974: Persona 3: Trade Me 13, 14 & 15Posted: February 24, 2015
E: Ok so *shudder* things are getting a little intense right now *bang* pretty sure I saw a few demons on the lower levels. Things are currently being handled by *crash* the others…and I’m currently holding down a chokepoint to the hard room just in case things go
N: GET READY TO CLOSE THE DOOR WE’RE VENTING THE STATION!
E: Got it! *Slam* What’s the situation?
C: We managed to take out a good chunk of his forces and we managed to get a few good hits in on Manus. Hopefully the air being vented out of the station will at the very least slow them down. It won’t hurt Manus, but hopefully at the very least the sudden shift in pressure will kill some of his goons.
N: Wouldn’t they be protected by his ring though?
C: Maybe, maybe not. Maybe we’ll get the drop on them when they’re unshielded or something. There wasn’t any information on this in the documents Goeth left us.
N: Yeah speaking of Goeth, we really could use him about now.
E: Let me check the communication logs. *Types* Ok good, he sent us a message awhile back, he’s not that far away, and he’s bringing help.
C: Did he find a White Lantern?
E: Don’t know, it just says to hold on. Well, all we can do now is hold out in here and review the story.
S: You want to review a story while we’re under siege?
E: It’s our thing, we do it every week. Besides, things are guaranteed to be safe while we’re doing it.
E: Well, when we last left of, Akira got into a fight with a Shadow, made it clear that she’s in the middle of a love triangle and overall did very little to appeal. And now we continue. But first, stupid song.
(Song Counter: 13)
The Shadow this time was a Shadowy woman,
C: Well ya think that would go without saying.
sultry and seductive in her black shades. She had two men on either of her arms that would defend her from every type of element the team had to throw at them.
N: So it’s Shadow Kanji with less symbolism about being in the closet?
Akira and Fate stood in the back, supplying defensive spells to their comrades. Akihiko and Shinjiro’s brute strength kept the Shadow on its toes, while Mitsuru’s icy strategies worked to enable a weak point in the creature’s armor.
E: Its armor of hunky men? And icy strategies? Do we have to start another counter for this? Mitsuru and ice? Especially when it makes no sense and just doesn’t fit? What is an icy strategy and how does it work against armor? Or are you saying she used ice break?
Akira stared into the beast’s eyes until it finally took notice of her. The girl rose her naginata and charged forward. Fate took control, executing a perfect strike at the Shadow’s heart. It flinched, but didn’t fall.
C: And she stared into its eyes until it looked back at her why? And Personas don’t take control. Ever.
Silly. You will die tonight. It muttered. As the team surrounded it, the two aids on either side of the female monster leaned in to kiss its cheeks. It sent an electrical shock Akira’s way, knocking her back.
E: Again, I actually really like the design of the Shadow here. It really fits into the overall tone of Persona/SMT in terms of reflecting more primal feelings/being creepy as hell.
“Akira!” Akihiko rushed to her side.
“Don’t break your position!” Mitsuru yelled, but he was already pulling Akira up.
N: Our strategically sound position of standing around it and doing nothing!
You remember, don’t you little girl? Remember that fateful night?
“What are you-” Akira started to speak, but something shifted inside her body. She fell to the ground again, holding her head in her hands like something was trying to burst free. A memory thrust forward:
C: I swear, one day we’re gonna get a villain that doesn’t speak vague. One day…
Akihiko was in a bath towel, nothing more, but didn’t realize it until finally snapping out of the Shadow’s spell. The red and pink pulsing hotel room filled with a thick fog from the shower room, and she could barely see the droplets of water beading off of his magnificently sculpted muscles. Akihiko saw her checking him out, then instantly blushed. He hurried to put some clothes on before returning.
“Don’t…tell anyone about this…”
“What the hell is this?!” Akira cried. Was this a memory? Was it hers? Either way, her head was ready to explode.
E: Uh, I never played the portable version of the game, so I never got to see how it differed, but this seems a lot like a scene early in the game where a Shadow hypnotizes the character and Yukari to…well nothing happened and I could seen how they would swap out Yukari for Akihiko in the female route. From what I saw from looking around online it does indeed seem to be the case So yeah.
Fate’s hand touched her neck, attempting to spread a healing warmth through her. It started working until Akira heard Shinjiro’s voice call over to her. Then, another memory sprang forth. Akira was knocked backwards into Fate’s hold.
“You’re a real piece of work, you know that…?” A pause. “I’m gonna make myself clear…I ain’t holding back anymore.”
Akira screamed and rose up, the ferocity and impact of these memories making her head cloud completely. Fate took over as they ghosted to the naginata, plunging it’s tip into the Shadow’s chest.
C: So just for the record, even though she was supposed to be in agonizing pain, her Persona was still able to take over and stab away, even though that SHOULDN’T HAPPEN!
(Mary Sue Counter: 22)
Ken watched Mitsuru, Akihiko, and Shinjiro talk the redhead’s office. He wondered why he was there in the first place; all he’d wanted to do was report for duty. He’d been gone longer than he’d planned, but Ken knew that he’d be ready for battle now. He looked between the adults. He may have only been 15 years old, but they seemed to acknowledge that he was old enough to hear their conversation-or maybe they just didn’t notice him at all.
N: That paragraph perfected the art of telling us absolutely nothing. Also yeah, doing those busy fifteen year old things.
“I told you already,” Akihiko insisted, “I talked to Akira after the battle. She said that some memories came on, nothing more.”
“That will not be the end of this conversation,” Mitsuru said, her voice bordering on livid. “We need to know exactly what happened to Akira, so as to not let this happen again. Another ‘slip-up’ like that, and we could all be dead.”
E: Wait, what exactly was the problem? She screamed a lot, but then her Persona shifted into freaking auto-pilot mode and killed the Shadow. Exactly what is Mitsuru’s concern here? Why is Mitsuru being flanderized into a heartless bitch?
“Are you questioning her value to the team?” It was rare to hear Akihiko argue with Mitsuru, and Ken couldn’t help by cringe at the tone he took.
“Maybe it’s something that we should bring into question.”
“Are you crazy? She’s the victim here, not our enemy!”
C: You can question her value to the team without considering her your enemy though. In fact, if there’s a real concern that Akira might collapse during a fight (I THINK that’s Mitsuru’s problem. I think.) then you should just take her off the front lines. Heck, in game you usually have to get through Tartarus with only three people backing you up. But that would be too logical
“You’re overreacting, Akihiko. I never said anything like that.”
“But you’ve made it clear that you’re concerned about her being a hindrance to the team.”
“As the leader, I have to wonder about these things.”
N: She’s right.
Akihiko shook his head, pacing around the room. “It was an accident, alright? Akira didn’t have those flashbacks on purpose.”
“But if it continues to happen-”
E: I know that this won’t happen because she makes my dick feel hard and that only happens around good people.
Mitsuru’s hand slammed on the desk. “Akihiko, I need you to clear your mind. You’re letting your personal feelings for her get in the way.”
C: Author if you’re trying to make us feel like Mitsuru is being a cold hearted bitch, you’re failing. She’s coming off as the bastion of reason here.
A knock sounded and a girl came in that Ken hadn’t met; this must’ve been the girl that everyone was talking about. Everyone turned to look at her.
“Did you want me to report?” She asked Mitsuru. The elegant woman stood straight and brushed her hair out of her face.
“We’ll have to speak at a later time.”
N: I suppose I could give you a chance to explain what the Hell is going on or get your perspective but…nah.
“Oh, ok. Later then.” She met Ken’s eyes, just long enough to give a small smile, then disappeared. Ken arteries closed, his pulse nearly ceasing entirely.
“Her eyes…” He breathed.
“Familiar, aren’t they?” Mitsuru mumbled. Ken looked over at the group.
E: Took them long enough to catch onto the bleedingly obvious similarities. Redemption cookie!
“Who is she?!” Fury and remorse was swelling inside him, like those eyes had punched an old wound over and over. He remembered his first love and had fought tooth and nail to forget her again. Now, some girl was wandering the halls with a stolen gaze, reminding him of what little heart he had lost?
“We don’t know yet,” Mitsuru answered coolly.
E: Give me that fucking cookie back!
“What she means is, Akira has lost her memories,” Akihiko interjected.
“I mean what I said.” The two gave each other a glare. “Admit it, Akihiko, you have no idea what kind of person she is. We know nothing about her, and the fact that the Shadows are hunting her doesn’t really put the odds of unyielding trust in her favor.”
C: Ok Mitsuru is still kind of sort of the bastion of reason. I mean she’s right, but she’s being a tad bit paranoid without much justification. Akihiko on the other hand is arguing purely with his feelings and not with logic when he responds to Mitsuru’s slightly illogical concerns, making her look more reasonable by comparison.
N: Well this is a mess.
“Things have been different since she came,” Akihiko admitted, “but not all of it has been bad. She’s brought a light into the team that we’ve been missing for years.”
“She’s not Her, Akihiko.”
E: YES SHE FUCKING IS! You even saw that her eyes where the fucking same! How more fucking obvious do you need it to be!? Do you need her name to Minako spelt backwards? Would her name being Okanim be enough?
C: Should we start calling her that?
E: I’M CONSIDERING IT!
In another room,….
Akira wondered the halls when she heard a buzzing. It was coming from a command room, strangely enough. She went inside; maybe there was a monitor on that someone forgot to take care of?
Back with Mitsuru…
N: Well that was necessary!
“I know that,” Akihiko shot back, but his averting gaze didn’t give anyone much faith.
“Regardless, we have no idea what’s going on with her.” Mitsuru stood up straight again. “She is an enigma, and that could endanger all that we are. We can’t confirm that her arrival to our outfit was for the best.”
C: You know all I can think of when Mitsuru calls Akira an enigma is how she originally said that she only lost her short term memory, only for her to change that later on. With something like that, I think we need to retract our earlier comments on her being paranoid. It’s not paranoia when your concerns are founded on logic!
“The team isn’t all that she’s affected.” Everyone turned to Shinjiro’s voice, the quiet observer who hadn’t uttered a word until this point.
“What do you mean?”
E: Ok, stop fucking bouncing back and forth. Complete one scene, then move onto the next one, don’t chop them up into little tiny bit sizes pieces and then mix them together, it’s about as smooth and flowing as an avalanche of bricks.
Akira searched the buttons for the “off” key. There was no one else in the room, so she was at a loss with the technology. She bumped something and a series of images came over the screen. Some were electronic newspaper clippings, some were video images from candid cameras, and then there were the school records. That was what caught Akira’s eye and stilled her hands. The image that went with the record…she’d know that anywhere.
N: Convenience Network! For all your PCC news needs!
(Mary Sue Counter: 23)
Ken stared at Shinjiro. He’d once hated the man for murdering his mother, but he didn’t feel those resentments anymore. At least, not as strongly as he used it.
“Ever since Akira got here, my sickness has left.”
E: BULLLLLLL! SHITTTTTTTTT!
(Mary Sue Counter: 24)
E: I know the main character of Persona 3 has a savior theme going on (the MC’s Persona is Orpehus, the Greek iconic savior) but curing the sick? With her PRESENCE!? Fuck off. What’s next! Feeding a mob of people with five loaves of bread and two fish? Turning water into wine? Walking on water? Fuck Okanim her name should’ve been fucking Susej!
Everyone jumped except Ken; was this some kind of big deal?
“But how?” Akihiko asked. “After the coma….your doctors said…”
“I’ve gotten checked every week since Akira got here. It’s gone.”
“How can you be sure that it’s her that’s made it go disappear?” Mitsuru asked.
C: This is a very good question Mitsuru. After all correlation does not equal causation
“Tch. I just know, aight?”
N: Oh, very convincing argument Mr. wears a winter hat in JUNE! You’ve never done anything STUPID!
Someone knocked vigorously on the door, but burst inside before anyone had a chance to say, “Come in.”
“Mitsuru!” Junpei cried out. “Akira’s gone!”
E: Well that problem solved itself! Back to our regular lives! I wonder what Aigis is up to. It could be filing her taxes and it would be more interesting than this.
As the clock struck Midnight, a new year and a new thought began. Did they think she was an idiot? Did no one believe that she’d figure it out eventually? How stupid did they think she was…
N:…Do you want an…honest answer to that?
No one would stop her now. As she burst through the front doors. she grinned at the knowledge that she’d left everyone in a state of shock and confusion. Good. Let them wonder what they did wrong. Let them revel in the fact that it’s all their faults that she’d never come back.
C: Uh, what the fuck just happened? And wow, as much as this chapter tried to make Mitsuru look cruel, one paragraph was all it took for Akira to come off as a massive prick. And with that the chapter ends.
(Song Counter 14)
Akira was still missing. Akihiko had, at first, waited for her at their apartment for days, thinking she’d return to him of her own will. When she didn’t, he spent all of his time searching for her. He scoured all of Iwatodai for the girl with the help of his best friend, as neither boy felt that they could find peace until they located their friend.
E: She’s been in their life for a few months and all of a sudden they can’t live without her? Uh, no. You haven’t had nearly enough development to make me believe that a relationship even a tenth that strong is possible.
During the Dark Hour-when it actually came-Fuuka did her best to locate the girl, too. But, when they’d get close to her location, all that was to be found were another set of Shadows, defeated and leaving nothing else. They couldn’t track her this way; there had to be something else that they could do.
N: You mean aside from move a tad bit faster and ask Fuuka to keep scanning to see where she went?
Akihiko laid in his bed one night, unable to find rest yet again. He knew that the room so near to his was empty, void of any light or happiness in the plain old midnight. He wondered, as he always did, if Akira was okay. Was she eating enough protein?
C: Oh shut up.
Getting enough exercise? Did she rest in the cold and merciless streets of the city? Or was she warm in another stranger’s bed?
This thought made him flinch. Why did that come to mind?
E: Because you want to FUCK her, that’s why. It isn’t rocket science.
His heart, toes, and fists curled in anger at the thought of Akira living with another man, whether it by force or choice. His heart flared in frustration and he flipped over in his bed.
What a ridiculous thought. She didn’t know anyone else in this city, let alone another man to share bed with.
N: Yeah she didn’t know you either, but you warmed up to her quick. Ah well, at least you can sleep in comfort knowing she’s sleeping on the streets in the middle of winter instead of kind of, sort of, not really cheating on you. Nice one douche.
Still….the thoughts popped into his head every now and then, keeping him even further from sleep’s sweet embrace. What was wrong with him? Why did he feel this way? What made these thoughts circle his brain again and again until he couldn’t stand sitting down?
C: Hasn’t he fallen in love before? Do we really need to explain it?
In the afternoon the next day, Akihiko asked Shinjiro about it. Surely, his best friend would have some idea of what ailed him. He may not have looked it, but Shinjiro was very wise about these sorts of things, even as reserved as he was of his own emotions.
When he told his best friend what was happening, the brunette rose a single brow beneath his beanie.
“You an idiot or somethin’?” He asked. This wasn’t the response Akihiko had been expecting, and it put him on the defense.
E: But Shinji how does I know what these…em…ot…tons…mean?
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Shinjiro sighed, taking a sip of the coffee that Akihiko had made. The man made a face; Akihiko knew it wasn’t as good as the coffee Akira had made them each day, but why did Shinjiro have to act like he’d just tasted something that came out of an airplane barf bag? The companion put the drink down for the final time and stared up at the silverette.
“Do I have to spell it out for you?
N: Apparently. This dumbed down version of Akihiko probably thinks the brain is where excess protein is stored
You like her.” Shinjiro rolled his eyes when his best friend tilted his head in confusion. “I mean that you like her, meathead. Like you did Her.” Both men looked into their cups thoughtfully.
C: Thank you Shinji for pointing out what everyone with a brain already knew! Can we do something with intelligence now?
“I don’t…” Akihiko’s eyes knit together tightly. “I didn’t think about that.” He liked Akira? It was possible, he supposed. She was so much like Her that maybe it was normal to fall for the girl. Maybe he should’ve seen it coming…it would explain a lot of things. His protectiveness of Akira is the same that he felt for Her, his overwhelming feeling of joy when she was around was just like the days when She was near, and whenever Akira touched his skin he felt the same swelling heat that She used to flare into him. In a way, Akira was Her, and not just because of the peculiar shade of eyes.
E: If Minako pretty much was just like Akira, then I weep for the human race, because they have a pretty damn flimsy barrier standing between them and extinction. Also I swear, every line out of Akihiko’s mouth makes me feel like my brain is slowly decaying away.
“You idiot,” Shinjiro muttered again. “As usual, we notice these things before you.” Akihiko leaned on the counter, putting his head in his hands.
“How could I have not noticed before?”
N: Because there was a note on the script that said “Pad out drama” and this was all we got.
Shinjiro sighed, reaching over to give his friend a pat on the shoulder. “It ain’t too late, man. We’ll find her. Then you can tell her how you feel in that awkward way you got.”
… … …
Akira had been wandering for days now,
E: Technically I suppose that’s true, but after 24 days, I’m pretty sure most people would say weeks. Also it just occurred to me that this story glazed over Christmas. Massive chance for character development missed.
fighting Shadows on her own and trying to deal with the massive amounts of memories flowing back into her head. It took her over a week to realize that not all of them were her own, which only made her headaches grow in number. She didn’t know how to deal with any of it, so she just needed to get away from everything.
N: Running randomly through the streets and fighting Shadows every night will make things more manageable.
“Ah, I recall this!” Theodore said in excitement as Akira had just settled down onto the edge of the Paulowinia Mall’s fountain when the yellow-eyed man started excitedly pacing. Akira gave a small smile, recalling the first time she met the man-when she really met him. She felt that some part of her should’ve wondered why she hadn’t needed to sign a contract when she set eyes on the Velvet Room for the first time after losing her memories.
C: Little late to be pointing out that you forgot that little detail at the start of the story.
“You’ve seen this before?” Akira asked Theodore, looking into the rippling water. While she’d met Theodore before, she didn’t recall ever coming into the outside world with him.
“Yes, a long time ago.” Theodore side and looked into the starry sky. “One of the guests before you brought me here once.” Akira felt a jolt in her brain and another headache followed. She had to shake it off before her head exploded.
E: Ah come on, let her head explode. I’ll get the bicycle pump
“Should I be jealous of you going on dates with other girls?” Akira asked, giving the white-haired man a wicked grin. The man’s cheeks turned a bit pink.
N: So she’s running around in circles dealing with the pain of memories pouring into her head, yet still has the attitude and will to flirt. Consistency, WHAT’S THAT!?
“N-not at all. I could never really date a guest.” He tried to turn their attention to another fascinating object, rushing off to discuss it. Akira laughed to herself, but didn’t follow after him. She stared into her reflection instead, vaguely listening to Theodore talk about the most effective way to win the crane machine games. She saw her blonde hair-which was beginning to show her dark brown roots from lack of updating her hair dye-cascading down her shoulders. It frizzed a bit from her life in dark Iwatodai alleys and solo battles with Shadows. Akira sighed and attempted to pull it back into a tight ponytail. When it was up, the waves and minimal curls at the end made her look like….someone else.
C: Just come out and say it already, I’m tired of listening to all these hints that are about as subtle as a shouty drunk homeless person
She sighed in an angry huff, releasing every strand. All she would need were some silver bobby pins to spell out XXII on the side of her head.
E: Uh. Ok. You go do that. The only thing I can find that makes sense for XXII in regards to the tarot is that sometimes its used to represent The Fool. But even then I’m not sure what she’s trying to accomplish here. Or with anything she’s ever done.
“Is everything alright?” Akira jumped; Theodore had made his way back over, meeting her eyes in the water’s reflection. She bit her lip, then turned to look at her own eyes. The cursed things were brilliantly unique, marking her with a strange, walking enigma.
E: The enigma is less that she’s a flux between two people and more exactly what the fucking point of this story is.
“I wonder who I am sometimes,” she spoke quietly. “I mean, everyone wonders that to an extent, but with all of these memories filling up my head, I don’t know who I really am anymore.” Theodore set himself beside Akira, putting a hand on her hand. She met his gaze.
N: We’re still going with this aren’t we?
“Have you been rather lonely since fulfilling missions with me?” He asked.
C: All those missions that weren’t important enough to show?
“No, not at all. You’ve been able to give me funds for hotels and fantastic items for our battles. I couldn’t thank you enough for that. I just….”
Theodore rose from his seat after a pensive look passed his face. When he’d straightened up, he held out his hand to Akira.
“Will you come with me, my dear?” Akira took her turn to blush, but accepted his grasp. Theodore led her to a hidden ladder behind one of the buildings and both of them climbed up to the roof. Theodore asked her to look up into the sky, to which he said nothing more for a few minutes.
E: D’aw, this is so sweet because they have such a strong bond because of all these things that we never got to see. Sweet.
Just as Akira was about to ask the point, Theodore finally spoke: “What is it that you are after now?”
“Um….” Akira didn’t know how to respond. “I’m…not sure what you mean.”
C: What. You. Doing. Now. Very simple concept.
“Before losing your memories, you told me that you had a mission that you wanted to complete yourself. Now that you’ve regained these memories, what is your task?”
Akira’s mind, for once, went blank.
E: Only just now? HA!
She looked up into the sky again, as if the stars and the waning moon would have her answers. Theodore left her with her thoughts, taking his seat at the edge of the roof and crossing his legs over the air. He waited patiently as Akira pondered what she needed to do next.
Then, the “Ah-ha!” moment was almost tangible in the air as she whipped her head around to look at her companion.
“I know what I need to do.” She said. “But…I am afraid of what I may find at the end of this path.”
N: What’s the alternative? Sticking your head in the sand? Also, could you kindly inform the rest of us what you figured out? We can’t read minds.
“Well, my lady….” Theodore stood, putting a hand over his heart and bowing deeply. “My master and I would be obliged to help you along your journey.”
C: We don’t even know what she wants to do yet, how do you know that Igor’s services will help yet?
Akira smiled. “Thank you.” She felt a breeze pass through her hair and something possessed her to glance down into the lit area below. There, she saw Shinjiro and Akihiko pacing.
E: Oh fuck you.
Akihiko pulled his red jacket tighter over him; he’d always hated the cold, Akira remembered. Shinjiro didn’t seem to bothered by it and he started to look up her way. The girl swiftly jumped back, hiding herself from view.
“Why don’t you go speak with them?” Theodore inquired. Akira headed for the ladder.
“I don’t want to see them ever again.” Akira, when she got to the bottom, realized that Theodore hadn’t followed. She stared up just as the man leapt from the top of the roof and glided down to her side.
“Why not? I thought that they were your friends.”
“They’re no friends of mine.”
Akira’s fists clenched at her sides. “They kept one too many secrets from me. I’ll never forgive them.”
N: They didn’t tell me what I really needed to know!
C: But didn’t you not tell them anything about yourself?
N: LALALALALALALA NOT LISTENING!
C: And what’s the secret exactly?
N: Oh, you just wait.
She glanced over at her Velvet Room companion and reached out to him, taking his hand in hers. The limb was surprisingly warm, for being something other than a human’s. “Let’s head back. Next time, we’ll go out to visit the Nanaki Shrine.”
E: I guess human beings are the only things that produce warmth. And with that, another chapter down.
(Song Counter: 15)
E: *Looks up* Wait what?
Aigis hadn’t been on the team for some time-due to other programmed duties that needed attending-but she now, out in the Midnight Hour among her teammates, felt a warmth spread through her circuitry. She was glad to return to the ones she cared about most.
E: AIGIS! Oh please Aigis save this story!
C: You know Ken got introduced too.
E: Who? Oh right, the little boy whose character trait was that his mom died. Yeah, he appeared earlier on. Now then AIGIS!
N: Yeah, back from those programed duties that kept her away for freaking months.
“Aigis,” Shinjiro called, rolling one of his shoulders as he prepped for battle. The robot girl turned her attention to him. “You seen Aki?”
“I have not.” Aigis scanned the area, the lenses in her eyes searching for the white-haired man. While she had not necessarily gotten older like her comrades, she had upgraded her appearance to simulate the aging process.
E: I am not even gonna touch how many levels of makes no sense that is.
Now, trying to find the man who’d aged a long time without her, she felt like she could properly blend in the group. After a few quick scans, she found Akihiko in the next room. He was clenching his fists over and over again and staring at them very harshly.
C: We needed the robot’s help to find him, it was the only way.
“What are you simulating?” Aigis asked. Akihiko glanced at her in surprise. “Perhaps you are trying to circulate the blood in your hands?”
“No, it’s nothing like that, Aigis.” The robot girl had noticed a growing tension in the boy since her return. Shinjiro had explained that it was something about a girl that they were all searching for, but Aigis couldn’t understand what strange emotion ailed him. Perhaps this was just another human matter that she’d need to analyze and mirror before she could grasp it.
N: It’s called being stupid Aigis, don’t waste your time on it.
“We are ready to move out.” She informed Akihiko. The silverette nodded, following her out to the group.
“Alright, everyone,” Mitsuru said in a clear and strong voice. “You know what we’re here for. Another Shadow is set to summon, and we need to find it before any citizens can be harmed. Also, we need to keep a look out for Narukami. She’s been missing in action for quite some time now, but I’m certain that she won’t be far behind our nemesis. Please do everything you can to bring her in.
E: So what has Akira been eating this whole time? She doesn’t exactly have access to food. Also, I realized something else about this story that really annoys me. Persona 3 is this. Full moon battle! Now go to school, learn some things from teachers, take a test, hang out with friends after school, have a weird talk with a boy in prison pajamas at night, sing karaoke, visit the Velvet Room to do missions, to go Tartarus to train, study before bed, talk to the people in your dorm, then have another full moon battle. The author looked at this formula, and for some damn reason thought that it would be ok to cut everything out in-between full moon battles. The end result is pretty bare bones and beyond boring.
“I do not know what she looks like,” Aigis stated aloud. Junpei gave her a glance and a small smile.
“You’ll know her when you see her,” was his reply. Aigis wasn’t sure what he meant, but went with her comrades into battle.
C: I guess “She looks like Minako” would’ve been too hard to say. Even if it’s three words less than his actual sentence.
… … … … … …
It wasn’t hard to locate the Shadow. They found it lounging near Paulownia Mall. It didn’t seem to want to pay them any mind at first, but Mitsuru, Aigis, Akihiko, and Shinjiro weren’t going to let it slip past them. The creature was only made out of a head, but it had three faces. One was of anger, the second was of sadness, and the last was of envy. None of them seemed rather active. Each mask was twisted and mangled horribly, like a drama sculpture gone wrong.
N: Again, the designs here are actually pretty interesting, although here it’s more the concept that’s interesting as there’s barely anything new to the description.
“Alright,” Mitsuru muttered, “Junpei, Yukari, Ken, and Koromaru are acting as backup. They’ll cover us from the oncoming Shadows that will be summoned once we attack this beast.”
E: This is something that happens? First I’ve heard of it.
“Let’s do this!” Akihiko said, pounding a fist in excitement. He was thrilled to be in the heat of battle.
“Don’t screw up, meathead,” Shinjiro mumbled. That got him a dark glare.
C: Akihiko likes fighting and Shinji is snarky.
“I am ready for battle,” Aigis stated, prepping her internal cannons. There were several ominous clicks before her weapons settled into war mode.
“Advance!” Mitsuru ordered. They went forth, each giving all of their strength to weaken and chip at the enemy’s surface. The masks remained stale, making little to no effort to return fire. Mitsuru and Akihiko both seemed to become more enraged that the creature wasn’t fighting back.
“This thing’s tough,” Shinjiro commented. Despite the fact that they were getting no resistance, the creature proved stubborn.
N: Tough? I don’t even know what you actually hit it with! Establish things like that before you decide how tough something is.
“The enemy isn’t losing much health,” Fuuka’s voice came. “We need to find it’s weakness.”
“Keep scanning, Fuuka,” Mitsuru called out. “We’ll keep trying what we can.” Mitsuru armed her Evoker, closing her eyes as she readied her nerves. “Artemisia!” The shatter echoed in the quiet space and a brilliant and elegant Persona rose forth. Mitsuru pointed her rapier at her enemy. “Bufudyne!” A mighty shard consumed the enemy before blasting apart. The mask of sadness shimmered a bit.
“It looks like we aren’t able to use Ice against this one,” Fuuka said. “Try something else.”
C: Thank you for the input Fuuka, you’re as helpful as ever.
“I’ll handle this,” Akihiko said. He pulled out his Evoker. “Caesar! Ziodyne!” A flurry of lightening strikes pounded the heads. They didn’t react much.
“That was better, but it didn’t do much.”
“Let me try,” Aigis insisted. She called upon Athena, who charged the beast with so vigorously that the nearby buildings shook.
“That was a great strike, Aigis! It’s health went down significantly.”
E: Wow this is boring. It’s basically “Akihiko used X. It’s not very effective… Aigis used Y. Critical hit!” in terms of narrative description. It honestly feels like text ripped from a video game without anything to support it.
The monster shook a bit, as if shaking off a bug.
“It sure isn’t making it look that way,” Shinjiro muttered. The beast hovered around the fountain listlessly. Everyone could hear Akihiko growing impatient.
“C’mon, where’s the fight?!” He shouted. Aigis analyzed the creature for a moment, hearing the lenses in her eyes shift.
N: I need to punch something otherwise I can’t get off!
“It appears to be waiting for something,” she stated.
“Waiting for what?!”
The creature suddenly stopped.
E: Stopped doing nothing?
It was as still as the other Dark Hour inhabitants as it took a minute to think. Everyone in the group stood still with it; an unsettling air came about.
I await Eternal Darkness, it said at last. The voice came from its face of anger. And it swiftly approaches. My time has come to act.
C: You’re gonna be waiting a long time buddy. Silicon Knights went under, they’re not gonna be making Eternal Darkness 2.
Everyone was startled by its booming lungs.
N: IT’S A HEAD! ONLY A HEAD!
All six eyebrows on the creature narrowed as it turned on Akihiko. The face of anger flashed, a vicious roar escaping its down-turned mouth. The ground shook and it sent a fire ball towards the silverette’s torso. Akihiko dodged it.
“Finally, it’s getting interesting,” he hollered as he clenched his fist. He approached the beast with great speed, but his fist met air as it floated closer to the sky.
E: It was waiting for something and just ignoring their attacks, but that’s changed now. Because because.
“Aigis! Try to get it back down!” Mitsuru ordered. Aigis gave a nod and used the boosters on her feet to levitate her from the ground. It was enough of a boost to allow her to fire upon the creature’s face of depression.
C: Uh, Aigis does jumps into the air during her critical hits, but you don’t NEED to jump up to hit something with a gun unless it’s a mile away and you’re just getting into the threshold of effective range.
The Shadow’s anger mask growled in annoyance, but was weakened enough to lower back to a reachable distance. Shinjiro armed his axe and hurried forth to strike the mask of envy. The green face whined in agony and the monster backed away from the gleaming weapon. Its face of wrath came closer to Mitsuru, who jabbed at it expertly with her rapier. The creature howled again.
N: Shinji armed his axe? How do you give a weapon a weapon and how do we keep Goeth from finding out?
Leave me alone! The face of sadness cried. It started spinning in a circle so swiftly that the blue, red, and green colors seemed to merge into some sort of nauseas tint. The Shadow Operatives prepared themselves for an attack before being swept back by the envy mask’s sudden wind arc.
“Are you alright?!” Fuuka called to her friends. They all stood back up, reorienting themselves as quickly as possible.
“I’ll take the ugly mask,” Akihiko commented, putting up his fists.
E: Why is dividing and conquering a thing? Why not focus all your efforts on the whole thing?
“They’re all ugly, idiot,” Shinjiro muttered. He tossed his axe onto his shoulder as he readied his stance.
“Then the red one.”
“For the sake of simplicity,” Mitsuru said above their voices, “we’ll call them Wrath, Envy, and Sadness.”
“Fair enough,” Akihiko muttered. Aigis knew that her comrade wasn’t focused on specifics of battle; he only concentrated on demolishing the enemy. She connected that she was much like him in that aspect.
C: Oh no she doesn’t. Unlike this Akihiko poser, Aigis actually thinks.
The Shadow’s Wrath side was laughing at them half-heartedly. It didn’t seem entirely amused, from what the girl robot could see. She reloaded her arms to ensure that she was ready for the next attack, wondering if the masks would attempt to trick them into making a foolish decision. The taunt made Akihiko “riled up”, as Junpei would put it.
N: Only half heatedly laughing? Come on man, get into it.
“Oh yeah? Let’s see if you laugh at this!” He stormed towards Wrath, his fists ready to pulverize the creature. Mitsuru loudly objected to the action, but it was of no use. The masks quickly whirled to the side of Sadness, which blew a sharp set of ice spears Akihiko’s way. He tried to fight past them, but it was easy to detect the blood and cuts that appeared on his arms. He landed a punch square into the nose of Sadness, making the creature halt its attacks. Though his assault was successful, Aigis knew full well that Ice was Akihiko’s weakness. He and his Persona would surely be drained of energy now. The monster cackled through its other faces.
E: Wait, is that how it works in this story? Hell if I know, this is the first time that they’ve established it.
Foolish mortal. You have no significance to me. You should retreat while you still have the strength.
“Enough of this.”
To Aigis’s surprise, the Shadow seemed to lose interest in them once again. It turned to the voice that had come from above them. If she had a heart, she felt that it would truly bleed at the sight.
“Min…ako?” Aigis nearly breathed as she collapsed to the ground. The girl on the ledge couldn’t be seen well from the ground, but Aigis’s enhance eyes found the ex-leader’s eyes quickly. The robot’s motors buzzed in anticipation and, albeit, hope, but it was slowly broken.
C: Yeah, see, this is why you tell Aigis what Akira looks like, so she doesn’t get the wrong idea when she sees her for the first time.
Aigis realized that, though this girl bore an astounding resemblance to the previous leader, this person was not Minako. Her hair was half-blonde and half-brown, to which Aigis detected hints of fading dye chemicals from ages ago. Her nose was a bit more rounded, and her body measurements were slightly off to what the previous leader adorned. Aigis noted that the girl also didn’t wear the same outfits that Minako had; this ensemble consisted of ripped jeans, a dark tank top, and a denim jacket that had been faded by years of exposure to sun and wash.
N: I think this is the most detail that has been put into any passage in this story.
This wasn’t Minako…but the eyes…they were the same as their leader’s. That Aigis knew without a doubt.
“Akira,” Akihiko heaved from the ground. His body was slowly recovering from the previous freeze. Aigis now understood. This was what Junpei had been implying when he’d stated “You’ll know when you see her.”
E: Except he was lying because she needed someone to clarify. So she didn’t “know when she saw her”
Everyone had become tense at this girl’s presence, so this must be the one they’d been seeking.
The Shadow let out a slow sigh. We’ve been waiting for you. We knew you’d come.
C: Because bullshit.
“Silence.” Akira called down. She pulled an Evoker to her head and let it release. A magnificent Persona rose. The girl’s eyes then became different-completely filled with amber and a wisdom that couldn’t be described.
N: It’s true. You can’t describe what doesn’t exist. Also, eyes with wisdom?
(Mary Sue Counter: 25)
They matched the gaze of the Persona behind her. “Fate and I will destroy you.”
Come, then. Come to me, little one, so that I may take the glory for defeating you.
Akira and her Persona, Fate, leapt from the roof and soared down to meet the Shadow’s face of Wrath. Her strike was only momentarily successful, and she had to land before Akihiko to regain her balance while the monster laughed again.
E: Her strike was only momentarily successful? What does that entail? EXPLAIN!
“You’re…alright….” Akihiko muttered, rising. Akira didn’t even give him a glance, though she held out a hand to heal his downed status. The Persona with her mirrored every move she made, as though they were connected by an unseen force. Aigis wished to study this more, yet…
C: Uh, they are connected. It’s kind of how a Persona works.
“Who are you?” Her voice quivered. Her entire being was filled with pain and uncertainty, something she hadn’t felt much of since Minako’s passing. Akira turned on the robot; her gaze faded from its amber shade. She held sympathy and…recognition? if Aigis was reading her face correctly.
“It’s…a long story,” the girl replied, her voice tone and pitch differing slightly from Minako’s calm and understanding voice.
N: A very long, very stupid story
I am nothing, Sadness said. I am nothing like her. I will never meet her level of greatness….
“Shut up!” Akira hollered defensively. She whirled around and had Fate guide her to strike the blue cheekbone. It pierced the mask, but didn’t seem to phase the creature.
“So this creature speaks the truths you couldn’t,” Mitsuru said, falling beside Akira. “Is that how this works?”
E: So, it’s her personal Shadow? Because that’s how it works in Persona 4. Except this doesn’t make any sense for a number of reasons it would take me all day to list, so I’ll just say that a personal Shadow is supposed to evolve into your Persona, so one can’t show up if you already have one.
“Does that matter?” Akira seemed rather hostile towards the other team members. Aigis wondered why…and apparently, so did her friends. Shinjiro urged the robot to rise and fell to Akira’s other side.
“You have some stuff to explain,” he muttered.
C: No kidding.
“Not today,” Akira returned. “Not ever, in fact. After this battle, I’m out again.” Aigis rose just as the Akihiko did. Then, the four before her dashed for an All-Out-Attack. It made several of the masks crack, making the creature fall.
E: So why did you even bother showing up?
N: SHUT UP!
“The enemy is nearly defeated!” Fuuka said joyously.
E: So if one blow can make it “nearly defeated” I imagine it was almost dead to begin with.
“That was rather simple,” Akihiko commented in disappointment.
C: Pointing out the stupid in your story doesn’t make it less stupid.
The monster chuckled again from the ground. Akira released her Persona and approached the creature with her naginata drawn. She prodded at Wrath.
“Why are you after me?” Akira questioned. Envy laughed.
I always wished that I could be like her. I wanted to be her.
“What is it talking about?” Mitsuru asked. Akira ignored the woman.
“Answer my question!” She ordered the Shadow. Wrath spoke next.
I hate that she left me! I hate that she forced me to stay with those horrible people! Why did she leave me?! Why?!
E: I swear with every Shadow I see nothing but missed potential. If this really was Akira’s personal Shadow this would’ve been a great way to get inside her head and get some serious character development in. Sadly it’s just wasted potential. Plus the multi-faced aspect of it doesn’t mesh that well with Akira’s character.
N: Why not? She seems pretty two faced with the way she dropped the nice and caring act so fast.
E: Yeah, but that’s not the two faced concept the Shadow is actually portraying.
Akira stabbed the eye of Sadness. “Answer me!”
C: Well since you asked so nicely.
I’ll never be able to see her again…. Sadness continued. I’ll never become the woman she was. The secret they kept hurt so much…
“Dammit!” She thrusted her weapon into it again. “ANSWER ME!”
“Narukami,” Mitsuru said, grabbing her wrist. “That’s enough.”
N: NO IT ISN’T! I’M CLEARLY CAPABLE OF GETTING A LOGICAL ANSWER FROM THIS THING! I JUST NEED TO KEEP STABBING IT!
Akira tore her hand from the woman’s hold. Aigis approached the half-brunette carefully; she wanted to get a closer view at the Minako look-alike.
“It’s not enough. I’ve asked every single Shadow what it wants with me, and none will give me an answer.”
E: Yeah, Shadows aren’t exactly well known for holding extending conversations.
“You idiot,” Shinjiro came in. “You’ve been out puttin’ yourself in danger to talk to monsters?!”
C: Is he capable of communicating in any other way besides calling someone an idiot? In fact, I want to check this.
(Idiot Counter: 1)
“You could’ve gotten hurt!” Akihiko said. He came over to the girl. Aigis watched his eyes examine the girl. He must’ve been checking for wounds. “Where have you been?!”
Akira whirled on the monster. Wrath still had some energy.
You didn’t tell me. You kept the secret from me. You killed-
“We’ve got incoming!” Fuuka called. “Group B wasn’t able to hold off the Shadows!” Sure enough, when Aigis and the others whirled around, an army of monsters was approaching.
N: One job that shouldn’t have needed doing and they couldn’t even do that.
E: Also why is it that the Shadow can only tell what Akira is thinking if it isn’t her personal Shadow?
“I’m calculating at least 100 Shadows incoming,” Aigis reported. Everyone else cursed.
They come for you, child, Sadness stated. Now that you’ve come out from hiding, we’re sending out all of our forces to destroy you. You shall not stand in our way any longer.
C: Uh, how does running around killing Shadows constitute as hiding?
Akira hissed. “I’m not taking this from you bastards today.”
Something snapped inside the girl and the Evoker was to her head again. The group was nearly pushed back by the force of the Persona summoned. The very air around her rumbled. The words that came from her mouth were not what anyone expected:
The broken glass sound came and a dark beast rose from Akira’s consciousness. They all knew it too well; Thanatos had been one their leader’s previous signature Persona’s. Aigis was especially shocked; she didn’t think that creature would every make an appearance again.
E: Uh, no. You can’t do that. I don’t care if she has the Wild Card, you can’t just pull random Personas out of your ass. You have to earn them first. Besides, Thanatos isn’t even that good of a Persona.
Thanatos howled at the full moon above and drew his mighty sword. He swiftly rushed at the mass of enemies and bashed at them without skill or finesse. It was just there to kill.
“I’m not letting you have all of the fun,” Akihiko muttered, for a moment forgetting all about Akira’s previous disappearance. He rose his Evoker to his forehead. “Caesar!”
“Idiots.” Shinjiro, however, brought out his shining silver gun. “Castor!”
(Idiot Counter: 2)
C: I have a feeling that counter is going to be fulling up real quick.
“This doesn’t absolve you from your sins.” Mitsuru readied herself. “Artemisia!”
N: What sins? The plot of this story is “Nobody likes anyone else because of reasons we vaguely hint at.”
“Athena!” Aigis followed suit.
E: What? You show me a sequence of five people shouting out something one after another and tell me with a straight face that that doesn’t come to mind.
All five people concentrated their energies on keeping their Personas focused. However, Thanatos proved to be hard to control; Aigis scanned Akira’s vitals to see that her strength was wavering. It wasn’t healthy to keep a Persona summoned for this long…especially one as unstable as the embodiment of the Death Arcana.
C: Because this is a thing apparently.
No…no…you cannot defeat us all….
Luckily, they were able to pull through the battle.
All enemies were defeated after a long and grueling fight. At its end, the Envy mask muttered, A minor setback. We will ensure your death. The Chosen One shall not live.’
The Chosen One
E: Fuck. YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!
(Mary Sue Counter: 26)
Akira rose her naginata to strike it a final time before it faded into thick black smoke, but the staff fell from her hands. She stumbled for a moment before collapsing on the ground. Akihiko and Shinjiro both bent to help her up, but she brushed them off.
“Leave me alone!” She hollered. The boys withdrew.
“What the hell is up with you?!” Shinjiro scolded. Aigis noticed that heat was rushing to his face…then also noticed that his vitals showed much more improvement than the last time she’d seen him. “First, you disappear for months without sayin’ anything. Then, you ain’t letting us talk to you! What’s wrong with you?!” Akira refused to look at him. She instead gripped her torso with one hand.
N: I agree with the douchebag on this one
“I detect multiple fractures to Akira’s rib cage,” Aigis stated. The girl rose both hands to her stomach.
E: And this happened when?
“You scanned me?!” She squealed. Aigis tilted her head; was this an offensive act for her to commit?
C: She was checking the condition of someone obviously injured. I’m with Aigis, what’s wrong about this? And if it’s about seeing her breasts I’m gonna break something
Akihiko bent down to the girl, his eyes in a panic. “Which ribs, Aigis?” The robot started pointing out the areas, but Akira kept trying to shoo them.
N: Which ribs?….Does it matter?
“Stay back!” She yelled.
“Akira, this is a serious injury!”
“It’s fine.” Akira tried to push herself back from the team’s reach. “I’ve had it for days and I’ve been fine.” Aigis scanned the girl again.
E: Oh, she’s had it for days. So she’s just kinda stupid.
“I confirm that this is true,” she said. “This injury has been present for 53 hours, 12 minutes-”
“Stop scanning me!” Akira grunted again.
C: It really bothers me for some reason!
“Akira!” Akihiko looked very upset. He reached for the girl again.
“Stop resisting. You need to get that injury looked at.”
“I said leave me alone!”
N: No I wanna run off and kill more Shadows!
This very word made Aigis very interested in human exchanges. Akihiko’s stern voice and hardened stare combined to create an interesting effect in Akira’s behavior. She gave into him very easily. Aigis had many new things to ponder and analyze tonight.
“Let’s get her back to base,” Mitsuru said. “We can take care of her injuries there. Afterwards, we have many matters to discuss with you, Narukami.”
E: Like what the hell the actual plot of this story is supposed to be.
The girl glared at something on the ground as Akihiko carefully help her up.
“Fine. But let’s get one thing straight ahead of time.” Her red eyes rose to Mitsuru’s, boiling over with anger and what Aigis guessed was submission. “My name isn’t Akira. It’s Aila Sonnel.”
C: Dun dun DUUUUUUU-how does this change anything?
… … … … … …
Well, look at that. A Sidestep that turned into a full chapter. :)
N: Then call it a chapter!
Sorry for the absence! But here’s the next part! For those of you that follow my other writings, you’ll notice that Aila Sonnel is the name of my heroine in the P4 fanfic. :0
E: So the reveal is exactly what everyone who hadn’t read that story would already be thinking. This is dumb.
C: Akira I mean Minako, I mean Jesus I mean Aila (Oi) ran off for poorly defined reasons, Mitsuru doesn’t trust her for poorly defined reasons, Shinji is a prick for poorly defined reasons, and the plot-do you see where I’m doing with this.
S: Wait, how does this work proplerly? I never really paid attention during the times I sat in.
E: Little tricky to explain, you see*Bang*. Uh. Another time.
M: An interesting trick. But one that merely delays the inevitable. I have defied fate and death, bent entire worlds to my will, and your parlor tricks are mere amusements to me. I will…what is that?
G: ERRRRRRRT! WE’RE HOME!
W: Sorry it took so long, we had a lot on our plate!
B: We found someone pretty interesting though, someone I think you’ll want to meet.
E: And who would that be?
?: John Freeman pointed white lantern rung at Namus and cried “this my weapon! Less slow than bullet!”
E: Oh you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.