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Fall With The Petals

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – Escape - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzB5lxOM9o0)

??? – ??? – ???

The first thing the masses of gamblers and dealers heard were alarm sirens.

As numerous adults, dealers and guards alike darted around the plethora of flashing video lights and siren alarms, a shadow blurred from one chandelier to another. A warm wind swept the land he walked on, as if igniting the air itself. It wasn’t until this shadowy figure was spotted up on a grandiose, crystalline chandelier.

“Look! What’s she doing up there?!”

Indeed, a decently sized female – likely 5’5” – stood on top of the chandelier, leaning over the pole keeping it suspended in a cocky fashion. She was dressed in a hot plethora of pink and red, the fuzzy pink parts of the suit looking like feathers while the red suit looked incredibly flamboyant, the suit giving clear visage to her breast cleavage. Finally, a pink mask with pink sakura motifs was on her face, while her long, black hair was flowing gently.

And the kicker? She had a briefcase that most certainly did not belong to her.

Suddenly, several guards dressed in all-black business suits glared at the flamboyant woman, who leaped to another chandelier to avoid any further attention. As she continued to dart along with grace and precision, the earpiece crackled alive as a boyish voice spoke.

(Music Playing – Life Will Change - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToDHGKykPh8)

“Alright, I have no doubt you’re in the clear from here, Phoenix! Get over to the rendezvous point and we’ll high-tail it outta here!”

“You sound pretty sure in this plan, Mona…”

“Of course I would be, Dragon! Queen planned everything, after all.”

“C-Come now, enough with the flattery…”

As this mysterious Phoenix continued to dart along the chandeliers and signs, the radio continued to crackle with voices.

“Be careful Phoenix, I’m sensing some powerful enemies to your right. You’re gonna have to go the long way.”

“Hmph, you seem to be attentive today, Oracle. That’s more than I can say for Skull, for certain.”

“Oh, shaddup Inari! Like you’re any better!

“With all due respect Skull, he does seem to be better.”

“What the – Noir?! C’mon, Crow, help me out here!”

“No offense when I say this Skull, but… it seems to be the truth. Hehe.”

“Ugh, you’re all jerks…”

As the crimson-clad burglar finally reached the balcony, three guards finally showed up down the stairs… only with a blink of an eye, one of them seemed to be a shadow-encroached being with a devilish mask.

*krzzt*

“Comparing power levels… ah, he’s nothing. Go get ‘em, Phoenix!”

Leaping on top of the demonic figure and ripping off his mask gave way to a behemoth, elephant creature with a giant blade. Bellowing loudly, the crimson-clad beauty proceeded ripped off her mask in a spectacular blue light.

“Come forth! Konohana Sakuya!

A blazing red fire proceeded to incinerate the behemoth to ashes, leaving nothing in its wake but charred demon flesh and dissipated shadows. As the two other guards took a step back from the display of arcane might, the thief proceeded to dart past the guards before they even noticed.

“What the actual… what is it we’re dealing with here?!” The guard immediately turned on the comms device. “Send backup, now! We have an armed robbery on the scene!”


(Music Playing – Run Away ~ Arrest - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jG6gI1MvO2A)

Everything was going according to plan.

The young, masked girl cracked a smile thinking this to herself, even with the shouting, gun-toting guards hot on her trail. As she evaded a few other guards with the help of Oracle, she was finally on the final floor, only to find a balcony separating her from the glass window.

“Oracle,” Phoenix pressed the comms device to her ear. “I thought this was an escape route!”

It is an escape route, you just gotta get over the window!”

Phoenix rolled her eyes as a bullet whizzed past her left ear, prompting her to jump from one chandelier over to the wall, trailing over the catwalk until she was right on top of the second chandelier. Just in time, too; right as the young girl made her first steps on the glass-caked decoration, several guards – fully armed and loaded – were pointing at her.

Phoenix cracked a devilish smile. This was what she lived for.

“Seeya!”

Much to the shock of the audience below, she jumped out the window, the glass pane shattering and she flew down and landed with perfect precision.

“Woah… is she for real?!”

“Even by her standards, that’s just excessive…”

“Wow. She really is a show-off…”

Dusting off some glass on her outfit, she pressed the comms device once again to give a status report, bearing a cocksure grin and all.

“I got the briefcase. See you back at the rendezvous point.”

*KCCH* *KCCH* *KCCH*

“Wh-What the hell is that?!”

“No way… is that the police?!”

“How… how did the police get here?! That shouldn’t be possible!”

Indeed, the fully armed SWAT team was here and very much ready to take down the lone phantom thief. Her eyes widened as she saw a guard – likely the captain, if anything – step forward and give the order to his men.

“After her! Don’t let her escape!”

Suddenly, a mass of armored cops swarmed on her.

Everything else was sort of a blur after that.

After hearing the panicked cries from Dragon, her attempt to escape via the fire escape was met with failure when the butt of a shotgun slammed her back down to earth. As she felt cold metal cuff her arms and wrist, and as she felt herself grow dizzy and light-headed from a syringe, her last sight was a cocky smile from the police captain.

“Congratulations, bitch.” The cop sneered. “You’ve been sold out.”


??? – ??? – ???

(Music Playing – Interrogation - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmflOHXEw0I)

This all still felt so surreal to Yukiko Amagi.

It wasn’t even half a year ago when she was roped into this mess. After obtaining her power, she vowed to use it to bring the corrupt to justice, to change the hearts of people in power, so to speak. Granted, she was hardly surprised that she was now in this situation, handcuffed to a chair in a dinky interrogation room.

She was a bit too beautiful for that, at least she thought so; even when bruised and bloody, the young girl looked gorgeous, her black hair neatly flowing behind her head while her face – barring any obvious painful usages of fists and feet – was practically flawless. She was also dressed in her unique take on the female’s winter Shujin Academy outfit, only with a twist: instead of a black and red sailor fuku, the shirt was completely red with a yellow sailor tie tied to it. It didn’t exactly look all that different from her outfit back in Yasoinaba, truth be told.

Suddenly, the door creaked open, and two smirking cops came in.

“You comfortable yet, you little bitch?” The taller cop smirked. “You shouldn’t be. Because after all you’ve done, the last thing you deserve is a free pass.”

Yukiko remained silent through it all as the two men circled around her. Finally, the other man spoke.

“Your silence annoys the hell out of me.”

Suddenly, she felt a large fist punch her lights out. Yukiko gasped as blood trickled from her lips, but she barely had enough time to regain her breath as she was slammed into the desk and dropped on the floor.

Emitting a cry of pain, Yukiko looked onwards as the two police smiled with each other.

“Aw, what’s the matter?” The first cop said mockingly, clearly approving the second cop’s brutality. “Think we’re going to go easy on you just because you’re a woman?”

“Screw you.”

Yukiko felt a boot kick her in the mouth, further vomiting up her blood from the force. Immediately feeling the cop grip at her hair and throw her to the wall, the chair was broken somewhat and a part of her handcuffs slid free.

“That’s not nice,” the second cop said mockingly, clearly enjoying the feeling of superiority. “You really shouldn’t be talking to your seniors like that.”

Why shouldn’t I? Yukiko snarked in her head. You drugged me and are beating the crap out of me.

The first cop gave a motion, prompting the second cop to sigh and bring out a clipboard with a paper and pen on it.

“I suggest you sign this.” The first cop recommended from afar. “If you want any chance of getting out of here in one piece, I suggest you sign it.”

Yukiko glared at the cop. Immediately, she flipped the clipboard to the wayside.

“Tch… I see…”

The second cop immediately slammed his foot into Yukiko’s leg, prompting a loud scream of pain from the teenager. Cackling devilishly, he gave a sadistic smirk to the crying girl.

“I suggest you sign it… now.” The second cop threatened, finally loosening the pressure on her leg. “Unless you want you to lose your leg, of course.”

Immediately giving the clipboard back, it took a glare from the second cop for Yukiko to sigh and sign her name on the blank space.

I hereby accept the terms of this contract,

Yukiko Amagi

Rudely grabbing the clipboard from the girl, the two cops laughed with each other as Yukiko coughed some blood on the floor.

“By the way,” The second cop remarked cockily. “Don’t think you’ll walk out of here with all your limbs attached. Man or woman, all in this room will understand the gravity of their actions."

Immediately slamming the door in her face, Yukiko scoffed to herself.

“Jerks.”


The two cops, having left the interrogation room, banter heartily. The second cop gave a lecherous smirk to the first cop.

“You knooooooooow…” The second cop grinned devilishly. “She’s kind of a cute number. Maybe we can ‘play’ with her a little when no one’s watching, hmm…?”

The first cop grinned in response, smirking at the increasingly lecherous conversation. “Oh, I would love to do that. Granted, we’d still get fired for it, but who says we can’t do it when-“

Suddenly, a throat cleared from ahead.

“Gentlemen?”

The two cops turned to see a tall, silver-haired young woman dressed in a black cardigan and high heels standing in front of them. Both officers immediately saluted the young woman.

“Ma’am,” the first cop saluted before bowing in respect. “I’m afraid this is a restricted area. Please, we request that you-“

“That won’t be necessary,” the woman nodded, flashing a badge. “Sae Niijima, Chief Prosecutor. I request an interview with the young woman inside. I will only take a moment of your time.”

The second cop shook his head. “With all due respect Niijima-san, we’re not sure of what powers she possesses. It’d be best if you stopped and waited for-“

Suddenly, the phone rang.

“Ugh, who could it be now…?” Immediately flipping the phone open, she heard a familiar voice.

“Niijima, this case is outside your jurisdiction. Do you really have to schedule an interview now of all times?”

“I do,” Niijima nodded to the man on the phone. “With all due respect sir, I need to build my case for the trial.”

The weary man sighed over the phone. When there was something Niijima needed to do, she’d do it damnit. There was no use stopping her.

“Frankly, Niijima-san, you’re becoming an inconvenience.” The old man sighed. “Thirty minutes. That’s all the time you get. Over and out.”

*klik*

“And he said…?” The second cop inquired.

“I have an audience for thirty minutes,” Sae smirked, walking pass the two cops. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I believe you have a report to give to the chief officer."

“Tch…” the first cop cursed under his breath. “Fine. Don’t say we didn’t warn you if you get hurt.”

As soon as both cops left the scene, Sae Niijima bitterly cursed under her breath.

Those bastards, Niijima thought as she scanned an ID card for the interrogation room. We’re they actually considering on molesting a 16-year old? Unbelievable…

The door opened, and Sae thought it couldn’t get worse.

She was quite wrong about that.

Yukiko Amagi sat on the slightly damaged chair, bleeding and bruised heavily, all while breathing raggedly as her chest rose. She wasn’t just exhausted, the three syringes scattered on the floor indicated she was drugged.

Dear God, Sae looked on in mild horror. They would do this to a woman, no less a minor?

Sighing softly, she brought a wheeled chair over from the corner to meet Yukiko Amagi in the eye. Finally, she had an exclusive opportunity to talk with the Phantom Thieves’ leader herself.

“Are you lucid?” That was the first question to come from the Prosecutor.

“Y-Yeah,” Yukiko nodded. “I’m just a little roughed up is all. What is it that you need…?”

She’s coherent, but she’s clearly hazy. Sae sighed to herself. With the time limit she was given, she might as well get to the point.

“Tell me about that ‘other world’.”

Yukiko’s eyes widened briefly, shocked a little bit by the blatant question.

“What…” Yukiko stuttered for a moment. “What do you need to know?”

“Everything,” Sae sighed, placing the briefcase on the desk. “The whole story; how we’re you able to change hearts? Why are you in possession of such strange powers? And most importantly… what’s your motive for doing so? If you want any chance of leaving, I expect you to give me nothing but the truth.”

(Music Playing – Aria of the Soul - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Fc3PxsXzE)

Suddenly, a glowing blue butterfly flew across the room, shining ethereally as a voice whispered to the teenage girl.

This is truly an unjust game… your chances of winning are almost none…

The voice, familiar to a denizen of ‘that room’ herself, slowly grew into a more hopeful tone.

Even though you’re of the Priestess Arcana, you still possess the power to save the world… for the sake of all you care about, please… remember.

Such is the will of our master, Philemon.

Yukiko smirked softly at the prosecutor, feeling her will renewed.

“You wish to know the whole story? Fine.” Yukiko smiled mischievously. “It’s a long one, though.”

A very long one, thought Yukiko.

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – City Ambience - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElU8g7xi6ws)

April 9th, 2016 – Shibuya Line – 2:32 PM

Yukiko Amagi was a complex mess of emotions right now.

In short, there were three emotions in her mind vying for control right now: joy, anger and sadness. Yukiko was so conflicted as she sat on the train seats, her mind thinking about a thousand things at once as all other Tokyo natives discussed freely.

For starters, she was happy she could leave Yasoinaba. Born on December 8th, 1999, Yukiko was the heiress of the famous Amagi Inn, but she never felt happiness with everyone making the decisions for her. Not that her parents didn’t love her: they adored Yukiko and completely valued her happiness, but it’s just… she had no friends. She was always an outcast for her aloof nature, and being able to visit the bustling city of Tokyo was a very welcome and exciting change.

Two, she was incredibly angry at the same time. One late night in March, she was walking home from errands at Junes, only to find a woman screeching for help, and a grown man trying to force her into a car. What started as an attempt to get the man to back off ended with her being sued and sentenced to one year on probation in Tokyo. It completely infuriated her that such a miscarriage of justice can even happen, and the worst part is that nobody believes her side of the story. Apparently, the man was a popular politician.

Finally, she just felt sad. Less for herself, and more at looking her shocked, horrified parents in the eye who, despite tensions, she still loves, and them saying “how could you?” That hurt far more than any probation sentence could, and she almost wanted to cry for disappointing her parents like that.

It really sucks overall.

Adjusting her custom-made, red Shujin Academy outfit – the school she’ll be transferring to in less than a week – she sighed and flipped her raven black hair, until the announcer called out the destination.

Shibuya Square. This is Shibuya Square. All passengers watch your step before leaving the train.

Stepping outside, she was greeted with and overwhelming set of sensations: hundreds upon thousands of people squeezing each other crossing the street, the gargantuan cityscapes up yonder, and the famous Hachiko statue by the park.

It almost overwhelming enough that she didn’t notice her smartphone go off.

New app downloaded: Metaverse Navigator

“Huh?” Yukiko blinked a bit. She was confident she never downloaded any sort of app like this… though she had to hold in one of her infamous giggling fits: the logo was adorable!

Letting her curiosity get the better of her, she pressed the button.

And things got weird.

(Music Playing – Awakening (Persona 4 Edition) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9GikHvhukk (Note: music in this scene is on complete loop from 0:00 to 0:48)

Suddenly, time completely halted. Completely. Everyone stopped moving, people were walking and kids were still mid-air, and even the leaves were stationary. Yukiko stared at the scene in awe, until a burning bright, blue fire from afar caught her attention.

It was a blue figure, and it looked as though it had wings. Either way, it was completely engulfed in the blue flame… and it was staring directly at Yukiko.

My other self…

(Music Playing – City Ambience - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElU8g7xi6ws)

Suddenly, people were walking around like nothing happened.

“H-Huh?” Yukiko blinked, rubbing her eyes a bit. “Was that a bad day dream?”

Regardless, she looked down at the phone app with the devilish logo on it, and immediately dragged the app into the trash bin. Rubbing her eyes somewhat, she shook her head and brought up the directions to Yongen-Jaya, the location of where she’s supposed to stay.

“I’ve seen enough horror movies to know that app’s bad mojo…”


(Music Playing – Beneath the Mask - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2qXgnn9NV4 )

April 9th, 2016 – Café Leblanc, Yongen-Jaya – 2:58 PM

A small café with a flickering TV was in scene, with a skinny, bearded man with an apron wiping a coffee mug behind the counter. As he continued his activity, two elderly people were eyeing the TV news.

The latest incident regarding the series of Psychotic Breakdowns was a bus driver running down several pedestrians. The perpetrator is named Takumi Koyasu, age 48, and he has no memories of the incident.

The old lady sniffed a bit. “Goodness me, it’s almost never safe nowadays… it’s incredible to imagine these things are happening now.”

The old man chuckled in response to his wife. “Indeed. These sorts of things never happened when I was a young’un.”

The café owned sighed to himself. As the old couple continued to gab, he slowly made sure no specs of food were on his coffee mugs – the basic rule to a good cup of coffee was a clean mug, after all. His focus was on point that he didn’t notice the door creak open.

“Um… hello.”

It was good timing, too: as the old couple said their thanks and walked out with a smile on their faces, the man glanced at Yukiko Amagi, clearly unaware that this was the girl he was going to take in for a year.

He cocked an eyebrow. “Kids coming to a place like this is rare, y’know.”

“Um, I suppose…” Yukiko looked away nervously. “Uh, I believe you’re to be my new guardian.”

“What, what do you – “ Suddenly he remembered. But this girl was the delinquent people were talking about? She looks like she wouldn’t hurt a fly!

Or at least, that’s what it looks like.

The coffee-shop owner sighed and put the coffee mug to the wayside. “Right, they did say it was going to be today… follow me, kid.”

Respectfully bowing, she followed up the middle-aged man up the stairs to be greeted with a dusty, decrepit attic.

Seriously? She was going to stay here?

“Um, sorry for the mess…” The middle-aged man rubbed the back of his head nervously. “I didn’t realize you were a girl, so, uhh… I’ll help clean up.”

“Thank you for your concern.” Yukiko bowed courteously. “I believe I didn’t ask for your name, umm…”

“Oh, sorry,” The man nodded. “I’m Sojiro Sakura. I’ve been a college friend of your father, Satoshi Amagi, and since Shujin Academy was the only school willing to accept you after you got expelled from Yasogami, well… they picked me to be your guardian.”

Nervously rubbing the back of his head some more, he coughed out some words. “Hey… are you sure you’re a bad kid? I’d expect a delinquent to be some smug-ass kid with an attitude, but… you look like you didn’t do anything wrong. I’m probably misjudging, since it does say you assaulted a man, but… I dunno, it just doesn’t feel right to treat you with disdain.”

Yukiko fell silent. Despite only barely meeting, he could tell Sojiro was a good man. But she felt the less said, the better: nobody would believe her story anyway.

“Hey, speak up,” Sojiro motioned. “I want to hear your side of the story. Do you think you’re innocent?”

She wasn’t expecting that. Regardless, she swallowed her fears and spoke an answer. “Y-Yes. I believe I was wrongly convicted.”

Sojiro sighed, stroking his stubble. Usually he wouldn’t take to heart somebody who says something like that, even if Yukiko is a girl, but… he feels as though she isn’t the kind of person who would do something like this. She definitely isn’t.

Being in the restaurant business long enough lets you see the same eyes in different people, after all.

Smiling softly, he motioned over to the broom.

“There’s a broom downstairs,” Sojiro nodded. “How about I help you clean up? We’ll be able to get things done before I have to close shop anyway.”

Yukiko, blinking, was nonetheless flattered by Sojiro’s trust. Blushing a little, she puts her reservations aside and nods.

“Alright,” Yukiko smiled for the first time today, bowing courteously. “Thank you, Sakura-san. I truly appreciate your hospitality.”

“Hell, don’t mention it; I just couldn’t believe a kid like you would commit a crime like that. It’s just… beyond me.” Sojiro’s smile turned into a shrug. “Anyway, go get the broom, please.”

And Yukiko did just that. Thanks to the power of two, the room was cleaned up in a jiffy.


April 9th, 2016 – Café Leblanc, Yongen-Jaya – 7:52 PM

It’s been five hours since virtually every speck of dust was cleaned up by Sojiro and Yukiko, and the raven-haired girl smiled happily as the room was nice and tidy. She had time to get into more comfortable wear, too; her standard red-and-black spring outfit was on clear display.

Suddenly, Sojiro came up the stairs. “Hey, I’m gonna close the place for the night. You’ll be alright, yeah?”

Yukiko smiled. “Yes, I’ll be fine Sojiro-san. Thanks again for helping me.”

Sojiro scratched his cheek nervously. “Uh, you’re welcome. I couldn’t just let you do the work by yourself.”

Sojiro smiled before nodding. “Well, I’m gonna head out for the night. But I figured I’d let you know something before I go.”

Yukiko looked up at her new guardian, who looked rather somber.

“Just because I trust you doesn’t mean others will,” Sojiro sighed, sliding his hands into his pockets. “You’re still on probation, and well… many Japanese don’t exactly take kindly to criminals. I want you to be on guard.”

Sojiro’s frown flipped upside down as he waved with a smile. “Well, I’ll be out. Be sure to lock up the place before I leave, okay? G’night.”

“Goodnight.” Yukiko nodded as Sojiro descended down the stairs, and a familiar ringing of a bell signified that Sojiro left the building.


(Music Stops)

April 9th, 2016 – Café Leblanc, Yongen-Jaya – 11:23 PM

After locking the place up, Yukiko found herself unable to sleep. So many thoughts were going through her head as she lied down on the bed, dressed in her night clothes. What kind of life could I live here, what’s life like beyond the inn? These thoughts plagued Yukiko long before she fell asleep, but she figured any life would be better beyond the Inn and Yasoinaba.

She just wished she saw that girl again.

When Yukiko was six, she was found crying as she was unable to bring in a dog into the Amagi household. It was when an auburn-haired girl her age comforted her. It was unclear to Yukiko who the girl was, but she definitely recalled the two being the best of friends – and more importantly, her crying even more when she had to move away.

She never saw her again. But who knows? For all she knew, she’ll be in Tokyo, or even the same school.

Nah, that’d be pushing it.

*bzzt*

“Hm?” Yukiko’s eyes fluttered to see the same app she deleted again – the same app that caused that weird happenstance back at Shibuya Station.

Metaverse Navigator, huh?

“Ugh, must be a spam bot.” She dragged the app down to the garbage bin below and deleted it, and with it, the young girl finally felt her eyes drift away as she fell asleep.


She recalls having this dream.

Granted, she’s unable to do anything about it but watch it repeat, but it still bothers her what happened that day.

A lone Yukiko Amagi walked down the shopping district, with a plethora of shops closed either from it being night-time or from Junes’ outdoing them. But from a distance, she suddenly hears a cry for help.

(Music Playing – Desire - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLf6a5gaVVc )

“H-Help! Please, someone, HELP!”

“Shut up and get in the fucking car!”

Yukiko’s head perks up upon hearing the struggle, which was right by the Konishi Liquor Store, if her ears don’t deceive her. “Hm? Wait, what’s going on?”

Hurrying over, she was right that the commotion was happening by the Liquor Store: a young, adult woman was struggling as a well-dressed bald man tried to shove her into the car.

“P-Please stop! I’m begging you!”

“People like you need to shut the fuck up and take orders from your leaders!”

As the commotion continued, Yukiko’s hands balled up as she felt anger subside within her, glaring at the man. He apparently noticed the scene, and glared right back.

“What the fuck are you doing here? Get out of here, kid; this doesn’t concern you.”

As the woman continued to cry for help, she struggled as the man attempted to shove her in the car. At this point, Yukiko couldn’t watch any longer, she walked up to the man and gave him a light shove.

“Hey, sir, you can’t just-“

“G-Gwaaah!” Immediately, the adult fell back in his drunken stupor, hitting his head on the asphalt. He quickly got up, bleeding from the forehead to give a murderous glare at Yukiko.

“You fucking whore!” The man screamed. “I’ll sue you worth everything you own!”

The dream slowly started to fade away, but the last thing Yukiko got a clear visage in the dream was her being dragged away by two police officers.


(Music Playing – Morning Ambience - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fi-sG5D1pyY)

April 10th, 2016 – Café Leblanc, Yongen-Jaya – 6:48 AM

“Hey, c’mon Yukiko… time to wake up.”

“Nnnh…” Yukiko tossed around a little in her sleep before her eyes finally fluttered open. Sojiro was standing right over her.

“Get your things ready,” The coffee-shop owner nodded. “It’s time to go to school.”

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – Beneath the Mask - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2qXgnn9NV4 )

April 10th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Front Entrance – 7:04 AM

Thanks to a distinct lack of traffic, Yukiko and Sojiro managed to arrive to Shujin Academy without much trouble. After parking the car in the back, both the teenage girl and the coffee-shop owner stood out in front.

“So, this is Shujin Academy, huh?” Sojiro scratched his cheek. “Sorry, I’m usually a bit too busy with my job to visit the school. That, and my next of kin doesn’t really…” Yukiko cocked an eyebrow at this. “Ah, it’s nothing. Not really any of your business, anyways… no offense.”

“None taken," Yukiko said with a smile. “Let’s go inside, please.” Sojiro nodded as the two walked past the front entrance and into the school building.


April 10th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Principal Office  – 7:08 AM

Sojiro finished signing in as a guest as a bald, chubby man in a nice suit stood with a black-haired teacher in a yellow cardigan. Upon finishing, Sojiro put the pen to the wayside to meet Principal Kobayakawa in the end.

“Let me just make something clear to you, Ms. Amagi:” the Principal began, turning to Yukiko, “if you cause any trouble– any trouble – I won’t hesitate to expel you. Honestly, I’m only accepting you into this school because there were circumstances at our side…"

“There were a variety of things you’ve done in hiding in your hometown of Yasoinaba… but mark my words, you will behave yourself here.”

“I understand, sir,” Yukiko bowed courteously. “I’ll make sure I don’t cause any disruptions.” Ugh, prick.

“Good. Glad to see you take demands, well.” Kobayakawa nodded before turning to the woman next to him. “By the by, this happens to be your homeroom teacher. Kawakami, if you may…?”

“Right,” The woman nodded as she stepped forward. “My name is Sadayo Kawakami. I’ll be your homeroom teacher for this year.” As Yukiko bowed once again, Kawakami slid her hand into her pocked to bring out a card with a clip attached to it.

Yukiko Amagi

Second-Year

1650025

“Here’s your student ID,” Kawakami said, placing the card into Yukiko’s hand before nodding. “I recommend you read the school regulations. Any violations of them will have you sent to the principal’s office. And in the off-chance that you cause any trouble, well… I doubt I’ll be able to protect you.”

“Thank you for your courtesy, Ms. Kawakami," Yukiko said, bowing once more. “I’ll be sure to behave myself for this year.”

“I expect you to. Please don’t disappoint.”

“Now that we signed Yukiko-chan up, can we please leave?” Sojiro cut in with a cough. “I do have a store to get back to.”

“Right, naturally.”

“Indeed,” Kobayakawa added with a smile. “We hope you have a nice day, Sakura-san. And do make sure you keep an eye on Ms. Amagi. Make sure she doesn’t cause any trouble, you hear?”

“I understand,” Sojiro nodded, scratching his cheek a little. “I’ll be sure to have a talk with her about the situation she’s in. Now, if you’ll excuse me…” With that, both guardian and student left for the day. As the door closed, Kawakami turned to the Principal with a raised eyebrow.

“Mr. Kobayakawa, you sure it was a good idea to bring this student here? Much less put me in charge of her?”

“She was a last-minute transfer. Your class was truthfully the only one that was open to us now…” Kawakami sighed, scratching her head a little.

“Well, I understand. If you’ll excuse me, I need some fresh air.” With one final bow, she left the guidance office and went towards the commons.


(Music Playing – Erosion - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK1ZoCVtn_c)

April 10th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Outside Commons   – 7:11 AM

Seriously, why was I in charge of this kid?” Kawakami sighed as she strolled through the commons, parting her hair a little all the while. She never once considered herself suited for a job like that, so why was she picked to watch over a delinquent? Yukiko might have had a polite demeanor, but for all she knew, that was merely masking a real troublemaker. How was Sojiro able to be so calm around someone with an assault charge on her record?

With another sigh, Kawakami sat down on a bench, completely lost in her own thoughts. She was so deep in them she didn’t notice a bushy-haired muscular man approach him.

“You seem to be down in the dumps,” the man said. “I’m guessing you bore the brunt of the assignment, huh?”

“Yeah, tell me about it… I’m seriously in awe that they’d push somebody with a record on me.”

“I don’t blame you. Why in the world was somebody like that admitted here…?”

“Who knows? It was the principal’s decision.” Kawakami said, tapping her foot on the floor. “He did say it was for the school’s reputation, though…”

“You would think that my volleyball team’s reputation would account for that, though…” the man said, crossing his arms.

“That's true, Kamoshida. It's just baffling that I of all people was assigned with this. Wouldn’t a male teacher like you be better fit for the task?”

“Oh, trust me, I have no idea how to deal with female students,” Kamoshida said with a laugh. “I’ll admit she’s kinda cute though…”

“Pardon?”

“Oh, nothing. You just be careful, okay? I wouldn’t want you to be hurt by this delinquent.” Kamoshida gave a final wave as he departed from the commons, leaving a thinking Kawakami in his wake.

“Ugh, seriously…” Kawakami sighed. “Why was I given this assignment before anyone else…?”


(Music Stops)

April 10th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Front Entrance – 7:11 AM

“So, want to do something fun today?” Sojiro asked Yukiko. “I kinda feel bad that you had to deal with all that, so how about I whip you up some curry?”

“Oh, that’d be great!” Yukiko replied. “I love curry.”

“Heh, good to hear. If you love curry that much, I’m sure you’ll be a great addition to the cooking team.” Yukiko merely blushed and turned away. “What's wrong? ...Wait, have you never cooked before?”

“U-Um, yes I have! Multiple times, too! I’ll have you know that the Amagi Secret Recipe of curry has been-“

“K-Kyaaaaaaaaaaaaah!” Suddenly, a bicycle and her rider ran past the two at lightning speeds, followed by a thunderous crash as someone landed in a nearby garbage can, its contents thankfully empty for the young girl’s hygiene and green coat.

(Music Playing – My Homie – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKRimQt9W1E)

“O-Ohhh…” the person whined, the pitch of their voice indicating that it was a girl. “S-Somebody… heeeeeeeeeeelp…”

“Leave her be,” Sojiro sighed as he noticed Yukiko's look of sympathy. “She got herself into this mess. People who make careless mistakes like that don’t get any sympathy from me…”

“B-But she…” Yukiko trailed off as Sojiro walked over to the car. Once out of sight, Yukiko looked back at the crash scene with sympathy and headed over to Sojiro.

“Yowch… that looked like it hurt…”


(Music Playing – Beneath the Mask - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2qXgnn9NV4 )

April 10th, 2016 – Highway – 7:39 AM

Twenty minutes after leaving the school, and Sojiro was still caught in a traffic jam. The music from the radio barely managed to drown out his groaning.

“Honestly, we had to be caught in rush hour in this time… it’s quite the pain in the ass, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is quite a pain in the, um… rear,” Yukiko said with a chuckle. “We never had traffic like this back in Yasoinaba.”

“Yasoinaba, huh? How are Satoshi and Chihiro doing? Your parents, I mean. It’s been ages since I visited Yasoinaba. Do you miss it, yet?”

“Truth be told… no. I don’t miss it. Not even a little bit,” Yukiko said with a frown.

“Really? I thought you enjoyed life at the inn. What, was it too restrictive for you?”

“Actually, that’s exactly it. I hated being told what to do all the time. Everything was claustrophobic and decided for me, from how I lived to even where I'd die. I’m just so sick of having these things chain me down. I just want to be free from it all…”

“Yukiko-chan… I’m sorry.”

“Don't be; even though I say that, I'm still just being selfish. My parents love me to death, they spoil me with video games and movies, and give me tons of attention… but it all feels like a gilded cage, like they’re guiding me on this strict path and all the love I receive is to get me ready to inherit the inn… I dunno, Sojiro, I just… feel conflicted.

“Ironic, isn't it? I finally get the opportunity to live in Tokyo, but thanks to the circumstances, I’m even more restricted and chained down than I was as an inn maiden…” A wave of emotion hit Yukiko as she spilled her guts out. Sensing this, Sojiro patted her on the head.

“You know, I kinda felt the same way as a kid myself. Granted, it wasn’t anything comparable, but I always felt my parents wanted to guide me down a strict path, like I had no choice in the matter. They were one of the first Western-themed coffee shops in post-war Japan, and I just felt like I’d be unhappy following suit. But as it turned out, I would’ve been happy doing just that. And because I chose to stay in that sense, I got to meet some very special people in my life..."

“Uhm, anyway," Sojiro concluded. "I'm not saying that you have to work at your inn, but just try not to think of it as the worst thing in the world.”

“Sojiro… thank you. I'll try to keep that in mind,” Yukiko said, her smile fully renewed.

“Anytime. I just find it really hard to believe that you committed a crime like that. You seem so nice and polite, and… well, I seriously doubt you’ll be able to overpower a fully-grown man. It just reeks of false conviction, if you ask me.”

“That was Rise 'Risette' Kujikawa’s new song, 'Love! Like Me', straight from her latest album,” The newscaster on the radio cut through their conversation “And now for the news. There was apparently another Psychotic Breakdown incident, and a big one at that: a train at Shibuya Station was derailed after going at top speeds, damaging the station and leaving a nasty crash. Nobody was rumored to be hurt in the crash, but the reports say that the train conductor has no memory of the incident. More coming at 7:45.”

“Jeez, another psychotic breakdown?” Sojiro asked with a groan. “They’ve been happening left and right lately.”

Hours later, traffic finally let up, and the two of them were able to return to Yongen-Jaya. “Hey, you up for some coffee? It’s not like you have anything else to do for today.” Yukiko merely smiled, in response.


(Music Stops)

April 10th, 2016 –SIU Office – 6:39 PM

“More reports to come on the sudden Shibuya Crash. Please, stay tuned.”

The SIU Director, a bald, bespectacled man sighed bitterly at the latest incident of these Psychotic Breakdowns. With him stood a silver-haired woman who looked just as disappointed as he was.

“Looks to me like a crime of the company or government than an actual accident…” the SIU Director said, shifting his glasses, somewhat. “Reporters told this story six months ago; the deterioration of the tracks and the ATC…” As the story continued, the man sighed and turned his attention back to the woman next to him.

“You're free, yes? You and I haven’t had a drink in a while.” The Director smiled softly.

“Oh, thank you for the offer, sir. But I do have another meeting to attend to…” the woman said with a chuckle.

“Well, if you insist. Just be careful on your way home, alright?”

“I will. Thank you for your courtesy.” Giving one final, polite bow, she finally opened the door to the hallway and exited the office. As she descended the stairs of the police station, she was greeted with a brown-haired student in a grey suit. The young boy smiled gently as she made her final steps down the flight of stairs.

“Did you ask for me?” He inquired. “It doesn’t happen to be another case, does it?”

“No, I need your opinion on something, is all.”

“Sure! Your judgement’s usually on point, though.” The young man smiled happily. “Maybe we can discuss this over sushi?”

“Conveyor belt, only.” The student pouted audibly at this revelation.


April 11th, 2016 – ??? – ???

Hours after returning to Leblanc for coffee, Yukiko had fallen asleep in preparation for her first day at Shujin. At some point, she had awoken from her slumber and found that, for some reason, she wasn't in her room; she was in a prison cell. The cell was dimly lit and lined with blue-colored padding, and looking through the bars told her that there were a multitude of other cells just like hers. The sound of rattling chains and dripping bedpans filled the air, though they were drowned out by piano playing and opera singing that seemed to be coming from nowhere. Standing up from the bench that had replaced her bed, Yukiko discovered that she was dressed in a stereotypical prisoner outfit with black and white stripes, even having large cuffs around her wrists and a ball and chain attached to her ankle. As she struggled to move forward and get a better sense of what was happening, she heard the laughter of a small child.

Said laughter was appropriate, as when Yukiko reached the bars, two small children dressed as prison guards appeared before her. Before Yukiko could say anything to them, though, the two stepped apart and revealed a third figure: a bald man in a black suit sitting at a desk with bloodshot eyes, a large grin that was more creepy than chipper, and a nose that even a Tengu would find large. 

“Welcome, trickster,” the man began with a booming voice. “to my Velvet Room.”

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – Aria of the Soul - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Fc3PxsXzE )

April 11th, 2016 – “Velvet Room” – ???

“My name is Igor; I am delighted to make you acquaintance,” the long-nosed man, now identified as Igor said. “I am the master of this place; remember it well. I have summoned you to speak of important matters, matters that involve your life, as well.”

“Wh-Where am I?! Who are you people?!” Yukiko didn’t seem to be interested in listening as she banged against her cell. “Let me out of here!”

“Quiet, Inmate!” One of the little girls shouted, slamming a riding crop against the bars. “When our master speaks, you listen!”

“Please don’t mind her,” the other girl said, this one holding some form of clipboard. “We merely inquire you listen to what our master has to say.”

Yukiko stuttered nervously, looking down at her two feet. “But… but-“

“Please, don’t worry,” Igor said. “Contrary to what it looks like, you are safe here. The real you is fast asleep in her bed. You are merely experiencing this as a dream.”

“A dream…? ...Alright.” This did nothing to change her situation, but being told that this was a dream was certainly calming and made it easier to deal with everything.

“This place exists between dream and reality, mind and matter. Only those bound by a contract can enter this room.”

But I never signed a contract… Yukiko meant to say this aloud, but a glare from the girl with the riding crop’s golden eye told her that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to interrupt him. It was a pretty good glare, considering the fact that she and the other girl both wore eyepatches.

“Still, this is a surprise. This room’s appearance reflects the state of one’s heart. To think that a prison would appear, as such. You truly are a prisoner of fate. In the near future, there is no mistake that ruin awaits you.”

“R-Ruin? What do you mean?”

“I speak of the end to everything. However, there is a means to change this fate: you must be rehabilitated towards freedom. That is your only means of obtaining freedom. Do you have the resolve to challenge the distortion of the world?”

“...” A million and three-quarters thoughts were swirling through Yukiko’s head. Ruin? Rehabilitation? Distortion? It was almost like this strange man was asking her to save the world. Her, a high schooler who couldn’t muster up the courage to tell her parents that she didn’t want to inherit the family inn. Her, a high schooler whose one attempt at heroism made her a delinquent forced out of her home. Someone like her saving the world was completely laughable.

Good thing this was just a dream.

“...I’d rather avoid ruin.”

“Then allow me to observe the path of your rehabilitation.”

“Okay… Um, these girls…”

“Ah, my apologies for not introducing them, earlier. To your right is Caroline, to your left, Justine. They serve as wardens, here.”

“Caroline… and Justine…” The one who was acting violent with her was apparently Caroline, and the one who was acting more civil was apparently Justine. In addition to their matching eyes and eyepatches, they each wore blue shirts, black ties, and black shorts. Caroline’s white hair was done up in buns while Justine’s was in a single braid, and both wore caps that had English letters written on them, Caroline’s “XMRN,” Justine’s “OYOO.”

“Hmph! Try and struggle as hard as you like,” Caroline spat.

“The duty of us wardens is to protect inmates and act as collaborators… so long as you’re obedient,” Justine said, her polite tone only partially masking her own brand of rudeness.

“I shall explain their roles at a later time. For now, it seems the night is waning… it is almost time. Take your time to understand this place. We will surely meet again, eventually…”

I hope that doesn’t mean I’m going to have this dream, again… Before Yukiko could say anything else, a bell sounded off through her cell.

Igor smiled widely, clasping his hands together once more. “Now that all the introductions are in order, please… hold onto this.”

Suddenly, a bright, blue light materialized on Yukiko’s hand, and a golden key appeared with it.

“Time’s up,” Caroline said. “Now hurry up and go back to sleep.”

“Back to… I thought this was a dream? What do you mean-”

Before Yukiko knew anything else, it was already morning.


(Music Playing – Interrogation - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmflOHXEw0I)

??? – ??? – ???

Yukiko sat hazily in the Interrogation Room as she continued to tell Sae the whole story.

“A… Velvet Room?” Sae repeated, staring in disbelief. “And they gave you a vague warning about the end of the world? Is this some kind of joke?”

“Believe what you will...”

“...Alright, I’ll listen to your story some more. Tell me what happened the next day, and please confirm to me… Was that the last day you were a ‘normal’ student?”


(Music Playing – Beneath the Mask (Rain) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rmthuXOuzs)

April 11th, 2016 – Aoyama-Itchome – 7:32 AM

Yukiko couldn’t stop thinking about the dream she had last night.

It was less that she had it and more that it felt so real. Hardly any dreams Yukiko had in the past were so vivid and detailed, as if she was fully awake in that room. Still, she couldn’t shake off all the gibberish the man said to her. How the world was in danger and it was up to her to save it, or something like that. As fun as it would be to act out an episode of Featherman, it was all too much to think that it was supposed to actually mean anything in real life.

Better to just think about school, Yukiko told herself. After eating a plate of Sojiro’s curry for breakfast, Yukiko left Leblanc and headed off to school. She took the first train from Yongen-Jaya to Aoyama-Itchome and prepared to enter the last stretch to Shujin. It would have been a cinch, too, had it not started raining immediately after she left the station.

“The one day I forget my umbrella, too…” Yukiko said as she took cover under a building. With any luck, this was just a cloudburst, and the rain would let up, soon. “Might as well check my mail.” Having nothing better to do, Yukiko took out her phone to mess around until the weather cleared. When doing this, though, her eyes widened at the sight of the app she had deleted earlier, the red eye staring at her as if it was meant to be there.

(Music Stops)

“Ugh, seriously?! It just won’t go away!” Yukiko removed it again and prayed that this wasn’t some kind of virus. As she stood there, a new figure, a woman wearing a white hoodie with the hood up underneath a Shujin blazer, appeared next to her. Removing the wet hood, the woman revealed to Yukiko ash blonde pigtails shaping a face of foreign beauty.

(Music Playing – Encounter - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6xYlky1SWw)

How appropriate it would’ve been, Yukiko thought, if it stopped raining, right this second.

“Hey! You two girls need a lift?” Someone’s shouting snapped Yukiko out of reverie. At some point, a man in a blue tracksuit with bushy hair had driven up to the curb.

“N-No, thank you sir. I’ll be fine on my way to school.” Yukiko humbly declined with a bow. The other girl, in direct contrast, agreed to the ride and stepped into the vehicle.

It wouldn’t have bothered Yukiko nearly as much if the girl wasn’t frowning the entire time, but before she could say anything, the car had driven off.

(Music Stops)

“I hope I’m just being paranoid about all of this…” Yukiko said to herself. “...It doesn’t look like this rain will let up. I should probably get back to walking…”

“Look out!” Yukiko had barely stepped on the sidewalk when a bicycle and its rider slammed into a nearby post. It took a few seconds to register, but Yukiko recognized the voice as belonging to the same girl from yesterday.

Looks like I get to help her, after all. With little hesitation, Yukiko ran over to the girl to offer her a hand. “Do you need help getting up?”

“Hey…” Yukiko whispered. “Will you be okay?”

“Y-Yeah, thanks…” the girl said, grabbing Yukiko’s hand as she helped pull her off the ground. Looking at her, Yukiko saw that she had brown hair put into a bowl cut, a green jacket, and what appeared to be bike shorts underneath a Shujin skirt. “You won’t tell anyone I crashed into that post, right…?”

“It’ll be our secret.”

“Awesome! ...Do I know you? That’s a second-year Shujin uniform, but I’ve never seen you in class.”

“I’m actually a transfer student.”

“Oh, that explains it! Still, though, there’s something…” The girl started rubbing her chin in contemplation. “Never mind, forget it. What’s your name?”

“O-Oh, yes. My name is Yukiko Amagi.”

“Chie Satonaka, nice to meetcha!”

“Y-Yes, likewise.” Now Yukiko was the one with sudden contemplations about a girl standing in front of her. Just like Chie, though, Yukiko quickly cast them aside.

“So, wanna head over to school? We’ll be late it we don’t hightail it together.”

“That’s fine by me.” With that, Chie picked up her bike and moved next to her.

“By the way, nice move not getting into that car with Kamoshida.”

“‘Kamoshida’? That muscular man from a moment ago?”

“That’s the one. He’s the PE teacher at our school, and he’s a total asshole.”

“Really? He seemed nice, to me.”

“That’s what he wants you to think! He acts nice in public, but when no one’s watching, he treats everyone in the school like garbage! This is not getting into how much of a pervert he is... ugh, he acts like he’s the king of a castle!”

“What do you-” Before Yukiko could finish her sentence, she found herself hit with a splitting headache. Judging by the sight of Chie clutching the side of her head, the same thing was happening to her, as well.

Match found. Welcome to: Kamoshida's Palace.

(Music Playing – To Another World - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTAQmWfIrDo)

“Well that was… something...” Chie mumbled. “Are you alright?”

“I think so...”

“That was… probably nothing. Let’s go, I know a shortcut.” At Chie’s insistence, the two of them turned into an alleyway as they continued onwards toward the school, only Yukiko noticing that, as they stepped in puddles, the water became slightly red in hue.

“Wh-What in the…” After about a minute of walking, Yukiko and Chie were decidedly not at the school. Rather, in its place stood what appeared to be an ornate castle with an eerie pink moon shining from above encircled by thunderstorms.

“Um, Chie… where’s the school?”

“I don’t know! I know we went the right way, so...”

“Maybe someone inside can give us directions...”

“You want to go in there? Are you crazy?”

“There’s nothing to lose by trying. Besides, it might be fun to go inside of a castle!” Yukiko said with a smile.

“You really are crazy, aren’t you?” Yukiko offered Chie no response on account of her already having walked out of earshot. “Hey! Wait for me!”


 

(Music Playing – Suspicion - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YwlwHxVs9w)

April 11th, 2016 – ??? – ???

“Hello! Anyone here?!” Chie called out immediately after entering the castle. There was no answer. “Man, where are we?” Chie asked as they entered the castle. “What happened to our school?! Is there, like, some special event going on that nobody told us about?!”

“Why would a castle not have anyone in it?” Yukiko asked as she pulled out her phone. “There’s no reception, either.”

“Seriously? This is too weird… Let’s leave and just go the long way-”

“Halt!” Before Chie could finish, a new voice cut through the air. Turning to the voice, the two of them saw what appeared to be knights holding swords and shields and wearing blue masks over their faces.

(Music Playing – Desire - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLf6a5gaVVc&t=1s)

“Oh, good!” Yukiko said with a smile.

“‘Good’?!” Chie shouted with fear as Yukiko walked over to the knights.

“Excuse me, my friend and I were on our way to school when we got lost. Do you think you could give us directions to Shujin?”

“You’re standing in it, intruding wench,” one of the knights said, making Yukiko raise an eyebrow, in response. Last time she checked, Shujin Academy was most certainly not a castle. Also, what was a “wench”?

Those thoughts would have to wait as one of the knights hit her over the head with their shield and sent her unconscious body to the ground.


(Music Stops)

April 11th, 2016 – ??? – ???

Hours later, Yukiko awoke with a daze in a prison cell, Chie also waking in a nearby corner.

“Are you alright, Chie?” Yukiko asked.

“That sounds rather subjective...” Chie groaned. “Where the hell even are we?”

“I don’t know. It’s certainly different from that other cell…”

“What?”

“N-Nothing!”

“...Anyway, we need to get out of here before-”

(Music Playing – Desire - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLf6a5gaVVc&t=1s)

“Before what, prisoners?” Suddenly, the familiar, armor-clad guards appeared and opened the door. “Your punishments have been decided. The girl with the black hair is hereby sentenced to eternal servitude for the king, and the boyish one is sentenced to death.”

“Wh-What did I do?!” Chie whimpered in a panicked tone. “I was just visiting, that’s all!”

“Your crime, Satonaka, is insulting the king.” A familiar voice echoes across the hallway, but was distorted in an almost demonic fashion. When he finally appeared, Yukiko and Chie saw that it was, indeed, Kamoshida. However, unlike the Kamoshida they knew, he had golden eyes and was dressed in nothing but a pink speedo, red cape, and a shining crown.

“What’re you doing here?! And what’s with that outfit?!”

“What do you think? I own this castle, and this is the wardrobe of a king!”

“‘King’?!”

 “That’s right!” Kamoshida turned away from Chie and focused on Yukiko with a smarmy grin. “You would do well to remember that, considering all the ‘personal’ time we’ll be spending together.”

“Huh? What do you mean, by that?” Yukiko asked.

“Isn’t it obvious?! This bastard’s talking about-” A swift punch to the face cut Chie off and sent her to the ground.

“As for you, Satonaka…” Kamoshida spat. “Being my slave’s a far too good punishment for someone like you. For insulting the king at an earlier date, I hereby sentence you... to death." He said this with a particularly evil grin plastered on his face. "Guards! Kill her!” At Kamoshida’s command, one of the knights picked Chie up and threw her against the wall, his sword pointed at her with one hand as soon as she was thoroughly pinned with the other.

“I await your command, my king,” the guard said.

“N-No, please...! I don’t want to die!” Chie cried to no avail, tears beginning to form in her eyes.

(Music Playing – Blood of Villain - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvhEYbzToK4)

“Oh, toughen up. Death comes for everybody.”

“Stop it!” Yukiko shouted, no longer able to watch. “I won’t let you-” It didn’t matter, though, as another knight quickly threw Yukiko against an opposing wall to silence her.

“Oh? And what do you plan to do?” Kamoshida asked, looking at Yukiko with mockery. “Against a king, you’re not even an insect, so just shut up and watch her die.” Kamoshida turned away from Yukiko once more to finish his attempted murder of the sobbing Chie.

This… this can’t be happening… An innocent person is being hurt right in front of me, and I can’t do anything about it… again…

This is truly an unjust game. A new voice, coupled with a blue butterfly, suddenly caught Yukiko’s attention. Your chances of winning are almost none, but if my voice is reaching you, there may yet be a possibility open to you… The butterfly disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared.

Pray tell, are you not going to do something about this? A new voice, one that sounded like her own, yet more graceful and sultry, sounded through her head. You’re one of the last people who will abide by suffering. If you truly care so much for others, tell me… was your decision merely an accident?!

An accident… What else could this voice mean than the incident that brought her here, in the first place? The incident where she saw someone in trouble, did what she could to help, and was labeled a criminal for it? If she had just minded her own business, she’d still be in Yasoinaba, her life completely unchanged, and all that would be different was that some woman would stay in a tough spot.

“No… It wasn’t an accident. It never was.”

Very well… I have heeded thy resolve. Let us see how thouest handles my power… At that moment, a splitting, ungodly headache struck Yukiko as if it were a chainsaw ripping her cranium to shreds. Immediately, Yukiko released a shrill scream and struggled about as she felt her head being ripped apart.

Show me thine anger… I am thou… thou art I… Thou whose inner fire burns brightly with fury at the world’s hypocrisy! Release thyself, and hold nothing back! Show that thou hast the will to protect all thy hold dearest, even if thou wouldst be incinerated by the flames of hell!”

The pain finally dissipated, and she found herself glaring resolutely at her captors.

“Execute her!” Kamoshida commanded his guard, signaling the intended end of Chie’s life.

“I told you to stop it!” Yukiko interjected.

(Music Stops)

“What was that?” Kamoshida asked, signaling to the guard to halt. “Do you truly wish to defy me? Fine. I have enough wenches like yourself, as it is. Guards, kill her! NOW!” The knight pinning Yukiko to the wall slammed its shield against her face as the one holding Chie dropped her to the ground.

“N-No, Yukiko!” Chie cried out as the second knight motioned its blade to stab her.

Before any stabbing could take place, though, a pink mask with a sakura motif appeared on Yukiko’s face.

What in the… As Yukiko touched the mask, she had no idea how it had gotten there, but in an instant, one thing suddenly became clear: she had to remove the mask from her face.

(Music Playing – Awakening- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiXGN-899Ao)

As it was apparently attached to her face, though, this was easier said than done. Pulling on the mask even a little ripped apart skin cell after skin cell, causing her to scream at the top of her lungs. When the mask was finally off, her face was drenched in blood and, for some reason, her eyes were the same gold coloring as Kamoshida’s.

A demonic cackle surrounded the room as blue flames surrounded her, though she wasn’t burnt, in the slightest. Soon, they flew off of Yukiko and revealed that her custom-made school outfit was replaced with a feathery, red-and-pink suit that showed off a great deal of cleavage and had pink feathers on the wrists, ankles and collar. In addition, a fan with spikes sticking out of it had suddenly found its way into her hand.

“Wh-What in the world?” was the only thing Yukiko could say as she inspected herself.

“Yukiko?!” Chie shouted. “What is-ah?!”

It was far from over. The flames that had flown off of Yukiko’s body had stood in the air behind her, and now they had morphed into a giant, pink bird-like figure with feathers and a strange, heart-like complexion on its face and chest, the whole creature surrounded by ghostly chains. Before Yukiko could say anything else, the creature flexed its wing-like arms and released a blast of wind, knocking Kamoshida and his guards, aside.

I am the eternal flame of the mountains, Konohana Sakuya!

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – Will Power - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA6yWuXFC7o)

April 11th, 2016 – ??? – ???

Yukiko couldn’t help but stare in awe at Konohana Sakuya.

As the pink, feathered creature bellowed loudly, Yukiko couldn’t help but stare in shock. Her, of all people, had this power from within? Her? She couldn’t even object to her heritance of the inn, much less save that woman back in Yasoinaba, and yet she had this power all along? Yukiko found it baffling enough that she wasn’t aware that the creature was talking directly to her.

If thouest desires it, I shall grant thee the power to break through this crisis, the feathered creature began, eyeing the recovering Kamoshida.

“I…” Yukiko stood in awe. That… thing nearly murdered her and Chie, and if she didn’t do anything soon, they were going to die regardless. She couldn’t allow that, now that she had this power. She’d never turn the other way again, not as long as she had the power to protect others.

“Yes, please,” Yukiko nodded. “Please protect me, Konohana Sakuya.”

Hmph, very well. Dissipating into the air, Kamoshida and the guards finally stood up. This power of mine, is yours!

“What… what the hell are you idiots waiting for?!” Kamoshida cried out, clearly shocked. “KILL HER!”

Kamoshida pointed as the girl, giving his orders to his men. Just as he gave the order, the three guards suddenly melted into a dark pool of ichor before springing free with three creatures: all three of them being small, fairy-like creatures with red hair and blue outfits.

“You dare defy our King Kamoshida?!” The fairy in the middle spoke. “You’ll pay the price for your insolence!”

As if taking initiative, the fairy uttered some unintelligible words before lighting shot from her hands, blasting Yukiko to the wall.

“Agh! What?!” Yukiko gasped, clearly recoiling a little. Did that thing just shoot electricity?! How was that possible?! As she took a step back from the converging creatures, she thought of all the possibilities of how to proceed.

On second thought, a good scuffle may be what she needs.

Leaping forth, she cleaved the left fairy with her fan, and surely enough, it dissipated into black smoke and ichor. The fairies accompanying her were just as surprised as Yukiko was: the inn maiden never thought she had the strength to take on even someone like that.

You enjoying the power I bestowed upon thee?

Yukiko heard Konohana Sakuya in her head. Even if I’ve lent you my strength, brute force isn’t always the answer. Rip off thy mask once more, and unleash what beckons from within!

As the fight continued, Chie – who was slumped against the wall – looked on in shock. Yukiko had this power all along? It felt so surreal that she had this power, much less had the ability to take on these… things. It almost made Chie feel a little envious, but no less admiring of this new power.

“Okay, here goes…” Yukiko made a motion for her pink, sakura-themed mask. “Come forth! Konohana Sakuya!

The raging pain that was accompanied from first ripping off her mask was all but gone, and instead a bright blue light encompassed her face. And just as she commanded, Konohana Sakuya appeared right behind her, bellowing loudly and flexing its wing-like arms.

Kamoshida’s eyes were wide with shock. “That thing again? Who the hell are we-“

But just as he was going to finish, Konohana Sakuya screeched and a blast of fire incinerated the right fairy, leaving only the terrified leader of the group left.

As soon as Konohana Sakuya dissipated, she looked at her hand in shock. “Did I… did I actually do that?” Even with all that’s going on, she had no idea she had the ability to summon flames of all things. It was as if she was in an episode of Featherman, for crying out loud!

“Y-You…” The middle fairy looked on in horror. “Who… who the hell are you…?”

Indeed, Yukiko gave no answer. Instead, she made sure to repeat what just happened.

“Konohana Sakuya!” Yukiko cried out, ripping off her mask. “Incinerate them!”

With a bird-like cry, fire sprung out from beneath the fairy, the ensuing explosion leaving nothing behind but charred demon flesh and dissipated black smoke. Looking on from the carnage, Yukiko has clearly won the battle, with a shocked Kamoshida and Chie baring witness to it all.

(Music Stops)

Just as the battle ended, her revealing outfit finally dissipated into nothingness; she was back to wearing her custom Shujin Academy outfit with only the bladed fan to keep it company.

“What…” Kamoshida gawked, whimpering in fear. “What the hell are you?”

“Huh?” Yukiko turned to Kamoshida, then to Chie. It was then she noticed the key where the leader fairy once stood. “Chie, the key!”

(Music Playing – Tension - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTQg51SN4Ic)

Chie took a moment to snap herself out of her shock before looking downwards. “Huh?! The… the key! Oh, right!”

Immediately rushing over to the key, both girls rushed outside and locked the jail door, leaving the demonic king inside.

“What the…?” Kamoshida finally snapped out of his shock. “What the hell?! You harlots! How dare you trap the king like this! I’ll kill you all!”

Chie, still a little in shock, immediately threw the key into the underlying river. As Kamoshida continued to threaten the two girls from within the cell, Chie took a deep breath.

“O-Okay…” Chie whispered, still in shock. “C-Come on, Yukiko, let’s get outta here!”

“Okay, got it!” Yukiko nodded in response, both girls leaving Kamoshida behind.

“What the… hey! GET BACK HERE!” Kamoshida banged at the cell door to no avail.


(Music Stops)

April 11th, 2016 – ??? – ???

It took some time of running, but Yukiko and Chie were far away from the jail cell. It wasn’t until they went into an open jail cell to recuperate from all the running. Yukiko sat on the musty bed as Chie caught her breath.

“Whew…” Yukiko sighed, clearly exhausted by it all. “Chie, I think we’re safe for now. How’re you holding up?”

As Chie finally regained her breath, Yukiko expected the newfound friend to say she was fine. She definitely looked like the type to show resilience. But after standing silent for a few moments, she did something the other girl didn’t expect Chie to do: she started crying.

Actually, crying wouldn’t be the right word. Bawling was more appropriate.

(Music Playing – Alright (Elp Version) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YVEiy3EpYg)

Collapsing on her knees, Chie proceeded to sob uncontrollably. Her face was buried into her hands, all being left of the girl was terrified sobs and hiccups, as Yukiko looked on in mild shock and equal amounts of sadness.

“C-Chie?” Yukiko looked on, feeling sad by looking at her friend bawl like this. “Is something wrong?”

“I-I-I…” Chie continued sobbing uncontrollably, her eyes already bloodshot from the tears. “I was s-so terrified… I-I thought I was gonna die, a-and then you summoned that monster thing a-and…”

At this point, Chie couldn’t rein in it any further. Her sobs turned into anguished, tear-filled wails, which made the fact that no guards knew of Kamoshida’s imprisonment so far all the more fortunate.

“I was… s-scared stiff!” Chie bawled. “I-I didn’t know what I was gonna do, a-and I thought I was gonna be killed by K-Kamoshida…”

“C-Chie…” Yukiko looked down, feeling just as exhausted and scared as the young girl was. “Um…”

“I’m so sorry, Yukiko…” Chie looked up at her new friend, her face wet with tears and her hiccupping wildly. “I-I’m such a coward for being so scared, a-and then you summoned that thing and s-saved me and-“

“I was terrified too, Chie.”

“H-Huh?” Chie looked up at Yukiko, clearly taken aback by her answer. Sure, the situation would’ve unnerved anybody, but she was still shocked that Yukiko was scared witless just like her. After showing such courage in the face of those… things… Chie expected Yukiko to be so much braver than her.

“I mean, yeah, I summoned that creature and all, but even so…” Yukiko huffed to herself. “I was still scared witless. A lot of what I did to fight those creatures was out of panic and fear for my life… so I honestly know what it’s like to be so scared.”

It was then when she pressed her hand on Chie’s shoulder, the girl’s crying finally limited somewhat.

“But don’t worry, we’ll get out of here.” Yukiko said with a smile. “I just need you to be brave until we escape, alright Chie? I’m counting on you.”

“Y-Yukiko…” Chie gave a teary-eyed smile. It was a very long time since somebody said something this nice to her, if at all. But she was right regardless. Putting all her fears aside, she stood up on her own and smiled back, wiping the last of her tears.

“O-Okay,” Chie nodded. “W-We’ll get out of here! Just you watch!”

“That’s the Chie I know and-“

(Music Stops)

“K-King Kamoshida?! What are you doing in this cell?!”

“Those two wenches locked me in! Go get them! NOW!”

“Y-Yes sir!”

(Music Playing – Tension - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTQg51SN4Ic)

Both girls gasp as they heard warning bells alarm throughout the prison.

“C-Come on, Yukiko!” Chie cried, a little anxious. “Let’s get outta here!”

“Mmh, right!” Yukiko nodded, and with it, both girls continued their escape.


(Music Playing – Erosion- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_24qGyzaxU)

April 11th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Faculty Office – 11:04 AM

Sadayo Kawakami sat behind a mammoth-sized mountain of books and other sorts of written works, taking her time filling in attendance sheets. She sighed bitterly when she thought about Yukiko Amagi and Chie Satonaka.

“Ugh, both of those girls are late as it is,” Ms. Kawakami shook her head. “It’s already fourth period, and they’re still not present?”

Kawakami knew it was a mistake trying to bring that student in. Despite her polite demeanor, the teacher always had the aching feeling that something was off with the girl, as if her gentle persona belied a true delinquent. Even though she didn’t want to jump to conclusions, she was quite confident being this late on the first day of school was an ill omen of things to come. She just hopes it didn’t snowball, for her sake.

It wasn’t until a slightly tall man with bleached hair came into the room.

“Umm…” The man shifted nervously.

“Sakamoto,” Kawakami sighed, placing her belongings to the side. “You’re late again. Why did you take so long to arrive?”

The boy named Sakamoto quickly got defensive. “Look, I had to help my mom out with a few things, alright?! Christ, no need to get on my case…”

Kawakami almost wanted to retort the boy for his rudeness, but the fact that he looked as pale as a ghost further intrigued her. He wasn’t the type to be so scared so easily, anyhow.

“Sakamoto, you look pale,” Kawakami spoke. “Did something happen?”

“Ah, nothin’,” the boy lied, finishing signing in. “I guess I had a, uh, bad dream.”

Kawakami snorted. “Well, whatever. Just don’t arrive late again, okay? You’re already on thin ice with the school.”

“Yeah, whatever.” Giving a final wave, Sakamoto muttered to himself as he left the door.

“Goddamn, how is it possible for those two girls to disappear in thin air? I need to talk to ‘em later…”


(Music Playing – Tension - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTQg51SN4Ic)

April 11th, 2016 – ??? – ???

“No luck?”

“Nope, none,” Chie cursed to herself for not finding the lever to the drawbridge. They were trapped in a psychopath’s castle, so why couldn’t they find a way to lower the bridge? It was just beyond frustrating to Chie at this point that she couldn’t prove herself useful in some way.

“Ugh, darn,” Yukiko cursed herself. “C’mon Chie, let’s see what else there’s-“

“Psst! Hey!”

Both girls jumped a little bit upon hearing a boyish voice from a cell in front of them. “Huh? Who was that?”

“You gotta let me out!” The voice cried out. “C’mon, please?”

“Huh?” Yukiko blinked for a moment. “Oh, sure! Here, let’s free that boy Chie.”

“Um… alright.” Chie nodded hesitantly before running over to the far-end cell with Yukiko. And what this boy looked like was a real shock.

It was a cat, and by no means a normal one: it’s big, cartoonish eyes, yellow bandana and black fur looked like something straight out of a Western cartoon. Needless to say, the deformed nature of the cat caught both girls off-guard.

“Snrk…!” Yukiko felt ready to burst into laughter. “I-It’s so cute! Ahahahahahaha!”

“Gyaaaaah!” Chie cried out. “W-What the hell are you? Are you some kind of monster-cat?!”

Ignoring Yukiko’s laughing fit, the feline gave a sharp glare at Chie. “Don’t call me a cat; I’m a HUMAN! A human named Morgana, thank you very much!”

“Pffft…! Ahahahahahahaha!” Yukiko was already long gone, creating an audible groan from Chie.

“Well, she’s definitely crazy now…” Chie groaned. “Anyway, why are you locked in this cell?! This isn’t some kind of trap, is it?!”

“What?! N-No!” Morgana retorted, shocked at the suggestion. “I was taken in, just like you guys!”

“W-Well, um…” Chie flustered a bit, before glaring at the cat. “Well, w-we’re trying to escape, too! Yukiko, what do you think we should do about this cat?!”

“Snrk…” Yukiko giggled, her laughing fit over. “S-Sorry, heehee… wait, umm… what were we talking about?”

“Ugh, she wasn’t even listening…” Chie wanted to facepalm. “This cat wants out. Apparently, it’s been captured just like us, so I want to hear your judgement.”

“Oh, um…” Yukiko pondered for a moment. “Hmm… can you help us escape, if that’s the case? If you do, we’ll be able to help you. Sounds like a deal?”

“Well, of course I can help you escape!” Morgana spoke.  “You just need to free me from this cell!”

“Hey, um, Yukiko…” Chie frowned. “You sure this isn’t a trap? I dunno if we should just listen to what the cat has to say…”

“Well, we can’t find our way out. Maybe this cat knows.” Chie didn’t have any time to object before unlocking the cell.

“Ahhhhhh…!” Morgana leaped forth, stretching its distorted body somewhat. “Freedom is the best!”

“Alright, you’re free.” Chie glared. “Now you better fill in on your promise! Help us escape, or so help me-“

Suddenly, a familiar voice boomed from behind them. “Halt!”

(Music Stops)

All three ex-prisoners turned around to see two armored guards behind them, swords, shields, masks and all. Needless to say, Chie falls back on her feet in panic.

“Aaagh! S-Shit, it’s them!” Chie cried out as Yukiko suddenly morphed into her red-and-pink outfit.

“Hey, you have the potential too?” Morgana eyed Yukiko. “Good; that’ll make fighting them all the more easier.”

“Huh? Fighting them…?” Yukiko blinked. “You don’t mean-“

“I do,” Morgana smirked as he jumped back.

“Come forth, Zorro!

(Music Playing – Keeper of Lust - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBZ4EBaYpbs)

As Chie screamed out in the distance, a bright light shot from the feline and out came a creature just like with Yukiko – only this time, a cartoonish, black-clad swordsman with a rapier.

“Wh-What the…?!” Chie’s eyes were wide with shock. “He has the power too?!”

“You insolent fools!” The left guard barked. “You shall pay for your defiance!”

Dissolving into shadows, out came creatures just like with the fairies, only this time two different creatures: one a red demon with an extra-long appendage and the other being a floating ghost with a pumpkin head.

“Come at me with all you have, hee-ho!” The pumpkin-head cackled as fire blasted Yukiko. Even as she cried out, her eyes fluttered a little to see minimal damage was done.

“H-Huh?” Yukiko blinked, surprised that she barely felt anything. “That barely even hurt…”

“What?!” The pumpkin-head cried. “H-Hee-How didn’t that hurt a human, ho?! That would’ve been fatal, hee-ho!”

Morgana interjected. “That’s because she has the power of Persona, her other self! Now…”

With a quick spin, he cried out for the black swordsman. “Zorro, blow them away!”

Indeed, a mighty, razor-sharp wind came from the swordsman’s rapier swipes, instantly disintegrating the shadows.

“W-Wow…” Yukiko blinked in awe, clearly taken aback by the sheer display of power. “That’s your power, Morgana? The power of wind?”

“Yep, just as your power is fire!” Morgana grinned smarmily, as if incredibly proud of himself.

(Music Stops)

Chie sat there, having watched Morgana effortlessly wipe out the two demons. “Wait, I heard you say something… Persona? That’s the power you have?”

“Yeah, and it’s the power your friend possesses,” Morgana confirmed, nodding a little. “I call it Persona; it’s the power of her inner self made manifest. The creatures we just fought there are Shadows, our enemy.”

Personas? Shadows? Yukiko’s mind was racing with thoughts. All of this was so suddenly posed onto her as if she was supposed to understand everything just like that. All of this mystical nonsense made Yukiko further wonder if her dream wasn’t folly after all…

She was so deep in thought that she didn’t notice Chie looking away red-faced.

“Huh? Chie?” Yukiko blinked. “Is there something wrong?”

Chie, unable to speak without sounding embarrassed, merely looked away. “P-Please, look down…”

She looked down at her outfit. Only this time, she realized how revealing it was.

(Music Playing – My Homie – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKRimQt9W1E)

“E-Eep!” Turning beet red, she immediately covered her exposed chest and looked the other way. “P-Please, don’t look!”

“Huh? Come on, it’s just a little skin. Not like it’s anything to be worried about.” Morgana scratched his furry chin. “And… huh. It doesn’t seem to be disappearing. Looks like you mastered your Persona, at least!”

“Wh-What?! You mean this outfit came from… ah!” Yukiko squeaked embarrassedly, and from the look of things, Chie was just as flustered as her. “C-Come on, can we please leave?! There’s people watching!”

“Alright, alright, fine…” Morgana snorted. “You really want to look proper in front of others, huh?”

Running behind the flustered Yukiko, he pulled the jaw of Kamoshida’s Statue right next to the drawbridge.

“Huh? That’s how we leave? Seriously?!” Chie bellowed, trying her best to avoid looking at Yukiko’s exposed – and decently-sized – chest. “Ugh, I knew I was missing something!”

“Well, come on.” Morgana motioned to both girls. “If we don’t get out of here, it looks like she may die of embarrassment.”

As he began to cross the drawbridge, he stopped suddenly. “Oh, before I forget! I didn’t ask for your names yet. You are…?”

“Um, Chie.”

“Y-Yukiko.” Poor Yukiko was still trying her best to cover her skin.

“Alright, nice to meet you both!” Morgana smiled. “C’mon, the exit shouldn’t be that far away. We’re almost out of here!”

“O-Okay…” Yukiko blushed. She and Chie proceeded to catch up with their newfound companion, both girls turning red at the sight of Yukiko’s… buoyancy.

God, the sooner out of this outfit, the better.


(Music Stops)

April 11th, 2016 – ??? – ???

After some travelling through the stairs, all three escapees finally arrived to where it all began: the main hall of this godforsaken castle. Yukiko and Chie couldn’t be happier to know they were almost free.

“Oh, thank God, we’re almost out!” Chie cried out to nobody in particular. “C’mon Yukiko, we’re almost free! Let’s just get out of this place and forget this ever happened.”

“I’m glad both of you are safe, though,” Morgana smiled. “We just need to make sure nobody’s following us-“

“Following us where, cat?”

(Music Playing – Desire - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLf6a5gaVVc )

A familiar, condescending voice sent waves of dread throughout the group, especially Chie. And just like that, all three escapees were surrounded by a free Kamoshida – and dozens of guards.

“Did you actually think you were going to escape that easily?!” Kamoshida laughed to himself. “I’ll have you know that this castle’s locked down enough that not even a snake can crawl in without being killed.”

“Ugh, speaking of the devil…” Morgana grumbled, before turning to Yukiko. “You ready?”

“Y-Yeah, I am,” Yukiko nodded, revealing her fan. “Come forth! Konoha – wha?!”

Before Morgana and Yukiko could summon their Personas, the force of both shields and weapon hilts struck them down to the ground, both fighters completely pinned down by the soldiers. Chie watches on in horror as the two people responsible for protecting her can’t even do anything about it.

“N-No… please no…” Chie whimpered, tears again forming in her eyes. “N-Not again!”

“C-Chie, please…” Yukiko gasped, struggling against the pressure of the guards. “R-Run! You have to survive, no matter what!”

“S-She’s right! Run!” Morgana said in agreement. “Get out of here while you can!”

“Huh? M-Me?!” Chie retorted. “N-No, I couldn’t possibly leave you-“

“Aww, what’s the matter?” Kamoshida snorted, turning his attention to a crying Chie. “Gonna run off like the chicken you are? I honestly thought you were more courageous than that.”

Kamoshida’s mocking expression quickly turned sour. “Cowards like you irritate the hell out of me!”

Following up on this insult, he gave a mighty punch to Chie’s gut, causing her to collapse and wail out in pain.

“Don’t you get it, chicken?” Kamoshida scoffed. “It’s your cowardice that’s gonna get you and your friends killed. You had the perfect opportunity to save Takeshi from his death, from letting him murder himself. But no; you just had to remain silent because you were afraid of drawing wrath on yourself.”

“S-Stop it…” Chie began sobbing uncontrollably at this point.

“Why should I?” Kamoshida sneered. “Even your attempts to insult me – half-heartedly calling me a bully, for instance – only shows your desire to not be involved in these things, the exact same things that caused your friend to kill himself! Why, it was because of all the pressure of being one of the Volleyball Team’s star players that caused him to end up like this. You have nobody – nobody – to blame but yourself for being such a bad friend.”

Kamoshida gave a short laugh, looking back at the struggling Yukiko and Morgana. “And now? Now you’re going to die like the garbage you are for being such a worthless coward.”

Chie just wanted to ball up and cry right now. It was true, too; she was a coward. She couldn’t even stand up for Takeshi’s depression, much less call him an insult without the fear of being ruined. She felt completely worthless in that moment, and felt as though she was exactly as Kamoshida called her: a coward.

“Don’t give up!”

(Music Stops)

Chie raised her head to see Yukiko eyeing her directly, her face as defiant as ever.

“Y-Yukiko…?”

“I believe in you, Chie!” Yukiko cried out. “I know you’re better than this! So stand up for yourself, and show this bastard what-for!”

“Tch, you think she’s actually better than this?” Kamoshida scoffed. “She wouldn’t even have the courage to-“

“Shut. The hell. Up.

Chie was standing on her own two feet, glaring resolutely at Kamoshida. Yukiko was right; she was better than this. She was scared, yes, but she managed to take on the horrors of this castle with a strong face. She let Yukiko protect her; she just had to repay the favor.

“Oh?” Kamoshida grinned. “Who gave you the right to speak, peasant?”

I said shut the hell up!” Chie screamed at the top of her lungs. “You’re the reason why Takeshi killed himself, and you don’t even have the guts to do it yourself! If there’s anyone here who’s a ‘dirty coward’, it’s you Kamoshida!”

“Me? Don’t be ridiculous!” Kamoshida spat as Chie slowly walked over to him. “You have no proof that I pushed him to suicide.”

“Don’t be stupid.” Chie seethed angrily. “You’re the reason why he’s dead now. It’s all your fault!”

She stomped her feet on the ground and gave a hateful stare at Kamoshida.

“I’LL NEVER FORGIVE YOU, YOU SON OF A BITCH!”

(Music Playing – Awakening- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiXGN-899Ao )

You have finally realized it, haven’t you?

“G-Gah…!” Suddenly, Chie felt a splitting headache, and almost instinctively, she clutched her head and began screaming in pain, thrashing around all the while.

Forgiving this man was never the answer. Turning a blind eye to your fellow man’s suffering was never the solution. It is time to show the corrupt of this world the true meaning of justice, don't you agree? After all, it is what the other you desires. I am thou… thou art I… it is time for your awakening. Unleash the fury of the DRAGON WITHIN!

Suddenly, the pain dissipated, and a yellow mask with a clear Chinese dragon theme appeared on her face. Even though her head still throbbed from the splitting headache, she knew exactly what she had to do: rip off the mask, just like with Yukiko.

“What the… another one…?!” Kamoshida said gawking. “Guards, kill her! NOW!”

Too little, too late. With all her strength and willpower, she ripped off the mask, letting loose a pained scream as blood caked her face, and a bright blue blast of energy vaporizing most of the surrounding guards.

When the light dissipated, the scene was very different.

(Music Playing – Will Power - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA6yWuXFC7o)

Amid the ashes of the knights, Chie’s school outfit was now replaced with a green leather jacket with a bright-yellow scarf, alongside gloves and boots of a dark yellow leather. And behind her, in the bright blue energy, stood a yellow-clad, armored creature with a double-headed naginata.

“H-Huh…? This is…” Chie stared in awe at her new power, just as Yukiko and Morgana did from up ahead.

“No way…” Morgana said, eyes wide. “Chie had the potential too?!”

“Holy crap… this is awesome!” Chie cried out, still examining her power. “Now I can protect everyone!”

“Oh, God…” Kamoshida fell back in fear. “N-Not again! Someone, kill her!”

“A-At once, my liege!” A wounded golden knight, despite being in the brunt of the blast, was still well and alive. “You shall know true fear, wench!”

Dissolving into a mound of black ichor, the creature that sprung from it was ironic: a red angel clad to the brim in armor, and wielding a razor-sharp sword with it.

“Alright, we’re free…” Yukiko dusted off the ashes of the fallen knight, and nodded with Morgana. “Let’s kill that thing and get out of here!”

“Right, Yukiko!” Chie cracked her knuckles and pointed at the armored angel. “Come forth! Protect me Tomoe!

Immediately, the yellow Persona dashed at the angel at lightning speeds, the force of her blow knocking the angel on its feet.

“Grrr… you dare defy the kindness of our lord, King Kamoshida?!” The angel bellowed loudly. “You shall pay for your insolence, you pitiful wench!”

“Kindness my ass!” Chie spat. “All Kamoshida really is is an asshole bully who preys on the helpless! He’s the one who’s going to pay for his insolence!”

With one motion of her finger, she gave the order to Tomoe. “Alright, Tomoe! Freeze ‘em solid!”

Tomoe spun her naginata, and a giant spear of ice stabbed the angel, the sheer coldness of the icicle freezing the creature solid. And just like that, the creature broke into multiple other ice pieces, dissolving into nothing more but black shadows.

“Hmph!” Chie nodded, her arms crossed. “Let that be a lesson to going up against me!”

(Music Stops)

As the battle finally cooled down, all that was left was the black, liquid remains of the Shadows, and a terrified Kamoshida. Looking at the carnage, Yukiko and Morgana couldn’t help but stare in awe.

“Wow…" Morgana stared in awe at the carnage, before turning to Yukiko. "To think that Chie has the same power as you, Yukiko…”

“A-Ah… g-guards!" Kamoshida cried, stumbling a little bit. "Kill them, now!”

(Music Playing – Tension - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTQg51SN4Ic)

Suddenly, more guards rushed onto the scene, and they far outnumbered the three Persona-users.

“Ugh, we can’t take them on all by ourselves…” Chie muttered. “We should get outta here.”

“You do that,” Morgana nodded, smiling. “I’ll keep them busy.”

“H-Huh? Wait, what?!” Yukiko was clearly taken aback by the suggestion. “Morgana, you shouldn’t! You’re going to get yourself killed if you do!”

“Who said a Phantom Thief such as myself doesn’t have a few means of escape?” Morgana said with a smarmy smile. “You guys just get out of here… but do remember I have some requests planned for you guys!"

Requests? Phantom Thief? What?

“Now, go! Hurry!” Morgana yelled. “You guys hightail it!”

Chie didn’t need to be told twice. “Right! C’mon Yukiko, let’s go!”

As Chie ran off without her, Yukiko looked back at Morgana with a smile.

“Thank you, Morgana.” Yukiko said with genuine gratitude. “I’ll definitely be sure to repay you for this.”

“Aw, it’s nothing.” Morgana smiled sheepishly. “You just get outta here! We’ll see each other in due time!”

Kamoshida had enough of this insolence. “What are you louts standing around for?! Kill them ALL!”

Without much else being said, the last thing Yukiko and Chie saw while running out of the castle was Morgana jumping away.


(Music Playing – City Ambience - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElU8g7xi6ws)

April 11th, 2016 – Aoyama-Itchome – 11:28 AM

Yukiko and Chie stood right outside of the shortcut both girls took, gasping for breath. They were both too tired to notice the sound of Yukiko’s phone going off.

Welcome back to: the real world.

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – Interrogation - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmflOHXEw0I )

??? – ??? – ???

“So let me get this straight,” Sae spoke slowly, as if trying to understand Yukiko’s testimony. “You’re telling me that you and your friend walked into the castle of your PE teacher’s demonic self only to be imprisoned, then breaking free with a power called “Persona,” and then meeting a talking cat?”

She couldn’t help but stare incredulously at the drugged teenager. “You have got to be kidding me.”

“Believe it or not, that’s what happened,” Yukiko spoke in a slightly slurred tone. “You can drop this interrogation if you want… but it doesn’t change the truth.”

Sae scoffed inwardly at the idea of any of this happening. Seriously, Persona?! Even if the idea lines up nicely with Yukiko’s pyrokinesis and other supernatural abilities, it was still so far-fetched that she could hardly believe it. In all the cases she worked on, not once did she happen on a case so outlandish.

Yet she needed to know the truth, no matter what.

Sae merely sighed in resignation. “…fine. For now, we’ll account your story as plausible. But I want you to tell me about this person.”

Opening up the briefcase, Sae had a manila folder with a red-print [CLASSIFIED] on the folder in Japanese kanji, before opening it up to reveal pictures of Kamoshida and other documents.

“Suguru Kamoshida, age 32, was a former-Olympian PE teacher at your school, Shujin Academy. While the subject of his… desires… were abhorrent, his confession hardly lined up with his motives. It was as if there was some sort of external influence that made him confess his crimes.”

Suddenly, Sae leered directly at the dull-looking Yukiko.

“Well? Do you have an answer to that?”

Yukiko scoffed to herself before looking away. “I don’t remember that clearly.”

That’s unacceptable!” Sae slammed her palms onto the shaky desk, making Yukiko jump. “Try to remember. What was your involvement in Kamoshida’s confession and arrest?”


(Music Playing – Suspicion - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZk_Azty5AQ)

April 11th, 2016 – Aoyama-Itchome – 11:29 AM

Both Yukiko and Chie were gasping for air after their harrowed escape from the demonic castle. Chie felt ready to collapse from exhaustion – all that fighting and running does that to people, for certain.

“Ugh, I feel awful…” Chie moaned loudly. “At least we’re back in the real world.”

Yukiko wiped some sweat from her brow, just as happy as Chie to be back in their world. “Totally. We really dodged a bullet there, escaping those Shadows and summoning our Personas… and what was it with that cat?”

Chie finally regained her breath. “Well, we can be certain now that that was no dream. All that we did there… it all occurred. But seriously though, what was up with that place…?”

*bzzt*

“Hm…?” Chie grabbed her phone to see a new notification.

New App Received: Metaverse Navigator

“Hey, what’s this app?” Chie blinked, a little disturbed by the eyeball logo. “It doesn’t happen to be spam, doesn’t it…?”

Yukiko gave a cheeky smile. “Cute logo, huh? Heehee!”

“Uhhh… I wouldn’t call it that.” Chie shifted uncomfortably. “Wait, you have the app too?”

Had,” Yukiko corrected in past-tense. “I deleted it before we – huh?!

App Downloaded 2h56m ago: Metaverse Navigator

“Seriously?! It downloaded when I deleted it a minute ago?! Ugh, it’s so persistent!” Yukiko angrily cried out, ready to delete it.

“W-Wait, Yukiko! Don’t delete it!”

Yukiko stared at Chie. “Huh? Why wouldn’t I delete it? This app’s been plaguing me for the last couple of-“

“Just here me out, okay?” Chie interrupted before beginning. “Maybe that app has something to do with his getting into that weird castle place? I mean, that castle took the place of our school! I don’t think we can rule out the possibility of this app being involved in us getting into that world…”

Yukiko paused for a moment, but then she realized she was too tired to think. That escape wasn’t just nerve-wracking, but exhausting as well. “I’m too exhausted to talk about all this… let’s just get to class, Chie. We’re late as it is…”

“Huh? Late? You don’t mean…” She then flipped open her phone to see the current time. “Holy crap, we’re late! C’mon Yukiko, let’s go!”

Chie darted off through the same shortcut that ended them up in the school, and Yukiko barely had enough time to catch up with her. “Chie, wait for me!”


(Music Playing – Erosion - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK1ZoCVtn_c)

April 11th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Front Entrance – 11:31 AM

Chie and Yukiko felt shivers up their spine upon not just seeing an incredibly angry teacher in front of them, but the same person whose demonic self they’ve escaped, Suguru Kamoshida. Both teacher’s arms were crossed and neither of them looked too happy with both girls being late.

“Amagi, Satonaka… you’re late,” The teacher crossed his arms, his last two words posing additional venom in them. “I wouldn’t expect punctuality to be Amagi’s strong suit, but you Satonaka? Not only are you late by four periods, but you decided to hang out with the delinquent of all things?!”

“H-Huh?” Chie turned to Yukiko, the girl being clearly confused. “Delinquent? Wait, you’re not a criminal, are you, Yukiko…?”

Yukiko gave no response, instead looking down at her own two feet shamefully.

“I-It’s true,” Yukiko bit her lip. “I was expelled back at Yasogami High for-“

“For assault, I believe,” The teacher said mockingly. “And don’t give me that bullshit “but I was helping another woman” story. Nobody believed you back home, and nobody believes you now.”

The teacher quickly turned to the shocked Chie. “As for you Satonaka, associating yourself with a delinquent and being late for class? That’s extremely disappointing.”

“Come on now, Mr. Mochida, give the girl a break,” Kamoshida gave a fake smile, clearly pretending to be on Chie’s side. “Her friend committed suicide a few months back. She kinda has a reason to be upset.”

This, needless to say, made Chie lash out. “Not cool, asshole! You were the reason why Takeshi killed himself!”

“How dare you talk to Mr. Kamoshida like that!” Mochida spat. “Do we need to put you in detention, Satonaka?!”

“Come on, come on!” Kamoshida quickly interjected, still maintaining his carefree smile. “She insulted me, and I admittedly made the pressure on my team a bit too hard. We’re both at fault here. Is that okay with you, Mr. Mochida?”

“Huh?! But…” Mochida fell silent, caught off-guard. “You sure about that? Takeshi-kun’s suicide had nothing to do with you, y’know…”

Kamoshida gave a hearty – but ultimately fake – laugh. “Oh, of course. Apology accepted, right Chie-chan?”

Yukiko looked at Chie’s seething anger before looking down in defeat. “…apology accepted.”

“Good, good.” Kamoshida smiled, showing a calculated persona. “Now, I do believe I have some things to attend to. Have a good one Mr. Mochida! You too Chie-chan!”

As Kamoshida walked off, Mochida gave a glare at both girls before walking away. Both Chie and Yukiko sighed in a depressed fashion.

(Music Playing – Break It Down (Elp Version) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlqekNjZBDc )

“So, uh…” Chie whispered bitterly. “Wanted for assault, huh?”

“Y-Yeah, um…” Yukiko bit her lip, looking ready to cry. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier.”

“Nah, it’s okay. I believe you had your reasons.”

“Huh?” Yukiko looked up a Chie, who was smiling at her. She was fully embracing herself for Chie reacting in disgust or anger, but seeing the same, happy smile she always had made her feel a lot better. It was as if Chie didn’t mind at all… actually, from the look on her eyes, that seemed to be exactly the reason.

“But… why though? I never gave you any reason to believe me.”

“Pfft, like I’d listen to some hard-ass teacher over you!” Chie gave a joking laugh before giving a (slightly) more serious smile. “Seriously though, I believe in you. You saved my life, comforted me when I broke down, and I got the power of Persona too. Any person willing to stand up for other’s is a friend of mine.”

“Chie…” Yukiko didn’t know how to respond. Aside from Sojiro, Chie was the first person she met in school who understood her situation, and was perfectly willing to hear her side of the story. It made Yukiko want to dance for joy that she finally made a friend she could trust, especially somebody as dependable as her. Simply flashing her best smile, she nods.

“Thank you, Chie.” Yukiko said, looking ready to cry. “How about I explain to you what really happened later?”

“Yeah, I’ll definitely be up for that!” Chie grinned. “Oh, as long as we get to go to a place I like to eat! Seriously, they have some of the best meat bowls ever!” Chie said this with sparkles in her eyes, which made Yukiko chuckle. She must really like her meat.

“Alright, alright, it’s a deal.” Yukiko smiled. “Just… nothing too fatty, alright?”

“Huh? …Oh, right, you must be on a diet. Well I’ll be sure to find something lean for you, okay?”

“Sounds like a plan,” Yukiko said, nodding a little. “Let’s just head to class, okay? We’re extremely late as it is.”

The girls spent most of their time conversing with each other before heading off to separate classes.


(Music Stops)

April 11th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Class 2-D – 11:31 AM

After meeting up with Mrs. Kawakami in the Faculty Lounge and lying to her why she was late (took the wrong train, she said), both Kawakami and Yukiko stood in front of the class where she would spend her second year of high school in. Kawakami paused to leer at Yukiko, who was looking down at her feet.

“Now, please don’t say anything unnecessary,” Kawakami spoke sternly. “Just say hello, and sit at your assigned seat, okay?”

“Yes, Ms. Kawakami,” Yukiko bowed politely. “I’ll be sure to behave.”

“Good, hope you will.” Kawakami nodded before opening the door.

The formerly bustling classroom fell silent once Yukiko came into the scene, in which she noticed a familiar face: the same pig-tailed blonde girl she saw by the street earlier today. On the other end of the classroom sat a blue-haired boy with several bruises and a white t-shirt.

“Now,” Kawakami began. “I would like to introduce our new student. Amagi-chan, can you please step forward?”

This is our delinquent transfer? Seriously?”

“She’s actually kinda cute…

“Something tells me I should be careful around her…”

“Y-Yes, of course,” Yukiko nodded, bowing politely in front of the class. “Good to meet you all. My name is Yukiko Amagi.”

“She looks demure, but I bet when she loses it…”

“Okay, she’s DEFINITELY cute…”

“Hey, I heard a rumor she castrated a man… stay away from her!”

“No way, really?! Jeez, that’s some rumor if I heard one…”

“Alright, settle down!” Kawakami spoke loudly. “I don’t need to hear any colorful banter regarding our new student’s… sordid past. Amagi-chan, if you may sit down, please…?”

“Um, yes ma’am.” Motioning over to the one empty seat next to hear – which was conveniently close to the blonde girl – she could’ve swore she heard the girl mutter something to herself.

“Lies,” it sounded like, thought Yukiko.

She proceeded to sit in her seat, and the rest of the day went on uneventfully.


(Music Playing – Erosion - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK1ZoCVtn_c)

April 11th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Hallway – 3:04 PM

Yukiko sighed to herself, still overwhelmed by the events of today. Compared to an escape from a demonic castle, lectures about Japanese composition seems really boring in comparison. That wasn’t even factoring in her exhaustion from the day; never before has Yukiko been so glad at the thought that she’ll get to just fall asleep when she gets home.

Her exhaustion was palpable enough that she didn’t notice Chie walk up to her, smiling much more than Yukiko.

“Yo, Yukiko-chan!” Chie’s smile quickly turned around upon seeing the girls’ obvious tiredness. “Hey, is there something wrong? You look tired…”

“Well, of course I’m tired, Chie,” Yukiko grumbled to herself bitterly. “Today’s been a long day, as you can attest to.”

“Really?” Chie blinked a bit, taken aback somewhat by her friend’s fatigue. “That’s a surprise. I actually feel pretty okay myself.”

“Well, had to do most of the heavy-lifting y’know.” Yukiko grumbled. “And heck, it’s not like all the talk behind my back did me any favors, either.”

“Oh, that…” Chie frowned upon thinking of all the nasty rumors circulating Yukiko. “I’m really sorry to hear all that information was leaked, Yukiko.”

Suddenly, Chie’s sorrow quickly evolved into anger. “That bastard Kamoshida probably had something to do with it. Ugh, and that’s all the more reason to want to kick the bastard!” Chie got into a kung-fu stance for no particular reason, oblivious to the bleach-haired man right behind her.

“Uh… yo.”

Both Chie and Yukiko turned around to see a man with bleached-blonde hair and a graphic t-shirt standing right behind the girls. Immediately, the boy shuffled the back of his head sheepishly.

“Uhh… is it okay if I have a word with you girls upstairs? By the roof?” The delinquent whispered. “I won’t take much of your time, I just need t’ ask you a few questions.”

“Huh?” Chie blinked. “What do you need to know, umm…?” She trailed off as if asking for her name.

“L-Look, I’ll tell you my name once we’re upstairs! Just meet me by the effin’ rooftop!” The boy blushed a little bit before running away from the two girls, leaving a baffled Chie and Yukiko behind.

“Weird…” Chie whispered to herself, before turning to Yukiko. “Sheesh, Yukiko, what was up with him?

“I dunno,” Yukiko said with a shrug. “Remember, I only just got here.”

Chie bit her lip. “Well, it sounds important. Let’s meet him on the rooftop.”

“Huh?” Yukiko blinked a bit. “Wait, isn’t it off-limits to students?”

“Psh, it’s not like anyone’s guarding it,” Chie said with a smarmy smile. “Let’s just hear what he has to say, alright?”

As Chie ran off without her, Yukiko decided to follow pursuit. The sooner she could figure what’s going on, the better.


(Music Playing – Suspicion - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YwlwHxVs9w)

April 11th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Rooftop – 3:06 PM

After traversing the stairs, Chie and Yukiko found themselves on the rooftop with only the bleach-haired boy to keep the lonesome place company. He sat on top of a generator, suddenly perking up at the sight of the two girls.

“Ah, there you are! ‘Bout damn time!” he exclaimed to the two girls.

“Yep, we came.” Chie had her hands on her hips as she said this. “Whaddya need with us?”

“Well, uh, might as well get introductions outta the way,” The boy trailed off awkwardly, looking away in the process. “My name’s Ryuji Sakamoto. Anyway, I call you up to… well, y’see, uh…”

The boy named Ryuji sighed, looking away nervously. “…oh, this is kinda awkward.”

He honestly had no idea how to put it without looking like a complete doofus, but he put his reservations to the side and spoke blatantly. “How did both of you disappear into thin air?”

Yukiko and Chie looked at the man incredulously.

“Excuse me?” Both girls said in perfect unison. Yukiko found it especially baffling; disappearing into thin air? What could they even mean about that regarding us? The concept was so foreign to Yukiko that she had no idea on how else to continue Ryuji’s outlandish question.

“Well, um…” Ryuji trailed off. “Y’see, when I was doin’ some shoppin’ for my ma, I saw you two girls near the shortcut and then you, suddenly, uh… vanished. Like, into thin air.”

Yukiko and Chie quickly glanced at each other in panic.

“So, I was wonderin’ if you could tell me, uh… what’s up with that?” Ryuji muttered. “Is-is there like some sorta magic trick you gals had planned?”

Chie quickly flushed a deep shade of red, her habit of bad lying taking full control. “U-Uh, hahahaha… wh-what could you possibly be talking about? I-It isn’t as if we’ve been using some sorta app to traverse to some demonic castle which we had to escape from a demonic counterpart to Kamosh-MMMPH?!”

Yukiko instinctively pressed her hand on Chie’s lips. “Chie, don’t say it!

“Huh?” The boy stared at both girls incredulously, his eyes wide. “What… did you say “app,” “demonic castle,” and “Kamoshida” in the same effin’ sentence?!”

“Oh, crap…!Yukiko quickly tried to salvage the situation. “W-We most certainly did not! It, um… must’ve been the wind that made it sound like that! Y-Yeah, the wind…”

Awkward silence quickly followed. Meanwhile, Ryuji’s mind was racing with whatever the hell was happening. Seriously? They used an app to visit a demonic version of that asshole Kamoshida? What the hell is going on?!

“Um…” Ryuji broke the terse silence with a slightly shocked expression. “May, I, uh… see your phone real quick…?”

A long silence quickly followed. It was pretty obvious Chie and Yukiko were caught red-handed at this point, both girls looking incredulously at each other. Before Ryuji could obtain their phones, both girls quickly made a high-tail for it.

“A-Aaagh!” Chie cried. “S-Sorry, Yukiko!”

“Huh?! W-Wait!” Ryuji cried as the girls ran off in panic. “G-Get back here! I JUST WANT TO ASK YOU, DAMNIT!”

Ryuji groaned tiredly, slumping down on the generator where he sat. “Damnit… and I was hopin’ to ask how they could vanish like that…”

*bzzt*

“Huh?” Ryuji brought out his phone. “What the hell could this be…?”

New app received: Metaverse Navigator


(Music Playing – Beneath the Mask (Instrumental) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUwBIP7rjlA )

April 11th, 2016 – Café Leblanc – 7:53 PM

Today has been a long day for Yukiko.

As she finally opened up the door of Café Leblanc, she was surprised to find Sojiro with a disappointed look on his face, his arms crossed together.

“You were late on your first day of school? On probation?” Sojiro grilled. “Seriously?”

Yukiko looked away to the side, slightly embarrassed. “Um… I took the wrong train by accident.”

Sojiro shook his head. He knew that Tokyo was an expansive labyrinth, but he saw Yukiko’s grades from her first-year back in Yasogami High – straight As and Bs all around. She was much smarter than this, and something simply reeked of lying within Yukiko’s alibi.

Regardless, Sojiro sighed and put his thought to the side. “Just don’t let it happen again, you got that? I don’t want to see this kind of mistake ever happen again, especially when you’re smarter than this.”

Yukiko bowed respectfully. “Y-Yes, sir. It won’t happen again, I promise.”

“Good,” Sojiro shook his head. “I’m just happy that’s cleared up. Now go to bed. You looked exhausted.”

Indeed, Yukiko looked completely totaled as far as endurance went. Her eyes were baggy, and she could really just plop onto the bed right now. Not willing to stay up a minute longer, she proceeded up the stairs to the attic when her phone suddenly went off.

*dzzt-dzzt-dzzt*

steak trash: yo, yukiko, u holding up?

Yukiko Amagi: Yeah, I’ll be fine, thanks. I’m just extremely exhausted.

steak trash: i got grilled by my parents… ugh, it was a long-ass lecture

Yukiko Amagi: Same… well, except the lecture I received was much shorter.

steak trash: rly?!?! lucky

steak trash: also, good thing we got out of there in 1 piece, right? ryuji looked rly scary… (`〇Д〇)

Yukiko Amagi: It’s also a good thing we got each other’s contacts before we left.

steak trash: ill say

steak trash: hey, at least this mean ill be able to kit with u!

Yukiko Amagi: Heh. Yeah, I’m happy about that too.

steak trash: lifes a piece of cake as long as its with friends

steak trash: …shit, now im hungry for cake

Yukiko Amagi: Umm… how’s that relevant with anything…?

steak trash: oh, im just hungry 4 somethin sweet

steak trash: which is pretty rare as I loooooooooove dem meat

steak trash: mmmm, yakisobaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Yukiko Amagi: Uhhh… riiiiiiiiiiiiight…

steak trash: um… btw

Yukiko Amagi: ?

steak trash: i want 2 apologize for freaking out like that

steak trash: yknow, back when ryuji grilled us 4 why we poofed

steak trash: i guess i kinda panicked when he was onto something about that world, yknow?

Yukiko Amagi: After the things we’ve seen, I think that panic’s a little justified.

Yukiko Amagi: Don’t worry about it too much.

steak trash: if you say so

Yukiko Amagi: I mean, still… that power you had was amazing.

steak trash: hey, IM not the one who saved my ass from impalement

steak trash: u kinda deserve the credit 2, yukiko

Yukiko Amagi: You… think so? Honestly, I never thought I was worthy of praise like that.

steak trash: srsly?!?!?!

Yukiko Amagi: ???

steak trash: youre, like, the coolest, smartest and most beautiful girl I know!!! srsly, the way u fought through that shithole with such a brave face is so admirable!!! i rly made the right choice regarding the first friend of my second year

Yukiko Amagi: You… actually think so?

steak trash: yep, mean every word 2

steak trash: including the beauty part

steak trash: seriously, I wish I had a fraction of your bust SHIT FORGET I SAID THAT – (edited on 8:14 PM)

Yukiko Amagi: What?!

steak trash: sorry sorry sorry sorry SORRY

steak trash: G2G BYE

steak trash is offline

Yukiko stared at the screen in red-faced horror as Chie signed off.

Today has been a very long day for Yukiko.

Chapter Text

(Music – Aria of the Soul – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Fc3PxsXzE)

April 12th, 2016 – Velvet Room – ???

A familiar rattling of chains woke Yukiko up from her slumber. Upon coming too, she saw the same room that has haunted her dreams yesterday; the familiar, blue prison that she was held captive in. Subsequently with it, she was also once again dressed in her prisoner outfit, ball-and-chain and all.

This was the “Velvet Room,” wasn’t it?

Indeed, the same two guards – Caroline and Justine, if she recalled correctly – and Igor was standing right outside her cell with the same eerie, Cleshire-esque smile he always possessed.

“So you finally came to, inmate,” Caroline spat vehemently, before banging the riding crop on the cell. “Stand up straight! Our master wants to have a word with you!”

Justine adjusted her clipboard before speaking. “Please don’t mind her; we merely request that you listen to what our master has to say about the state of your heart.”

“That will do nicely, girls,” Igor smiled, clasping his hands together. “Now, as for our guest…”

The man turned to Yukiko, who outstretched his hand to the prisoner of fate, as if inviting her to something. “First off, let us celebrate our reunion… and more importantly, your awakening to your powers.”

Powers…? What else could he mean but the power of Persona? The same power she summoned in panic during her escape from that demonic castle, and the same power she was bestowed upon to protect all she holds dear? Whatever context Igor meant regarding her Persona, it was clear that he had something to do with her newfound powers.

“And what’s more, your powers are special at that,” Igor said with a grin. “Your rehabilitation can finally begin.”

“Huh?” Yukiko stared in mild disbelief. “Powers? Rehabilitation? What do you mean?”

Igor gave a small chuckle. “There’s no need to understand all of it for the time being; just know you have been bestowed with the power of Persona, and it’s our duty as servants of Philemon to help refine that power.”

Igor continued his speech. “Personas are a “mask” of sorts… an armor of the heart when confronting worldly matters. The power you possess is unique, no less; you have the ability to harness multiple “masks” at once, which is a staple ability of the Wild Card.”

“Huh? Wild Card…?” Yukiko whispered in disbelief. “What do you mean by that…?”

Igor simply gave a hearty laugh in response. “It’s interesting because you do not naturally possess the power of the Wild Card. But it seems you have been bestowed upon it by a higher power… the cause of this is something I am not certain of.”

Giving a final smile, Igor simply clasped his hands together. “Regardless, I will be sure to explain the circumstances regarding your powers at a later date… but it is imperative that you understand the power of your Confidants, or social bonds in other words.”

Igor continued to explain. “Personas come from the power of the heart, and the heart is stimulated by bonds and relationships you will forge across your journey. Superficial bonds have no place in your heart; the longer you spend time with your confidants, the more powerful your abilities will become. Please, do remember this.”

“Now, I do believe I have taken far too much time than is necessary,” Igor said with a smile. “This will be the last time we will meet unconditionally; from now on, you will visit us here, in this Velvet Room, to discuss matters.”

“Visit here? But how will I…” Suddenly, Yukiko’s pocked began shining a bright, blue light. Removing the key from her pocket, she saw the glistening gold key she obtained upon her first visit to this room, and all suddenly became clear – the means to accessing this room were possible only through this key.

“I look forward to your continued patronage, my child,” Igor said with a jubilant smile. “I hope this relationship blooms into something remarkable…”

“Igor…” Yukiko paused for a moment, but then smiled. Despite his intimidating initial appearances, Igor was very clearly on her side, and genuinely wanted to help her succeed in these tribulations. She was happy she could establish such a bond, anyhow.

It was then she started to hear a voice.

(Music – The Spirit – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlFVJNOm4yc)

I am thou, thou art I…

Thou hast acquired a new vow…

It shall become the wings of rebellion

that breaketh thy chains of captivity,

With the birth of the Fool Persona,

I have obtained the winds of blessing that

shall lead to freedom and new power…

FOOL RANK UP! RANK 1

(Music – Aria of the Soul – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Fc3PxsXzE)

Suddenly, a bell rung through the complex, and Yukiko jumped a bit when she heard Caroline slam her riding crop on the jail door.

“Time’s up!” Caroline barked. “Now go back to bed, inmate! Time’s fleeting on your side!”

“Indeed, the days to come will consist of much trial and tribulation,” Justine smiled. “But I have no doubt you’ll be able to resist the pending ruin.”

“It seems we are out of time,” Igor clasped his hands together. “But I have no doubt you’ll be able to effectively hone the power I have bestowed upon you. I look forward to seeing how your destiny unfolds…”

Igor smiles from ear-to-ear, just as things started to become dark and blurry for Yukiko. “Until we meet again… farewell.”

“Wait!” Yukiko cried out. “I still have some questions-“

Before she could notice what happened next, she was awake in her bed.


(Music – Rain Ambience – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivpx2powHy8)

April 12th, 2016 – Aoyama-Itchome – 7:18 AM

Yukiko’s head was still spinning with thoughts from the dream she had. Seriously? Wild Card? Confidants? What was all of this about? Why did she hear that strange voice when she was talking with Igor? What’s going on?

Sadly, she had to put these thoughts to the wayside and focus on getting to school; she was already on thin ice as it is regarding her late arrival to school. After eating her breakfast and taking the train to school, she got ready to get to class on time – only this instance she was prepared for the rain downpour, and brought her own red umbrella.

Sighing to herself, she continued to walk down the sidewalk in her own reverie, almost not noticing Chie walking her nearby bike next to Yukiko.

“Yo, Yukiko!” Chie said with a gregarious smile. “How’re you, doing? You’re okay, right?”

“Huh?” Yukiko paused for a moment before smiling at Chie. “Yeah. I’m, uh, okay. Thanks for asking, Chie.”

“Sure, sure, no problem.” She stopped for a moment, before blushing somewhat. “Uh… s-sorry about that text. Y-Y’know, the one about your… sweater puppies.” Chie turned red upon mentioning it.

“Oh, u-um…” Yukiko turned just as red, shifting around somewhat uncomfortably. “It’s fine. I’m guess I’m okay with it if it’s you who’s talking about it…”

“Well, I guess I’m just a little envious is all,” Chie said with a small smile. “Mine really aren’t all that big.”

Yukiko and Chie both sat in awkward silence, still shuffling around in anxiety. It took a whole minute before Chie spoke again.

“Hey, Yukiko,” Chie said somewhat sternly. “I think we should go visit that castle again. After school, I mean.”

(Music – Suspicion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YwlwHxVs9w)

That caught Yukiko’s attention. Immediately perking herself upwards, she glanced at Chie with a raised eyebrow as she began to explain. Just why would she want to go back of all things? They were nearly killed!

“Just hear me out, okay Yukiko?” Chie raised her hands defensively. “I was thinking of visiting that castle to find some clues about what Kamoshida is like and all. I mean, the things we’ve seen? There’s got to be some meaning behind it. That’s why I was thinking of visiting the cat again – you know, that strange deformed cat! I think he was called, uhh…”

“Morgana?”

“Yeah, that’s his name!” Chie chirped. “Listen, I just feel as though we need to look into this, together. It’s easy to run away from it all since we we’re nearly killed, but now that we have the means to protect ourselves, with our Personas… I don’t think we can just ignore it now, especially when we can learn more about it. You understand what I mean, right?”

“Chie…” It was true. Even discounting their Personas, Yukiko now had the pink, sakura-like bladed fan in her pocket. It was just something neither girls can look over now that they had the means to investigation. But… wait. What does Chie have to defend herself with?

“I mean, I understand that we have our Personas, but what do you have to defend yourself with, Chie?” Yukiko said with a raised eyebrow. “You were unarmed, even with the means to fight for yourself."

“I get that…” Chie suddenly gave a cheeky grin. “But I know a thing or two about leg-based martial arts! HWAA-TAH!” Chie quickly got into a kung-fu pose that Yukiko couldn’t help but find extremely funny.

“Snrk…” Yukiko began laughing uncontrollably. “Chie, that was – that was – pffft, ahahahahahaha! Hahahahahahahaha!”

“Huh?!” Chie slumped down in defeat. “Ugh, you’re such a hyena…”

“Heeheeheeheehee… s-sorry Chie…” Yukiko’s laughing fit finally subsided. “Um… w-well… snrk… I’m happy you’ll be okay, Chie. I want to protect you, you know that?”

Chie suddenly turned red at the suggestion and looked away flushed. “U-Um, that-that’s what I’m supposed to do, silly!”

Yukiko gave a goofy grin. “Alright, fair enough. We’ll protect each other. Sounds like a fair trade, right Chie?”

“Yeah, it totally does!” Chie cracked a goofy grin before suddenly turning red. “And, um… I hope it’ll bring me closer to you, Yukiko… you’re special to me, after all.”

“Chie…” Yukiko paused for a moment before blushing alongside Chie. Was it even possible to become such close friends after meeting a day before? Then again, Yukiko had no doubt it was because of all the fire and trials they went through escaping the castle… unless there was something else at play, as well.

Regardless, Chie stuck out her hand and Yukiko felt obliged to shake it, both girls grinning at each other joyously.


(Music – Interrogation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmflOHXEw0I)

???-???-???

Sae arms were crossed as she leered at the drugged Yukiko.

“You had many accomplices and confidants over the course of your career as a Phantom Thief, but one stood out from the rest…” Sae said, glaring at the girl. “She was there the whole way through your journey, being your closest confidant, your best friend… and your girlfriend.”

Slamming her hands on the desk, she looked directly into Yukiko’s drugged eyes.

“I’m not wrong… am I?!”


(Music – The Spirit – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlFVJNOm4yc)

I am thou, thou art I…

Thou hast acquired a new vow…

It shall become the wings of rebellion

that breaketh thy chains of captivity,

With the birth of the Aeon Persona,

I have obtained the winds of blessing that

shall lead to freedom and new power…

AEON RANK UP! RANK 1

(Music – Break It Down (Elp Version) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlqekNjZBDc)

Chie gave a small smile to her friend before checking her phone. Her eyes almost widened to the size of saucers upon seeing the time.

Oh, shit!” Chie cussed to nobody in particular. “C’mon, Yukiko, we’re gonna be late! Let’s go!”

And with that, both friends rushed down to class.


(Music – Is It Boring – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLeacHA8RRU)

April 12th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Class 2-D – 8:39 AM

“Alright, listen up,” The teacher began his lecture. “I’m your social studies teacher for this year; Mr. Ushimaru. Today, we’ll be covering the aspects of the human soul, according to Plato…”

As Yukiko continued to listen to the lecture, her phone suddenly went off.

*bzzt-bzzt-bzzt*

steak trash: oh my goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood

Yukiko Amagi: ?

steak trash: this lecture is soooooooooooooo boooooooooooooooooooooooring

steak trash: somebody please end my suffering

steak trash: (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

Yukiko Amagi: That’s great and all, but you should really focus on class, Chie.

steak trash: but i dont wanna

steak trash: i mean, how tf can u focus when were going to go into some hp lovecraftian hellhole with a psychotic king inside?!?!

Yukiko Amagi: School still comes first, though…

steak trash: ugh, fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine

steak trash: blech

steak trash: BLECH

steak trash: ◝(๑⁺᷄д⁺᷅๑)◞՞

steak trash: ur no fun at all, u know that?

Yukiko Amagi: ‘Killjoy’ is my mother’s maiden name.

steak trash: wait, rly?!

Yukiko Amagi: …that was sarcasm, Chie.

steak trash: (;¬_¬)

steak trash: I TOTALLY KNEW THAT, OKAY

Yukiko Amagi: Uh-huh. Sure you did, Chie. Suuuuuuuuuuuuuure.

steak trash: yeah yeah, keep bein a smartass

steak trash: just r3member to meet me outside for our investigation, ok? i’d be really scared to do this alone, tbh

Yukiko Amagi: You’re cute when you act insecure, y’know that?

steak trash: aGFUIESUIGjksn

steak trash: goddamnit yukiko, pls stop roasting me

Yukiko Amagi: Heehee! Okay, sorry, sorry… heh.

steak trash: ugh, ur such a pita sometimes

steak trash: well, fine. ill return to the boring-ass lecture t he waodji

steak trash: OH S H it

steak trash: TEACHER SAW ME, G2G

steak trash is now offline

“Hey, Yukiko!” Mr. Ushimaru barked. “We’re you listening to my question?! What did Plato say were the three parts of the human soul?!”

“H-Huh?!” Yukiko quickly put away her phone; thankfully, the teacher didn’t notice her texting. “Oh, um… appetite, spirit and, um… logic?”

The class was abuzz as Mr. Ushimaru clapped with a smile on his face. “Yes, correct! I’m surprised you knew before I even began!”

“Wow, are you sure she’s a delinquent?!”

“She’s both cute AND smart?! I think I’m in love…”

“Hmph! Well, she probably looked up the answer while on her phone…”

“C’mon, senpai. You can admit that you’re jealous.”

“Me, jealous?! I-It’s not like I’m envious of her, or anything! I-Idiot!”

Yukiko felt some pride swell up within her upon guessing right. She was the starlet of Yasogami High before being expelled, after all.


(Music – Erosion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_24qGyzaxU)

April 12th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Front Entrance – 3:10 AM

After classes were dismissed, Yukiko met with Chie in the front entrance. The first thing the inn maiden noticed was the lump on her friend’s head.

“Hey, Chie!” Yukiko’s smile turned into a frown upon seeing the lump. “Um… where did you get that lump?”

Chie looked away, blushing. “Th-That’s none of your business!”

She paused for a moment, before sighing in defeat. “Umm… the teacher landed a chalk squarely on my head.”

“Ow…” Yukiko frowned. “That’s gotta hurt. Sorry to hear that.”

“Nah, it’s fine. I’m tougher than I look.” Chie grinned smarmily. “Anyway, let’s go by the shortcut, alright? Then we can fiddle with that app to see if we can get into the castle.”

As Yukiko merely nodded in response, both girls remained oblivious to someone sneaking in the shadows – as much as the bleached-haired boy could anyway.

Upon finally leaving sight, the boy stepped outside to look at his phone, carefully proceeding down with Yukiko and Chie.

“Alright,” Ryuji nodded. “Time to figure out what all of this is about…”

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – City Ambience -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElU8g7xi6ws )

April 12th, 2016 – Aoyama-Itchome, Alleyway Shortcut – 3:37 PM

“Okay, um… how does this app work again?”

Chie grumbled to herself as she fiddled with the Metaverse Navigator, as was Yukiko. She was never good with technology; ugh, why was it so hard for her to navigate through all this crap?!

“Ugh, I hate computers…” Chie moaned weakly. “Yukiko, how’s things going on your end?”

“Huh?” Yukiko put down her phone to look at Chie. “Oh, things are fine. It’s not that hard to navigate through, honestly.”

“Huh? Seriously?!”

“Um, yes…?” Yukiko looked down nervously. “Then again, I do play a lot of video games and computer stuff…”

Chie pouted somewhat. “Oh, I see. I was never good with technology, to be honest…”

After class was wrapped up, both Yukiko and Chie returned to the alleyway that unintentionally kickstarted their awakening, with the purpose of investigating the castle they escaped from. Even though it was easy to look the other way as they were almost killed… was it right to do that? Yukiko still had so many questions regarding the castle that she simply needed to know more.

But even as they continued to look through the complicated app, Yukiko still had time to talk with Chie.

“Hey, umm… Chie.” Yukiko began. “You never really told me about Takeshi.”

Chie put down her phone to look at Yukiko. “Huh? What do you need to know?”

“Well, I don’t mean to reopen some wounds,” Yukiko began, looking somewhat sympathetic. “But do you mind explaining to me what’s wrong?”

(Music Playing – Alleycat -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNDhj4PXm5M )

Chie’s frown deepened, and she felt some tinges of sadness swell up within her. Sighing to herself bitterly, she shook her head.

“Well, I suppose you deserve an explanation.”

Chie looked down at the ground as she began. “I had to move out from my hometown when I was a kid… for dad’s job, anyway. When I first moved to Tokyo, I, uh… never really had friends. I was always a bit of an outcast for being “too tomboyish” for a girl, and, well… I guess I was bullied a lot.”

“Chie…” Yukiko immediately sympathized. Even despite having uncanny looks and intelligence, she never had any friends back home. She knew what it’s like to be alone, by any stretch.

“But… that’s when I met Takeshi,” Chie smiled sadly. “He was from the same town, and used to be a bit of a jerk himself, but… it all changed when I stood up for him against other bullies. I dunno what happened in that time period, but… I guess he became a lot nicer, and most importantly… a very dear friend. A close friend.”

Chie immediately felt herself begin to cry. “He was such a nice friend, and I really liked him… and then he joined the volleyball team, and… well, you know the story…”

Wiping some tears from her eyes, she sighed bitterly. “He always wanted to be a volleyball player when he grew up. And whatever happened, the pressure or what-not was so great that… he…”

Chie wept bitterly as she looked to the ground. “The worst part is, I did nothing to help. Kamoshida was in such a position of power, and I didn’t want to be expelled, that I… just looked the other way. It was the worst decision of my life.”

“Hell, even my attempt to insult him was half-hearted. Called him a bully than what I should’ve called him; a piece of shit, a son of a bitch… I was just scared of losing my future, but my inability to stand for myself is what costed Takeshi’s future. That’s when I felt worthless… like I couldn’t do anything.”

“You’re not worthless, though.”

“Huh?” Chie raised her head to Yukiko, who looked rather determined.

“You we’re scared, Chie,” Yukiko nodded. “No person has to be perfect. Hell, I didn’t even have the courage to tell my parents I didn’t want to inherit the inn, but that one time I did intervene got me on probation while an attempted rapist was set free… fear happens to everyone.”

Yukiko’s frown turned around. “But that’s why we got to fight it, y’know? We need to help everyone we care about, protect our friends, family and loved ones… and even then, it’s okay to make mistakes. You’re a strong person Chie, and it’s okay to show weakness from time to time… just don’t let that compromise who you are.”

“Yukiko…” Chie bit her lip. She knew she was right; while she still felt guilt and anger at herself for looking the other way, that didn’t mean she was a bad person. She just needed to accept her flaws and move forward to becoming a better person. She doubts this lesson will be ingrained for a long time, but… it doesn’t hurt to try. It never does.

“Th-Thank you… Yukiko…” Chie was ready to cry. “You’re a very dear friend, you know that?”

Yukiko smiled wryly. “Anytime. That’s what friends are for, and, well… you’re my first real friend, you know that? I never really had anybody to call a friend earlier.”

(Music Fades Out Slowly)

After the tender moment passed, Yukiko flipped open her phone and her eyes widened upon seeing a familiar sight.

“A-ha!”

“Huh?” Chie blinked. “A-ha, what?”

“Chie, look!” Yukiko showed the app. “The navigation search history! Look at these words!”

Kamoshida. Shujin Academy. Pervert. Castle.

(Music – Suspicion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YwlwHxVs9w )

“Hey, isn’t that some of the words we said earlier… when we first met?” Chie blinked innocently. “Huh… let’s say that into the phone.”

Clearing her throat for a moment, she began to speak. “Uhh… Suguru Kamoshida. Shujin Academy. Pervert. Castle.”

Suddenly, the machine spoke.

Match received, the mechanical voice began. Beginning navigation.

“Holy crap, we did it! We’re in!” Chie chirped joyously, grinning goofily all the while. “Yukiko, you’re a genius!”

“Aww, no problem.” Yukiko chuckled. “But still… some coincidence we got into the castle by saying the right things, huh? That sounds like some pretty stupid chance, if you ask me…”

“Tell me about it,” Chie clicked her tongue. “Well, let’s get a move on.”

Nodding in response, the two girls proceeded down the alleyway, oblivious to a materialization of a boy behind them.

“Holy crap, where am I?!” Ryuji spoke. “I just… said what they said, and…”

Shaking off his doubts, he immediately proceeded to where the girls went.


(Music – Dark World Ambience – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZMZhszd4N0)

April 12th, 2016 – Mysterious Castle – ???

Indeed, the eerily ornate castle that the two girls escaped from was in plain sight. Chie felt herself shudder a little upon seeing the castle.

“Ugh, this place brings back bad memories… huh?”

Chie noticed that she was in the same outfit she was in when she first awakened to her persona: the same green leather jacket and pants with dark yellow gloves and boots alongside a bright yellow scarf and Chinese dragon mask to keep her company.

“Holy crap, I’m in my outfit again!” Chie exclaimed. “Yukiko, are you…?”

She immediately turned red upon seeing the same, curvaceous red-and-pink outfit Yukiko wore.

“U-Um…” Yukiko looked away nervously, clearly catching the clue. “J-Just don’t look too much, okay…?”

“R-Right,” Chie shook the thought of Yukiko’s revealing outfit out of her head. “Let’s just see where we can find that cat. The sooner we find him, the-“

“Whoa… WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!”

(Music – My Homie – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKRimQt9W1E)

Ryuji stared in complete and total awe upon seeing the giant ornate castle dominating the pink sky. He was even more flabbergasted upon seeing Chie and Yukiko in their outfit.

“W-Wait a minute…” Ryuji stuttered. “Where the eff am I?! What happened to our school?!”

Chie’s eyes widen underneath the mask upon seeing Ryuji. “Oh, crap! How did he get here?!”

Ryuji quickly turned to Chie, still completely struck. “W-What are you doing in that outfit?! Seriously, what the hell’s going on?!”

“Will you please calm down for a minute, blondie?!”

A familiar, boyish voice sounded from the rooftop. It was Morgana – only this time armed with a Scimitar and a Slingshot.

“Morgana!” Yukiko smiled, completely ignoring Ryuji’s panic. “You’re okay!”

Jumping down from the rooftop, Morgana gave a smarmy grin. “Well, of course I’m okay! I’m a bona fide Phantom Thief!”

“GYAAAAH!” Ryuji screamed out, falling on his feet. “A talking cat?! Wh-What are you, some kind of mutant cat?!”

Morgana gave a very sharp glare at Ryuji. “Don’t. Call. Me. A. CAT! Ugh, seriously, how long do I have to keep explaining it?!”

Morgana’s glared faltered as the cat gave a confused glance at Yukiko. “And more importantly… how did he get here?! I don’t think it’s possible that he could’ve left with you guys…”

“Y-Yeah, what the freaky cat said!” Ryuji cried out, still in shock. “I-I said the exact same words into this freaky app thing I had, and BOOM! I arrived here! NOW CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?!”

“Calm down! And not so loud!” Morgana hissed before sighing. The feline turned to Yukiko with a puzzled stare. “Well, he got in on his own. What do you say, should we kick him out?”

“Huh?! But…” Yukiko paused for a moment. It was true that this was a dangerous place, but it’d be even more dangerous if Ryuji left on his lonesome… simply sighing to herself, she shook her head as she made up her mind.

“Why not let him accompany us?”

Chie and Morgana had to take a double-take after hearing that.

“Huh?! Seriously, Yukiko?!” Chie cried out. “C’mon, we don’t want to endanger him!”

“And he’ll only be in more danger if he decides to go by himself! Remember, he has the app now too!” Yukiko retorted. “Besides… as long as he’ll keep this a secret, I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

The black-haired girl gave a smile. “Right, Ryuji-kun?”

“H-Huh…?” The delinquent paused for a moment before speaking. “Uh, y-yeah, yeah. I’ll, uh, keep this a secret.”

Scratching the back of his head, Ryuji gave a puffy sigh. “But man… what’s up with this place? And why did the castle turn into a school?! Can someone please explain to me what’s going on?"

(Music Stops)

Chie turned to Morgana, his arms crossed. “Yeah… you do owe us an explanation, Morgana. All three of us.”

Morgana paused for a moment, before sighing. “Alright, alright. I might as well explain everything. Strap in; this’ll be a doozy of an explanation.”

(Music – Wicked Plan – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9eAGb_cZ9s)

“Alright, so,” Morgana began. “The castle you’re seeing is called a ‘Palace,’ and the world you’re in is called the “Metaverse.” The Metaverse is a world where everyone’s desires coalesce into one place – everything, from the will to live, to hobbies, to eating, to sleeping… you name it.”

Suddenly, Morgana’s face darkens. “But for some people, if desires become twisted, distorted or strong enough, it creates a place known as a Palace, which is sort of the representation of that person’s desires. While there are some Palace owners that are good, due to the fact that the desires have to be twisted and distorted, well… that means most Palace Owners are pretty twisted people.”

“And this palace,” Morgana looked behind him. “Is Kamoshida’s Palace.”

“Huh?!” Ryuji chimed in. “Wait… so this place is some sort of world of Kamoshida?! Argh, that makes no sense!”

“Stop interrupting!” Morgana barked in response. “What I’m trying to say, is that this world is a sort of a representation of all of Kamoshida’s twisted desires. His lust, his greed, his malice… and all of it is represented by his Shadow, the same Shadows Chie, Yukiko and I fought.”

“Oh, so that Kamoshida was a Shadow? Really…” Yukiko mused. “But wait a moment… why were you here then?”

“Oh, that?” Morgana gave a cheesy smile. “I came here in the hopes of finding the means to turn back into a human. Since I definitely remember being distorted by all the corruption in this castle, I want to find a way to undo it…”

The feline suddenly looked away embarrassedly. “And, well, uh… y’see, I was captured, and had my weapons taken away.”

“Well, that explains why you’re now armed,” Yukiko nodded. “You probably recovered your gear somewhere, right?”

“Yep!” Morgana mewled happily. “That basically sums it up!”

“Alright, cool, cool, I get that,” Ryuji interrupted. “But what I’m really interested in is what you mean by “twisted desires.” What kinda influence does that have on an asshole like Kamoshida?”

Morgana’s expression suddenly turned somber, as if hurt by something. “Well, in multiple forms. I’ve only seen one part of the castle to know this, but…”

Morgana simply shook his head in resignation.

“What I am aware of is that Kamoshida…” Morgana muttered. “Keeps the volleyball team here as slaves.”

(Music Stops)

A dark, dark silence quickly followed.

“Wait… what…?” Ryuji whispered in horror. “You mean… he keeps the volleyball team as slaves here…? Like, torture and all…?”

“Yeah,” Morgana shook his head in sadness. “It’s really horrible how this Kamoshida abuses them.”

(Music Playing – Desire - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLf6a5gaVVc )

Ryuji’s hands balled up and began trembling in pure, righteous anger. His face visibly darkened with disgust, sadness and fury all wrapped into one, and Ryuji began speaking in a dark tone.

“Are you actually telling me,” Ryuji whispered shakily, his voice laden with pure fury. “That he keeps the volleyball team here as slaves… and tortures them…?”

“Huh?” Morgana faltered a little, off-put by his anger. “Well… yeah. We’re you even listening?”

Suddenly, Ryuji exploded with anger.

“OF COURSE I WAS LISTENING, GODDAMNIT!” Ryuji screamed in pure anger. “And you didn’t do anything to free them?! Especially not after being treated like shit here?!”

Morgana got angry. “You don’t get it! We didn’t save them because-“

What happened next was a blur.

Ryuji ran off into the castle.

He didn’t waste any time either; opening the gates and rushing through the castle’s main floor, pure anger was in his eyes, out of sheer disgust over the events taking place here. They were being tortured as slaves?! And the cat didn’t do anything about it?!

No. After what he’s went through, Ryuji couldn’t look the other way.

“Wait, Ryuji!” Chie screamed. “RYUJI, COME BACK!”

“Oh, crap…” Yukiko muttered in mild horror. “He just rushed in! Hurry, we gotta save him before he’s killed!”

Without hesitating for a moment, both Yukiko and Chie were in hot pursuit of Ryuji, leaving behind a bewildered Morgana.

“Are you serious?!” Morgana cried out. “They freaking left without me! Ugh, wait up!”

Indeed, by the time Chie, Yukiko and Morgana was all in the main hall of the Palace, Ryuji was nowhere to be seen – nowhere near the stairs or upper floor, none. Chie and Yukiko looked each other in mild horror at the situation before sighing grimly.

“Well, now…” Yukiko whispered bitterly. “This just turned into a rescue mission.”

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – King, Queen, Slave –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65qk1IQoTR4)

April 12th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Dungeon – ???

“Any luck so far?”

Chie sighed to herself as Yukiko shook her head in response. “No, sorry Chie. We just got to keep looking…”

Both girls and Morgana were in the same dungeon they were in when first caught, searching around the castle for any traces of Ryuji. Yukiko inwardly cursed Ryuji for being so damn reckless; doesn’t he have any idea how dangerous this place is?! Honestly, it was this brand of carelessness that was going to get everybody killed.

“Ugh, he’s such an idiot…” Morgana muttered. “He didn’t even let me finish in regards to the slaves!”

Chie scratched her mask a little before sighing. “To be fair though… if Takeshi was still alive, I’d rush in to save him like Ryuji. I mean, it’s still reckless, but… well, I’d feel the same way he does.”

“Chie…” Yukiko shook her head, clearly feeling for her friend.

“That’s what you don’t get, though!” Morgana retorted. “They aren’t real human beings! They’re cognitive humans from Kamoshida’s mind!”

Both girls turned to Morgana with raised eyebrows.

“Wait… what?” Yukiko blinked. “Cognitive humans?”

“Yeah,” Morgana nodded in response. “You know how I told you that all of Kamoshida’s distorted desires coalesce here, in this Palace? Well, the humans you see here aren’t the real-world humans; they’re the representations or interpretations of how Kamoshida sees them.”

“Huh?” Yukiko paused for a moment to wrap her head around the concept. These humans were… interpretations of Kamoshida? That’s what these “cognitive humans” were? The concept was so new to Yukiko that it took her a moment to understand it all.

“Urgh…” Chie bellowed. “You’re not making any sense, cat!”

“Hmph! Well, I wouldn’t expect you to get it, brunette.” Morgana scoffed. “And don’t call me a cat! How many times do I have to tell you I’m a bona fide human?!”

“Oh, I think I get it,” Yukiko began. “So the humans we’re going to see in this castle… they’re basically how Kamoshida perceives them to be? If we see humans in this castle act completely submissive to Kamoshida, that’s because that’s how he perceives or desires them to act?”

“Bingo! You catch on quick,” Morgana smiled before turning to Chie. “See, brunette? You should really take lessons from your friend.”

“Ugh, don’t call me a brunette, you stupid cat…” The brown-haired Japanese student – an oxymoron unto itself – fumed silently at Morgana.

“Then don’t call me a cat! Sheesh, are you ever going to get it?!”

As Chie and Morgana continued to bicker, Yukiko sighed before noticing the slingshot strapped to Morgana’s side.

“Hey, Morgana,” Yukiko interrupted. “Can I ask something about that slingshot?”

“Huh? Oh, sure Yukiko.” Morgana nodded, smiling.

“Well, I’m just curious,” Yukiko began her theory. “Normally slingshots don’t have any tactical usage in combat aside from harassment or distraction. Is it perhaps the cognitive aspects of this world that make it more lethal?”

“Ooh! Good catch!” Morgana grinned cheekily. “Yeah, you’re right on the nose. In the real world, this slingshot wouldn’t have much use in a fight, but here, in the Metaverse? Because the owner of this Palace perceives it to be a threat, it has the full capabilities of any gun.”

“Huh? Wait a minute…” Chie apparently heard that. “Wait, Monamona.”

“It’s Morgana!”

“Okay, sorry…” Chie began. “So, theoretically speaking, if a model gun looked real… it’d act as a real gun that shoots real bullets because the owner of this Palace sees it as a threat?”

“Yeah, more or less,” Morgana crossed his fuzzy arms together. “That’s more or less the cognitive effects of the Metaverse, in a nutshell.”

Yukiko almost saw a lightbulb light up over Chie’s head. Indeed, the brown-haired tomboy’s eyes widened with jubilant glee as she rummaged through her bag, as if searching for something.

“Huh? Chie?” Yukiko inquired. “What’re you looking for?”

Indeed, she brought out two items with a smarmy grin: one being a pistol, and the other being a peppergun.

(Music – My Homie – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKRimQt9W1E )

“Ta-daaaaaaaah!” Chie chirped. “Two model guns, at your service!”

“What the – Chie?!” Yukiko took a step back in shock. Sure, they weren’t real guns, but Chie was really in possession of this kind of stuff?! If that’s the case, then she really was prepared for this kind of journey.

“Yep! It’s a model gun!” Chie grinned goofily. “If my theory’s correct, then they should shoot real bullets. Here, you have the pistol, Yukiko.”

Giving Yukiko the pistol with a “Tkachev” label on it, Yukiko glanced at the pistol before aiming it down the hallway. After lining up her shot, she pulled the trigger and-

BANG!

Yukiko nearly jumped out of her skin when the gun fired real bullets! The noise was loud and authentic, smoke came from the gun’s hole, and Yukiko felt every bit of recoil from the weapon as if it was a real gun. The inn maiden simply looked at the machinery in awe.

“Oh, my God…” Yukiko said gawking. “Chie, you absolutely sure these are models?!”

“One hundred percent!” Chie smiled. “Bought them in preparation for today’s events from that Untouchable store from Shibuya. I figured that while they weren’t real, they would give a good scare to our enemies… but I wasn’t expecting them to act real in this world!”

“Woah…” Morgana suddenly gave a devilish smile. “Mweheheheheh!”

“Perfect! This is absolutely perfect!” Morgana almost jumped for joy. “This gives us a serious tactical advantage fighting the Shadows. So long as we’re careful with the ammunition, we’ll be able to fill our enemies full of holes!”

Morgana suddenly raised his furry eyebrow at Chie’s gun. “Still, a Peppergun? What does it do?”

“Huh? Oh, this?” Chie glanced at the quad-barreled handgun. “It’s basically a shotgun pistol. Tighter spread than a normal shotgun, but less damage overall.”

Chie rummaged through her back some more before revealing a pump-action shotgun, much to both Yukiko and Morgana’s surprise. “I would’ve went with the actual shotgun, but, um… I guess the recoil’s a bit too heavy for my liking. Hence, the Peppergun!”

“Well, I think this is really great,” Yukiko began. “But do remember, we do need to find Ryuji before he’s caught by those Shadows. We’ve already wasted enough time as it is; let’s get a move on!”

“Agreed completely!” Chie nodded. “Alright, let’s go!”

And with it, all three budding Phantom Thieves rushed through the dungeon in the hopes of finding Ryuji.


(Music Playing – Confession/Secret (Piano Ver.) –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egYGBb8VpP4)

April 12th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Outside Commons – 3:42 PM

Two girls sat on a bench by the commons, one of the girls clearly lost in her own thoughts. The other girl had ash blonde hair, who had an expression of worry plastered on her face.

“I, uh…” The girl with black hair sighed to herself bitterly. “I’ve been kind of lost in my own thoughts, lately. When I try to sleep, I guess I really can’t think of anything else…”

The blonde-haired girl crossed her arms, before looking down and sighing. “Shiho…”

“I mean, the nationals are coming up soon, so… I guess I keep thinking about all sorts of little things.” The black-haired girl named Shiho gave a sad smile, as if trying to mask the pain in her heart. “Like, ‘do I have what it takes to be on the starting line-up’? I mean, I know the only thing I’m good for is volleyball… even you gotta admit that, Ann.”

“C’mon, you know that isn’t true,” Ann tried to force a cheerful smile, despite also feeling a twinge of emotional pain in her abdomen. “You got where you are because you worked for it, so you just gotta push on a little harder and you’ll be recognized for your skills then!”

Shiho looked ready to cry. “You think so…? I mean, I never considered myself worth anything else…”

“Shiho, you know that isn’t true,” Ann shook her head, clearly rejecting the thought processes going on through her friend’s head. “You’re smart, funny, kind, strong… you’re all of these things and so much more. Just because not everybody has faith in you doesn’t mean nobody does. And no matter what happens…”

“I’ll always be your number one fan,” Ann squeezed Shiho’s hand, making the black-haired volleyball girl blush a little. “Heck, if it was even possible, I’d dress up like a cheerleader and cheer you on like in those American movies!”

“Ann…” Shiho had to reign in a giggle upon seeing the mental image of Ann in a cheerleader outfit cheering on Shiho. But still… it felt nice to have such a close and dear friend support you wherever you go. It almost made Shiho feel like she was going something right for a change, as if she was worth something…

No, that wasn’t true. She very much was worth a lot of things, and it was stupid garbage like unpopularity and nasty rumors for associating with the unpopular Ann that created the illusion that nobody loved her. As Ann continued to squeeze at her friend’s hand, Shiho smiled softly, tears forming in the corners of her eyes.

“Thank you, Ann,” Shiho hiccupped a little. “You really are my best friend.”

“Oh, trust me, the feeling’s mutual!” Ann gave a smarmy grin while looking incredibly joyous.

Suddenly, the part-American student frowned. “But I am a little worried about something… is that injury going to be okay?”

“Pardon?”

“The one on your left calf,” Ann looked at a red – and slightly purple – bruise on her left thigh, looking swollen and beaten. “You must’ve had a nasty fall, huh? You sure you’re being okay?”

“Oh, I’m fine,” Shiho gave a strong smile. “With the national’s coming up, we gotta train really hard, y’know? It’s natural of this time of year.”

“Hmm…” Ann wasn’t wholly convinced, but with Shiho’s insistence and much-more cheerful smile, Ann decided to drop it. “Alright, if you say so. Just don’t overdo it, alright? I don’t want you to get hurt.”

“Thank you, Ann.” Shiho’s eyes were closed, but her face radiated with happiness. “I’m really lucky to have a friend that really cares for me.”

“Aww, shucks, don’t act so humble,” Ann gave a cheeky smile. “We were friends since middle school. You were there for me when I had no friends due to my heritage. Consider this my way of repaying the favor.”

As Ann and Shiho continued to converse, they were unaware of a blue-haired student with several nasty bruises come up to the two girls.

“U-Um, excuse me… Suzui-chan? Takamaki-chan?” The blue-haired boy stuttered nervously.

Ann craned her neck to glance at the boy. “Oh, Mishima-kun? What’s up?”

“Oh, sorry to interrupt the moment,” The boy whose named Mishima shook his head. “Um, Mr. Kamoshida told me to come get you, Suzui-chan.”

Shiho smile quickly dissipated, until it was replaced with a look of fear and sadness in her eyes. As if instinctively, tears began to welt in her eyes.

“U-Um… what does he want with me?” As Shiho continued to speak, Ann felt her heart twist into a million different shapes upon seeing her best friend’s pained expression.

“He wants to discuss about your performance during practice,” Mishima shook his head. “He said he wants to run by some of your techniques used and how to refine them.”

“O-Oh… I see…” Shiho subconsciously tightened the grip on Ann’s hand, almost feeling ready to cry.

“C’mon Shiho, it shouldn’t be that bad,” Ann gave a caring smile. “How about this: after practice, why don’t you and I go for some Big Bang Burger? Some American food may be just what you need to cheer you up!”

“Ann,” Shiho smiled weakly. “O-Okay. Just… nothing too fatty, alright? I need to be in shape for training, do remember.”

“It’s a deal,” Ann gleamed. “Just wrap up and we’ll eat out. Good luck!”

Shiho nodded, and after pausing for a moment, she relinquished her grip on her best friend and proceeded up the stairs.

“Um…” Mishima looked at Ann after Shiho was out of sight. “S-So… Takamaki-cha-“

“Just call me Ann,” The blonde-haired girl shook her head. “I never really liked formalities anyway, Yuki-kun.”

“O-Okay.” The boy named Yuki nodded. “It’s just… well, you two are very close with each other.”

Ann cocked an eyebrow, some hostility swelling up within her. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“N-Nothing! Nothing at all,” Mishima shook his head. “It’s more-or-less a compliment. That said, there are rumors going about that you, uh… may have a crush of Shiho.”

Ann glared for a moment, before sighing. “More rumors, huh? Figures…”

Even though she sounds dismissive of such rumors… a part of Ann wished that rumor was kind of true.

Shiho was more than a friend to her, anyway.

“Well, I hope things get better for you,” Mishima smiled. “Shiho’s a good girl. She’s a bit frail, though; she really depends on you, Ann.”

“Yeah, I know,” Ann snorted in an unladylike fashion. “It’s just… you know why I worry about her so much. Her coach is Kamoshida, for Christ’s sake.”

“I’m aware,” Mishima shook his head. “Just make sure she’s safe, alright Ann? I’d hate to see her suffer in any way.”

Mishima’s frown turned into a smile. “Well… seeya! You have yourself a good one.”

With that said, Mishima left the area, leaving Ann to sigh bitterly.

“Shiho…” Ann felt herself subconsciously pray to any God, kami or higher deity that may be listening. “Please God, watch over her…”


(Music Playing – Desire –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLf6a5gaVVc  )

April 12th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Training Hall of Love – ???

Ryuji was utterly appalled by what he saw.

His hands balled up upon seeing scene after scene of “training” – actually, training would be a weak word. Torture would be stronger. Students going for hours without water running, students being beaten into submission and hit with volleyballs… it all made him feel so sick and disgusted with everything.

He had to free them.

“Hey!” Ryuji cried out. “Come on! I’m here you rescue you all!”

“I-It’s no use…”

One boy, horribly bruised and bloodied, had a look of complete defeat on his face, as did all the other boys around it.

“Huh?” Ryuji questioned. “What do you mean, ‘it’s no use’?”

“That’s because there’s no escape,” the boy spoke in complete despair. “We’re trapped here for all eternity, so we have to be obedient for any chance of happiness…”

“What the…?!” Ryuji was so repulsed by the idea he lashed out. “What do you mean, you want to stay here? You gotta escape! Please, come on-“

“Ryuji-kun!”

Chie cried out as both she, Yukiko and Morgana rushed towards the delinquent. Ryuji noticed a little blood was spattered on them, of a dark black color.

“What the – you guys?!” Ryuji cried out. “And… wh-why are you soaked in black blood?!”

“Ran into a few Shadows on the way here,” Yukiko nodded. “C’mon, please Ryuji-kun, you need to come with us! These humans are beyond saving!”

“What the hell are you saying?!” Ryuji screamed out. “There’s no way in fucking hell I’m leaving people in here! After seeing what Kamoshida did to them, I can’t look the other way! I JUST CAN’T!”

Ryuji turned to the cell. “Forget everything else! I gotta free-“

“CALM DOWN!”

(Music Stops)

Suddenly, Ryuji felt a fist sock him in the face and knock him to the ground – it was Chie’s fist, of all things.

“Get a hold of yourself!” Chie barked. “These aren’t real humans! They come from Kamoshida’s mind!”

(Music Playing – Alleycat -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNDhj4PXm5M )

“H-Huh?!” Ryuji was shocked. “But… but we can’t just…”

“I know, what’s happening here is disgusting and horrible.” Chie shook her head. “But they’re not real human beings. Like the Shadows, all of this comes from Kamoshida’s mind. The real humans are in the real world, and this is all Kamoshida’s perception of them.”

“Huh…?” Ryuji faltered. “But it’s still horrible though! We can’t just leave people with feelings like us to be tortured by this bastard…”

“I know that. A dear friend of mine killed himself over it.”

Yukiko sighed as flashbacks of the story came back to her, causing the girl to sigh.

“Chie…” Morgana frowned. “I’m so sorry. If only I known…”

“But this doesn’t mean we give up, Ryuji,” Chie nodded. “If we get a clear visage of all these victims, we can bring Kamoshida to justice in the real world. I know it’s hard to look the other way, but channel that anger and kindness into something good; use it to bring him to the police like the criminal he is.”

Ryuji fell silent as Chie concluded. “Please, Ryuji. I believe in you.”

The delinquent sighed. For the first time, he wanted to cry a little upon seeing all of this horror first-hand. Merely shaking his head, he took a deep breath and sighed.

“Alright,” Ryuji nodded. “Um… thanks Chie. You really saved me there.”

“No problem,” Chie nodded. “Just be sure to use the camera, okay? I promise we’ll bring Kamoshida to justice.”

(Music Stops)

“Alright, yeah,” Ryuji brought out his phone. “Let’s take pictures and… huh?! Aw, damn it the camera doesn’t work!”

“Huh?” Yukiko inquired. “What do you mean?”

“I mean that I can’t take a picture! I can’t even open the app!” Ryuji grumbled. “Guess I just gotta memorize them…”

“Alright, good. Let’s just get this done. The sooner, the better.” Morgana nodded.

“R-Right,” Suddenly, he turned pink. “Um… thanks, Chie.”

Chie smiled goofily. “No problem! And – huh? Why are you blushing?”

“I-I’m not blushing!” Ryuji retorted as he began to memorize each of the athlete’s faces.


(Music Playing – King, Queen, Slave (Another Version) –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkbuANPun5I)

April 12th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Main Hall – ???

After taking some time to memorize the athlete’s faces, all four of the group finally were ready to depart. Ryuji looked at Chie with a small smile on his face.

“Hey, um…” Ryuji grinned. “Thanks for helping me out, there. I don’t know how I could thank you properly.”

“Nah, it’s no problem,” Chie grinned cheerfully. “If it’s any consolidation, I would’ve rushed in like you did if it meant saving Takeshi.”

Chie suddenly frowned. “But then… well, you know the story.”

“I’m… sorry to hear he’s killed himself,” Ryuji frowned, a tinge of sadness in his eyes. “He must’ve been a good guy. Ugh, all the more reason to take down that piece of shit Kamoshida…”

“How dare you talk to the king like that?”

All four escapees froze upon hearing a familiar, demonic voice.

“Oh, crap…” Yukiko whispered. “Not him again…”

(Music Playing – Desire –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLf6a5gaVVc  )

Indeed, Shadow Kamoshida appeared, still dressed in his obscene outfit. He still had the same evil smile, and this time he was surrounded by guards.

“You’re not getting away this time,” Shadow Kamoshida grinned cockily. “Guards! Grab Sakamoto!”

Indeed, one of the guards caught the Persona users off-guard by roughly grabbing Ryuji and lowering its sword to his throat.

“Oh, no! Ryuji!” Chie screamed out as the guard had his sword at his throat.

“Don’t move an inch!” Shadow Kamoshida barked. “Take one step, and my guard will slice his throat open like a ripe tomato!”

“A-Aagh! Someone! Help!” Ryuji screamed out as she struggled wildly, unable to do much against the infinitely stronger guard.

“N-No! Ryuji-kun!” Chie cried out. “Damnit… what do we do?!”

“Oh, I’ll tell you what you’ll do,” Shadow Kamoshida walked over to Ryuji before giving him a dark glare.

“Good to see you again, Sakamoto.” Shadow Kamoshida began. “Or should I call you ‘The Traitor of the Track Team’?”

“What the… Kamoshida?!” Ryuji screamed out. “This isn’t funny, you fucking asshole! Leggo!”

“Careful, Ryuji!” Morgana cried out. “That’s Kamoshida’s Shadow!”

Shadow Kamoshida’s face darkened. “Honestly, seeing you in person again… I’ve always realized how much of a pathetic person you are.”

“H-Huh?”

“Don’t play dumb with me, Sakamoto,” Kamoshida scoffed. “It was you who ruined the track team, after all. You just had to be a selfish piece of garbage by standing up to me after I got your coach fired. Why, if you kept your head down, I would’ve settled it by merely breaking your leg!”

“Stop it…” Ryuji whimpered. “Fuck, I dunno what you’re talking about!”

“Are you that daft?!” Kamoshida spat. “It’s because of your selfishness and incompetence that led you to where you are now. The social pariah of the school, hated by everyone… you’re dirt compared to me, the King of Shujin Academy… you were always this. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Kamoshida gave a grin as he glanced at the three Persona users with a faux-affable smile. “Now, let us discuss terms for his release! You girls become my pleasure slaves, and Ryuji gets sent free… sounds like a deal?”

“Huh? ‘Pleasure slaves’?” Yukiko blinked for a bit.

“D-Disgusting! Not in a million years!” Chie barked out.

Yukiko didn’t have much time to understand what he meant as he saw Ryuji look defeated, muttering to himself something.

“Damn it…” Ryuji looked ready to cry. “I got myself into this mess, ruined the Track Team, and now this… I’m really worthless, aren’t it…?”

“That isn’t true!”

(Music Stops)

“H-Huh?” Ryuji perked is head upon seeing Yukiko.

“Stand up for yourself, Ryuji! You’re better than this!” Yukiko cried out. “Don’t let this bully son-of-a-bitch tell you what to do!”

Ryuji looked on, and suddenly felt his resolve strengthen.

“You’re right…” Ryuji seethed. “Letting this motherfucker toy with me… this fucking bastard is someone I’ll never forgive…”

“Hrm…?” Shadow Kamoshida scoffed. “What do you have anything to show for it? All you are is a worthless piece of garba-“

Suddenly, Ryuji kicked Kamoshida. Hard.

“Argh!” Shadow Kamoshida cried out. “Do you have a death wish, peasant?! I’ll happily rip out your organs if you want me too!”

“Shut up you fucking asshole!” Ryuji screamed out. “Everything’s your fault! You’re the reason why Takeshi committed suicide. You’re the reason why so many students had their futures ruined! And YOU’RE the reason why the Track Team is gone! Who gives you the fucking right to be sure of yourself?!”

With a hateful, angry stare of fury, he shouted loudly at Shadow Kamoshida.

“So stop looking down on me, WITH THAT STUPID SMILE ON YOUR FACE!”

(Music Playing – Awakening – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiXGN-899Ao)

You made me wait quite a while…

Suddenly, a splitting headache shook through Ryuji, and he instinctively clutched his head. Screaming loudly, he began to thrash against the guard holding him in place.

You seek power, correct? Then let us forge a pact. After all, your name has been tarnished and disgraced, so why not hoist the flag and raise some havoc? The other you desires it such. I am thou… thou art I… there is no turning back… the skull of rebellion shall be YOUR FLAG HENCEFORTH!

Suddenly, a mask with a clear, black skull motif was burned onto Ryuji’s face, and he began hearing a voice.

“I… I hear you…” Ryuji whispered, his mind still in shock. “My other self…”

With brand new strength, he ripped away the grip the guard had on him before punching him away.

Yes… good, good… you take to this newfound strength well. From the high seas of thy soul’s plunder and piracy, I cometh…

With all his willpower, he ripped off his mask, screaming in pain all the while.

(Music Playing – Will Power – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA6yWuXFC7o)

A giant, skeletal pirate on top of a giant ship floated behind Ryuji, who was now dressed in a leather biker outfit with black, red and yellow being predominant colors. Looking onwards, he gave a shocked expression.

“What the… what is this…?!”

This is your other self, my master, Ryuji heard. I am the King of the High Seas, your Persona; Captain Kidd!

“Wow…” Chie gawked. “Ryuji had the power too…?!”

“Holy effing shit… this is awesome!” Ryuji cried aloud, clearly excited. “Now that I have this power, it’s time for payback!”

Kamoshida whimpered as he fell back. “G-Guards! Kill him! Don’t leave any survivors!”

“At once, my lord!” A golden knight appeared. “You shall know true fear, you fool!”

Dissipating into the shadows, out sprang a red-and-black demonic knight on top of a horse, alongside two swan-like demons next to him.

“Alright, here goes…” Ryuji pointed his figure at the swan. “Blast ‘em away, Captain Kidd!”

Indeed, with two mighty lightning strikes, a bolt of energy evaporated the avian, with another bolt mortally wounding the other.

“Alright, good job Ryuji! My time to shine.” Chie ripped off her mask. “Tomoe! Freeze ‘em solid!”

With a spin of her naginata, Tomoe encased the demon in pure ice, shattering the other avian.

“Grrr… you have the unassuming gall to defy our lord?!” The demonic knight barked. “You shall pay for your ignorance and selfishness with your deaths!”

“What’s there to be gained with siding with that fucking asshole?!” Ryuji barked. “He deserves nothing short but death, the piece of shit does!”

Yukiko nodded in agreement. “Alright, Ryuji… let’s finish this!”

“Right!” Ryuji summoned his persona once more. “Alright, Captain… SHOCK ‘EM!”

With another bolt of lightning, the demonic knight was mortally wounded, emitting a pained scream as he collapsed.

“Impossible…” The demonic knight bellowed. “I, Eligor, was defeated by you…?!”

“Hmph…” Ryuji smirked as the demon named Eligor dissipated into ichor. “Next time, pick a better leader to work with!”

(Music Stops)

As the carnage finally subsided, Ryuji cracked his knuckles in approval.

“Let that be a lesson to you, you effing asshole!” Ryuji barked.

(Music Playing – Tension - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTQg51SN4Ic)

“A-Ah…” Kamoshida whimpered, looking on at the devastation of his army. “G-Guards! Kill them!”

As more guards continued to rush down to the scene, the newly-awakened Ryuji looked at his friends and nodded.

“I think it’s high-time we ran for it,” Ryuji smirked. “C’mon, let’s go!”

“Don’t need to tell me twice!” Chie grinned as all four Persona-users ran for the entrance.


(Music – Dark World Ambience – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZMZhszd4N0)

April 12th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Entrance – ???

After another harrowing escape, all four Persona-users were ready to plop down in exhaustion.

“Alright, I think we’re in the clear…” Morgana muttered. “Still Ryuji, that was incredible… to think you had the potential too!”

“Heh!” Ryuji gave a cocky grin. “Well, I always knew deep down I was special…”

“I always felt that way too… well, to some degree,” Yukiko smiled. “We’re all human, do remember.”

“Yeah…” Ryuji smiled. “Guys… thanks a bunch. I don’t think I would’ve gotten out alive without you.”

“Aww, shucks…” Chie nodded with a smiling Yukiko. “Don’t sweat it! That’s what friends are for!”

As the three teenagers continued to converse, Morgana cleared his throat with his crossed arms.

“I really hate to interrupt all of this…” Morgana began. “But do remember, you did come here for some requests I had in mind! I helped you with your rescue, and now you gotta help me.”

Yukiko looked at Chie, and both girls gave a mischievous grin. Suddenly, Yukiko turned to Morgana.

“Eh…” Yukiko was trying her damndest to suppress her goofy smile. “We’re not feeling it.”

“WHAT?!”

(Music – My Homie – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKRimQt9W1E )

Morgana recoiled in shock. “B-But I helped you and taught you the basics of surviving the Metaverse! Aren’t you gonna repay me in some form?!”

“We’d love to, buuuuuuut…” Chie grinned alongside Yukiko. “Well, it has been an exhausting day, and we do need some R&R. So next time!”

“Huh?!” Morgana’s eyes widened. “Oh, hell no! Don’t you leave without me, goddamnit!”

“It’s been a fun journey, Morgana.” Ryuji bowed courteously. “You weren’t bad at all… for a cat.”

With that, the three new friends departed the world.

“Oh, HELL NO! WE HAD A DEAL!” Morgana screamed. “GET BACK HERE! ARRRGH!”

Just like that, Morgana ran after the three Persona-users.

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – Break it Down (Elp Version) –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlqekNjZBDc)

April 12th, 2016 – Aoyama-Itchome, Alleyway Shortcut – 3:54 PM

You have returned to: the real world, a mechanical voice droned. Welcome back.

Yukiko, Chie and Ryuji were back in their school outfits, all three exhausted from the day’s events. Merely releasing an exhausted sigh, Ryuji slumped downwards.

“Oh, thank God...” Ryuji muttered. “We’re back in the real world, aren’t we?”

“Seems like it,” Chie said, crossing her arms. “I mean, I hope we are… this little adventure is getting more and more surreal by the day…”

“You can say that again, Chie…” Yukiko wiped some sweat from her brow, just as tired as everyone else.

Ryuji simply gave his best smile, hiding his exhaustion to bring morale to the team. “Well, that really isn’t the important thing here. What’s really important is now we can bring Kamoshida down; I memorized each one of the student’s faces, so if we get ‘em to say something, we’ll be able to bring that son-of-a-bitch to justice!”

Yukiko and Chie glanced at each other before smiling. He was right; their efforts haven’t been in vain whatsoever. Now that they know who the abused is within the volleyball team, the only last stretch left would be to bring forth those people to stand up to Kamoshida. And when that happens, there’s no doubt in Yukiko nor Chie’s mind that justice will be served.

“Still though…” Yukiko smiled. “Ryuji-kun, you didn’t summon any weapons when you awakened to your Persona. Why is that?”

“Huh?” Ryuji cocked an eyebrow. “Wait, you had weapons, Yukiko-chan?”

Yukiko rummaged through her bag before revealing a bladed pink fan – one that she obtained after her own awakening.

“Oh yeah, that’s actually a good point…” Chie rubbed her chin a little. “You do need weapons to defend yourself… say, Ryuji-kun, you up for a shotgun?”

“Huh?!” Ryuji was caught off-guard by that. “Dude, we can’t use guns! Besides, how are a bunch of high-schoolers like ourselves supposed to get one?!”

“Through this!” Chie brought out the pump-action shotgun from earlier, much to Ryuji’s bewildered surprise. “Trust me, due to how the Metaverse works, model guns function as real ones as long as they look real.”

“Huh?! For real?!” Ryuji’s eyes were wide with shock. “Well, that would explain why you had pistols and pepperguns holstered on both of you…”

As if changing his tune, Ryuji gave a smarmy grin. “Alright, count me in! Though I would prefer if I got to have bludgeons for melee.”

“That can be arranged! Granted, I’d prefer if we’d do that later,” Chie looked down at her stomach. “I’m pretty darn famished! Yukiko, you up for some egg ramen?”

“Huh?” Now that Yukiko thought about it, she realized she was pretty damn hungry. She had no idea how she didn’t notice earlier… but the potential taste of a good bowl of ramen is pretty hard to beat.

“Alright, count me in!” Yukiko smiled. “Let’s see if there’s any good ramen places nearby…”

“Ooh! Ooh!” Ryuji cracked a joyous smile. “I know a great place! You don’t mind if we head over to Ogikubo, do you?”

“Well, if the ramen’s good, I can hardly complain!” Chie grinned. “Man, now I’m really hungry! Forward, my comrades! To meat and GLORY!”

It took all of Yukiko’s willpower to not burst out laughing as Chie ran forth. Ryuji simply smiled at Yukiko with his arms crossed.

“Hey, um… Yukiko.”

Yukiko turned to meet Ryuji’s eyes, and gave a small grin. “Yeah? What is it?”

“Well, uh…” Ryuji scratched the back of his head somewhat awkwardly. “I, um… want to thank you for helping me awaken to my Persona. I’ve no doubt in my mind that this power will be useful for the future. You know I appreciate it, y’know that?”

“Ryuji-kun…” Yukiko gave a happy smile, and shook Ryuji’s extended hand. He was a genuinely good kid, without a doubt in Yukiko’s mind, she has no doubt that this’ll be the start of a strong friendship.

“Hey, um… I heard you were on probation,” Ryuji smiled. “Maybe you can explain to me what really happened? Chie seems dying to know herself…”

Yukiko recalled Chie wanting to know more about how she was sent to probation. Putting that mental note in the back of her head for the moment, she continued to shake his hand and smile all the while.

“Sure,” Yukiko chuckled. “I’ll be happy to explain to you what happened.”


(Music – Interrogation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmflOHXEw0I)

???-???-???

“It would normally be easier for a Phantom Thief to work alone, or even with a single partner, like you with Chie,” Sae began with the drugged Yukiko. “But you found benefits in more than one accomplice, with these allies of yours helping you along the way.”

Sae proceeded to slam her hands on the table.

“Who else was involved with you?!”


(Music – The Spirit – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlFVJNOm4yc)

I am thou, thou art I…

Thou hast acquired a new vow…

It shall become the wings of rebellion

that breaketh thy chains of captivity,

With the birth of the Chariot Persona,

I have obtained the winds of blessing that

shall lead to freedom and new power…

CHARIOT RANK UP! RANK 1

(Music Playing – Break it Down (Elp Version) –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlqekNjZBDc)

Yukiko chuckled to herself as Ryuji pumped his fist into the air. “Alright, let’s go get some ramen!”

And with that, both teenagers pursued after Chie.


(Music Playing – Alright –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhVlfis-Mlk)

April 12th, 2016 – Ogikubo, Ramen Shop – 4:29 PM

“WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!”

Ryuji and Chie almost dropped their pork ramen bowls in shock upon hearing Yukiko recount the story why she was banished to Tokyo.

“You’re tellin’ me that helping a woman from assault got you put on probation?!” Ryuji screamed out to nobody in particular. “THAT’S FUCKING BULLSHIT! IF I WERE YOU, I’D BE FUCKING PISSED!”

“Lower your voice!” Yukiko hissed. “Do you want to cause a scene, you idiot?!”

“I know that, but…” Chie was also yelling. “SERIOUSLY?! Argh, THAT’S a miscarriage of justice if I’VE ever seen one!”

“Ugh, both of you are hopeless…” You could almost see a large blob of sweat drop down Yukiko’s forehead.

“Mmfyeah, fhutever,” Ryuji proceeded to continue to wolf down the pork ramen. “Sho lheme get dis streght, yur tellin me yu hilpd out a whomin who whas bein’ shtuffed into a char, and yu got put on probation fhor it?!”

“Eeeugh…” Yukiko almost wanted to gag a little. “Christ, Ryuji-kun, at least eat with your mouth closed!”

With a mighty gulp, Ryuji swallowed the mass of meat and noodles. “Alright, alright, cool. I think I kinda get it at this point… still, really?! That’s some grade-A bullshit if I’ve ever heard it!”

“Wait…” Yukiko blinked. “You don’t believe me?”

“Nah, I believe you,” Ryuji nodded. “I just think that the reasoning for the system fucking you over is the grade-A bullshit here… like, you didn’t even do anything wrong, man! You were helping that woman, and what you got for it was a probation sentence?! Ugh… this really pisses me off.”

“Well, um…” Yukiko smiled gently. “Thanks for your concern, Ryuji-kun. Chie, what do you think?”

“Mmruh?” Chie garbled. “Mrrure, mrhtnks tht ish a buncha burrshiet tu.”

“Oh, for the love of…” Yukiko wanted to facepalm. “Can you please swallow before eating?!”

Chie gulped the last of her bowl of pork ramen. “Ahhh…! Delicious! Excuse me, I’ll have one meat udon, please!”

“She’s not even listening…” Yukiko exhaled audibly.

“Well, you gotta appreciate her dedication,” Ryuji gave a cheeky grin. “I don’t know many people who can take on a four different bowls of meat udon and pork ramen and still be standing… aside from myself, of course.”

“I can imagine,” Yukiko snorted a little. “She really does seem to love her meat…”

Suddenly, Ryuji’s face visibly darkened, before sighing softly.

“You know…” Ryuji began. “We used to come here after a successful race back when the track team was still here. Whether it’d be practice or a successful match, we always visited this joint for a nice hot bowl of noodles.”

Ryuji looked down, depressed. “Then Kamoshida came along, and he… well, he ruined everything.”

“Ryuji…” Yukiko bit her lip softly. Just like herself, Ryuji was falsely blamed for a crime he didn’t commit; only in this case, it’s less being charged for assault after rescuing a woman from rape and more pissing off Kamoshida to the point where he used it as an excuse to take down the Track Team. Yukiko simply bit her lip.

“Hey, Ryuji…” Yukiko began. “How did Kamoshida take down the track team…?”

Ryuji would’ve punched anybody for asking that question, but he trusted Yukiko. Instead he gave a reserved sigh as he began his story.

“One day, our normal Track Coach had to call in sick… got some kind of nasty disease. Kamoshida stepped in as our substitute coach, and the piece of shit did everything in his power to bring the track team down. And I mean everything – he made us run around the school dozens of times with no water, and anyone who stopped was ruthlessly beaten by him. He said it was an ‘Olympian method,’ but it was really a bullshit excuse to get us gone.”

Ryuji bit his lip, looking ready to cry. “Then, one of the weaker, newer kids broke his leg, and Kamoshida began pummeling him for his ‘carelessness’… and that’s when I had it. When I confronted the fucker later that day, I punched him right in his stupid fucking nose. I broke it, but it was exactly the kind of excuse he needed to shut us down… everything about the track team was wiped from the books, I was suspended for a few days, put in the danger zone of expulsion, and everyone hated me for it. It was really a bunch of bullshit when you broke it down.”

Ryuji merely sighed bitterly before smiling at Yukiko. “But enough of my own pity party of a story. There’s going to be a teacher versus student volleyball match tomorrow. Something for “promoting student fitness” or some horseshit like that. That’s where we find all the abused students and make ‘em confess and bring the fucker to justice!”

Ryuji simply pumped his fists into the air. “Just you wait, Kamoshida! We’re gonna bring you DOWN!”

“Aaah…! Delicious, delicious, delicious…!”

Chie sighed happily as Yukiko crossed her arms.

“Chie? How many bowls did you have so far?”

“H-Huh?” Chie suddenly turned a deep shade of red. “Ummm… six?”

“Oh, Chie…” Yukiko wanted to facepalm right then and there. “C’mon, we’re leaving. Rush hour’s gonna occur soon.”

“Aww, you’re going already…?” Ryuji sighed. “Alright, but can we at least exchange contacts before we go? It’d be nice if we got to keep in touch.”

Yukiko and Chie gleamed at Ryuji. After exchanging their contacts, the two made their way back home.


(Music Playing – Beneath the Mask –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2qXgnn9NV4)

April 12th, 2016 – Café Leblanc – 7:48 PM

“Ah, you’re back!” Sojiro smiled as Yukiko walked in. Upon stepping inside, the inn maiden noticed a teal-haired woman in a punk outfit. Contrary to her outfit, she bowed politely after leaving a tip.

“Thanks for the coffee, Sojiro,” the woman spoke. “You have yourself a nice day.”

With that, she bypassed Yukiko, making that woman the last guest of the day.

“That Takemi…” Sojiro shook his head. “She’s such an odd character.”

“Politeness and punk outfits are always an odd juxtaposition,” Yukiko smiled. “So, how was your day, Sojiro-san?”

“Please, no formalities are good with me,” Sojiro gave a cheeky smile. “And it was good, thanks for asking. Business was really slow, what with the recent psychotic breakdown happening near here.”

As he said that, he pointed to the TV.

“And yet another psychotic breakdown occurred!” A commentator on the TV spoke. “And we’re paying our taxes to a police force that can’t even put these incidents to a close?”

“I heard they're getting desperate, too,” The other commentator said with a smirk. “Naoto Shirogane, age 15, was put on the police enforcement to investigate the breakdowns alongside Goro Akechi, age 17, his subordinate. Both boys ought to make quite a tag team, don’t you say?”

“Yeah,” the commentator said with a snort. “When they stop playing pretend and actually get to the bottom of this.”

Sojiro sighed. “Typical gossip… anyway, you look tired. Get yourself a nice sleep and get ready for tomorrow, okay? I heard there’ll be some volleyball P.E. tomorrow.”

“Thanks, Sojiro,” Yukiko smiled. “Have a good night.”

“You yourself.” With a final bow, Sojiro locked the door for the night.

As Yukiko proceeded up the stairs, she was almost oblivious to her phone going off.

*bzzt-bzzt-bzzt*

Ry-yee-ji: man, that was some gooooooooooooood udon and ramen

Ry-yee-ji: i’m STILL full ffs

steak trash: i vomited a little… ༼ ಥ﹏لಥ ༽ ᵘgᵍʰ

Yukiko Amagi: Kinda serves you right for eating that much, Chie.

Yukiko Amagi: Also, Ryuji-kun, what’s up with that username?

Ry-yee-ji: oh, this? it’s…

Ry-yee-ji: well, its gotta be seen to be believed

Yukiko Amagi: Oh, boy…

Ry-yee-ji: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6EoRBvdVPQ

steak trash: w8, what the

steak trash: wow

steak trash: W O W

Yukiko Amagi: awfkak laewfrhawDI ASFAWYU9Q83298EAQWS iondaoswfnaeiosw

steak trash: ryuji, i think u broke yukiko

Ry-yee-ji: RIP yukiko

Ry-yee-ji: press f to pay respects

steak trash: pffft, FPSs are for western plebes

steak trash: JRPGs and bullet hells 4lyfe!!!

Yukiko Amagi: Heey… I like FPSs…

Ry-yee-ji: SHES BACK FROM THE DEAD

Ry-yee-ji: THERE IS A GOD

Yukiko Amagi: Sorry, had a massive laughing fit.

Yukiko Amagi: I think I accidently sent a recording of myself…

steak trash: omfg, really?

steak trash: SHOW IT, PLS

Yukiko Amagi: I-If you say so…

Yukiko Amagi has sent a recording

Ry-yee-ji: holy fucking shit

Ry-yee-ji: yuki terumi, eat your heart out

steak trash: its like spongebob squarepants, the joker and a hyenas respective souls all fused to create Yukikos

Ry-yee-ji: wait, chie. U watched spongebob?

steak trash: yep! even the new episodes1

Ry-yee-ji: wow

Ry-yee-ji: THATS dedication

Ry-yee-ji: honestly, the new episodes are so hot garbage that i dont really bother

steak trash: fuck you, the yellow sponge is the best western cartoon ever made

steak trash: and its at least better than some anime…

steak trash: SAO and school days, 4 1

Yukiko Amagi: That isn’t a very hard achievement, Chie.

Yukiko Amagi: But I do agree! The new SpongeBob episodes are quite weak compared to the old ones, but I still find a lot to enjoy, truth be told.

Ry-yee-ji: wow, didnt expect you to enjoy it THAT much

Ry-yee-ji: but eh, different strokes for different folks

Ry-yee-ji: anyway, dont forget we gotta nail the victims of mophead before the volleyball event ends tomorrow, ok?

Yukiko Amagi: Will do.

steak trash: gotcha.

Ry-yee-ji: glad were on the same page, guys

Ry-yee-ji: well, bye-bye!

Ry-yee-ji is now offline

steak trash: i should probably go 2. seeya, yuki! (*⌒▽⌒*)θ~♪

Yukiko Amagi: Seeya!

steak trash is now offline

Sighing to herself, Yukiko couldn’t help but start humming the pizza song from that one SpongeBob episode as she dressed herself in her nightclothes.

Chapter Text

(Music – Suspicion –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMyq7-NKF1c)

April 14th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Outside Commons – 3:04 PM

Yukiko sighed to herself bitterly. Yesterday was not how she hoped it would go.

It all started out great, too. Yukiko, Chie and Ryuji all attended the volleyball rally, but when they attempted to question the abused volleyball team members, it was to no avail whatsoever. Even their biggest hint of being able to expose Kamoshida – Yuki Mishima, was his name – ended in failure. They made no progress than where they were from, and Yukiko felt like garbage for failing to make a difference.

Then again, both Chie and Ryuji felt like that as they slumped on their usual hanging spot.

Chie bit her lip softly as she felt ready to cry. There was very obviously abuse going on behind the scenes, and yet nobody was doing anything about it? It was so shocking and saddening that Chie needed to exert some tension, only Yukiko’s hand helped calm her melancholy down. It wasn’t until Ryuji spoke up that the long silence was broken.

“Couldn’t we have done anything?”

“Huh?” Yukiko raised her head, and Ryuji looked just as downtrodden as Chie and herself. Biting his lip, Ryuji shook his head and gave a soft sigh.

“I mean, you’d think that at least one person would be able to speak out at this, y’know?” Ryuji sighed to himself. “But nobody, not even one. Even Mishima stayed quiet, and he was our biggest lead. Honestly, we need to bring down Kamoshida somehow, and yet…”

“Well, I don’t think it’s anybody’s fault except Kamoshida’s,” Yukiko shook her head. “The important thing is that we tried. There’s not much else we could do.”

“But that doesn’t mean we should give up, damnit!” Ryuji slammed his fists on the table. “There’s gotta be some way to take the bastard down – any way – we just need to find it.”

“Hmmm… where have I heard this one, before…?”

All three teenagers’ eyes widened upon hearing a familiar, coy voice from the rooftop, making Chie jump a little. “Wait… that voice is…”

Indeed, a small, black cat jumped from the rooftop – a cat in Morgana’s color scheme, no less.

(Music – My Homie –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKRimQt9W1E)

“What the… Morgana?!” Yukiko spat out in shock. “What’re you doing here?!”

“How’d you even get into this world?!” Ryuji cried out. “Does… does that mean you have a phone?!”

“No, stupid!” Morgana grumbled. “I just left via the exit! Now, why would you leave me like that the other day?! What the hell is wrong with you?!”

“N-Nevermind the fact that you’re here talking with us!” Chie cried out. “How can you talk?! Oh man, this isn’t a hallucination, is it…?!”

“Umm…” Yukiko whispered. “Meow…?”

Both Ryuji and Chie glared at Yukiko. “THIS IS NO TIME TO BE JOKING AROUND!”

“God, will any of you shut up and listen for a second?! I’m sick as hell having to explain all this garbage to you!” Morgana huffed to himself.

“Now, I’ve heard you had issues trying to bring Kamoshida to justice,” Morgana began. “That’s to be expected: he’s in a position where he’s untouchable by normal means. If you want any chance of beating him at his own game, well… you’re going to have to listen up, first.”

Morgana craned his head over to the stairs. “Meet me by the rooftop. I’ll be happy to explain everything to you up there. Just don’t be late, got it?”

With that, the talking cat jumped from the table and hurried up the stairs.

“Oh, crap…” Chie cried. “At this rate, he’ll be caught. Do you want there to be a talking cat?!”

“I’m with Chie on this one,” Ryuji sighed before shaking his head. “C’mon! The sooner we go after him, the better!”

As both Chie and Ryuji hurried after Morgana, Yukiko simply shook her head before following the duo. “Oh, good grief…”


(Music – Confession/Secret –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THg-BynhPVU)

April 14th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Outside Commons – 3:06 PM

On the other end of the commons, Ann looked at her friend Shiho with a slightly worried expression.

“Shouldn’t you be heading to volleyball, Shiho?” Ann whispered to herself with a raised eye.

“Umm…” Shiho began, looking depressed. “Y-Yeah… I should, thanks.”

It was then Ann noticed the swelling bruise above Shiho’s eye. Ann felt herself instinctively bite her lip. “Hey, that bruise above your eye… that’s not from practice, is it…?”

“Huh? Oh, this?” Shiho bit her lip, looking ready to cry. “Y-Yeah, is it.”

“Are you… sure you’re not pushing yourself too hard?”

“No… I’ll be fine. Thanks for your concern, Ann.” Despite her wording, Shiho’s eyes were swelling with tears and pain.

As if interrupting the ensuing silence, Ann’s phone went off. “Shouldn’t you take that, Ann…?”

“Oh, it’s probably just my part time job,” Ann said with a weak smile. “…I think.”

“Ah, I see…” Shiho looked down, still depressed as ever. “Well… I should get going. I don’t want to interrupt anything.”

With a weak smile, she looked at Ann as if ready to cry. “Well… see you.”

And just like that, Shiho walked away, making Ann even more worried for her best friend’s well being. Sighing sadly, she flipped open her phone.

“Hello…?” Ann sighed. “Yeah… I’m not feeling so good. Maybe tomorrow…”

Putting away her phone, she felt ready to cry upon hearing that familiar voice.


(Music – Wicked Plan –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9eAGb_cZ9s)

April 14th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Outside Entrance – 3:27 PM

“So, let me see if I understand this…” Ryuji began, recapping the explanation from the rooftop upstairs. “You’re actually telling me that the Palace we went into – Kamoshida’s Palace – seems to be where his twisted desires lie?”

“And we just… steal them…?” Yukiko whispered, just as confused as the others. As if ready to respond, Morgana popped out of Yukiko’s bag with a cat-like smile.

“Yep! That just about sums up everything I told you upstairs!” Morgana said with a grin. “That, and I was planning on offering you the ability to change Kamoshida’s heart by stealing those corrupt desires, so long as you help me in my quest.”

“But, um… isn’t it a little dangerous, though…?” Chie whispered to herself. “We’d be breaking the law if we did that, wouldn’t we? And, well… don’t you think there’s another way to do this…?”

“Well, it’s mostly theory that leads me to believe that it’s possible to steal Kamoshida’s corrupt desires.” Morgana nodded from within the bag. “As for that question… I’ll leave it up to you.”

Ryuji paused for a moment before giving a long sigh. “Honest to Christ, it’s a good thing you explained that your talking is basically heard as a meow to everyone else. Glad we dodged that bullet.”

“Well, again, I’ll give you guys as much time as you need to reach your decision,” Morgana grinned at Yukiko. “In the meantime, however… I do need somebody to take care of me.”

Ryuji and Chie immediately glanced at Yukiko.

“Huh…?” Yukiko blinked in awe. “M-Me?!”

“Yeah, uh…” Ryuji scratched the back of his head awkwardly. “My mom hate cats. Like, with a passion. Sorry, can’t help ya there.”

“My dad’s allergic to cats too.” Chie frowned. “Can’t help you there, either. Sorry, Yukiko…”

“Ugh, you serious…?” Yukiko sighed. “Alright, fine. I suppose I was more of a cat person, anyway…”

“Alright, glad we got that covered!” Morgana grinned cheekily. “I await to see my new home, Lady Yukiko!”

“Lady Yukiko…?” Chie blinked. “Eh, whatever…”

“We’ll… think about your offer, Morgana.” Ryuji sighed. “But not today, I’m afraid. Christ, I’m exhausted as all hell…”

“We’ll text you when you get home, alright Yukiko?” Chie smiled at her friend. “Get home safe. You too Morgana.”

As both Ryuji and Chie waved farewell, Morgana smiled happily at Yukiko. “Well, Lady Yukiko… let us go forward to my new home!”

Yukiko would’ve rolled her eyes, if not hearing something from outside.

“I’m telling you, I can’t come to your place! Christ, why won’t you understand?!”

(Music Stops)

“Huh…?” Morgana whispered to himself. “Isn’t that…?”

Indeed, a familiar blonde girl was sitting by the stairway, cussing angrily at the voice on the phone.

“Damnit, for the last time, I’m not coming today! Something’s come up and – ah!”

The blonde girls’s eyes widened as the phone clicked, her face wet with her own tears. “Oh, God no…”

It was then she saw Yukiko standing out in front, listening in on the entire conversation.

(Music – Confession/Secret –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THg-BynhPVU)

“Were you…?!” The girl gave a defensive – but no less furious – glare at Yukiko. “How much have you’ve been listening to?!”

Yukiko bit her lip and sighed. “Um… all of it.”

“Even when I said…”

“Yes, even that,” Yukiko shook her head. “Someone’s inviting you to their home? Why’s that?”

The girl almost wanted to die with embarrassment. Did she really have to listen in now of all time?! Not just when she just turned down sleeping with a man, but especially when it was out of her control? Ann almost wanted to run away in both embarrassment and tears, and she almost did, but she was caught by Yukiko gripping her arm.

“Wait!” Yukiko cried out. “Who does this involve?! I may be able to help!”

“What the hell can you help with?!” The girl glared angrily at Yukiko, looking ready to cry. “This has NOTHING to do with you, so just leave me alone and-“

“Is his name, Kamoshida?!”

The girl’s eyes widened upon hearing that. Her will to run away suddenly dissipated, and she finally looked at Yukiko’s black eyes, and she just saw how concerned she was.

“How…” The blond girl began. She was not expecting her to know. “How did you know…?”

“I, um…” Yukiko began, looking down, awkwardly. “I supposed it’s because I guessed… but also because I heard rumors among the gaudier students of you being Kamoshida’s girlfriend.”

Yukiko looked up to the girl’s eyes. “That means your name is Ann, right? The same name from the rumors, anyway.”

Suddenly, Ann threw away Yukiko’s hand, but she couldn’t find herself able to run away anymore. She was right on the nose; it was hardly a secret amongst gossipers that Ann has been with Kamoshida, even though Yukiko knew there was something fishy going on. She didn’t know much about Ann, but most female students wouldn’t pursue somebody as repugnant as Kamoshida.

“I…” Ann looked away, ready to cry. “Please, just leave me alone. I don’t want you to get into trouble.”

“Just tell me, okay?” Yukiko nodded to herself. “I promise none of this will leave where we’ll go to discuss. I just want to see how I could help.”

Ann paused for a moment, before sighing. She then turned to Yukiko with a sad but strong look on her face, before nodding.

“Meet me at the Rocket 42 Diner at Shibuya,” Ann nodded. “I’ll explain everything there.”


(Music Stops)

April 14th, 2016 – Shibuya, Rocket 42 Diner – 4:00 PM

Inside a western-themed diner, Ann and Yukiko sat away from each other, before a waitress came up to the two girls with a smile.

“Anything you’d like, girls?” The waitress said with her best smile.

“Oh, no, I’ll just have water,” Ann shook her head. “I don’t have money on me anyw-“

“Two burgers and fries, for both of us.” Yukiko smiled. “Medium-rare. Two juices as well.”

Ann was caught off guard by that. Meanwhile, the waitress smiled. “Certainly, miss! Coming right up.”

Ann paused as the waitress walked off, before shaking her head. “You didn’t have to do that for me, y’know…”

“I suppose not,” Yukiko gave a wry smile. “But food always cheers me up when I feel sad. Figured you’d get something on me to cheer you up.”

“Just know that I’m here to help you,” Yukiko smiled. “Any victim of Kamoshida’s a friend in need.”

A victim of Kamoshida… Ann felt ready to begin crying any second now. Biting her lip, she thought about how she could explain any of this, not when the story truly showed Kamoshida’s true colors… and besides, what can she do anything about it? Eventually, Ann gave a sigh.

“Alright… I’ll explain everything.” Ann bit her lip.

(Music – Confession/Secret (Piano Version) –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjvr0AX7mn4)

“It all involves my best friend Shiho,” Ann sighed bitterly. “She always dreamed of getting to become a volleyball star, but she was rejected by the volleyball team. Kamoshida did offer her a spot to become a part of the main team and a college recommendation, but under one condition.”

Ann almost was ready to cry. “I became his girlfriend. He didn’t even treat me with dignity; to him, I was like a trophy, a collectible. Eventually, he decided that he wanted me to come over to his house and… sleep with him…”

As Yukiko looked on in horror and mild disgust, Ann began weeping to herself. “H-He wanted to have sex with me, and if I didn’t, he’d take Shiho off the team, and I really didn’t want to ruin Shiho’s future, but… I wasn’t ready…”

“I hate him so much,” Ann sobbed. “I just wanted him gone, and I just didn’t want anything to do with him… a-and now that I refused him, he’s gonna take Shiho off the team, and…”

“You made the right choice, though.”

“H-Huh?” Ann’s face was drenched in her own waterworks, looking on at the smiling Yukiko.

(Music – Sunset Bridge – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bw1uGGJh0Jk)

“I would’ve done the same thing if I was in that situation,” Yukiko shook her head. “I would’ve stood up to him. Granted, I never had the courage to stand up to my own problems, what with my feelings and all… but in times like this, you need to stand up on your own two feet and tell the world, “no, I won’t move. You move.”

Yukiko simply nodded. “You’re not an object, Ann. You’re a human being, with feelings, emotions, capacities for kindness like anyone else… and pardon my language for when I say this, but if anybody considers you a sexual outlet?”

Yukiko simply nodded. “You just tell them 'fuck off.'”

Ann looked surprised when Yukiko cussed like that; she really didn’t seem like the type to cuss. But regardless, Ann knew she was right. She couldn’t just give way to Kamoshida like this, and she must learn to be the change in the world than be complacent. Simply wiping away the last of her tears, Ann gave a weak smile.

“You seem to be the last person I’d expect to curse,” Ann said with a weak smile. “But… thank you. That means a lot to me.”

“Anytime,” Yukiko nodded. “I want to help people, and nothing’s going to stop me from doing so.”

Ann’s smiled turned into a frown as she glanced at Yukiko. “Hey… I heard you’re that transfer student that’s on probation. The one all the nasty rumors are railing on."

Pursuing this thought, Ann crossed her arms together. “Are you… sure you’re not a bad person?”

“Oh, trust me,” Yukiko gave a cheeky, teasing smile. “I’m bad to the bone.”

Ann instinctively giggled aloud upon hearing that. Feeling her weary soul renewed, she simply gave a thankful smile towards Yukiko.

“Thank you,” Ann said, tears in her eyes. “I don’t even know you, but… you’re so nice. Thanks.”

“Um…” Ann blushed. “Here I am, letting you comfort me, and I never asked for your name… who’re you?”

“Yukiko Amagi.” The girl nodded. “I’m here for you Ann… umm...”

“…Takamaki. Nice to meet you, Yukiko.” Ann gave a smile as the burgers and drinks were finally delivered. “Oh, it’s here! Chow time!”

As the two girls ate their food, for the first time in ages, Ann felt at ease around someone.


(Music – Erosion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_24qGyzaxU)

April 14th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Hallway – 3:31 PM

“Um… Suzui-san?”

Mishima walked up to Shiho with a nervous expression on his face.

“H-Huh…? Oh, Mishima-kun,” Shiho smiled. “What’s wrong?”

“Umm… Mr. Kamoshida wants you.” Mishima shook his head. “Something about some tensions he feels, I suppose.”

“H-Huh…?” Shiho blinked, but looked down in sadness, as if ready to cry. Regardless, she was none the wiser as she shook her head.

“A-Alright…” Shiho fought her tears. “I’ll go see him.”

“Meet him at his office at 8:30 PM, sharp.” Mishima bowed. “Now, if you’ll excuse me…”

Mishima proceeded to walk away with a twinge of sadness in his stomach upon seeing Shiho’s tearful, downright scared expression.

Chapter Text

(Music – Is It Boring – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZTlNehpLgc)

April 15th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Class 2-D – 9:11 AM

“Alright, listen up! Today, we’ll be discussing the Diet building.”

As Mr. Ushimaru’s lecture on the Japanese political system dragged on, Yukiko sighed to herself, somewhat deep in thought. The last couple of days have been anything but normal, what with the Metaverse, Morgana, Personas, Velvet Room… it all felt so surreal that any of this was happening.

Regardless, Yukiko inwardly vowed to not let any of this bring her down, but even then… with the attempts to expose Kamoshida failing, and a particularly disturbing revelation considering Ann… Yukiko couldn’t help but doubt herself. Was there really no other way to expose Kamoshida but to change his hearts? Did they really have to break the law in order to serve justice?

And poor Ann. Though she gained a new friend from yesterday’s events, the inn maiden couldn’t help but feel a twinge of disgust in her abdomen upon learning the truth. Forcing a student to sleep with you? That was just sick on so many levels, and it really solidified her hatred for the bastard.

“Hey, you are focusing, right Yukiko?”

Morgana peeped out of her bag with a cat-like smile on his face. Ever since Morgana began staying at the Café Leblanc’s attic, Yukiko had to come up with a particularly clever excuse to garner Sojiro’s approval, and though Sojiro disapproved at first, he decided to let it slide in the long run. Yukiko just received a lecture on taking care of animals, thankfully.

“Huh?” Yukiko blinked softly. “Um, yeah, sorry Morgana. I’m just… thinking.”

Morgana huffed visibly. “Well stay focused! You want to have good grades, don’t you?”

Yukiko looked downwards in mind depression. It was true that she had to focus on being student, but even then… she simply couldn’t drop it. Not when she knows that the volleyball team has been abused, not when she knows Takeshi killed himself, not when Kamoshida’s been forcing Ann to sleep with him… at this rate, Yukiko legit thought her opinion on Kamoshida couldn’t get any worse.

(Music Stops)

“Hey… oh, my God! I-Is she going to jump?!”


April 15th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Rooftop – 9:12 AM

A lone, black-haired girl stood on the rooptop, almost oblivious to Class 2-D below her… almost. She knew full well that people were watching, she knew damn well that people were going to watch her jump. She just couldn’t stand this anymore.

“A-Ann…” Shiho choked on her own sobs as she looked down. “I’m sorry. I can’t take it anymore.”

She prayed that whatever God or kami above would absolve her as she jumped.


(Music – Desire – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBRBgxXQoRU)

April 15th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Class 2-D – 9:13 AM

Upon seeing the body fall from the rooptop, the classroom erupted in chaos. People began screaming, panicking and even filming it, with many students leaving the classroom in a hurry.

As Yukiko watched on in horror, Ann’s eyes widened upon seeing the black pony-tail she was all too familiar with.

“Oh, my God…” Ann paused, before running outside. “SHIHO!

As chaos reigned in the classroom, Mr. Ushimaru attempted to reinstate order. “HEY! Sit down back in your seats, all of you! This is a matter of-“

But nobody listened. As students panicked, ran off, or sat in shock. Yukiko was almost unaware of Morgana’s horror and the phone in her pocked buzzing.

*bzzt-bzzt-bzzt*

“H-Hey…” Morgana whispered in sheer awe. “M-Maybe you should get that.”

And indeed, Yukiko did. Flipping open the phone, she saw a familiar sender on her screen.

Ry-yee-ji: CHIE’S WITH ME, MEET ME AT THE COMMONS

Ry-yee-ji: NOW

She didn’t need to be told twice. Putting her phone away and ignoring Mr. Ushimaru’s angry cries, she rushed over to the commons.


April 15th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Outside Commons – 9:17 AM

The first thing Yukiko was greeted with was masses upon masses of people, the sound of ambulance sirens wailing through the cold spring morning, and the terrified sobs of a familiar voice. It was then two familiar faces swarmed Yukiko: Ryuji and Chie.

“Oh, thank God, Yukiko! You made it!” Chie cried. “What happened?!”

Hell if I know!” Ryuji quickly retorted, eyeing the scene from afar. “A girl must’ve jumped… I-I didn’t catch a glimpse of her, but-“

“Shiho. Her name is Shiho.”

As Yukiko spoke gravely, Ryuji and Chie eyed their friend quickly.

“Wait, what?!” Chie bellowed. “W-What happened?!”

As the three teenagers and other students contributed to the mass of terrified, confused sounds, Ann gripped Shiho’s right hand; her leg was brutally cut open, scraped, and contorted, and blood caked the spring grass as the paramedics hovered over her.

“Shiho…” Ann whispered, choking on her own tears. “Why… why did you do this…?”

Shiho was also sobbing as well, but it took a little strength to lean over to confirm why she did so.

“K-Kamo… shida…”

Morgana’s eyes widened from the bag as Shiho slipped into unconsciousness, Ann’s screams for Shiho continuing to wail louder than the sirens.

“What…” Ryuji blinked as the scene continued to unfold. “What did she…”

“Kamoshida, Ryuji. She said Kamoshida.”

All three Persona-users quickly turned to Morgana, who looked on in utter horror. It took a brief pause of silence before Morgana finally spoke.

S-Something happened…” Morgana shook his head. “We need to investigate into this. Is there anyone who knows what happened...”

“What…” Chie felt her hands ball up in anger. “What did he do..?!”

Without further ado, all four Persona-users ran away, leaving Ann whispered to the comatose Shiho all the while.

“Please, God… Shiho…” Ann choked on her sobs. “Don’t leave me…”


April 15th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Hallway – 9:20 AM

After seeing the horrific scene out in the commons, Mishima’s mind raced with possibilities why she attempted suicide. Upon remembering him telling Kamoshida to meet Shiho at night, the blue-haired boy immediately felt a pang of guilt swell up like a balloon, as if he was responsible. Biting his lip in anger, he almost was unaware of the Yukiko and co. rushing up to him.

“Mishima-kun! MISHIMA!” Chie cried. “What happened to Shiho?!”

“H-Huh?!” Mishima turned around to see the three teenagers. “W-What do you mean-“

Before he had time to finish his question, an utterly furious Ryuji pinned him to the lockers. Yelping in surprise, Ryuji raised his fist squarely at Mishima.

Don’t play dumb with me, you piece of shit,” Ryuji muttered very darkly. “Kamoshida told you to get Shiho, did he? We asked around, and people confirmed that with us.”

“Well?!” Ryuji barked aloud. “What did you do, you son of a bitch?! ANSWER ME!”

“Ryuji, that’s enough!” Yukiko cried. “Let him go, now!”

“B-But I dunno!” Mishima bellowed in fear. “Kamoshida just told me to get Shiho on the basis of some tensions he felt! I-I’m just the messenger!”

Ryuji immediately let go of Mishima, who was gasping for breath. “Wait… tensions? What could he mean?”

(Music Fades Out Slowly)

Suddenly, Yukiko felt her stomach twist in horror.

Tensions, Ann refusing to sleep with Kamoshida… it all made sense now. The sheer horror of the situation was far too hard to even admit, but it was the most likely scenario. It would explain perfectly the events why it happened. With all of her courage, Yukiko softly spoke out what may have happened.

“She… she may have been raped by Kamoshida.”

That caught the group’s attention. “What?!”

(Music – Tension – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bduzOvnvd0)

Yukiko really didn’t want to accept the possibility, but at this stage of the game, it simply couldn’t be overlooked. “Kamoshida… Kamoshida was forcing Ann to sleep with him to keep Shiho on the volleyball team. She rejected his advances, so maybe… maybe he took his tensions out on Shiho.”

All three students stared in horror, their eyes gradually growing wider upon the realization – and more terrifyingly, the plausibility – of the scenario. Ryuji felt his anger ball up within him, and he clenched his fists together.

“That…” Ryuji spoke, his voice evolving into pure rage.THAT SON OF A BITCH! I’M GONNA KILL HIM!”

As Ryuji rushed away from the group, Chie apparently felt the exact same way. Letting anger take control of herself as well, she quickly went after Ryuji, an utterly furious expression on her face.

“RYUJI, WAIT UP!” Chie bellowed. “HE’S GOING TO PAY, GODDAMNIT!”

“W-Wait, Chie! Ryuji!” As both teenagers rushed onwards, Yukiko felt her fists ball up. “C’mon, Mishima-kun! After them!”

As Yukiko ran off, Mishima blinked before following pursuit. “H-Huh?! Oh, right!”


April 15th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Faculty Lounge – 9:22 AM

Kamoshida cracked a grin upon sipping his coffee. Once again, he got away scot free from it all. It filled him with a sick kind of satisfaction knowing that no matter how many times he teaches his students not to fuck with him, he always gets away with it. His blissful silence was quickly disrupted, however, with the slamming of a door.

“YOU RAPIST PIECE OF FUCKING SHIT!”

Kamoshida frowned angrily upon hearing Ryuji’s voice, both himself and Chie glaring at the volleyball coach with extreme hatred in their eyes.

“Ugh, what do you want now?” Kamoshida casually waved the two teenagers away. “Can’t you see I’m too busy to play with you losers?”

“WHY?!” Chie screamed, utterly furious. “SHE’S A MINOR, NO LESS A FEMALE! WHAT IN YOUR RIGHT, GODDAMN MIND MADE YOU THINK IT WAS OKAY TO RAPE HER LIKE THAT?”

“Chie!” Yukiko and Mishima finally caught up with their friend and, while certainly calmer, both of them brandished their own unique kind of anger.

“Why…?!” Mishima looked on in horror. “Why did you do that to her?! I can only imagine the kinds of things you’ve done to her…”

As the room erupted with raucous anger, Kamoshida bitterly sighed before glaring at the four teenagers.

“Alright, two things,” Kamoshida sneered. “For one, ‘rape’ is such a nasty word. I vastly prefer the term ‘discipline,’ if you ask me.”

“W-What?!” Chie almost had to take a step back upon hearing that.

“And secondly,” Kamoshida glared. “Don’t act like she’s so special. She certainly wasn’t the first girl I ‘disciplined,’ and she certainly won’t be the last.”

The horror in the room reached a crescendo upon hearing the revelation. Yukiko felt her anger swell up inside her: out of all the people she met in her life, there was nobody more abhorrent than this man… and she hated him.

“What…?” Yukiko whispered in horror. “What do you mean-“

“What do you think?” Kamoshida interrupted with a cocky grin. “Even now, and especially when I was the star of the volleyball team, women often found themselves misbehaving around me… I’m just doing the world a favor by making them know their place.”

“Best part is, they love good ol’ Kamoshida,” The volleyball team coach gave a frightening grin. “They love it so much, they fall upon my lap… numerous times.”

That did it. Never before has Chie and Ryuji wanted to murder somebody this bad before, and almost out of instinct, both teenagers raised their fist at the volleyball coach.

“YOU FUCKING MONSTER!” Ryuji screamed. “YOU’RE GONNA FUCKING PAY!”

Before both teenagers could attack Kamoshida, Yukiko and Mishima gripped onto the infuriated Chariots, intending to prevent the situation from escalating.

“Chie, calm down!” Yukiko yelled. “Get a hold of yourself!”

As Mishima attempted to restrain Ryuji, Kamoshida spat to himself, a look of disdain on his face. “So that’s how you’re gonna play it, huh? Fine.”

He gave a lecherous stare at Yukiko all the while. “And here I was hoping we could’ve gotten more acquainted, Miss Amagi.” The licking of his lips sent shivers down the inn maiden’s spine.

With a final wave, Kamoshida dismissed the teenagers. “All four of you are expelled! You better start begging for mercy, because I’m certainly not going to absolve you shitheads.”

“W-What?! No, you can’t!” Yukiko cried. “You don’t even have the authority to-“

“Do I?” Kamoshida sneered. “We’ll see how the report I’ll give at the board meeting will look for you: “Juvenile delinquents assault upstanding volleyball coach.” That’ll look good on your permanent record, for certain.”

With another wave, Kamoshida laughed to himself. “Get out of my sight, you punks! You’re not worth licking the dirt on my boot!”

As Kamoshida continued to cackle to himself, all four students left the faculty office with disappointment on all their faces.


(Music Stops)

April 15th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Hallway – 9:27 AM

“I-I can’t believe it…” Chie struggled to fight her tears. “W-We’re gonna get expelled… and he’s gonna get away with everything…”

Yukiko noticed Mishima’s shock before sighing to herself. “M-Mishima-kun, I-“

Mishima gave a sad stare at Yukiko, before running away.

Silence reigned. It all felt so surreal to Yukiko; she wasn’t even here a month, and she’ll get expelled fast if she doesn’t do something. And to think he’ll get away with everything…

No, that wasn’t true. They still had one option.

“Morgana,” Yukiko unzipped her bag. “Are you listening?”

“H-Huh?” Morgana whispered, still shocked upon hearing all of that. “Y-Yeah. I’m sorry to hear about-“

“Don’t be,” Yukiko nodded. “You were right; how do we change somebody’s heart?”

Chapter Text

(Music – Wicked Plan – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9eAGb_cZ9s)

April 15th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Rooftop – 3:14 PM

Even after classes presuming as normal, the whole school was shaken by Shiho’s attempted suicide. It quickly became a field day for resident gossipers, but everyone else’s time was outright ruined thanks to the incident. This was especially for a certain group of Persona-users meeting on the rooftop.

“So,” Morgana began. “I take it we can now agree that we should steal Kamoshida’s heart?”

Ryuji sat next to Chie, a look of pure fury on his face. “At this point, I don’t give a shit whether it’s illegal or not. All I want to see is have that son-of-a-bitch get what he deserves.”

Chie’s arms were crossed as her friend gave his answer. “To be honest, I don’t want to break the law…”

As she trailed off, the tomboy merely shook her head, a sorrowful expression written all over her. “…but I don’t want to be expelled either. If it’s really the only shot we got, I’d say we take it.”

“Well, now that we’re on an agreement,” Yukiko nodded as she began. “How do we steal someone’s heart?”

Morgana furrowed his face a little. “Well, that’s the tricky part. I’ve never actually stole a heart yet, but I do have an underlying theory over it.”

As the three adolescents turned to Morgana, the feline simply continued his explanation. “Each item in a Palace has some form that represents Kamoshida’s mind. With this fact in mind, there’s probably an item deep within his Palace that the Shadow guards; it’s the representation of his egotism and selfishness.”

Morgana gave a cocky smile as he paused for effect. “We’re going to steal that.”

“Huh?” Yukiko was curious to hear that. “So, if we steal it, that means we steal his desires, basically?”

“That’s more or less the gist of it,” Morgana said, his voice hinting at admiration for Yukiko’s quick thinking. “But, well… there is something we should be aware of.”

“You see, a Shadow is still a major part of a person’s consciousness. Everything the person keeps repressed or refuses to acknowledge, that all goes to the Shadow. In a sense, it’s there Id going wild.”

“Id… going wild…?” Ryuji paused as if trying to understand what he meant, before groaning in frustration. “Ugh, you’re not making sense again!”

Morgana sighed exasperatedly. “Listen, the point is, we can beat up the Shadow, but we can’t kill it; it’s still part of the real Kamoshida. And if we accidentally kill Shadow Kamoshida before stealing his treasure, well…”

Morgana looked down rather solemnly. “Well, the person in real life dies as well.”

“W-Wait…” Chie whispered. “I-Isn’t that murder?! Y-You mean… we have to take a risk to steal his treasure and not kill him?”

“Yeah… if we botch the heist, the Kamoshida in the real-world dies… and I don’t know what’ll happen us.” Morgana shook his head. “But even if we do screw up, the Police can’t trace it back to us. Do remember what I told you yesterday!”

“Well, that’s beside the point!” Chie argued, a look of worry on her face. “We could still kill Kamoshida if we mess up! I hate the guy as much as you do, but I don’t want to murder him!”

“What other options do you have, then?”

“H-Huh?” Chie turned to Yukiko, who had a very solemn look on her face – one that had hints of unbridled anger.

“We tried everything; anything we attempt in this world will let him walk free, regardless.” Yukiko sighed. “And if we don’t do something fast, we’ll all be expelled, including an innocent that had nothing to do with this.”

“And quite frankly,” Yukiko’s face visibly darkened. “I don’t care if the piece of shit lives or dies. Given the way he views women, I want nothing more than to see him brought to justice.”

“Yukiko…” The more Chie thought about it, the more it made sense from her new best friend’s point of view. It was true; Yukiko has been put on probation for trying to save a woman back in Yasoinaba, and if she had remained in inaction, she would’ve been killed if Yukiko hadn’t saved her from Kamoshida. Taking a deep breath, she simply sighed.

“Alright.” Chie nodded. “You convinced me. I still don’t like the risk, but… you’re right. Being a bystander’s no longer an option.”

“Well then, it’s settled!” Morgana chirped. “Let’s all go to the Palace to steal that bastard’s heart!”

“Hell yeah!” Ryuji grinned happily. Suddenly, his smile faltered, and he shrugged awkwardly. “But, uh… I don’t have any weapons so far.”

“Oh… oh, right! I forgot!” Yukiko began. “Me and technically Chie had weapons on us when we got our Personas, yet you didn’t… that’s actually kind of weird.”

“Well, Personas are a pretty damn unpredictable power from what I’ve seen,” Ryuji shrugged. “It’s kinda like which Persona you get; beggars really can’t be choosers.”

“Well, lucky for you, Ryuji-kun!” Chie stood up, a smile on her face as well. “I know a place that sells toy guns and melee weapons. They’re not the real deal, yeah, but given how the Metaverse works, I think it’ll be fine.”

“That…” Chie turned to Yukiko. “And we could use an upgrade ourselves.”

“That’s the second best idea I’ve heard all day,” Yukiko smiled. “Well, c’mon! Lead the way, Chie!”

And with that, the meeting was adjourned. Chie simply motioned her friends over by the door as she lead the way to this store.


(Music – Layer Cake – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K35OL71QCQ)

April 15th, 2016 – Shibuya, Untouchable – 3:14 PM

“Heeeeeeeey… I know this place!”

Ryuji’s eyes immediate perk up upon seeing the familiar, cramped store with a varying degree of melee weapons and gun models lined up on the walls, displays and elsewhere. On the counter lied a man who lazily sat back as he read a magazine. He also seemed to have a candy of sorts in his mouth.

“It’s called ‘Untouchable,’ right?” Ryuji grinned. “I’ve heard of this place before. It’s some airsoft shop, right?”

“Yep! I come here regularly to pique my weapon curiosity.” Chie laughed awkwardly. “I see a lot of kung-fu films, so I usually visit here to look at and occasionally buy something.”

Chie suddenly turned red. “That, and, um… the guy who owns that shop’s kinda cute.”

Yukiko glanced over to the middle-aged man and, despite Yukiko admitting he was a looker, Yukiko couldn’t help but puff silently.

“So? No need to fawn over guys.” Yukiko said in a rather out-of-character tone. “Can we just buy something, please?”

Ryuji was ready to make a crack over jealously, but he really didn’t want to get beat up by her, especially with the look on frustration on her face.

“Well, what’re you kids standing around for?” The man lowered the magazine and took out his lollipop, twirling it around a little. “Aren’t you gonna buy something?”

“H-Huh?!” Chie yelped, still a little red-faced. “U-Um, yes, Iwai-san! We, uh… c-came to buy something.”

“Hey,” The man named Iwai smiled softly. “Aren’t you that kid who came over for that shotgun?”

“Well, nevermind,” Iwai shook his head. “What’ll you be having?”

“Ryuji?” Yukiko inquired, prompting the bleach-haired delinquent to walk up to the stand and whisper something nervously.

“H-Huh?” Ryuji blinked to himself for a moment. “Uhh… d-do you have any models of spiked baseball bats? J-Just a question is all.”

Iwai gave a small smile in response. “Odd choice. But yeah, I do have something like that…”

Rummaging down the supply below him, he placed a spiked baseball bat that looked eerily similar to the real thing. Upon closer inspection, Ryuji noticed the material was quite soft, as if to be used as a toy than an actual weapon.

“That’ll be 1200 Yen, please,” Iwai smiled before turning to the two girls. “And you want to get something too?”

As Chie turned a bright shade of red out of flustered embarrassment, it was only Yukiko who could speak. Thankfully, she has a fairly decent allowance on her.

“Oh, um…" Yukiko paused for a moment. “I-I know this sounds like a weird question and all, but… do you have any model armor, war fans or boots? Pepperguns and Pistols would be nice, too.”

Iwai chuckled softly. “You got weird taste. What’re you planning to do with it, mug a man?”

“H-Huh?!” Yukiko blushed. “N-No, I would never--!”

“Relax, I’m only teasing,” Iwai chuckled. “But I do have what you ask, yes. Mark my words, if there’s a weapon, there’s a toy model for it. I’m just a distributor of those items.”

Yukiko smiled in response. Iwai seemed friendly enough, despite having an intimidating appearance. Simply nodding in response, the group made their purchases of weapons, guns and armor (alongside some updated equipment for Morgana) before saying their goodbyes.


(Music Playing – King, Queen, Slave – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1djyYNbZQo)

April 12th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Entrance – ???

After making their final purchases from Untouchable, the budding group of Persona users got ready to tackle Kamoshida’s Castle. Indeed, all three humans walked into the Castle Exterior dressed in their outfits, while Morgana was now in the distorted form Yukiko first met him in.

“Urgh…” Yukiko blushed heavily, which was obscured somewhat by her mask. “I-I’m still not used to this outfit…”

“D-Don’t worry, I think you’ll get used to it,” As Chie inexplicably blushed with her, Ryuji looked away nervously. Contrary to his comfort, he was also furiously red as well.

“A-And besides, it looks good on you!” Ryuji chirped. “I-I mean, it is pretty effin’ revealing, but… well… I dunno, it suits you?”

“S-Suits me…?!”

Almost out of instinct, Yukiko’s palm graced Ryuji’s cheek, producing a loud smack sound echoing through the air.

“OWWWWWWWW!” Ryuji yelped. “What the fuck was THAT for?! I was just complementin’ you is all! Jesus!”

“H-Huh…?” Yukiko continued to turn red. “O-Oh, I’m so sorry! I mistook that for an off-color joke, and my hand just moved without me thinking!”

As Chie sighed audibly, Ryuji continued to pout. “Urgh… not funny, Yukiko…”

The group fell into an awkward silence that was only broken by Morgana’s attempt to lighten the mood.

“Aaaaaaaaaaanyways,” Morgana began awkwardly. “Our pre-heist expedition begins here! Starting from today, I’ll teach you guys all the basics of Phantom Thievery, right down to stealth and ambushes!”

“Wait, hold on,” Chie began. “’Pre-heist expedition’? You mean we can’t just steal Kamoshida’s treasure on the first go?”

“Well, yeah,” Morgana nodded. “This castle is heavily fortified. It’d be a good idea to plan an entrance and escape before we attempt anything. Besides, when we do attempt to steal the treasure, we only have one shot to do so… I’ll explain everything later, just trust me when I say we need to get to where his treasure is supposed to be before attempting a heist.”

“Well, if you say so…” Ryuji scratched his head awkwardly. “But wait, stealth? I’m not exactly the best at that, y’know…”

“Never fear!” Morgana grinned smarmily. “Persona-users already have superhuman speed and strength by virtue of having a Persona in the first place… so I’ll teach you how to harness your Persona to do stealthy things no normal human should be able to do!”

“Such as?” Yukiko now was curious.

Morgana gave a cheery smile. “Ninja spire jumps, hiding in plain sight, super-speed, walking on tight ropes…1 all that good stuff. The point is, I’ll teach you how to use your Persona powers to act like a ninja!”

“A… a ninja?! For real?!” Ryuji almost wanted to fanboy in excitement. “Oh, man! That’s SO COOL! Isn’t that so awesome, Yukiko-chan?”

Yukiko simply giggled at her new friend’s enthusiasm. “Definitely. It really sounds awesome.”

“I mean, isn’t being a ninja EXACTLY what a Phantom Thief is supposed to do?!” Chie butted in, clearly as excited as her friend. “Oh, MAN, this is awesome!”

As both Chariots continued to geek out, Yukiko stepped in. “Alright guys; I understand your enthusiasm, but do remember it isn’t a game. We still need to steal Kamoshida’s heart, or we’ll be expelled.”

“Urgh…” Chie pouted. “Mood killer… but you’re right. We do need to be careful…”

“Well, there’s plenty of time to be excited later,” Morgana nodded. “Just follow my lead, okay? I’ll teach you how to act like a tried-and-true Phantom Thief!”

Morgana suddenly paused for a moment. “Oh… before I forget.”

“Huh?” Yukiko inquired. “Forget what, Morgana?”

“We, um…” Morgana flustered a little. “We do need to use codenames. It’s still a perfect crime, but this Palace is still tied to Kamoshida’s subconscious. We’d best not use our real names just in case.”

“Hmm…” Yukiko paused for a moment before realizing the tactical benefits of it all. Conceding to Morgana’s idea, the black-haired inn maiden nodded in response.

“Alright, then.” Yukiko nodded. “What should I be called?”

“Hmm…” Morgana stroked his fuzzy chin. “How about ‘Phoenix’? It makes sense, since you do have a sort of bird motif going on and you use fire!”

“Really?” Ryuji chuckled nervously. “She reminded me of Fried Chicken.”

It took a short glare from Yukiko to shut Ryuji up.

“Ignoring what my friend has to say,” Yukiko gave another quick Kubrick Stare at her loud-mouthed friend. “I do like Phoenix. So I’m cool with it.”

“Ooh! Ooh!” Chie chirped cheerfully. “Call me ‘Dragon’! With this dragon mask on me, it’d be totally fitting and awesome sounding!”

“Alrighty then! Phoenix and Dragon! As for Ryuji… ummm…” Morgana  gave a deep look at Ryuji’s mask, before coming up with an answer.

“Hey, Ryuji,” Morgana smiled. “You cool with ‘Skull’?”

“’Skull’? That’ll be my nickname?!” Ryuji’s loud voice belied his excitement, as shown with a goofy grin. “Hell yeah! That totally sounds badass!”

“Cool! Three for four…” Morgana fuzzed his fur. “That said… I can’t think of one for me.”

Chie gave a teasing grin. “What about Monamona?”

“Oh, hell no!” Morgana cried. “I’m not up for that!”

“Well… how ‘bout just Mona?” Ryuji chimed in. “I mean, it sounds like the Mona Lisa, and that seems like a great Phantom Thief-like thing.”

Morgana furrowed his feline brow, before sighing to himself. “Alright, fine. If that’s what you want to call me, I’m okay with it.”

“Great!” Yukiko chirped to herself. “So I’m Phoenix, Chie’s Dragon, Ryuji’s Skull, and you’re Mona, right Morgana?”

“Ooohohohohoh!” Chie grinned cheerfully. “This DEFINITELY seems like a Phantom Thief thing!”

“Well… more or less, yeah,” Morgana smiled to himself. “Granted, it’s not my first choice, but it seems the nickname stuck…”

Morgana joking tone gave way to a frown. “But whenever we’re in the Metaverse, we call each other exclusively by our nicknames, got it? We can’t risk anything.”

“Alright, sounds like a plan.” As Yukiko nodded, so did Ryuji and Chie.

“Excellent!” Morgana gave a dramatic pose to accompany his theatrical tone. “Onwards, my fellow Thieves!”

Almost as if on cue, Morgana dashed over to the hole by the castle wall at inhuman speeds, jumping on it while leaving his allies in awe.

“Woah!” Chie cried. “THAT’S what you can do with your Persona?!”

“It sure is,” Morgana smiled cheekily. “And I’ll teach you guys how to use your Personas to do just that… as we go along, of course. Now follow me, my apprentices!”

Apprentices…? Yukiko hardly had time to muse on the thought as she ran over to her mentor, and with that, all four Phantom Thieves were we’ll and truly out of sight.

But they weren’t alone.

(Music Stops)

Suddenly, a familiar blonde woman entered the castle with her phone in hand. It has been a VERY long day for Ann; she had to be with Shiho the whole way to the Hospital, and watch as her heart’s torn apart bit by bit upon seeing her best friend suffer. And if that wasn’t enough, she got some weird app by following the three students.

“Okay, I think I said exactly what they said to get here…” Ann shook her head. “Yukiko-chan was part of that group… I wonder what – HUH?!

Ann’s eyes widened upon seeing the castle. “W-Wait, where am I?! What happened to the school?!”

“You’re looking at it, you – huh?!”

(Music – Desire – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBRBgxXQoRU)

Indeed, two heavily-armed guards came by with swords in hand. Ann almost leaped out of her upon seeing the fully-armed knights in front of her.

“W-What’re you?!” Ann cried. “What do you want?!”

“Huh… you are…” The knight paused before realizing it. “Princess Ann! Milady, you cannot be here without the other Princesses. Come now; we’ll take you to your fellow maidens.”

“W-Wait, what the hell?! Princesses?! Maidens?!” Ann voiced progressively grew louder and more panicky, until reaching an inevitable crescendo. “What’re you – KYAAH!”

The knight lifted Ann onto its back, ignoring the blonde-haired student’s panicked screams as she thrashed about.

“Fret not, my lady!” The knight-shadow hummed triumphantly. “I shall bring you back to King Kamoshida!”

“King Kamoshida?!” Ann cried in shock and fear, too panicked to realize the implications. “Let go! L-LET GO!”

As she continued to scream and thrash around upon being carried by the hulking guard and his companion, Ann found the answer how her day could be any worse than it was.

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – King, Queen, Slave – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1djyYNbZQo)

April 15th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Hallways – ???

“Okay, Dragon… you can do it!”

Mona crossed his arms as Dragon clearly hesitated. It only took one more powerful stare at his comrade for the brunette Phantom Thief to take a deep breath and begin her action.

Almost in the blink of an eye, she melted into a black shadow and darted from one wall to another at inhuman speeds. No sound was produced in the lightning fast motion, and Dragon blended in perfectly with the shadows. After a moment of pause, she decided to leave her hiding spot.

“So, umm…” Dragon blushed. “Did I do it?”

“Hell yeah, you did!” Skull grinned. “That was freakin’ awesome Chi – err, Dragon!”

Phoenix and Mona sighed audibly upon hearing Skull catch himself. This was his fourth time accidently (or nearly) calling a fellow Phantom Thief by their name. It was one of those things that just got tiring after a while, regardless of how charming the mistake was at first.

“Well, I think all three of you are ready,” Mona began, smiling. “I’ll admit, I’m more than a little surprised all of you guys adapted to your Persona powers this quickly. I have no doubt in my mind you guys have it within you!”

“Heehee… thanks, Mona.” Phoenix chuckled to herself. Suddenly, she paused, before looking at Skull.

“Huh? Wassup?” Skull inquired. “…there’s not something on my face, is there?”

“Oh, no, don’t worry,” Phoenix began. “It’s just, well… I noticed you were dashing around with a limp, Skull. There doesn’t happen to be a reason for that, does there?”

Skull fell silent. At this point, Mona and Dragon were also eyeing him, their curiosity fully piqued by Phoenix’s insight. Seeing no reason further to hide his secret, Skull merely sighed in defeat.

“Well, um… how should I begin?” The bleach-haired Phantom Thief began. “Well, it all started when-“

“Halt, intruders!”

(Music – Tension – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bduzOvnvd0)

All four Phantom Thieves nearly jumped out of their skin upon seeing four, armor-clad knights approach the group, fully armed and ready to do battle.

“Well, guess we’ll hafta save it for later,” Skull grumbled to himself. “Alright, Phoenix, ya ready?! Let’s DO this, guys!”

“Yeah!”

As all four Phantom Thieves cheered onwards, each of them leapt onto the soldiers and gripped onto their masks.

“Now then,” Phoenix began theatrically. “We’ll reveal your true forms!”

CRASH!

(Music Playing – Last Surprise –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvUwPQ2zjsc)

Upon each of the thieves removing their masks, the armored knight dissolved into shadows, and out sprang two fairy-like creatures, one avian and a blue creature in a jar. All four Phantom Thieves jumped backwards before assuming their fighting stances.

“Alright, gang!” Mona began. “Try leaving one of them alive! We’re gonna see if we can’t negotiate with them!”

“Will do!” Dragon chirped. “C’mon! Protect me, Tomoe!”

The battle proceeded in a bloody spectacle. Dragon ripped off her mask with spectacular aplomb, and before one of the two fairies could react, it was encased in ice. It then fell apart into shard.

“M-My friend!” The fairy cried in shock. “Grrr…! You’ll pay for that, you bully!”

With a soft, demonic chant, electric crackled from her hands and promptly shocked Dragon. She was promptly knocked onto the floor, crying in pain, still feeling the sting from the electricity.

“O-Owwww!” Dragon wailed aloud. For some reason, being hit with electricity hurt far more than any other attack she felt up to this point. Maybe it was a weakness of her Persona…? Regardless, she had to get up soon, or--!

“Hah! Pathetic!” The Pixie mocked. “Now die! This is for my friend, you son of a-“

FWOOSH!

CRACK!

Suddenly, a storm of wind and lightning promptly annihilated the spirit jar and avian respectively, leaving only the bewildered Pixie as the sole survivor of the group. She barely had time to react when Phoenix reached for her mask and made her whispers.

“That’s enough out of you!” Phoenix smirked underneath the glowing mask. “Now, Konohana Sakuya! Curse them!”

Indeed, as if on command, it was not a blast of fire consuming the fairy; it was a eldritch, explosion of dark energy. Thankfully for the misfortunate shadow, it didn’t kill it – but it only further gave the advantage the thieves needed.

HOLD UP!

(Music Playing – Talk –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVblvuICy9c)

“Alright! We got it cornered!” Mona grinned as he drew his slingshot. The other Phantom Thieves followed his lead, promptly aiming their own guns at the creature.

“W-Wait! Wait!” The fairy cried, looking utterly terrified. “P-Please don’t shoot! C’mon, maybe we can work this out!”

“Alright, I’m listening.” Skull grinned. “What’cha got, some money or somethin’?”

“N-No. I-I left my items at the storage, too…”

“Oh. Well, that’s too bad.” Dragon grinned cheekily as she raised her Peppergun. “Guess you’ll be going to hell, then!”

“WAIT JUST A MINUTE!” The fairy screamed, panic fully taking it. “Th-That girl! The one with the huge bazongas and long black hair!”

Phoenix blushed almost on instinct. I’m never going to get used to this outfit, am I…?

“Huh?” Mona muttered. “What does she have anything to do with us sparing you?”

“I-I can work for you! For free, even!” The fairy wailed. “Sh-She has some sorta power that allows her to host more than one Persona. If ya spare me, I’ll be happy to serve you!”

“Some… power?” Phoenix found herself unconsciously muttering those words until it clicked. Does her Wild Card ability have anything to do with this…?

“Hah! Nice try.” Skull grinned, as if hungry for blood. “Yer not weaselin’ your way outta this one, you little punk! Now prepare to-“

“Wait, Skull!”

All three Phantom Thieves suddenly lowered their weapons and turned to Phoenix. It was then she walked up to the creature and nodded.

“Very well. I accept your offer,” Phoenix smiled. “I expect nothing more than your best, you hear?”

As all the other Thieves stare in shock, the fairy looked like it was going to cry tears of joy. “Oh, thank you! Thank you! I promise I’ll… agh!”

Suddenly, the blackish-red taint associated with the fey creature turned into a blue light. The malicious grin from the creature was now one of benevolence, clearly showing the best aspects of this Persona.

“Heehee! Oh, you tease,” The creature smiled, this time, one with joking kindness. “Thank you! You made me realize I wasn’t a Shadow. I’m in fact Lovers Pixie! Nice to meet you!”

It was then Pixie faded into a blue light, and promptly merged with Phoenix’s mask.

MASK OBTAINED!

“Wh-What…?!” Dragon whispered in shock. “S-She can handle more than one persona?!”

“No way…” Mona’s eyes were just as wide. “Th-That shouldn’t be possible! How can she wield more than one Persona?!”

(Music Fades Out Slowly)

Phoenix blinked mildly upon seeing the sheer surprise of the Party. Awkwardly scratching the back of her head, she huffed to herself and looked away.

“Well, um…” Phoenix whispered. “I… guess I should be happy…?”

“Hey… what was that noise?!”

(Music – Tension – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bduzOvnvd0)

Suddenly, archaic alarm bells began tolling through the complex, alerting the four Thieves.

“Oh, crap… they probably heard that.” Skull shook his head.

“They definitely heard that, Skull. But no worries!” Mona smiled. “Let’s meet up by the saferoom we found earlier. The soon we hightail it, the better!”

And with that said, all four thieves rushed for safety.


(Music Stops)

April 15th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Pleasure Chamber – ???

It all felt like a nightmare to Ann. How was it even feasible that she was trapped in this castle? She didn’t happen to be trapped in a Yakuza-dominated red light district, did she?

Because that’s what it definitely felt like. Here she was, cuffed to a cross-like section, unable to do anything else but marvel at the sights around here: all the sick, perverted things to come from the area. And to say all of this – all of this – was disgusting would be a massive understatement.

Teenaged girls dressed in nothing both G-string bikinis and bras – sometimes even less than that – alongside all sorts of insulting accommodations to accompany their outfits. From cat-ear crowns to bunny-ears, to the more morbidly disturbing, such as collars and ballgags around their necks, the provocative outfits for these girls alongside their sultry looks and dolled-up makeup only looks like a comical representation of what this world is. The disturbing degree of sexual items laid out on the tables only further emphasize the horrific scene here. She even recognized some of the sexed-up girls from her own class, and – wait. Was that the sound of moaning she heard from the walls?!

Never before in her life had Ann felt so terrified, helpless and just flat-out fucking scared. She kept telling herself to be strong for Shiho, but with this chauvinistic, perverted hellhole she was trapped in, she felt as though she wanted to ball up and cry. She was always a sensitive figure, a crybaby even, but she had to be strong for the people she cared for, like Shiho, her best friend… and her crush.

But with her mortally injured and in the hospital with a sickening brutalized and twisted leg, Ann was all alone. Her light, her strength, was completely absent, and she had nobody here to help her or comfort her in this was except the slutty renditions of all the class students and the sound of fucking from the other side of the rooms.

It was such a nightmarish setting that it almost felt comical to Ann. But the worst part was that it fit the fucker’s mentality perfectly.

And suddenly, the door creaked open.

(Music – Desire – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBRBgxXQoRU)

“Aww… how’s the little kitten doing?”

“H-Huh?!” Ann nearly jumped out of her skin when she saw a face she dreaded for so long: the same Kamoshida, except with golden eyes and a revealing king’s outfit, coupled with two guards, one golden guard and four girls that were just as provocative as the harem that accompanied her. Except they had Chie’s face, alongside Yukiko, Shiho… and hers.

Hers?

“Aww, you look soooooo cuuuuute!” The Ann lookalike mumbled in a ditzy reverie, almost looking like a mockery of herself. “Don’t worry, though; King Kamoshida’s gonna be reaaaaaaaaaaaally nice to you!”

As the other Princesses giggled in an air-headed fashion, the other Kamoshida smiled deviously. “Now now, girls. That’ll do. After all, we have matters to attend to.”

“What…” Ann wanted to find the words, but seeing the harem of lookalikes swarm Kamoshida and grip at his legs, the blonde student felt ready to vomit. “W-What the fuck are you?!”

Kamoshida simply grinned, his golden eyes meeting his captive’s.

“Oh, I’m the master of this place,” Shadow Kamoshida grinned. “And you? You’re nothing more than my slave.”


(Music – Have a Short Rest – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJG5gKvY3jc)

April 15th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Saferoom – ???

“Alright, we’re back!” Skull pumped his fists upwards. “Man, it’s a good thing the distortion-thingies or whatever Mona says they are weak here. It’s good to know when your safe.”

“Good to hear you guys are enjoying the respite,” Mona smiled kindly. “Now just wait here. I’m gonna check outside, make sure the coast’s clear. And while I’m at it, plot our next course of action.”

“Sounds like a plan, then.” Phoenix nodded. “Be safe, okay?”

Mona nearly grinned in response. “Pfft! Like I’ll be caught!”

And just like that, the feline Thief ran away. Dragon grinned at Phoenix.

“Man, though, Phoenix…” Dragon giggled. “I never thought you could have more than one Persona! That was incredible.”

“I’ll say. That’s quite a unique power!” Skull chucked to himself. “But still, we also ran into two other shadows when we negotiated with ‘em… you didn’t happen to recruit ‘em, did’ja?”

“How did you not see her recruit that creepy red demon and pumpkin-thing?!” Dragon chirped. “I mean, we did negotiate with ‘em and turned them into more Personas. You’re not blind, are you?”

“Oh, c’mon! Give me a break!” Skull grumbled. “’s not my fault that I fully don’t understand these powers.”

“Snrk… heeheeheeheeheehee… pffft! Ahahahahahaha! Hahahahahah!”

For some inexplicable reason, Phoenix found a trivial moment of exasperation like that gut-bustingly funny. Dragon and Skull merely sighed.

“While my friend laughs her ass off…” Dragon sighed. “Why not finish why you have issues running?”

“Oh, right. I forgot about that.” Skull said before explaining.

“Umm… where do I start?” He began. “Well, I guess it ain’t that complicated. When Kamoshida temporarily took over our coach, I was one of his first victims. He knew I was the best runner on the team, so ya wanna know what he did? He broke my leg, that’s what.”

“So… I was pretty much gimped.” Skull laughed bitterly. “I couldn’t run like I used to, so after recovering, I was relocated to the bench more often than not. I thought it would be over soon, but when the fucking school board “insisted” that Kamoshida stayed as the coach and he broke the newer kid’s leg… well, I had it then. And you know the rest of the story from there.”

“Well… I think it was really brave of you to stand up to Kamoshida.”

“H-Huh?” Skull felt himself burn a little in response. “Th-Thanks, Dragon… n-nobody’s ever said anything like that to me.”

Dragon simply pumped her fists upward. “Hey, no problem, buddy! Us Chariots gotta stick up for each other.”

Continuing, she simply smiled. “To be honest, I was always a goody two-shoes. I care for justice and equality, from fictional matters such as siding with Law in the Shin Megami Tensei games, to-“

“Wait, you’re Law-aligned?

“Well, um… yeah. Given Neutral’s a reset button, I always thought Law was the lesser of two evils… but that’s besides the point!”1 Dragon chuckled to herself. “Besides, the point is– huh? Wait, why are you blushing?”

“I-I’m not blushing, damnit!” Skull nervously looked away. Damn it, why was Chie so nice and beautiful…?!

Then, awkward silence prevailed between the group… well, except for Phoenix’s hysterical laughter. At this point, she was having trouble breathing, tears of laughter forming in her eyes. Dragon merely shook her head.

“That Phoenix… she’s a strange one, isn’t she?”

“Heh. Yeah she is.”

Silence followed.

“Hey, Dragon… are you gay?”

“WHAT?!”

Dragon’s cheeks were set aflame in embarrassment. She flustered adorably, and turned redder than the fires Phoenix produces with Konohana Sakuya.

“W-W-W-What do you mean by that…?!” Dragon whimpered. “Th-That came completely outta the blue, damnit!”

“W-Well, I was just wondering is all.” Skull whispered. “Like, are you into girls or somethin’…?”

Dragon flushed for a few moments more, before whimpering adorably. “W-Well, I always preferred guys… but I am attracted to a few girls. B-But it’s none of your business whom I’m attracted to! And it’s by no means or possibilities WHATSOEVER that it’s Phoenix I had in mind! N-N-NONE AT ALL!”

“Hahahaha… heeheeheehee…” Phoenix’s giggled finally died down. “U-Umm… snrk… what is it about me…?”

As Dragon looked ready to die of embarrassment, Skull felt a giant blob of sweat trail down the back of his head. Was she laughing so hard that she couldn’t even hear us…?

“Emergency! Emergency! WE’VE GOT TROUBLE!” 2

(Music – Tension – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bduzOvnvd0)

Mona suddenly busted into the room, looking visibly panicked.

“W-Whoa! Mona!” Dragon yelped. “Wh-What’s wrong?!”

“It’s… it’s Ann…” Mona breathed. “Sh-She’s been taken by Shadow Kamoshida!”

“W-What?!”

All three members stood up, before Phoenix spoke. “You mean, like, our Ann?!”

“Y-Yeah. She must’ve got an app somehow.” Mona shook his head. “Come on! We gotta save her before something happens!”

“Don’t need to tell me twice, damnit!” Skull nodded as all four Thieves began following Mona.


(Music – Desire – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBRBgxXQoRU)

April 15th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Pleasure Chamber – ???

“W-What… master? Slave?! What the hell is going on, you fucking son of a bitch?!”

Despite raising her voice, Ann whimpered in mild terror as she felt Shadow Kamoshida’s eyes wander over her. Rather boldly – and even more sadistically – he decided to do the last think Ann wanted.

He slipped his hands into Ann’s skirt and panties.

“A-Aah! S-S-Stop--!” Ann felt a hand grip at her throat while Kamoshida continued to toy with her. All of her warning sirens went off and it just felt so wrong. But nothing compared to the fact that whatever ungodly thing Kamoshida was using his fingers for, it actually felt pleasurable. She whinnied loudly, her sobs choked up with a mix of unwanted, unapproved arousal belying her own pain and tears.

“Aww… moaning like a slut, aren’t you?” Kamoshida grinned. “Oh, don’t worry, there’s more to come.”

“Oooohh! Heeheehee!” The Chie lookalike giggled airily. “You’re such a peeeeeeeeeeeeerv, Master!”

“N-No. Stop, stop—“ Ann sobbed to herself as she felt Kamoshida’s teeth press on her collar bone. “Please, I don’t want this--!”

“Ooh, resilience? I like this.” Shadow Kamoshida grinning sadistically. “But don’t lie to yourself. I know you like this.”

Ann wanted to cry as a slightly obvious wet patch accompanied her panties, humiliation fully overtaking her. “But even so, when I get to break you into an obedient little girl, I’ll be sure you’ll be thanking me than pleading me to-“

“TAKAMAKI!”

All four Phantom Thieves rushed ahead, a look of disgust and horror on their faces. As if the sexed-up cognitive selves weren’t enough, seeing Kamoshida leave Ann’s skirt invoked pure, unbridled anger from the group.

“You…” Dragon glared. “YOU FUCKING MONSTER! HOW DARE YOU?!”

“Ugh, you punks again…?” Kamoshida glared. “Do you really have to interrupt our private time?”

“S-Stop this… please…”

Kamoshida grinned. “Why not stop this? You enjoy it after all. And besides, why not have slept with me? If you didn’t bear the honor of having sex with me, Kamoshida-sama, maybe I wouldn’t have had to use your friend as a replacement.”

“R-Replacement…?!” Ann, in the midst of pain and tears, gave a disgusted glare at Kamoshida. “YOU BASTARD!”

“Me? The bastard? Don’t be ridiculous.” Kamoshida sneered. “You’re the bastard here. You’re the reason why Shiho’s in critical condition, are you not? Maybe if you weren’t such a horrible friend, maybe you would realize it was your own fault for being such a useless bitch?”

“That’s enough!” Phoenix barked. “I summon you, Konoha-“

“Don’t come an inch closer!” Kamoshida barked, having motioned his guards to raise their blades right over her neck. “Come an inch closer, and I’ll cut her wide open like a tomato!”

“Nrgh… damn it…” Skull clenched his fists together.

Meanwhile, Ann felt utterly humiliated. Actually, that wasn’t the right word: violated. Here she was, captured, helpless, and even being touched by this godforsaken man, endless amounts of shame washing over her for not only letting this happen, but her body getting off to it while her mind screamed no. She felt ashamed and mortified, and with these many witnesses, she felt ready to break down and cry.

“I… I hate this…” Ann choked on her sobs. “S-Should I really give up…?”

“That’s nice.” Kamoshida took a twisted arousal from the blonde’s tears. “Cry for me. You’re submission is the be-“

“No… that isn’t true, and you know it, Ann!”

(Music Stops)

“H-Huh…?” Ann, still sobbing, looks upwards to see a familiar woman smile at her… wait, was that Yukiko?

“Please… don’t give up!” Phoenix cried. “It was never your fault. You made the right choice not letting this bastard get the better of you… you’re still a kind, strong person Ann, and I have no doubt in my mind you’re better than this. So please… stand up for yourself!”

“Stand up… for myself…?”

In her heart, she knew Yukiko was right. Ann felt tears swell up within her, and she still wanted to ball up and cry from the humiliation… but no. She wasn’t going to allow that. Never again.

“Y-You’re right,” Ann shuddered, still crying in shame but feeling a fire grow within her. “L-Letting this fucking asshole get the better of me, I… I won’t allow it!”

“You hear me, Kamoshida?!” Even in the midst of tears, Ann felt a strong will shine within her. “You’re not getting away with this! No matter what it takes, you will pay for this!”

Resolutely, she gave a hateful glare directly at Kamoshida. Yes, she was scared, and yes, she still wanted to cry… but she was better than that. Stronger than that.

“YOU JUST PISSED ME OFF, YOU SON OF A BITCH!”

(Music Playing – Awakening – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvBuJZIC3cw)

My… it’s been far too long.

Suddenly, a splitting headache tore through her mind. Tears began to run free, and she let loose scream after scream as if her cranium was being torn apart.

Tell me... who is going to avenge her if you don't? Forgiving him was never the option... Such is the scream of the other you that dwells within... I am thou... thou art I... We can finally forge a contract...

Letting loose a final scream, a bright red, cat-like mask was burned onto her. In the midst of her shock, she whispered to herself.

“I… I hear you…” Ann whispered. “Carmen…”

With newfound strength from her other self, she began to rip away at the restraints, much to the shock of Kamoshida and the others.

There you go... nothing can be solved by restraining yourself. Understand? Then I'll gladly lend you my strength.

Ripping off her mask with all her willpower, blood caked her face as she screamed, fire blasting outwards, incinerating the cognitive girls except her own doppelganger.

The resulting scene was far different.

(Music Playing – Will Power – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOtcpWvUNM4)

She was now dressed in a red outfit just as revealing as Yukiko’s… but she didn’t care. She was pissed and so was a pink, red and black cigar-wielding princess dominating two masked butlers. The important thing was she needed a weapon, and fast…

Thankfully, for all the repugnant adult memorabilia lining the table, a whip proved to be just what she needed.

Grabbing it and making a mess of the other sex toys, she cleaved her doppelganger in half with her newfound strength. A part of her mind wondered how it was possible to bisect someone with a harmless whip… but it isn’t as though she gave a shit at this point.

“Enough is enough, you fucking douchebag,” Ann glared hatefully, leaving a Kamoshida ready to run off in horror or panic. “Raping innocent women… abusing children… and you call yourself a teacher…?!”

“Ann…” Dragon whispered. “Ann has the power too…?!”

“No matter what it takes…” Ann pointed her finger at Kamoshida. “I WLL ROB YOU OF EVERYTHING!”

“DANCE, CARMEN!”

A massive blast of fire rocked the room, incinerating the two normal guards and scorching anyone foolish or unlucky enough to be within the blast radius. All, except for Kamoshida.

Whimpering in terror, Kamoshida began barking orders. “Wh-What are you waiting for, you fool?! KILL HER!”

“At once, my lord…” The golden knight dissolved into shadows. “Kneel before our king, you wench!”

Indeed, a giant purple demon on top of a toilet reigned, grinning at the newly-awakened Persona user furiously.

“How dare you reject our loving king’s kindness, you wench?!” The demon bellowed. “You shall pay for this defiance with your life!”

“That fucking pig views women as sexual outlets! He doesn’t deserve the dirt on my fucking boot!” Ann glared angrily at the demon. “Now die! CARMEN!”

Screeching loudly, fire erupted underneath the demon, scorching it and causing it to fall flat on his face.

“Now’s our chance, guys!” Phoenix nodded. “Alright, Ann… just follow our lead! We’ll all take him down together!”

Ann honestly had no idea what they were planning. But much to her surprise when the four other Persona users leapt up to the sky, Ann did the exact same feat. A capable that should well a truly be impossible for someone like here… but it wasn’t as if she gave a shit, anyhow.

ALL-OUT ATTACK!

“Alright, guys…” Mona nodded. “Let’s do this!”

Immediately, a blur of slashes, gunshots and all other forms of brutal combat swept the demon like a tidal wave. Having led the charge, Phoenix gracefully landed on her own two feet, flipping her hair casually as shadow blood gushed from the demon.

PLEASE COME AGAIN. 3

And just like that, the giant behemoth dissolved into shadows.

“W-What…” Shadow Kamoshida whimpered. “What the hell are you?”

As the sound of medieval alarm bells tolled through the building, Phoenix simply gave a smarmy grin of triumph.

“We’re the Phantom Thieves,” Phoenix began theatrically. “And we’re your last surprise.”

And just like that, they darted out of the castle, in nothing more than a blur of shadows.

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – Break it Down (Elp Version) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCtsyCsGV_M)

April 15th, 2016 – Aoyama-Itchome, Alleyway Shortcut – 5:09 PM

“Well… that sucked…”

Ann sighed to herself heavily, feeling utterly exhausted from the escape. It was all a blur to her; she was admittedly too panicked to think about much else. But it seems her, Yukiko, Chie and Ryuji made it back to the real world.

“You can say that again,” Morgana huffed from Yukiko’s bag. “But hey, look at it like this, Lady Ann! You got your Persona!”

“Huh…? Who said…?” Ann turned to Yukiko’s bag, only to nearly jump out of her skin upon seeing a talking cat. “Agh, oh my God! D-Did the cat just talk…?!”

“Umm… didn’t you remember that we had a cat with us?” Chie chuckled nervously. “Seriously, we’re you so panicked that you didn’t notice it was talking…?”

“W-Well…” Ann stuttered for a moment, before sighing. “…nevermind. I’m too tired to think about this, anyway.”

“You and me both,” Ryuji laughed to himself. “Still though, things didn’t go according to plan, but… I’m glad you’re safe, Ann.”

“Ryuji…” Ann wanted to smile, but she didn’t have it within her. Today was one of the worst days of her life, bar none. Her friend was comatose, she was touched inappropriately and held captive by some fucked up rendition of Kamoshida, and she fought for her life against the shadows… she didn’t even had it within her to break down and cry. She simply sighed darkly, before glancing upwards at Yukiko.

“Hey, Ryuji? Chie? Umm… cat-person?” Ignoring Morgana’s cry of “It’s Morgana!”, Ann gave a weak smile to the group. “Is it okay if I have some alone time with Yukiko-chan? I think I need it, honestly.”

As Yukiko blinked, Chie smiled. “Sure! We’ll get yourself a drink, my friend.”

As Chie rushed over to the vending machine, Ryuji turned to Ann. “Carbonated or juice?”

“Juice, please.” Ann smiled. “I don’t like fizzy drinks.”

As Ryuji nodded, the delinquent ran over to where Chie was. With only the two of them keeping them company, Ann turned to Yukiko and hesitated.

“H-Hey, um…” Ann paused awkwardly. “Um… Yukiko? No, Miss Amagi? No, um-“

“Just call me Yukiko, please.” The black-haired inn maiden chuckled. “I don’t like formalities anyways.”

Ann, for the first time for today, cracked a genuine smile. “Heehee. Okay, sure. Um, you see, uh…”

“I, um…” Ann paused. “Wanted to thank you for helping me back there. It’s all you why I got this power now… and I want to use it to bring Kamoshida to justice. Granted, I’d appreciate it if you helped bring me up to speed regarding the circumstances of that hellhole world. The more we know about it, the better.”

“Oh, no worries,” Yukiko smiled mischievously. “I’ll be sure to bring you up to speed. Though that said, it would be nice if we exchanged contacts. Is that okay?”

“Huh? Oh, sure!” Ann hastily brought out her phone, as did Yukiko. After exchanging chat numbers, Ann simply smiled at her new friend.

“And, um…” Ann sighed darkly. “Thank you for comforting me the other day… and now. It’s just… after what Kamoshida did to Shiho…”

“Ann…” Yukiko sighed to herself sadly. This was a woman who endured much pain… but she was certain she had an ironclad will with it. Yukiko inwardly vowed to help Ann avenge Shiho, especially when she means so much to her. Besides, she’d do the same thing for Chie anyway… especially not after Takeshi’s suicide.

“Don’t worry. As of today, you’re a bona fide Phantom Thief,” Yukiko giggled. “And Phantom Thieves stick together.”

Ann smiled cheerily. “Oh, don’t worry. You owe me a lot of explaining.”

Ann proceeded to shake Yukiko’s hand. She still felt uneasy with touching others, especially after being touched without her consent, but even then… she felt safe around Yukiko. Secure even. Both parties knew this was the beginning of a solid friendship.


(Music – Interrogation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ6Z2PGoN8g)

???-???-???

"I doubt something as dangerous as your group could've been pulled off with orthodox methods,” Sae began, eyeing Yukiko. “It wouldn't be odd if you had someone that was proficient in deceiving the eyes of others...”

Slamming her hands on the wobbly table, Sae’s stare burned into Yukiko’s hazy eyes.

“If you're listening, then answer me!"


(Music – The Spirit – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlFVJNOm4yc)

I am thou, thou art I…

Thou hast acquired a new vow…

It shall become the wings of rebellion

that breaketh thy chains of captivity,

With the birth of the Lovers Persona,

I have obtained the winds of blessing that

shall lead to freedom and new power…

LOVERS RANK UP! RANK 1

(Music Playing – Break it Down (Elp Version) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCtsyCsGV_M)

At that moment, both Ryuji and Chie came through the entrance. Ryuji had an awkward expression on his face.

“Uh… sorry, Ann,” Ryuji laughed nervously. “It seems as though they only had fizzy drinks.”

Ann pouted audibly at this revelation.


(Music – Beneath the Mask – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX5Jmfmkgx0)

April 15th, 2016 – Café Leblanc – 7:51 PM

When Yukiko walked into Café Leblanc, she was surprised when she was greeted with a peculiar sight: a blue-haired, effeminate boy questioning Sojiro.

“I see… thank you for your information, Sojiro-san.” The man bowed politely. “Please, have a nice day.”

As Sojiro awkwardly scratched the back of his head, the man turned to Yukiko.

“Excuse me… do you live here?”

“H-Huh?” Yukiko blinked awkwardly at the question. She did live here, but… how would it feel to tell this officer that she was on probation? Regardless, she mustered up the courage to tell him the truth.

“Um… yes.” Yukiko nodded. “I’m staying here for a year. I’m on probation.”

“Hmm… I see. So, you’re a new arrival, then.” The man adjusted his hat, one that looked a tad bit too big on him. “Then if I may ask, do you know anything about the Psychotic Breakdowns happening within Tokyo? Anything at all?”

“H-Huh…? Um, well…” Yukiko scratched the back of her head. “N-No. I’m afraid I’ve never heard of them.”

“Hmm…” The man paused for a moment, before simply smiling, as if deciding to drop the subject matter. “Well, no matter. I appreciate you sharing what knowledge you possess, Sojiro-san. Do make sure she doesn’t act out. Please have a nice day.”

The man bowed politely, and as he walked past Yukiko, she noticed the man was more of a boy than an adult… a bit too young to look as if he’s on the police force.

“Ugh, he’s such a pretentious brat…” Sojiro muttered to himself. “But… he’s on the police force no less. Just how is a teenager on the police force anyway…?”

Huh? He was on the police force…? Yukiko blinked to herself for a moment until she heard a familiar mewling.

“Hey, you listening? Let’s go upstairs.” Morgana smiled to Yukiko. “I want to show you something I have no doubt you’ll find useful!”

“Find… useful, huh…?” Yukiko paused for a moment before shaking her head. Merely smiling in response, she conversed a little with Sojiro before heading to her room for the night. Still, what was up with that boy…?


(Music Playing – Erosion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_24qGyzaxU)

April 15th, 2016 – Yongen-Jaya – 7:52 PM

Sighing bitterly, the blue-haired boy adjusted his cap and met with a brunette boy one year older than him, only dressed in a grey suit.

“No luck, hm?” The other boy scrutinized his partner’s frustration.

“Sadly, no.” The boy shook his head. “Whatever seems to be the cause of these psychotic breakdowns, we have yet to find a cause for it.”

“Still though, you gotta admit the police are doing a good job keeping panic low.” The boy smiled. “Even you have to admit that Naoto-kun; it seems that all the stories of psychosis-inducing chemicals are keeping the streets from panicking.”

A load of garbage, would be more fitting, Naoto thought to himself, but he buried these thoughts to himself to continue pondering the possibilities surrounding these circumstances.

“Still though, I’m a little lost myself,” The brown-haired boy shrugged. “I’ve had no trouble solving these cases, but the rate at which these incidents are happening… they can’t be a coincidence.”

“True that…” Naoto paused before sighing to himself. “Well either way, we’ve done all that we could. I suggest we head back to the police force for the time being. Come on, Akechi-senpai.”

The boy named Akechi blinked. “Wait… we’re not stopping for some food? Aww…”

Pouting to himself a little, he nonetheless proceeded after his compatriot.


(Music – Beneath the Mask – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX5Jmfmkgx0)

April 15th, 2016 – Café Leblanc – 8:04 PM

“Hey… you’re doing this better than I expected!”

Morgana peered over Yukiko’s shoulder, watching his pupil fiddle with the assortment of lock picks and other thievery tools the elegant inn maiden has produced. By the end of it all, Yukiko has produced a whopping total of two lockpicks; not as much as to raid an entire castle so to speak, but it was far more than enough.

“Huh…? Um… thanks, Morgana.” Yukiko smiled at her feline friend. “It really isn’t all that hard to get used to, at least I don’t think so.”

“Heh. Looks like somebody’s confident in herself!” Morgana smiled teasingly.

“Still though, I’ll admit…” Yukiko smiled at Morgana. “Thanks for helping me out here. I really don’t have any doubt in my mind these tools won’t come in handy.”

Morgana smiled cheekily. “Oh, I’m glad to hear. And these lockpicks will be invaluable for our expeditions!”

The feline furrowed its brow somewhat. “But even then, well… hm.”

“’Hm’ what, Morgana?”

“Oh, nothing all that important. It’s just I’m impressed with how fast you’ve been adapting to all this. It was only a couple of days since all this began, and yet… well, I’m surprised that you’re adjusted in this mentality as much as you are.”

The frown present on Morgana’s face gave way to a cheery smile as he crossed his paws. “Which is exactly why I’m gonna keep teaching you the art of thievery tools! Cry and scream all you want, I’m not letting you off the hook until I’ve shaped you into a bona fide artist!”

“Morgana…” Yukiko smiled to herself, scratching the back of her head awkwardly. She was lucky to have someone like Morgana watching over her. Without a doubt, this’ll be a useful and mutually beneficial friendship.


(Music – Interrogation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ6Z2PGoN8g)

???-???-???

"Skillful infiltrations and escapes to all manner of places...” Sae furrowed her brow. “There's even the possibility that you used special tools and had someone who manufactured them...”

She then gazed directly at Yukiko’s eyes.

“Answer me!"


(Music – The Spirit – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlFVJNOm4yc)

I am thou, thou art I…

Thou hast acquired a new vow…

It shall become the wings of rebellion

that breaketh thy chains of captivity,

With the birth of the Magician Persona,

I have obtained the winds of blessing that

shall lead to freedom and new power…

MAGICIAN RANK UP! RANK 1

(Music – Beneath the Mask – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX5Jmfmkgx0)

Morgana gave a cheesy smile. “Alright, let’s wrap up for today. It’s best you go to sleep early.”

“Wait… huh?!” Yukiko blinked in shock. “Wait, it’s only 8:00! Why do I have to go to bed this early?!”

“A refreshed mind is a refreshed body, as they say,” Morgana chuckled to himself. “Now get some sleep! Or do you want me to “accidently” misplace the lockpicks…?”

Five minutes later, Yukiko found herself grumbling to herself as she dressed in her sleep wear.

Chapter Text

(Music – Is It Boring –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZTlNehpLgc )

April 16th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Class 2-D – 8:11 AM

Yukiko sighed to herself drearily as Mr. Ushimaru continued her lesson; she understands that she had to pay attention in class as well, but even then… she couldn’t help it. Her life has been a mess for the last couple of days, what with the threat of expulsion and her Persona powers… it honestly felt like a blur to Yukiko.

She almost didn’t notice her phone go off as well.

*bzzt-bzzt-bzzt*

Ry-yee-ji: ugggggggggggggh

Ry-yee-ji: (; ̄Д ̄)

steak trash: somethin wrong, ryuji?

DanishWeeaboo: lemme guess. Kamoshida?

Ry-yee-ji: yep

Ry-yee-ji: the fucker gave a shit-eating grin when i passed him. its as if he KNOWS i cant do fucking anything to prevent my expulsion

Yukiko Amagi: That sucks. But why not change the subject matter to something happier?

Yukiko Amagi: After all, we need to be in high spirits for the investigation.

steak trash: true that

steak trash: also btw, ann, wtf is with ur username???

DanishWeeaboo: oh, this?

DanishWeeaboo: well, b4 i explain, id like to thank you guys for explaining that weird world to me

DanishWeeaboo: its nice to know whats going on at least

Yukiko Amagi: Heh, no problem!

DanishWeeaboo: (*⌒▽⌒*)θ~♪

DanishWeeaboo: anywayz, to answer chie’s question, umm…

DanishWeeaboo: how do i explain this…?

DanishWeeaboo: well, you know how i have blonde hair?

Ry-yee-ji: i think everyone knows that, ann

DanishWeeaboo: well, basically, my dad was a danish-american whose genetics in the family were pure 100% blonde. so i kinda got the lucky draw in the genetic lottery

Yukiko Amagi: Oh, you’re part-Danish, Ann?

Ry-yee-ji: danish?

Ry-yee-ji: isnt it, like, that pastry

Ry-yee-ji: OH MY GOD ARE YOU PART PASTRY ANN

DanishWeeaboo: no stupid, my father was an american of pure danish descent

DanishWeeaboo: hence the name

Ry-yee-ji: oh

Ry-yee-ji: well, i knew that, yeah

steak trash: (; ˃ᆺ˂)

steak trash: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyways

steak trash: we should prolly get prepped for the expedition on the 18th. we’ll get weapons today, but we need to get some medicine 2morrow

steak trash: yukiko, any ideas?

Yukiko Amagi: Hmm…

Yukiko Amagi: Well, apparently, there’s some clinic at Yongen-Jaya. It’s apparently kinda shady, though.

DanishWeeaboo: the less likely people are gonna report us to the cops, the better

Yukiko Amagi: …you have a point.

Yukiko Amagi: Well, I’m not gonna argue with that. Let’s just get prepped for the 18th.

Ry-yee-ji: sounds like a plan!

Ry-yee-ji: oh, one last thing btw ann

DanishWeeaboo: yeah?

Ry-yee-ji: i now know ur from some country ive never heard of

Ry-yee-ji: but do you like the pastry danish?

DanishWeeaboo: OH HECK YEAH, ARE YOU KIDDING

DanishWeeaboo: pastries are the best!!! Especially the one with cherries

Ry-yee-ji: cherries, huh?

Ry-yee-ji: hehehehehe

Yukiko Amagi: ?

Ry-yee-ji: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ-g0BdpbDM

Ry-yee-ji: rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero ro rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero rero

DanishWeeaboo:

steak trash: oh my god

steak trash: OH MY GOD

steak trash: IS THAT A MOTHERFUCKING JOJO REFERENCE

Ry-yee-ji: IT SURE IS, MAH GIRL

steak trash: ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA

Ry-yee-ji: MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA MUDA

steak trash: ZA WARUDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Ry-yee-ji: WRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

DanishWeeaboo: i swear to god, both of you clowns are embarrassments to society

DanishWeeaboo: right, yukiko?

Yukiko was unable to respond. Indeed, as the war of JoJo memes began to tear apart the chatroom, Yukiko was laughing so hard she was beginning to asphyxiate, her tear-filled clenched eyes blissfully unaware of the piece of chalk zoning straight at her at the speed of sound.


(Music – Layer Cake –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K35OL71QCQ )

April 16th, 2016 – Shibuya, Untouchable – 3:09 PM

Iwai chewed away at his lollipop, almost unaware of the sound of four teenagers coming into the complex, Iwai’s eyes wandered over to the adolescents, catching eye of a red-faced Ann and Chie.

“H-Hi…” Ann giggled rather dreamily, before turning to Chie. “I-Isn’t he so handsome?! Heehee!”

“Ehehehe…” Chie turned redfaced as well. “I-I know…”

Yukiko rolled her eyes, and Iwai almost caught the black-haired inn maiden fuming. “Alright guys, knock it off. We’ve come here for model weapons, not crushes.”

“Oh, come on, Yukiko-chan!” Ann pouted. “Why not let us gush about – wait, what’s that bump doing on your face?”

“H-Huh? Oh, um…” Yukiko turned a bright shade of red. “I received a piece of chalk straight to the forehead for laughing out at the group’s… memetic behavior.”

Chie and Ryuji simply snickered together.

“Hey, you four.” Iwai crossed his arms together. “You gonna buy somethin’ or what?”

Yukiko turned for a moment to Ann, and the part-American’s friend went up to the counter and smiled.

“Do you have any model whips or tommy guns?” Yukiko smiled cheerfully. “Any armor or accessories would be nice, too.”


(Music – Butterfly Kiss –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xq-f4FrEX8)

April 17th, 2016 – Yongen-Jaya, Takemi Medical Clinic – 11:11 AM

After buying their equipment, the group agreed to scrounge for money to buy the medical equipment. The next day was a Sunday, so worrying about school – or any other nasty rumors or situations – was thankfully out of the question.

Indeed, after using her app to navigate to a clinic in the alleyway, she was surprised to be greeted with the sight of a teal-haired female in her mid-twenties. She was dressed in a loose doctor’s outfit, all while reading some documents behind the counter. Yukiko shuffled nervously in her casual wear – a red and black attire with a scarf, much like what she wore back in Yasoinaba – and she cleared her throat.

“U-Um, excuse me?” Yukiko muttered to herself. “T-Takemi-san? N-No, Takemi, uhh…”

Takemi laid the papers down and gave an amused chuckle. “Please, no formalities with me.”

“So,” Takemi scrolled her wheeled chair up to the counter, pressing her fingers together. “Is there something you need?”

“Hm?” Yukiko scratched the back of her head nervously, chuckling to herself. “O-Oh, um… I’m here for some medical equipment, please. Do you have any?”

Takemi cocked an eyebrow. “Hmm… odd that a student is requesting medical supplies. Then again, it may be best I didn’t ask.”

“Alright then, I’ll comply with you,” Takemi smiled. “But that said, I do have a recommendation for you.”

“R-Recommendation?”

“Indeed,” Takemi smiled once more. “I’m afraid I’m unable to discuss it here, but… in case you’re looking for work, just come over here and ask that word-for-word: I’m looking for work.”

“H-Huh? B-But, um…” Yukiko flushed to herself, turning beat red. This woman was certainly forthcoming, but… what would she require with her experience? Sure, Konohana Sakuya specialized in healing magic, but… doesn’t that seem a bit… up front? Regardless, the inn maiden mustered her courage to sigh to herself and nod.

“W-Well…” Yukiko coughed awkwardly. “S-Sure, I accept your offer. Though I wonder what’s in it for me?”

“2500 Yen a day, as well as access to member’s exclusive medicine.” Takemi finished with a confidant smile.

T-Twenty-five hundred yen…?! Yukiko stared in shock. If she was really offering that much, then there’d be no problem in supplying equipment or medicine for the Thieves! Plus, having access to exclusive medicine seemed like a sweet deal. Merely taking in her breath, she simply nodded.

“A-Alright, then.” Yukiko nodded. “I, um… I accept your offer.”

“Heh… alright then,” Takemi adjusted her lab coat. “Please come at your earliest convenience. Now, what will you be having?”

Yukiko smiled. As she picked out her medical equipment, she couldn’t help but think about how nice this woman was, obvious suspicions aside.


(Music – King, Queen, Slave –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1djyYNbZQo)

April 18th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Entrance – ???

Today was finally the day.

As both Phoenix and the five other thieves bundled next to each other, she noticed Ann was blushing furiously.

“U-Urgh…” Ann whimpered softly. “Do I really have to be wearing this outfit…?!”

Phoenix simply patted Ann on the back, fully sympathizing with her new friend. “I know what it’s like.”

“But even then…” Mona mewled happily. “S-She’s a cougar…!”

“What did you say?!” Ann barked. “Ooh, I’m so going to-!”

“Alright, both of you! Calm down!” Dragon spoke. “Let’s try to reach the treasure today without killing each other. Which reminds me: we need a codename for Ann.”

“Huh? Codename?”

“Yeah,” Skull nodded, before grinning smarmily. “It’s what we use just in case Kamoshida’s subconscious hears our voices… it’s sort of a safety measure.”

“Hmm… alright then. And I’m not up for Cougar!” Ann furrowed her brow even further. “Oh, I know! How about Panther!”

“Huh? But a Panther’s a cat like a Cougar, right Lady Ann?” Mona blinked innocently. “What’s the difference?”

Phoenix simply sighed, rubbing her (mostly) faded bruise from the other day. “Leave it to the most innocent member of the party to completely miss the context.”1

“Huh?! What the hell, I’m not innocent!” Mona huffed angrily.

“Um… anywaaaaaaaaaaaaays…” Dragon muttered awkwardly. “Sure, I’m game for Panther! Totally sounds like a kung-fu epithet, too!”

“Alright, then, so it’s settled.” Phoenix smiled at Panther. “From here on out, we’re calling each other by our code names. Got it, An – err, Panther?”

“Heh! Gotcha,” Panther pumped her fists. “Alright, let’s go nab a treasure!”

Indeed, all the thieves charged forth vigorously. Phoenix smiled to herself seeing Panther’s enthusiasm; explaining everything to her the other day certainly helped matters.

BANG!

(Music Abruptly Stops)

Almost abruptly, a blue, ethereal jail cell door came into existence. Phoenix nearly jumped out of her skin upon seeing the cell, and felt a cold shudder go down her skin as she heard a familiar voice.

“Now, then… I believe we have remained apart for too long. I request that you visit here for a moment, if you may…”

And indeed, Phoenix did just that. A glow resonated within her pocket, and when she took it out, the key slipped into the lock, and everything went white for her.


(Music – Aria of the Soul – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Fc3PxsXzE)

April 18th, 2016 – Velvet Room – ???

Yukiko was no longer Phoenix, but instead a prisoner of fate being greeted by the same two wardens and same strange man that permeated the room – Igor, Caroline and Justine.

“Welcome,” Igor smiled to himself. “It is quite nice to see you again!”

“Um… thanks, Igor. But…” Yukiko muttered to herself, somewhat lost in thought. “W-What do you need of me?”

“Oh, we merely request that you listen, for now we are to reveal the true nature behind this room.”

Yukiko blinked awkwardly at the owner of the room, nearly jumping out of her skin as Caroline banged against the cell door.

“Listen to our master, inmate!” Caroline barked. “This’ll be a crucial part of your journey, so you better not doze off… or else!”

“Please, do not mind her,” Justine smiled, her tone belying her own form of rudeness. “We only ask that you take to heart our Master’s advice.”

“As it seems, of course…” Igor smiled happily. “You seemed to have acquired additional Personas as befitting of the Wild Card ability… that is where our services come in: we shall execute these Personas for you."

“W-What?!” Yukiko cried. “E-Execute…?!”

“Do not fret, my child,” The long-nosed master smiled happily. “We are not killing your Persona; we are merely removing the mask they take form of so they can merge into a brand-new mask. In doing so, we will be able to forge a stronger, better Persona than the last one.”

A… brand new mask…? Yukiko had no idea what he meant, or if he was making sense. But decapitating the head, they can fuse masks to create… what? Yukiko’s head was spinning from the metaphor, but she definitely understood that fusing Personas would give way to a brand-new Persona. Smiling to herself, she decided to go for the gusto.

“Alright, um…” Yukiko smiled to herself. “I… I choose to fuse Konohana Sakuya and Pixie… if that’s okay, of course.”

“Hm… interesting decision!” Igor smiled. “Alright, we will be sure it shall be done. Girls!”

With the snap of both wardens’ fingers, two Personas were pulled out and materialized: the Pixie and Konohana Sakuya, her other self.

“W-What is this?!” Pixie was moved forcibly by the wardens. “Hey, c’mon, please! I don’t wanna be executed!”

Konohana Sakuya, understanding everything almost omnisciently, simply smiled at her master… as much as a seven-foot tall avian producing flames and eldritch energy could, anyway.

“I am thou… thou art I…” Konohana Sakuya bellowed. “My mistress, my eternal flame… it seems that this is where we shall part for now.”

“But fear not, my other self,” The avian smirked. “For though we part for the time being, I shall always be by your side; I shall be the tiny cinder that shall burst into the flames of rebellion upon your journey’s conclusion. Know it well, for no matter where my soul comes to rest, I shall always protect you.”

“Farewell, trickster of cinders…” Konohana Sakuya cried. “’Til we meet again!”

As the guards finally used their magic to forcibly guide Konohana Sakuya down the hall, the avian Persona began cackling in a demonic voice, but one of triumph, defiance and strength of will.

Indeed, as Pixie slumped down in defeat, it was Konohana Sakuya alone standing proud, graceful and defiant as she always has. And as Caroline and Justine pulled the covers on the Persona, they simply smiled at each other.

“Alright… here goes!” Caroline grinned devilishly. “Hit the lever, Justine!”

And just like that, the guillotine came down, severing the two female Personas’ head. And out came a brand-new creature – a blue spirit in a jar grinning maniacally at Yukiko.

“Nice to meetcha, miss!” The creature smiled cheerfully. “My name’s Chariot Agathion!”

Chapter Text

(Music – King, Queen, Slave –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1djyYNbZQo)

April 18th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Great Library – ???

Life was strange enough that Phoenix – the obedient, goody two-shoes heiress of the Amagi Inn – became a criminal and phantom thief stealing the hearts of the corrupt. It was so paradoxical yet bombastic that from this point onwards, Phoenix expected things to only further escalate.

Sadly, here she was trying to solve a puzzle in a library.

It wasn’t as though they didn’t have their fair share of action along the way: they wiped out a few groups of Shadows on the way here, so trying to infiltrate the rest of the castle should pose hardly any problem. Still though, Phoenix kinda wished it was a little more exciting than reading the sordid, disgusting, ephebophilic fantasies from “The Queen.”

God, how the content would make a mortal man shudder.

“Well, we’ve managed to get the King and Slave books slid in…” Panther huffed to herself, crossing her arms all the while. “We just need to know where that book goes…”

“Heeeey… that reminds me, Phoenix.” Dragon blinked innocently. “What’re the contents of that book?”

You don’t want to know, Dragon. For your sake, you don’t want to know.

Or at least that’s what Phoenix wanted to tell her friend. She merely sighed and fiddled with her mask before shaking her head. “I think it’s best we’d save it for where the book goes.”

“Well, knowin’ Kamoshida…” Skull frowned. “It’s probably got all sorts of dirty shit in there… ugh, as if that wasn’t enough reason to be disgusted with the fucker…”

“Well… I’ll just say that as far as content goes, you’re not far off,” The response caused all three human member to grimace in disgust, while Mona continued to blink innocently. “Anyway, where could it be…?”

It was then Phoenix caught wind of several other books lined up on the shelves. One that had all sorts of sordid titles on them, with demeaning, sexualized, smutty names for each of the book’s title and star, some names striking familiar, and a disturbing boatload of other books bearing no resemblance to Phoenix’s memory. But she then noticed a gap, and a tiny pressure device alongside with it.

“Huh… could this be…?” Phoenix blinked for a moment as she slid the sordid fantasy of Kamoshida into the hole, and with the King and Slave books being in place as well, the mechanisms surrounding the building went wild.

“Hey…” Mona grinned. “Phoenix, you did it! Great job!”

“Welp, that’s our Phoenix, for certain!” Dragon cheerfully smiled. “If there’s anything about her, it’s that she’s one smart cookie!”

Before Panther and Skull could concur, the sound of a sinking bookshelf tore apart the room, prompting the group to turn around.

And to say the least? The sight was horrific.

(Music – Desire – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBRBgxXQoRU)

“H-Huh…? What… what is…?!” Phoenix continued to stare in horror upon seeing what was in the room – and to say it was terrifying would be an understatement.

Pictures of countless woman who either stood tied up and gagged, pinned down, or some other combination of restraints – but all of them were naked. And they were either crying, screaming or pleading to stop as they were fornicated by a faceless male… only it was obvious what that faceless male was, what with a fantastical picture of King Kamoshida surrounded by his harem. The presence of other sex toys and torture equipment combined with the fetishized female trophies lining the halls only further made the room chilling.

“W-What the…?” Skull, for the first time in quite a while, was left completely speechless. “What the hell is this place? Is-Is this some kinda shrine dedicated to all the women he raped…?!”

Meanwhile, Panther looked on in utter disgust, her hands balling up with anger. “That… that bastard… he thinks of all the women he traumatized as sexual conquests… doesn’t he even care that’s he’s scarring these people for life…?!”

“Ann…” Dragon bit her lip, looking ready to cry. Sure, she addressed her friend not by her codename, but given the shock contained in this room, it was hard not to be speechless. From the looks of things, Mona and Phoenix had a look of disgust on their faces as well.

It was then Phoenix caught the glimmer of a golden key; they were denied progress up the floors due to the lock denying access to the door, but with this? Now they can proceed further.

“…we’re going to take this bastard on today.”

Mona blinked in surprise at Panther response. “Wait, what?! Lady Ann, you shouldn’t stress yourselves! I know how you feel, but we can’t just rush in there when out magic energy is low-“

“Then who else is going to avenge his victims, huh?!” Panther cried out. “We’re the only ones who have a shot of taking this bastard down, now that we have this power. And if we get expelled, who’s going to stop this piece of shit from doing as he pleases?!”

“Th-That’s true and all…” Mona stuttered. “But we can’t just-“

“I’d say we reach the treasure in one motion today.”

“H-Huh? You too, Phoenix?!” Mona blinked in shock, but instead sighed of resignation. “Alright… but don’t push yourselves too hard, okay? If we die, then who’s going to stop Kamoshida? Just… be careful, okay?”

“I intend to,” Skull nodded, having been silent for some time. “And whatever it takes to bring that bastard to justice, you bet your ass I’ll do so.”

And with it, they proceeded further into the abominable castle. Only for quite some time, silence reigned within the group.


(Music – King, Queen, Slave –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1djyYNbZQo)

April 18th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Great Shrine – ???

“Ungh… I feel soooooooooooooo tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired…”

Dragon pouted loudly as she trudged onwards. Having used a lot of her Persona abilities to fight the Shadows was beginning to take a toll on her, and she merely huffed tiredly. Phoenix proceeded to ruffle her hair.

“Hang in there, alright Chie?” Phoenix smiled caringly for her friend. “Once we get through, I promise that I’ll buy you six beefsteaks!”

“B-Beefsteaks…?” Dragon’s voice fluttered like it’s a crescendo. “Y-Yeah! I can do this! No problem!”

“Heehee. That’s my Dragon!” Phoenix grinned. “Now, c’mon… we’re pretty much halfway-“

“Hey… Phoenix… you may want to see this…”

(Music Stops)

“H-Huh…?” Phoenix blinked, seeing Panther and Skull’s visible disgust. “What’s… wait, what is that?!”

(Music – Desire – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBRBgxXQoRU)

Indeed, a giant church lined where Phoenix thought the gym would be. In the center of the altar lies a humongous, almost comically-sized statue of Kamoshida, one hand with a volleyball and the other grabbing onto a scale of justice… because apparently, Phoenix snarked, justice was always served by him, even if it means abusing athletes and being a sexual predator.

“Ugh, just how ornate can this shitty place get?!” Panther cried aloud.

“Ohh, I think I get it…” Skull gritted his teeth. “Apparently, he thinks he’s some sorta God in the volleyball team. Ugh, as if he couldn’t get any more repulsive enough…!”

Heehee… who said it was ever repulsive?

Taken aback from the young demonic woman’s voice, all five Phantom Thieves armed themselves as she continued on.

There’s nothing wrong with love or lust. Nothing wrong with rape or molestation. Our king, or gracious savior, King Asmodeus Kamoshida is merely serving as the teaching of what we should all aspire to: to crush and enslave society’s weak and helpless, and leave the strong to do whatever they please.

“Wh-What…?” Dragon, having always been an advocate for egalitarianism, looked in disgust. “That’s disgusting! Nobody actually wants that, you dumbass!”

Nobody, you say? Please, don’t lie to yourself. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all removed the petty chains of order keeping us down? Wouldn’t it be easier if we did what we pleased, regardless of the consequences…?

“Easier…?!” Skull growled in anger. “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, YOU BITCH?! We’re nothing like that sonuvabitch Kamoshida, and we’re fighting him EXACTLY to prevent this sort of thing from happening!”

Tch… I see. You could’ve easily used your powers to do whatever you please, but you instead remained chained to such worthless concepts such as “morality” or “justice”…

Indeed, a giant golden knight suddenly appeared, before dissolving into shadows once more to spring forth an eerily beautiful woman dressed in little more than tight clothes and her wings to keep her company – almost looking like a succubus.

“If you truly choose to remain unaware of the society of lies you inhabit…” The demoness preached. “Then I, Devil Lilim, condemn you to obliteration! DIE!”

(Music – Keeper of Lust – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBZ4EBaYpbs)

Indeed, thunderbolt after thunderbolt tore apart the church, blowing the party away in the demoness’ thunderous might. Though Skull seemed unaffected, Dragon and Mona screamed out in pain as their weaknesses were exploited.

“Urgh… wh-what was that?!” Dragon cried. “Th-That really hurt…”

“Heehee… oh trust me, there’s so much more to come…” Lilim grinned devilishly. “Now then… Marin Karin!”

“W-What the…?!” Indeed, a collection of hearts swarmed and successfully merged with Dragon, beginning to make her eyes glow a bright color of pink. Rather air-headedly, she giggled, clearly infatuated with the demoness.

“Oh, great…” Mona grumbled. “Dragon’s been charmed!”

“Charmed…?! W-What do you-“

Indeed, before Panther could finish, she felt a foot collide squarely with her cheek, the force knocking her backward.

“U-Urgh…” Panther wiped some blood from her cheek. “So, it’s basically brainwashing, huh?”

Phoenix sighed to herself. “When you gotta do something right… alright! Come forth! BICORN!”

Ripping off her mask, a giant black steed shot out from a blue, light, possessing glowing red eyes and devilish horns. But indeed, this creature was an ally to Phoenix and the group, as evidenced by the blast of wind it had directed at the Lilim.

Lucking for everyone involved, it was the exact weakness the party needed to exploit.

“Argh!” Lilim cried. “Y-You fool! How did you…?”

“No time to waste!” Phoenix nodded. “Alright Morgana, you got this!”

ALL-OUT ATTACK!

And indeed, four of the five Thieves left upwards, beginning their maelstrom cuts, bulletholes and other forms of hurt. And once it was over, Mona landed on an unassuming wheel chair, briefly spinning it around as blood gushed from the now-deceased demoness.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

“Alright, clean up complete!” Mona twirled the cigar in his fuzzy hands. “Great job gang!”

“Wait a minute…” Skull cocked an eyebrow. “Where’d you get that cigar…?!”

“Huh…?” Mona turned to the lung-killing object. “Oh, this? W-Well, um…”

"GRRRRRRMMPH?!”

(Music Stops)

Both Panther, Skull and Mona nearly dropped their weapons in shocked to see the still-Charmed Dragon in action. Only she wasn’t attacking, nor was she even serving as an enemy to the party – her lips were firmly pressed onto Dragon’s.

(Music – My Homie – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CORowSvp-k)

Phoenix’s blush covered her whole face, and her eyes were as wide as saucers as Dragon pressed her lips on her friend’s. The other party members simply gazed in shock, until it seemed the spell wore off and Dragon regained some semblance of her surrounding.

“Mrrph?” Dragon’s eyes widened to literally comical proportions as she jumped back. “AAAAAGH! WH-WHAT WAS I DOING?!”

“Oh, dear…” Mona shook his head. “I-It seems charmed people become fixated on the next person to them when the caster dies…”

“W-Wha-Th-That-“ Both Phoenix and Dragon were so flustered they almost felt like dying. Their faces were literally red as hell, all the blood rushing to their heads to the point they looked ready to burst. You could even see steam rising out of Dragon’s ears.

“I...” Dragon cried, looking ready to cry. “I GOTTA GO!”

“M-ME TOO!” Phoenix ran off in the opposite direction, much to the surprise of the party.

“H-Hey, guys—“ Panther cried out. “W-Wait up!”

As she pursued her female friends, Mona merely shook his head.

“W-Well then…” Mona scratched his head. “I dunno whether that’s the result of the spell’s attraction… or attraction to begin with.”

“Same. By the way, do ya have some tissues…?”

“Tissues…?” Mona turned to Skull, who had blood gushing out of his nose. “Eeeeugh! God, Skull, clean that up!”


(Music – Have a Short Rest – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJG5gKvY3jc)

April 18th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Saferoom – ???

Despite looming exhaustion, the party finally made it to the last stretch of the Palace. After dealing with two Eligors holding the keys to move on further, and especially after taking on dozens of other shadow groups, the party was, at long last, at the final stretch of things.

Not as though there was much conversation to liven things up. As if the total exhaustion wasn’t enough, the Conquest Shrine in the library and the incident in the church pretty much destroyed any chances of there being any semblance of conversation without it being awkward. But alas, Dragon still felt obligated to apologize.

“H-Hey, um… Phoenix.” Dragon whimpered to herself, her face flushed-red. “I-I’m sorry for k-kissing you. I-I didn’t mean to do it, and I was under the spell’s influence, a-and-“

“Chie, I wouldn’t worry about it,” Phoenix blushed as well. “It’s fine; given how we’re literally seeing spells that brainwash people into blindly loving one another, well… I can’t say I’m surprised is all.”

Dragon fell silent, merely sighing heavily. “I-I’m aware of that, it’s just… w-well, we’ve only just met a couple of days ago, and I don’t want to ruin our friendship off the bat…”

“But you haven’t.”

“H-Huh?” Dragon turned to Phoenix, who smiled at her best friend happily.

“Honestly, Dragon, stuff happens all the time,” Phoenix laughed. “Honestly, I was aware that it wasn’t you acting consciously, so you’re definitely not at fault. You got it?

Dragon merely twiddled her thumbs before sighing. “W-Well… if you say so. But… it’s just that… it wasn’t a lie.”

“Huh? What’s not a lie?”

Dragon merely sighed. “…nothing. I’m just thinking aloud.”

Skull, Panther and Mona were also dead silent, but that was due to being completely wiped by the end of this long trek. Skull sighed tiredly.

“Alright, we’ve only got a little more to go, right?” The blonde-haired delinquent chuckled. “Let’s reach that treasure. Afterwards, I’ll be ready to collapse in bed…”

“Same…” Panther smiled. “I… I think I’ll be able to sleep well tonight…”

And once the heist ended, they certainly did.


(Music – King, Queen, Slave (Another Version) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJG5gKvY3jc)

April 18th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Treasure Room – ???

The last stretch was the most brutal. Every muscle ached within the party’s bodies, and they only got through the amorphous penis-blob by the skin of their teeth (trust me, it makes sense in context), but after a long journey and with the Thieves having snuck past Kamoshida’s guards, they were finally at the treasure room.

And luster with gold it was. Treasure of all kinds darted the room, but at its center was a glowing mass of light. Skull rubbed his eyes at the sight of the light.

“So, uh… this is the treasure…?” Skull suddenly grew a massive smile. “Holy shit, does that mean we’ve made it?!”

“It sure does, Skull!” Mona grinned cheerfully. “But now that we know where the treasure is and how we get there, we should plan our attack for tomorrow.”

“H-Huh?!” Dragon wailed aloud. “W-Wait a minute, you’re telling me that we’ve came all this way and we can’t steal it today?!”

“I’m afraid not… but we will steal it at least by tomorrow.” Mona nodded. “But it’s important that we rest for tomorrow. Once we do, I’ll explain how it is we steal the treasure.”

“Well, I’m not complaining!” Panther, despite her exhaustion, looked very much happy. “The important thing is that we reached the treasure! At this rate, we should have no trouble stealing that bastard’s heart!”

“Glad to hear it guys,” Mona grinned. “Well, let’s head back. You all did amazing, guys; I’m proud of you all.”

“Yeah… but damn, am I exhausted.” Skull grumbled to himself. “Let’s head back and get some grub. Afterwards… I’m gonna head to bed.”

Indeed, as the three other Thieves glanced at each other, Dragon raised her eyes up towards Phoenix’s.

“H-Hey, um…” Dragon smiled. “T-Thanks for forgiving me, Yukiko. I’m… I’m happy that we’re okay, even after all that.”

“Don’t worry about it too much,” Phoenix grinned cheerfully. “After all, I did promise you six steaks.”

Dragon almost wanted to jump for joy as they headed back. And indeed, Phoenix fulfilled her promise; Dragon got to gorge herself on a great assortment of beefy goodness by the day’s end.

Chapter Text

(Music – Wicked Plan – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9eAGb_cZ9s)

April 19th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Rooftop – 3:14 PM

“So, how’d you sleep, Chie?”

“Heh, slept like a rock.”

Chie simply smiled at her friend Yukiko, and in turned glanced at Ryuji, Ann and Morgana. It has been quite a long day of adventuring through a Lovecraftian realm of sadistic knights and demonic kings, but they’ve finally taken note of where the treasure is going to be. Without further ado, Morgana cleared his throat for all to hear.

“Alright,” Morgana began. “Now that we’ve identified where the treasure is, thus begins the final part of our plan: we need to make it materialize.”

Ann crossed her arms. “I understand that much… but even then, I’m curious. How do we make it materialize?”

“Oh, that’s an easy question,” Morgana grinned smarmily. “We send Kamoshida a calling card.”

Silence reigned for a whole minute.

“W-Wait a minute,” Ryuji was the first to snap out of his shock. “Y-Yer tellin’ me that we send Kamoshida a calling card? Just like a Phantom Thief would?!”

“Yeah,” Morgana grinned once more. “A reminder that those desires exist would be enough to materialize the treasure in the treasure room… but we’ve only have one day to do so.”

“But… one day? Why?” Chie inquired. “Couldn’t we, just, attempt for the treasure every couple of days?”

“If only it was that easy,” Morgana sighed, shaking his head. “If more than one calling card is sent, Kamoshida will no longer take it as a threat… and the treasure doesn’t appear. Thus, once we send the calling card, we only have a window of 24 hours to steal the treasure. Therefore, I wanted to find the treasure first: once we send the card, there’s no going back. This will be our only opportunity to steal his heart.”

Ryuji simply grinned and pumped his fists upwards. “Heh! Then in that case, I’ll be the one who’ll make the calling card! I know a few references to use to make it look authentic.”

“Huh? You, Ryuji?” Yukiko blinked, before smiling. “Well, alright, I’m fine with Ryuji being the one who makes the calling card. Just be sure you do a good job, okay?”

“Heh, no worries, leader,” Ryuji triumphantly thumped his fist against his chest. “I’m not one to cut corners.”

“Yeah, you’re definitely not one to cut corners,” Ann rolled her eyes. “On everything except tests.”

“Wha – oh, c’mon, Ann!”

As the two blondes continued arguing, Chie simply flashed her best smile at Yukiko, which the inn maiden returned eagerly. This was the moment they’ve been waiting for: tomorrow onwards, they will take Kamoshida’s heart. Always the leader, Yukiko stuck her hand and arm forward.

(Music – Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There (Instrumental) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8wvzoWk7ys)

“Huh?” Chie blinked. “Yukiko, what’re you doing?”

“Forming a “Go, team!” moment, of course!” Yukiko smiled cheerily. “We’re all in this together, gang; we will steal Kamoshida’s heart!”

Chie merely smiled in response, and laid her own hand on Yukiko’s. “Yeah… count me in! We’re gonna bring Kamoshida to justice!”

“Same! I won’t stop until he’s paid for what he’s done!” Ann nodded as she laid her hand on the two girls’.

“I can’t reach my hand on there like you guys…” Morgana nodded. “But I support this plan 100%.”

“Just you wait, Kamoshida,” Ryuji laid his hand on the other girls’. “We’re bringin’ you down!”

Yukiko smiled at her new friends. Simply standing in silence, she gave a small smile.

“For far too long we’ve remained chained by societies’ lies… and for even longer we’ve remained the victims of the tyrannical and corrupt… my probation, Chie’s friend, Ann’s friend, Ryuji’s friends… we’ve remained a slave to these fiends for long enough."

“But let me tell you how we’re going to handle things from this point onwards: no. More.” Yukiko nodded resolutely. “If nobody else is going to stand up to these crappy adults, we will. It will never matter how far our reputation will fall. People at the top of society’s latter will call us everything, from delinquents, to criminals, to terrorists. But we’ll show them true terror. By day we are students, and by night we are Phantom Thieves! Mark my words, guys, we will steal Kamoshida’s heart by tomorrow!”

And just like that, their hands skyrocketed into the air.

“GO TEAM! WOOHOO!”

And just like that, the plan was set. Kamoshida was going down.


(Music Stops)

April 20th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Hallway – 2:11 PM

“Hey… what’s this…? ‘Phantom Thieves of Hearts’…?!”

As students from all around hovered over the school board, Ann passed by with a raised eyebrow. Indeed, waves upon waves of red and black flyers were pinned to the board, and Ann couldn’t help but smile in amusement.

“Alright then…” Ann grinned. “Let’s see how Ryuji did.”

Grabbing a paper on her own, she gave a quick glance to the calling card and read it out loud.

Dear Suguru Kamoshida, the Utter Bastard of Lust,

                We know how shitty you really are; physically abusing students and sexually abusing girls is something only the lowliest of scum would consider doing. You consider everyone beneath you, and in your ceaseless egotism, you ruined countless of people’s lives. That ends today.

                For we, the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, shall steal your corrupt desires by the day’s end. No matter what it takes, you will be brought to justice by your own admission. We’ll make you admit to your own crimes, and we’ll steal the hearts of all of Shujin Academy in the act! Be prepared to make your penance, for we know no forgiveness.

From,

The Phantom Thieves of Hearts

“…wow. Just… wow.” Ann almost wanted to laugh. “That… sounds like Ryuji.”

“Psst… Ann!”

Ann turned to see Yukiko, Chie and Ryuji wave happily at Ann, and soon enough, she went away from the raucous crowd to see a stupidly proud Ryuji.

“Well, whaddya think?!” Ryuji smiled happily. “Totally sounds like a Phantom Thief card, doesn’t it?!”

“No offense when I mean this, Ryuji,” Ann shook her head. “But it sounds like what a third grader would think is cool.”

“HUH?!”

“Oh, c’mon, Ann!” Chie pouted. “I think it’s awesome! Besides, Ryuji put a lot of effort into it, you gotta admit that.”

“Yeah, I think it’s cool too,” Yukiko smiled. “It’s so cute and intimidating! Heehee!”

“Well, uh…” Ryuji smiled sheepishly. “Cute wasn’t what I was aiming for… but thanks, guys. At least you two appreciate it.”

“Hey, what the hell is this?!”

The Persona users turned to the sound of audible gasps, and the mass of students ran off in panic upon Kamoshida. Grabbing the paper, is eyes furrowed furiously as he span around.

“Who the hell wrote this crap?!” Kamoshida barked. “Whoever wrote this will be sent to the principal office!”

“Mwehehehe…” Morgana mewled happily from Yukiko’s bag. “It’s not hard to imagine he knows what we mean by ‘twisted desires.’”

Kamoshida suddenly turned to the four students, and marched over. “What the hell are you doing there?! Did you write this?!”

“Hm… I dunno…” Yukiko smiled coyly. “Maybe…?”

Kamoshida furrowed his brow before glaring resolutely. “Tch… not like you punks are going to do anything before you all get expelled.”

(Music – Tension – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bduzOvnvd0)

Suddenly, Yukiko saw Kamoshida’s Shadow – dressed in his repugnant outfit and all – and simply gave a devilish smirk.

“You want my treasure so bad, don’t you?!” The Shadow barked. “Fine! Come and get it!”

SECURITY LEVEL 99%

Back in the real world, Kamoshida merely marched away in disgust. Morgana once again popped out of the bag.

“So, Morgana,” Chie crossed her arms. “You think it worked?”

“Definitely. Remember guys, there are no takebacks. This is our only chance.”

“We only need one chance to bust this fucker,” Ryuji grinned smarmily. “Alright, let’s do this!”

And indeed, as soon as classes ended, the heist began: it was time to change Kamoshida’s heart.


(Music – Life Will Change – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcE4-6QGgpc)

April 20th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Treasure Room – ???

The sight of it alone was beautiful to behold.

After sneaking past the heavily fortified guards, Phoenix and her group were surprised to find nobody in the throne room: possibly because nobody anticipated them to be in the castle. But here they were, in the treasure room, with a giant, ruby crown floating in an ethereal fashion.

“H-Holy shit…” Skull muttered, in mild shock. “T-This is Kamoshida’s treasure…?!”

“Wow…” Dragon grinned goofily. “Imagine how much this’ll be worth in the real world! Isn’t this cool, Mona?”

“T-Treasure…”

“Huh?” Phoenix turned to her feline friend, who looked like he was ready to drool. “Mona, you okay?”

What happened next would be a major surprise.

“T… T…” Mona stuttered, stars in his eyes. “Treasure…!”

Immediately, he leaped onto the giant crown, and begin purring loudly.

“Mrrroww!” Mona mewled happily. “Meooooooooooow!”

“W-What in the…?” Panther blinked. “Uh… Mona? You okay?”

No response. As Mona continued to meow in pure delight, Skull scratched the back of his head awkwardly.

“Uhhh…” Skull muttered to himself. “I think we kinda broke the cat by accident. Whoops.”

It was – almost spontaneously – that Mona suddenly returned to the real world. Dropping off from the chest, he turned a bright shade of red and looked away embarrassedly.

“U-Um…” Mona squeaked. “S-Sorry for such an indignant display of emotions in front of a lady…”

“Heehee. I wouldn’t worry about it too much,” Panther grinned. “It’s kinda cute. Heehee…”

“C-Cute…?! Lady Ann called me cute?!” Mona looked extremely happy, to say the least.

“Well… it was still really strange.” Phoenix crossed her arms. “Why did you act like that? It was completely out of character for you.”

“I-I dunno…” Mona muttered. “I guess it’s just the extremely strong human emotions resonating from the treasure.”

“W-Wait!” Mona perked up, suddenly, very happy. “D-Does that mean I’m a human all along?! It’s gotta be!”

“Well, I think we can wait until later, Mona.” Phoenix smiled. “But I think this definitely proves something.”

“Lady Yukiko…” Mona smiled at Phoenix in total joy. “Thanks…”

“Heehee, no problem. After all, you’re my friend, Mona. And friends stick out for each other, right?”

As Mona nodded in approval, Phoenix couldn’t help but find her admiration for the feline increase exponentially.

(Music – The Spirit – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlFVJNOm4yc)

MAGICIAN RANK UP! RANK 2

Magician Fusion Bonus Has Increased!

Morgana’s Confidant Skills Have Improved!

(Music – Life Will Change – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcE4-6QGgpc)

Phoenix smiled back at Mona, before smiling cheerfully. “Alright! Let’s get the treasure out of here!”

The group merely nodded in unanimous agreement – after pouting, due to the sheer size and weight of the treasure.


(Music Stops)

April 20th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Throne Room – ???

“Urgh… h-heavy…”

Phoenix grunted to herself alongside everyone else as they carried the treasure out of here. Hopefully nobody catches them in this vulnerable state…

“Go, go! Let’s go! Ka-mo-shi-da!”

Too soon for comfort, apparently. Because almost just like that, a volleyball shot at the treasure and knocked it square out of the groups hand. With almost some kind of magic, the crown shrunk and found itself on the head of a very familiar – and very powerful – guardian of the treasure. One that was surrounded by a harem of Shiho, Chie, Yukiko and Ann’s cognitive selves, no less.

“Well now, this is a surprise,” Shadow Kamoshida sneered. “I’d never thought you’d make it this far.”

Chapter Text

(Music – Blood of Villain –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvhEYbzToK4 )

April 20th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Throne Room – ???

There he was, in all his fiendish glory.

Phoenix felt her hands ball up upon seeing Kamoshida. This bastard – this son of a bitch – has caused so much pain and suffering to so many innocents. At this point, she could care less about her expulsion; nobody should ever suffer under this bastard again, and from the looks of things, her friends felt the same way.

“Tch, what a nuisance…” Shadow Kamoshida spat, caressing his cognitive harem all the while. “You really want to steal my treasure so badly?! Fine! We’ll settle this right here, right now!”

Skull was the first to retort. “That’s our line, you sexually abusive douchebag!”

“Listen Kamoshida, this doesn’t have to end like this,” Dragon reasoned, still just as furious as her fellow Chariot. “Just hand over the treasure and we’ll be on our way. We outnumber you five-to-one!”

“Bah! You actually think that you can win solely by numbers?!” Kamoshida looked ready to laugh. “Don’t you get it, you idiots? I’m a cut above all other humans. I’m a champion, nay a demigod compared to you, and I’m allowed to do whatever I want in MY castle!”

Needless to say, Panther was very quick to object. “That gives you no right to ruin other people’s lives! Don’t you care to remember all the women you scarred for life by raping them? Don’t you even give a shit that you may be FUCKING DESTROYING THESE PEOPLE?!”

“Are you that dense?” Kamoshida looked ready to laugh. “I don’t go out of my way to ruin these people. Indeed, these people end up in these situation’s because they deserve it! This is the world we live in, Ann; a world of survival of the fittest!”

“After all,” Kamoshida sneered. “The only two worth blaming for that bitch of your friend’s attempted suicide is you and her. Nobody else.”

Panther bit her lip, and Phoenix sighed with her. “Panther…”

“It’s true,” Panther looked down sullenly. “She was an idiot for letting herself be manipulated into suicide by you… but I’m a bigger dumbass for not realizing it.”

Glaring at Kamoshida, Panther stomped her foot onto the ground. “Regardless, this gives you NO RIGHT TO CHOOSE HOW PEOPLE LIVE THEIR LIVES!”

“What’s so bad about me choosing how other’s live their lives?!” Kamoshida cackled. “I’m a cut above all other humans!”

Panther simply – and furiously – glared at Kamoshida. “Above? You mean beneath. YOU’RE A GODDAMN DEMON OBSESSED WITH YOUR SICK DESIRES!”

(Music Stops)

It was then dark energy began to swirl around Kamoshida. Laughing maniacally all the while, the five Phantom Thieves took a step back.

“Wh-What’s going on with Kamoshida?!” Dragon cried. “We didn’t do anything, did we?!”

Meanwhile, Mona’s eyes shot wide. “He’s charging up! Get ready!”

“That’s right, Ann,” Kamoshida cackled, his voice growing exponentially more demonic and distorted. “I am a demon, WHO RULES THIS WORLD!”

It was then when it happened.

(Music – Blooming Villain –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBy4Ir_Pfng )

To say Kamoshida grew distorted would be an understatement; his body merged and twisted with shadows, growing to extreme proportions and all five Phantom Thieves’ stood in awe of his transformation.

“Wh…” Skull was at a complete loss of words. “What the hell is that?!”

Indeed, Kamoshida turned into a giant, pink blob of a man with a crown on his back, his fleshy pink skin only being partially covered by his speedo, all while wielding a variety of knives, chalices, riding crops and a fork in all four of its hands. Sitting on top of a chariot driven by faceless cognitive beings, and with a trophy full of faceless, sexed-up women and girls between his legs, this was the appearance of a demonic abomination of mind-scarring terror and excess.

“BWAHAHAHAHA! I AM ASMODEUS!” Asmodeus cackled. “AND I’M ALLOWED TO DO WHATEVER THE HELL I WANT IN MY CASTLE!”

“That’s where you’re wrong!” Phoenix retorted. “We’ll change your heart, no matter what it takes!”

“YOU GODDAMN NO-GOOD SHITTY BRATS… HAVEN’T YOUR PARENTS TAUGHT YOU TO NEVER DISRESPECT YOUR TEACHERS?!” Asmodeus cackled. “I’LL KILL THE BOY AND THE CAT, AND TAKE THE GIRLS AS MY PLEASURE-SLAVES! DIE!”

And like that, with a flick of his riding crop, the slaves chained to the chariot began hitting volleyball after volleyball at inhuman speeds, landing a flurry storm of the sports ball that would be comparable to a machine gun.

“Ow! Son of a bitch!” Skull cursed. “Phoenix, got any ideas?!”

“Deal as much damage as necessary! We’ll improvise as we go along! Now…” Immediately gripping at her mask, Phoenix ripped it off, a blue light shooting from below. “Come forth! Berith!”

Indeed, one of her fused Personas – Berith – was a blue demonic knight none too different from Eligor, only it’s blue radiance made it look like a knight in shining armor. Spurring his horse, the horseback Persona lunged its spear into Kamoshida’s chest, evoking a squelch from the creature’s flesh.

“Agh! Son of a bitch…” Asmodeus cursed. “You’ll pay for that, you brat!”

“Not if I can help it!” Skull proceeded to rip off his mask. “C’mon, Captain! Shock ‘em!”

And indeed, Captain Kidd– followed up by Tomoe, Carmen and Zorro – began letting a flurry of thunder, wind, fire and ice began pelting Asmodeus individually, all while Berith’s spear continued to skewer the demon. Grunting out in pain, he hastily grabbed his trophy.

“Ugh, you fucking BRATS…” Asmodeus cursed. “Guess I better heal! AHAHAHAHAHA!”

Indeed, he skewed one of the faceless females in the trophy, and proceeded to devour it, only for the five Persona users to notice it completely healed it.

“Oh, crap… seems that trophy is keeping him in the fight… what do we do, Phoenix?!”

Nodding to Mona’s question, Phoenix flipped her hair and set her sights on the trophy. “Simple! We break it!”

“Alright, sounds like a plan!” Panther nodded. “C’mon, Carmen! DANCE!”

Indeed, another flurry of fire, ice, lightning, thunder and physical attacks began to pummel the trophy, each blow creating one crack after another. Asmodeus bellowed furiously in response.

“AAAAAAAGH! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” Asmodeus bellowed. “GET YOUR MITTS OFF MY TROPHY!”

Too little, too late. With one more skewering of the lance from Tomoe, the trophy shattered, leading the demonic king to slump down in utter horror.

“NO!” Asmodeus bellowed. “I WON THAT FROM THE NATIONAL!”

“Yeah! Nice one, Dragon!” Phoenix cheered.

“Heh, no problem! Now follow my lead, guys!”

HOLD UP!

Immediately pointing their ranged weaponry at Asmodeus, the demonic king bellowed in sheer frustration and ire over the helplessness of his situation.

“Wow. To think the “high and mighty” King Kamoshida’s like this, huh?” Mona grinned. “Pathetic.”

“GRR… DAMN YOU!” Asmodeus bellowed. “DON’T YOU GET IT?! I AM THE KING OF THIS CASTLE! YOU FILTHY PEASANTS HAVE NO QUARREL WITH ME! NONE!”

“Your point?” Phoenix smirked. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a king or a peasant. All are equal under the law.”

“Man, you act so high and mighty…” Skull chuckled. “But all you are right now is a loser.”

“Preach the choir, Skull.” Panther sighed. “Alright, Dragon! Lead the way!”

And they wasted no time getting to work. Jumping up in the air, they began their maelstrom of brutal melee and gunshots.

ALL-OUT ATTACK!

At the end of the brutal combat, Dragon landed on her own two feet, briefly doing a roundhouse kick and a kung-fu pose as blood gushed from Asmodeus.

DON’T THINK. FEEL.

“ARGH! DAMN IT ALL!” Asmodeus cursed, shadow blood gushing from his abdominal wound. “YOU’RE GOING TO PAY FOR THAT, YOU WENCH!”

“Nice motion there, Dragon! But damn, he’s tougher than he looks…” Skull’s smiling complement turned into a frown of worry. “Anyone got any ideas?”

It was then Phoenix noticed a ledge that lead up to the crown holstered on his head. Phoenix simply smirked in response.

“Simple! We steal the treasure while four of us keep him busy,” Phoenix nodded. “Skull, we’ll keep him distracted while you knock the treasure off his head, alright? Don’t get cocky!”

“You want me to get him while you guys distract him? Fine by me!” It was then Skull moved into position. “Just don’t get killed!”

“Fine, by me!” Phoenix ripped of her mask for Berith to appear. “Now, come! Beri – agh!”

Before Phoenix could react, a giant knife skewered Berith, causing the same gash to appear on Phoenix. It was none other than Asmodeus’ knife.

“BAHAHAHAHA! NICE TRY, BITCH!” Asmodeus cackled. “YOU’RE GONNA DIE SCREAMING, I’M SURE OF IT!”

“N-No!” Phoenix quickly gripped her mask. “Change now! Hamsa!”

It was then the wounded Berith disappeared into the shadows, and out came a brand-new creature: the same feathered, demonic swan the group fought during Skull’s awakening, except now with a holy glow surrounding it. Phoenix felt herself smirk.

“Alright, you’re okay, Phoenix?” Panther grinned. “Then let’s lay on the hurt!”

They wasted no time in dueling Asmodeus. Flashes of light, ice and flame began to pierce, blind and burn the demonic king, all while Mona kept them in the fight with his healing magic. Bellowing in sheer pain, Asmodeus clutched his heavily wounded chest before cackling maniacally.

“THAT’S HOW YOU WANNA PLAY, HUH?! FINE!” Asmodeus laughed. “TAKE THIS! GOLD MEDAL SPIKE!”

All out of nowhere, a giant, flaming volleyball burned into existence over Asmodeus’ head, and to say he wasted no time exploiting it would be a gross understatement. Jumping up sky-high, he slammed the flaming volleyball down to the poor four Phantom Thieves.

An explosion rocked the party, critically wounding the party. Nearly collapsing on their feet, Phoenix was the only one standing; everyone else was hunched or still dazed by the near-fatal attack.

“AHAHAHAHA! THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DEFY A KING!” Asmodeus cackled. “NOW PREPARE TO DIE!”

Immediately raising his knife at Phoenix, he was soon to be interrupted by Skull promptly knocking the crown off, just before Asmodeus gained enough force with the knife.

“AUGH! M-MY BEAUTIFUL CROWN!” Asmodeus bellowed. “GIVE IT BACK! GIVE IT BAAAAAACK!”

“Woohoo! Nice one, Skull!” Dragon grinned – despite being bloody and wounded, she gave a toothy smile at her friend. “Just in the nick of time!”

“Anything to bring this fucker down,” Skull cackled, before glaring at Asmodeus. “You hear me, Kamoshida?! This is KARMA for all the women you raped!”

“ME?! RAPING WOMEN?! DON’T MAKE ME LAUGH! Asmodeus cried. “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DOMINATION! I LOVE THE THRILL OF SUBJUGATING ALL BENEATH ME!”

“Ugh, as if there isn’t enough reason to despise this bastard…” Panther, alongside Mona, all got up on their feet, despite their wounds. “Alright, Skull, lead the way! LET’S FINISH HIM OFF!”

ALL-OUT ATTACK!

Wasting no time to exploit this to their advantage, the Phantom Thieves began another All-Out Attack. Skull, having lead the charge, landed straight on his face… but got up and did a pose like nothing happened, all while blood gushed from the demonic king.

And this time, it was fatal.

FREAKIN’ BORING.

“NO! DAMN YOOOOU!”

Collapsing onto himself, the demon king was all but done for, his form melting back into Shadow Kamoshida. Phoenix gave an all-too happy grin in response.

(Music Stops)

“We… we did it! We actually did it!” Phoenix was ready to leap for joy. “YAHOO!”

Indeed, all the other Phantom Thieves began celebrating and congratulating each other… and if it wasn’t for Mona’s cat-like senses, they would’ve been oblivious to Kamoshida snatching the crown right under their noses.

(Music – Desire –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBRBgxXQoRU )

“What the…? He’s got the crown!” Mona cried. “After him, quickly!”

“Oh, that son of a… doesn’t he know when he’s beaten?!” Largely ignoring Skull’s cry, the group pursued the defeated king post-haste.


April 20th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Balcony – ???

For the first time in ages, Kamoshida felt fear. What were these brats doing here? They weren’t planning to kill him… we’re they?! Th-They wouldn’t dare commit regicide, now would they?!

Indeed, Kamoshida found himself in a dead end, standing on the balcony overlooking his kingdom. Then a familiar, hate-filled voice came from behind him.

“What’s the matter? Not going to jump?”

Kamoshida yelped fearfully upon seeing five pissed Phantom Thieves. Panther herself looked the most furious, for the sole reason of being stone-cold angry.

“Right now? Right now, you’re overlooking where Shiho jumped.” Panther hissed. “You have two options: jump or die. Aren’t you supposed to be some sort of great athlete? Go on, find a way out. I dare you.”

(Music Stops)

When Panther began charging her flames, much to the party’s surprise, Kamoshida collapsed on his knees and began pleading.

“W-Wait! Wait! Please don’t hurt me!” Kamoshida cried, tears of fear wielding up in his eyes. “PLEASE, PLEASE DON’T HURT ME!”

“Please don’t HURT YOU?!” Panther hissed, unfathomable hatred in her voice. “HAVEN’T YOU STOPPED TO CONSIDER HOW MANY PEOPLE YOU HURT OR RAPED WHO BEGGED THE EXACT SAME FUCKING THING?!”

(Music – Regret –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk2uWPOIRTk )

“But no, you…” Panther began crying, thinking about Shiho as she chucked her flames. “YOU RUINED EVERYTHING FOR THEM!”

Kamoshida gave an unmanly scream as the fireball toppled a pillar, permanently denying him escape. Out of sheer terror, he immediately removed his crown.

“I-I yield! I yield! Oh, God, please don’t kill me!” Kamoshida pleaded as he rolled the crown over to the teens. “I-If you take my crown out of the castle, my other self will change! Just, please, oh, God, DON’T KILL ME!”

“Panther…” Phoenix sighed. “We have what we came for. Let it go.”

But much to Phoenix’s surprise, she didn’t listen. She chucked a fireball directly at Kamoshida.

“PANTHER!” Dragon cried. “NO!”

“ANN!” Skull cried.

But thankfully for everyone involved, the fireball intentionally missed. Kamoshida, dissolved into sobs of fear, just had a furious Panther spare him.

“Every part of my fucking body wants to murder you,” Panther glared, before sighing. “But that would be too easy for you. You’re about to regret all of your actions for the rest of your life!”

“Th-Thank you…” Kamoshida bellowed. “Oh, thank you so much…”

“You really have a kind heart, don’t you Lady Ann?” Mona smiled happily.

As Phoenix glanced at the crown, she nodded to her party members and began walking away.

“W-Wait!” Kamoshida whimpered. “W-What am I supposed to do?!”

Phoenix glanced at Kamoshida, before sighing. “Figure it out for yourself. We’re not in charge of your life.”

As the group began to walk away, Kamoshida began to dissipate. His last words as he proceeded to return to his other self were sobs.

“I… I lost…” Kamoshida choked on his sobs. “When you lose… you’re a loser… but maybe I can atone… maybe I can…”

And just like that, he vanished.

Skull smiled at Panther, crossing his arms all the while. “I’ll admit Panther, I was honestly expecting you to kill him then and there. Wasn’t expecting you to be so merciful.”

Panther’s expression visibly darkened. “Oh, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t being merciful. If you ask me, living with your actions full of remorse is a fate worse than death.”

(Music Stops)

It was then rumbling took over the castle. Pieces of debris and other architecture began collapsing all around them, much to the horror of the five thieves.

“Wh-What the hell is goin’ on?!” Skull cried. “Is this place gonna collapse?!”

“Oh, um… I forgot to tell you,” Mona grinned sheepishly. “This place self-collapses when the Shadow disappears, as does if the treasure is extracted.”

“WHAT?!”

The unison cry of all the human Thieves began frantically darting around the castle, before turning to the stairway. Dragon honestly said it best.

“RUN FOR IT!”

And without any further ado, they began their escape with the treasure in hand.


(Music – Collapse of Lust –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9LLpnbraco )

April 20th, 2016 – Kamoshida’s Palace, Hallway – ???

“H-HEY! NO FAIR, YOU JERK!”

As Mona shifted back into his cat form, he briefly leaped off Skull’s head to jump on Phoenix’s shoulder, all while they ran to escape the collapsing castle.

“Omigod, omigod, OMIGOD!” Panther cried out in panic. “We’re gonna die! WE’RE SO GONNA DIE!”

“LESS TALKING, PANTHER!” Dragon retorted, breathing all the while. “AND MORE RUNNING!”

It was then – right when they were by the entrance, Skull collapsed, breathing for air. Panther cried out for her friend, only for Dragon to rush over to her fellow Chariot.

“S-Sorry, Dragon,” Skull coughed weakly. “I’m not the runner I used to be.”

“Hey, nobody ever gets left behind,” Dragon grinned. “I’d never abandon someone weaker than me if I had the power to help them.”

“Hey, don’t call me weak! I just have a shitty leg!” Skull laughed, his faux-offended nature being immensely grateful as Dragon helped carry Skull to the final stretch. And by some miracle of Phantom Thief speed and dumb luck, they finally escape as the world collapsed into nothing.


(Music Playing – Break it Down (Elp Version) –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCtsyCsGV_M )

April 20th, 2016 – Aoyama-Itchome, Alleyway Shortcut – 5:09 PM

“H-Holy shit… th-that was horrible…”

As Ann breathed those words, Ryuji suddenly perked up and glanced Yukiko.

“H-Hey, Yukiko!” Ryuji said in panic. “Do ya have the crown?!”

“Y-Yeah, I do… here it – huh?”

Indeed, the “crown” wasn’t a crown any longer – it was now a golden Olympian medallion, made of solid gold. Chie blinked in a slightly baffled fashion in response.

“W-Wait… the crown is a medallion…?” Chie blinked. “Wait, what?!”

“Need I remind you? The medallion was distorted by Kamoshida.” Morgana confirmed. “Metaphorically, Kamoshida views that medallion with the same authority and value of a crown.”

“Huh… guess that’s back to his glory days as a Olympian athlete,” Ryuji coughed, exhausted all the while. “Crap, I am beat. Let’s just go home an’ have a status report tomorrow… I’m too tired to think right now.”

“Same here… good thing I healed you guys after the battle, otherwise we’d be exhausted and wounded.” Ann laughed to herself.

“Yeah… no kidding…” Yukiko gave a weak smile. “Well… let’s see if we had any effect today. C’mon, Ann.”

And just like that, Ann walked away with Morgana and Yukiko, leaving only Ryuji and Chie. Ryuji simply smiled at Chie in response.

“Hey, Chie, um…” Ryuji blushed somewhat. “Th-Thanks for saving me. I would’ve died if it weren’t for you.”

“No problem, Ryuji,” Chie nodded with a smile. “I mean, the world Kamoshida promotes… a world of oppressing the weak and helpless solely over your interests? I’d never allow that. Never. That’s why I couldn’t leave you behind. I just… I’d never do it.”

“Chie…” Ryuji felt his blush tensed. He wanted to kick himself for not being strong enough,1 but at the same time… he admired how Chie dealt with all this shit with so much courage… looking after others was one of her most endearing qualities, bar none.

“Welp, let’s go home!” Chie happily mused. “Man, I’m hungry for beefsteak…”

And just like that, Ryuji was all alone. And also just like that, Ryuji felt his crush develop on the girl.

Chapter Text

(Music – Erosion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_24qGyzaxU)

April 21st, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Hallway – 11:39 AM

“Um… Amagi-chan? Satonaka-chan? May I have a word with you?”

Indeed, Yukiko and Chie were conversing with each other as Ms. Kawakami approached the two girls, a look of worry plastered on her face. It’s been a whole day since the successful heist, and Yukiko was sure to take the additional free time to relax a bit. She just hoped that the change of heart was a success…

“Hm? Oh, hi Ms. Kawakami!” Chie smiled. “What’s up?”

Kawakami fidgeted around a little, before sighing to herself. She glanced both ways as if to make sure no one was eavesdropping, before motioning over the girls. Glancing at each other, Yukiko and Chie walked up to their teacher.

“Um, is…” Yukiko fidgeted, dreading the secrecy. “Is something wrong…?”

“We might think so,” Kawakami muttered. “Mr. Kamoshida isn’t here to attend today.”

That caught both girls surprise. Given the fact that volleyball practice was today, there’d be no way Kamoshida would skip out. Immediately glancing at Chie, Yukiko turned back to Kawakami and sighed.

“But… why? Isn’t volleyball practice today?”

“It is, yes… but Kamoshida hasn’t been seen anywhere today. We don’t think he’s sick either…”

Kawakami merely sighed before shaking her head. “I figured you girls deserve to know. Now don’t go spreading anything around, okay? We already have our hands full as it is…”

And just like that, Kawakami proceeded down the hallway. Chie turned to Yukiko and frowned, wringing her hands around all the while.

“Well, something happened…” Chie sighed. “I just hope Morgana’s right on the nose that stealing the treasure turns somebody good. Otherwise, we’re all getting expelled.”

(Music – What’s Going On – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46B7NPaqf4c)

“You know, though… I kinda want to hang out with you after school,” Chie smiled cheerfully. “I mean, if that’s okay, of course! It’s just that with all that’s been happening, we’ve never actually had some time to hang out.”

Suddenly, Chie sprung happily. “Maybe we should train together! How ‘bout it?!”

Yukiko giggled to herself. Chie’s enthusiasm was adorable, and she certainly won’t refuse a request like that. Simply smiling to her friend, she nodded.

“So… where do you want to train?”


(Music – Alright (Elp Ver.) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDKVkpggpIs)

April 21st, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Commons – 5:10 PM

“Ugh… I’m beat.”

Chie sat lazily on the bench, stretching her sweaty arms as Yukiko smiled back. After yawning a bit, the brunette smiled at her friend.

“Wow, you really are improving your skills at fighting!” Chie said with a happy laugh. “I thought you’d be out of shape, but I’m really surprised you’re holding your own!”

“Heehee! Thanks, Chie.” Yukiko nodded. “Training is a lot of fun.”

Chie laughed happily all the while. “Your darn right it is! I gotta train every day to protect everyone… including you.”

Yukiko slowly sat up, her cheeks flushed a bit. “’Including me’?”

“Um… well, yeah.” Chie shrugged. “Ryuji, Morgana and Ann, too. You guys came to mean so much to me… heck, I know we’ve only met roughly two weeks ago, but it’s funny what fire can do to forge friendships, right?”

Chie gave an indignant snort before laughing to herself. “Funny enough, that’s exactly how I met Takeshi.”

Yukiko turned to her friend, her eyebrow raised. “Is that right?”

“Yeah… I think it was back in middle school.” Chie nodded. “While I was still teased for my tomboyish nature, I found him being bullied by some kids… I tried talking them down, but they wouldn’t have any of it. So I let them take it out on me instead of Takeshi.”

“He… he said something I’ll never forget. ‘There needs to be more people willing to take punches than throw them, Chie.’” Chie laughed. “We quickly became friends. Sure, he was a bit stubborn and tactless at times, but he was a nice kid at the end of the day, and a good friend. Then Kamoshida ruined everything.”

Chie frowned sullenly, while Yukiko sighed with her friend. “I’m sorry about Takeshi.”

“Don’t be. It’s not your fault.” Chie nodded resolutely. “I just wish I could’ve protected him. People who deprive people of their chances to live because they’re not strong enough… they’re the worst people. I’d never allow it.”

Both girls fell silent, before Yukiko turned to her friend. “Say, Chie… what do you want to do when you grow up?”

“Huh? Me?” Chie smiled awkwardly. “I want to be a police officer. I want to protect people who can’t stand up for themselves, be a shield for the weak… I just want everyone to be equal and safe, y’know? I’d gladly sacrifice myself so that everyone has a future, y’know?”

Suddenly, Chie turned red. “And that’s why I want to protect you, Yukiko. You’ve come to mean so much to me. If anything happened to you, I wouldn’t know what to do.”

“Chie…” Yukiko blushed a bit before grinning. “Maybe change the heart of whoever hurt me?”

“Argh, not funny!” Chie pouted loudly. “I’m only going with this plan because I don’t want to be expelled. I don’t like the idea of breaking the law honestly.”

Yukiko smiled. “Funny you say that, though. Being a Phantom Thief doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be Chaotic in nature.”

Chie chewed her lip before nodding. “…yeah. I suppose your right.”

A long silence passed between both girl, which ended with Chie raising her head towards her friend and smiling.

“Thank you, Yukiko…” Chie smiled, her cheeks red a little. “I… I promise I’ll protect you. You mean so much to me…”

Yukiko glanced back at her friend and smiled. Needless to say, the young inn heiress felt the exact same way about her tomboyish friend.

(Music – The Spirit – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlFVJNOm4yc)

AEON RANK UP! RANK 2

Aeon Fusion Bonus Has Increased!

Chie’s Confidant Skills Have Improved!

(Music – Alright (Elp Ver.) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDKVkpggpIs)

Feeling her will renewed, Chie leaped upwards happily. “Alright, let’s go get some grub! I’m starving!”

Yukiko giggled upon seeing her friend’s enthusiasm. And indeed, they gorged all they want on beefsteaks.


(Music – Beneath the Mask – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMSDBPntMPE)

April 21th, 2016 – Café Leblanc – 8:14 PM

Yukiko sighed to herself as she walked through the door. Today has been a long day indeed. Sojiro was busy polishing coffee cups as he glanced at the inn maiden.

“Ah, you’re back!” Sojiro smiled. “Mind if I have a word with you? It’ll be quick, I promise.”

“Hm?” Yukiko rubbed her eyes before smiling at her guardian. “Oh, sure, Sojiro! I’ll go take a seat.”

“You do so.” Sojiro chuckled as Yukiko sat on the stool. “Want me to make you a cup of coffee?”

“Oh, no thank you. I had my sugary drink quota for the day.” Yukiko laughed awkwardly.

“Heh, fair enough.” Sojiro paused before frowning. “I just wanted to ask you a few things.”

Yukiko winced a little. Oh boy, this should be good.

“So, um…” Sojiro scratched the back of his head awkwardly. “How’s school going? You’ve adapted to your time here?”

“Um…” Yukiko paused for a moment. “Yeah, I suppose so. Things are definitely getting better.”

Sojiro chuckled. “Good to hear that. Moving from a small town to a big city can be tough.”

No, not really, Yukiko thought. While she missed home, there was an ironic freedom she found in her probation; it allowed her to explore the city a lot more, and she found it rather comforting that she didn’t have to worry about inheritance or anything. Heck, trying as it is to admit it, she actually enjoyed being a Phantom Thief. The thrill of combat was actually kinda fun, though it’d be even more so if her death wasn’t the consequence of one wrong move.

Sojiro broke the long silence. “I, um… I might as well explain to you why I trust you.”

Yukiko raised to head at her guardian.

“As I told you earlier, I was friends with your father, Satoshi Amagi.” Sojiro began. “But we’re still in touch. I’ve seen what you were like back in Yasogami High; a model student, exceptionally polite, charismatic, obedient… I had no idea how you got on probation. From the story I’ve heard, it seems like somebody pulled a few strings to avert the blame.”

“That’s the world we live in, though,” Sojiro sighed. “Don’t get me wrong though, you did the right thing. It’s just that absolute power corrupts absolutely… you’d think it’d be better to just lay low.”

Yukiko furrowed her brow. “With all due respect Sojiro, diverting your eyes solves nothing.”

Sojiro muttered something under his breath before shaking his head. “I suppose you got a point there. That said, you shouldn’t risk yourself even if it’s for the right reasons. If you fall, who will be there to help others out?”

Yukiko had a feeling this was leading somewhere.

“That said… I want to strike up a deal.” Sojiro. “I’ve learned from your parents that you yearn for independence, but is a mediocre cook.”

Yukiko winced a little. Thanks for being so blunt, Sojiro.

“That’s where I come in,” Sojiro smiled. “If you help at the shop, I’ll teach you how to make the perfect cup of coffee… with a little curry thrown in. Sounds like a good plan?”

Yukiko mused to herself, before smiling. She always wanted to learn how to cook, and she wants to be independent… there was no way she was going to pass this opportunity up. Smiling, she squeezed Sojiro’s calloused hand and shook it, both smiling all the while.

It was a deal, then.


(Music – Interrogation –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ6Z2PGoN8g )

???-???-???

“Though you may be a criminal, you’re still only a minor,” Sae furrowed at the drugged Yukiko. “There had to be somebody taking you in… an accomplice, so to speak.”

Sae slammed her hands on the table.

“If you know something, then answer me!”


(Music – The Spirit – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlFVJNOm4yc)

I am thou, thou art I…

Thou hast acquired a new vow…

It shall become the wings of rebellion

that breaketh thy chains of captivity,

With the birth of the Hierophant Persona,

I have obtained the winds of blessing that

shall lead to freedom and new power…

HIEROPHANT RANK UP! RANK 1

(Music – Beneath the Mask – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMSDBPntMPE)

Sojiro finally let go of Yukiko’s hand. “Alright, we have ourselves a deal! Now go get some rest. You’re going to need it.”

And indeed she did. Yukiko fell asleep relatively quickly.


(Music – Butterfly Kiss –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xq-f4FrEX8)

April 27th, 2016 – Yongen-Jaya, Takemi Medical Clinic – 4:11 PM

The next couple of days passed like a storm. Shortly after agreeing to work under Sojiro, Yukiko spend the next couple of days making due time with Ryuji, Ann and Chie.

Unlike Chie’s training, Yukiko ran quite a bit with her delinquent friend. After several laps, the former track team star disclosed some additional information on how the Track Team fell apart and what Kamoshida was like to Ryuji’s friend. Yukiko ended the hang-out on a high note by reminding Ryuji he did the right thing. It seems that lifted her spirits quite a bit.

Shortly afterwards, Ann began discussing with Yukiko about Shiho’s recovery in the hospital. It appears Ann was hard-pressed to discuss it with her friend, but Ann was happy that her friend was no longer in critical condition. The conversation only made both girl unanimously agree that they did what was best in attempting to change Kamoshida’s heart.

Lastly, she hung out with Chie once more for training. Unlike the heartfelt conversation last time, there wasn’t any unusual events… except a Grasshopper made its home on Chie’s back. Yukiko fondly remembered how the tomboy completely freaked out, while Yukiko found both Chie and the grasshopper adorable. Needless to say, Chie didn’t take Yukiko’s compliment politely, and she only further steeled herself to, in her own words, “not be a sissy so I can protect everyone!”

So, what was our dark-haired inn maiden up to now?

Having a splitting headache in Takemi’s clinic.

“Ah, you came to.”

Indeed, Yukiko has just regained consciousness after drinking the medicine as requested by Takemi. Yukiko simply grumbled and shook her head.

“It seems I had a bit too much of a dosage than I would’ve liked… your gastrointestinal tract couldn’t handle the shock…” Takemi muttered to herself. “Good thing it wasn’t anything critical, though.”

Indeed, with barely anything else to do, Yukiko decided to take up on Takemi’s offer over “looking for work”. The clinic was indeed shady, but it wasn’t as if she had much of a choice: not many jobs offered 2500 Yen from the get-go, and Yukiko admitted that her own gastro-whatever thingy’s happiness was outweighed by the need to supply the group.

“Ugh…” Yukiko moaned. “Is that all for now?”

“It is indeed. You were an excellent test subject.” Takemi put the clipboard to the side and chuckled. “I can promise you that this information will be invaluable for future reference. Thank you.”

Yukiko sighed to herself before turning to Takemi. “Do I have to do this again?”

“You certainly don’t have to, but I appreciate your company,” Takemi nodded. “These test results are invaluable, and in all truthfulness? It’s nice seeing such youthful enthusiasm from a teenage girl.”

Yukiko blushed a bit upon hearing that, and she could’ve swore that Takemi winked a little.

“Regardless, I’ll be sure to pay you accordingly,” Takemi extended her hand. “Though I take it you’ll be able to be present for future reference?”

Yukiko paused for a moment, before smiling to herself. Regardless of her eccentricities, Takemi truly was a nice girl, and her medicine will be invaluable for whenever they should go back to the Metaverse – if they go back, of course. Regardless, she shook her hand with a smile.


(Music – Interrogation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ6Z2PGoN8g)

???-???-???

“There’s no doubt in my mind you suffered your fair share of cuts and bruises over the course of your heists.” Sae began. “You’ve had to have some form of medicine to help alleviate the pain.”

Sae slammed her hands on the table once more.

“I’m not wrong… am I?!”


(Music – The Spirit – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlFVJNOm4yc)

I am thou, thou art I…

Thou hast acquired a new vow…

It shall become the wings of rebellion

that breaketh thy chains of captivity,

With the birth of the Death Persona,

I have obtained the winds of blessing that

shall lead to freedom and new power…

DEATH RANK UP! RANK 1

(Music – Butterfly Kiss –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xq-f4FrEX8)

“Alright, that’ll be all for now.” Takemi smiled. “Go back home.”

And indeed, she did. Yukiko wasn’t in the mood to go help out Sojiro either; her stomach hurt way too much for her to be effective.

Chapter Text

May 2nd, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Auditorium – 8:14 AM

“Jeez, what’s with the sudden assembly?”

Yukiko felt herself fidgeting as students spoke around her. Today was the awful moment of truth, wasn’t it? If they hadn’t changed Kamoshida’s heart, all events taken up to this point would’ve been for nothing, and Yukiko and friends would be expelled. She felt her tension relieve a bit when she felt Chie squeeze her hand; apparently, she knows how stressful all of this is. Yukiko couldn’t help but smile at her friend.

And indeed, Principal Kobayakawa was standing in front of the speech desk, the slightly chubby middle-aged man clearing his throat as he grabbed the microphone.

“Alright, everybody. Settle down!” Kobayakawa’s booming voice hushed the audience. “Today, we are here to discuss about the events that have taken place on the 15th.”

As a few students groaned in the background upon the incoming lecture, Kobayakawa continued. “As the youth of Tokyo, I implore all of you to think about your actions before taking them. Shiho Suzui was – “

“…a victim. By my own hands.”

Everyone turned and gasped upon seeing a familiar face, one that was only barely visible due to the sheer look of shame on his face. Yukiko felt her hands ball up in fury upon recognizing this man, her eyes leering at the very person who was responsible for so much suffering. From the looks of things, Ann seemed to feel the exact same way.

“I…” Kamoshida choked a little, almost as if they were sobs. “I have been reborn…”

(Music – Regret –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk2uWPOIRTk)

As both faculty and students began to murmur in surprise, Kamoshida walked up to the front of the auditorium, all while voices buzz around him.

“No way… is that Kamoshida?!”

“He hasn’t been present for school for almost a month… what’s with him?”

“He doesn’t look so happy…”

“Oh, God, I hope he doesn’t flip out…”

“M-Mr. Kamoshida?!” Kobayakawa cried. “Wh-What’re you doing here?!”

“Please, Principal,” Kamoshida raised his head, his eyes brimming with tears. “I need to make my amends.”

Amends? Did it actually work…?! As Yukiko saw the solemn Kamoshida take up the microphone, he noticed the 32-year old coach’s voice waver significantly.

“I… I have done things unbecoming – shameful – for someone employed to protect children,” Kamoshida’s voice cracked, his eyes filled to the brim with tears. “I’ve expelled students solely because I didn’t like them, physically abused my athletes, and… and…”

Kamoshida couldn’t reign his tears in any longer. “…sexually abused female students.”

“What… what?! Kamoshida… he…”

“He actually raped people?! What the hell is going on?!”

“That can’t be right… Kamoshida seems like such a nice person!”

“What the hell is with him?!”

As the auditorium continued to erupt in Discord, Kamoshida slumped on his knees and began sobbing. “I’ve… I’ve raped girls and considered them nothing more than sexual outlets for years, all the way back to my Olympian days… more than that, I was the reason Shiho Suzui tried to kill herself. Like all those other girls… I molested her.”

“Oh, my God… what the hell is wrong with him?!”

“That bastard… how could he?”

“What a piece of shit…”

As the faculty continued to look on in shock, Kamoshida began wailing tears. “I… I deliberately and consciously preyed on people weaker than I… people who couldn’t defend themselves… and-and I did it for my own selfish wants…”

“I… I am a horrible, shameful person… no, I’m worse than that…” Kamoshida continued to sob uncontrollably. “Therefore… I will end my own life just as I ended those girls’ lives.”

“Is he actually going to kill himself?!”

“Holy shit…”

“What the fuck’s going on?!”

“This is so crazy!”

Immediately, Ann stomped her foot and glared at Kamoshida. “DON’T RUN, YOU PIECE OF FUCKING GARBAGE!”

“YOU WERE THE REASON MY BEST FRIEND TRIED TO KILL HERSELF! DON’T RUN AWAY, GODDAMNIT!” Ann screamed at the top of her lungs, pure fury in her voice. “OWN UP TO YOUR CRIMES AND TURN YOURSELF IN, YOU SELFISH, GODDAMN BASTARD!”

As Ann ended her brief rant, Kamoshida sniffed on his snot and tears a little. “Y-You’re right. You’re absolutely right… I’ll turn myself in… I… I tried to force you into sexual relations, after all…”

“Wait, what?! Sexual relations?!”

“Disgusting.”

“I can’t believe this… and I thought he was a nice guy.”

“Unbelievable. What a piece of shit!”

As the faculty grabbed a kicking and screaming Kamoshida, Kobayakawa grabbed the microphone. “This assembly is officially over! Go back to your classrooms all of you!”

As Kamoshida was dragged out of the auditorium, Yukiko felt a chill go down her spine as she heard Kamoshida’s last words before being dragged out.

“Please… oh, God, somebody, PLEASE CALL THE POLICE! PLEASE!”

And even after the doors slammed shut, Kamoshida’s sobs echoed throughout the building. As discord overtook the auditorium, the wails of regret would haunt the school for a long time.


May 2nd, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Auditorium – 8:32 AM

After chaos in the auditorium finally dissipated, Yukiko and her friends were standing by the entrance to the auditorium. After a moment of silence, Chie was the first to speak.

“Was… was this really the right choice…?”

Ryuji, Ann and Yukiko turned to their brunette friend, who shook her head as she continued. “I know how horrible Kamoshida was, but even then… we’re effectively leaving somebody else with the guilt of a crime they didn’t commit.”

“Huh? What do you mean, Chie?” Yukiko inquired. “Sorry, I’m a bit confused.”

“It’s just… Kamoshida seemed so different.” Chie shook her head. “He’s now a good person, isn’t he? We’re effectively giving a man who didn’t do anything the blame of the crime while the actual criminal walks free… if that makes sense, I mean.”

And the more the group thought about it, the more it did make sense. Yukiko sighed heavily upon realizing that this Kamoshida was bearing the guilt of his predecessor, and the fact that a man who now had a good heart had to bear with these crimes was a haunting thought. They’d almost be lost in this reminiscence had not a familiar voice broke them out of it.

“Um… hi, guys.”

Indeed, all four teenagers turned to Mishima, who shook his head. Ryuji smiled at their new friend.

“Oh, hey, Mishima-kun!” Ryuji smiled, before sighing sadly. “You… you saw all that, right?”

“Yeah, I did.” Mishima shook his head. “I came to inform you guys that in light of Kamoshida’s crimes, they’re lifting your expulsions, as with mine.”

“Wait… really?!” Chie’s eyes sparked, before high fiving Ryuji. “Yes! We did it, guys! We’re not being expelled!”

“Well… that’s all I wanted to tell you guys.” Mishima smiled at the group’s apparent joy. “Well, other than the fact that, um…”

All four teenagers turned to Mishima, who looked ready to say something. Instead, he coughed a bit and shook his head. “…nevermind. Anyway, get back to classes. You don’t want to be caught here, do you?”

And just like that, the quiet, blue-haired boy left. Ann pursed her lips and smiled.

“Well, we can discuss more after school’s over,” Ann nodded. “Let’s go back.”

And indeed, they did. Only they had mixed feelings in their hearts; they were overjoyed that they weren’t being expelled, but at the same time, a few members of the group felt sorry for Kamoshida.

Maybe only a little pity, anyhow.


(Music Playing – Break it Down (Elp Version) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCtsyCsGV_M)

May 2nd, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Front Entrance – 12:19 AM

Indeed, classes ended early due to the arrival of the police. Much to the group’s relief, Kamoshida turned himself in while the police continued to investigate the school’s denizens for evidence to supply their case. For the first time in what seemed like ages, they finally felt safe within this school.

“Man, today has been interesting…” Ryuji sighed, the three girls nodding in agreement. “School’s been cancelled due to the police investigation. It’s kinda hard to imagine this is all over…”

“Couldn’t agree more, honestly.” Chie nodded solemnly. “But honestly, I can’t help but feel a bit of pity for Kamoshida… he’s a new man bearing the guilt of the old man’s crimes. It’s kinda hard to feel great about all this.”

“I don’t.”

Yukiko, Chie and Ryuji we’re very surprised to see Ann respond in such a fashion, her face visibly darkened. “If anything, this is a far better fate for a man who molested my best friend. I said it once, I’ll say it again: there’s some worse fates than death.”

Everyone was stunned into silence.

“Holy shit,” Ryuji whistled. “Girls, remind me to never piss of Ann on a bad day, alright?”

Indeed, the two girls continued to converse, oblivious to a short, blue-haired man approaching the group.

(Music Playing – Erosion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_24qGyzaxU)

“Eh?” Chie turned to the short man, who quickly flashed a badge.

“Naoto Shirogane, Tokyo Police Department.” The boy nodded. “I believe I have a few questions for you… and especially you.”

Yukiko blinked at the short boy turned to her. “M-Me?!”

“Yes. I believe we met on the 15th, didn’t we?” The boy smiled. “I have a few questions for you that I didn’t get to ask.”

Seriously? What’s his problem? Yukiko put her thoughts aside before nodding. “Um… okay. What do you want to ask?”

“The first question is directed to all of you,” Naoto began. “For one, do you possess any awareness of Kamoshida’s sexual predation? If so, for how long?”

“I’ve only just got here,” Yukiko nodded. “But from what I’m hearing, it goes back a while.”

“Same here.” Chie nodded with her friend.

“I’ve been in the know of his perverted ass only recently,” Ryuji crossed his arms, nodding his head as well. “But I know he’s treated the track team like shit for a long while.”

“He raped my best friend and countless other girls,” Ann sighed grimly. “I’d know about this pretty well.”

“Hm… I see.” Naoto nodded. “Then were you threatened with silence or threatened in any way because of Kamoshida?”

Yukiko answered that question. “He threatened me, Chie, Ryuji and Yuki Mishima with expulsion. Ann was being forced into sexual relations for Shiho’s spot on the volleyball team.”

“Hmm…” Naoto didn’t seem satisfied just yet. “Alright then, one last question. Are you Yukiko Amagi?”

“Um… yes?”

“Then let me ask you this: there have been rumors going about that Kamoshida was coerced into admitting his crimes by an external party, going by “the Phantom Thieves.” Whether or not you think they exist is irrelevant, but presuming they do exist, what is your opinion on them?”

Yukiko felt her stomach tighten in a knot upon hearing that. Gulping a bit, she sighed to herself. “Um… well, if they did exist, then I think they did the right thing. People who are willing to break the law to help others are necessary in the face of tyranny.”

“Hrmn.” Naoto crossed his arms, before adjusting his cap. “I see.”

Immediately giving a courteous smile, he bowed before standing upright once more. “Thank you for your questions. That’ll be all for now.”

(Music Stops)

And just like that, the strange boy left. Ryuji looked even more confused than before.

“Shit, is he seriously on the police force?!” Ryuji muttered. “He looks younger than me!”

“Well… I think we earned ourselves a well-deserved break.”

“Huh? Break?”

Almost as if to answer Ryuji’s question, Yukiko smiled mischievously. “You remember that medallion we’ve got from the Palace? Maybe we can sell it for a nice meal!”

(Music – My Homie – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CORowSvp-k)

“Food? You serious?” Chie was always game for that. “Ooh, is it steak?!”

“Well, if you like veal, of course.” Yukiko smiled gleefully. “I was actually considering we go to an Italian place. I was considering a buffet, but, well… maybe something foreign!”

Everyone blinked a bit upon hearing that. With all that’s been happening, did they even have time to enjoy life as it was?! Regardless, Ryuji and Chie glanced at each other and smiled.

“Actually, you know what? That sounds like a great idea!” Chie smiled happily. “Ohohohoho, I hope they have a ton of meat!”

As Ryuji nodded with his fellow Chariot in complete agreement, Ann scratched her head before pouting. “Aww… and I was hoping we’d get to go to a buffet. Me and Shiho had it on our list for a while.”

Yukiko paused for a moment, scratching her head a bit. Suddenly, she had an imaginary lightbulb go off over her head.

“Hey, I got an idea! You know how the Amagi Inn’s really wealthy, right?” Yukiko smiled. “I’ll ask my parents to see if they can’t pay for the Hotel Buffet for you guys. If we could do that, then why not bring Shiho along for the ride.”

As Ann perked up, Yukiko immediately backpedaled. “Err, uhh… provided that Shiho’s even available, of course.”

“Actually… she’s recovered, and she’s leaving the hospital on the 4th!”

As the group blinked in shock, Ann smiled at the group. “With all the tension that’s been going on… I honestly forgot to tell you that Shiho’s recovering. She’s conscious now, and she’s available for departure in two days!”

“Wait… for real?!” Ryuji smiled. “Dude, that’s great news! I’m happy!”

Ann smiled, before sighing softly. “Well, even with all that’s been happening, I should’ve brought it up to you guys sooner. I apologize; I should’ve gave you guys a morale boost.”

Yukiko smiled. “It’s fine, Ann. What’s important is that Kamoshida’s behind bars. That’s what matters in the end… well, aside from not being expelled.”

As the group laughed with her, Chie raised an eyebrow. “Though you sure you’ll be able to account the costs, Yukiko? A lot of good Italian places are rather expensive.”

“Well, I’ll figure it out.” Yukiko nodded before turning to Ann. “Are you okay with it, though?”

Ann paused, before grinning happily. “Heck yeah, I am! Besides, I’d love to hang out with Shiho. She’s a dear friend, more than anything else.”

“Well then, it’s settled!” Chie pumped her fists in the air. “We’ve got Golden Week to achieve this, so let’s get cracking!”

As the group nodded in agreement, for the first time in ages, there was actual happiness surrounding the group, a scarce feeling since April’s events.


(Music Playing – Erosion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_24qGyzaxU)

May 2nd, 2016 – Aoyama-Itchome, Street – 12:39 AM

“So, no luck I take it?”

As a brown-haired cop roughly a few years older than the short, blue-haired male asked such a question, Naoto Shirogane adjusted his cap once again.

“More of the same, quite honestly,” Naoto shook his head. “Quite frankly, Akechi-senpai, it all seems strange. Like we’re missing an important piece of the puzzle.”

“I dunno, though… that Kamoshida guy seemed pretty repentant if you ask me.” The boy named Akechi shrugged. “You’d think that his guilt would catch up to him eventually.”

Naoto sat on the curb just as Akechi was. “I highly doubt that. Not only does it seem completely out of character for Kamoshida to have remorse when he committed these crimes for almost a decade, but the timing of certain events seems off-putting. Namely, the sending of these “Phantom Thief” cards.”

“Eh, you’d probably consider that a bunch of rubbish,” Akechi smiled. “It’s probably a prank that any of this is happening in the first place.”

As Akechi continued to smile, Naoto drew a card from his coat, a clear lack of dissatisfaction on his face. “I suppose you’re right, but… it all seems too convenient. Whatever this prank meant over “stealing hearts,” it coincides perfectly from when Kamoshida began suffering guilt. I’m aware it could be little more than a coincidence, but even then… something’s off with this picture. I just know it.”

After contemplating for a moment, Naoto stood up. “Alright, we’ve done what we could. Let’s head back to the station, Akechi-senpai.”

“Aww, can’t we just go for a meal, at least?” Akechi grinned. “I’d love to discuss with you, if that’s alright…”

It only took one quick glare to effectively silence the brown-haired detective. Akechi gulped a bit.

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – City Ambience –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElU8g7xi6ws )

May 4th, 2016 – Shibuya Station – 1:19 PM

“Please, I urge you to listen closely!”

As Yukiko and a mass of bystanders passed by, the black-haired inn heiress glanced at a man of below-average height – but above average width – passionately orating with a sash around his body.

“We’re living in a time where apathy is widespread!” The chubby man continue. “We cannot allow our youth to become complacent to a system that cares little for the common person! We all need to rise up together, a pave the way to our brighter future!”

Yukiko cocked an eyebrow, and gave a small smile as she felt herself entranced by the pudgy man’s speech. Whoever this person was, he was really good at speeches. But alas, she wasn’t mesmerized enough to listen to whispers around her, some of them turning her smile into a frown.

“Jeez, No-Good Tora’s still continuing his long-ass sermons? Who listens to him anyway?”

“Wait, ‘No-Good Tora’? What’s that?”

“He’s basically a washed-out politician still clinging to whatever little glory he had left. Let’s just go.”

Yukiko’s expression soured a bit. Seriously, this man genuinely and honestly cares about what he says, and the least people do is push him off?! In a time and era where complacency is rampant, it really makes Yukiko sick to her stomach to think that people have all these opportunities to voice themselves, and shoot down every single one.

*bzzt-bzzt-bzzt*

(Music Playing – Alright (Elp Version) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDKVkpggpIs )

“Hm?” Yukiko turned to her smartphone before smiling.

steak trash: yo yuki, how’s finding a buyer going?

Yukiko Amagi: I haven’t gotten to Untouchable yet, Chie.

Yukiko Amagi: But I am going, yes.

Ry-yee-ji: oh hey, yukiko

DanishWeeaboo: hi! d=(´▽`)=b

Yukiko Amagi: Hi!

Yukiko Amagi: Today’s the day Shiho’s supposed to be released from the hospital, right?

Yukiko Amagi: How’s she coming along?

DanishWeeaboo: oh, great! im with shiho right now, tho we gotta do some final checkups, because yknow…

DanishWeeaboo: unprotected intercourse and STD check-ups

Ry-yee-ji: …man, seriously, fuck Kamoshida

Ry-yee-ji: im sad that hes now a good person bearing his past self’s crimes, but fuck, i wouldnt have it any other way

steak trash: totally

steak trash: ughhh, just thinking about what he did makes me want to kick somebody

Yukiko Amagi: Please don’t, Chie.

Yukiko Amagi: But yeah, I’m aware Shiho’s doing fine physically, but, umm… how’s she doing mentally?

DanishWeeaboo: oh.

DanishWeeaboo: well, she’s putting on a brave face and all, but… god

DanishWeeaboo: she’s been traumatized, to say the least

DanishWeeaboo: from what ive picked up from shiho, the whole process was mortifying, to say the least

Ry-yee-ji: christ and kami above

Ry-yee-ji: i’m really sorry, ann

DanishWeeaboo: it wasn’t your fault.

DanishWeeaboo: actually… i need to ask you guys something.

Yukiko Amagi: Anything, Ann.

steak trash: ^

DanishWeeaboo: Don’t… don’t mention anything about Kamoshida to Shiho.

DanishWeeaboo: When you see her tomorrow, she may look happy, but… Christ.

DanishWeeaboo: She’s really been destroyed by this.

Ry-yee-ji: ill take your word for it.

Ry-yee-ji: …holy fuck, this got dark

DanishWeeaboo: yeah, agreed. we should probs change the subject, hehe

DanishWeeaboo: yukiko, how’re you?

Yukiko Amagi: Good, good. Going to Untouchable now. Planning to sell the medallion.

DanishWeeaboo: oh… i see. ( ^_^)/

DanishWeeaboo: um

DanishWeeaboo: i… need some time alone.

DanishWeeaboo: guys, im really sorry i killed the mood like that

Yukiko Amagi: Don’t be. What’s important is that Shiho’s safe. That’s all that matters to me.

Ry-yee-ji: totally agree there, hehe

Ry-yee-ji: i mean, we kicked shadow kamoshithead’s ass and took the crown AND looked like an absolute badass doing so!

Ry-yee-ji: so chin up. youre giving yourself too little credit

steak trash: what ryuji said

steak trash: you can always count on us, ann

DanishWeeaboo: everyone… thank you

DanishWeeaboo: srsly, fuck, im crying right now

Yukiko Amagi: I honestly have my doubts we’ll ever go into the Metaverse for whatever reason, but take it from us, Ann.

Yukiko Amagi: Friends stick up for each other. ヾ(^ิ∀^ิ)

DanishWeeaboo: thanks, guys

Yukiko Amagi: …well, anyway, I gotta sell this medallion. Seeya guys.

steak trash: adios, hermano

Yukiko Amagi: …hermanA.

Ry-yee-ji: …fuck

steak trash: here lies senor ryuji sakamoto

steak trash: he died failing spanish for all eternity

DanishWeeaboo: …you should stick to japanese, ryuji

Ry-yee-ji: OH SHUT UP, VIKING GIRL

DanishWeeaboo:

DanishWeeaboo: OH NO YOU DID NOT CALL ME THAT YOU DELINQUENT FUCK

Ry-yee-ji: YOU MIGHT AS WELL GET A HORNED HELMET, YOU PASTRY

DanishWeeaboo is typing…

Yukiko vowed that the mountain of obscenities that followed would never be repeated, for they were too vulgar for public viewing.


(Music Playing – City Ambience –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElU8g7xi6ws )

May 4th, 2016 – Outside of Untouchable – 1:32 PM

“Wow… that was strange…”

Yukiko shook her head as she held two things: 30,000 Yen from selling the medallion, and a bag containing… something that she was lent by Iwai. She had no idea what was in that bag, but Iwai merely gave her the bag, saying “when the time is right, come over to my place and open it.”

Regardless, whatever he meant by that, the important thing was she now has money with her. All that remained from this point onwards was to ask her parents for confirmation to go to the Italian place… simply put, Yukiko hoped things would all fall into place.

Regardless, she simply stepped out into the streets of Shibuya, completely lost in her own thoughts. It wasn’t until she bumped into a man who was taller than her.

“Ow!”

“H-Huh…?!” Yukiko spun over to see a man kneeling on the sidewalk. Not one to ignore the person’s plight, she immediately offered a hand.

“Hey… you okay?” Yukiko fumbled her words. “S-Sorry, I didn’t pay attention to where I was going.”

The brown-haired boy smiled at Yukiko, before taking her hand. With it, he finally got to stand up on his own two feet. Thankfully, the boy didn’t seem all that bothered by it all.

“Don’t worry; it’s fine. Not your fault anyway!” The boy smiled happily. “I should’ve paid attention to where I was going myself. Sorry about that.”

“H-Huh?” Yukiko turned red. “N-No, it’s not your fault! I’m the one who should’ve looked both ways before – “

“I said it’s fine,” The boy laughed. “So, who’re you? Not often you see a cute girl wandering about around an airsoft store.”

Yukiko nearly froze up. Her? Cute?! Either this boy was jesting or he really was flirting with her. Fidgeting a bit, she bit her lip and wrung her hands, trying to devise a response for this peculiar boy. Regardless, she swallowed her words and spoke.

“U-Um…” Yukiko began. “M-My name’s Yukiko Amagi. I’m from Yasoinaba, and I’m here in Tokyo on probation.”

“Wait… probation?” The boy cocked an eyebrow. “Why are you here? You don’t look like a delinquent?”

Not the first time I heard that observation, Yukiko snarked in her head.

“Well, um… nevermind!” The boy proudly thumped his fist. “My name’s Goro Akechi. I’m a police detective working at the Tokyo Police Department.”

“Wait, what?! You’re a police detective?!” Yukiko began gawking. Seriously, this boy looked barely older than her!

“Well, I get that a lot,” Goro laughed a bit. “I got to the position I’m in now because of luck and being in the right place at the right time. My partner Naoto is more experienced than me, honestly, and he’s two years my junior!”

Naoto? Wasn’t that the boy who…? Thinking this to herself, she shook off her thought and resumed her conversation.

“N-Nevermind,” Yukiko stuttered. “So, what cases are you working on currently?”

Goro rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. “Well, I’m not certain I should be saying this… but me and Naoto-senpai have been working on the psychotic breakdowns and, as of now, Kamoshida’s crimes. With both events together, we’ve really had our hands full.”

(Music Playing – Suspicion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMyq7-NKF1c)

“I mean, I’m not really all that certain how else to say it, but… uhh…” Goro laughed. “We’ve been dealing with these ideas that the “Phantom Thief” prank that happened on the day of Kamoshida’s change of heart may be linked together.”

Yukiko’s own heart nearly skipped a beat.

“Say, that actually reminds me,” Goro’s expression became more serious. “What’s your opinion on the Thieves? Presuming they’re not just a prank?”

Yukiko fidgeted a bit, before coming up with a response. “Um… if they really do exist, and they’re not just a one-time prank… I think they did the right thing. Kamoshida did some nasty things.”

“Yeah, Kamoshida’s crimes are probably circulating all over your school,” Goro mused. “It really is nasty, when you break it down.”

A brief silence followed, before Goro smiled again. “Hey, thanks for your input. It’s really nice to be able to hear this from an expert speaker.”

“H-Huh?” Yukiko’s cheeks burned once more. “O-Oh, no problem. None at all. Um… thanks.”

“Hey, no problem!” Goro grinned happily. “So, is it okay if we hang out sometime?”

“Wh-What?!”

“Don’t get embarrassed on me,” Goro smiled cheekily. “I just want to know you better. You seem like a really nice girl! Err, it’s it okay, of course?”

“N-No, no problem at all,” Yukiko flustered, before smiling. “It’s just, um… I have a few issues talking to guys. I’m more comfortable with girls; I’ve only met one guy so far I’m okay with.”

“Is that right?” Goro smiled. “Well, fair enough. I respect your distance.”

“W-Wait! No, it’s okay,” Yukiko smiled, extending her hand. “I’m just a little off-put by your honesty is all. Forgive me.”

“I, um…” Yukiko smiled. “I want to know you a bit better, Goro. If, uh, that’s okay, of course.”

“Yukiko…” Goro smiled, taking his friend’s hand. “…thanks. That’s nice to hear from you.”

Yukiko smiled a bit more. Akechi seemed like a real sweetheart, and she honestly felt a little happy with the opportunity to meet him. She just hopes that his involvement in the police won’t come back to bite her on the behind…


(Music – Interrogation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ6Z2PGoN8g)

???-???-???

“There isn’t any doubt in my mind you had a celebrity in your group of confidants,” Sae leered at the drugged Yukiko. “It’s hardly a coincidence that he wasn’t available for investigating the Casino heist when we needed him.”

Sae slammed her hands on the table.

“What do you know about Goro Akechi?!”


(Music – The Spirit – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlFVJNOm4yc)

I am thou, thou art I…

Thou hast acquired a new vow…

It shall become the wings of rebellion

that breaketh thy chains of captivity,

With the birth of the Adjustment Persona,

I have obtained the winds of blessing that

shall lead to freedom and new power…

ADJUSTMENT RANK UP! RANK 1

(Music Playing – Suspicion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMyq7-NKF1c)

“W-Well, anyway…” Goro smiled, flustered a bit. “I gotta go; I barely have any free time left.”

“Don’t worry, I understand.” Yukiko nodded. “Well, see you around, Goro!”

And just like that, the two did part. Meanwhile, Yukiko was definitely prepared for tomorrow’s celebration, all coupled by curiosity with what was in the paper bag Iwai gave her…

Chapter Text

(Music – Life Goes On– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJ5Ywwt1DUg)

May 5th, 2016 – Shibuya Station – 11:19 AM

“Well… look what the cat dragged in!”

Ann smiled joyous as she hung around with Shiho and Ryuji, and for good reason: Yukiko and Chie was in view, meeting right by the Shibuya Station, more than ready to begin their fine dining.

“I take offense to that, Lady Ann…” Morgana mewled from Yukiko’s backpack.

“U-Um… hey guys,” Shiho forced a smiled; despite her trembling, she was doing her best to look happy. “How’re you, Yukiko? Y-You too, Chie?”

“Shiho!” Chie smiled happily. “Super happy to see you recovered!”

“Couldn’t agree more with Chie there,” Yukiko nodded. “It’s really nice to see you’re doing better, Shiho.”

“Th-Thanks, guys,” Shiho breathed in, before nodding. “Th-The doctor said everything was fine, s-so… I think I should be okay.”

“You think? C’mon Shiho, you’re gonna be great!” Ann smiled at her friend, before turning to Yukiko. “Hey Yukiko-chan, you got money for our excursion?”

Yukiko cracked an unsubtle grin before wrestling in her back. She then proudly displayed a whopping 50,000 Yen, more than enough to have the party glance in shock.

“H-Holy crap…” Ryuji gawked. “Fifty thousand Yen?!”

“Yep! Ta-daaaah!” Yukiko laughed. “It took some convincing, but I used the excuse that we were going to a dinner to help celebrate Shiho’s recovery. 30,000 Yen for the Buffet, 20,000 Yen for the Italian restaurant!”

“Yes!” Shiho looked excited, an unusual reaction from the subdued girl. “Ann, isn’t this amazing?! We get to go to the buffet, just us!”

“I know, right? It’s really great, heehee.” Ann winked. “Besides, there’s nobody I want to spend it with other than my best friend!”

Shiho blushed a bit on instinct, before nodding. “Y-Yeah, same. I feel the same.”

Silence fell on the group. Ann was the first to notice that Shiho was deep in thought, and the half-Danish teen cocked her eyebrow.

“Shiho… is something wrong?” Ann inquired, more than a bit worry. “You’re… not usually this quiet.”

“Hm? Oh, um…” Shiho huffed. “I… want to discuss with you when I get the opportunity. Alone. I-I mean, that’s okay… right?”

“Shiho…” Ann frowned for a moment, before sighing. “Alright, I understand. I’ll be happy to discuss with you with whatever you may need.”

“Ann…” Shiho smiled weakly. “Thank you. That… that makes me happy.”

Ryuji, apparently noticing the dark silence of the group, immediately attempted to lift everyone’s spirits. “Well, c’mon guys! We got some good grub to eat!”

“Yeah, what Ryuji said! Ooh, I’m super hyped for veal!” Chie pumped her fists in the air. “Let’s go get some chow!”

As the rest of the group cheered in unison, both groups split up to go to their restaurants of choice.


(Music – Alright – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-7ZqRYyw6U)

May 5th, 2016 – Grand Hotel, Buffet – 1:23 PM

“Ooh… this part has cream cheese!”

Ann had a mountain of sweets in front of her, and she was more than enjoying her cake. Shiho – who sat next to her – had a much smaller amount of food gathered from the local tables. Not like she had much choice; with all the upper-class snobs around, she became the subject of a lot of nasty rumors, some openly question why a “commoner” was here of all places. The other part of the reason was simply because she didn’t have the same metabolism as her friend.

Regardless, Shiho giggled as Ann sighed happily from the finished cheese cake. “Ahhh… it’s like I died and went to sugar heaven…!”

Shiho simply giggled loudly. Despite her slim body, she knew more than anyone how voracious an appetite Ann had. “Jeez, you finished all those sweets in record time! I envy your metabolism, Ann…”

“You won’t believe how often I hear that, Shiho,” Ann giggled softly. “Just from my co-workers in modeling alone I’ve gained quite a lot of envy. Still, it’s worth it: I get to enjoy all the sweets in the world!”

Shiho had to reign in her laugh as Ann began gobbling down food. She was charming when she did that, but her voracious appetite belied her big heart. Times like these made Ann such a dear friend to Shiho, and she wouldn’t trade the opportunity to have met her for anything else in the world.

It almost made her wish for something more.

“Um… Ann.” Shiho sighed bitterly, her eyes drooping down.

Ann chewed on her crepe before swallowing it. “…yeah? What’s up, Shiho?”

“Um… well, I, uh…” Shiho wanted to say it, but she didn’t know if she had the courage to… but then she remembered this was Ann she was worried about, and she’s one the least judgmental people she’s ever met. Taking in a deep breath, she spoke her two piece.

“Um…” Shiho mumbled. “I… want to thank you for treating me so nice. You were really there for me the entire way through. Even when… when…”

(Music – Sunset Bridge – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccn1MtGMLBU)

Shiho bit hard enough on her lip that she tasted iron. Tears began swelling in her eyes as memories came back. “…y-you know.”

“Shiho…” Ann looked down and sighed. Shiho’s recent happiness almost made Ann forget that Shiho was suffering. The girl’s been brutalized by all that’s happened recently, especially after being molested by Kamoshida. Though she seems happy now, the days she remembered how Shiho acted immediately after her rape… it was very clear they destroyed her. Things were never going to be the same for her.

“I-It’s just unfair, Ann,” Shiho choked on her sobs as she wrung her hands. “Y-You’re so brave and kind, but it’s unfair that you have to watch over me like I’m a baby. I just want to be able to protect you – somehow – and feel like I can stand on my own two feet.”

Ann bit her lip and sighed. “Shiho… you know that isn’t true. You’re really one of the strongest people I’ve ever-“

“But don’t you even get it, Ann?!” Shiho cried. “Here you are, doing something behind the scenes taking down Kamoshida and possibly risking your life while I couldn’t even do anything other than wallow to myself! Kamoshida couldn’t be taken down normally, and you did all that you could to change everything while I was useless!”

As heads turned to the commotion, Ann tried to comfort Shiho. “Again Shiho, you know that isn’t true. And besides, if anything happened to you, I wouldn’t know what I’d be able to – “

“’What I’d be able to do?!’ Don’t you even get it?!” Shiho stood up, her face wet with tears and her emotions fully overtaking her. “Do you even having the slightest clue over how much I LOVE YOU?!”

Silence went on for a few moments. A long silence, finally broken by what Ann had to say.

The blonde-haired teen’s jaw dropped. “Wait… love?”

Shiho immediately realized she made a mistake, and took a few steps back in shock. Her tears only got worse and worse, and the young girl would say something to Ann that would send shudders down her spine.

“I’m sorry.”

And just like that, she ran away, as fast as her own two legs could carry her.

“W-Wait just a…” Ann stood up as Shiho ran away sobbing. “SHIHO, WAIT! WAIT, SHIHO!”

And she ran as fast as she could to catch up to her crying friend.


May 5th, 2016 – Grand Hotel, Near Restrooms – 1:31 PM

“N-No!” Shiho screamed to herself as she ran as far away as possible. “Stupid, stupid, stupid! You CAN’T just say stuff like that to you best friend and expect them to understand! SHIHO, YOU’RE SUCH A FREAKING-“

“Wait!”

Shiho glanced back as Ann ran up to her girlfriend. Luckily, nobody was present down the hallway, but Shiho was nonetheless taking as much distance as she could from Ann.

“Shiho, what’s wrong with you?!” Ann cried. “You can’t just say you love me and run off like that!”

“B-But…” Shiho choked a bit on her own sobs. “I-It wasn’t right! I shouldn’t have told you that up-front!”

“But you shouldn’t just run away from me when you say that!” Ann stomped her foot. “Seriously, did you even realize what I might say?!”

“Of course I did!” Shiho screamed, tears coating her eyes and cheeks. “How else would I be able to understand that I’m a fucking IDIOT for being in love with my best friend when you don’t say it upfront! It isn’t right for me to blurt out my own feelings like that when you don’t, I dunno, fucking reciprocate them?!”

“Shiho, please,” Ann tried to reason. “You know that isn’t true at a-“

“Not true?! LOOK AT ME! I’M A MESS!” Shiho screamed, choking on her own sobs. “I WAS RAPED BY KAMOSHIDA, FELL INTO A COMA WHILE YOU DID GOD-KNOWS-WHAT TO HELP SAVE ME AND EVERYONE ELSE FROM OUR FATE, AND THEN I JUST BLURT OUT OF THE MIDDLE OF FUCKING NOWHERE THAT A LOSER LIKE ME IS IN LOVE?! WHY WON’T YOU JUST LEAVE ME BE LIKE THE COMPLETE PIECE OF SHIT I A-“

Ann did the one thing Shiho was not expecting at that very moment.

Ann kissed Shiho.

(Music – Sweet – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcQ92kMQvq4)

In a muffled fashion, Shiho audibly protested her surprised, not just when Ann kissed her, but when she kissed her on the lips. After what happened between her and Kamoshida, Shiho felt she was never again ready to be touched in such a fashion ever again for the rest of her life. But this was an exception. This was something she’s always wanted, being with Ann like this with nothing in the world separating her from her best friend, and she found herself melting into Ann’s lips.

It almost seemed like an eternity before they broke free from each other, Shiho gasping for breath as she continued to cry a bit.

“Oh, my God…” Shiho gasped for air. “A-Ann, you just-“

“Of course I did, dummy!” Ann almost seemed offended. “How else was I going to get your attention?! Jeez!”

“W-Wait a moment.” Shiho muttered. “D-Does that mean you actually-“

“OF COURSE IT DOES, OH MY GOD!” Ann visibly cried. “I’ve always loved you, Shiho! Maybe just as a friend at first, but I still loved you! And even after I’ve began developing feelings for you, it was still love! You’re the one person I want in my life, and everyone else can go to hell!”

An awkward silence proceeded, before Ann let go, blushing like a maniac. “S-Sorry. I… I kinda went too far there.”

Shiho was currently beet red all the while. “N-No, it’s fine. I… I was acting irrational. You made me realize that.”

Another awkward silence proceeded for a while, before Ann glanced back at the dining hall, and back to Shiho. “Hey, Shiho…”

Shiho turned beet red. “Y-Yeah?”

“Can we go back to the dining hall?” Ann suddenly burned even brighter. “And… can you be my girlfriend?”

Suddenly, butterflies that have not appeared in ages surfaced in Shiho’s stomach. She smiled at her best friend – teary eyed all the while – before nodding softly.

“Y-Yes.” Shiho giggled softly. “That… that would actually be nice.”

And just like that, Ann squeezed Shiho’s hand and went back to their table.


May 5th, 2016 – La Notte Brillante, Table – 1:34 PM

“Holy crap, this pasta’s amazing!”

Indeed, it was quite a wonder what good pasta can buy. Chie was happily conversing with Yukiko, all while Ryuji continued eating mountains of pasta. The restaurant was indeed five stars, and Yukiko was so taken by the atmosphere that she almost didn’t notice her phone going on.

*bzzt-bzzt-bzzt*

“Oh, sorry Chie,” Yukiko nodded. “I’ll go get that.”

And indeed, she would flip her phone open to see a text from Ann.

DanishWeeaboo: i think im gay, yukiko

DanishWeeaboo: really gay

Chapter Text

(Music – Alright –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-7ZqRYyw6U)

May 5th, 2016 – La Notte Brillante, Table – 1:52 PM

“Oh, my Gooooooooooood… so good!”

Chie happily stuffed the pasta in her mouth piece by piece. It appears she got used to using forks; twirling around a massive mound of noodles and vodka sauce, she happily took a giant bite out of it. She sighed happily, almost as if she was in heaven.

“Ahhhh… delicious!” Chie exclaimed happily, much to the amusement of Yukiko, Ryuji and Morgana. “Oh, you totally made the right choice going here, Yukiko! I wouldn’t have chosen it better myself!”

“Thanks, Chie.” Yukiko giggled with stars in her eyes, forking a piece of antipasto. “I’ve always had a soft spot for Italian food, honestly. Really helps that me and my family’s fortunate, so we could always go to places like this!”

“Urgh, jeez… you’re lucky as heck, Yukiko-chan.” Ryuji gave a teasing smile, but one that hinted at envy. “I mean, if only my folks could afford a place like this.”

“…by the way, two things,” Suddenly, the bleached-haired delinquent cocked an eyebrow. “One, how did you manage to convince your folk to pay for this place?”

Yukiko simply smiled. “I’ll admit when I say I lied a little. I knew they wouldn’t buy us this amazing meal if I told them we were going here for pleasure, so I decided to tell Shiho’s sob story – including how she loved Italian food and how we wanted to help her out.”

“Whoa… seriously?!” Morgana popped up from Yukiko’s bag. “Jeez, you can be quite the devil sometimes, Yukiko…”

“Mhmm… she’s a chaotic one, for certain.” Chie simply shook her head, both our of amusement and endearment. “I mean, heck, I’d never do any of that sort of rebellious stuff even if it was for a good reason…”

Chie paused for a moment. “Well… most of the time.”

Yukiko bit her lip in response. She had to admit that as dangerous as her work as a Phantom Thief was… she still had a ton of fun with it, and it felt good knowing you were making a difference in some shape or form. It’s even more embittering to the adolescent when she remembered that this’ll be likely the last exciting thing to come from her probation, aside from making friends, having fun and being a teenager.

It kinda filled her with some bitterness, in all honesty.

Ryuji broke the silence, all with a small smile. “Hey, we still busted mophead for his assholishness! Can’t say ya can’t be proud of that.”

“Yeah, true. I really think we’ve done the world a service there,” Yukiko smiled, then raised an eyebrow. “…by the way, Ryuji-kun. What was that second question?”

“Huh?” Ryuji bolted up for a moment. “Um… well, you were busy texting for a moment, and you’ve also turned pretty beet red. Wassup with that?”

And almost as if on cue, Yukiko’s blushed as red as her dress. “W-Well, uh… umm…”

Yukiko, not usually one to be caught off-guard by this sort of stuff, simply coughed a bit. “Apparently, Ann told me that she and Shiho are, well… together.”

“To… gether?” Ryuji mused on this, before his eyes shot wide. “HOLY EFFING SHIT, DID THEY GET TOGETHER-TOGETHER?!”

“WHAT?!” Chie suddenly turned beet red. “Ann and Shiho are…?!”

“Apparently so,” Yukiko shook her head in amusement, before showing the party the text message.

DanishWeeaboo: i think im gay, yukiko

DanishWeeaboo: really gay

Yukiko Amagi: ?

Yukiko Amagi: Oh, do you mean happy? I know what that feels like! We DID beat Kamoshida, after all.

DanishWeeaboo: um

DanishWeeaboo: other kind of gay, yukiko

Yukiko Amagi:

Yukiko Amagi: …oh, my God.

Yukiko Amagi: Does that mean you and Shiho are…

DanishWeeaboo: y-yep (〃・ω・〃)

Yukiko Amagi: I… holy crap.

Yukiko Amagi: Congratulations!

Yukiko Amagi: But I’m confused. I thought the two of you were just friends…

DanishWeeaboo: um, its a little bit more complicated than THAT

DanishWeeaboo: shiho always loved-loved me in the sense that she’s in love with me

DanishWeeaboo: i personally loved her as a friend, but it was still love

DanishWeeaboo: but, well… i guess that was because i never thought SHE would reciprocate FFS

DanishWeeaboo: im still so happy though! ♥(ノ´∀`)

Yukiko Amagi: Aww.

Yukiko Amagi: I’m so happy to hear that!

Yukiko Amagi: Want me to break it to the team?

DanishWeeaboo: err, you can if you want too

DanishWeeaboo: its just that i dont mind you sharing it to the team, just dont go “HEY WORLD, A DANISH-JAPANESE GIRL AND SHY CUTIE ARE IN LOVE”

Yukiko Amagi: Heehee. Don’t worry, I won’t.

Yukiko Amagi: Still, I’m so happy for you guys! Glad to see you two are now a couple.

DanishWeeaboo: thanks!!

DanishWeeaboo: anyway, sorry to cut this short, apparently shiho wants to make out w I t uonaowrh

DanishWeeaboo is now offline

Yukiko Amagi: Huh? Ann? Why are you offline?

Yukiko Amagi: Hello?

Yukiko Amagi: Hello?

Yukiko Amagi: You there?

Yukiko Amagi: …eh.

Meanwhile, as Chie and Ryuji looked on in red-faced embarrassment at that last context, Morgana simply whimpered.

“L-Lady Ann…” Morgana felt tears build up in his eyes. “…is taken?!”

(Music Stops)

As Morgana pouted loudly, Yukiko simply scratched the cat’s ear. Yukiko, understanding that Morgana had a crush on Ann for quite some time, sighed.

“Hey, don’t worry, Morgana,” Yukiko smiled. “She still loves you – we all do. Maybe not as a couple, but it’s still love.”

Morgana sighed to himself. He shook his head, looking ready to cry. Apparently, whatever attempt at comfort Yukiko wanted to do didn’t work.

“I…” Morgana shook his head, tears still in his eyes. “P-Please excuse me, Yukiko. I… I need to be alone.”

And what could’ve been an opportunity to walk off quietly, Morgana simply bolted off as fast as a cat would.

(Music – Alleycat –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSp1EOSznkM)

“Huh?! What the…” Chie glanced over to the dashing cat, then stood up. “Wait, Morgana! C’mon, Yukiko!”

As Ryuji and Chie chased after the distress cat, Yukiko looked on in shock. Regardless, she shook her head and ran after Morgana.


May 5th, 2016 – La Notte Brillante, Entrance – 2:03 PM

Morgana honestly felt conflicted about this.

The overwhelming goodness in his made him want to say, “I’m so happy for you, Lady Ann,” or “Please be happy, Shiho,” but he just couldn’t, no matter how hard he tried. He was who he was completely out of circumstances outside of his control, and he absolutely hated it so much.

He was a human, right? That had to be it. He couldn’t be anything else, no matter what he may think.

“Morgana, wait!”

Yukiko, Ryuji and Chie stepped outside to see Morgana looking extremely depressed, buds of tears in his eyes. The black-haired inn maiden simply shook her head.

“Morgana, you can’t just run off like that!” Yukiko cried. “You had us worried there for a moment! What’s wrong?!”

Morgana simply sat there. And then he did one thing nobody expected him to do.

He began crying. Hard.

To anyone else passing on the streets, it would be an agonized cat howling in pain. But Yukiko heard every child-like hiccup of tears coming from the would-be boy, and it completely broke her heart. She almost didn’t have the courage to further ask what was wrong, but from Morgana’s uncontrollable sobbing, he apparently got his answer.

“It’s just that…” Morgana sobbed. “I-I’m a human, right? I-I mean, I just… I have to be. It’s not even that I’m jealous that… th-that a crush I had on a girl I like deflated like that, it’s just… I want to be human like you guys!”

Ryuji was at a complete loss of words. “But… Morgana, you can still talk, right? You’re still one of us, no matter how you-“

“Oh no, don’t YOU start!” Morgana cried loudly. “Imagine one day you lost ALL of your freaking memories and had to deal with being this… this thing the next! Your life as a human COMPLETELY GONE! You can’t talk to any other people because all they hear is mewling from a goddamned cat, AND that I never had a chance with a girl I really liked solely because of THESE CIRCUMSTANCES OUT OF MY CONTROL?!”

Morgana tried his best to look angry, but couldn’t. He simply slumped and began crying so more.

“I just… I just wish I was human again. That’s all I want.” Morgana choked on his own tears. “It’s not fair losing your previous life and becoming this… thing in the process. I just want to be normal.”

“M-Morgana…” Yukiko looked down and sighed to herself. She was usually very good at responding to this sort of thing, but for the first time ever… she genuinely didn’t know what to say. Well, except one thing anyway, but she seriously doubt she could think of it herself.

Simply walking over and crouching without thinking, he simply stroked Morgana’s head and smiled at the cat.

(Music Stops)

“Morgana…” Yukiko smiled. “I want to make you a promise.”

“H-Huh?” Morgana smiled. “W-What’s that…?”

Yukiko took a deep breath before speaking her answer.

“We’ll turn you into a human. We promise.”

(Music – Sunset Bridge – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccn1MtGMLBU)

“W-What…?” Morgana whispered. “Y-Yukiko, you really don’t have to. W-When you break it down, I’m just throwing a temper tantrum because I’ve never had a chance with Lady Ann and – “

“You’re kidding, right?” Yukiko smiled. “You said so yourself that it was more than that! That you’ve always wanted to be a human being and always wanted to live life like a normal human being. I’ll admit that I completely understand what you feel like. Truth be told, I feel like I was born into circumstances outside of my control.”

“But… I believe if we try hard enough, we can break outside of those circumstances that bind us into place. We as humans have the potential to do great things, and you’re no exception.” Yukiko said all of this with a warm smile. “Which is why I want to help you become a human, Morgana.”

Yukiko nodded to herself. “Even if it means going back to the Metaverse.”

Chie and Ryuji almost took a step back in shock. “WHAT?!”

“W-Wait, are you serious?!” Morgana cried. “Yukiko, you really don’t have too! I understand how you feel, but risking your life just so I can turn into a human?! C’mon, you know that’s completely ridiculous and – “

“No, I insist.” Yukiko simply gave a whimsical smile. “And besides, I want a little more action in my life.”

Morgana was taken aback by Yukiko’s honesty. He felt tears beginning in his eyes again, but they weren’t out of agony. They were out of happiness. He was that moved by what Yukiko had to say.

“Y-You really mean it…?” Morgana whispered softly. “R-Really…?”

“Absolutely.” Yukiko smiled at Morgana before turning to her friends. “And are you guys going to help me with this? I’ll do this alone if I have to.”

“Yukiko…” Chie paused to herself, before sighing. “Truth be told, it’s scary knowing your life is on the line in the Metaverse… but I feel like I can go anywhere and do anything as long as you’re at my side.”

Chie smiled. “So… yes. Absolutely yes. I want to make Morgana a human too.”

“Y’know what?” Ryuji smiled to himself. “Hell yeah, count me in! Me and Mona don’t usually agree on much, but y’know what? We’ll do this together, no matter what it takes.”

“E-Everyone, I… I…” And just like that, Morgana began crying again. “Waaaaaaaaaaah…!”

“Aww, no tears, Morgana,” Yukiko smiled as she kneeled once more to Morgana’s eye level. “We’re your friends. And friends help each other out.”

Morgana sniffed for a moment, thinking to himself as emotions swept over him like a tidal wave. But he knew she was right. They were his friends, and no matter what circumstances he’s born into or how it begins, they were in this together… he knew that had to be a fact.

“E-Everyone, I…” Morgana simply smiled, still teary-eyed. “Th-Thank you. This… this means so much to me.”

“Of course, Morgana,” Yukiko nodded. “That’s my promise.”

And indeed, a friendship was set in stone like that. A promise that Yukiko vows to do her damndest to fulfill, no matter what it takes.

(Music – The Spirit – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlFVJNOm4yc)

MAGICIAN RANK UP! RANK 3

Magician Fusion Bonus Has Increased!

Morgana’s Confidant Skills Have Improved!

(Music Stops)

“Alright, you better now?” Ryuji smiled at his vitriolic friend. “’Cuz I’d really hate to get cat snot all over me…”

“Wha – shut up, Ryuji!” Morgana pouting was adorable enough to nearly make Yukiko burst into one of her signature laughing fits. Thankfully, she was aware of her phone buzzing for text messages.

*bzzt-bzzt-bzzt*

“Hmm…?” Actually, it wasn’t a text message. It was a phone call.

“H-Huh?” Ryuji cocked an eyebrow. “Wait, is that a phone call?”

“Yep. Hold on.” And just like that, she began listening on the call.

“H-Help! Yukiko, are you there?”

Wait… was that Ann?

(Music – Tension – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bduzOvnvd0)

“H-Huh?” Yukiko whispered to herself. “Ann? Why are you so panicked?”

Ironically for a blonde, Ann was a lot more cool-headed than her bright and bubbly nature would suggest. So it would be all the more potent when she learned why Ann sounded so panicked, and why she was literally screaming into the phone.

And in the traces of Ann’s voice, Yukiko noticed something akin to sobbing.

“It’s Shiho! Some man punched and knocked her out!”

Chapter Text

(Music – Tension – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bduzOvnvd0)

May 5th, 2016 – La Notte Brillante, Table – 1:52 PM

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN SHIHO WAS PUNCHED?!”

Yukiko stared at the phone, completely flabbergasted. Ryuji, Chie and Morgana took a step back in shock, having fully heard that.

“You heard me, damnit!” Despite trying to sound angry, Ann was on the verge of tears. “Hurry up, please! She’s coated in blood! PLEASE…!”

Ann finally broke down in sobs, and just like that, the phone clicked. Yukiko blankly glanced at her phone, still in shock from the freight train of a revelation.

“W-Well what the hell are we waiting for?!” Chie cried out to no one in particular. “Let’s go, guys! Shiho and Ann need us!”

And just like that, Chie bolted off. Ryuji and Morgana glanced at each other, and nodded.

“C’mon Yukiko,” Ryuji muttered grimly. “Looks like our celebration is gonna hafta wait.”

As Ryuji bolted off, Morgana was right behind the blonde delinquent. Yukiko was all too ready to follow the two, but she was stopped by a man’s heavily-accented Japanese.

“Hey! Hold on!”

Yukiko froze in place as a chef – wearing a western outfit with the stereotypical chef’s hat – ran up to the inn maiden. Yukiko blinked rather stupidly.

Aspetta un attimo, signorina!” The chef coughed to himself, realizing he’s lapsed into his native tongue. “U-Um, pardon me, you, uhh… come dici... you forgot to pay!”

“O-Oh!” Yukiko flustered for a moment, immediately reaching for her purse. “I’m terribly sorry, I’ll pay right now! Forgive me for-“

“HEY, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YA DOIN’, YUKIKO?! HURRY THE EFF UP!”

Yukiko glanced over to Ryuji waving comically at their leader. Yukiko took one glance at her purse, back at Ryuji, then shrugged. Without uttering a word, she plopped the purse onto the ground.

“Good thing I keep most of my money under my mattress…” Yukiko muttered to herself, glancing back at a moment to see the chef happily examine the contents of her purse, before rushing back with Ryuji.


May 5th, 2016 – Grand Hotel, Main Entrance – 2:03 PM

“Th-This is the place, right?!”

Chie was nearly out of breath by the time she, Yukiko and the other Thieves’ arrived by the lavish hotel. Taking a deep breath, the tomboy brunette shook her head in shock before sighing to herself.

“I-I swear, it better be…” Ryuji choked a bit on his breath. “Y-You guys gotta know my leg’s a piece of – “

“S-Sir, please calm down! You’re intoxicated! You need to stop acting like a fool in front of – OOF!”

“Shut the fuck up! I don’t pay you to ask questions!”

Yukiko immediately turned to the sound where the pained cry came from. A tall, muscular, bald man with some blood coating on his hands just knocked one of his aide’s silly, the poor man wheezing for air on the ground. The man’s tinted, orange shades immediately glanced over to the inn maiden.

“Wha’ da fuck are you doin’ here?!” The intoxicated man cursed. “Get da fuck outta my sight! Bitches like you should behave while the men are gettin’ drunk!”

“I – excuse me?!” Yukiko’s nostrils flared upon hearing the derogatory remark, her fists balling up on instinct. But deep down, there was something – something – about this man that was familiar about him. Even though Yukiko didn’t remember this drunken bastard, there was something about him that make Yukiko’s subconsciously ball her hands up until her knuckles were white.

“Hey! Wait a minute…” Ryuji, Chie and Morgana caught up with Yukiko, immediately eyeing the blood on the man’s hand. “Is that blood?! DID YOU JUST FUCKING PUNCH SOMEONE?!”

“Eh?! Who gives a shit whether I punched someone or not?!” The man slurred. “The little slut deserved it for being such a dyke!”

“W-What?!” Chie cried. “W-Why would you use that word?!”

“Why wouldn’t I? The fucking dyke was making out with this blonde-haired whore! She needs to learn to be obedient to the men, goddamnit!” The man cursed. “I just taught her a lesson in discipline is all.”

“You little PIECE OF SHIT…!” Ryuji stomped his foot, looking ready to charge. “THAT’S IT! I’M GONNA FUCKIN’ KILL YOU, YOU PIECE-OF-SHIT ADULT!”

As Ryuji nearly lunged forth in rage, Chie and Yukiko both had to restrain their hot-headed friend.

“Calm down, damnit!” Chie cried.

“Ryuji, get a grip!” Yukiko had both of her arms wrapped around Ryuji’s left arm. “This isn’t worth a fight! You need too – “

“You want some trouble with ME, YOU FUCKING PUNK?! FINE!” Shido balled his fists, glancing at Ryuji. “I’LL KNOCK YOUR GODDAMN TEETH OUT!”

And just like that, he charged.

“HERE HE COMES!”

“OH, GOD!”

And just like that, Ryuji began seeing stars.

(Music Playing – City Ambience – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElU8g7xi6ws)

As shocked bystanders gasped upon seeing the collapsed Ryuji coughed out blood, Shido glanced at the new blood on his left hand. Yukiko took notice of this.

Wait… left hand?

That’s what that man held that woman by…

Yukiko had no time to process these thoughts before seeing Shido drunkenly stumble away. She just glanced dumbly at the absence of the bald man, all before Morgana’s voice snapped her out of it.

“RYUJI!”

Yukiko – almost on instinct – rushed over to the blood-caked delinquent, as did Chie and Morgana.

“Oh, my God… R-Ryuji!” Chie said, completely in tears. “Are you okay!? D-Did you – ?!”

“R-Relax, Chie… I-I’m fine…”

Chie gasped upon seeing Ryuji gave a bloody smile – albeit with a few missing teeth.

“G-Gonna take more than that to get me down for the count,” Ryuji half-heartedly laughed. “Though I’m now afraid of Mom chewing the shit outta me for the inevitable dental costs…”

“Y-You…” Chie began sobbing uncontrollably. “Y-You fucking IDIOT…!”

As Yukiko and Morgana sighed in relief, Chie continued sobbing hysterically.

“I-I was s-so worried…” Chie continued wailing. “D-Do you even REALIZE how stupid that was…?! I-I thought you were really hurt…!”

“R-Relax… c-c’mon, Chie…” Ryuji grinned. “Heh, you’re really cute when you cry like that, Chie…”

“Wha – “ Almost on instinct, Chie kicked Ryuji in the stomach, prompting a wordless cry from the delinquent. “DON’T JOKE ABOUT THAT, YOU DUMBASS! I WAS SO SCARED…!”

Yukiko had to almost reign in a laughing fit, but thankfully, she had the willpower to calm down after Ryuji’s misery. The delinquent simply stood up, coughing a bit on his own blood.

“I-I think I’m gonna be alright,” Ryuji nodded. “Just a few – OWWWWW! OKAY, A LOT OF TEETH ARE REALLY LOOSE!”

Yukiko sighed exasperatedly, one mired with her signature giggled. “C-C’mon, Ryuji – snrk – w-we shouldn’t be joking. Let’s check on Ann and Shiho…”

“H-Huh? Oh…” Ryuji nodded dumbfoundedly, following Yukiko as the group trekked onwards. “Y-Yeah, good idea. Sorry ‘bout that.”


(Music – Confession/Secret – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bduzOvnvd0)

May 5th, 2016 – Shibuya, Curb – 5:23 PM

Despite the evidence of the assault being clear as day, it has been announced that the attack was an accident, and the man in question who punched Shiho and Ryuji was let off the hook. Upon hearing the news, Yukiko almost nearly punched a post sign… it was one thing that she was put on probation for trying to save a woman from being raped, but her friends?! It pissed her off so much that she almost wanted to tear somebody’s eyes out.

Regardless, here she was, all six troublemakers sitting on the bench. Shiho has a cloth band damped in red while Ryuji didn’t even bother to patch him up. Ann simply squeezed her newfound girlfriend’s hand upon seeing Shiho eyes’ dampen.

“H-He called me a dyke…” Shiho looked ready to begin sobbing. “I-I wanna go home, Ann… this sucks…”

“S-Shiho, I…” Ann bit her lip as she looked ready to cry herself. “I’m sorry. That’s all I can say. I’m so sorry our first moment as a couple had to be like that…”

Shiho paused for a moment, Yukiko, Chie, Ryuji and Morgana completely silent as she squeezed Ann’s hand right back.

“It’s… it’s not your fault, Ann,” Shiho tried her best to look strong, looking ready to cry. “I-I mean, you did great, I think. I’m still happy we get to spend time together like this…”

“Y-Yeah, same…” Ann sighed. “I’m happy we had fun together.”

“Mhmm…” Suddenly, Shiho looked ready to cry again, merely shaking her head. “C-Can we go home now, Ann? I don’t feel so well…”

Indeed, in the midst of her tears, Shiho’s head injury made her feel woozy and nauseous. Ann sighed as Shiho dazed around, simply grabbing her girlfriend by the hand as she pulled her up.

“I’m… I’m bringing her back to my place, guys…” Ann sighed, fighting back her own tears. “You guys have a good one. G’night.”

And just like that, she went off all on her own. Ryuji simply shook his head, wiping some blood from his slightly-broken mouth.

“I need to go to bed myself,” Ryuji sighed. “Christ, what a douche… he punched Shiho, called her a dyke, and he’s getting away with it?! That just ain’t right…!”

“I…” Chie sighed bitterly. “I was so worried about not being expelled by Kamoshida that I almost forgot there were other people out there like him. It really sucks.”

The group sat for a moment, Yukiko now completely silent. Ryuji broke the tranquility as he stood up.

“Anyway, I gotta go home.” Ryuji sighed. “Seeya tomorrow. God, Mom’ll be pissed when she learns what happened to my teeth…”

And just like that, Ryuji walked off. Chie and Yukiko both stood up, and Chie gave a sad smile to her friend.

“Well, seeya tomorrow, partner,” Chie blinked for a moment, before giving a genuine laugh. “Hah, ‘partner!’ That sounds like something an utter dork would use.”

“Heehee!” Yukiko giggled. “I think so. But I’d like you to use it more.”

“Heh, totally! I mean, who the hell – huh?”

Chie blinked stupidly as Yukiko gave her first genuine smile of the evening.

“I dunno… it’s just… you, maybe?” Yukiko giggle. “I mean, it’s sounds nice when you call me that.”

Chie glanced over at her friend before laughing dumbly. “…you’re weird, you know that?”

“Weirdness is my middle name, Chie.”

“Dummy! Japanese don’t have middle names!” Chie laughed with Yukiko, a good long laugh before silence once again reigned. But almost on instinct, Chie felt herself gripping Yukiko’s hand. Much to her surprise, Yukiko doesn’t seem to mind.

“Can we walk each other home...?” Chie turned a light shade of red. “P-Partner?”

Yukiko would’ve made a crack how cute and gay that was, almost as if she was hitting on her.

As the two girls walked each other home, Yukiko had to remind herself that she didn’t deserve someone as good as Chie.


(Music – Beneath the Mask – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX5Jmfmkgx0)

May 5th, 2016 – Café Leblanc, Yongen-Jaya – 6:39 PM

“…you’re home early,” Sojiro gave a tired smile to the inn maiden, glancing at how tired she looked. “I thought you were having an all-nighter with your friends?”

Yukiko – as perceptive as ever – glanced at the TV screen. "Change of plans."

“Though Masayoshi Shido has assaulted two anonymous minors due to reasons unknown, the Japanese Supreme Court has decided to immediately acquit Shido, claiming it was a “misunderstanding of the public.” Now, in other news…”

“Wait… you didn’t get into a fight, did you?!” Sojiro looked appalled.

“N-No, no!” Yukiko cried. “Ryuji-kun and Shiho-chan were punched by this man is all!”

Sojiro blinked for a moment, then remembered that Yukiko was not the kind of person to get into a fight. His disappointment was replaced with disgust – though anything but directed at her.

“Unbelievable,” Sojiro sighed. “It seems politicians can get away with anything nowadays, can’t they…? Christ, this is unbelievable…”

Yukiko remained silent for a few more moments before her guardian gave her a wave. “…you’re dismissed. I just want to know how your day was.”

“Right,” Yukiko bowed courteously. “Thank you, Sojiro-san.”

“Yeah, sure. I’m locking this place up standard time,” Sojiro nodded. “G’night, I suppose.”

Yukiko was ready to go to bed early, but her phone reminded her of a recent text.

*bzzt-bzzt-bzzt*

“Hey, Yukiko,” Morgana popped up from her bag. “You might want to check that.”

And indeed she did: it was a private message from Chie.

steak trash: yo yuki, were having a group meeting over facetime at 8

steak trash: be there or be square

Yukiko simply glanced at the phone, before pausing.

“Hey, there’s gonna be a meeting, right?” Morgana mewled happily. “…8 PM’s stretching it far too much, but… if it’s important, it’s important.”

Yukiko rolled her eyes upon remembering how strict Morgana’s bedtimes are. Wordlessly, she walked up and plopped on her bed, browsing internet videos until the promised time.


(Music – Nighttime Ambience – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPMojig7oOE)

May 5th, 2016 – Café Leblanc, Yongen-Jaya – 8:00 PM

*bzzt-bzzt-bzzt*

“Hi, guys!”

Chie said this while smiling happily over her face cam, and Yukiko, Morgana, Ryuji and Ann all smiled at her – as much as Ryuji could anyway, given his mouth was a slightly-less bloody mess as of now.

“So, how did everyone’s evening go?” Chie said with a bright smile. “Good, I take it?”

“Mom chewed me out hard for gettin’ my teeth knocked out,” Ryuji muttered. “Thankfully, we’ve got a dentist appointment this week, so that’ll help be the first step to recovery.”

“Shiho’s staying with me for the night,” Ann giggled. “She’s out like a light. She’s so cute when she sleeps!”

“Man, you guys really need to go to sleep…” Morgana whined loudly.

“Meanwhile, me and Chie walked each other home,” Yukiko smiled, grinning even wider upon seeing Chie’s cheeks color red. “But enough of that. Chie, isn’t there a reason for scheduling a meeting at this time of night?”

“Well, I didn’t want to do it in broad daylight; people are watching you know,” Chie sighed. “Besides, I was thinking about this for a while… and today’s events made me make up my mind.”

Everyone glanced at Chie eagerly as she took a deep breath and spoke.

“I… I think we should continue the Phantom Thief business.”

(Music – Swear To My Bones – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTQlTOjabH8)

“What?!” The group cried out in shock.

“Yeah, you heard me. I know what we do is morally dubious at best and illegal at worst,” Chie gulped, her voice quivering with fear and hidden courage. “But… I was really thinking about it. Turning Morgana into a human… other people like that man who punched Shiho and Ryuji… there’s a lot of problems with the world, and people are being exploited by the strong while unable to fight back.”

Chie’s voice shuddered a bit. “And… I wanted to look away, and I was afraid of breaking the law… but now all I realize now is that more people will be hurt if we don’t do anything about this. So that’s why I was thinking: why not make the world a better place? For you, me, Yukiko… and Morgana.”

“You…” Morgana looked ready to tear up. “You remembered, Chie...”

“Of course, if there’s any objections in mind, I’ll abstain immediately,” Chie nodded. “So… you still want to do this, guys?”

Everyone paused for a moment, deep in silence. Ever the troublemaker, Ryuji gave a toothy – or what teeth he had left – grin.

“After what that bald piece of shit, did? It made me think there’s plenty of people who can’t take a punch like me,” Ryuji nodded. “We need to fight those people, no matter what. I’m in.”

“After what Kamoshida did to Shiho, it made me think for the first time in my life that there are people who need to be helped,” Ann looked downcast, before nodding resolutely. “I want to help those people. Count me in.”

“No offense, but all I want to do is become human again,” Morgana nodded, before smiling. “But… helping people feels nice. Imagine all the people we can help along the way! I’m so game for this!”

“Chie…” Yukiko nodded. “When I saved that woman, I was expelled and put on probation. I know that my life is always going to have its ups and down, but even so… I’ll still try to help people, no matter how many times I’m put down. So I’m in.”

“Guys…” Chie looked ready to cry. “Thanks… this means a lot to me.”

An awkward silence passed between the group, but Ann decided to break said silence.

“Hey… an organization needs a cool name, right?” Ann giggled. “I mean, yeah, we have “the Phantom Thieves of Hearts,” but why not an unofficial callsign?”

Ann’s eyes began sparking. “Ooh, how about the Diamonds?! Tough, cute and resilient! I love it!”

Yukiko giggled. “That’s great, Ann… but as the leader of the group… well, I had in mind a name.”

Everyone glanced at Yukiko’s face cam.

“Well… alright. You’re the boss, after all,” Ann smiled. “What should our group be called?”

Yukiko simply gave a small, mischievous smile.

And so, the Petals – the Phantom Thieves’ of Hearts – were born.

Chapter Text

(Music – Aria of the Soul –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Fc3PxsXzE )

May 6th, 2016 – Velvet Room – ???

When Yukiko awoke, she realized she was sleeping in a very different and very familiar room.

Awkwardly shuffling up from the prison ben, she strained a bit upon feeling her joints stiffen from the hard bed, if one could call it that. Upon realizing that she was back in her prisoner attire, she glanced over to the jail cell to see three familiar people in front of her: two young girls who look far too young to be even considered as jail wardens, and one particularly long-nosed man sitting in the center of the room.

“Welcome back,” Igor smiled courteously. “It is good to have you back here, young one.”

Yukiko mumbled as she cricked her back a bit. “Urgh… you’d think that you’d give me a more comfortable bed to sleep o – “

SLAM!

“Quiet, inmate!” Caroline barked, still just as feisty as ever. “Our master wants to have a word with your sorry self, so do your part and listen!”

“Please ignore her,” Justine’s wry smile betrayed her plastic concern. “We only wish that you listen to what our master would like to discuss with you about.”

“That’ll do nicely girls,” Igor chuckled, his baritone booming loudly. “But first off, I would like to congratulate you, young trickster, for successfully evading ruin for the first time.”

Igor clasped his hands together and smiled. “I am deeply impressed that you have managed to come to find the means to resist ruin; have you’ve been implementing your social bonds as you should?”

“H-Huh?” Yukiko blushed a bit before clearing her throat. “Err… well, yes. More or less; I’ve managed to steal the heart of a particular target.”

Igor smiled audaciously before chuckling loudly. His joy was a bit disturbing to Yukiko, but the inn maiden couldn’t help but smile either way upon seeing just how joyous he was.

“Consider myself impressed, trickster,” Igor grinned. “You’ve managed to not only do what was necessary, but avoid ruin without any sort of preparation in advance? You truly do have the markings of a trickster after all…”

Yukiko would’ve said “thank you, Igor,” but a glare from Caroline convinced her to just smile and nod.

“Regardless, I am interested in seeing where you will apply your talents in the near-future,” Igor nodded happily. “We will happily assist you in any means necessary to avoid ruin. That is my pledge – our pledge – as servants of Philemon.”

Yukiko would’ve noticed there was a light, seething strain upon mentioning this “Philemon,” but she didn’t mind either way. She had full trust in the fact that Igor was a personal ally of hers, and she simply smiled and nodded. He was absolutely going to prove to be a valuable asset over time.

(Music – The Spirit –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT_tQQJufh8 )

FOOL RANK UP! RANK 2

Fool Fusion Bonus Has Increased!

Igor’s Confidant Skills Have Improved!

(Music – Aria of the Soul –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Fc3PxsXzE )

And just like that, the bell rung once more. Caroline wasted no time on slamming her metal baton on the jail cell doors.

“Time’s up, inmate! Now go to sleep!” Caroline barked. “You better get a good night’s rest… or else!”

“We wish you the best in your endeavors, trickster,” Justine nodded happily. “We will see you another time.”

“Indeed, we will,” Igor chuckled. “But please, do remember to stop by another time, yes? I will be delighted to explain any necessary tools that will come to your benefit.”

Yukiko nodded happily. “Thank you, Igor. I’ll be sure to put them to good use.”

“Excellent. Our time is up for today, but we will certainly cross paths again,” Igor clasped his hands together. “I look forward to how the rest of your journey unfolds.”

Igor gave one last wave. “So, until then… farewell.”

Before Yukiko knew what was going on, she woke up in her bed.


(Music – Interrogation –    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GSY0ZtwD1M )

???-???-???

“So… let me get this straight,” Sae began slowly, trying to make sense of a drugged Yukiko’s story. “You’re telling me that you’ve managed to go into the subconscious of Suguru Kamoshida, steal away his corruption with this power of ‘Persona,’ and managed to make him confess to the story? That’s how you’ve managed to incriminate Kamoshida.”

“That’s the story, more or less,” Yukiko said, using all of her willpower to not fall asleep with all the drugs in her system. “Believe what you will; that’s how we’ve managed to get that Mophead behind bars.”

Sae glanced fiercely at Yukiko for a moment, before shaking her head. “Even if your story lines up with the sequences of events, I hardly believe that anything supernatural is involved here.”

Sae paused before sighing. “…regardless, for now, I’ll consider your story plausible. Tell me about this fellow.”

Reaching for another manila folder with [CLASSIFIED] written in red, Japanese kanji, she spilled the contents of the folder on the wobbly table, revealing an old man with other pictures on display, most notably involving art.

“Ichiryusai Madarame, age 72.” Sae continued. “He’s a world-class artist and a celebrity at that, but there have been… rumors of shadier practices behind closed doors. Plagiarizing other artists, abusing pupils, causing physical, emotional and psychological damage… there were many rumors surrounding the operations of this man, but I never was able to confirm the truth… until the Phantom Thieves blew the story wide open.”

Sae glanced at the clock for a moment. 25 minutes left, she thought. I need to wrap this case up quickly before I’m called out.

“Anyway, I want you to tell me the story just like you did with Kamoshida,” Sae nodded. “How did you manage to steal the hearts of this Madarame figure? Tell me everything, from start to finish: omit absolutely nothing, lest you want to be sentenced to life without parole.”

Yukiko mumbled to herself darkly. This was going to be a long interrogation.


(Music – Beneath the Mask – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMSDBPntMPE)

May 6th, 2016 – Shibuya – 6:39 AM

Yukiko rubbed her head tiredly as she strolled through the busy streets of Shibuya. What was up with all this nonsense in her life? Ruin? Tricksters? It made so little sense to the inn maiden, yet here she was, trapped in the midst of the seedier side of Tokyo with only supernatural summoning powers to back her up. She didn’t know whether she preferred this or the Inn.

…actually, Yukiko thought, this is way better than the Inn.

She was so busy letting her thoughts wander that she almost didn’t realize her phone go off.

*bzzt-bzzt-bzzt*

“Hmm?” Yukiko glanced down at her phone then smiled. Who else could’ve it been than Chie Satonaka?

steak trash: hiiiiiiiiiii, yukikoooooooooooooo!! (*^▽^)/

Yukiko Amagi: Hey there!

Ry-yee-ji: yo, mah laydays

Ry-yee-ji: how’re yall doin’?

DanishWeeaboo: please never use that term again, ryuji

DanishWeeaboo: were already in the presence of a woman of class

Ry-yee-ji: ???

DanishWeeaboo: c’mon, Shiho, say hi!! don’t be shy d=(´▽`)=b

Volleygirl12: h-hello

steak trash: WAIT, WHAT

steak trash: SHIHO’S ON HERE?!?!

DanishWeeaboo is privately messaging Phantom Thieves Members

DanishWeeaboo: no worries, i labeled up as pt members. she aint one of them

DanishWeeaboo: so she (thankfully) should be unaware of us for the moment

Yukiko Amagi: I hope you’re right there, Ann.

DanishWeeaboo is now messaging Group Chat

Ry-yee-ji: its good to seeya, shiho!! how’re you doin’

Volleygirl12: h-huh? umm…

Volleygirl12: ive been good, thanks. wbu?

steak trash: well, im pretty happy that you and ann are now a couple! thats so EXCITING!!

Volleygirl12: y-yeah… (´,,•ω•,,)♡

Volleygirl12: im really lucky

DanishWeeaboo: love ya, shiho ꒰⁎˃ ॢꇴ ॢ˂⁎꒱➴ෆ⃛

DanishWeeaboo: though that said, is it okay if you hold on standby for a moment, pls? i got, uh… homework to discuss with my friends

DanishWeeaboo: not to include you out on anything

Volleygirl12: no, i understand. ill wait (〃・ω・〃)

DanishWeeaboo: thanks, love

DanishWeeaboo is privately messaging Phantom Thieves Members

Ry-yee-ji: pffft, homework. Suuuuuuuuuuuuuure

Ry-yee-ji: lets call nearly dying to a psychotic douchebag king homework

DanishWeeaboo: shut up

Yukiko Amagi: Well, I’m just happy Shiho’s with us now. She really is a sweet girl.

Yukiko Amagi: She absolutely didn’t deserve what happened to her.

DanishWeeaboo: yeah

DanishWeeaboo: ughhhhhhhhhhh

DanishWeeaboo: i know im totes beating a dead horse rn, but god, i cannot hate kamoshithead enough

steak trash: join the club

steak trash: i feel sorry that good!kamoshida’s now bearing the guilt of his past self, but i cant say he didnt deserve it

Ry-yee-ji: yeah

Ry-yee-ji: i just hope shiho’s doing well. she’s a good kid.

DanishWeeaboo: oh, shes doing great

DanishWeeaboo: shes meek, but shes a really powerful girl. shes still traumatized (obvs, what rape victim isnt), but shes bearing it with a smile

DanishWeeaboo: just please, obvs, dont mention the k-word in front of her. its kind of a trigger for her now.

Yukiko Amagi: Good idea.

DanishWeeaboo: thanks, yuki

DanishWeeaboo: anywayz, im bringing up a private chat for two reasons:

DanishWeeaboo: first and foremost, i dont think you know this yet, but…

DanishWeeaboo: well… shihos transferring to kosei

Ry-yee-ji: HUH?!

Yukiko Amagi: Wait, really?! That’s a surprise…

DanishWeeaboo: yeah, uh… sorry for not telling u guys earlier

DanishWeeaboo: her parents are absolute saints to shiho, and shes undoubtedly going to be the victim of rumors and all sorts of nasty bullshit

DanishWeeaboo: so shes transferring to kosei. one of the best schools in tokyo. it’s known for its disability care

steak trash: disabilities??

steak trash: like, autism, adhd, etc. etc.???

DanishWeeaboo: yep. japan’s not really known for caring for disabled folk, but kosei’s pretty much top of the line.

DanishWeeaboo: and its not just for physical or mental disorders, either. its also there to help emotionally or psychologically damaged victims

Yukiko Amagi: …like Shiho?

DanishWeeaboo: yep! her parents hope she’ll get the support and care she deserves

DanishWeeaboo: she really, really needs it

Ry-yee-ji: well, i wish her the best

Ry-yee-ji: heres hopin she gets better!

DanishWeeaboo: yeah, same.

steak trash: so… whats the second thing, ann?

DanishWeeaboo: well, uh…

DanishWeeaboo: apparently we have a fansite

DanishWeeaboo: https://phansite.net/

Ry-yee-ji: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXzEcwYs8Eo

Ry-yee-ji: OH MY GOD, ARE YOU SERIOUS

Ry-yee-ji: WERE FUCKIN’ FAMOUS?!?!

DanishWeeaboo: not quite. current poll asks if the phantom thieves exist. polls only 6% for yes

steak trash: aww, boo

steak trash: well, six is better than nothing

DanishWeeaboo: yeah, though that’s the interesting thing

DanishWeeaboo: APPARENTLY theres a whole site dedicated to requests

DanishWeeaboo: i strongly recommend we check it out sometime

Yukiko Amagi: Holy crap, really?

Yukiko Amagi: Well, I’ll definitely consider it.

Yukiko Amagi: Though is that all?

DanishWeeaboo: yep, and shihos bugging me privately

DanishWeeaboo: lol

Ry-yee-ji: well we did talk for a while bout this

Ry-yee-ji: BACK TO THE MAIN CHAT!!!

DanishWeeaboo is now messaging Group Chat

Yukiko smiled wryly as she saw the chatroom continue to spring lively in the Shibuya morning. Suddenly, Morgana sprung from her backpack.

“Hey, Yukiko!”

“Huh?” Yukiko glanced over to Morgana, who was holding something in his mouth – a bag.

“W-Wait…” Yukiko blinked. “That’s that bag that - ?!”

“Yep!” Morgana chirped happily. “Apparently, it’s the bag you told me that you got after selling the medallion.

Yukiko wracked her memory, then she remembered.


"Wow… that was strange…”

Yukiko shook her head as she held two things: 30,000 Yen from selling the medallion, and a bag containing… something that she was lent by Iwai. She had no idea what was in that bag, but Iwai merely gave her the bag, saying “when the time is right, come over to my place and open it.”


“…holy crap, I totally forgot!” Yukiko beamed. “Actually, why not knock it out now? I’ve got time and all that.”

“Well, make it snappy,” Morgana chuckled, handing the bag to Yukiko as she rushed forth. “I don’t want you to be late for class.”


(Music – Layer Cake – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0VYcDdd0NU)

May 6th, 2016 – Shibuya, Untouchable – 6:44 AM

Iwai sighed drearily as the morning continued to pass on, with his reading his magazine. He almost didn’t notice a familiar teenaged girl waltz in, but he was at least perceptive enough to pay attention to that.

“Well, you’re here again,” Iwai coughed wryly. “Is there anything you need, kid?”

“Errr… yes. There, uh, would be.” Yukiko blushed a bit as she delved into the bag, cocking an eyebrow. “This… isn’t a real gun, right?”

And indeed, she placed a pistol on the counter. The gun gleamed a bit underneath the ceiling lights, and Iwai couldn’t help but crack a wry grin. Pausing for a moment, he shook his head.

“My God, you actually did it,” Iwai chuckled. “You actually had the tungsten to look in the bag. You’ve got guts, kid.”

Yukiko was put off by that. Letting her curiosity get the better of her, she would cock an eyebrow and cross her arms.

“Umm…” Yukiko almost didn’t have the courage to ask, but she did. “Is there something I should know?”

Iwai grinned and put the magazine down on the floor, before shaking his head.

“Meet me in the back room,” Iwai smiled. “I suppose there’s some explaining in order.”


(Music – Suspicion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MufukvzrdFk)

May 6th, 2016 – Untouchable, Backroom – 6:46 AM

When Yukiko actually step foot into the backroom Iwai kept locked at all times, she was quite surprised to see the degree of weapons that lined the walls, the floors, and even the boxes – guns of every imaginable kind were on display, as well as possibly enough melee weapons to arm a thousand-man mock medieval reenactment. The differences between each of the weapons were so slim that Yukiko almost didn’t realize that these were all fakes.

Yukiko couldn’t help but whistle in amazement. “You seriously keep all of this behind stock?!”

“Well… more or less,” Iwai said with a wry chuckle. “There’s a reason why these items – and, for instance, the gun you received – isn’t available on the common market.”

Yukiko raised her eyebrow at that. “Why? It’s not real weapons, right?”

“Oh, they’re definitely not real, I can assure you that,” Iwai chuckled wryly. “If the police ever caught wind that I was selling real firearms to minors, they’d put me out of business and throw me behind bars. That… won’t be good for the long term at all.”

“Though I keep these goods behind the counter for a reason,” Iwai crossed his arms. “They’re fake, but they look real enough to be mistaken for the real thing. It’s easy enough to determine when a weapon I sell to the public is fake, but here? The difference is practically academic.”

Yukiko was interested in where this was going. “So? Is there something you’re trying to say?”

Iwai chuckled. “What I’m saying is that since you’ve opened up that bag I gave you, you’re pretty much part of all of this already. You’re an accomplice.”

Yukiko froze in place. Inwardly, she immediately cursed whatever divine intervention led her to this place.

“But now that you’re involved,” Iwai smirked smugly, twirling around his lollipop. “We’ll cut out a deal. You keep a secret about all of this, and I’ll supply you with the most real-looking gun and weapon models I have on the market – most of which being of… dubious legality, but they look exactly like the real thing.”

Yukiko’s mind was whirling with all the possibilities. It was clear that the legality of this was extremely dubious, but even so… the more realistic a weapon was, the more it would have an effect on any enemies. This would prove to be immensely valuable in the long run, and Yukiko couldn’t help but find herself obligated to accept.

“Very well, Iwai,” Yukiko smiled wryly. “I accept your offer.”


(Music – Interrogation –   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GSY0ZtwD1M)

???-???-???

"It seems you had model guns in your possession as well.” Sae mused over the drugged Yukiko. “Their detail goes beyond a simple hobby. I'm sure some people believed those guns were real. You'll tell me how you procured them, won't you?”

Defiantly, Sae slammed her fists on the table.

“...Spill it!"


(Music – The Spirit –   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SESlTT5jydw)

I am thou, thou art I…

Thou hast acquired a new vow…

It shall become the wings of rebellion

that breaketh thy chains of captivity,

With the birth of the Hanged Man Persona,

I have obtained the winds of blessing that

shall lead to freedom and new power…

HANGED MAN RANK UP! RANK 1

(Music – Suspicion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MufukvzrdFk)

“Well, I think that wraps up business for today, don’t you think?” Iwai began suckling on his lollipop. “Come back when you want access to the good stuff.”

Yukiko blinked for a moment.

“…also, don’t you have school to attend to?”

It only took those words for Yukiko to realize just how late she was. Needless to say, she ran out in quite the hurry.

Chapter Text

(Music – Wicked Plan –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4m2JkRDWts )

May 6th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Hallway – 10:43 AM

“Hey guys… can I talk with you for a minute?”

As Chie walked up to Yukiko and co., Ryuji couldn’t help but cock an eyebrow. “Something wrong, Chie-chan?”

“O-Oh, uh…” Chie fidgeted a bit. “Well, I went on the PhanSite while on break. It’s like you said, Ann, right? That somebody put up a part of the site for requests?”

Ann was curious about that. “Wait, seriously?! Are you actually saying that we have a request…?!“

As the half-Caucasian girl blinked stupidly, Morgana mewled from the bag, piping his head upwards.

“Well, if we do have a request…” Morgana gave a smarmy grin. “Then that means I can show you guys how to access Mementos!”

“Huh? Mementos?” Yukiko turned to her cat friend… thing with curious. “…that’s a strange name. Isn’t it tic-tacs or something…?”

Chie shook her head and sighed. “Uh, I seriously doubt that…”

“Well, I’d prefer to save it for when we actually have to go,” Morgana huffed. “Remember, you all promised that we’d go back to the Metaverse to find my true self!”

“Don’t worry Morgana, we know,” Yukiko smiled warmly before turning to her tomboy best friend. “Though Chie… what do you mean?”

Chie was put on the spot and coughed awkwardly. After a moment, Chie flipped open her phone, pressed a few buttons at rapid-fire pace, and soon brought open her phone.

“Alright,” Chie cleared her throat before continuing. “Here’s the request:”

Sent By: Anonymous

Topic: Please help!

I literally tried everything I could think of to get him to stop stalking me, but nothing’s working. When I saw the news report featuring Kamoshida and the Phantom Thieves, I thought it was a hoax, but… I need to get him off my back…

Anyway, I used to be the girlfriend of a Natsuhiko Nakanohara. He used to be an art pupil, but he eventually fell into depression, and I hooked up with him after sympathy. But things… didn’t work out, and I had to break up. Ever since, he’s been stalking me wherever I go! I tried putting a restraining order on him, but I was dismissed due to him being the teller at the municipal ward! I REALLY am getting really scared… with what that Kamoshida figure did, I don’t want anything happening to me… so scared…

Please… I don’t know if this is a hoax or not, but please, do something! I don’t care what you do, just please, tell him to go away!

The party stood in silence. Ann immediately felt her hands ball out in anger.

“Damn it, that bastard…” Ann’s voice rose to a venomous hiss. “How could he stalk her like that?! Doesn’t he have any respect for her?!”

Ryuji nodded. “Sounds like a Palace owner to me. The sooner we clean up the piece-of-shit, the better!”

“Well, uh… actually, he isn’t a Palace owner, Ryuji.”

“Huh?” Yukiko – as with the rest of the group – turned to Morgana. “What do you mean by that, Morgana?”

“Y-Yeah, that’s… actually kinda worrisome,” Chie grimaced. “How are we gonna steal his heart if we don’t have a Palace to visit?”

“Well… it’s kinda complicated…” Morgana gave a wry smile. “Palaces only form when an overwhelming amount of desire coalesces into a place. Even if this Nakanohara figure is a sicko for stalking his ex-girlfriend, his distortion isn’t strong enough to form his own palace. Thus, he – “

“Ohhhh, I think I get it!” Yukiko smiled. “So this ‘Mementos’ you mentioned is where any Shadows without their own Palaces come to reside?”

Everyone turned to Morgana, who had a flabbergasted look on his face.

“But… but…” Morgana mewled weakly, before hanging his head low. “But my surprise…!”

“Don’t worry buddy, I’m sure you got other neat stuff to show!” Ann smiled cheerfully. “You’re part of the team after all.”

“Yeah. I mean, we hardly see eye to eye…” Ryuji gave a cheesy grin. “But hey, we’re still a team! Don’t sweat it too much.”

“Guys…” Morgana smiled softly. “Thanks… that makes me feel better.”

Morgana proceeded to nod approvingly towards his owner. “Still, I’m really impressed Yukiko! I didn’t think you’d be able to figure it out like that!”

“Heehee, thanks! We at least have a target now,” Yukiko nodded happily. “Then again, I have to be sharp, what with the exams coming up.

(Music Stops)

“OHHHHHHHH, CRAP!”

Two voices screamed in unison made Yukiko, Ann and Morgana jump.

“Wha – Chie?! Ryuji?!” Yukiko turned pale. “What was that about?!”

“The midterms!” Chie went pale. “Oh, fuck me, I forgot!”

(Music – My Homie –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CORowSvp-k )

As Yukiko looked confused at her best friend’s outburst, Ryuji similarly groaned.

“Ugh, you had to remind me…” Ryuji pouted loudly. “Fuck, WHY MUST THERE BE EXAMS?! THERE IS NO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!”

As Ryuji collapsed onto the ground, Ann rolled her eyes. “Well… you didn’t study, Ryuji. I mean, I’d expect Chie to buckle down, but you? Not in a million years.”

Ryuji seemed more than a little offended. “Shaddup! Who’re you one to talk?! You constantly bomb every exam that isn’t English!”

“Wha – “ Now Ann was the one who looked appalled. “Are you freaking kidding me?! Must you bring up my failures now?!”

Chie, being the natural mediator, immediately stepped in. “Alright, alright guys, calm down! We’ll work this out somehow. Point is, we gotta study! I really don’t want to screw up my grades…”

“Huh?” Yukiko blinked. “Chie, you’re pretty smart! Don’t you study?”

“A-Ah?!” Chie froze up, before laughing nervously. “Hahahah, yeah, of course I, uh, study! Nope! Nothing out of the ordinary here!”

As Yukiko continued to look confused, Ryuji bolted off. “Shit, shit, shit! Gotta get to the library!”

“Hey, RYUJI! WAIT UP!” Chie was hot on pursuit. “DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT ME!”

As the ongoers continued to look on in confusion, Ann felt herself turn beet red. “Uh… see you all later, I guess. God, I need to buckle down…”

As Ann also walked off, Morgana shook his head. “Ugh… of course they wouldn’t study. But you did, right, Yukiko?”

“Huh?” Yukiko blinked a bit. “Oh, no need to worry about that, Morgana. I made sure that I – “

“Um… excuse me.”

(Music Stops)

As Morgana slinked back into the bag, Yukiko would be approached by a blue-haired man in a white t-shirt. He almost immediately struck familiar to the Innmaiden, but his name escaped her. Wait, was it…

“Mishima?” Yukiko said after a brief pause, having forgotten the blue-haired boy’s name for a moment. “What’s up?”

Freezing into place, Mishima coughed awkwardly. “Err, just call me Yuki. Or Mishima. E-Either way works for me.”

As Yukiko continued to look confused, a moment of silence passed before Mishima decided to speak. Taking a deep breath, he found the courage to look Yukiko in the eye.

“Um…!” Mishima stumbled his words. “You guys are the Phantom Thieves, right…?”

“I-I’m sorry?!” Yukiko nearly froze in place. “H-How did you figure it – “

“Shhh! Keep your voice down!” Mishima hissed. “I’m on your side, don’t worry. I’m not going to snitch on the person who took down Kamoshida.”

“U-Umm…” Yukiko didn’t know how to handle the situation, at least beyond shrinking a bit and blushing. “S-Sorry. I was worried that you might be a problem or something. No offense.”

Mishima gave a warm smile. “None taken. I dunno how you guys did it, but I don’t want to end the Phantom Thieves’ goals. ‘Changing hearts’, was it?”

Yukiko blinked. “Um… yes?”

Mishima gave an audacious grin, the blue-haired teenager flipping out his smartphone. Right on the screen was the PhanSite with an account handle on the top.

Account Name: PhanSite_ADMIN

Yukiko’s jaw nearly dropped. “W-Wait. Is that…?!”

“Yep,” Mishima looked incredibly proud of himself. “You’re looking at the proprietor of the Phantom Thieves’ website!”

Yukiko legitimately didn’t know how to respond. Turning a deep shade of red, she awkwardly looked away from the blue-haired student. Was she supposed to be flattered? Terrified, even? Regardless, this site is already proving helpful enough trying to change the hearts of others, so… she should be happy, she supposed?

The fact that this was a guy of all genders who was acting so smarmy made Yukiko even more uncomfortable.

“U-Uh… th-thanks, Mishima-kun,” Yukiko laughed nervously. “But… why put up this site?”

Mishima’s smile immediately faded, and he resolutely looked up to Yukiko, his hands balled together.

“Because…” Mishima grimaced. “I’m sick of seeing people get hurt.”

(Music – Wicked Plan –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4m2JkRDWts )

Yukiko was curious about that. She finally met Mishima’s eyes as he continued to tremble in fury.

“I was the reason why Shiho was… you know,” Mishima’s face contorted with pain. “That… that wasn’t the first time I did that. And I never thought it was going to be the last. Kamoshida – that bastard – on top of abusing me and the rest of the volleyball team, he’s been using other girls sexually… and I was being forced into it…!”

Yukiko remained silent, her hands balling up in anger too. Thinking about what happened to all those girls made her sick.

“And worse, nobody did anything. Most everyone chose to remain silent, and those who did speak up were ignored. It was just so toxic,” Mishima looked resolute. “That’s why, upon hearing the Phantom Thieves’ stealing the heart of Kamoshida… I knew it was you. You, Ryuji, Ann, Chie… all four of you were in Kamoshida’s targets, and the fact that everyone except Ann was threatened with expulsion… I knew you acted then and there. And I know I must, as well.”

Mishima smiled wryly. “Look, I’m not going to question what methods you use or how you use them. But I am going to ask you think: please, let me help. I don’t want more Shihos in the world. There’s so many corrupt assholes abusing their power, and I just remained complacent for so goddamn long…!”

“Mishima…” Yukiko smiled. “You really mean that?”

Mishima bit his lip. “Yeah. I’ll never let what happened to Shiho or those other girls happen again. There’s a lot of people who need to have their hearts changed.”

Despite his shaky voice, Yukiko knew Mishima had a lot of confidence backing him up. Yukiko knew he could trust this boy, and slowly, she nodded.

“Alright Mishima, I trust you,” Yukiko stuck out her hand. “Let’s work together, okay?”

“Really? You mean it?!” Mishima smiled widely. “Yeah! I promise I won’t let you down!”

And in that moment, Mishima began joyously shaking Yukiko’s hand.


(Music – Interrogation –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GSY0ZtwD1M)

???-???-???

"Besides the public's reaction to your group, there were others who supported you.” Sae glared at the drugged Yukiko. “...Someone who enthusiastically cheered the Phantom Thieves on. Perhaps they were quite close...”

Angrily, Sae slammed her hands on the table.

“Well?!” She barked. “What do you have to say to that!?"


(Music – The Spirit –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SESlTT5jydw)

I am thou, thou art I…

Thou hast acquired a new vow…

It shall become the wings of rebellion

that breaketh thy chains of captivity,

With the birth of the Moon Persona,

I have obtained the winds of blessing that

shall lead to freedom and new power…

MOON RANK UP! RANK 1

(Music Stops)

“Well… I should probably get going, huh?” Mishima gave a wry smile. “Good luck on the future exams, too!”

“Wait! I still… have… questions…”

As Mishima ran off, Yukiko pouted over how she didn’t get to finish her thought in time. But that was beside the point. In due time, she had Nakanohara’s heart to change.


(Music Playing – Erosion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1ocUfNzYD4)

May 6th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Principal Office – 10:53 AM

“Um… did you call, Principal Kobayakawa?”

Rather awkwardly, a brunette third-year with red eyes walked in. She soon found herself glancing at the bald, chubby principal, sitting behind his desk as usual.

“Indeed,” Kobayakawa gave a smile that hinted at a menacing aura. “I want you to… check something for me. Something I’m sure you’re all quite aware of.”

The girl thought about it, before speaking. “…does it involve the Phantom Thieves?”

“Correct.” Kobayakawa too his time to grab a manila envelope and open its contents for the girl to see. “Something doesn’t add up. Kamoshida – a teacher who has been a member of this respected establishment for years – has confessed his sex scandal that was under our noses for this time.”

“…maybe he had his guilt catch up to him after all these years?” Despite the logical nature of the girl’s statement, her voice possessed a quiver for all the nightmarish things he’s done to female students over the years. “I don’t think anybody would do this as long as they did without having a crisis at some point.”

“An admirable point of view, but naïve,” Kobayakawa shook his head. “It’s less of the clear-cut morality of this instance that I’m concerned with so much as it’s how abrupt Kamoshida confessed. Even more worryingly…”

The principal placed a black and red letter on the table: the Phantom Thieves’ calling card. “The event between this and Kamoshida’s withdrawal seemed almost too perfect to not be a coincidence. I need you to investigate the link the Phantom Thieves and Kamoshida have.”

“S-Sir?” The female student blinked. “With all due respect, isn’t that just a prank? Just to scare off Kamoshida…?”

“Then why do you think Kamoshida confessed so closely in time?” Kobayakawa glared at the girl briefly, immediately silencing her. “As Student Council President, I need you to investigate this matter. Maybe there’s a link, maybe there isn’t. But who knows but the person who posted these cards?”

After a terse silence, Kobayakawa crumpled the calling card and tossed the paper bar right at the girl. It landed on her shoulder, causing her to flinch before she picked it up.

“Get to work.” Kobayakawa grimaced. “The fact that this whole incident went directly under our noses needs to be investigated.”

The Student Council President paused, before bowing politely. “Y-Yes, Kobayakawa-sensei. I’ll get to work.”

Just as she was ready to leave, Kobayakawa stopped her.

“Oh, and Makoto-chan…” Kobayakawa’s voice was as sweet as poison. “In case Kamoshida’s incident ends up further compromising the reputation of the school? I could link that sweet little princess you’re head over heels with back to her father. We don’t want that, do we?”

Makoto froze and cringed, before nodding compliantly. “N-No. No, we don’t.”

And just like that, she left. Just in time, too; Kobayakawa flipped open his phone to see a call from a friend.

“Hello?” Kobayakawa smiled as an old friend called him. “Don’t worry; we’re investigating into this. We should be safe as long as we deal with this problem efficiently.”

Chapter Text

(Music – Wicked Plan –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSJ30nH17y8 )

May 7th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Class 2-D – 8:22 AM

As Ms. Chouno’s lesson continued to drone on, Yukiko hazily sighed, still combating her lack of sleep. It was only the sudden buzzing of her phone that snapped her out of her terse silence.

*bzzt-bzzt-bzzt*

steak trash: GUYS GUYS GUYS GUYS GUYS

steak trash: aAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Volleygirl12: eep!

Ry-yee-ji: woah, chi-chi

Ry-yee-ji: calm tf down

Ry-yee-ji: you’re scaring the cinnamon roll

steak trash: please don’t correlate me to a pair of tits i likely dont have, you monkey

Yukiko Amagi: Snrk…

Yukiko Amagi: Well, why’re you so spastic, Chie? Did something happen?

DanishWeeaboo: you better have a damn good reason for texting in class

DanishWeeaboo: ushimaru’s givin’ me the stink-eye

steak trash: BUT THERE IS A GOOD REASON

steak trash: LEGACY OF THE TRIAL OF THE DRAGON’S BEEN ANNOUNCED

steak trash: OH MAH GAWD HYPE (ノ。≧◇≦)ノ

Volleygirl12: they’re releasing another trial of the dragon film…?

DanishWeeaboo: ew, kung-fu films

DanishWeeaboo: not my cup of tea

steak trash: that’s it, you’re dead to me

steak trash: im leaking your make-out photos with shiho

Ry-yee-ji: WHAT

Volleygirl12: h-huh?!?

DanishWeeaboo: OH FUCK HOW DID YOU EVEN FIND ME AND SHIHO?!?!

DanishWeeaboo: THIS HAS TO BE A VIOLATION OF PRIVACY

steak trash: nah, just messin’ with you

steak trash: im not sending any blackmail material

steak trash: but i AM keeping it for good sport! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!

Ry-yee-ji: HOLY FUCK, CHIE

Ry-yee-ji: GIMME THOSE PICS

Ry-yee-ji: GIMME GIMME GIMME

Yukiko Amagi: …wow. That’s pretty mischievous, even for me. Mad props.

DanishWeeaboo: CHIE I SWEAR TO GOD, YOU GIVE THOSE PHOTOS BACK THIS INSTANCE

DanishWeeaboo: OR THE NEXT TIME WERE IN THE METAVERSE ILL INCINERATE YOU

Volleygirl12: …metaverse???

steak trash: oh fuck

DanishWeeaboo: uhhhhhhhhhh

DanishWeeaboo: its an arcade, and theres a king of fighters cabinet

Volleygirl12: um… ok???

Volleygirl12: im not into video games like you are ann, but… eh

DanishWeeaboo: r-right, um…

Yukiko Amagi is privately messaging Phantom Thieves Members

Yukiko Amagi: …Ann.

DanishWeeaboo: s-sorry

DanishWeeaboo: i, uh, kinda let that slip

DanishWeeaboo: oops

DanishWeeaboo: ……………………chie, don’t do anything fucking stupid with those photos, okay?

steak trash: alright, alright, sorry

steak trash: i was joking about the pics too; im not THAT much of a jerk

steak trash: i merely said that just to screw around with you ∠( ᐛ 」∠)_

DanishWeeaboo: ok good

DanishWeeaboo: …though does that means you saw us… making out?

steak trash: ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

DanishWeeaboo: …i hate you

steak trash: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyway, on a more serious note, don’t forget to go to this “metaverse” the kitty’s been suggesting

Yukiko Amagi: Oh, right! Thanks for reminding me, Chie.

Yukiko Amagi: Alright gang, after class is up, we’ll meet at Shibuya Station for… some reason.

Ry-yee-ji: okay then… damn, and i was hopin’ for lesbian action

Ry-yee-ji: sadface

DanishWeeaboo: (;¬_¬)

Ry-yee-ji: thank you, im here all night folks

DanishWeeaboo: alright, we have our schedule planned out. though before that… question, yuki

Yukiko Amagi: …please call me Yukiko.

DanishWeeaboo: woops, okay, yukiko. why are you so tired???

Yukiko Amagi: ???

Ry-yee-ji: yeah, I was just wonderin about that sorta thing too; saw you all baggy-eyed and tired on the way here. something wrong??

Yukiko blinked rather cautiously at the screen, before typing her response.

Yukiko Amagi: Um, well…


(Music – What’s Going On –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K42T2P1FFM)

May 6th, 2016 – Café Leblanc – 8:02 PM

“Is… this really the best cooking you can do…?”

Yukiko held her head low in shame as Sojiro continued to gawk at the plate containing curry – or, rather, at least that was the goal. The result of Yukiko completely improvising was unrecognizable from the cookbook picture; it has an almost foul stench to it, and Sojiro could almost swear that the plate of curry – or whatever it was – was radiating a purple glow amidst… tentacles?

Tentacles?! Sojiro thought. Seriously?!

Sojiro almost swore he didn’t have any octopus or squid in stock.

Not wanting to hurt the clearly-depressed innmaiden’s feelings – to which the poor girl looked on the brink of tears – Sojiro awkwardly rubbed his balding spot.

“Uhhh…” Sojiro almost was at a loss of word. “You, um… tried, I guess…?”

Yukiko continued to sulk somberly.

“It’s no use,” Yukiko looked ready to cry – a far cry from the suave and confident Phoenix of the Metaverse. “I’m a complete failure, aren’t I? I can’t do anything food-related right…”

“Err, d-don’t say that!” Sojiro laughed awkwardly. “From what your parent’s report told of me, you haven’t been put near a kitchen for… well, forever. It’s a given that you’d be rusty.”

“I know that…” Yukiko continued to pout.

Awkward silence permeated the room. It’s an infamous secret amongst the Amagi Inn that Yukiko inherited her terrible instincts for cooking from her mother. Thankfully, Satoshi was an exceptional chef, so she did more than enough to help prevent Yukiko or Mrs. Amagi from ruining the palate of the customers. Still, it filled the Innmaiden with a sense of dread knowing she completely fucked up with the curry. It filled her with no end of shame knowing she completely botched it.

“Hey, don’t feel bad…” Rather tenderly, Sojiro’s hand rested on Yukiko’s shoulder. “You’re learning; we all make mistakes. You’ll learn how to make curry just fine one day, okay?”

Yukiko sniffed her tears a bit. “You think so…?”

“I wouldn’t lie to you,” Sojiro nodded. “Heck, I have no doubt that with time that – “

Suddenly, the door swung wide open.

“Well, hello Sojiro! And who’s the cutie you’ve brought with you?”

(Music – Suspicion –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MufukvzrdFk)

Sojiro’s comforting expression immediately steeled into something cold when a nonchalant man walked in. Yukiko looked over at the cheerful man; he was of middle age, and had a balding spot like Sojiro did. Yukiko, being as perceptive as she is, noticed that the smile was a lot more plastic than Sojiro’s.

“Jeez, it’s certainly been a while,” The middle-aged man laughed. “Seems you’ve opened a store, huh? And you’ve brought one cute muse under your tutelage, eh? If only I had a daughter like her…”

Yukiko hasn’t exactly picked up on why Sojiro’s face contorted into a glare. “…your order?”

“No small talk? Cold.” The man laughed to himself. “But man, this smell of curry brings me back! You really haven’t gotten over her still, haven’t you?”

If Sojiro’s voice affected the atmosphere, the room would immediately drop several degrees. “Your. Order?”

“Alright, alright, jeez… no need to get all over my case.” The man laughed to himself. “Alright, don’t glare at me; I’m going. Bye.”

And just like that, the cheerful man left. Sojiro’s fell silent before scoffing a bit.

“Bah, I have no idea how that bastard caught wind of this place,” Sojiro scoffed coldly. “Why did he have to come here of all times?”

“I think I share your annoyance,” Yukiko nodded, bearing a wry smile. “That man seemed awfully suspicious to me.”

Sojiro gave a light laugh. “Hah! You seem to have a good eye. Too many kids your age are too trusting.”

(Music – Alright (Elp. Version) –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXnI-FfYLjA)

“Well,” Sojiro turned his attention to the ruin plate of curry. “Were in this together, alright Yukiko? Whether I like it or not, I’m responsible for you, so you better pull your weight.”

“Sojiro…” Yukiko couldn’t help but smile at the older man’s response. Despite the seemingly dismissive nature of his comment, his tone was much warmer than his response with the man. Yukiko definitely feels as though their relationship would only improve over time.

(Music – The Spirit –   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SESlTT5jydw)

HIEROPHANT RANK UP! RANK 2

Hierophant Fusion Bonus Has Increased!

Sojiro’s Confidant Skills Have Improved!

(Music – Alright (Elp. Version) –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXnI-FfYLjA)

“Alright! Let’s get to work,” Sojiro smiled mischievously. “I’m gonna make sure you’re worked to the bone.”

Yukiko gulped a bit upon hearing that.


(Music – Wicked Plan –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSJ30nH17y8 )

May 7th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Class 2-D – 8:34 AM

Ry-yee-ji: wow

Ry-yee-ji: that allnighter sounds ROUGH

Ry-yee-ji: my sympathies

Yukiko Amagi: Thanks, Ryuji.

Yukiko Amagi: Alright, guys. Don’t forget to meet me at Shibuya, alright?

Yukiko Amagi: Good luck!

steak trash: yep!! seeya!!! (≧∇≦*)

And just like that, the lesson continued to drag onwards.


(Music – Suspicion –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MufukvzrdFk)

May 7th, 2016 – Shibuya Station – 3:44 PM

As soon as classes concluded, Yukiko and co. proceeded to meet up by the Hachiko statue in Shibuya Station. As commotion continued to overtake the station, Chie proceeded to browse through her phone, oblivious to Ann’s chilling glare.

“You better not tell anyone about me with Shiho, Chie.” Ann’s voice was poisonous with embarrassment and anger.

“Pfft, you’re still hung up on that?” Chie gave a cheerful smile. “Relax; it’s between us, okay? Though you gotta admit, you did good at improvising when you slipped about the Metaverse.”

Ann immediately turned red as Ryuji snickered a bit. Yukiko couldn’t help but chuckle as well.

“Snrk…” Yukiko tried her hardest not to burst out laughing. “O-Okay, um… M-Morgana – snrk – y-you know how to access this Mementos, don’t you?”

Morgana – in all his fluffy glory – jumped out of the bag. “You betcha! All you have to do is enter ‘Mementos’ in the Metaverse Navigation App.”

“That simple, huh?” Ryuji laughed, turning to Yukiko as she proceeded to type in the name into the app. “Well, shame you couldn’t save it for a surprise, huh cat?”

“Wha – “ Morgana’s furry cheeks proceeded to burn. “Are you still hung up on that?!”

Just as Ann, Chie and Ryuji chuckled, Yukiko finally finished with putting in the app.

Match found. Beginning navigation.

In the blink of an eye, everyone disappeared. Everyone – not a single soul surrounded them, and the once bustling Shibuya station was now completely deserted. This did more than enough to unsettle the group.

“Agh, creepy…” Chie shuddered a bit.

Yukiko’s bag shuffled a bit. “Agh, too small! Gotta get out…!”

And just like that, Morgana in all his cartoony glory, popped out of the bag.

“Urgh, sometimes I forget how cramped that thing can be…” Morgana rubbed his back. “But… yeah. Ouch.”

Ann shook her head. “Well, wait. Why aren’t we in our Phantom Thieves outfits? You said they only appear once we’re perceived as threats…”

Ryuji took a glance at his clothes. “Oh, yeah! Ann’s right! Why aren’t I in my cool clothes?!”

“Don’t worry, it’ll materialize once we enter the subway,” Morgana gave a cheeky grin. “Just follow me down these stairs, and we should be good to go!”

And just as Morgana began proceeding down the stairway, Yukiko and Chie exchanged glances and followed their feline friend.


(Music – Mementos –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbT5T35aUUE)

May 7th, 2016 – Mementos, Entrance – ???

Mona walked down the stairs, and the more they proceeded down it, the more ethereal and eldritch it looked. And lo and behold, the party soon arrived at the final flight of stairs – now in their Phantom Thief outfits.

Phoenix whimpered as she quickly crossed her arms between her ample – and very much exposed – cleavage. “Ugh, why do I have to wear this outfit…?”

“Well, it could be worse,” Dragon, despite sounding reassured, was once again beet red. “You could be an ironing board like yours truly…”

“Hey, I’ve got no objections,” Skull brandished a cocky grin. “I’ve got two busty ladies right in front of me! Granted, the fact that the proper lady’s got the bigger bust is a bit surprising, buuuuuuuuut…”

Phoenix and Panther – very understandably – slapped him for that.

“Well, either way, here we are,” Mona shook his head, looking over at a jealous Dragon and a recoiling Skull. “Alright, so the good news is that no shadows come up this far: I’ve been here enough times to know that.”

“Wait… you’ve been here already, Mona?”

“Certainly, Lady Ann – err, Panther.” Mona quickly corrected himself. “I’ve been here investigating how I can become a human again.”

Mona frowned before sighing. “…granted, I hope that I make leeway with you guys around.”

“Aww, chin up Mona!” Panther grinned, rubbing the feline’s ears. “I don’t doubt that we’ll make headway at this rate.”

“Mrrrow…” Mona purred upon having his ears scratched. “Th-Thank you, Lady Ann! You always know what to say, heehee…”

“Ugh, this cat…” Skull shook his head before perking up. “But… what’s the bad news?”

Mona perked up. “Well, the bad news is that from here onwards, Mementos is huge. There’s a lot of ground to cover.”

Suddenly, the feline looked cocky. “Thankfully for all of us, I’ve got the means to get us from Point A to Point B!”

Phoenix was curious at that. “And… that is…?”

(Music Stops)

Mona smiled cheesily. “Alright guys, stand back.”

And everyone did. Upon being given enough breathing room, the feline gave a dramatic pose, and…

“MORGANA… TRANSFORM!”

A puff of smoke surrounded the feline. Once it dissipated, there was less purring… and a lot more engine-roaring.

Skull looked suitably baffled. “Oh, you’ve gotta be kidding me.”

(Music – My Homie –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CORowSvp-k)

Mona went from a cat to a car. It still obviously had feline features, but now Mona was effectively a giant bus with black and red coloring and an eerie set of eyes, ears and a tail. The party almost had their jaws hit the metaphorical floor.

“Weeeeeeeeell?” Mona grinned smarmily. “You like whatcha see?”

“Wh – Th – “ Dragon gawked onwards. “HOW DID THE FUCKING CAT BECOME A CAR?!”

“Snrk… heehee…” At this point, Phoenix was lost. “PFFFT, AHAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

“Aaaaaaaaaaand we’ve lost Phoenix,” Skull shook his head. “Umm… ladies’ first?”

“Wha?!” Panther looked almost offended with Skull’s gesture. “Oh, hell no! I’m not getting into that… that thing! Just listen to the purring sounds!”

“P-Purring sounds?!” Phoenix cackled. “EVEN BETTER! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

“Ugh…” As Dragon grabbed the helpless Phoenix by the arm, the tomboy shook her head. “Let’s… let’s just go.”

After Phoenix calmed down, she found herself sitting at the driver’s seat with Dragon adjacent to her. Skull and Panther sat in the back seat. Meanwhile, all traces of humor instantly dissipated (or, rather, dissipated over time, given the length of Phoenix’s laughing fits) upon seeing the controls.

“U-Umm...” Phoenix was instantly put on the spot here. “Should… I be the one to drive this thing?”

“Well, you’re kinda our leader. I don’t want to be driving the car into whatever eldritch horrors we’ll confront,” Dragon gave a comforting smile that instantly dissipated. “Um… you do know how to drive, right?”

Phoenix fell silent for a while.

“Um… in video games.” She admitted. “Only driving game I really liked was Crazy Taxi, though.”

After two seconds of processing this information, Dragon, Skull and Panther hastily buckled their seatbelts and began praying to whatever kami was above.

“Alright, umm…” As Dragon looked on with fear, Phoenix turned the key. “This… is how it works, huh?”

The car began purring in both a cat and car sense. “This feels goooooooooood. Heehee!”

Skull cringed upon hearing Mona’s purring. “Ugh, what kind of car is this creepy-ass piece of junk?! Just drive already, Phoenix!”

Bad move, Skull.

By the time Phoenix has any modicum of understanding of the car, the entryway to Mementos looked as though an earthquake tore the place apart.

Chapter Text

(Music – Mementos –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbT5T35aUUE )

May 7th, 2016 – Mementos, Qimranut, Floor 1 – ???

“Now just to be clear: are we certain that I’ve been permanently banned from driving the Morganamobile ever agai – “

“Yes.”

Upon listening to the party’s stern but unanimous response, Phoenix felt herself slump in her seat. Her attempt at navigating the desolate hallways of Mementos have proven to be anything but successful… actually, that was being too generous. By “anything but successful,” Phoenix’s driving attempt really means “anything but anything resembling coherent driving that wouldn’t cause a splitting migraine in the collective unconscious.” Thankfully for everybody’s sanity and stomach control, Skull seemed more than willing to take the wheel for a change, and despite never having driven a vehicle before in his life, he seemed more than capable at doing so.

Phoenix had to admit she was more than a little envious of that quality. Having that sort of independence is something she always yearned for.

Regardless, Phoenix sat in the backseat next to Dragon, while Skull and Panther were in the driver and co-pilot’s seats respectively. The silence within the Morganamobile was just as dreary as it was outside, and a part of Phoenix felt she was to blame for that. In the midst of her embarrassment and self-loathing, she rested her face onto her own hands and gave an audible groan.

“I’m sorry everyone,” Phoenix said, breaking the silence. “I really screwed up, didn’t I?”

Phoenix was so wrapped up in her self-loathing that she almost didn’t notice Dragon pat her on the back. The black-haired Innmaiden raised her head to meet Chie’s eyes, her mouth locked in a tender, small smile.

“Hey, don’t beat yourself up over this, Yukiko,” Dragon smiled, nodding her head. “We all make mistakes; just because you can’t drive doesn’t mean you’re even close to an unfit leader.”

Phoenix thought about the words Dragon said to her before smiling. “You… really mean it when you say that, Chie?”

“Well, duh! Of course I do!” Dragon grinned. “I wouldn’t be able to make snap decisions like you do in a million years; you really pulled through when we relied on you after all. Remember those Shadows we fought on our way here?”

Phoenix recalled some sort of feather-dressed humanoid shadows that caught the party by surprise on the way here. They were stronger than anything else around, but it’s thanks to Phoenix’s quick thinking that she realized that the Shadows had a weakness to ice – one that helped the party quickly eliminate them, and gain a new Shadow party member with it. Recalling how it was her leadership that turned a bunch of idealistic teenagers into a competent fighting force, Phoenix gave a small smile and nodded back at her friend.

“Hey… thank you, Chie.” Phoenix smiled, a lot happier than she used to be. “You’re… you’re really a good friend, you know that?”

Dragon bashfully looked away in that moment, blushing a bit. “D’awww, well you know. Friends stick up for each other, yeah? That’s the least I can do for someone who means so much to me…”

Phoenix giggled for a moment before the Morganamobile came to a halt. Both teenaged girls turned to greet the sight in front of them.

“Hey, we’ve reached some sorta stairway down here.” Skull hollered back at the group. “Ya ready to go down a floor?”

Indeed, the party reached a dead end, but it became apparent that the stairway in front of them led down a floor – and, with luck, another step closer towards finding and defeating Shadow Nakanohara.

“Good catch, Skull.” Mona spoke from the speaker on the car’s roof. “Welp, you guys ready? I can sense from here that Shadow Nakanohara is down a flight, so we shouldn’t have to go that much further than we already are.”

“I have no objections!” Panther gave a cheerful smile, before turning to the two girls. “By the way, what we’re you two talking about? I’m wondering what got you in such a chatty mood for the last couple of minutes.”

As Phoenix got up with the rest of the party, Dragon awkwardly looked away and giggled. “Ah, well you know… some pep talk and all that.”

Panther gave a comforting smile towards her friend, and with that, the party made their way deeper down Mementos.


(Music – Dark World Ambience –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZMZhszd4N0 )

May 7th, 2016 – Mementos, Qimranut, Floor 2 – ???

“Hey… is it me, or does this place look a bit different?”

After exploring a bit of the second floor of Qimranut, the party ended up heading through a portal leading them to a strange room… it was dark and dreary, much like the rest of Mementos, but the party had a strange feeling about this room. The Phantom Thieves all silently agreed that dark desires were rampant throughout this room, as each one of the Thieves could sense a chilling atmosphere to be found within this dead end. The dreary and dark atmosphere was only further exacerbated by a strange figure in a suit and tie enshrouded by a shadowy aura.

“Hey, wait an effin’ minute…” Skull furrowed his brow underneath his mask. “Could that be…?”

Panther nodded with her friend. “I think that might be our target. Phoenix, you’re up.”

The Innmaiden nodded in response, taking the moment to quietly approach the shadowy figure. Crossing her arms in the moment, she nonetheless remained guarded – she’s seen enough of these shadows to know how damn hostile they can all be.

“Hey… hey! You there!” Phoenix hollered. “Are you Nakanohara?!”

(Music – Blood of Villain –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvhEYbzToK4)

The shadowy figure took the moment to turn around, before glaring directly at the Phantom Thieves. Whatever he was doing, he certainly wasn’t happy at being interrupted.

“Bah! What the hell are you doing here, you bastards?!” Shadow Nakanohara stomped his foot. “Can’t you see that I want to be left alone?! I’ve got better things to do than deal with brats like you!”

“Don’t bullshit us!” Skull’s response was swift and aggressive. “You’ve been stalking your ex-girlfriend, haven’t you?! Can’t you get a grip on the situation and give that poor girl some fuckin’ privacy?!”

“What the hell do you know, you little shit?! YOU certainly don’t know what I’ve been through!” Shadow Nakanohara glared fiercely at the delinquent. “I’ve had to put up with the bullshit of Madarame for years, and for what?! Me getting left in the fucking dirt and being given nothing for my hard work?! Nevermind the fact that the old fuck’s still doing what he’s always done…!”

“Wait… Madarame?” Dragon whispered. “Phoenix… is it just me, or – “

“DON’T TALK BETWEEN YOUR FUCKING SELVES! LISTEN TO WHAT I HAVE TO SAY, GODDAMNIT!” Shadow Nakanohara screamed loudly. “I think I’m entitled to some luxury after all the bullshit I’ve been put through, don’t you think?! If that two-faced bitch doesn’t see where I’m coming from, then she doesn’t deserve the right to say no to my advances! In a world where people find themselves in the shittiest positions possible, isn’t a man entitled to what he wants when he wants it? Huh?! IS HE?!”

“That isn’t true, and you know it!” It was Panther’s turn to be angry. “What, do you think you can target people that want nothing to do with you?! My girlfriend was RAPED by people like you, and you’re trying to justify it by playing the victim card?! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!”

“Shut up! SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP!” Shadow Nakanohara was stomping his foot on the ground in pure ire, almost like a child throwing a temper tantrum. “So that’s how you’re going to play with me, huh?! Is that it?! FINE! I’M GONNA TEAR YOU LIMB FROM LIMB, AND THEN CLAIM WHAT I WANT!”

“You think we’re seriously gonna allow that?! Hell no!” Skull yelled back. “We’re gonna change the hearts of ALL the bastards like you!”

(Music Stops)

It was in that moment Shadow Nakanohara dissolved into the darkness and out sprang a completely different figure: a strange cat-like creature with orange fur and a bowl cut not unlike Nakanohara’s. In response, the creature hissed hideously and gave a roar.

“So that’s the way ya want to play, huh hot shot?!” The creature screeched. “Fine! I, Fool Obariyon, will make sure nothing’s left of you pieces of shit! DIE!”

(Music – Keeper of Lust –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBZ4EBaYpbs )

Obariyon responded with ire as it threw punch after rapid-fire punch, fully intending on ensuring the messy, gruesome demises of the party. Due to the magical nature of Shadows and Personas, the cause of this action was a maelstrom of magical fists and hits – a “Rampage” of sorts, if you would call it. Needless to say, this rage proved to be physically taxing on the party, and the five Phantom Thieves were knocked flat on their rears as a result of the force.

“Augh! You sonuvabitch…!” Skull cursed to himself. “Damn it! Phoenix, what’s our plan of attack?!”

“Same thing we always do, Skull!” Phoenix grinned in confidence. “Lay down the hurt! Continue using magical spells until we hit a weakness!”

“I like the sound of that plan,” Dragon gave an uncharacteristically bloodthirsty smile. “Alright, guys! Let’s teach this stupid cat a lesson!”

“Hey!” Mona huffed. “I take offense to that statement!”

Either way, the battle raged on. The rest of the party summoned their individual Personas, and proceeded to experiment with what potential weaknesses this Shadow may have. Invariably, as the party continued to channel spell after spell, Obariyon tried his hardest to counterattack, either by punching at a rapid-fire pace, or other nasty tricks it may have up its sleeve. Eventually, however, Skull casting Zio on the felinoid Shadow produced worthy results.

“Aaaaaugh, OW!” Obariyon recoiled because of this surprise attack. “That really hurt, you cheeky little shit…!”

“Guys, I think I found a weakness!” Skull grinned smarmily. “Let’s zap it; by the time we’re through, all that’ll be left of this bastard should be ash!”

“I like the way you think, Skull!” Phoenix smirked. “Alright gang, follow up! Use whatever electric spells might be on you and teach this bastard a lesson he isn’t forgetting anytime soon!”

As Skull continued to pummel Obariyon with his electric-based attacks, Phoenix made sure to switch to Agathion – which inherited Pixie’s electric spells – and continued to zap at the felinoid demon. Before long, with external pressure from Tomoe, Carmen and Zorro, Obariyon soon crumbled under the party’s might; Captain Kidd was fast-acting enough to land a swinging blow that knocked the cat demon onto its feet.

Obariyon gave an indignant wail as it slowly dissolved into shadows. Taking this as a sign that Shadow Nakanohara has been well and truly defeated, the party cheered and began congratulating each other.

“Whoo! Great job, guys!” Phoenix grinned happily. “Seriously, you’ve knocked this one outta the park. Great work!”

“Hey, give some credit to Skull for a change!” Dragon smiled. “He helped figure out that the demon was weak to Electric!”

Skull blushed a bit upon hearing Dragon’s compliment.

As the party continued to celebrate, Shadow Nakanohara slowly gained consciousness, and when he did, he yelped indignantly and began fumbling.

(Music – Sunset Bridge –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccn1MtGMLBU)

“I-I give up! C’mon, don’t hurt me!” Shadow Nakanohara yelped. “L-Listen, you said something about stealing my heart, didn’t you?! If I give you my desires, will you let me go?!”

Panther gave a harsh glare at the shadow. “I dunno. Will you stop stalking that poor woman, then?”

“Y-Yes! For the last and final time, yes!” Shadow Nakanohara tossed a crystal ball onto the floor. “J-Just please let me go! I don’t want to fight anymore!”

Obtained x1 Nakanohara’s Treasure

“Hrmm… well, we do have what we come for…” Dragon mused for a bit before nodding, still wary of the Shadow. “Alright, you’re free to go. Just stay away from that woman, and we won’t come knocking on your door, ya hear?”

“Y-Yes! A thousand times, I apologize!” Shadow Nakanohara awkwardly bowed. “T-Thank you for your kindness!”

And like that, the Shadow disappeared into the darkness. Skull crossed his arms a bit before shaking his head.

“Well, we’ve got what we came for; the change of heart should happen once we blow this popsicle stand.” Skull smiled at Mona. “Hey Mona, are we done for today here? Or do you have anywhere else you’d like to take us?”

“H-Huh?” Mona blinked. “Thanks for your nice words, Skull, but I’m fairly certain that the decision’s up to Yukiko, and – “

“C’mon, there’s probably a bit more to find of this place, isn’t there?” Phoenix smiled. “Let’s explore a bit more, and then we’ll head back.”

“Yeah. I’m a bit tired from all that fighting…” Dragon grinned cheerfully. “But I can hang in there a little longer.”

Mona turned to Panther. “Lady Ann? Are you okay with this?”

“Fine by me,” Panther chuckled. “Let’s just see how much farther we can go before turning back, okay?”

Mona paused for a moment before smiling cheekily. “Alright, that sounds like a plan. C’mon guys; there’s something I want to show you before heading back!”

And just like that, the party went through the portal once more, and found themselves driving alongside the dreary halls of Mementos once again.


(Music – Mementos –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbT5T35aUUE )

May 7th, 2016 – Mementos, Qimranut, Floor 2 – ???

“Hey, wait a minute… isn’t this some kinda gateway or something?”

Skull mused this thought for a moment as he descended the stairways with the rest of the party. Phoenix, meanwhile, had her arms crossed and eyebrow raised with curiosity as she saw a massive stairway of some kind – and, for some reason, entrance was completely unbarred.

“Um, Mona?” Phoenix address her words carefully. “I thought you said that we can’t do any further after we reach this stairway, but… it seems to be open.”

“Hmm…” Mona grinned cheesily. “Mwehehe, just as planned! I knew I was onto something with this!”

The rest of the party was even more curious now, namely Dragon. “Wait, hold on… you said this entrance was barred last time, wasn’t it? If so, why is it open now?”

“That’s exactly what I wondered too, Dragon,” Mona chuckled. “So I decided to investigate this by heading into one of the local palaces – namely, Kamoshida’s.”

Mona suddenly looked embarrassed. “Which is where, uh… well, y’know. I got caught.”

“Hmm…” Phoenix mused. “Oh, wait, I think I know what this is! These sorts of barriers serve as mental blocks for the collective unconscious unwilling to confront the truth, isn’t it? With the exposure and arrest of Kamoshida, the public’s now more willing to explore the implications of there lives leading to…”

Both she and Mona were in unison on this one. “…further access towards the depths of Mementos!” Mona grinned cheekily. “Exactly what I was hypothesizing, Phoenix!”

“So wait, lemme see if I got this right…” Panther crossed her arms. “The more we make the public aware of this sort of thing happening, the more we get to go into Mementos? So we continued to change the hearts of Palace owners and further our journey down Mementos?”

“In a sense. My ultimate goal is to become human and all.” Mona nodded with a smile, which quickly turned into a frown. “But I don’t want to change the hearts of Palace owners just for that. A lot of people are suffering because of people like Kamoshida, so it should be our duty to clean up Tokyo bit by bit!”

“Huh. I’m not all that certain of what this “collective unconscious” stuff means in the long run…” Skull grinned. “But it sure as hell gives us a goal in the long run to work for! Count me in!”

Dragon smirked. “Yeah, as long as we continue making Tokyo a safer place for everyone, that’s good for me!”

Everyone nodded in unison, before Mona broke the moment. “Well, we’ve got what we came for either way. Phoenix, do you have Nakanohara’s treasure?”

“Hmm?” Phoenix delved into her pockets to bring out a crystalline orb. “Yeah, I got it. So I guess that’s your way of saying “we should head back for today”?”

“Yeppers!” Mona grinned. “Let’s go home for today gang; you’ve all outdone yourselves. I’m proud of you!”

“Hey, hold on!” Phoenix crossed her arms, puffing. “Isn’t that my line, as leader…?”

“Eh, who cares?” Dragon excitedly pumped her fists in the air. “All that I’m concerned is getting a nice bowl of meat udon! C’mon guys; let’s get some grub!”

As the party continued to converse and laugh, deep down, they knew that they had a new endgame goal in mind: on top of cleaning up the corruption of Tokyo, they were also determined to help Mona discover his true self once more… and, with time, they’ll do both of those things day by day, heist by heist.

And as far as the Phantom Thieves of Hearts are concerned, that’s two promises more than worth keeping.

Chapter Text

(Music – Life Goes On (Elp Version) –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOt6qs2S7bU )

May 7th, 2016 – Shibuya Station – 5:59 PM

“Holy crap, is it really that late?!”

Ann was the first one of the group to notice that it was virtually one minute away from 6:00 PM. Hastily, she brushed off what exhaustion she had to give a small smile to the group.

“Wait… whaaaaaaaat?!” Chie pouted loudly. “Aww, does that mean we can’t go eat at a ramen place today…?!”

“Apparently not. Sorry, Chie.” Yukiko shrugged. “Though truth be told, we can do something tomorrow. Remember, exams start on the 11th, so that gives us some free time.”

“Urgh… you don’t need to remind me…” Ryuji pouted to himself rather grimly.

“Yeah... as if dealing with all this Phantom Thief stuff wasn’t enough, we have to deal with school on top of it…” Ann simply gave an exhausted sigh. “God, somebody just shoot me now…”

“Mmh… okay.” Chie nodded before smiling. “Though we can go out to eat some other time, can we?”

Yukiko smiled. “Yeah, it’ll be on me. But tomorrow; I do need to get home as it is…”

“Alright, sounds fine by me!” Ryuji nodded, before pausing. “Actually, wait a minute. Where’s Morgana?”

“Huh?” Morgana – now in his cat form – walked up to the Phantom Thieves and smiled. “Uhh… is there something the matter, Ryuji?”

“Nah, nothing huge. We’ve done a good job with bringing down Nakanohara is all,” he said with a smile. “Though that said… it is your first step towards making you human again, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, it is…” Morgana gave a wry smile. “But it’s still going to be a long road. Mementos gets tougher the further we go down, so I want you all to be ready for whatever Shadows are further down the line.”

“Ugh, Shadows…” Ryuji grumbled. “Man, those weird bird-human thingies were tough… they were call “Ictinikkies, or something…?”

“I beg your pardon, what do you all happen to be discussing?”

(Music – Suspicion –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MufukvzrdFk )

Ryuji nearly jumped out of his skin upon hearing a light voice behind him – turning around hastily, he met eyes with a brown-haired student in his school attire… and his arms were crossed together.

“If I heard you correctly, you and some boy were talking about ‘Shadows’…” The boy mused. “Pardon me for intruding, but this is relevant towards Jungian psychology, isn’t it?”

Yukiko almost instantly recognized the boy. Wasn’t this this “Akechi” fellow?

“Err, I – uh…” Ryuji quickly stumbled. “I – y’see – uhh…”

Yukiko quickly intervened. “Hey, I recognize you! You’re Goro Akechi, right?” She immediately gave a small smile. “We met on Wednesday, didn’t we?”

“Huh?” Goro quickly smiled back. “Oh, I believe we did! My apologies for the sudden intrusion; I was a bit curious to hear about what you meant by Shadows. Being a detective means that knowing criminal psychology is important.”

“Err… right…” Chie still felt ambivalent around him. “Um, what brings you here? And wait, did you say you’re a detective?! But you – “

“Yeah, I’m only a year older than you. Senior. I know, I know…” Goro gave a light-hearted laugh. “But it’s true. Much like Naoto-senpai – who’s two years my junior, but my superior in rank – we’re working on the psychotic breakdown cases happening around Tokyo lately… and then the Kamoshida crimes came to light…”

Goro gave a light laugh. “Quite honestly, we’ve been unable to catch a break lately… well, at least until now; I finished my paperwork a lot earlier than planned, so I’m going to hang around by the Shibuya strip for a little bit.”

“Oh, that’s nice.” Yukiko smiled warmly. “Actually, we haven’t gotten much of an opportunity to hang out…”

Goro cocked his eyebrow. “Hm? Is there something wrong?”

“Well, the rest of my friends don’t seem to be all that open to the idea of celebrating a, um…” Yukiko cleared her throat momentarily. “…studying session together, but I’m still up for it. You want to eat out somewhere?”

Goro instinctively blushed. “H-Huh?! R-Really?! I mean… I really do appreciate it, but you seriously don’t have to – “

“I insist, though!” Yukiko smiled, before frowning. “Err… if it’s fine by you, I mean.”

Goro was legitimately put on the spot by that. But instead, he simply gave a warm smile – he was uncertain how to proceed, clearly, but he merely nodded awkwardly.

“Okay then…” Goro smiled. “It’s a deal. Is there anywhere you want to meet?”

“Meet me at 6:15 in the Rocket 42 Diner in Shibuya.” Yukiko nodded. “I just need some time to hang out with my friends is all.”

After saying their goodbyes, Goro went on his way. Morgana, meanwhile, was clearly pondering to himself, humming as he tried to think a bit.

Ann, quite notably, picked up on this train of thought. “Umm… Morgana? I’m sorry, is there something wrong? You seem to be lost in thoughts there…”

“Hrmmm…” Morgana’s frown deepened. “I dunno… could it be just me, or does something seem… off with Akechi?”

The rest of the party turned to Morgana, ever curious.

“Really? He seemed like a nice guy to me…” Chie crossed her arms. “Why does he strike you as curious?”

“Well, it’s just a thought, really… he mentioned how he overheard a discussion between me and a “boy”… and the only other boy aside from me is Ryuji.”

“Remember, only visitors of the Metaverse can hear me speak.” Morgana finished. “Could that mean he has his own Persona?”

The entire group stood there in stunned silence.

(Music – Erosion –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1ocUfNzYD4 )

“W-Wait… Goro is a Persona user…?!” Yukiko blinked in shock. “But I thought only we had the power…”

“Well, I’m not trying to imply he’s a bad guy or anything,” Morgana reassured. “Heck, I’m even willing to bet that Goro is a good person, even! But don’t forget: the Phantom Thieves are criminals, and Goro is working for the police… if he on the off-chance knows about the Metaverse, who says he might be able to piece two and two together.”

Chie immediately froze up. “D-Does that mean we’ll be arrested…?”

“At this stage? I honestly don’t know to be certain.” Morgana shook his head. “But we need to know what Goro is like either way…”

Morgana raised his head and glanced at Yukiko. “Yukiko-chan, can you use your meet-up with Goro to talk with him about this? I don’t want him to get suspicious or try to scare him, but I want to see if there doesn’t happen to be anything weird about him.”

“Hmm…” Yukiko pondered to herself, before nodding. “Alright. I’ll… I’ll see what I can do.”

“Holy shit…” Ryuji sighed. “…well, it’s still a shock, but I’m not that surprised.”

“Huh?” Ann turned to her friend. “Ryuji-kun, what do you mean?”

“Oh, it makes sense that there’s other Persona users out there, right?” Ryuji frowned. “I mean, I don’t know squat about all this “I-am-thou” psycho-spirit mind stuff, but it makes total sense that other people encountered the Metaverse App and obtained the power of Persona. I mean, still, we should be wary since he’s on the law’s side, but… maybe he’s an unaffiliated Persona user? Or maybe he’s just part of a police organization full of Persona users?”

The rest of the party sighed grimly. “There’s too little questions left to answer at this stage.”

Ann spoke up. “Yukiko… it’s almost 6:10. You might want to meet up with Goro.”

“Hm?” Yukiko rose her head before nodding. “Oh, okay. Wish me luck, guys.”

And with that, she was off. Internally, Yukiko preyed that nothing was amiss with all this.


(Music – Confession/Secret –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yezvx80AjDM )

May 7th, 2016 – Shibuya, Rocket 42 Diner – 6:17 PM

“Hey, Goro… thanks for coming here.”

“Hm?” Goro smiled, but he sensed that Yukiko was visibly distraught. “Thanks for inviting me here, Yukiko. But… is there something amiss with you? For all intents and purposes, you seem to be tired.”

“Huh?” Yukiko gave her best smile. “Oh, well… I guess you can say I’m exhausted is all. Today’s been a long day, what with studying and all.”

“Studying… hmm…” Goro thought to himself before his meal was delivered, along with Yukiko’s.

“A rare-medium veggie burger with fries for the girl,” The waitress smiled. “And a plate of blueberry pancakes for the boy.”

“Hah! Just as I liked it. Thank you, miss.” As the waitress bowed in a traditional Eastern fashion, Yukiko looked at how happy he looked as he cut a piece of the confection. Yukiko giggled a bit.

“Heehee! I take it you’re a fan of pancakes, huh?” Yukiko smiled. “My friend Ann’s a huge fan of sweets, by the way. I figured that you would like it a lot.”

“Oh, uh…” Goro blushed. “It’s admittedly an old habit of mine. I didn’t have much money on me most of the time, and pancakes were the tastiest thing I could by with only 2500 Yen.”

“Hm… I see.” Yukiko smiled. “Er, were you always poor?”

“Huh?” Goro seemed distraught by this question – enough that he sensed a bit of intention from the inn maiden. “Yukiko, I know were merely acquaintances, but my detective intuition’s telling me you’re wondering something. Care to disclose what that is?”

“H-Huh?! Umm…” Yukiko looked away bashfully. As of now, she didn’t know how to proceed much longer, but she figured that she might as well go for the gusto. Taking a deep breath, she turned to Goro, meeting the senior eye for eye.

“Goro… I want you to be honest with me. If you want any chance of our friendship continuing, I need you to be up front with me.” Yukiko nodded, continuing.  “Are you… in possession of some strange powers, so to speak?”

Goro froze, just as he was cutting the knife.

(Music – Confession/Secret (Another Ver.) –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBIH78f5GU4 )

“I’m… sorry?” Goro laughed. “What kind of question is that?”

“Well…” Yukiko bit her lip for a moment. She wanted to say what’s been on her mind – regarding if Goro had any Persona powers or not – but the more she gazed into Goro’s eyes, the more she felt lost in her cause. She honestly had no idea what to think at this point. Was Goro really a good person? Was he bad? Was it something else entirely or whatnot? She honestly didn’t even know at this stage, and as far as she was aware, she lost all will to ask this question – especially with how troubled he looked.

“Um…” Yukiko sighed. “Nevermind. I apologize if that question came out of the blue.”

“I, uh…” Goro, for some reason, look depressed. “It’s… fine. It was out of left field, but I’ll let it slide.”

An awkward silence passed for a while as the two teenagers ate away at their meal. It was only after several minutes that Goro had the courage to ask a question.

“Yukiko, tell me… have you’ve ever felt that you wanted to destroy everything related to your family?”

Yukiko was off put by that question. “I-I beg your pardon?! Where did that come from?!”

“Well…” Goro shook his head, before laughing awkwardly. “Actually, the more I talk about it, the more out of left field it sounds. I’ll just shut up if you want me to.”

“Goro, you know I want to hear more from you,” Yukiko nodded. “Please, be honest with me.”

Goro grimly sighed. “I’m afraid my reasoning is personal. It’s a question I was asking you Yukiko. What would you do if you had the opportunity to destroy everything related to your family?”

Yukiko… legitimately did not know how to answer that question. She always told herself that she wanted to be free from the strenuous nature of the Amagi Inn, but… she wasn’t certain whether she wanted to go that far. Biting her lip instinctively, she shook her head and sighed.

“I…” Yukiko mumbled to herself. “I honestly wouldn’t know what to do in that situation. I mean, I have issues with my own family yes, but… I don’t know whether I want to sever that tie of me yet. It’s honestly something I’m still wondering myself.”

“Hmm…” Goro paused for a moment. After a terse silence, he sighed and shook his head. “Alright. Let me ask something more basic: do you care about your family back home?”

Yukiko paused for a moment, deep in her own thought. She found it very strange that this boy was asking these questions, yet even so… she couldn’t help but really think about it. Shaking her head in that moment, she met Goro’s eyes and gave her answer, all with newfound resolution.

(Music – Sunset Bridge –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccn1MtGMLBU)

“I…” Yukiko continued. “I would try to help change the way my family feels.”

Goro cocked his eyebrow. “Wait… what do you mean by that?”

“You said if I had the choice between severing everything related to my family, what I would do, yes? Well… I don’t know.” Yukiko nodded. “But what I do know is that I want to help people… I may not like the Inn, and I’m certainly not interested in inheriting the inn… but I’d still do everything in my power to preserve it… because some things can be changed with the right push. I don’t know if I want to be associated with the Inn anymore, but I’m certainly not going to see if I can’t help matters.”

Goro, judging from his expression, was stunned at how intricate Yukiko’s response was. After a brief moment of silence, he simply clutched his head with his hand and gave a short, why laugh.

“Oh, jeez.” Goro sighed. “You really are naïve, you know that?”

“Huh?” Yukiko blinked. “What do you mean by that?”

“I mean that there’s some things in this world that can’t be bartered or reasoned with. It’s far simpler to destroy them than convince otherwise,” Goro sighed, but his expression became warmer. “But… it’s admirable to see someone like you legitimately believe in what they do. I honestly thought you were going to say something entirely different, but when you put it like that… I’ll admit, I do see your point of view.”

Goro smiled. “Hey… I’d love to hang out sometime. When you’re free, can you meet me in Shibuya when you have the time?”

“Goro…” Yukiko mused to herself before smiling. It was at that moment both teenagers shook each other’s hands; whatever Goro felt about Yukiko in that moment, it was quite clear he was respecting the younger teen quite considerably.

(Music – The Spirit –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SESlTT5jydw)

ADJUSTMENT RANK UP! RANK 2

Adjustment Fusion Bonus Has Increased!

Akechi’s Confidant Skills Have Improved!

(Music – Sunset Bridge –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccn1MtGMLBU)

“Hey, is it really that time?” Goro glanced at his clock and smiled. “I should probably get home…”

After finishing the last bits of his pancake meal, Goro supplied a check and gave a small smile to Yukiko.

“You know… you really interest me.” Goro said with the utmost sincerity. “I don’t know what I should feel about you, but… I wouldn’t mind hearing from you again. I find your point of view intriguing.”

“Goro…” Yukiko smiled. “Thank you. You have yourself a nice day.”

And with that Goro left. Yukiko proceeded to give a quick text alleviating the party’s fears: whatever was with Goro, he was – from initial appearances – nowhere near as malicious as the worst-case scenario played him to be… or so she hoped.

Chapter Text

(Music – Life Goes On – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37UzjyZ0_4I)

May 8th, 2016 – Café Leblanc – 12:31 PM

With all the chaos surrounding her life, Yukiko found it alien to know she had some time to study for a change. Granted, it was still something of a small comfort either way; on top of exams, she had to deal with her double life as a Phantom Thief on top of it. Quite frankly, her life was one chaotic mess after another, and it’s a miracle unto itself she’s keeping track of it all.

So here she was, reviewing her notes while Morgana lounged on the bed. Yukiko was so focused on trying to review her algebraic skills that she almost didn’t notice her phone go off.

“Hm?” Morgana woke from his nap to give a small smile. “Hey Yukiko-chan, you gonna get that?”

“Hm? Oh, thanks Morgana.” Yukiko smiled as she flipped open her phone, and her smile widened more so upon realizing who it was from: answering the phone made it even more apparent.

“Yo, Yukiko!” A familiar voice giggles. “It’s me, Chie!”

Yukiko smiled happily before nodding. “Hey, Chie! What’s up?”

“Oh, me? Nothing much,” Chie laughed a bit. “I finished up my studying, and I was thinking we could hang out for today. Err, if you’re not busy and all.”

“Really?” Yukiko glanced at her notes before smiling. “Sure, I’ve got time to kill. What, was there something you wanted to do?”

“Hm?” Chie thought to herself over the phone. “Oh, well… I was wondering if we couldn’t see a movie together or something. I mean, if that’s fine by you.”

“Ooh, a movie!” Yukiko beamed. “What, is it a horror flick?! I love those!”

“W-Wha?! N-No way!” Chie pouted. “I hate scary stuff like that…!”

“Haha, alright, relax. I’m only teasing.” Yukiko smirked. “But I’ll be happy to meet you by the theater in Shibuya when you have the time.”

“Heh, great. Sounds like a plan then!” Chie smiled over the phone. “I guess I’ll see you there, alright?”

“Yeah, you too.”

And just like that, the phone clicked off. As Yukiko stuffed the phone back into her pocket, Morgana leaned in with a cheesy smile.

“Oh? I see Chie wants to spend some time with you,” Morgana grinned. “You wouldn’t want to waste this opportunity now, would’ja?”

“Oh, shut up Morgana.”


(Music – What’s Going On – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K42T2P1FFM)

May 8th, 2016 – Shibuya, Main Street – 3:59 PM

“That was awesome! We totally need to go again, Yukiko!”

The Innmaiden smiled warmly at her friend’s enthusiasm, having just walked out of the theater with her. The party spent a good portion of their time enjoying The Cake Knight Rises, a rather silly film about a baker superhero who goes on to save the city from crime. It was kind of a dumb film, but no less entertaining in Yukiko’s eyes. After all, with her friend’s irrational fear of horror, a compromise of some kind had to be made.

“Heh. Yeah, I’ll admit I had a lot of fun spending this time with you!” Yukiko smiled happily. “I absolutely wouldn’t mind doing it again with you.”

“Haha, you think so?” Chie rubbed the back of her head sheepishly, laughing awkwardly. “Well… I wouldn’t mind all that much either.”

Smiles were exchanged, and in that moment an awkward silence befell the group. Chie fidgeted rather nervously before shaking her head.

Yukiko, astute as ever, picked up on this. “Hm? Is there something wrong, Chie?”

“Huh? Oh, uh… nothing, really.” Chie laughed awkwardly. “I was just thinking about the last time we hung out.”

Yukiko remembered quite clearly. She agreed to go practice athletics with her friends, but in the midst of their training, a grasshopper jumped on Chie’s back – and she frankly freaked out. Even with Yukiko’s assurance that it was a cute trait, Chie felt it was stupid of her to fear bugs like that, especially when she’s fighting Shadows on a regular basis. Regardless, Yukiko still recalled that gave a much-needed boost in her Confidant with her… but even so, she felt like she didn’t help that much.

Regardless, Yukiko swallowed these thoughts and smiled. “…you’re thinking about the grasshopper, huh?”

Chie shuddered. “Y-Yeah. I’m sorry for freaking out like that, Yukiko.”

“Hey, c’mon. It isn’t your fault; I can assure you that much, at the very least.” Yukiko nodded with assurance. “Everyone has their own phobias! I can definitely promise you that your own problems aren’t that bizarre compared to – “

“H-Help! Please, somebody help!”

"God, why do you have to be such a pain in the ass? Just cough up the money and we’ll be on our way!”

(Music – Restlessness – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VMCmDfSbFs)

“…huh?” Yukiko stiffened. “Hey, do you hear that Chie?”

Chie frowned immediately, before turning to a nearby alleyway. “…yeah, I did. C’mon, Yukiko.”

Both girls continued to press onwards down the alleyway, and before long, a young boy and three delinquent-seeming figures were in full view.

“W-What do you want with me?!” The boy cried fearfully. “I-I wanna go home! M-Mama, help – OOF!”

The young boy gasped for air as the leader of the three delinquents – an oddly charismatic sort of punk – punched him hard in the gut, leading to the young boy to keel over. “If you know what’s good for you, you little bitch, I suggest you give us what money you have! You don’t want to go back to your “precious widdle Mama” with a few broken bones, do you?”

“Huh?! Hey! Hey!” Chie quickly intervened. “What the hell are you doing?! He’s a kid, damnit! Just lay off, already!”

“Huh?!” A muscular-looking punk looked at the two girls before cracking a stupid smile. “Aww, if it isn’t a cute knight in shining armor! What’s your problem, girly?”

“Eh, just ignore her, Joichi. She’ll know what’s best for her if she gets the hell outta dodge.”  The leader of the group kicked the boy’s stomach, provoking further responses from Yukiko and Chie.

“Agh...” Yukiko looked utterly disgusted.

“I SAID KNOCK IT OFF! What’s your deal like that, bullying that kid?!” Chie seethed with pure anger on her face. “IF YOU’VE GOT A PROBLEM WITH SOMEBODY, TAKE IT OUT ON ME DAMNIT! I’M THE ONE YOU WANT!”

The delinquent to the right gave a cheeky smile before glancing at their leader. “Hey boss, who the fuck is this little bitch? Should we kick both of their asses?”

“Pfft, you’re kidding, right? They’re not worth the bruises.” The leader snorted. “I’m sure they’re only here to give themselves self-gratification for helping this little runt, don’t you, ‘heroes’?”

“Hell no!” Chie barked. “It isn’t right to prey on a child like that! LAY OFF, GODDAMNIT!”

“What the fuck is your problem, huh?!” The right punk named Joichi seethed. “Do you wanna die, you little whore?!”

“Joichi, lay off.” The leader motioned, barely keeping him constrained. “…fine, we’ll go. But you’re not gonna be as lucky if you keep this bullshit up, y’know. So fuck off if you know what’s best for you; it’s only out of good grace that we’re letting you walk.”

“Guys, c’mon,” The delinquent nodded. “These bitches aren’t worth it. Let’s blow this popsicle stand.”

And just like that, the delinquents ran away, leaving a sobbing, bruised young boy and the two female teenagers.

(Music Stops)

“What an absolute scumbag…” Chie seethed. “Preying on the weak like that? Disgusting.”

Yukiko would’ve had more to add to that hateful comment, but she merely nodded in agreement.

Almost as though in an instant, Chie’s expression became far more tender and understanding. She kneeled on one leg to meet the crying little boy, before softly speaking. “Hey, are you okay?”

A moment of silence, before a strangled sob. “No.”

Chie winced. “I’m really sorry that those bullies hurt you like that… do you want me to call the police and get those guys to – “

“W-Why would you?” The little boy seethed angrily. “The police don’t do anything with those jerks.”

(Music – Suspicion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MufukvzrdFk)

“Wait… what the hell?!” Chie’s jaw nearly hit the floor. “What do you mean the police don’t do anything about it?! Isn’t the whole point of the police to protect and – “

“…serve? Don’t make me laugh,” The young boy growled. “The only thing those jerks protect and serve is the highest bidder. You never heard of the Kagiyama family before? Bunch of wealthy rich jerks who use their connections so their “precious little angels” don’t go to the slammer. The Kagiyamas deliberately pay the police off so Yoshiki – the leader of their little extortion band – gets to run around doing whatever they please. If you’re honestly so naïve as to think the police even protects us, then you make me sick.”

Chie was utterly stunned into silence by that. For the first time in seemingly ages, she was at a complete loss of words.

“I…” Chie muttered weakly. “I never knew that – “

“That’s what the police you say “protect and serve” really do? Well now you know,” The boy seethed. “Get out of my sight. I’m done.”

The boy tried to sound intimidating, but the light sob in his voice indicated how hurt he was. Chie just stood there long after the boy left, her mouth agape and Yukiko further in this awkward silence.

“They’re…” Chie said, in complete and utter silence. “They’re really doing… nothing about this…?!”

Chie’s face contorted as she clenched her fists tightly, trying to ignore the pooling sense of anger and sadness within her. Yukiko too the moment to rest her hand on Chie’s right shoulder, which helped untense Chie quite a bit.

“Chie… it really isn’t your fault,” Yukiko nodded. “Let it go.”

“But…” Chie bit her lip. “I just can’t let it go! I can’t just watch and sit as this thing happens! Not when the police aren’t doing anything…!”

(Music – Alright (Elp Version) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXnI-FfYLjA)

Chie noticeably relaxed a shook her head. “I’m… I’m sorry. I really shouldn’t have acted out like that. It’s all my fault…”

“You’re kidding, right?! It isn’t!” Yukiko looked aggravated. “You had no control over that situation, Chie! Quite frankly, you’ve done the right thing by trying to intervene! Who cares if you didn’t succeed, trying to make things better is certainly a step up from apathy!”

“I know, but…! But…” Chie lost her will to fight back as she realized how much sense Yukiko made. Instead, she teared up a bit. “You’re right… you’re really right about this… it’s just…”

Chie, quite notably, began crying a bit. “I… I thought the police cared about people… that they wouldn’t ignore somebody’s plight…!”

“C-Chie…” Yukiko, for once, didn’t know how to respond. She quietly remembered how Chie wanted to become a police officer one day – she knew that protecting those who can’t stand for themselves meant a lot to her, and she undoubtedly sympathized with that cause. Quietly, she placed her left hand on Chie’s shoulder while her right hand wiped some tears from her best friend’s eyes. Chie didn’t resist.

“You didn’t do anything wrong, like I said,” Yukiko gently smiled. “I promise you, we will fix this. Together. As long as it has to take, I promise.”

“Y-Yukiko…” Chie sniffled a bit, before smiling gently. “Th-Thank you so much… Y-You’re such a good friend, you know what?”

“Hey, friends are there to stick up for each other, right?” Yukiko grinned. “If I recall correctly, you mentioned that sentiment a while back.”

“Heh. I don’t really remember whether I did or not…” Chie smiled weakly. “But either way… it still holds true. Thank you so much, Yuki.”

Yukiko blinked. “…Yuki?”

“H-Huh?! Oh, you don’t like being called that nickname? It just kinda came out of the blue when I said that to you… it’s what I called a friend back when I lived in Yasoinaba, haha…” Chie rubbed the back of her head sheepishly, but Yukiko was ever curious. She could almost swear that she heard that nickname applied somewhere in her life before, at least during her time in Yasoinaba…

Regardless, Yukiko opened up her arms and Chie happily hugged her friend. If absolutely nothing else, Chie and Yukiko’s friendship was even stronger now.

(Music – The Spirit –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SESlTT5jydw)

AEON RANK UP! RANK 4

Aeon Fusion Bonus Has Increased!

Chie’s Confidant Skills Have Improved!

(Music – Alright (Elp Version) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXnI-FfYLjA)

“W-Well, uh… this was nice, I gotta say.” Chie smiled. “We’ll… we’ll get even with those jerk Kagiyama punks, right?”

Yukiko squeezed her friend’s hand a bit tighter in reassurance. “Yeah, don’t worry about it. We’re certainly gonna get even, Chie.”

“Yuki…” Chie smiled, tearing up a bit. “Th-Thank you so much…”

Yukiko had a small smile as she ended up parting ways with her best friend.

Yuki, huh? That was a cute nickname.

Chapter Text

(Music – Life Goes On – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37UzjyZ0_4I)

May 14th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Class 2-D – 3:14 PM

“Oh, my Gooooooooooood… are exams really over…?”

Ryuji yawned lazily, stretching his arms out amidst his exhaustion. Yukiko had to stifle a laugh for a moment, there; exams certainly have been exhausting, yes, but certainly it shouldn’t be that draining. Well, or so Yukiko thought; being a relatively smart fellow and having made some new friends over the course of the week helped alleviate her problems quite considerably.

She got the opportunity to hang out with Iwai, Tae, Ann and Ryuji throughout four days. She really appreciated the company all four individuals gave; Ryuji and Ann devolved more about their personal issues to Yukiko, while Iwai and Tae let them hang around their stores in their own… particular way. But with the exams done at long last, Yukiko just wanted to celebrate her new freedom.

“Oof…” Ann looked utterly dead, having slumped onto the desk. “I probably bombed the exam… then again, the only thing I usually do right is English on these fucking exams…”

“Hey, umm… Yukiko,” Chie muttered quietly. “So, I got this question what was the largest mountain in the solar system. What did you put?”

“Hm?” Yukiko blinked. “Oh, I put Olympus Mons.”

“What?! Aaaaaaaaaaaugh!” Chie collapsed on her knees in defeat. “I PUT MOUNT EVEREST! DAMN YOU GEOGRAPHY!”

“What?! Y-You…” Yukiko wanted to burst out laughing, but Chie’s sorrowful expression made her shut up. “Seriously?! W-What – hahaha – m-made you think Everest?!”

“I didn’t study…!” Chie wailed. “I wanted to, but there was this super-cool kung fu marathon on TV…!”

Ryuji snickered to himself. “Welp, so much for Chie getting a major in Geography when she goes to college.”

Morgana popped up from his bag and gave a cheeky grin. “Well, with how many mountains are levelled in martial arts anime, you’d think it’d strike her curiosity… but it seems I overestimated.”

“AAAAAAAARGH! MORGANA!”

The party laughed and continued discussing with each other. At long last, exams were finally done, and even if the grades received were terrible, all four teenagers were just glad that was over with. But at some point, down the line, Chie fell into a solemn silence. Yukiko, ever concerned for her friend, picked up on this.

“Hm?” Yukiko blinked. “Hey Chie, is something wrong? You fell silent.”

“Huh?” Chie rubbed the back of her head sheepishly. “Er, well… y-y’know, I was, uh…”

The tomboy suddenly turned beet red. “Um… c-can you, uh… escort me back home, guys?”

Everyone had to double take after that silence.

“I’m… sorry?” Ann blinked. “Chie, what’s up?”

“W-Well, I didn’t really bring this up earlier because I didn’t want to distract any of us from our studies,” Chie said, biting her lip. “But, well… somebody’s been following me lately. I dunno why, but there’s this weird guy who’s been following me wherever I went, and…!”

“Wait… somebody’s following you?”

(Music – Suspicion –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MufukvzrdFk )

“Y-Yeah…” Chie gulped. “Th-That’s why I’m a bit scared to go back home alone. Is it okay if you, well…”

“Follow you back home?” Ryuji gave a warm smile. “Hell, anything for a friend! We’re here for you, Chie.”

“Yeah, trust me, I know what’s it’s like due to… past experiences,” Ann referenced He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. “…so, don’t worry! We’ll help you out.”

“Same. Anything to help out my friend.” Yukiko’s tone was calm yet caring.

“Guys…” Chie smiled softly. “Thanks… I-I don’t know what to say.”

“Hey, you’re one of us, Chie. More than anything, you’re a part of our group.” Yukiko nodded. “Well, if nobody else has plans, why not head on our way back home?”

“Huh, we’re goin’ already?” Ryuji blinked before smiling. “Well, okay! Lemme at least get my stuff, first and foremost…”

The party wasted no time in grabbing their shoes from the cubby before proceeding onwards. Chie’s safety was important, after all.


(Music – Pandemonium –   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYept9efrOw )

May 14th, 2016 – Shibuya Station – 3:57 PM

“Hey, guys… is it just me, or that person behind me?”

If Yukiko was any less sympathetic to Chie’s worries, Yukiko would’ve chalked that up to paranoia. Both her, Ryuji, Ann and Morgana boarded the train back to Chie’s residence, which was somewhere near Yongen-Jaya. Regardless, as the party waited for a moment as the train took them to Shibuya Station from Aoyama-Itchome, Chie fidgeted nervously as she – in a moment of paranoia consciously glanced around her in fears of being followed.

As they finally reached Shibuya and boarded, Chie – for some odd reason – immediately tensed up and almost looked like she was going to jump out of her skin. She was that terrified of whatever this strange man had to offer her amid her journey back home.

“There! Over there!” Chie hissed panickily. “I saw him! He was RIGHT OVER THERE!”

“Shh! Chie, people are watching!” Yukiko scolded. “Let’s just go up the escalator and we’ll talk more in a bit. Calm down, okay?!”

Chie fidgeted nervously, biting her lip as she went up the escalator. Meanwhile, Ryuji had a cheesy grin on his face.

“Oooh, what if Chie has an admirer?” Ryuji gave a smarmy smile. “I think it’s pretty cute that Chie has her fair share of fanboys, hehe…”

“Wha – AAAAAAAARGH, RYUJI!” Chie wailed.

“Oh, c’mon, Ryuji! Not funny!” It was a testament to Ann’s friendship with Ryuji that she didn’t hit him there. “Don’t joke about that!”

“Alright, alright! Sorry, haha.” Ryuji sheepishly rubbed the back of his head. “Alright, we’re almost to the top of – “

“Aaaaaaugh! He’s right behind me!” Chie cried.

“What?!”

The party hastily met up near an art building, with Chie looking ever paranoid. Eventually, the man stood right behind her, and soon, Ryuji, Yukiko and Ann fiercely stepped in front of the boy.

“Hey! You’re the stalker, are you?!” Ryuji cried, dropping his joking attitude. “What’s your problem, man?!”

(Music Playing – City Ambience –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElU8g7xi6ws )

This “man” looked rather effeminate. Dressed in a standard Kosei High School outfit, the boy was quite tall for a Japanese teen, likely standing at 5’11” – he had wavy blue hair that covered part of his face, and his eyes were a steely grey. Upon seeing the confusion and terror resonating from Chie, and all three of her protector’s distrust, something immediately clicked within him.

“O-Oh, um… my apologies.” The boy blinked. “Was… my behavior inappropriate? I-I just wanted to talk with the brunette there.”

“M-Me?! Oh my God, what can you POSSIBLY WANT?!” Chie cried. “YOU’VE BEEN FOLLOWING ME FOR SO LONG! JUST LAY OFF ALREADY; SHEESH!”

“S-Sorry, sorry! Um…” The boy cleared his throat. “I… it was never my intent to cause you discomfort. I’m scarcely good with social situations, but even so…”

Either due to proper behavior or pure eccentricity, the boy bowed politely. “…those muscles… that lithe physique! I need to immortalize you into a canvas!”

(Music Playing – My Homie –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CORowSvp-k )

“I’m…” Yukiko was at a loss for words. “Terribly sorry? Are you an artist of some sort?”

“SERIOUSLY?! YOU JUST WANTED TO PAINT ME?!” Chie growled, her fear transmuted to anger. “Ugh, the nerve of you…!”

“H-Huh? Oh! This is the part where I’m supposed to introduce myself, is it not? Forgive my insolence…” The boy bowed in a traditional Japanese fashion. “My name is Yusuke Kitagawa; I am a pupil of the great artist Ichiryusai Madarame. He’s my Sensei!”

“W-Wait…” Ann gawked. “The Ichiryusai Madarame?! Seriously?!”

“Eh?” Ryuji blinked. “You know this guy, Ann?”

“Heck yeah, I do!” Ann suddenly looked a lot more cheerful. “He’s a famous artist, isn’t he?! Holy crap, you’re so lucky, Yusuke! I would kill to be a pupil of some of my fashion idols!”

“I-I-I beg your pardon?!” Yusuke suddenly looked horrified. “Murder?! Why would you do such a thing…?!”

Awkward silence followed. In that moment, Yukiko could almost hear crickets chirping.

Cautiously, the Innmaiden leaned over to Ann. “Psst… I don’t think this Yusuke fellow is exactly on the same wavelength as us, Ann… remember, isn’t Kosei High that school for special needs, or…?”

“H-Huh? What do you – “Ann’s expression lit up. “Oh. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

Ann suddenly laughed nervously. “Er, uhh… forgive us if we seemed rude, hahaha! We didn’t mean to come off as distrustful – you were just following our friend too much.”

“Hmph…” Chie still didn’t warm up to Yusuke yet. “You could’ve asked me…”

“Er, well… I’m afraid I didn’t know how to approach. I deeply apologize…” Yusuke suddenly looked determined after his moment of sorrow. “But with the utmost sincerity in my heart, I need to discuss with you over being my muse, err…”

“Chie.” She hissed. “And the answer’s no. I’ve had enough of your crap to last a lifetime! I’d sooner strip down in public than put up with you!”

“Chie, rude!” Yukiko sighed, before turning to Yusuke. “You have to forgive her, Yusuke-kun; we’ve been on edge during exams and, umm… other stuff. Your following hasn’t helped matters very much, I’m afraid.”

“Um…” Yusuke simply looked ashamed. “I deeply apologize. I didn’t mean to frighten you all…”

An awkward silence prevailed across the room. Yukiko coughed awkwardly before giving a comforting smile to the blue-haired boy. “Hey, it isn’t your fault Yusuke. You didn’t know how else to approach us, so I understand the difficulty. Isn’t that right Chie?”

Chie grumbled without a response. Yukiko would’ve chewed her friend out then if it wasn’t for the honking of a car.

The group turned to a black limousine of some kind, and with a roll of a window, an old man dressed in a traditional yellow kimono and shaggy grey hair smiled at the boy. “Yusuke, my boy, are you really walking home by yourself again? How about you come back home for a ride? You’ve been stressing yourself way too much, I dare say…”

“S-Sensei, you…” Yusuke gulped his response before turning to his acquaintances. “Hey, Yukiko… I’m afraid I must go. It’s nice to meet you all – may you please tell me your names before I depart?”

“Sure!” Ryuji grinned. “As you’ve probably heard, the black-haired girl’s Yukiko and the brunette’s Chie. I’m Ryuji, and the blonde next to me is Ann.”

Everybody said, “nice to meet you” to some degree sans Chie, who was still grumbling.

“It is indeed a pleasure to meet you; I hope you consider on my offer, Chie.” With a light bow, he’s interrupted by the honking of a car. “C-Coming, Sensei! I appreciate your kindness!”

And without further ado, Yusuke got into the car and was driven off. Yukiko, in a rare moment of frustration towards her tomboyish friend, crossed her arms and shook her head in disappointment.

(Music Playing – City Ambience –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElU8g7xi6ws )

“Sheesh, Chie, what is with you?!” Yukiko scolded darkly. “Yusuke-kun isn’t a bad kid, and you’re still aggravated with him! What’s your problem?!”

“Do you have to mention it?” Chie grumbled. “He’s been stalking me for so long and he wanted to paint a portrait of me out of the blue! Like, completely out of nowhere!” Chie sighed angrily as she scrunched up her face. “He’s so weird.”

“Aw, c’mon, Chie, that’s not nice!” Ann crossed her arms, albeit more patient overall. “Yukiko suggested to me that he may, well… have his own thing, given his eccentricities and the fact that he goes to Kosei, already one of the best disability schools in Japan. You have to understand from his point of view that he doesn’t mean to upset you, right?”

Chie chewed her lip before sighing. “I know… I’m one of the last people who would want to get angry over somebody like him… but it’s just not normal…”

Chie sighed, tears brimming in her eyes. “…I’m really sorry. Exams – and The Other Side – has been really exhausting.”

As flimsy as the excuse was in hindsight, Yukiko nonetheless sympathized with her friend. Chie merely left a shoulder on Yukiko’s shoulder and smiled.

“Hey, we all slip up socially. Just try to be less belligerent next time, okay?” Yukiko squeezed her friend’s shoulder. “Let’s just go home for today; I think we’re all exhausted.”

And they did as such. Yukiko, deep down, hoped that she didn’t give a permanently bad opinion of Chie from Yusuke. He was awfully nice, so she hoped that wasn’t the case.


(Music – Beneath the Mask – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMSDBPntMPE)

May 14th, 2016 – Café Leblanc, Yongen-Jaya – 9:39 PM

“You’re back late,” Sojiro smiled warmly as Yukiko entered the café. Ever since Yukiko slowly began earning the coffee shop owner’s trust through Yukiko’s remarkable behavior and trustworthy backstory, Sojiro has been a lot kinder overall to the Innmaiden. The undeniable proof of this was curry and coffee made just for her. Yukiko almost immediately lit up with joy from this.

“Sojiro-san…” Yukiko’s eyes sparkled, remembering how damn amazing his curry and coffee is. “Thank you!”

Sojiro laughed, giving a warm smile. “Heh, anything. Even if you’re on probation, you’ve proven to me that you’re no two-bit punk who acts like an ass. Eat up before it gets cold.”

And Yukiko did just that. She happily savored in the flavor of the curry as the coffee – despite the clash of bitter sweetness and savory spiciness – melded perfectly into Yukiko’s mouth, and she found herself purring at the delightful nature of the meal. Yukiko longed for the day her cooking was at least a fraction as good as Sojiro’s; then, independence was almost guaranteed!

But that was beside the point. After a few minutes, Yukiko finished, and Sojiro raised an eyebrow. “You enjoyed it?”

“Heehee! Yeah, I did.” Yukiko bowed politely. “Thank you very much for the meal, Sojiro-san. You really didn’t have to.”

“No formalities with me,” Sojiro gave a joking smile. “It makes my skin crawl.”

Yukiko smiled happily before frowning. “You know… you really don’t have to be so nice to me, Sojiro. By all accounts, I am a delinquent… I don’t understand why you’re acting so nice to me.”

“You’re kidding, right?” Sojiro looked skeptical. “I’d definitely be more on-guard and acting like a jerk if I’ve got some smart-aleck student I know nothing about. But Satoshi and Homura – your mom and dad – are friends with me nonetheless. Granted, they didn’t tell me much about you, but I really didn’t buy it when the report read that you overpowered a man… so I gave you a chance.”

Sojiro smiled. “You really didn’t disappoint me. How you’re even on probation is beyond me.”

“Sojiro…” Yukiko smiled. “Thank you. You’re like a father figure to me…”

“Hah! Don’t go that far,” Sojiro smiled. “I already have a daughter already.”

The balding man shook his head, suddenly frowning. “Don’t tell anybody this, but… she’s not as happy as she could be. The details are mine – and her – business, but you’re reminding me of a time how happy she was. I wish I could find a way to make her happy, given how much she’s shutting herself off.”

“Sojiro…” Yukiko sighed. “I’m really sorry to hear that. If you need a hand with her, I’d be happy to – “

“No really, it’s fine. I don’t want to upset her further.” Sojiro nodded, appreciation on his solemn face plain. “But… thank you. I wish I could be a better father to her… she’s already gone through so much.”

A solemn silence befell the room, but Sojiro removed something from his pocked: it was an envelope.

“Huh? Who’s that from?” Yukiko blinked.

“Your parents.”

(Music Stops)

Yukiko’s stomach immediately twists with conflict. She really didn’t know what to think of her parents, Satoshi and Homura Amagi – on the one hand, they loved, cared and genuinely wanted their precious Yukiko to be happy – but they felt domineering in their love, as though Yukiko had no chance to live out her dreams than to be some Innmaiden. These fears ate out her so much that she was kind of glad to leave that godforsaken inn, but the pained expressions her parents bared hurt nonetheless. Regardless, and possibly without much consciousness, she gripped the envelope and opened it.

“Um… I’ll let you read that.” Sojiro nodded. “Good night; take care.”

Yukiko almost immediately braced herself for what was to come.

Dear Yuki,

                If we were being honest with you, your arrest from that man was one of the worst days of our lives, and scarcely because we were disappointed with you at the time – it meant that we wouldn’t be able to protect you for whatever was in Tokyo; we trust in your ability to remain safe with the right people, but its quite honestly our worst nightmare to see something bad happen to you. We’d never wish that on you.

                Which is why we want to apologize for acting so furious with you when we argued with you. We didn’t understand the circumstances as well as we wanted to regarding the politician, but we still are at fault for not understanding how much stress you’ve been put through. And that is an irony unto itself: we didn’t understand that you’ve been set up by the law and some fiendish politician, yet we care so much about your safety and happiness – as do others.

                The innmaidens, the waitresses, the cooks, your friends, family and relatives… and I still didn’t forget that brunette girl you were so close with. She left home at such a young age, and you were so devastated that you never got to say goodbye. That’s proof alone over how many people want you to be successful and happy – even Chie, wherever she is now. Especially Chie.

Yukiko nearly froze up for a moment before continuing to read.

                Yet I wish to make something very clear to you, Yukiko: we love you so much. There’s so many people here in Inaba who are rooting for you and in agreement how wrong it is that you’ve been mistreated. Know that all of us are here for you: we’re a community, and we all love you Yukiko. I will always, always love you, my dear Yuki.

With love,

Mom and Dad

And that point, Yukiko began sobbing.

(Music – Traumerei – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8L_CgMfnVy0)

As Yukiko wept bitterly into her hands, she was a mess of emotions: Chie’s departure, which she blocked off for so long in her head, her parents love, Yasoinaba… Yukiko was even more conflicted now. She thought all she was destined to be was some Innmaiden heiress, but now, she’s truly questioning whether she wants to be free from this – from her mother, her father, the same people who scolded her so harshly for being arrested and expelled. Now, for the first time in what felt like ages, Yukiko wanted to go back to them – and wanted to go back to Chie.

“Mom… d-dad…” Yukiko sobbed, her face wet with tears. “I wanna go home…”

Yukiko would spend the rest of the night crying herself to sleep.

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – Morning Ambience - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fi-sG5D1pyY)

May 15th, 2016 – Café Leblanc, Yukiko’s Attic – 6:14 AM

Yukiko almost didn’t have it within her to get up this morning.

To say that yesterday was a stressor was a gross understatement, what with that bombshell of a letter she read. She normally tried her best to remain emotionally stoic – which was pretty much a requirement for her life as a Phantom Thief – but here, she couldn’t help but cry herself to sleep. Morgana tried his best to comfort Yukiko in the morning, but not much to avail.

Regardless, Yukiko found herself lazily staring at the ceiling while on the bed, deep in thought. It felt so strange, really: she still hated the inn for that unshakable feeling of being tethered to it, but a part of Yukiko’s mind wondered if she really wanted to permanently cut her ties from it. Is that what she really wants, to be completely free for choice… or free of responsibility? Goro’s question from the other day still rung in her mind, and she couldn’t shake it off.

Yukiko eventually found the willpower to sit up. A small smile appeared on her face when she saw Nakanohara’s treasure manifest in the real world: a painting of sorts. The party agreed to let Yukiko keep it as a decoration for the set piece, due to Yukiko’s minor hobby in traditional artistry. It was done in a traditional Japanese art style and featured some lady near a lake gazing at her own reflection as flowers anchored here to where she stood. If this was a piece of art Nakanohara did, she had to admit: he’s talented to try to mimic Narcissus.

*bzzt-bzzt-bzzt*

(Music Playing – Confession/Secret -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ED7kzAmnAY )

“Hm?” Morgana lazily raised his head. “Maybe you should get that.”

Yukiko blinked for a moment before flipping open her phone. She cracked a small smile once she realized it was Chie texting her.

steak trash: hi, yukiiiiiiiii!! o(〃^▽^〃)o

Yukiko Amagi: Hey, Chie!

Yukiko Amagi: Something up?

steak trash: well… yeah, kinda

steak trash: i was actually wondering if it was impossible for us to have a meeting at shujin’s roof

Yukiko Amagi: Huh?

Yukiko Amagi: I’m sorry, why do we need to go there?

Yukiko Amagi: No offense. I’m just curious.

steak trash: uhh, y’see…. i was thinking about nakahohara

steak trash: yaknow, the creep who tried to stalk his ex… .( ̵˃﹏˂̵ )

Yukiko Amagi: What about him?

steak trash: well idk if you remember this, but you remember him mentioning some ‘madarame’ fellow?

Yukiko Amagi: …yes?

steak trash: well… maybe he’s the same madarame we encountered when we met yusuke…

(Music Playing – Erosion -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1ocUfNzYD4 )

Yukiko blinked in shock upon hearing that. Regardless, she typed her response.

Yukiko Amagi: I… beg your pardon?

steak trash: well, we all know his treasure; some sorta painting

steak trash: we agreed to let you keep it, but… i dunno

steak trash: maybe the painting of his is correlated to his pupilage towards madarame??

Yukiko Amagi: That… actually makes a lot of sense.

Yukiko Amagi: Alright, we’ll call a meeting at noon.

Yukiko Amagi: By the way, surprised your showing so much concern for Yusuke. Heehee.

steak trash: oh, shaddup. hes still a jerk… (ᗒᗩᗕ)՞

steak trash: anyway, 12?

Yukiko Amagi: Twelve. Seeya.

And with that, Yukiko put away her phone and gave an aside glance to Morgana. “C’mon; we’ve got work to do.”


(Music Playing – Wicked Plan -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4m2JkRDWts )

May 15th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Roof – 12:05 PM

Getting to the roof of Shujin wasn’t exactly the most difficult thing in the world. Though the front gates were usually locked off, there existed a back entrance that was rarely if ever barred down. The teens soon found themselves huddled together on the roof of Shujin Academy.

“So, lemme see if I got this right,” Ryuji began slowly. “Your telling me that this Madarame fellow may be the same person that Nakanohara person mentioned earlier? And that he was responsible for Nakanohara’s misery or some shit?”

“Still doesn’t seem like a good excuse to stalk that woman, though…” Ann’s voice was a bit steely.

“Well, Nakanohara’s treasure manifested as some sort of painting, didn’t it?” Chie crossed her arms, sighing to herself. “Besides, Madarame’s not a common surname. I mean, this could be a different Madarame we’re talking about, but Madarame’s a painter and Nakanohara’s treasure is a painting! There’s gotta be a correlation somewhere!”

“Hmm…” Yukiko still wasn’t sure how to feel about this. There was always going to be two people with the same name, but at the same time Madarame wasn’t a common surname… was there more at stake than there seems to be? Could it be that the Madarame Nakanohara mentioned and the Madarame Yusuke’s living under are the same person?

…actually, scratch all the above. With this information in mind, Yukiko knew that these two were the same person.

Calmly clasping her hands together, Yukiko’s voice was even and quiet. “…Chie’s right. They’re the same person. I’m certain of that.”

“You too?” Ryuji’s blinked for a moment, but he quickly recomposed himself. “I’unno, man… we do need to make sure we don’t have the wrong guy and all that.”

“Well its like Chie said: Madarame isn’t a common surname. And how many Madarame’s do you know that specialize in artistry?” Yukiko crossed her arms, before sighing lightly.

“Well, in that case…” Morgana shook his head. “What do we do, leader?”

“Hmm…” Yukiko thought for a moment, before collecting her ideas together and standing up. “Why not visit that art exhibit with Nakanohara’s treasure in hand? Seems like an ideal plan in finding out if there’s any correlation here. If nothing else, it’ll prove that we do have the wrong person, as Ryuji is concerned with.”

“Hmm…” Ann paused for a brief moment, before shrugging. “Well, it’s definitely worth a shot I guess. Anything to help determine our next target.”

“Well, it’s settled then!” Chie smiled brightly. “We’re going to the art exhibit tomorrow. Oh, Yukiko, you don’t mind if you snap a picture of the painting, do you? That was we can have a reference over what exactly we’re supposed to be looking for.”

“Well, you’d think it’d be easy to discern from memory,” Yukiko giggled softly. “But sure. I’ll have something up for everyone by tomorrow.”

“Forgive me for asking, but what’re you two doing on the school grounds… on a Sunday?”

(Music Playing – Suspicion –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MufukvzrdFk )

“Wha – “ Chie panickily turned around to see a average-sized female with brunette hair and red eyes, dressed in a modified Shujin uniform. Judging from the audible tremble in her voice, Chie was quite aware of who this woman was. “Makoto-senpai?! What’re you doing here?!”

“Keep your voice down! And I was asking you a question, not me.” Makoto’s aggravation was readily apparent. “Is there any reason for you entering the school grounds on a Sunday?”

“W-Well, um, uh…” Chie fumbled her words. “We were – ”

“This is merely our hangout, of course.” Yukiko quickly helped her friend rebound. She didn’t know this woman, but she knew something was off with her. “Nevermind us, is there any purpose for you to be on the grounds you hold unapproachable on a free day?”

“Well, that’s…” Makoto fumbled herself, biting her lip a bit before quietly composing herself. “…I’m under orders from Principal Kobayakawa himself to investigate into these matters. I would find it desirable if you were to tell me what’s your purpose on school property.”

“…we plead the fifth there, thank you very much.” Yukiko’s response was automatic.

“You’re really going to choose to remain silent on this matter, aren’t you?” Makoto paused before shaking her head. “…well, fair enough. If your purpose up here is to merely hang out with your friends, I’ll leave you be… but don’t think this’ll be the last of me.”

Yukiko felt her voice steel unconsciously. “I’m sorry?”

“Like I said: this won’t be the last time you hear of me.” Makoto said with a small smirk. “If there’s anything you’re hiding from me, don’t think you can hide it indefinitely: I’ll pursue the truth of this matter no matter where it takes me… Phoenix.”

The world seemingly froze in place upon those mere couple of words.

“…for future reference, I suggest that you try not to do something stupid.” Makoto’s response was so blunt it was almost tactless. “Good day.”

Makoto left as soon as she came. Yukiko’s face was completely blanched in shock, a rare display of – or, rather, lack of – stoicism from the inn maiden, her friend’s similarly agape. It would be Ryuji – almost as expected, with how loud he is – to break the silence.

“Dude…” Ryuji whispered to himself. “Did that fuckin’ bitch say your codename?!”

“W-What the…” Ann was at a loss of words. “I mean, just what was with that – “

“…well, it seems we do have somebody to avoid for the next couple of days. Nevermind how our hideout seems to be compromised.” Yukiko shook her head. “Can somebody please explain to me who that girl was? Anyone?”

“That…” Chie fell silent. “That was Makoto Niijima. She’s the Student Council President, and now I’m more than a little terrified…” She gulped for a moment before shaking her head.

“…well, it’s like Yukiko said: we have somebody we might want to steer clear of. Looks light we might need to find a new meeting grounds after this.” Morgana’s tone was rather bitter in its finality.

“Seems that way. Jesus.” Ann sighed, her voice just as aggravated as the group. “Also, is it just me, or does she seem to be some real bitch?”

“Hey, c’mon Ann…” Yukiko sighed; she was going to lecture Ann, but after that, she just couldn’t. “…nevermind. We should probably go home for now.”

The party silently agreed to that suggestion. Before returning home, the group agreed to investigate the opening of the art fair happening tomorrow morning and go from there. Yet that was such a low priority in Yukiko’s mind, especially when factoring in the fact that Makoto knows her codename.

Yukiko had a bad feeling about all of this.


(Music Playing – City Ambience – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElU8g7xi6ws)

May 15th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Entrance – 12:31 PM

Makoto sighed drearily as she sat on the stairway to Shujin’s entrance. She figured from what intel she gathered that this ‘Phoenix’ and Yukiko were one in the same person, no doubt helped by a certain member’s… vocal nature. Regardless, she still needs to get evidence to make her case, and hopefully find other things to work with on top of it. She was on a time limit, after all, and she really couldn’t afford to waste time.

As Makoto had time to reminisce, she questioned what got her into this whole mess of investigating Kamoshida’s sudden change of heart. There was no way that somebody like him could’ve have turned “good” like that, not with his own personality. Of course, it wasn’t as if she had the ability to express her anger in public; make no mistake, she was furious once word caught up with how many women that bastard molested, but due to her status as the student face of Shujin, she really couldn’t afford to make matters worse on herself… not when she had secrets to protect.

“Mako-chan… are you okay?”

Makoto felt two arms wrap around her torso, and the normally-stoic Student Council President colored a deep shade of red upon hearing that light, sweet voice she’s so familiar with. Squeaking indignantly, the girl behind her gave a light giggle as Makoto bashfully looked away, voicing her protest in the next couple of moments.

(Music Playing – Sweet – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcQ92kMQvq4)

“S-Sheesh, Haru…” Makoto colored. “Y-You don’t need to sneak up like that…!”

“Why shouldn’t I?” Haru’s voice hinted at some teasing. “You are my girlfriend.”

Makoto would’ve protested with everyone else, but she noticeably relaxed when Haru’s lips met Makoto’s cheek. They’ve been dating ever since the beginning of high school, so why should she be on guard? As much as Makoto would want to believe that, she knew that if Haru’s father ever caught wind of their relationship… things would get ugly. Very ugly. Possibly with a lot of attempts of Haru’s dad trying to “cure” her or some shit.

But that was besides the point. Nobody was watching except them at this moment and, shyly, Makoto gave a nervous, quick kiss back to her girlfriend. Haru smiled and turned crimson herself, gently hugging Makoto in response to such affection.

“Hey, Mako-chan.” The girl mumbled softly. “Are you okay? You’ve been on edge for these last couple of days…”

Makoto’s mind kind of froze into place there. She always debated internally whether she should tell her of her own mess, but deep down… the last thing she wanted was to worry her. Haru meant so much to Makoto, and she doesn’t want to endanger her or this whole mission of hers if she let herself know. Regardless, Makoto tried her hardest to pull off a convincing lie.

“Oh, well… you know. We had exams last week, and I got pulled into a board meeting.” Makoto gave a warm smile. “I’m just exhausted, you know?”

“Hmm…” Haru didn’t sound all too convinced at first, but the tender smile she had signaled that she understood what she meant. “Well… if you say so. Though I do have several suggestions for helping your stress, if you’ll humor me.”

“Hm?” Makoto looked nervously into her girlfriend’s eyes. She knew that mischievous smile anywhere.

“If you really want to…” Haru had a glint of deviousness in her eyes. “I’d be happy to let you unwind a bit.~”

Makoto turned crimson as soon as she knew the meaning of that cryptic statement. “W-Well, I, um… I mean… w-well…”

Haru’s smile quickly evolved into a frown. “Mako-chan… I don’t want you to be to be stressed out, okay? I’m here for you, always. You know that, right?”

Makoto thought to herself for a moment, before giving a small smile. “M-Maybe… um, is anyone present in your penthouse now…?”

God, she couldn’t believe how shy she was right now.

Haru smiled gently. “The servants aren’t going to turn an eye, don’t worry. Shall we relax for a bit?”

Haru let go of Makoto and stood up, the light brown-haired girl offering her hand to Makoto. Nervously, and with a smile, she accepted.

“W-Well… that would be nice, I mean…” Makoto said with a squeak. “And besides… th-there’s always other things we can study together, right?”

Haru gave a big grin in response, before nodding with her. “Yeah. There always is.”

As Haru and Makoto walked back to the former’s suite together, a part of Makoto’s mind wondered if she wasn’t looking too dorky… but all it took was a smile from her girlfriend for her to understand that it was perfectly normal, regardless of what Okumura thought.

Makoto had to protect Haru. She needed to.

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – My Homie – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CORowSvp-k )

May 16th, 2016 – Madarame’s Art Exhibit – 3:22 PM

“Holy effing shit, this is a lot of people.”

The fact that the art exhibit was crowded to the brim meant that Ryuji’s remark was scarcely surprising to any of the Thieves. That little tidbit wouldn’t be very surprising either, given how it opened the day before – the only reason why the Thieves didn’t leave sooner was due to the necessity of piecing two and two together with their encountering with Nakanohara’s Shadow. In any case, however, Yukiko glanced at her phone to see a photo of the intricate painting Yukiko’s had for keepsake – the Japanese equivalent of Caravaggio’s Narcissus, in all its glory. Yukiko had to admit with a small, little smile, if Nakanohara really did this painting, he was a lot more talented than she gave him credit for.

“Well, we all seem to be in position to investigate this affair,” Chie smiled. “You all ready to find that painting, guys? It’d help if we could establish a link between Nakanohara and Madarame, and if we do…”

“…then our target’s gonna be clear as day.” Morgana popped up from Yukiko’s bag, grinning in his traditionally cheeky manner. “Maaaan, this is so exciting!”

“Heehee, I can imagine Mona!” Ann smiled cheerfully before her expression suddenly turned wistful. “Y’know, Shiho would love to come here too. Oh, by the way guys, did I ever tell you about that date I had with her earlier?!” Ann went straight back to being enthusiastic. “She was so adorable, the way she…!”

“Um, pardon me… can you kindly keep your voice down?”

Ann froze up and turned as red as Carmen’s dress when she saw Yusuke right behind her, slightly surprised from how energetic the half-Danish girl was. Yukiko had to reign in a laughing fit from the suddenness of his arrival.

“In any case, though… you all came!” Yusuke smiled, happily clasping his hands together. “Welcome to the Ichiryusai Madarame Art Exhibit of 2016! You’re going to have to forgive me if I get pulled into other affairs so suddenly; things have been very busy over the last couple of days. I never would’ve dreamed this exhibit getting as much attention as it does now…”

“Hrmph…” Chie grumbled; she still hasn’t really warmed up to Yusuke, but she’s getting there.

“Well, it’s wonderful to see you too, Yusuke.” Yukiko smiled gracefully, before bowing. “If I may ask, can you help me and my friends with something? We’ve been looking for a painting that may have been painted by one of Madarame’s pupils.”

“Ah, indeed… believe it or not, I’m not the first pupil under Sensei’s tutelage.” Yusuke smiled warmly. “There have been others before me who were taught how to handle a brush with the same grace as him. Do you happen to be looking for any specific artistry done by them?”

Yukiko took the moment to glance at her fellow thieves before they simply nodded. Yukiko then brought out her phone and made clear of the painting that comes to mind: the same painting supposedly done by Nakanohara.

“Hm?” Yusuke blinked. “Hey, c-could that be…”

“This is one of the works of art we’ve been looking for, Yusuke-kun.” Yukiko responded politely. “…if it isn’t too much to ask for, do you mind if you showed up where this may be in the exhibit?”

Yusuke quickly fell silent, still gazing at the photo like it was the abyss. “That… I may know what you are looking for. But that would also mean that…”

Yusuke shook the thoughts away. “…no, nevermind. Do you wish to help me search it for you? It should be somewhere around here.”

Yukiko was slightly taken aback by all this, over how Yusuke was struck silent just like that. But she cautiously answered his question by nodding quietly.

“…a-alright then.” Yusuke bowed courteously before pointing down to the hallway, still slightly shaken. “Now, if you may all follow me…”

And with that, Yusuke went off, with Yukiko closely following behind him. Ryuji took a moment to nervously glance at Chie and Ann.

“…okay, something is definitely off here.” Ryuji frowned. “What’s goin’ on between him and Madarame…?”

“Hopefully it isn’t anything poisonous…” Ann said with a small frown. “…but either way, there’s only one way to find out whether or not there’s a correlation in all this.”

Chie shook her head quietly as Ryuji and Ann went on to follow the two teens. The tomboy followed suit relatively quickly.


(Music Stops)

May 16th, 2016 – Madarame’s Art Exhibit – 3:27 PM

“And I, um… do believe we are here.” Yusuke fell silent as he concluded with his tour around the art exhibit, finally stopping at the painting right in front of them. “Um, I do believe this was what you were looking for, yes?”

What was in front of them was a Japanese version of Caravaggio’s Narcissus, almost exactly like the treasure replica Yukiko recovered when stealing Nakanohara’s heart. The thing that differentiated this painting from the Western variation was it being done in the style of a kaiga painting, with an Edo-period man being fixated on his reflection on a lake. Yukiko honestly had to admit with a smile, this painting wasn’t shabby at all.

“Huh… I’ll admit this work of art isn’t too shabby.” Chie said with a little more restraint than she usually does; whether that’s due to her still being chilly with Yusuke or something else was another matter. “Yukiko, is there something wrong?”

“Hmm…” Yukiko looked back and forth between the painting on her phone and the painting on display, and upon examining the lake this Narcissus expy was glancing towards, she quickly noticed the broad strokes dominating the pool sans the man’s reflection: it looked broad and crude compared to the drawing on the painting, and the existence of that work only further piqued her curiosity. There was a clear different between this and the painting of Nakanohara’s treasure, and Yukiko was determined to piece two and two together.

“Hey, Yusuke-kun… is it okay if I ask something about that portrait over there?” Yusuke silent nod gave Yukiko the incentive to continue. “I was wondering if you could tell me about the broader strokes on the painting’s lake, if you may. It honestly looks like it was painted over, to be honest…”

“Hm? Oh, that?” Yusuke tensed up a bit for a moment there; he wasn’t exactly sure how to respond to that question. “W-Well, I admit that I don’t really see the commotion here. This artistry is Sensei’s own work, you know.”

The party quickly fell silent at that very moment. Yukiko and the rest of the party merely exchanged glances.

So that’s what Madarame’s been doing.

(Music Playing – Suspicion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MufukvzrdFk )

Yukiko didn’t really want to admit it at first, if she were being honest with herself. Even after dealing with the horrors behind Kamoshida, she still couldn’t believe that anyone would do the thing she projected in her head… but it still made far too much sense to just dismiss. There was the very real, very likely possibility that Madarame was plagiarizing students and discarding them when his whims were met. He knew something was suspicious with him from the get-go, but… could it be that there’s something more to this puzzle than she suspected?

“Um, pardon me, miss… you seem to be lost in thought. May I pass through?”

“H-Huh?” Yukiko nearly jumped out of her skin as she turned around to see an elderly man right behind her. Dressed in a kimono and with white hair and beady brown eyes, the man had a serene smile on his face. Politely, the man bowed to Yukiko, and Yusuke lit up immediately.

“Oh, Sensei! What brings you here?” Yusuke smiled warmly upon seeing his teacher reappear just like that.

“Ah, Yusuke, my boy, are these friends you’ve happened to have made?” The old man gave a small little grin of audacity. “It’s good to see you’ve been socializing as of late, though! I am quite happy to see you’ve been making friends. Painting by yourself has to be quite lonely…”

“Hrmph… well he’s no friend of mine just yet…” Chie huffed quietly to herself. Thankfully, nobody heard her mumbling.

“Oh, I wouldn’t call them friends just yet, Sensei. They’re more akin to acquaintances.” Yusuke smiled warmly at his foster figure. “These people asked to see your Narcissus painting, by the way. They had some questions regarding it.”

“Oh, is that so?” Madarame smiled warmly at the four teens; almost instinctively, Yukiko winced a bit. “Well, I’m quite surprised children such as yourselves are interested in my works! I’d be happy to give you a bit of a tour if you’d like…”

“N-No, really.” Yukiko swallowed her words at that moment. “I-It’s fine, Madarame-san. Though, um, if it isn’t too much to ask, is that work of yours… really yours?”

“Wha – “ Yusuke suddenly looked offended. “Yukiko! This work is Sensei’s pride and joy! Why would you even accuse him of such – “

“Now, now, Yusuke! It’s quite alright.” Madarame said with a warm laugh. “I don’t see the problem in the new generation judging this senile old fool critically.”

“Well…” Yusuke shook his head. “If you say so…”

“Quite right, my boy.” Madarame cordially smiled towards his pupil, before turning to Yukiko. “…to answer your question, yes, that is indeed my own work. Made it in 2004. Is that what you were wondering?”

Yukiko felt a chill go down her spine at that moment. She took a second to look at the painting, then at the picture on her phone, then at Madarame. A small voice in her head wondered if this wasn’t a mistake of some kind, if she potentially had the wrong Madarame. Choosing to bite down on these thoughts for the moment, Yukiko gulped and smiled wearily.

“Y-Yes, that’s what I was wondering.” Yukiko bowed. “I have no more questions. Thank you, Madarame-san.”

“Hmm… well, if you say so.” Madarame didn’t look all too convinced. “I guess I’ll see you later, then! Hope you have a good time at the exhibit!”

Cheerfully, Madarame walked off, taking in the smiles and fans surrounding his presence. Yukiko barely had time to breathe before Yusuke spoke.

“…with all due respect, Yukiko, isn’t it a bit… accusatory of you to imply that Sensei stole this work?” Yusuke looked rather offended.

“Er… you’re going to have to forgive us, Yusuke-kun.” Yukiko sighed to herself before lightening up at that moment. “…actually, can you give us a moment? I’d like to talk with my friends for a moment.”

“Huh?” Chie blinked. “What do you – owww!” Chie winced as Yukiko stepped on her foot.

“Psst… sorry.” Yukiko whispered before smiling to her friend. “I’ll be right back, okay?”

As Yusuke nodded dumbly in return, Yukiko hastily led her fellow Thieves away from the blue-haired pupil. It was only when they relocated somewhere private when Ryuji spoke.

“…okay, something is definitely off right now.” Ryuji crossed his arms; his voice was a lot quieter than usual. “I mean, on the one hand there’s clear inconsistencies between the painting… but on the other hand…”

“…it’s also possible that we have the wrong Madarame.” Ann sighed to herself. “Uggggh, I don’t know what to think! There’s too little to go off from here!”

“I know that feeling…” Yukiko felt her head droop down a little before suddenly surging upwards. “Hey, I have an idea… but I don’t think Chie’s gonna like it.”

“Pfft, anything for a friend!” Chie smiled cheerfully at her best friend, before frowning. “…unless you want me to be a muse for Yusuke, and in that case… no thank you.”

Yukiko’s pleading look towards her friend and the awkward silence with it gave Chie all she needed to know.

“…aw, shit.” Chie winced. “You’re not actually thinking that – “

“Please just bite the bullet for now, okay Chie?” Yukiko asked nicely. “If we find more out while covert as a muse for Yusuke, maybe we can learn more about all of this. And when that happens…”

“…we’ll see if we have our target or what-not.” Ann finished, nodding in approval. “Though I am curious about how Chie feels about this.”

“Hm? Oh, thanks for the concern Ann.” Chie sighed drearily. “And… I guess I can do it… but you so owe me steak when this is done, Yukiko!”

“Heehee, consider it a done deal.” Yukiko smiled warmly.

“Well, that’s settled then…” Ryuji smirked, his voice returning to its usual tone. “Alright, let’s head over back to Yusuke and inquire him further!”

And with that, the Thieves broke from their little huddle and hastily returned to Yusuke, who seemed to have grown slightly tired of waiting.

“Well? Have either of you come to a decisive conclusion on why you are here?” Yusuke sounded a tad bit aggravated.

Yukiko looked over to her best friend, to which Chie nervously nodded. As Ann and Ryuji nodded as well, Yukiko smiled softly and spoke to Yusuke.

“About that request for Chie being a muse…” Yukiko continued. “…are you still taking offers?”

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – Suspicion –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MufukvzrdFk )

May 16th, 2016 – Outside of Madarame’s Shack – 3:46 PM

Having reached the conclusion the party was looking for, Yukiko and the rest of the crew barely wasted any more time before regrouping with Yusuke in tow. Agreeing to meet for painting later this evening, the rest of the Phantom Thieves currently resided outside, waiting for the clock to strike five – supposedly the time Yusuke would request the Thieves for painting Chie. If all went well, they would be able to gleam absolute insight into the truth behind Madarame.

Or at least that was the plan. Yukiko had another idea not too long ago.

“Man, this effin’ sucks…” Ryuji groan aloud to nobody in particular. “Are we seriously gonna stand on our asses and wait for that weirdo to come paint us?!”

“I think you mean me, Ryuji…” Chie shook her head; her cheeks were rather faint with a light blush. “I s-seriously can’t believe I’m being offered on a platter here…!”

“I wouldn’t worry too much about it, Chie-chan!” Morgana popped up from Yukiko’s bag and brandished a friendly smile. “You’ll be fine. Plus, if that creep tries something fishy, I’ll claw his eyes out!”

“That… won’t be necessary Morgana.” Despite Ann’s resignation in her words, she had to stifle a laugh at seeing a cute cat flail its paws around.

“Well, in any case, why are we even here, Yukiko-chan?” Ryuji sighed. “Seems pretty weird to me to be sitting out like that.”

“Hm? Oh, yes… sorry.” Yukiko seemed uncharacteristically unfocused at the moment, as if she was deep in her own thoughts. Ann picked this up rather quickly, raising an eyebrow.

“…wait a minute,” Ann began, slightly concerned. “You have an ulterior motive for bringing us here, don’t you?”

Yukiko smiled rather deviously after pausing for a moment. In that terse silence, she brought out a phone with the Metaverse Navigator App clearly booted up on it. Everyone present had their expressions light up.

“Wait…” Chie gawked. “You’re not actually suggesting that we…?!”

“Yeah. I thought about it for a while, and I’ve made up my mind.” Yukiko nodded, putting the phone back in her pocket. “I want to see if this Madarame fellow has a Palace or not. If we manage to identify that, we’ll be almost certain to know what course of action we take from there on.”

“I get that and all, but shouldn’t we wait for another time?!” Ryuji objected rather loudly. “I mean, yeah, we always have to be vigilant as Thieves, but why are we doing this before going to Yusuke’s place?”

“Because that way, we’ll be able to identify the true nature of Madarame,” Yukiko responded resolutely. “And when we do that, it’s almost certain that we’ll be able to take action from there.”

“And more than that…” Yukiko sighed to herself, shaking her head. “It’ll help us be able to figure out if we have the wrong target or not.”

“Hmm…” Chie was initially none to convinced, but she trusted Yukiko. It was like how the inn maiden trusted her when the chips were down, and she had to repay the favor in any case. “…well, doesn’t hurt to investigate a bit. I mean, I’m still kinda chilly with Yusuke, but maybe we’ll be able to figure out if he’s being abused or not? That way, we’ll be able to put an end to this travesty before it spirals out of control.”

“Well, Chie-chan’s got a point there…” Morgana mewled softly. “So, you guys are up for it?”

Indeed, the question was directed at Ryuji and Ann, who were mostly silent as of this moment. “Huh?” The delinquent of the two snapped out of his silence, before nodding along. “Uh, yeah, yeah. I’ve got no objections overall.”

“Yeah, me neither.” Ann smiled. “I trust Yukiko’s judgement on this one. So, I take it with all of us approving we can begin, leader?”

“Um, ‘scuse me… what do the two of you happen to be talking about?”

(Music Playing – Restlessness –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VMCmDfSbFs )

Yukiko blanched in response as she turned around to be met with the gaze of a black-haired woman in her mid-twenties. She had a pair of sunglasses on her head, with a camera situated around her neck. She was dressed in a black t-shirt with a unique graphic, wore loose pants, and… hey, was it just her, or did this girl reek of booze?

“H-Huh?” Chie jumped out of her skin all the same as her best friend. “Hey, what’re you doing here?! I didn’t see you coming!”

“Heh, sorry.” The woman broke into a small little smile. “I’ve come here because I wanted to ask you kids if you knew anything about Madarame. I’m trying to build a story for my station, and I was wondering if you knew any link between Madarame and… well, I’ll be blunt, any dubious circumstances?”

Yukiko paused for a moment with the rest of her fellow Thieves, slightly taken aback by the honestly of this woman’s answer. They didn’t really have a lot to go on just yet, so Yukiko really couldn’t say for sure. Also, was it just her, or did this woman… sound similar to her own voice? Weird. In any case, Yukiko took a moment to devise an answer in her head before she finally spoke.

“…I’m afraid we were asking the same questions you are, miss.” Yukiko shook her head in denial. “You’re going to have to ask somebody else, I’m afraid.”

“Hrmmm…” The woman didn’t seem all too convinced, but with a small shrug, she nonetheless accepted her answer. “…nevermind. Just be sure to keep an eye out for anything, okay? Have a nice day, all of you.”

Before long, the eccentric young woman left as soon as she came in. Yukiko took a moment to nervously glance at Ryuji who looked just as baffled as her.

“Hey, c’mon, man! Don’t look at me like that!” Ryuji sighed audibly. “I’m just as speechless as you are!”

“That girl seriously seems weird…” Morgana shook his furry head before perking up. “…though is it me, or does that lady have an extremely similar vocal range to your own? You sounds pretty identical if I were being frank.”

“W-Wha… augh, Morgana!” Yukiko groaned audibly, much to the laughter of the rest of the Thieves. It took a little bit of begging on the heiress’ end for her to tell the Thieves to cut it out with the teasing and get back to finding the coordinates for Madarame’s Palace.


(Music – Interrogation –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GSY0ZtwD1M )

???-???-???

“Hmm… so you ended up discovering Madarame’s involvement by your own merits, then.” Sae contemplated her answer as she gazed into Yukiko’s drugged eyes, before sighing.

“Y-Yeah…” Yukiko audibly yawned, still exhausted from her sedation. “That’s, uh, what happened so far…”

Crap, how longer is she going to last? And do we have enough time? Sae nervously glanced upwards at the clock before shaking her head. “…I need you to hang in there. If you want to get out of here unscathed, I need you to remain focused, okay? So please, continue. Tell me everything you recall regarding your investigation into Madarame.”


(Music Playing – Suspicion –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MufukvzrdFk )

May 16th, 2016 – Outside of Madarame’s Shack – 3:52 PM

“Okay… castle.”

“Match not found.”

“Mansion?”

“Match not found.”

“Carnival? Fortress? Pizza parlor?”

“Match not found. Match not found. Match not found.”

“Uggggggh! Screw me!” Chie wailed audibly as her guessed – as with the rest of the Thieves have been at a rusty pace. Yukiko, meanwhile, was giggling uncontrollably.

“S-Seriously?! P-Pizza parlor?!” Yukiko snickered uncontrollably. “Th-That’s so – pffft! Ahahahaha! Hahahahaha!”

“I’m really at a lost here… c’mon Yukiko, don’t tease me like that!” Chie sighed in defeat as the rest of the Thieves gave sideward glances, almost as if acknowledging that they were being led by a teenaged girl who laughs a lot.

“Well… I think I do have one suggestion.” Morgana popped out of Yukiko’s bag. “How about ‘Museum’? I don’t know much about paintings and the like, but… maybe that should be the keyword?”

“Hahahaha! Ahahaha… heeeeeee…” Yukiko, at long last, calmed down. “U-Um, what did I miss…?”

The rest of the party felt a giant glob of sweat form on their brows. Ryuji simply shook his head in complete exasperation. “Uhhh… nothin’, really. Why don’tcha try Museum this time around?”

“Hm? Oh, that was actually what I was planning to try next! What a coincidence!” Yukiko happily retrieved her own phone before entering the keywords. “Ichiryusai Madarame. Madarame Shack. ‘Museum.’”

“Match found. Beginning navigation.”

“Yes! We did it!” Chie pumped her fists before opening her eyes. “It took us a while, but Madarame does have a Palace, and – HUH?!”

And just like that, the world around them began to warp.


(Music Playing – A Woman –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWizFF5fn-I )

May 16th, 2016 – Madarame’s Palace, Entrance – ???

Dragon’s sudden shift to surprise was well-justified. Almost in the blink of an eye, the shack that contained the Madarame Residence shifted towards a far more lavish and ostentatious form: a golden, gem-encrusted museum with spotlights hovering over the night sky. Faceless people were lined up for possibly miles to visit this ‘museum’, and between the lavishness and exotic nature of the newly-discovered Palace, it became clear to the group that they found their target the second they dressed in their outfits once more.

Needless to say, Phoenix and Panther were not pleased in the slightest.

“J-Jeez, this outfit again?” Phoenix shook her head, noticing in the corner of her eye that Mona took form too. “Ugh, I’m never gonna get used to it, am I?”

“Well I said it once, I’ll say it again.” Skull grinned. “Ya do look attractive in it, both of ya!”

Panther took the moment to roll her eyes before Mona spoke up, having finally escaped the confines of Phoenix’s backpack.

“Sheesh… one of the downsides of being a cat is the fact I’m still cramped as hell during my transformation…” Mona huffed quietly before happily turning to their leader. “Still, a museum? This looks less like that and more like a treasury with how lavish it looks…”

“…and that’s just the outside of the place.” Panther didn’t sound too pleased with the lavishness on display, for one reason or another. One could assume that’s due to… earlier Palace encounters.

“Well, who’s going to know ‘till we visit the inside?” Phoenix smiled cheekily. “Let’s all get a move-on, guys; hopefully cross the terrace over yonder before anyone has a clue where we may be.”

“Yeah yeah, I gotcha.” Skull started grinning like crazy. “Still, dude, isn’t this like exactly the kinda place a Phantom Thief would target?! I’M SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED!”

“Ssh! Keep your voices down!” Mona’s tone was rather harsh in his scolding.

“C’mon, give the guy a break! This is pretty awesome!” Dragon grinned just as happily, before wincing a bit. “…er, barring the obvious lack of legality here…”

Phoenix happily rolled her eyes before pointing to the outside terrace. “Well, c’mon all; not like a Phantom Thief takes the entrance, right?”

The rest of the Thieves exchanged small smiles before following Phoenix’s lead, making sure they’re none too far behind their leader. Whatever is in this Palace, it was certainly going to be a pleasure robbing Madarame’s heart right under his nose.


May 16th, 2016 – Madarame’s Palace, Exhibit A – ???

Fighting through the Shadows guarding the Palace was hardly any problem. Phoenix truthfully wondered whether it was her training that was speaking or the fact she’s grown increasingly accomplished with tactical direction. In any case, the Phantom Thieves had no problem penetrating the facility’s defenses, though a part of Phoenix’s mind wondered how a bunch of standard nightguards were better at fighting than armor-clad knights.

Then again, she really shouldn’t question it too much. This was the Metaverse they were talking about. Logic was just as applicable in the workings of this world as was a banana peel in a fight for your life, so it wasn’t as though the team still had much to work with.

“Hey… these paintings kinda look familiar honestly…” Having just cleared through a batch of Shadows, Skull was fixating on the paintings. “And look, they’ve got names too! Satoshi Matsuoka, Ryoma Kanashi… could these be pupils…?”

“Hm?” Phoenix blinked for a moment. “Skull, what do you happen to be looking at?”

“There’s these portraits with names over here.” Skull motioned over. “C’mon, you should probably have a look.”

As Panther and Mona hurried over to their fake-blonde teammate, Dragon and Phoenix simply exchanged glances with each other.

“What could portraits with names be doing here?” Dragon spoke quietly. “…is it wrong that I have a bad feeling about this, Yukiko?”

“Who knows?” Phoenix sighed softly. “I’m just as lost as you are right about now, Chie, and – “

“Guys, look!”

(Music – Dark World Ambience – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZMZhszd4N0)

“Huh?!” Phoenix blinked in surprised. “Skull, what’s wrong?”

“Uh, you guys might want to see this…” Skull’s voice, while yelling, was no less shocked. “Just… c’mere, alright?”

Phoenix and Dragon once again exchanged glances before heading over to investigate. They quickly began to see why the rest of the Thieves were shocked.

(Music – Desire – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p7utuOjF-Y)

Indeed, alongside the rows of dozens of pupils lied two portraits – one consisting clear as day the faces of Natsuhiko Nakanohara and Yusuke Kitagawa. That was hardly the most disturbing thing about it though; at the end of the hallway was the main foyer, and with it was a golden statue displaying a spiral of some sort, with a carved inscription at the base of the statue. As Phoenix and Dragon hurried up to meet their friends, Panther, rather shakily, read the description of the “Infinite Spring.”

“…a conglomerate work of art that the great Madarame created with his own funds,” Panther was already sick in her stomach. “These individuals must offer their ideas to the director for the rest of their lives… and those who cannot do so have no worth living?!”

Skull immediate felt anger swell up in her. “That… that bastard… he’s using his pupils as slaves for his own inspiration?!”

Mona quickly looked downcast. “That seems to be the most likely scenario. Nevermind the fact that it’s plagiarism at its most basic form…”

Phoenix and Dragon finally caught up, both girls somewhat out of breath. “What did we miss? …and Panther, why do you look angry?”

Phoenix was astute as ever. The part-White girl had her hands balled up in anger, before sighing drearily. “…after Kamoshida, I’ve wanted to believe that there wasn’t anyone else as awful as him out there. Unfortunately, I seem to be wrong on that measure.”

Phoenix and Dragon reread the inscription and quickly saw why. Phoenix had a look of pure disgust on her face and Dragon continued to look even more angry than she did earlier.

“That… aaargh! I can’t believe it!” Dragon slammed her foot down on the ground, howling with rage. “That senile bastard’s stealing other students’ talents and discarding them when need be?!”

“Well, it isn’t as bad as with Kamoshida…” Phoenix shook her head. “Not that that’s saying all to much, honestly.”

Everyone simply fell silent at that moment, with the inn maiden turning to her friends. “…well, we seem to know the question whether or not Madarame’s a worthy target or not. I only wish we could’ve learned about this in more favorable circumstances.”

“Tell me about it. And I can only imagine how he treats Yusuke…” Mona felt his tail droop at that moment.

“…well, looks like we did all that we’ve coulda done.” Skull grumbled darkly. “Maybe we should head back for today. We don’t want to miss our scheduling with Yusuke and all.”

A large part of the Thieves’ conscience was the desire to delve deeper into the Palace and bring an end to all this malevolent garbage. But they knew that they had real-life matters to attend to, and what’s more was the fact that they needed to regroup before delving deeper into this Palace. But that didn’t make their retreat any less painful on them.

Deep down, the Thieves knew they had to make Madarame pay for this.

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – Erosion –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1ocUfNzYD4 )

May 16th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Principal Office – 4:16 PM

A quiet constant in the back of Makoto’s mind nagged how she shouldn’t be attempting to pull a stunt like this. All things considered, however, that’s the firmly-Lawful and orderly side of Makoto Niijima speaking here; the same Makoto Niijima who couldn’t say anything regarding the Kamoshida scandal that’s been the hot topic of the nation, regardless of her pure ire with the scumbag. She almost wanted to walk out and pretend she didn’t see anything regarding Kobayakawa’s office, but deep down, she knew some unsavory things had to be done in ordered to get closer to the truth.

Makoto breathed in and out. Nothing too loud, but nothing too soft that she’ll begin hyperventilating from her internal screaming. Quietly opening the door leading to Kobayakawa’s office, the Student Council President breathed a quiet sigh of relief upon seeing nobody present in the dreaded room where the fat bastard sat. Thank Christ, a chance to get out of this unscathed. Of course, as she quietly walked over to the computer, she only took a quick moment to look at the USB drive Haru gave to her as a favor on her end. She’s rather not know where the heiress got such procurements. All she was told by her to only insert it into a computer of the person she a.) hates so freaking much, and b.) wants to get information. Obviously, both applications applied to Makoto’s opinion on Kobayakawa, so it’s a given she’d strike the metaphorical iron while it was hot.

Haru was such a strange individual, wasn’t she? Then again, she should’ve guessed that modern royalty politics were something she was better left out of the blue over, and given how Haru’s constantly under pressure for being sold off to a forced marriage… honestly, she’s only really privy to this side of the heiress due to both being in a romantic relationship with her, and due to serving her every whim with tender, leather love.

…on second thought, Makoto deeply regrets having that thought spring to the back of her mind like that. She turned a deep-hued color as she quietly motioned over to the computer before looking back at the flash drive in her right hand. “Hope this works…” Makoto’s desperate reassurance was met with a quiet gulp as she inserted the USB drive into the port of Kobayakawa’s desktop. In the span of the next few seconds, the computer violently and erratically sprung to life, and incomprehensible mess of glitches and errors plaguing the monitor. Even in her mild surprise that the USB drive would contain a virus of such nature, she still noticed some numerous programs going on in the background of the glitchy interface. It would be then, automatically on the virus’ part, that the password to Kobayakawa’s password would be cracked and up his home page would boot up, albeit with a few twitches here and there.

Makoto breathed a sigh of relief when the home page of the computer came up in the flesh and blood. “Yes!” She quietly announced her victory to only herself before sitting down on the chair to look through the computer. “Now let’s see what we have here…”

As Makoto quietly went through the files present throughout the computer, she finally caught in the back of her eye something that she’s been looking for this whole time: a document on Kamoshida of some kind. Going by the date, it seemed to have went back all the way to 2014. Ever curious, Makoto quietly clicked on the document only to be surprised at what she saw.

~

Entry Date: 8/24/14

God fucking damnit, Kamoshida. You really couldn’t keep it in your pants this time as well, now could you? You just HAD to set your sights on Mayu and fuck her up like that. Thanks to you now I have to deal with the entire mess of keeping the incident of her molestation off the records. What a pain in the ass that bastard can be. But he brings good PR and status to the school otherwise, so I really shouldn’t be complaining in hindsight.

This is, what, the third time this happened since the end of summer break? I’d almost say that I’d be shocked that Kamoshida is going around making some girls his bitches and what-not, but at this rate, I’m really non-plussed to do so. He brings in a good deal of profit, and that's what matters to me in the end.

Speaking of profits, I should remind myself to tell Madarame to stop putting off his association with our little group and do his part of the job. But either way, all I can really say or do is express pity at how I’m lumped together with these freaks and weirdos, one of them being a conflicted hypocrite. Just another day, I can only imagine.

~

Deep within Makoto’s heart, all that really built up within her was object fury. Not only did Kobayakawa know that Kamoshida was raping students behind everyone else’s back, he did nothing about it?! Pure anger and disgust coursed through her veins like liquid lightning, and it took serious self-control on her part to not punch some motherfucker or what-not. Thankfully, she quietly reigned herself back in, though she made certain to get even with Kobayakawa for this at a later date – which was exactly what she ultimately chose to do. She brought out her phone and promptly snapped a few pictures of the journal entry before deciding to do one last thing with the doomed-by-virus desktop – look up who this “Madarame” figure was and what his deal was. So without wasting any more time, she ended up finding the entry relevant to Madarame on Kobayakawa’s desktop and reading through its contents before ultimately signing off for the day.

The truth, needless to say, was more than a little surprising.


(Music Playing – Break it Down (Elp Version) –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOt6qs2S7bU)

May 16th, 2016 – Madarame’s Shack, Yusuke’s Studio – 6:30 PM

“I must admit,” Yusuke began, a note of annoyance in his tone, “I was not expecting your friends to be here as well, Ms. Satonaka.”

“Well,” began Yukiko, forcing her face into what she hoped was a bright smile. “I did introduce the idea, so I suppose I am her… Talent agent, of sorts?”

Internally, Yusuke flinched at the strained, growly tone. He didn’t read emotions that well, but he knew anger when he heard it. He weighed the merits of asking what he did to offend her, but decided it was probably not worth angering her further. Probably was just overprotective, like Madarame was.

“And, uh, yeah, wouldn’t you get nervous too, if it was just the two of us?” Chie smiled, slightly, seeming distracted by something.

Yusuke’s head tilted. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, think about it! You’re a boy I just met, and now you’re asking to be a secluded, private area…” Chie trailed off, hoping the blue-haired artist got it.

He did. “Oh! My apologies; while I do not mean to offend, I have absolutely no interest in you as someone of the opposite sex. It is strictly professional.”

Ann’s brow furrowed. “Huh?”

“Is there a problem?” Yusuke asked, genuinely curious.

“No, not at all, that’s fine! Seriously!” Internally, Chie breathed a sigh of relief. She didn’t know how much more stress she could take after that short excursion to the inner fantasies of Yusuke’s asshole of a parental figure. She didn’t need him drooling over her too.

“Then,” Yusuke began. “If you will just sit on the stool and pose…” Using a colored pencil as a guide, he centered his view on the sitting Chie, and turned to his easel.

Then he began to sketch.

And sketch.

And sketch some more.

“…so, I was thinking,” Chie began. “Err, Kitagawa-kun?”

And sketched.

“Um, do you hear her?” Ann said, carefully.

And sketched.

“I wish I had this guy’s focus when studying,” Ryuji said. “That or we’re looking into another planet, across the soundless vacuum of space.”

Morgana mewed loudly.

Yusuke sketched.

“…It’s no use,” Morgana said, sounding resigned. “If he’s going to give us a bigger picture of what kind of villain Madarame is, it’s not going to be anything we say when he’s at work.”

“You’re telling me,” Ann replied. “It’s like talking to a very creative wall.”

After a few more minutes of sketching, Morgana mewed again. “Err, maybe Phoenix and me should be outside the room? I think if she’s not given something to do she’s going to spontaneously combust.”

“YES! LET’S!” Yukiko said, jumping to her feet before wincing.

Everyone not named Yusuke flinched.

Yusuke continued to sketch. “Please hold still,” he said, his voice a monotone from concentration.

Yukiko, feeling herself turn almost as red as her blouse, cleared her throat. “I um, I haven’t had the, uh, best day, and I think I’ll just make things worse if I stay around.”

If one looked closely, one could see Yusuke’s hand stop moving for a second. But just for a second.

“Right, so I’ll be taking my bag and heading out here, and uh seeyouinabit!”


(Music Playing – Suspicion –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MufukvzrdFk)

May 16th, 2016 – Madarame’s Shack, Common Hallway – 6:40 PM

It took all of Yukiko’s foresight not to slam the door behind her.

“I… augh!” She sank into a wall down a hallway from the door. “I cannot think right now! I just – gah! What kind of selfish, self-satisfied, sociopathic piece of crap does that!?”

“If it makes you feel better,” Morgana said as he came out of the bag. “Your rage gives us an excuse to scout around as opposed to sit and wait. I get the sense he doesn’t talk a lot when he’s working; he doesn’t get bored with preliminary sketches.”

“Yes, I supposed you’re right,” Yukiko said, sighing. “I can still hear him from here. If nothing else, we can start looking around to see if Madarame left any evidence.

“That’s the spirit! If you need to do something, then let it be – what’s with this door?”

The sliding door in question was almost a painting in and of itself, a colorful peacock with spots on his that that looked almost like the insides of pearl oysters and surrealistic feathers that seemed to slow into each other. Were it not for his orange-feathered head and body near the bottom, Yukiko would have guessed it for some abstract piece taking up the entire door,

“Weird,” Morgana began. “You wouldn’t expect a door to be this flashy.”

“Yeah, it seems like something you’d find at an art museum-“ A thought struck her. “You think this is Madarame’s?”

“It would make sense given what his Palace looks like.” He nodded at a similarly colorful padlock. “Would explain that, too. Wouldn’t want a curious apprentice to look in there and find nothing.”

Yukiko reached into her hair, looking for a pin.

Morgana caught on. “I get what you’re planning, but I don’t think your hair pins are hardy enough to get past the mechanism. More likely they’d break in there and leave evidence we tried to break in there.”

“Right. This is a place for another day, if we can’t take Madarame’s heart.” Yukiko glared back at the eye feathers. “But isn’t it typical? Yusuke gets a checkerboard; his master gets an actual work of art to look at whenever he gets to work!” She stuck her tongue out at the door, walking off. “Let’s see if there’s anything else we can find…”


(No Music Playing)

May 16th, 2016 – Madarame’s Shack, Yusuke’s Studio – 6:45 PM

And sketched.

And sketched.

And sketched.

Ann and Ryuji had long turned their interest to their smartphones.

Chie, naturally, was still posing. At this rate, the Palace will be gone before he finishes! Wonder what Yuki’s doing?


(Music Playing – Restlessness –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VMCmDfSbFs)

May 16th, 2016 – Madarame’s Shack, Common Hallway – 7:00 PM

”How,” began Yukiko, an entirely different frustration creeping into her voice. “Can a man. With a Palace. That gaudy. Be. This. Frugal!?”

Madarame’s shack was empty. No television, no computer, not even a full library, just piles of books on art theory. There was nothing to suggest Madarame or his students did anything except eat, sleep, excrete, and paint.

“You know, part of me respects him now! No, actually, I think I feel sorry for him,” Yukiko said, groaning. “There is nothing here. He has nothing in his life other than his profession!  How sad and desperate do you have to be to become like that!?”

“He’s still a plagiarist,” Morgana said, his cat eyes furrowed in a human expression of anger. “He may have nothing but the art, but – wait.”

Yukiko stopped her angry pacing. “What?”

“Where’s his bed?”

Yukiko blinked. “…what do you mean?”

“Even Yusuke doesn’t sleep in his own studio. He should at least have a bedspread or something.”

Yukiko began to stroke her chin. “You’re right. Where is his room?” And another thought. “More importantly, why are all the rooms unlocked except for his?”

“Interesting as it is though,” Morgana said, looking deflated. “This is all circumstantial. It could be he uses a bedspread, or that he has a different room beyond that studio door.”

“Yeah, I hope Chie’s having more luck.”


(No Music Playing)

May 16th, 2016 – Madarame’s Shack, Yusuke’s Studio – 7:10 PM

And sketched.

And sketched.

And sketched.

Ann snored lightly.

Chie’s expression had turned to agony. Leg… Hurt… Ankle… Asleep… Ouch…

Thankfully, it was at that point where Yusuke suddenly groaned and threw his pencil at its box, causing the true blonde to slightly shriek at the sound.

Ryuji paused the game he was playing and looked up hopefully. “Are you done?”

“No, but it’s…” Yusuke sighed. “It’s no good.”

Chie looked upset. “Oh, crap, sorry, was I posing wrong? I need to work on my endurance…”

“No, not at all,” Yusuke admitted. “It’s just… I’m having trouble staying focused. I’m sorry but we’ll have to do this another time…”

A single thought ran through the present company of Phantom Thieves: That was you having trouble focusing!?

Ryuji groaned. “Oh hell no!? How many hours do you think you made us wait!?”

Ann glanced at the clock. “It hasn’t been even one yet, Ryuji. Not that I blame you…” She yawned.

“Okay then... um, sorry you’re having trouble… say, can we ask one thing before we leave?” Chie said, without pausing.

“Oh yeah… Sorry, but we wanted to ask you about those rumors out of public,” Ann continued, not meeting Yusuke’s eyes.

Yusuke’s already dark mood soured. “Ah yes… My master’s ‘plagiarism’ and such.”

“That painting I saw at the exhibit,” Ann continued, pretending not to notice. “The reason you were so ambivalent about it was because you painted it, right?”

(Music Playing – Restlessness –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VMCmDfSbFs)

Yusuke’s eyes flew open in surprise. “That’s… That is to say…”

“Yep, called it,” Chie finished, any remaining doubt vanished. “He’s nothing more than a greedy little thief. Actually, no, a thief works to steal what isn’t theirs. He just slaps his name on things and pretends he always had them.”

“He doesn’t give a damn about his students,” Ryuji began, grinding his teeth. “It’s why he doesn’t care if he steals their work or beats them.”

Yusuke started to glance around, reminding the three there of a frightened fox looking for a way out. “I… I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he said, every syllable enunciated like he was practicing a new line in a play.

“Wow, you’re a worse actor than I am,” Ann said. “That’s just plain sad.”

“Look, he’s just an old man,” Chie said, smiling encouragingly. “We can back you up if you call him out.”

“I…” Yusuke inhaled and exhaled, lowering his hands like he was deflating a balloon. “I… It is as the rumor suggested. The students repay their master in artwork, in return for our tutelage. It is a way to help keep him afloat, and we float with him.”

Something about that line seemed fake, but in a different way than a line. Almost rehearsed.

“Then why aren’t you pooling resources or something!?” Chie nearly shouted in exasperation. “It’s not like anyone’s going to be upset that the artist line is ‘Yusuke Kitagawa, Madarame helped’ or anything! The best art teacher in the world is still the best!”

“Because if it was announced Sensei was retiring, it would devalue him in the art world,” Yusuke replied. “He is simply suffering from a case of artist’s block right now; it would be difficult for him to rescind his retirement. So, his apprentices let him use our artwork to keep his name.” More of that “rehearsed” tone.

“…Kitagawa-kun,” Chie started. “Does that make any sense? If your Sensei suddenly announced that his retirement was over, that would be a comeback story! Surely he doesn’t have to steal your spotlight to keep himself together.”

“I…” Yusuke sucked in his cheek, turning away from the group. “I…”

(Music Abruptly Stops)

The door suddenly opened. “Um, sorry for not knocking but – oh, you’re done!” Yukiko smiled. “Um, I was taking a walk around the house to cool myself down, and I realized – where does Madarame sleep? I saw your bedroom, but honestly, I’m curious.”

Dead silence. Everyone could swear they could feel the temperature dropping by a few degrees.

“I apologize,” Yusuke said, voice devoid of all emotion. “I believe I misheard that. Did you just say…” He spun around, looking angrier than any of the Phantom Thieves had ever seen him. “You. Were in. My bedroom!?

(Music Playing – Tension –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtQSKYsS6Nw)

Yukiko began to suspect she hit a sore subject with him. “Oh… Um, sorry, it’s just that everywhere was unlocked and-“

“I’m sorry, what part of ‘stay in my studio’ did not penetrate the sable towel you call your hair!?” He was outright growling now. “Do you understand how many rules I am breaking by allowing you over here for even one day!? And how violated I feel when you abused that to trespass everywhere!?”

“She didn’t mean anything by it!” Ann said, attempting to defuse the already-lit bomb. “She was just concerned about living conditions, that’s all!”

“Concerned? Why would she be-“ Yusuke’s eyes brightened with understanding, before narrowing to slits. “Oh. I believe it’s becoming clear now.”

“...oh, hell.” came Morgana’s voice.

“That was the primary reason you came here, was it not? You wished to find information to sully my master’s good name?” Yusuke’s voice turned dangerously calm. “I see…”

“Look man,” Ryuji began, before being silenced by Yusuke’s glare.

Quietly, Yusuke got out a cell phone and typed something. “That,” he began, “Was me alerting the police to a possible burglar.”

Yukiko hid her face.

“However, I will say that I was mistaken, and there was instead an accident, on one condition.” He turned to Chie. “I want you to continue being my model, Satonaka-san, for the duration of Sensei’s exhibition at the gallery.”

Chie blinked. “Uh… Okay, thanks, but-“

“Alone, with no potential intruders holding me back through unconscious modesty.”

(Music Slowly Fades Out)

Ann tilted her head. “What, exactly, do you mean by – “

“Yes, you may have abused my hospitality, but I guarantee that you have given me the opportunity to put my heart and soul into creating the best nude painting ever!”

If time itself could grind to a halt, it would have in that exact room.

(Music Playing – My Homie –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CORowSvp-k)

It’s a miracle Chie’s jaw didn’t hit the floor. “W… W-w-w-w…”

“WHAT!?” Ryuji said, rearing back from an invisible punch.

“Nude!?” Ann said, gaping. “As in, not clothed!?”

“That is the implication behind the term, yes,” Yusuke replied, smirking. “To think I would be able to create a nude picture of the most ideal model… This day has spun towards the better for me.”

“W-w-w-w-w-w…”

“I, um, ah…” Yukiko shoved the part of her mind planning on haggling more concessions from Yusuke back into her id. “Isn’t this a bit, err, excessive?”

“It was, then you escalated by violating my personal spaces and rampaging across my shared home. Be glad I am being relatively merciful,” Yusuke replied again, the smirk growing wider. “Besides, I need to submit a new piece to Sensei soon, to prevent… ahem, inconveniences. Of course,” he said, turning to the other three with his glare returned. “I expect you will speak of this to no one.”

“Uh, sure, but, uh, seriously, isn’t that kind of…” Ann searched her brain for the proper term. “Embarrassing? Creepy?”

“W-w-w-w-w-w whhhhaaaaAAAAAT!?”

Chie shoved herself directly into the conversation. “D-D-Doesn’t the model get a say!? I mean, I’m the one… N-N-NAKED!”

“If you wish to cover your more private areas with arms and legs, that is entirely appropriate for the aesthetic I am going for,” Yusuke said, oblivious to Chie turning even more red. “It emphasizes the perfect androgyny I saw before and wish to capture.”

It took a couple seconds for Chie to realize the two major reasons Yusuke might think that. Thankfully for the artist, it only took her friends a second.

“Okaywe’llcontactyouonagooddaybyefornow!” And thus, was Chie saved from assault charges – by Yukiko’s running tackle.


(Music Playing – Wicked Plan –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4m2JkRDWts)

May 16th, 2016 – Outside Madarame’s Shack – 7:15 PM

“Let me at him!” Chie shouted into Yukiko’s chest, flailing ineffectually. “Let me at him!”

“Come on, Chie, you know he didn’t mean it that way!” Ryuji said, holding her arms. “You’re cute that way!”

“Yes, but I look like a girl! Girl! Not some weird sexless mannequin!” Chie managed to pull out her hand out and push away from Yukiko. “Where does he get off, huh!? First, I get a leg cramp from something that didn’t even work, then we get yelled at for trying to help him – “

“We did kind of betray his trust,” Yukiko began.

“That’s no excuse!” Chie threw up her hands. “Has he paid attention to the news!? Like, at all!? He knows what just happened – “

“I don’t think he does, actually,” Morgana interrupted. “Not a single television or even point of contact with the outside world.”

“…uh.” Chie’s tirade ground to a halt. “…it’s still really creepy!”

“Honestly, I’m on Chie’s side here,” Ann began. “I’d be freaking out too, even if it was necessary to steal Madarame’s heart…”

“And that I understand,” Yukiko replied, smoothing back her hair. “Thing is, I get the sense he may be kind of, uh, brainwashed.”

“It needs washing, that’s for sure,” Chie said, earning a brief snicker from Yukiko.

“Phoenix is being serious, Dragon,” Morgana replied as he jumped out of the bag. “I think Madarame manipulates his students so they can’t do anything other than paint for him; he removes everything else in their lives.”

“…that bastard,” Ryuji began, gritting his teeth. “He’s just as bad as Kamoshida; he’s just replaced being a pervert with being a greedy son of a bitch!”

“And because Yusuke’s been raised by him all his life, he probably thinks this is normal,” Ann finished. “It still doesn’t excuse… that, but it does explain it a bit.”

“Don’t remind me… Still, creepy, intrusive blackmail aside, that does give us a timetable,” Chie said, realizing something. “If he wants me over during the exhibition only, that means Madarame isn’t there to stop others from coming over during his exhibition, that probably means he’s not around here that often while he’s off hobnobbing.”

“And that means that we have an easier time stealing his heart! Great idea, Dragon!” Morgana “grinned”, to the extent his non-anthropomorphized form could.

Yukiko – for all purposes and intends – just gave a dreary sigh. “Well… this could’ve gone better than it did, overall.” Despite her weariness, she looked up to her fellow Thieves and gave a warm smile. “How about we head home for the day? I honestly feel pretty exhausted.”

Ryuji looked at his phone’s time and his eyes subsequently shot wide. “Oh, crap! Sorry guys, I gotta double time it: mom hates it when I’m this late…”

“Yeah, it is kind of late for me, too…” Ann shook her head. “Whether that’s the time or sitting there for an hour, I’ll never know…”

Morgana popped out of Yukiko’s bag for one last moment to assure what the Phantom’s have been thinking. “Well… there’s always next time, for certain. But we can’t let this opportunity slip by us: we’ve already dodged a bullet with Kamoshida nearly expelling us, so we shouldn’t draw Madarame’s ire when it’s too late. So rest up, everyone; we’re gonna see if we can’t look into Madarame’s Palace first thing tomorrow."

Everyone quietly agreed with this sentiment. As dusk fell on the cityscape of Tokyo, Ann and Ryuji have long since departed. Only Chie and Yukiko were left; technically Morgana too, but he retreated into Yukiko’s bag. Meanwhile, Chie simply shook her head and sighed.

(Music – Alright (Elp Version) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXnI-FfYLjA)

Yukiko, ever in tune to her best friend’s senses, smiled. “Hey. You gonna be alright, Chie? Need a walk home for tonight?”

Chie looked up to Yukiko quietly, before smiling. “…y-yeah. I would like that. Thank you, Yukiko.”

“Heehee. Anytime.”

As Yukiko and Chie began walking together, the brunette tomboy gave a wry smile. “Honestly, you really can’t imagine me doing… well, that, right?”

“You mean doing a nude painting.”

“Ack! C-C’mon, Yukiko, it’s embarrassing…”

“Heh. I know. But we’ll steal Madarame’s heart by then, alright?”

“…yeah. I know we will.”

As both Yukiko and Chie silently conversed with each other and smiled, the two remained unaware of them holding hands until they parted ways for the night.

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – City Ambience – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElU8g7xi6ws)

May 16th – Shibuya Station – 7:41 PM

Getting Chie back home wasn’t really hard, all things considered. That’s something that honestly kind of surprises Yukiko a bit, given she’s never really went to Chie’s house before, and that Chie wasn’t familiar with the area at first. Regardless, the two best friends still managed to get to where they needed to go, and Chie said her friendly farewells to Yukiko before ultimately departing for the night.

Chie… she was such a kind and strong girl, wasn’t she? Then again, Yukiko would’ve found it strange that she only knew the brunette tomboy for little more than a month and they were already inseparable as-is. Regardless of which, Yukiko still found Chie admirable unto herself. She almost truthfully wished she could be closer than she is than just friends… that isn’t too much to ask, isn’t it?

Yukiko chewed her lip quietly upon registering these thoughts, pushing her crush back into her id. She was far too nervous to genuinely consider just asking her up-front that she’s hopelessly in love with her. Given how close the two girls are and Yukiko’s quiet inferiority complex, she dreaded the idea that their friendship would be damage, if not ruined by Yukiko coming out like that. But Ann succeeded in winning over Shiho too, didn’t she? Why can’t she try to win Chie’s hand like Ann did with Shiho? Yukiko simply shook her head and sighed; the only thing worse than being away from the family who loved you in spite of their flaws was having the girl you crush on potentially rejecting you.

…dear God, was she already missing the Amagi Inn? She didn’t know whether to appreciate these thoughts for their sincerity or scorn them for its codependence. Thankfully (or perhaps not), those thoughts were interrupted by what Yukiko’s parents once called the “polite foghorn” tone.

“There has been far too many incidents to ignore!”

(Music – Alright (Elp Version) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXnI-FfYLjA)

No matter who they were, what they looked like, or what level of power they were aiming for, politicians always spoke in the same volume and manner when trying to get attention: a delicate balance between being the center of the room and not annoying listeners to the point where they left the room. Given how prestigious the Amagi inn was, she heard that tone far more than she would want to. Though to be fair, they were mostly asking for staff assistance rather than making speeches to the masses.

“The runaway train incident, the corrupt and abusive faculty of a school, and we have yet to discover the truth of it all!”

The source of that particular foghorn actually was making a speech, elevating himself on a wooden plinth to hide the fact he wasn’t much taller than Yukiko. This wasn’t helped by the fact that, to put it politely, the man was a bit rotund. Not unhealthily so, but he definitely had a potbelly underneath his suit. Still, it gave him something of an approachable charm; Yukiko was put in mind of a favorite uncle who was far more casual than the prim atmosphere that came with the Amagi Inn.

“The apathy that permeates society is a product of negligence by our government and the media…”

Unfortunately for his ambitions, his speech really didn’t capitalize on his looks. Passionate and honest, to be sure; having spoken to politicians, Yukiko had little doubt he was telling the truth of his opinions. Competent politicians, in her experience, were actually good liars, which is to say they knew lying about their own opinions was pointless. Regardless, he presented himself as a stern, forceful figure; coming from a man who seemed like an extremely erudite and well-dressed teddy bear, this was slightly ridiculous and amusing to see. Hardly in a bad way, though, at least in Yukiko’s mind; unfortunately, the scowling glances of the other watchers seemed to think otherwise, completely ignoring the man except for a few disdainful and annoyed glares.

“…you seem to be listening quite intently,” he said, the stern demeanor dropping. “Are you interested in politics?”

“Huh?” Yukiko was truthfully caught off there. After all, politicians usually didn’t talk to individual people like that, and the ones who did were usually the best ones. “…o-oh, I was! And yeah, I’ve known quite a few in my time and all.” As the raven-haired innmaiden awkwardly laughed to herself, she was relieved at her statement coming off as more honest than it sounded in her head. It wasn’t a lie, but probably not for the reason he thought; a trick she actually learned from the politicians.

“Ah. Well, I’m delighted to captivate the attention of one so young,” he said, and Yukiko got the sense he meant every word after the chilly behavior of the nearby crowd. “Truth is, I am just… err, rehearsing…?” He frowned. “…pardon me, but have we met before?”

Instinctively, Yukiko started to study the politician’s square face and a head that was apparently immune to the ravages of time and a rather prominent nose –

…wait a minute.

“I… think we have, actually. When I was much younger.” Yukiko scrunched her face to get a better look at Toranosuke.

“Hrm…” The politician replied with a reminiscing tone, before something clicked in the politician’s. “I thought I recognized that hair – does the name Toranosuke Yoshida ring a bell?”

If one listened, one could hear a soft ding inside Yukiko’s head.

Yukiko’s expression lit up with surprised. “OH! Um, were you seeing a lobbyist in Yasoinaba and got drunk at the hotel about four years ago?” As Yukiko replied, she started internally coloring an alcoholic red onto that nose.

A similar red came to the face of the present Yoshida. “I… fell off the wagon, I guess you can say.” Toranosuke’s voice had hints of shame in it. “Not my proudest moment, certainly. But yes, I definitely remember you; you were a waitress and a maid if I remember correctly. I distinctly recall thinking you were too young to take care of sad old men.”

Yukiko smiled warmly in response. “Heh. I remember thinking it was nice having the sad drunk rather than the mean one. You are not the first, last, or anywhere close to the worst,” Yukiko replied. In truth, she had found Yoshida’s drunken ramblings about how he missed how uncomfortable the Diet seats were hilarious, and then found herself feeling incredibly guilty when he started pleading for her father to tell him he wasn’t a washed-up old failure. “So really, no worries: all is forgiven.”

“Right then,” he said, giving an apologetic smile. “I am sorry for wasting your time, everyone! I will – “

“Oh, shut up, No-Good Tora!”

(Music – Suspicion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MufukvzrdFk)

Yoshida flinched at the nickname the middle-aged man gave him from across the alley. The heckler, seeing an opening, grinned savagely. “Hey seven-time loser, protip from anyone with common sense: join a fuckin’ party! That way, when you become the eighth-time loser, you have people who are paid to care!” He laughed, an immature giggle especially from a person with graying hair, and all but strutted off.

“I…” Yoshida inhaled. “…well, as you’ve just witnessed, I appear to be drawing them even before my speeches begin.” he finished, sighing. “Don’t worry about me, I’ve grown used to the sound of – “

“I’ll attend your speech.” Yukiko’s conscience made her response as automatic as a robot’s.

Yoshida’s eyebrows may have rocketed off if they weren’t attached to his skull. “You… what?”

“You don’t deserve to have your speech ruined because some jerk decided to call you a name!” Yukiko said, throwing her hands up in annoyance directed at the bystander. “…that, and I remember enough about you to know what it’s like when you’re depressed and hurting. I’ve been in your shoes fairly recently.”

Slowly, a smile came to Yoshida’s face. “…well, while certain regulations prevent me from employing a minor, would you mind holding a sign during my speech?”

Garnering attention and boosting his self-confidence. Yukiko gave a small little smile to herself; what could be the harm of lending a hand like this?


(Music Playing – Break it Down (Elp Version) –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOt6qs2S7bU)

May 16th – Shibuya Station – 8:11 PM

“And while our society appears to be prosperous, many of our young people are quietly suffering. They lack jobs, security, savings…”

Upper body strength, Yukiko internally finished. What did he make this sign out of, oak? Still, she jabbed it in the air a bit, hoping to at least get Yoshida to feel happy about himself.

“The next generation will lead us into the future, and yet they have no plan – “

“Ow! Watch where you’re going!”

“Watch where I’m going!? You first, if you’d ever stop looking at your phone!”

Whatever Yoshida was about to say next, it was derailed by a salaryman and a well-to-do sort apparently demonstrating what a rude foghorn sounded like. Not that either of them seemed to really care that the seven or so people in the crowd Yoshida had drawn were all looking at them.

Yukiko cleared her throat.

“No, you’re the one who runs into people when you’re – “

“A-hem,” Yukiko outright said, quiet aggravation apparent. “Future leader, here? As… informative and interesting as this conversation is, can you both please take it somewhere else?”

Both arguing men glared at her, but decided to leave, muttering about political thugs for hire. Yoshida mouthed a quiet “thank you” to Yukiko before returning to his speech. “Together, we can create a bright future for the next generation.”

Suddenly, a third man, dressed in a suit Yukiko supposed he thought made him look flashy, rounded the corner. “Next generation? Oh that’s rich, coming from you, No-Good Tora!”

Yoshida all but jumped back. “Eh!?”

“Hey, your groupie know how you embezzled funds? Or how you called your own constituents morons? You criminal!” With that he walked off, gritting his teeth.

Yoshida didn’t seem to notice, though. “N-No! I – t-that was all in the past, but… I… I… g-going back to my speech…”

A noticeably more stuttering Yoshida continued onward, sweating and fidgeting nervously, while Yukiko tried to connect the friendly, somewhat bumbling man with the heckler’s angry condemnation.

It really didn’t match up, to say the least.

Thus, when it became clear that Yoshida’s meager crowd had left, leaving him to sigh and prop up his box, Yukiko opened her mouth.

“Yes, it’s true,” Yoshida admitted, already guessing the question. “I suppose I could say it happened twenty years ago, but that does not change the fact that man brought up why I’m nicknamed No-Good Tora.”

Yukiko frowned a bit; that was something fairly unique for any politician, competent or not. “…if you don’t wish to say anything, I’ll just – “

“No, no, you deserve to at least know the man you’ve been holding a sign for the past half an hour for.”  Yoshida inhaled and exhaled. “…I was indeed a member of the National Diet before my losing streak, but in that time, I was a very inexperienced person then – both as a politician, and as a decent human being.” To emphasize his point, he rolled out three fingers. “Strike one, I missed a legislative meeting to take a personal vacation. Second, I was accused of embezzling a great deal of money from my party, and then finally when brought to explain my situation, I called a voter an idiot in an open forum. I haven’t won a single election since.”

Something about the phrasing of “accused of” struck Yukiko as a bit odd, given how Yoshida was pouring out his heart, but she shrugged it off. “Well, you’re honest about it. That’s impressive for anyone, let alone a candidate for office.”

“I never really mastered that trick, nor did I feel I should,” he said, grinning ruefully. “I won’t say I am some ideal leader because I’m not nearly so arrogant as to even make that statement sound convincing, but I try to be frank as often as I can be. It is a valuable commodity in politics, Miss…?”

“Amagi,” Yukiko replied. “Yukiko Amagi.”

“Yukiko… Amagi!?” The full impact of who exactly had not only witnessed him drunk but had unintentionally conned into carrying a sign for half an hour hit Yoshida like a truck, and slowly collapsed his head into his hands. “Have I made a fool of myself to an heir to such a relatively prominent family’s heir?! Twice?! By the kami, can this day get any worse?!”

“Well… it could be raining.” Yukiko said that in a futile effort to cheer him up. “Besides, I don’t think I’m a person who has reputation-ruining privileges. I am pretty much the clan pariah no matter what my parents want.” Yukiko truthfully wished to keep that aspect about her quiet, but given the circumstances at hand…

Yoshida’s head shot up, an expression of utter confusion on his face.

“…it’s a long story. I don’t like to talk about it.” Yukiko responded just as Yoshida was opening his mouth. “Still, I don’t think it’s your past that’s the problem. It happened before I was born; there’s a lot of people who probably don’t even remember politics that far back. The problem’s your self-confidence, I feel.”

“That…” Yoshida paused. “…is an entirely valid piece of advice. The most important part of a good speech is believing in yourself.” He paused. “Actually, if I didn’t know better, it sounds like you may be considering getting into politics yourself.”

“Which isn’t actually a bad idea,” Morgana mewed from the bag, popping his head up in a rare occurrence. “Getting Shadows to listen to you ought to make negotiations a lot easier. Politics is the art of convincing people, soooooo…”

Yoshida’s face suddenly became very neutral. “You… have a cat, in your bag…?”

“Besides the point.” Yukiko said, blushing. “And… well, it’s not like the gossip brigade will let me inherit. A little sweeping under the rug, and I think getting into politics is a good substitute. I’m from a pretty locally important family, so breaking into the conversation probably isn’t as hard for me.”

“Oh? Well then I’m happy to hear that!” Yoshida said that as he broke into the most genuine grin Yukiko had seen from him. “I doubt I can teach you much more than your natural talent, but… really. If I can help a successor avoid my mistakes, I’ll be happy to instruct you. Though, in exchange, since it would be unethical to hire you, I wish for you to continue helping me as, well, speech bouncer.”

Yukiko smiled gently, extending her hand as Yoshida shook it. “Done. And given the kind of hecklers you get, I’d be happy to pay you for the privilege.”

Yoshida smiled as he shook Yukiko’s hand back with a tad bit of force to his right arm. Being able to befriend the newer generation like that… Yoshida saw it as an opportunity absolutely not worth passing up.


(Music – Interrogation –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GSY0ZtwD1M )

???-???-???

"Staging your crimes with calling cards... it's hard to believe that a student could manage this alone.” Sae’s voice was stern as she leered at the drugged Yukiko. “An adult – for example, someone talented enough to move people with words – perhaps they coached you.”

Sae slammed her hands onto the table once more. “...isn't that right!?"


(Music – The Spirit –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SESlTT5jydw)

I am thou, thou art I…

Thou hast acquired a new vow…

It shall become the wings of rebellion

that breaketh thy chains of captivity,

With the birth of the Sun Persona,

I have obtained the winds of blessing that

shall lead to freedom and new power…

SUN RANK UP! RANK 1

(Music Playing – Break it Down (Elp Version) –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOt6qs2S7bU)

“…well, you’ve certainly worked hard.” Yoshida smiled warmly at his new acquaintance. “How about you go home for tonight? I’d be honored to talk more to you about this when I have the time.”

Yukiko couldn’t help but grin right back upon seeing how authentic Yoshida’s smile was. “I’d be honored to. Thank you for letting me assist you, Mr. Toranosuke.”

“Hah! Oh, please.” Yoshida grinned even more. “Just call me Yoshida; no need for formalities in my mind when you’re my apprentice.”

Yukiko giggled to herself, continuing to shake her new friend’s hand. Apprentice, huh? I think I can get used to this…


(Music Playing – Wicked Plan –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4m2JkRDWts)

May 17th, 2016 – Aoyama-Itchome – 7:19 AM

“Morning, Yukiko!” Chie was just on her way with Ryuji and Ann to school as Yukiko passed by them; Chie’s smile turned into a frown upon seeing how tired the young girl appeared to be. “…um, Yukiko? You gonna be okay?”

“Hm?” Yukiko smiled tiredly at her friends and fellow thieves. “…oh, um… yeah. I’ll be fine. I just worked late is all.”

“Really? You certain about that?” Ryuji wasn’t generally the astute type, but his sense of empathy knew what kind of duress was under Yukiko’s eyes. “Pardon my French, but you kinda look like shit. We need our leader in top shape for Madarame’s Palace, right?”

Yukiko’s smiled 180’d completely upon remembering the time limit she had to bust Madarame as-is. Damn it, can’t life ever be easy? Then again, she wasn’t asking for a very easy life to begin with when her whole job so far was to bust criminals by reforming their corrupt rules on the inside. Such is the life of being a Phantom Thief, after all, a job made no less difficult given she doesn’t have room to make mistakes.

“Well, maybe we should get you some refreshments at the school store?” Ann smiled warmly. “Shiho and I went there earlier; maybe you would appreciate some nice, hot – “

“Umm… excuse me?”

(Music Playing – Erosion –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1ocUfNzYD4)

The party froze up somewhat upon hearing a familiar, commanding voice – the same voice of the person who let on she knew more about the Thieves than any of them were comfortable with. Indeed, Makoto shiftily walked over to the teens with a manila envelope in her hands. Whatever it contained, the student council president looked certain to try to contain it.

“…Makoto-senpai?” Ann’s voice dropped in enthusiasm until it became guarded and wary. “…okay, what do you want?”

“Shh, quiet! This is important!” Makoto hissed to the half-Danish girl, looking around nervously. “…sorry. I’ve just been on edge recently. That said, I do, um… have something for you. Namely, it’s revolving around you’re… connections to the whole Kamoshida incident.”

This bit of knowledge shouldn’t have made time seemingly stop for the four Thieves, but it did; even the most well-known of facts have a chance of surprising.

“Y-You…” Chie stuttered, fear and anger in her voice. “…w-why did you…?!”

“Please, listen. It… it isn’t my goal to try to incriminate any of you.” Makoto sighed to herself. “In fact, after some… personal experiences on my end with my boss threatening my… erm, companion, I can’t turn a blind eye to your circumstances anymore. And trust me when I say this: I’m on your side.”

Yukiko was still wary, but she nodded quietly. “…continue.”

Makoto chewed her lip as she presented the manila envelope. “…listen. I’m not going to judge how you do what you do, or even if you’re the people who get the job done. But I’m certain at this rate that you have ties to how Kamoshida had his rapid changes happen to him. I would normally have this misguided idea of following the authorities in arresting you, but… but…”

“But what?” Ryuji suddenly became more aggressive. “So? You’re obviously aware of more than I’d fuckin’ like. So for your sake, I’d advise you don’t try anything stupid.”

“I know that, damnit!” Makoto hissed, before falling quiet. “I just… have a special somebody in my life, and after what I’ve seen yesterday… I can’t look away anymore.” Makoto’s eyes suddenly became a lot more pleading as she handed over the manila envelope.

“I just… please. I’m begging you…” Makoto looked rather desperate. “You must put an end to this. At any cost.”

Before the party could have their questions answered, Makoto ran off just like that, only leaving the manila envelope behind for everyone to see.

“Well? There’s no shame in not trying to look into what she’s got for us.” Morgana popped out of his bag to glance at Yukiko. “Why don’t you read it, Yukiko?”

Yukiko looked at the rest of her fellow thieves for a nervous moment before turning to the manila envelope. Quietly, and with a tint of feat, she retrieved a printed-out piece of paper that she proceeded to read quietly to herself:

~

Subject: Re: Our Profits

From: [EXPUNGED]

To: [EXPUNGED]

CC: [EXPUNGED, [EXPUNGED], [EXPUNGED], [EXPUNGED], 9 more

Mr. Madarame, I’ve received your email objecting to the… validity of our more profitable avenues of business here in our little family. I’m aware you do have moral objections, but do try to remember that once you’re in our little group, you’re in it for even the unsavory stuff. I couldn’t give a shit if you have objections to the secondary objective of your secondary operations, and your moral disgust with it. But you’ll either like it or maybe we should try your other students, hmm? I’m certain in your mind it’s one thing to stand by as your teacher fucks a bunch of kids for the fun of it, but I’m genuinely surprised you think human trafficking’s too far for you. Seems a bit hypocritical on your end, does it not…?

But whatever. Another year, another successful art show. Gotta admit, that you certainly knows how to draw in… profits, though I’m honestly more than a little impressed with the means of which you manage to draw in the more… ahem, shall we say younger clients intto our business. I wouldn’t expect a bunch of kids to be into art so much as young women, but whatever. My customers like them young; there’s certainly no shame in admitting that much.

Regardless, anybody who helps stage hunting grounds for traffickers like myself are definitely good in my pocketbook. Though truthfully speaking, I wish you were far less conflicted regarding that like Kobayakawa is, Madarame; you adamantly refuses to let your own pupils be involved in the matter, which is a shame, given you seems to attract some real cuties your school and all. Sure, we can only scoop up three-to-four people per year to avoid suspicions, but given how much goddamned money is involved in that business? Yeah, we’d be fucking stupid to pass it up.

Now regardless of my earlier sentiments, I’ll cut to the fucking chase here: I don’t give a shit if you don’t like our little business module here. You’ll either like it, or suck it up with a .44 caliber bullet to your head while you sleep. Your choice, old man.

~Sake Rhino

~

(Music Slowly Fades Out)

Yukiko felt herself quietly trembling in her hands. Any sort of tiredness vaporized just like that as pure fury overcame her like a storm. This, needless to say, intimidated the Thieves, at least before Ryuji nervously asked.

“U-Umm… Yukiko…?” Ryuji gulped. “W-Why’re you looking so pissed…?”

Yukiko was trembling so hard she nearly dropped the envelope – which she eventually did, before turning to her fellow Thieves. And with the pure ire in her eyes, nobody assumed it was any sort of good news.

“It’s… It’s Madarame and… and his accomplices.” Yukiko’s voice trembled as the horror and shock of what she just read washed over her. “They’re using the show for human trafficking.”

Chapter Text

(Music – Is It Boring – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSJ30nH17y8)

May 17th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Class 2-D – 8:24 AM

Yukiko genuinely couldn’t find it in her to focus.

It especially wasn’t as if she lacked interest in the subject matter Ms. Chouno was iterating in English for; out of all the Phantom Thieves, she was the one who cared the most for her grades. Chie was never quite a bright young woman, while Ryuji and Ann were hardly that different from the sporty tomboy. Given the fact that Yukiko already had to contest with being the leader of a motley band of vigilantes, she had to keep her wits sharp even beyond the realm of academics. It’s her leadership that’s helping the Thieves not get themselves killed while in the Metaverse, even if she legit has no idea whether her planning would work or not.

The innkeeper fell quiet upon reminding herself all the things that are at stake here; on top of risking a lawsuit from Madarame for the incident that made up yesterday, they further learned of some extremely unsavory things the 72-year old artist was caught doing behind closed doors… and to say the knowledge of such human trafficking disgusted her would be understating it quite lightly. Even if he's been forced into all of it, and even if he has standards, the fact that he lets this happen is a measure too far for her. She originally found enough goodwill in her to feel sympathetic towards him for even a sliver of time, but now? Now all she wanted to do is see his reputation in tatters.

Then again, stumbling on the fact that your target apparently dabbles into human trafficking does that to people.

*bzzt-bzzt-bzzt*

Morgana, ever the astute listener, was quick to pop his head out of Yukiko’s bag. “You gonna get that?”

The black-haired girl gave a wry smile at Morgana’s quick reaction times; she merely shook her head and gave a muted laugh. Without further ado, she flipped open her smart-phone and indeed, she saw her best friends discussing in arguably the most spectacularly meme-tastic fashion possible.

Yukiko Amagi has joined the chat

Yukiko Amagi: Hey guys, anything that I missed?

Ry-yee-ji: CMON GIRLS, ARENT YOU GONNA TELL ME WHAT YOU DID TOGETHER?!?!??!

Ry-yee-ji: PLEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASE

DanishWeeaboo: hint: it was very gay

DanishWeeaboo: ( ̄ω ̄)

Volleygirl12: hehe

Ry-yee-ji: ANN YOU FUCKING TEASE YOU BETTER TELL ME OR ILL TELL EVERYONE OF WHEN YOU ATE GLUE IN ELEMENTARY!!

Volleygirl12: ???

steak trash: fucking what

Yukiko Amagi: …apparently, I missed quite a bit.

DanishWeeaboo: …you sniveling shitflinger

DanishWeeaboo: I THOUGHT WE AGREED TO NOT SPEAK OF THAT GODDAMNIT

Volleygirl12: Ann… ATE GLUE WHEN SHE WAS A KID?!

Volleygirl12: OMG LOL

DanishWeeaboo: SHIHO YOU TRAITOR I TRUSTED YOU

Volleygirl12: hey, just because im still coping from the aftermath of… the incident, doesnt mean i cant mess with your head, my love (*≧▽≦)

DanishWeeaboo: …touche

steak trash: soooooooooooooooooooooooo is nobody gonna point out the fact that apparently ann, shiho and ryuji know each other longer than we’re made aware of??

DanishWeeaboo: oh, i havent told any of you yet, huh?

DanishWeeaboo: i knew ryuji since elementary, and i was buddies with shiho since she transferred from nagoya in 2011

Yukiko Amagi: Wait, Shiho-chan’s from Nagoya?

Volleygirl12: yeah. my dad moved to his job

Volleygirl12: he’s works for a foreign company from Canada

Ry-yee-ji: tbh only thing i know about canada is maple syrup and pancakes

Ry-yee-ji: …fuck, now im hungry. guys, can we stop for pancakes before going into madarame’s palace?? FUCK ME IGNORE THAT – (edited on 8:33 AM)

steak trash: JESUS CHRIST, RYUJI, YOU FUCKNIG IDIOT

Volleygirl12: um… oh. Huh

Yukiko Amagi: Please don’t tell me you heard that.

Volleygirl12: …I plead the fifth

DanishWeeaboo: ……………..shiho, sweetie-pookums, well be right back

Yukiko Amagi is privately messaging Phantom Thieves Members

Yukiko Amagi: …Ryuji, what the hell?! Seriously?!

DanishWeeaboo: ffs bro, the last thing ANY of us need is more people who are made aware of our moonlighting jobs

DanishWeeaboo: weve already dodged a bullet that makoto didnt blackmail us when she found out

Ry-yee-ji: ok ok, i take full responsibility for that one

Ry-yee-ji: sorry. Okay?

steak trash: well pls just be more careful going forward, alright??

Ry-yee-ji: yeah

Ry-yee-ji: still

Ry-yee-ji: id be kidding if this morning’s revelation didnt startle me or anything

DanishWeeaboo: yeah…

Yukiko felt her head droop down quietly upon remembering what Madarame’s art exhibits really entailed.

Ry-yee-ji: im actually ngl guys

Ry-yee-ji: i feel KIND OF bad for madarame. maybe its me and all, but having no choice but to comply in a scummy scheme like that has to be the worst

DanishWeeaboo: i honestly cant feel any sympathy towards him now. remember that Shiho was a victim of sexual abuse, guys.

Ry-yee-ji: yeah, which is why i said i feel KIND OF bad

Yukiko Amagi: True...

steak trash: well hey, theres a silver lining to all of this

steak trash: at least we can unanimously agree that his heart needs to be stolen, amirite? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

DanishWeeaboo: haha, tru

DanishWeeaboo: at least ill have no problem branding his ass in with carmen §ԾᴗԾ§

Ry-yee-ji: kinky

Yukiko Amagi: Really though, I’m just relieved we have the right guy. Which is honestly kinda ridiculous in hindsight, especially given how uncommon Madarame is as a surname, but still.

steak trash: hahaha ( ^∇^)

steak trash: rly tho, imagine if this was all just a big misunderstanding LOL

Yukiko Amagi: Heh. Yes, I’m quite certain there’s all a reasonable explanation for all of this.

DanishWeeaboo: its just a prank bro

DanishWeeaboo: see the cameras right there

Ry-yee-ji: ART PRANK GONE WRONG (GONE SEXUAL) PERSONAS SUMMONED! (MADARAME ALMOST DIED)

steak trash: its not a prank its a S O C I A L E X P E R I M E N T

Yukiko Amagi: hadawodkpapAAAAAAAAAAkpakfoe

DanishWeeaboo: i think u broke yukiko, chie

steak trash: shit ur right

steak trash: better call the ambulance; possibly some earplugs too

steak trash: i literally hear her laughter next door

Ry-yee-ji: lol, hopefully said ambulance doesnt run her over

DanishWeeaboo: yukiko amagi wants a quiet life

DanishWeeaboo: she just wants to live peacefully like a plant

steak trash: “Konohana Sakuya has already touched that doorknob.”

DanishWeeaboo: adkfr fUCK IM DYING

steak trash: omae wa mo shindeiru

Ry-yee-ji: NANI

Ry-yee-ji: *fuckin dies*

Indeed; as the chatroom below devolved into gibbering insanity, Yukiko was literally howling with laugher until she was outright crying. Unfortunately for her cranium, Ms. Chouno would subsequently prove that she, too, was educated by Ushimaru on the chalkier points of ballistics.


(Music Playing – A Woman –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWizFF5fn-I )

May 17th, 2016 – Madarame’s Palace, Entrance – ???

Classes went on without all that much of a hustle. After taking a moment or two trying to explain the circumstances of Ryuji’s slip up to Shiho (after Yukiko’s trip to the Nurse’s Office, of course), the two spent the rest of the day gearing up for class and ready for a venture into Madarame’s Palace. As expected of a motley of teenagers moonlighting as phantom thieves, all five Persona users were in their luxurious outfits – or as with Mona’s case, his own true, cuddly self.

“Welcome one, welcome all, to the Palace of a human trafficker accomplice.” Phoenix’s bit of sarcastic commentary was laden with pithiness. “I never thought I’d see the day when we’re dealing with somebody who’s arguably just as bad as Kamoshida in some instances, but here we are. Gah.”

“I really can’t blame you there, Phoenix.” Panther – who seemed emotionally neutral upon visiting the Palace – very much shared her friend’s sentiments of melancholy. “Uggh, now I really want to give that asshole what he deserves!”

Nobody was contesting with Panther there, not even Ryuji, who expressed a smidgen of sympathy towards him: as a matter of fact, everyone nodded quietly in agreement. It was to be expected given a Palace only forms out of a clear amalgamation of twisted desires, but even so… even so, why must it be that somebody like Madarame exist in the world? Even if he objects to all of this, somebody who can just openly cooperate with people who are happy to sell visitors into slavery like that was just… nobody could find the words that didn’t involve obscenities, but it still hardly painted anybody involved in this mess in a positive light.

Regardless, everyone quietly let these thoughts subside into focus and anger – the people who had Palaces were almost unanimously terrible people, a notion made worse if they’re in infallible positions in life. After seeing what Kamoshida did to all those children… no. Nobody here could bare to see this happen any further. Nobody will bare to see this happen any further.

It was damn well about time for life to change.

BANG!

Phoenix nearly jumped out of her skin upon seeing a familiar blue prison door appear near the entrance. It would be roughly around that time where she heard an all-too-familiar deep voice come from said door. Nobody amongst the Thieves seemed to notice one bit.

“Prisoner…” Yukiko heard a voice ring through her head. “We require your presence for a moment or two. If it isn’t all that much to ask for, I would like to see you come to the Velvet Room post-haste.”

Sheesh, she hated when voices were talking in her head like that. Guh.

“Hm? Uhh, Phoenix? You seem awfully unfocused…” Dragon remarked, ever the empath. “You gonna be okay?”

Phoenix smiled wryly at her closest friend amongst already a bunch of close friends, and shook her head. “Thanks for the reply, Dragon, but… is it okay if I check out something?”

“Hm?” Mona was a little confused, but he didn’t contest it too much. “Oh, go right ahead! We gotta do an inventory check either way, haha.”

Yukiko looked at her wide variety of friends, most notably Skull, who gave a friendly grin and wave that her friends emulated. She was so lucky to be friends with these bunch of dorks, now was she? In any case, she didn’t waste all that much time going forward; the first thing she would take into her own hands would be to enter the Velvet Room through the prisoner door. The sound of a familiarly abrasive, nasally voice served as a reminder that she was back where the weirdness started:

“Hey, inmate, you better hurry up! Me and Justine have some business with you!”

Yukiko chuckled internally. It was almost good to be home, as much as a freaking prison can be home.


(Music – Aria of the Soul –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Fc3PxsXzE)

May 17th, 2016 – Velvet Room – ???

Baggy, stereotypical prisoner clothes, a ball and chain attached to her ankle, and a familiar, ethereal blue prison with a long-nosed man and two little girls accompanying it. If this didn’t feel quite like home, Yukiko figured it never would.

“Welcome back to the Velvet Room,” Igor clasped his two hands together and gave his trademark Cheshire grin. “We are delighted to make your acquaintance once more.”

SLAM!

“What’re you doing inmate?! Stand up straight!” Caroline barked, slamming her baton on the jail cell door which Yukiko was currently entrapped by. “When our Master speaks of you, you’re well-expected to adhere to his presence!”

“We only wish to prepare you for the ruin you’re about to fight,” Justine smiled sweetly, yet her voice hinting at sardonic amusement. “So please, do listen.”

Yukiko internally shrugged while rolling her eyes in the present. Good to see I haven’t missed out too much.

“That’ll do quite nicely, girls,” Igor nodded before turning to Yukiko. “Now, you are aware of why you’ve been called here, yes? It is time that we’ve informed you of the… ahem, shall we say miscellaneous services the Velvet Room can offer you… which will come at a fee, of course.”

A catch. There’s always a catch, isn’t there? Yukiko was going to say her thoughts aloud, but a quick glance at the leering Caroline shut her up quite quickly. “…what is it that you need, Igor?”

“Well… as I’m certain you’ve been made aware of, I am merely a humble servant of Philemon, humanity’s own protector of the sea of souls.” Despite trying his best to uphold a sense of pleasantry, Igor’s voice hinted at some disgust; Yukiko was going to ask if it wasn’t so impolite to do such anyways. “And yet, we would require some specific sacrifices to bring forth new means for yourself to fight and detain ruin; the ability to make your Personas stronger without killing them, the ability to forge weapons from the sea of souls… all of this and above, if you’ll help my two assistants with their request.”

Yukiko’s eyes turned to the two girls. Caroline kept her glare focused on the innmaiden while Justine explained herself.

“What we require is a certain… oh, shall we say element present of a Persona you obtain and/or fuse in order to get you the materials we need. If you do this, then that will be quite a blessing in disguise. For instance – and I’m using this as an example of what our first Persona will require – we need a Jack Frost with Mabufu. That way, we’ll be able to – “

“OH! Wait just a moment!” Yukiko suddenly interrupted. “I think my Persona does have Mabufu.”

The two girls looked incredulously at each other with Caroline ready to make a barking statement, but the sudden summoning of a blue and white mask from Yukiko’s hand served testament to that. Upon giving the mask to Justine, she began studying the mask quite intently.

“I… well, I’m duly impressed!” Justine’s comment was genuinely laden with appraisal. “I don’t have any idea how you’ve obtained a Jack Frost with Mabufu without using any sort of fusion, but… well done! This is exactly what we need!”

Yukiko smiled. “I found one when I made my excursion into the castle. I really do appreciate the feedback, and – “

SLAM!

“WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT INTERRUPTING US, INMATE?!” Not one to take being verbally bested well, Caroline’s face was in a furious blush. “I can’t believe you’d interrupt our assistance for your selfish needs! Jeez, be thankful, damnit!”

Yukiko tried to stifle a laugh, but Justine gave a disapproving stare to her twin sister. “Caroline, that’s quite enough. It’s quite surprising our guest did what she did to obtain this Jack Frost, so maybe we shouldn’t judge her all too much?”

“B-But that’s…” Caroline’s one weakness was her sister; she puffed her cheeks adorably in defeat. “…fiiiiiiiiine. UGH.”

Yukiko stifled a laugh as Justine turned to her and smiled. “Still, this is going to prove invaluable going forward. I will confess this will require more Personas of a particular variety, but for now? This’ll prove quite useful.” Unusually for such a mature girl, Justine reverted into legitimate childishness and giggled softly.

Yukiko, despite looking at the absurdity with wry amusement, gave a genuine smile and nodded. “Thank you, Justine. And thank you too, Caroline. Ironic, given the theming of the Velvet Room, but… I’m really happy you look after me as much as you do.”

Caroline simply blushed and looked away bashfully. “Bah. Think nothing of it, I guess. T-Though do keep in mind you’re still our prisoner of fate, inmate!”

Justine ended up giggling a bit, showing more of her tender side no fabricated in a “good cop, bad cop” routine. “Hehe… we eagerly anticipate seeing more of you to come, trickster.”

Yukiko simply nodded and smiled happily. Almost instinctively, she reached her hand out to shake Justine’s, and Caroline – for a change – didn’t take this to enough offense to react. As Justine’s smaller hand shook with Yukiko’s larger one, the innmaiden thought to herself how much of a sweet – if downright bizarre – friendship this is turning out to be.

(Music – The Spirit –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SESlTT5jydw)

I am thou, thou art I…

Thou hast acquired a new vow…

It shall become the wings of rebellion

that breaketh thy chains of captivity,

With the birth of the Strength Persona,

I have obtained the winds of blessing that

shall lead to freedom and new power…

STRENGTH RANK UP! RANK 1

(Music – Aria of the Soul –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Fc3PxsXzE)

And just like that, the ringing alarm echoed throughout the jail cell. Caroline snapped out of her moment of genuine friendship to resume her “bad cop” persona.

“Alright, enough of that hushy-mushy crap! BACK TO THE REAL WORLD, INMATE!” Caroline barked while nearly hitting Yukiko’s hand with the baton, to which he avoided it narrowly. “You’ve got ruin to upend, you know!”

“What she said, inmate.” Justine, too, resumed her own gimmick. “We only wish to see you cooperate with us to secure humanity’s safety.”

Yukiko giggled softly. “Alright, I’ll keep that in mind, girls. Thanks a lot.” Yukiko, not wasting much more time, looked at Igor, whom gave his final set of words before nodding in approval.

“I wish you a safe journey, Trickster… try not to get yourself hurt, okay?” Igor’s expression was inscrutable in its bug-eyed Cheshire smiling, but Yukiko assumed the best and merely bowed gracefully.

“Thank you, Igor.” Yukiko smiled. “I’ll see you again sometime.” And with that, she didn’t waste all too much time leaving the Velvet Room; she did have some hearts to steal, after all.


(Music Playing – A Woman –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWizFF5fn-I )

May 17th, 2016 – Madarame’s Palace, Central Garden – ???

Getting through the myriad assortment of death traps, shadows and other miscellaneous threats was a lot easier than Phoenix anticipated. Granted, the only difficult part about all of this were all the weird glances the innkeeper-turned-Phantom-Thief received when, according to her compatriots, she was “staring blankly and drooling like a moron” during her entire stay during the Velvet Room. Skull’s tactless summary was enough to have Panther and Dragon scold her then and there, but Phoenix found it so amusing that she outright bursted into a fit of giggles.

In any case, they were finally exiting the main half of Madarame’s Palace and into the courtyard, especially after a long struggle with a variety of enemies; a rare shadow that, in particular, gave the Thieves a major boost in experience for one reason or another, nevermind the death trap all of them found themselves in when trying to pilfer said ornament-shadow. Regardless, they made it this far; no need to try to continue further, no?

Still, Phoenix was… worried. They haven’t caught glimpse of Shadow Madarame once so far, and that’s genuinely worrisome to her. She almost wants to say she’s being led into a trap; while the innmaiden theorized that’s her paranoia speaking, she’s been fighting in the Metaverse long enough to know when she’s being trapped. Regardless, she quietly swallowed down these worries when Chie placed her hand on her shoulder, sensing her friend’s worry.

“Hey, no worries, Yukiko.” Chie reaffirmed quietly. “We’re gonna figure this out together, right?”

Yukiko paused for a moment before smiling. “Right. Thanks, Chie.”

She knew they weren’t supposed to be using their codenames, but Phoenix couldn’t help but smile in spite of such. She turned to Panther and Skull, whom were having their own discussion at that very moment.

“So, uhh… I actually wanted to ask you somethin’, Panther.” Skull was unusually quiet, rubbing the back of his head with his left hand. “If, err, ya don’t mind. I didn’t quite have the opportunity to ask ya this earlier.”

Panther cocked a quiet eyebrow. “…what, you’re gonna apologize to Phoenix for that remark, now?”

“Aw, c’mon, she found it funny!” Skull’s unusually whiny voice made Phoenix giggle a bit. “…well, it’s not that. I’m honestly kinda worried that Shiho’s getting onto us.”

Panther frowned in that moment and sighed. “…yeah. I mean, you know me; she’s my girlfriend now, so I wanna keep her safe. I just… hope she doesn’t get hurt or anything like that. She deserves better.”

Dragon politely intervened. “I don’t blame either of you guys. After what Kamoshida did to Shiho? I would be protective of her myself.”

All the teens present fell into a grim silence. Mona quickly came over out of the blue to motion the Thieves to follow him.

“Hey, uh, guys?” Mona fell quiet. “We kiiiiiiiiinda hit an obstruction from earlier.”

Panther, once again, cocked another eyebrow. “…what do you mean, Mona?”

After following the feline, the five Phantom Thieves soon found themselves standing in front of a red, electric wall that gated off the rest of the Palace. While the rest of the Thieves looked on in despair, Skull only looked more determined.

“Aw, c’mon guys, it’s just a bunch of electricity!” Skull, confident in his Persona’s resilience, went over to the electric fence despite the rest of the party’s shocked pleads. “Why, we can get through it no proble – BZZZZTZAAAAGGGGHGHHGHGHGHGHG!”

Skull fell down into a burnt crisp.

An awkward silence fell on the rest of the group that Mona quietly intervened.

“And so, natural selection does its course.” Mona’s joke was extremely dark, to say the least.

Panther, meanwhile, sighed in relief. “He’s unconscious. Thank God; I didn’t want to lose him then and there…”

Dragon drooped her head. “Yeah… but, um, how do we get pass this? We can’t advance further into the palace without shutting this gateway down.”

Mona, seeing the opportunity to show his knowledge of the Metaverse, intervened. “Well, do remember a Palace is a distorted realm of how the Palace Owner sees the world. So maybe Madarame sees something in the real world as impenetrable?”

The rest of the Thieves thought long and hard before Phoenix and Mona had a metaphorical light-bulb appear over their heads.

“…the locked door! Of course!” The two exclaimed in unison, before Phoenix blushed. “Um, sorry. You were saying, Mona?”

“Oh, don’t mind me. Um…” Mona blushed before continuing, before responding to the weird glances Panther and Dragon were giving him. “Um, we encountered a door that was thoroughly locked from earlier, if you’re wondering. We couldn’t get it open, but whatever it was… it may be the key to shutting down this electric wall.”

“But we can’t just sneak in! Then we’ll all get arrested!” Panther threw up her hands in frustration while voicing her complaints; isn’t it already enough that she’s been cheated out of meaningful time spent yesterday?

“You’re right. Which is why we’re gonna need somebody who can get there with Yusuke’s trust in mind.” Phoenix hummed to herself in remembrance.

It would be in that moment that the rest of the Thieves turned to Chie. Her expression slowly but surely evolved into utter horror.

(Music Playing – My Homie – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55qhrPNrH68)

“…oh, hell no.” Dragon felt a massive protest rising in her. “You’re not suggesting that I actually – “

“I’m afraid it’s the only chance of us getting in to steal Madarame’s heart.” Panther winced, feeling sorry for her friend. “Sorry, Phoenix.”

Dragon immediately turned a deep shade of red and became even more vocal. “BUT I HAVE TO BE N-NAKED WITH THAT FREAK! AFTER WHAT HE PULLED, WHAT MAKES YOU THINK HE ISN’T SOME SORT OF WEIRD, CREEPY-ASS SEX OFFENDER?!”

“Chie, I assure you it isn’t that bad.” Phoenix tried her best to comfort her friend. “Yusuke is just… special, from what we’ve seen of him so far.”

“Still, that’s just… just…” As much as Dragon wanted to protest this, she, too, knew that this was the only way of breaching Madarame’s Palace past this point. Frustratedly, she threw her hands up and screamed in annoyance. “GAH! YOU OWE ME SOME STEAK FOR THIS, YUKI!”

Phoenix grinned. “Woohoo! Thanks, Chie; I knew we could count on you.”

“Yeah, yeah…” Dragon pouted gently. “Why must I have to give up my dignity for the team…?”

Skull, at that moment, moaned weakly.

“Uhh, sorry to cut this short, guys, buuuut…” Panther quietly interrupted. “We should prrrobably get Skull back to the real world.”

Mona immediately perked up. “Lady Ann’s right! If a Shadow finds Skull like this, he’s in grave danger! Girls, you pick him up: I’m afraid I can’t help much with my stubby self, so I’ll give moral encouragement from afar!”

Phoenix, Dragon (who was still blushing out of mortification) and Panther all glared at Mona, but bitterly complied. Lifting up the passed-out delinquent with all their strength, they clumsily began carrying the unconscious Skull back to the real world.

“One, two, three, four! One, two, three, four!” Mona continued his encouragement. “You can do it! YOU! ARE! A! WINNER!”

Phoenix whined internally as the 160-pound despair she was carrying with the others nearly crashed down on her. Laws of the Fairer Sex, why hast thou forsaken me?!

Chapter Text

(Music – Beneath the Mask – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBxKKFbA1kw)

May 17th, 2016 – Café Leblanc, Yongen-Jaya – 8:02 PM

“You’re late.”

You don’t need to tell me twice, y’know. That was what Yukiko was going to say to her estranged paternal, coffee-scented guardian, but ultimately, the innmaiden found herself too tired for snippy remarks. Today’s been a long enough day in Madarame’s Palace that she felt way too tired to do much of anything, much less hang out with Sojiro; as good terms as he is with him, she really would like to get some shut eye before she collapsed halfway up the staircase. So she simply flashed the balding man a warm smile – one that he reciprocated in his own genuinely fashion – and simply carried herself to her bed.

And with that, she fell back-first onto the bed. She didn’t even take the time to remove her backpack, much to Morgana’s scrawling annoyance.

“Agh! You’re way too heavy!” Morgana wailed indignantly, nonetheless using whatever dexterity he had to squeeze his way out. “I know I say you should go to sleep a lot, but jeez! Watch where you land on the bed next time, why don’t you?!”

“Relax, relax. I’ll keep an eye out.” Yukiko was going to finish that sentence before she yawned. “But… wow, am I tired. Carrying Ryuji really did a number on me…”

Yukiko took a moment to shoot her feline friend a dark glare. “Which you didn’t even bother to help with. At all.” Before Morgan could self-justify himself with his petite form in even the Metaverse, a familiar ring brought Yukiko’s attention to her phone.

*bzzt-bzzt-bzzt*

Of all people, Shiho was texting her.

“I… huh?” Yukiko honestly had to have a double take upon seeing that name on her phone. With an air of caution coming to her, she opened up her text app and braced herself for the oncoming storm.

Volleygirl12: um… yukiko-chan

Yukiko Amagi: Oh, hi Shiho! What’s up?

Yukiko Amagi: Is there anything you would like to talk to me about?

Volleygirl12: well…

Volleygirl12: honestly, i think it’d be best if i brought everybody here.

Volleygirl12: that ok?

Yukiko… didn’t know how to respond to that. Numbly, she simply brought up a notification to the other Thieves to talk about it with her.

Yukiko Amagi: Sure thing. @everyone, can you come here?

A bit of a pause, and then, results.

Ry-yee-ji: yoyo

steak trash: eyyyyyyyy

DanishWeeaboo: hi honey!!

Volleygirl12: (∩˃o˂∩) ♡

Yukiko Amagi: D’aww. ‘Honey’, huh?

DanishWeeaboo: lol

DanishWeeaboo: shiho asked if she could use more pet names more often

DanishWeeaboo: she says that she likes that ❤\(⸝⸝⸝°⁻̫° ⸝⸝⸝)

steak trash: i swear to fUCK both of you are precious, wholesome cinnamon rolls, agdkd

Ry-yee-ji: came for the lesbian action, stayed for the cuteness!! that’s my motto when dealing with an irl Strawberry Panic scenario

DanishWeeaboo: kek

Volleygirl12: heehee!

Yukiko Amagi: I’m genuinely touched that you two are getting together in the light of all our struggles. But… is there any specific reason why you called us here?

Volleygirl12 is typing…

DanishWeeaboo: ya COULD have more tact y’know…

Volleygirl12: no, its fine annie.

steak trash: m-my heart

Volleygirl12: No, really. This… this is actually kinda serious.

(Music Stops)

A subtle glint of knowledge Yukiko brought on herself is that whenever somebody begins using proper grammar on an internet conversation when they usually don’t, that’s when you stop being joking. Yukiko gulped as she typed her reply.

Yukiko Amagi: …I understand. What’s up?

Volleygirl12: well… are you guys hiding something from me?

Yukiko gulped to herself. “H-Huh?”

(Music – Alright (Elp Version) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXnI-FfYLjA)

Yukiko Amagi: I’m… sorry?

steak trash: i, uh, dunno what you possibly mean, and –

Volleygirl12: “Ry-yee-ji posted:  …fuck, now im hungry. guys, can we stop for pancakes before going into madarame’s palace?? ~ At 8:32 AM”

DanishWeeaboo: …shit

Ry-yee-ji: ummmmm

Ry-yee-ji: well, fuck

Volleygirl12: guys… were you the reason why kamoshida changed like that?

Yukiko nearly felt her heart stop for a second there.

DanishWeeaboo: well, um, there’s a reason for this

Volleygirl12: You’re right. And I’m not going to press it for you… as I know it’s pretty important to you.

Ry-yee-ji: oh thank fuck

Volleygirl12: still… just promise me one thing guys. When this all blows over, I… I want you to give me the full story as to why things are the way they are to begin with

Volleygirl12: do you promise me that, at least?

DanishWeeaboo: shiho…

Yukiko Amagi: We promise. But I want you to give us time to do what we need to do.

Yukiko Amagi: Then, I promise we’ll give you the full story.

Volleygirl12: thank you… i love you guys so much…

Volleygirl12: anyway, that’s all i gotta say. Goodnight, and stay safe! ♥

Volleygirl12 is now offline

Ry-yee-ji: fuck me

Ry-yee-ji: umm, we still gonna go with the plan we’ve put in place?

Yukiko paused for a moment. She took a deep breath, and typed out her reply.

Yukiko Amagi: We are. And no matter the cost.

And with a little more discourse, everyone signed off for the night. An expectant Morgana glanced at Yukiko and smirked. “Well, you seem to have your work cut out for your tomorrow. Best get some early shut-eye then, huh?”

Yukiko smiled warmly before nodding. She had no trouble sleeping for the rest of the night, knowing fully of the discourse that will come with the morning after.


(Music – Wicked Plan – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4m2JkRDWts)

May 18th, 2016 – Madarame’s Shack, Yusuke’s Studio – 3:41 PM

“To think you’ve actually come! Honestly, I was worried you’d turn down my offer after last time’s… scuffle.”

“Uhhh, Hahahaha. Yep! Yeppers. Here I am, in the flesh, at loooooooooong last, haha. Um, w-when do we begin the nude modeling...?”

“As soon as you are able, Miss Satonaka. Though, um… if I may ask so myself…”

“Huh? W-What’s up?”

“What’s with all that yakisoba you have in the cart?”

Chie instinctually froze up then and there, laughing awkwardly as she eyed the absolute mountain of steak behind her. Chie felt her palms sweat and a shiver rush up and down her spine, fearfully awaiting what next will become of this balls-to-the-wall plan… there were so many things that could go wrong, and so few things that could go right. Granted, when Yukiko gave her own advice on how to best infiltrate Madarame’s shack, his advice was quite forthwith:

“Do it at your own pace, Chie.” Chie recalled Yukiko saying. “No need to rush things beyond your ability.”

Well, going by that advice, Chie decided to do her best in the only was she really knew how: steak. And lots of it. Honestly, it was a good thing Yukiko was so well-off, as otherwise there’d be no way she could outright buy this much protein fuel. Chie simply laughed nervously, and thankfully, Yusuke laughed with her: for one reason or another, he was simply (and miraculously) terrible at reading people.

“Well, um, now that we all seem to be situated…” Yusuke blushed a bit. “D-Do you intend to put on some girth for the nude modeling? Is... that your plan?”

“Like hell you fucking prick, there’s no way you’re making me do this!” was what Chie wanted to say, but her superego pushed that statement to the back of her head. She was too deep in now, and if they didn’t do something to help the situation out, they might as well be done for. Regardless, Chie took in a deep breath and nodded shakily, as if trying to assure Yusuke that no, she wasn’t planning to pull anything shitty. At least, that’s the impression Che hoped she gave off.

“W-Well, you know! Ahahaha, I just need some fuel before I begin… m-modeling nude!” Despite her best efforts, a deep hue of red flushed over her face. “Well in any case, can you give me a second to digest all of this meat?”

“H-Huh?! All of it, you say?!” Yusuke was utterly stunned. “B-But, isn’t that a gargantuan waste of you gorgeous, androgynous, lithe – ”

“I’msorryIcannothearyoulalalaI’MEATINGNOWOKAY?!” Chie’s objection was to the point as she nervously yet swiftly began chewing at the steak, leaving Yusuke in awe as he saw it with his own two eyes as Chie ate.

And ate.

And ate.

And ate some more.

And ate a little more.

And –

(Music – My Homie– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55qhrPNrH68)

“AAAACK! F-FOOD POISONING!” Chie over-dramatically hollered!” “OH THE HUMANITY, I HAVE FOOD POISONING! If I don’t go to a bathroom, I… I THINK I MAY DIE!”

“W-What?! Die?!” Yusuke’s jaw was agape. “H-Hurry then! Go forthwith to the commode to release yourself! I-I can wait, and I most certainly can call an ambulance so you – “

“OKAY, BATHROOM BREAK, GOTTA GO BYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYE!” Chie was out like lightning, spilling the stack of steaks all over the floor. Meanwhile, Yusuke looked stupefied over what the absolute hell he was witnessing.


(Music – Restlessness – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VMCmDfSbFs)

May 18th, 2016 – Madarame’s Shack, Locked Door – 3:44 PM

“Well, that could’ve gone better. But frankly, it could’ve gone worse.” Morgana huffed to himself as he leapt to the keyhole and went to work, slowly but steadily picking the lock. “It’ll take a second or two to fully unlock, but a little force here and dexterity there annnnnnd… presto!”

As if in perfect sync to Morgana’s claw lockpicking, he opened up the door without so much as a fuss. Chie simply looked on in amusement amidst all this.

“Huh. I, uh, never really figured you could just up and lockpick doors like that…” Chie blinked dumbly, crossing her arms. “Alright, I’m opening the door.”

As she said that, Morgana left it alone where Chie’s right hand gripped it. “Hopefully we can find what we’re looking for, and in that instance, we should be good to go! Now then, let’s – “

“Miss Satonaka, are you going to be okay? I hope you’re not having any digestion problems… brought forth… by…”

Chie gasped as she turned to Yusuke, who’s surprise quickly morphed into anger, and then, a sudden flipping of the phone and some rapid number presses.

“I’m calling the cops.” Yusuke’s voice was so low it was now a hiss. “Intruders are one thing, but burglars?! What on earth do you possibly have to steal from a humble abode such as – AAAAH!”

“S-Shut up and look for a goddamn second!” Chie – in several fell swoops – stopped Yusuke from texting his phone and dragged him to the room that Madarame’s so insistent to keep behind locked doors. And it would be then they saw a set of paintings… tons of them no less, all the way and up to the walls. Yusuke simply blinked in shock as he walked up to the door.

“H-Huh? Sensei… never told me about him having unfinished paintings here…” Yusuke bit his lip as he walked up and grabbed the cloth draped over on particular painting. “I wonder what it could possibly – HUH?!”

(Music Stops)

“W-What is it?” Chie’s voice was quiet a fearful, dreading retaliation, either verbal or even physical. But Yusuke simply looked in awe as he uttered one word:

“S-Sayuri…?”

(Music – Desire – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p7utuOjF-Y)

“W… What?” Yusuke looked on at the beautiful painting in awe, before moving to another draped painting and removing its cloth: another Sayuri, identical to the last one. As was the next one, and the next one. It became clear to Yusuke that everything on display here from beginning to end was replicas, and with it, Yusuke felt something in him snap. In the only way he could in his denial, he lashed out at Chie.

“What did you do?!” Yusuke cried out. “What are you possibly doing to me and my Sensei…?!”

“Yusuke listen! Madarame isn’t the person you think he is!” Chie cried. “He’s not just a criminal and a counterfeiter, but he’s participating in human trafficking as well! What isn’t there to see here?!”

“I…” Yusuke trailed off. “B-But that’s…”

“Here. Here’s the letter an… associate gave to us.” Chie then handed a copied version of the letter Makoto gave to him. Yusuke read it over, paused… and then tore it to shreds.

“W-Why would you do that?!” Chie cried. “Isn’t it plain that your Sensei is – “

“Q-QUIET! I REFUSE TO BELIEVE IT!” Yusuke’s voice growled as his slender hands trembled. “T-There’s no way in hell Sensei could feasibly do such a thing… he-he rescued me when I had nothing! He was my father figure!”

“No he wasn’t.” Chie tried to persuade Yusuke while not trying to upset him; he’s tearing up again. “Please, listen Yusuke, I can confirm that – “

“What exactly is all this racket going on?”

(Music – Tension –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtQSKYsS6Nw)

“E-Eep!” Morgana squealed upon seeing Madarame approach the two teens, both of them freezing up. Madarame simply leered in suspicion.

“I beg your pardon, but what on Earth are you two doing in MY PRIVATE AREA?!” Madarame howled. “Yusuke, did somebody corrupt you into going where you shouldn’t be going?! Gods above, I still cannot believe you – “

Chie was pretty quick – and panicky. “MADARAME! SHACK! MUSEUM!” The tomboy’s voice was loud in panic, but the ringtone proved exactly what they wanted to hear.

“Match found. Beginning navigation.”

And with that, Yusuke, Chie and Morgana… vanished into thin air.

“I… I…” Madarame felt a special kind of violated now that his private sanctum has been violated. Hastily, he whipped out his old cellphone and proceeded to alert the police. “Hello, 9-1-1? I believe there has been an armed robbery and kidnapping…”


(Music – Dark World Ambience – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZMZhszd4N0)

May 18th, 2016 – Madarame’s Palace, Central Garden – ???

Phoenix, Panther and Skull simply waited by the electric fence... as they have been doing for quite some time. At this rate, though, Skull was getting impatient. “…I’m worried. They should’ve broken in by now…”

“Hmmm…” Panther bit her lip, shaking her head. She immediately sprung to life upon seeing the electric fence finally die out, and with it, a continuation to the rest of the Palace. All three Thieves – from that point onwards – simply went into pure jubilee.

“Yes! They did it!” Yukiko grinned from ear-to-ear. “Now let’s wait and see if Dragon and Mona get here by now, and then we – “

“WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!”

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!”

“MRRRRRRRRRRROWWWWWW!”

(Music Playing – A Woman –   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWizFF5fn-I)

“AAAAAAUGH! Gods above…” Yusuke winced while Mona gracefully landed on his feet. “Chie, where are you…?”

“Oooooooooogh…”

“Oh no, Chie!” Phoenix immediately rushed over towards her friend in shock. “A-Are you going to be okay?! D-Did Yusuke use you as a pillow?!”

The question was rhetorical, of course: poor Dragon was metaphorically rendered a pancake by both the cruel dominatrix tag-team that is gravity and Yusuke’s weight. Groaning feebly, the wounded Dragon mewled pathetically. “D-Do I look like I’m okay…?!”

“Well, at least it ain’t me this time…” Skull sighed in relief before being harshly elbowed by Panther. “Ow! Jeez, I was just expressing effin’ relief! Sheez!”

“W-Well, in any case!” Mona was very thankful right now for his catlike grace. “We’ve got the electric fence disabled. I think we should pack it up and get out of here…”

Mona glared at the stunned Yusuke. “And get the cargo out of here. Ugh, for crying out loud Chie! What did I tell you about avoiding brining civvies to the Metaverse?!”

“WELL, EXCUSE ME FOR SAVING US FROM ROTTING AWAY IN A JAIL CELL RIGHT NOW!” Dragon hollered. “Sheez! I had to nearly lay bare for that freak over there, get flattened, nearly got arrested – not in that fucking order – and THIS IS THE THANKS I GET?! C’mon guys, gimme a bre – “

(Music Stops)

“Enough!” Yusuke hollered to nobody in question. “Where… where are we…?”

The Phantom Thieves looked onwards as Yusuke looked dazed and confused. His confusion grew to understanding, and eventually horror, to see the museum dystopia laid in front of him. That horror grew to panic upon finally noticing the giant feline in front of him. “AAAAAUGH! I-IS THAT A CAT?!”

Possibly for one reason or another, Yusuke crouched down and began humming, loudly. At this rate, Dragon couldn’t even muster it in herself to get mad at him… now, she felt pretty bad.

(Music – Desire – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p7utuOjF-Y)

“Yusuke…” Dragon shook her head. “Um, I think we should get him out of here, guys.”

“Y-Yeah, good idea.” Skull – having had enough experience with, um, eccentric people in his lifestyle, gave him a bit of a backrub, which cooled the humming Yusuke down a bit. Soon, he was brought to the present, and his composure returned. “I… w-where are we…?”

“We’re, uh… well, this is kinda complicated…” Panther’s blue eyes had a tint of sympathy towards him. “Look, we promise we’ll explain what’s going on after we get out. So, um, stay sharp, oka – “

“No. I mean…” Yusuke’s fear formed into an iron mask now. “Where. Are. We? Is… is this some kind of nightmare world that… that explains whatever Madarame truly is?”

“Huh?” Dragon blinked. “But… but you were – “

“In denial? Yes, I… I’m aware.” Yusuke lowered his head in shame. “But… I have to know… him indulging in theft, counterfeit and slavery, I… is that really the true him…”

“Hmm…” Mona looked at Phoenix, who’s been quiet up until now. “Well? You think we should show him around a bit before leaving, Phoenix?”

“Well, not like we’ve had any trouble getting in and out, in any case.” Phoenix nodded. “C’mon, let’s… let’s show some of the paintings here.”

And with that, the Thieves made their way… unbeknownst to the fact they were being watched.


(Music – Regret – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGFZHBK2lTs)

May 18th, 2016 – Madarame’s Palace, Exhibit A – ???

“…and those who cannot do so have no worth living?!”

Yusuke wanted to be shocked, but… for some reason, he couldn’t. He simply had no will to be truly, pissed off right about now. As he read the golden statue’s engraving, he simply sunk to his knees and wept bitterly. He was trying his hardest to grip onto the floor out of shock.

“Yusuke…” Panther whispered, feeling sympathy towards the blue-haired boy. “I’m… I’m sorry. Seeing your father act like this is…”

“…it’s unforgivable, that’s what it is.” Yusuke stood up, but now, he was proud and defiant. “I… whomever you are in affiliation with… if you ever need help, I will aid you to the best of my capabilities. I want nothing more to do with my father now.”

“Well… better late than never, but I’m stoked you’ve turned around.” Skull nodded. “Alright, we should probably head back not. It ain’t good to linger here for too long.“

Yusuke felt a chill run down his spine… it was around then he felt woozy for… some reason. “You’re right. I… I don’t feel that good being here. Maybe we should go on and head back, then?”

“Sounds like a plan to these ears.” Dragon nodded. “C’mon; we shouldn’t waste any more time in this goddamn craph – “

(Music Stops)

“So. Where do you think you’re going, you whelp?”

“H-Huh?!” Mona felt his ears twitch in alertness.

(Music – Desire – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p7utuOjF-Y)

A dark cackle overcame the room, as did Shadow guards of all kind sprung forth, a distorted mockery of the image of a museum night guard; they blocked the exit, and amidst the legion of the Shadows, they parsed to give way to their leader.

A man dressed, suffice to say, in the most gaudy and opulent clothes possible: a golden kimono and a traditional Japanese hairstyle, all accompanied with… lipstick of some kind? Well, it didn’t matter too much at the end of the day, did it not? In the end, the fiend the stood in front of the four Persona users and Yusuke was uttered by he himself:

“S-Sensei…?” Yusuke choked his words. “Madarame-sensei…?”

“So, it seems the little retarded hound hasn’t became astray of its master yet, huh?” Madarame grinned devilishly, his precisely-placed words causing Yusuke to wince. “And here I thought you were “done” with me, no?”

Phoenix, meanwhile, had no patience for Shadow Madarame’s bullshit. “Why?! Why did you work all your pupils to the bone if all you were ever going to do is profit off their dreams and livelihoods?!”

“Oh, why, does the feathery harlot inquire?” Phoenix’s glare only intensified upon seeing what kind of utterly derogatory filth spewed from this Shadow’s mouth. “I think you mean why not? The world of art is full of avenues of possibilities, all of which bring forth money! Sure, you could be dignified and do it the old-fashioned way… but why would anybody pass up the opportunity to leech off the talents of the needy and desperate?”

“Because it ain’t effin’ right, you scumbag!” Skull, as ever, was the first to retort.

“You’ve got some fucking nerve if you’re telling me any of this is acceptable…” Panther, befitting of her feline codename, was now in a dark hiss. “You shamelessly exploited the lives of innocents, from plagiarism, to counterfeit, and human trafficking… and you’re telling me this is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things?!”

“Well, you’re close. The whole trafficking business? It is quite relevant to me, and is pretty damn disgusting as well.” Shadow Madarame sneered. “But alas, it is part of the syndicate I am in full arms with. It is to building for a better livelihood, is it not? A class of taste where the elites rule over society and all its spoils!”

As Shadow Madarame broke into a cackle, Dragon felt her knuckles whiten underneath her yellow gloves. “Friggin’ scumbag…!”

Yusuke, meanwhile, was on his knees; he now knew that Madarame was all of the things the thieves warned him about: a thief, a liar, and somebody who shamelessly and with very little dignity banks on the exploitation of the talentless and the weak. Even in Yusuke’s unusual thought processes, he could understand better than anybody what kind of gravity of an atrocity was on display here.

“You…” Yusuke’s almost-sing-along voice grew dark, fast. “You are… unforgivable.”

“Oh, and aren’t you to not be thanking me?” Shadow Madarame spat. “You have this disgusting… corruption ever-the-present in your mind, this “Autism”… do you have any idea the kind of lengths I’ve had to go through just to keep you pre-occupied?! No, you should have died with your mother you utter, incompetent re – “

(Music Stops)

“SHUT UP!” Yusuke’s voice was in a dark hiss. “You… you’re telling me that you’ve built my “fortunate” lifestyle on the backs of the weak and helpless… and I should be thankful for that…?”

Silence. And then Yusuke began laughing.

No, laughing’s not the right word. Cackling.

As if something built up in him for years finally snapped into pieces, he began cackling gleefully, oblivious to the fact he was worrying his allies and doubly so his enemies. Madarame’s face was in a mixture of disgust and horror as he bore witness to what was in front of him.

“W-What’s so funny?! Why are you laughing?!” As Yusuke continued to cackle, Madarame grew furious. “WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING?!”

“Because it is only now I have just realized how much of an unforgivable miscreant you are!” Yusuke glared fiercely. “My eyes were blind… blind, and unable to see the true self behind this one horrible man…!”

Yusuke hissed as he pointed an accusatory finger at Shadow Madarame and shouted. “Never in a thousand years shall I pardon your atrocities, YOU VILE, MISERABLE CRETIN!”

And then… it happened.

(Music – Awakening – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTQoFPmC7ZA)

"Have you finally come to your senses?”

Yusuke cringed as an incorrigible pain swept through him. He knelt down and began thrashing, biting his lip so hard as it began bleeding in his attempts to not scream, the most of which he’s mustering is a whimper. “How foolishly you averted your eyes from the truth... A deplorable imitation indeed... Best you part from that aspect of yourself!"

Yusuke clawed at the floor, desperately trying to gain some resemblance of control over his awakening powers. All that it amounted to was blood trailing from the floor, his hand gripping so hard it began to bleed. “Let us now forge a contract... I am thou, thou art I... The world is filled with both beauty and vice... It is time you teach people WHICH IS WHICH!"

And with that, a mask – a Japanese inari mask – burned onto Yusuke’s face. The blue-haired man only hesitated for a moment more, eager to gloat his newfound powers to the monster he once called his father.

(Music Slowly Fades Out)

“You… have blinded me for too long, you fool.” Yusuke’s voice was in a dark hiss. “Blind to your crimes and administrations I shall be no longer! COME, GOEMON!”

And with that, he ripped off his mask.

(Music – Willpower – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA6yWuXFC7o)

A radiant, blue light enveloped Yusuke, as did a new pair of clothes: a leather, white rockabilly vest with ice blue gloves and his inari mask ripped clean from his hands. Unlike Ryuji and Ann, his persona spawned weapons which was a blessing… he wanted nothing short but to tear this pretender to pieces, and bring something close to dignity back to the world of art.

“I hope you put up a fight, old man…” Yusuke grinned darkly. “For no matter what it takes… I will bring you to justice! GOEMON, STRIKE!”

And with that, as if a prelude to the kinds of powers Goemon has in hand, a tidal wave of sub-zero ice flooded the room, bringing his allies to a chill. Thankfully, the attacked was aimed at the horde of guards, vanquishing them before they could reveal their true forms.

“F-Freezing!” Panther  yelped. “Crap, I’m cold!”

“Amazing…” Mona stood in awe. “Is this the power Yusuke’s Persona has…?!”

Yusuke stood valiant as the Shadows morphed into an Ippon-Datara and quartet of Koppa Tengus, looking at Phoenix with a small smile. “I see this is the power you hold within you! ‘Persona’, is it not?”

“Yep. Now…” Phoenix smirked evilly. “Tear them apart.”

All things considered, with how powerful the party has gotten, wiping the floor with supposedly Madarame’s best Shadows was no sweat at all.

All it really took was a wave of ice to eliminate the flunkies, only for Phoenix to switch to her Hua Po to lay on the hurt when she learned the middle Shadow was weak to fire. “Alright, it’s down! Lay on the hurt, Yusuke!”

“With pleasure!” Yusuke and his newfound allies leapt forth, beginning a tidal wave of devastation.

ALL-OUT ATTACK!

As Yusuke delivered the final blow with his katana, he simply stood there and wordlessly sheathed it. He did a little flamboyant pose, and with that, the leading Shadow erupted into a tide of black blood.

IT WAS FUN WHILE IT LASTED. GOODBYE.

And the path was clear. As the Thieves hustled to make their great escape, an awe-struck Madarame looked on at the now-rebellious Yusuke as he made his way towards freedom. “W-Wait! Don’t tell me you’re going to leave your life for… t-those rabble!”

Yusuke glared fiercely at his guardian, before spitting into the ground. “Better rabble than a slave, you insipid fool.”

And with that, his newfound demonic powers made him rush forth faster than the eye can track, evaporating into the Shadows. In hindsight, when Shadow Madarame proved bested by his new adversaries, he wondered if he has any role in contributing to how own, frozen-over downfall.

Chapter Text

(Music – Suspicion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MufukvzrdFk)

May 18th, 2016 – Madarame’s Shack, Hallway – 5:44 PM

The police arrived to the scene of the crime in relatively short order.

In a similar fashion, the rumors that there has been a breaking and entering in Madarame’s shack had spread across the internet like wildfire. And as with anything, this little… oh, incident would be met with a wide variety of headaches for the aging old artist. Partially due to all the investigations and questionings that will be shot his way with it, and also because… well, lets just say disrupting a flow of “goods” wouldn't sit well with his backers.

Madarame shuddered inaudibly at this very thought.

Even so, people can over in short order. When Madarame found the torn pieces of paper implicating him, it took him mere seconds for him to react in disposing of it. If the whole human trafficking scandal reached headlights – nevermind his systematic ruination of his pupils and his plagiarism profiteering – it would irrevocably ruin him, and Madarame was prepared to devoting every sort of resource possible to stamping out this kind of malignance.

Still, Madarame was… well, a good term for it was terrified. Even if this was just a crappy shack that served as his “primary” home (really, he had all kinds of luxurious vacation houses to placate his vanity and ego), it still shook him that anyone could’ve reached this far without so much as being detected. Knowing that the information likely caught wind and that Yusuke was missing likewise… well, it definitely didn’t bode well with the man.

As the eventful evening pressed onwards, Madarame later found himself approached by two boys; one who is the face of unmistakable fame, and the other… slightly more obscure, with a blue hat covering his head, alongside him being several degrees shorter than his celebrity brunette counterpart.

“Good evening, Madarame-san. We’ve been sent by the Tokyo Police Department in assisting with the investigation to your…” Naoto briefly looked around at the police officers scrambling before clearing his throat. “…humble abode, and we’d be happy to assist you in any shape possible.”

“Err, what he said. I’m just coming along with Naoto-kun for the ride.” Goro, similarly, gave a sheepish smile. “So… I guess I’ll just shut up now. Heh.”

Madarame furrowed his brow towards the taller boy detective before turning to Naoto in turn. “…okay? So… what’s your questions?”

“Well… we need your opinion on something.” Naoto adjusted his hat, shooting a glance towards the older man he was questioning. “It involves of a rumor going around the school surrounding the “Phantom Thie – “

“Naoto-kun, with all due respect, doesn’t this seem irrelevant to the topic at hand?” Goro was quick to interject. “I can understand why you think this has correlations with that case, but I can’t see how it cou – “

“How couldn’t it? Your logic works both ways, Goro-senpai; we hardly know for certain who could be involved in a breaking and entering of this kind, and given his pupil disappeared, who’s to say there isn’t more than we realize?” Naoto’s response was so sharp that Goro internally winced. “Besides, even if you’re my senpai, don’t forget who’s been in this job longer than you have.”

“I…” Goro paused, before clearing his throat. “Erhm, good point. I’ll… defer judgement to you, Naoto-kun.”

If Madarame didn’t know any better, he wouldn’t have known why Goro’s voice enveloped into a light scowl.

“In any case though… the Phantom Thieves rumor.” Naoto sighed, shaking his head. “Madarame-san, I take it you know of the scandal that has hit Shujin Academy in April? The one where PE Coach Suguru Kamoshida was exposed after having molested several girls in his Olympics career and his school career?”

Madarame was internally caught off guard by how blunt the question was, but he choked down his worries and nodded softly. “…yes. That was… well, words don’t describe how much of an atrocity that it. Frankly, sexual predation is the worst, and – “

“I’m not asking for your opinions on the matter, Madarame-san. Focus.” Naoto nodded. “Do you think it is possible – going by the testimony you’ve applied to the police earlier in regards to Kitagawa-kun’s disappearance – that the individuals who abducted him could’ve been the same from that rumor?”

“Well frankly, Shirogane-kun, those rumors sound stupid.” Madarame gave a brief glare. “I fail to see how picaresque fiction has anything to do with the real world. For all we know, this could’ve been a mere breaking and entering from a bunch of juvenile delinquents?”

Naoto paused, weighed her options internally, before nodding. “Very well. That’s all I’ve truthfully wanted to hear on the matter. I take it you can then tell me all that you know about Kitagawa-kun’s disappearance this evening?”

Goro quickly leaned into Naoto’s ear. “Naoto-kun, are you certain he knows anything?” His voice was hushed in a whisper, and thankfully Madarame seem to have failed to catch up on the subtle word moments. “The testimony he gave earlier shows that his involvement with his own pupil’s social activities is minimal at best! So is it really even possible to graze information from this?”

“I believe so myself.” Naoto nodded in a similarly-hushed whisper. “If I’m correct, I think I can narrow down the possible list of suspects.”

Goro cocked an eyebrow in response to that. “Really? How would you know that?”

“An intuitive, educated guess based on recent circumstances.”

“So you may know who are these “Phantom Thieves”?”

“I’m not telling you.”

Goro scowled at that response, his whisper getting more aggressive. “Sure, keep me out of the loop because I’m two years your junior in the workforce! We’re a team, Naoto-kun, so any information you tell me should relay back to all of us at central!”

“Some information deserves to remain classified tho – “

“Ahem.” Madarame made his annoyance visible upon clearing his throat. “Are you going to question me? Or are you not going to question me? Frankly, we’re on budgeted time, so I have no place for dilly-dallying.”

Both boy detectives shot each other a quick glance that spoke more than a few unsaid words. They quickly turned back to Madarame and nodded, Naoto in particular bringing out a pad with pencil and paper… almost as if he intents to write something down. Goro in particular seems to be eyeing Naoto, much to the smaller boy’s obvious chagrin.

“Now then… Madarame-san.” Naoto recounted after lightly swatting Goro away from his pad. “I want you to tell me the events leading up to this point.”


(Music – Wicked Plan – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4m2JkRDWts)

May 18th, 2016 – Shibuya, Rocket 42 Diner – 6:41 PM

“So that thing I summoned… Goemon… was my Persona?”

After successfully escaping Madarame’s Palace, the Thieves took the time to relocate themselves to the Rocket 42 Diner, the very American diner where Yukiko learned of Ann’s issues for the first time. Everyone had a meal befitting to their own tastes (Ryuji was greatly enjoying his bacon cheeseburger, as was Chie; Ann was simply nibbling into a sundae, while Yusuke and Yukiko were enjoying a salad), but this was on top of explaining everything to Yusuke.

And by everything, Yukiko’s confident they’ve covered everything; each of the party’s awakenings, Kamoshida, the ability to steal hearts, Yukiko’s probation… combining this with the fact that Yusuke had awakened to his own Persona, and it seems that Yusuke’s in a mix of shame and confusion at all this fantasy going on without him knowing it. More than anything, though, Yukiko noticed that Yusuke looked a bit… glum, more than anything.

It didn’t take a detective to figure out why that is.

Morgana promptly popped out of Yukiko’s bag to address Yusuke. “Pretty much! Shadows are the representation of the psyche’s id unleashed, and a Persona is the mastery of it. In short, Shadows are what people keep repressed from the outside world, and a Persona manifests when that aspect is tamed.”

“That’s… more or less the gist of it, I guess.” Ryuji gave a sheepish smile as he patted Yusuke on the back. “Welcome aboard! Trust me, all of this Persona shit’ll be a lot easier to understand in practice than in theory.”

Yusuke remained silent. He still remained relatively glum.

“Hey, Yusuke-kun…” Ann, ever the empath, picked up on Yusuke’s grim facial expressions. “Are you still hung up on Madarame’s Shadow?”

“Huh? What do you – “ Chie winced on remembering what Madarame’s Shadow entailed, and how unrepentant he was. “Oh. Oh, um… yeah. Oof.”

“Well, what else could it possibly be then?” Yusuke softly threw his fork in frustration and buried his face in his hands. “My Sensei, my guardian… all of the aspirations I had to becoming just like him were a lie. He isn’t just a plagiarist and counterfeiter, but a profiteer!”

“Well, I think you’ll have to remember that Shadows are the parts people repress.”

“I’m… sorry?” Yusuke turned his head towards Yukiko, who had a comforting smile on her face as she stated that. She continued to explain.

“Well in the case of Kamoshida, he was… well, he was almost the same entity as his Shadow. Difference is that Kamoshida’s less blatant about how sadistic he is than his Shadow.” Yukiko nodded as she continued. “Point is, a lot of what Madarame said about you and what he didn’t say in public means the stuff he said in the Metaverse could be just the stuff he doesn’t want to admit. As hard as it is to imagine, Palace Keepers aren’t all evil; Palaces only form in the mass coalescence of desires, not malignance.”

“Yukiko’s right, Yusuke. And besides…” Morgana turned to Yukiko with a comforting little grin. “You have the back-up letter, right?”

Yukiko lit up before reaching into her bag with a smile. “Oh, I almost forgot! Thank you, Morgana.” She then pulled out the page deep-seated in her bag, much to the surprise of Chie and Yusuke.

“W-What?!” Chie blinked. “I thought the letter was torn up by Yusuke!”

“Y-Yes, um…” Yusuke blushed. “I… do apologize for that. It was most unbecoming behavior of me.”

“It’s fine; I would’ve been in denial if my own parents were like that.” Yukiko nodded before unfolding the letter. “Besides, no offense when I say this, but I’ve kinda expected you would react like that. It’s why I had the sense to print out some copies.”

Yukiko handed him the letter. Yusuke read through it.

(Music – Break it Down (Elp Version) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOt6qs2S7bU)

The same letter was still there.

~

Subject: Re: Our Profits

From: [EXPUNGED]

To: [EXPUNGED]

CC: [EXPUNGED, [EXPUNGED], [EXPUNGED], [EXPUNGED], 9 more

Mr. Madarame, I’ve received your email objecting to the… validity of our more profitable avenues of business here in our little family. I’m aware you do have moral objections, but do try to remember that once you’re in our little group, you’re in it for even the unsavory stuff. I couldn’t give a shit if you have objections to the secondary objective of your secondary operations, and your moral disgust with it. But you’ll either like it or maybe we should try your other students, hmm? I’m certain in your mind it’s one thing to stand by as your teacher fucks a bunch of kids for the fun of it, but I’m genuinely surprised you think human trafficking’s too far for you. Seems a bit hypocritical on your end, does it not…?

But whatever. Another year, another successful art show. Gotta admit, that you certainly knows how to draw in… profits, though I’m honestly more than a little impressed with the means of which you manage to draw in the more… ahem, shall we say younger clients intto our business. I wouldn’t expect a bunch of kids to be into art so much as young women, but whatever. My customers like them young; there’s certainly no shame in admitting that much.

Regardless, anybody who helps stage hunting grounds for traffickers like myself are definitely good in my pocketbook. Though truthfully speaking, I wish you were far less conflicted regarding that like Kobayakawa is, Madarame; you adamantly refuses to let your own pupils be involved in the matter, which is a shame, given you seems to attract some real cuties your school and all. Sure, we can only scoop up three-to-four people per year to avoid suspicions, but given how much goddamned money is involved in that business? Yeah, we’d be fucking stupid to pass it up.

Now regardless of my earlier sentiments, I’ll cut to the fucking chase here: I don’t give a shit if you don’t like our little business module here. You’ll either like it, or suck it up with a .44 caliber bullet to your head while you sleep. Your choice, old man.

~Sake Rhino

~

“I… Sensei protected me from this…?” Yusuke lit up. “But I thought what his Shadow said meant he considered me expendable, and that he has no regrets…”

“Well, we have yet to identify who this “Sake Rhino” is, but I promise you that if Madarame truly didn’t want to keep you safe… he would’ve made it more apparent in the real world.” Yukiko patted Yusuke on the back. “Shadow’s are like that; more often than not, they’re the repressed side of people.”

Yusuke nodded quietly in reply, putting the folder in his pocket. “Well… I can’t say I’m ever going to forgive him. Selling others to the highest bidder, counterfeiting, plagiarism… what goal does he have in mind…?”

“That’s generally where Palaces form. Desires.” Yukiko nodded grimly. “Kamoshida’s Palace was formed out of lustful desires, and it seems that Madarame’s was formed out of vanity… at least, that’s the impression I’m getting so far?”

“Huh? Vanity?” Ann blinked. “Is that even a sin?”

“I’ve looked it up; it’s basically a broader version of egotism and pride.” Yukiko nodded. “It has it’s traces of gluttony too: if it’s not sated with what it has, it’s really spiteful.”

“So, even though he knows how fucked up his whole business is, he doesn’t do shit about it?!” Ryuji huffed. “Changed my mind on sympathy at this rate; guy sounds like a friggin’ dirtbag.”

“Well… he’s still Yusuke’s guardian. And the fact he’s shielded Yusuke from the darker side of his business shows he has some redeeming qualities.” Chie nodded at Yusuke. “If you don’t feel comfortable coming, that’s fine; we have a habit of going to the end of a Palace as quickly as possible as to send a calling card and get the treas – “

“Wait, what about a calling card and treasure?!” It was Yusuke’s turn to be slack-jawed; he quickly recovered. “Actually, I’m confident I’ll know in due time. For now, just know I’m coming with you, whether you like it or not. I… want to confront the man I’ve blinded myself for, with my own two eyes.”

“Yusuke-kun…” Yukiko nodded before smiling. “Alright, I understand; we’ll get you outfitted with the necessary gear for a trip into the Metaverse! Welcome aboard!”

Yusuke bowed with a smile on his face. “I shall assist you in any means necessary, Lady Yukiko!”

The innmaiden turned a bright shade of red. “L-Lady Yukiko…?!” Meanwhile, Chie huffed in frustration.

As it turns out, everybody had a great time getting to know Yusuke. And with him on board at long last, it’s hard to say that he’s not going to prove to be an invaluable member to the team.

“By the way, I wish to thank all of you for letting me eat here! It’s been ages since I’ve had myself a meal.” Yusuke laughed before blushing.

“You’re welcome! Though, uh…” Yukiko blushed. “I didn’t pay for you.”

“Wait, really?” Ann blinked. “Then who did?”

“Oh, I’ve put it on Chie’s tab, of course!” Yusuke smiled happily. “She seemed to have looked quite wealthy due all the steak she’s purchased at our meeting earlier, so I assumed she had the most cash out of everybody here.”

“YOU DID WHAT?!”

(Music – My Homie– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55qhrPNrH68)

Chie stood up, rage in her eyes. She pulled up Yusuke by the collar, causing the boy to yelp. “HOW MUCH DID YOU SPEND?!”

“3960 Yen!” Yusuke winced.

“AND WHY DID YOU THINK I WAS WEALTHY WHEN IT WAS YUKIKO WHO’VE COVERED MY EXPENSES?! Y-YOU JERK!”

Chie threw off Yusuke and huffed, giving an exasperated whine. “UGHHHH, MY CREDIT’S GONNA BOUNCE AT THIS RATE! Whyyyyyyyyyy…”

“B-But I thought you bought all that steak! Do forgive me, I…” Yusuke glanced at Yukiko, who made a motion to him. “I… should remain silent. I’m making this worse, aren’t I…?”

“Do it, or I’ll make you stay silent.” Chie’s threat sounded a lot more whiny than it should’ve been. “Yusuke, I hope. You enjoyed. That. Almost. 4000. Yen. Meal.”

Yukiko giggled, trying not to laugh. Meanwhile, Ann just sighed exasperatedly. “Jeez… it’s always the weird ones we pick up…”


(Music – Nighttime Ambience – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPMojig7oOE)

May 18th, 2016 – Madarame’s Shack, Bedroom – 9:19 PM

Madarame, generally speaking, didn’t get calls in the middle of the night.

After Yusuke’s disappearance and the police completing their report, Madarame ensured that he would sleep in after a long day. Tiredly, he plopped on the bed and fell asleep… or he would had not his phone been buzzing. He flipped it on, and almost cringed upon hearing a certain, familiar voice.

“So… did you dispose of the evidence?”

(Music – Desire – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p7utuOjF-Y)

“I…” Madarame gulped. “Y-Yes, Kaneshiro-san. I’ve, um, did all that I could to dispose of that note.”

“And the people who went into your home?”

“Gone, I’m afraid.” Madarame shuddered. “They, well… it’s worth assuming they know about the operation you’ve made me do – “

“Made you do?!”

Madarame squeaked in response to Kaneshiro raising his voice; he knew enough about the oyabun to know how scary he was. “Lemme remind you in case you’re too daft to get the memo. My job, Madarame-san, is to hurt people who cross me in my activities. Even if you find our little… oh, shall-we-say business abhorrent, let me make it clear you knew the risks signing on. You, my friend, answer to me, as do you everybody else whom we’re working with.”

Madarame gulped as the man continued. “Now, I will only state this once: find the teenagers who broke in and eliminate them. This could be a problem for both of us if you don’t act.”

“I am not fucking around, Madarame.”

*klik*

*beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep*

Madarame watched as the dial-tone came up, and he clutched his head and buried it into the pillow in fear. He knew what his friends over there did. He knew it all too well and it disgusted him, nothing more disgusting than the realization that he may consider it necessary.

So why?

Why must he do this?

Chapter Text

(Music – Is It Boring – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSJ30nH17y8)

May 19th, 2016 – Shujin Academy, Class 2-D – 8:04 AM

Going through class made Yukiko almost wish for the cold embrace of a Hama spell.

Key word: almost.

On the one hand, Ms. Kawakami was invariably one of the more tolerable teachers Yukiko could think of on the top of her head. She always seemed inexplicably baggy-eyed and exhausted at most times of the day, but otherwise? She was definitely not a bad teacher to be around. Still, seeing her go into a lesson of literature Yukiko herself wasn’t all that keen on only made the innmaiden feel more on edge to begin her heist on Madarame’s heart.

That was ultimately the rub here, wasn’t it? The fact that she’s become so accustomed to risking her life in the Metaverse that she almost wishes she was there versus here. Just a month ago she was fighting of a creep ephebophile and stealing his heart, and now she was doing the same with a slightly less creepy old man. Only this time, she had on stand-by a new party member to enter the fray.

God almighty. When was her life ever going to get easy?

*bzzt-bzzt-bzzt*

“Hm?” Morgana popped out of Yukiko’s bag, like he always did. “Hey, you gonna get that?”

Yukiko paused, almost as if to make sure nobody was watching at the moment. Regardless, she flipped open her phone to be greeted to an… unexpected sight, to say the least.

Yukiko Amagi has joined the chat

steak trash: I SWEAR TO GOD YSUKE YOU BETTER PAY ME BACK YOU FOX FUCKER

Yusuke Kitagawa: I’m sorry, that’s awfully coarse language, don’t you think?

steak trash: DON’T BE A SMARTASS HHHH

Yukiko Amagi: Okay, what’s going on you two?

Ry-yee-ji: oh, chie and yusuke are at each others’ throats

Yukiko Amagi: Over the fiasco yesterday, I take it?

DanishWeeaboo: …basically

Yusuke Kitagawa: I sympathize with your aggravation, Chie-chan, but isn’t this a bit too much?

Yusuke Kitagawa: I still apologize for using your tab to pay for the food, though. In hindsight, that was… awfully careless of me.

steak trash: shut up you friggin furry

Yusuke Kitagawa: …I beg your pardon?

Yusuke Kitagawa: What’s a furry?

Several people are typing…

It literally too all of Yukiko’s willpower not to burst out into hysterics then and there.

DanishWeeaboo: oh my god

DanishWeeaboo: yusuke you pure, pure soul

DanishWeeaboo: never change, lmao

Yusuke Kitagawa: You say ‘never change,’ but you’ve only known me for a matter of days.

Ry-yee-ji: figure of speech my bro

Yukiko Amagi: Snrk. Okay, y’know what? I’m gonna do it.

Yukiko Amagi: I’m gonna explain to Yusuke what a furry is.

steak trash: yukiKO NO DONTDO IT

steak trash: IM BEGHING YOU

DanishWeeaboo: oh god i would PAY to see this

Yusuke Kitagawa: Truly, I do not know what a ‘furry’ is.

Yusuke Kitagawa: Does it involve stuffed animals? It would seem something that Ann would enjoy in that instance.

Volleygirl12: still going at it, huh? (^v^)

Volleygirl12 has joined the chat

Volleygirl12: jeez, cant believe you ann! why would you corrupt somebody like yusuke?

DanishWeeaboo: uh-oh

Yusuke Kitagawa: Hello, Suzui-chan. How’re you doing?

Volleygirl12: pretty good! haven’t had an episode in a bit

Volleygirl12: the doctors been saying ive been making progress in healing, so better later than never

DanishWeeaboo: wait! you know yusuke shiho?!?!

Volleygirl12: yup!

Volleygirl12: if you recall, i transferred to kosei high

DanishWeeaboo: …oh

DanishWeeaboo: well i should’ve known that

DanishWeeaboo: (ノ_<。)

Volleygirl12: its fine! though i AM curious at how somebody from kosei in your group chat…

Ry-yee-ji: whats so weird about that?

Volleygirl12: well, you guys knew me already before i transferred

Volleygirl12: but how did you meet yusuke?

steak trash: VERY long story

Yukiko Amagi: Yeah. Shiho-chan, I don’t think we’ll cover it all in one sitting.

Volleygirl12: well, if you say so

Volleygirl12: but really, don’t forget that you owe me an explanation later

Yusuke Kitagawa: I beg your pardon?

Volleygirl12: hee. Nothing, really (ᗒᗨᗕ)

Volleygirl12: anyway, teachers’ giving me a glare again! Ttyl~

Volleygirl12 has left the chat

Yukiko Amagi: I’m really happy for her.

steak trash: hm? why u say that yuki?

DanishWeeaboo: why WOULDN’T she say that?

DanishWeeaboo: it’s been a long time coming, but shiho’s been recovering. Slowly, but surely. Especially given what happened after… well, y’know

DanishWeeaboo: the k-word

Ry-yee-ji: ugh, don’t remind me of the mophead fuckboi

Ry-yee-ji: id ALMOST feel bad for him being a good person if his previous self wasn’t such a megatwat

DanishWeeaboo: ouch! roasting as you should ryuji (* ̄▽ ̄)d

Ry-yee-ji: the benefits of online texting!

Ry-yee-ji: if mom caught wind of me saying that, she’d chew me up and spit me out

Yusuke Kitagawa: Well it’s a given you have a peculiar… assortment of curse-words, Ryuji-kun.

Yusuke Kitagawa: Though if I may ask, I take it you were involved in the Shujin sex scandal I’ve heard in the news?

steak trash: wait iirc u don’t have a tv in your house

steak trash: how did u hear about it

Yusuke Kitagawa: Kosei has a leisure room with a television in it. It was playing the news report non-stop since it was breached to the public.

Yusuke Kitagawa: Even if I didn’t hear about it through that, I certainly would’ve caught wind of it just from gossip. Stories like that travel far, after all.

Yukiko Amagi: Well, that explains it. But to answer your question, yes, we were involved with the scandal.

Yukiko Amagi: And yes, it was done in the way we’ve explained to you earlier; the theft of hearts.

Yusuke Kitagawa: I see… well, I’d argue you’ve done the right thing.

Yusuke Kitagawa: It’s definitely not easy going against the establishment, but methinks you did the right thing in standing up to him. He was truly a virulent person.

steak trash: well never underestimate the power of phoenix’s band of petals!! (⌒▽⌒)

Yusuke Kitagawa: Heh. Though ‘Petals’?

Ry-yee-ji: oh right!

Ry-yee-ji: the Petals is like the unofficial name we’ve given our motley band of emotion bandits

Ry-yee-ji: sounds dumb, but then again, sakura petals ARE associated with death in Japanese culture and shit

Yusuke Kitagawa: I think it’s a very pretty name. But why isn’t it brought up more often?

Yukiko Amagi: Largely because the PhanSite labels us as JUST as the ‘Phantom Thieves of Hearts’. So we only really use our made-up name for sending calling cards; everywhere else were just the Phantom Thieves.

steak trash: oh, but isnt yusuke an artist?! maybe he can do a better calling card!

steak trash: its gotta be better than ryuji’s lame one…

Ry-yee-ji: SCREW YOU I WORKED HARD ON THAT

Yukiko Amagi: Oh, yes! Thinking about it, Yusuke would be a great fit for that sort of thing. What say you?

Yusuke Kitagawa: Hmm… well, I’ll definitely consider it.

Yusuke Kitagawa: Under one condition, of course.

DanishWeeaboo: and that is???

Yusuke Kitagawa: Explain to me what this ‘furry’ is. Post-hast.

steak trash: oh no

steak trash: oh noooooo

steak trash: OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

steak trash: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

DanishWeeaboo: oml i can actually hear chie yelling no

DanishWeeaboo: this is absolutely precious FFFF

Meanwhile, Yukiko was all but a lost cause. She was rolling on the floor laughing hysterically at this stunning new revelation. Thankfully for her cranium’s integrity, Kawakami seemed relatively merciful with the chalk that day. Maybe its because she’s now used to the hysterics from Class 2-D’s local hyena, but she simply scowled and rolled her eyes.


(Music – Days of Sisters – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBKldeelMYI)

May 19th, 2016 – Niijima Residence – 3:04 PM

“So… how was your day?”

Sae wished she sounded a little bit more friendlier when she asked that. Still, Makoto seemed to be in a rather happy mood; she gave her older sister a bright smile as she entered into the apartment which they resided it. “It was good. Student Council meetings went on for a lot longer than I thought.”

“That’s nice.” Sae smiled rather astutely. “I assume there wasn’t any involvement with Haru-chan today?”

Makoto was just removing her shoes when she froze into place after hearing that. Not out of any necessity to keep secrets, of course. She was (well, mostly) open with her older sister, especially given she’s the guardian of the house. Regardless, Makoto felt her cheeks dust a little pink, and she coughed rather nervously.

“Uhhh, it’s… fine. Yes, it’s fine.” Makoto coughed. “I, um, wasn’t doing anything suspicious with her, sincerely! I was just, um, well - !”

Sae shook her head and sighed out of exasperation. “Let me guess. You two had another “private moment,” didn’t you?”

At this point Makoto’s pink cheeks turned red as she began babbling. “I-I… well, that’s, um…!”

“Relax. I’m only teasing.” Sae smiled, before returning to her usual dour self. “Though I do advised you shouldn’t be as swayed by Haru… or open about it. I’m keeping your relationship with her a secret on the basis of respect, but if word got out I doubt that Okumura Senior would be so forgiving.”

Makoto’s fluttery emotions were dashed upon hearing that, and almost as if pulled on a trigger, she resumed a much more serious presentation. “Ugh. Don’t remind me; the way Haru’s used as a bargaining chip there is unacceptable.”

Sae gently chewed at her lip in response to this. She could definitely sympathize with her younger sibling here… well, mostly. An honest given, since Sae Niijima was straight. Still, she knew more than most what it was like to have your chain yanked around constantly, especially given her job as a prosecutor.

*ding-dong*

“Ugh… who could be calling now of all times? Wait right here, Makoto.” Sae shook her head as she motioned over to the door, only to be quite surprised with the sight in front of her.

(Music Stops)

“Good evening, Ms. Niijima. I’m here to speak to your daughter.”

(Music – Suspicion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MufukvzrdFk)

A strangely familiar blue-haired boy was at the doorstep. Sae couldn’t help but feel herself cock an eyebrow at the short youth, having sworn she saw him before. “And you are…? Sorry, I don’t think we’ve met; you look awfully familiar, though.”

“It’s quite alright, ma’am. Naoto Shirogane, Tokyo Police Department.” The youth flashed a badge as if to solidify his credentials. “I came here because… well, I want to talk to your sister.”

Sae processed this, before suddenly growing concerned. “What? She didn’t do anything, did she?”

“No. From what I’ve read, your sister is indeed a model student.” Naoto tipped his hat. “Still, I just wish to run by her a few things. I’ve heard word accounts that Makoto has been… accompanying some peculiar individuals. I’d like her to ascertain what she’s doing with them.”

Sae only grew more suspicious. “And… does there happen to be a specific reason as to she isn’t in trouble for accompanying these ‘peculiar individuals’?” The attorney didn’t do air quotes, but from the tone of her voice its almost as if she wished them into existence.

“No. Let me repeat myself; Makoto is not associating with these people. But they’re still relevant to my research on the Phantom Thieves case.”

“So you’re telling me that you’re chasing after superstition?”

“I…” Naoto looked exasperated, but he quickly recomposed himself. “Please, Ms. Niijima. I just need your daughter for a few minutes at most. That way I can confirm what I’ve been suspicious of for quite some time.”

Sae paused, thinking about this for a few seconds. Regardless, she was an attorney, not a detective; though a lot of the distinction can be academic on occasions, really, what Naoto was doing was probably relevant to her case. Rather reluctantly, she turned to Makoto – who remained quiet up until this point – to which the Student Council President pointed to herself.

“Um…” Makoto felt another wave of flustering come upon her. “You… wish me to be interviewed?”

Naoto smiled. “If I have your consent, of course.”

For reasons only Haru would know, Makoto blushed a bit, before quickly recomposing herself. “Oh, very well. Shouldn’t take too much time, right? I have some papers I need to fill out.”

“Well, if my sister agreed to it, I see no problem with it.” Sae gave wide berth for Naoto, something a bit unnecessary given how small the young boy was. “Come on in; I’ll prepare some tea if you want.”

“That would be nice, Ms. Niijima.” Naoto smiled. “Thank you; this shouldn’t take long.”


(Music Playing – A Woman –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWizFF5fn-I )

May 17th, 2016 – Madarame’s Palace, Entrance – ???

“So… this is really Madarame’s Palace, hm?”

Fox looked onward intently, subconsciously weighing the katana at his side and the assault rifle strapped to his back. If his mom was still around to take care of her, Fox’s light grasp on interpreting emotions would probably have her panic to see her son in such weaponry and apparel… no doubt due to her concern with his own condition. Regardless, Fox was determined to prove himself to the rest of the group, despite being a bit of a lightweight in focus. “Well, it certainly looks gaudy, if not downright appalling. And to think I thought Sensei as having good taste.”

“To be fair to him, it isn’t like he isn’t a World Famous Artist for a reason. You have to have some talent if you want to get into the field!” Dragon laughed nervously. “Even though, uh, that talent is trafficking, plagiarism and cheating. Heh.”

Fox’s expression was largely hidden underneath his inari mask, but he gave an unmistakable glare to Dragon, causing the girl to laugh nervously. “Uh, heheh. J-Just a joke, Fox!”

Phoenix took the moment to facepalm.

“By the way, I do have to admit Yuki – err, Phoenix.” Fox was still getting a handle on the whole “phantom thief” business he was no a part of. “Your own outfit… is it me, or is it a bit, well, revealing?”

If Fox asked that a month before, Phoenix’s cheeks would’ve lit up like fire. But she was so used to her own outfit at this point that she didn’t think much of it. “Oh, um… not really? I mean, it is, but I’m kinda getting used to wearing this.”

“Lucky…” Panther pouted. “I still feel mortified whenever I go out in this crappy outfit…”

Mona was quick to interject. “Well, I don’t think we should wait much longer than we have to, gang! Let’s go scout out the treasure ASAP!”

“Yeah, happily.” Skull gave an unusually evil grin at that moment. “And once we’re done, I finally get to stick it to that Wannabe Picasso!”

(Music Stops)

Silence.

“W-Wannabe Picasso…?! That’s… that’s…!”

(Music Playing – My Homie – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55qhrPNrH68)

For the second time today, Phoenix begin howling with laughing.

“Pfffft…! Ahahahahah…! W-Wannabe Picasso?! T-That’s so gre – ahahahaha! Hahahaha!” For whatever reason, Phoenix was now on the floor rolling around, laughing. “R-Ryuji, oh my God, tha-that’s amazing! That’s – pffft! Ahahahahahaaaa…!”

As Phoenix continued to cackle, Dragon shook her head. “Oh, smooth move, Skull! Thanks to you we’ll be staying here for ten more minutes before we set out! Jeez!”

“Well, effin’ sorry for pushing the Big Red Hyena Button on the girl!” Skull huffed, shaking his head. “I-It was unintentional anyways, dumbass!”

As Phoenix continued to cackle, Fox looked on in awe at what he was seeing. Nervously, he turned over to Panther, who cocked an eyebrow.

“Um, just to ascertain what I’m witnessing…” Fox blinked dumbly. “Does… Yukiko-chan usually do tha – “

“Yes, Yusuke.” Panther. “Yes, she does. God, this is a bad omen if nothing else…”

Phoenix took exactly the estimation Dragon put out to recover: ten minutes. Not that it would help too much, given how giggly Phoenix would be for the rest of the initial trip.

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – A Woman –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWizFF5fn-I )

May 17th, 2016 – Madarame’s Palace, Treasure Hall Lounge – ???

Navigating throughout Madarame’s palace was… well, it was much less difficult than anybody was really expecting.

Nevermind the notion that the Thieves had grown quite a bit in terms of actual power; a lot of the encounters in this castle has proven surprisingly easy due to the combined efforts of everybody involved. It genuinely helped that, for whatever reason or another, Fox barely needed any catching up compared to everybody else – Phoenix could only hazard a guess whether this was another unpredictable faucet of Personas like if you spawn with weapons or not, or something else she wasn’t aware of. Phoenix made a mental note to inquire with the nose on the subject.

Regardless, everybody was going at a surprisingly stellar pace in navigating the increasingly-extravagant hallways of the museum. The innmaiden was concerned with the fact that all the opulence on display no longer shocks her, and a part of her wonders if that’s just her getting adjusted to the bizarre nature of the Metaverse. Regardless of whether that’s the case or not, it appeared Dragon hardly shared her sentiments.

“Uggggggggh. For crying out loud, damnit! Jeez, how much gold is on display here?!” Dragon huffed exasperatedly. “It isn’t just greedy, it’s tacky too! Isn’t Madarame, like, supposed to be an artist or something?!”

“The fact Dragon and I are agreeing should be worrisome.” Fox took a minute to observe the decaying corpse of a Shadow guard the party recently disposed of. “I already have a low opinion on Sensei, but truly… how much avarice can you stuff in a place?”

Panther merely chortled a cynical laugh. “Well, it isn’t completely horrible; enter Exhibit A of narcissistic suck, Suguru “Pervert Castle” Kamoshida’s Palace! You’d be horrified at how repugnant everything was.”

Fox cocked an eyebrow. “Was it… truly that bad…?”

Skull gave a sheepish grin – one that almost hinted of teeth-grinding anger over a certain chain of events. “Oh yeah, it’s fuckin’ bad. Though I don’t think we have time for a recap, as Mona’s – “

“Hey guys! I found some more pamphlets!”

Skull felt his enthusiasm droop as the next set of busywork became apparent. “…lookin’ at me funny. Ugh…”

One by one, everybody rushed towards where Mona was standing – a pamphlet stand littered with golden brochures, where they have originally found details on the rest of the Palace’s layout. Mona, rather comically, seemed to have been attempting to reach it by hopping.

“Hhhh…! Uggggggh…!” Mona eventually gave up. “Screw you, biology! Fox, can you reach for it?”

He was rather quick to act, but upon walking up, he almost froze for a second. “Um, which one?”

“I dunno! Anything that contains the map!” Going from the tone of Mona’s voice, he wasn’t having any shenanigans today.

Panther looked a little amused. “Seriously, what’s with Madarame leaving maps for us to grab like that? Couldn’t there be some sort of meaning behind it?”

“It does seem rather out of character for Sensei to do that. He’s usually a lot more vigilant in protecting his privacy.” Fox halted in his search before looking rather triumphant. “Ah! I do believe this is what you were searching for. Yes, Morgana?”

“Mona.” The feline was quick to remind the blue-haired boy of the usage of codenames. “But yes, that’s what I was looking for! Thanks a bunch.”

Phoenix smiled, before giving a surprisingly elegant chuckle for her usually giddy self. “Well, great instinct Mona! Fox, may we see the map?”

“Hm? Oh, sure! It’s a rather customary thing for us to address now that we know some of the Palace’s gimmicks.” Fox thought to himself. “But as for the yellow outline and black exterior… hm. I’m actually kind of parched for honey. Maybe I should purchase a jar once we wrap up…”

Everyone stood there in mild awe and major confusion.

“Just… just give us the map, Fox.” Dragon shook her head exasperatedly, but hardly out of any harsh intent.

As Fox obliged, everyone was quick to begin discussing the matter… and namely, how it was, yet again, another avenue to stealing the treasure right under Madarame’s nose. As Skull continued to act as excited as he’d let himself be, Dragon pursed her lips and gave a rather aggravated sigh. Phoenix was rather quick to notice this.

“Hey…” Phoenix began, placing her hand on Dragon’s shoulder. “Try not to be so hard on Yusuke-kun. He’s just… eccentric.”

Dragon, in one of her emotional tells, only wrung her hands even further. “I know! It’s just – gah, how do I say it?! He’s just so – “

*klik*

(Music – Restlessness – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VMCmDfSbFs)

In hindsight, Fox hardly knew what kind of secret lever he ended up yanking at. Whatever it was correlated to, however, the magazine he tugged gave way to the wall sliding open. Virtually everybody took a step back in surprise.

“W… What?!” Skull mouthed in shock. “Dude, the eff’s a hidden doorway doin’ in here?!”

“I have no idea… but…” Panther paused for a split second before recovering. “It has to be something good. Maybe we should check it out?”

Everyone stood in uniform silence. Fox, as awkward as he was, came to break the ice with a cleared throat. “Well, I don’t think it’s to be underestimated what lies beneath. Care to come forth, everyone?”

Fox was the first to begin traversing down a long-winded stairway, and rather awkwardly, the Thieves moved in one-by-one. Eventually, only Phoenix, Dragon and Mona remained.

“So… could that mean there’s other secret passageways with these stands? If that’s the case…” Phoenix paused, before temporarily dismissing the chance there was more than anybody was being let on about. “…nevermind. Dragon, Mona – mind if you come with me?”

“Always.” Dragon shook off her surprise to give one of her trademark grins.

“Well, it’s definitely a surprise for Fox to discover a passage like this… but who knows? We may find something good down there.” Mona smiled. “Welp, c’mon gang! Let’s see if we can’t do some digging.”

And with that, the three remaining Thieves descended to meet up with Skull, Panther and Fox.


(Music – Days of Sisters – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBKldeelMYI)

May 19th, 2016 – Niijima Residence – 3:47 PM

“…I see. What you have told me has been very illuminating.” Naoto concluded his forty-minute long interview with the click of a button, effectively ending the recording. “Thank you for your time and patience Niijima-san. I can imagine this had to have been quite a usage of your time.”

Makoto, impressed with how cordial Naoto has been all this time, simply smiled. “Think nothing of it, Officer. I just want to do my part in this community.”

“And you are, I’ll assure you that much.” Naoto paused to reach for a pen in his pocket, but froze upon realizing what was missing; he left it at the station! Blushing, he coughed nervously and turned to Makoto.

“Um… I’ve seem to have brought a wide variety of pencils but no pens. How embarrassing…” Washing off his blush with a light wake-up slap to her cheeks, she shook her head and cleared her throat. “Um, do you have a pen?”

Makoto simply smiled before reaching into the pocket of her school attire. And with it, she brought out a rather cutesy little pen with an adorable panda mascot as the eraser. “Um, here. Please, uh, don’t break it. It’s rather cherished to me.”

“Thank you, Niijima-san.” Naoto felt flattered she was so willing to do that; regardless of the childish décor on the pen, he began scribbling down some notes.

Makoto took the moment to cock and eyebrow. “By the way… all this time, all I was really giving you was info regarding the nature of the Phantom Thieves – at least, what little I know about it.”

The Student Council President’s curiosity became slightly pained; she was fearing what the implications could mean, even though she silently chewed her lip to keep those thoughts away. “…I take it you might have to arrest somebody on the matter?”

Naoto paused. “…I’ll do everything in my power to ensure that isn’t the case, Niijima-san. Granted, I’m only a detective at the station; I don’t really call the shots, and it’s beyond my jurisdiction on what we plan to do with these people. If they’re really responsible for Kamoshida’s 180 in personality… well, that’ll complicate things. But I still have the aching feeling I need to do my research before things end up spiraling out of control. I don’t want to stand idle as some potential injustice goes unnoticed; don’t forget how long Kamoshida’s been keeping his sex offenses secret.”

A dour silence swept over both teens. They would remain in silence before Makoto finished her notes.

“…there. Thank you for your help, Niijima-san. Here’s your pen.” Makoto looked relieved as the short detective gave her pen back. “Now… I’ve been taking an awful amount of your time. If you’ll excuse me – “

“Wait!” Makoto blushed upon realizing how loud she was. “Um… wait. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you before. Can you tell me what school you go to?”

Naoto was slightly taken aback by this. “With all due respect, why do you need to know an officer’s private busin – “

“Because, um… I’m grateful to you, Naoto-kun. Err, Officer.” Makoto smiled awkwardly. “I think… I think you’re a model of what I want to be; I want to be a police commissioner when I grow up. And since we’re roughly the same age… I guess I would just love to know more about you.”

Naoto paused for a second, before smiling. “…well, I don’t suppose it won’t hurt to share with you. I attend Kaihou Private Academy – it’s a gifted, well, private institution for Tokyo’s brightest. I was offered a scholarship there for my work back home in Yasoinaba. So… I guess I’m a transfer student, like you.” The detective gave an unusually sweet smile. “My coworker goes to the same school as me – while I have more experience in the work field than him, he’s my Senpai over at Kaihou.”

“I see…” Makoto smiled. “I’m ashamed to admit, but if it’s really such an illustrious school, I’m surprised I’ve never heard of it. You have to tell me more sometime.”

Naoto felt his cheeks brighten in response to the flattering comment. Makoto was really a nice girl, wasn’t she? Regardless, all he could do was smile softly and give a little bow of response. This certainly wasn’t out of any sort of formality.

Really, it seemed more guided by respect.

“You’re a model student and wonderful person, Niijima-san.” Naoto smiled the brightest he’s done for some time. “If you wish to contact me, feel free to do so whenever I’m not disposed of.”

Makoto, likewise, felt a large smile come over her thanks. “Thank you… Naoto-kun.”

And with that, the genius boy detective left the Niijima Residence.


(Music Playing – Cave Ambience – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E72yDpAfrgY)

May 17th, 2016 – Madarame’s Palace, Unknown – ???

“Ugggggh… how long does this friggin’ place go?! My knee can barely keep up as is!” After traversing more than ten flights of stone stairways, Skull’s bad knee felt ready to give in. “Every flight of stairs I had to fucking go down is one more bump on that goddamn con-artist’s head!”

“Relax, idiot. I seem to be sensing the end.” Mona smiled. “Though, uh… I’m sorry to hear about your knee. Granted, I’m… whatever I am, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get the pain of a broken ligament.”

Dragon smiled awkwardly. “Well, uh, why can’t we just use a Dia spell to patch up Skull’s bad leg? Wouldn’t that be a quick fix?”

“Well, I’ve healed all of you a fair times as is, and I think healing spells only really work on truly “broken” injuries.” Phoenix interjected. “Skull’s leg – regardless of how rigid it is – is technically healed, so I think that’s why a Dia spell wouldn’t do anything.”

“Well…” Skull grunted. “That doesn’t mean we can’t try, right? It’s only a hypothesis, damnit!”

Panther paused. “I’m sorry?”

“I mean…” Skull grunted traversing a rather rigid staircase. “I’ve been shocked, frozen over, burned, bruised, lacerated by deadly winds, blinded by light and darkness, and we’re already discovering Shadows with fucking powers over psionics and nuclear fission themselves! YOU FUCKIN’ TELLING ME THAT A DIA SPELL CAN’T CURE MY SHIT-ASS LEG?!”

“Well, that…!” Phoenix tried to come up with a witty rebuttal before blinking dumbfoundedly. “…actually, that’s a good point. Why haven’t we tried that before? Tell you what, Skull, we’ll see if we can’t heal that dumb leg of yours’ once we’re out of here. Sounds good to you?”

Skull simply gave his usual shark-like grin. “Dudette, that sounds like the best idea I’ve heard all day.”

Phoenix tried not to burst out laughing with the usage of ‘Dudette’. Thankfully, she reigned it in by the time she and the rest of the team traversed the final staircase and got to see a rather menacing looking door.

“Thank God!” Panther echoed. “Even I was getting sick of those stairs!”

“Well, no use in not seeing what’s behind this door now. Phoenix, you’ve got a lockpick, yeah?”

It was the leader’s turn to be embarrassed. “Um… I may have forgot to craft some. Sorry.” Phoenix turned a bright shade of red. “Can you, um, use your claws?”

Mona paused before groaning loudly. “Ugh. When all else fails, leave it to the cat, huh? Fine!” The feline then pounced onto the lock and began dexterously moving his claws inside the lock. It only took a second more before the mechanism clicked, and…!

“Presto! We’re in.” Mona had a triumphant look on his face as he opened the doorway. “Now, let’s see… what’s… in here…”

There was a good reason for Mona trailing off like that.

(Music – Regret – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGFZHBK2lTs)

As far as the eye can see… there were statues. None of the statues were made of gold, though. They were all ceramics, made with details so precise it took a moment for the Thieves to realize they weren’t human. These ceramic statues stretched as far as the eye can see, all before a book that lied at the end of the massive hallway.

“T-These are… statues…?” Fox trailed off. “And nothing opulent like back upstairs. What… what could be the purpose of this room?”

Dragon, in that moment, walked up to one statue and read it aloud. Her shock became increasingly apparent the more she spoke of it.

“’Here lies a memento of Mayuki Sachihara, aged 13. She was taken away on the year 2013 to be harvested in Eastern Europe…?! May her suffering never be forgotten?!’ What the fuck?!”

It was at that moment Dragon felt a burning rage come over her. “So this son-of-a-bitch dares to immortalize all the people he sold off here?! Is that what I’m getting at?! I swear, I will – “

“C’mon, Chie! Gettin’ pissed is my schtick!” Skull was quick to interject. “Besides… there’s that tome right at the far end of the hallway. Not that I’m in any place to walk that far, but… we’d best check it out. Please?”

Skull put his hand on Dragon’s shoulder, and that calmed her down. “Yeah… good idea. From what I can see, these seem to be different variations of the same transcript. Different name… different time… and a different atrocity.”

Indeed, all the other plaques that went on for some time seemed to have been the exact same, with the same wish that they should ‘never be forgotten’ be inscribed. As the Thieves walked over to the tome, Panther herself was getting rather furious too.

“What… what kind of human being does this?!” Panther’s fist was shaking now. “Kamoshida may be worse, but he didn’t at least enslave people…! I – “

“Look. Everyone… you need to see this.” Phoenix was in front of the end of the dull-looking hallway, a pedestal standing underneath it. “Please. Just… see this.”

Panther exchanged glances with Skull before coming over. “Well…? What does it say?” The electric-based Persona user was almost scared to ask.

And indeed, Phoenix gave her answer in more than a little horror herself.

“Beneath all the glamour, the vanity and audacity of the gold-plated museum above, lies a dark, seeping heart where the lives of the innocent were encased in bondage for the self-advancement of the elite. This is Madarame’s Sanctuary – for all his talk of the good of what he does and how necessary it is, deep down lies a memento for all the lives he has irrevocably ruined… or worse. He eventually came to lie to himself about how necessary it was, even if it was merely for placating the individuals he is associated with. This Sanctuary, in its entirety, is devoted to these forlorn souls of despair, and how everything was given to the depths of oblivion in the name of vanity and pleasure… even though this was the one line the Shogun of Vanity refused to cross. Even if this was the one line he refused to subject his huddled and malnourished pupils towards. And even though this was the one line that would invariably close any chance in his mind of returning back to his humanity… when in reality, the shackles put upon the Kaneshiro Clan ensured he lost that chance a long time ago.”

Everyone was struck silent. After a long, omnipresent pause, Fox spoke up.

“This… this is…” Fox felt his voice cracking up, tears sweltering in his eyes. “This is what Sensei thought…?!”

“It… seems to be, Yusuke. The cognitive nature of the Metaverse always reveals the truth.” Mona shook his bobbly little head. “Even if he was a con-artist and plagiarist… what he’s done for as long as he did was something he hated. He’s even openly lied to himself that this was… necessary, even. Even his Shadow lies to themselves. In reality… he hates this.”

Panther wanted to work up an angry rebuttal, but she felt it coming off a lot weaker than she thought. “But… that doesn’t change the fact he’s a terrible human being…”

“It certainly doesn’t. But it shows even he had limits when it came to depravity.” Mona turned to Phoenix. “Hey, is there anything else in that book?”

Phoenix, rather drearily shook her head. “No. Everything else is just blank pages.”

Fox, meanwhile, was as white as a sheet, almost hugging himself. “S-Sensei… protected me from this…? You mean the people Madarame’s associated with… they… forced him to do this?”

Nobody had an answer to that. But Dragon had a question.

“…it mentioned something about a Kaneshiro. Could it be…” Dragon whispered. “…could it be the ‘Sake Rhino’ that was in the letter? It… could be an anagram.”

Phoenix lit up. “It… might be. And if that’s the case… and he’s really the reason why all those innocent people suffered like that… then…”

It was at that moment Phoenix’s expression became far darker. “Then… we have a new target. We have a new enemy.”

The Thieves simply dumbly nodded in agreement to that. Whoever this ‘Kaneshiro’ was… he clearly had hell to pay for everything he caused, however indirectly.

“Well… this place is friggin’ depressing. Should we clear out?” Skull gave a bleak smile. “And once we’re back up… Phoenix, mind giving my leg another heal?”

Phoenix forced her best smile. “Yeah. I promised after all.”

And with that, the Thieves returned to the surface.

Chapter Text

(Music Playing – A Woman –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWizFF5fn-I)

May 17th, 2016 – Madarame’s Palace, Treasure Hall Lounge – ???

Even though it’s been almost thirty minutes since Phoenix and co. traversed the little sanctuary Madarame’s conscience has put together, the effects still lingered.

Phoenix now… well, she didn’t really know what to say about Madarame at any rate. On the one hand, being an active plagiarist and throwing kids off into the streets when they’ve outlived their usefulness was downright scummy, and certainly not something to be dismissed so lightly. But on the other hand… the old man had standards. Not many, really, but they were still there, regardless of what anybody might have thought about him. And Fox, well… he was still quiet about this.

As was everybody, really… barring Skull, of course, who was in the process of skulking.

“Uggggh… so you’re tellin’ me not even a more precise magic spell can’t fix a shitty leg?! The eff, man?!” Skull, as befitting of his loud personality, made his own gripes very much heard. “Blech. And having to traverse back up all those stairs again… fuck that, man.”

Panther took the moment to roll her eyes. “Well, we’re back upstairs, at least. And there doesn’t seem to be any more Shadows that have taken the dead guy’s place.”

Indeed, the Shadow guard the party first disposed of was still there… and giving a rather sweet, bizarre scent as if to represent a dead Shadow’s decomposing corpse. None of the Thieves wanted to pay that train of thought too much heed.

“So, we’re ready to move on?” Mona smiled happily as he said that. “The treasure awaits! We can’t just sit idle when we’ve already got some progress to make.”

“Yeah, I find it funny you mention that… the heist in Kamoshida’s Palace was exhausting the first time. Now, while I’m still tired, it feels… easier, I guess?” Dragon pursed her lips, before suddenly looking giddy. “Ooh! Ooh! Does that mean we’ve grown stronger?!”

“I can only fathom a guess.” Phoenix, while normally endearing to Dragon’s energetic temperament, rolled her eyes.

“Hm… well, that seems to be our priority, right?” Fox seemed much less with the rest of the group. “The… treasure…”

Fox fell silent as he was speaking, merely drooping a bit.

“Hey, big guy… you gonna be okay?” Panther gave a sanguine smile in the hopes of cheering Fox up. “I can imagine seeing that sanctuary down below… well, it had to have been hard.”

Fox gave no response. Instead, he gave a dry chuckle, devoid of humor.

“I won’t underestimate the kinds of pressure you’ve been placed with in regards to Kamoshida. Frankly, I do not hear much, but I heard enough to know it’d be straight out of a macabre horror story.” Fox suddenly looked serious. “That said – and humor me as I say this – imagine if your own father supplicated Kamoshida’s role as the villain, and you were in the dark about his depravities until much later?”

Panther blanched upon hearing her father be brought forth. Immediately, she grew angry. “W-What’s that supposed to – “

“It implies exactly how I feel. Not knowing how awful the man I loved was until far too late… and even when I’ve already blinded myself to his faults, I still…!” Fox gripped his fists tightly. “I still have no excuse for not having done something. Even something simple, like being more inquisitive could’ve stopped this and them maybe everything would be okay and nothing would be – “

“F-Fox, chill! You’re getting worked up.” Skull was the first to walk back to the tearing-up Fox and pat him on the back. “Listen man… you aren’t at fault for what your father did. And frankly, you can still love him… but that doesn’t mean that – “

“Oh, do not get me wrong. My love for the man he is has long since evaporated. If it wasn’t the case, I would still be willfully blind to his crimes.” Fox shook his head. “No, Skull, the man I love is the man I thought he was. And that’s the person I struggle going against. Not whatever this… man truly is.”

Nobody had quite a good reply to that. Dragon merely frowned, with even she feeling sympathy for her rival-of-sorts. “Fox, I…”

Phoenix, ever a leader, was quick to interject. “Um, hahaha… this is all good and everything, but, um! Why don’t we continue? We shouldn’t let what’s happened in the past get to us. Alright, Fox?”

Fox respected Phoenix, and gave a dreary nod. “Yes, Phoenix. Let us continue and get this off of our mind, shall we?”

“Yeah… this got depressing, fast! Jeez…” Mona’s eyes bugged out a little before shaking himself out of it. “Alright, gang, let’s find that treasure!”

And there were hardly any further interruptions along the way, save the occasional scuffle with a Shadow group or two.


May 17th, 2016 – Madarame’s Palace, Treasure Hall Gallery – ???

“Ugh… how much farther do we have to go at this rate…?”

“Didn’t you just say that you didn’t feel as exhausted as last time, Dragon?”

“No, it’s no that! I’m just freakin’ hungry, man!”

“You’re complaints are noted.” Phoenix couldn’t help but say that to her friend with a little more snark than she would have appreciated, given how close she is to Dragon. Regardless, they just finished up wiping the floor with a Shiki-Ouji; the innmaiden-turned-thief internalized that it could be how strong they’ve all became why supposedly a “stronger Shadow than normal” was really a cakewalk. Putting this thought aside, she backtracked on her snippiness to give a small smile to her friend.

“Don’t worry, Chie! Once we pinpoint the treasure, I promise we’ll have some steak on me!” Phoenix smiled. “So… hang in there, alright?”

“Mm… yeah, okay.” Dragon pouted. “Sorry, Yuki.”

“Speaking of which… yo, Mona, just how farther do we have before we reach the treasure room?” Skull cocked an eyebrow. “We’ve been going on around here for quite some time!”

“Don’t worry! Jeez! The treasure shouldn’t be much farther from here. I’m already picking up on some unique scents around here, and… huh?” Mona was just going to answer his question with some degree of irritation before sniffling gently. “Hey, is it just me, or do I smell… sand?”

“Huh? Sand?!” Panther blink. “Wait, are you sure you smelling something right, Mona?”

“No, it’s definitely sand! I swear!” Mona bobbed his head up and down. “I just don’t know where it’s coming from, or how - !”

Immediately, Fox lit up. “…oh, I think I may know what you’re talking about! May we look around the place at your behest, Phoenix?”

“Um… if it’s fine by you, I mean.” Phoenix nodded. “I just can’t imagine what you’d find down here…”

“Excellent.” Fox immediately ran off, hollering to the rest of the group. “Follow me, everybody! I think I may – key word, may – know the source!”

“’May’?! Fuckin’ seriously?!” Skull hollered back before lighting up. “H-Hey, wait up, man! Don’t leave me behind in the dust!”

As Panther and Mona followed in quick pursuit, Phoenix and Dragon merely shot each other a tell-all glance.

“We should catch up with them.”

“Good idea.”

Both girls immediately ran after Fox, stopping at what seemed to be a rather beautiful portrait of camels crossing an… Egyptian desert of sort? It looked incredibly detailed and actually rather beautiful, much less due to the fact that it looked photorealistic! Why, there was even sand coming out of the –

…wait a minute. Phoenix paused, realizing the contradiction. Something’s wrong here.

“Oh, my God. You weren’t kidding with your hunch, guys…” Panther whistled in mild approval. “But… isn’t it not unlike the painting’s we’ve encountered earlier? Seems to me to be kind of a repeat more than anything.”

Indeed, what it was a ‘repeat’ of was a sort of portal the Thieves ventured through for the first time to get to hard-to-reach locations throughout the Palace. This one, though… well, it seemed much more different. Quite literally, winds of sand were coming out of the painting, with the temperature around it being awfully sweltering… and Fox was the first to notice, given his fur-laden rockabilly jacket.

“Hm… is it more, or is it getting stuffy in here? Something isn’t right…” Fox paused as if to contemplate what’s next. “Well, shouldn’t we join in to see what’s on the other side?”

Dragon blinked in surprise to that. “Wait, what?! Hold on, don’t we even know what’s on the other side of this?!”

“Not really… but looking to the side, some of the other paintings on the wall don’t have any sort of detail on them period. There’s something about this painting that differentiates it from the others we’ve encountered.” Phoenix said this with a rather astute observation in mind. “All the more reason to see what’s on the other side, am I right?”

“Hmm… well, shit man! It’s worth a try, I guess.” Skull smiled. “Any objections?”

“None from me. Best see what we can or can’t do than sit around dawdling.” Mona hopped with a cheeky little grin. “Lady Ann has privileges of going first, I say!”

“Wh – that’s…!” Panther turned beet red at that offering. “Ugh… thanks, I guess.”

Panther, rather reluctantly, hopped into the painting. Only this time, it wasn’t a portal.

Rather, she was in the painting’s framework entirely.

“W-Woah! What is – aaaah?!” Panther turned beet red, but not exclusively through being caught off-guard. “G-God, it’s sweltering in here! Holy crap!”

“Wait… so you’re tellin’ me that… our way through the rest of the Palace is through there?!” Skull cracked a smarmy little grin. “Well, fuck man! No use sitting on our asses!”

Skull was quick to jump in. Phoenix, Dragon, Fox and Mona all exchanged glances before quickly following suit after the two blondes.

“…crap, you weren’t kidding! It is hot in here…” Dragon murmured, wiping sweat from her brow. “Well, hopefully this is the only instance we encounter a desert in the Metaverse. C’mon all, let’s get a move-on, and – “

“Alas, this world is a desert filled with laymen who cannot understand true beauty…!”

“…huh?” Fox lit up. “Could that be…?!”

“The slow drain of my skill is inevitable when I am surrounded by such mediocrity… why must all the world’s powers-that-be seek to sabotage my efforts at every go?! Why must I never be left to my devices to create true beauty…?!”

The familiar, flamboyant voice went silent.

“So in simpler terms… he’s blaming everybody else for his failures.” Skull spat out. “Christ… I know he’s been roped into shit he has no control over, but that does not excuse his fuck-ups. Talk about claiming you had talent when you never did!”

Fox, once again, grew silent, chewing on his lip gently. “Yes, I can… quite see that.”

Everybody looked at Fox with a little sympathy. At this rate, even Chie – who was always on sketchy terms with the artist – placed her hand on his back.

“Don’t worry, dude. We’ll… figure something out. Okay?” Dragon smiled blithely in an attempt to cheer Fox up. “I promise… right, guys?”

“Absolutely.” Panther grinned. “That’s what friends for, eh?”

“Friends…” Fox turned his smile around. “Yes. That’s… true. I have all of you and… and we’ll confront him, together! That… that is something I’m certain we will achieve together.”

Phoenix gave a cheesy little grin, rather unladylike for even here. “That’s the spirit, Fox! Just keep your eye on the prize, and we should be in a good place to nab the treasure!”

Fox turned to all of the friends he’s gathered in a matter of days… and smiled gently. Though it was little more than a couple of days… he knew these individuals cared for him in a way Madarame never really did. Without much warning, he paused to give Phoenix a hug.

“Thank you… you truly are a good friend.” Fox smiled. “We will figure this out, together.”

And we will, Phoenix was going to say. However, Dragon’s envious, almost-protective growls silenced her before a dragon-on-lupine catfight could break out.


(Music Playing – Have A Short Rest – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtT7XKuXVhI)

May 17th, 2016 – Madarame’s Palace, Saferoom – ???

Near the end of a long haul, the Thieves found themselves close to their destination: the treasure.

No lack of credit in how strenuous the final stretch was, of course. Fox didn’t realize just how tiring completing a Palace in one go really was, and by the end of it, they were low on resources, low on bullets, low on… just about everything, including the magical power their Personas used to fight off Shadows. By the end of it, all the Thieves were drearily slumped back on their respective seats.

“G-Gracious… I never thought that going through a relatively-short locale could feel like an eternity…” Fox sighed. “A-And you are telling me this was achieved in Kamoshida’s Palace?”

“We kinda made it a rule to clean up a Palace in one go.” Mona smiled tiredly. “Especially after… seeing some certain things in Kamoshida’s Palace that made us all eager to bring the bastard down.”

Everybody not codenamed Fox or Panther froze up instinctively. Nobody wanted to remember that shrine, nope. Not in a million years.

“Well, still… how much more time do we have before we head out?” Panther yawned. “Carmen can only dish out so much fire before she gets exhausted… heh. I can already hear her nagging in my head about this sort of thing.” To emphasize her point, the half-Danish Thief did air quotes, all after clearing her throat to lower her voice to a contralto. “My Mistress, thouest needs nourishment for the trials that lie thy way! Never overexert thy will, and always surge forward with the flames of moderation!”

Phoenix apparently found that funny enough to release a light cackle. “Pffft…! Hahahahaha! J-Jeez, that sounds exactly like an anti-poopsocking message a game would say…!”

“I know, right?! I mean, yeah, I’m thankful I have a literal demigod as a summonable spirit by my side, but sheesh lady, chill out!” Panther grinned. “Sometimes it’s just overbearing!”

Phoenix finished cackling to give a sly, but nonetheless sympathetic, grin. “Oh, I feel you. Kinda like how a certain somebody tells me to go to bed at 9:00… right?”

Phoenix turned to Mona, as if to make a point.

“What?! W-Why’re you looking at me?!” Mona raised his tiny paws defensively.

“Well, I don’t mean to kill the good mood we’re all sharing, but…” Skull yawned for a moment, signaling his looming exhaustion. “Still, you gotta wonder why Madarame always has to freakin’ blame others for his woes! Hell… how can he justify himself stealing others’ art like that? Hell, how can he justify anything he does?!”

Nobody had quite an answer to that. Fox noticeably looked more glum.

“Well… even I am not quite certain. But still…” Fox shook his head. “Well, I have noticed there’s no painting detailing how Kaneshiro looms over his head like that. Could it tie back to the shrine, where he wanted to keep that side of him quiet…?”

“Possibly, yeah.” Panther, who was giggling not but a moment ago, became much more serious. “I can definitely imagine wanting to keep that under wraps… it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing he wants to associate with, let alone acknowledge. I want to pity him at some points… but he still can’t help but piss me off. He is a Palace Owner, after all.”

“Well, lemme just say that Palace Owners aren’t inherently bad.” Mona was quick to interject. “They just come together whenever a lot of desires are put together in one place – Kamoshida with Lust, Madarame with Vanity, and so on. Unfortunately, there are times which the distinction is academic, as usually so much desire being put together in one place means the Palace Owner is, well… terrible.”

“Well regardless… hmm.” Skull turned to the couch Phoenix and Dragon were sitting on. “Yo Dragon, thoughts?”

“Zzzzzzz… mmmh, Yuki…”

Everybody just noticed Dragon was fast asleep, snuggling with Phoenix, who – for a better lack of a word – was a red as a beet. Nervously, the red-clad leader cleared her throat and looked away bashfully.

“D-Don’t look at me! She just… fell on my lap.” Phoenix coughed. “Um… can you guys help me get up? Please…?”

As Skull turned a bright shade of red, Panther and Mona began snickering. Fox, on the other hand, seemed inquisitive even when exhausted.

“Goodness, the amount of wholesomeness on display here is… well, it is rather precious.” Fox smiled rather happily. “You don’t mind if I paint the two of you in a similar instance once we leave this Palace, right?”

“N-Not a chance…!” Phoenix turned away again in embarrassment, with Ryuji now joining in on the snickering. “C-Can we just wake her up and get going?!”

Given there was the final stretch to be covered, most of the Thieves obliged after Dragon’s nap over Phoenix.


(Music – Restlessness – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VMCmDfSbFs)

May 17th, 2016 – Madarame’s Palace, Main Treasure Hall – ???

“Hey… could this be – ?!”

After a long trek past the Palace’s toughest Shadows, five teens and a cat peered from the ceiling to see the formless mass everybody waited so patiently to see.

Namely, the Treasure itself.

“Is this… what you all refer to as the ‘Treasure’?” Fox seemed rather curious. “But… it’s formless. We don’t really have a way to steal it.”

Not like anybody could, at any rate. Madarame himself was vigilant as ever, somehow above everybody’s notice as other Shadows patrolled the area.

“Not to mention it’s crawling with Shadows, but… yeah. This is it, without a doubt.” Dragon smiled. “Though, um, does anybody have a means at which to get the Treasure without being noticed?”

Phoenix, Skull, Panther, Fox… none of them had an answer, instead falling silent. But mysteriously, Mona was completely out of sight.

“Hey wait… does anybody know where Mona is?” Panther blinked. “Hey Phoenix, can’t you use your Thief Sense to identify where – “

*krrrk!*

(Music – Tokyo Emergency – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lf7a_MZXuDk)

Suddenly, the hook above the formless treasure jolted! Without attracting attention, it moved a little down, before quickly being raised back to where it was originally. All of the Thieves were caught off guard by that.

“W-What the…?!” Panther exclaimed. “H-How – “

Phoenix, having used her Thief Sense in the meanwhile, rolled her eyes once a maniacally-grinning, ecstatic cat began waving from afar. “Oh, there he is. C’mon, follow me everybody! That cat’s up to no good once again.”

Indeed, ‘there’ was none other the control room the Thieves have bordered just but a moment ago. One by one, each of the Persona users made their way to where Mona seemed to be, having toyed with…

…controls of a sort? Wait, what?

“Um… what were you doing away from all of us?” Fox blinked. “It seems… well, awfully rude you would not notify us first.”

“Well, it’s because we’ve located the Treasure at last!” Mona grinned sheepishly. “And besides, the floor’s crawling with Shadows. Ain’t no way we’ll get through there on foot.”

“And that’s obviously including the lasers…” Dragon mused, tilting her head a bit. “So… I take it this crane will be what we need?”

Everybody caught onto that. Phoenix gave an usually-devilish smile as she lowered herself to Mona’s miniscule height.

“So…” Phoenix grinned audaciously. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

Mona, without giving a single word otherwise, grinned back. And that very grin was the very embodiment of whimsy, a sheer desire to see what a Palace Owner was seeking to protect this whole time get stolen right under their nose.

“I’m thinking what you’re thinking, Lady Yukiko.” Mona chuckled darkly. “Provided we can discuss it more over food on the outside world… heheheeeh.”

And to say the least, this was the Thieves’ moment of euphoria.

Chapter Text

(Music – Wicked Plan – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4m2JkRDWts)

May 17th, 2016 – Ogikubo, Ramen Shop – 5:11 PM

“Ahhh… it’s sooooooooooo good to be back here!”

Chie gave a mirthful, happy sigh of pure relief as she devoured the bowl of meat udon right in front of her. Ryuji was also chowing down rather aggressively; given how much both of them loved their food, it would’ve been no surprise to either that they were starving after such a dangerous sortie into Madarame’s Palace. Yukiko looked on with a mildly suppressed giggle all the same.

“Jeez, Chie, you sure you can pay for all of that?” At this rate, Yukiko was far less bothered by Chie’s appetite than she used to be. “Or do you want me to pitch in?”

Chie slurped up a stream of noodles. “Nuh. Ah cahn paye fur eet. Nu wurfies, Yufikoh!”

Of course, Yukiko wasn’t so used to Chie that she wasn’t repulsed by that. “Agh! Just… just eat your food, damnit!”

The rest of the Thieves were gathered with Yukiko and Chie in the Ramen Shop of Ogikubo – common experience taught that Yusuke was generally starving for nourishment a lot of the time, so it really came as a bit of a surprise to the rest of the Thieves that he was… picking at his food? At some point or another, Ann noticed this, and it really didn’t take a detective to figure out what was on his mind.

“…I’m guessing you’re thinking about the heist, huh?” Ann said with a wry smile. “I don’t blame you, Yusuke-kun.”

Yusuke internally scolded himself for making his emotional tells so obvious, and rather frustratedly, he tossed his chopsticks back into the bowl. “How can I not? We managed to locate the treasure and are well under our way to stealing his heart… likely by as soon as tomorrow, no less. After all, it is a tactic of this particular group to clean up a heist as soon as possible, yes?”

“You shouldn’t beat yourself up over it, man.” Ryuji paused from his own devouring to give a small little smile towards Yusuke. “We’ll figure things out; we already got a plan set up and everything, don’t we?”

“Yes, I know. I just…” Yusuke sighed in place of what he was going to say. “It’s just… difficult. I really do hold a lot of contempt for the man Sensei really is, and because I still hold at least some respect for the man I thought he was, I wish to change his heart as soon as we are able. I just… I just won’t let him continue to pilfer ideas like he has been doing for so long, much less with his capacity of just… selling people…”

It was Yusuke turn to go completely quiet. At this point, everybody turned to Yusuke with more than a little concern – even Morgana, who popped out of Yukiko’s bag to look at the artist-turned-thief in the eyes.

“Listen, Yusuke… you shouldn’t feel responsible like you had anything to do with this.” Morgana began with a bit of a pause to his statement. “We understand your conflict with Madarame, but – “

“Oh, do not get me wrong. I believe I have told you my own feelings about the man now, yes?” Yusuke scoffed. “What he did… it is simply unforgivable and abhorrent, even if he was forced into these circumstances. I have nary a sliver of pity left to give to him, and yet… I still wish to end this. For my sake… and whatever respect I have had left for him.”

Everybody fell silent upon those words.

Yukiko gently chewed at her own udon before giving a polite response. “Yusuke-kun, I… I can empathize with you. It’s times like this I wanted to clear out Kamoshida’s Palace when we first stole his heart… and I don’t want you to be mistaken for even a moment. We are not putting a delay on this any further, and we’re only taking our time here to get ourselves back up. Besides…”

In that moment, Yukiko pulled something from her back – an envelope with a custom symbol on it. And with it, Yukiko gave a rather cat-like smile. “We do have a calling card to send and a plan to execute, don’t we?”

(Music – Tokyo Emergency – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lf7a_MZXuDk)

The way the innmaiden gave such a self-assured smile right then and there caused all eyes among the Thieves to turn on Yukiko. Rather expectedly, Morgana – who has been touching base with Yukiko since the Thieves left the Palace – was quick to add.

“Yep! The nutshell is that we find a way to distract the guards, use the crane to grab the Treasure, and make it out of there! Problem is, of course, well…” Morgana laughed rather nervously. “Heh, the roof is unexplored territory for all of us… but it’s also our quickest escape too. With all things in mind, we should be well and away ready to steal the Treasure right under Madarame’s nose!”

“Hmm…” Yusuke fell silent before forcing himself to smile. “Yes… I do suppose that will work. Though given what little I understand of how calling cards work, I take it you want me to do it? If so, I appreciate the sentiment, but Sensei would recognize my style from a mile away, and that would undoubtedly compromise our identities.”

Morgana felt his head droop a bit. “Oh, you sure? The last one Ryuji did was, uh… questionable.”

It was at that moment the delinquent in question nearly spat out his udon. “Oh, c’mon, we were on borrowed time! I had to make do with what we had!”

Yukiko had to suppress a laugh upon hearing how defensive her pseudo-blonde friend was acting. “W-Well – snrk – I actually kind of liked it! But if everybody isn’t that interested in seeing Ryuji do the calling card, why not have Ryuji do it and then have Yusuke touch up upon it? That way, it’ll look more professional across the board.”

“Hmm… y’know, that actually isn’t that bad of an idea!” Chie gave a happy grin upon hearing her friend’s suggestion. “Though I gotta wonder if Ryuji would be okay with Yusuke-kun being together for that part. For all he knows, he may ask Ryuji to get naked…”

The way Chie trailed off into a soft grumble told everybody that Chie wasn’t over the nude art incident yet.

Ryuji, of course, was red as a beet at that suggestion – both for his crush Chie making such a statement and because it was due to the suggestion he may have to get naked. “W-Well, that’s besides the fuckin’ point! All I have to do is tidy up some shit for Yusuke and we should be good to go then, yeah? What’s so hard about that shit?!”

“Well, ensuring that the proper dimensions are in place – and ensuring Madarame does not recognize the sender.” Yusuke gave it a bit more thought before turning to Ann. “Ann-chan, you have been… awfully quiet. Is something wrong?”

“Huh?! Oh, um…” Ann colored a bit upon realizing people caught her when she was spacing out. “Nah, it really isn’t important to our current topic. I was moreso thinking about Shiho though… I mean, remember guys: didn’t we promise her to tell her the truth after all of this?”

Nobody really had a good response to that possibility, but Chie simply managed her best one possible. “Well, should we trust her with then nature of the Metaverse? Or is she a bit loose-lipped?”

“Nah, she can hold a secret. That isn’t what I’m really worried about, as much as… well…” Ann gave a little cough to obscure what she was trying to say: “Hkk – Kamoshida – hkk, hghk.”

“Oh. Ohhh.” Ryuji, Yukiko, Chie and even Morgana all lit up in sudden understanding, while Yusuke remained confused.

(Music – Alright (Elp Version) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXnI-FfYLjA)

“Hm? What is of the matter?” Yusuke blinked rather innocently.

“N-Nothing! It’s just that when we have to touch on the matter of the Phantom Thieves, we’ll have to touch on the matter of Palaces and that inevitably leads to…” Chie paused. “…well, Kamoshida’s Palace, and the virtual mountain of evidence linking his sorry self as an ephebophile and serial molester. And I seriously doubt that Shiho-chan wants to have that brought to light with her when she’s trying to move on.”

“That’s pretty much where I was going at.” Ann managed a sheepish smile. “And it’s why, well… I was trying to make sure how to address this once the heist is over, y’know? And frankly, I… I am at a bit of a loss right now…”

Everybody fell silent there.

“Agh, nevermind! We shouldn’t be focusing on crap like that – the thing we should be focusing on, however, is figuring out what the hell we’ll have to do with Madarame and the card.” Ann angrily exhaled before resuming her best smile. “Leader, any objections?”

Yukiko gave hardly a response, other than a smile and nod. “We’ll definitely figure things out. Don’t worry, Ann; we just gotta work together for that to happen, yeah? Especially since Shiho is your girlfriend.”

“Hahahaha! Yeah, yeah, I know.” Despite sounding sure of herself, Ann’s cheeks lit up into a light blush. “I… just care for her and all, y’know? And I really wouldn’t have this any other way.”

Yukiko smiled warmly. “That’s what I want to hear. Now, I take it we should eat now and eventually talk about this later? Our food’s going to get cold at this rate.”

Chie immediately lit up. “Oh, shit, you’re right! C’mon Yukiko, let’s finish this up! Don’t want this bowl of noodles getting cold now, huh?”

And with it, she began aggressively eating at her meal, causing Yukiko to suppress another laugh – and from the looks of things, Ryuji was already finished.

“Ahhh… that hit the spot!” Ryuji grinned. “Yo, I’d like another one, waiter!”

Yukiko gave an unusually goofy grin and life and joy returned to the table… even if this was undoubtedly the calm before the storm. But the Wild Card knew that everybody would be ready for tomorrow… and possibly more than that, for everybody who suffered by Madarame’s hand.

They had to be ready. And frankly, they wouldn’t have it any other way.


(Music – Nighttime Ambience – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPMojig7oOE)

May 17th, 2016 – Suzui Residence – 8:11 PM

Volleygirl12: hey can u show up at my place 4 tonight?

Volleygirl12: thanks (○゚ε^○)

That text was a back and forth in Ann’s mind as she was let into the Suzui residence. Shiho’s mom and Ann’s mom became exceedingly close after light of Shiho’s molestation was brought to light and how much of a pillar of support Ann was to her friend – and as of now, girlfriend. Regardless, neither parents seemed to have objected much to the two becoming a couple, effectively giving both of their daughters their blessings. Still, the part-Danish girl cautiously knocked on the door leading to Shiho’s room, and then –

“You can come in, Ann.”

Ann smiled as she opened up a room that she was all too familiar with; she had to have been, especially given how many sleep-overs the girls had now – and since. Stuffed animals, posters and an unapologetically girly atmosphere permeated the room… and Ann was definitely comfortable with that. Shiho simply gave a shy wave as if inviting her friend over.

“I’ll be out with Dad doing some errands until midnight.” A maternal contralto Shiho was very familiar with hollered from downstairs, followed by the sound of a door closing. “Have fun, sweetie!”

Shiho blushed nervously before laughing. “Hahaha… parents, am I right?”

Ann simply gave a goofy grin. Jeg elsker dig, you lug.”

“Still haven’t gotten over you love for your foreign heritage, huh?”

“Nope! With a Dad I love very much, how couldn’t I?”

Despite both girls giggling happily, Ann noticed there had to have been a good reason why Ann was invited over. As the two girls silently curled up next to one another, Shiho lazily rested her head on Ann’s chest… to which Ann, as if expecting this, brought her girlfriend’s head closer to her.

But what she wasn’t expecting was what Shiho would say next.

“Ann… I called you here for a reason.” Shiho began, quietly. “I called you here because I… u-um… well, uh, I…”

Ann raised her head up towards Shiho. “Hm? Is something the matter?”

Shiho still didn’t necessarily give a reply, simply shaking in her seat, taking short breaths of air in before giving a long exhale… and she generally did that whenever Shiho was thinking about Kamoshida and what she –

Wait. No, wait. She can’t possibly be thinking that, can she? It wasn’t at all in-character of her to want that, it’s inconceivable to Ann to even think she wants this, but still, she knew her tells well enough by now; there was no way she was going to –

“I… w-want you to have sex with me.”

(Music – Alleycat – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSp1EOSznkM)

Ann immediately jolted up, turning red as a beet.

“W… What?! WHAT?! WHAT?!” Immediately, she turned to her girlfriend with more than a little shock written all over her face. “Waitwaitwait, Shiho, why would you say that?! Especially not after what happened to you over… you know! That!”

“I-I know you did! I know that, Ann! I just… well… I s-still considered what happened for a while now.” There was a notable lack of enthusiasm in Shiho’s voice as that was brought up, but the girl nonetheless continued. “Ann, I… I think about that chapter in my life virtually every day. And how I tried to… you know. Kill myself.”

“B-But even so, I…” Shiho turned to Ann with a completely serious expression on her face, after trailing off. “E-Even if I still don’t like to think about what happened too much… what’s happened in the past still isn’t enough to make me n-not want you, if that even makes sense.”

Ann immediately felt guilty just for hearing the implications in that sentence, but she was still confused. Heavily, she sighed and looked at her girlfriend with a concerned expression. “I… l-listen, Shiho. I’d understand if you want to feel like you’re better than what happened, and I’d especially get it if you wanted to move past that… b-but still, you shouldn’t say that you want to have sex with me so soon after what happened, especially if you feel like you have to do that to validate yourself in the eyes of others! Between that and how I think you’re perfect the way you are, you still shouldn’t feel coerced into – “

“But that’s the thing! I’m not trying to validate myself, and you’re not coercing me into anything!” Shiho raised her voice, but not enough to quality as a true yell; it was more of a strained voice as Shiho fought back her anxieties. “I-I’m sorry for the outburst, but still! You know I still hate being touched by anybody that isn’t you or my parents, a-and yet why do I still have to feel so scared when I ultimately know I’m safe being with you?! Ann, y-you still helped bring me back to life when I was at my lowest point ever, and if I really am fine with the way I am, w-why do I still have to feel so petrified when I’m just around somebody I love so dearly?!”

Ann chewed her lip, stunned silent by Shiho’s response. In that moment, the part-foreign girl began tearing up. “B-But still, I… I don’t want to hurt you like he did, and – “

Shiho wasn’t having any of it. Gently yet swiftly, she pressed her lips onto her best friend and girlfriend, causing Ann to turn beet red for a split second. After a long, terse moment, the two finally broke apart.

“You’re not going to. Trust me. Everything you’ve done for me… it was just for me, wasn’t it?” Shiho smiled, blushing lightly. “I love you, Ann, and I want to mov