Part 94: Curse

My head hurt horribly. Whatever had happened, I hadn't had anything to blunt my fall, so it took me a bit to stand up.

Ughh. ...Guys?

I was alone. When I craned my head to look up, I couldn't see anyone. I didn't think I'd fallen that far.

Koron? Sumie?

Richter! Youka!




There wasn't much else to do but go forward.

I didn't have either the paper map or the digital map on me, and comms weren't working, so I started muttering to myself.

From the NERD ROCK BAR landing point, there's a Bloom wall to the left, and a ramp downward to the right.

And that leads down to...


Rin? What are you doing here?

Yo, Chisa. I was getting worried about you guys, so I decided to tag along. Looks like you're all alone—don't worry, I can handle the enemies here, you head on.

You're supposed to be guarding the Diet.

Hey, don't be so standoffish! I've made you, what, twenty bentos? Aren't we pals? I mean, you and me, we were both right there when this all started. And we've gone through a lot, huh?

And now we're gonna fight another True Dragon. Bet we're gonna lose a bunch more good people.

Rin, I—


I mean, I'm just saying. All of this could've been avoided if you could've just fought like you were supposed to. Instead we've had to lose people important to us again and again and again and again.

What are you—Y-you're not... you're not acting like yourself.

Well, geez. What're you supposed to know about 'acting like yourself'?


Sorry, sorry. I'm just sad, you know? Sad from losing comrades over and over.

If you don't get attached to anyone, you don't have to get hurt. We could protect a totally peaceful world together! Sounds great, right?

No. No, I—

I blinked, and she was gone.

R-Rin?! Rin.

...T-there's an I-junction platform there.

It leads on to a straight walkway, and you'll...

Sgt. Makita: If you don't, I'll shoot you. You know that, right?

...r-run into... Makita.

There's. There's two paths off that platform. The northern exit leads to a ramp...

And there's—M-Miya. Miya is there.

Yo. Got anything that needs fixing?

I-I. No, I don't... You shouldn't be here.

Oh, I get it. What needs fixing is your head. But you seem like a real project. I'd probably need at least 1000 Dz to fix you.

Dragon hearts are the best metal you can find, I hear. If we took your heart out, what could we build with it? Maybe it's my sense as an architect speaking, but it seems to me like maybe you'd do better as a support beam than running around causing problems.


The north path. The north path leads to a platform with. With Shizuka on it.

Let's see... Oh, this is quite a long list! "For all the people that have died because of Captain Inomiko's irresponsible behavior." Say, your name is on this, Captain Inomiko. But you aren't dead, are you?

Stop. Stop it.

Raven Hillshead, Chisa Inomiko, Mr. Nagare, Sergeant Ikoma, Genji Gatou, Aoi Unose, Private Sasuga, Shouji Sakuraba, Tony, Daigo, Takehaya, Natsume Hikasa... Even President Emille! That's so sad... She really liked you, you know, Captain Inomiko.

Please stop! I'm begging you to stop!

Oh, alright. We can table this discussion for next time. Oh, but all these rocks you picked up won't be very good for Arms Fabrication...

I ran away from Shizuka as fast as my legs could carry me.

The other path from the platform with Makita!

Leads to stairs down, and—

Guchi: Huh? No way, it's the captain!

Ino: Get out! It's a miracle seeing you here!


Hey there, ya sourpuss! Loitering around the Diet was a drag, so we showed up here.

SKY is on this platform.

Huh? Well yeah, no duh! What, you trying to say we shouldn't be?

Ino: You got no respect, you uppity jerk?

Guchi: We look up to you guys and this is what we get... damn.

Ino: I mean, if you think about it, it's kinda your fault Daigo's dead to begin with, so.

No, it's. I swear.

You trying to say it's not your fault? All this awful crap started because you showed up. Until you showed up, everything was fine! No Dragons or nothing!

That's not true! Niara would've... He would've come anyway! He had a grudge against this planet!

How do you know that was even true before you got here, huh?


Plenty of other stuff changed because you got here. How do you know you didn't bring them all here, huh? That billions of people didn't all die because of you?

Guchi: Whoa, yeah! You're kinda a murderer, huh, lady?

Daigo's dead. So why are you even still alive? Why do you deserve to be alive, huh? I wish you'd gone and killed yourself instead!

I was trying desperately to steady my breathing, which was roaring in and out of my lungs. I felt myself tearing up, but I tried to force it down. Everything hurt. My head hurt. I was cold.

Straight curve platform with a building on it

Ramp down turn corner

Hey there, Inomiko.


Geez, you look like shit. I mean, not that I'm any better. Thanks to you, my entire nation is dead. Twice. I've got nothing. We've got nothing. And all you did was stand over there and make fun of us, tell us off, for just doing our best.

Will: Hey, don't be too rude. It's not her fault. She's just a dog like the rest of us.

Yeah? Just a dog of the military, huh? Yeah, that sounds right. You don't even have any thoughts of your own, do you? I thought I was bad, but you're not even a person. Getting self-righteous about feelings you don't even have. ...Hah, that's right! You aren't even a person! You're just a fake! From the moment you were born, you were a fake!

Will: But she's real good at swinging that sword, isn't she? She'll win a fight, and then we'll get into another one! We'll keep winning fights until there's nobody left on the planet! And it's all thanks to her!


What's going on what's going on what's going on what's going on what's going on?!

Chan: Gosh, both my arms are broken. Guess I've just gotta grow a pair, huh?

Let me out of here! Let me out!

But going deeper didn't let me out.

As I approached sea level, it got darker, colder.

What's going on what's going on—

...M-Mr. Nagataka?

I certainly hadn't expected to see him here.

Mr. Nagataka: Oh, well hi there, Chisa, sweetie! You know, I've been meaning to say something to you, once you finally rescued me from this awful nightmare.

Y-yes! Yes! Hi! Yes, I can rescue you, don't worry about that! That's great—

Mr. Nagataka: You know, I only just recently got to learn that my daughter was in so much danger. So sad! It was like an emotional rollercoaster. But that was all your fault, wasn't it?


Mr. Nagataka: You'd call Koron your best friend, right? But almost getting her killed isn't very friendly behavior, honey. Not to mention all those other poor kids who died because of Akaneno's Syndrome. Even our planet hates you, doesn't it, sweetie? Shouldn't you stop making other people fight your battles for you?

No! No! No! Stop it!

Ich freue mich... Dove siamo adesso? Mujhe thand lag rahee hai. Zai jian, zai jian...

My vision was beginning to short out on me. My head was pounding. Everything in my body was screaming to escape somehow.

Chisa. Can you hear me?

Make it stop! Please, make it stop!

You're having trouble with hallucinations, huh? That's right, I heard you'd had some trouble with those before. ...Listen. The situation has changed. Or, rather, I've re-evaluated it.

Nothing is going to end after Fomalhaut is defeated. You know that. You don't even know if he'll properly die—sooner or later, he may come back. Same with Niara. And there are still more True Dragons who will attack humanity. How many years will you buy by winning here? Ten? Twenty?

Only draconic power can slay True Dragons. It's all up to you, Chisa. You need to unleash your power. You need to abandon your humanity—it's not like anyone wants you here anyway, right? Unleash Incarnate VFD and kill Fomalhaut!

Man, Mr. Kirino's as amazing as ever! I never could've come up with a plan like that!

Weapons should be used to make the biggest explosions~ So you'll do it for us, right, Chisa? If you like humanity so much, you'll go crazy for us, right? You'll kill everyone for us, right?

No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!

???: Why not?

I won't! I don't want to! I'm scared!

???: It's not like it's the first time you'd be selfishly abandoning the things that make you human, right?

I, I!

???: You're just sad. You're not this Raven guy, and you're not Chisa Inomiko, either. You aren't really anybody. You gave up being anybody the moment you abandoned me.

My eyes were horribly blurry. I could hardly tell what was in front of me anymore... or who.

No. No, please, I...

Taichi: You're a freak.

Taichi: You're a monster.

Taichi: Even if you were my real sister, I'd wish you were dead. I hate you. You ran away like a coward.

Taichi: I should've left you in that room. You should be locked up where nobody ever has to see you again.

Taichi: Where do you get off acting like you're a human? Like you understand anything about being human? Acting like you want comfort?

Taichi: You're not even a woman. A monster like you couldn't understand anything about being a woman. You're not a real woman. You're not a 'she'. You're barely even an 'it'.

Taichi: Why don't you go kill yourself and save us all the trouble? Jump into the ocean and drown if you're not going to make yourself useful.

Do you understand? That's the result of all of our analysis. The only way out of this is if you let go of your humanity!

Become VFD, Chisa! You have to! It's the only way! Become VFD and head on to battle! Save everyone!

Everything went white.


...? Ma...rina?



Marina was gone. Where I expected to find here, there was instead a glowing spark of light.

???: Melancholy? No... 'loneliness'. That is the sentiment which burns inside you. So that, too, can give rise to a being. It's suffocating. Moreso than Fomalhaut's vile miasma, the loneliness suffuses every inch of this abyss.

???: ...When I said I wished to see you again, I did not mean like this!


???: Going off and falling for such a barefaced trap... I hadn't thought you the overly hasty type. But perhaps that complex of yours was flaring up?


D-don't make fun of me. Come on.

???: You are one of the most mockable people I have ever met, and I have met many a person! ...Fine, I suppose I can bail you out this once. But don't expect any more favors! I've got long enough to wait as it is.

Then, before my eyes, that spark of light transformed—

You have a job to do. You know that, don't you?


Saving the life of a Dragon... Ridiculous. But here I am nevertheless. You have people you need to return to, and I can't very well face you as a friend again if you lose yourself to this sickening melancholy.

You know very well the people you've bonded with would never say such things to you. Even if you doubt your own humanity, they never will. So, go. It's time to wake up.

Wait! Emille! I have to make it up to you somehow!

Wait, she says. Do I look like a waiter? I've never been patient in my life. Chisa—no.

No matter how long it takes, when we see each other again—tell me your true name. Not Chisa, and not VFD. Then we can truly be friends.


For as long as the flame of my own life burns, I will wait for your answer.


I began to stir, the pounding in my head subsiding.

Chisa! Chisa!

We've found the platform! The illusion has been dispelled!


Chisa?! Chisa, do you read us?! Chisa?!

I think she's waking up... That's good.

She better be!

...hard right from the NERD ROCK BAR sign... huh? Oh, my comms...

Hey, asshole! Can you hear us?!

Um... yes. Sorry.

Gonna give us a freaking heart attack! What's with you?! Is she always like this?!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaa she's okayyyy

Freakin' bozo... lucky you're so strong, made me waste my time worrying... *sniffle* you clown...

Will: You need a handkerchief, Izumi?

Don't you move a goddamn centimeter until we get over there!

Chisa-chan! Neeee! The office is ippai with requests! Who's gonna handle those but my taichou-chan?!

I'm sorry, everyone. If I'd figured out the trick sooner, things wouldn't have gotten to this point.


I let out a few extra shivers.

Taichi: Eh?! Hey! She's cold, you guys got a blanket or something?! One of you give her your coat!

I'm going, I'm going!

Oh, I'll warm her up alright. Maybe light her hair on fire.

Sorry. What happened?

Illusions... so I was hallucinating.

It seems like he was specifically aiming to attack you, because of your status as a half-conceptual being and whatnot. I'm sorry. If I'd been more careful—

No, it's alright. I'm okay now, and that's what matters.

How did you manage to dispel the illusions?

...I had some help. Long story. ...Thank you all for being so worried.

Of course we're worried! You're our friend, idiot!

Taichi: That's just like you, working for other people and then expecting them not to care. You're impossible sometimes, nee-san.

If anything else happens, we'll be there to help.

If you go dying to this lame-ass Imperial after all this, I'm never gonna let you live it down!

The rest of Unit 13 leapt down to the platform I was on. Koron walked up and punched me in the face.

Screw you.

Then Sumie smacked me.

Yeah, screw you.

Youka was standing in front of me now.

You're not gonna—

No. I'm just glad you're okay.

As am I.

...Please don't scare me like that.

Sorry. Alright, I'm mad now, so let's go kill some Dragons.

I've basically already mapped this level out in my head. We should keep going forward from here.

If you say so.

There are two Dragons on this platform!

Oh, lovely.

Concentrate + Frostburn + Attack Beat does really normal amounts of damage.

Your brother died like a dog and so will you.

This way's a dead end, so let's check it out first.

How do you know this?

I was mapping the place out in my head while I was hallucinating. It worked for a few minutes.

ah, a comically overstuffed box of bartering goods. how lovely.

I was worried about you!

Yes, yes, I know. Can we move on? Please?

Down this way...

There's a dinosaur in the way.

There won't be for long.

Evil Tyranos are big and fat and nasty. 5658 HP, reasonable defenses, no weaknesses.

Okay, lemme get my game face on

Game face on!


Agh, damn it!

This one's tough.

Mio, support me!

You got it!

Be vanquished!

It's not dead?!?!

Now it is!

We'll have to be careful if we encounter any more of those. Their sheer bulk isn't to be discounted—surviving a Midare Sanzan Sakura at that power is quite a feat for a smaller Dragon.

Well, I could always grab their jaws, if you want.

We follow this curve, head through, turn a corner, and we'll be at the jumping pad for the next layer down. We can connect to the Bloom wall from the other side there.

Oh, Mr. Kawakami!

...I was a little worried he was going to turn out to be a hallucination, too.

Hold up

okay this is definitely soothing my worry

Hold on, and...

Got it!

Concentrate + Attack Beat + Dark Invasion does really normal amounts of damage.

And up here...

Yes, this will connect us back to the beginning.

If you break a Shield Dragon's shield with a physical attack while it's in the parry stance it'll sorta just sit there. Get icced. Dummy. Anyway, that's all the Dragons on this floor, so...


Is the mission 'get you new toys?'

Yes!! It is!! How smart of you!

How kind of you to grant us even more power! I, Reimi, find myself inspired!

You better.

And you'd better make a weapon good enough to cheer up our glum-looking captain~

Huh? Oh, sorry.

Yeah, you are kind of a sadsack.

Honestly, Keima, if you give me a sword, I'll feel a lot better.

Oh really? You're saying you're not satisfied with a nailbat? You need me now, huh?

Just give her the damn sword.

Along with better armor for those who still need it, Reimi now sells Death Guards. Keima's new tier of weapons is a step up from the Colorful Set. So, new guns for Sumie, and better equipment overall for Chisa, Mio, Koron, and Youka. Waji also sells Heal Aero 4s now.


Down here should be just above sea level.

...It was a lot colder down here last time.

It was bad, huh?

Horrible. I really wish I could just... get over myself sometimes.

And over here was where...

Wait, he's actually here?!


Mr. Nagataka: Oh. Oh my goodness me! Is that, is that my little girl? Is that Unit 13? Oh, have you all come to save me?

How are you even in here?!

Mr. Nagataka: Oh, hahaha, well, you know, you knoooow~ And, uh—


Mr. Nagataka: Sumie, darling... why are you—you're a—

It's a long story. But yes, I am a catgirl now. Physically.

Mr. Nagataka: Oh. Well, ehehe, isn't that just the... the cat's...

Let's get you home, sir. You look terrible.

I'm very glad he's alright.

Honestly, I was starting to become the smallest bit worried.

This point should let us leap to near sea level.

This one... I don't think it'll lead to the Imperial, but it'll be good to check out anyhow.

How far are we?

With the environmental data uncorrupted, let's see... The spire is roughly nine hundred meters tall, and you're currently 256 meters above its nadir.

Down here, decay was beginning to set in for the civilization along the walls.

That one's got another seed!

Another dragon + Doom Seed 20XX encounter.

It's a bit scarier without TROY Fire on hand, but I do manage to waste the seed.

Since Shield Dragons lose their action for the turn if their shields are destroyed on a non-Parry turn, this guy gets ganked pretty hard.

ah, lovely. a reward.

The Lined Coat TC is all-class armor that has relatively low physical defense, but fantastic magical defense.

Anyway, we head back to where we were.

So we've got one under us, one in front of us, and one in the middle of that platform, right?


How'd it get there?!

sometimes out hunting causes a surprise attack and you simply get owned

520 HP. It's the strongest version of the Deathscissors line.

It's game day, kids!

Rocket Start is one of Mio's Auto Skills. It automatically gives Fever 1 and a bit of healing at the start of combat.

The next one's coming in hot!



Oops, try a bit to the left?

The third one might be coming in soon! Eep!

There could be a thousand and they couldn't touch me!

One down!

Hurry up and die!

We've got a shiny cat on our tail!

I'll slice you to ribbons!

Shuffle Pitch hits the maximum times guaranteed in Superstar, so this was about 900 damage flat off of one Shuffle Pitch.

Quite a formation they had set up there.

Shame it wasn't nearly strong enough.

Another jump down? I must've passed quite a few without realizing.

Even vaccinated, this place is stifling.

The Black Bloom is thick here, yes.

This abyss is something right from Fomalhaut. The Black Bloom is at home here.

This is a third Dragon + Doom Seed formation. Get smoked

What the—

Hey, it's the Totally Up! How'd this thing get here?

...Oh, right. My father asked to borrow it at one point.


You think I know? Maybe he wanted to work out.

Back up to 384.

And over here was where—


Hey, it's you! You okay, pal?

I'm glad we found you. Time to head home, okay? I bet this was terrifying.

Collected Child: Maybe a bit... It's not a nice place.


Right. He's an adult now. And he'd never...



A third leap down. Are we all ready?

honestly it was pretty scary at the start but this is kinda fun now

I can hardly even see outside from here.

And that's the way down to 128m, so let's turn around real quiiiick

Looks like he's waiting on the high ground for prey.

This is a nasty formation. There's a Dracoprism on the bus, but you can't currently see the Evil Tyrano patrolling the platform. If you tackle the Tyrano when it's at one of the corners of the platform, you'll have two turns before the Dracoprism busts in, but otherwise it'll just be one. This formation knocks me out a few times before I take it down.

Evil Tyranos can use Dark Howl, which guarantees a critical hit on all of their regular attacks.

I bust out a Sakura Cyclone and Frostburn, both charged, but it isn't quite enough. Don't forget, Dracoprisms have Fire Breath and can inflict Bleed, which might just be the tap this formation needs to take you from near dead to dead.

Chisa and Koron both get KO'd, but Mio has Miss React up—she manages to revive Chisa.

From there, the Tyrano gets knocked out.

Like the others before it, Evil Tyranos also possess the Tyrant's Roar buff and Mow Down. Mow Down off of an Evil Tyrano hurts very, very bad—they have a physical attack stat of 224, and the move is 150% damage even before the buff. This round didn't have Mow Down happen, which was very lucky.

From there, cleaning up the Dracoprism is elementary.

There's another jumping point here.

Teatime Lady: Oh, are you here to rescue me? I've had my beloved tea here with me, so I've sipped and waited most patiently. I'm truly grateful to you.

Next time, we reach the bottom of the abyss and take on the final Imperial Dragon.

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