Part 68: Alchemist of Swaying Heart

Another one! Let's keep it up!

Since you aren't allowed to leave Shibuya easily once Sleepy Hollow drops in, my MP is in a little bit of trouble. Not that big trouble, but in a little bit of trouble.

While Bite Off isn't a special move, the fact that Snapdragons' attacks can either be Claw or Fang—like, all of them—means that properly fighting them with a Destroyer can require a bit of prediction.

...Man, Mio is frail lol

Exhaust lasts for an entire turn, so Satsuki gets two Exhausted hits in here—a Vampire, then a Scorpio. It's enough to take this guy down.

You good, Sui?

Sui: Daigo said to tell you guys not to double back or nothing! Take the straight road ahead to Miyashita Park, got it?

Got it!

Hari: Ahhh, nope nope nope, not this way! Good thing I'm here, right? Easy to get lost in these narrow pathways~

Rafflesias are weak to Fire, and can debuff the party's damage or inflict a 25% accuracy penalty Blind. They're not too sturdy.


I swear, your appetite sometimes.

Conveniently, I level up before getting in any more notable fights, meaning I'm big juicin'.

Begone from my sight!

Since Chisa had Exhaust, she drops this guy like a rock.

Aw, darn.

Alright, sneak up all quiet-like, but also all quickly-like, and...

Yeah, baby!

...Hm. Her temporal distortion is a previously-recorded phenomenon, yes, but in addition to the infophysical capabilities she possesses...

Mio, you mean?

Previously-documented mastery of foreign invocations through use of familiar objects to imitate the rituals, temporal distortion under pressure of battle... There has to be some manner of underlying mechanism here, but—argh, if only I had just a few days to properly study it after having seen it in combat...

Perhaps we should think about this when we aren't running for our lives?

Almost out, team!

Sou: You gotta keep helping everyone clear out!

I'm helping!

There's some people over on the tree pathway!

I'm squealing on the inside, for the record.

Poison Birds have the same tricks as Kickbirds earlier, an all-target Poison skill, and a frankly astronomical MDF stat for this point in the game of 118. Physically they fold like lawn chairs, though.

...No seriously, 118. It takes until the sixth Imperial in this game for a boss to outdo that number.

Hey, isn't that—?

Privy Man: As you can see, I'm covered in garbage! No, just trash here! Nothing valuable! Please just let me live! I— ...Unit 13?

It's good to see you two are safe.

Privy Man: Woohooooo! We're saved!!! Yeahhhh!!

Lost Woman: I'm glad, but... well, I'll admit, being back indoors has its downsides. Still, though. Thank you.





Ah, I could use that.

Shit! Watch out!


Deathscissors are unchanged—turn on Critical React, then they start double-turning you with lifesteals and crits. Please burn.




Hey! Everyone's safe here, but... Ohhh, I'm steaming! That JERK!!!

We'll talk later, Neko! Unit 13, get us out of here!

Ino: We're still waiting for Maki!

Good hustle out there, Shino!

Shino: Thanks see you later bye!

Okay, now let's go!

We'll pay you guys back someday!

We managed to escape from Shibuya relatively unscathed, without any casualties—the risen Imperial didn't manage to repeat its massacre. Still, we were exhausted by the time we managed to return to the Diet.

Shit, you're telling us.

This particular Imperial seems to have a habit of only appearing when it's least wanted.

Woulda been a disaster without you guys. Thanks.

Maki, faint in Shino's arms, continued coughing.

Shino: C'mon, Maki, let's keep it together.

It'll be okay! You can lie down real soon!

She says to transport any injured or unwell members of SKY to the Medical Ward, then come see us in the HQ with Neko and Daigo about the plan for handling the Shibuya Imperial.

Right. We'll be there as soon as we can.

In all, it was much less of a fiasco than one might expect—the surviving members of SKY from the previous war had clearly learned a thing or two about living through sudden attack. We hurried over as requested.

However... Well. The Imperial we defeated has revived. I, uh, I didn't see that coming. To put it mildly.

The Imperial signatures are completely identical to those observed during the first war.


In my defense, you—well, you know. It's not as though there are many examples to make a case study out of for a capability like that.

No, I meant, 'how does it work?'

Oh. What?

Please enlighten the room as to how this particular facet of Fomalhaut's skillset works. I'm not going to chide you for that.

She already took her anger out on the podium.


Well, an Imperial Dragon terraforms the land around it according to the internal logic carried by its conceptual existence. A tear in hyperspace, a zone of rapid urban decay, a twisted gravity well... All of these places have traces of the Imperial Dragon's concept carved into them until the terraforming has been completely reverted.

Fomalhaut is skilled in conversion and reconstruction of informational energy—it's how he can feed on fear and terror, as opposed to the more general feeding strategy practiced by, say, Niara. You saw how Sleepy Hollow was... for lack of a better term, 'broken', yes? This is at least partially conjecture, but I imagine that Fomalhaut reconstructed it from the traces remaining in Shibuya. Not only did we defeat it, but the terraforming has partially been reverted in Shibuya, so not enough of it was left for a complete construction.



Daigo, what did those words mean?

I think she said when they killed it, all the pieces fell in the cracks, and Fomalhaut put them back together.

So I shoulda been spelunking to kill it harder?!

No, that's not... they weren't physical traces, it's...

So you're saying he can resurrect Imperials from the places that are still fucked up, yeah?

Yes! That.

Well, that's wonderful.

Oh, that's bad!

Based on Chisa's conjecture, I'd presume that Fomalhaut is using these revived Imperials as extensions of his own sphere of influence—as though he's reaching out through them to spread it.

There's black Bloom now?

It's a specialty of Fomalhaut's, apparently; a new and highly toxic strain. Up until now, it's been confined to around the Skytower, but its spreading is a terrible prospect.

Us guys in SKY owe Sleepy Hollow some payback. You gotta take us with you.

That was the plan. I want to stabilize Shibuya ASAP, then resume our search for the weapon.

Shibuya is you guys's turf, right? I'm hoping to see you out in force.

Sure, sure, but what about the scales?

We had Take and Aitelle to help out pinning it down last time, so we were able to just push through. What're we gonna do this time?

Oh, you can relax about that.

Once they're in place, you shouldn't have to worry about its scales.

For real? That's a relief.

It's hardly been an hour! How did you manage that this quickly?

In the last war, there were two different Imperial Dragons that messed with people's heads. We had the samples to reverse-engineer the jammers, and reason to expect it might happen again.

doesn't do to underestimate the dev team

That's true. Those three are something else entirely.

We're going to need to place eight to completely cover Shibuya. Unit 13, SKY, we'll give you four apiece. Please, use these and destroy the Imperial.

Alright! Bring it on!

This is revenge for a year ago. You guys ready?

You know it, pal!

Letting that ugly fucker flitter around Shibuya again would leave a bad taste in my mouth. Let's roll, kids!

And before we go,

Why do you look so excited?

Wait. Don't answer that. I really don't want to hear it right now.

Masaki: Understandable! I'll write it down in a notarized list and present it to you at my earliest opportunity!


Incidentally, we chewed through 9 dragons in the escape, so there's 23 total in Shibuya.

Our foe is the Imperial Dragon, Sleepy Hollow. Please, set up the Confusion Cutters so we can stop its mind control. I've marked the points on your map—Unit 13 and SKY each have four to put down.

Yeah... it's sickly sweet.

Unit 13, let's split up from here!

You want us to take point?

Heh. This is our turf, y'know? We'll take the lead.

Feels kinda weird using you guys's maps for our town, but you guys're pretty good at this.

I've got practice! Just make sure to return it.

Where do you get experience making maps? Like, uh, Pennsylvania or wherever vampires come... from...

Hey, wait, how are you out in the sun?!

Oh, you only realized that now?

Shouldn't you be burning up or whatever?!

Well, when I was a kid I had to build up my tolerance obviously, but I've also got fog dispensers under the hem of my dress that keep a thin layer of sunlight-dispersing mist around me. You can't see it, it's real thin, but it's totally there.

Is she fibbin', besties?

No, actually. She has fascinatingly fine control of her fog dispensers—when she wants to avoid attacks in combat she intensifies their output, but it never seems to get in our way.

Huh. What'd you do before you had those?

Well, you know my guitar case, Otacon? Part of his purpose is to serve as the lynchpin of a runic barrier that deflects sunlight while I'm in casual clothing. Saingreed's picking up the slack, but the fog barrier assists in ensuring that I can unleash my true power.

Huh. Okay, so like—

Shut up, Neko. We've got work to do.

So we do. Good hunting, you two.

Sou: Neko and Mr. Daigo went ahead. We've done all we can to help them, so you do your best too!

Down bad

Down bad.

...So you're telling me the runes on Saingreed's interior are to protect you from sunlight?

Yup yup. You know, among other things.

Chisa. Is she serious.

To be honest, I'm not sure. I know they do something, but the extent of what they do is beyond me. I think only she knows all of their purposes.

Aww, that's nice. They left the point over here for us.

The Confusion Cutters were rather small when held, but expanded once switched on.

Aw, wicked! You guys got the first one! C'mon, Daigo, let's hurry.

Running around like headless chickens ain't gonna help. I'm going at my pace.

Alright, I understand that asking on this subject is likely taken as verboten, but I am wonderful at asking forbidden questions.

If you're a vampire, why have I never seen you drinking blood?

Why would I ever let people see me drink blood? It looks awkward and kinda damages my image as a reliable older sister type.

It's true. When she has to make do with blood bags, it can look a bit unfortunate.

I have a slow metabolism, though, so unless we're apart for like a week or longer I can usually just get it from Chisa.

Come to think of it, the fact that I have an accelerated healing factor helps with that, too.

Oh, yeah! I guess that's why nobody ever sees the bite marks.

...Sumie. They're joking, right?

You want me to be honest, babe?


I am actually kind of not sure. Like at this point I'm like, 80% they're serious 20% they're messing with people.

Hari: Unit 13, good luck! I don't wanna see more victims. Maybe this is kind of an oxymoron, but, uh... Good luck, but you don't need it?

I think it's time to shoot that guy with a gun.

I concur.

Dramselflies are not sturdy.

alright, lessee here. one of the spots is over here, and—oh my comrades am i permitted to heef

You go right ahead, kiddo.

the scent on this one is strong. i can feel it. it's calling to me.


It's +19 number. +19 is a lot of number.

Ah, it's a tyrannosaurus.

Stand back, you two!

I would never deprive you of the joy of counters!

Tyrannosauri are about the same as in the original, albeit smaller by virtue of being two chapters earlier. We have Youka here, so much of their threat is mitigated.

Engaging Counters.Party!

It happens again.

What's wrong? I thought you were an apex predator!

Tyrant's Roar increases the Tyrannosaurus's incoming and outgoing physical damage, and it usually uses it before swinging for Mow Down to hit everyone. I am in a bit of trouble here, but...


The Stun effect on Knee Break shunts the Tyranno's attack to the end of the round...

See you later!

...letting Youka outspeed and Jab it for the finishing blow.

Knee Break is honestly a lot more useful than you might think. Stun is a deceptively powerful effect in a pinch, and while obviously it doesn't do much good for the Trickster themself, given how fast they are, it can do a lot to synergize with slower classes like Psychic or Destroyer. Gun Trickster in general is a lot more effective in 2020-2, and I generally trend more towards Guns on Satsuki than Daggers as the game goes on.

Even with that butterfly running around, Shibuya feels the same as ever, huh.

Urban decay is a timeless aesthetic. Or, perhaps I should say, the passage of time is an everpresent factor in our lives, so urban decay speaks to that no matter who you are.

Watch out, honey, you almost sound like an artist!

...I'm trying.

So were the other people we saved, but now we've got politicians breathing down our neck trying to sabotage us.

C'mon, Koron, let's not dump on this poor guy.

Okay, so over this way we're going towards two points.

Ah, here's the underground passage.

Let's explore around here first.

Ah. A Scratchdragon.


Seems like a pretty decent name to me.

But it also bites.


Perhaps 'Slashdragon'? It does more slashing than piercing.

Try harder!

Hey, babe, do the smaller kinds actually have names like the Imperials?

No, not particularly. They achieve their own name once they obtain enough conceptual significance to become Imperials.

Prickledragon, perhaps? It has many sharp points.

Oh! I've got it! They scratch, they bite, and they scratch their claws on stuff to keep them sharp, right?


They're Catdragons.

Huh. They do actually look rather cat-like if you think about it, don't they?

Huh! They kinda do look like cats.

A Catraptor, then. It's not a dragon. It has the body shape of a large dromeosaur.


Miroku, can you write that one down?

Right. 'Cat...raptor.' You really want me to send this out in the field memo?

It's a pretty good name, I think.

What are we talking about?

This type of dragon, sir.

Huh. I guess I can kinda see it. 'Catraptor.' Yeah, I think that works.

With the idea that it's a cat in mind, it is rather cute, isn't it?

Are we talking about cute cats?

Oh, no, we're talking about the Catraptors.

You mean the guys who do the scratching?

Huh. I guess it's a pretty descriptive name if he got it...

Y'all ever met my besties' cats? They're cute cats. Like me! I'm a cute cat.

We know, Neko.

No, I've never had the pleasure.

Why on Earth are you all talking about cats?

The Catraptors.

And the catgirls.

Yeah, I guess there are two of them, huh?

Hold that thought. Hey, Ako.

Very kind of you, thank you.

We've almost reached the next point.

I missed this.

What's that?

Well, not having SKY around, and us having to deal with SECT11 and Oceanus, we haven't really just gotten to have a relatively chill trek through Dragon territory in a while.

It's relaxing! Very pleasant!

Yeah, I totally get what you mean.

It is a lot nicer without that bunch of hecklers around.

And... there. SKY?

Got our first one set up.

That dang butterfly, fluttering around, screwing up OUR turf again! It's getting in the way!


Anyway, no worries! We'll take care of it soon!

You better! You're the one with a gun!

Please, Neko. I have TWO guns.

We head back to the underground passage.

I will say, I didn't much miss the sewers.

Oh, hey! Akino, Miyoshi! Where've you two been?

Akino: U-Unit 13?! We're saved! M-Miss Fudoji, could you lend me a hand? I hurt my leg!

Miyoshi: Oh, thank god! Goodbye to this stench1

I hope she's alright. The girl in the hood, I mean.

She seemed pretty scared by Sleepy Hollow's revival. I have to imagine she'll hide herself away.

Ah. Goodbye to this stench.

Together, we're half done. Stay focused and let's go.

Let's see... This should be a fairly clear area to set up a relay point.



Would we ever deprive you?

We're good friends, so here you go!

So yeah, we've got the Dz to upgrade Arms Fabrication now.

Someone's excited!

Oh yes, yes! Please, take this from us, most kindly!

We kindly get a free Nano Fix. Thanks, Reimi.

Alright, how many of you guys do I actually get to sell to?

Youka and I could use something better, and I believe Saingreed's looking a little worn.

The Flamewar Mic we can get for Mio here actually has less Attack than the Pop Mic we got from Roppongi, but is +21 on the MAT on it, and I remain in my opinion of prioritizing the magical shells for Saingreed over the physical shells. And, lastly, Waji now sells Nano Fixes and Stonols.

We'll head back to Shibuya and finish up our mission next time.

Next Update
Previous Update
Table of Contents