Part 53: Thousand Wings

We headed over to Murakumo HQ to find Shizuka in a conversation with... ah... a certain someone.


You look more put out than usual... Chisa.

I had to respect the physical effort she clearly went through to not call me 'VFD'.

I don't suppose your brother's entrance exam went well.


Ah, well. A boy like that's liable to keep bashing his head into it until it works. I hear you're all in the field again. How's that go—

Who the hell are you?


I've been in remission for a year. Have I met this woman?

Yeah, I wasn't gonna say anything but I'm clueless too.


Oh. Oh, right, you're Aitelle's sister.

We spoke two times. Since when are we friends?

I'm uncertain we've reached the level of 'friend' myself. We only particularly see each other in meetings, so the largest proper interaction we've had was when you yelled at us for being incompetent before you were installed as a Murakumo employee.

Also, I seem to recall you attempted to murder Chisa, and as she is my good friend, you will please forgive me if I am a bit hesitant to call you a friend.

Wow, Richter. Harsh.

I believe it's important to be honest.

That was six months ago! I try my best to be polite and personable for you people and this is the treatment I get?

You did what, ma'am?

We have an unspoken agreement that this is off the record.

Yeah, don't tell Kirino about that.

Oh. Alright.

Murakumo's prodigy advisor, the United States Secretary of Defense...

...I've been out of Tokyo for months and people don't even know my face, but I can't get rid of these damn epithets.

B-but, aren't you? America was only able to defeat its seven Imperials thanks to your guidance—

You seem to be operating under the assumption that I'm a soldier. I'm not. I provided them intel and a plan.

Also, 'prodigy' implies she's a lot younger than she is.

Wait. Oh, oh, I'm sorry! Are you also an Akaneno's Syndrome patient, like Miss Nagataka?

...I'll... let you draw your own conclusions there.

Is your hand okay?

What? Yes, my hand is—be quiet. If anyone is well aware of the circumstances that would call me out of Tokyo—

You were preparing for another True Dragon's attack by giving counsel to other nations, right?

That's correct. You all defeated the True Dragon Niara, dispelling the dragons from this world's skies.


I know what I said.

No, you're factually incorrect. Five. Five True Dragons remain.

How am I factually incorrect?

Even if you split hairs regarding the exact delineation of Chisa's identity, at least one of the people involved in the slaying of the 4th True Dragon is in this room, right now.


...I was factually incorrect. That's curious. Somehow that had never really sunk in. Anyhow, you get my point.

Yes, I understand. You're using the number to be explicitly disrespectful to someone who's standing in this very room. Your meaning was understood.

Where is this catty Richter coming from?

I recognize Miss Emille's skill at directing research and that she is a useful person to have around. She attempted to kill one of my best friends, also, and at the moment I have no reason to think that I will be prevented from doing good through my fulfilling work by being very clear to her that I do not agree with or respect her viewpoint on this situation.

I appreciate that honesty better than some of the sycophants I've worked with.

That's good. Is that all you called us here for?

Just so. More than anyone, I recognize that cooperation with Unit 13 will be best for leading to what both of us might want.

Of course. And I appreciate the effort. I'm aware it's difficult.

You aren't going to tell her you wouldn't?

She wouldn't believe me.

Sorry you kinda stepped in it Shizuka

No, no, it's alright, this is... Well, I was at the very least quite briefly told that there was a long-standing disagreement?


Later that night, I was preparing for bed when there was a knock on the door.

Err, excuse us. Is anyone in? Are you free at the moment?

Youka had chosen a good moment to get a drink, Mio was sleeping off today's work having still not gotten used to it, and Richter and Koron had headed over to the Medical Ward to help out for a bit. Sumie and I looked at each other and briefly played a game of rock, paper, scissors. I lost.

Yes, come in.

Shizuka came in, and who would she bring but...

Oh no.

Masaki: Oh yes. I see the signs of greatness in you all, but your true potential remains aslumber... Let me show you how to lay a hand on that well of possibilities and take a draught! Take this!


Ow ow ow ow ow ow owowowowowowow ow ow ow WHY are you DOING THIS TO ME I wasn't even in a COMA THIS TIME

Masaki: Because you've got skills whose efficacy is based on physical instinct!


Masaki: Oh she barely feels it.

Tier 1 skills! We also get 100 free SP.


I had no idea Captain Inomiko was so terrified of needles...

Masaki: Curious, isn't it? Several aspects of her personality have changed significantly since the war, and yet this remains completely the same. It must be something deep, primal!

Yeah maybe she had a bad experience at a doctor once or something

Masaki: Ah, Agent Kazuki! Get over here!



The monsters around here're wiped out. Go about your work in peace.

Thanks very much! We should be able to wrap up final adjustments today.

Looks like they're all ready at the Diet, too. It'll all be ready for tomorrow.

Finally... our first big step towards rebuilding the nation.

Okay, everyone, let's get to work. And don't rush it. Safety first, people!


When I woke up that day, I felt shaky, like a dog anticipating rain. I couldn't entirely place why, and chalked it up to my aforementioned growing pessimism more than anything. Perhaps I was anticipating a tech issue. Perhaps Kirino would break his leg or something.

Good morning, Unit 13! We have a transmission from the Skytower. It looks like the reconstruction ceremony will start once they have the power on. They'll be hooking it up in the Main Chambers, and you're all invited—so please come on over!

Thirty-one... Thirty-two...

Don't want to become a couch potato, after all.

Morning, babe! What's up?


Okay, so is this an 'I'm in a bad mood' resting frown, or an 'I have nothing particular going on' resting frown, or...?


Oh, it's an 'I'm not listening' resting frown.



Sorry. What?

Nothing, sweetie.

Sorry. I'm just feeling a bit off this morning.

I think we, all are, considering, how things, historically go, for us, fifty

All we can do is believe in our friends, one supposes.


Alright, let's—

Where's Sumie?

Koron gestured to behind the curtain, and I walked over to see Sumie curled up on the floor, looking for all the world like she had been physically crumpled.

Are you okay?

I was... killed by Masaki... you have to... avenge me...

We all took our seats and waited for the presentation.

PM Inuzuka: Indeed. The long-awaited starting gun for our revival—this is a great step for Japan!


I... I'm getting all choked up...! *sniff*

Yeah~ I wanted to be part of the ceremony, too...

The old man's going as our representative! And put Grenadine away! I don't trust that smile.

MP Ariake: Before long, we'll be getting a feed from the Skytower, so please watch the screen.

The feed began attempting to connect. I saw Richter, next to me, steepling his hands. And then—


PM Inuzuka: What's wrong? Is there a problem with the receiver?

MP Ariake: No... that's odd, Kirino should be up there...


The beating of wings can be heard.


What's the problem? Is it plugged in? Try plugging it in.

...Ngh. The battery's already drained. But I don't see anything wrong. Odd.

...That's odd, communications are out too...

Ashen Soldier: Aaaaaaaaah—!

Sgt. Makita: H-hey! Rooftop units, respond! What's going on up there?

Dying Soldier: General Dojima... we can't... we're—we're already overrun...!

Sgt. Makita: Dammit! Chief! What do we do?

Makita, I need you to reinforce the rooftop. Don't do anything stupid!


We were already out of our seats once the feed cut off.

The feed from the Skytower has been cut, and we have unidentified fliers out there!

Damn it. Okay, we're heading to the scene!

PM Inuzuka: How can this be?! Kirino... Kirino!

MP Ariake: Please, Mr. Prime Minister, calm yourself!

If it's not one thing, it's another.

Oh dear. Oh dear.

It's fine. Kirino's gone through more dangerous situations than this.

That's not... all I'm worried about.

...I know.


Jeanne cut herself off to gasp. A cold feeling had settled into the pit of my stomach.

No, no way.

Nuh-uh. Nuh-uh! I don't want that!

It was still localized to the Skytower... but that didn't mean it would be for long.

Our priority should be rescue of anyone inside.

...Please continue navigating for us as long as you can. Let's go, everyone!

The date was September 3rd.

What are you doing?! Get the hell out if you're not going to help!

Pvt. Kawabuta: Eeek! Save me!

Monster readings are back on the rise! Please be careful!

Ah, true enough.



Mosquito Pitch is Mio's basic attack spell. It's all-target, hits Aerial damage (all of her offensive moves do actually), and at any level past 1, also inflicts an evasion debuff. It doesn't do much damage, but for the time being it really doesn't need to—Mio's going to be absolutely trashing randoms for the next little bit here.

Mosquito Pitch is also cheap, costing a measly 4 MN at rank 1. That is very good for something that hits every enemy, especially this early.

Pvt. Shimano: This is A Troop! Escape route blocked at Observation Deck 340! Currently waiting to join up with B Troop. Over.

Pvt. Suzuki: Leave getting the engineers out to us! Unit 13, go on ahead!

That's new. The bigger ones must've bred.



Sunset Kata is a new move that's slightly stronger than Flying Slash, but whose primary claim to fame is the fact that it has a 2.5x accuracy modifier—it's very accurate. This does come up... occasionally.

Anyway, Wolves and Malfuryhorns (which look the same as the Dragelopes) are here now. They're somewhat stronger than the previous fare, but we're tougher to compensate.

Sunset Kata does have a small downside in that it has negative priority, so it goes basically dead last in the turn order.

You three doing okay?

As far as keeping up the back, yeah.

I should gut you where you stand, you ungrateful little RAT!

Kazuya: Eek! I-I'm sorry!

I should—I'll—

I'll—I'll deal with you later. Shut up. Keep it to yourself. Fuck you. Die. Asshole!

People expect storied heroes to do what they do forever, to not allow the ravages of time or circumstance to harm them. It's not an inconceivable sin. Many are likely thinking the same thing.

So what, I shouldn't be mad?

What? No. I think you should've killed that guy. People are dying anyway, what's one more? Presumptuous dickhead.

Girls, no murder!

Don't let hecklers like that guy get to you. We're rising to the occasion as we do. If we fulfilled every expectation people had of us, we'd...

Well actually we'd probably be dead if we filled every expectation.

Timid Engineer: W-what do you mean, 'be careful'? Shouldn't everything be going fine?

Uncivil Engineer: You're giving me a speech like that? Don't you know I've been an engineer for ten years? Sheesh. Some respect?

Cram it, you two. There's a big storm coming.

Uncivil Engineer: A storm?

General Dojima!

Yeah, of course! How about you?

After they headed for the roof, we lost Makita's unit on comms. From here on out—

Kirino! General Dojima!

Somehow that doesn't make me feel better.

I'm glad you're okay, sir. We hurried over as soon as the feed cut out—are any of you injured?


Kirino, General Dojima... can you hear this? This place is dangerous—leave it to Unit 13 and evacuate, now!

Understood. All remaining troops are on the roof—I'm leaving their lives in your hands.

We'll do our best.

It's that bad, huh... Chisa.


That's not a good look on your face, is it?

I'll escort the rest of these guys out of here safely. It's up to you. Try not to get yourselves killed.


The rest of them headed down, going back the way we came. The higher up we went, the more a sickly purple haze came over the sky.

I'd never seen that purple glow before in my life. And yet, at the same time, I knew it.

I can't believe this. I can't believe this.

(it's fine. you got this. whatever's up there, you can win!)


What is with those Rabis?

They don't look too good.

Dark Rabis are just slightly higher level.

I look at them and I think about red and blue Goombas. The kind that accompanied the Goomba King.

Anyway, here's Wonderwall.

Looks like we'll need to continue mapping from here. You two ready for that?


Same here.

Wait hold up!

heef heef

Okay yeah cool we got some loot.

That makes me freak out slightly less!

A group of three Malfuryhorns is pretty much the most dangerous thing around right now, considering they aren't one-shot by Mio's Mosquito Pitch. This fight takes me until a second turn!

Alright, we should head around the outer rim from here.

Hey! Excuse me!

As we curved around the outer rim to progress forward, I realized something. I could smell it. I could smell it in the air. I could smell... presences like myself.

Hey! Are you okay?

And then, that sickly smell, that sickly taste, the all-encompassing sense of the Bloom within the air, settled back in for the first time in a year.

You want to die, don't you?

No—this can't be! But these shapes, these readings—

Ugly bastard, isn't it?!

We can focus on the aesthetics after we kill it!


Mio, please!

Let's go, team! Come out swinging!

Total damage here was about 70. Not bad.

Is that all you've got?!

You're the one who got hurt by that the most, dummy!


The dragon roared from the feeling of my blade into its side. I knew where to aim.

Hands off! Mio is mine!

...I feel like Sumie and Koron probably would've been joking at me about that if it were at any other time.

Watch out! I think it's going to attempt to batter us!

Damn it, it's not dead yet—!



I'm fine!

Just stop moving already!

Hah... hah... hah...

Are you okay, Mio?

Yeah, just... that's what fighting a dragon's like?


Some part of me felt just a little bit more at home with that feeling in the air. The rest of me wanted to keel over and die.


Here, come here. It's gonna be okay.

You're shaking, too.

...I am?


...?! I'm reading one more Dragon signature. It's near the viewing deck. Please, hurry!

Pvt. Hoshino: We managed to get a relay point out in order to retreat back to the Diet. But the Dragons are back... I'm gonna be sick, man.

You're telling me.



...What we find up there. It won't just be one Dragon, will it?

Probably not.

Be honest with me. Are we about to die?

It's very possible.

Well, then it's a good thing I got out of bed when I did.

You two quit being so depressing!

...Well, if Youka's doing that again.

Incidentally, I feel I should mention: Earth Breaker is the only new tier 1 skill Youka has, and Sunset Kata is the only new tier 1 skill Chisa has. Everyone got one new skill in the tier 1 skills, but while we'll get to seeing Satsuki and Richter's in due time, I do not think I use Koron's a single time in the entire playthrough. It's called Energy Pillar, and is basically just a non-elemental version of her basic elemental spells. It's pretty much pointless—there's not really an enemy in the game you want to use something like that on.

Energy Pillar literally deals the same damage as Flame and Freeze, but can't hit weaknesses. It's weird.


Ah. Yes.

Ugh! It's too quiet!

Come on, let's keep those happy faces up! Make me a stupid face, Sumie.


Your stupidest face! A classic.

This ship runs on happy faces, my friends!

Oh, god. Do you know how hard it was for me to remember how to intentionally smile in the first place? Now you want me to power a whole ship with it?



Gold Rabis give 100 Az per kill. They're sort of the money equivalent to Bloom Seeds, and will also upgrade as the game goes on.



Pvt. Toneri: ...This is B Troop. One survivor... everything's down from here. Over...

...There's a relay point not too far from here. Please, try to make it there safely.

Some part of me wanted to take in the view from the Skytower. I knew soon that it would no longer be even so pristine as it had managed to reach in this year—so I wanted to etch this view into my mind before it was ruined once more.

Over there, that's—!


Sgt. Makita: That Dragon... it's already wiped out five of my soldiers. I thought they... what the hell are they doing here?! Damn it, why couldn't we have wiped them all out?!


Sgt. Makita: ...Shit. I'm sorry. I know... I know this isn't your fault.

No. That's not it. I just don't think that's possible. Wiping them all out in one human lifetime... That would be an absurd idea. Even discounting the ones we've already taken care of...

Sgt. Makita: ...Look, Rin and the engineers are safe, right?

Yeah, they're alright. We've got a relay point set up on the next floor down.

Sgt. Makita: Alright, good. I'll round up anyone who's left and see if we can meet up with the advance team. Let's stay alive and meet again. The elevator's just past here.

Pvt. Higa: Leave searching for survivors to the SDF. Unit 13, you've gotta get up there!

This ought to help a bit.

Mio, put it on.

Why me?

For my mental health.

Yeah that's fair.

The roof... again. I wonder. Did you study that? Were you calling me here, two days ago?

Comms... look dead from here... Ple... don... verdo it...!

The elevator ride up wasn't very long, but with all six of us crammed in there, the tension was so thick you could slice the air and come away with a wet blade.

Thanks for waiting for us, shithead! I'll send you flying all the way down to the dirt!

I'm not scared. I won't be scared!

Sumie, Koron, Richter! You three handle support!

Even if you throw humanity into a crisis again, my friends and I won't die! Go to hell!

I've got the bastard in my sights!

This Rush Groove's about 70 damage. 202, capping off the Prologue, has 462 HP, so this fight shouldn't take too long.


...yeah Mio's actually our main damage dealer here lol

You will hear me reiterate this time and time again—Idol is a very weird class and can at any given time wind up totally shifting roles. Anyway, another turn of these same actions, and...

I'm helping!

You sure are! Thanks!


You're gonna have to try harder than that!

It's rearing up! Youka!



Youka landed a punch to the dragon's midsection that sent it hurtling backwards off the edge of the Skytower, falling all the way down below to be crushed into paste on the earth.

Whoooo! Great punch!

All in a day's work!

That's all well and good, but stay cautious!


There you are.

In an instant, the space just above the Skytower was torn asunder, a vortex coalescing around a small orb. A crest of a malign, dark energy was projected from it.

That crest was not a face, and yet I knew for certain that another of my brothers was looking down on me through it.

So lemme guess. Another of your family?


That'd be a 'yeah'.

The pressure in the air was so intense that it would likely crush a weaker human being outright, pound them into paste like the corpse of the dragon Youka had just sent to fall to its death.

...So is he gonna talk at us, or?

We have more pressing concerns! Move!

Gah! Oh dear!

In the wake of the fell crest's lightning, the Bloom began again to infect Tokyo. But along with the breed Niara had brought, that orange Bloom, now his successor planted his own plague—flowers with stems of black.

Shit! Nobody touch those flowers!

They're coming over here, aren't they.

Looks like it.


The dragons in his swarm began to close around, encircling us and kicking up the wind.

He's trying to trap us!

Yeah, you think?!

Fine, then! I'm right here!


Wha—what's that... crest?

The black lightning shot forth again, as this planet's newest ruler exerted his will upon it.

Damn... my head...!

Trumpeting forth, I'm told, into the minds of all who remained within the vicinity of his new castle—a declaration of a change in power.



But... Unit 13!

Sgt. Makita: If we stay here, we're toast!

Chisa... Richter... Unit 13...

Sgt. Makita: Don't be stupid! Run! Get the hell out of here!



I'm right here! Fomalhauuuuuuut!

G...gggh... C-Chisa...

Don't you hurt her! Leave her alone!

Not... this shit again...


But of course, it was no use. In that state, I couldn't even touch the facade Fomalhaut hid behind.

God... damn it...

I don't wanna die I don't wanna die I don't wanna die

I won't—gghh...

The storm we were trapped in... wasn't something I could simply split.

Fomalhaut's spawn spun higher and higher into the air, spiralling up into the sky...

...and the transfer of ownership was complete.


The landscape outside the Skytower twisted, roots of the black Bloom growing into great trees, gnarled vines wrapping around the symbol of our reconstruction.

His lightning crackled across the land, splitting the earth to make room for his vile hatcheries.

I-I can't move! Get to the car, it's—the toxin, ugh!

Sgt. Makita: Get on board!

You blockhead! Don't give up in a place like this!

Mr. Waji, you go on ahead!

You've got to get back... back to the Diet!

Kirino, stop! You can't! You're only human!

Unit 13... don't die here! You can't!


We were not dead. Here is a fact for you—True Dragons are beings of information, and as such, when creating their domain on a planet they wish to invade, rendering their names into the minds of their prospective victims increases their hold on the world. This fact would be why Niara's domain extended only into the sky above Tokyo Tower, but Fomalhaut rendered all of the Skytower his castle—perhaps Niara had still expected the people of this planet to know his name somehow.

This is, admittedly, speculation—but I believe Fomalhaut left us alive, intending us to bring back the message and render mankind inconsolable in its terror. There are other reasons, possibly, but that's the one I think makes the most sense.

So, when a United States Blackhawk helicopter flew above the Skytower to survey the scene in Fomalhaut's absence, it found the six of us.

Ain't that a shame? Murakumo Unit 13, heroes of the last war, taken down in an instant... looks like this Fomalhaut was worth the chase from Saipan after all, eh?

Wiped out without even scratching it. And they're telling me these are the heroes that saved the world? What a joke!

I mean... A human dragon, an idol they put to work fighting...

Makes a good story, doesn't it? God only knows who the real heroes were. Hurry up and haul 'em in. The Blackhawk's only got so much fuel.

Okay, Sho.

I actually stirred a bit as they carried me into the helicopter. I didn't have much in the way of proper consciousness, but I did hear enough to say—

Fuck... you...

Can it!

The date was September 3rd, 2021. Earth had been taken over by the 5th True Dragon, the God of Plagues, Fomalhaut, our reconstruction had been waylaid, and I had just been rescued by—I would come to know—the most disagreeable person I had ever met.

In all honesty, this was probably the worst day of my entire life.


Nari yamanu hoshi no koe
(In trails of stardust, in the wails of the stars,)

kurikaesu ayamachi o
(our mistakes continue repeating)

Hitohira no tomoshibi mo
(Our one ray of light, too,)

ugatsu yami kieta
(joins them in the suffocating darkness.)

Taema nai senritsu ni jihi nado naito
(For our trembling fear, no mercy—)

Kotae no nai senritsu ni imi nado naito
(For our senseless melody, no meaning—)

Sukui no nai gensou ni asu nado naito
(For our hopeless illusions, no tomorrow—)

Karamiau shikkoku no toga
(Our jet-black sins entangle this world)

yuragu sekai kuzureochite
(which crumbles to pieces before our eyes)

aishita mono nakushite made sai sei—
(but until all that I love is lost, I shall declare my oath—)

kono uta o
(this song!)

Nansen no ishi ga sakebu negau nani o wameku?
(These thousands of wills, what wish do they cry out?)

Nari yamanai no
(They won't stop)

Nanoku hoshi ga ikudo koware kuzure kiesatte mo
(No matter how many of the stars crumble to dust,)

"Aragaou ja nai ka, rinne"
("Let us resist Samsara"—)

Kuzure ochita shishi o daite arukidashita
(I'll set out again on these crumbling limbs of mine)

Nari yamanu hoshi no koe
(To the trails of stardust, and the endless stars)

negai wakuba
(My voice cries out in prayer)

itoshii hito
(for my beloved.)

7th Dragon 2020: Sympathy for Chisa Inomiko
Part 2 ~ Maiden of Creation

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