So you're just not gonna tell me what you did?
Like I said. I simply acted on intuition.
Listen, Richter, I understand you've probably got a reason to be cagey about this. But one of these days you're going to have to tell me!
I don't know what you mean, sir.
C'mon, dude! You raised the dead! Can't you at least give us a hint?
Like I said, ma'am, I was acting out of desperation. Frankly, I was in such a rush I can hardly remember half of the actions I took.
And... er, Koron?
I wasn't paying much attention to him.
Geez! Wipe that stupid grin off your face!
Oh? I see you smiling, too. And are those tear stains I see?
Shut up! What else am I supposed to do if one of my besties dies and then un-dies that fast?
You guys are really just full of surprises, you know that?
So I should have that written down, then? That you acted randomly and don't remember what you did?
That seems to me like the best option, yes.
You're lucky you're cute, Richter. Fine. Mark that down in the report, Shizuka.
Should I also mark down that he's cute?
Ahahaha. You know, you do flatter me, Kirino.
I've attempted to pull up their records using our old national defense database. SECT11 was originally created as a place to put soldiers with high fighting potential who were reckless or undisciplined.
And Shouji was the one who finally drilled them all into an elite unit, huh? Maybe it's no surprise that they're falling apart after he's gone...
That's why I think it has to be Izumi. Who else are they going to listen to? I know it's a lot for her to listen up to, but...
The remaining members of SECT11 are still assaulting the Railcage. We don't have any more time to dawdle. I'm counting on you, Richter—and the rest of Unit 13, too.
Sumie was back in the Medical Ward, being checked to ensure nothing was wrong with her body. The rest of us convened in our room.
You've gotta explain what just happened.
Richter stood up, went over to the door, and ensured it was locked. With his Gauntlet, he altered the door temporarily to ensure no sound could leave the room, before sitting back down on one of the couches.
Before I begin, I need you all to understand that this cannot leave this room. You must all be sworn to secrecy. If anyone asks, my public story is that I acted out of desperation, do not remember half of the steps I took, and cannot explain what I just did.
It's really that serious?
The four of us, Koron included, nodded our assent.
Let me first begin by apologizing to you, Mio.
Huh? For what?
In order for my plan to work, I needed to manipulate you. Not very much so, but you were actually a key player in my method, and you behaved perfectly.
Wait... what? But I didn't do anything.
It's understandable you would think that, but that's incorrect. But—perhaps I should start from the beginning.
You likely know that for quite some time, I've been attempting to discern the nature of Mio's psychic abilities. However, for the majority of my time studying them, enough disparate things were true that I was unsure how to quantify them. Her sonic blasts, her seeming manipulation of time, her ability to work with Ayana-san's technologies...
That was, until today. I believe the nature of Mio's psychic abilities extends not just to her, but to the Akaneno bloodline itself—a hereditary power that Homura, too, possesses. The nature of this ability is why this cannot leave this room. The experiment I performed in Ikebukuro with Homura was to confirm the ideas that seeing her in combat had sown within me.
I have tentatively dubbed this ability the "Akaneno Delusion Field".
'Delusion'? You'll have to elaborate.
The fundamental principle is simple, but simultaneously incredibly complex. In truth, I doubt anyone could have figured it out without all that has happened to us—but knowing what I know about the nature of reality and information, I've come to understand it. In truth, the Akaneno bloodline possess a power not dissimilar to that of the Imperial Dragons.
Wait—wait, hold on. You're saying Mio possesses the ability to enforce her own internal logic on the world around her?
Not actively, or intentionally. Rather, I believe that the Akaneno Delusion Field operates on just that—delusion. Consider, for example, Homura's gun posture. She was able to land every single shot and take no drawbacks from holding her guns improperly until I explained to her clearly why she was doing it wrong, and what the proper method was—but the instant she did know that, reality re-asserted itself.
Wait, so back on Iorys—
Yes, you've come to my next point. During Project NEW GAME, you were able to perform local invocation rites through use of your own possessions because you believed you could. As that world has the same fundamental laws of reality, you shaped reality around yourself in this minor way through your own belief. This isn't the only time it's come into play, though—you ignore deadlines, and the deadlines do not occur until you're finished. Or, perhaps, in Niara's domain—the monsters and Dragons there ignored you and Chisa and went for us instead, despite you being seemingly defenseless. You believed you understood how Ayana-san's sister's technology should work, so you were easily able to create that framework.
...What the hell?
I'm not done. The Akaneno Delusion Field, being a power that operates on belief, can be terrifying. For instance—say someone with no fundamental understanding of how the field of hacking worked attempted to create something that could 'hack anything'. By virtue of this woman's ability to subconsciously write information to Grateful Seventh through her delusions, the universe had to allow for that—thus, in creating the Universal Hacking Interface, Homura Akaneno altered the laws of reality in some way to create the possibility of YUUHI's functions.
In other words, before Homura attempted to invent YUUHI, YUUHI could not have existed. It was her belief in her ability to invent it that made it possible. The same is likely true of Project NEW GAME—the principles therein also made possible through the previous Homura's belief in her own capability. The Akaneno Delusion Field can alter reality at a micro level, adding rules and clauses to the laws of physics that did not exist beforehand. Nagisa Ayana's attempts to create that virtual reality technology have evidence of this—that she repeatedly attempted the same thing, and suddenly later it would work, with no change at all. The laws of reality were being altered, and she was finding the traces of it.
Homura learned how to wield guns that quickly because she believed she could, and it didn't matter what got in her way. It seems to me that her particular mental state is ideal for causing the Delusion Field to alter reality in such a manner, but most likely, ever since the Akaneno family became 'geniuses', the ability has existed within them.
The moment I realized what it was I was seeing, had I not been so high up in the air, I likely would have felt the floor fall out from under me. That such a terrifying power could exist was nearly unimaginable, but I could think of no other explanation. You, Mio, as well as Homura, are capable of writing data to the infophysical fields that make up the world through your belief.
I guess that does... kinda make sense. More than anything else.
This leads me to what I just did. In a sense, you could say that for just a moment, I possessed power over life and death. For just a few minutes, I had power akin to a god. Because you, Mio—you believed I had the capability to revive Sumie from death. So whatever it was I did—
—anything would've worked?
So long as it was not a process of YUUHI that already had a function, yes. I could have done anything. I could have written any function to revive a dead person. I could have made it very, very easy.
But I didn't. I involved Koron to both ensure that Sumie's consciousness would be present, and to complicate the circumstances. I involved the genome of a physically female Lucier both because I thought it might make Sumie happy, and to complicate the circumstances. I wasted action, went in circles, and performed generally some of the most inefficient, wasteful, circuitous, obscure programming I had ever done.
Death is painful. So many have died since the Dragons first arrived. Countless untold lost—but at the same time, humanity, I think, is not ready to conquer death. I worried about what might happen, if we lost one of the factors that makes us human. So, my exception, the method I wrote to revive someone from the dead through Mio's belief that I could do so, exists, and will always exist—but I made it as hard as I could for anyone to randomly find it. At some point in the future, perhaps someone will, and I can only hope that at that point, humanity will be more ready for something like that.
But I could not help but be a little hypocritical, just this once. And I believe that that's what SATSUKI might have wanted.
You may tell Sumie, of course. But aside from her, I believe this should be treated quite seriously. And, Mio... I believe in your ability to use this power responsibly, but please always remember that you possess an ability that can be used for great good or terrible evil.
Yeah. Whoa. That's a lot of responsibility.
Thank you for letting me know. And, I'm glad I could help. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go make sure my girlfriend is okay.
I think Richter really is the smartest man I've ever met, but his ability to be even-handed with the power he possesses might be even more impressive. I don't know what I would do in a situation like that. Putting myself in his shoes, I feel like I would just freeze up with the possibilities, the responsibility. But he saved Sumie, and ensured the limitations and irreplicability of what he did—he kept a cool head the entire time.
I told you he hadn't yet reached his peak of heroism. I think this was it, personally. He saved Sumie. And... in doing so, I think he saved all of us, too.
I saw your unit, and I've heard about how it got started now. I know how important Shouji was to you, to all of you. But what I don't understand is why you lost all of that spirit the second he left.
...What else could Sho do but leave SECT11 to me? But I don't think SECT11'll ever respect me, not the way they did him. It's pointless for me to try and lead them.
Is that what you think?
I heard what was going on, in the Railcage.
But... I guess that's their right. Not like I've done anything to help.
What happened to 'enjoying the battlefield'?
You—you shut your mouth! That's for Sho to say and nobody else!
But we were... we were still human. So, the battlefield, the battle, fighting, killing... We didn't have any choice but to enjoy it. If we wanted to live...
We didn't have any other choice. I had to be someone who enjoyed fighting for her country or else I would go insane. Sho was strong. He could stay himself. Or... maybe he was never sane to begin with. Maybe he was a crazy man trying to tell everyone else how to stay sane living like he did.
An "American soldier"... I wanted to be that so bad, y'know. It was all I was ever going to be good at. I—
Oh, that's a sob story.
It's fine. You can keep going.
I don't know why I act the way I do. I'm just some kid, you know? I always... I'm sorry, okay? I don't really hate you guys. The... the Japanese, I mean. But if you were better than me, I...
I guess I... I just wanted someone to tell me the person I was being was good enough. That I was doing good. But I wasn't doing good. I was being a person who just enjoyed fighting for fighting's sake because that's the kind of person who could fight for fighting's sake. I mean, I do like fighting. It's not like I don't, but it's so...
It's hard when you feel like you're doing what you love for the wrong reasons. Right?
I just don't know who I am if I'm not being like Shouji. I wanted to compete with you because I wanted you to prove that I was worth something. I needed something to fight to be the person Sho wanted me to be... or the person I thought Sho wanted me to be... or the person I had to be because I was with Sho, or... or whatever.
I'm sorry. I just wasted a bunch of your time.
Do you... like fighting?
That's a hard question.
Are you gonna keep doing it?
Yeah. We're going out again.
...Okay. Then you guys... do your best.
Koron stayed behind to take care of Sumie, but we waited for Richter.
How is she?
That's good. She staying in for this one?
Yes. Koron will be by eventually, but Sumie needs time to get used to... well, her center of gravity is slightly different, for one thing, as well as having ears on the top of her head.
Hey, no worries. I've got the back all by myself. I'm pretty tough, y'know!
That you are!
Did I getcha? I bet I gotcha. Anyway, that's it from Homura. Let's head on with a much more normal-looking party.
Seems resistance will be getting stronger from here. Chisa, Mio, are you two ready?
As ever! I'm ready to do some real booting!
I don't understand that reference, but recognize your right to make it nonetheless.
Attaboy. I couldn't ask for a better secretary for my fell legions.
I guess it is kinda like that, isn't it?
The upgraded Hammerhead is obviously stronger, but isn't tactically different—it's got the same skills and whatnot. 3210 HP, weaker magically than physically on defenses.
This one isn't too tough.
I sink into the darkness nevertheless!
Probably a good idea.
It's likely going for a sweep!
Luckily for us, I have an answer to that.
If you would so kindly.
137, 133, 113. Total 380. Nice swingin', Mio.
Damn, that looked like it hurt.
It's likely to be angry. Mio, if you would?
Luck Booster is a new skill Richter has with two effects. One, it buffs the entire party's evasion. Two, it makes rolling skills more likely with Order Action skills.
We're almost there!
Where are you looking?
Okay that kinda hurt
Alright! We've got a good rhythm going.
Big level 50, baby!
Ooh, look at all this. This oughta make Sumie happy.
You're looking down right now.
Well, we can help with that. Just pull this.
Anyway, there's nothing left over here and I just hit 18 Dz, so let's bounce.
When have we ever been?
Waji now stocks Silver Waters, Nano Hopes, Nano Miracles, Somanels, and Optical Camos—it's a big upgrade! Keima, for reasons I don't quite understand, obtains two new tiers of weapons, too—one cheaper and around the level of the Intermission 2 levels, and one current.
Hey, hey! Is it true my bestest, most favoritest customer has gotten a glow-up?
I'm telling you, there's no way she actually has cat ears now.
Nope, it's totally true.
What?! For real?!
Don't doubt what that girl can do.
Aww, Mr. Waji, do you like her too?
Course I do. She buys a lot.
I'm so excited to see her! Maybe if she can manage such a magical transformation, I can become an even more beautiful princess than I am already~
Hahahaha. I'm not sure how possible that is, Reimi. You're already quite pretty.
Oh, don't inflate her ego!
Too late! My head is now so large! The peak of evolution thinks I'm pretty~
...Wait, did—did you just chuckle?!
You did! I heard it!
I don't have time to chuckle.
He'd rather flex his muscles.
Get out there and get back to work, Unit 13.
"Hey, Kinu, why aren't you beelining the Skill Lab like you always do?" That actually unlocks EX Skills, not the Tier 4 skills. I figured I could wait, since gear was more important. I alluded to this earlier, but I did need to drop the 10 Dz on the Terminal upgrade so that I could switch Sumie's portrait. As it happens, there are exactly 12 dragons remaining in the Railcage, and the Skill Lab costs 12. ...Those 12 dragons include Jigowatt. If there was one singular more Dragon in the game prior to Jigowatt, I could get the EX Skills beforehand and get the Terminal upgrade, but it wasn't to be. I would've liked them. This is me grousing. Oh, the things I do for LP.
I will be glad to have Sumie back. I do miss her tracking senses.
As do I, but let's not count out our trusty navigator. She is doing her best back there, after all.
Where would we be without our trusty backstage staff?
Gosh, you guys... Y-you're gonna make me cry again!
Aww, man, she just got finished.
So did you!
You were crying! I saw you! You were happy that Sumie's okay!
Yeah, I mighta been, so what?!
Ahahahaha! You're such good kids, you know that?
...Ugh, fine! Yeah, I was crying.
To be honest, I've had such an emotional rush in the past few hours that I've neglected to cry. I'm glad I have you here to shed tears for me, Miroku.
Huh? Uh... y-yeah! Yeah, I was just crying for him.
You are too kind to me, Miroku.
Yeah, uh... y-yeah. I-I mean—look, we're family, okay? I just gotta look out for my idiot older brother. By crying.
Aww, Miroku. That's so sweet of you.
You're not gonna make me get started again!
Oh, and there appears to be someone over there.
Indubitably, good chap.
Hey, what'd you talk with Izumi about, anyway?
Eh. She mostly just talked at me.
Was it... a good talk?
I don't know.
We should check down here.
Once we get to this point in the game, Bloom Seeds are replaced by the more threatening Doom Seeds. They're similar, but their regular attack is also joined by Ebon Spores, a 100% accuracy instant death attack. However,
Lol Trojans do fixed damage get owned
Colorful Stage, both killed, Richter has the SP Up on. Huge payday, and I even got some Fab Fuel out of it. Nice!
Schwarzer Tod. They aren't final dungeon enemies anymore, but they work basically the same as any Deathscissor. Fire weakness. Singing Frogs can inflict Sleep and that's it.
Out of our way!
Oh, there's a chest over there.
I'm so glad we're getting Sumie back.
Nothing important down here, though. Damn it.
Sorry about the walk, Youka.
Eh, it's fine. I'll live.
These two chests are the most notable thing down here. ...I will need to go kill some more Schwarzer Tod later for a 5% item drop, and they're pretty much all just down there, but that'll be later. Back to the main track.
Here come some more. Ready, Mio?
Do I look like a girl who isn't ready?
No, you look quite ready.
I'm glad you can recognize my readiness, darling.
I can recognize quite a few things about you when I want to.
Do you two mind saving the flirting for a bit later?
Let's see how well this works.
With the upgraded gear, these guys aren't sturdy enough to keep around for too long.
Quite well, actually.
There it is. Hopping Ball hits three times to random characters for fairly decent damage but also has, uh, 25% accuracy. It really relies on the Blind from Surprise Samsh to do much, and the Luck Booster wasn't helping.
Hit 'em again, honey!
You got it!
Think we'll have to lure that one over.
Want me to hurl one of these wolverines at it?
No, we should be alright.
Beta Wolves are uninteresting statistically but have a fairly wide movepool, with a multi-hit physical, a Paralysis-rider physical, and the ability to inflict Sleep with Hypnohowl... as shown below.
Chisa. Chisa wake up. The Dragon's here.
I'm up, I'm up!
There you go, now go tear them to pieces.
Allow me to assist!
If you please.
So yeah this guy dies
Does anything good ever happen in Ikebukuro?
We did rescue Koron's father last year.
Wonder if he's okay.
Yeah. I can't help but worry, too.
He's probably fine. Come on, that guy's like a cockroach.
We're approaching the zenith. If we're going to find SECT11 anywhere, it'll be somewhere on this stratum.
Ah, speak of the devil.
Natalie: We've come to a hella high pass. I wonder... if we keep climbing, do you think we'll meet Shouji in heaven?
You think he's going to heaven?
Natalie: Yeah, I guess you're right. Maybe we'll have to fall.
Hold on, Unit 13! I'm detecting a Dragon... in combat!
There they are! Please, hurry and reinforce them!
You assholes better be happy to get helped this time.
Kane: Dammit... well, how about this?!
Will: Cut it out, Kane! This isn't working! Back down for now and regroup!
Will: What? No, that's not true at all! Shouji wanted me to tell you this!
We were about ready to jump into this discussion, but someone decided to do it for us.
Will: Whoa, wait, you guys got a helicopter up her?
Brian: Sho—wait, no. Izumi?!
What, think that's gonna scare me?
For once, I was actually happy to see Izumi take a swing at a dragon. She'd finally found a good time to butt her head in.
Will, what the hell are you doing in the front?! Get back and stand guard on the double! I'll handle the frontal assault! Kane, I need you to cover my flank!
Kane: Uh, y-yes, ma'am!
Brian, you hit the enemy when I say go! Yeah?!
Brian: Yeah, uh... right, Izumi!
Thanks for taking out those lasers. Probably couldn't have gotten up here otherwise.
It's about time you showed up. I was beginning to think I'd have to do all of your work for you.
...Yeah. I know. But I'm here, and I'm gonna do my part.
Now then! We've got a bit of a crowd. You and yours got the one on the left, Chisa?
When did I say we were on a first-name basis, new kid?
You don't look like the hazing type, just the kind that holds a grudge.
Hah! Well, you wanna demonstrate some follow-through for the first time in your life?
Just took a correspondence course in it on my way up. Got this fancy new degree I've been dying to use.
Ooh, look at her. She's got a degree!
As it happens, I've got a Master's in Japanese lit.
Just one more way I'll have to catch up, then!
Anything to declare, Richter?
Oh, so I'm allowed to talk about the Freeze Dragon this time, thanks. This miniboss is pretty tough. Fairly sturdy and fast, with 5136 HP and solid defenses in both stats. It functions basically how you might imagine a wyvern-type Dragon to function, of course, but it's tough.
We'll need to press our advantage quickly. Everyone, I've applied a Trojan!
Cool, cool, I'm applying fog.
As you do.
I forget why I swapped Chisa off of the Iai Teachings here.
I think it had the same idea!
Rainbow Shield lasts for 5 turns, giving it a 20% physical defense buff and halving the damage it takes from Fire and Ice for that time, too. Bummer.
Looks like it's rearing up to breathe on us.
Have I mentioned lately how great Airsoft Training is? It really is.
Here! I've opened up a vulnerability!
I misordered things slightly here, but this still hits for a total of 384.
What's with all the ice up here, anyway?!
It would likely be quite cold if we weren't in the midst of this particular environment?
You might be shocked to learn that Freeze Breath hurts! It's quite accurate, damaging, and inflicts a 16-tick Freeze.
Alright, we're ready to exploit the Trojan, Mio!
Yeah, no, really. I actually managed to use Firebrand at an opportune time to remove Freeze from my party along with its main purpose. Crazy, right?
Then let's get to work, kids!
I nail the Burn proc from the Trojan during this attack, massively cutting the Freeze Dragon's offense. Nice! Anyway, this does around the same damage as the last one even through Rainbow Shield with the help of Exhaust and the Trojan.
Nice shootin', Richter.
Ahaha. I try.
Sonic Boom functions the same way it always does.
Sorry, but you aren't going to knock me down that easily!
Mio, mind a bit of help?
It's going for another wave of its frost breath!
Hey, do that again.
I'm also willing to chip in.
Whoa. I mean, that still hurt, but great job, Richter.
Sorry, did you not know what 'untouchable' means?
!! Its defenses are down!
You ready, folks?
Live from 400 meters above Ikebukuro, it's the Dark Countess Mio Akaneno, coming to you with the latest hot goss to tear through this chilly reception!
I like money.
It's alright, we'll pull through!
Sure you will, with your friendly neighborhood Mama Fudoji on your side!
No worries, you two! I gotcha!
I get Richter up, you kill it?
And it seems that's that!
Looks like they got theirs handled, too.
And Kane! How many pointless shots did you fire?! How many times have I told you to change up your tactics if you're fighting a new opponent?
For now, we'll patrol the area and gather any and all missing troops! Then we regroup as a unit and march!
I know... I know that we've—that I've—been a hassle and a half, you guys. But I swear it's alright now. I don't want to be that person anymore. I don't have to be Shouji, and I'm not just some idiot going along blindly—I want to fight right alongside you guys, for what I believe is right! So—
We've been waiting a long time to hear you say something like that, Izumi.
Izumi, you're very young. You've got time to become someone you can really be proud of. So...
I'd like it if you became someone I could be proud to know, too.
Why are you talking like you're old? You're twenty-five. You're barely older than me. The only one I wanna hear that from is Fudoji.
Eh, she's enough older than you I think she gets a pass.
What, like she's some kinda big sister mentor type?
I guess so.
...Heh. Well, it's better than having you hate me, I guess.
Our objective is the highest point! Proceed with caution, and I don't wanna see any further casualties!
And at long, long, long, long last, SECT11 was really, properly on our side. Despite how it started, September 20th really was a pretty incredible day, all told.
—Well, not that it was over yet, but you understand.
Next time, we actually get to go fight the Dragons without worrying about anyone else. Crazy, right?
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