curious makeup to its form, this 'seed' of a Dragon—it wasn't strong, but each blow didn't seem to have much variance in how much it hurt it. It was a matter of striking fast, not decisively.


It saw me from within its cocoon, and the crystals refracted within themselves a blinding light that sent my eyes reeling.

Begone, foul affliction!

As Koron heated it, the shell cracked, and the larva withered into dust as the amniotic fluid pooled in the broken crystal.

And with that, one fewer menace shall be birthed upon this world.

We should harvest this crystal, if its refractive properties are that strong. And the amniotic fluid—let's keep that bottled just in case we can use it for anything.

Wow. 'Amniotic fluid'. This apocalypse thing's a real humdinger, huh.

Hey, Metal Slimes! Bloom Seeds are your archetypal Metal Slime enemies—high enough defense to only take 1-2 damage from any given hit, they can run, they give you tons of reward points for beating them.

Chisa is by far our best Bloom Seed killer, on account of that unassuming Whirlwind Roll skill of hers hitting multiple times per attack. Satsuki with her guns can work it decently well too, but Chisa's a dragonslayer through and through.

Oh, and they drop Quality Fuel. What's Quality Fuel? Well... it's Quality Fuel, of course.

Here we go agaIIIIIIN

Hoo okay not that bad this time

How does your hat stay on like that, Koron?

I'm psychic.

Now that's a chungus. An absolute unit of a dragon.


Looks more like a dinosaur, if you ask me.

Sometimes, dungeons will feature large dragons who stand in front of walls of sprouted Bloom. They don't move, and beating them will clear up the path. Some are shortcuts, others are mandatory for progression.

It'll be a tough opponent, whatever it is. Front guard, ready!

...Koron, do you feel that?

Aye. It won't be long before we've got a minor cave-in on our hands.

Granderodons have this fun trick. Some dragons will have these—call signs that will cause an attack to occur out-of-turn in two turns or so.

Also, they can whap you.

In absentia of Youka on the front lines, I suppose this will do.

I could come in, if you want!

Don't break formation, break the monsters!

Aye-aye, Vice Captain!

As effective as that was, you're hurt, Koron. It might be time to fall back.

I'll assist as best I can! Koron, brace yourself!


Top of Turn 3, I have Koron Guard. Becauuuuse...

From the vibrations the dragon had sent out moments ago, pieces of the cavern tumbled down upon us. It didn't block our path, but too many of them came for us to totally avoid them—the attack left us vulnerable.

Alright, that's enough of that!

I'm in!

Richter's timely infiltration of the dragon's nervous system forced it to take it slow for a moment to recover.

hacker is such a good class

It's rearing up, you two!

The dragon let loose a howling blast upon us, that tore into my skin and cut close—but all three of us were still standing by the end of it.

Do your thing, Richter, Koron!

I'll rain down my own wrath upon you!

This is Shock, not Plasma Jolt. Shock is a Lightning spell, which... isn't REALLY a real element because there's just three enemies in the game that are immune to it and nothing else, so Koron's Lightning spells essentially are just flat-out stronger at an even level than her Fire or Ice spells. They're a good investment for when elements don't work out, and by the end of things she'll likely be hurling lightning like nobody's business.

Please take a seat!

That one was no joke.

Still, we managed it. Good job, Richter.

Thank you, Koron.

I might as well flex these muscles for a moment, as we are a touch low on first aid.

...speak of the devil.

You flexed good, Koron.


Let's see... what's down this path?

Two holes and a dog, it seems.

Dragonfly Slash is one of Chisa's new Battou skills. It's like Diagonal Slash, but better, and also it's Aerial.

It's a bit embarrassing to admit, but I'm getting kind of winded. Youka, could you take point for a bit?

I thought you'd never ask.

The Subway to Kokubunji ain't a short one, so while getting back to base to switch out the party isn't hard, getting back is a little bothersome. If I had one gripe with the Underground, that'd probably be it—as far as dungeons go it's the dungeon where it's hardest to get back to where you were if you need to bow out.

Out one hole, into another.

that's what she said

What the hell is that thing?

The SDF have started calling them 'Ropers'. Watch out—those weapons are coated with a paralytic toxin!

But that's my job!

Ropers are the most annoying of the varieties of enemies in this dungeon primarily because they can Paralyze you, which is always a bother.

Oh, an energy bar. Do you want this one, Satsuki?

I'm good, thanks.

(Good restraint!)

May I?

One downside of Hacker is that it's the most SP-hungry class in the game because of how its skills scale. Most of my SP Ups go to Richter in the long run, though Satsuki gets some too.

Alright, that's that one down.

What a pain. Whatever burrowed these tunnels can't make things easy, can it.

Taking it easy doesn't seem to be a dragon's raison d'etre, no.

As we walked through this passage—

another quake ripped through, shaking loose pebbles from the ceiling.

It's shaking again?!

It's coming from that side passage. Watch yourselves, Unit 13.

How's Miroku's analysis coming along?

Well, it would've been going better if that dragon you fought hadn't caused a cave-in.


Not your fault, but try and kill 'em faster next time.

Maybe let Fudoji-senpai at them?

Such lofty expectations these kids have of me... How's one to deal, Genji?

Hell if I know. Rip their tails off?

I can do that~


Paralytic toxin or no, that steel soul of hers is truly indomitable.

Badgers drop Warm Fur, which is one of those relevant Quest Items that the menu'll tell you not to sell (ty Pokeytax). Figured I'd mention it.

heads up theres a puppy over there

Ah, good.


Well, I've about got the hang of how they start a fight now.

So, this shouldn't be too hard, is all I'm saying. Koron, throw up a fire veil on me?

Of course.

Youka threw up a counter stance, but it wasn't quite the same as the one she'd used up to this point. As she dug her feet in on the ground, her curled hands almost resembled the maw of a wolf. Then—


She didn't just resist the dragon's attack—as it launched toward her, she caught its maw before it could bite.

As the fire veil from Koron raged, with its jaws open wide from Youka's hold, Youka brought up one of her knees and drove the dragon's stomach and her knee together in a bone-cracking strike. The light faded from the dragon's eyes, and once it had let out a few dying gurgles, Youka tossed its corpse aside.

That was, um, impressive.

All in a day's work!

One of Youka's new Tier 2 toys are her conditional counters—Fang Breaker, Claw Smasher, and Breath Render. While Counter Stance is multi-purpose, these three counters counter specific varieties of move (which you can tell by the animation, mostly,) and greatly decrease or outright nullify the damage while countering for vastly increased damage. You won't be able to use them on every enemy, obviously, but against dragons, who do the same thing on the first two turns no matter what? These moves are invaluable.

You know, like Little Dragons, who use the Fang-type Gnaw twice in a turn on their first turn. Those ones. They aren't having a good day with Youka around.

This is an awfully deep passage.

Whatever the dragon is that created it, it's certainly not one to do things by half.

Do dragons ever do anything by half?

There's another Granderodon in your way, team.

Welp, let's dig in, then.

That fire veil really is such a neat trick!

Isn't it? I love effort-saving measures.

Oop, got a little... overconfident, there...

Not to worry!

Activating 119! Just give it a moment!

Tarnish my eyes, will you?

Thunder Breath can also inflict Blind, which... well, it cuts the accuracy on your moves by a certain percentage depending on the status infliction. I think this Thunder Breath is a 40% accuracy cut? Blind isn't too noteworthy outside of a very particular fight we'll get to later.

Once the dragon finished attacking, all of a sudden, Youka's wounds had closed, and she was right back up on her feet.

Okay, wasn't expecting that.

You're just full of surprises, eh, Richter?

I try.

HEY IT'S RICHTER CORNER AGAIN. So, this skill is called Nanomachine 119, and it's—shockingly—a really good skill on Hacker. I know. Surprising. What 119 does is, once it's cast, it sets a delayed effect on any party members who were knocked out when it was cast. At the end of those turn, those party members will be revived with full HP. Given the issues of turn economy, a revival skill that allows the character being revived to skip out on any nasty attacks is really nice—and it revives them with full HP, no question asked! Plus, it's the only multi-target revival skill in the game, if it comes down to it.

About the skill's only flaw is that it only revives people who were dead when it was cast, so if someone dies between the cast and the effect they don't get it. Still, 119 is another amazing skill in Richter's repertoire, and the oddness of its effect is really more of a feature than a bug, if you feel me. It starts with a 20% speed modifier, but will later be upgraded to go off at the Hacker's regular place in the turn order. Other than that, upgrades just lower its MP cost—it starts off costing a whopping 10, but will eventually cost a miniscule 2.

Tier 2 for Hacker is just full of shit, man. And the best part is we haven't even gotten to Richter's best support skill yet. Oh, we'll have words about that one.

And that's that done! Good riddance, I say.

...and there's another branching path.

Of course. They can't make it easy.

You never seem frustrated about it when you're killing dragons.

It's different.


Well—think of it like this. You don't have a problem using the restroom—it might wind up complicated once you're in there, but getting rid of waste comes naturally to a person. But if there's a locked door in between you and the restroom, that's a bother. You need to get through the door somehow, and that involves maybe unlocking the door, or breaking it... And that's frustrating. The whole time, you're wishing, God, why can't I just go? Can't there just be an open doorway and a toilet?

It's the same way here. Killing comes naturally, so why can't there just be an open doorway and a dragon? Or two, or three.

so killing is like taking a piss. it comes naturally.

Yes, exactly.

that's really terrifying in its own way

In this instance, there is an open cavern and a dragon.

I can make this work.

Another one down! How many are we at now?

I'm sure if we rang Mio, we could check...

Oh! A civilian!

We're working with them. Don't worry, we'll be able to get you out.

Charming Woman: Please get me outta here!!

No problem at all!

Personally, I think we should clear out the other paths first before we hop down that hole.

It would be easier on my coordinate data.

Ah, just in time.

How nice! You smelled loot, didn't you.

I was also being considerate of Richter's coordinate data.

Alright, and we are... here. We should be rather deep in, by this point. far back was the split in the path?

...a fair distance.

Hm. Well. At this point, once we finish up in here it might not be a bad idea to use this to get out and come back in from the front?

I think you're on the other side of a wall you were near at some point earlier...

Yes, based on the relative coordinate data.

Put a pin in that for a moment.

Private Sasuga: Am I gonna die in this hole?! Man, I was hoping for a way cooler death!

Think about dying on your own time, sweetheart.

Private Sasuga: You?!

As the battle raged, Youka dug in once more just before the cave-in the dragon was set to cause, in a steady, limber pose that looked ready to propel herself from some outside force.

...and as Satsuki and I performed triage from the cave-in, sure enough, the dragon let loose its howling breath, and Youka almost seemed to ride the waves of its howl to rebuff it, slide past, and deliver an uppercut that almost knocked the dragon onto its back.


Thus did another heavy dragon fall to the fists of Youka Fudoji... with some help from Koron, of course.

Private Sasuga: Huh? If you're here to help, I guess that means I didn't kick the bucket...? With a Dragon trying to gobble me up... and cute girls come to look after me, I thought I might've died and gone to heaven...

Geez, you must be really out of it, huh. Richter's right there.

Thank you, Agent Unose.

Senpai, leave this place to me and find the last one! We've got this!

In the background, I heard Gatou, teeth chattering from some Ropers, loudly hollering something about the hard work and guts inherent to humanity and whatnot.

Alright, let's—

Over Jeanne's mic feed, I heard the door to the control room open.

Hi hi, kids!


Oh, um, hi, Mio.

Unit 13 wouldn't happen to have a minute, would they?

We were just planning to hop out to the entrance of the subway and head back in. Why do you ask?

Weeeell, all those materials you've been sending back have actually been enough to just about finish up construction on the south tower's 13th floor. I know you're busy and all, but Unit 4's raring to go and Reimi's kind of breathing down my neck that she wants to see some of her new work in action.

Oh, they finished the Industrial Area?

That they did.

Well, it'll have to be quick, but we've got the entrance secured now—hopefully we'll be able to be in and out before anything too nasty happens here.

Next time, maybe we'll finally get to meet that thing...

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