Part 96: Pavane for a Dead Princess

Arms Fabrication 8 and Res Ward E both have forging the Dragonslayer as prerequisites. ...I don't know why. I've killed every Dragon thus far, and as you can see, I have enough Dz to get both the Dragonslayer and Res Ward E. It wouldn't be possible to screw yourself either way. Eh. Anyway,

We'll begin work on the refinement process. Please, take the rest of the day to rest.


The Dragonslayer. The blade we were to use to defeat Fomalhaut, refined of three Imperial Dragons' hearts, and one nascent Imperial's. It was the second of its kind.


The last Residential Ward. We're building it.

Oh, good. Sorry. I was spacing out.

A 'salving senior' says he'd like to thank you, according to this note.


Stoic Youth: When you compare this ward to the others... it is a wretched den of greed and iniquity. But I am impervious to every turpitude! *hic*!

Oh really?

Stoic Youth: That was a hiccup. I'm telling the truth.

Oh, yeah. That's a lot of booze.

Hey, we get it. Cleaning's a pain in the ass at a time like this.

You just want me to do all the housework.

Drunk Man: Don't you forget! You gotta do yer best!

Ageha: Daaang, you guys've almost saved the world, huh? Don't worry, Naga-chan, I've got TOTAL confidence in you! *hic*!

Just try not to drink so much you don't live to see it.

Ageha: Okay I'm SUPER drunk. Is Sumie a cat right now or am I seein' things?

oh did you not get the memo

Selfish Woman: I'm not gonna wait forever, Unit 13!

Miserly Man: So... I'm buying it back up! Down to the last pebble!

Pleasing Lass: Oh, it's Captain Inomiko.

Oh, hi!

Sorry I tried to foist Tomoegozen back off on you back then. She did turn out to help me again.

Pleasing Lass: That's good. I worry about you, you know. I don't have any weapons or anything, but I do have this 'Miracle Aero' if you want it. 3500 okay?

Yes, that'll be fine. Thank you.

Oh, two?

Pleasing Lass: Like I said. I worry about you, you know. You're kind and strong, but you have an injured heart. That's part of what I like about you, y'know.

I'm not that likable.

Pleasing Lass: You'd be surprised. I'm sure there are plenty of people here who've had their hearts outright stolen by you.

All of us?


What are you doing here?

OG Scientist: O-oh dear, Unit 13?! Ahahaha. Well, ah. You know. You know, last year, around this time, I sold you something that I obtained with the five-finger discount, obviously we remember that—

We should report you.

We're going to report you.

OG Scientist: A Dragon Egg for 30,000 Az?! I need money!

OG Scientist: As expected of standup citizens like Unit 13! This year hasn't changed you a bit! I'll live to see another day, Unit 13! I did it! Hooray!

Sorry, the Dragon Egg thief is where?!

Collected Child: Please, do your best! I'm cheering you on!

Dreamy Girl: I hate those mean Dragons, but... you're a lot like that dragon, miss! I wish all the Dragons were like you.

It's sad, isn't it? As cruel as they can be, in their own way they're just doing what they're designed to do.

There's at least one other nice Dragon.

Dreamy Girl: There is?

Yeah. Their name is Iod. They don't show up much, but they're our friend like Chisa is. I think they'd like it if more Dragons were nice, too.


But they didn't come to that thought on their own, according to them. It was their friend... Tyrant, the 4th True Dragon. He had been the one to first think that. All of a sudden, I wondered—what kind of person was Tyrant? I'd been present for his last moments. Raven and Mio had been part of the group that defeated him. What kind of person had he been, that he came to that thought? Had he truly wished to harm humanity? The scourge of the planet of Arcania... was he truly a villain? Or had he been waiting for people to defeat him—encouraging evolution in his own way?

...anyway, we kept on.

Salving Senior: Ah, you're back. I wanted to thank you for giving us this space again. You hardly seem to be poorly off at this point, but here, take this.

Salving Senior: A healthy mind lives in a healthy body. Remember that, and you'll shrug off illness. So go out there and do great things. We've all put our lives in your hands.

The Mind Guard gives 50% resistance to Confusion, Chaos, Curse, and Downer. Nice!

Girl in Glasses: The best thing to soothe one's spirits is a lovely cup of tea! Mmmmm... hey! My glasses are all fogged up!

Teatime Lady: This tea is as good as I'd hoped! I declare myself warmed, body and soul.

Mr. Nagataka: Oh hi there, honey, Unit 13! Fancy meeting you here!

Feeling any better sir?

Mr. Nagataka: Just peachy, and aren't you lovely for asking. Now I know you're busy, but I'm just the teensiest bit high on life. I just had to say thanks again! And maybe give my little girl a kiss. Or two~

Not right now. We're shopping.

Girl Scout: This time, we're giving everyone a Sway Ring! 5000 Az would be a fantastic gift.


The Sway Ring gives +10% Evasion. It lacks a speed buff like other evasion-boosting accessories, though.

Boy Scout: I call this my Stronger You Set! ...but it's actually just this thing. You want it? 7000 Az.

We must amass all the objects.

It's the Status Guard! 50% resistance to all status ailments, finally.

Mrs. Nagataka: Oh? If it isn't our classiest company, Unit 13! Come on, turn around, let me see how you've grown. Ooh, nice muscles, Miss Fudoji. Speaking of, I just got something you might find pretty interesting.

Oh yeah?

Mrs. Nagataka: You know the sweaty guy over in the Artisan Ward, Kamiyama? Turns out he's got a great business sense, so we got to working together, and he made me this. We call it... the God Hands.

Mrs. Nagataka put on the table a pair of cesti, purple steel with a green striking point.


A genuine Kamiyama Metalworks work from after the Dragons showed up?

Mrs. Nagataka: We asked to use the dev team's facilities and all, and that guy with the frizzy hair and Kamiyama kept butting heads. It was a sight to see, but we made something incredible, right?

Youka picked up the God Hands, put them on, and threw a punch at the air. I was standing to the side, and my hair blew in the wind a bit.


These are incredible. How much?

Mrs. Nagataka: 6000, how's about?

Sold. I'll take 'em.

Wait, a weapon that makes Mama Fudoji stronger?!

While Youka's barehanded option still exists in the game and we'll be getting it, as it happens, the God Hand just barely ekes it out—it's Youka's strongest weapon.

Polite Miss: Today's special is a set of features for Countess Akaneno's megaphone. I call it the "Unsigned Horn"!

Oh, these are nice.

Polite Miss: Is 6000 Az okay?

You got it! I love power.

This isn't Mio's best, but it's her second-best.

Crafty Woman: This time I've got some armor!

!! The make of this... It incorporates quite a bit of graphitic carbon nitrate.

Crafty Woman: 3000 Az for this 'C3N4 Suit'! You can't deny it, can you? You want it.

Crafty Woman: Heh. That's my easy marks—uh, pleasure doing business!

The C3N4 Suit has an astronomical 80 DEF, but only 10 MDF. It's... situational.

MANIC Manager: This SP Up EX is totally boss! Plus two freebies, since we're friends. How's 2000 Az sound?

This is 3000 SP for 2000 AZ. That's 1.5 SP for 1 Az. That's a good deal.

oh yeah.

MANIC Manager: Boom! High five, alright, you got the goods! Seeya next week!

It's appreciated.

Yeah. You've been supporting us for a long time. We understand.

It's 5000 Az for 3 Heal Aero 4s, 2 Hypno Crystals, and 2 Dragon Dews.

Forlorn Girl: If I helped even a little, I'm glad. Cuz... we all know you're working really hard for everyone's sake! So, please... try not to get hurt.

What're the goods?

Novice Nun: The miraculous prophecylactic, the Chaos Cut!

Here's 3000. Take it.

Novice Nun: Thank you for your devoted patronage! I mean, let's be real—if you're happy with this, and I'm happy, then I'm sure you're making God very happy, too, ma'am!


Novice Nun: I may no longer hear the voice of God, but I know He would want me to tell you that you've done a great deal to make him happy, Miss Nagataka.

Fuck off!

Oh, hey, you've got those things! That crank Kamiyama... that guy's kinda weird, but I gotta admit, he knows his way around kali sticks. But! More importantly! I helped! It's great, right?

They're fantastic. These are damn good punchers.



They're fantastic, Keima. Thanks a lot.

Heh heh heh. Now I won't feel so bad when you guys tell me that someone got a weapon so good they won't need any of mine anymore.


...Is it Mio?

As it happens.

Yes! Finally!

Keima started pumping his fists and hollering.

I'm done! No more working on the damn megaphone! I don't have to think about megaphones again ever in my life! Yes! Whoo!

Now Keima, don't be mean! Saingreed has enjoyed working with you... He has feelings too, you know!

Saingreed was a good challenge. Thank the man.


Fine. Hey, Saingreed. You won't need me anymore, but I hope I did a good job taking care of you and helping you fight. You're a good guy. You're kinda the pride and joy of a bunch of folks around here. Or something. So... keep up the good work.

Okay! I did it! I'm done! Swords! Claws! Guns! I've just got plain old weapons to work with for you guys from now on! Yes! Hahahahahahahaha, yes! Wooooooo!

What're you gonna do about all those designs you have left~?


I-I'll set 'em out... in case Saingreed wants 'em... I guess.

That's sweet, buddy

Shut uuuup! I'm going on break!

Aside from that one SEX Skill quest we have to do, that's it from the flea markets.


...Say. Sumie.


The Atlantean Dragonslayer. When Takehaya had it... did it work? Did it still possess the same power it did?

No. I think it only really had enough juice for the once. It used to glow, but when he had it it kinda didn't.

Glowing with the same light as the Code of Atlantis, huh?

The Atlantean Dragonslayer hadn't cut deep enough to destroy Niara, simply tear off his wing. Niara wasn't gone. He would be back.


The weapon we were constructing... It was constructed through the same method. The method worked. But with the hearts of only three Imperials...

Knowing you, you'll manage to swing it deep enough. would only work once. Even if it killed him, it would only work once.

Chisa? What's wrong?

Sorry. I'm still just... Today was a lot for me. It... it was hard. I'm still kind of destabilized. And I'm... just thinking.

Unit 13. Murakumo. SKY. The SDF. Sharon's WRO. Even SECT11. All of the civilians... How long could they continue to suffer? The illusions I'd suffered had been cruel, but there was truth in there. I could guarantee Fomalhaut's death by devouring him, yes—but that wouldn't solve anything. Would humanity be able to survive if a third True Dragon appeared? A fourth? Was it just to leave those who came later to battle an endless war? Even if we saved humanity now—was humanity truly saved, if it was simply a lull in a battle without an end in sight? Were any of us saved, with no path to true salvation?

As I pondered and pondered, my thoughts arrived again and again at only one conclusion.

'No'. If everything happened like this—nobody would be saved. Not really. And without Emille here any longer, I was the only person who truly understood that., that wasn't quite right. Perhaps we all understood it, in the back of our minds. But I had the power to do something about it.

I am the 7th True Dragon, VFD. I could not escape that fact, no matter how I tried. But I had come to know—no matter how humanity hurt me, I wanted to do the right thing for them nevertheless. There were people I wanted to protect. I had a family. And it didn't matter who I was—that feeling was real.

So I headed to see Kirino.

Kirino. I have something to talk to you about.

Sure. What's up?


That night, I met with Marina. I'd spoken with her some time earlier, but it had taken her a while to think about it.

You look... like you're carrying the weight of the world.

Do I?

What are you thinking about?

A man you never had the chance to meet. His name was Takehaya. He... He was an experimental subject. Like the Navis... or you. He was a man twisted to possess the sort of powers I did. He and I butted heads a number of times. He wanted to prove himself, that he had the power to fight for what he believed in.

Was he... nice?

He was a bit of a jerk, and bad at understanding people's feelings... but he was honest, and strong. He was a real hero. It's thanks to him we were able to win the last war. He was on death's door, so he sacrificed his life by transforming into a Dragon.

He was your friend?

He was. I think... for a long time, I've been thinking... I've been wondering what he had that I don't. I'm not a 'hero', Marina. I'm a selfish person. It took me ages to find anything I truly wanted to fight for. But... He fought for the woman he loved. And I want to fight for the people I love, too.


But I can still do this. For my family. And I'm happy about that. I think... I think everyone has something they can do. Right? 'Real' and 'fake' people aren't very different.

I had thought of Takehaya, once, long ago, as a fake hero with a real heart... and myself, the opposite—a real hero with a fake heart. But according to Marina, we both simply had hearts. There was no 'real' or 'fake'.

Chisa... You're a good big sister.

You think?

You have lots of family. And you want to protect all of them.

Everyone's faces flashed in my mind.

I want to protect you too, Marina.


Yes. I want to help you. I want you to live in a happy world.

But I'm sad too.

...You can... you can say no.

Mm-mm. You want to protect your family. I don't want to stop you. I want to help you. But I'm sad, too.

You don't want to go back inside?

No. I don't.

...Okay. Then please come with me.

Draconic power could destroy Dragons. So... I made my choice.


I woke up a bit later. I couldn't get very good sleep—I had a bad feeling for some reason. I headed to the Lab to check on the Dragonslayer.

Hey, Marina. Have you seen Chisa?


...That's the orichalcum for the Dragonslayer, right?

Mmhm. The greatest piece of the greatest metal known to man.

I'd seen orichalcum before, but this one was on another level. It was glowing like crazy.

All that remains... is to shape the blade.

The sword was glowing with a really incredible power. Just standing in front of it, I could tell it was something else.

It's... it's incredible.

...She... asked me... to have you hold it first.

So I did. And... the instant I did, I understood what Marina was dancing around. Or... maybe what she wasn't equipped to explain.

She wanted to protect everyone. She wanted... to protect you.


What the hell's going on in here?

Everyone else ran into the room, probably having noticed I was gone.

The Dragonslayer! It's finished?

Where's Chisa? Where's—

She wanted to protect you all. ...For real. And she said to say...

"I thought about it, and this is the best thing I can do for you all. Please, don't stop fighting. This sword is me—so take it and bury it in Fomalhaut's heart. End this madness once and for all. And... I love you, Mio. I'll always love you."

Damn it... that fucking idiot...

This... she... Chisa...

Damn it! What the hell?!


How could you... How could you just run off and leave me alone like this? I don't want a sword to protect me... I don't care if the madness ends or not! Just! Just!

Come back... Please, come back... I didn't want you as a weapon. I just wanted you! I could handle anything as long as I had you! Please, come back... Come back! Please!


And as I held the Dragonslayer in my hand, I crumpled to the ground and started crying. It wasn't pretty. Eventually, I was just screaming.

There wasn't going to be a miracle this time. Her body, still inside the Lab, was perfectly fine—there weren't any injuries. But it wasn't moving. It wasn't breathing. Nothing. Her heart—not the human heart in her chest, but the draconic heart that made up her concept. She'd given it up.

The 7th True Dragon was dead. Chisa Inomiko had chosen death.

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