988: Persona 3: Trade Me – Chapters 18 & Chapter 19 Part 1

Title: Persona 3: Trade Me
Author: Bayanette Winters
Media: Video Game
Topic: Persona
Genre: Romance/Adventure
URL: Chapter 18 & Chapter 19
Critiqued by Erttheking

Ert: Man how long is this fight going to go on for?

John Freeman Who was Gordon Freeman’s Brother: John freemen karateded chop Magnus in eye. For twelve day!

Manus: Miserable little-

Woods: Might be awhile.

Goeth: Shitty story time!

Chapter 15

(Song Counter: 18)

02/15/2014 3:45am

In his arms, Aila was so fragile.

Ert: Ah, Mary Sue cliche #5014. She can kick major ass in a fight, but she’s so fragile you guys! She needs to be protected!

(Mary Sue Counter: 33)

Shinjiro mused that it wasn’t like holding Minako; She had radiated immense strength when nearby. In the blubbering mess beneath him, he felt only fear and uncertainty. Aila didn’t raise her head for some time, and those feelings of weakness only grew.

Finally, the girl stirred. Absently, her hand went to his torso and pressed one of the spots where he’d been shot long ago. He flinched; the scar began to burn.

Woods: Yup, she totally isn’t Minako at all. That’s why we’re going to keep comparing the two every three seconds. Honestly, this just makes me feel like we could’ve had a much better main character.

“You gave up a lot for this team…,” Aila mumbled, raising her head. A smile that wasn’t her own spread warmly across her face. “…Senpai.” Shinjiro looked into those big red eyes and saw someone else for a moment-someone strong.

Goeth: So is a spirit trying to take over her or something? That’s the vibe I’m getting. And I don’t think the spirit filled out the proper paperwork.

Then, they flickered slightly. Aila was herself again. She yanked herself from his hold, rousing pain from her ribcage. She cried out, but kept Shinjiro at arm’s length.

Ert: With the way she keeps banging those broken ribs of hers, I’m surprised she hasn’t gotten a bone stuck in a vital organ. Also why did she do that?

“It’s fine,” she muttered. “Sorry about that….” Aila sighed to herself. Shinjiro noticed yet another change in the girl’s tone; now, she was the Akira he’d come to know.

Woods: Whose that? The bipolar Aila?

“Bipolar much?” He thought he said to himself. Aila laughed emptily.

Woods:…*Chucks Shinji a cookie*

“I know, right?” She straightened up. “This is just how it’s been for the past few months. Don’t take it too personally…I’ve got a lot of people in my head right now.” She tried to make it sound like a joke, but Shinjiro detected some truth in her words.

Ert: Usually “a lot” means more than two. So unless you’ve got a legion of souls fighting to take control of your brain, NO YOU DON’T!

“You alright?” He asked softly. He may have caused her to think that this was just an interrogation, but he genuinely cared for the girl’s well-being.

Goeth: He genuinely cared? Well, I had no idea!

Woods: Audience r dumb. Also I’m sure the girl with broken ribs who refuses to go to the hospital for some reason is just peachy.

“No.” Aila chuckled again. “But I’ll live. In the meantime, I have some things to explain to Akihiko and the others. Will you take me to them?”

The man nodded, not needing to ask any further questions.

Ert: Except all the important questions in the world. Namely “what the fuck is going on!?”

… … …

03/29/2014 8:32am

Aila entered the apartment, not surprised to see weeks and weeks worth of dirty dishes, laundry, and other items that she didn’t want to consider. Akihiko rubbed the back of his head awkwardly.

“Sorry for the mess,” he mumbled.’’

Ert: Ugh. Of course. Because Akihiko can’t clean up after himself. Because he’s a meathead.

“It’s alright,” Aila replied quietly. She’d have to clean this mess up before Shinjiro moved in. It was hilarious to the girl that the great Kirijo Head thought both she and Akihiko needed a babysitter. But what could she do? Thoughtfully, she stared into a pile of the silverette’s sweatpants and wondered how she should handle the untrusting Mitsuru from that point on.

Woods: Considering that apparently this world’s version of Akihiko apparently can’t perform simple household chores and I’m convinced Aila has a self destructive personality, it’s really not that funny.

“I’ll help pick things up,” Akihiko stated. He began to toss loads of clothing into his arms.

“It’s alright,” Aila insisted. She approached his side and took the laundry from him. “I’ve gotten behind on my chores, anyway. And now that my ribs have healed alright, I can actually be of use to the team…and to you.”

Ert: Wait, a month plus a bit has passed since she came back. Has she not been to her apartment since then?

Goeth: TIME FLUCTUATIONS OFF THE PORT BOW!

There was a slight emphasis on the last word to which Aila waited expectantly for a return response. She felt awkward when she didn’t receive one, she attempted to walk away. However, just before she could take her first step, she felt a head plop against her shoulder blade. The force of the drop nearly knocked her over. She had to release the laundry and turn to catch Akihiko before he could collapse to the floor. When she somehow managed to catch them both, Aila called out to him. She received only a loud snore; he’d actually fallen asleep standing up.

Woods: Akihiko just turned into Siegmeyer out of nowhere. If you’re so tired that you actually fall asleep on your feet, I’d think that you’d show it before you fall over. People usually don’t go from awake and active to asleep without any in-between.

“Akihiko!” She hissed. Another long, noisy sound escaped the back of the boy’s throat. Aila grunted; she couldn’t hold him up for long. “How much do you weigh?”

Goeth: News flash! Top heavy body builders weight a lot! More at eleven.

She struggled to find a place to put him down and realized that the only place close enough was their bleached pearl couch.

Ert: Oh gawd.

With all of her strength, she pushed Akihiko towards the cushions. He tipped over, but brought Aila with him. The girl squealed as she landed on top of her friend’s hard, chiseled muscles (honestly, did he ever wear a shirt?). One of his arms wrapped over her waist. She became instantly anchored to him. “A-Akihiko!”

Ert: Well, this is completely and utterly unexpected, not forced and totally necessary!

“Mmmmm,” he hummed. Aila huffed in frustration, plopping her head on his pectoral in defeat. What did she ever do to deserve this?

Woods: *Unrolls paper* You want an answer to that honey?

Suddenly, a sound hit her ears like a cannon. It was Akihiko’s heart, pounding slowly, but powerfully. The beats were even and solid, and Aila was completely entrapped by its melody. A sneaking thought told her that she’d heard this sound before, but she tried to repress it. Couldn’t she just enjoy this moment without being interrupted by someone else’s thoughts?

Goeth: No heartbeat is “like a canon”.

After some time trying to wriggle out of Akihiko’s hold, Aila felt some of his drowsiness sink through her. Despite being on her stomach with her head twisted uncomfortably over massive muscles, the boy was really warm, lulling Aila into a deep sleep.

Ert: I didn’t know that drowsiness was contagious. Also, yeah, this sounds like a nice position to fall asleep in.

… … …

Unknown Time

“Welcome to the Velvet Room….”

Aila’s eyes lit up. “Theo!” It’d been weeks since she’d seen him.

Woods: And this is important to her. Somehow. Because they had a handful conversations.

“Greetings, Miss Aila.” The white-haired gentleman bowed. Aila nearly missed the other man at the table.

“Hello to you, too, Igor.”

“Welcome,” the long-nosed face greeted her again. “We’ve asked you here because there is a matter we wished to discuss.”

“Of course. What can I help with?”

“We’ve noticed that you’ve started using your ability to summon additional Personas,” Theodore said. “However, we weren’t able to detect which one you’d chosen and were hoping that you could enlighten us.”

Woods: Igor really sucks at his job in this story. He hasn’t really done much of anything and even when he does he doesn’t do it properly.

“Oh, well…. If I remember right, his name was Thanatos.”

There was a silence at the table. Theodore looked absolutely shocked, and even Igor’s eyes widened for a moment. Then, the man started cackling.

“I see that there is much we have missed regarding your…situation, honored guest.”

Goeth: I really should’ve noticed it the first time, but management here just stopped caring.

“Wh-what do you mean?” Aila hadn’t thought it was so strange that she’d summoned Thanatos; he was the first Persona that had come to her mind.

Ert: Does Fate not exist anymore?

“Thanatos is,….” Theodore looked like his tongue had been cut out by the creature. Igor quickly waved at him.

“What my assistant means to say is that we are not permitted to meddle in you path.” Aila had never seen Igor glare before, but it was downright blood-stilling when he directed it at the blue attendant. Theodore swiftly became silent.

Woods: We need to keep bullshit secrets going for as long as possible in order to make the eventual reveal all the more disappointing.

“Well, is it bad that I summoned him?”

“I admire that you give such personality to your Personas.” Theo was trying to change the subject (referring to her uses of “him” and “she” when speaking of the creatures), to which he got another glare from his master.

“It is not ‘bad’,” Igor assured. “It is just…an interesting choice. I eagerly await what happens as you continue your journey for the truth.”

Goeth: We have decided that that is what your journey was towards. Like I said, management doesn’t really care anymore. Heck, I’m high as a kite right now.

Ert: Searching for the truth? *Sigh* so in other words we’re ripping off Persona 4 concepts now. Goody.

… … …

12:06pm.

As Aila opened her eyes, her vision blurry from her nap, and saw a black figure sitting on the floor beside the couch. Though she couldn’t totally make out its shape, she could tell that it was meant to be a human. She jumped, interrupting Akihiko’s snore. The figure let out a gentle laugh before fading.

Woods: Interrupting a snore is hilarious. I guess. Also it’s possible. How do you do it? Unno.

Then, the lock on the door started jiggling. Akihiko began rolling back towards the rear cushions, releasing his arm’s hold over his nap-buddy’s waist. Aila quickly climbed over him and fell onto the floor. The door unlocked and opened up.

“Anyone home?” Shinjiro called. Aila swiftly stood up from the floor, straightening her shirt and jeans. The tall brunette gave his friend a strange glance.

Ert: Well at least we don’t have to go through the annoying song and dance of him finding them in an awkward position and him getting pissy because love triangle.

“Hey,” she greeted. Shinjiro looked to Akihiko and sighed.

“On the couch, huh?” He dropped his duffle bag onto the floor and approached the sofa. “Geez, this guy is something.”

Goeth: Sleeping. Where does he get off?

“Yeah.” Aila looked down at the silverette. He had one arm cradling his head and the other pinned between his chest and the couch. His normally stern and serious face was absolutely at peace. It made him look years younger, like a sweet, carefree child. “He’s kinda cute when he sleeps like that.”

Woods: Oh just bone already.

“Tch.” Shinjiro made the noise, but it didn’t cover up his chuckle. “The idiot just hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in a long time.”

Ert: I checked up on him every night to make sure. Apparently.

The man bent down to throw his best friend’s arm over his shoulder. “Help me get to his bedroom.” Aila did as he requested (though her little arms didn’t do very much of the work to move the protein-fueled monstrosity).

Goeth: It seems that she is tiny all of a sudden. Fluctuations like this are rather problematic.

When the boy was dropped onto his mattress, she hurried out to pick up what she could of the front-room’s mess. Shinjiro returned a few moments later.

“Sorry about this,” she muttered, tossing most of the laundry into a nearby basket. She’d take it to get cleaned later, she decided. At that moment, she just wanted to ensure that Shinjiro’s sleeping area was cleared up for the night. The refrigerator door opened.

Woods: The cleaning methods in this story are a little on the loose side.

Ert: In description or in making sense?

Woods: Yes.

“You eat yet?” He asked.

“No, not yet.” Aila moved the basket out of sight behind of the couch’s arm. Shinjiro started taking ingredients out of the fridge and moving them to the counter. It took only a few moments for him to get something started.

“I’ll make some for Aki, too,” he muttered as he sautéed some fresh vegetables. “The idiot will probably be hungry when he’s up.”

“We should put some meat in there.” Aila went to the freezer for a small package.

“He needs his vegetables,” Shinjiro argued. “That kid gets more than enough meat with those beef bowls he likes…and those disgusting protein shakes.”

Goeth: Protein protein protein protein! Akihiko does ALL the protein

“Still, he’ll complain if we don’t at least put some form of protein in there.” Aila started to run hot water over the package and waited patiently for it to thaw. Something in the shape or the smell of the meat made Aila think back to her Persona problem.

Ert: Just smack random things together! We don’t need any rhyme or reason!

What had been so strange to Theo and Igor? She thought that they were in charge of all of the monster-summoning stuff. Why did they think it strange that she brought forth…. “Thanatos.” It was a name that made weak creatures quake in fear, and the beast had a form to match. Maybe the size and strength of the creature was what made it so interesting to Igor? Aila wasn’t entirely sure, but had a feeling that she couldn’t just ask him about it.

Woods: Size and strength? There are dozens of personas that are stronger than Thanatos. Abaddon, the arch angels, Surt, Mot, Trumpeter, Mara,, Asura, Vishnu, Metatron, Seth, Shiva and Beelzebub just to name SOME.

“You say somethin’?” Shinjiro called over. Aila shook her head and shut off the water.

“No.” She hurriedly opened the package and started dicing the meat inside. It was still mostly frozen and stubbornly fought against Aila’s knife. She tried her best to stab through it, but instead ended up cutting a long red line into her fingertip. She hissed.

Woods: Can we add no self control to her list of characteristics.

“What happened?” Shinjiro set his pan down and glanced back at her. Aila didn’t answer; she instead stared between her open skin and the blade. How many times before had she been in a similar situation? She must’ve hurt herself dozens of times with sharp objects. And yet, she’d never seen her injuries like this before….

Ert: Hurt herself dozens of times with sharp objects? They’re just throwing things out left and right.

“Hey.” The brunette companion hurried to put a paper towel on her wound. Aila snapped out of her trance. “Dammit, kid, you won’t be happy until you’re in the hospital again.” He forced her to sit at the bar and put pressure on her cut. Aila watched him re-sanitize the knife and start dicing the meat himself.

Goeth: It seems that she really isn’t.

“Shinjiro,….” Aila began, but couldn’t finish. What she wanted to discuss was rather unsettling. Shinjiro glanced up at her patiently, then gave a small laugh. Aila rose her brows at it. “What?”

“You’re a weird kid.”

“Wh-what do you mean?”

“I ain’t giving you a hard time, so relax. I just think it’s weird that you don’t use ‘san’ or ‘Senpai’.”

Woods: Why is it? Your relationship really isn’t that formal and you’re not really in a position for you to be her Senpai.

“Oh, the honorifics…” Aila thought about it for a moment. “Well, my mom and I never really used them with others. It’s something she picked up from America when she and my dad were still together.”

Woods: Of course she did. So she’s half American too.

(Mary Sue Counter: 34)

“Did they split?”

Ert: I’m gonna say DOY!

“Yeah.” Aila found it strange that she was talking about the normal parts of her past and not the ones that involved monsters or Dark Hours. “They weren’t very good for each other. They fought all of the time-mostly about how to raise me. When they finally separated for good, my mom got custody of me. It was not the best idea….”

“Was she crazy or something?” Shinjiro started heating up the meat in another pan.

“To put lightly…yes. For the first few years after the divorce, half of my father’s investigation cases involved the crazy stunts she pulled. It was only after she stopped moving around and changing our names that we finally had Minako living with us.”

Goeth: So the American divorce system is a mess? Meh, nothing new there.

Woods: Seriously, how did this woman get custody?

“And what was that like?” Shinjiro put his food down on a simmer, leaning up against the counter and turning his full attention to Aila.

“It was some of the best times of my life.” Aila beamed at the memories. “Minako was like sister to me. She encouraged me to follow my dreams, she listened to me when I had problems, and she protected me from bullies-including my mother. Having her around was the only normal childhood that I ever had.”

Ert: She was everything to me! Because I need to be related to the main character! Because that’s the thing with Mary Sues. They can’t be regular characters. Everything about them needs to be

“Seems like you two got along pretty well.”

“Most times. Usually, she annoyed the crap out of me. She was always pushing me to do things that I didn’t want to. I used to really enjoy singing and I remember her badgering me to enter a choir class with her. She harassed me into getting one of the concert solos, but I was so nervous that I faked sick just to avoid the performance. It took weeks for me to forgive her for stunts like that.” Shinjiro let out a long laugh. It was warm and throaty-something that Aila thought Akihiko would wake up to.

Goeth: Dis is how we have de character development right? We talk about incidents? We try to do de be relatable?

“Believe me, I understand,” he said. “She was always doing crap like that to me.”

“She was just so stubborn!” Aila agreed. “And pushy and downright….”

“Obnoxious?”

“Yes!” They both shared a chuckle. Suddenly, Aila’s face fell.

Ert: We have so much in common! LOOK! LOOK AT THE COMMON WE HAVE! WE HAVE A TOTALLY CONVINCING RELATIONSHIP!

“Then…the day she left…I had this dreadful feeling that I’d never see her again. I felt guilty for every time I ever yelled or cursed at her and prayed to God that I’d get the chance to apologize.” Aila saw the knife in the corner of her eye and her question from earlier rose to her throat:

Woods: Yeah that time she left because of *mumbles* and didn’t contact me because of *mumbles*.

“Shinjiro, do you think there’s a God?”

Ert: Yeah there is. And he’s a dick.

YHVH everyone.

Shinjiro gave the stove a long, hard look-probably memorizing where the dirt spots were for clean-up later. “I don’t know.”

Aila removed the paper towel from her finger, glaring at her cut. “I don’t either. But the more I see things like Shadows and Personas…and the more visions I have of Nyx from Minako’s last moments…the Earth starts to feel pretty lonely.”

Goeth: You know pretty much all mythologies are true in the SMT universe. They really should know how the universe

Shinjiro didn’t have the words to comfort her. In truth, he’d been wondering the same thing for a long time.

“It starts to hurt, you know?” Aila went on. “When I think of what she’s done for the world and it’s people, I realize that I could never do something like that. Really, I don’t think anyone else on this planet could sacrifice what she did.”

Ert: I CAN’T BE JESUS! WAH!

She squeezed her finger and more blood pooled out. “When does it become worth it?”

“What?”

“Life. When does it become worth living?

Woods: NO! STOP! YOU AREN’T TALENTED ENOUGH! You are not talented enough to navel gaze about the purpose of life! You aren’t Friedrich Nietzsche!

I guess I caught glimpses when I met new people and made new friends, but they all seem so fleeting and fragile. When is it time to muscle your way through life’s hardships and…when is it time to just throw in the towel and say ‘f*ck it’.”

Woods: Oh come on. Say the word. Don’t censor it, brings things grinding to a halt.

Shinjiro didn’t even flinch at her unlady-like language, but something sure froze him in his tracks.

Goeth: Is being unladylike a big thing for her?

There was a long collective silence, which Aila felt made her point grow stronger. This was what she’d been afraid of: no one could answer life’s questions. No one could argue in favor of living.

Ert: Oh fuck you. See this is why Nietzsche is shaking his head at you in his grave. He pointed out that the ultimate tragedy of life is that we’re all doomed to die, but he didn’t just say “wah life has no purpose!” Honestly!

Aila reached over the pick up the knife and looked at her reflection in its blade. Shinjiro watched her carefully; but something in his gaze told Aila that he didn’t think she’d do anything stupid with it.

“I used to ask myself ‘what would Minako do?’. Then, when I finally realized that I will never be like her, I started asking, ‘what’s the point?’ instead.”

Woods: Oh, so that’s why radical Christian groups have given up trying to emulate Jesus.

Goeth: Her bi-polar tendencies are kicking in again. We’re gonna need some pills for this.

Ert: Those are tranquilizers. Why do you even have those?

Goeth: Sometimes I need help getting to sleep. Sleeping pills don’t do it.

Shinjiro stood up, his hands in his pockets and his back hunched over. “I guess that’s something that you’ll have to find out yourself.” Aila looked up at him as he reached out his hand for the knife. Aila glanced at it, then at Shinjiro. “Until then, they have pills for stuff like that.” The girl started to laugh aloud.

Ert: Right on medicine you little freak! Speaking as someone who is ON pills, you ease depressed people a little more into the concept of pills a little easier than that.

“I guess you’re right.” She carefully passed the blade to her friend. Shinjiro took the knife and set it in the sink. Then, he gave the girl a small, kind smile.

“You’ll be alright,” he promised. “You’re more like your cousin than you think.”

Woods: Minako doesn’t sound that charming.

“Pfft, right. Thanks for the thought, anyway.” Aila brushed off his compliment.

“I ain’t joking.” His lips fell back into his serious line and he gestured his head towards the bedrooms. “It takes a damn good person to put up with Aki’s crap.”

Goeth: Why is it “normal” people always need to insult others to make themselves feel better.

Ert: Long story.

“Hahaha,” Aila giggled. “I think that makes you a pretty damn good person, too.” Shinjiro gave a “tch” and started serving up their lunch. Aila felt her heart warm as she stared at the man’s sturdy back and also as she glanced towards Akihiko’s room. She took some solace in the fact that these feelings-like her questions regarding God and life-were her own. She had an old, lingering hope that this could lead her to the answers she’d been seeking, and to the ideal person that she wanted to become.

Woods: Did we just have a Twin Humanities style character arc? A “Hey, this person is different now because they overcame insecurities I just said they had!” arc? We did didn’t we. Oi. Well, chapter over. And song.

(Song Counter: 19)

04/15/2014 9:50pm

“Why do I have to?” Ken asked. He gave Mitsuru a childish pout-something he had tried to grow out of long ago.

“Because,” Mitsuru replied, testing the balance of her weapon in her palm, “I need Akihiko and Shinjiro with me on this mission tonight. Yamagishi picked up some strong Shadow readings by the strip.”

Goeth: Is Ken acting like he’s actually really mature and then acting immature normal for him?

Ert: Yes.

Goeth: And they’re not taking Aila on the mission because?

Ert: Raisins.

Goeth: Works for me!

“I’m powerful,” Ken agreed. “I can help you guys out a ton if you’ll let me!”

“Amada.” Mitsuru put a hand on the boy’s shoulder. “I know why you’re resisting: you don’t have to be afraid of being near Sonnel. She may look like Arisato, but you cannot let that deter you from your duties. I need someone with your strength and skills to watch out for her.”

Ken knew at that point that he’d have to give in, so he nodded and readied for his post.

Woods: Well, good talk guys. Scene over!

… … … …

11:47pm

Aila was surrounded by her two male roommates outside of the apartment. Ken thought that she looked too comfortable with Shinjiro and Akihiko. As far as he was concerned, the girl was an imposter.

Goeth: Shoehorn in all the conflict!

Not only that, but she was a heart-wrenching reminder of his first love.

Ert:…Ken was ten when Minako was alive. Pardon me.

He wouldn’t like her-he refused to like her, no matter what the others thought.

Ert: Ken is not and will never be endearing.

“Stay out of trouble, okay?” Shinjiro told the half-brunette as the team prepared to leave.

“Call me if you’re in trouble,” Akihiko added. “I won’t be far.”

Woods: And lights out by nine!

“Alright,” Aila said. “Please be safe out there you two.” The men nodded, then exited. Reluctantly, Ken led Aila back into her apartment. He had wished that Aigis could’ve taken his place instead, but since Aila’s recovery, the robot girl had been strictly put on Shadow-hunting duty. He tried not to grumble to himself as he entered Aila’s kitchen.

Goeth: They pretty much singled him out as the most worthless team member. It’s hilarious. Hey Ken! Why don’t you go ask mommy to make them take you with them!

“Would you like something to drink?” the girl offered suddenly. Ken was startled, but tried not to show it. He calmly set his lance lengthwise across the bar.

“No, thanks,” he returned. Aila nodded.

“I think that I want some milk.” She headed to the fridge, pulling out a large jug.

“You like milk?” The boy couldn’t resist asking.

Ert: Yeah Ken drank milk. In one optional scene. So of course we gotta bring that up.

“Yeah,” she replied with a smile. “With any luck, maybe I’ll muster one last growth spurt….” Ken observed that, when standing, he was her same height-despite her being much older. He felt that he had a lot more growing to do, but as for Aila….

The girl caught the thoughtful look in his face. “Hm, maybe you’re right. At my age, I’m probably stuck at this height.” She sighed dramatically. Ken smiled-just a smidge.

Woods: Repeat what happened with Ken in that one scene because…it makes them relate?

Just as Aila recapped the jug, Ken’s watch beeped and everything turned blue. Aila’s hands stopped moving and a look of panic crossed her face. It only lasted long enough for Ken to breathe in once, then her expression returned to normal.

“So,” she went on, putting the milk away. “Do you want to play a game or something?”

“I’m not a kid.” His reply was almost instantaneous. Aila met his eyes, but he didn’t hold the gaze for long. Those damn red eyes were too much for his heart to handle.

Ert: You have to be a kid to play games? *Grabs Ken* SAY THAT TO MY FACE!

“I know you’re not,” Aila said seriously. This surprised Ken. “Believe me when I say that I’ve been in the same boat as you. Way back in the day, my cousin used to treat me like her kid-sister…and all just because I was a couple years younger than her.”

Ken’s fists clenched at his sides. “I don’t want to talk about her.” Aila went very quiet.

Goeth: We having an “emotional moment”?

Ert: Looks that way. *Puts on sleeping mask* Let me know when it’s over.

“Of course. I’m sorry.” She moved from the counter to the front-room window. Ken noticed a bed pillow and some large indents in the couch beside her, like someone had been sleeping there. Aila stared out at something. She was there for a long time, rousing Ken’s curiosity. He followed her to the window, unable to see what whatever she did.

“I know you didn’t want to be here,” Aila whispered at last. In the silence of the Dark Hour, he couldn’t miss a single word that escaped her lips. “I know that just looking at me brings you pain and anger. I understand…”

“How could you possibly understand?” Ken knew he was supposed to “play nice” with this girl, but he’d just about had it with playing games. “How could you possibly relate to how I feel?!” Aila drew her gaze to him.

Woods: I feel like we’ve done this about three times before now. Do we really need to do it again? It was stale the first time and it hasn’t exactly gotten any fresher since.

“She really did care for you, Ken, with all of her heart.” Her dead serious tone shook the boy to the bone. He took a step back.

“St-stop that!” He ordered. “Stop doing that right now! You can pretend to remember her with all of the others, but you can’t do that with me!”

Goeth: So he thinks she’s lying? Aw well, classic case of denial.

“If I could stop the memories from coming, I would.” Aila returned her gaze to the outside world. “I just wanted you to know about this. Not everyone appears in her memories, and not all of us get to find out what her true feelings were for them in her final moments.” At that, the boy almost felt sorry for Aila. She looked as though her heart was heavy enough to start dragging her entire body down. The weight appeared to be unbearable. Even through his own misery, he slowly realized that he didn’t really hate this girl; he only despised the feelings that she stirred inside of his own heart. He opened his mouth-but whether for a question or an apology, he’d never know.

Ert: Character conflict solved in three seconds! Hooray. Sadly we’re gonna have to cut it short here. We didn’t have as much time as most weeks and this is a point where a rather lengthy section starts. So we’re just gonna stop here.

John Freeman: John Freeman used Wite Lanturn Rung! It hit Magnus hard!

Manus: Did you just…throw your ring at me!?

Goeth: Pass the popcorn.

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35 Comments on “988: Persona 3: Trade Me – Chapters 18 & Chapter 19 Part 1”

  1. GhostCat says:

    Don’t take it too personally…I’ve got a lot of people in my head right now.

    Pfffft! Amateur.

  2. Delta XIII says:

    Woods: Akihiko just turned into Siegmeyer out of nowhere.

    Or a Genome Soldier.

  3. Herr Wozzeck says:

    In the blubbering mess beneath him, he felt only fear and uncertainty

    And meanwhile, the rest of us just felt severe annoyance.

  4. Herr Wozzeck says:

    “Bipolar much?” He thought he said to himself.

    *ALARM BLARES, THEN SHUTS OFF, THEN BLARES AGAIN, AND THEN SHUTS OFF AGAIN*

    *leans forward*

    Hm… I don’t think the DRD alarm can decide whether or not that’s a redundancy…

  5. Herr Wozzeck says:

    It was hilarious to the girl that the great Kirijo Head thought both she and Akihiko needed a babysitter.

    Well, technically, a babysitter is also supposed to keep people from running away from home. Therefore…

  6. Herr Wozzeck says:

    And now that my ribs have healed alright, I can actually be of use to the team…and to you.

    *frown*

    Wait, what? When did that happen!?

  7. Herr Wozzeck says:

    When she somehow managed to catch them both, Aila called out to him.

    *narrows eyes*

    Show, don’t tell!

  8. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Suddenly, a sound hit her ears like a cannon. It was Akihiko’s heart, pounding slowly, but powerfully.

    *snerk*

    Is Aila secretly an anthropomorphic bat? What is this!?

  9. Herr Wozzeck says:

    “We’ve noticed that you’ve started using your ability to summon additional Personas,” Theodore said. “However, we weren’t able to detect which one you’d chosen and were hoping that you could enlighten us.”

    *spittake*

    I–WHAT!?!?

    You weren’t able to detect the one she’d chosen? HOW!? She has to fuse them all through Igor and buy any additional ones from you, right? Unless she just didn’t do that, but then how the fuck did she do that!? What the fuck even is this!?!?

    *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

  10. Herr Wozzeck says:

    When the boy

    *headdesk*

    WHY DOES THE NARRATION KEEP REFERRING TO AKIHIKO AS A BOY!?!?

  11. Herr Wozzeck says:

    At that moment, she just wanted to ensure that Shinjiro’s sleeping area was cleared up for the night.

    The night!? But you literally just showed us that the time was 12:06 P.M.! That means it’s technically just after noon, why was it cleared up for the night!?

  12. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Aila started to run hot water over the package and waited patiently for it to thaw.

    *headdesk*

    Aila fails at cooking.

    First off, she’s running hot water over that package, when she should be running cold water. Sure, hot water sounds like a good idea, but depending on the type of meat (which could be anything, considering that the meat was not described), the hotness of the water could actually cook the meat a little bit given how long you need to keep the meat under there. Not something you want, right? It’s a much better idea to use a microwave to do that, and even that is an option that leaves me wary since that can do the same thing. But it’s more reliable than running goddamn hot water over it!

    Besides, if Akihiko really does eat as much protein as the fic says he does, he’d logically have at least one piece of protein sitting in the fridge. So why is she going for what’s in the freezer?

    Also, if she’s thawing it out now while those veggies are busy being sauteed, those veggies are gonna go cold before the meat is done cooking unless it’s a kind of meat she can cook super rare like tuna or even some cuts of steak. Even when you cook a piece of meat you pulled out of the fridge, it’s usually recommended that you wait at least twenty minutes for the meat to come up to room temperature: it cooks more evenly that way. Frozen? Forget it!

    *headdesk*

    Taco, come share the pain with me!

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      She hurriedly opened the package and started dicing the meat inside. It was still mostly frozen and stubbornly fought against Aila’s knife. She tried her best to stab through it, but instead ended up cutting a long red line into her fingertip. She hissed.

      Okay, so she took it while it was still not totally thawed (brilliant idea!), and then she tried to stab through the meat? Has she not heard of cutting it like a saw in a tree? Because that is what I typically do when faced with this situation.

      And really? Cutting a long red line into her fingertip, and she hisses in response? Honey, the pain of cutting yourself with a knife sharp enough to dice meat is usually severe enough to warrant more than just a goddamn hiss.

      Also, I hope she likes the feeling of getting droplets of hot oil splashed in her face, ’cause that’s what is gonna happen if she tosses the meat into the pan in its current state.

      • Herr Wozzeck says:

        Aila watched him re-sanitize the knife and start dicing the meat himself.

        Thank you, Shinji. Keep the idiot who can’t cook away from the kitchen.

        (I also love how he doesn’t even apply a disinfectant to Aila’s wound (which would be doubly important when cutting yourself with a knife that has been cutting [ERROR: MEAT NOT IDENTIFIED]). It’s like even the fic is starting to realize how shit a character Aila is.)

      • Herr Wozzeck says:

        Shinjiro put his food down on a simmer,

        *headdesk*

        And now Shinji sucks at cooking, too. What reason would you ever put a pan on simmer for when there isn’t any fucking liquid in the pan? You know that ‘simmer’ is called such because it involves cooking liquid just under boiling point, right? So where the hell is the liquid you’re talking about? ‘Cause I didn’t see you put it in!

  13. Herr Wozzeck says:

    She squeezed her finger and more blood pooled out.

    *headdesk*

    Does anyone feel like telling our author why this makes no sense?

    • erttheking says:

      The only time I can ever think of that making sense is the one time my mother accidently got stuck with a used needle and she tried to get the “bad” blood out before it got too far into her bloodstream. Not a high chance of success and she knew that, but she tried anyway.

  14. Herr Wozzeck says:

    This was what she’d been afraid of: no one could answer life’s questions. No one could argue in favor of living.

    Oh, I’ll give you an argument in favor of dying.

    Aila-Sue, meet Ulrich-Stu.

  15. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Ken was ten when Minako was alive.

    Hey, at least it wasn’t like Aria around Stupard 2.0 in From another world.

      • Herr Wozzeck says:

        And honestly, to be fair, it could be like one of those childhood crushes you can sometimes get on an older person. Granted, Ken isn’t the type to do that from what I’ve seen of him in Persona 3, but it’s possible.

        • erttheking says:

          Yeah here’s the thing. Ken isn’t refering to it as a crush. He’s refering to it as true love. Also I know in game every single person of the opposite gender in Persona wants to jump your bones, but it was also really silly and doesn’t transition well. Heck, the Persona 4 animation made FUN of it.

        • Herr Wozzeck says:

          Ah, fair enough.

  16. Herr Wozzeck says:

    “So,” she went on, putting the milk away. “Do you want to play a game or something?”

    “I’m not a kid.” His reply was almost instantaneous.

    *growl*

    Yo, Fraug! You mind telling this idiot what we did Sunday while we were at Epic Loot?

  17. TacoMagic says:

    “Did they split?”

    Naw, my father got the call from Muton Gorblak and had to rejoin the hivemind. I’m sure you can relate.


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