Part 58: Haunted Fortress 2

It had been a year and a half since the first time I battled up Tokyo City Hall, and in that time it had become home, even if we had later vacated it. The building was as much a member of the war effort as we had been. To see it ruined once again... was disheartening, to say the least.

I'll start scanning for life signs right now! Everyone... be safe!

we'll have to give the ol' girl a scrubbin'

I concur. How can she stand as a monument to our efforts with all this vermin about?

Alright, time to roll up my sleeves and get the metaphorical mop, then.

Seeing it like this...

Man, seeing Unit 4's old station cleared out is weird. I know we know where they are and all, but it still feels weird not to see them scrambling around back there.

I will never complain! I need these! Thank you!

You figure the elevator works?


Well, you won that one.

I'll take 500 yen directly transferred to my bank account.

Ah, thinking ahead to when the yen becomes relevant again, huh?

I am a forward-thinking woman these days, you know!

Looks like they have the shutters up. We'll have to go around.

Musashi always hung out in that next hallway, right?

Yeah, I think so.

Oh my god, Musashi! She got into the Dragon Chronicle!

Oh, now don't you think they'd tell people not to do that!

You know how we fought that Hammerer last update? Axe Dragons are like that! But less.

They traded their effectiveness against armored units for higher Mt and Hit.

Alright, let's tear through them! Not too many can fit in here without Warcry's gravitational distortion, so it shouldn't be too much of an issue.

What, that's all?

Try harder, champ!

They DO have Mow Down, the multi-target skill this line of dragon usually has and that that Hammer doesn't have, but it's not too big of a deal.

It's hard for me to really be afraid of much after the Tiamat fight.

Alright, I've routed back in!

I missed this part, you know.

Please die!

And that's that.

Ahaha. To be honest, I think I missed that part myself!

How brutal of you! As befits a member of my fell legions.

I have a question regarding my employment in your fell legions.


Do you have any sort of noteworthy benefits?

You get to be personal friends with me!

Ah, that is quite a noteworthy benefit.

...why is it a fell legion? Aren't we battling to save the planet?

Oh that's, you know, it's a titling thing for ensuring we don't get caught by any regulations. Fell legions are exempt from certain laws regarding the legionnaire recruitment scheme, because I can just say that what I'm really recruiting is your skeleton and the human around it is kind of like a tax writeoff.

Ah, so I'm a tax writeoff.

Yeah, you get it!

Clever girl.

c'mon buddy, let's go home.



Did I sign a form to be part of this fell legion at some point?

Yeah, don't worry, I made you sign the blood contract in a dream.

That's coercion. I could get you in very serious trouble for that, you know.

Eh, you're a military lady anyway, right?

That's true. You were straight out of high school into the military, weren't you?

No! My actual employment by Murakumo took at least a year after that—

Of course not, Koron's never been 'straight' anything in her life.


Fine, then I won't pet you tonight.


You kids having fun back there?

I hate slimes!

Nakagawa: Haha! I'm glad to be paired with you, Kana. It's scary, huh? Don't worry! No matter what happens, I'll protect you!

Kana: Ugh, you've been saying that forever. But you're weaker than I am... what a parasite, geez!

Your ability to cow her is really incredible.

Well, of course. It's part of our repartee.

I used to have that power myself, but it's probably for the best that I don't anymore.

Huh. Really? So you just can't anymore?

Yeah, no, like,



You're cute.


I mean, I appreciate the compliment, but where did that come from?


Dear god, that would've floored her before.

Were you trying to get a rise out of me?

Purely for demonstrative purposes, I assure you.

Ah, of course.

This fight goes swimmingly, as you can tell by the turn count and my beat ass.

Man, the doctors really did clear all the way outta here, huh? I can barely recognize the place.

Do you think that metal badger Aunt Natsume made had babies?

None of the random enemies here are particularly exciting. Lazy Bears, Badgers, and Slimes all do about what you'd expect from the first game.

Speaking of cleaning. Weren't the SDF barracks in here?

Yeah, when'd all those guys get the chance to move these books in here?




We win.

Let's duck inside so we can get the drop on that one.

This is where General Dojima oversaw operations, as I recall.

It's almost like a City Hall is supposed to have books in it.



You better not!

Transfixing Lady: I won't, I promise!

Alright... just a bit closer...


There's nothing particularly interesting about these guys that I haven't already covered before, so you'll forgive me a bit of expediency.



Sorry, guys...

Well, there was nothing we could do, and it doesn't look like there's anyone else around to rescue, so let's go.



I understand your feelings, but we really should.


It's the right thing to do, Mio.

Much as I understand your feelings, principles are not principles if we are selective about their application.

It appeared that Homura had, at some point, gotten to move up a floor.

I'm not having a good one I'm not having a normal one this is not a good day I don't wanna be here I do not wanna be here something's gonna eat me I'm gonna die

Ugh, fine.



Why are you smiling?!

My face is stuck like this because I smile too much.

Turns out when you spend years getting told you have a nice smile and so you decide hey people like you when you smile so you should smile like all the time it kinda fucks up how many faces you can make? Crazy, right?

And I mean my parents never liked that but they never approved of anything I did to begin with unless I was being a supergenius like I was supposed to because hey that's what the Akanenos do, right? And I like it when people pay attention to me and like me so I just started smiling all the time and I mean I'm a pretty gregarious person so it's not really a big DEAL like it isn't NOT true I'm Homura Akaneno but now since I got the shit beaten out of me a few months ago I've been really trying to consider what aspects of myself are really genuine or just some kind of maladaptive trauma response and it's been making my work pretty tough and I actually think I might be a little bit stupid and now I'm gonna die not being sure if I'm actually who I've been convinced I was for the past three decades and all this time I really just wanted to help people and make them happy I thought but am I actually doing that out of altruism or is it because I just like doing it to satisfy my own ego and

Dr. Akaneno. It's Unit 13. We're here to rescue you.


Then she actually properly turned around and looked at who had been speaking to her.

Oh. Hi. Uh. Hi. There. I guess I'm not dying? Maybe?

Well, you seem like you're a hot fucking mess right now.

Haha! No, no, I'm fine, I'm

I'm not fine. I want to go home. Can I please just go home.

Would the Diet Building suffice?

Uh... yeah. Sure. Sure, that works.

T...thanks? I think? Yes. Thanks. Thank you. That's correct.

You rescued Homura Akaneno, but Mio refuses to let it count towards your overall rescue counter!

Ugh. She's always like this, dumping all this shit on people who didn't ask for it.

I can't help but feel some pity for her. She's something of a pathetic woman, isn't she?



Since I assumed this office in your stead, trivialities have multiplied, crises festered. Haven't you healed yet? We need you back leading the reconstruction—

I can't do it. Not with my body like this...

But right now I... What can I do like this?!



If I recall correctly, the emergency elevator is on this floor. We should be able to use it.

Ah, it's one of these bastards. You girls ready?

Let's get it on!

It's Sumo Dragon time, baby! These guys are about the same as they ever were, but that doesn't mean they're unthreatening by any means—they're big ol' chunguses.


Berserk Pitch is Mio's first single-target spell. It deals more damage than Mosquito Pitch, and has a rider to inflict Blind for a 15% accuracy decrease. It's also supposed to have an aggro-directing effect where the struck enemy will attack Mio more often, but this effect is bugged. It gets applied to the enemy itself instead, so the only time it functions is fringe cases with 3+ enemies in a battle where you're using Luvshock.

The aggro-increase effect being bugged really sucks, basically kills the intended idea of using an idol as a dodgetank dead.

You know her, you love her, it's Youka Fudoji, baby, breaking bones and taking names!

I think you oughta do it a bit harder.

Okay! So here's Attack Beat. Mio's 'Beat' skills are buffs that have priority and last for one turn, but have pretty powerful effects. Attack Beat here multiplies all damage the player deals a lot, starting at 30% and ending at 50%, and also increases the physical damage the player takes by 10%~30%. This is a huge damage buff for what's frankly not that big of a deal—especially against enemies with a lot of magic attacks, because again, it increases the physical damage you take. Attack Beat is really, really strong.

A L S O we need to talk about Fever now! Fever is a mechanic unique to Mio where by using certain skills, you can raise your Fever gauge and unlock more skills that require a higher Fever. Attack Beat is a skill that's guaranteed to increase Fever from 0 to 1, and different skills need to be used for each level of fever. However, you can also raise Fever after it's started by dodging attacks, so dodgetanking with Mio has more benefits than the already-plain ones. At the moment, Fever 1 unlocks a higher-grade Order Action skill, but the benefits of high Fever will become more noteworthy as Mio unlocks more skills. Berserk Pitch and Dry Ice also have chances to activate the first step of Fever, but Attack Beat is guaranteed.

"What happens when you hit max fever?"

You'll see. Oh boy, will you ever see.

Oh, huh. How'd you do that?

Through my dark ma'jycks, duh. C'mon, you know me, right?

It's about to charge! Get behind me!

I'll help!

It has the same animation, but this is Defense Beat, Attack Beat's counterpart. It does exactly the same thing in the opposite direction—cut all damage you take (25%~31%), decrease the physical damage you deal (10%~30%), guaranteed Fever 1. Leveling this one up isn't quite as much value as higher levels of Attack Beat, but I think the benefit of that much damage reduction should be obvious, especially when so many enemies have wind-up attacks.

Also, again, note that Defense ♪ Beat only reduces physical damage dealt by your party. Psychics, hackers, and other idols can continue to hit enemies without having their damage reduced while Defense ♪ Beat is active. It's a very useful skill!

Also, as noted, the skill scales incredibly badly, but also that means you only need a minimal SP investment in it.

Argh, damn!

We're not down yet! Good job, Mio!

No problem ow

Okay, I can do this...

Japan's top idol ain't going down that easy!

Mio sang out a pleasant little ditty, which, amazingly, made my wounds start closing faster than normal.

What's that? Another amazing skill from Mio? Gosh, you shouldn't have! Soothing Song is another incredible skill. It has a high base speed modifier and is very cheap at 3 MP, for an incredible value—while the heal itself is never that large, it's very effective at treating minor nicks or wear and tear, and has the added benefit of a percentage chance to cure all status ailments on the party members. At level 1, that chance is 30%, but it goes up to 70% by the end, which is really reliable, and again it is very cheap. It's the kind of skill you can really easily throw out just to keep your party topped up, and does wonders for keeping the economy of healing going without having to use too many items in-battle. It'll never outdo Koron as our primary healing caster, but it doesn't need to, because this is Idol, the class that does everything.

Combining healing and ailment removal into one skill, even if the ailment removal is random, saves a good bit of action economy.

Goin' for the teeth!

A few of the dragon's teeth did, in fact, fly out of its mouth.

Take 'em out, chief!

You got it!

An Exhausted Spinedge Blow with Attack Beat is already landing for this much damage.


With it reeling from Youka's brutal blows, it had little chance to defend itself from me splitting it in two.

Thus is another chapter written in the wartime history of the dark countess Akaneno. Let this battle serve as a monument to the folly of facing me in battle!

Nice dancing!

Thanks! I try.

That's understandable. I can also become rather engrossed.

The way forward's through that room, but this side path here has a Guard Ring. Anyway,

You know, seeing it like this... That room was the place I battled my first Dragon.

Oh. It's you.

Kazuya: Y-you guys aren't still mad at me, are you?

Oh, I can hold a grudge for a long time. Am I sufficiently impressive for your expert gaze, sir? Have I 'gotten it together'?

Kazuya: I'm sorry! I was scared because the world was ending! Again!

...To be fair, I have experienced much worse than you already. I guess I can forgive you. What's this about stairs?

Kazuya: Oh, just that the emergency elevator's in the next room. I can't really fight that dragon in there myself, though.

One more Dragon before this place is cleared out! Mio, you ready?

As always!

Oh, wait, whoops—!

Mio tripped in the middle of the fight. She was able to get up, but I couldn't help but snarl at the fact that the dragon there had seen that minor mistake.


When you use Overexposed, something happens. What is the something? Who knows! But something will sure happen.

Can't wait to have to write up all the minutiae of that damn skill...

Incidentally, Overexposed's Japanese name is "XXX Accident".

This one does about 200 damage total. Very nice, Mio!

Youka, look out!

That all you got, bastard?!

With Burn, Double Hook, and Defense Beat, Great Horn isn't very much to worry about.

Bust 'em, girl!

Home run!

The force of the vibratuion sent the dragon tumbling backwards into the wall, the collision with which shattered its spine.

You're doing incredibly, Mio!

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect at first, but you're quite formidable in your own right, aren't you?

What, all the Rabis didn't tell you that?

Once we reached the tenth floor, the atmosphere shifted. It seemed we'd gotten through where the monsters had called their home, and like I'd surmised, the Dragons couldn't reach this high.

It should be in here.

In the flesh.

Unshaken Researcher: So you picked up our rescue signal. I'm very grateful. Since the day the Dragons reappeared, we've been holed up in City Hall... Fortunately, we had food and water, and it was just a prototype, but we had a means to counteract Bloom toxicity.


All this data, painstakingly gathered, just... gone...

Damned SECT11! What's the status of our physical backups?

Still under lockbox, ma'am.

Think I might add a spring-loaded gun to it, too, now.

Great idea. I'll add three more.

Breaking onto government territory and stealing things is my jobs, you buncha yahoos!

I become less and less happy with them with every passing moment.


With regard to SECT11. We shouldn't disregard the threat they pose.

I'm aware. Any force that size working actively against us is a problem.

It's seeming more and more likely they have some goal for coming to Tokyo besides killing Dragons.

Perish the thought!

Don't mock me.

You're just a bit charmingly singleminded sometimes, Emille.

Shut. I'm returning to headquarters, which is closed for the time being. Go to sleep or something.

Playing Girl: Did you guys rescue the hidey people? That's what my grandpa said. Unit 13, you did it! You want a sticker?

I would love a sticker, thank you.

It's timedaima for my hero-tachi! A major domo arigato for all the work you've done helping people out there today!

And an SP Up 100.

We appreciate it, Sharon! Thanks.

And we've got the quests for this chapter down!


Is that a new one up there?

A tweenager's guardian angel who saved her from certain death, ne? You gotta find them!

Aww, that sounds sweet. Let's go do that.

If you all would?

not to worry my dude, we've had a productive day

Heck yeah! I'm most grateful, y'all!

Take this as my way of saying thanks!

Thanks yourself, chief!

We've got the standard weapon and armor upgrades. Waji just has Medicine 3s added to the stock, but hey, that's nice.

Hi, what's—

Manic Pixie: Yeah yeah, so just the other day, I thought I was totally gonna kick the buckeeeeeet~ I was surrounded by monsters on all sides, no hope, all I could do was get down on my knees, pray to my dear departed grandma... When the craziest thing happened! In my darkest hour, an angel of mercy descended and thumped all those monsters! I wanna do something, anything I can to thank him, but I donno where to start... Pleaaase could you deliver this offering to my emissary from above? Pretty please?

Manic Pixie: It was out in Marunouchi, by Station #6! I'm counting on you!

Oh, huh?

Yeah, we can do that.


Ugh. A bunch of our favorite people.

You don't think...?

Excuse me!

Did you happen to save a young girl in a maid uniform around here?

Frank: Huh? Yeah, why?

This is for you, then.

It's a gift for her 'guardian angel'.

Frank: Heh, yeah, we are angels, aren't we? All these chicks we keep bailing out say that.




I shoulda broke his neck, really.

I should've helped you break his neck.

Unfortunately, I think that would've gone against what she wanted.

Hey, kid. Your guardian angel told you your gift sucked and to give him bourbon and cigarettes.

Probably not.

Manic Pixie: Ohh oh oh, that reminds me! This is a thank-you for the thank you!

And an SP Up 100.

Manic Pixie: But even though I didn't know them or trust them, they came to save me. So whatevs! As far as I'm concerned, those guys are angels! Ah... beam me up!




Well, at least we saved a bunch of people, right?

Right! We can be glad of that, at least.

That was the end of September 8th.

Next time, no, no, I swear, this time it's much smaller,

(insert zombie moaning SFX from Thief here)

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