Part 85: To the Bottom of Memory

For thread readers, just as a picture of how deep my backlog is going, this is the first update I did in 2023.

Alright, we have some backup now. Let's head onward.

Oh, hi, Koron.

Hey. You mind telling them I'll be there soon?

I think they can hear you.

We can, as it happens. Is Sumie alright?

Well enough to tell me I need to get to work.

"You're gonna make them fight Jigowatt without you? That thing's scary! Scary, Koron!"

So I'll be there soon.

Good to hear. Glad she's doing alright.

There's another laser. These things are way tougher than they used to be.

We ought to explore over here first, I think.

Thankfully, a random encounter gives me enough EXP to level up, so I get healed from the fight against the Freeze Dragon.

Ah. A dead end. My apologies.

Hey, good to have the lay of the land!

A Dragon! Let's lure it over.

This guy gets mulched. Having taken the Iai Teachings off, Mio was able to get to Order Action skills faster, and Battou does just hate aerial enemies.

And this guy gets torn through pretty quickly. And Richter gets to luvshock!

Alright. Let's say... to our right first.


Careful, honey, you might put Sumie out of a job before she even gets back.

Haha! As if.

Ah, this leads out to the rim.

There's a mole! Everyone ready?

C'mon, you think I'm not ready for these little guys?


Hey, Richter, we should help.



Daaamn, nice swing!

Perplexed Researcher: Whaaaaaaa?! What kind of place is this? I'm begging you, saaaaaaaaaaave meeeee!

Did they not have locations like this in America?

It doesn't appear to have shifted any from last time.

Oh, hey, over there. Loot.

Nice! In you go.

You ever want me to carry that?

No. The aid pack is my baby.

As I recall, one of the electrolasers was situated over here last time.

Now there's just food.

No complaints here.

Shall we lure in that Dragon?

We shall!

lol. lmao. i love stacking buffs

And this'll take us out further onto the rim?

Yes. This is a dead end overall, but I believe we may find at least one Dragon about.

A box over there.

And here's the wall.

Oops, you missed!

Oh, we're actually a bit hurt.

Get to it, team! Double-time!

Cure Beat is a Fever 2 skill that multiplies the efficacy of all healing for a turn and also guarantees Fever 3. It's nice.

Oh, and I get Star Sanctuary off of this too. Lol

Wow, that's quite something.

I try!

Cure Beat starts at 1.5x healing and gets up to 2.5x, so it can be pretty good for emergencies.

Oh, no! What are you doing out here, poor little Reißlaus? Have you neglected to run away?

...Hold on, this appears to be... custom-made?

Oh, there's a tag. "I was aware that your group held this sort of thing as a tradition, and I wished to offer my own input. Of the offered choices, I found this one the most endearing. Please accept this." ... "-Iod"?


Iod left us a Kosukomushi?


That's pretty sweet of them.

'Offered choices'? Who offered the choices?


Wait... was this why Iod was at Ikebukuro that one time?

Ah, during that bout of cleanup?

I really went off on them, and they were leaving a present for us...

Thanks, Iod!

To think that the progenitor of all Dragons might leave us a humble present. They must hold quite a fondness for you, Chisa.


Thanks, Iod.

We return to the main body of 400m.

There's a mole running along this track. Let's wait for it.

I miss the insta-gib here, so instead I use Mosquito Pitch to lower its evasion and partially counter Evasive Maneuvers.

That spot. That's where Rin defended against an electrolaser herself, isn't it?

Then we're almost there.

Will: Yes, commander Izumi, ma'am!

Lucy: Alright, you heard her, let's lead the way!

All other units, with me! On my signal, commence full assault! Let's go!

She's doing well.

We can't fall behind.

The combination of Motionless with the Beats—making it easier to set up and stronger to come out—is really potent. Idol and Hacker might be a pair of support classes, but they really do work surprisingly well together.

There's another electrolaser!

Think we oughta clear it out for SECT11?

I think we should clear it out on principle.


This one also had some Richter Gaming.

Out onto the rim again, huh? So this one lets us head over... there?

Yes, that's correct.

We've almost cleared out the area.

OH!!!!!!!!!!!! YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here we are.

It seems we really have cleared out the area.

Woop woop! Go team!

Newscaster: Oh, sheesh, listen to me droning on! Unit 13, th-th-thank you! You came for me! You saved me! Thank you!!

Hey, we try.

We head on to the end of the area now.

There's SECT11!

Kane: You bet, ma'am!

Beat this one and we control the zone! So unload everything you got on it!

Brian: Roger that, Izumi! Now this is how SECT11 rolls!

When the dust settled, they had in fact managed to take down the final railgun.

It seems like all enemy lifesigns have been eradicated! The path is clear! Your goal now is the Imperial's lair—hurry!

I think we can do that.

Chan: Go out there and give it hell! We'll stand guard here!

Godwin: Just a little further to the objective! Go, go, go!

Sanders: SECT11 has boots on the ground throughout! We'll leave the rest to you!

Natalie: Shouji's wishing you good luck, so answer Izumi's expectations, please!

Kate: Good luck! True fighting, no regrets!

Seems like you guys made it. We do alright?

Yeah. We can handle it here.

SECT11 is fine being unsung heroes. You take it from here, Unit 13.

You've grown a lot in quite a short time, Izumi. Thank you very much.

I've still got a lot of growing to do if I ever wanna catch up to you guys. But for the time being—everyone send them off in style! Attention! Salute!

Koron stepped out of the relay point as we activated it.

What's with the party?

We're cool now.

We're 'cool'?

They're handling the back.

Ah, I see. Lovely. Perhaps I'll consider bullying Izumi somewhat less than I might've otherwise.

As I was coming out here, I saw that it seems the Bloom's receding some.

Excellent! We really are making quite the progress, aren't we?

That 1 is taunting me. Just 1 Dz more and I could get EX Skills. Come on, game.

So, everything's taken care of but the Imperial?

Right. You ready to fight?

Please. Who do you take me for?

Why's this ramp gotta be so talllll

Through here is the Imperial. Stay on guard, everyone!

The Jigowatt, much like the two undead before it, looked much worse for wear—but that was hardly going to prevent it from being a tough opponent.

Well, I've seen worse.

This one's a bastard. I'll enjoy us getting to kill it twice.

You got this, kids!

Right! We're behind you all the way!

This is our responsibility—breaking down you and your ilk. We won't lose this battle!

So here's this asshole. I gave it quite a few tries with another party composition, then threw my hands up and decided to go with the tried and true full offense team you see here. Jigowatt in 2 is a monster. While his defenses aren't that strong, he's made up for it in bulk with an absolutely gobsmacking 15,260 HP, well over twice that of Trinitro, near doubling the Satanic Dragon, and with resistances to Fire and Aerial to boot, meaning he's sturdy against Gun Tricksters and Idols, too. Moreover, he's immune to both Poison and Paralysis, meaning neither variety of Trickster is at full power against him. He has particular vulnerabilities to Freeze and Blind, but that's not too much comfort. That HP number by itself means there's no way to quickly get Jigowatt down—this one's gonna be a slugfest.

Mio! Let's go defensive to begin with.

You got it.

Just breathe. You've got this.


Seems it can see what you're doing.

You should be more frightened of me, child!

Kick some butt, babe!

Ready when you are, Koron!

Clean Sweep returns from the first game, slightly weaker on paper—it has only 80% accuracy on hit, and each of its six hits deals less proportional damage. It's your break skill.


Aimed Shot deals a lot of damage and can't miss. All of Jigowatt's skills are magical, so Attack Beat's defense debuff doesn't actually matter—this move just hits really hard.


Tch. Seems Fomalhaut took care to ensure this one wouldn't break so easily.

This guy hurts.

There you are, everyone.

I luckily roll a miss on Mio here, so I get some extra Fever.

Get 'em, team!

!! It's charging its railgun! Everyone, we haven't got long to prepare!

Piece of shit!

Here, let me make sure I've got enough energy to drive you into the dirt.

There. We're all in tip-top shape.

Here it comes!

Chisa and Koron guard.


D-damn it...!

Railgun deals 3x MAT damage to your entire team and has a 70% chance to inflict a 30% action negation Paralysis. And it can't miss. Even through a Defense Beat and a Flag Bento, it nearly one-shot Mio, and it has a status rider. And it can't miss.

Clean Sweep and its normal attacks were Jigowatt's only actions that could miss in the first game, and that's still true here, but that matters a lot more in this one. Mio's ability to dodgetank is much more limited here, and that's another way Jigowatt has it out for Tricksters, since Bush Trap also involves an evasion buff.

There. You two okay?

Not really.


Be careful, everyone! It's not through discharging energy yet!

Owww, stop!

Discharge isn't too strong, but it can't miss, of course, and also has the fun trait of having the chance to inflict Stop. That's right—Jigowatt has two nasty ailments it can plaster you with. Taking too many negated actions in this fight is tantamount to death, and Stop is the king of action negation. Of the two ailments in the fight, it's the much more important to defend against.

You can't kill us that easily, Fomalhaut! Mio! Some help?

Someone want a bit of nursing? You got it!

That's quite an impressive trick, Mio.

You okay?

Ugh. I'm alive.

Hey, Richter. This thing wasn't this sturdy last time, was it?

No, but I believe we're making headway.




Don't think I like this guy.


Hurt her again and see what happens to you!

Everyone, it's preparing to begin a second charge!

Thanks for the heads up!

God damn it, die!

Here it comes!

I wasn't confident I could push through the last of its HP this turn, so I opted to turtle up. In retrospect, since I had access to Speed Beat, I probably could've.

Alright, you two square up, I've got this!



haha ouchie ouch

Go to hell!

Alright, get her up.

Done! You alright?

That really, really hurts.

Hurry up and die already!

Mio, defense!

Argh, we're running out of medicine!

I'll keep going as long as I can.

This one hit Mio thrice and Koron thrice. No Chisa. Huh.

Oh, there we go.

Damn it, we're just keeping a stalemate! We need to go on the offensive!


I'm fine! Worry about yourself!

oh thank god if that had landed Mio would've died

Take care of Chisa!

This oughta he—

Oh, no! Koron, Mio!

Youka, we need to get them up!


We have a moment!

I wouldn't call that a 'moment', Richter!

I'll handle Koron. You strike Mio on the left shoulderblade like... like this, alright?

GAAAASP oh GOD I hated that.


Huh, that worked.

We have until the charge completes to finish the job! Hurry!

auto skills baby

You good, Koron?


Hey, you! Get up!

I'm up, I'm up!

Take a swing, I'm not fast enough!

How is this thing not dead yet?!

Damn you! I—

At the last instant, the Dark Countess drives a stake into the flow of battle! Strike now, my minions!

!! Thanks, Mio!

Go down!

With that final swing, the energy collecting in Jigowatt's railgun could no longer be contained within it, and it leaked into the beast's body—

causing its internal mechanisms to detonate, and for it to slump over dead, this time for good.

The electricity dispersed into the air, heralding the end of our battle at Ikebukuro.

Woooo! So much for Fomalhaut's zombies!

That was a close one.

No kidding.

But we made it through! Go us!

Quite. Go us.

Yeahhhh! Partyyyy!

Hahahaha! Someone's excited.

Think I might've proven I can party with the big kids now?

Oh, you've long since proven that one.

There was no more room for Fomalhaut to force us into battling the undead. From here, we would be battling him and his forces directly. As odd as it sounds, it was something of a relief.

"Arms Fabrication" is available at HQ!
"Skill Lab" is available at HQ!
"Baths Lv. 2" are available at HQ!
"Lounge Lv. 2" is availabe at HQ!

So is it going to blow up this time?

It doesn't appear so. The segments of its biology which allowed for its final detonation were among those completely destroyed in its first defeat—we have nothing to worry about now.

I turned around to see Izumi had come to see us.

You... really won. You guys are as amazing as always.

Whoa, hold on. Where's this coming from?

It's fine, Koron. The smarminess only has to run in the family if she wants it to, and we're on better terms now.

I'd be sadder about how much you guys hate Sho if I didn't know he kinda deserved it. Does everyone just... expect this of you guys? Fights this brutal?

At this point, I'm not sure what 'everyone' expects of us. With all these politicians trying to sabotage us, and shit.

You're not wrong that a lot is expected of us. And at times, that expectation can be crushing. But there are people we're fighting for—those we've lost and those who are still alive.

No matter if people might take it for granted, it's still an important fight for us, and them.

I like to think that we got here by bucking expectations, personally.

Oh, certainly. Both can be true.

Didn't you threaten to kill that one guy who took us for granted, babe?

Look—that was a stressful situation.

Ha...hahahahaha! You guys are really just something else. It must take a lot of strength to stay on like this after all the trouble you've had.

That's for sure. Oh—

Need to grab that.

Oh, yeah. They're sturdy little things, Imperial hearts. Takes a lot of force to break 'em, especially when they're still beating.

Huh? Wait. Why do you know that?

Why do you think?

You crushed an Imperial Dragon's heart? With... like, your fists?

Yeah. It really pissed me off.

Awful moment.

You have no idea how glad I am that that one isn't coming back.

You, like... reached inside an Imperial Dragon and crushed its heart? While it was alive?

Yes. That is a thing that she did.


That's so cool.


Wait, Miroku—

See?! Someone else gets it! It's the coolest!

It's super cool.

I've got pictures of it! You wanna see when you get back?!

I do. I really do.

Well... er, you should probably come back, everyone. We're all waiting!


Marina was there to greet us when we returned.

Aww, thanks, kiddo.

We try.

You too, Izumi. Did the hurt in your heart get better?

It's, uh, it's better... and I've got Unit 13 to thank for it. Those two especially.

Looking away with a bit of a blush on her face, Izumi jabbed her thumb at me and Richter.

That's wonderful! But if you're all better, you might be hungry. Kirino is getting you some food, since you haven't eaten.

Uh, thanks...

Is someone not used to positive reinforcement?

Mrrr. Leave me alone.

Here's the Imperial's heart, Marina.

Oh! Thank you! I think we should be able to go purify this now, so I'll go give it a try.

There was a ring on the comms.

Could I ask you all to come to Murakumo HQ? I know you're tired, but...

From Dave?! What's happening in the US?!

We aren't sure, but it seems urgent. Please hurry.


Alert Soldier: As long as you guys are still kicking, we're going to keep holding out hope. We believe in you.

Ready Soldier: Nice job! Unit 13, you're the best there is!

Yes, sir.

We just spoke with Kirino. Izumi... I hear you've been promoted to leader of SECT11. Congratulations. Shouji would be proud too, I'm sure.

Thanks, Mr. President. But... how's the situation back home?

We're pinned down by black dragonsbane and Dragons, with no hope of escape. However, we've put all of our scientific know-how into our underground bunker. I, and all of those remaining of our people, intend to use it to make our escape.

Well, sure, that bunker can hold tens of thousands of people. But there's nowhere to go after you enter. All you can do is exhaust your supplies, dreading the Dragons until they leave—

Mr. President!

We've done all we could, good and bad. But from where I'm standing, any further resistance is impossible. Only your nation dares defy them now. The fate of humanity depends on you.

Acknowledged. We promise to justify your faith.


Izumi's body seized up for a moment at that revelation. Being told you're the last remaining commander of an entire nation's military—it must be quite the shock.

Please. As the last representatives of our nation... do us proud in the Pacific theater.

Y-yes, sir, Mr. President! We will deliver on your expectations!

Then, with that said... Your final mission from me, and likely my last message.


Transmission... transmission complete.

I get it, but geez, that's a heavy job to lay on us.


Heavy though it may be, I believe we can manage. We have our path forward, and if we can all walk it together, we can certainly manage victory.

Sweet-talk me, why don't you. Well, anyway, today's mission has come to an end. Unit 13, you've all done incredibly. I don't think any of us can ever express how indebted we are to you. So... go rest. You look beat.

Oh, yeah. I took two shots from a railgun dead on.

Sure you're still alive?

Well, I sure hope so! Otherwise this is gonna get pretty awkward.


Huh? You want me to register you as a new member now?

Yeah. Is that too much trouble? You can keep the old one in there for record-keeping, but leave it alone.

I mean... sure. I don't really get it, but sure. You've got cat ears now, but you're not that different.

Man, don't nitpick me. Maybe dying does a lot to a girl, you ever think about that.

Well, it's not the weirdest thing I've ever heard. Alright, there you go. You're reinstated as unit treasurer in the system. Oh, guess I should mark down 'Lucier' here for your race. You probably heard, but the rest of them took out Jigowatt, so we don't need you to go out right away.


I'm a cat alright

You're actually wearing your coat like Youka now. Copycat.

I think it looks nice on her!

Didn't say it didn't.

Miroku do you want a coat so you can copy Mama too.

hm. yes, i'm thinking about this now, and it's a very cute mental image.

Hey, I came to—


Oh hey there, new buddy. I hear you're less of a jerk now!

You actually are a cat!

She is. You have no idea how jealous Neko is.

As she should be. I've proven myself tip-top in the field of aspiring catgirls by ascending.

Youka, Mio, and I were in the corner working on something when Izumi came in.

Sorry, am I interrupting?

No, it's fine. You can talk.

Just. All of you. I thought I should say thanks.


I never really understood what Sho was trying to tell me, what he wanted me to know. Fighting with honor, taking responsibility for my actions, enjoying the battlefield... showing consideration for one's comrades... I realized a lot today.

cool, cool. i came back from the dead today.

...Uh, yeah, you—what did—what was that thing you just did?

oh this?

What is she doing? How's she doing... that?

you mean this? this thing that i'm doing?

Marina doesn't do that. It's not a Lucier thing. ...Right?

no no, it's very much a sumie thing. i'm very strong & cool, see. the magical nekomimi of everyone's dreams, sumie kazuki.

Are you making fun of me?


The fact that she feels able to jovially poke fun at you like this is quite the step up. Congratulations.

Marina likes her, so she can't be all bad. And as Marina's big sister, it falls to me to bug Izumi to prod out exactly how much of a mark she is.

You should prepare yourself for this, Izumi. Sumie is one of the most bothersome people I've ever met.

Aren't you... dating her?



He was.

It was one of his few good traits, and it was a double-edged sword. But it's hard to argue that he wasn't strong.

Yup. Definitely a strong guy.

...Heh. Yeah, that's about the answer I expected. I gotta carry on Sho's spirit—be who he wanted me to be, not someone just like him. So... yeah. Thanks.

Good working with you from now on, pard!!!

Gah! I'm never gonna get used to that face.


That night, after all was said and done, we finally had time for one last bit of processing.

Is here good?

Yeah. Here's good.

We couldn't place a grave with nothing in it right in the front yard of the Diet Building, so instead we did it just in the vicinity—behind the Diet Building, we placed a small memorial.

Thank you for everything."

Hey, SATSUKI. Um... thanks. For protecting everyone. And... for protecting me, all these years. I never could've gotten here without you. You were there for me when nobody else was. I know the parts of me that let you become a person are still there, but... It won't be the same without you. I'll miss you a lot.

But I'm gonna keep living. And I'm gonna do my best with what I've got, and who I've got. You gave me this chance, so I won't waste it. I love you, SATSUKI. I hope if you ever come back, it can be to a world we can both be proud of.

SATSUKI, you were an invaluable ally and friend. Thank you for believing in me, and thank you for believing in all of us. We'll win this fight.

There's always a place at my table for you, kid. You're as much of a part of my family as anyone else. Come back around sometime, why don't you?

Bye-bye, SATSUKI. Take care. Wherever you're going... I hope it's a good place. If you see Raquel, tell her I said hi.

I wish we could've met under better circumstances. I feel like we'd have had so much to talk about. Thanks for everything, SATSUKI.

You were an annoying, overly theatrical pain in the ass, and it felt like some days I didn't understand half of the things you said, but without you I never could've survived to this point. Time and time again, you saved the girl I loved. So, thanks. Rest easy.

Oh, wait.

Sumie dug up a small hole in the dirt, and pulled out her golden guns and one of her old knives. Placing them in the grave, she quickly put it back together.

she always liked these ones best.

Alright. Ready to go?


Yeah. I'm good.

Let's get back to the Diet, team. Lots of work still left to do!

We occasionally check to see whether that memorial still stands. It does. Though many outside observers might not realize, Unit 13 had lost one of its members—and none of us would let her be forgotten.

But Sumie was still here. And she wouldn't stop fighting until the war was over. Military work never truly suited Sumie, but she took to Unit 13 like a fish to water—and now she had something greater to fight for, too. For children relying on her, a little sister she'd just obtained, and to pick up the slack from her 'other'.

Her ingenuity inside and outside combat—her positivity that kept us all afloat—and her bravery, her willingness to continue forward no matter how massive the wall in front of her—

Unit 13's "Tricksters"—for Sumie and SATSUKI both, that was what made up their will to fight.

This concludes Chapter 5. Next time, Chapter 6.

Next Update
Previous Update
Table of Contents