960: Persona 3, Trade Me – Chapters 8, 9 & 10Posted: February 10, 2015
S:…I’m a disgrace. I’m pathetic.
E: I never thought that I would see him like this.
C: Yeah, it’s a little bit freaky. Uh…Shepard? Jo’lan? *Whispers* that was his name right?
S: Can’t even beat this little blight. What kind of a prince am I?
N: I think he might need his space right now.
E: Didn’t think we’d actually get through to him.
N: Only because we delayed doing what we should’ve done a couple dozen times. Any other circumstances we could’ve been picking our guts off up the floor.
E: Look, things worked out. Let’s focus on the fresh stupid in front of us.
N: You are way too damn naive Ert.
E: I didn’t deny that.
N: Well, at least you’re not hopeless.
C: Nora, I think he gets the idea.
N: Sorry, it’s just that I don’t want him doing something stupid and getting himself killed. I mean, you and I do owe our existence to him.
Sidestep 2: Mitsuru Kirijo
E: Obligatory effing song.
(Song Counter: 8)
The red-haired woman gave out a little sigh. Akihiko was surely the most tiring person in Mitsuru’s life. Not only had he been gone for two years and six months, but now here he was with a total stranger in her home…a stranger who could use a Persona, nonetheless.
C: Wait, he was tiring because he had been out of her life for nearly three years? What’s so tiring about that? Or are we just going with the stereotype that Akihiko is muscles McGee and has no brain power at all.
Akihiko’s head adjusted on her lap, his short silver hair creating static shocks on her feathery dress. He didn’t seem to notice. Mitsuru stroked her friend’s head for a moment while she glanced around the room.
E: Well this is…pretty intimate. I mean I know some friends are comfortable doing things like this platonically, but still.
The Kirijo ballroom was completely demolished. It looked like an earthquake had given the building a gigantic hug and ended up crushing everything in its too-strong arms.
N: That is the most awkward metaphor I have heard in a long time. What was wrong with just saying it looked like an earthquake had hit? Also, I’m assuming that the Shadow didn’t affect the surrounding area, aren’t people going to be asking questions as to why an earthquake only affected one building?
The golden walls were splattered across the white marble floors, along with art pieces that had been rather expensive. Mitsuru figured she’d have to purchase and import them all over again.
C: You know Mitsuru, you have kind of screwed priorities if you’re thinking of how you’re gonna be replacing paintings rather than “HOLY SHIT THE DARK HOUR IS BACK!”
Shinjiro sat on one of the couches across the room from Mitsuru and Akihiko, his strong arms sprawled over the back and arm of his seat. His tuxedo was partially buttoned down and his tie was missing in action. He looked exhausted, but seemed much stronger that he had just a few weeks ago. He didn’t meet her eyes, but Mitsuru knew that she could feel her gaze on him.
E: Uh. She knew that she could feel her gaze on him? Well that kind of goes without saying doesn’t it? It’d be weird if she didn’t know that she was looking at him, while doing so. Mitsuru, you didn’t take any hard blows to the head during that fight did you?
Even Mitsuru was having a hard time suppressing a yawn.
But she couldn’t rest. Not yet, at least.
Slowly, she rose, setting Akihiko’s head on the cushion that was beneath her. Shinjiro was watching her leave, but she ignored him.
N: The person you were just staring down? And who was refusing to make eye contact with you mere seconds ago?
Down the hallway was a lounge where guests could talk privately, away from the ballroom music. The room itself had not been too badly damaged by the battle-or the earthquake before it.
C: Wait, so that really was an earthquake? It wasn’t the Shadow being mistaken for one? Shadows can cause natural disasters now?
There were pieces of green walls spread over most of the red sofas, and the floors showed signs of minor cracking. Mitsuru stared down at the unconscious girl that was laying on the closest couch. Akira slept soundly in an almost fetal position. Her legs were partially trucked in with one foot dangling off of the cushions. Her arms were tucked in with one foot dangling into her chest and her head was curved towards them. Though she was only a year or two younger than Mitsuru, Akira looked to be a child.
E: I’m assuming that this is because she has a tendency to ACT like a child.
“How’s she doin’?
Mitsuru calmly turned to look at Shinjiro, who leaned against the doorway behind her.
“She’s fine. A bit tuckered out, but she did just battle a Shadow.” Shinjiro stared down at Akira, his face in its usual stone seriousness. They were both silent for a few moments.
N: You know, it’s established that most Persona users become physically weakened when they’re in the Dark Hour. The first time it happens, they’re in no shape to fight, and throughout the game fighting Shadows for too long in the Dark Hour causes characters to gain the sick condition, where they’re more likely to be victims of critical hits, and overall fight worse. Now, people can build up resilience towards the Dark Hour, but it takes the characters the better part of a year to be able to become immune to this. As I’ve said before, even the freaking ROBOT isn’t immune to this. Her only being “tuckered out” really rubs me the wrong way.
“Tough thing, ain’t she?” He said it with a short laugh. “Reminds me of Aki sometimes.”
C: She summoned her Persona once and landed a single attack, without taking a scratching I might add. Junpei was the one that almost got swallowed.
Mitsuru eyed him carefully. He’d only know the girl for about 6 hours, and yet he spoke of her as if they’d been life-long friends. It was very unlike him to show any attachment to someone so quickly-or anyone at all, for that matter.
(Mary Sue Counter: 16)
“We don’t know anything about who she is,” she felt inclined to point out. “Someone who is being sought by a Shadow may be someone important or dangerous. Until we find out which, we’ll need to keep here close by.”
N: How do you know? This is the first time you’ve ever seen a Shadow target one person in particular. None of the other ones did, unless you count the Lovers shadow, which did…things do you. And even then it those things to everyone. Also, how could someone whose being hunted down by a Shadow be dangerous to anyone minus the Shadow?
Then, Shinjiro gave her a look. Through his frozen complexion, Mitsuru could see suspicion and offense.
“She’s just a kid,” he insisted. “I doubt that she has any idea what’s happening to her.” He went to sit in the empty space on the couch beside Akira almost protectively, only furthering Mitsuru’s suspicions of his sudden closeness to her.
C: Shinji has absolutely no evidence to back up what he’s saying, but then again neither does Mitsuru. The two of them are pretty much arguing with their emotions and little else.
“Even so, we ought to be careful now. If Shadows and the Dark Hour have returned, we’ll need to do all we can to watch our backs.”
“Tch,” Shinjiro muttered, “I know.”
Mitsuru observed him sitting over Akira for a moment as he avoided her eyes, instead watching the young woman breathe in and out very deeply. Finally, the redhead turned on her stilettos and headed down the hall.
E: Stilettos? I know Mitsuru is usually in heels of some kind, but I think stilettos are pushing it a bit. What’s next? Ballerina boots?
N: Just looking at those things hurts.
Her command room was empty. Her employees had probably fled at first sign of the “Earthquake”.
C: Ok, was it a real earthquake or not? For God’s sake, make up your mind!
Mitsuru powered on the largest computer and sate down before it. When it registered her as the user, she brought up the main search database and sat there for a few moments. A part of her wondered now what she was looking for. There were plenty of questions on her mind, but she didn’t even know where to start. So she considered this: Which question plagued her most? What left her cool, calculating countenance shaken by uncertainty?
Mitsuru’s hands flexed and she typed in the name: Akira Narukami.
Dun dun dun! And the plot thickens!
E: Uh. What was the dun dun dun for? That Mitsuru was looking up who Akira was? Because that’s just common sense.
(Song Counter: 9)
09/20/13 – 12:02 am
Akira was vaguely aware of her surroundings after the battle. She remembered being carried to a softer seat by thick, strong arms. She had assumed that it was Akihiko, but had been so overwhelmed by the sudden exhaustion that she hadn’t been able to tell.
Regardless, she was comfortable and slept for a very long time.
N: Yeah, the specific time marks totally aren’t clunky, totally are needed and totally add a lot to the story.
When she awakened the first time, she wasn’t totally sure where she was. She sat up slightly and looked around. She had been sleeping in a lounge she’d only seen glances of from Mitsuru’s hallways. She could hear rushed voices outside, as well as a barking Kirijo woman.
C: A? Are there other Kirijo women in the area that we should know about?
Akira sat up quickly, prompting a dizzying wave to carry over her head.
“Relax,” a gruff voice muttered beside her. She glanced over at Shinjiro, who looked rather well-rested. He stared into Akira’s face. She opened her mouth to say something, but the world was still spinning and she couldn’t find any words to speak. Shinjiro made a “tch” noise, then forcefully pushed her head back into the cushions. “Go back to sleep.”
E: Be rough with the person who recently passed out, why not?
Akira watched him stare into one of the walls for a little longer before she obeyed. His fingers lingered in her hair for only a moment longer than they needed, and when he pulled away, Akira felt a familiar disappointment that she couldn’t quite explain.
The final awakening was the most disorienting.
N: Wait, she wakes up a few hours later, then wakes up two weeks later? The Hell is going on?
Akira found herself in a too-cleanly white hospital room with several machines that attached themselves to her arms.
C: I don’t think they’re supposed to be latching on like that. Also, to quote Taco “AHA! A thing!”
She was dressed in medical patient attire and smelled of sweat and slumber.
E: WHAT THE FUCK DOES SLUMBER SMELL LIKE!?
She held her breath from the chlorophyll scent as she looked around, then realized that she could still hear a low snore.
Akira whirled her head to the visitor beside her bed, a fleeting hope of Shinjiro’s presence making the heart monitors raise their pitch. She instead found Akihiko, arms folded across his chest and his head bowed low enough that his chin touched his collarbone. He was fast asleep in his visitor’s chair. Akira leaned back in her bed, bursting into a brilliant and relieved smile.
N: So, she was admitted to the hospital after that battle? So really the hours they kept her in a lounge she needed medical attention? God damn it these people are stupid.
The door across from them opened and closed. Akihiko didn’t move, but Akira looked up. Mitsuru stood against the doorway, appearing slightly uncertain.
“May I come in?” She finally asked in a concealing hidden tone.
“Of course,” Akira said with a nod. Mitsuru hesitantly approached the edge of the bed, staring into Akira’s eyes. The red pupils seemed to shake everyone, but Akira couldn’t understand why.
“How are you feeling?” She began.
“Good, good….” Mitsuru glanced at Akihiko, smiling slightly and shaking her head. “For such a ‘tough guy’, he sure can sleep through anything.”
C: Can we please stop making personalities on stereotypes or minor exceptions to stereotypes? It’s not particularly endearing.
Akira recalled nights in their hotel room where she’d suddenly hear Akihiko start snoring while they watched TV or ate dinner. “Yes, he does.” There was a moment of contemplative silence.
E: See, that isn’t fucking character development. That’s telling, not showing. STOP! DOING! THAT!
“He’s been in here with you this whole time, you know.” She turned back to Akira. “He’s come to worry about you as though you’re family.” Akira glanced at the boy in question. She wondered if he’d eaten or gone training at all since she’d been emitted.
N: Eating I can understand being worried about. As for training…look I know the fandom likes to joke that Akihiko’s mind goes “SHINJI SHINJI TRAINING TRAINING SHINJI SHINJI TRAINING TRAINING SHINJI SHINJI TRAINING TRAINING PROTEIN!” but can we please focus on something else?
“How long have I been out?” She asked.
“A little over two weeks. Akihiko has been here the entire time-or at least since the nurses would allow him in here.” Mitsuru blinked for a long time as if she was making an important internal decision. When her eyes opened, she had a determined expression. “He really cares about you. I sincerely hope you know that.”
C: So just to get a timeline, she used her Persona, passed out for a few hours, woke up, then fell asleep for two weeks? How the fuck does that work? You know what? I’m gonna save myself some stress and just say Shinji’s haunted headboard did it.
N: Also Mitsuru, she just woke up, save the OTP crap for later.
Akira said nothing; she didn’t know what to say to that.
“I have the utmost hope that you at least begin to understand your significance to him and the others. I have hope…that you’ll treat these people with the respect they deserve.”
E: The others feel you are important because the plot says so. You don’t have the charisma usually associated with a Persona main character, but we’re treating you like you do.
Akira’s brow rose. “What are you implying?”
The return look was that of a victor’s glare; the redhead seemed to think Akira had just given something away.
“I only ask that you take the feelings of my friends into consideration in the future.” That was the last of that. “I know you’re confused about what happened the other night, but I promise I’ll explain this all when you’re properly rested.” Then she left.
C: What just happened? Mitsuru showed up, spouted off a bunch of bullshit that didn’t really mean anything, then walked away. Honestly, Mitsuru was not this much of a pain in the ass in game. Hell, she’s one of the few characters I’ve seen in video games be undeniably sexy, yet avoid being pandering material. It pisses me off that she’s getting the shaft like this
Akira shook off the ice sealing over her bones. The woman was acting quite strange… What did she think of Akira after that ballroom fiasco?
N: SHE ISN’T AN ICE QUEEN! She just uses ice attacks!
A hand rested on her lap. Akihiko was staring at her with a little glaze still over his eyeballs.
“How’re you feeling?” He asked earnestly. Akira sighed.
“I’m fine, physically, but I’m starting to think that Mitsuru doesn’t like me much.”
E: The author said we needed drama somehow and didn’t really feel like trying to have drama that made sense.
“Yeah. Didn’t you hear what she…?” Akira looked carefully into his face, which was drawing in his brows. “You didn’t know that she visited, did you?”
Flustered, Akihiko shortly shook his head. Akira thought that he must’ve slept pretty heavily up until a few seconds ago.
“It doesn’t matter,” she told him, waving her hands. “Don’t worry about it.”
Akihiko’s brow scrunched up again. “But-”
“Don’t worry.” She waved him off once more. “Really, it’s nothing.” She quickly changed the subject. “Have you really been here the entire time I’ve been unconscious?”
N: I’m gonna take a wild stab and say no, on account of the fact that he would’ve had to leave to take a shit a few times. And eat. And sleep. And the nurses and doctors would’ve told him to go home
I worked. Akihiko noticeably forgot all about the subject of Mitsuru and now looked away shyly.
“I promised I’d take care of you until you got your memories back,” he insisted. “You’re my responsibility until then.” Akira covered his hand with her fingers, giving him a bright smile. He sucked in a breath of air.
E: Oh for fuck’s sake, we’re back in Vegas Isn’t Magic were people never actually answer the questions they’re asked.
“I think it’s very sweet of you,” she told him. “Thank you.”
Akihiko didn’t move his hand away this time, as both had thought he would. He stilled his impulses and just let his nerves explore the static shocks that sailed between their skin. It hurt a little bit, but he loved it the pain. He felt the heat of his hands slinking to warm her frozen ones-he’d never understood how women could be so cold all of the time. Still, it comforted him as if she was breaking a constant in his life-heat-that had kept him in an insufferable rut. It was relieving to have someone bring him back to reality, where nothing was truly constant and his mortality was all the more tangible.
C: Will you stop it with the freaking purple prose? Also, you can’t really be a constant in someone’s life, when you’ve only been conscious in their life for a few days at most. Back the hell up and slow down a bit cowboy.
“I thought I was going to lose you,” he muttered. He didn’t meet Akira’s eyes to see her attentive gaze. He lost himself in his own honesty and the white skin on her fingers. “I’ve lost too many before, and I’ve been hoping to keep myself at a distance so I wouldn’t get hurt again.
E: Allow me to completely explain why my characters act the way they do. *Lowers head in shame* Just like I did with Roger in my current story.
But when the doctors came in a few days ago in a panic and kicked me out of the room, I thought I was going to…”
N: What? Attack the doctors? For fuck’s sake Akihiko, grow up.
He paused, squeezing her hand. “It was just like that day, when I lost Her. I couldn’t do anything, just hold Her hand and…”
Akira remained silent over him.
“I was afraid again…afraid that I was going to lose another beam of light that had been granted to me…and I didn’t want…”
C: A beam of light? A beam of light? What in the Seven Hells has this Sue done to earn being put on the same pedestal as Minako? I mean come on! I know she’s a Sue and everyone loves her, but usually Sues establish WHY everyone loves them, as opposed to saying “everyone just loves them.” Well at least I thought it was, recent examples are proving me wrong. 23 for starters.
He couldn’t say it. Akira had brought with her presence a spirited warmth he’d hadn’t felt in a long time, and he’d nearly died when he thought it was going to be taken from him again. He longed for the light again after living in his own darkness for so long.
E: Uh, did anyone else find the part of Persona 3 where Akihiko was deeply depressed? Because I missed it. Was that a portable thing or is the author making things up? Again.
The comfort was short-lived, it seemed, as she was the first to pull away without explanation. Akihiko was surprised to be enraged by her withdrawal, and had half a mind to steal her hand back.
“You should go train,” she told him. “You deserve a break.”
N: Those two commands kind of contradict each other.
The boy looked at little uncertain. “Plus, you’re starting to look rather bony.” She picked up his think wrist with her fingers and laughed as she teasingly wiggled it in front of his face. He used his other hand to bat her away, chuckling with her.
“Alright,” he submitted, standing from his chair. “Are you going to be alright while I’m gone?”
C: Is she going to be all right, not alright, there’s a difference.
“Of course!” She gave him a smile that wasn’t totally convincing.
“Alright…but I promise that I’ll comeback tonight, ok?”
She beamed up at him with those damned beautiful red eyes. “Alright.”
E: I’m growing to hate that word. It’s like From Another World where every single character said “yeah” way too effing much.
Akihiko became shaken by her gaze again, but fought to ignore it. He’d only been able to sleep when her heart monitored a soft and stated beep. He kept having flashbacks of when She had died in his grip that day on the school roof, in spirit if not in body. The flat line ran through his head every night for years, and he’d all but blocked it out until he watched Akira fall into Shinji’s arms. But, seeing her flushed skin and bright, vibrant eyes now made his entire composure take a sign of relief.
N: Oh for the love of God, give it a rest. This isn’t endearing, it’s annoying. Its shoving as much emotion down our throats as possible, regardless if it works or not.
E: Why is it everything we review either has too much narration or barely any narration at all? Can we get an in-between please?
Akira gave him another smile and waved him off. “Go on, no. Get going, you meat-head.”
Akihiko didn’t take any offense. He just grinned and gave her a salute as he left in search of a gym.
He’d all but completely forgotten that it as a Persona that had gotten her in that bed in the first place.
C: And this is relevant how?
E: SONG! FREAKING SONG!
(Song counter: 10)
“Welcome to the Velvet Room.”
Akira opened her eyes to the dark blue room, the one that was an elevator going up to who knew where for all of an eternity.
“How are you this day, loyal guest?”
Akira stared into the face of a rather peculiar man. Right in the middle of his face was a nose that extended from him about as far as Akira’s hand could from her own. His wide-eyed, all-too-eager grin made her spine tingle slightly, yet she somehow knew that she had no reason to be afraid.
A handsome young man next to him bowed slightly. His blonde hair was neatly tucked into a blue cap and his eyes were a demonous yellow. He gave her a calm and kind smile.
C: This is the Velvet Room, a pocket dimension that exists in the Persona universe. It’s home to Igor a man who acts as a mysterious mentor to the main characters of Persona games, giving him vague hints, instructions, encouragement, fusing Personas for the character and at the end of the game he usually helps unlock hidden powers that the hero has developed over the course of the game.
N: He also has an assistant that changes from game to game, the assistant also providing encouragement but his/her main job is to manage the Compendium, the book where you can store all your Personas…and the assistants are ridiculously overpowered. You remember Erebus? The personification of the human desire to die? Yeah, one of the assistants, Elizabeth, beats the crap out of that thing once a year. Without breaking a sweat. Does help that in the fighting game, while most people are knocked unconscious, she just falls to the ground, props her head up on her hands, and smiles. And don’t get me started on her optional boss fight, where she uses one of the weakest Persona in the game, then kicks your ass with it. But anyway, this assistant is Theodore, Elizabeth’s younger brother.
“Do not be alarmed, Miss,” he told Akira. “We won’t harm you.” Akira gave a nod.
“I know,” she muttered, her voice sounding all too loud in the room. The youthful man gave another grin, this one more prideful than the last.
“Honored guest,” the older man began, drawing Akira’s attention to his balding head. “Do you know why you’ve been summoned here tonight?” Akira shook her head. “It is because you possess special abilities that grant you access to this room, as well as a special fate. We serve as guides to the world of Personas. I am Igor, and beside me is Theodore.”
“Personas? You mean…like mine?”
E: Like my what? I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t know what a Persona is. I think her reaction would be more like “You mean like that thing?”
“Yes, like yours. But not just anyone with these gifts are admitted here. You share something with the others before you that will shape your destiny. But, you’ll come to understand your role in due time. For now, let’s look at your fate.” A mangled cross of tarot cards mystically formed on the table between them. The middle one turned up first.
C: Oh yeah we forgot to mention. The Persona series LOVES using the tarot cards. Symbolism left right and center.
N: You see, each character who can use a Persona is assigned one of the major arcana to match their Persona. Junpei is the Magician, Ahikiho is the Emperor, Mitsuru the Emperess, Shinji the Hierophant (Or the Moon, depends on the version) and so on and so forth. Each Persona belongs to one of the major arcana, most of the Personas are figures from mythology and are used to reflect their characters (Seriously, look up who the character’s Persona’s are is practically looking up spoilers sometimes).
“Ah, it looks like we have a unorthodox deck to explore,” the strange old man muttered in fascination. Akira leaned over in her seat to get a better view. The picture on the center card was of her Persona, arms folded across her chest and eyes closed as she levitated over a red and black checkered background.
“Fascinating,” Igor mumbled. He returned his gaze to Akira. “This is your spirit, so fittingly
named Fate the Puppeteer.
C: We already went into detail why Fate is a stupid Persona. If you couldn’t be bothered to make something from actual mythology, you could’ve taken one of the stock Personas. Like Trumpeter, one of the Islamic archangels , and one of the stronger Personas in the series
It will help lead you down your path, just as we will.” He flipped the card to Akira’s right. It was an image of two black, shapeless figures holding hands. “The closeness between you and others is evident, and it’s what drives you towards your life’s path.”
E: Ok, this isn’t a tarot reading at all. You see, Tarot readings involve ACTUALLY USING THE TAROT CARDS! Not just pulling random cards out of nowhere and saying “This card says X”. Even Persona 4, which I’m pretty sure didn’t do the reading right at the start, at least used the actual arcana.
The card on the opposite end turned. It was a mirror, with a body before it. The figure had it’s back turned to the glass, but the reflection was looking over its shoulder at its maker.
“This is a peculiar card indeed.” Igor nodded knowingly. “The fate that you’re driven to will have a choice that reflects who you really are on the inside, even the part that you try to hide from. But is that all that this card predicts?” Igor smiled cryptically, but said no more.
The card closest to Akira flipped up, revealing a black heart that seemed to beat off of the paper.
“Aw, a familiar card, the Lovers Arcana.
N: Third card in the reading and it’s the first to actually belong to the deck. And it’s the last one I wanted to see here. Lovers…subtle
This card tells me that you have a long journey of choices to make. You will be caught up in places where your heart feels joy and desire, but also represents a sense of duty that you feel. With a level head and a cautious heart, you can achieve what you seek-“
C: Translation, you and Akihiko gonna fuck.
Before he could carry on, a vine slithered through the bottom of the card and entrapped the heart. The animation made Akira jump as it seemed to hiss from the paper.
“Oh my,” Theodore said. His slightly alarmed appearance made Akira very nervous.
“Indeed,” Igor agreed, flipping over the final card at his end. It was a red rose that expanded its stem to the other card. Akira stared in fascination; the picture was moving, as though were alive and had thoughts and a willpower that dominated the fates. “This rose implies a very dark fate indeed. You must be careful, honored guest, for as you continue on your path, your fate will bloom into something that can change these worlds forever.” As he spoke, the rose’s petals began to open, creating a brilliant and beautiful light.
“However, should you stray too far, or allow your path to consume you entirely…you will lose yourself forever.” The rose turned blue and wilted so swiftly that in a single blink, the card became blank.
E: Oh what the fuck is this? Showing an outcome that can change the world with the Lovers arcana by doing some bullshit with a rose? This isn’t even pretending to know what the hell it’s talking about.
“Now, to see your Arcana.”
C: Is this even something that’s in question? It’s the Fool. Main characters are ALWAYS The Fool. AKA the Wild Card. See, the Wild Card starts off pretty weak, but it has the power to grow very, VERY strong. The strongest of all the Arcana. See, the wielder of the Wild Card can form Social Links with other people, each representing an Arcana, which allows him or her to create stronger Personas of the corresponding Arcana. Oh yeah, and the Wild Card is the only person who can control multiple Personas, with everyone else only being able to control one. Aside from the assistants who have access to the Compendium, which is basically a GameShark. (Though the Wild Card can only have one active Persona at a time.)
All of the cards became animated and burst into dances that Akira couldn’t totally keep track of all at once. The center card with Fate tilted her head up to Akira. A bright light filled Fate and her space, and transformed into…
“But of course,” Igor said with a smile. “The Arcana of the Fool.”
N: And no one is surprised. And while we’re on the subject matter, usually when you enter the Velvet Room, you have to sign a contract with Igor. It’s not as sinister as it sounds, usually it’s just there to establish a connection, but that didn’t happen here. Now to be fair, Aigis didn’t have to sign a contract, but that was because she inherited the main character’s Wild Card, so you could argue that his/her contract passed to her. Akira doesn’t have that excuse. So two dings. One for having the Wild Card, and the other for the lack of a contract.
(Mary Sue Counter: 18)
It had been awhile since the return of The Dark Hour and it was now intermittent. The Shadow Operatives group was all at once given a revitalization. They would stay up until midnight each evening until they were sure it wouldn’t come. Each moment the clock ticked 12:01am, they’d breathe a sigh of relief.
E: So the Dark Hour isn’t back? Or is back and only making an appearance at random intervals. Either way this makes no sense.
Akira had been mostly updated on the past Dark Hour and had come to learn of the important events leading up to Nyx, although no one could even bear the pain of giving the deep details of their previous leader. Akira didn’t press; obviously, the girl’s death had been very hard on them all.
“For starters,” Mitsuru began, calling everyone in the meeting to order, “I’d like to welcome back Koromaru. He’s been off on other personal errands, but swiftly returned to us in this time of crisis.” The fluffy white dog barked once. Mitsuru smiled and went on.
C: What personal errands? He’s a dog! Was he spending the entire time licking himself?
“We are still missing Ken and Aigis, but we’ll be seeing them both within the month. Until then, we must continue our discussion of how we’re to approach the New Dark Hour.”
N: Well at least Aigis exists now. Though I’d love to know what she and the thirteen year old are doing that’s so flipping important that it takes priority over the return of the Dark hour.
Junpei went first, shifting his crutches to the other side of his seat. “Why are we calling it the ‘New’ Dark Hour? It’s not like we haven’t experienced this before.”
“Yeah, but this one is different, Junpei,” Yukari interjected. “For one, the world turns blue instead of green, and second, the people in it only slow down. They don’t transmigrate into coffins or disappear. Plus, if this is the previous Dark Hour, where is Tartarus? If this is truly the hour we knew, then why hasn’t it shown up yet?’
E: So it’s like the Dark Hour, but not really. Fuck it, I’m not calling it the New Dark Hour, I’m calling it the Not!Dark Hour.
Akihiko, who was perched next to Akira, spoke next. “So, assuming this is a New Dark Hour, why is it here? Why now?”
“And further more, why does it only show up sometimes?” Mitsuru added thoughtfully.
C: All good questions, what do they have to say about it?
The room was then ablaze with theories and questions about this and Personas and the Shadows that had been popping up all over Iwatodai. Shinjiro stood, arms folded, beside the seated Akira. Both stayed silent as the din grew louder among the group. Akira happed to glance over at Fuuka. She was closest to Mitsuru and also wasn’t saying a word. She was instead staring down at her palms, a pensive frown on her lips. Akira wondered what she was thinking of…
N: Uh. They’re not talking about anything important that we might want to see? Nothing at all?
“Fuuka,” Shinjiro’s calm voice boomed. Everyone went silent, having nearly jumped at their skin when he spoke. The girl in question gave a soft gasp. “What’s on your mind?” Akira looked up at him. He’d been thinking what she had, too, and was eater to hear what the techie was holding back.
Fuuka sunk back shyly into her chair. “I…I used my Evoker the other night.” Everyone went still. No one had dared to bring forth their Personas since Akira’s fall. With the elements of the New Dark Hour, no one knew what would happen if they did summon them.
E: That’s. Very. Stupid. What, you just gonna sit on your assess without your best weapon against the Shadows because you don’t know what’s gonna happen if you use them? What are you afraid of? That all your evokers turned into real guns?
“Fuuka,” Mitsuru urged, “tell us what you say.”
“Juno…she told me that…” Fuuka suddenly looked up at Akira. “The Shadows are after her. What the Shadow spoke that first night was true.” The girl in question tensed up, wishing that she was suddenly invisible. She didn’t meet anyone’s eyes.
N: Fuuka’s Persona is for long range scanning, I’d like to know how she was able to tell what the Shadows were after with that ability. She isn’t a mind reader.
Shinjiro leaned closer to her-subtly, so that most wouldn’t notice. She felt the heat radiating off of his hips and off of the hands he now stuffed in his pockets.
“Do you know why they’re after you?” He asked her softly. His gentle voice gave her some comfort and gave her enough strength to reply honestly.
Koromaru made his way over and bumped Akira’s leg with a sympathetic whimper. The others continued their silence. “Where do we go now?” was the question hanging in the air all around them. Mitsuru pursed her lips and straightened up.
“The Dark Hour will be here soon,” she announced, checking her gold watch.
E: You mean it MIGHT be here, considering that you just said that it’s been rather inconsistent. And I just thought of something, if it hasn’t shown up again, HOW DID FUUKA SUMMON JUNO!?
“We should all prepare for battle. It’s a Full Moon tonight…we can’t be too careful.”
The group rose slowly, still not stating anything to each other.
E: Yeah no, you can’t do that. You say that it’s a full moon, and in the game that’s when a big powerful Shadow would emerge, but that was the Dark Hour. This is the Not!Dark Hour and you just made a big deal on how it’s nothing like the regular Dark Hour, so why would it follow this part of the Dark Hour, but not the others?
The Shadow Operatives waiting anxiously at 11:58pm to see what was going to happen. When the world became slow and blue, they released the air they’d been holding in a relief that was closely followed by uneasiness.
C: Why would they let out a breath of relief when the Not!Dark Hour shows up? Makes no sense.
“Alright,” Mitsuru began, “everyone break into your groups and start patrolling.”
N: You know, splitting up is what caused Akihiko to get hurt at the very start of the game. Have Fuuka scan the area with her Persona and head out and attack and Shadows that she spots.
Shinjiro stepped beside Akira. “You ready?”
“Yeah,” Akira replied. Akihiko came to her other side.
“Let’s get going,” he told the two. Akira and Shinjiro both rose their brows.
“Who made you the leader?” Akira teased. Akihiko gave her a mischievous grin.
“Think you can pull rank on me?”
E: He has a point Akira. Shinji has been fighting Shadows since he was a kid. Granted he took a break for quite a few years, but he’s still far more experience than you.
“How about we just wrestle for it?” They both laughed and Shinjiro just shook his head, repressing a smile.
C: That wasn’t funny. At all.
“Arf!” Koromaru bumped the back of Akira’s legs with his head. The girl turned to him.
“Do you wanna come with us, boy?” She asked him as she scratched his ears. He barked in confirmation. Mitsuru approached them.
“Are you switching teams, Koromaru?” She asked.
“If it’d be okay with you,” Akira muttered, “I wouldn’t mind…” She scratched his nose with her finger. He seemed to smile.
N: Dogs don’t really have the right jaw to smile. Just saying.
Mitsuru gave a small grin too. “Alright. I’ll patrol with Yukari and Junpei tonight. You could use all of the bodyguards we can spare.” Akira flinched. She knew that the reason Akihiko and Shinjiro were “assigned” to her was because of the previous Shadow’s last words.
“I have found you…you cannot be allowed to live…”
E: Still not telling me why you need to split up. I mean, what are you going to do? Randomly walk around the city and see if something happens?
Koromaru’s tongue licked her wrist. He whimpered at her troubled expression. She gave him a small smile and pet his head.
“Fuuka will give us some back up with Juno,” Mitsuru went on. “Everyone, take your Evokers…this may be the night we have to use them.”
C: Anyone who decided not to take their evoker deserves to get eaten as far as I’m concerned.
Outside, the team maneuvered through the streets with their weapons at the ready. Very few people were out that late, so they didn’t have to worry about any civilian causalities.
N: You know, in urban areas there tends to be a lot of activity 24/7. There’s this thing called the night shift.
“It’s too quiet,” Shinjiro muttered, his axe at his side. He glare scanned every corner and every building’s shadow.
“I agree,” Akihiko said. “There were a lot of them last time, but now…” The boys looked up at the moon uncertainly. It was big, blue, and domineering.
E: Blue moon? Well, first time I’ve ever heard of a literal one.
“Should we head back to the team?” Akira suggested.
C: YOU NEVER SHOULD HAVE LEFT!
The boys hesitated. Suddenly, a big boom sounded in the distance. Everyone jumped and Koromaru started growling.
“Let’s go,” Akihiko ordered. They began moving towards the sound. As they progressed, Koromaru started whimpering.
“What’s wrong?” Akira asked him.
“The noise is coming from the Naganaki Shrine,” Shinjiro answered. “It’s Koromaru’s home.”
N: Wait he lives there!? Have none of the others adopted him already? His old master is dead, and while I know he can take care of himself, but still you think someone would want to keep an eye on him.
The team cautiously went up the steps and had to stop when they saw what was waiting for them. A vicious beast that resembled an estranged, white-night-gowned woman sat in a hovering cage, shaking the bars with all of its might. The cage would rattle in the air, but didn’t move or drop otherwise. It seemed to be…waiting.
E: This design reminds me a lot of Yukiko’s Shadow from Persona 4, a caged bird. (It’s symbolic of the pressure she was facing)
Akira started into the figure’s face; it’s long hair covered the majority of it, the thick brown locks flowing back and forth as it peered into the distance with bright, yellow eyes.
Shinjiro nudged Akira’s arm with something cold and metallic. Akira glanced over at it.
“Just in case,” he said, handing her the Evoker gun. Akira took it.
C: SHE DIDN’T HAVE AN EVOKER THIS WHOLE TIME!? I mean come on, she summoned her Persona last time by ACCIDENT! Why did you wait until just now to give her one? What if you had gotten ambushed?
The creature cried out, as though issuing a challenge-it’d seen them.
“Come little girl,” it hissed. “Come out…so I can eat you…”
Akira froze with fear as it looked at her straight on. She had only dealt with the creatures a handful of times, but this one was just as big as the Satyr Shadow they’d faced before.
N: What, is that what we’re calling the last one now?
“Don’t panic,” Fuuka’s voice transmitted to their minds. “Mitsuru and the others are on the way. Just stay clear until then.” The Shadow growled and the cage slammed to the ground. It reached out its elongated arms and started to drag itself-cage and all-towards the four with astounding speed.
E: Ok, not gonna lie, for some reason I really like the idea of that. It just seems creepy in a way I can’t really explain.
It was like it a spirit from one of those horror movies that chased its prey down narrow black hallways.
E: And it was just ruined for me.
Akira gripped her naginata and slipped the Evoker into a holster that Yukari had let her borrow before they left.
C: So this whole time she was running around with an empty holster. Are we sure that this is the P3 cast?
“I think we don’t have much of a choice, Fuuka!” Akihiko yelled. They dodged the nails of the fiend and split up to surround it.
“Let’s do this,” Shinjiro said. He went first, rolling in behind the cage and slamming his axe down onto the metal. It clanged loudly and dented the frame. The creature dragged itself around and tried to slice off his legs. Shinjiro jumped back, cutting one of the beast’s fingers off. It screamed aloud.
N: SUMMON YOUR PERSONAS YOU IDIOTS!
E: Also I have to bring up something Fraug mentioned last time. Why the Hell are these people always aiming for non-vital areas like fingers? You could hinder its combat ability a lot more AND cause more blood loss if you hit, say, the wrist.
Akihiko ran up to the other side and pounded his fists into the cage, trying to tear his way into it. The monster recoiled onto the other side, pulling at its bars to lift it back into a hover above them.
E: Punch. Through. Cage. I don’t even…
“We need to find out its weakness!” Fuuka called.
C: Then shouldn’t you be scanning it then?
Koromaru gave a mighty howl, summoning his Persona, Cerberus. The three-headed creature gave another bark and set fire to the cage. The Shadow screeched as the flames dug into his flesh. Akihiko smiled triumphantly.
E: So just for the record, the smartest person here is the dog.
“Nice one, Koromaru!” He yelled. He took out his Evoker and stared down at it for a moment. “If he can do it…then we can too!” He pointed the gun to his head, screaming, “PERSONA!”
N: So they were still afraid of summoning their Personas in the Not!Dark Hour? And what was their plan, hack away at all the Shadows?
A shatter erupted as Akihiko’s gun went off. A massive being rose above him, holding the world in one hand and a sword in the other. In the Greek man’s center was a little person who sat in a shadowed throne.
The creature let the world raise and spin above its head. Then, the clouds over their heads came together before a bolt of lightening came from the sky. It struck the cage, who rattled in anger. It glared at Akihiko and started to fall his way. Casear didn’t move to aid him, as it had suddenly put his sword-wielding hand over its heart in pain before fading.
C: So they tried fire and lighting and they didn’t work. (Yeah, fighting in Persona can turn into “Find out which element works” sometimes)
“Tch,” Shinjiro muttered. “Is that all you got, Aki? You ain’t even dentin’ it!” He took his own Evoker and put it to the side of his head, standing up straight and tall. Akira watched him take a nervous breath before he put his finger on the trigger.
Another shatter and a powerful being came. It was a knight atop what looked like a devious half horse. It charged the cage and slammed its head into the side before it could squash Akihiko. It disappeared, too, appearing to have been exhausted by the mere movement.
E: You know, if Shinji could take that much time to summon Castor without the cage hitting Akihiko, I don’t think he was in any danger that he couldn’t have just avoided himself.
“Thanks!” Akihiko called. He ran over to the cage and tried once more to beat the metal, but if flew above him. It shook in the sky and spilled out black blobs to go after the boys. They dealt with the shadows as quickly as they could while the caged beast started soaring at Akira. She pulled back her naginata and, when the creature was close enough, she sliced at it. It knocked the cage off course and caused it to fly into the shrine. The Naganaki Shrine managed to remain, but with some damage. Akira heard Fuuka calling out in her head.
“Akihiko-senpai is in trouble!”
E: If the fuckhead can’t go five seconds without being knocked on his ass, then he can just stay there till the end of the fight!
E: Sorry, flashback to the Answer.
Akira whirled around just as Akihiko was getting swarmed by mounds of tarred Shadows. His fists were lightening fast as he attempted to keep them off. Koromaru was trying to back him up, but found himself being massed, too.
N: Where did THEY come from? A few paragraphs ago it said that they dealt with the smaller Shadows.
In front of her, the lead Shadow had recovered and was reaching out to grab Akira. Shinjiro slashed its wrist off, which began pouring black blood. Akira whipped back to them.
“Aki can take care of himself!” Shinjiro told her. “Watch out for your own neck!” Akira looked back to Akihiko and, despite Shinjiro’s words, started rushing to his aid. Shinjiro caught her running off in the corner of his eye, muttering, “Dammit.”
Akira got to Akihiko’s side and started hacking away at the Shadows attempting to bit his ankles. Akihiko met up with her and they stood back to back.
“Thanks,” he said.
“No problem,” she replied. “Hey, watch out!” Another Shadow started to sneak up on his side, but Akihiko was able to take it down with a swift punch.
E: So these smaller Shadows aren’t really much of a threat if he can one shot them with a punch. Why did he need help again?
Shinjiro was working on holding back the cage, but it slipped past him. It was swift and dragged itself to Akira, pushing an unsuspecting Akihiko out of the way. It tackled Akira and held her down under its metal bottom.
C: Uh, how big is this cage? If this Shadow is significantly bigger than the average human (which Shadows usually are) then a cage big enough to hold it should pretty much kill Akira
“Now you die!” It cackled, raising what remained of its claws. Akira screamed just before Akihiko took the blow with his back. Akira screamed again, but this time she called out his name.
N: Not actually showing that happened though. For some reason.
Instead of moving away from the nails dragging further and further into his skin, he worked on lifting the cage off of Akira with the rest of his back. He finally got it to the point where she could wiggle free.
“Go, Akira!” He yelled. “Get out!” Akira freed herself, then took her naginata and severed the last hand of the cage beast.
E: Last hand? At what point did it lose the other ones?
It released Akihiko and he stumbled forward. Akira went to help him, but he shrugged her off.
“Don’t worry about me,” he told her. “Save your-”
“No way in hell I’m falling for that one!” Akira interrupted with a glare. “We’re a team!” She turned to the cage. It had stopped howling when it met her eyes, and bore its growing fangs. Akira saw Shinjiro coming their way and he stood protectively over his best friend.
C: Is there any reason Akihiko can’t cast Diarahan on himself?
E: It’s not like he didn’t use it ever time he SCRATCHED himself in the Answer.
“No, this way!” Akira called to the monster, leading it in the opposite direction. It followed her like a dog to a bone, crashing its head into the bars to maneuver around.
“Akira!” Shinjiro called, staring to follow her. Akira let the Shadow corner her, then pulled out her Evoker. Since that first night, she hadn’t dared try to summon her Persona, but somehow knew that she wouldn’t be able to summon it now without the gun.
N: Because reasons. No Mary Sue points deducted for that weak ass explanation.
She took a breath and pointed it to her head, looking the Shadow right on. She felt an aura grow around her as she called out, “Fate!”
And she pulled the trigger.
Fate returned to existence and wasted no time using her Hama skills to push the Shadow back.
C: Hamon moves are instant death moves. Either they wipes the Shadow out of existence, or they do nothing.
It flinched and backed off momentarily. Fate flicked the strings onto Akira’s limbs and took an attack stance. Akira followed.
E: And apparently the audience isn’t important enough to know what these stances look like.
Their eyes became the same shade of amber and they waited for the cage to make its next move.
C: That NEVER happened in Persona.
(Mary Sue Counter: 19)
It eyed her and the Persona hesitantly, but didn’t back down. It charged at her feet. Akira and Fate jumped out of the way, stabbing the creature through its cage. It growled in anger and pain. Fate swiftly rose Akira further into the air, flexing their fingers over the naginata.
“Can you sense that?” Akira asked Fate. “Their Personas…” She looked to her friends hesitantly. “They disappeared quickly because no one’s used to using them anymore.” Fate looked the same direction as Akira and gave a single nod that its master didn’t see, but that she could sense.
N: No, they just always disappear after one attack. Also, why is your Persona sticking around when this is the second time you’ve used it. Also, PERSONAS DON’T HAVE MINDS OF THEIR OWN! THEY’RE AN EXTENSION OF THE USER!
Akira turned them towards her allies and spread out an arm there way. “I want…to give them my strength.” Fate reached out her arm, too, and let it fuel with a brilliant white light. Fate’s thoughts reflected into Akira’s eyes and stole her lips: “Mediahran!”
Three white pillars consumed they boys and the dog, blinding them for a moment. Slowly, Akihiko found himself standing and everyone’s backs straightened up.
E: Ok, so healing spells do exist in this fic, and Akihiko is just being an idiot.
“Fate,” Akira muttered, “give them whatever strength I can spare. Revitalize their Personas and their own bodies to support them!”
The pillars faded. Akihiko’s back was clear of wounds and he pounded an energetic fist into his other hand.
“Alright!” He said. “I’m feeling warmed up now!” He pulled out his Evoker again and put it to his head. “Caesar, come back to the fight!”
C: What? Can Fate also restore SP or something? Fuck it, that counts.
(Mary Sue Counter: 20)
Shinjiro cracked his neck and brought his own gun to his head. “You too, Castor!”
Koromaru barked excitedly, then howled to release Cerberus.
They all charged the cage at the same time, using each of their elemental and otherwise special powers to bring the cage to the ground in heavy defeat. Akira floated back down to the ground, she and Fate slumped over their knees. Fate slowly disappeared from sight, but Akira fought to stand.
“The Shadow’s been weakened!” Fuuka called out.
“Everyone!” Akira yelled. “Let’s take this one out all at once!”
E: Ok, it’s actually kind of cute that she gets her own phrase to say when an all out attack is available.
She rose her naginata as the others raised their own weapons. The Shadow started to rise, but knew that it was too weak to avoid the inevitable.
The group stormed it together, creating a dust cloud that took over nearly the entire shrine.
N: I really wish the dust cloud would stop being brought up though.
They sliced and slashed and slammed and struck the Shadow over and over until their muscles gave out and their knuckles were bleeding. The Shadow at last keeled over and faded into a dark cloud. The Roman Numeral II rose and evaporated from the remains.
C: Man, the Shadows are being really convenient when they die…wait…II? As in the second arcana? Was that supposed to be the High Priestess? Because I don’t see it.
Dun dun dun! Chapter 8 is full of fighting! YAY!
N: Sadly it was bleh.
That makes two big guys! Oh, and you may or may not have noticed that I went back through the chapters and adjusted the dates for each part. I got off my lazy ass this time to go and research the moon phases of each month so that this could be more accurate. :)
E: That’s…actually fairly impressive.
Oh, and I know that you ALL missed Igor and Theo (or at least Theo, ’cause he’s HAWT!) so I thought I’d include them here, too, to predict Akira’s strange future.
N: You know, I really hate to delve into stereotypes, but I am not getting very good vibes off of this girl.
C: Uh, Shepard? You ok.
S: Leave me alone. I’m worthless.
N: So is this sympathetic moping or annoying moping?
E: Jury’s out on that one. Still…I’m gonna raid the kitchen, see if I can find anything that can cheer him up.
C: I thought you said that you sucked at cooking anything but the most simple meals.
E: Good point. I’ll contact Herr, see if he’s got any recommendations, he seems pretty good in the kitchen. In the meantime…uh…see if he smokes Nora?
N: Well, so long as he doesn’t take my entire pack. You know how hard it is to get cigarettes out in the void of space? Pretty hard. Especially the genetically modified ones to get all the unhealthy crap taken out.
E: Bill Goeth with any expenses, his finances are what’s keeping this station floating. Apparently he made a few long term investments in space program department of Evil Scientist University and is still raking in the benefits. Until next time. Ok. *Boots up long distance communication table* Herr!? Need recommendations for comfort food!