Part 98: a defect in the man

Sitting around in the room, I rolled around in my bed. The comms were on, so I could hear Unit 13 approaching the Skytower.

—It hadn't been twisted into space like Tokyo Tower had been, but it was all wrapped up in Fomalhaut's vines. Honestly, just on vibes, it had a really strong 'evil king's castle' vibe. That day, the 26th, was the day the gates were finally breached.

Let's go.


The final battleground of the two Dragon Wars, the Tokyo Skytower.

Very inviting.

Sgt. Makita: Dammit, the Bloom's springing up like daisies.

Yeah, so... what's the plan here, fellas? Just throw bodies at it and bust through?


Alright, time to start putting in your share of the work.

Whoa! I... I kinda figured it'd be a katana.

Where'd that thing come from?

It's a half-conceptual blade, so it can be brought out at will by its wielder.

I call upon the powers of the 7th True Dragon, VFD! Rend this barrier asunder, and take back the realm you called home!

That worked?!

'Course it did. Koron said a bunch of weird stuff, that always works.

...Hey, this is a weird time to ask, but... Does VFD stand for anything?

yeah it uh


Did we never ask?

The phrase 'Vicarius filii dei' was first used in the forged Roman imperial decree, the 'Donation of Constantine', to refer to Saint Peter, the first Pope. It means, 'Viceregent of the Son of God'. Its origins in a forged document aside, there are Protestant writers who believe that the phrase can in fact refer to the Antichrist—you see, through a gematria cipher, professor Andreas Helwig arrived at the number 666 by interpreting the phrase.

There is no way that the True Dragon VFD's name stands for 'Vicarius filii dei'. That doesn't make any sense.

Does it have to stand for something? They're aliens.

Maybe like, 'Very Final Dragon' or something?

That makes even less sense!

We can ponder these questions later.

You're right, of course.

...Hmhmhmhm. Curious. Come in, come in. You've my dispensation to supplicate at the divine throne in vain.

The Skytower's theme is one of those songs where I pretty thoroughly prefer the DIVA version.

Much of the first segment of the Skytower is geographically similar to how it was in the Prologue, but not only have Bloom walls been erected, this place is lousy with Dragons. 46! That's a big honking number! Naturally, we're going to exterminate every last one of them.

Just fine. What's up?

Our analysis places Fomalhaut's signature right on top of the Skytower, so head for the roof first, please!

Man. Just... what, three and a half weeks ago, we came in here like it was nothing?

September 1st. It feels like a lifetime ago at this point.

Sumie. Richter. Youka. We're down two members. As this unit's Vice-Captain, I have two things to say to you. One, we're going to need to fight harder than we've ever fought to get through here—don't you dare give any less than 100%.


Don't die. I believe in us.

Aww, I believe in us too!


As do I.

We'll have to take the long way around.

Darkgrass Nymphs are the final tier of the Nymphs. They can inflict Petrification and Paralysis—not nice! They're pretty frail, though.

Asumu: Though the Skytower's undergone a transformation, it's still much the same as it was. We just have to remain calm.

Think you can handle the first floor?

Asumu: Who do you think I am? Of course! I—we—are more than capable of defending this point.

Taichi: C'mon, Dragons! Poor visibility? Bloom everywhere? Who cares? I'll take you all on! You'll never break through me! I'm rock solid!

Taichi: Don't you guys worry about the entrance. Nobody's getting past us! I'll blast them all to smithereens!

Please try not to level the building while we're in it.

Taichi: ...Nee-san... Wish me luck!

We've got one more upgrade to Wolverines, and we've



Shichiro: We're just about there. We shall not fall! In the name of my family, I will make all six of my elder brothers proud! By my Gauntlet and my pistol, come, my friends! We are Murakumo Unit 10!

Himuro: Those guys managed to handle all the Dragons up to this point. And fast, too. Thought they were wet behind the ears, but they grew up when I wasn't watching.

The world is in good hands with defenders like them.

Even struggling with grief, Taichi's grown quite a bit. Soon enough, you might just be another squadmate, Himuro.

Himuro: Wouldn't that be something?

Looks like it's time for us to enter the fray. You ready, Youka?

For these? Always.

Our first Dragon variety in here are Microdragons. 3536 HP, minimal defenses, but they're fast and have some nasty attacks.

Youka, please take its attack!

You got it!

These ones never change!

Ugh! That's new.

Skill Crusher deals 4 random hits that can inflict Skill Seal.

Hehehehahahaha! You're much too weak to consider striking me!

Begone, weakling.

The other Microdragon in this room goes down much the same way—it just takes a moment longer to pop from the Frostburn DOTs. Frostburn is a silly skill.

Perhaps our next foe will provide me a greater challenge?

Criminal Dragons are back! 5091 HP and no weaknesses. They're still the same bastards.

I have poor memories of this variety. Youka, if you please.

C'mon, your head's only that hard?

Someone's been skipping the gym.

Be that as it may, here you are.

Gyahahahahahaha! Burn!

This is the part where I say that Exhausted Concentrate Frostburn does a lot of damage.

See you.

Aww, that one didn't even get to break out of its cuffs.

It appears we've made it around.


Not anymore!

So this guy actually doesn't trigger Youka's Counter Stance twice in that turn, and Koron's Frostburn wasn't Exhausted, meaning he just baaarely could've lived... except this happened. Get owned.

Alright, we've cleared the first level.

Pvt. Shimano: Unit 13 is on the scene! Currently joining forces to escort.

Poison Birds have gotten leveled up. Their MDF is now an astronomical 238.

Pvt. Tsuzuku: The situation is dire... I can't stress this enough! Unit 13, be on your guard! You gotta be careful!

Pvt. Higa: Looks like there's a silver lining after all. The Black Bloom's growing in dense patches, but aside from that, nothing seems that bizarre. Honestly, I was expecting it to get weird.

That's a fair assumption. Tokyo Tower was certainly worse for wear.

More doggy.

This fight is actually briefly dangerous, since the second will barge in after one turn. I did have a failed attempt here where Koron got Skill Crusher'd to death and sealing.

I did not lose this time.

Wait. Wait. Hold up. I'm heefing.

ah, nice for my collection

It's a knife.

Get out of the way!

Oh, no! Youka!

Yeah Headbutt has a 30% chance to inflict Stop.

...for 2 turns, and it wasn't able to kill us fast enough.

Aww, there you go, buddy!

For your bravery, I'll immortalize you as a scorch mark on the floor.

There are people alive in here?!

Returning Man: You saved me! Thank you! I've got someone waiting for me, so I've definitely got to get back home!

There's a dog approaching.

we're just built different.

Splitting off?

The SDF is gonna entrench in this area. Once we have a base camp established, we can always fall back if things get hairy.

Sgt. Makita: We desperately want to go with you... but it's something we can't do. We know it's best if you do this on your own.

Pvt. Ogishi: Donno why guys like me have to wait back here while you do all the work, but seeing you off, I can still be proud!

Much appreciated. We'll get this bother out of your hair before we go.

Simply get owned.

See you when this is all over, Rin.

Yeah. Good hunting. We'll last as long as it takes!

...Chisa was standing right over there on the 1st, wasn't she?

She was.



Not letting myself get too excited right now. We're in danger town.

What is this, a kennel?

Ah, we've found one of Sharon's people.

That is more damage than these guys had health.

And there's another buffboy.

Alright, that one hurt. Mind if I get a bit of care?

There you are.

I don't mean to disturb anyone, but I am smelling treasure.


Ah, this may be helpful for me.

My comments regarding the Vajra are the same as they were last time.

Ako: SKY's coming with ya too! You guys have re-ignited the flames of my imagination!

Ako: Just a little further... good luck!

There's another one.

Hey! You get back here!

Oh, I see how it is.

This one's raring to go!

That Criminal Dragon goes down like the rest, but I figured I'd point out: we're level 65 now! That's the SEX Skill quest unlock level! Nice.

Get back heeeeere!

Maybe he was just going for a run.

Considering our higher power level and a few alterations to their AI, Criminal Dragons are much less threatening than they were in the first game.

Akira: Whoaaaa! Pull this off, and I'll... do the thing again!

Tao: If this is the final fight, get fired up for real! Everybody's gonna give you a rebel yell!

Oh, yeah. Golden Rabis are at their highest tier now, too. They drop 3500 Az per, which isn't half bad.

Dead end, huh.

It's not an awful walk back. It's right over there.

Yeah, I'm fine.

And, uh...

...What the fuck is that thing?

I don't like its...


This is a bad creature.

This thing's very existence is an abomination. To hell with you.

Megalip Dragons are weird. They have a massive 15272 HP, but both pathetically low defenses (60 MDF!) and weaknesses to Fire, Ice, Lightning, and Neutral. Yeah, they take 1.5x damage from all non-elemental attacks. They're also weak to all status ailments. All of them.

I'm going to destroy it.

Wow, okay, this thing is soft.

That makes it woooorse!

Numbing Snowball is Ice-elemental, and can inflict a Freeze that ticks for 41 damage and lowers your Speed by 60%. Ouch!

Whatever Hell I send you to will be better than the one that spawned you.

Er... I've hacked it.

It's gathering power.

Oblivion awaits you.

Auuugh, even its liver looks like lips!

Put it in a bag! I don't want to look at it!

Ino: Me too... maybe we overdid it.

You two got sloppy while I was gone.

Yup. You're done before things even got started.

Guchi: Geez, we're just tryna do you proud. Neko, Daigo... have a freaking heart.

Whatever. Guess you better rest for now, though.

Oh, hey, guys. Man, those lip things are gross, huh?


This is where we stop climbing. Gonna let SECT11 back you up above.

You did great.

Truth is, I wanna go with you.

We wouldn't want you to.

We'll tear Fomalhaut apart ourselves. You just need to hold down the fort. That's your part.

Kick some butt, bestie!

We'll have their back, Neko.

We'll be waiting here for as long as it takes, so you better come back alive!

Death never keeps me down anyway.

Guchi: W-we'll get up when it's time to! Fine, fine, I'm too beat to move! Happy?

Ino: This's like... majorly tough... not a fan here!

Say, weren't you intending to 'go civilian'?

Ino: Desperate times call for desperate girls.

Guchi: And me! And him!

Thank you, Guchi.

Win this and come home! We'll see you after. Definitely.

You're coming back, so I'll be waiting. Don't even think about standing me up!

Hold up

heef heef


It's another... lip... creature.


Oh, what's that?

The dev team would like to see you, Unit 13, if you have a moment?

We're up to 18 Dz, one more than we need, and the Bloom walls mean we have easy access back up to where we were, so we're heading back to base for a few more errands.


That's it for all of the construction projects! Congratulations!

Eeeee! We did it! We've done it! We're doing it! Everything is sparkly and beautiful! We've achieved the maximum power of youthful beauty!

Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on! Since when did 'youthful beauty' have anything to do with it? Besides, old man Waji hasn't got either!


Reimi's got Attack Ring 3s, Chaos Guards, and some now-useless new armor. Keima sells weapons we don't need. And Waji, helpful old Waji, now sells Heal Aero 5s—100 for everyone—at a pricey 10,000 per.

...Where's Mio?

Maybe she went to the bathroom?

At any rate, Sumie, you're a popular girl today.

just me? how scandalous.

Y'know, when they dragged you in looking like a drowned rat back in February, I never thought you'd become our best customer.

Aww, Keima.

Not a lot of folks pay attention to the dev team behind the scenes, but we can hardly get rid of you even when you die, so. You know, it's nice. I figured I'd say.

that's sweet, bud.

We don't spend a lot of time on the front lines, like your team does. I mean, most of what we know about where you fight is from reports and vid screens.

It's like... you guys are freaking amazing. Even when you aren't using my stuff exactly. Maybe I'm supposed to feel reverence, but mostly it pisses me off. I mean, you're winning. I'm not the second-string! I wanna do something badass! So!

Out of all of you, which one of you would you say goes, 'hey look I got a new weapon I don't need you' the most?

Hmmm... Koron. I'd say Koron.

Great observation! I felt the same way. So, I was digging around in the Warehouse and I found some funny little things. Just in her size, too. So I figured I'd fix them up and make 'em all badass.


Whoa! That excited about matching?


Well, shoot me a review of that and the God Hands and all. You've got my email, right?


Well you do now. Alright, back to work. Me in the workshop, you in the battlefield—let's fight with all our hearts!



No. What? No. No!

I thought I got rid of those! No! What are they doing back here?!

Put them on, Koron. Put them on. Don't you want to match with your loving girlfriend.

It seems karma has a way of returning to those who attempt to avoid it...

No! No! Not this again! Damn it!

That's +24 MAT, y'know. That's a big number!

Now, walk in and walk out...

Eeeeeeeeeeeeee, Sumie~ It's meeeee!

Mwahahahaha! Oh, gosh! The shyness of a one-on-one conversation is catching up to me...! My heart's beating like a 100 HP subturbine...

Just breathe, Reimi. It's just a chat with your friendly neighborhood catgirl.

That's true! We do talk a lot. You're so friendly, Sumie! Teehee. Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo... how's that gear I've made you been working out?

Your stuff's great, Reimi!

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I could fight for ten years straight after hearing that from my favorite customer~ Really, you know, I'm just like you. I want to craft the most darling weapons I can, to crush all those stylish monsters!

I've always wanted to ask. Why do you sell the armor and Keima sells the weapons?

That's an injustice I will correct, heehee~

you're so scary. it's precious.

No one ever lets me join you in battle! So I put my heart, soul, and etcetera into my gear! But...

Gosh, this is so silly... I worry about you, Sumie! You're such a precious little thing, having three weapons on you at any given time and also being a great conversationalist who makes funny faces! I'd never be able to live it down if you didn't make it home safe! Soooo...

Tada! I'm super proud of this one! I left out all the useless safety features and went for maximum power, because I knew my cute little metallurgic catgirl friend could handle it! A deluxe model: simple, lovely barrel. Take it, and along with it... my heart~

It's... gold.

Mmhm! I hope you don't think me a bad girl, but I did some reading and digging—metaphorical, of course~ It seemed like a good way to honor my other best customer! My pair of golden girls!


If you think it needs cleaning or a teardown, use my email and get in touch! I'll come see you, 24 hours a day, any time!

Now we have all the ultimate equipment.

Okay, um...

In. Out.


You been eating right? I know you're busy, but no excuses. And I don't wanna hear you've been eating any cat food. And are you getting enough sleep? Work too hard and you'll just get hurt. Oh—and you had all your checkups? Not skipping out on anything, are you?

Whoa whoa, slow down, one question at a time.

Er... sorry, I... ah, forget about my nagging. Just blow it off as a joke from a cranky old man.

Sumie... I've watched you grow up so much since your rookie days with Murakumo. You've matured a lot. From some upstart punk kid who wouldn't leave us alone, to one of Murakumo's decorated aces. But I still can't shake the image of you getting dragged in, covered in soot, looking like hell, from my mind.


I was worried as hell when I heard you were hurt, you know. Not that I really understand how this all happened, but I'm happy for you. Having you around—all of you, but you especially—makes the work just a bit brighter. You're a strong kid, Sumie, in body and in spirit, so you don't need some old coot worrying about you. But just for a little longer, lemme stick my nose in your business.

Roper Udon is Miracle Aeros with a funny name.

Whoa whoa whoa, this is a lot of food! Did you really think I'd been eating cat food this whole time?!

Can't rule out anything with you.

You're so sweet you're gonna make me cry.

Don't cry. I'm not... ah, damn. I'm no good at this.

You're better than you think you are. This means a lot. Really.

Lucky me I found the one who actually likes being fussed over. Oh, and take this, too.

May not seem like much, but this pager's fifty years or so older than you are.

I will treasure it with my life.


Our final invitation is Shizuka's, triggered by completing all of the construction projects.

You can all think of this as a wrap party, so please order whatever you like, alright? Money is no object! Please, please, come on over!

Someone's excited.

...I mean, I'm... I'm sorry. I know this is a waste of your time, asking you here just to meet with me—

It's, what, the eighth or so time today?

Reimi, Keima, Waji, Marina, Izumi, Neko, Daigo... Yes, I believe that's eight now.

Oh, wow. My goodness. Sorry, I just feel so fantastic today!

Whenever I go out, I catch a cold. Before the big track meet, I broke my leg. Missed my examinations due to a blizzard. You know, the last time I dared to take a chance, I sat for an aromatherapy exam before I graduated from junior college, but somehow there was a mixup, and they took me to a Murakumo administrative exam being held in the same building.


That's... that's quite something.

I feel you.

That's how I got into Murakumo, y'know? A mistake! Because I... passed, somehow. So ever since the day I joined, I've felt like I shouldn't be here, like I'm going to be found out... but now I feel like the luckiest girl in the world, even if I was hired by Murakumo on accident!

I'm glad we had you here. Having you to make the administrative burden less severe has made the bureaucratic processes far smoother.

you deserve to be here, shizuka.

Heh heh... I'm starting to think so, myself! B-but, I've still got a lot to learn, I know! Going forward, things will only become harder for the administrative unit, but I'll keep working with all my might! I know I'm not the most reliable, but... I'm here if you need me, everyone! Oh, and...

Wait. This is the Kingsguard!

Eh? You know it?

If I'm the luckiest girl in the world, and I wore this on the luckiest day of my life—

Wait. That doesn't make sense.

You didn't happen to lose it for a while, did you?

Oh, yes, actually! I misplaced it last year for a few months.

Where'd you get it?

It fell from the sky in front of me one day, as it happens.

Shizuka... er, this is... this is a bracer made of crystals from the planet Hypnos.

Eh? Hypnos?

Wait. Wait. Hold on. No, hold on here.

You're telling me that Shizuka somehow got a bracer made of Hypnos Crystals which became her lucky charm that got her mixed up into Murakumo on accident, where it was then lost for several months last year until it somehow wound up with Emille, who gave it to us, and we offloaded it, where Shizuka found it again, and is now giving to us?

Why did Emille have it, then?

Did Emille... steal Shizuka's lucky charm?

Perhaps she made it? She or Aitelle are the only two people who could've.

But then why would it show up in front of Shizuka? I mean, did they lose it?

You're telling me they dropped it from the sky in front of Shizuka? On accident?

Hold on, I need to draw up a flowchart for this, please! So, either Miss Aitelle made it and lost it, thus giving it to me, and Miss Emille later stole it from me, or Miss Emille made it and lost it, thus giving it to me, and re-obtained it assuming it was still hers when she came to Japan last August?

...I think so.

If you ever solve this mystery, please tell me! And please try to not let it get stolen again!

This is for your use only!

The Kingsguard, as in the first game, is 55% status resistance. Stacking it and the Status Guard is full immunity. Nice!

Anyway, ordinarily I'd cut this off here, but for some reason I only put a break in my footage after this next thing, so to make things easier on myself, we have one last errand.

If we're going to continue fighting at the level we need to, I think we may have to listen to Masaki's harebrained scheme.

The Super EX Skills he mentioned, you mean?

Don't use that stupid name. So, he mentioned something about virtuous objects about the Diet Building.

you know i can think of someone who might have one of those


hey how's it going

What? Seriously? No.

Novice Nun: Ah! Esteemed Miss Nagataka, how dutifully you have honed your spiritual power. I hear tell you are in the market for an item of exceeding virtuosity?

Don't talk to me.

Novice Nun: I could see way to parting with this object, if it were entrusted to one such as yourself.

You're lucky I need something now.

Novice Nun: You must truly be the one foretold in prophecy! In that case, a donation of... 5000 Az would be sufficient.

Here. Take it and shut up.

Novice Nun: May the holy spirit dwelling within you grant you new inspiration for all of your days!

Novice Nun: My training has been long and arduous, but I'm finally ready to graduate! Starting tomorrow, I'm a full-fledged sister, slinging hymns and spreading the gospel! Glory to God in the highest!

Ugh. Shut up!

She's happy, Koron. You should be happy for her.

Well, this statue is pretty good. I'll give you that the goods work.

Novice Nun: To be tsundere about the act of public service and donations... You are truly a kind soul, Koron Nagataka.

SEX Skills cost 9900 SP once unlocked.

Okay, now we're cutting it. Next time, perhaps even our whole being will become SEX!

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