953: Persona 3: Trade Me – Chapters 5 6 & 7Posted: February 3, 2015
LIKE LAST TIME, THERE ARE SPOILERS FOR PERSONA 3 & 4!
E: He’s still not coming out.
C: We could always try and override the security systems for the door to try and force it open.
N: Might take a bit though.
E: How long?
N: Hours at the very least.
E: Right, well, let’s get the next review out of the way, don’t want to fall behind on that.
C: Right off the bat, another fraking song. Because it adds depth or something.
(Song Counter: 5)
Akira stared up at the large building in awe. It towered over all others, shimmering a brand-new silver that illuminated cities morning and night.
E: Silver that illuminated cities morning and night. I just…da fuck?
C: First of all, no one anywhere has any idea what the Hell that means. Second of all, last time a checked silver wasn’t a light bulb. Also I don’t think it’s that good for holding up a skyscraper either. Third of all, cities don’t need to be illuminated during the morning, because we have that thingie called THE SUN!
It was a Kirijo building that was meant for not just doing business, but pleasing clients of all sorts. It also served as a place for Mitsuru to stay whenever she had to stay late for a particularly large project. According to Akihiko, those nights came often.
N: So it’s an office building/hotel. Sure, why not. After this we can stop by Mitsuru’s new burger joint/corporate headquarters.
The boy started walking forward, but had enough sense to look back and realize that Akira was still standing there.
E: The sense that she’d be stunned by a big building. How big is this place even? Is it bigger than a skyscraper? If not, what’s the big deal, if it is, HOW!?
She had a nervous frown on her lips. Akihiko gave her a quick, “Hey,” and gestured for her to come with him. She didn’t even spare him a glance, and she most certainly didn’t make an effort to move. Akihiko finally approached her and took her hand, tugging her along. She reluctantly followed him into the building.
C: Let’s go in now.
N: BUT IT BIG!
The pretty brunette receptionist on the first floor looked at him strangely, and Akira could see why. He still had his cape on, and wore no shirt otherwise.
E: I think he ran away from some cops in P4 Arena dressed like that. Must’ve been an interesting police report to file.
Akira wondered if he’d ever showered while she healed and rested up. She wasn’t sure, but he’d always smelled good to her.
C: Well that came out of nowhere. Also “always” smelling good means next to nothing considering you barely know Akihiko.
The receptionist didn’t seem to think so.
N: Well, we really needed this lady’s opinion on Akihiko’s hygiene.
“Mitsuru is expecting me,” he informed the woman, oblivious to her upturned nose, but leering eyes. “I’m Akihiko Sonada.”
The woman widened her eyes, and gestured them both to an elevator nearby.
E: I refuse to believe that this is the first time she has ever seen the silver haired, muscle bound, cape wearing Akihiko, who is a childhood friend of her boss.
“6th Floor,” she muttered. “She’s waiting.”
When they got to the correct floor,
C: That makes it sound like they got to a few wrong floors first. Are they that stupid?
Akihiko seemed to know where he was going, and led them off to one of the many doors on the left.
E: Yeah see? He’s been here before. The receptionist should’ve known him.
Akira was uncertain about going inside; she’d heard of how rich and powerful Mitsuru Kirijo was, but she was most afraid of what the woman was see inside her.
N: I think that sentence worded properly and confusing not.
She’d heard that the woman was very intelligent, and her gaze was a cool and collect as two ice spheres. The scar on her chest suddenly burned.
C: I’m pretty sure that’s your wound opening again, especially considering you’ve established you have no idea what a scar is.
Inside, Mitsuru stood and greeted them with a nod. Akira was overwhelmed by her beauty. Her long flowing locks were seared red, as where her narrowed eyes. The perfect skin on her face suddenly held a small smile
“It is good to see you, old friend,” she said to Akihiko. The boy, still holding Akira’s hand, broke into a grin as well. He released Akira and went over to Mitsuru.
E: Hey author. It’s called an apostrophe. Misturu is not a Vulcan, nor is she a Sith Velociraptor. She tends to shorten her sentences to make them less clunky.
“It’s great to see you again!” He said.
Mitsuru’s gaze turned now to the girl Akihiko had brought. She gave Akira a warming smile.
“So, you’re the girl that Akihiko has told me so much about.” She walked over and extended her hand. “He’s told me that you’ve been through a lot.”
N: Despite him telling me so much about you that’s all I really got from him though. That and the fact that if I ever get shot, I’m safer bleeding on the sidewalk than letting him try and treat men.
“Nice to meet you,” Akira muttered, shaking Mitsuru’s hand. Despite her being the rumored “Ice Queen”, her grip was very warm and solid.
C: Was Mitsuru ever really talked about as an Ice Queen? I really don’t remember that. She was a bit stoic, but there’s a difference between stoic and icy.
“Well, I’m glad you both could come today, but I don’t have much time to talk.” She angled her body to face the both of them. “There’s a fundraising party going on here tomorrow night, and I have some last minute details to attend to.”
E: Well then you should’ve set up the appointment at a more convenient time then!
“A fundraising party?” Akihiko rose a brow in confusion.
N: WAT DIS FUNRAISING PARTY TINGIE!? IZ SO STRONG ME BRAIN NO WORK!
E: Ok stop. This drove me up the wall in From Another World. STOP STARTING YOUR SENTENCES WITH YEAH! It makes everyone sound way too causal.
I’m having everyone on the team attend. I’d like you to come too.” She glanced at Akira. “The both of you.”
C: I just met this woman, and I’m already extending an invitation that I was reserving for my close friends.
(Mary Sue Counter: 8)
“The team?” Akira questioned, but the two old friends ignored her.
“I dunno, Mitsuru…” Akihiko scratched his head. “Parties aren’t really my thing.”
N: I’ll give Akihiko credit here, he does seem like the type of person in game who doesn’t like crowds and would prefer the company of a few people he knows really wall over a hundred he doesn’t.
E: I relate.
“Everyone will be there.” Akihiko flinched at her tone; it was more of an order than some kind of persuasion.
C: Except for the fact that we’ve read ahead and several characters are missing. For stupid or nonexistent reasons.
She smiled shortly. “Then I’ll see you there. Until then, you can both stay here for the night.”
“Please, you don’t need to trouble yourself with me,” Akira insisted. But she could see the unfaltering decision.
N: Stay here? Wait, what time is it? I can understand extending that offer if it’s really late, but considering Mitsuru’s work day isn’t done I assume it’s at the very latest afternoon. Bit early to be offering them a place to crash Mitsuru, especially when they already have the hotel thingie from last chapter. Or did it get taken over by Shinji’s haunted headboard?
“No, I’ll put you up here. It’s not trouble at all. Akihiko.” Mitsuru picked up a cell phone that was on her desk. “Show her to the usual guest room. When you’re done, I need to speak with you for a moment.”
E: Usual? How many people does Mitsuru let crash on her couch?
Akihiko nodded as Mitsuru headed out.
“Follow me,” he told Akira. When they were out of the room, Akira breathed a sigh of relief. Akihiko peered at her over his shoulder. “You alright?”
“Yeah. Just…” She lightly touched her stitched up scar. “I dunno how to feel about all of this. I have never needed to be helped like this…I don’t really know how to take it. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone.” Akihiko looked away, scratching his head.
C: Oh for fuck’s sake, they offered you a place to sleep and offered to let you go to a party. That is it. It’s not even help, it’s just them being kind of nice. They’ve done nothing to help you in your conflict of…what’s your conflict again? I don’t think it was ever established.
“Well…it’s no big deal. Really, you’re not a…. I mean…it’s just until you get your memory back…” He was trying to be kind, but was fumbling over his words. Akira gave him a small smile and felt herself relax a bit.
N: Ah, that’s the conflict. Ok. Cool.
E: Also I thought only her short term memory was gone. How come she needs to stay with strangers instead of heading back to her family. Oh right, romance.
Akihiko’s cheeks turned slightly red, and he abruptly stopped in front of a door marked with the number 613. He opened it up for her.
“Get some rest. I’ll come to check on you later.” He turned on his heels to leave.
“Akihiko.” She quickly grabbed his wrist, startling the both of them. A sharp, electric shock ran through their limbs.
E: Please let it be a literal electric shock.
They stared at each other for a moment, eye to eye, and she noticed his gaze start to soften. He got a look in his soul that she could’ve sworn she’d seen before, but…that was impossible.
He swiftly averted his eyes, pulling himself sharply out of hand. Without a word, he just left.
C: HUMAN CONTACT! Cheese it!
It was close to 11pm when Akira had a knock sound at the door. She’d just finished applying medicine to her stitches, and jumped when the noise sounded. She got up and cautiously opened the door.
N: Yeah let the horrible wounded girl self apply medicine is a great idea. Why don’t you let her change the bandages and sew the stitches too?
“Good evening,” Mitsuru greeted. Her small, calculating smile made Akira nervous. “May I come in?” Akira nodded and brought her in.
“What’s up?” Akira asked with an even voice. Mitsuru glanced around the room, as though remembering what furniture had been there since the last time she’d been there. She turned back to Akira, looking her up and down.
“Do you have any clothing that’s your own?”
E: Did you really have to make that sentance to akwardly worded? I mean really it’s one of the most fundamental elements of just about anything. Keep it Simple Stupid. “Do you have any spare clothes,” would’ve done just fin.
Akira jumped at the question, shaking her head.
“Akihiko bought this for me a few days ago. It’s all I have right now.”
Mitsuru smiled; this time, it was very kind and genuine. “Come with me.”
C: I guess all the other smiles before then were fake. Because?
In yet another of the million rooms in the building, Mitsuru was putting shirts, jeans, and jacket’s up to Akira’s chin and hips to get accurate measurements. Akira simply stood there and let her examine her sizes, unsure of what to say.
“You look best in blue,” she told her finally, pressing an aqua shawl to Akira’s collar bone. “I’ll be sure to have my private tailor come and make you lots of blue clothes.”
N: *Spit take* TAILOR!? What’s wrong with the clothes you JUST HAD OUT!? And I know Mitsuru is a wee bit sheltered (She was confused by the process by which you eat a cheeseburger) but I would think she would know that getting custom made clothes for someone you just met is going overboard. Just have a servant run to a department store and look for Akira’s sizes.
E: Oh but you see, it needs to be SPESHUL for the Sue.
N: Of course.
(Mary Sue Counter: 9)
“Why are you doing this for me?” Akira interjected. Mitsuru looked up a her, accidentally showing a bit of shock in her expression. Her face suddenly turned soft, her vibrant lips turning up in a small smile.
“You know, Akihiko talks very highly of you when you’re not around,” she answered instead.
C: When she’s not around. Of course. We can’t actually see it. And begging your pardon, what does he actually say? We know absolutely nothing about this girl aside from the fact that she’s the main character.
“It seems these past few weeks with you have been, dare I say, fun for him.” She tried to decide between two leather jackets for Akira. Both matched the style of her skin-tight outfit.
E: Because he likes freaking out and running out into the street to get mugged by gangs? I guess?
Mitsuru frowned at one of the jackets. “Because…you remind him of someone we knew a very long time ago.” She threw one aside and handed Akira the other. “You remind us both of her.”
N: Minako sounds like she was really boring.
“Her?” She stared down into the leather coat. Who was this “her”? Was she the reason Akihiko was always running from Akira?
C: Due to vague relationships between you and here and shitty drama, yes.
“Akira.” Mitsuru demanded her attention just with her voice. Akira jumped again and saw that Mitsuru was heading into another section of her clothing library. It was filled with rows and rows of beautiful gowns.
“If you’re going to be attending one of my parties,” she told Akira, “then you’ll need to look the part.” She beamed. “Pick whichever one you’d like.”
E: So are you calling the tailor or not? Wait, doesn’t matter, the chapter is over
C: These chapters aren’t really heavy on substance. Just a thousand or two words, then it moves on. And not much tends to happen in these chapters.
N: Another bloody song. Oi.
(Song Counter: 6)
Shinjiro overlooked the crowd before him. Fuuka stood very close to him, most likely out of pity or fear of interacting with strangers.
E: Yeah, because Fuuka would only be near someone she considers a friend out of pity or fear. Oi. I don’t even like Fuuka that much and that line pisses me off.
C: How come you don’t like her?
N: I’m guessing the fact that she seems incapable of speaking above a dull surpass monotone plays in Ert?
E: You have no idea.
He looked down at her, and she gave a small, nervous smile. He gave her a smirk back;
C: On another note, way to be a prick Shinji.
she was still so tiny and timid, even with her braid wrapped maturely in a tight bun. Shinjiro guessed all computer nerds were like her, but he didn’t really mind it.
C: Double prick. Also, all PC gamers in the crowd, kindly donate a rock to the “Whack Shinji with a pillowcase full of rocks” foundation. He has it coming.
“The others should be here soon,” Fuuka muttered softly. Shinjiro almost didn’t hear her over the whining violin strings. The snazzy band in the corner didn’t seem to notice everyone else trying to enjoy their night; they just played away at top speed.
N: Either Mitsuru got the wrong kind of band for this party, or she needs to give this one the boot.
“Tch,” he muttered in response to Fuuka. She gave a real smile this time. Shinjiro pretended to roll his eyes, but it was just a hoax. Truth was, he’d become very fond of Fuuka since Aki had left.
E: That’s why he smirks at her when she’s nervous. Also, SHOW DON’T TELL!
He’d been teaching her how to cook (even though it was more like doing it for her most times), and even actively listened to her tech speak. She’d become like his little lost puppy.
Shinjiro turned to the voice, wanting to give it a playful punch in the throat.
N: That seems like an oxymoron. Like a playful kick to the crotch.
Akihiko grinned at him, his eyes vibrating with a fighter’s passion. A bunch of old memories fell into Shinjiro’s chest.
But, to retain his cool, he gave Aki a brisk nod.
“Long time no see,” he said. “Finally fall off your white horse?”
C: The heck is that supposed to mean?
E: Hold on. *Googles* Uhhhhhhhhhh. Well. Turns out White Horse is slang for Heroin. Oh dears, there are so many ways that sentence could go now.
“Nah,” Akihiko replied, shrugging the comment off. “Just taking a rest.” He tried to hold back a laugh, suddenly. Shinjiro straightened up, glaring at his old friend.
Shinjiro looked away. “Tch.”
It wasn’t his idea to get dressed up like this. After being given his outfit, he’d had to button down the tux so that he could breathe.
N: Button down? So he made it even tighter?
And the tie Mitsuru gave him? Hideous! It was set in the men’s restroom somewhere now. The purple monstrosity couldn’t reach him now.
What Shinjiro missed most, though, was his beanie. Mitsuru’s lackeys had spread gel all over his locks and pushed it back all of the way. He felt ridiculous, and now he couldn’t even cover up his eyes to hide from the other guests’ stares.
C: Wouldn’t that make walking around a complete nightmare? He’d be nearly blind if he did that.
He instead made them pierce Akihiko’s very soul.
“You’re one to talk about monkey suits,” he hissed.
E: Hate to break it do you Shinji but he never said anything about monkey suits. Go back and try again.
Akihiko got a nauseous look on his face, and instinctively pulled on his own tux’s collar. His tie was bright red and was completely undone around his shoulders. His muscles were nearly ripping the seams of it.
N: I guess getting one that fitted him properly wouldn’t have been funny.
He and Shinjiro were still the same as ever, more alike when they could ever know.
“Heya! Senpai!” The group looked over to where their old comrades, Junpei and Yukari, were approaching.
The brunette had, like Fuuka, let her hair grow out past her shoulder bones and the shorter strands curled up around her ears. She wore a bright pink dress that dangled over her knees and had spaghetti straps keeping it locked around her neck. Little hearts decorated the fabric, like some sort of love festival. She gave the group a smile and waved.
E: Oh come on, is Yukari’s taste in fashion really so bad that she would wear something like that?
Junpei had on a tux that was neat and smooth, but when he saw the others’ styles, he groaned, “Seriously? We can do that?” and loosened just about everything. He even pulled out his signature cap from his stuffed coat pocket and slipped it over his buzz cut. He sighed happily, then approached Fuuka.
“Fuuka!” He yelled. “You look very gorgeous for a geek!”
E: *Rubs face* Oh for fuck’s sake. Yes Junpei was a very insensitive jackass…at the START of the game. See, he went through this magical thing called character development and came out of it a lot more mature. He was still pretty laid back and a bit of a jokester, but he would never say anything that rude or insulting to someone’s face. Unless they had it coming.
He called out when a fist abruptly bombarded his head.
“Give it up, Junpei,” Yukari scolded. “She’s never going to go for you. Especially not with poor compliments like that…”
N: Oh goodie, we’re going down the anime slapstick path now.
E: Also Yukari…not gonna lie, the events of Persona 3 The Answer (an epilogue to the events of the game) made me really not like Yukari. It ended on a note that tried to make her sympathetic after she did a LOT of stupid shit (Basically was willing to let the entire human race die to see her boyfriend for one more day) and needless to say she’s in the “needs to be redeemed in future installments” camp for me. At best.
Shinjiro and Akihiko shared a glance and a smirk. It certainly brought back memories, being with the old gang.
C: That’s two strikes. One more smirk this chapter and we’re bringing the smirk counter back.
“Where are Ken and Koromaru?” Fuuka interjected.
“They weren’t able to make it tonight,” Yukari explained. “They had some other things that they needed to do.”
E: So much for them all being able to make it. Also, Ken and Koromaru are respectively a thirteen year old and a DOG! What the Hell have they got going on that keeps them so busy? Does Koromaru plan to spend the next few days chasing his tail?
“Nonetheless, I’m glad you five could at least make it.” Mitsuru glided over to them, sporting a skin tight cocktail dress seemingly made of white swan feathers.
N: Even for Mitsuru, the lady who has a fully grown rose on her bikini top, that is way too fucking over the top. Swan feathers? Words cannot describe how gaudy that must look.
Her hair was elegantly done up, clearing her bangs to reveal her perfect snowy skin. She was easily the most beautiful woman in the room…and the most threatening.
C: Ok author back it up, you’re kind of overdoing it with describing Mitsuru being good looking and threatening. I’m starting to get mixed signals over who Akira is supposed to be lusting over.
Everyone greeted her, trying to keep their jaws off of the floor. She gave them nods and turned to Akihiko.
“I’ve got a friend for you,” she told him. Then, Akira stepped from behind her, shyly bowing her head.
“Hey,” she greeted softly. Her dress was a very pale blue, hugging very close to her body until her knees, where it flared out to grace the floor with its presence. Her hair was done in a long yellow French braid with flowers embedded into the individual strands. She had a light layer of blush on her cheeks and wore one of Mitsuru’s white-silver snowflake necklaces.
E: Beautiful all along cliche?
C: Hold off on the buzz until we see everyone flummoxed over her.
“Hey,” Akihiko muttered, trying not to stare for more than a few moments.
N: Only staring for a few moments? Well, at least you’re not staring for several moments.
Shinjiro didn’t bother trying to hide his; there was something about the girl that he couldn’t quite put his finger on, but…
She suddenly realized that he was standing there, and her eyes went wide when she met his gaze. It was like she’d seen a ghost or something. Shinjiro tried to ignore it for the moment, and extended his hand to her.
E: For god’s sake just come out and get the twist over with, we all know it’s coming.
“I’m Shinjiro,” he introduced, “this idiot’s friend.” His head bobbed to Akihiko, who gave him a short glare. The girl slowly reached out her hand for his.
“I’m Akira Narukami.”
E:…WWWWWWWWWHAT!? Her last name is Narukami? The same last name as the main character from Persona 4? Oh you better believe that gets added to the counter!
(Mary Sue Counter: 10)
When their hands touched, she looked even more shocked. Maybe it was the jolt that came from their touch. Or maybe it was something else.
“I’m Junpei Iori,” the hat-wearer stepped in. He took Akira’s hand from Shinjiro’s and kissed it lightly. Akira seemed off-guard at first, then yanked her palm away.
“Nice to meet you,” she replied, “but don’t touch me.”
C: Oh for fuck’s sake, can we stop making Junpei look like an idiot? He was pretty lecherous but again, that was before his character development kicked in. It’s also confirmed that while he was a bit of a horn dog, he disposes people being sleazy, to the point where he gets royally pissed when he finds out that someone has been taking pictures of Minako while she was in gym. He is not this stupid.
“She’s my kind of girl.” Yukari was laughing and shook Akira’s hand, too. “I’m Yukari Takeba.”
N: Fuck you too Yukari.
“And you can call me Fuuka,” the last girl said. “It’s nice to meet you.”
E: Yup, nice to meet everyone, except Ken and Konomaru. Everyone is…wait a minute…author…WHERE THE FUCK IS AIGIS!?
E: Robot girl? Was part of the main cast? Was extremely close to the main character regardless of gender? Had a very big role in the game and The Answer? Was the one who took the main character’s spot as leader and playable character in The Answer? She’s kind of a big deal author. Where is she!?
“Nice to meet you all, too.” Akira slowly and subtly stepped closer to Akihiko. The boy didn’t really seem to notice, but Shinjiro on the other hand could easily see that she felt safer with Aki than she did with anyone else in the crowd. When at a close enough distance, Shinjiro saw a relieved sigh pass through her lips. She even smiled-only slightly.
C: Gee, I wonder if they will become romantically involved. I mean the story is so subtle about the possibility.
Mitsuru had said something, but Shinjiro didn’t hear it. He looked up just in time to see her leave to speak with some important political figures in the crowd. The rest of the group chatted amongst themselves. He tried to pay attention, but enjoyed watching his best friend interact with the new girl. The way they talked to each other was so humorous. They’d meet eyes directly, then one would see the others’ attire and would look away embarrassed.
N: Ah, the pair that needs to be locked together in a closet until they can just spit it out already. Also, Akihiko went from being bare chested with a cape to wearing a suit. What’s so embarrassing about that? I can understand the dress, but a suit?
Akihiko was the biggest idiot of the two if for no other reason than that he was trying to avoid staring at the girl’s two red eyes. The entire set of friends had recognized them-it was just that no one said anything.
Her eyes….were reminiscent of their old leader’s….
Shinjiro shook it off. This was no time to think of her. He couldn’t faze out again.
E: Oh come on, you’re just flat out spelling out how Akira is Minako. Stop pretending it’s a twist and just come out and say it already, for the love of Nyx.
He heard something peculiar then, just above the din. It was Akira’s voice:
“Wanna go dance, Akihiko?”
The…idiot clammed up and wasn’t quite sure what to say.
C: Wouldn’t talk if I were you. You’re so bad at clamming up that somehow it extends to the narration.
Shinjiro knew that he was trying to decipher hidden meaning to the words, something he’d never been good at in his life. However, it was odd that he even thought to try. Usually, the dope couldn’t think his way out of a paper bag when it came to women. But perhaps it was because of Akira’s disarming red gaze that he’d become more aware of his surroundings.
N: You know, we’re getting a lot of flanderized characters in this story. Akihiko is not stupid when it comes to women, he’s just shy.
Shinjiro shoved Akihiko towards Akira with his shoulder.
“Go,” he muttered. “Dance with the girl.”
E: I’m pretty sure she would’ve heard that.
Akihiko and Akira swayed awkwardly amongst the crowd, very careful not to bump into other bodies.
E: GOETH! I told you to clean up after yourself!
The girl couldn’t make herself look straight up at her partner, so she instead focused on the straining buttons over his chest. Suddenly, the boy laughed.
“What?” Akira asked, still not meeting his gaze.
“You’ve got that furrow in your brow,” Akihiko replied.
Akihiko rose their joined hands and poked the center of her forehead. “That one.” He gave a chuckle while Akira blushed. Their casual banter was getting noticed-mostly by the other woman looking upon her with hatred. Yet, Akihiko was as dim as ever, and didn’t notice a thing.
N: Oh Christ this is painful to read. First of all, I have to echo Akira. What furrow? You never established it in story. Second of all, Akihiko being the object of desire of every woman around and all the other girls being jealous of Akira? Can we please step away from cliches for five seconds? I find that characters tend to work better when they interact with each other and play off each other, you know, like actual human beings. Beats them going through the worn out motions.
“You have no regard for personal space,” she said to him, frowning. She was trying to loosen the bond that was smoothing over their little not-so-private bubble. Whenever she got near to him, not only was everything suddenly familiar, but also very warm and buzzing. She didn’t really understand what it all meant, and it was causing everyone around them to react, too.
Akihiko, of course, didn’t sense anything was amiss. He just gave her a big, stupid grin.
C: Dur, I display interest in staying physically fit, therefore I iz dumb.
“You’re doing it again.”
“Shut up! I am not!”
“Are too!” Another laugh from him.
“Pffft.” Akira tried to remove herself from their stumbling waltz, but Akihiko’s grip was very tight. He wasn’t ready to let her escape the teasing.
E: Another thing, ribbing is a good way for characters to form bonds. Sometimes people taking good natured snipes at each other can be both a good source of humor, and show how close they are that they know the other person doesn’t mean it. It usually requires the people in question to act like they’re not FIVE though.
Or…was it something else?
He was staring at her eyes again, losing himself in a fantasy that she could never decipher through his hazel pupils. She saw so many flickers of remembrance there. Akira gently pulled back; she was so tired of “almosts”, and wasn’t ready for certainties either.
She shook her head. Wait, what did she mean by that?
N: Hell if I know! Sounds like a classic cause of pretty words that don’t mean jack.
“Mind if I step in?”
Shinjiro was at their side, and looked like he had been for awhile. Akira wondered how much he’d heard of hers and Akihiko’s playful banter.
C: If it’s as much as us, I don’t blame him for wanting to put an end to it.
“Sure,” Akihiko said oddly, letting Shinjiro take his place. The brunette took her hand and hip, and started swaying with her much more expertly and steadily than her previous dance. Akira realized how limp she was at first, then moved her free hand to Shinjiro’s shoulder. He was scrutinizing her very carefully, and Akira felt she would’ve been afraid of the serious glint in his eye on a normal day. However, this was a time where she just stared right back up at him, equally curious.
E: I guess Shinji taught himself to dance. At some point.
“So,” he began, “you come here often?” He said it with such severe conviction that she burst into a fit a giggles. He tried to hide his growing smile. “That’s the reaction I was looking for.”
“Sorry I’m so serious.” She apologized. “I guess I’m just a little shy around strangers.” There was a silence between them.
N: Serious? That’s what she was?
C: Oh boy, we’re going down the “we only know what mood the characters are in because the narration says so” path again. A path we are sadly very familiar with.
“So what’s life been for you since you met the meat-head?” He bobbed his head back towards Akihiko, who’d meandered to the food table to find something loaded with protein to snack on.
“Well, I still have no memory of why I’m in Iwatodai. But it really hasn’t been that bad. Everyone’s been really nice, so I can’t complain too much.”
“Quite an optimist, aren’t you?”
E: Optimist? She said that no one was being a dick to her and that she didn’t have much to complain about? How is that optimistic? I know you never finished school Shinji but come on.
“Well, what about you? Where do you stand?”
Shinjiro was silent for a long time, his scowl set deep into his face. He instead stated: “I’ve known Akihiko a long time. He’s always been the cheerful one.”
“What does that make you?”
Shinjiro met her crimson gaze. “Not.”
N: You’re royally overdoing the whole grumpy Shinji thing. He was indeed a bit of a sourpuss, but there was more to him than that, and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t describe himself in such a one dimensonal thing.
Despite the dead-set heaviness to his words, Akira giggled again. “You sound like you have the plague or something.”
E: It’s funny because he’s actually sick! Wait…
“Tch,” Shinjiro muttered. “Tell me about it….”
There was a commotion up front as the music abruptly stopped. Mitsuru had begun a speech, but the ground had started shaking beneath them. Everyone was panicking, screaming “Earthquake! Get out of the building!” Shinjiro brought Akira close into his chest.
C: Actually in an earthquake you’re supposed to stay indoors and get under a table, preferably away from windows. If you’re outside you’re supposed to get to an open area, and considering that they’re in the middle of a city, there wouldn’t be much of that. So this response is stupid.
“What the hell?!” He muttered. Akira clung to his jacket, staring at the others beginning to flee. Akihiko came back over, and Shinjiro threw the girl into him. “Get her out of here!”
The windows and walls of the ballroom’s farthest side were cracking. Something was coming in.
N: Or the building could’ve just been damaged by the quake. Those things have been known to bring entire buildings down.
… … … … … … … … … … … …
The next exciting chapter of P3TM! Woohoo!
This chapter finally reintroduced everyone
E: AIGIS! AIGIS! AIGIS! And even then Ken and Konomaru were just mentioned, not introduced.
-although I can’t promise that I’ll dwell on everyone. Sometimes, you can’t give everyone the same amount of screen time, ya know?
C: Fair enough, but you can at the very least ACKNOWLEDGE THAT SHE EXISTS!
The song at the beginning was Sway by Michael Buble. Hee hee! I love that song!
N: Well, after…that…we get another chapter.
E: Another effing song.
(Song Counter: 7)
Akihiko ran with Akira and Fuuka, fleeing with the other guests out into the endless Kirijo hallways. He tightly gripped Akira’s hand as he dragged her with him through the waves of screaming adults.
But suddenly, Akihiko stopped. Others rushed passed him like he’d just parted the red sea.
N: That’s kind of the opposite of how the parting of the Red Sea happened.
He loosened the buttons on his white shirt, releasing his massive pectorals.
“Fuuka,” he called to the girl who had paused with them. “Take Akira outside, and help get everyone to safety.” She nodded, and he started to leave. Akira didn’t let him go.
“Wait! Why are you going back there?” She asked, pleading him with her damn intimate eyes to stay.
“Something’s not right about this. I have to go back and help my friends.”
C: Something’s not right about an earthquake. You don’t say Aki.
Akira nodded slowly. “I understand.” Their hands separated and they were split apart by the flow of the crowd.
“This way!” Fuuka called. Akira stumbled behind her, trying not to trip over the other people that were faster than they were. Another tremor shook the floors, making most fall and some just shiver. Akira slowed her stride and stopped in her tracks. Fuuka had been holding Akira’s hand, and now slipped from her fingers. Fuuka tried to get back to her, but was swept away by the crowd.
E: The crowd that had just fallen over. You need to pay more attention to what you’re saying.
Whatever had stopped Akira was pulling her back…back towards her new friends and the source of the earthquake. Akira fought her way against the crowd to return to the ballroom.
Mitsuru tore an axe off of the wall and tossed it to Shinjiro. Yukari and Junpei grabbed their own weapons, and Mitsuru released her prized rapier. Akihiko bore his fists, as he tore off the rest of his upper clothing. They turned to the wall, which with the floor’s every shiver gained another crack.
N: Wait, Mitsuru just happened to have a battle-axe on the wall? Talk about convienent And everyone else just happened to have their weapons on them? Uh, Junpei uses two handed swords. Mind telling me exactly where he was keeping that?
“Everyone hold your ground!” Mitsuru called out to the others. They took their stances, all hoping that there was nothing on the other side of that wall.
But…they were terribly disappointed.
At the stroke before midnight, the world began to slow. Citizens who were running were all at once had their strides become slow-motion, and the atmosphere became blue….the Midnight Hour had returned…
E: DARK HOUR! DARK! HOUR! The Midnight Hour never went anywhere on account of the fact that the Midnight Hour is 12:00 AM AND NOTHING MORE!
The group of friends were unaffected, readying their stance as the Shadow came inside. It shook out it’s brilliant mane and stood on its two satyr legs. It growled at them, baring its magnificent fangs. It looked like a mix between a Chinese dragon and a polar bear. Its white body dripped with immense mounds of fur. It’s beady black eyes stared into each kid with a hungry glare…
C: This is a Shadow. They were the main enemies of Persona 3. It’s a little vague as to exactly what they are and where they come from (I hear it might be explained in the earlier Persona games I haven’t played) they’re the repressed negative emotions of the human race given form. Especially in Persona 4, where powerful Shadows that reflect the inner darkness of specific people were introduced. In Persona 3 Shadows only appear during the Dark Hour, which was destroyed at the end of the game. The only way to fight a Shadow is with a Persona.
N: A Persona is a lot like a Shadow in some ways, using the same powers and reflecting Human emotion. The difference is that Personas are extensions of a person’s inner self instead of being an independent being. They tend to take the form of people and creatures from mythology to reflect their owner and the developers really love to use this opportunity to insert a metric ton of symbolism. Personas can be called forth from a person to fight Personas can passively empower a person too, allowing them to hurt Shadows with conventional weaponry, where it normally wouldn’t work without one. It’s not as effective as using the Persona directly, but it helps.
“A-a Shadow?!” Yukari screeched, the bow in her hands shaking slightly.
“Stay focused!” Mitsuru called out to them. “We need to take this thing down…” Her eyes narrowed, her very aura beginning to emit an icy haze. “This monster destroyed my building. We’re not letting it get away.”
E: Is the building still standing? Yes? Then I think you’re stretching the use of the word “destroyed” Mitsuru.
The Shadow took the first blow, swinging its might fist down and nearly hitting Junpei smack on the head. He was able to dodge it just in time, slicing his katana down into its fingers. The beast groaned, sliding its hand on the floor to knock Junpei over. Akihiko dashed over to the Shadow’s left leg and thrust his fist into its Achilles tendon.
C: You know, that’d work if he is using one of the gloves he gets that has spikes or blades attached to them, but we never got clarification that he was.
Shinjiro followed-up with a mighty swing of his axe, hitting the same spot as his friend had. The Shadow screeched and fell to one knee. It looked down at the two boys and attempted to bat them away. Both were able to jump out of the way without injury.
N: Why the heck aren’t they summoning their Personas?
C: I don’t think they have their evokers.
E: Oh Christ. See, in Persona 3 the only way to summon a Persona is to shoot yourself in the head with an Evoker, something that looks like a gun but isn’t. (Don’t ask, I don’t know). After the events of Persona 4 Arena, which proved that Shadows still existed after the destruction of the Dark Hour, these people really should have their Evokers on them at all times. I mean what, Junpei lugs around a katana in a business suit, but not a small pistol shaped Persona summoner that can be fitted into a hidden under the shoulder holster?
Mitsuru armed her rapier and ran to the creature’s other leg, rapidly jabbing at its foot until pools of black blood poured out onto her ballroom’s floor. The Shadow fell to its other knee. Yukari sent dozens of arrows into its chest, creating little spikes that protruded menacingly.
E: Dozens? I don’t care how fast Yukari is with that toy bow I mockingly gave to her, that thing would have to stand still for a long ass time for her to get that many off.
The beast attempted to bat them off like tiny flies. It rose its mouth to let out a horrified cry, shaking the ground and everyone on it. The group tried to stand steady, but nearly all of them fell.
The Shadow stalked over to the disappointed Junpei, reaching its gnarly nails to scratch off his skin. Junpei stood and gripped his sword.
“Fine!” He yelled fearlessly. “Come and get it!”
The beast grasped Junpei in his fist and rose him to be level with his chest. Junpei, his arms still free, stabbed the Shadows’ fingers. The beast groaned and flinched, but didn’t drop the boy.
N: Probably should refer to Fraug on this one, but I think that if you’re being grabbed and lifted up into the air, you’d have a hard time swinging a sword properly. Especially a two handed one, again, the only type of sword Junpei uses.
Akihiko pulled himself off of the floor, trying to regain his balance. He watched as the monster drew Junpei to his truth.
E:…I’m sorry what?
“No,” Akihiko hollered. “NO!”
The Shadow suddenly stopped, his saliva slowly dripping down Junpei’s back. It pulled him back out of its mouth and looked past the others. Akihiko followed its gaze.
C: Uh. I don’t think Shadows eat. Anything. Also what exactly made him stop? Is his mother scolding him for bad table manners?
The girl stared up at the Shadow, Akihiko and the others stared, at her in shocked.
“She’s moving in the Dark Hour,” Mitsuru whispered, unable to hide her surprise. Akira paid no attention to her. She just held her gaze to the Shadow. Akihiko could see that, despite making her presence known to the creature, she had fear that she was trying to control in her face. But there was also a sense of duty.
N: We’re not going to dock her for being able to move in the Dark Hour, as that’s pretty much par for the course for any character that has any plot significance in Persona 3. It was established that you’re supposed to be weak when you first enter the Dark Hour and it takes time to build up resilience (Even the robot Aigis is somehow affected…) but the P4 cast wasn’t affected by it when they experienced it so we’ll let it slide.
Fuuka followed in after her and gasped, breaking the air’s frozen silence. She touched her collar bone in fearful amazement, looking to Akira as though no other being were of importance in the room-not even herself. The realization that rapidly flickered in her eyes frightened even Akihiko, though he knew not why.
“Akira! RUN!” Fuuka screamed shrilly. “It’s coming for you!”
E: Christ, even her being in mortal danger comes off as a Mary Sue moment. The Shadow only focusing on her, of course it does. She’s the tastiest meatbag.
The Shadow dropped Junpei onto the ground, and everyone heard a crack as he landed harshly on both legs.
C: He fell so far that he broke his legs? How freaking tall is this thing?
He grunted loudly and Yukari stumbled to help him. The Shadow sauntered Akira’s way, seeing nothing else in the room.
E: *Snort* The thing that’s half dragon and half bear sauntering. Oh God, someone write that down.
Akihiko’s stillness was broken and he was about to whirl around to protect Akira, but Shinjiro was swifter. He was up and running o the Shadow. He dug his shoulder into it, his astounding strength nearly knocking the Shadow off its feet. Akihiko followed suit, hitting the spot next to his friend with his entire left side. The Shadow stumbled, but simply walked onward.
N: So this thing is big enough that picking Junpei up and dropping him is enough to break his legs, but Akihiko and Shinji shoulder checking it is enough to nearly knock it over? I don’t seem to recall physics getting thrown out the window during the Dark Hour.
Akira finally took a step back as the beast started to gain speed, but seemed too stiff to move.
C: Are Yukari and Mitsuru just picking their noses right now?
“Akira, run!” Fuuka yelled again. “It’s coming!”
Akira broke her gaze and turned on her heels, running to one of the furthest walls of the room. She approached a set of weapons nailed onto them and attempted to draw a sword from it. It didn’t budge, so she desperately dove for another object-a regal naginata with a brilliant curved blade at its top. She struggled to keep it risen as the Shadow easily caught up to her. It knelt down and reached out to Akira. She slashed at it with the blade of her staff. The Shadow groaned and drew back for a moment, then went for her again. Shinjiro and Akihiko grabbed its arm, together fighting to hold it from Akira.
E: How many weapons does Mitsuru have up on a wall in the middle of a freaking ballroom? Also I notice we were told that Akira swiped at the Shadow with her spear, but we’re left out on whether it actually hit or not.
“Get out of here!” Akihiko urged.
“No!” Akira yelled. “We can’t lead it out to the innocent bystanders out there! And I won’t leave you behind!” She swung her blade down again, barely making a dent in its skin. The beast gave a vicious, animalistic chuckle and then roared once more to shake everyone off of it and their feet.
N: Animalistic chuckle? That’s a description that really rubs me the wrong way. Animalistic implies a primal nature, which doesn’t really fit with chuckling. Also, yeah, stay and fight you stupid girl, hope you don’t get turned to a smear on the wall (Fingers crossed)
“We have found you,” it muttered, making everyone jump out of their skin. Akira struggled to free herself up until the point the Shadow had her within a tongue’s reach.
E: I’m sorry, wot?
within a tongue’s reach.
E: I am not even touching that one. Also, when the heck did the Shadow grab her?
The others tried to get the beast to let her down, but it was able to ignore them, a more important goal in mind.
“No…no…I…” Akira closed her eyes and shook her head, unable to hold back her tears. “I DON’T WANT TO DIE!”
N: Consistency is all we ask for.
Her scream shattered the room and a brilliant light started to glow around her. The Shadow covered its eyes its other arm. Akira’s hands lifted the naginata she still held and slammed it into the Shadow’s wrist. It howled so fiercely that it lost its grip and dropped the girl.
C: So Junpei, the guy who has had years of experience swinging swords, can’t get the Shadow to drop him, but the unexperienced Akira can?
(Mary Sue Counter: 11)
Akira descended gracefully onto the ballroom floor.
E: *Head desk*
The source of her gentle fall was a giant woman that slowly materialized behind her. The woman had a loose black and white toga hanging off of her snow-shaded skin. Her Rapunzel-like hair levitating far above her head. She flowed through the air as though suspended in the deepest watery depths. Shining gold almonds were her eyes and Akira’s were altered to match them.
Fuuka’s eyes were the widest upon seeing the specter. “A…a Persona?”
N: How did she manage to summon a Persona without an Evoker that has been needed by EVERY Persona 3 character? Hell if I know! And while there have been examples of being able to summon a Persona without an evoker, like in Persona 4, in that game to get a Persona you had to either confront your inner demons in the form of a powerful Shadow and accept them (The Shadow then transforming into your Persona) or get touched by a GOD! Either way, Akira is breaking the rules right now.
(Mary Sue Counter: 12)
A series of almost invisible strings whipped out from the woman’s limbs and attached themselves to Akira’s corresponding ones. When the woman rose one hand, Akira did the same. When the woman flexed her arms, so did Akira. When the Persona gripped the air before her, Akira grasped the naginata in her fingers. The woman took a stance behind her user and Akira mimicked. They stared down the Shadow with a cool, deathly gaze.
C: Personas being summoned to not inflict out of nowhere mood changes author.
Akira rushed after the Shadow with her Persona, slashing the Shadow’s knee with uncanny precision and speed. The technique, the others noticed, represented their ex-leader’s critical attack.
E: So what, critical hits are an established thing in the Persona story? Do they also know about hit points and stats? Levels and experience?
They stared as the tip of the naginata began to glow at the end of the combo. She leaped up, and the white on the tip of her weapon met the Shadow’s chest. Akira’s Persona filled the Shadow with light magic in a single swipe. It howled as its skin cracked like a softened egg. Akira and her Persona backed off, hovering near the ceiling.
C: Light, or Hamon, magic in Persona 3 is INSTANT-DEATH magic. It either kills the target, or does nothing. It doesn’t “weaken” and all bosses tend to be immune to Hamon. And this is most certainly a boss. So another counter.
(Mary Sue Counter: 13)
“You guys take care of the rest!” Akira urged, her voice gaining an ethereal tone.
(Mary Sue Counter: 14)
N: You just can’t make your special character normal can you?
“She’s right!” Fuuka muttered, a strange glaze in her eyes. “I can barely sense it…but that weakened its defense!”
N: Give the author credit, she somehow managed to find a way to make Fuuka sound even more emotionless and non-committed than she already was. That’s an accomplishment.
“Here’s our chance for an all out attack!” Yukari announced, letting Junpei lean against a wall to rest.
E: Sorry. That phrase has kind of been drilled into my head on account of me hearing it every time all the enemies get knocked down. Along with Akihiko saying “I’ve been waiting for this”.
Everyone but Junpei and Akira surrounded the beast and armed themselves.
“Let’s go!” Mitsuru called. The others followed her and created a giant dust cloud as they finished destroying the Shadow.
N: Really? You’re keeping the comedic dust cloud that pops up when an all out attack happens? Are you also including the onamonapia that pops up too?
It groaned one last time and crumpled to the floor, looking up at the softly-landing Akira.
“You…cannot be allowed to live…” It hissed. “We will…destroy you…” Then, it faded into a black cloud, which morphed into the Roman numeral I before dissipating completely.
E: How poetic. And contrived.
Akira looked shocked at its words and it could be seen in her eyes as they returned to normal. Her familiar eyes met Akihiko’s, and she gave him a small, uncertain smile. Akihiko gave one back, but it fell when her eyelids flickered and she started to collapse to the ground. Shinjiro had been closest to her, and he was able to catch her limp body before it could hit the floor. Akihiko was there too, moving his hands to stroke Akira’s hair out of her face. He let out a breath of air when he saw her fairly calm, but exhausted expression.
“Just the stress of battle,” the dark haired boy concluded. Akihiko didn’t know how his best friend did it, but Shinji always new exactly what he was thinking.
C: My character isn’t overpowered, she fainted! See? Totally balanced!
E: Getting Twin Humanities flashbacks.
Mitsuru and the others had very pensive looks on their faces as they watched the unconscious girl. No one knew how to formulate the question that was on all of their minds…
“She…has Persona.” Fuuka finally muttered.
“Yeah,” Junpei cut in, limping into the circle that’d gathered. “I thought we took care of this for good…and she didn’t even use an Evoker to summon it.”
C: Don’t rub it in Junpei
“As we learned from our adventure in Inaba, there are definitely still Persona occurrences that happen in the world,” Mitsuru pointed out.
N: And as WE pointed out, the P4 cast had to go through shit to get their Personas, they didn’t just get them handed to them. So don’t bring them as an example.
“But the Dark Hour?” Akihiko interjected, pointing at a clock in the room that’d stopped at 12pm. “That hasn’t happened since…” His face became pained as the memory overtook him. The others flinched with him.
Shinjiro was the first to break the silence. “It doesn’t matter right now. Akira needs some rest, and we could use some too.”
E: You could wait until the Dark Hour is over.
The blue aura suddenly faded from the room. The Dark Hour was up, and they could once more hear the screams as the people fled from the building.
E: Oh fuck you this fight has not been going on for a solid hour…WAIT A MINUTE! How the hell did the Shadow cause enough damage to be mistaken for an earthquake OUTSIDE the Dark Hour?
“Well, we should probably get Junpei to a hospital,” Yukari suggested, holding the boy’s weight up against her.
C: Glad someone in this story gets proper medical treatment.
“I’ll go, too,” said Fuuka, helping Yukari take Junpei outside. The others stood around for a moment before Shinjiro shifted Akira around in his arms.
“Where should we put her?”
N: Right here.
Yep! Chapter 6! Sorry it took forever to post something!
This is more of a fight scene now! And what is this? Akira can use a Persona? OMG!
E: No. Stop. Bad. No talking like that.
C: And with that, we run out of room because we’ve really been pushing it.
N: Wait, what’s the name of Akira’s Persona? I kind of want to get it out of the way to see who she is supposed to be. Gabriel? Athena? Joan of Arc? Freyja?
E: Fate. Her Persona’s name is Fate
N:…That’s it? What is that even supposed to mean.
E: I have absolutely no fucking idea. It isn’t an established aspect of any mythology
C: Neither are Matador or Hell Biker
E: They are awesome enough that I don’t care. Anyway, there is no one called Fate in the SMT universe, the Persona universe or any mythology. The closest I can find is the Three Fates from Roman and Greek mythology, you know, the three women who spin, measure and cut the thread of life. They actually are part of the SMT universe.
C: They don’t exactly match the description we got.
E: No. They do not. The author just made shit up for Akira’s persona. Didn’t even do it well.
(Mary Sue Counter: 15)
N: I just…guys? He’s coming out.