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Part 5: Women* of War (Vs. Warcry)
Private Sasuga: Un-frickin'-believable! Our very best guys, and those veteran ops you assembled, all couldn't hack it? Well, if they can't, what do you expect us to do?!
Private Makita: Damnit, Dojima's just pulling out already!
Dammit... dammit all!
It was hard not to pay attention to the despairing wails of the SDF. I imagine that at least one person was glaring at our backs for forcing them to follow orders and stay behind at this point.
Okay, so we're heading to the northwest of the floor. This is the southeast point of the floor, by my reckoning, so—Koron?
Is that an energy bar?
MY FAVORITE i'll stash it for later let's go now.
That's a connecting hallway to the SDF and it's in our way. We should take care of that Salamander.
That's clearly not a salamander, it's a wyvern.
Is now really the time, Miss Nagataka?
Words mean things!
Whatever it is, it needs to get out of our way!
My thoughts exactly!
Geh! Is that the best you have?!
Good to know! Thanks for the heads up for the rest of you!
The Salamander's Fire Breath is our first source of the Burn status. Burn slightly penalizes PATK, PDEF, MATK, and MDEF, along with taking a small DOT every time the afflictee takes an action. When we get access to it, it can really pile on the hurt, but for now it just sucks.
Uppity son of a bitch!
...not that it had the chance to tick anything, since it wears off after battle and this dragon died in one turn.
It didn't stand a chance. Haha, do you suppose the monsters in the stands are quaking in fear?
I'm sure they are, Miss Nagataka.
How lovely. I do so appreciate being appreciated.
I could see Youka's muscles becoming tenser as we attempted to navigate around the blocks of rubble. I was sweating, myself, but her teeth were gritting incredibly hard.
Youka, you know you'll hurt your teeth gritting them that hard, right?
Who, me? Thanks for noticing, Chisa, but I really am fine.
I just need to take out my aggression on—
I will chill you to the bone and leave you buried for millennia!
Hey, save some for me!
Generally speaking, damage multipliers in this game are multiplicative. So, the 1.5x or so Ice weakness the Salamander has, plus the 1.5x from Exhaust, means that Koron is dealing more than double her usual Freeze damage, which is already huge. Suffice it to say, this dragon also died in one turn.
For sheer, raw damage output, there's little better I can do than Chisa, Koron, and Youka, especially later on in the game—especially since Koron and, later, Chisa, are the primary sources of Fire and Ice-elemental damage. A shocking number of dragons are weak to Ice, so that's going to be useful.
Okay, over here we've got some supplies. I thought I smelled antiseptic and here we were. These should be good for first aid on those guys up there, yeah?
I'm impressed, Satsuki. You've got quite a good nose.
I've gotta be good at some things, yeah? I—
Geh! Get out of our way!
The past few encounters with the Salamanders on this floor were using some Exhaust, so this one managed to go first. Unfortunately, the slight penalty meant it survived to a second turn, even with two counters from Youka.
dude got frieza'd
These dragons, for silly reasons, are actually the only ones that it's not really, really important to kill—we won't be keeping the Dz we get from this dungeon. Still, they give a pile of EXP, enough so to get these three up to level 10 before Warcry.
This is... a ring.
Ah, yes. A Guard Ring. They're imbued with a spell that improves one's fortitude through an art perfected in the past few years by a number of psychics across Eurasia that call themselves the Mental Jewellers.
They work well. I recommend slipping it on before we head down, Captain.
What about you?
Do I look as though I need the help?
Worst case scenario is they're already wiped out. Hurry to the roof to confirm their status.
If any survivors remain, extract them. We can't afford to lose Gatou or Nagare. I'm counting on you.
Confirming a change of mission—extraction of the strike force is priority one. This will be our last transmission. Past here, due to radio interference, we'll be in intermittent contact at best. Proceed with extreme caution, and please safely execute the mission.
LAST ONE IN'S A ROTTEN EGG
I won't be a rotten egg!
Did I just seriously say that
Hoo okay no time to worry about that
The comms frequency was full of static, but I could hear their voices. It was enough for me to understand what it was I was hearing.
Nagare: I'm sorry... Gat... Still...atou...but... Run...!
You...! Run...?! Me... my sword...! I'll...kill...!
And then, for just a moment—
...bloody...Dragons! I'll show you what it means to be human!
There are more over here. Don't worry too much.
Shaking Soldier: Ohhh... oh God...
The Escape Point on the floor above is still active. You won't die here. I promise.
Yes, sir. Unit 13 of Murakumo. Where are Gatou's unit?
Battered Soldier: Oh, you're with them... we had to fall back, but they're still on the roof. You've gotta find a way to help them somehow.
That's why we're here.
There was little I could hear other than the sound of my own heart ratcheting away in my chest. My blood felt like it was on fire. As I came toward this jagged entryway, I could feel it. The Imperial Dragon, Warcry, the one who had killed my squadmates and laid waste to these soldiers, lay just beyond here. Something deep within me knew it, knew its scent, knew the air that existed beside that horrific howl.
I had always tried to be a kind woman, a woman who did not raise her blade in anger. I had always wanted to believe that raising one's blade in vengeance was never the right path. But...
Captain... you're shivering.
It's okay, Richter. It's healthy in this kind of situation.
...I'm going to cut that bastard's head off.
That was the first day I realized what it felt like to really, truly hate something.
Why do you think?
That was the third dead body of someone I'd already seen moving, on this very roof, that this dragon had killed. I didn't need to go over and check to know that Nagare was dead. There was a gash straight through his torso, and some of his innards were leaking out. His body was cold, his face frozen in a plea for Gatou to run.
You might want to take a step back, Gatou. In that condition of yours—
How stupid are you?! Run! Fall back! This one's—this one's mine!
With all due respect, sir... You're not the only one with revenge to take.
oh fuckin' hell that's a BIG DRAGON
Now, this—this is a dragon!
I've killed scarier things than you, you overgrown snake!
Though the radio was nearly entirely broken up, I just barely managed to hear one last message.
"Chisa... come home safe, okay?"
This is for Renji and Kyoshiro! Get the hell out of our CITY!
First of all: Seven Deadly Struggles fucking slams, pro click right there.
Gatou and Nagare did a number on Warcry, so he's no longer an unwinnable fight, but don't think for a second he's gonna let you out of the first stage without a fight. This guy is no joke: he's easily the nastiest fight in the entire game so far, and if you don't catch wise to his tricks, he's gonna pound you into a smear on the roof just like he did Nagare. The toughest enemy in the game so far, D2, was packing 300 HP, whereas Warcry's packing a heavy 1200.
That doesn't even hurt!
That looks like it hurt a little!
Oh, I'm fine!
In fights against tough enemies, Decoy Mirror is worth its weight in gold. It's such a good skill. God.
Alright, let's show you how we brawl on the streets of Tokyo, big guy!
Youka's Depth Charge skill has two purposes. One is a universal attack buff, and the other is that while it's active, Youka's regular attack is guaranteed to inflict D-Depth.
Not very light on your feet, are you?!
Since Chisa's Whirlwind Roll is still better on EX generation than Diagonal Slash, I use it for the first two turns to build up a big hit from her. And speaking of big hits...
That's right, you son of a bitch! Come on!
One thing I quickly learned about Youka Fudoji was that she was astonishingly good at taking hits that looked like they'd kill her, and turning that momentum into a brutal attack of her own. Seeing her grab Warcry's arm as it swung onto her to throw it to the side and strike it in its stomach was beautiful in its brutality.
RIGHT IN THE DICK
Giga Break does a lot of damage. Even to Youka, the tankiest character, it deals 30 damage, which is plenty—and he can do two things a turn, mind. Youka manages to counter him twice for a solid chunk of damage, but she's down to 28 HP by the end of it—even she can't survive two rounds of Warcry pounding directly on her by herself.
Koron! He's open!
Hehehahahahaha! Does that hurt?! Can a single human make you wail like that, dragon?!
Remember when I said a lot of dragons are weak to Ice? That includes Warcry. You should focus on Ice.
Youka, fall back!
You think I can't—ggeh, counter that, bastard?!
That strike drew blood. I saw it clearly. Youka staggered back, panting heavily.
Damn... it... I'm not done yet!
Oops! Youka died from a fireball! Thankfully, the game auto-targets items you used on someone who died before they could get item'd.
Searing Firesphere is a magic-based attack, so Youka takes the most damage from it, plus it Burns and that's awful nasty. Thankfully, Koron's high MDEF, being that she's a wizard, means that her Decoy Mirror can tank the hit from it. Thanks, Koron.
On it, chief!
Hey, you big, ugly git! Look over here! Does that hurt?!
I love multiplicative modifiers to damage. I really, really do.
Delivery! Some aid for you!
I'll administer it! Miss Fudoji—
Alright, back in the game!
But I saw it, and it saw me. Without Youka to distract it, I knew from that look in its eyes—the Warcry recognized me.
Even as it slashed me, staggering me back, I felt my body pushing through, ready to launch at it with renewed fervor as soon as I could stand up again.
Richter, Satsuki! Triage delivery!
I... it's readying itself! Everyone, on guard!
Everyone! Plug your ears!
Preparing sonic barriers!
Thankfully, Warcry revs up here, so we have a free turn to heal. Turn economy in this game is very important and can easily go on the backslide, since it's three of you versus two of the dragons' turns.
Oh, by the way, when he does this, guard.
Even with the sound as muted as Richter could manage it, I still felt the earth tremble from the force of its roar. But we were still able to keep going—and I wasn't going to let up now.
Typhoon Howl doesn't just fuck you up right good, it also inflicts Paralysis on people who don't guard against it. Paralysis is a flat 50% chance to not act when enemies use it, so it will send your turn economy right into the shitter. Either load up with Paras Guards, or learn how to hit the Guard button, or you are not going to win this fight.
We've got it on the backslide! Koron, make sure you're still shielded! Youka, gird yourself, don't counter yet!
KORON LOOK OUT
Do that again and I'll drag your soul into the abyss, Warcry!
I'll—I'll get on aid duty! Mama Fudoji—
Make sure they can still stand! He doesn't win unless he takes out all of us!
(It's okay, you've got this!)
Its vital signs are beginning to flag!
Satsuki, I'll distract it! Hurry!
Fall back! I've got this!
Nice job! You're doing great, all of you!
Killing you is going to be really satisfying!
Captain, engaging triage!
Koron, Youka, on the offensive! It's starting to gather energy again!
Youka! It's open!
And then... from the force of Youka's blow, the dragon fell with one last wail of pain, and didn't move again.
We... we did it.
We did it?!
All... in a day's work, right?
HOLY SHIT WE DID IT
As I stood there, my hand shaking on my blade, my breaths were heavy and slow. There was pain all across my body, but... for the first time since I'd woken up, I felt like I could actually breathe easily.
Unit 13, please report on the situation!
W—what? Where's the Imperial's signature? I can't find it!
Then—there's no way—
Unit 13 did it!
It's gone? She did it?! They did it, the dragon's dead?! Is Chisa alive?! Tell me she's alive!
Is that her laughing? Chisa, what are you laughing about? Can you say words at me, please?!
Yeah... the Imperial Dragon is dead. I'm safe, Mio.
HOW COULD YOU JUST CHARGE OFF WITHOUT EVEN COMING TO TELL ME YOU WOKE UP, I SWEAR TO GOD—
The ground beneath us began to shake.
Sergeant Ikoma: Hey! Pull yourselves up off the ground and secure the perimeter immediately!
Somehow, some way, those Unit 13 guys did it? They defeated the Imperial Dragon?!
Like nothing had ever been wrong, the space outside of Tokyo City Hall reverted to its normal orientation. I saw petals of Bloom from across the building falling and dying in the breeze, turning from orange to white as they disintegrated. And the sun... the sun was back, and day broke. The light shone on the glass of the windows, and it reflected off of the bricks beneath my feet... and my blade, gleaming brightly in the morning air.
It's... been so long since I've seen the sun so properly.
It's satisfying, isn't it.
aw man now i need a nap. i gotta curl up
I think you can curl up if you need to, Satsuki. There's no more danger here.
I mean, not that I was really all THAT worried, if anyone could kill a bunch of dragons it'd be you, but—
Mio, the floor, please.
You've done excellent work. And what about Gatou and Nagare?
Even with how happy I felt... it was hard not to feel a twinge of pain. Nagare would never get to see this sunrise with us.
Dammit... I can't believe this!
Captain Gatou... You're still injured. Please try not to move so much.
If we need to, I'll carry him.
Kirino! We head for City Hall at once. Send everyone who can move!
Right, got it! Unit 13, backup's on its way to relieve you! You can rest easy for now.
And that was how our first mission as the Dragon-Elimination Strike Team, Murakumo Unit 13, ended.
Compared to the banquets they'd seen in days before, it was a modest affair—but their faces were all filled with gratitude.
GOD I haven't had food this good in who knows how long.
Haha, well, I can't say I'm complaining, either.
Something wrong, Youka?
No. I'm just thinking about the last time I had food served for me, is all.
It beats hospital food.
I'VE NEVER EATEN HOSPITAL FOOD
Pray you never do.
Next time, we start Chapter... 1.5, because this game hates the idea of proper numbering.
It was hard for me to resist the urge to run into Mio's arms, but as it turned out, I didn't have to—she tackled me anyhow. She'd always been a fair amount larger than me, and her grip strength had only gotten stronger in the eight years I'd known her.
You're choking me
Oh beans sorry about that
I'm so... I'm so happy you're okay. When I woke up, I didn't know... All I could think about was if you were safe.
How do you think I feel? You were unconscious for a whole month.
Yeah... I'll try not to repeat that.
You can't just go all Sora on me. It's... it doesn't...
What do you have to be sorry about?
I just... I feel like I should be helping more. I mean, back in Iorys, I—I could help, but—but I don't know what else to do but...
You're doing the best you can, Mio. And it means a lot to everyone here. I know it does.
But you were out there fighting dragons. You...
I'm so sorry... if I'd never shown up, you wouldn't have had to—
Don't say that! I—
Mio, I know that maybe this wouldn't have happened to me if I'd never come to Japan in the first place, but you had no control over that. No one did. And...
It would've still happened to you, anyway. And I want to fight to protect you if you're in danger. An apocalypse doesn't just not happen if one person isn't there to see it.
Man, when did you get all courageous?
I'm just saying, I remember when someone was quaking in her boots before she fought that Crow guy.
And that Tyrant on top of the tree. And the space monster. And a bunch of different—
DON'T KILL ME PLEASE. I AM DYING
Don't you like a nice character development recap?
Mio... I love you. I love you so much.
I love you too, Chisa.
I'm gonna do my best. And I promise... I'll always come home to you.
I know. You always have.
...so I heard you were drawing something?
Oh yeah! Lemme show you!