Not gonna lie – this is the most exciting chapter yet.
Nagamimi wakes us up saying there’s some “good news” waiting in the War Room. I wonder if it’s Mio. Whatever it is, I’m already pumped because I can now construct Skill Development Lv.1, which means lots of new Skills to play around with~! All classes now have access to their respective “React” skills; they basically grant an extra turn upon certain trigger conditions during combat. Ah~ I remember a real cheese of a combo with the Trickster in 2020 where you can trigger another extra turn during the extra turn and it goes on for about five total free moves. I wonder if it’s still here.
Anyway. Mio’s officially here~~~! She seems pretty happy too. Allie even goes beyond the formalities and ask more about her. Apparently, she’s just 14 – which does kinda make Julietta’s touchy-feely-ness in Chapter 0 officially creepy now. In any case, she looks the happiest I’ve seen her since the beginning of the game. Allie says she even passed another navigator aptitude test with flying colors. Nagamimi has begun to grow on me as a navigator lately, just a wee bit, but this is a far superior upgrade to the situation.
Julietta drops in with YoriYuma. More importantly, he found out we’ve been saving the Atlanteans; again, the same rationale Nagamimi gave us the first time. Dialog choice: “But I can’t just leave them” and “But Nagamimi said it was OK.” – Oh. Oooh. You’re asking me to either own our decision… or blame Nagamimi for it. Game, you spoil me.
Oh, I blame the shit out of that understuffed plushie. And surprisingly, it worked! The heat is off!! WEEEEE~~~!! Julietta doesn’t seem too mad at us, although he still insists on the “fate” and “futility” and whatnot… and makes us promise not to save anymore citizens!
Dialog choice: “In that case, I’m leaving.” vs “Killing dragons changes fate…” – Hmm… latter? Julietta isn’t buying the odds. He says Atlantis is on its deathbed and this is the furthest we can go back within our timeline – any further back is just gonna be an alternate timeline.
Yuma unexpectedly raises his opinion: He supports our decision, if only because this would benefit our plan. Namely, we strike a bargain – or “threat”, as Yuma puts it – with the Queen to forge us a new Dragonslayer, and we save the citizens in return. Allie is readily on board with it too. Julietta is floored by the unexpected synchronicity in the room, and reminds that we’ll have to save all the citizens if we want an ample negotiation package – as well as the difficulties they’d face living in Japan. Personally, I don’t see why that’d be a problem; nobody’s gonna bat an eye at people walking around with Kemonomimi or elvish ears in Tokyo.
Oh, and the plan gets better: Yorimoto suggests that Nodens does have all these empty floors… Julietta, again completely flummoxed by the wave of ridiculous suggestions thrown his way, reminds that we’d be taking an entire kingdom into what is superficially a videogame company. Actually, hey – why not?! The Lucier can work as mascots, and I’m personally pretty hyped for the kind of games a Lucier developer might come up with! Maybe a time-traveling adventure where you save a kingdom in the past from ruin?
Julietta officially goes “Fuck this, I’m out” and hands the decision over to Allie, who readily agrees to it as long as we can provide the materials. And just like that, we now have a few new steps in our plan, though the final goal still is Nyala’s specimen.
Before we get to work, Allie introduces Mio to the ISDF duo. Yorimoto… suddenly turns rude, and turns away – like “I don’t need to be introduced to a navigator.” Outside the room, Yuma asks what on earth happened to him, but he avoids the question and points out that Yuma was pretty uncharacteristic with this plan too. He also asks Yuma about his condition after the latest firmware update, and to report any abnormalities. Lastly, he says directly to Yuma that the latter is not a good liar – which Yuma acknowledges.
Before we move on, can I just say that this whole cutscene is the best moment in the game up to this point? Mio finally coming to a clear decision was plenty fine and good already, but the highlight has to be the escalating audacity of the plan. And you can just look at Julietta’s reactions as a measurement – every time he thinks what he just got proposed to was ridiculous, somebody comes forward and tops that one until he literally gives up. It’s so genuinely funny without actual jokes being told. The YoriYuma moment is of a different mood and tone, but it’s also a good scene, showing that, beneath their professional fronts, the two really connect with each other. I don’t mind that a lot of the moments and dialog in the game so far are expository, explanatory, foreshadowing or just outright minuscule to mention, but this feels like a moment where the narrative decided to break its mechanicality and showed some personality. Kudos.
At Cladeon, the Chief is told about the mass migration plan. She’s understandably caught off guard with the suddenly available option of surviving, albeit in a completely strange land. Young kids obviously want to live on, and Eigur also admits that they haven’t gotten around to thinking about how they’d go on in the future even if they manged to kill Nyala, since most of the Star Crystals are gone by now anyway. They’ve been so occupied by the dire present that they couldn’t even think about the future.
The Chief spreads word of the plan. Our team is to go see the Queen with Eigur, and ISDF will focus on gathering Dz for upcoming construction. Next stop: Berg Sea Palace. Looking at the huge gate, Eigur takes a moment to reminisce – about the classism from the elites and how they don’t respect the lower classes nor hardworking people like his father.
We’re stopped by the guards, but they recognize Eigur and stand down. Eigur asks them to arrange a meeting with Tallieri, but the guard tells us that he’s busying preparing the ritual to destroy all the Star Crystals. The citizens haven’t been notified about this beforehand… because Tallieri said it’s unnecessary; he wants to get it done before Dragonsbane spreads over everything, apparently. Eigur flips out and tries to go get his snooty ass, but he comes to us right then. Upon being asked about the lack of warning, Tallieri says he doesn’t need to, since the citizens are “of one heart”.
Eigur stops beating around the bush and asks for the Dragonslayer – for our team leader, that is. Tallieri doesn’t believe in the sword and refuses, from a mix of elitism and xenophobia; he leaves, saying he’ll defeat Nyala without the allegedly useless sword. So… that went well.
Eigur quickly comes up with an alternative: If we can’t convince Tallieri, we’ll go directly to Ulania. Since that’s not possible through formal channels, we’re gonna have to do some sneaking. And would you look at that – a convenient underground passage! Upon inquiry, Eigur reveals that his dad used to work in the palace when he was a kid, and he spent a lot of time exploring with Ulania. Incidentally, my shipping senses are tingling.
The underground isn’t complicated to navigate because it’s all square rooms and straight paths, but it does have a lot of doors leading to areas that don’t show up in the same map screen, so that’s slightly confusing. This also extends the time being spent in the area, due to backtracking.
Ulania is surprised by our unexpected arrival. Eigur asks for her help in forging a new sword, but she’s not confident in her ability because she’s never forged before. Well, that and she still seems think self-destructing is the way to go. Dialog choice: “Rulers are supposed to protect.” and “Do you… want Atlantis to fall?” The latter. As noticed in her first encounter with us, she obviously doesn’t want that – her decision is based mainly on desperation and lack of options. Another dialog choice: “There’s a way to save your people.” and “Let’s do it, together.” Former.
We tell Ulania about the evacuation plan. She seems slightly offended by the suggestion to leave their country – insert joke about out-of-touch elites with skewed priorities here – but Eigur assures that it’s a temporary workaround until Nyala is gone. Unfortunately, Tallieri drops in and the Lucier will not let Nyala escape and they won’t leave their country either and this is their fate and blah blah BLAH.
Dialog choice: “Don’t you want to live?” and “We can change fate.” Latter. His skepticism seems to have cracked a little. He asks if we’re really, really, reallyreallyreally sure we can kick Nyala to the grave. Eigur returns that this isn’t about promising results, but about trying a new option. Tallieri poses another query: Assuming the Queen agrees to help, where are we gonna get a massive pile of Orichalcum required. Without hesitation, Eigur points to the Star Crystal in his village.
Dialog choice: “But then Cladeon will…” and “But then your people will…” Not sure what the difference is, but going with the former. He says that doing so would forfeit Cladeon, but his people will be fine in our care. Before Ulania could make a clear decision, a Dragon turns up and attacks.
After seeing us in actual combat, both Tallieri and Ulania are convinced that maybe – just maybe – we’re not talking out of our bums. Why, thank you – that only took me like, what, a single bleeding fight that I’ve done so may times before? But whatever, Ulania finally feels a glimpse of hope again and gives us her word to revive the Dragonslayer. Tallieri is… still trying to dissuade her-Okay, lady. Do you need an “EVIL VIZIER” sign on his forehead? Still, she makes a good point that they chose the current path solely out of despair; if there’s some hope left, she wants to take the chance. She even overrides his now-long-redundant objections.
Tallieri… finally acquiesces and hands over the Dragonslayer?? Once we take off, he even murmurs to the late King that his daughter has grown to choosing her own path, and he won’t be joining his king as soon as he expected.
…This is throwing me on so may loops right now. Throughout this arc, Tallieri has been in a prime- nay, the perfect position to screw Atlantis over – and everything he’s done so far do nothing but paint him in that color. Being the Consul means he already has significant sway on the royal family’s decisions (as we’ve already seen with Ulania). Even if he has nothing to do with the King not being able to use the sword’s full power from insufficient motivation, he constantly urges Ulania to stay with the self-destruct plan. After the King’s death, he got handed over the Dragonslayer by Eigur; adding to this his alleged skepticism about the legend, he has the motive and the means to prevent the sword from being used. Also, he’s dead set on self-destructing while rejecting alternatives on grounds of pride and urgency (not to mention more than a bit of classism and xenophobia). Combine all those with the historical fact we already know about Nyala surviving Atlantis’ demise, and … I was fully prepared for the revelation that he was working for Nyala to survive with the less damaging outcome. …But now it turns out he’s just an insufferably stubborn fogey?? Was it all just a huge coincidence painting him in a bad light? I wanna call this a “red herring”, except what was he supposed to distract me from? On the other hand, it probably would have been very stereotypical to make him the Evil Advisor, so… I dunno. I feel a bit “let down” yet not in any significant manner.
At Cladeon, Eigur has the villagers evacuate the area since the Star Crystal is gonna be taken to the forge area and the village won’t be protected by its power anymore. ISDF duo thoughtfully offers some staff for the evacuation, and suggests that our team be split into two: One to escort the Queen and one to guard the defenseless village. They’re still short 30 Dz anyway, so they might as well take advantage of the imminent Dragon rush.
The way to the forge is littered with new Dragon spawns. Lots of EXP. At the forge, the two village blacksmiths insist that we wait outside and stand guard, since the process requires intense concentration. Dialog choice: “You can do it, Ulania.” and “Do you want us to help?” Go for it, girl.
Back at the village, Dragons close in as anticipated and the defense force gets to work. Yuma runs into a snag just after one Dragon; side-effects again. Yorimoto tells him to go back to Tokyo, since he’s not gonna be helpful in this state. Yuma is, as already seen, averse to being seen as a load and pushes himself further. His insecurities about his “value” are surfacing more overtly – if a fighting machine like him can’t fight, how much could he be worth? He pleads to his superior to give him a chance. As someone who understands Yuma, Yorimoto gives him one last opportunity; Yuma is to cease activity as soon as something feels wrong.
After the raiding Dragons are cleared out, everyone plans to head over to the forge. Yuma requests that his D-Install and consequent malfunctions be not known to Unit 13. Yorimoto muses on his well-developed sense of rivalry that he’s been picking up human traits.
The group reconvenes at the forge, including both of our teams. Eigur suggests taking a small peek into the progress. As it turns out… Ulania isn’t having much luck; she’s been turning out duds that don’t have the shine they need. Yorimoto relays a report that the water walls around the city are starting to crumble, so we gotta build the settlement fast. Not like the sword team can rush themselves anyway, so back to Tokyo we go.
With the load of Dz collected by us and ISDF, we can now build… the Atlantis Evac Ward! As soon as we finished building, ISDF reports that evactuation is underway. You know, it’s a nice feeling to be cooperating so well and saving people through that co-op momentum; I dig it, and I dig it good. Although… I wish some people weren’t so stubborn about staying behind; there’s “attachment to the environment you’ve lived in your whole life”, and then there’s “I don’t want to keep living if it’s anywhere else”. Thankfully, even Tallieri seems to be pushing those people along through royal order. In the end, most of the citizenry is evacuated aside from the most stubborn upper-classers, who wait for Ulania’s words. Again, feel free to make your own joke about aristocrats lacking a sense of priority.
Back at Nodens, Julietta’s all jittery about all the potential complications arising from a sudden large population of strangers. Allie is, as her usual self, taking it very comfortably. YoriYuma contacts us to get a written statement from Ulania to make the stubborn butts move. They even set up a spawn point at the forge; how nice of them!
Unfortunately, Ulania seems to know them better – anything short of her direct presence isn’t going to persuade them. But this won’t be a problem, as she’s finally awakened to the voice or Orichalcum while we were busy, and the Dragonslayer will be done shortly. Sure enough, the sword finally shows the shine and we have ourselves one Dragonslayer Atlantis. With the massive task finally taken care of, Ulania collapses from exhaustion. But she doesn’t want to rest yet; she’s got a bunch of dumbasses to take care of. It’s not easy being Queen.
Thanks to the power of good game design, bringing her to the palace was a cinch, and she makes her words heard across Atlantis. A song starts playing as she makes her speech – first soft and gentle, and gradually grows more powerful. It accentuates well what is already a dramatic moment.
And now Ulania can finally rest and get some treatment. Tallieri says he’s staying behind until every single person has been evacuated. Yorimoto warns that the water walls won’t hold much longer, but he says he wants to at least do his best after Ulania did her part. You know… it’s funny. Tallieri was unbearable for much of this quest, but now I don’t want him to die.
Mio and Nagamimi receive us in the portal room. Even Nagamimi sounds like he’s concerned for us, regardless of how he tries to hide it. No need to worry, we’re doing great. And tomorrow, Nyala goes down!
Early in the morning, Allie comes to chat with my team leader in our dorm. Her speech is strangely thoughtful despite her ever-present jovialness – about how much my character has grown, and how amazing humanity is to observe. Like, I know this is supposed to foreshadow her non-human nature as well as potentially set up anticipation for the next arc after Atlantis… But I’ve seen her ears. I’ve been noticing them the whole time, and if I didn’t before, I’d still already have by now from Lucier NPCs talking about our “cute round ears”. Still, there’s no malice in the conversation despite the oddness.
Dialog choice: “Likewise!” and “Why do you do so much for me?” – Latter; she replies that she hasn’t really done anything special. She then expresses her fascination with the concept of growth – “the charm of living things”, as she puts it. On the flipside, she hates whatever hinders growth.
And then… something unexpected. She “asks” to take a closer look at my character – though she proceeds to do it before I answer anyway. Like, “holding my head and face in her palms” close. Just when I was thinking things turned awkward out of the blue, Mio walks in on us. The girl is absolutely flustered – which I don’t blame her for. She probably hasn’t even hit puberty yet, and even disregarding that, how the hell do I explain this situation?! Allie’s response is to “ask” her if she wanna joi-NOOOOOOOOOO!
Allie proceeds to do so anyway, and… Mio just stands there; I can’t tell if it’s from sudden bafflement or she just doesn’t find Allie threatening. I can now tell how the game got its T-rating though. Not like Allie saying this is making things less awkward:
“Mmm… Neither too stiff nor too tender☆ You’ll grow into quite a nice body pillow…”
Now Mio’s embarassment threshold is officially crossed and she runs out. But she immediately comes back because she was supposed to notify me that Julietta is waiting in the War Room. Then she runs away.
“This company would be in quite a bit of trouble if I got sued for sexual harassment…”
YOU FUCKING THINK?!?
And then the scene is over. …What the hell was that? Actually, I know: Allie surpassing Julietta in creepiness within the span of a few minutes.
Eveybody gathers in the War Room, including Ulania, who seems to be back in form. She’s been briefed about this future world, and while she still has difficulty wrapping her head around it, she thanks us for all of our efforts. She also reveals Nyala’s location: Ladyin district, the city’s waterway hub. It’s also where the Grand Star Crystal keeping the city afloat is. If we can permanently remove Nyala, they can retain the crystal and the city won’t have to go under. Lastly, she requests to accompany us as a guide – as well as a participant against Nyala. Eigur naturally objects, but he can’t overcome her determination, so he takes consolation in the fact that at least we’ll be with her all the way.
Julietta remarks how unreal things turned out from the original plan; Allie is as happy as ever and does her “humanity is awesome” thing. Story, you just did a glaring foreshadowing earlier; tone it down a notch until this arc is over, would you?
So, our current plan is that ISDF will head in first and we follow; we have a Queen to protect, after all. Eigur is coming too, just for that purpose. There’s some verbal sparring in the portal room because of Nagamimi – who else – which results in Mio refusing to call it “the Almighty” any longer. I am pleased by this development.
Once we arrive at the entrance to Ladyin, Yorimoto suggests that Ulania and Eigur retreat after unlocking the gate because – let’s face it – they’re most likely gonna die in there at their level. Dialog choice: “You should join us, Ulania” vs “I don’t want you to die.” – I’m tempted to find out the reactions to the first one, but that’ll have to wait for now. To my surprise, Eigur, of all people tells her that it’s ultimately her decision – and of course, she won’t go back. In other problems, Yuma seems to be in the worst shape among everybody present, so Yorimoto request that they stay behind for backline support. Fantastic – the two people with below-to-average survivability are coming along, and the other two who could reasonably survive are burdened. …This is going to end with a dramatic death scene, isn’t it?
Yuma tries to object, but Yorimoto reminds him of their deal – especially when “thousands” of Dragon genes within his body are reacting to Nyala’s presence. With the assurance that he “won’t be made redundant”, Yuma reluctantly complies.
And with that… we enter Nyala’s lair.
This is actually my first time seeing Nyala’s undamaged looks, along with the characters. When it popped up back in 2020, its right wing was already damaged; and I couldn’t figure out the story because it was all in Japanese. It looks like a giant dragon statue made of pure gold with jewel adornments all over; looks very grand, certainly, and talks all regal too. Its personality… is about as expected – an arrogant god. It keeps calling us “cattle” too; this is kinda like M. Bison’s “For me, it was Tuesday” dialog from the Street Fighter movie, except without the established villain presence.
To my humor, I get this dialog choice: “I’m the one who’s gonna kill you.” and… “Wow, gold is so cliche.” There’s no contest here, of course.
Nyala is… not exessively difficult – not at this point in the game, at least. But it does demand a constant supply of party-wide healing. The main reason being that it has its own react skill that triggers whenever it knocks out a party member. Thankfully, that can be defused with a Buddy Skill. It has one (or maybe two) more skills that can be buddy-canceled, but I didn’t take chances to see what they do.
After it’s been plenty softened up, my character finishes it off with one stroke from the Dragonslayer. Thinking back, humanity having to go through so much trouble dealing with its damaged state in 2020 feels like a cruel joke. But hey, we actually did it! …Without anybody dying! And Nyala left behind, ironically enough, its right wing. All this, however, seem to have struck another blow to Yuma’s self-esteem, after feeling useless once again.
After we grab the specimen and leave, the cloak-and-mask figure appears again. They remark on our “rate of growth” – hmmmmm… – and wonders if we’ll be ready once “the end of the end” comes.
Back at the Nodens Portal room, the Lucier are restless – about Eigur, the Queen, and us. We teleport back just in time to ease their worries. Nagamimi couldn’t be “happier”, since the crowd is already annoying him to no end. He tells us and “ISDF bitches” to skedaddle to the War Room, and the rest to go the fuck back to the ward.
In the War Room, we hand over the specimen to Julietta – Dragon Chronicle is effectively halfway complete! ISDF gets their share of it too, of course. Poor Yuma. He thanks us for all the learning experience, and says we’ll be meeting again – even though I, the player, have already been clued in that that won’t be the case. It’s really sad.
After ISDF and Julietta leave the room, Allie congratulates us – how all of the success in Atlantis has been centered around us, and how we not only “grow” ourselves but also make others around us “grow”. A “singularity”, as she calls it. And then she says this:
“I hope you can continue to excite me like this in the future☆”
…Right. Before we leave, she tells us to visit the Atlantis Evac Ward before turning in for the day.
We enter the Lucier’s lounge to… dejected faces. They apologize for not being able to receive us with smiles – now that the greatest crisis in their lives has passed, they’re finally able to look back… and subsequently reminded of all that they’ve lost. Even Eigur, who quite firmly believes that just being alive is a blessing, can’t help feeling heavy himself. Milra, the first Lucier girl we actively intervened to save, hasn’t understood the situation fully yet and says she wants to go back to the ocean.
Dialog choice: “There’s no need to rush” and “We have an ocean here, too.” I picked the latter. The Lucier surprisingly perk up upon hearing that. Now that we mentioned it, they start to notice the sea breeze nearby. But they have another anxiety: If they leave the ward, they’ll run into strangers. But their homesickness outweigh their cultural anxiety, and we take them to the terrace to look at the ocean. Convinced that this is more or less the same world and finally relieved of their pain, the Lucier take a moment to pray – for all their late loved ones, and their beloved home…
This is a really affecting scene. And the game earned it well. Throughout the Atlantis arc, the player has been immersed into the Lucier’s situation for an extended period; exposed to their hopes and fears, their love, their flaws. By the end, the player is in a well-established position to sympathize with them. The narrative then reaps the fruit of its efforts for an emotional closure. My fondness for this moment is beyond description.
I started this chapter with what I called “the best moment by far”. While I’m now more than willing to transfer that distinction to this moment, I still feel that both moments are rather endearing in their own ways. (Not to mention that it’s the outrageous plan conjured in the first scene that has eventually led us to this.) At the beginning, I began to see some liveliness emerging in the narrative; by the end, I feel like I’ve seen a little bit deeper into it. Between these two moments, as well as by virtue of being the climax of the Atlantis arc, Chapter 3 is proving to be the most enjoyable chapter for me yet.
Alas, we once again get to see the gritter side of things at ISDF. Yuma is strapped into the D-Install device. Akutsu and Yorimoto are joined by a person we haven’t seen before, called… Professor Nagumo. Nagumo greets Yorimoto, revealing to us that they both used to work together in the Dragon Gene Research Division. He asks if Yorimoto has met Mio, to which the latter ask if it was “his doing”. Nagumo denies his involvement in it, and warns that Mio, as smart as her mother, is going to find out if he’s not careful. The way he laughed during the conversation rubs me real wrong.
Nagumo then turns to address Akutsu, saying he’s gather quite some “power”. Akutsu says he needs a certain level of authority to maintain peace. Nagumo asks if he’s here to develop the Dragon Sickness serum, but Akutsu says that’ll come later – first he’s interested in showing him “the fruit borne by the seed [Nagumo] planted” – i.e: Yuma. Ergh, if you ask me, this whole conversation sounds seedy.
Nagumo worriedly asks if they “tampered” with him. Apparently, they did – according to Akutsu, this is a “more complete model” that they’ve developed since Nagumo left. Just then, analysis of Nyala’s data is complete and immediately installed into Yuma. Nagumo urgently objects, saying Yuma will die from that. When held back by Yorimoto, Nagumo ask if Yorimoto doesn’t care about his own pupil. Yorimoto tells him that this is Yuma’s wish, but he doesn’t buy it and accuses them of putting those values into Yuma in the first place.
Yuma finally responds to Nagumo from inside the machine and amidst the pain: He’s fine, not as fragile as Nagumo thinks, etc. And that, if he’s to have power, it’s pointless to stop at a mediocre point. Nagumo accusingly ask what Akutsu did to Yuma, but he replies more or less the same as Yorimoto: Just fulfilling Yuma’s wish – by installing two True Dragon genes. Now with a third additional gene, Yuma is the strongest weapon on the planet, and one day, he’ll transcend humanity-Really? That’s the plan? This guy is not only obviously evil, but really clichéd on top of that.
“Humans are the sole rulers of this planet. Dragonkind does not enter into the equation.” – Seriously. Who was his role model? Ikari Gendo? …And did I just make another Evangelion reference? I’ve never even seen the thing.
At least we can expect him to keep the walking weapon that is Yuma strictly to combating Dragons, right? …Right?