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Persona:Next Generations

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He woke up early this time around.

His medium fluffy dark brown hair fluffed as he woke up, stretching his body from such stiff sleep he had the previous night. As he got up and headed to his closest, taking off his black shirt and grey sleeping shorts, he pulled out the Shujin Academy uniform. According to his father and mother, they had to wear turtlenecks for the winter season, but given that was around two decades ago and thanks to a new principal, Principal Kawakami, the turtlenecks were scrapped and the simple white button-shirts with a black and red striped tie replaced it instead. Besides the uniform was losing its style and became retro so it definitely needed the change.

Before he placed his new uniform on as well as the second year pin on it, he immediately went to the bathroom to wake himself up. He turned on the shower, bringing the coldness of the droplets to his skin. His dark grey eyes fixated on the mirror that to his side. He had an athletic physique but not a buffy one like his friend’s Kazuya Okumura, son of the infamous billionaire and friend of his parents, Haru Okumura, yet he still made the girls wow at every corner at school.

In fact he was often teased by his father who shared the same face and eyes. "I'm surprised you haven't gotten a girlfriend yet with those looks Touya!" he often said on the dining table during their busy nights from Diet meetings or harsh paper work that needed to be sent the following day. "Oh you were just like that in his age." that would his mother's retort to his comment as she placed the food, hot and ready to be eaten. Her auburn hair, the same hair color as her son's, and her darting yet gentle red eyes examining the scenery that was in front of her. Her hair tied to the side and the smile of a doting mother. "And that explains why I have the best wife, Police Commissioner Makoto Niijima."

  


 

Niijima.

His last name, at least on paper and legal documents. That was one of many things Touya as well as his older brother, Seiji Niijima questioned throughout their childhood. Supposedly it would've been Amamiya Touya, but according to his mother, his father changed it not to make the media draw too much attention to their family while Amamiya Ren was working and making things right in the Diet Building. Still the name would appear from time to time as it was also a part of his full name: Niijima Amamiya Touya. What a mouthful.

 


 

He got out of the shower, his fluffy dark-brown hair slightly wet. Putting on his uniform for the second time in his three year career of high school, he felt a bit annoyed. “ This is going to be a fun year. ” he thought to himself as he got dressed. He left the button down shirt untucked around the black and red checkered pants and left a button unbuttoned around the neck area, leaving it exposed and his tie to be hanging a bit loose around his neck a little. Even though his parents were all law and order, he didn't abide to the guidebook because well, no one else did. Sure there were some goody-two shoes (with the exception of Souta Marika), always sticking their noses in places where they don't belong, and he didn't want to be a part of that like his mother was before meeting his father.

Besides his grades were top-notch like his mother and father when they were students so they weren't really bothered by his appearance. He then placed a brown belt and a small chain to his right side, hanging nicely and with ease. Touya sighed a bit as he checked the time. "Better check on Mom and Dad." he grumbled as he grabbed the Shujin Academy bag,  or rather his modified version as it was a messenger bag, lumping it on his left shoulder, he headed to the living room.

He was happy that for once he didn't need to wake them up. Seiji would often do it as the two parents were always up late at night solving a case or debating on a legislation that should or should not be passed, thus waking up a bit late from time to time. Unfortunately his brother left to study in college to become a doctor, the responsibility fell on Touya. The good thing about today, his first day as a second year, his parents were up and functioning for once.

He saw his mother first, Makoto bringing two hot steamy mugs filled with coffee on their ivory colored table. Touya smelled it and reminded himself of Sojiro Sakura, or Gramps as he called him when he was young. The smell of the coffee beans of Leblanc back at Yongen-Jaya, Ren's previous home from when he was his age, as well as the curry that occasionally shows up at their house when there's a celebration.

"Good Morning Touya!" his mother welcomed him to the table. "How was your sleep kiddo?" Ren asked him. Touya sat down and sighed once more before replying, fidgeting around with his phone as he swung it around on his finger. Ren smiled at the sight. "It was alright Dad. Thanks Mom." Makoto brought a plate of waffles and strawberries. She kissed her son on the cheek.

"You're welcome sweetie." she sat next to Ren who was reading the news on his phone, now looking annoyed as he pressed the bridge of his nose. "The cases are the first thing on today's issue Mako-chan." Ren even said annoyed. Makoto placed a hand on her face to hide her annoyance as well. "I wonder why those cases are being brought back again after 23 years Ren-kun. As well as the new ones."

"You mean the ones where some weird monsters have attacked people late at night?" Touya sneaked in the question. If he recalled, he would eavesdrop on their work conversations sometimes. Whether or not they were angry about his sneaky maneuvers was a mystery but he couldn't help himself from finding out the truth. Guess it was another thing he got from his parents. He remembered them talking about the Psychotic Breakdowns that he learned in history class last year as well as the strange new cases about some shadow monsters hurting civilians around midnight.

 Now that was something to wrap his finger around.

"Yes those ones. The entire department has been begging me to solve it on my own than to have them search at night."

"Everyone is scared." Ren placed his phone in his pocket and took a sip of his coffee. "The Diet members and Yoshida are at their wit's end trying to figure out a solution to alert the public without frightening them." Touya saw a strange look on his father's eye when they met his mothers, bringing a sort of nostalgic vibe to the floor. A vibe that Touya also questioned.

"But we shouldn't worry too much about it as we should worry about our little boy growing up!" he placed his outstretched hand on his son's head and ruffled it. "You're officially a second year now!" he yelled with sanguine. Makoto smiled. "Indeed. I can't believe it's been almost sixteen years since you were born. Remember when Seiji was just two years old at the time and was so focused on Touya here? Oh I miss those days."

 "Don't date us Makoto!" Ren gushed a bit before planting a kiss on his wife's forehead. "I don't want Touya calling us old like Seiji does." Touya smirked a little when he himself remembered the little tease his brother would always said in front of them. "Well I mean you guys technically are old." Touya laughed a bit, containing himself and his composure. His mother looked down in disdain.

 “Not you too Touya..." she said in a gloomy manner with clouds all over her head. "Oh I'm sorry Mom!" he quickly apologized to make her feel better. Ren laughed at the sight of his family being like children. "Don't worry about it son, she's alright." he poked her side to get her back to reality. "I'm sorry Touya." she sniffled a bit. She quickly recovered and checked her phone, having a Buchimaru phone case. The same phone case Touya and Seiji bought for her birthday when they were kids along with a pin that he placed on his bag.

 "Well would you look at the time! Touya you need to catch the subway to school!" she gasped as she stood up and grabbed her light brown jacket and purse. "Ren-kun. I'm going to take Touya to the station." she said in her usual motherly tone. Ren gave her a thumbs up. "I'll hold the fort. Yoshida will let me know when to take the papers to his office anyways." he gave her a smile that Touya also questioned as it made not only her mother blush unexpectedly but whenever family friends such as Aunt Futaba, Mr. and Mrs. Yusuke and Hifumi Kitagawa, or even his P.E coach Ryuji would show up, it reminded them of a time long gone and out the door. That smile that looked rebellious and evil, yet fit for justice and service. One that told them he had something up his sleeve and waited for the right moment to deliver what was coming to them.

A smile fit for perhaps a trickster. Yes, a Joker.

 


 

 

Preview!

Hey it’s Amamiya Ren!

And Makoto Niijima!

To think that our son is now a second year…I can’t imagine it Ren-kun!

 Neither can I...well I’m sure Touya is going to alright! He gets to see his friends after a long time.

That’s right Ren-kun!  Perhaps this will be a nice time to...huh the time! We’re late!

Mako you’re hurting my arm!

Sorry! But we gotta go to work!

I know that!

Next time on Persona:Next Generations! Friends Beware! Mysterious App Emerges!

Don’t miss out!

 

Chapter Text

"Who would've thought that there would be such traffic today?" Makoto asked rather furiously as she continued to honk at the cars in front of her. Sitting next to her was Touya, who was simply looking out the window, observing the vast amounts of colors in front of him. The glaring red and yellow lights surrounding shops, the grey and black of cars passing by on their left in a hurry, and the blue and white of the morning lit sky.

Touya yawned a little and decided to take a break from what was in front of him and looked in front of him to see a gigantic line of cars piled up on the streets. The continuous sounds of horns blaring, primarily his mother's, and the sudden stop and go when the time presented itself to move. It wasn't until he saw his mother's red eyes beginning to fume did Touya decided to take action.

 


 

Those red eyes really do scare him. He remembers a time when he and Seiji were running around the house and almost broke a nice vase that a family friend gave to their mother. Seeing how they almost broke not only a precious but rather expensive gift did Makoto give them to what he still  calls "The Death Stare". Ren was present at that moment and bullets of sweat were present on his middle-age face when he saw his sons screw up in front of their mother. It was indeed a moment of dread...

 


 

Touya shuddered when he remembered such a memory and went on to turn on the radio. The radio was turned on but much to his "surprise", the news was blasting on instead of music like normal parents would. "This just in: Strange Monsters Lurking at Night! Suddenly strange monsters began to appear and attack civilians. No one knows the cause or what the strange creatures are. Some say they are connected to the events of the Psychotic breakdowns and the Phantom Thieves 23 years ago." a news woman was heard throughout the brown leather seats of their car.

Touya took a quick glance at his mother, who now had an annoying face than the angry “I want to tear someone apart face”. Good thing that eased things up a bit. "So Mom..." Touya began to speak, twiddling his fingers and trying to find the right words so he didn’t have to reawaken the Death Stare.

"Yes Touya dear?"

"Why do they think that the Phantom Thieves have to deal with what's going on now? I mean I get that they were changing the hearts of the public and ever since the case of Kazuya's grandfather, the potato head of a principal in school and that Shido dude, I get that connects with what happened back then."

"And what's your point sweetie?" Makoto was now intrigued by what her son had to say. Touya saw her sudden expression change, but it wasn't one that yelled that she just lived through those horrific events he's learning but rather she was doing something against them. Sort of like she was a part of something, something out of this world. He just couldn't grasp it yet. "Well my point is that why are they connecting two totally different things? They just don't add up to me."

"Well that's because we raised you to be like that."

"True...so then what do the public think?"

"Well for all they know is what the news keeps telling them. That something unnatural is occurring again and that they're scared like your father said." Makoto was relieved now that traffic was fading. "Now if you're wondering what I think, I think that since they lurk in the shadows, they're most likely some animal herd like raccoons or of the sorts." she quickly said as she changed channels, listening to some jazzy beats.

Touya didn't quite understand how his mother and his father loved that type of music. One time when he was out, he remembered walking into the house to see their parents sing something about a "last surprise", he couldn't tell. He left quickly that night once he saw them dancing.  

Makoto saw her son look back out the window and his Shujin Messenger bag, having two pins on the left side of the school logo: one of Buchimaru and another of the Phantom Thieves' logo. She smiled nostalgically, and Touya saw that in the corner of his eye. Makoto breathed in through her nose and pulled back her bangs before she continued speaking. "Do you think that the Phantom Thieves were just back then?" she asked her son. Touya chuckled at the question.

Did she seriously ask such an obvious question? Of course he believe they were just, that they were doing the right thing as well as his friends.

Though he wished he could express it more other than the simple pin Mr. Kitagawa gave him during one of his exhibits, he loved the work of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. How they changed the hearts of horrible human beings and brought social change to the world. He admired them. "Mom of course I do. They were pretty cool back in the day. Although the textbooks and teachers tell us one thing, I believe they were just and did right by society. They were like the Avengers or Justice League back in America." he gave his mother a confident face. "I wish I could meet them in person one day..." he ended off with as he went back to sightseeing, not seeing his mother smiling yet again. "You have met them but you just don't know it yet." she said quietly to herself. "Oh looks like we finally made it to the station!"

 


 

After dropping him off on Station Square, Touya walked towards the immense crowd of people. Business men and women were in a hurry, constantly checking their watches and wiping their brows from sweat. How their suits were all tidied up and ready to go for their nine hours of labor as Ren would put it despite being a part of it.

Then again his father was the type to interact with people as he would escape his office, at least according to his assistant, and would give clarion to the public like Prime Minister Yoshida did back during the Phantom Thieves Era.

Touya checked his phone to see if any notifications have arrived, and much to his surprise it was mostly from his group chat. He smiled as he read some of them as they were on and on about what to do after the first day of school, or how was everyone's one month break, or if anyone started dating.

You know the basic gossip of teenagers.

He finished reading them, but once he closed his messaging app did he notice something out of the blue. It was an app that was plastered in the middle of his other apps, consisting of a black eye and its pupil being a star, centered in the middle. Around it was nothing but red and strands of black. "What the...?" he questioned and immediately deleted it. He probably installed it by accident one day, so as he walking to the station to get to school, he scrolled through the app installments page only to find that the strange app was not in its history. Touya raised an eyebrow but decided not to overwhelm his mind with unanswerable questions. What he did decide on was to just ask his parents later. Touya continued siding along the path to get to school.

 


 

It was a good thing that despite the traffic, he somehow managed to make it on time by fifteen minutes. As he lumped his bag on his shoulder, stretching his arms before entering, and his dark grey eyes examining the influx of students, both male and female walking by and entering. Some of the girls gave him some looks, their eyes filled with hearts as he imagined them to be. Man these girls just wanted him for themselves.

"Wonder how Dad handled them back then." he muttered as he began walking towards three familiar figures. Out of the three was a tall lean boy, his green eyes shrouded between his dark jet black that had strands of hair in the middle and some of it standing straight up. He wore his uniform much like Touya (minus the small chain and the loose tie), and had white shoes with grey tips.

Besides him were two girls: the first girl he saw was standing next to the boy, her golden locks loose and her brown eyes examining her friend as she clung close to him. She looked like she was teasing him, and her jacket sleeves were rolled up to her upper arms, showing off her blue bracelets. She had long black socks, as what the guidebook suggested they wear along with small black boots. She did had her jacket buttoned and her black and red striped ribbon in place around her neck.

But what Touya noticed the most was the second girl, her light brown hair tied in a short ponytail with red ribbon, and having two little strand pointing up like bunny ears. Her remaining hair to her sides, slightly curly on the bottom, and her forehead exposed. She had an innocent face, one that comfort Touya, even make him blush from time to time. She wore her uniform exactly how the guidebook instructed with a few minor changes: she had black leggings all the way up so no skin was exposed, and small light black shoes that covered her ankles. She had her bag slouched to her side like a purse and was giggling due to her friends teasing each other.

That is until they saw Touya from a distance and ran straight towards the boy. "Well look who it is!" yelled the boy as he grabbed him and pulled him to nudge his head a little, making his fluffy dark brown hair messy. "Really Satoshi? Did it have to be the head?" he rubbed his head and fixed his hair. "Satoshi just missed everyone during the break." the blonde girl smirked. "Well just Touya here Iris because I saw you almost every day." he winked at her.

 "Really now? If I remember Dad would kick you out constantly from my house." she giggled.

"Yeah but Coach Sakamoto is always so uptight to begin with." he sighed. Coach Sakamoto, or rather Ryuji Sakamoto to Ren's eyes was a family friend. Often times he would appear out of thin air and have a small drink with Ren as they spoke about the day's affairs. And it would make sense to bash out at Satoshi as the two have a history of that hate relationship. Well not hate but more dislike as Satoshi had his moments with Ryuji, though behind the scenes. Guess Coach just doesn't want his precious daughter from dating a sleazebag like his friend over there.

"I have a feeling that Coach would make you do an extra lap practice starts for making his daughter fall in love with you." Touya smirked. "Hey! Quit it with me for a second will ya?" he yelled in annoyance after being tag teamed by his pals. "And what about Touko over there? No hello or long time no see to this little gal?" he pointed towards Touko, the light brunette who was examining the scene behold in front of her. "It's fine guys." she hid behind her bag. Touya blushed at the sight of his friend. "You-s-sure?" he asked rather confused. Touko nodded. "Yeah. Besides the others are waiting for us inside." the three nodded and walked inside the school grounds that was Shujin Academy.

 


 

Meeting with the others was fairly easy. Now that they were second years, they weren't really troubled by the largeness of the school and were comfortable with their surroundings. Well except for one of them: Hiyori Sakura who was constantly on her toes trying to find her cousin.

Daughter, or rather adopted daughter of head of cyber net security Futaba Sakura, or Aunt Futaba, she was quite the shy one like her mother. Considering this was her first year, she tried her best finding her cousin, with her large strands of unkempt orange dyed hair pressing against her face when she was by a corner trying to find the dark-brown hair boy. Her cat-eared headband was the take-away as Touya managed to find her no problem when he and the others stepped inside to absorb the school atmosphere.

 "There you are cousin!" she ran and bear hugged him. Touya tried to tell her that he needed some air, to which she apologized and brushed herself to maintain her composure. "Sorry about that." she chuckled. "It's just this place is so different from middle school you know? Heck of a lot of people."

"As long as you see me and the gang you'll be fine Hiyori." Iris petted Hiyori's head. Iris was her go to when it came to social awkwardness and the like whenever Touya wasn't around.

 "Speaking of the gang...where's Kazuya, Shun, and Marika?" asked Touko wide-eyed.

"They're upstairs by their class already. You know the not smart one." she accentuated the not smart with a condescending tone. "You do realize that the class letter doesn't really matter in the end right?" Satoshi reassured the first year. "If that's what you think, then by all means go ahead. I'll just head to my 1-A class." she hugged the gang once more before leaving. What an odd girl...

 


 

Touya arrived to his class 2-A. He sat down on his desk, the one that was at the last row to the left and by the window. His favorite spot to sit thanks to pictures of his dad that his mom took when they were Shujin students. "Touya!" yelled a bashful tone behind him. Touya looked up and noticed Kazuya Okumura standing in front of him.

Kazuya was the muscle of the group as his build was buffier than Satoshi and Touya, though not like a wrestler's. Sure he would spend his days after school boxing or doing other martial arts, but underneath his little bashfulness, he was a caring guy. He wore his button-down rolled up to the sleeves and no jacket as well as tie. He had a larger chain than Touya's and thicker to his left side and his brown hair was slicked back like a mane. He had his mother's eyes, Haru Okumura's iconic light purple eyes but his hair was courtesy of an unknown father.

 "Kazuya? What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be the next room over for homeroom?" Touya asked to which his response was a head shake. "The teachers don't arrive till about ten minutes so that's plenty to talk. Plus the others wanted to say hi." he pointed behind to see a guy and a girl talking to Iris and Touko.

 The boy had a mix between black and blue hair color, and had a giant portion of his hair combed to cover his right eye. He wore his jacket, though no tie like Kazuya and had a hair pin the shape of an X that was red on his left side. He was on his phone, having a shuriken icon dangling to the side. He appeared to be in a trance as he was paying more attention to what was on his screen than the girls' chat. Kitagawa "Shun" Shunji was quite the eccentric friend of the group, having a famous eccentric artist, Yusuke Kitagawa, and an eccentric Shogi player as well as historian Kitagawa Hifumi Togo as his parents.

 Lastly, the short red-haired girl by the name of Souta Marika was chatting away with the girls, her equally reddish eyes fixated on what was being shown to her. "That's such a cute dress!" she yelled in excitement before excusing herself to the other students. Her features were that to a goddess according to some of the male students, more so than Iris's or Touko's. She had her uniform on correctly to avoid any unnecessary attention, but that was too late as she was the star of the soccer and volleyball team.

"Boy she sure can jump and drop kick you!" one student last year spoke to Touya as they were passing by the gym lockers and seeing Marika kick a soccer ball with sheer force. Touya nodded. "Just make sure you get on her good side." he patted the student's back. Enough about that...the bell rung, making Kazuya and the last three of Touya's group to leave the room. "See ya after school at the diner?" Kazuya slipped in before leaving. "Yeah. Let everyone know by the afternoon classes on the group." Kazuya gave him a peace sign.

 


 

The first day went by quick which was a good sign already. If anything, the entire day was just introduction to teachers and what they'll be teaching throughout their second year and their expectations, etc. Touya didn't really care much about what they wanted them to do because he knew full well that by the end of the week they just want the grades to be perfect. As expected from teachers. However there was one teacher Touya actually paid attention to and that was the literature teacher Kaoru Munehisa. The last name rung a bell as Dad always talked about an ex-Yakuza member Iwai Munehisa. Probably his son though he looked formal with his navy suit on and a black tie. "Hello class." he said rather friendly as he introduced himself, making the girls go head over heels for the fresh new teacher.

 Other than that, more boring teachers, and an announcement from Principal Kawakami saying something about club signing on Thursday, two days from now. Once the after school bell rang, he sprang up from his seat and checked his phone to see if Kazuya remembered to tell everyone to meet at the diner. Turns out he did and boy was Touya relieved. He scanned through the texts:

" So everyone meet up at the diner!-Kazuya"

 " What for?-Marika"

" To see how everyone is doing Mari! Duhh.-Hiyori"

" I can't wait to share you guys some great pictures my mom sent from America!-Iris"

" Oh I saw some that you sent...they're so pretty!-Touko"

" Can we please have a chat when we get to the diner?-Satoshi"

" Can someone order my usual tea? I need to run an errand for Mother.-Shun"  

" Just pay me back when you get there.-Satoshi"

Touya laughed under his breath from the texts of his friends. He wrote on the chat that he'll save them the usual booth and existed, only to find himself with the same unusual app from the morning. The star pupil staring at him directly, almost hypnotizing him. Without hesitation he deleted the app again and headed straight out the door to head to the diner, with small thought converging in his head

Just what is this app?

 


 

Preview!

 

It’s Harima Touko!

And Okumura Kazuya.

I’m happy that we all get to hang out together at the diner, Kazuya. I missed you guys.

 Well you did have Touya by your side, right?

 ….

 Touko?

 It’s nothing! Let’s just catch up and talk about what we all! That and Touya being inside a strange dream!

 You’re kinda red…

 Next time on Persona:Next Generations! End Of The First Day! Velvet Room Awaits!

 Wait, Touko!

Don’t miss out!

Chapter Text

Touya entered the Central Street Diner.

Already students were pilling the seats of the nice simple brown booths and chairs to their delight, chatting away their thoughts on the first day of school. Touya looked around to make sure no one took the usual booth, the middle row that was immediately to their right as the customer walked in. He noticed the red ribbon of Touko’s ponytail and smiled. He approached her subtly as she was too consumed with her camera in her hands, examining the photos she took from today.

 


 

Harima Touko really enjoyed photography. After all it was her family trade, as the Harima Photo Ops was a grand player in the photography business. Despite it being a small family company, it had received numerous praise and many stations in Tokyo only were talking about the beauty and craft behind their photos. The same went with the innocent light-haired brunette as the camera was most likely her first toy when she was a kid. Taking pictures of trees, animals, or even friends, Touko knew the workings of a lens.

 At one point, he wasn’t sure, Makoto would show Ren pictures of their weddings and sure enough the logo for Touko’s family was there. “Man Erika and Tanaka-san sure pulled a number on us during our wedding!” Ren laughed when looking at himself wearing the typical wedding suit and bow-tie, hair combed for once to the side, leaving his forehead exposed like it is nowadays, holding unto Mom tight with her fluffy yet simple white wedding dress and her veil covering her short hair back in the day. Standing there the two of them, smiling for what the future would unfold for them in the coming years.

 


 

As Touko was looking at a picture of female Shujin students smiling at the cafeteria, Touya nudged her slightly for her to move. “Touya-kun! I didn’t realize you came so early.” her eyes were wide with surprise, quickly putting away the camera inside her bag. “Early? I came on time.” he replied as he sat down next to her.

Although a bit too close to her as Touko began to blush hard and was flustered. Seeing her like that made Touya the same way and he looked back towards the crowd. “Sorry for being too close!” he yelled, stuttering a bit due to his massive intake of emotion. Touko shook her head violently. “It’s not a problem Touya! I mean don’t we always sit next to each other?” she asked innocently as her blush faded away. She was right. The two would always sit next to each other at any given moment when they hung out. Though he wished it was more than just sitting, he couldn’t tell her how he felt even though he knew the answer.

He was waiting for some sign.

“So um the pictures.” Touya quickly changed the subject. Touko blinked in confusion before realizing what he was referring to. “Oh you saw them? You should’ve told me…”

 “They were really nice pictures. Especially the one of the courtyard.”

 “You saw that one?!”

 “Sure did. I like how you practice with the angles in your photos.” Touya remembered a photo Touko took while they were at Destinyland last year where she “accidentally” took an angled photo of a bird which to everyone’s minds were fascinated. “Whoa! You took this?!” Kazuya and Satoshi said. Touko was nervous but nodded all the same. “You’re such a pro Touko-chan!” Iris yelled.

 


 

After the two chatted for a while, Satoshi, Kazuya and Shun walked in. “Man you should have told me that the thing you were buying was expensive!” Satoshi groaned as he placed his arm on his neck. Shun was munching on a snack of the new Mysterious Flavoured Calbee as they sat down. “It appeared that my mother miscalculated the cost of the shogi board when she saw it online and compared it to the one in the store.”

“Yeah no kidding. We’re talking about a 5,000 yen gap that I had to pay for.” Satoshi sighed and turned to Touya and Touko who had the expression on their faces that seemed like they wanted answers. “It doesn’t matter anymore.” Satoshi stretched his arms out. “So what were you guys chatting about?”

“You know this is the first time you’re separated from Iris.” Touya brushed his dark-brown hair as it was messing around with his vision, dodging his friend’s question. Touko nodded, also dodging the question. “Are you okay Satoshi?” she asked in a concerned tone. Satoshi looked down in shame. “We were together on our way here but Marika dragged her away and headed towards the shopping mall underground.” he looked like he was about to cry and admit defeat that an energetic redhead took his precious treasure away while Kazuya pat his back for comfort, silently telling him that he’ll be alright. “And then we found Shun by the book store.” he recovered quickly, pointing to the eccentric boy, still dazed in the realm of his chips.

 “Had that tragic event not occurred, I would’ve faced my mother’s wrath when I get home.” Shun’s dark blue eyes lost its color, freaking only Touko out. Touya of all people sympathized with Shun when it came to their mothers. From the Death Stare to the countless amounts of Aikido practice he had with Makoto, he knew full well of the capabilities of his mother’s wrath. “Seiji faced your mother’s full on wrath when you were a little kid.” Ren told Touya when they were spending time together at Leblanc, getting a nice cup of coffee. “He had your mother’s handprint on his face for a whole week.” he sipped his coffee. Touya shuddered,yet remembered the moment afterwards when Makoto was making sure Seiji was okay from the slap.

On the other hand, Shun was lucky as Hifumi would just scold at him harshly and give him the Shogi Eyes. “A look that is similar to your mother’s yet it illustrates that she knows your next move.” Shun said one time when the boys were hanging out by the soda machine during lunch.

Man their mothers were scary…

“Sorry for us to take so long!” Marika’s euphoric voice sprang up as she shoved Satoshi to the end of the booth and towards the middle with Shun, who was still munching his chips. Hiyori sat next her cousin, and placed her head on the table, crying. “Man today was tough!” she cried. Touya stroked her hair and calmed her down. “You’ll be fine Hiyori. It’s just one day.”

“And you were with us during lunch too!” Iris replied as she placed small fashion bag on the floor along with Marika’s. Hiyori picked her head up and wiped away some of her tears. “Yeah but I didn’t want to be thrown around the underground mall for some simple jewelry!” she whined and then placed her head on Touya’s shoulder, causing him to tilt towards Touko, making the scene slightly awkward.

Touya decided to change the subject by asking Iris about the photos her mom, Ann Takamaki sent during her time in America. “Oh that’s right!” she took out her phone and began to show the gang pictures of her mother standing in front of a large screen similar to the ones in Shibuya.

“That was her in a place called Times Square. Reminded her a lot of back here except she said over there was smaller.” she chuckled and swiped to show more pictures of her mother’s time in the lovely city of Manhattan in America. Some of them were even about her fashion show, where a stunning familiar teen boy was seen. His silvery white hair combed neatly, showing his serious grey eyes forward towards the immense crowd of people. His lean figure, covered in a nice ironed button down and a suit to go with it, having the imprint of Ann’s clothing line. A little shape of a panther mask on the chest pocket.

Iris’ mother, Ann Takamaki, was a unique friend in the crowd of family friends Ren and Makoto grew up with. After witnessing his mother’s phone and video chats with the blonde fashion designer, Touya began to ask questions on how she was back when she was his age. “Well to be frank Touya dear, she wasn’t like Iris who paid attention to school. Though she was an eye-candy, hence her becoming a model and then a fashion designer. And she knew English well.” Makoto was checking police reports of stolen cats when she answered her son’s questions. “Anything else?” Touya shook his head.

The gang was doing what they always did when they were at the diner: talking, complaining, admiring, and eating what they ordered. As Touya examined his friends in front of him, he smiled. Everyone noticed it. “Why are you smiling Touya?” Mairka asked. “This is weird…Touya smiled when he has something planned.” Hiyori replied while fixing her cat headband. “I agree.” Kazuya replied.

 Touya somehow felt attacked by his friends remarks, yet he was happy by how much they know the boy. How he’ll smile to those who need it to most. A smile that was beget by his father, who for some reason was called Joker from his mother or Aunt Futaba. After about a minute of silence, Touya answered their questions. “What? can’t I smile about the fact that I’m grateful to have friends like you guys?” he said in suave manner to captivate their hearts. Touko nodded as she sipped her drink.

“Touya is right. We should all smile for this occasion.” Touko followed suit. Satoshi and the gang looked at each other and nodded, each grabbing their drinks and made a toast gesture. “For a year of change and grandeur!” they all yelled, smiling proudly, making those around them looked with utter confusion. They didn’t care though as this marked the start of a new year.

 


 

Touya returned home a little late than usual, though he was amazed to find his parents watching TV, seeming looking like they’re neglecting their work. Not like they didn’t need a break or anything,  but they were highly respected people. Still it made Touya relieved to not see them at their stressful phase, constantly arguing and having to lash each other out about some documents or failed reports. Something they called an “All-Out Attack” as either one would make a move that would ultimately defeat the other person (it was mostly Makoto who landed the finishing blow. Ren would never hurt his wife).

Ren was sitting on the white couch, having Makoto nestled next to him on his left side. He wasn’t wearing his suit jacket as it was hanging on his chair by the table, and was flipping through the channels for a show to watch. His mother was examining his channel flipping and would nudge him when the channel was the wrong one. That’s when Touya broke the silence.

“I’m back!” he told them. Ren placed the remote down by the couch and looked at his son. “Oh you’re a little late mister.” he checked his watch. “What were you doing?” asked Makoto. Touya dropped his bag on his chair and stretched his arms. “Hanging out with the gang. Went to the diner and then dropped Hiyori and Marika at the Yongen-Jaya station and then back here.” he inhaled and exhaled deeply for a bit, a method he used often when he was stretching his muscles. It relaxed them, especially when they were tensed. His mother taught him that when he was out there practicing Aikido when he was a kid.

Makoto spoke now. “Oh nice of you…but please come home a little earlier. After all school is back.” 

“Don’t worry Mom, I’ll be fine. Besides don’t I have to wake you guys up regardless?”

“He brings a good point there Mako-chan.” Ren replied. Makoto shook her head. “Really Ren? What about today?” her red eyes were beginning to intimidate the father and son. Touya blinked and whispered to his father to try and smooth things out a bit. “Well of course today was the exception but I doubt tomorrow will be the same.” Ren got out from the couch now. “Anything else besides hanging out and school?” he asked while yawning. Ren looked like he needs some sleep, but when he asked his question, Touya went straight towards asking him about the weird app he had the entire day. “Yeah there was.”

“Do tell us.” 

“I had this weird app on my phone this morning while I was on my way to school. It had this eye image and the background was red.” his parents froze for second, faces surprised and shaking as they looked at each other and then their son. Touya raised an eyebrow by the sudden change on their parent’s demeanor, almost as if they knew what he was saying. Then again he was too tired and wanted to get an answer from them. “So do you guys know what I’m talking about?”

“No, not at all sweetie.” Makoto said nervously. Ren shook his head and smiled as he placed his hand on his son’s shoulder. “We were surprised that such an app popped up on your phone that’s all.”

“Yeah.” Makoto continued. “And now that you told us, I think it would be best if you left it alone for a while until we can get an idea as to what the app really is. Right Ren?” she looked at him with a subtle tone that told him to call it a day and agree and thank God Ren followed suit. “I agree with your mother. We can ask your Aunt Futaba about it tomorrow. Now it’s getting late and your second day awaits you!” he pushed his son to the stairs for him to go to his room, then looked back at Makoto who was freaking out about the news and mouthed the following words: “We need to tell the others. Now.”

 


 

Touya sat down on his desk chair after seeing his parents reaction. He contemplated for a while as it was concerning. Does his parents know about the app and they’re not telling him? Why aren’t they telling him instead of just causing an act. He wanted answers now but his body didn’t let as he was tired from long first day back. His phone vibrated and he checked, seeing various messages from the group chat. It was mostly about the day, and how they can’t wait to continue hanging out from there on out, and some weird app…wait a minute.

Could it be the same app?

Touya wouldn’t know. He began to type rapidly on the group, but hesitated. No he’ll have to see it in person. He scratched off what he had written, and left the chat saying to meet up at the station tomorrow after school. There he’ll have some answers.

 Once he got out of the shower and put on his sleeping clothes, he jumped onto his bed and greeted with enjoyment. After such a long day, he couldn’t help himself from wanting to go back to sleep and call it a day. It was a good thing he didn’t have a cat to do such things as Ren would always tell him of the stories with him and his cat, Morgana. Wonder what’s going on with the blue-eyed black cat? Hiyori did say he’s doing well at her house, taking care of Gramps. Finally sleep won the battle and he dozed off into a nice comfortable sleep.

 


 

For some reason, Touya felt a strange blue light shining on top of him when he was sleeping. He woke up to try to find it, but once his eyes were awake, he realized the situation he was in. He looked around to find himself slouching on some sort of business couch, one that normally clients would sit on when speaking to a lawyer or businessman in an office. What was even stranger was that he was inside one, one that had tons of blue and purple lighting all around the room.  

He examined his surroundings and rubbed his dark-grey eyes. Was he dreaming? It certainly felt like a dream, yet it still had the sense, the idea of reality. Just what is this place?

“It appears he has awoke Master.” a soothing womanly voice was heard to the left. He looked to find himself staring at what deemed to be a secretary as she wore blue pants and heels along with a blue suit jacket buttoned with gold buttons and glasses. Her whitish-blonde hair rolled down to her sides, and she was carrying what seemed to be paperwork. Touya wasn’t going to kid himself but she looked stunning.

“It appears so.” now another voice was heard, an older man’s soothing tone, one filled with wisdom and kindness. Touya now set his eyes to what was in front of him, seeing a weird long nose man with bulging eyes sitting on an office desk. His arms were clothed with a suit and white gloves, and had a black ribbon as a tie. He appeared to be balding as well and a had a wide smirk on his face. How interesting.

“Where am I?” asked Touya seriously now as he stared into the eyes of the long-nosed man. The long-nosed man continued smirking and let out small laugh. “Son of the Trickster. Welcome to the Velvet Room.” he welcomed Touya.

 


 

Preview!

Hey it’s Niijima Touya here!

Wait, where am I? Who is that strange man with that long nose? What even is this place to begin? So many questions and confusing details...and what is this app? Each day is getting confusing by the next and there’s now something about a upcoming ruin?! What is going on?!

Next time on Persona:Next Generations! Dreams and Reality! Neo-Mementos Activated!

Don’t miss out!

Chapter Text

“Velvet Room…?” Touya was distraught, looking at the long-nosed man with confusion. His eyes were wide with unnatural stupor and tried to blink to make what was in front of him go away. To disappear into a blur and wake up back in his bed. After a couple of failed attempts, he sighed and tried to grasp the event occurring around him.

He began to examine the room again, looking out for any important details he missed at first glance. Shelves filled with books and documents were found around the room, similar in tone color. He touched the cushion of the blackish brown couch he was sitting. It was comfortable like the ones back home. He looked behind him to see more shelves, and two small purple doors that were semi transparent, yet was filled with mist.

 Finally he returned his attention to the front, gazing upon the bulging eyes of the long-nosed man and between them, his desk with a large letter V in the center embezzled with a frame of gold, and a small transparent glass table with wooden handles. “Indeed Son of the Trickster. This place exists between dream and reality, mind and matter.” he smiled. “My name is Igor. I am delighted to make your acquaintance.”

 “And my name is Annabelle.”  the assistant spoke now, turning Touya’s attention toward her. She spoke similar to his mother except it had a bit more of a “maid” tone. She bowed in respect.

“Nice to meet you…” he quietly replied back. “But why am I here? And how do you know Dad?” he asked rhetorically. Who else would it be? It had to be his father given the nickname he has from Mom and the demeanor he has both at work and home. Igor was intrigued by his questions, contiguously smirking. “Ah so you noticed?” he asked back, making Touya nod his head.

 “Then that makes him the next Wild Card master.” Annabelle retorted as she was checking the paperwork she carried in her left arm. Wild Card? What did she meant by that? “Igor, why am I here?’ he asked again, his body firm. Considering this was like an office, no is an office, it made sense for Touya to stand his ground. It almost made him feel like his father or Aunt Sae when she was trying to get the truth from her clients.

 “Because you see, fate has plans in store for you and your dear friends.” he answered amicably, raising one of his gigantic black eyebrows. “For an impending chaos is about to erupt in the near future.”

“Thus we are here to aid you towards fighting that impending chaos and bring about a better future.” Annabelle finished looking at her paperwork and took out a folder for Igor to examine as she gently placed in on the table. Igor, while still looking at Touya, opened the folder and took out thirteen cards. Touya knew immediately what they were. Tarot cards. How he knew was also thanks to his father as he received a mail from an old friend by the name of Chihaya that had a tarot card. “The World Arcana?” Ren asked, almost smiling.

“Those are Tarot Cards.” Touya responded. “Indeed Son of the Trickster. But I am not here to speak of your fortune. These are here to guide you towards your journey as well.” he chuckled.

“Think of these as the people you have and will meet throughout the course of your time with us.” Annabelle stood next to Igor now and held the paperwork with both hands. Her whitish golden locks shown as the lights from the window behind them hit her body, making her illuminate like an angel. Touya tried to wrap his head around the very simple explanations these people have given them. Chaos? Journey? Wild Card? Son of the Trickster? All these thoughts stopped Touya completely, aching his head with wanting answers and more questions. Guess he is going to have to play along with the two’s words for now. Except there was still one more question to be asked…

 “Are you the one who is giving me the app? They eyeball one?” he asked one last time without hesitation. Now was his chance. Annabelle nodded. “Yes it was us who have sent you the app. For you will need it when the time comes.”

 “What does it do?” Touya’s mind was full of raging questions that he needed to get this out-of-the-way now.  Igor shook his head and made a hand gesture. “Soon Son of the Trickster you will understand of its use.”

 “And it appears that your appointment with us has come to an end.” Annabelle checked the watch that was by her left. Touya noticed the archaic clock as well as it chimed and chimed upon eternity. “Until next time my dear Wild Card.” they both said in respect, Annabelle bowing one last time and Igor’s bulging eyes and wide smile burning inside Touya’s mind as darkness was shrouding around him.

 Then he woke up to the sound of his alarm clock.

 


 

Touya got dressed rather quickly as his body was filled with adrenaline thanks to the encounter with Igor. “That is the strangest dream I’ll ever have.” he muttered to himself as he had the whole encounter go through his mind like a film being analyzed in a film club. Yet something stuck in his mind while replaying the scene of the weird man and the lovely assistant. How could it be just a dream?

Touya knew that it was more than that as he felt his body become real in that Velvet Room. Not to mention that there was something else on his mind. Son of the Trickster…those words alone was the climax to his little short story. Did that mean Dad knew the long-nosed man? Why? Better yet how? The same way he did? Thoughts were beginning to flood again, and his mind was  already getting cloudy. It wasn’t until after a few minutes Ren walked into the room, steaming hot coffee in one hand and his free hand on Touya’s door knob.

Ren’s face was curious, despite having small scars around his cheeks. Touya never quite got a real answer as to how his father got those scars, primarily the ones on his wrists as small marks were vaguely seen around his manly arms. His mother would always dismiss it and Ren would ignore it completely. Maybe it had something to do with Igor…Touya got rid of the thought right away. Igor wouldn’t hurt someone. Heck Touya bet he never got out of that chair. “Hey Touya? You alright? Look sort of tired.” his father let out an ironic yawn.

“I’m fine Dad. Don’t worry about me…and how are you awake?” he laughed a little for a change of atmosphere. Ren scratched his chin while looking at his son. “Okay then…just wanted to make sure after last night. Also your mother made some weird sandwich and we’re adjusting to our schedules a bit now.”

“Oh it’s about time. And mom made something weird? What does it looks like?”

“It’s all grain from South America kneaded like bread. Supposedly it’s called an Arepa. ” he took a sip from his coffee and brushed his black short hair to the side. “Honestly I don’t know how she found out about it but it tastes good.” he said in his usual jokester manner.

“I’ll give it a try.” Touya walked towards his father, and shut his door. He decided to let his dad walk in front of him as he was holding his coffee, but to look at him fully. Dad wasn’t a muscular guy per say but he had his features. He walked straight all the time, with direction and seriousness as what a Diet Member should do, but once he was inside the house he was as relaxed as Gramps.

Touya recalled looking at the old photos at his father’s office back at the Diet Building and his office at home from his younger days. With his long fluffy black hair, almost covering his forehead and eyes holding onto Mom for a photo at Inokashira Park, or him at his old apartment before selling it away and buying the house he is now living in. Of course there was the infamous family photo, where the entire Niijima family including Hiyori, Aunt Futaba, and Gramps, all smiling and looking at the camera while behind them was the nice shrine, Meiji Shrine.

Other than that, there were also the scars on his wrists and his face and his now short hair, slicked back and to the side. Sometimes while he was out on the streets giving speeches, people would confuse him for a Yakuza Member as his scars did frighten some folk along with his current hairstyle. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why Mom asked for him to get a haircut like that. She did say she loved Yakuza films.

 


 

Touya sat down now, and thanked his mother for breakfast. Looking at the strange grain food product, he noticed that it was filled with cheese and eggs. He tried, taking a small bite to taste the flavour. Touya’s eyes lit with fascination and continued to devour such a meal. He begged his mother for a second, but Makoto declined gently.

 “I’m glad you like it Touya but I don’t have enough flour for it.” she was tying her long brown hair to a bun, a sign that said she was getting ready for work. “But when I take a break, I can stop by the foreign section at the grocery store.” she replied as she finished trying her hair.

 “How did you find out about this?” Ren asked his dear wife, sipping onto his coffee and eating his Arepa. “Well from two people Ren dear. One was from Sojiro as he was collecting the usual Colombian beans and eavesdropped on a conversation of two people who came back from said region. Second was from Eiko as she traveled recently to South America for a project she’s doing on geographical affairs.” she sipped her cup of coffee. “Anything else you two would like to know.” Touya felt a ping on his shoulders, indicating to him to ask about if they knew Igor. “I have one more thing to ask Mom.” Touya stepped forward. Makoto sighed. ‘”If it’s about the app, I told you sweetie we would take care of it.” she drank a little.

 “It’s something else. Do you happen to know some long-nosed man by the name of Igor?”

 His parents spit coffee all over the place after hearing the name Igor. What was that for? Touya examined their behavior, as they were cleaning the table and the floor from coffee. Once the clean up was done, his father responded urgently. “Do we know someone of that description? I don’t think so Mako-chan.” he placed his mug on the table and chuckled nervously. Makoto did the same and checked her watch.

 “Oh it’s time to leave the house Touya! Here let me get you your lunch.” she got out of the chair. Touya couldn’t believe his parents yet he wasn’t going to stop them by their tracks as he himself checked the time and immediately left the house, lunch in hand and out the door like a cliche anime boy he and Hiyori would often watched.

 


 

The majority of the day had gone by quick for Touya. Now it was lunchtime and Touya was quietly eating his lunch while reading a book. Touko quietly peeked her head towards Touya’s before he noticed her swaying hair besides his. “Yes Touko?” he asked, eyes still looking at the book. 

“I wanted to see what you were doing, and..” she took out her camera. Touya looked at the black camera that the brunette carried with her. “And take a nice little picture.” she said mostly to herself but Touya heard.  Putting the book down and looking at the rather pink faced looking girl, he smiled fondly. Man he loves this girl…but does she feel the same? Who knows.

“Touko you don’t have to ask.” he chuckled. Touko looked down in embarrassment. “You sure?” she asked to which he replied with a nod. Touko smiled and composed herself, holding the camera to her eyes, making sure she had a steady shot. “Say cheese!” she said to which Touya gave a huge smile for the camera. Touko gave the boy a thumbs up and giggled. “Thanks Touya-kun.” she thanked him.

“What’s this? Taking pictures of the beloved Niijima and not us in it Touko?!” Iris and Satoshi yelled in shock. Touko shook her head and apologized for not adding her friends in the picture as well, while they laughed and brushed it off. “We were just kidding. Maybe when we meet at the station we’ll take a nice group picture.” 

“Speaking of the station, why are we meeting there today?” Iris’s brown eyes glistened with curiosity. Touya put away the book now and stretched his arms. “There’s something that’s been bugging me for awhile now. Thought I should tell you guys.”

“Why don’t you tell us now?” Satoshi asked, sitting down next to him. Touya shook his head. “Everyone needs to hear about it. We can’t exclude the others by telling you three now and leave the others to their imaginations.” he replied back. The others nodded in agreement, and the bell for the afternoon classes was rung, leaving a grunted Satoshi and Iris to prop back to their seats and Touko heading back to hers as well.

Touya sighed and grabbed his social studies notebook and textbook as the grumpy old man Ushimaru showed up, his gray hair once black according to Ren, and his equally grumpy face meeting the students. “Welcome back students.” he said roughly. “Now let us begin class.” he placed his things down on the desk and began to write something on the board.

 Meanwhile Touya fanned out the old man’s voice and went back to his phone, as the app with the eye was looking at him. It was something mystifying, grappling between Touya’s thoughts and emotions and putting them into one component, one nebula, one swirl that is his universe. Whatever that mean anyway. He began to tap on the app for it to do something but nothing happened. That piqued his interest and furiously tapped on his phone. Finally he caved in and grunted softly. “What are you?” he asked himself. 

“Niijima! Are you paying attention?” the old man barked, bringing back Touya from his little bubble. Touya looked up to see a begrudged teacher, one who was already filled with rage as is, holding onto the chalk with such suppressed anger. “I said were you paying attention?” he threw the chalk at Touya, to which he simply brushed it off by moving to the side. What a poor old man, and what a predictable move.

Touya then looked back at the teacher, now infuriated that he didn’t hit his student and smirked to himself. “Like father like son, huh Niijima?” he blurted out to himself before going back to his desk to get a new chalk and continue writing and instructing the class. Satoshi and Iris looked back at Touya and gave him a thumbs up while contain their laughter. That taught the old man not to mess with Ren Amamiya’s son. Better yet he can’t wait to tell Dad.

 


 

Touya huddled among the horde of people passing by the station to call it a day. Now that is was the afternoon, rush hour was imperative to the folks as they rushed to get to  their homes much like they did to enter their jobs in the brisk mornings. Guess that proves to show the endless cycle of labor and society. Something the Phantom Thieves made sure to change back in their time in the limelight.

Touya checked through his phone to make sure the app was still on his screen and sure enough it was still there with its arcane eye glaring at him. “Soon you will understand its use.” he repeated Igor’s words as he put it away. That man and the room they were in was interesting to say the least, and that woman…no he mustn’t think of her like that! Surely she was stunning but his heart belonged to Touko. Touya shook his head lightly to get rid of the image of Annabelle and looked to his left to see Satoshi, Touko, Iris and Hiyori chatting while holding some desserts.

Most of all crepes, something Iris claimed was part of her genetics as her mother adored them to the core. If Iris wanted to make an anatomy chart of the fashion designer, surely it would’ve been 95 percent crepe and 5 percent bone and muscle. Satoshi spotted Touya and they walked towards him. “Where are the others?” Touya asked them as he saw the boy was covered with cream from the crepe. Iris wiped some of it off, teasing him as Satoshi answered. “They should be here in five minutes.”

“Well two of them. Marika is busy shopping.” Touko corrected her friends before finding her spot that was next to Touya, blushing lightly. “I’m surprise she even has a full wallet. Remind me Iris why she’s been shopping lately?” he kissed Iris’ soft cheek. Iris giggled.

 “It’s because of some project Mom is doing at Ginza recently so she’s been shopping non stop to get advice from her.” she looked at the two brown haired boy and girl, their eyes locking into each other very subtly. “When will you think they…?” Satoshi shrugged. “Hiyori got any idea…” he stopped short as she saw the first year put on some headphones and humming to what appeared to be an anime song, not paying any single attention to her surroundings. The boyfriend and girlfriend sighed.

 


 

After ten minutes of waiting, the others finally showed up. Kazuya dragged Shun, who was too busy eating his usual bag of chips and Marikia, being Marika, had loads of bags around her. “How do you walk?” Kazuya asked the red-head to which she replied with a silly smile. “That’s a woman’s secret!’ she teased.

“So why are we all gathered here Touya?” Shun asked, leaning on the rails. Touya thought about what to say first but instead of saying it, he took out his phone and showed the gang the strange app. “Hey I also have that app!” Hiyori yelled as she quickly took out her phone. The others nodded. “Same here.” everyone took out their phones to show to their friend the same red eye icon on their phones. Touya sighed of relief to know that they were on the same wavelength, yet something bothered him as he recalled the events back at the Velvet Room with Igor. “Fate has plans in store for you and your dear friends.” his wise old voice lingered in Touya’s head. Could this mean what he meant by fate? Igor did say that he gave Touya the app but not a specific reason as to why.  

It wasn’t until Kazuya got him back to reality when he asked the gang on its usage. “No clue Kaz.” Marika said rather serious. “Tried pressing it a couple of times but it didn’t do anything.”

“Yeah same. When I showed it to my mom last night, she sort of freaked and said that it was possible virus.” Hiyori brushed off some of her bangs.

“My parents were like that too Hiyori-chan. ” Iris and Shun both said at the same time. So it wasn’t just Touya’s parents who acted weird when the news came to them but to the others’ as well. Kazuya told the gang about how his mother’s coffee mug almost broke in her hands when he told her, and Touya began to realize somewhat of a full picture. They knew of the app, so that also meant that what Igor said about being the Son of the Trickster valid. But what did he meant by Trickster? And Wild Card?

Satoshi broke the silence of everyone who were mesmerized by the app as he put away his phone and stretched his arms high, letting out a huge inhale and exhale before speaking. “So we know that everyone has it but we don’t know what it does. We also learnt that everyone’s parents except mine, Touko’s, and Marika’s almost had a panic attack when they heard the news. Kinda makes you wonder.”

“That was what I was thinking.” Touya replied to his friend and he gathered his composure.

“They must’ve known about it or at least have had it.” Touya was affirmative in his statement, and that was something only Touko was able to pinpoint. “We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.” Shun said as he grabbed his school bag for another snack.

Satoshi groaned at his friends and yelled at him for eating too many snacks, making the others chuckled for a bit to ease up the atmosphere. “Oh Touya. Did you hear about the news regarding the late night attacks?” Satoshi asked. Touya nodded. “Mom’s workforce are constantly at her tail to handle the situation. They even nicknamed it the Commissioner's Quest.”

“Those attacks are strange if you ask me.” Kazuya pondered. “If anything, given by the descriptions of the victims, it almost sounds unnatural.” he crossed his muscular arms. “Maybe that’s why the news outlets are trying to connect them with the Psychotic Breakdowns from our parents’ time.” Iris replied back as she was playing around with Hiyori’s hair and making it into a braid, a request Hiyori begged her to do by tugging on her blazer. “Mom keeps muttering about Grandma sometimes when she hears the news.” Hiyori said. “She’ll even speak to Morgana as if he understood a word. Weird.”

“How is that cat still alive?” Touya asked his cousin. She shrugged and then tugged on Iris’ blazer again for her stop with the braid. “At the end of the day it doesn’t concerns us as we’re not living those times anymore.” Satoshi said while blowing some air. Touko nodded in agreement. “And if it does Touya-kun, then I hope your mom solves it carefully.” Touya nodded as well.

“Oh I almost forgot!” Marika nudged Touko a little. “I overheard from your class that you were going to take a picture of all of us!” she yelled with excitement. Touko’s eyes widen and smiled nervously. “Yeah I was.” she said quietly. What a shy girl, Touya thought as he saw his friend hide away and fidget a bit before getting her camera out of her school bag. Everyone smiled to see the girl comply to her wishes. “If you don’t mind we could take by the little park that’s close to the crowds.” everyone nodded, grinning with delight for their light brunette friend.

 


 

Everyone gathered by the trees and looked at the camera as Touko was holding it way up high to make sure she got a good angle. Plus Marika and Iris pestered her to be in it and not exclude herself. As she found the right angle, she told the gang to make a peace sign and say cheese. They happily obliged and Touko took the shot as the camera clicked and a flash was seen. 

“Alright! Can’t wait to see it on the chat tonight!” Marika said. Kazuya grunted and Shun looked at the picture. “Oh? My hair is that long?” he questioned to himself. Satoshi patted his back. “You’re one strange friend my dude.”

 “Well I guess that’s all for today.” Hiyori concluded as she picked up her bag from one of the benches. The others followed suit and began to walk towards the station underground freely. Well except for Marika as she was held tight by Kazuya’s arms. “Let me go Kaz!” she grunted with frustration, air blowing from her nose like a bull. “No. We’re not going to sidetrack back to the mall.” he said, still holding her.

 “Kazuya sure makes a good bodyguard, huh Touya-kun?” Touko giggled to her friend as she was walking side by side with him. Touya agreed as that boy can take hits when he’s sparring. There was a time where Touya and Kazuya sparred, Touya’s Aikido versus Kazuya’s boxing when they were at the gym after school. The results ended with both of them with bad bruises but smiled, even laughing off the pain. Touya loved that about his friend: the fact that he can withstand anything from anyone stronger than him. “Yeah he would. Also really liked both pictures you took today.” that made Touko blush.

“Y-y-you d-d–did?”

“Yeah. They would make quite the mementos for the future.” Touya chuckled.

 “Accessing Neo-Mementos.” a random female navigation voice was heard from Touya’s pocket, halting everyone as it was loud. Touya didn’t remember putting his phone on full blast volume, and what was Neo-Mementos? “It came from your phone dude.” Satoshi said. Touya took out his phone and saw the now red star eyed icon glowing a heavier shade of red. Everyone uttered amazed wows at the screen, seeing the app looking quite different than before. That’s when Touya’s mind when back once again to Igor where he said he would understand its use.

Guess now was the time. 

“Press it and see what it does.” Hiyori poked the side of her cousin’s ribs with her index finger. “Stop that.” he told her rapidly. “Alright here goes.” he pressed the icon for it to open and the screen now turned into shades of black and red, and had the words Neo-Mementos glowing on it for it to be pressed.

 

Touya pressed on the words and regretted it afterwards as the whole world stopped at their tracks. The people around them froze and the sky began to turn into a color red. “What is going on?” everyone asked. Then after witnessing the red sky, a hole was created beneath their feet, causing them to fall towards an abyss. They all screamed with thrill and horror as they clung on to each other, bracing for impact to see what would happen next.

 

Large amount of black pillars with glowing red lines appeared now, almost looking like the city of Shibuya as the pillars formed building like structures, and in the center was a circle with ten small holes in it, but that was all Touya and the gang remembered seeing as they hit the ground and darkness shrouded them.

 


 

Preview!

Hey it’s Hatake Satoshi!

Ow that hurt...

Touya?!

Where are we? Why am I in this box?

Dude how should I know?! You sent us here!

Huh? What? I did?

Yeah man. Thanks to you, all of us are in these boxes and fighting ourselves!

What?!

 Next time on Persona:Next Generations! Battles Within! Self-Doubt V. Arrogance!

 Don’t miss out! Ow my head...

 

Chapter Text

Touya opened his dark grey eyes.

It didn’t really help as the whole area was dark. If anything, there were dim lights of red flowing about on the floor like blood vessels going to the heart and he felt as if he was in some box. He groaned from the pain of the fall from earlier, and brushed off any dirt on his body. He checked to see if he had any bruises. Thankfully there were none, minus the few scratches on his hands and right cheek. He winced when he touched it slightly as bits of blood trickled down.

 “Guys?” he asked out loud for any murmurs of whispers. Nothing was heard. He yelled again, holding onto his right arm and slowly walking around the tiny black and red box he was somehow in. Come to think of it, how did he end up here? Last thing he saw was a distorted city and a circle at the center to what appeared to have been Station Square, but how was he in this box?

“Guys!” he yelled, even causing strain to his voice. He continued walking to find his friends, but his body suddenly began to resist the urge, falling down on the floor, grunting in pain. “So this is myself?” a looming voice appeared above him. He looked up and saw nothing more than himself, staring blankly at him with yellowish eyes, similar to Annabelle yet it painted something worse: harm.

“Who are you?” he asked as he tried to get himself up. Luckily the other Touya helped him up but quickly vanished. “To think that my human form is nothing but that of a pathetic lowlife. A poor little boy who believes in everything that he was told, and is too ignorant to get the big picture.” its voice appeared around him. Touya shook his head to see if it was all just a mind game. “What are you saying? Who are you?” he yelled at nothing.

The other Touya reappeared now behind him, pushing him back to the ground even after helping him and chuckled devilishly. “What kind of question is that Niijima Touya?” he laughed. Touya got up again, struggling but fell back. “I am you, or rather I am your Shadow, a distorted version that wields your true emotions, your true self.” he disappeared again. Shadow? Distorted version? Touya was wrapping his head around this but it hurt along with the pain he was feeling from his fall. “True self?” Touya scoffed, looking confident. “That’s false. I’m not you.”

“Are you now? What a shame. Looks like I’ll need to apply force!” Shadow Touya kicked him in the stomach, making Touya groaned with severe pain. Luckily he was glad that there no wound despite his aching body and lightly touched his stomach to see if there were any traces of blood to which thank God there was none. But that didn’t stop Shadow Touya from kicking.

With each kick, he kicked harder and harder, almost questioning whether or not this thing, this idea was going to kill him. “I’m not you.” he kept saying under breath, withstanding the blows as hard he could, but it was no use. He gave up as Shadow Touya gave the finishing blow, and grabbed him by the collar. “We are one of the same but with one difference. You hide away behind your little facade and you neglect the world that’s around you. As for I, I possess everything you don’t express, the ideas that are true in that little head of yours.” He punched Touya in the stomach. Touya spit out blood and coughed.

“I stand firm to what I say, and this is not me.” he mumbled while trying to regain the lost air. “Say that again.” Shadow Touya pressured, preparing himself for another punch. Touya didn’t bother to look at his other self as he eyes were closed shut. Still Touya had the urge, the audacity to yell to the top of his lungs. “I’m not you!!”

 


 

Before Touya knew it, blue flames surrounded him. It blinded him and suddenly the flames went around his body, but it wasn’t burning him alive. No, they were warm and comfortable, almost like touching another person’s body. The flames went around his hands, creating what appeared to be fingerless black gloves with horizontal white stripes.

Next was his right arm as a red bandanna around his upper arm as well as a chain circling around his left lower arm. It didn’t hurt him thankfully. He even felt his right hand be a little heavier as a kukri knife showed up on his hand. Lastly the flames engulfed his head and neck, creating a small black fedora hat with two feathers on the side, one white and another red, sticking out similar to Touko’s ribbon ponytail.

He felt his neck covered up as a long white wool scarf surrounded it, having the long strand fall out behind him like a vigilante. It had red and black stripes at the end of it. He looked at himself and was stunned. What just happened? “So you’re still willing to resist.” Shadow Touya chuckled, then laughed. Touya went into a fighting stance, his hand gripped tightly around the silver knife. For some reason, his body was nimble again, but he didn’t stop to think why because for the next few minutes he was suddenly blocking jabs left and right with his kukri from the attacks of his other self.

Shadow Touya lashed out at with intense speed. Touya made sure to stand his ground and dodge whenever his other-self made a predictable move. He then found himself running at the Shadow version and going on offense, slashing at him meticulously and using what moves he used on Kazuya when they were sparring. He landed a punch to the side of Shadow Touya and used the opportunity to slash at him with his kukri to end the fight.

However Shadow Touya knew this predicament and counter him with a roundhouse kick, pushing Touya backwards. Touya grit his teeth and was ready to attack one more but Shadow Touya grabbed his wrist, making Touya let go of his knife. “Look into my eyes once more.” he told him. Touya went for a jab but he knew it was pointless as his other self grabbed his other wrist. “Do you accept your fate? Your truth?’ he asked. Touya shook his head even though he knew the answer.

 He wasn’t ready yet.

“No!” he yelled as he knee him and was ready to throw him down to the floor. Once his positioning of his feet was balanced, he went behind him and threw him forwards, towards the abysmal floor. Shadow Touya grunted and Touya grabbed his wrists now. “I’m not you!” he looked at Shadow Touya’s eyes and that’s when he saw what was his other self saying.

He saw everything.

 


 

Shadow Touya’s eyes reflected the truth that was within: Touya’s own self-doubt. Despite having good grades and amazing friends, and how the ladies kept glancing at him from time to time at school, Touya would become doubtful of his abilities as a whole. Yes he knew how to cook thanks to Gramps and his father, and he was pretty good at Aikido because of the rigorous training Makoto place on him when he and Seiji were around middle school, yet there was something missing within him.

He lacked the ability to take pride in his work.

Touya’s older brother, Seiji,  had that sense of pride when he aspired to become a doctor; he would constantly tell Mom to bring him science books whether it was from the library or at a bookstore or how he made a 3D model of the human body for a biology project, but with Touya, he never found a passion to love for and strive for. Sure he kept telling himself that he was fine, that he’s confident and strong like his parents, but was he really?

In reality he was nothing more than a shallow individual, one who doesn’t have that purpose, that morale to become greater than what he was. To become leaders like his parents, the famous Diet Member Amamiya Ren and Commissioner Niijima Makoto.

All of that was shown in the yellowish eyes of his own truth that was shaped into the very boy himself.

 


 

Shadow Touya held all that inside his yellow pupils along with his copy of Touya’s Shujin uniform attire. How his entire fight was really with himself, his own suppressed feeling towards everyone. That’s when Touya finally admitted to himself what his shadow kept telling him. “You are me…and I am you.” he conceded as he let go and picked his other self up. “It’s about time for you to listen to reason my Fool.” he said calmly, putting one hand on Touya’s shoulder. Touya felt a tingle as this was himself giving him the body contact but he didn’t care. “So what now?” he asked his shadow.

“Now we forge a contract. One that will bind us to the ends of the earth.”

“A contract? And what will happen if I accept the terms?”

“You shall see for yourself.” and thus the two shook hands firmly like it was business deal. Then once they released from each other’s grasp, Shadow Touya smirked and was beginning to fade away except this time he was fading into a ball of blue flames. He was in a cocoon and moments later he emerged except it wasn’t Touya he was seeing but a whole new entity.

His tail coat attire along with a suit vest and tie, being split between white and black in exact symmetry though it stopped in the middle of the vest. His right side was nothing more than black with hints of  burgundy, and his right hand had claws for nails. The left side however felt more peaceful as it nothing but pure white with gold and his hand was normal looking. It also bore a chain wrapped around his lower arm. His footing was weird as they appeared to be dress shoes except had a sharp edge for a heel and was nothing but black pants with white strands dangling down to the sides like suspenders.

Finally there was his face, being nothing but a hollow glass like shell, and had a blue devilish smirk but its eyes were that of an angel as it illuminate with  grandeur, same in tone color as his mouth. To cover most of his head was a fedora hat that was like Touya’s minus the feathers and almost covered the entity’s eyes.

Then the entity spoke, his voice charismatic and prideful. “I am thou. Thou art I. My name is Ianus of the Fool Arcana. Roman God of duality, time, and gateways. It will be a pleasure working with you towards fighting the chaos that lies ahead on your journey Partner.” that lit up a light bulb above Touya’s head. So this is what he meant by the app’s use back at the Velvet Room…but where exactly was he? And what was Ianus?  Nevermind. That wasn’t the main issue as this creature solved one question to his equations that was going on at the moment. That being what Igor said of its use, that he’ll now have to find the others to get his answer situated. He decided to ask Ianus. “Ianus, where are we?” he asked.

“Neo-Mementos.” Ianus answered.

“And what is Neo-Mementos?

“I’m afraid Partner but I don’t have the answer.”

“I knew you would say something like that.” Touya sighed and examined his new aesthetics. Seeing how  strange that it didn’t seem to annoy the auburn haired boy as he was wearing his Shujin uniform on top of his new gear, he sort of felt like a Yakuza member. Maybe that was why Ianus took the form of one as he was wearing suit and tie like a businessman but had that rigid and evil smile that hold mischief. It also reminded him of Ren, with that legendary smirk he would always have painted across his face.

“So this is Neo-Mementos but what I remembered when we fell were buildings and holes around this giant circle.” Touya drew a circle with his fingers to illustrate the point. “In fact where are my friends?”

“They are each in their own Pandora Box.” Ianus responded.

“Pandora Box? What’s that?” Touya asked.

“It is where we are standing. Where they will fight their Shadows and find their true selves.”

“Much like our fight huh? I see.” a huge rumbling was heard behind Touya and a passageway was opened, revealing a strange red light shining heavily onto the creature and Touya. Looks like it was time to leave his Pandora Box. “I hope the others are okay.” he finished saying as Ianus nodded, transforming himself into a small blue orb and flying straight to Touya’s pocket, where his phone was. Touya was confused by this but Ianus responded saying that he can always summon him whenever he uses the eye icon app in this place. Neat, Touya thought as he walked towards the light and entered the large and vast city square with its ten holes locked in place around the arcane circle. This was going to take quite some time and hoped for the best for his friends.

 


 

“What the hell is this place?” Satoshi yelled as he sat in front of a wall. He was panting and like Touya, was badly injured though not to the extent of the dark-brown haired boy. His green eyes examined his Pandora Box, noticing in front of him Shadow Satoshi approaching him. “And who are you!?” he yelled bashfully. Seriously what was going on?

“I am you, Hatake Satoshi. We are one. For I hold all your distorted realities while you coward and run away from them.” he said, continuing to walk towards Satoshi’s direction. Satoshi didn’t believe a word he said. “Distorted realities? And what might those be?” he scoffed at his other self but with a hint of doubt. Did this person mean what he said? No he couldn’t because this isn’t real. He remembered being at the station with his friends and then Touya’s phone spoke and he pressed that weird app…that’s it! That’s where he was but what was this place?

Shadow Satoshi broke his thoughts as he was now facing the jet-black haired boy. “You don’t believe a word I say? Typical of you Hatake as you’ll always make yourself prideful simply because you’re dating the daughter of the track team’s coach.”

“And? What’s not like to be prideful about it?” he interjected.

“The sole fact that you’re using her by a means to get what you want and what you desire. How she’s an excuse.” Shadow Satoshi grabbed him by the collar and help him up high. Satoshi shook his head and tried to squirm, to escape from this person’s clutches. “No she’s not an excuse…I love her.” he said silently.

“Do you really? If I recall, once you’re in your little room in your little house, you’ll go on and on about how hot she is and how she’s yours for the taking. But you never really thought for one second in your live about what she feels?”

“No…because of these things are nothing but lies!” He escaped the shadow’s grasp by kicking his face, realising him. Satoshi then felt a ping on his body and couldn’t breathe for a split second as blue flames began to cloud his vision.

His hands were a little heavy as silvery blue gauntlets were placed on them. They were shiny and looked medieval. Next the flames went around his chest area, creating what seemed to be a cape of sorts, covering his left arm, and had white fur at the top. The whole cape was nothing but black with ripped edges on the bottom.

Behind his back he felt a sword, and gripped tightly with a brown strap to his right side. The blue flames then went on to his head, creating what seemed to be the top of a helmet piece, sticking out like a pair of sunglasses when unused, with spikes going upwards like a crown. Satoshi was confused by his new get up by when returning to his gaze upon his shadow he decided it was time to take action. His arm wasn’t hurting anymore and unsheathed his sword.

The sword was slim but had a wide saber edge that was V-shaped. The hilt was gold and blue, as golden lines surrounded the blue hilt and stood out like a T by where the metal of the blade started. Satoshi grinned. “Come at me now.” he teased at his shadow, who was just as equally as ready as the spiky black haired boy.

 


 

Touya thought it was a simple walk in the park when he arrived to what was believed to be the center. Upon realizing it, he didn’t notice the fact that he was at least five feet above the distorted city and almost fell face first to the ground. “That was unexpected.” he chuckled as he brushed himself off and examined the place. He was right to call it a city as buildings were seen all around him. Sure they were distorted as  small blocks of red and black were floating but nevertheless it had the same feel to Shibuya.

However what did strike him odd was the burgundy skyline and the center of what should appear to be Station Square as there was the little park where they took the picture, the underground walkways behind him, but at the center where the big television screens were was nothing but a pedestal and a huge circle with ten holes around it. Wonder what the holes were there for and looked at the pedestal.

It had an image of a man and woman embracing each other with one hand while on the other was holding a circular object. He checked to see if there was any text but it was empty. “Huh…looks cool though.” he said aloud and looked up back at the sky to see giant blocks situated almost perfectly around the distorted Station Square. He inquired them to be the other’s Pandora Boxes as to the one at the far right was open, the same place where Touya fell.

“Guess I’ll wait here.” he said as he sat down to the side of the pedestal and whistled to himself and playing with his kukri knife. For a while he was by himself and somewhat enjoying the distorted view. It reminded him of those RPG games he, Satoshi, and of course Hiyori would play at her house in Yongen-Jaya as Aunt Futaba would watch from afar by her dining table and read something on her laptop with Morgana on her lap resting. It was awesome in some way or another.

Then he saw what appeared to be Annabelle in the distance and the same blue purplish doors from before. He decided to check it out but when he did, they were gone. Strange.

 


 

Satoshi huffed for a bit as he regaining his strength. For quite some time now he was blocking the movements of his other self with his sword, and when given the chance, he would strike back at him. The strategy worked well but there was Satoshi’s stamina that was the problem. Sure the track team gave him loads of stamina training but given how blue flames engulfed him and his previous injuries when he entered this place, it was hard to accommodate his body form such advanced abilities.. He caught his breath but when he did, Shadow Satoshi was already in front of him. “Give it up Hatake. Unleash what you’ve withheld so long ago.” Satoshi winced and looked straight into his shadow’s eyes, revealing what he said not too long ago.

 


 

For almost a year, Iris and Satoshi became what was known as the Couple That Was Unexpected. Many students questioned how the calm, collected blonde and brown-eyed girl was dating a track team sleaze who was prideful. Sure they were in the same class and were equally talented in their studies, but their personalities just didn’t match. “How the hell did Hatake get his hands on Sakamoto? Even I can land a hit with her!” Satoshi heard two Shujin students talking behind his back. He clutched his knuckles hard when he heard them say such things. He wasn’t prideful, no way.

But that all seemed to change ever since that day.

He would constantly be by Iris’ side for almost everything: sport events, hanging out, even during lunch. At first it was normal as the two are dating, but after a time he became obsessive and would remind himself that she belonged to him. Iris was his and his feelings of love were replaced by that of amatory: she was gorgeous and beautiful and nobody can take that away from her.

It was a good thing Iris never saw through his facade, his mask he would wear just for her so she wouldn’t rouse suspicion. The mask then developed to be for his friends as well while in truth he just wanted Iris. Maybe that was why people kept saying those things. His ego was killing him inside and he knew it. It was a matter of time when it would get to him and the time was now as he saw the horrors of his own personality within the yellow pupils of his shadow.

“You…are..me.” he said finally. Shadow Satoshi nodded and sighed. “It’s about damn time you would understand the pain and the arrogance.” he said while doing what Satoshi always did whenever things didn’t go according to plan, holding his neck and blowing some air. Satoshi chuckled as he was seeing himself do his iconic movement. Shadow Satoshi then spoke. “Now it’s time for us to forge a contract.”

“Contract? For what?”

“One that will bind us together and keep your pride in check.” he said as he was now transforming into a blue cocoon of sorts. Then the cocoon bursted and what was in front of Satoshi was nothing more than a knight from those of Medieval Europe. He had a cape similar to Satoshi except it was perfect and well fitted. It was blue and had white fur on the bottom and on the top with hints of brown in it. The armor of the knight was full on silver, while his bottom was covered from the blue-tinted robe, revealing only his leg armor. He had no face under the crowned helmet, having only white dots.

In front of him was his large greatsword, v-shaped like Satoshi’s and had gold linings to the side. By the sight of this knight, it reminded him of an old video game character he fell in love with…

“I am thou, thou art I. My name is Artorias of the Magician Arcana. You may have known me as King Arthur, the legendary king of Avalon and medieval Europe.”

“And the bastard who can wield Excalibur! How could I not know that?” he scoffed at the knight creature who sighed in response. “And I take it that that’s the ancient and powerful sword?” Artorias nodded. Satoshi was fascinated by the entity. After all he was a major European geek as he would always rant on and on about kings, knights, and of course the Crusades from long ago. “So Artorias…got any idea where we are?” he asked.

“Neo-Mementos.”

“But I remember seeing this city.”

“You shall see it momentarily.” and the same sudden rumbling like before was heard, opening Satoshi’s Pandora Box and letting in some of Neo-Mementos’ crimson sky light. “Alright! I can leave now.” he walked towards the opening. Artorias disappeared and went into Satoshi’s phone, which surprised the black-haired boy. Heck the entire place surprised him as he, like Touya, fell from his box.

“Crap that hurt…” he rubbed his back and soon Touya came in for the rescue. “Touya! A little help please?” he asked his friend as he held out his arm for the dark-brown haired boy to grab and pull him upwards. “So I guess everyone is going to fall from their boxes, huh?” Touya chuckled and examined his friend’s new aesthetics. Satoshi did as well as he touched his friend’s fedora hat. “Sick.” he said when he was done. “Likewise with your cape and sword.” Touya replied.

 “So I would assume that our friends would be going through what we did, right?” Satoshi asked. Touya nodded. “That’s the theory for now.”

 “Wonder how the others look.”

 “Hopefully as badass as us boys.” Satoshi glared up, something he would always do whenever he was with Iris. No scratch that, he would always do that in general. Touya punched him lightly and sat down on the floor, admiring the pedestal that was looming over them like angels in the mythical Garden of Eden.

 


 

Preview!

 

Harima Touko here!

Now that Touya and Satoshi are out, it’s time for me and Iris to experience what they went through. It’s going to be tough but I’m sure we can be confident in ourselves and beat our shadows!

Though I hope Touya is okay...ah!

Next time on Persona:Next Generations! Rejection and Labels Shattered!

Don’t miss out!

Chapter Text

Touko tried walking but her legs couldn’t give way as she laid on the cold dark ground. They weren’t broken as the legs didn’t bend the same way but she felt a strong pang of pain in her lower area that it was tough. What the light-brown girl did manage to do was situated herself in a sitting position though it cost immense struggle.

She cursed through the pain, something the shy girl never has done in her entire life and thankfully brought her legs towards her upper chest, huffing and catching her breath. “Touya-kun…” she muttered to herself a couple of times, having the image of the tall, dark-brown haired boy and his gentle yet sharp dark-grey eyes. She felt like he should be, no needs to be by her side at this very moment.  She tried to remember how she got to this black and red box that she was in as she vaguely recalled a large city as they fell down through that strange hole. Yes that was it, during the moment Touya’s phone spoke and that eye icon glowed red and when Touya-kun pressed it…

“My, my, is this who I truly am?” said a familiar voice. No it wasn’t even familiar as it was her as she noted the similar pitches and tones in the words. She looked up to see none other than herself, with black particles floating around her like a shadow and yellowish piercing eyes that smiled disaster. She smiled viciously with a look that wanted to hurt, no kill Touko as she stayed there looking down on the injured girl.

“Who are you?” she asked quietly, almost like a whisper. Shadow Touko cupped her mouth and laugh at her mockingly. To spite her for being such an ignorant fool. “Did you really have to ask such a question?” she approached the girl now, her knees bent to match the girl’s height. “Silly I am you. Your true self that has always wanted to come out and play!” she giggled like a psychopath.

Touko winced at once when she saw her face creep on hers, making her uncomfortable. “Touya-kun…help me.” she whispered but it was apparent that Shadow Touko heard as her head jerked back and sighed. “Do you think he can save you? Oh what a poor delusional girl! How you’re willing to hide away your fears behind such an oblivious boy!” she grabbed Touko’s head and smacked her against the wall. Touko cried in pain and tried her best to fight it off with her fist but it was useless. “Stop this…” she groaned as blood was now trickling down her left side of her face, blocking visibility from her left eye. “Why? Isn’t this how you feel? Your true colors?”

“No…you’re not me…” Touko muttered. She was even lucky that she was remaining consciousness after her head being banged on the wall several times.

“What did you say?” and Touko screamed to the top of her lungs. “You’re not me!” she yelled and suddenly engulfed by blue flames, making Shadow Touko bounced back a couple of feet to make sure she wouldn’t get hurt by the fire.

 


 

Before Touko knew what was happening, she felt her legs were free from their agonizing pain. She was able to stand up now and looked around as the blue flames went around her legs, giving her what looked like an ammo pouch on her right leg and on her left a small knife. Next came her chest area as a gun holster lined with light blue and black below her Shujin uniform blazer, ending towards her head where her red ribbons were, creating what looked like a small silvery headband.

She felt her hands holding what appeared to be guns, both of them silvery and had her initials written on them to the side as black imprints of “T.H” were seen on the handles. She noticed her hands wore the purest of white fingerless gloves,  save for her trigger fingers as those were fully covered. There were open slightly at the back of her hand.

Touko’s eyes widened as she saw the one thing she hated very much were now on her hands. “Huh?” she said in confusion and looked up to Shadow Touko who was still grinning like the Devil. “So you’re ready to have a little fight huh? Let’s see how well you can actually shoot.” she went into a fighting stance and in her hands were guns as well. Touko couldn’t believe that this was happening but she knew she had no choice. That and there was an overwhelming sensation inside her nervous system that somehow she knew how to shoot a gun with intense accuracy and can actually fight like Touya or Kazuya. Guess it was time to test that theory she thought to herself, scared yet with a determined look on her face. “Bring it.” she said.

 


 

“That’s yours?!” Satoshi yelled in disbelief at the sight of Touya’s Yakuza looking partner. Satoshi asked to see how his partner looked like and Touya decided to summon him using the strange eye icon app. As he pressed it, he subconsciously yelled out Ianus’ name and blue particles showed up behind him and the monochrome entity appeared. “He looks cool as hell!” Satoshi continued on with his amazement.

Touya gave him a satisfied and condescending smirk, one that his father often gave to his mother whenever they complimented them vicariously. Most of the time that smirk would be painted on the two of them, especially after a well thought out plan to accommodate Makoto and rarely Seiji joined them on the action. Makoto loved that smirk but sometimes Ren would overuse and boy did Touya’s father regretted it afterwards when he was slapped hard across his manly face or even punched hard enough of him to pass out on the floor, with his soul hanging out of his body, weeping.

“Now that I showed you Ianus, it’s time to see yours.” Touya said after Ianus disappeared back into his phone. “Oh you’re going to love mine Touya! He represents me so much.” Satoshi took out his red-colored phone and summoned Artorias, his sword being smacked between his body and his helmet glaring at Touya. Touya was stunned by the look of the medieval knight. “You’re not wrong about the representation. He does suit your tastes very well.”

“Hell yeah Artorias does! He even said he was from the Magician Arcana. Whatever that means anyway.” Touya’s eyes widened when he heard the final words coming out of his friend’s mouth. Magician Arcana…Tarot Cards…his mind went back to Igor and remembered seeing the thirteen Tarot Cards scattered across the V-letter on Igor’s desk. So this is what he meant by his friends…but what do these entities even do? That’s something to ask Igor whenever his next scheduled appointment was in the Velvet Room.

“Touya check this out!” Satoshi ushered his friend to look at his phone, where it still had the eye icon app uploaded. There he saw what appeared to be smaller icons with strange words to the right of them, almost like a move set for the entities as it had the name of Artorias at the upper left. “Zio? Cleave…and Dia? These sounds like fighting moves Touya.” Satoshi said. “Check yours.” Touya nodded. He checked his phone and saw Ianus’ moveset. “Eiha…Kouha…Dual Blade…” Touya looked back at the half-angel-half-demon entity and back at his phone. Could it mean that they might have to fight in the future? Just what is going on?

His thoughts were quickly interrupted however as he saw Satoshi pull out his sword and nudged Touya as huge monsters appeared around them, surrounding them from all fronts. “I guess it’s time for us to check these moves out!” Satoshi grinned at Touya who responded similarly and grabbed his kukri knife backwards. “Let’s go!” he charged.

 


 

Touko was surprised by how accurate her aim was against her shadow. Perhaps it had to be because of her time and patience taking the perfect shot on the camera lens that gave her such advantage but she was astounded by the result. How they shoot at each other with intensity and such close range. Touko even proved her theory right as she was faster than ever before, almost dodging bullets left and right from the shots taken from Shadow Touko.

After awhile it seemed that both stopped on their tracks. She panted loudly given she exhausted a huge portion of her stamina, almost collapsing onto the ground. ‘Not…bad..” Shadow Touko huffed. “To think that a lonely and depressed girl could lash out with such speed and aim towards her shadow.”

“Stop this! I’m not you! We’re not the same.” she quickly said as she dropped her guns. Huge mistake as Shadow Touko was now facing the light-haired brunette and grabbed her arms. “Look into my eyes and tell me what you said is true.” she said angrily. Touko whimpered and closed her eyes, not wanting to look back at the figure. Shadow Touko shook her violently. “I said look into my eyes and tell me you’re not me!” she yelled now to which Touko without hesitation looked straight into the abyss that was Shadow Touko.

 


 

For a while in her adolescent years, Touko began to feel like she was alone. Lost in her bubble that was her world, surrounded by her friends and family. She was happy to be around them at first, but once she heard about Satoshi’s and Iris’ relationship did Touko began to feel more lonely. How her two best friends were living happily ever after while Harima Touko was waiting for her moment as she lingered on and on about whether or not Touya was in love with her. How that time would come when the dark-brown haired tall boy would confess to her, a simple and caring light-brown haired girl. She knew he must’ve given the countless times they blushed when they did something that leaned too close to dating, but sometimes Touko would debunk it and say that it was just an awkward situation.

Yes that was it.

Thus for days on end, Touko began to feel isolated, using her camera as her lens to scope out the truth and hide away her fears of abandonment and rejection if that time would arise between her friends and especially Touya. Often times she would cry herself to sleep given just how nights have passed by with countless nightmares about the horrors that conflicted her every day, hiding it with that shyness and friendliness she would always portray.

Shadow Touko was right that she was hiding away her fears behind Touya.

 


 

“You are me…” Touko heard herself say without much thought, falling down to the ground. She began to cry now, tears streaming down like waterfalls and endlessly drying her eyes with her sleeves. Shadow Touko took note of the situation hugged her human form, caressing her like a mother. It soothed Touko for a bit but her tears still rolled down though not as before. “There, there.” Shadow Touko calmed her down, brushing her hands on Touko’s hair. “It’ll be okay.”

“It’s not! Everything you showed me is the truth! We are one of the same!” she cried, muffled as her face was buried between Shadow Touko’s Shujin uniform. Shadow Touko shook her head and let go of her human, her eyes now that of care and kindness, no longer that of danger.

“Then how about this Touko: we forge a contract to make sure those feelings don’t overflow again. How about that?” she asked gently. Touko finally stopped crying and looked at her shadow, to which she replied with a subtle nod. Shadow Touko smiled and began to transform into a blue cocoon, and reformed into what appeared to be nun.

Her eyes were covered with a metal veil, shining brightly like stars. Her head was covered as well like a nun’s with light blue and white, but her gold hair was still seen braided to the side by her shoulder. Next came her upper area as more nun clothes were seen, except stopping short to her hips as leggings as the skirt stuck out between her hips like those from Shujin’s, and the leggings spread out at the end where white and blue boots were seen with steep heels at the bottom. She was floating as well and had her legs slightly crossed, almost in a sitting position. She had in her hand what appeared to be a pen, though it also resembled a knife, and began to speak with the same gentleness as before.

“I am thou. Thou art I. My name is Heloise from the Priestess Arcana. I am a nun from the tales of old, one forgotten within the realms of history.”

“It’s nice to meet you Heloise.” Touko smiled now as seeing her new friend made her depressed emotions go away. Heloise nodded. “I will make sure you carry out that plan to be Touya’s beloved just as I did with mine long ago.” the nun smiled back. Touko thanked the entity and reminded herself about her whereabouts as she remembered seeing a huge city. “Heloise, can you take me to the large city me and my friends saw as we fell down from here?” she asked.

“With pleasure.” Heloise replied back as rumbling was heard as an opening was made, revealing the huge city Touko mentioned. Heloise disappeared into Touko’s phone and Touko walked towards the exit, seeing her friends, Satoshi and Touya fighting.

 


 

Touya decided to test out the move set, using the move Eiha first, as red and black ghosts lashed out at the hordes of shadows that approached them. Then for backup Satoshi slashed at the weak ones with precision and summoning Artorias to strike and called upon using his move Zio, releasing a barrage of lightning bolts. Then as a finishing move, Touya slashed with his kukri knife and threw a shadow at Satoshi, only for Satoshi to cut it in half.

After the lengthy battle, they sat down once more to catch their breaths. “Phew…that was a fun exercise.” Satoshi swept the sweat from his brow. Touya nodded. “Yeah…and now we know what those moves were.” Touya chuckled putting his phone away. “So it shows that you can use like curse abilities and I can use lightning. What is this, Pokemon?” Satoshi nodded to the old video game franchise that Aunt Futaba made sure Touya would fall in love with as he was growing up. How the little creatures were summoned form their poke-balls and use the move set they had….hey that’s it! Touya jumped out unexpectedly, making Satoshi confused. “It’s exactly like Pokemon!” Touya yelled out. “That means we have to level these guys out and become stronger.”

“Dude then that means these guys are going to be powerful as hell in the near future.” Satoshi’s eyes glowed up.

“Once we figure out this place then yeah.” Touya stopped short as he heard screaming from across the field. He saw that another Pandora Box was opened and saw Touko falling out of it, screaming with fear and tugging onto her skirt. Immediately Touya sprinted towards the girl and caught her mid-air, as he jumped and grabbed her back and legs, and stuck his landing.

Well almost as he staggered a bit as this was his first time even carrying the brunette. She was a bit heavy given her innocent and slim figure but there was no way he was going to tell her that.

“Touya-kun!!” Touko’s cheeks blushed, making Touya blush the same tone color. Man this was embarrassing! “Yeah it’s me…let me put you down.” he carefully placed her feet down to the ground, and examined her new aesthetics. The fact that she had a gun holster made Touya shudder. Did that mean that she had a sadistic side like Kazuya’s mother? Or was it more towards his own mother with repressed anger? He shook the possibilities out of his mind.

“Nice clothing…” he said to her quietly, almost like a mumble. Touko thanked him and Satoshi came to the scene, welcoming Touko back. “So who’s your partner?” he asked suddenly. Touko was confused by what he meant and took out her phone. “You mean Heloise?” Touya and Satoshi nodded.

 


 

Iris opened her eyes to see a small trail running down on her right cheek. She examined her hands and found her right hand bloody as well. She tried to move it but it caused severe pain to her body. She whimpered and decided to stop using her hand and try to move her legs. Her legs were fine but somehow her left ankle was broken as it was slanted to the other side instead of where it should be.

She looked around to see if there was something to sustain her and to pull her up but for the poor blonde there was nothing in sight. “Damn it…where’s Satoshi when you need him?” she muttered to herself, worried about the teaser that was Hatake Satoshi. Iris closed her eyes for a bit and while they were closed, she would use her school blazer to wipe the blood from her right cheek with her left hand.

“So you are me?” she heard a voice after she cleaned herself up, opening her brown-eyes to see none other than herself, her eyes yellow and black tint surrounding her. It frightened Iris but not to the point where she was trembling. Though she was slightly. “Who are you?” she asked herself. Shadow Iris smiled at her. “I’m you and you are me. I am the truth behind everything you feel, see, or even hear in the real world. I am what contains everything you despise yet you hide it away with a mask.”

Iris shook her head. “What are you talking about? What mask? This isn’t me.” she trailed off after realizing her body was now in intense pain, and she coughed out blood. “Poor girl…accept who you are already.” Shadow Iris grabbed her by the broken ankle, causing Iris to lash out in pain, screaming violently and begging her to stop.

“Stop this! We’re not the same! We’re not the same!” Iris’ voice was muffled now as blue flames surrounded her, covering her body. They didn’t burn her but she felt a sensation of warmth, almost like Satoshi was hugging her. Satoshi…

 


 

Iris felt a small golden crown on her head, glistening brightly as small blue jewels were barely seen around the sides. The blue flames then went for her arms, as her hand was no longer hurting and was now covered with blue and black fingerless gloves were seen, having plaid on the bottom of it.

One of them was holding a sharp twin lance, as the nice silver edge was seen on the top and the bottom while having white and blue spirals coming through the middle. Her legs were fine now as she wiggled her left foot to see that it was not back in place. Lastly she felt a strap around her chest area, and felt a holster for her lance. The blonde girl was confused by her sudden rehabilitation but looked back to see an angered Shadow Iris. Guess that means she’s going to have to fight. Iris prepared herself with her hands on the lance, ready for battle.

 


 

“Frei…Dia…Swift Strike…and Sukukaja? What’s that?” the two boys asked the brunette as they were sitting back towards the pedestal. Touko shook her head. “Well for Frei it looks like its nuclear stuff” she points to the icon where it looked like the radiation sign in movies and TV shows, but it was light-blue. “And for Dia it looks like it could be used for healing.” Touya looks back at Satoshi’s phone who also contained the move Dia.

“What about the other two Touya-kun?” Touko asked innocently. Touya shrugged. “When there’s more enemies, we’ll have to wait and see.” he looked back at the city behind them. “I want to check out what Neo-Mementos has in store for us.” he decided to walk past the pedestal, his two friends looking at him with caution. Touya decided to step his right foot in first into the city, but was somehow stopped as blocks of red and black were seen coming up, blocking the city from view.

“Touya!” the two friends yelled at him as he jumped back. “You okay?” Touko asked. Touya nodded. “Looks like we can’t see much of the city now.” he joked.

“But you did attract more attention.” Satoshi unsheathed his sword as more Shadows approached them. “Can you show us your moves Touko?” Touya asked the light-brown haired girl. She nodded, a small grin on her face. “Ready.”

 


 

Iris couldn’t believe that she was capable of using a lance with ease. It was somehow ingrained in her like data installed into a computer. It wasn’t t say the least for her shadow as she was equally skilled with her lance. Iris looked back at Shadow Iris once more. How her figure was just as even as her, and her blonde locks curled at the bottom, but her yellow eyes were screaming at her, yelling at her for resisting the truth. Iris felt a pang on her body as she saw a glimpse of what was in those eyes, but that didn’t stop her from fighting.

“Give up yet Iris Sakamoto?” Shadow Iris panted. Iris shook her head. “I’m barely getting…” she stopped her sentence as she felt her body tire out, falling back to the ground. Shadow Iris saw the opportunity and lunged at her, grabbing her wrists and pinning her down.

“I thought you were just getting started.” she whispered to her as Iris was now struggling to get some space. “Get off of me! Leave me alone!” Iris yelled but was soon entranced by the yellow eyes that were Shadow Iris’, revealing the truth within.

Iris loved her friends and her writing skills equally. How she would spend time with the gang and especially Satoshi who would always in some way shape or form would provide comfort for her, and when things were rough she would have him by his side or in some cases write an entire short story or a series of poems to share to the gang. She adored writing and hanging out, but there was something that made her tick as times, or flat-out anger her inside.

 


 

Her parents.

She didn’t hate them but she hated how people kept labeling the smart, creative, and friendly girl as her mother, the famous Fashion Designer of Panther’s, Ann Takamaki or her brute father that was the head of PE Department of Shujin Academy, Ryuji Sakamoto. She hated how especially people kept telling her to be like her mother, and especially her mother and just give up on writing. She often confide these thoughts to Satoshi and sometimes Touya as his parents were on a high-caliber.

“Those labels? I just let them go and move on with my day.” Touya would always say to her to comfort her. But that didn’t stop her from hating how her parents created such a mess for her to clean up and deviate from just so she can become her own person. Just Iris Sakamoto was all she wanted them to say.

 


 

“I am you…” she said finally. Shadow Iris smiled and released the girl from her grasp, and lend her hand. “I saw what was truly underneath all of this. I’m sorry for fighting you can causing all these troubles. I just couldn’t believe myself that this is who I really am.”

“Don’t fret your Highness. Sometimes it get the best of us.” Shadow Iris accentuated the word Highness, a word that was often Iris’ nickname as she was the one with the final decision in most cases. One time she was the tie-breaker for a cooking match between Touya and Kazuya one summer as the two decided to have a “Shokugeki” like the ones from their favorite anime. Everyone else couldn’t decide and she managed to tell the difference in one second, almost like a Queen’s declaration.

“Your Highness is amazing.” Hiyori joked that time as she was busy playing a game on her phone. Iris just laughed at the comment. “Indeed it does…so what do we do now?” Iris asked her shadow.

“We will forge a contract so that your Highness should not worry over such trivial matters and should focus on what lies ahead. Her own forged path.” and thus Shadow Iris was beginning to disappear, turning herself into a blue cocoon. Then it bursted and it wasn’t Shadow Iris who returned but someone else.

Now in front of her appeared to be a queen, as her dress dignified royalty as it was huge by her lower area, with plaid on the bottom like Iris’ gloves, covering her sharp heels. The rest of the dress was red and black, as red stripes were seen vertically to her sides and a black royal upper garments with laces intertwining in the middle of the queen’s chest area.

Then there was her face as her face was serious with yellow eyes looking down with pride and order, and her brown hair trickling down beneath her giant gold crown, and then tied up behind her neatly. Her hands were covered with the same black garment, having a small ring placed on her middle fingers. She had her arms crossed, and began to speak in an orderly and royal form.

“I am thou. Thou art I. My name is Catalina of the Empress Arcana. I am one of many wives to the wastrel that was King Henry VIII, but that is all the textbooks know me as I was a fierce some queen during my reign.”

“I’ve heard the stories from Satoshi. We have something in common then.” Iris chuckled. “So Catalina, where are we? How do we get out of here?”

“This is Neo-Mementos. Your exit shall arrive shortly.” rumbling was heard behind her and an opening was seen, the red light falling through the dark box, and a large city was rocketing upwards. Iris unlike the others noticed the drop down and told Catalina if she could carry her down, to which the Persona nodded, gently grabbing Iris Sakamoto down to safety.

 


 

According to Touya, he told the gang and now Iris as she walked towards them with her Persona that there was a chance that the more they awakened their entity and their abilities to access here in Neo-Mementos, Shadows were reappear and see their capabilities.

“So that means in a short while there’ll be more enemies as each one leaves their Pandora Box?” Iris questioned the others as they nodded. “That means now we’re going to have to fight and fight until all of us are here around these pedestal.” Iris looked at the shining pedestal. “I see…”

“Also what is your skill set?” Touya asked his friend. Iris looked at Catalina who then bowed to her and went inside Iris’ phone. Iris checked and saw the eye icon open already and Catalina’s name. “Bufu…Amrita Drop…Mabufu…and Snap.” she finished off, showing the others her phone. Where it said Bufu was the image of a snowflake, indicating that her entity wield ice abilities. “So I’m Curse and Bless…Touko is Nuclear…Satoshi is Lightning…”

“Iris Sakamoto, the one and only is our ice mage!” Satoshi hugged his girlfriend with a sly smile on his face. Iris laughed and released her beau, seeing a blushed Touya and Touko looking away from each other. It looked like as the two were hugging, the dark-brown and light-brown haired boy and girl thought of the possibility but declined as the two were avoiding eye contact.

Oh those two…when will they confess?

After their brief exchange, more shadows appeared, proving Touya’s theory to be correct. “Iris show them what you’re made of!” Satoshi yelled as he summoned Artorias. Iris nodded, grabbing her lance, and yelling to the top of her lungs Catalina’s name. “Now them guys…let’s go!” Touya rushed in with his kukri knife, Satoshi with his sword, Touko with her guns, and their newest member with her twin lance, each with a slight grin on their faces like the Phantom Thieves of Hearts from long ago.

 


 

Preview!

Hey it’s Niijima Touya here!

 

As the four of us battle against the shadows thanks to the awakening of Iris’ Persona Catalina,

Hiyori and Shun find themselves trapped in their Pandora Box to discover their true selves! If you thought us four had emotional backstories, wait to see the others as they fight, cry, and smile their way through it all!

 

Next time on Persona: Next Generations! Quarrels of Mothers and Manga!

 

Don’t miss out!

Chapter Text

“Where am I?” Hiyori grunted as she was rubbing her head from such a fall. Thankfully she had no injuries other than a few scratches on her legs and her body was fine unlike what the others had experienced before. She did seem to notice that her cat headband was gone from her dyed-orange hair and her lime-green eyes examined her Pandora Box for her missing hair accessory, frantically walking around the black and red-lit box for the one thing her adoptive mother gave to her as a birthday present last year. How the first-year remembers that day so vividly as Futaba Sakura returned home after a long day at work, sitting down by the table and inviting Hiyori to sit with her in order to give her precious black cat headband that she would always wear from that day forth.

“Where are you?” she asked in a panic state, walking around her Pandora Box. Finally she spotted the headband across from her to her right and immediately ran towards it. She was stopped however as another person grabbed it. Hiyori wouldn’t say another person as that someone was none other than herself, her small frail body and her unkempt hair and everything else.

Except there was one big difference. Her eyes. They were yellow instead of the girl’s lime-green, scaring her yet made her excited. It was like one of those moments in video games where the protagonist, in this case Hiyori Sakura, was meeting with someone else to start the tutorial that was her quest line. Maybe that was it as she was coming to think about it. It would make sense how she and the others fell down this giant hole and headed downwards towards this huge distorted city…but if that was the case, then how did she end up here in this box?

“Oh is this yours, Sakura Hiyori?” Shadow Hiyori spoke in a tone that haunted Hiyori now, almost as if she was a ghost and she was inside a scary mansion. “Y-y-yes?” she said rather frightened as Shadow Hiyori approached her, still having the head band on her hand. “To think that a spiteful mother would give such a gift to a pitiful girl such as you.” she sighed as she was twirling the headband now. Hiyori tried to reach for it, but Shadow Hiyori was too quick and switched hands.

“Give it back!” Hiyori yelled at her, constantly trying to grab the cat ears. “Tsk, tsk.” Shadow Hiyori scoffed at her as she was teasing the poor girl. “I can’t believe that we are the same person. This is pathetic.” and she kicked Hiyori in the stomach. Hiyori coughed out blood and fell to the floor, amazed yet eyes focusing on her other self’s next move.

“Same person…there’s no way we are…” she groaned. Shadow Hiyori kicked harder now. “Really now? Say it again if you dare!” and she kicked her to the point where she couldn’t breathe as she was gasping for air. “You’re not me….we’re not the same!” she struggled to yell but made her voice clear as blue flames surrounded her, shrouding her from the threat of her shadow. She closed her eyes and hoped to awake back home as the blue flames felt like the soft small black couch she had back home.

 


 

Once Hiyori opened her eyes, she realized she was able to breathe again. She felt a small yellow scarf on her neck, one tied in a nice knot at the back like a cowboy’s. Her hips felt heavy too as what appeared to be an ammo pouch was on her left side, brown and big strapped onto a brown leather belt around her Shujin skirt. What’s more was that she felt a black strap on her chest area and felt a black sniper rifle behind her.

Hiyori also felt something on her head as black and yellow goggles were seen sticking out of her head, and her hands were covered with dark-yellow and white fingerless gloves except for her trigger finger on her left hand. Hiyori stood up and saw that her cuts were now gone and her body was functional.

“What is going on?” she said to herself. Hiyori decided to try out the goggles, and once she did, she was amazed to see that there was a small map on her left upper corner and scanners everywhere, surveying the land and the enemy in front of her, analyzing her like data. Does that mean she was like a navigator? If she was then now was the chance to prove it as she grabbed her sniper rifle from her back. The gun was lightweight despite how sturdy it looked but she grinned. “Alright! Come at me boss number one!” she yelled with a smirk on her face. She was treating this like a video game.

 


 

“Now we know what Dia is for…” Satoshi dropped down on the floor, exhausted. Touya agreed with the boy as during their battle, they were massively injured. After a few dodges and careful attacks, Iris told Touko to try out the move Dia. Touko nodded her head and summoned Heloise, yelling out Dia first. She used it on Touya first as Satoshi was able to use the same move, thus using it on himself.

Rays of green light were seen below their feet and went upwards, healing their injuries from the fight. Touya was amazed by the sudden heal and then lashed out at the remaining Shadows with his kukri knife and using Ianus’ Kouha, as golden arrows were shot towards them, finishing them off once and for all.

“Yeah that move saved us.” Touya sighed of relief, his black fedora hat almost falling down from his fluffy dark-brown hair. Touko fixed it for him as he had no desire to put it back up. “Thanks.” Touya said to the brunette. She smiled back, knowing that his thank was two-fold as he was also thanking her for healing. “I gotta say…I wonder what the other’s partners and abilities would be like?” Iris inquired.

“Well let’s see what we have so far….Touya’s basically a Nephilim, Touko’s a freaking badass nun, and Iris here has one of the most fierce some wives of King Henry VIII.”

“Don’t forget about you and King Arthur over there.” Touya pointed towards the knight, radiating in blue as he was still being summoned by the black-haired, green-eyed amateur swordsman.

“Oh how could I forget about this guy!” he softly punched the armor of the knight. “Still what exactly are these things? And these enemies we keep having to fight?” Touko asked the Niijima.

Touya thought about it for a moment, gathering what he already knew from Igor’s encounter until now.

There were the arcanas that each one was assigned to: Touya was the Fool, Satoshi the Magician, Touko the Priestess, and Iris as the Empress. Next that into his mind was the move sets of everyone and their enhanced physical abilities as they were not only able to carry a weapon but use it to the fullest potential. Not to mention their agility and strength too. “I don’t know really…” Touya ended off his thoughts to the gang. “Well let’s just hope we get a break from fighting because I feel so tired.” Satoshi yawned. The others nodded in agreement.

 


 

Hiyori was genuinely enjoying this moment.

She wasn’t being a sadist, but she was happy that she was able to use her gamer skills to the test when fighting against her shadow and somehow her body was faster and more nimble than before. “This is amazing!” she yelled as she analyzed the track pattern of Shadow Hiyori. She managed to figure out that Shadow Hiyori was copying much of her movements, so Hiyori decided to play around with her as she switched from simple dodging to straight shooting bullets left and right. It seemed to work perfectly as she saw the shadow feel somewhat tired and frustrated.

“Haha! Loser!” Hiyori took out her tongue which aggravated Shadow Hiyori but not so much as the shadow held a grin. “Is that so? Try analyzing this.” Shadow Hiyori suddenly disappear, making Hiyori confuse as she tried tracking her down with her goggles. She was nowhere to be seen.

“Huh?” she said confused but was forced back to the ground as Shadow Hiyori kicked her from behind. The same pattern went on for a while, destroying Hiyori’s joyful and free spirit. Guess she wasn’t at that level to beat the dungeon boss as Shadow Hiyori was now in front of her, admiring her success.

“Poor fool, did you really think you had me cornered? Ha!” she grabbed Hiyori by the neck. Though she wasn’t choking her, Hiyori still felt a pain around that area. “Let go of me!” she yelled, kicking her and punching her. Shadow Hiyori laughed. “Not until you see who you really are Sakura Hiyori.”

“I’m not you! I’m not…” Hiyori was in a trance as she gazed her eyes upon Shadow Hiyori’s, enveloping a truth that made Hiyori shed a small tear.

 


 

Mom.

At least what Hiyori called the famous hacker and head of Cyber Net Security, a company made by the one and only Futaba Sakura to help the government provide safety to the public through the internet. Hiyori loved her mother, or rather her adoptive mother. According to Grandpa Sojiro, Hiyori was found lying on the streets near Futaba’s work one day as a little kid, unable to comprehend the tragedy that befell on brown-haired girl at the time.

After that encounter, Futaba adopted her, plain and simple, but never confronted Hiyori of what happened to her real parents. According to her adoptive mother, she found some records online that said that they were missing. That was the lie of course as Hiyori, and like Futaba, shared similar traits as she pestered whether or not that's the truth as she grew up in the household in Yongen-Jaya.

It wasn’t until her last year at middle school that Hiyori decided to have access to Futaba’s computer behind her back, only to find out that her real parents just abandoned her for no reason at all. The truth hurt the poor girl as she was fed a lie by her guardian, and cried non-stop for days on end. She managed to confront Futaba about it later on, apologizing and saying sorry to the orange short-haired and round glasses woman at the dinner table one night.

“Don’t worry about it Hiyori.” she said in the end, not even feeling mad about the fact her daughter went ahead and checked the records without her even knowing. Grandpa Sojiro was there too and digressed the tensed moment, deciding to mumble on and on about coffee and how he was a “player” back at his young age. But that night left Hiyori with another burning question: did Futaba adopt her out of spite or did she really care about the brown-haired, now dyed orange girl?

Thus for days on end that questioned lingered in Hiyori’s poor mind, constantly eating away at her despite showing her cheerful, sometimes isolationist and even otaku mask towards her friends and cousin. How that mask made her days easier to live by rather than accept what could possibly be the inevitable truth, talking on and on about RPGS and the latest manga chapter or anime episode to her cousin, Niijima Touya.

 


 

“You had all that? The truth?” Hiyori’s eye widened with disbelief after seeing what was underneath the yellow eyes. Shadow Hiyori nodded, her face now changed with a slight frown and saddened eyes. Hiyori decided to hug her Shadow, clutching her tightly like she always did on Futaba’s lab coat when she was little so Futaba wouldn’t go away when she was leaving the little girl at the preschool.

“Sorry for fighting you like a one-on-one match of Tekken.” Hiyori chuckled under her breath. It even caused Shadow Hiyori to smile too. “You know Hiyori…we could make a contact so you can confront your mother again except this time filled with pure love and joy.”

“We should Shadow Hiyori. Oh and can I have my headband back?” Hiyori pointed at the cat headband she was trying to get from her in the first place. Shadow Hiyori obliged and returned it to her, even putting it back on her hair. “Also…change the hair color to a mix between your brown and your orange.” Shadow Hiyori added.

“Like Coach Sakamoto with his black and blonde hair?”

“More or less.” and thus Shadow Hiyori began to fade away, turning into a blue cocoon and then bursting through it, now becoming a whole new entity. First there was his entire body as it was nothing but what appeared to be a singularity often seen in space. Dots appeared around him, but he was also clothed with a long black scarf, trailing down towards his hips, and a belt with two strange-looking blue and purple revolvers, sticking out at the sides like a cowboy’s.

He did appear to have what looked like Jedi clothing from the western movies Star Wars as they looked like black robes and pants with boots, though they were semi-transparent. Lastly he wore what appeared to also look like a messenger hat, one seen in myths of old such as Hermes except it had crescent moons on the sides than the lightning bolts. In fact to contrast with the moons, his black boots had suns sticking out at the heels. He began to speak with an extremely friendly demeanor.

“I am thou. Thou art I! The name’s Somnus from the Star Arcana. You may know me as many things such as the Roman God of night and stars or if you want the otaku side of things, I’m the name of the infamous main theme of an old game…”

“Final Fantasy XV! How could I not know that?” she fist pumped her Persona. “What can you do? Can you navigate like I can with my visor?! What do the revolvers do?” she surrounded him on all corners rapidly, examine every detail of the astronomical figure. Somnus sighed. “I believe the answers to these questions will arrive shortly my little friend.” he winked at her. “Oh ok! I can’t wait!” Hiyori suddenly remembered another burning question. “Also where are we? How do I get out?!” she yelled frantically, looking around to find a n escape route or something. Somnus relaxed her.

“Calm down my Shining Star! We are currently in Neo-Mementos and soon there’ll be an exit!” the singularity Persona finally calmed her down as rumbling was heard and an opening was now seen, as the distorted city, now blocked with a barricade was shown. Hiyori used her visor to examine the layout of the city and found that she was at a high place.

“Somnus buddy…it’s time to escort the payload.” she said seriously. “You mean yourself Shining Star?” and Hiyori nodded with intensity, having Somnus carry her behind his back like a horse and headed downwards towards where the others were.

 


 

“Hiyori wins in terms of a cool-ass partner. HANDS DOWN.” Satoshi and Touya spoke when they saw the orange-dyed hair first year with her aesthetics and Persona. Hiyori smirked the Sakura Grin, a grin similar to Ren’s Joker Smirk except it was more condescending. “He does right? But I gotta admit yours look cool too! Especially Satoshi’s as it looks like a Dark Souls character!” and Hiyori went on and on, rambling about how each of the gang’s Personas resembled a video character.

Touko and Iris sighed as the other two boys joined in on the rambling, agreeing with the girl from time to time. After they relaxed for a bit from the massive conversation from the Holy Geeks, Touya asked her about her aesthetics. “Okay so besides this really cool sniper,” she petted the black rifle like a pet. “I have these cool goggles that can scout the land as it has a mini-map and can analyze enemies!” that got everyone’s interest. “Analyze? Try it on us Hiyori-chan.” Iris asked the first year. Hiyori nodded. “With pleasure.”

 


 

As Hiyori scanned the four teenagers, the orange-dyed hair girl told them they have their strengths and weaknesses in battle. “Touko is weak to something called Psychic…Iris is weak to fire obviously, Satoshi is weak to wind abilities, but with Touya it seems he doesn’t have a strong weakness like you three.” Hiyori placed her goggles back on her head alongside her cat headband. Touya was astonished by the revelation.

“Maybe it has to be because he uses two abilities instead of one.” Touko spoke after the scanning and tried to fix the set up Hiyori had on her head to accommodate the girl. “So Touya’s possibly stronger than all of us? That’s insane!” Satoshi placed his arm on the boy’s shoulder. Touya smiled nervously. “Guess so…but that doesn’t solve as to who these guys are though.” Touya replied back.

“We’ll have to wait and see in the future.” Iris said as she sat down next to Satoshi. “At least the good news is that we don’t have to fight this time.”

“Thanks for the clutch save Hiyori.” Satoshi high-fived her. “Don’t mention it.” she looked around.

“Where are the others?”

“Inside their Pandora Boxes still.” Touya replied back to his cousin, pointing at the boxes on top of them as three of them were still closed. “So we’re waiting for them.”

“And see what they have in store as well!” Satoshi yelled to the top of his lungs in enthusiasm. It looked like the boy was having fun with this despite almost being killed by the truth before. Touko sat down next to Touya now and grabbed his arm without thinking, causing the boy to look back at the shy girl. He blushed as per usual, but this time he accepted it as this was something Touko would do whenever she was getting tired. How she would grab the boy’s lean arms and doze off for a bit to reboot her system.

Upon seeing this, Touya promised himself to protect him at all costs now than ever before. Going back to Igor’s words from the Velvet Room, Touko was a part of his fate towards fighting the chaos that’s to occur. That meant he needed to step up his game. Finally he decided to doze off as well and placed his head on her’s, his black fedora hat going downwards to cover their faces, a sight that the three looked with glee as they didn’t want to disturb the two with their “intimate” moment.

 


 

The dark-blue haired Shujin student looked around his Pandora Box, his large bang that covered his right eye now barely covering his left. He grabbed his left arm as his uniform was wet with blood from an injury he had no idea he even had as he woke up.

Kitagawa Shun was breathing in an out to catch his breath, remaining calm after seeing none other than himself standing before him with a wide smile. Shun was fixated on how he was looking at himself and how his yellow eyes pierced at him like darts. Shun scoffed at the sight. How was possible that he was seeing himself, let alone being inside this strange eccentric box? It was impossible.

Then again Shun went back to the moment where Touya looked at his phone, the red eye icon glaring at him, thus pressing it and sending him into a void that appeared to be a distorted city. Perhaps that was it, but how was he in this box? “It’s a shame that a sloth such as yourself is not willing to admit your flaws that I have the burden to carry.” Shadow Shun shook her head vigorously.

“A sloth? How dare you…” Shun slowly placed his large bang in place now, fully seeing his shadow. “How dare me what? Finish the sentence.” Shadow Shun dared him as he was walking towards the dark-blue haired boy. Shun thought of the words now but his body was in a pained state that he couldn’t think straight. After awhile he found the words, the words that seemingly differentiate the two.

“How dare you call me a sloth…” he finished off now, panting. Shadow Shun laughed at him. “That was all you had to say? Pathetic but understandable considering you only do what you’re told to do….yet another thing I have to bear for the sake of masquerading your eccentricities.” he sighed as he grabbed Shun now by the wounded arm, squeezing tightly at it.

Shun screamed with anguish, as the more he yelled, the more Shadow Shun was willing to squeeze it harder each time Shun yelled. “We are the same you and I you know…it’s a bother to have to apply such pain so you can understand the truth.” he released Shun’s arm now, more blood flowing downwards, some trickling down his fingers. As Shun huffed, exhausted form the little amount of torture he bared…he spoke again, more a mumble than his usual nonchalant voice.

“We’re not one of the same…I’m not you…” and his eyes closed down due to the amount of blood he lost on his arm, his body falling down to the ground, blue flames enveloping around him like a blanket for his eternal sleep that was to occur.

Or so he thought.

 


 

A large black shuriken was placed on his upper back while a small katana was strapped on his lower side, towards his hip area. They weren’t surprisingly heavy but he felt the weight.  His arm was now functional and the wound was healed. He felt some green and black fingerless gloves on his hands, and a small black ring on his middle fingers like a ninja’s. What’s more was his mouth was covered as a dark-green ninja mask and scarf was worn, having two strands sticking out like Touya’s. He even felt a small pouch on his left arm, wrapped around him with grey, holding what looked to be small knives.

Shun admired his new look, flexing his previously injured arm. He took out his katana, slanted to the side and admired the dragons on the black and white hilt of the blade, and the silvery blade smooth and yet sharp at its end. It looked like the craftsmanship of the blade was well-done and possibly the best the swordsman has ever done.

“So the sloth can handle such skill with a blade? I see.” Shadow Shun was on his feet thanks to the blue flames surrounding the dark-blue haired boy and his ninja attire. “We shall see who the true sloth really is other me.” Shun wielded his katana with ease, and positioned himself much like the ninja from the shows he watched with Touya and Hiyori. Despite hiding his smile underneath his mask, he was ready to deal with Shadow Shun. “Come at me with all you got!” Shun yelled, sprinting towards the shadow with full force, swinging his katana with might and ease.

This battle was going to be tough.

 


 

Touya was happy that they didn’t have to fight for awhile as they continued sitting by the pedestal, admiring the distorted view. According to their navigator, Hiyori told the group that there is more to Neo-Mementos. “Ten districts?” Iris was shocked by the knowledge as Hiyori nodded. “Yupp. Though we don’t know what exactly they are but that’s all I can say for certain.”

“Does that mean this is one or is this like the hub world?” Satoshi asked as he was stretching his arms, yawning in the process. Everyone else followed suit. From fighting to summoning their Personas, their bodies were beginning to tire them out. Touko was still slanted on Touya’s shoulder, though not as sleepy as she was before as Touya was now fixing his fedora hat on his fluffy hair.

“This is a district Satoshi.” Hiyori took out her goggles and checked her phone. “Ooh! Somnus you got some cool stuff!” Hiyori showed the gang her Persona’s skill set. “Recover HP….Recover SP…Triple-Down…Form Change?” everyone was perplexed by Hiyori’s skill set. Did that meant that the little girl, a first year at Shujin Academy was their support? It was truly a thought to be unfold. Hiyori saw their confused looks and grinned devilishly and put her phone away. “We’ll have to wait and see when the next battle starts.” she finished saying before humming an anime theme song. Iris spoke now. “I hope the others are doing well.”

“I doubt it Iris.” Touko replied as she was now leaving her comfortable spot form Touya’s shoulder. “If we were all injured from the process of fighting our inner selves, the same can be said with the last remaining three.” Touya concluded as he was thinking in the process. Ten districts…eight teenagers…and the fact that they can easily defend themselves…Igor wasn’t kidding about this fate they were going to face in the future. Yet another questioned sunk in Touya’s mind: his parents.

Given their behaviors when he mentioned the app, they knew of its function, but did that also meant that they were keeping them safe from all this? It had to be, but now Touya wasn’t so sure. As Touya was busy with his thoughts, Touko saw the look on his face. A tired smile he had on to assure her as he saw her gaze up at him while he was lost in his thoughts.

Iris and Satoshi saw the two and sighed once more, yet were happy to see them interact like a boyfriend and girlfriend despite the two still not being able to confess. Something the black-haired and blonde should even take note of to make their relationship more meaningful.

Meanwhile Hiyori was secretly looking around the hub world that was the first district, zooming in on what she guessed was Shun’s Pandora Box. “This is so strange…” she trailed off.

 


 

Shun blocked most of Shadow Shun’s attacks with his katana. Seeing how he was able to block and use with precision and accuracy baffled the lazy boy but it didn’t bother him as he was pleased with his movements, gently shifting to and fro like his father’s paintbrushes in his art studio inside their massive apartment. He managed to slash at him a few times but he was on defense, safely blocking and guarding his ravage movements. He finally got the chance to parry at the shadow, striking him with a swift motion of his blade before putting it back on.

Shun didn’t look back but smiled to see his shadow fall to the ground…only to realize that it was a decoy as Shadow Shun lunged at him from, assaulting him with sheer strength as both blades were now struggling to get to the user. “You’re nothing but a sloth….a wastrel who lost his passion long ago…don’t you see it within the realm of my eyes Shunji?” Shadow Shun managed to make Shun lose his balance, pushing him back to the wall to pin the boy.

“No…I have no idea what you’re talking about!” Shun regain his balance now despite being pinned to the wall, finally making Shadow Shun lose grip on his katana. After seeing the shock on the Shadow’s face, Shun moved as quick as possible, rotating his body to the right and grabbing Shadow Shun’s arm into a hold.

“This is mad! We’re not the same!” he yelled at him, almost to the point of rage. Enough of these lies, these fallacies! Shadow Shun shook his head and locked eyes on Shun. “If you think that, then look into my eyes and say it’s not true.” he smirked. Shun took on the dare, locking into his yellow eyes. “We’re not the same…” Shun couldn’t finish the sentence as he was entranced into the eyes of his shadow who held the truth within.

 


 

It felt that it was a long time that Shun felt his passion burn out and faded away form his soul. How he would spend his days at his father’s studio and just draw manga, Shojo Manga to be specific. The dark-blue haired boy was always at the corner by Yusuke’s work and would just doodle on old scrap paper his father stopped using.

Yusuke admired his son’s talents as he would always tell Hifumi, his darling wife how amazing his artistic gene was. This made Shun aspire to pursue his talents even further, constantly going online in his laptop or his mother’s work tablet to look for manga artist, especially Shojo and continue perfecting his craft.

Sometimes his mother would joke to his father about how one draws and paints eloquently, his ides abstract but with a purpose as each stroke and brush was laid out perfectly while the other was busy perfectly the scenery and the characters in his manga boxes. How he was always focused at all times to create the perfect scene.

That all seemed to change however as bullies would make fun of his artistic talents. Those mean boys, picking on the poor dark-blue hair boy for doing something girly and weird. Sometimes the bullies would ruin his finished works, dumping them out of his bag and throwing it in the trash, then finishing off their torments with laughs and snickers as the boy was recollecting his drawings. “What a loser!” they all yelled, leaving the scene. Shun cried upon how his works were not praised besides his parents’ and later began to overthink of what the boys said. How it was too girly and weird, thus for a long period of time he began to slowly lose interest, losing his sense of passion and desire to write the perfect manga series.

During that transition, Shun made sure to keep a mask on with his parents about how he’s willing to show the world his shojo manga skills, while in reality he was to busy indulging himself with snacks on end, looking at online videos or just sleep in general. Becoming the sloth as Shadow Shun said it in his face during their confrontation. Perhaps the shadow was right…

 


 

“We are indeed the same.” Shun finally spoke after witnessing his flaw, letting go of his other self. Shadow Shun brushed himself. “It took some time but I am grateful for your acknowledgement.” he replied back, removing his back form the wall and walking  back towards where he stood. “So what now?” Shun asked his shadow who appeared to looking away from him.

“We shall forge a contact to avert your slothfulness and regain your confidence as a manga artist.” Shadow Shun looked back at Shun with a confident look. Shun agreed, nodding his head in respect, and once he did, Shadow Shun began to fade away, transforming into a blue cocoon.

The cocoon bursted and he was met with what appeared to be a robotic samurai. He had green darting eyes for his silvery robotic head, as it resembled a Power Ranger with a black head sash long flowing downwards towards the rest of his body, protruding down towards his legs as they were lengthy. His arms were clad with a dark-green tunic, covering both arms and body. He had the samurai soldier pads were seen as well on each shoulder, tainted with black and hints of light grey like his robotic head.

The right arm was barely seen as it was crossed and hidden from the tunic like a shogun when he crosses both arms on his chest area. His left arm was carrying a katana, the gold and silver glistening intensely. but on his back had two large swords crossed at each other like an X. His light-brown pants were seen as well with dark-brown boots as his footing. He began to speak now in a respectful tone of voice. “I am thou. Thou art I. My name is Niten Doraku form the Emperor Arcana. I was once a famous swordsman during the times of Feudal Japan and their shogunate.”

“Indeed…I’ve been told by my mother by your famous skills.” Shun replied back with a smile but he continued speaking. “Niten Doraku, may I ask a question?”

“Indeed my Young Prince.”

“What is this place? I remember a city.” he described the robot the scenery while the gang were falling down when Touya pressed on the app. Niten Doraku nodded his head as he knew the answer. “This is known as Neo-Mementos. Specifically your Pandora Box.”

“Pandora Box?”

“A place where one is meant to confront his true self. “

“I see. How do we get out of here?

“The path shall be presented to you shortly.” and with that the robotic samurai went into Shun’s phone, and rumbling was heard, opening a passage for Shun to leave. He saw the distorted skyline, blood-red and the city-scape, now blocked from sight though he barely saw the black and red buildings. Perhaps he could present these ideas to his father of his next art exhibit the boy thought as he was walking towards the exit, a smile on his face that was beneath the ninja mask he was wearing.

 


 

Preview!

Hey it’s Kazuya here. 

No Kaz! It’s Kazuma here! Get it right!

Marika! What are you doing here?! 

Silly! I’m here to give the next preview too!

I see…so you’re ready to tell the reader about our friends’ upcoming battle due to Shun’s

awakening and how there’s possibly more to this journey of ours…

Not just that dummy! There’s also us two to worry about! As we claw our way through our flaws

and forge our contracts! Don’t you want to see that?!

Well I guess so…but I’m also worried for the others…ahh stop punching me!!

Nope! Anyway, next time on Persona: Next Generations! Flaming Hatred! Soothing Tones! A Past Mentioned! NOW GET OVER HERE KAZ!

Don’t miss out!

Chapter Text

"Whoa!!" everyone yelled when they saw Shun's Persona, Niten Doraku. The Persona glimmered with blue as Shun summoned him while posing as a ninja, holding two fingers upwards and having one leg behind the other. He had his mask off now, showing his smile of acknowledgment. Touya admired the look of Niten Doraku alongside Hiyori as the two anime lovers began comparing the samurai entity to the animes they've watched at Hiyori's house.

"It's nice to see you Shun." Iris broke the two cousins' gaze and nodded to welcome back the eccentric boy. "Nice clothes too." Touya complimented the boy. "So now we're six...that means Kazuya and Marika are still inside their Pandora Boxes." Touko looked back at the remaining two boxes, as they stood there closed and fixed around the district. "That's right. For now we'll have to wait." 

"Yeah now that exploration is out of the table." Satoshi sighed as he pointed behind him the barricaded city with its stone black and red walls rocketed upwards to block any sight of the city at all. Touya apologized to the gang for his curiosity yet he believed it was going to be blocked regardless. "Let's hope they go down sooner." Satoshi replied back and looked back at Iris who was lost in thought. "Iris? What's wrong?"

"Seeing how we've fought whenever one of us returned here, doesn't it make you think about the enemies we faced?" Iris' brown eyes widened with sheer questioning as the others looked at her with a confused yet agreeable face. Throughout their time here they've fought what their partners called Shadows, distorted realities that live within Neo-Mementos. The only differences was that they looked similar to their Personas instead of the humans they've faced in their Pandora Boxes.

How interesting.

In the meantime they were greeted with more shadows now ironically. It was about time anyway as their sixth friend awakened their Persona's abilities. Touya clutched his kukri knife tight and his phone, ready to summon Ianus against the foes that were about to challenge the teens. "Shun! Ready to show us those skills of yours?" Satoshi yelled at the dark-blue haired boy. Shun simply placed his mask back in place on his face and took out his katana.

"I'm about to show you all my capabilities. So best step up." and with that Shun and Niten Doraku dashed across the field, slashing and hacking away at the Shadows at sight. Hiyori stood behind the others, her goggles on her face as she was analyzing the attack patterns and their weakness while Somnus was running around the battlefield with his revolvers.

Touko and Iris took out their weapons as well as Iris retracted her twin lance back to its full length with Catalina behind her, ready to use her ice abilities once more while Touko and Heloise joined with Touya, supporting the boy as much as he could. Touya should thank her after the battle as he was unleashing Kouha towards a group of shadows courtesy of Hiyori's analysis. Touya thanked the orange-hair sniper as she was busy shooting away nearby enemies. "Two to your left Satoshi!" he heard her yelled to the black spiky haired boy as he was slashing and summoning Artorias to use giant slice towards the shadows.

This one was going to take a while as the six of them were slashing and piercing their way through victory.

 


 

 

Marika couldn't feel her legs as she was struggling to pick herself up. She tried moving them but the nerves connecting her brain and her legs were gone as they stayed limp, one lopsided from the others with no movement whatsoever. Not even a twitch was seen from her skinny legs. 

"Come on! Move you damn legs!" she grunted but to no success as she stayed there on the cold floor. Souta Marika couldn't believe that she was now a cripple as she was now beginning to tear up, tears streaming down her scratched face, slightly wincing her. Where were the others? She asked herself under the comfort of her arms, blocking any more tears from coming out.

Then she heard a voice, a voice that had the similar features as her's but with a more sinister tone. She looked up, whimpering from the unfortunate revelation to see herself, standing tall and attractive. It angered Marika but that wasn't the main issue as she was more curious as to where she was and who this person pretending to be her was.

She wore the same Shujin uniform identical to how Marika wore it, so she wouldn't attract too much attention at school but there were her yellow eyes. How they contrasted with her bright-red eyes along with her bright-red short hair. Those very eyes seemed like they wanted to torment Marika, cause her trouble for becoming an unfortunate paralyzed girl.

"My, my! It appears that the famous hot-shot for the volleyball and soccer team has now clipped her poor wings. It's a shame that no one will ever see you down on your knees." she began to laugh maniacally, belittling the poor girl. Marika began to shut her eyes tight to avert her eye contact towards this lunatic and muttered under her breath Kazuya's name. Why that name came up and not the others she had no idea but she just wanted someone to be there and protect her.

Shadow Marika saw this shameful act and tortured the girl even further, grabbing her limp legs and dragging her around the floor violently. She was even giggling too, enjoying how she was ragdolling the red-head. "Ow! Stop this! Stop!" Marika kept begging Shadow Marika to stop but that only made Shadow Marika want to continue even further. Finally she stopped, swinging Marika to the wall. Marika lost her breath thanks to the impact, coughing out spit and blood.

"Who...are you...?" Marika asked when she regain her breath. Shadow Marika covered her eyes with her hand but she held a tight psychopathic grin. "What a stupid question to ask my hottie! For I am you and you are me! I am the burdens you carry yet don't realize because you're too dumb to take the hint." she licked the tip of her lips with her tongue, scarring Marika as her eyes widened at the whole image now. She was shaking violently, her chest thumping loudly, almost as if her heart was going to explode. But there was an urge to resist inside Marika as she heard Shadow Marika speak. She wanted to prove her wrong. "You're not real...this isn't real...I'm not you!" her voice was muffled as blue flames erupted, surrounding her on all fronts, covering her and soothing her wounds.

 


 

Her legs were fully functional now as she moved them, bending them normally.  They felt heavy though as dark-purple combat leg bracers situated above her slender legs and black leggings. The bracers looked like they were made from steel as they looked rigid with a look that resembled scales, even covering her shoes as well.

It was a good thing they weren't disrupting the flow and her speed as she began to test them out, swiftly kicking like she has during her Taekwondo and break-dancing lessons. That wasn't all though as her hands were clad with dark-purple fingerless gloves. They looked like they were laced as small strands extended towards her arms.

Lastly there was her head as a nice small laced up cotton striped beanie and sunglasses were fixed on top of her red hair. Marika was confused by the get up and when she tested the sunglasses on she saw on Shadow Marika various hit markers and pressure points for her to strike with her legs. Once she put the sunglasses away on her head, she grinned.

"So you want a fight huh? I'll give you one!' Shadow Marika readied herself as she had leg bracers on as well. Marika gave her a silly smile, having her canine tooth stick out to tease her. "Now it's my turn for some payback!" and with that she swung her first kick towards the shadow.

This was going to be fun.

 


 

"They keep getting tougher and tougher by the second..." Satoshi whined as he was lying on the floor, body stretched out due to exhaustion. Touya nodded his head in agreement. "I'm with you pal."

"I feel a little stronger that the last time though." Iris replied to Touya.

"Yeah same." Touko added as well as she was stretching her arms and evening her breathing. Then Hiyori and Shun chimed in, telling Touya about the good work he had done against the Shadows . "Thank you," was all Touya told the eccentric friend as he was putting his kukri knife away and fixing her red bandanna. How the new aesthetics were still attached to his clothing after such vigorous movement and fighting he didn't know or did he want to. If anything they felt pretty cool to have.

He examined the others. The dark-brown hair assumed that because of their partners they were given a theme to go with: Iris with her golden small crown and Catalina being a fierce some queen, Satoshi being a knight alongside Artorias, and himself with Ianus. But there were Hiyori and Touko as they didn't resembled much of their Personas at all. Touko with her guns, and Hiyori with her somehow cowboy get-up. Perhaps it had to deal with their interests as well? It would make sense given how Touko needs to aim in order to get the perfect shot on her camera and Hiyori...well she's Hiyori was all Touya concluded with the otaku orange-hair cousin.

Touya looked back towards the red skyline, similar to the one in the real world except it felt inverted as the clouds were rather grayish, almost painted across the depressing sky. Was there even a flow of time in this place? Touya checked his phone but somehow it was only opened to the strange eye icon, as Ianus' name was seen along with his move set.

"No way of telling the time huh?" he muttered, putting the phone away. Touko looked down to him, her blue gentle eyes fixated on Touya. She felt like she wanted to say something but decided not to as she saw him dozing off. "Touko can I ask you something?" Iris quickly stepped over to Touko. It surprised the brunette as she looked back to meet her eyes to Iris' brown eyes.

"Ye-es?" Touko responded.

"Do you really like Touya?" that got the girl blushing mad red when her friend asked her the question. Especially in a foreign world of all places. Touko avoided eye contact for a while, her cheeks flushed with pink now that they've calmed down. "Yeah." she spoke after a couple of minutes. "Is it that obvious?" she asked the blonde. Iris nodded. "I see." Touko chuckled nervously. "Do you think he does?"

"I'm sure he does. Maybe he's just waiting for you."

"I want to tell him soon but-"

"Now isn't the time. I understand Touko." Iris gave Touko a reassuring smile to make the brunette feel secure. Touko thanked her friend and then decided to sit next to Touya, and placed him gently on her laps. It was something she would do whenever the auburn hair Niijima boy was feeling tired or in a deep state of thought. This was one of many things the two did that seemed couple-related and weren't that hung over about. After all Touko was a friend Touya relied on to cheer him up.

"I hope you have the same feelings Touya-kun." she said to herself, barely audible as intended for she wanted to affirm her beliefs, something Heloise told her to carry out as part of her recent contract. Touko even felt a smile within her as Heloise was smiling to see her partner trying.

Hiyori on the other hand headed to Shun, poking his shoulder pads to get his attention. "Yes Hiyori? What is it?" he asked the first year. "There's something I want to show you. See while you were still inside your Pandora Box, I analyzed a strange reading." she managed to show the boy the scans as when she placed her goggles, she managed to find a setting that allowed her to essentially become the western hero Iron Man as she found a small gadget on her gloves and screens were seen around her, showing the boy.

"That must've been because of Niten Doraku." he simply replied back as he was looking through the scans. Hiyori shook her head firmly. "That's what I thought at first but when I checked again-by the way your weakness is lightning don't ask why-Niten Doraku had a different reading." she pressed her gloves again to remove the screens from sight. "What are you saying then Sakura-chan?" his dark eyes blinked.

"You may have summoned someone else." was all Hiyori said between the two.

 


 

Marika did a flip kick towards Shadow Marika to catch her off-balance, ending it with a mid-air kick. It staggered Shadow Marika but she was enjoying it. "Not bad." she still retained her smile. Marika let out her tongue to annoy the shadow and tried to use a different style of kicking, gracefully sprinting with freedom as she dodged Shadow Marika's kicks. Marika swept the shadow with his right feet before finishing it with a left kick. But she wasn't quick enough as Shadow Marika grabbed her foot and spun it around to make her lose balance. Marika spun around for a bit and thanks to her break dancing skills, caught her balance as her right hand clasped on the floor and put on her sunglasses to locate any pressure points to kick.

She found a couple on Shadow Marika's chest middle section of her body and she grinned. Once her hand touched the floor, she flipped to make sure her feet touched the ground, immediately going for the pressure points. She jumped and attempted to kick her rib section as one of her pressure points were located. "I got you now!" Marika yelled as she made contact to Shadow Marika's rib, making her swinging across the room.  Marika regained her composure as she panted. eyes looking at where Shadow Marika landed. Was it over? She looked to see her shadow move but somehow she wasn't there as the dust cleared.

Until she felt a blow on her head due to one of Shadow Marika's kicks. Marika felt blood pouring around her left cheek as he found herself planted on the ground. Marika tried to pick herself up but was stopped as Shadow Marika placed her foot on her back. "It's a shame it's come to this sweetie." She leaned on where Marika's face was, her yellow eyes perceiving through her red ones. Form what Marika was able to make out, she saw a silhouette of someone in the distance but faded as she closed her eyes.

"What do you want from me?! Let me go damn it! Kaz!" she suddenly yelled out of the blue. Why does it have to be his name? She didn't care anymore. Shadow Marika snickered. "Poor girl. How you're oblivious to those around you! You see...I want you to simply acknowledge the truth within you." And with that Shadow Marika grabbed Marika's head for her to stare into her yellow eyes to see what was none other than the truth. Marika gulped.

 


 

Hot. Sexy. A solid ten. Stunning.

Those were some of the many things Souta Marika was called as she walked within the hallways of Shujin Academy during her first year. How the boys, being boys looked at her viciously, wanting to have her for themselves. Their eyes fixated on her, primarily her chest and leg area. What disgusting perverts.

At first Marika didn't see the stares as she was always with her best friends to with her volleyball or soccer teammates during or after school. However more people began to stare, even girls each and every day. Boys lining up to see her play intensely during a match of volleyball not because she was good at the sport but they were lustful; they wanted to see the sexy body Marika had to offer. Each day it got worse and worse to the point where Marika seemed to actually enjoy the stares and the lustful looks. Not explicitly to say the least but she felt like she "belonged" in a sense. She would even put on some shows for the amounts of guys to satisfy them but they kept asking for more and more.

There was a point in time where Marika was confronted by these things by her peers. Iris would ensure she wouldn't pay attention to these fools and that she should be herself. Marika agreed initially, hiding away those feelings of lust with a well-crafted mask but once she returned home, she wanted to feel good and so she would go on shopping sprees, sending pictures of her in cute dresses and the like to her social media pages just so she could continue feeling good.

Of course there was one friend who knew of this mask, and she regretted it ever since. Kazuya Okumura. How her mind always in some way went to him when she was feeling these things, these acts of lust. Then she would feel guilty as her mind went about his features: his long brown hair combed like a mane with some of it going downwards to the sides, of his face. His gentle light-purple eyes and his muscular body beneath his rolled up white button down and checkered red and black pants with the large silver chain to his left.

All of that was within Shadow Marika, and Marika began to tremble in fear.

 


 

"That is me..." Marika continued trembling even after Shadow Marika helped her up. She couldn't believe the truth, no, the burden that her shadow had to carry just so Marika wouldn't have to recognize it. Marika didn't feel like looking at her other self as she was overtly guilty. "I can't believe that I turned myself into an attention seeker! How could I do that myself!" she bawled like a little girl now, her red eyes soaking with tears drops at every second. Shadow Marika couldn't help but giggle at the sudden flow of emotion coming from the girl and tried calming her down.

"It's okay Marika! Don't feel bad! It gets the best of us!" she rubbed her shoulders. Marika stopped now but was whimpering a little. "You're sure?" she hiccupped. Shadow Marika nodded.

"Yes I'm sure." she sat down with her now, holding her hands. "If you want to Marika, we can forge a contract."

"And what will that do?"

"It will bring us closer and it can help you overcome these lustful feelings when they arise once more. So what do you say about that?" Shadow Marika asked to the red-head. Marika nodded slowly, and then Shadow Marika began to disappear, turning into a blue cocoon. Then it broke into pieces, showing a whole new person.

Her long reddish-brown hair flowed nicely behind her back, and at the base of her head was a nice flora crown consisting of red rose petals going about the thorny stems. It didn't seem to hurt the woman. Next came her attire as a nice long white and red long sleeve medieval dress was seen, almost like a maid's mixed with a princess' as around her arms were slightly covered as the sleeves were laced around to make floral patterns, having her smooth pale skin be shown.

One of her hands seemed to be holding a bouquet of flowers. Her legs were seen as well as red boots were seen around her feet below the red and white laced up dress. Finally there was her face as her eyes were shut but her mouth had the most sincerest smile. The entity spoke now with a lovely tone of voice. "I am thou. Thou art I. My name is Ophelia of the Lovers' Arcana. I am from stories of Shakespeare, a poor soul who wanted to be loved by all as much as you."

"Ophelia? That sounds cool and foreign. Like Mom's name!" Marika was reminded of her mother, Vivian Souta. The famous English architect, supposedly from royal descent thanks to a little blood testing when she was still in England as a little girl before moving to Japan, meeting her father, Yukio Souta. The name Ophelia reminded her of that and she was glad. "It's a nice to meet you Ophelia! I love your dress too!" she examined her dress and gave her a thumbs up for approval. Ophelia blushed slightly. "Also Ophelia, I have a few questions."

"Yes Darling?"

"Where are we? And where are my friends?" her red eyes blinked with curiosity. She remembered seeing a city when they fell down when Touya pressed the button on his phone, but she didn't remember being inside this box. " We are inside Neo-Mementos. Primarily your Pandora Box."

"Pandora Box?"

"A place where you had to fight your shadow and become whole again." Ophelia's voice was disrupted briefly as rumbling was heard. Light passed through the black and red box and an opening was made. Marika caught a glimpse of the city she mentioned earlier and walked towards the exit, her Persona behind her as her guardian. Guess she didn't have to rely on Kazuya again...why did she go back to him! Marika sighed at the thought but hoped that the guy was okay. "I'm rooting for you Kaz." she said to herself before jumping down to meet with the gang, now waiting below her.

 


 

"Nice leg armor." Satoshi grinned at the sight of Marika's leg bracers. Marika smiled, thanking her friend as she was also complimenting on his aesthetics. Meanwhile Touya and the others laid their eyes on Ophelia, radiating with blue. "She's so pretty..." the girls said in unison, eyes gazing upon the beloved figure.

"Who's she?" Touya asked Marika. "Her name is Ophelia. And where did you get that slick hat?" Marika yanked the fedora from Touya's head and examined it thoroughly. "Well it's no Panther's but it's still cool." she tossed it back to Touya who was confused by the event. "By the way, where's Kaz at?" Marika asked the gang as she was looking around the place. "And how come the city is barricaded? And where's our stuff?" she was asking too many questions and the gang began explaining the current situation to the red-head. Touya answered the first question. "Kazuya is the only person we're waiting on."

"And Touya went exploring for a bit and the city just blocked him from doing so." Satoshi came second to answer the second question. Iris stepped in now to answer the third. "In terms of our stuff Mari, we have no clue either. But I'm sure if we look around we can find them."

"I'm with ya. No enemy readings at the moment so another breather would be nice." Hiyori replied back, her goggles in place on her head. Marika was confused about the orange hair's statement but Shun quickly told her that whenever someone left their Pandora Box, enemies appeared to test out their skills.

"Skills?" Marika looked back at Ophelia who was still summoned. "You have skills?" the Persona nodded. "Indeed my Darling. I shall you momentarily." and Ophelia disappeared and went into Marika's phone. "Now check your phone." Touya instructed the redhead to open the eye icon, and Marika noticed Ophelia's name and some weird words below her. "Psio? Mapsio? Mind Slice? What are these things?"

"They're your skills to use when you fight." Touko explained to her. Hiyori also joined in to explain that Marika's element was Psychic, Touko's weakness. "So wait...these guys fight alongside us against these weird monsters called Shadows and we have a specific element too?" everyone nodded. "Now then, Touya want to tell them about the Eightfold Chart?" Hiyori nudged her cousin to step forward to the others to explain the weakness.

"Eight-fold chart?" Touko asked the auburn hair boy. Touya cleared his throat, almost like he was preparing for a speech. "So Hiyori and I created this mental chart while she analyzed everyone here. Considering that there's eight of us total, we each share a specific element these guys can only use."

"And each of them has a specific weakness as well." Hiyori pointed out.

"Exactly. Thus we created the Eightfold Chart. It goes like this: Satoshi can use lightning abilities but is weak to Shun's wind abilities. The same goes both ways as Shun is weak to lightning." Touya drew a mental image of two small versions of Satoshi and Shun duking it out, each using their Personas to fight, causing each one to fall due to their weaknesses. "It's like a game of Pokemon as Satoshi and I mentioned way before you guys showed up. Play the right move set and you'll knocked the opponent down."

"So if it's two-fold, then Touko is weak to Marika as Marika is weak to Touko and Iris is weak to fire but is strong against fire...but who would be fire?" Satoshi blinked with curiosity to see if Touya had an answer and much to his surprise he did. "Kazuya would have to be our pyromancer going by the Eightfold Chart's logic."

"What about you then since you hold two elements and Hiyori?" Iris asked as she was massaging Hiyori and fixing the braid she made for her back in the real world. "I have something called Gun and Physical attacks as well as full on Support. With Touya it's a different case if you take a look at Ianus." Hiyori finished her sentence quickly as she was enjoying the nice message the Sakamoto girl was giving her. It even made Satoshi jealous as he kept pestering his girlfriend for a massage too.

That made the others laugh...until they went back to figuring out where they bags were as they stopped and looked around to see any signs of their Shujin Academy school bags (as well as Marika's shopping bags). "Considering that this is roughly the size of Shibuya Square...why don't we split up?" Shun suggested to the gang. Touya nodded in agreement but soon realize what this meant when he looked straight at the black-haired boy and blonde girl, hiding their grins behind their hand.

" No...don't tell me you're pairing me with Touko!" Touya's face began to blush red now as he looked at the light-brunette and then back when he locked eyes. "So Iris I was thinking you, me, and Marika be one group, Shun and Hiyori a second group, and these two as the last group until Kazuya shows up." Satoshi gave Iris a diabolical grin to which she replied with one as well, looking back at the two, now Touko realizing what Touya was feeling as she was blushing red as well.

" Iris! Why?!" Touko thought as she was twiddling her thumbs and chuckled nervously. Touya chuckled nervously as well, scratching his back rather a bit too fast for his own good. "So...wanna go left?" they both asked each other to which they blinked with confusion. "No how about the right? Middle maybe? Yeah middle!" they said to each other anxiously, giggling due to the awkwardness of the situation they were in.

" Damn you Iris Sakamoto and Satoshi Hatake !" Touya cursed the two in his brain as they were walking now in search for their belongings. The two brown-haired couple were avoiding eye contact for a while so they don't have to take a massive influx of emotion like before. They did manage to speak to each other rather fine now. "So Touya-kun," Touko spoke first, stopping to find the right words to start a conversation. She even felt Heloise within her as she felt a push to say what she wanted to say. "What is it Touko?' Touya asked abruptly, disturbing Touko's train of thought. "I was wondering if you um...see...well..."

"Just say it Touko." Touya laughed for a bit to calm her down. "I wanted to know what do you see in a girl?" she asked softly, then went for a rebuttal. "I mean it's not like I personally wanted to know but you know in general for when that time comes, the gang and I can help you!" she giggled nervously, blushing crimson and looking down on the black distorted pavement. This made Touya's heart almost exploded as he saw just how adorable this girl was. How she wanted to know what he sees in a girl, what he sees in her .

Touya gulped, and thought of a good way to tell the light-brunette his answer. Finally he decided. "It's funny how you're asking this in a place like this." he started off. "But what I see in a girl? That's tough to be honest. Let's see...she has to be reliable that's for sure. She needs to be my support through all the hardship I'll face and that she can be by my side at all times. She doesn't need to be hot, but a nice and cute face would be worth it. Oh and she needs to be able to believe in herself too." he looked at Touko now, his dark-grey eyes gazing on Touko's shyish blue eyes. He wasn't blushing now and he was happy that Touko asked her question.

Touko surprisingly didn't blush either as she stared into his strong dark-grey eyes and was just mesmerized by his appearance. She resumed speaking now. "I see Touya-kun...well I hope you find that girl one day!" she said rather cheery as she smiled towards the boy. This made Touya smile as well. "Yeah." he responded as they continued walking around the distorted city square in hopes of finding their belongings.

 


 

Kazuya held up his right arm and his fist clenched tight.  His light-purple eyes were focused at what was at sight. He had his entire body shifted onto a fighting stance, except for his left arm as he felt it was broken upon impact when he arrived at his Pandora Box. In front of him was his foe, his other self who was just standing still, his arms crossed and a smile painted across his tinted face and his yellow eyes were haunting Kazuya's entire being. "You sure you plan on fighting me like that? Pitiful." Shadow Kazuya scoffed. "What, my broken arm? It's no biggie, I can manage without." Kazuya replied back. He wasn't kidding either as he entered a martial arts tournament while having the same left arm unusable and still won the championship.

"Kazuya-baby!" Kazuya remembered his mother, Haru Okumura cry with both anxiety and excitement for his baby boy.  "Hm..if you say so Kazuya." Shadow Kazuya uncrossed his arms, and took a step forward. "But I'm unlike any other foe you've faced as of yet. No...I'm going to be quite the challenge." he emphasized with a grin and a pumped fist. Kazuya simply returned the favor, his right fist rolled up tightly and his legs firm.

"Let's go then." and off Kazuya went to land the first blow. He went to jab him in the stomach first but Shadow Kazuya merely grabbed it in a matter of seconds and chopped his back side with his other arm. No problem, Kazuya faced worse as he shifted his balance and tried to reclaim his arm by landing a sweep to his lower leg. It caught Shadow Kazuya off guard, enough time for Kazuya to get his right arm going and strike him in the face, but Shadow Kazuya grabbed his fist and pull him into a grab.

Shadow Kazuya grabbed not only his fist but his mid section of his arm and pull him backwards, sending him flying back to the ground a few feet away. Kazuya grunted and spit out blood, still tempted to go for another round in the ring. However Shadow Kazuya was faster than him as he already face to face with the boy, grabbing onto his broken arm.

Kazuya yelled as Shadow Kazuya was squeezing his arm, and he squirm to try to escape from it. "What the hell do you want from me! Who are you really?" he barked at the his other self once he let go of  his limp arm with disgust. "Who am I? Is that really the issue here?" his yellow eyes blinked with innocence but still continued his evil grin. "For I am you, and you are me. I hold all of that burning you have buried deep inside you. All of that hatred for an unanswered question that has been with you since the dawn of time." Shadow Kazuya ended his sentence by kicking Kazuya's mid region in his body.

Kazuya grunted but he didn't let the pain get to him. He was used to as he is a martial artist and a boxer, so pain tolerance was a necessity. But the shadow kept going, and somehow they got stronger and stronger. That's when Kazuya began to lose faith in his endurance and closed his eyes, his body now beginning to become loose. " This isn't the end yet! I need to stay strong! For Mom's sake!" Kazuya's mind went to his mother and gritted his teeth. "I'm not done yet!" he yelled as blue flames engulfed him, providing safety as Shadow Kazuya bounced back and admired the view, a devilish look on his face.

 


 

Kazuya felt a soft yet strong vest on his body, along with a hoodie behind him. It was a dark red, almost black, containing two chest pockets on each side, each with a nice sleek black button. what's more was his broken arm was fully healed, as he was moving it around to test it once more. Next there was his head, as a small red sash surrounded his forehead, with two small strands behind his head. He punched the vest to test out the durability and confirmed it was also bulletproof, making him smile with delight.

Lastly there was his hands, as red fingerless gloves were seen on them, with silver dots scattered to from a diamond at the back of his hand. Lastly there was his knuckles, as golden and black brass knuckles were placed neatly on his hands, shining brightly as there were new. There was even a design of a horn at the end of them as the brass tips were sharpen to make out what looked like claws as they were spiky.

"It's about time you fought with decency." Shadow Kazuya yelled over the blue flames, still revolving around the brown haired boy. Kazuya stood up and brushed off the dust and blood he had on his Shujin uniform, and placed his fists in front of him. Now back into a fighting stance, he let out a soft chuckle. "That's right whoever you are. My fight with you is not over yet." and he began to swing back at him, this time with more confident as he felt much more agile and stronger than ever before.

 


 

"We had no luck finding anything that resembled our bags." Iris sighed as she placed her hand on her cheek with a tired look. Satoshi was rubbing her shoulders to comfort but was looking back at Marika who was bawling, creating streams of tears down on the floor. "My precious shopping bags! I wasted over 100,000 yen for those beautiful blouses and dresses!" she cried to Touya and Touko about it as she was swaying Touya back and forth rigorously, making him dizzy.

"I'm sure our bags are here Mari. Clam down for a bit and we'll figure it out." Touko gave her friend a soothing smile. That managed to cheer Marika up a bit as her eyes were now dry. "Thank you Touko...I owe you one." Touya thanked the light-haired brunette and gathered everyone around. "Did anyone get attacked by Shadows?" Touya addressed the question in a serious manner. Everyone shook their heads. "They haven't showed up since Marika came back."

"Maybe they'll show up when Kazuya comes back." Marika replied with a slight tone of doubt. " Kaz...please be careful ." Marika thought afterwards, returning her gaze back to the gang, determined. "And once Kazuya is here, we can finally leave?" Satoshi asked the auburn hair Niijima boy who nodded as a response. "Right. It can't be that hard if the way we came here was through the red app, so the same should apply when we head home."

"Or this will be like Digimon and we're stuck in a digital world!" Hiyori cheerfully yelled as she was clutching her sniper rifle and petting it like she would do with Morgana back at her house.

"Let's hope that it doesn't become like Digimon Hiyori-chan." Iris chuckled, petting Hiyori's head. "Whatever the case may be, we must wait for Kazuya so we can figure it out together." Shun said as he was fixing his ninja mask and his large bang that covered his right eye. Touya thought about how Kazuya was dealing with his other self inside his Pandora Box, now floating above all the other Pandora Boxes, its opening still trapped and its red veins flowing throughout the exterior.

"Yo, Touya! You okay?" Satoshi waved his arm back and forth in front of his to break his gaze. "Huh?" Touya's eyes blinked. "Uh yeah I'm fine Satoshi." Touya replied back, sitting down on the distorted bench by where the small park would be back in the real world. Everyone else followed suit, sitting next to him on all sides, and just looked back at the last remaining box.

 


 

Kazuya huffed as the battle was getting intense. For the most part, he was trying to land punches onto Shadow Kazuya's body and the latter as they were in a struggle to land a hit. Kazuya did land a kick on his sides, but that also staggered him. Then it was defense and slight offense, as his fists were making their way towards making contact with his foe. 

Shadow Kazuya wasn't messing around when he said this was different but Kazuya Okumura was enjoying it as this was a whole new frontier he was exploring. Kazuya finally managed to land a punch, as Shadow Kazuya was open-wide, giving him the advantage to land the blow. That's what he thought at first until Shadow Kazuya grabbed his arm like he did the first time except this time Shadow Kazuya shifted his balance to make Kazuya kneel to the ground as he swept him with his right leg.

Then as a torture method, he twisted the arm he caught slowly yet forcefully.  Kazuya groaned and tried to resist it but it would only make it worse as he gave in to his defeat. "What do you want from me?" he asked his other self. Shadow Kazuya laughed. "Don't you get it you fool? Don't you understand the burning rage that lingers within your soul? The very flames that consume you every day! Don't you feel it?" Kazuya gazed into Shadow Kazuya's yellow eyes and saw himself surrounded in flames, angry tears on his eyes. He quickly looked away and tried to resist again, something he knew was useless. "No! I have no idea what you're talking about! I'm not you and that's final!" Kazuya felt a pull on his face as his eyes looked directly at Shadow Kazuya's. revealing the inferno that was within.

 


 

Father.

Someone Kazuya never had the chance to experience. Yes that was the burning rage he was feeling inside. That sense of anger and hatred towards someone who just left him and Haru Okumura by themselves. Yeah that was it, Kazuya always thought. Kazuya Okumura must've been a bastard, at least what the kids called him back in middle school before meeting Niijima Touya.

Then for the heck of it, he leaned towards learning a martial art, not because he wanted to defend himself from bullies but because it was the only time and place he could vent off the flames of despise towards his unknown father. It was indeed a touchy moment for the light-purple eyed and long brown-haired boy as he was punching bags left and right at Protein Lovers in Central Street. Sometimes he needed to bring his own bags because he punched the one at the gym so hard they've broken down.

Kazuya would also ask his mother about who his father was while hiding that burning hatred. "Your father? Let's see...well...he wasn't a bad person is all I can say Kazuya dear." the curly light-brown hair replied while she was busy tending the garden they had in their backyard. "Was that all you wanted to ask?" Kazuya nodded his head despite wanting to know more about him, so he can later find him and beat him to a pulp for running away from his priorities. From running away from the poor innocent boy.

"Whoever you are...I will make you pay!" he yelled to himself in his room before going to sleep. Perhaps it was fate as he heard a legend that whoever was named Kazuya was always hating on his father for neglecting him. It was a silly legend yet it brought Kazuya closer towards the inferno, the abyss of flames that burned within him.

The very same inferno that was seen within the eyes of Shadow Kazuya during their equally fateful encounter.

 


 

"All of that...was me..." Kazuya said finally. Shadow Kazuya let go of his arm and brought Kazuya back up, even dusting himself off. "Yes sir, that is you. That is us. We must fight it to prevent you from falling down even further." Shadow Kazuya's tone was more calming and relaxed now as he was speaking to the boy. Kazuya wasn't sure how he, his other self, was able to help him fight the burning hatred. "We will forge a contact that will tie us together. That will be the remedy to this hellfire." and with that Shadow Kazuya grabbed Kazuya's left arm and pulled him into a handshake, shaking vigorously and with confidence.

After their brief handshake, Shadow Kazuya started to fade away and was turning into a blue cocoon. Then the cocoon bursted and Shadow Kazuya was nowhere to be seen. What was in front of him appeared to be half-wolf and half-goat as goat horns were sticking out of his dog-like face. He had a dog-like jaw face, teeth sticking out at the end of his reddish-brown snout and had this piercing orange canine eyes.

His whole body was muscular, his muscular chest having a large X-letter on his chest. He had red fur around his beefy arms. There burn marks around them as well. He had black fur behind his back, going all the way down towards his back, ending by the torn-out black pants he was wearing on his hind-legs. He spoke now, prideful as well as bashful as he snout smirked. "I am thou. Thou art I. My name is Ifrit of the Chariot Arcana! I am a god of flames and hell from the religions of Arabia! I will make sure your flames will be of use Master." he roared. Kazuya was amazed by the creature that befell before him. He even admired being called master by him too.

"It's a pleasure to meet you Ifrit. I'm sure your skills will be of use to me as well. Though may I ask a question."

"Shoot Master. What do you wish to be answered?"

"I recall being here with my friends. Do you know where we are and how do we get out?" Kazuya's mind went back to the moment when Touya accessed the eye icon where it yelled out Neo-Mementos. As a precaution he asked his Persona to confirm the info he already knew. "We are currently inside a place called a Pandora Box within Neo-Mementos. This box was created to test your abilities and see if you were willing to accept the truth that was lost inside you, that distort your sense of self. But now that you've accepted it, the path shall be open to you soon."

Rumbling was heard when Ifrit went inside Kazuya's phone and the distorted city was shown, the black and red barricade shining brightly in front to the vast red, black, and somehow white cityscape. Kazuya looked down to make sure he wasn't going to fall and noticed the gang, waving their hands and shouting his name. Kazuya chuckled and jumped down to greet them.

 


 

"Welcome back Kazuya!" Touya and Satoshi smacked their friends back, grinning. "It's nice to see you again Kazuya." Shun spoke afterwards and everyone else began to give the muscular boy their greetings. Except one as Marika was nowhere to be found. "Where's Mari?" Iris asked Touko who shrugged with confusion. 

"I thought she was with you." Touko simple responded.

"K-A-Z-U-Y-A!" Marika's voice was heard in the distance, close to the pedestal. She was running, no, sprinting towards the boy and jumped to land a kick straight to the face. Kazuya was then flying through the air, his body spinning rapidly before falling down on the ground. Touya and Satoshi looked in horror when they saw the event transpired and Shun was behind Iris and Touko alongside Hiyori, shuddering with fear.

Marika grabbed Kazuya by the collar and shook him as if the spin wasn't enough to knock him out. "What the hell! I was so worry about you! I thought you weren't going to be here as you took so much time according to the gang!" she yelled.

 


 

After Kazuya was back on board, Touya explained everything to their returning friend. "I see...so Ifrit has fire abilities." Kazuya concluded as he checked his phone to see his skill set. "Agi...Double Fangs...and Magi." He said out loud to the gang. "So how that everyone's here Touya buddy, now we can finally leave!" Satoshi yelled with excitement, probably reminding himself that the horrors of being here are finally over. Touya looked at his friend with a strange look and took out his phone as well to see if the app changed at all. Apparently it didn't as it still showed Ianus' moveset and the map of the this place as well when he switched to the map section of the red-eye icon.

"Nothing?!" Everyone said shocked when Touya told them about their exit plan. It even made Hiyori sweat extensively. "So this is like Digimon then! I'm so sorry guys!" she yelled to everyone. "Calm down everyone, I'm sure we can find an exit somewhere!" Iris said.

"Perhaps you will...if you can beat me that is." a strange voice called out to them from behind. Touya was the first one to look back to find the voice, and saw a big shadow, ready to attack. He was wearing Greek style clothing, as a white robe was seen on his body, ending beneath his feet. His feet were clad with sandals and his body looked like a statue as it was grey and rigid, with cracks. His eyes weren't moving at all and he was holding what seemed to be a book as pages were flipping on its own accord.

The shadow continued to speak. "You cannot escape Neo-Mementos unless you have proven yourselves worthy of beating the ruler of this district."

"And I assume that's you?" Touya asked the shadow, holding out his kukri knife on his hand and his phone on the other, ready to summon Ianus. The statue nodded. "Yes my fellow humans. I am the ruler of this district, the district that bears knowledge. I am Plato." he announced his name. "And I will not let you leave so easily without seeing how far your skills have come in this world." and with that the statue began to attack, casting what seemed to be a Zio as lightning bolts headed straight towards the gang's directions.

Instinctively Touya moved to the side and summoned Ianus, the Yakuza Hybrid to unleash Eiha as ghosts were seen flying at the statue. It hit Plato but it didn't cause too much of an effect to knock him down. "Hiyori! See what his weakness is!" Touya yelled at the orange-hair girl who nodded, putting on her goggles and summoning Somnus for defense. "Let's see...he doesn't have a known weakness but is resistant to Curse! Try and see what works guys!" she yelled as she was aiming at the statue shadow. "Somnus!" she yelled at the singularity Persona who was ready to fight as well. Touko and Shun went straight at the shadow, Touko shooting at it and Shun slashing at it. "Foolish humans!" he moved out-of-the-way, making Touko and Shun miss their chance of attack and casted a psychic spell on Touko.

"Touko! Watch out!" Marika took the hit of the spell but it had no affect on her. That gave Touya an idea as he now learned that their own elements when attacked are repelled. "Hey Plato! Hit me with a bless spell!" Touya slashed at the shadow for its attention. The shadow looked down upon Touya and summoned a Kouha, and looked to see Satoshi and Kazuya to his right. The Kouha spell hit Touya, but it didn't stagger him but rather gave him an additional power boost. He then decided to use the opportunity as the confused Plato was trying to figure out Touya's weakness. Meanwhile Touya lashed out at the shadow, slashing at the shadow's face as he jumped to meet its giant head.

"Satoshi! Use your lightning!" Touya yelled as he was wiggling and holding onto Plato's wreath. Satoshi nodded, summoning Artorias to use Zio as he was going in to attack the shadow. The lightning barrage was on its way towards Touya's direction and as soon as it was inches away, Touya stabbed his knife on Plato's right eyes, making him groan with pain and pulled a back flip to avoid the lightning spell.

Plato took out the knife and black blood was flowing from its injured eye and witnessed the Zio, being hit full on. It staggered him as he was now brought to one knee. "That's it! That's his weakness! At least one of them!" Hiyori yelled before telling Somnus to use Triple-Down when she was ready to shoot at the target.

Touko saw Somnus running towards Plato with his revolvers, ready to shoot at the shadow and decided to aid him as she summoned Heloise to use Frei, as a small ray of blue light was thrown at the statue shadow by the graceful hands of the nun. Both attacks as well as Hiyori's bullet hit Plato severely, and brought him down on both knees now, dropping his book on the floor.

"Nuke and Physical are also his weaknesses! Now let's get him guy!" Hiyori yelled to the others. Kazuya was the first to attack Plato while he was on the ground, having Ifrit as backup as he used Double Fangs against the now weak shadow. Everyone else jumped out at the shadow, hitting him on all fronts: Marika and Kazuya landed a string kick, Iris and Satoshi slashed with all their might, Shun throwing his large shuriken, and Touya and Touko shooting at him with a clear aim as Touya told Touko to hand him one of her pistols.

"I see...that is all you've got?" Plato panted. Touya looked at him with seriousness, ready to shoot him. "Don't underestimate us! Now guys let's finish this!" he yelled as they all jumped one more at the shadow, and performed their first All-Out Attack, with Touya, now having his kukri knife after he tossed Touko her pistol, slashed through the middle of the shadow's body. Everyone else jumped back except Touya, who stood up, grabbing his fedora hat to put it back in place.

"It's over." he said as Plato's body was filled with black blood, falling down on the floor.

 


 

Now that the battle was over, Touya looked back to see Plato stagnant. His body stopped moving but it began to glow now, similar to how everyone's Shadow glowed before turning into their Personas. Then it began to shape itself, transforming into a small red orb. The orb slowly made its way down to the ground.

The gang walked towards it and that was when all their phones at once began to speak. "Congratulations. You have beaten the District of Daat and have obtained its key. Please place it on the hole by the pedestal." the same robotic female voice was heard throughout the distorted city. "Daat? What's that?" Hiyori asked the gang who shook their heads.

"Let's place the orb, I mean, key on one of those holes over there." Iris said, grabbing the orb and walking towards the pedestal. "You guys coming?" they nodded and walked with her to the pedestal. There Iris gently placed it on the first hole she saw. The orb fit perfectly and was glowing ever brighter. Then a light was seen, heading straight towards the pedestal in the middle. Nothing else happened afterwards but the pedestal seemed to be different somehow. Touya inspected it as he headed to it, and saw two words show up below it.

"The path..." was all it said as Touya read it out loud. Now that was confusing. "Path? To what?" Satoshi and Marika asked the Niijima. "Maybe the path to the other districts?" Touko suggested. "Maybe." Shun responded. "Guys look at your phones." Kazuya nudged them to see what on Kazuya's screen as a new tab was seen on his phone. Beside the tab that say Ifrit, it said the words "Exit", ready in bold white letters. "Sweet we can leave this place now!" Satoshi jumped up and down with joy. "Oh I can't wait to go back home!"

"So this is what that shadow meant." Touya muttered to himself as he took out his phone and went to the exit icon on the app, where the map was seen once more except on the bottom had a big red horizontal button that say "Leaving Neo-Mementos?". Touya pressed on it and it said if he was sure he wanted to leave. He clicked on YES. "Thank you for your hard work today! You are now leaving Neo-Mementos and heading back to Shibuya Station." and the whole atmosphere began to change as the red sky was now turning blackish as stars and the moon was seen, shining down on them. The city was also shifting back to the real-world buildings and people were beginning to form, walking to and fro as usual.

They were now back in the real world.

 


 

Everyone was confused as to how their bags were back and their aesthetics were gone from their bodies. What was even more confusing was the time as Satoshi checked his phone and panicked. "It's already 7:30!" Satoshi yelled, his green-eyes widened with disbelief. "It felt like days in there!"

"So what seemed like a long time in Neo-Mementos was actually four and a half hours." Iris had her hand by her chin, thinking about the time they've spent back at Neo-Mementos. "Does it matter at this point? We're back here in the real world." Touya sighed with relief as he was stretching his arm, spinning it around to flex it. This made Touko blush a little seeing how tired he was compared to before. In fact, it made everyone tired as they began to yawn enormously.

"Another thing about that place: it will make you tired as hell." Kazuya stated before saying goodbye to the gang. "I think it is best if we all leave for the day. We had it rough back there and I could use a nice rest." Shun said as he was leaving as well, heading towards Kazuya with a bag of chips on his hands.

Then Satoshi and Iris left afterwards, holding hands and waving back at Touya and the remaining friends. "Marika, you're not going back to the mall are you? Because I really want to go back home." Hiyori's eyes droop a little. Marika nodded and walked Hiyori to the station to head to Yongen-Jaya, leaving only Touya and Touko to head back to their houses. "Man that place was interesting." Touya said as they were leaving the station square, heading back to their houses. "Yeah it was. Wonder what the other districts look like." Touko replied back.

"Well they won't open for now and we don't know much about that place to begin with."

"You could ask your parents. After all they were acting weird when you told them about the app."

"True. And seeing what we had been through, the same could be for them when they had it."

"Exactly Touya-kun." And the two began chatting away, slightly blushing here and there. After what seemed like fifteen minutes or so, Touko and Touya stopped as they were now at Touko's house. "Well I guess I'll see you tomorrow?" he asked the brunette as she was opening her gate. Touko nodded. "Have a goodnight rest Touya-kun." she smiled back at him, blushing a little as always. To see how a girl like that was able to kick a shadow's butt was unregistered in his mind but Niijima Touya didn't care. It made him love the girl even more.

Finally his tiredness kick in and he continued his journey back to his house, just two blocks away from the girl's.. He even felt a small presence of a cat, as a black and white tail was shot out from behind him and his blue eyes looked at the boy's back before leaving, meowing to himself while Touya heard a voice as it said he was right about his suspicions. Touya looked back but saw nothing. That was weird...yet he must've been tired as a yawn escaped from his mouth. Time to head back home and call it quits. It was also time for some answers.

 


 

"I'm back!" Touya yelled as he entered the living room. There was a silence in the room and Touya decided to head where the TV was to see if his parents were awake or sleeping. "Mom? Dad?" he asked out loud when he saw they weren't there. Then he heard Makoto's voice through Dad's office.

"Go to your dad's office. We're here sweetie." she yelled at her son. Okay...Touya dropped his bag on the couch and headed to his right, where Ren's office door was open. The Niijima boy walked in and to his surprise found his parents in front of him. Ren was on his office chair, relaxed due to his posture but had a serious face on as his dark-grey eyes cast down upon him with intensity. Makoto was sitting on besides her husband, and had a worried look on her face.

"What is going on guys?" Touya asked his parents. Ren looked at Makoto and then back at his son and sighed. "Touya we need you to sit down for a moment." he began. "There's something we want to talk to you about." Makoto continued on. "Okay..." Touya sat down on one of Ren's black guest chairs. "Talk about what exactly?" Touya asked even though he had an inkling as to what it was about. It had to be about the app, it had to be. "I don't know how to say this without you reacting so suddenly." Makoto had her hands on her laps, looking down. "Ren...why don't you say it."

"Say what?" Touya was antsy now and wanted his parents to tell him already. Ren looked at Makoto and back at his son and placed his elbows on the desk, and his arms close to his scared face as he uttered the words that changed Touya's entire perspective on his parents. Shifted the gears of his mind as Diet Member Ren Amamiya and Police Commissioner Makoto Niijima were no longer just that to the boy anymore. They were something else entirely as Touya's eyes widened when his father's mouth created the following sentence:

"We are the Phantom Thieves of Hearts and we know about the Metaverse."

 


 

Preview!

Hi there, it's Touko here!

And Touya....

Touya-kun?! Why are you here?

I can't believe my parents were the Phantom Thieves of Hearts!

Huh?! They were?!

Yes! That changes everything now about them! Now I want to learn more about their past! I need to know!

Well I'm sure you and everyone else would want to know too...AH TOUYA!

SORRY! Anyway...next time on Persona: Next Generations! The Truth Revealed!

Don’t miss out!

Chapter Text

He felt like his mind stopped functioning.

Touya’s body was motionless, dormant within the black guest chair of his father’s office inside their lovely home. His dark-grey eyes were the only thing moving as he was constantly looking back as his father and mother and grasping what Ren had just said. He tried moving his arms to plant them on his face as he felt his cheeks twitched and his brows fixed to show a shocked expression. It was like this for a while until he finally found mobility and the conscience to start speaking.

“Phantom…Thieves….? Metaverse…?” he spoke softly but enough to get a response out of his parents after being told their perspective of the Phantom Thieves. They nodded solemnly.

“Touya we’re very sorry to have to tell you this, but we needed to.” Makoto fixed her hair as she was beginning to tie back, the ponytail wrapping around the ends of her auburn hair and then placing it on her left shoulder. Her red eyes saddened as she nudged Ren to continue speaking.

“Your mother’s right. As much as we wanted to hide it from you and Seiji…” he stopped for a moment as his eyes closed slightly, averting contact and then meeting them back with Touya’s. “If the Metanav didn’t reappear…”

“So you do know about the app.” Touya interjected as he now broke eye contact with his father and looked down on his arms, hands turning into fists and clutching onto the black and red checkered school pants. He got the answer he wanted all along but he knew it wasn’t worth it anymore. In the back of Touya’s mind he felt this was all a dream and he was going to wake up soon, back from the start of his second day and striding  along with the rest of society like sheep. Yes it must’ve, but no matter how hard Touya tried to close and re-open his eyes, he was still inside the office.

“We did though we assumed you already knew about that due to our sudden reactions.” Makoto sighed. “So we should also be sorry for not telling you the truth about it as soon as possible.”

“But we are glad you didn’t enter it.” Ren smiled briefly. Touya still didn’t look back at his parents, especially since he did end up going to Neo-Mementos though accidentally. This still wasn’t how it was supposed to go though. Touya wanted to exploit their lies through questioning and the such like a small case trial from Ace Attorney or Danganronpa, but to have them tell him about it in this manner? It wasn’t one of the possibilities in the Niijima boy’s head.

Yet there was still one thing…

“So that’s how you guys were the Phantom Thieves of Hearts…” Touya chuckled under his breath. To think that all he wanted was for them to say that they knew about the app and the world behind it, but instead was given a whole new ray of light that was the past of his parents. He looked back up at them, waiting for them to give another response, whether it’d be a nod or words. Ren nodded once more, but he parted his lips to speak.

“Yes Touya, that was how we changed the hearts of the corrupted society we were living in. Through access of the Metaverse Navigator. That very red-eye icon.” Ren grabbed his phone and showed him that he also had the strange eye icon, now called the MetaNav according to his parents. “It showed up to us this morning right after you left for school.” Ren put away his phone as he was talking. “We were planning on accessing Mementos to see if you went inside but it blocked us out.”

“Don’t you mean Neo-Mementos?” Touya quickly asked as soon as his father finished his sentence. He noticed he raised an eyebrow and his mother also had a questionable look on her gentle face. “What do you mean sweetie?” she asked nicely.  “Well Neo-Mementos. The huge city with ten districts scattered about? And the Pandora Boxes?”

“City? Pandora Box? Touya if I’m not mistaken but Mementos is a subway going down to the depths of the Earth.” Ren showed a hint of an argumentative tone in his voice when the words left his mouth as his eyes were in a state of confusion as well. Touya shook his head, and now felt like he needed to explain to them what he experienced.

First he told them about the Pandora Boxes and the torture they went through before having the ability to fight them. Next came along Ianus and their Partners once they forged a contract with their Shadows who became said partner. Finally he told them about the city and the now blocked ten districts circling around the pedestal and the radiating orb that was glowing. Once he was done explaining, he felt a pang of tiredness unlike any other. Yet he still waited for his parents to continue with their little talk.

“Mementos changed that much…? How?” Makoto asked first, mostly to herself as her red eyes widened with disbelief. Ren was also astounded by the information his son presented them as he now had one hand on his forehead and the other holding Makoto’s hand. That was when Touya couldn’t hold it any longer. He wanted to get to bed and call it quits as the fatigue of Neo-Mementos got to him once more.

But it wasn’t just that as he now felt a sense of betrayal. Like his own shiny silver kukri knife and its black handle stabbed him from behind and left him there on the ground to rot away with the lies that his parents have made up for so long.

He saw that his body stood up from the chair, his legs shaking but stayed firm. “I’m sorry Mom, Dad, but I’m feeling slightly tired now.” Touya chuckled as he was walking away from them.

“Must’ve been because of the Metaverse. After all we went through it that too.” Makoto stopped herself once she finished her sentence as she felt Ren firmly grasp her hand, indicating to her to stop talking and let their child get some rest. “I have one last thing to ask of you Touya.” Touya was now by the exit, his right hand on the door frame. He didn’t look back as he wanted this to be over. “Yes?”

“This is only the beginning of what may lie ahead. We can only do so much as to reveal who we were and how we did said actions. If you’re really tired, then I don’t blame you, but please don’t hate us for all this. We never would’ve thought such events would occur.” Touya thought about the words his father had spoken. Did he really hate them for revealing almost two decades of their pasts? Was he really tired? Touya was looking for the right emotion to feel, to express but there was nothing.

An empty void inside his body minus the blue devilish smirk Ianus gave to him when they first met. “I need to think about all of this. There’s even a good chance you left out more than what I can possibly know about the Phantom Thieves.” His left hand formed into a fist. “So goodnight Queen. Goodnight Joker.” Touya called them by their “nicknames” as he now learnt that they were really the code names they had while working as the Phantom Thieves of Hearts.

 


 

Once Touya left the room, Ren and Makoto sighed of relief though temporarily. “He will ask more questions soon you know Ren.” Makoto got out of the chair and brushed herself in case there was dust on her laps. She began stretching her back as she bent backwards a bit, her hands by her hips.

“I know he will. After all he has your blood flowing through him.” Ren relaxed himself from the tensed up composure he used. Normally they were reserved for meetings but seeing that his son had uncover the Metanav seemed like it was worthy to whip it out. “But I know without a doubt he doesn’t hate us.”

“He does love the works of the Phantom Thieves…but there’s so much to unravel. We didn’t talk about the Palaces nor our Personas.”

“We alongside Igor will counsel him about those things along the way. I’m sure of it.” Ren stood up from his chair now and headed to his beautiful wife, hugging her from behind. “In the meantime, let’s hope everything turns out for the better.”

“Yeah. There is one more thing.”

“Which is?” Ren’s dark-grey eyes fluttered, making Makoto blush a little as it reminded her of their teenage years from long ago. Makoto began fiddling with Ren’s fingers.

“Do you think that due to Mementos’ change in appearance, can it correlate to-” Ren placed his chin on top of Makoto’s and hushed her even though he knew what she was going to say. “Regarding that, it could be if it’s being connected to the Psychotic Breakdowns.” Ren kissed the top of her head. “Again, let’s hope for the better.” was all he finished saying to his wife.

 


 

Touya dried his hair too quickly for his own good. Seeing how his hair was all messy thanks to the fedora hat he was wearing back in Neo-Mementos as well as the tiredness he was sensing in every fiber of his muscles, he thought a nice shower would wake him up a bit.  

As he was pacing around the room, now wearing his sleeping clothes, he was going over the possibilities to tell his friends about the news. “Satoshi would freak out for sure, and Touko too…but what about the others?” Touya’s mind went back to Kazuya and the gang as they were also children of Ren’s friends. If his father and mother were Phantom Thieves, then surely Coach Sakamoto, Mr. and Mrs. Kitagawa and Kazuya’s mother had to be also. Touya decided to check the group chat to see if anyone spoke about having the same type of talk his parents gave him. He scrolled through each one carefully:

“Today was an insane day.”-Satoshi

“My whole body somehow aches….”-Marika

“Well we did get brutally beaten and tortured before being eaten up by flames and having some cool gear.”-Hiyori

“And obtaining allies as well.”-Shun

“Speaking of those guys…who do you think they are? And what else can we do with them  besides fighting?”-Iris

“That’s quite the question Iris. Maybe we can figure it out together tomorrow.” -Touko

“Well before or after club-signing?”- Kazuya

And there the chat continued saying how they were going to meet up during lunch tomorrow at school. No mention of any chat whatsoever with their parents. Touya sighed as he put away his phone, at least after he checked a notification from Touko an hour ago. He checked it out.

“Touya-kun, I hope you get an easy rest tonight! Hope to see you tomorrow!” Touya read out loud on his bed. After reading it, he smiled as one good thing occurred today, finally enabling him to go back to sleep and end the day, thus beginning anew the following morning. It was then he felt the same presence of the bluish and purple lights hitting on him and the comfortable sensation of the guest chair and the humming coming from the mouth of a woman.

He was now back inside the Velvet Room.

 


 

Touya felt the softness of the black cushions.

As he was positioning himself to meet up with the long-nosed man Igor and his servant Annabelle, he strained his eyes like last time. Then he heard the voice of Annabelle. “Welcome back to your scheduled appointment with us Wild Card.” her maid tone voice spoke now to the Niijima. Touya looked back at Annabelle and noticed that she was wearing a ponytail now as her whitish-golden hair was now tied up. She still seemed to be wearing her usual business attire, the blue and gold all around her.

She continued speaking but Igor stopped her with his hand. “It’s nice to see that you’ve awakened your powers! You and your friends.” his wise voice echoed through the Velvet Room. Annabelle smiled. “Indeed my Wild Card. For now that you’ve awakened your Personas, you are on your way towards fighting the chaos that is to occur.” Touya was confused when Annabelle mentioned the word Persona. Persona…like Jungian Psychology? Is that what she meant? He needed to ask.

“Persona? You mean Ianus?” he remembered his Yakuza partner Ianus when he asked the question. After all his blue smirk and angelic eyes seem to be quite an iconic look. Almost like seeing his father…

“Yes Son of the Trickster. That is what we mean by Personas.” Igor broke Touya’s train of thought as his smiled pierced through him like a sword. “Personas are the spirit within. They are the true self of a person once he has accepted his flaws.”

“Just like we had to face ours…it all makes sense now.” Touya reaffirmed himself now that another piece of valuable information had been presented to him. Yet he wanted to ask Igor more. Especially about his parents and the Phantom Thieves. About everything that pinpointed to his mother and father.

“Igor…what exactly is Neo-Mementos? Mom and Dad didn’t really describe it and now that I know that they were the Phantom Thieves…I need to understand me and my friends’ position in all of this.” his dark-grey eyes shone intensely through the immense lightning of the room. It was at that moment when Annabelle now approached the boy and sat down with him on the other black guest chair.

“My dearest Wild Card you are quite the curious one! I will graciously answer your questions.” Touya thanked the assistant but Igor interjected. “But beware Son of the Trickster! For all will be revealed at the end.” Touya also thanked Igor for the message. Annabelle cough a bit now in preparation for what she has to say to the fluffy-dark brown-haired boy.

“Neo-Mementos was once known as Mementos former. It was where your parents changed the hearts of many who held a distorted desire within the realm of their existence. In a sense, the Metaverse is a cognitive world and Neo-Mementos is the distorted desire of the public. What they feel, think, and want are all buried there.”

“And it appears you lifted them up by defeating the distorted desire that corrupted the idea of obtaining knowledge.” Igor smiled. Touya went back to the fight against Plato. How the gang challenged the district boss and beat him to open the exit. Yet there was the strange orb that Plato created upon his defeat. Touya wanted to ask that too but going back to Igor’s words, it was to be revealed soon.

“Speaking of distorted desires…it appears that a dear friend is in grave danger as well.” Igor words were soft and solemn as his head was down in dismay for a moment. Then for what seemed like a couple of seconds smirked and looked back at Touya with optimism. “Perhaps you and your friends can save him before it is too late.”

“My Master is correct. However you will not be needing Neo-Mementos to save your friend from the perils of the distorted desires he is facing. You will need something greater.”

“And as I said, everything will be revealed.” and with those words alone Touya felt a strong presence in his heart. It felt as if Ianus was eager to pop up and show up in front of the Niijima with his stylish glare and monochrome suit. His piercing eyes below his gangster fedora hat. “Igor…what exactly is the Trickster?” Touya asked to the tall long-nosed man. Igor smiled wide now as if to show that Touya’s question was worthy of answering but Touya also knew what he meant as that was his answer. That smile alone was the indicator that told him that he will know soon enough.

With that in mind, the chiming from last time was heard once more. As the assistant looked up to see the old clock, she stood up now and walked back towards Igor’s desk. She bowed down to Touya, a soft smile pressed on her pallid face before she told him that his scheduled appointment was over. Touya nodding his head in agreement before his eyes grew dreary, his body almost feeling like it was falling down an inescapable abyss. Until the morning sun blasted its rays onto his teenage body, waking him up for the day that was to be approached.

 


 

When Touya clad himself with the usual winter Shujin Academy uniform, he looked in the mirror. Upon seeing his features that the girls always adore (and hopefully Touko), he kept seeing the other aesthetics from the Metaverse. The small black fedora hat propped on his mush of fluffy auburn hair with the red feather sticking out like Robin Hood’s. The red bandanna and the chains on his arms along with the black strap for his kukri holster to his left side of his belt to finally the soft white wool scarf around his neck, its strands falling behind him with the plaid designs at the end.

As Touya imagined himself back into Neo-Mementos, he began to think back to his parents. What did they looked like in the Metaverse twenty years ago? He decided to go back to the broadcast during Shido’s calling card when they showed him and his class last year. How the silhouettes shone brightly and the leader spoke with a smirk on his face that he will take back this country. Was that really Dad with that bird mask on? If so, then he seemed to enjoy that moment much like Touya did when he saw it on the projector screen during that history class.

He was suddenly disrupted with a knock on the door. Touya quickly opened it and saw his mother appear before him with a cup of coffee like Ren did the morning before. Apparently this will be a running theme from now on. “Oh you’re awake sweetie.” she said in her usual motherly tone. Touya nodded. “I am Mom. Looks like I officially don’t need to wake you guys anymore.” he sighed of relief as he was passing through his mother with permission. “Where’s Dad?” he asked.

“He left early this morning. Said he needed to take care of something back in his office in the Diet Building. Come let’s get some breakfast before I take you to the station.” there was inflection of worry when Makoto finished her sentence to her son that Touya noticed only slightly as they were heading downstairs. Touya could only imagine what it was considering the event of last night. How his mother, the brave and courageous Police Commissioner believes that her precious son hates her.

Except he didn’t.

Touya couldn’t no matter how hard he tried. Even though he felt that sense of betrayal before, he rationalized that it was for the good. For the sake of not turning into the Phantom Thieves of Hearts and risk their lives like they did.  Yes that was it…

“Mom I don’t hate you guys if you were wondering.” he said to Makoto as they now reached the ivory table for breakfast. Makoto didn’t look at her son as she sat down and sipped a little of her coffee. “I know you’re not Touya. Your father knew it and told me right afterwards.” she put the coffee mug down that read “BEST MOM!” down. Touya smiled subtly when he remembered walking into the store with Seiji to get her a nice Mother’s Day gift.

That and their father buying her the motorcycle she always wanted. She even named it Johanna. “But we do suspect that you have a lot of questions to ask us.” she continued. Touya nodded when he looked straight into his mother’s glaring yet caring red eyes. “Yeah I do actually. One of them is about Igor that’s for sure.”

“Shoot away.” was his mother’s retort.

“Does Dad know him the way I do? With the Velvet Room?” Touya asked genuinely while he was eating his breakfast. Makoto nodded, taking a small bite out of her breakfast too before answering. “Yes your father did meet Igor. In fact all of us did at one point.” Makoto stopped herself as she was about to tell her son too much as she shook her head. “But only your father was able to confront him fully.”

“Because he was a Wild Card?”

“Yes that’s why.” Makoto finished eating now as she was now putting her plate in the sink to wash. Meanwhile Touya was busy eating and thinking about what exactly is the Wild Card. “Say Mom…what is the Wild Card? Annabelle keeps telling me that but I don’t know what is it exactly.” Makoto was confused when he mentioned Annabelle. “Igor’s assistant…I thought you guys knew her.” Makoto shook her head.

“Your father’s was Lavenza, Touya.” She had a thinking face on now as her red eyes were going over the thoughts that were swirling inside her head. Touya called this face the Detective’s Glare as she always used it whenever there was a flaw in someone’s logic. Seems to be the case here. “And what is your Velvet Room like?” she finally asked.

“A business office. It has these shelves all around and this large window behind Igor and his desk and these black cushion couch with two smaller ones beside it.” then Touya describe Annabelle to his mother. Makoto nodded through and through, confused now by all the changes in both the Metanav and Velvet Room.

The good thing was she pieced together everything as what a Niijima was born to do. “I see…Ren’s was a prison to ‘rehabilitate himself’ from the perils of corrupted society. Yet seeing how times have changed, it appears yours is to preserve law and order of what we, both as Phantom Thieves and leaders of this generation have created.” she looked at the time now and told Touya to finish eating and finish getting ready. Touya nodded and quickly went to do what his mother told him to before heading out of the house and into the car for the third day of school.

 


 

Touya was going through the chat he had with Makoto during the car ride to the station and throughout the morning classes, he had a generalization as to what his parents had done as Phantom Thieves. Of course he had to reassure his mother that he didn’t hate them but was rather nonchalant about it. “It’s cool to learn that you guys did your best to create the society we live in now. That’s why I admire their work in the first place.” he remembered saying to his mother before getting out of the car and head to the station to school. He also had to remind himself to talk to Ren about the Wild Card.

Now as the Niijima boy was done transitioning such thoughts into his brain, he began to ask the gang to meet him by the courtyard for lunch. “I don’t see why not.” Satoshi shrugged and looked at Iris who also agreed. “It would be a nice change of pace to eat by the outside tables for once.” she giggled. Touya smiled and looked at Touko for an answer but soon realized that he was in yet another trance as something was quite different about the shy Harima Touko.

First there was her hair as the forehead exposure was now gone and small side bang swayed to her right side along with the rest of the red ribbon ponytail. Not only was that it but she was now wearing a soft brown sweater with her uniform. Touya felt a soft blush when he looked at her, and much to Touko’s surprise blushed as well.

“It’s not a bit too much is it?” she quietly asked the Niijima to which he shook his head violently. “No it’s not! It looks great on you Touko!” he yelled nervously, making Iris and Satoshi groaned with annoyance as to when these two will confess.

 


 

Once the small encounter died down and lunch came around the corner, Touya and the other three from 2-A headed down to the outside tables where the others were waiting. Touya noticed Shun comforting Hiyori as he face was on the table with tears on her light-green eyes. “What happened with Hiyori this time?” Shun shrugged. “She was like this when I arrived.” he grabbed a bag of chips and a soda out of his bag. 

“Sorry we’re late everyone!” that was Marika’s voice now as she was with Kazuya beside her as a bodyguard. Kazuya had his arms crossed and waited until everyone sat down now for him to situate himself. “So Touya what’s this meeting about?” he said in his usual calm manner. Touya chuckled. “It’s about the Metaverse now.” he began. “I’m sure everyone except Marika, Touko, and Satoshi had the same chat with their parents last night.” he leaned closer to the gang now. “About them being the Phantom Thieves of Hearts.” they all broke the closeness as everyone now nodded, minus Satoshi’s reaction as he almost yelled to the top of his lungs.

“WHAT! THIS IS INSANE TOUYA!” people around them looked with sheer confusion, which was Iris’ cue to smack Satoshi’s side and calm him down. “My bad.” he said.

“Still this is pretty cool Touya-kun.” Touko spoke now after taking a sip of her bottled water. “It looks like we’re following their footsteps.”

“But there’s no one to change their hearts. How do we even do it?” Iris asked.

“Maybe we just have to drill them with more questions.”

“Or Igor could provide us with answers…” Touya muttered to himself.

“Well that’s one question answered on our list.” Kazuya reassured the gang. Kazuya was right and this prompted Touya to tell the gang about their Partners being known as Personas. “It should the explain the Arcana we’re assigned to.” Shun spoke now after he was done with his usual bag of chips. Touya nodded in agreement.

“So in a sense Ianus, Heloise, Catalina, Ifrit and everyone else is our true selves. What we feel and how we act in this real world.” he looked back at the others who were trying to digest the information piece by piece. Touya wasn’t worried about them not understanding as they all gave the Niijima a thumbs up.

“This is all cool stuff!” Hiyori finally broke away her cursed spell as her head was now raised and her cat headband shot up. “Mom was quite fine with it too when I explained her everything and how I’m the Navi. Turns out she was one too for the Phantom Thieves.” she smiled as Iris was petting her like a pet, giggling to see the girl all happy like. “Same with my parents.” Iris replied back. “They were fine with it and hope we don’t do anything stupid.”

“To think that Coach was a Phantom Thief…” Satoshi shed a tear of acknowledge and raise a determined fist. “I will make sure I live up to your standards Coach!’ he yelled, making everyone laugh at the sight of the black-haired green-eyed boy fill his body with such hope. Once the little chat was over, Iris continued on with another topic about how club signing is this afternoon.

“Yay! No afternoon classes!” Marika exclaimed while hugging Kazuya tight. “I’m so happy I don’t have to turn in Ueno-Sensei’s homework!” she cheered with glee at the thought of not turning in her math homework. “Oh Iris.” Touko nudged her friend to turn her attention to the shy girl.

“Munehisa-Sensei is planning on making a literature club. If you’re interested…” Touko shuddered when she saw Iris’ brown eyes beamed at the saying of literature club. Satoshi and Touya saw this too and grabbed Touko away from the blonde Sakamoto. “Literature club…I need to see him asap!” and thus she quickly ran towards the second floor, almost running a few people over. Satoshi sighed. “Well see you guys later!” he ran after his beau. Touya and Touko looked at each other as well as the others and sighed. Guess their lunch was over.

 


 

The entire second floor was filled with students. As the afternoon classes were cancelled due to the announcement Principal Kawakami made to the students this morning, all of them have gathered to the second floor for club signings. There, many third years in particular were getting their small booths ready to go alongside the teacher of the respective club.

“Man, why couldn’t they do this in the auditorium?” Satoshi nagged as he was constantly being pushed by the flood of first years who were nervously looking at what the clubs had to offer. Touya chuckled feverishly at his friend. “Who knows Satoshi?” Touya stopped at the track team booth where a couple of third-years were waiting patiently. They recognized who they were as they said hello to the Niijima and Hatake. “Ready to win districts again my champs!” Touya heard a voice from afar, only to see Coach Sakamoto approaching them.

Coach Sakamoto was muscular thought a bit more like Ren. After all he was a health coach before applying to Shujin, where he also graduated from (aside from being a Phantom Thief too). He was wearing the Shujin gym uniform jacket above a simple black v-neck t-shirt and dark blue jeans with white shoes. His spiky medium-sized blonde and black hair spiked with attention as he walked with confidence. As the coach approached the two, he gave his usual smile of confidence as well.

“I’m glad to see you guys are considering rejoining after so much hard work and dedication last year!” he beamed at his students, giving them a tug here and there amicably. Then he turned to Touya and Satoshi, grabbing both of them under his arms, his adult face leaning close to them.

“Especially you two since you’re the next-gen Phantom Thieves.” he smiled briefly for a bit when he returned a fatherly gazed at Satoshi, a usual face that showcased the dislike that the black-haired green-eyed boy was dating his daughter. Satoshi sighed. “Coach I promise I’ll do good to Iris!” he sighed once Ryuji let go of the two boys. “You better Hatake or else you will face my wrath both outside and inside the track field.” he grunted before heading back to the track team both. Touya chuckled nervously then looked around to see where the other were. “I saw Hiyori close to where the Gaming Club is.” Satoshi pointed towards the left. Touya nodded and walked with his friend.

 


 

“I don’t see what the fuss is all about Iris…” Touko tried calming her friend down as she was anxiously looking around to find Munehisa-Sensei. Iris shook her head violently and looked straight as Touko with a glare. “I bet you wouldn’t be saying the same thing if you found out there was a golden opportunity to improve your photography.” her brown eyes pierced through Touko, causing her to whimper a bit. 

As the two girls were walking around the second floor, Touko saw Touya and Satoshi leaving towards their left. “Wonder what clubs they’re going to be doing this year?” she asked the blonde. “Probably the usual Touko, but forget about those two as we need to find that literature club booth!” she giggled vigorously, showing a bit of lunacy too for the light-brunette. “Ah here is it!” Iris walked straight towards the literature club booth. There two third years, a boy and a girl welcomed Iris and Touko, explaining what the club had to offer.

“Would you like to sign?” the girl asked to which Iris snatched the pen and scribbled her signature in a matter of seconds. “Iris…compose yourself a little please?” Touko asked her friend nicely. “My my! The legendary Sakamoto is finally here in my booth!” it was Munehisa-Sensei’s voice as he was walking towards the girls with a small bag lumped n his gray suit jacket. His dark brown eyes behind his glasses shone brightly upon seeing the sight of the blonde and the brunette. He brushed his side bang a little. “I was wondering where you were. Was a bit worried you weren’t going to show up!” he laughed a little before turning his attention to Touko now who was holding her camera between her chest.  “And of course the equally talented Harima Touko! How’s your family business going?”

“It’s good Sensei. Um if you don’t mind…” she held the camera up high as an indicator for Kaoru’s request to take pictures. Munehisa-Sensei laughed once more before giving a nod, positioning himself to the middle of the booth. Touko also looked at Iris for her to get in the picture as well. “Say Club-Signing!” Touko ordered the students and English teacher to say before pressing on the button. “Thank you Sensei.” she said afterwards, placing the camera gently back to her chest. “It’s no problem you two. And Iris I hope to see what you can come up with in the club!” he said with assurance for the blonde to start blushing. “Yes sir Sensei!’ she yelled as she was saluting the teacher. Touko giggled at the sight and then nudged her for them to leave and continue on with the signings. “Now are you feeling a little calm Iris?”

“A lot better Touko. A hell of a lot better.” the girls headed towards where the two boys went as they saw Marika, Kazuya, and Shun heading there also. “Looks like there’s going to be another meeting like lunch.” Iris said in a teasing manner towards her brunette friend whose response was a nod.

 


 

Now that the afternoon portion of school was over, the Next Gen decided to relax a little outside the gates of the school grounds. There they sat by the large white stairs that lead to the inside of Shujin Academy, each one looking at the hordes of students returning back to their homes. 

“So Hiyori how was the Gaming Club?” Marika asked her first year friend as she was sipping a little of her carbonated water. Hiyori took out her tooth in a cat-like manner. “It was so much fun! I beat them like fifty times in Smash Bros. As well as Overwatch…and Mario Kart.” she grabbed one of Shun’s bags form his Shujin school bag and opened it. “Hey! Give that back!” Shun tried grabbing his chips from the girl. “Nope! Mine now Shu!” Hiyori stuck her tongue out.

“Hiyori…” Iris stared down at the orange-haired girl to give the Kitagawa his snack. “Okay…” Hiyori slowly gave back the bag of chips despite grabbing at least three to the dark-blue haired boy. “Thank you.” Shun replied to Iris. “So why are we here?” Satoshi groaned as he was scrolling through his phone, bored as his green-eyes frowned upon the screen. “Kazuya is busy dragging Marika out as she strayed from the path.” Touya replied, sighing a bit. That girl truly fits the Lovers’ Arcana…

“We’re here.” Kazuya grabbed Marika, or rather lumped her on his shoulder. He looked slightly beaten as he face was seen with a handprint on his left cheek as well as few scratches on his arms. “Long story. Now let’s get to the station.” he walked first, enduring the wrath of the red-haired as she was furiously punching his back. “Kaz let me go! She was showing me this cute dress too and everything! Let me go!’ she kept yelling. The others looked at each and just chuckled nervously. Hiyori poked the sides of her cousin as they were walking to get his attention. “What is it Hiyori?” Touya asked in a robotic tone.

“You and Touko are coming to my house today right?” she asked with a tooth sticking out.

“I told you already that we are.” he replied back as he was brushing his hair a bit to the side. While he was walking, he spotted someone in the distance. Daisuke Shiro was busy walking a bit tiresome as he looked like he was dragging his legs a bit in his gait. His silvery-looks shone at the eyes of the girls passing the third-year by, hearts in their eyes to see the young male model. Though Touya felt an uneasiness as he was looking at the third-year as he silvery-blue eyes looked rather dim for their own good.

Was he overworking himself lately? Hopefully not as Iris did say that her mother was letting them take it easy for the Ginza preview this Sunday. Maybe he had other things aside from modeling? Touya kept questioning the third-year as he was now passing by them. “Hello everyone.” he said with a cheery tone, smiling a bit tiresome as well. “How was club signing?”

“It was great Shiro, thanks for asking.” Iris giggled. “How was New York with Mom?”

“A wonderful experience. Though at some points it reminded me a bit much of here.” he felt a vibration on his pocket. “It looks like Mayu is trying to find out where I am. See you guys tomorrow!” and thus he ran slowly, his bag swaying left and right from his back. Touya continued to look at him, playing the same words Igor told him the night before. “A dear friend is in grave danger…” the long-nose man’s wise voice cackled inside Touya’s mind.

Could it be…him?

 


 

Preview!

Hey it’s Touko here!

And Iris Sakamoto!

As Touya and Hiyori decide to head to her house, they get a spectacular surprise! It appears that they along with us can understand Morgana! How cool, no?

I agree Iris! Though this does lead to more questions about the Metaverse and the Phantom Thieves. I wonder what else it can do…

Be careful Touko! Oh what’s this? Is that a picture of Touya in his sleep?

What?! No! Hey stop it Iris! Give my phone back!!

Next time on Persona: Next Generations! More Secrets Unraveled! Oohh what’s this one?

Iris! Please give it back!

Don’t miss it!

 

Chapter Text

"Hey Touya!" Hiyori brought back her cousin back to reality. Touya shifted his eyes back to the orange-hair and then back at where Daisuke Shiro was walking, only to see the third-year disappear. "Sorry about that." he replied back, continuing to walk with the group. Touko wedged herself between Iris and Marika to get to the disturbed Touya.

"You okay Touya-kun?" she asked him with an innocent face. Touya nodded, giving the light brunette a warm smile. "Was thinking about last night and my parents. That was all." he reassured her as they turned around the corner to get to the station. "You sure it was just that though?" Satoshi smacked Touya's back lightly. "Made it seem like it was about Shiro-Senpai."

"Well if you had the chance to look at him in detail, he did appear to be rather...stressed." Shun threw a bag of chips at a nearby garbage can and smacked his hands to wipe off the saltiness.

"Mrs. Sakamoto isn't pressuring her models for Sunday, is she Iris?" Marika asked with a genuine tone of worry as they descended to get to the station in Shibuya, now free from the Okumura's grasp. Iris shook her head. "Mom gave them a break once they arrived back from America. Plus Sunday is just a preview for the main event coming soon."

"Whatever the case, we should ask Mayu." Kazuya suggested.

"I could text her." Touko replied back. Touya agree to the statement and reaffirmed the gang not to worry until we get further proof of such things.

Despite that, Touya would have to ask his parents more about the Metaverse and Neo-Mementos. Then again Igor also said that they won't need it to save the person in danger. If Daisuke was the one he had his intuitions spiked up, then how would he save him? His heart? Touya had to know from the experts themselves when he arrived home. Or this case when he's with Hiyori for the afternoon.

Wonder why though.

 


 

The Next Gen grabbed the train back to Shibuya after wrestling with the massive horde of people walking around the station. At certain points, Kazuya had to grab Marika by the collar so she wouldn't have to pester someone about their style of clothing and the such. Iris and Satoshi were constantly holding hands to make sure they wouldn't get separated, and Hiyori was sticking close to Touya and Touko, who were blushing intensely as they were too close to each other, their bodies occasionally bumping.

"Sorry!" they kept saying to each other, blood flowing through their cheeks and their eyes averting contact whenever possible. Besides these seven, the only one missing was Shun as he was busy in the vending machines and trying to find a good snack as always.

"Damn these machines! They don't have the chips I crave!" he yelled once he finally caught up with the gang inside the train, each sitting down with looks of despair and stress as their faces down. "At least you didn't have a brute with you to stop you at every corner..." Marika said with a slight tone of anger as she was looking at Kazuya, now with more scratches on his face. He sighed. "Marika I don't want to wait for an hour to get home. Neither should you and Hiyori." he said in a calmed manner.

Touya continued to look down, deep in his thoughts. " We won't need Neo-Mementos...but what do we need?" he thought as he closed his eyes, almost shutting them too tight. Then after failing to find a solution, he looked at Touko who was sitting next to him with her camera by her laps, busy examining the photos of the day. She was smiling every time as she was admiring her work, and her strands of hair to her side almost blocked Touya from seeing the beautiful blue eyes Touko had. This made him blush as usual.

 


 

After everyone made it and having Touko walk with Touya and Hiyori back to her house in Yongen-Jaya, Touya was asking her cousin's questions as to why she wanted them to meet with her. At the two strolled through the streets of Yongen-Jaya, they passed by the old and famous Cafe Leblanc.

Its iconic and strong brick wall and large window, always closed. There inside the cafe, the two cousins saw their grandfather, Sojiro, chatting with the customers as he was putting back his glasses after wiping them on his apron. "Yo Gramps!" Touya called out to the gray-haired with black man as he opened the door to greet his grandchildren. "Long time no see Touya! How's the life of a teenager treating ya? Hiyori doing well there at Shujin?" he asked his grandson.

"Everything is great Gramps. Hiyori is enjoying so whatever she told you back home is the truth."

"Good to hear. How's Ren and Makoto?"

"Mom and Dad are fine Gramps. They're busy as usual and Mom misses the hell out of Seiji that's for sure." he chuckled as he remembered the day Seiji went to his university and Makoto was crying tears both of joy and sadness that her first baby boy was becoming a man. Ren was holding her tight and Touya had to grab almost three whole boxes of tissues by the kitchen counter to comfort his mother.

Sojiro smiled at the statement and checked his watch. "Well it appears I took too much time off of you. Good luck being teenagers." Sojiro took a quick look at Touya's back, seeing Touko behind his grandson. He smiled, then gave a small teasing glance at Touya. "And who's the lovely girlfriend too?" that got Touya and Touko blush massively as Touya was not only trying to calm Touko down but also telling Sojiro about the mistake he made. Hiyori sighed and went to her grandfather.

"They're not dating...at least until one has the skill to." Sojiro nodded and looked back to see the two, having a quick seat and their heads down, with fumes going upwards.

 


 

They arrived at Hiyori's house.

There sitting by the porch steps was none other than Sakura Futaba as she was bathing herself with the afternoon sun, her laptop on her laps and chatting through her cat-icon bluetooth. Wind blew for a bit as the cousins were walking towards the now short-orange hair woman. She was relaxed too on the front of the door, her legs touching the last steps of the black house. "Hi Mom!" Hiyori ran up to Futaba and gave her a quick hug. "Welcome back Hiyori. How was your day?"

"It was great! I joined the Gaming Club as well as the Computer Club at school today. " she smiled and it looked like her cat headband ears stood up with excitement. It reminded Touya of how Touko's ribbons do the same effect when she's feeling a certain emotion. He even took a quick look at Touko to see the same effect applied. "Oh! Well look who decided to visit." Futaba gave a smirk at Touya, placing her laptop carefully and walking up the boy, giving him a warm hug. "How have you been? How's your parents?" she asked when she released her nephew.

"Everything is great with them Aunt Futaba. Plus they told me about-"

"About us being Phantom Thieves." Before Touya could continue his sentence to Futaba, Hiyori stepped in. "That's the reason why I wanted you to stop by today Touya! There's something I want you to unravel." she said in a rather creepy and yet condescending manner, making the Niijima slightly uncomfortable.

Hey, this was Hiyori he was with.

"Come inside and get some food. You must be starving." Futaba asked Hiyori to grab the laptop as she was opening the door. "I made some nice curry if you want Touya." Futaba told him. "It's better than the one that your father makes too." that got Touya's attention as he walked inside, letting Touko in first before him. "Thank you Touya-kun." she smiled.

 


 

"So Ren and Makoto told you the gist of things huh?" Futaba took a bit out of her curry. Touya nodded. "Yeah about how you guys went into Mementos and changed the hearts of those with a distorted desire." Touya took a sip from his cup of water before continuing. "I'm guessing there's more to this Aunt."

"That's something your parents will have to tell you. They were considered the mom and dad of the group so it's more appropriate." she took off her glasses and gave it a quick swipe, and looked at Touko. "And my bad for not saying hello Harima-chan. It's just unexpected to see you. In a good way no less."

"It's fine Sakura-san! It's just normally Touya and I walk home from school and Hiyori  invited me to tag along." Touko looked down with a hint of pink on her cheeks, twiddling her fingers a little before looking back at Futaba and the others.

"Which you still haven't answered why." Touya gave a quick brotherly look of annoyance at the orange-haired and light-green eyes girl. She took out her tongue. "You'll see soon. Morgana!' she yelled out. There was a moment of silence for a moment until Futaba yelled for the black cat once more. "Mona!" Futaba used his nickname this time. Touko shook her head. "I think he's sleeping."

"What do you want Futaba?" Touya and Touko stopped for a moment as their fronts turned to see the black cat looking at them with a tired look on its face. It blue eyes squinting and his snout yawning consistently. "I was napping and was having this nice dream where you and Sojiro took me to the pond to get some fish..." he yawned again before jumping towards Futaba's lap. Touya's dark grey eyes widened and noticed Touko almost dropping her utensil on her plate.  

"Did Morgana just talk?" Touya asked his cousin who replied with a confident nod. "Sakura-san...can you explain this to us please?" Touko asked nicely, her blue eyes fixated on the black cat in front of her. "I'll be gladly to." Futaba answered back.

 


 

For about five minutes total, Futaba mentioned the Metaverse once more along with a few added details of her own. "So as your parents mentioned last night Touya, Mementos, or in your case, Neo-Mementos, is the cognitive world of society here in Tokyo. However, seeing that is it also a cognitive world, there will be certain changes into your brain when you head back to the real one."

"In this case, we can understand Morgana unlike before." Touko got the idea now wrapped inside her head. Touya as well. Hiyori grabbed Morgana now and started playing with his ears for a bit. "Hey cut this out!" Morgana whined. Futaba chuckled. 'You know you love it when we did that back in the day Mona."

"That was like twenty years ago!" Morgana pushed Hiyori's arms and decided to head towards Touko instead, jumping onto her lap and comforting himself into a ball position. "Ahh, this is better." he purred. Touko was confused by this but let the cat stay as she was petting him softly now. "Sakura-san, how did you guys meet Morgana in the first place?" she asked the Cyber Net Security agent. "Well that question is leaned more towards asking Touya's dad as well as Ryuji. They were the first ones to find him in the Metaverse."

"So Morgana is like those weird Shadows?" Touya asked quickly.

"I wouldn't say that. More like a whole new creature created for the Metaverse and guide us with our travels."

"And I'm for sure a human too!" Morgana said abruptly though muffled thanks to the black and red striped Shujin skirt that Touko was wearing. Futaba sighed, collecting the trio's dishes and placing them in the sink. "First of all Mona, it's been two decades. All of us are surprise you're still alive. Second, you can't be human as we've proved you wrong on several occasions." she sat back down now. Hiyori meanwhile approached her cousin, poking his side. "Come to my room. There's also another surprise!" she whispered to the two of them.

 


 

Touya for sure was being skeptical about this last surprise as he entered Hiyori's room. As the variants amount of video game posters were scattered around the white walls of her room as well as the multiple anime figures (which Touya was jealous of) were laid out neatly on top of her small yet adorable desk.

Of course there was her laptop and gaming setup in front of her bed for whenever she wanted to create her usual indie games for the gang to play, and her bed that was close to the wall, hugging it even. "So what is it that you want to show me before Touko and I leave?" his eyes looked like they were ready to pounce at his cousin. Hiyori was rummaging through her closet, only to take out a video game case to when Touya spot it, ran towards Hiyori and snatch it from her hands.

"No way...no freaking way..." Touya held the case up like that scene from the Lion King, where Rafiki held Simba, in the room. "Thank you for presenting me this amazing game!" he yelled out in excitement, stars shaping his eyes. It was none other than a simple Monster Hunter game.

"I knew you were going to be happy!" Hiyori hugged her cousin, making Touko feel out of place.

"Sorry about this Touko." he laughed a little before thanking Hiyori. Touko hugged Hiyori as well.

"Thank you for today Hiyori-chan. It was nice to see Sakura-san after a long time."

"It's cool! I'm glad you guys agreed."

"Also you will tell the others about Morgana right?" Touya asked as he put the game case on the side of her arm. "Yes sir Niijima! Plus Morgana is going to be a valuable source of intel about Neo-Mementos and the likes too." and with that Hiyori ushered the auburn and light-brunette outside her room. "See you guys tomorrow!" she shut the door. "Touya," Futaba approached the two, handing them leftover bags to take. "Make sure both of your parents receive my hello. Or else there will be consequences towards your data coverage." she smiled devilishly. Touya nodded. "Will do Aunt."

"Likewise Sakura-san."

"Also are you two dating?" she asked suddenly, leaving the two teenagers to stop on their tracks, fuming wildy now. "D-a-t-i-n-g??" they both looked at Futaba with a flustered look on their faces. This made Futaba laugh a little. "I'm just joking you guys. Now take it easy." she waved them goodbye.

 


 

As the two returned to Shibuya Square, Touya sighed of relief when they left the underground walkway. "Now I have an understanding as to why she wanted the two of us and not me only." he said as he was looking down in despair after possibly dying of blushing. Touko nodded. "Hiyori's family sure like to tease."

"At least she gave me this cool gift." he took out the Monster Hunter game and examined its contents. Inside the case there was a special note that had Hiyori's hand writing in it. "Be sure to get the DLCs before May!" he read before putting it back onto his Shujin Academy messenger bag.  "And it was nice of you to join Touko."

"I just hope it didn't look like I was being selfish."

"Hey, you just wanted to stop by and say hi to Aunt so it's all good. Besides you were going to have to come anyway since we walk home together." he blushed a bit but smiled back at Touko who reciprocated. Then Touya thought back to his statement, quickly blushing madly now instead of the pink he had before, and wove his arms back and forth.

“I mean I'm not implying that you really need someone to walk you home! I mean you could also do it yourself! It's just a lovely and a gesture fit for a gentleman that's all!" Touya laughed a little, scratching his head rapidly. Touko blinked at the sight of her friend, cheeks still pink but nodded in agreement. "I think that it's still nice of you to walk with me. I can't even think of a time where I walked alone." she giggled. Touya's eye widened and smiled back at the girl again. Then he went back to the events of Aunt Futaba's house.

"Though I never got the chance to ask her more about the Phantom Thieves." Touya pouted as he continued to walk past the crowd, now all calmed down from the fluster storm of emotions.. Touko stood beside him to make sure they wouldn't get lost before finding their route to their quiet neighborhood. "I'm sure your parents will give us more answers. Better ones too."

"How so?"

"Well I asked Iris during the club signing if her parents told her anything about the Metaverse but they replied to her with an undisputed no." Touko brushed the side of her hair. "Almost as if your parents are the one who can disclose the info."

"Makes sense if you put it that way." Touya went back to Futaba's words as to how they were the team Mom and Dad of the group. He even laughed at the thought as it was almost hundred percent accurate when he crossed examined it to his parents nowadays. How Niijima Makoto and Amamiya Ren were the ones to sort of babysit the others during their time in the Metaverse. Speaking of, he needed to ask his father about Igor...

"Touya-kun. We're here." Touko pulled Touya's blazer for him to get back into what was in front of him. Already they appeared to be in front of Touko's house. "Whoa this was quick." he chuckled nervously before saying goodbye to his friend. "Have a good night Touya-kun!"

"Night Touko!" Touya smiled, heading his way back to his house.

 


 

"I'm home!" Touya yelled as he saw Makoto and Ren on the dinner table. From the looks of it, it appeared that the two adults ended up playing some cards after some hard work as files were spread apart from every corner of the ivory table. Makoto stood up and welcomed her son back.

"How was club signing? And your aunt's place?" Ren asked with a soft smile pressed on his lips as he was relaxed on his chair. "It was great. Signed up for the Track Team with Satoshi like last year, and Aunt Futaba made this really good curry." he placed the leftovers in an empty area of the table. "She says hi and that you enjoy." he said as he sat down on his chair, sighing for a bit before looking back them.

"Also, cards? Really? You're that old?" Touya joked. Ren laughed a little before looking straight at Makoto, eyes beginning to tear up. "Old? We can't be that old..." she muttered to herself as clouds formed above her head now. Touya apologized immediately and then Makoto was back to her normal self now. "Sorry Touya but please don't use that joke. Reminds me too much of Seiji."

"Oh, and how's Seiji?" Touya almost yelled his question as Ren shushed him and told him to quiet down a bit. Makoto was busy collecting her paperwork, placing them in their folders once more, and shoved them back inside her purse she uses for her files.

"Seiji is doing well at his dorm room. Says he's enjoying it thus far. His words too." Makoto clapped her hands to brush some dirt and rolled up her blouse sleeves. "He'll see if he can stop by the end of the month." she said with a sniffle as she was reminded of her baby boy returning home after about what seemed almost a month of not seeing the aspiring doctor. Touya smiled nervously at the sight of his mother, and turned to Ren, shrugging as a response. "Let mothers be mothers Touya." he said in the end as he stood up from his chair to grab the leftovers. "Also your mother told me on the phone that you had something to ask me." Ren poured a bit of curry on his plate, all while his dark-grey eyes locked on to his son's. "Regarding what the Wild Card is." he finished.

"Oh that. What is it Dad? Is it some special ability?"

"In a way. Though it's a bit hard to explain." he took a soft bite into the curry as it was surprising warm. "It differs from person to person according to Igor."

"There's been more in the past?" Touya was now intrigued. Who else were Wild Cards?

"According to Igor himself, there have been 'tales of old' where others have obtained the ability." he savored the flavor of the curry as he held a hand to his cheek and his eyes closed with delight. "Man I concede. Futaba did find a loophole in Sojiro's curry." he said mostly to himself before continuing with his son's question. "So that is really all I have to answer Touya. It's been twenty-three years, so anything can happen now as the Wild Card." he then had an aha moment as he raised a finger. "There is one universal ability we Wild Cards have." he said in his suave tone of voice.

"What is it?"

"I don't know if I should tell you now though..." Ren cooed, soon regretting it as he looked to see an annoyed Makoto. Looks like someone doesn't want to deal with his antics at the moment. "Mako, it's best if he saw it for himself rather than me saying it." he tried to ease the situation. Makoto sighed and ate her leftover plate, waving her left hand towards her husband to just do what he needs to do with their son. Touya was anxious as to what his father was going to say.  

"So what is it?" he asked again.

"The Wild Card has the ability to hold more than one Persona." Touya raised an eyebrow as Ren shook his head, a smile painted across his lips. Then without hesitation looked back at Makoto. "See? He needs to see it for himself." Ren joked a little. Touya was trying to understand what he meant by holding more Personas. How would he do it? Are the shadows Personas too? Touya went back towards their fights in Neo-Mementos. He certainly had to try it out. As the Niijima was going through his thought process, Ren looked at his son once more. " Igor, you better take good care of my son if he's doing this." he thought as he continued to eat and converse with his wife and son. At least it was until Touya pulled one more question.

"What did your outfits look like? And who gave you the code names?"

Ren and Makoto sighed. "Can you explain this one Makoto?" Ren said to his wife.

 


 

The next day felt rather normal for once.

For the first time in three days, Touya managed to wake up without having to enter the Velvet Room. At first it felt weird yet Touya was relieved to not having been bothered by the long-nosed man and his assistant. "Finally I can be Niijima Touya for a day and not the Wild Card." he said with enthusiasm as he was walking through the halls of Shujin Academy. Students greeted him as well as the usual set of girls rushing to greet him. Of course there was Iris coming to the rescue as she shooed the girls away to grab his friend.

"Be glad he's not Satoshi." she warned the girls with a fist as they fled from the scene. Touya thanked his friend and took his spot.

"Classic Mom Iris." Satoshi joked as Iris sat down next to him, smirking upon the transpired event. Iris sighed as she looked at her beau. "I gotta be. After all, who's going to take care of my sweet prince if I'm not around?" she teased the spiky black haired boy as he was blushing madly and was rubbing his shoulders, looking down on the ground with a grin. "And what about you my dear princess?" he returned the favor as his eyes were filled with hearts. Iris giggled as she was being consumed by all the love Satoshi was giving to her. Watching from afar, Touya felt awfully cringed when looking at his two friends all lovey-dovey.

The same went for Touko as her mind went someplace that her face became red. Satoshi and Iris stopped their little game when they looked at the two friends, laughing at the sight of them. "What are you thinking about Touko?" Iris teased her friend now. "Huh? Nothing!" Touko waved her hands back and forth in pure nervousness. "Oh really?" Iris pushed the thought a bit further, and noticed that once she did, Touko fused out, her head on the desk and her eyes spiraling. " Iris...why?" Touko thought as the three got out of their chairs to take care of the fainted girl.

 


 

"Man, the Prime Minister is expecting quite a bit too much for you, huh Amamiya-Sensei?" a short brown haired young adult was walking with Ren through the Diet Building hallways. Their footsteps echoing through the brownish and red walls and floor. He seemed to have been Ren's assistant as he was holding files on his right hand, brushing against the side of his white-button down shirt. "Don't worry too much about it Daichi." Ren answered back. 

"You're not phased by all of this Sensei?!" Daichi's eyes widened with amazement. As expected from one of the most prominent figures in the Diet Building. Ren smiled back. "Of course not Daichi. I mean when you have a police commissioner as a wife and working alongside Yoshida for years, heavy paperwork is the least of my concerns." he yawned ironically. "Well beside a good night sleep." he joked as they continued walking.

"Ah it appears that you have arrived Amamiya." another voice was heard across the hallway, stopping the tracks of Ren and Daichi as they look behind them to see a slim man wearing a striped black suit. His tie was slightly worn correctly as a little piece of his neck was exposed, his collar of his white shirt almost popping out. He wore black gloves like how Ren wore his red ones, and he had a scruffy beard on his face. His black eyes darted across the scenery, his long messy black hair almost blocking his eyesight. Some of it stayed to the side, covering his ears. He was smiling.

"My apologies to interrupt you. Allow me to introduce myself. The name's Amitsu Kojima." he bowed in respect towards Ren. "I've heard so much about you and to see the man who changed the ways of the Diet Building is quite the game changer!" he returned back to his position and gave a sly smile. "I'm recently new to all of this after been elected for a year."

"I see. Well I've heard a lot about you too Kojima-san." Ren replied back, approaching the man for a handshake. "You made some changes here as well in terms of finances and public safety."

"It's quite amazing to hear that the legend himself has heard of my works!"

"Well I wouldn't be calling myself a legend." Ren chuckled. Daichi nodded to the statement as well before he felt his phone vibrating. Daichi picked it up, and listened to what the person on the other end was saying. "I'll let Sensei know." he hung up and touched Ren's shoulder.

"Sensei, someone is by your office. Said she has something to give to you."

"Oh does she? I'll have to check it out then." Ren knew it was none other than Makoto as Daichi had her number as well. Either his wife or Sae-san. Amitsu saw the expression on Ren's face.

"Looks like I have somewhere to be. It was quite an honor to meet you Kojima-san." Ren replied back.

"The pleasure was all mine Amamiya!" Amitsu bowed once more and laughed as he walked back to where he came from, a sly smile on his face. "Perhaps it was even fate." he said when he looked back at Ren and Daichi, walking towards his office.

 


 

"What brings you here at like 12:30 in the afternoon?" Ren joked to his wife as he was removing his suit jacket and red gloves. Makoto hugged her husband and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek before giving him a small lunch bag. "You forgot your lunch my Joker." she said in a teasing tone of voice, causing the short fluffy haired man to chuckle. "And thus the Queen decided to bring it to him? What a lovely gesture." he released Makoto from his grasp and invited her to sit down for a bit. "So other than the present, which thank you, what else is new?" he went to his counter to grab two cups and poured water on them. He gave on to Makoto and sat back down on his office chair.

"Well Ren dear, there's the usual Commissioner's Quest that everyone has been pressuring me about." she took a small sip. "And the feeling that our son is basically another you and is about to risk his life." she heard her husband sigh.

"Like I said Mako, there's only so much we can do. We can't just not let him avert his attention to this."

"I know that Ren but it scares me. It scares me that what we've done back then seems to have been for nothing as Igor and the Metaverse are back." she had her fists rolled up and her red eyes gazed at her husband with a slight angered look. Ren, without hesitation, stood up once more and grabbed Makoto's arms, calming her down.

"Hey Makoto, everything will be fine, alright? As long as we teach him everything, the rights and wrongs, Touya will be alright." he cupped her cheek. "He has our blood flowing through his body. He has our mentality. He is strong."

"Ren..." Makoto chuckled a little, grabbing his arm that was cupping her cheek. "You're right. We raised him to be strong just like us."

"Exactly." and with that Ren hugged her once more and didn't let go for a long time. In the back of Ren's mind, this reminded him of the time when he was alone with Makoto before The Plan was to be enacted during Sae's palace. How the two were arguing over his safety and his usual remarks and smirks seemed to have calmed her down over the traumatizing idea that Ren were to die at the hands of Akechi if it failed.

Besides that thought, he also remembered his sons, Seiji and Touya, standing straight and smiling with ease. Touya especially. " Touya...what you're going to be facing will be tough. The same with your friends no doubt. That's why we're here. Why I'm here. I'll make sure you become just as strong as I was as the Wild Card. I'm sure of it." Ren reassured himself as he continued to hold his wife in his arms.

 


 

After school now arrived for the gang and it was also time for them to hit their respective clubs. Touya and Satoshi waved goodbye to the others as they headed their way downstairs for their first training session for the track season. "Man I've been waiting for this since the break! Coach it's time to impress you with my skills!" he raised an arm as they descended downstairs. "Oh? Let's see about that Satoshi." Touya challenged the idea as he made a bet to see who gets the fastest time today.

"You're on Niijima!" the two shook hands and smiled. Satoshi continued to keep his smile on his face until his green eyes spotted Daisuke Shiro near the courtyard. Touya looked also at where Satoshi's interest was piqued, and saw Daisuke walking slowly like yesterday, eyes deprived of sleep and his hair a bit messy. Compared to yesterday, Touya also saw Mayu with Daisuke, her long brown hair behind her back, all loose and smooth and she appeared to be scolding her boyfriend.

Satoshi nudged Touya for them to continue walking, but spoke about Daisuke. "There's definitely something wrong with him." Satoshi said in a serious manner.

"I agree." Touya replied back.

"Have any idea as to why he's like this?" Touya stopped walking when Satoshi asked him the question. Going back to Igor's words, Touya began to speculate that it was Daisuke that in trouble. The question being why and how to prevent this still lingered, and Touya wasn't ready to tell the gang yet. At least not until he asked his parents more about the Metaverse.

"Touya? Hey buddy?" Satoshi had his head slanted to the side to see if his friend was okay. Touya looked back at Satoshi and chuckled nervously, telling him that he was fine. "Oh I see. Bet you were thinking about Touko just now." Satoshi smiled devilishly.

"Huh? No I wasn't! I swear!" Touya's mind now betrayed him as he was thinking of the female photographer. He blushed a bit, proving Satoshi's point as he crossed his arms and laughed a little. "Speaking of her, there she is now." Satoshi pointed to where Daisuke was, now replacing him with Touko being dragged by Iris as she appeared to be frantically running.

 


 

"Iris! Could you please stop dragging me!" Touko yelled as she was being dragged by her friend to head towards the Literature Club. Iris didn't even bother to pay attention on Touko's statement as they turned a corner to head to the room where the club was being held. Iris opened the door and panted a little before coming in. "I'm truly sorry Touko. I really am, but I just couldn't be late for the first meeting!"

"You didn't need to drag me." Touko felt a tear dropping from her eye. She quickly wiped it and shook her head. "Why am I even here? I didn't sign up for this."

"To do what you always do!" Iris grabbed Touko's camera. "Take some good ones too! I bet the Journalism Club would love them!" She returned the camera to her friend and invited her to sit behind her. Touko felt somewhat scared as she witness a drastic change in behavior from her blonde friend. Then again literature and writing in general were things Iris Sakamoto was passionate about. She should support her friend by all means necessary.

Kaoru Munehisa showed up after a couple of minutes, apologizing to his students. Touko, sitting in the back, her camera in position decided to take some quick pictures. For the most part of today's meeting, it consisted of the Munehisa speaking and telling his students what to expect from the club. "Now remember! Any idea that come across your mind can always be presented in however style you deem appropriate for it. The whole goal for this club is to showcase our creativity and to spark ideas and interest to the world!" and with that the students applauded and thanked the teacher for today's meeting.

All except for the Sakamoto as she was lying her head down on the desk with a tone of sadness painted on her face. "I wanted to do something fun today...." she muttered, even making Touko giggle a little before calming her down. While Touko was calming her friend down, Shun and Hiyori were walking through the hallway. Hiyori looked like she was bothering Shun as she was desperately trying to see what Shun's snacks were this time around, walking around him constantly and nabbing at his bag. Touko sighed, and called out to them to wait up.

After meeting up with them, Kazuya returned as well after a nice cooking lesson at the Cooking Club and the two track team boys sweating like crazy as they panted. "Ready to head on home guys?" Touya panted. "Where's Marika?" Hiyori asked Kazuya.

"On her way." Kazuya replied as the red-haired girl ran towards the others, a big playful smile on her face. "Sorry you guys had to wait! Drama Club was sooo busy for its first meeting."

"Lucky you were busy..." Iris felt like a ghost as her presence was diminishing. Something Satoshi had to take care of quick as Coach Sakamoto was walking towards them. "Let's get out of here quickly please!" Satoshi carried Iris on his back and dashed madly, leaving the others on hold with confused expressions on their faces. What a way to end today as they walked towards the school gates.

 


 

Touya began bouncing his stress ball back and forth in his room.

As it bounced from the wall closest to his bed to the chair he was sitting in next to his desk, the auburn haired boy was thinking about Daisuke Shiro. Despite the fun he had for the past two days as well as the amount of interrogation and obtaining more knowledge about the Metaverse, Touya began to think of a way to free Daisuke. If this is the grave friend that Igor was mentioning.

"Daisuke," Touya muttered to himself. "What the hell is going on?" he grabbed the ball from its last bounce and then rested his hands on his head, his elbows touching the desk. "What is it? If it's not Neo-Mementos, then what is it?" he heard his mother calling him for dinner. "On my way Mom!" he yelled before looking at his phone, pressing onto the Metanav. The Persona icons as well as the recent backlog from their time there was visible, and nothing new popped out at him. Well besides the microphone icon on the top right corner where the search engine was.

He clutched his phone tight, and decided to check the group chat to see if anything was new as well. Nothing. "At least Hiyori told them about Morgana." Touya sighed as he finished reading the texts, looking up at the ceiling. His dark-grey eyes strained a little as he was focusing on a way to save Daisuke. If it was Daisuke, that is. "Igor...what do you want me to do? Ask my parents again?" he stood up from his chair now, stretching his arms. Opening his door, he looked back at his phone. " Daisuke...what are you dealing with right now?" he shut his door.

 


 

It was now midnight. 

There was the usual honks and lights flowing through the streets of Tokyo, most of them even penetrating the windows of Daisuke's small apartment. As he was falling asleep, or at least tried to, his body was moving back and forth. Arms and legs underneath his blue sheets were sweating furiously, his palms wet. He was straining his silvery-blue eyes shut and he looked like he was gasping for air. Then there was the same sensation he felt the night before, almost like cold hands were brushing up against his restless body, crawling their way into their skin.

Except he didn't feel it being ripped off as these shadowy hands were entering without breaking any from the male model. It was as if they were transparent. The same sensation occurred for roughly a minute, and once they were gone, Daisuke was hearing a voice in his head. A child's, and then in his dream, the whole scenery began to darken.

"You want true beauty, don't you Daisuke Shiro? You want everyone to become just as beautiful as you, no?" the child's voice kept saying in his dream over and over again. "Stop this...stop this!" he yelled, struggling to break free but couldn't as he now felt his entire being shaken and thrown into the black atmosphere. Then, Shiro looked around and spotted a large building, with shining lights and other toppling it above it like layers.

But that wasn't all for now there was someone else, someone almost the same as him, features and everything, but it was nothing more than a silhouette as Shiro's eyes were fixated on the figure's yellow eyes, shining with evil yet with a sense of magnificence. The figure stood there now and smiled wide, now beginning to approach the male model, arms wide to present itself.

"You and I shall forge a contract. One that will grant us the desires we crave. The ideals of beauty and style! Of elegance and confidence!" it yelled to the top of its lungs, frightening Shiro to the point where he now awoke, a new day dawning on him and his bedroom. Panting loudly, except this time he began to laugh, to cackle, to feel insane. "Yes..YES!" he yelled, shuddering with both fear and excitement as he now started the next day with the following words:

"I will ascertain true beauty! I will provide true elegance! AHAHAHAHA!" his eyes widened with amazement at his new personality. His new world. His new distortion. His new cognition.

Daisuke Shiro was no longer himself from that moment forward.

 


 

Preview!

Okumura Kazuya here.

Along with me, Kitagawa Shun.

Marika decided to drag us into one of her usual antics....shopping at Ginza for the small little fashion show coming up on Sunday. Man I don't want to shop for clothes when I'm with her...

Though it will be loads of fun. Plus we start to learn more about the Metaverse and what Palaces are. I hope to expand some of my shojo manga ideas when we're shopping too.

Your what?

I didn't say anything. Must be your imagination.

I could've sworn-

Next time on Persona: Next Generations! Colossal Shopping Spree! Palaces Revealed!

Hey you didn't answer me! Shun!

Don't miss out!

 

Chapter Text

Touya almost dropped his bottled water when he heard Marika's voice coming through his classroom door. Beside her was Kazuya and Shun, standing with a sense of defeated pride as they looked downwards and Kazuya having the usual scratches on his face thanks to Marika's pink nails. Marika on the other hand was all bright and optimistic, as her hands were by her hips and her red short hair was all combed nicely among her Shujin Academy uniform. "Guys! I have a big announcement to make! Come outside really quickly!' she yelled with such enthusiasm in her voice.

It even had a little rhythm to it too.

Touko looked at Touya and then at Satoshi and Iris, who were just as equally confused about the situation. Then they began to hear chanting and some of the male students cheering. "Wow! Marika-chan is sooo hot!" the male students roared when they laid their eyes on the red haired girl. Some of them gently grabbed her hands and praised the Souta girl.

"Marika-chan! Kick me into oblivion like you do at the soccer practices!" that statement alone made Kazuya jump to his feet, reminding himself of Marika's kick in the face in Neo-Mementos. He walked to the student and gave him a soft pat on his back, his brownish-purple eyes looking at him with denial. "Trust me...I've been through it all. You don't want to." he said with a gloomy face, scaring the student.

"So what's this all about?" Touko asked Marika who just smiled wide. "You'll see once you guys step outside." she giggled as she walked out of the classroom, grabbin Shun by his blazer and whistling to Kazuya. Marika looked back and saw Touya and the others not moving towards her.

"Aren't you guys going to follow me or what?" she yelled. Touya sighed and nodded to the others to join their childish friend to wherever she's taking them to. Satoshi poked his girlfriend and whispered in her ear. "Could it be about tomorrow?" he asked Iris. Iris shrugged. "With Marika, maybe?" Marika then released Shun and took him to get Hiyori. He nodded and returned almost immediately.

"Alright so everyone's now here." Shun said to Marika as he grabbed Hiyori from downstairs. "What is going on? I was having this debate with a friend of mine about which Pokemon was the best!" Satoshi and Touya's ears honed in on what the orange-haired girl had to say, but Marika interrupted with a cough. "Listen up! Today after school we are going to have the time of our lives! Wanna know why?" she asked the gang openly.

"Why Souta Marika?" Why are we going to have the time of our lives?" Kazuya said in a bored manner, almost like he knew right away what she was planning on doing to the gang. Marika jumped up and down and then with a smile declared to the whole gang the plan. "We are all going shopping for Sunday's fashion show preview Mrs. Sakamoto has for us in Ginza today!"she said with such fervor and excitement that it scared the gang. Marika looked at the gang, waiting for a reply. "So? We all in?" she asked innocently.

"I don't see why not." Touya looked at the others, whom were all shocked to see Touya agreeing with the fashionista. "Oh come on guys! It would be a nice thing to do for a while until we learn what we can about the Metaverse."

"And Shiro-Senpai too." Satoshi stepped in and joined Touya. "After all he's been acting quite strange."

"Satoshi is right. Daisuke is not only looking sleep-deprived but have you seen him when he walked in today?" Iris asked Touya who responded with a simple no. Iris described to the Niijima that Daisuke was limping a little as he walked towards the school ground this morning, except he had this subtle grin on his face. "I have a feeling it must be because of the Metaverse. It's just too coincidental." Kazuya added on to the comment. Touya agreed to what they were saying about the silvery-white haired male model. "Yeah it has to be. But the thing is Neo-Mementos won't in this case." Touya said to them in return.

"How so Touya-kun?" Touko asked as she was rummaging to get her water bottle. Touya sighed and shook his head. He can't tell them about the Velvet Room. "It's just an idea running in my head at the moment." he replied to the photographer.

"Now that you think about it...if we recalled the changes of hearts of Madarame, Kamoshida, and the likes from our history classes have taught, then maybe it's a whole new world besides Neo-Mementos like Touya is saying." Hiyori brushed her Shujin Academy skirt and fixed her cat headband. "I could ask Mom and Morgana about it." she added.

"Oh that's right! We can talk to a cat now." Satoshi shook his head at the thought, laughing a little too. "Man our lives keeps getting bigger and weirder by the second."

"So we're all going?" Marika quickly said to the gang, her red eyes blinking with curiosity. Touya nodded and looked back at the others who nodded as well. Shun shrugged as well as Kazuya, and that was something Marika needed to fix. She turned to the calm Okumura and then whispered in his ear. "If you don't go, so help me God these legs will break your body tenfold." Kazuya still shrugged, even giving an arrogant look back at her. "And I will make sure you don't see another cute dress ever." he threatened her back, and the two gave an annoying glare that everyone laughed at the sight of.

Then the bell for lunch to be over rung, and the gang parted ways until the afternoon came around. Touya got back to his seat and then took out his English work as the teacher walked into the room.

 


 

After school arose now, and the gang were waiting patiently by the station to catch the Ginza train. Satoshi and Touya were seen conversing about the next Track Team meet and how the bet is still on, while Touko was taking some pictures for a photography project. "Make sure you can take a nice one of our trip!" Marika told Touko as she nodded. "I hope this is going to be fun Mari." she replied shyly.

"Of course! I mean we get to update our wardrobes, hang out, and we don't have to worry about homework until tomorrow!" Marika was all giddy now as she reminded herself that she doesn't have to do anything school related. Then Marika looked at Touya, specifically his medium fluffy dark-brown hair. "I bet Touya would want a cute fedora hat like the one he has in the Metaverse." Marika cooed to the Niijima as he was feeling quite uncomfortable. It even made Touko blush a little as Marika was closer to Touya's face as she could ever imagine. Touya pushed Marika a little to get some space. "Marika, I'm not so sure I even want another hat. Though some nice clothes would be cool." Touya felt a feeling tingling behind his back as those words may come to haunt him later.

"Same here man. A sweet sweater is on my list today." Satoshi replied with a wide grin. Shun and Hiyori returned now, with soda drinks in each hand. "Shun I owe you a total of 70 yen." she sipped a little of her soda. "It was a good thing you only asked for the soda Hiyori. My wallet at the moment needs to be conserved for this trip."

"Oh don't worry about it! I made sure Kaz and I would pay for everyone!" that triggered Kazuya as he released his hands from their crossing. His eyes were in a confused manner and looked at Marika. "What are you saying? I never agreed to this." he said quite calm as always, with a confused glare towards the Souta girl. "Asked your mother earlier today and she agreed to it!" she took out her phone and to show Kazuya the various text messages that were sent to Haru Okumura. She read them aloud, and it stung Kazuya deeply as he gasped.

"Mother...how could you do such a thing?" he asked himself as he was on his knees, punching the floor with annoyance. Then at that moment, the train for Ginza had arrived, hordes of both tourists and shoppers flooding the once empty-station. "Brace yourselves everyone!" Touya yelled as they were struggling to enter the train. He held Touko's hand this time around without thinking as he didn't want to lose her in the crowd. Touko smiled when she felt the warmness of Touya's hand.

 


 

Ginza for the most part was a lovely site to visit on weekends and was one of the main tourist attractions Japan had to offer for foreigners. As shops and anything extravagant were seen piling up like skyscrapers around the busy streets., the usual crowds hoarded the streets, some crossing in huge numbers with exuberant amounts of shopping bags. Couples were seen holding hands and laughing away, and here and there cosplayers shone the streets to promote their fandom. Something the gang will definitely look like after their trip was over.

"Whoa! It's been awhile since I was here." Touya tried to absorb the atmosphere around him as he looked around him the variants colors flashing towards him. He even saw one of his favorite clothing stores down the block. Touko giggled when she saw him this amazed. "I should take a picture of your face Touya-kun!" she smiled at him, her blue eyes gazing at his surprised face.

"Think so? I wouldn't mind it." he laughed nervously, blushing a little. As soon as Touko pulled out her camera, Satoshi clicked the camera button on his phone. "This is too damn funny." Satoshi teased as he showed it to Iris who agreed. "Send it to the group chat when we're done." and the two left them. Touko, having her moment crushed a little shook it off, and then went straight to Touya without thinking, tugging onto his blazer. Touya still retained his blush.

" Touko..." he smiled back at Touko. "I'll make sure you get a nice picture of me today Touko. If you want of course."

Touko nodded, and the two parted ways with the others as they crossed the streets, but somehow Touya noticed something out of the blue. At the alleyway by someone the corners, he saw the same two bluish-purple doors from the Velvet Room radiating and Annabelle sitting on a chair, examining the folders she carried with her at all times. "Annabelle?" he murmured, blinking to make sure what he was seeing was true. The doors were gone. Strange.

"Touya-kun?" Touko asked her friend to see what was wrong and Touya took note of that. "My bad. Thought I saw something." he said as they continued walking. " I need to ask Dad this as soon as possible..."

"Where are we supposed to meet? Any clue?" Touya asked Touko now as they reached the other street, seeing in front of them a nice red building that had a huge imprint of a panther mask. Its transparent glass doors constantly opening with music blasting in the background.

"Welcome to Panther's!" a customer welcomed them to the nice clothing store. "Looks like we found the meeting place for when we're done." Touya said to Touko who nodded in agreement.

"I'll let the other know in the group chat." she took out her phone and typed away.

Meanwhile Touya examined the Panther's building. According to Iris, the very clothing store they're seeing in front of them was the first one, with their main quarters of designing and the such located at the top floors of the clothing store. Most of the time the designer and founder of Panther's, Ann Takamaki-Sakamoto would show up and see what is going on. "Panther..." Touya looked at the image of the panther mask once more. " Looks like I've uncovered another code name. " Touya felt Touko walk past him, walking towards the store. "Why don't we start here?" she asked him nicely. Touya nodded, entering Panther's and hearing the usual chime and welcome from the employees.

 


 

Satoshi and Iris were walking through the crowds, trying to find a nice shop to stop by. Iris was examining her phone, being notified by Touko to meet by her mother's main building after their after school shopping spree was over. "Kazuya and Mari also transferred us some money in case we need it." she told her beau, who had his arms crossed behind his head, walking a bit slower so Iris could be with him.

"That's nice of them. How much?" Satoshi asked.

"We'll have to see when we buy something. Speaking of-" she tackled him and hugged his back, confusing Satoshi as to what the Sakamoto girl is doing as she was feeling his Shujin Academy blazer. "So something of this material would look good on you Satoshi." she said as she released him. Satoshi blinked a few times then chuckled, having his green eyes shine on Iris' magnificent brown eyes. Iris smiled back, slightly nervous as she apologized. "Sorry. Mom used to do that to us whenever we went shopping. She did to Dad mostly." she laughed when she remembered a time they went shopping, crepes in hands as usual. Then every five minutes, Ann would embrace Ryuji, who was holding Iris' little hands at the time, expressing a look of surprised at his wife. One similar to Satoshi's.

"I see." Satoshi smiled, then inhaled and exhaled for a bit before walking again. "It's a cute gesture if you wanted a response out of it Iris."

"Thank you Satoshi. You know where to hit it when it comes to compliments." she grabbed his hand, and intertwined her fingers with his. Then with a teasing look, gave the boy a kiss on the cheek. "I love you." she told him, her brown eyes fluttering a bit after the little exchange. Satoshi meanwhile gritted his teeth as he went back to the exchange he had with his shadow back at the Pandora Boxes. " Do I really love her for her herself or for her looks?" he thought before he said the words to her with a happy tone of voice.  Iris noticed there was a small subtle drop on his smile but she didn't want to take note of that as she found the perfect stop for them to shop.

"It's from this sport shop which has some nice and fashionable clothes which I think we try. Don't you think?" she pointed to a three diagonal striped logo and glass building. On the bottom it said "Adidas."

"You know that I have some of their clothing right?" he teased her as they walked towards their destination. "Yeah but have you been to one here in Ginza? I don't think so." she teased back as they entered the store. Immediately Satoshi fell in love with a cool light sweater that was blue and had white stripes going at the sleeves of the sweater, which made Iris feel like she accomplished something. "Now to check out some shirts." she said as she went to the women's section, while Satoshi was busy trying out all kinds of sweaters the store had to offer.

 


 

"Stop being so salty about the money transference Kaz!" Marika patted her friend's muscular back as he was in a depressed yet somewhat shocked state. All thanks to the short red-haired girl that was accompanying him along her shopping spree after school trip. Kazuya didn't want to bother looking at her and decided to let her do her antics for once as he was to drowned at the thought of Haru torturing his son due to the transference.

"Mother...how could you agree to such a thing without me knowing?" he muttered to himself as his light-purplish brown eyes were wide with disbelief. He knew his mother was a sadist, but to this level? Towards her own son? He couldn't believe it. "Oh! Kaz! Look! It's that Italian guy's place! What's it called again...oh Versace!" she dragged Kazuya to the store, humming a nice tone to go along with her day.

Once they entered the white and black colored store, the first thing they smelled was the men's perfume section at the far left. "Smells like you Kazuya." Marika admitted out loud, blushing even. Kazuya raised an eyebrow at the sight of the girl, but didn't ask her. He wouldn't want a repeat of that kick to the face like last time. He decided to smell the lingering scent of the perfume much to his surprise. "Hmm, you're not wrong for once Marika." he finished smelling the somewhat mixture of lemon and orange scent that was the perfume. That's what he thought it smelled anyway.

As for Marika, hearing Kazuya's statement made her smile instantly, still retaining her blush from before but to an extent to where it reached the entire cheek area, giving off a deep crimson color. Marika shook it off, patting her hands on her cheek when Kazuya wasn't looking and then smiled back at him. "Well then let's go buy it!" she started walking. Kazuya stayed still and took a moment to admire the girl who, despite kicking his ass from time to time, was making sure the gang had a nice time for once. He grunted and then caught up the girl.

"Say Kaz," she began to speak now as they walked past some of the clothing aisles. "What is it Marika?" he asked her in his usual calm manner. Marika clutched her knuckles, her head downwards. "Did I go overboard?" she asked rather quietly as her red eyes stared into Kazuya's. Kazuya knew what she meant as he recalled the times the girl would go insane with her "cute" pictures while in reality she was too lustful for her own good. He sighed and placed his hand on her shoulder.

"If you want honesty, then I'd say you did. At times it was frustrating to see you do such things as many of the male students would go out of their way to see that perfect body of yours." he finished the sentence a bit too sarcastic. He continued on. "However I also knew you were going to find a way to fight it and I'm sort of glad the Pandora Boxes were the way to go." he found a nice black leather jacket at the corner of his eyes and promptly took it. That made Marika smiled and laugh a little. "Rubbed some of my fashion senses on you, huh?" she said in her usual teasing manner but was soon reminded of what Kazuya said.

" The Pandora Boxes were the way to go? Did it really help in the end?" she felt Ophelia's soft hands warming her heart a little at the thought, making her feel that the events in the Pandora Boxes were the way to pull her through her acts of lust.

However it did bring some of its attention to Kazuya as her red eyes laid on Kazuya, who was busy trying the jacket on. " What did you face Kaz? " she thought as she walked with the Okumura towards the perfume section, having a nice grey leather jacket folded on his left arm.

 


 

Hiyori began nitpicking some of her clothing as the dyed orange-haired first year ran across through the entire store, eager to find something that resembled her interests. "Look Shun! This one has a nice little gaming pattern like Galactica! Oh it comes in different sizes! Maybe Mom would want one." she looked around in a cat like fashion as she pick up the blue sweater with the various pixel art going about.

"What are you getting Shun...?" she looked to meet the dark-blue haired boy, but to her surprise noticed two large bags filled with snacks. "Hm? What's wrong?" he asked as he noticed Hiyori twitching her eyebrow. She shook her head. "Shun! Can you please stop it with the snacks for one day! You're going to get fat you know." she grabbed one of the bags, and noticed inside it had one of her favorite sodas and chips. She tossed it back to the eccentric. "On second thought, you can buy them."

"But didn't you say...?"

"It doesn't matter! You get your exercise from the Metaverse so it's all balanced out!" her eye glistened with joy as she found a nice black and yellow cat hoodie. "Shun! This one totally fits me!" she felt the cat eyes on top of the hoodie. "And the fabric is soo smooth! Like Mona's fur." she giggled. Shun nodded when he laid his eyes on the hoodie. "Reminds me of that one character you and Satoshi played a few months ago...what was her name again?"

"You mean Chiaki Nanami from Super Danganronpa 2!" Hiyori's skin began to glow even brighter and her light-green eyes were replaced with stars as she was happy Shun remember such a game. Shun was nervous at the sight, but this was Sakura Hiyori he was with so he had to endure it. After all he did buy her favorite drink and chips for her to grab once the shopping was done. He swayed his large bang that covered his right eye so he can see with both and fixed his red X pin that was on his left. Wouldn't want Hifumi, his mother, to find out he lost it if misplaced.

The two decided to walk a bit more inside the store, and occasionally Hiyori would grab gaming shirts or anything cat-related into her shopping cart that they found upon their journey in the store. "Shun! This one is definitely for you!' Hiyori tossed a nice grey long sleeve for the boy. Shun received it rather easily despite having the load of baggage on his hands and inspected it. It had a nice soft feel to it, almost cotton, and the long sleeves had a nice tint of brown on the edges of the sleeves. He then noticed the v-neck area being the same color. "How is this me per say Hiyori?" he asked her.

"Because you're boring and a sloth." that staggered Shun a little as Hiyori took out her fang after the tease. "Oh come on! Can't handle a little bit of my teasing? Oh you poor thing." she cooed the boy who was now feeling uncomfortable. This made the first-year Shujin female student laugh a little. "Come on let's get going to the counter." she pushed the shopping cart and Shun followed suit behind her. "You know this whole event today would be a nice moment for one of my Shojo Manga specials..." Shun thought out loud to which Hiyori's cat eared headband twitched when she heard the statement. "Your what?"

"What? I didn't say anything." Shun retorted with a scoff.

"Oh yes you did mister! You said something about Shojo Manga!" that got the eccentric dark-blue haired boy as the orange-haired girl began pestering him about his works now. Shun sighed as he now was entrapped from the cat girl's questioning as they waited in line to buy their things.

 


 

Touya and Touko arrived back to Ginza station, and the others began to follow suit.

The first two to arrive were Kazuya and Marika. She was humming away a lovely tone while the Okumura was busy carrying a huge load of shopping bags. You couldn't even see his face. 

"How was Panther's?! Was it good? Was it fun?" Marika kept asking question after question of what the Harima experienced. "It was good Mari, and lots of stuff were on sale too." Touko giggled nervously. Then Marika leaned in close to Touko's ear. "Did Touya see any of the new stuff you tried on?" that made the Harima blush hard, shaking her head to reject the red haired girl's statement. Meanwhile Kazuya approached Touya and had a dissatisfied look in his face.

"You see why I'm against these types of things?" he told, making the Niijima smile nervously. "My bad Kazuya...want a protein shake when we're done?" Kazuya hold Touya to that statement.

Next came Shun and Hiyori, both equally carrying some bags from their shopping, and Hiyori sipping away her favorite drink, courtesy of the eccentric boy. "I have a lot to owe you Shun." Hiyori said to the dark-blue haired boy who nodded in agreement. Then, like Hiyori, she ran towards her cousin once she spotted him, giving him the usual bear hug.

"Touya! I have something to show you by the way!' she grabbed her phone and showed the auburn fluffy haired boy a picture of a white pullover hoodie. The thing he noticed was the hoodie as it contained a panda like face on top. Touya's body felt rigid as he knew exactly what it was.

It was none other than Buchimaru, the cute panda that he as well as his mother enjoy despite them being "too old for it". "It came in all sizes like the cat one I bought and it reminded me of you and Aunt Mako!" Hiyori took out her usual fang, putting away her phone.

"You didn't send that to my mom..." Touya begun to speak, but Hiyori stopped him as she smirked. "Maybe." was all she said as she went back to Shun, busy in his realm of chips.

Last but not least were the two lovebirds of the group. Satoshi and Iris carrying their bags like the others, except they had a more brighter glow that they normally had when together. "Darling! Today was truly a wonderful day! Thank you so much to spend time with me!" Iris giggled, holding tightly onto Satoshi's school blazer. "Oh I should be thanking you my dear Princess!" he cooed back to her, making the others slightly uncomfortable as their presences were filled with hearts going around the couple.

"Now now you two...could you please cut it out." Kazuya told the two but Satoshi continued one, cooing to the Okumura as he was waving his hand back and forth, his face pouting a little. "Why should we do such a thing? Perhaps you want something similar to what I have Kazuya Okum-gah!" Kazuya punched him in the face, directly knocking him out as he fell to the floor. Iris' face was pallid thanks to the sight as she came to her beau's aid, and Kazuya blew the steam coming from his knuckles.

"There are moments where I will allow such things...but not today Satoshi." he scared everyone as he picked Satoshi up, giving some of his and Marika's shopping bags to the others to help him hold.

"Ready to head home?" he asked the others, lumping the poor Hatake on his shoulder. The others nodded in agreement. Satoshi, now slightly conscious, gave a weak thumbs up, thus the gang headed straight to the station to head home and call it a day. As they headed towards the station, Touya began to look back at the red building once more, feeling an uneasiness in his body. "Could it be..?" he asked himself before Touko nudged him and to continued heading the station.

 


 

Touya launched himself on the couch with a tired look on his face.

"You may not be as good as my bed but you'll have to do." Touya placed his head on one of the blue pillows, resting his head nicely on it. His shopping bags fell to the floor beside him. Ren, looking at his son with a humorous expression on his face, moved his son so he could sit as well.

"Seems like you had some fun." Makoto joined with Ren now, sitting beside her husband with a bowl of popcorn on her hands. Touya gestured to his parents. "Yeah I did." his voice was muffled by the pillow. "Also did Hiyori sent you something earlier today?" he asked his mother with a nervous tone.

"I did receive a notification from her. Never got the chance to look at it." Makoto replied back, releasing her long auburn hair from her work bun, letting it all loose. Touya sighed of defeat and sat down normally now. Now he had to wait for his mother's reaction some time tonight.

"Also...you're planning on taking a shower soon? You made have worked out a little carrying some bags from Ginza to here." Ren told his son. Touya nodded. "Give me five minutes Dad. Then I'll head upstairs."

"You better." the two adults grinned at each other and then grabbed the remote. "So Touya what did you end up buying?" Makoto asked her son before propping some popcorn into her mouth.

"Well for the most part some pants and shoes to head out for the spring season. Oh, and I got this nice white hoodie to go along with my blazer. A fedora hat too surprisingly." he finished with small tone of sarcasm and confidence, something he didn't even know he had in him. Perhaps it had to be Ianus' contract with him as he is essentially his true self.

Ren smirked for a moment.

"I see Touya. Though I doubt you'll be wearing that fedora hat outside the Metaverse." Ren remembered his son telling him about his Metaverse aesthetics. The black fedora hat was the take-away for the old Phantom Thief as it reminded him of his old getup. Touya shrugged. "Hey, it's fashion season according to Panther's and both Marika and Kazuya transferred some extra money for the day." then Touya began to think back to the uneasiness he felt back when he looked at Panther's before they left home. " Could that be the place outside of Neo-Mementos?" he looked back to his parents, who were busy trying to find a movie to enjoy their night as Sundays were somehow an off day for the police commissioner and Diet Member. Though they still worked at home.

"Mom, Dad, were there any other place that you changed the hearts of people? Like somewhere within the realms of the Metaverse?" Touya's dark grey eyes darted straight across Makoto's red eyes and Ren's dark-grey. Ren smiled once more.

"You mean the Palaces?" he said so casually, making Makoto almost drop her popcorn when Ren mentioned the word. Touya looked up at turned his attention to Ren for a moment.

"Palaces? What are those?" Touya raised a quick eyebrow. This must be good.

"Your father will answer that question once you take a shower dear." Makoto told her son with her usual motherly tone. Touya tried to take a small stance against his mother's statement but was met with her motherly glare. Touya nodded in return and headed upstairs, stretching his arms and legs as he was walking.

"It better be a good answer then if I have to wait a little." he joked in the end as he ascended towards his room. Makoto peered to see if her son indeed headed to his room, and once she confirmed that he did, got up and found the couch spray. "He didn't smell that bad you know Mako. All he did was shop around with his friends." Ren said as he stood up also to get some snacks from the counter. "So chocolate raisins or almonds?" he asked his wife.

"If we have both, then both. Oh! And check to see if there's any gummi bears or that chocolate with the Ms in the middle that Ann brought back from America."

"You mean M&Ms?" he took the box of chocolates and placed them on the dining table.

"Yes those! And the Kit Kats too." Makoto smiled as she smelled the couch, now fresh from his son's outside scent. It even smelled like daisies. Ren grabbed all the snacks and neatly put them down on the counter that was between the couch and the TV. "So what movie are we going to watch?"

"That's something we should have Touya decide on." Makoto smiled and teased her husband with a light kiss on the forehead. "After all this is a rare occasion for us to sit together and relax before going back to our usual work."

"I see. Well good thinking Makoto. We deserve this." he smirked, hugging his wife close to his body and flipping through the channels to find themselves a nice movie to watch for the night. "Sherlock Holmes...Yakuza...hmm?" Ren switched back to one of the channels. "Fight Club?" he said as he looked back at his wife and then back at the TV. " We don't talk about this one..." he joked in his mind as he continued flipping through, waiting for his son to return.

 


 

After waiting a few minutes for their son to arrive all clean, Touya asked his question once more. "Palaces, Touya, are the manifestation of the distorted desires of a person's heart. They are beyond what Mementos can handle as they are extreme and can be anything the person believes it is to him and to him alone." Ren explained to his son. 

"So for example....that Madarame dude?" Touya went back to his history lessons on the societal change in Japan and the Phantom Thieves of Hearts.

"His heart was an art museum." Ren smiled when he remember the joy he had infiltrating that Palace. As well as seeing Yusuke awaken and gaining Goemon, fighting alongside them against his former teacher.

"And Kaneshiro's?"

"A flying bank." now it was Makoto's turn to answer. Touya began to think for a moment about how these Palaces looked like. A museum...a flying bank...what else did they see in the others' hearts such as Kamoshida's and Okumura's? Maybe he'll ask another time as he was more focused on what they were. Further details weren't that necessary as of now.

Though after learning this new piece of information, Touya went back to Daisuke Shiro. Could it be that the Shujin Academy third-year and male model obtained a Palace? If so, then how would they enter it? What would it be? Touya asked one more question. "How do you enter these Palaces?"

"Makoto can you answer this one as well?" he looked to his wife who nodded in agreement, propping a bit of popcorn in her mouth before she answered. "The way they can be accessed is by saying the name of the person, where the distorted desire is located, and what they think it is on the MetaNav app."

"So by going with the examples you gave us, it would've been this: Madarame, House, Museum." Ren even took out his phone to show to his son the working of entering the Palaces.

"Once you say those three things, the MetaNav should activate and off you go to the Metaverse." Ren made it sound so easy to his son, having his Joker's smirk on his face.

Touya pondered for a moment the info and nodded. " I see...so this is what Igor meant by outside of Neo-Mementos!" Touya held a face of confidence, one that confused his parents. Ren then looked back at the movie channels he switched and asked his son to pick one. "Hm...those are interesting titles, but I'll have to pick Fight Club." he said as he looked at his parents. Makoto smiled and looked at Ren who shrugged, grabbing the remote from the counter and then changed the channel to where the movie was previously found. "Just make sure we don't mention this outside of the house. Especially to your Aunt Sae." he said as the movie started.

Touya nodded.

 


 

After the movie's credits rolled and both of Touya's and Makoto's fists were released from the excitement of the movie, Touya yawned and headed back to his room. "Oh! I forgot to tell you guys, but we're heading to Mrs. Sakamoto's preview in Ginza again tomorrow." he told them.

"Can't get enough of the fashion trends Touya?" Ren joked at his son as he stretched his back a little, stiff from the time he was laying on the couch. "Thanks for letting us know sweetie." Makoto placed some of her long hair to the side of her ears as it was blocking her vision. "No problem." Touya headed upstairs to his room, yawning continuously.

"I guess the same should be for us." Ren checked the time on his phone. "But we do have something else to take care of." Makoto nodded as she stood up as well, and grabbed her belongings from the dining table. "Futaba told me this morning about our MetNav apps. She wants to show us two tomorrow before she spreads the word to the others."

"Where are we meeting her?" Ren asked his wife.

"The usual place Ren dear." Makoto smiled as she grabbed Ren by his rolled up white shirt.

"Now let's get some sleep before we go overboard on work and meet Futaba." and with that Ren and Makoto headed upstairs as well, smiling as if they were teenagers once more towards their bedroom.

At least until they found their phones to be ringing constantly as missed calls and messages were seen repeatedly on their screens. The two adults sighed as their hopes of having a lovely day off was given with the price of an all nighter.

 


 

Touya couldn't sleep as the information of the Palaces and Daisuke having one swelled up inside him, eager to burst. He needed to tell the gang soon, so he went to his group chat and texted them about the Palaces. Then the responses came in matter of seconds:

" Hold up. Palaces?"-Satoshi

" Hm..this sounds interesting. We should try it now!"-Hiyori"

" I think we should look into one last time before we make the decision to."-Iris

"So after the preview then Iris? We could gather by the main Ginza area afterwards. "- Touko

" That's a good idea. And then we could go for some more shopping!"-Marika

" No more please...."-Kazuya

Touya continued to read of the the texts before calling it quits, but he looked back into the MetaNav app. Ever since their encounter in Neo-Mementos, the red eye icon now glowed an even brighter red, and the eye felt more arcane than ever. Touya pressed the app to open it once more and pressed on the voice icon by the search engine on the top right. The usual clicking sound of when one pressed a microphone in a phone was heard and Touya tried to say Daisuke Shiro.

"Dai..Daisuke...ah forget it." he stopped the microphone and then decided to look at the app once more.

He clicked back to the Persona icon by the tap section on the top left. There he saw Ianus' profile, attacks and everything along with a short summary of who the Persona is under a red and black well made design. Ianus' smirk and angelic eyes shone brightly at Touya, and stayed there in motion, floating up and down like a video game icon.

" Ianus...looks like I'm going to use you again." Touya looked at the Yakuza Persona once more before looking at his weaknesses. As Hiyori expected, there were none for him as underneath the icons of what elements there are had the word RESIST in bold white letters with a black highlight around it.

"Why does this give me an expression that this is all a game?" Touya asked himself after he closed the Persona tab and the app itself. Is Igor treating it as such too?

Sleep began to win the enduring battle and Touya placed his phone to charge by his desk. He began to close his eyes, and he was bracing for impact as to if his next encounter inside the Velvet Room were to occur. What he did hear was his mother yelling with excitement and showing Ren the picture Hiyori sent her. "We need to buy one for all four of us Ren-kun!" she said in a happy tone of voice, making Touya have a defeated look on his face before he finally called it a night.

 


 

Daisuke embraced the cold feeling he had the night before. As his alarm hit midnight, he welcomed the sensations of the shadowy figures running around him, their cold hands touching his skin and entering it without harm. Daisuke didn't strain his eyes like before nor move his body. The silvery white haired third year Shujin Academy students glorified this moment, and his dream was just as welcoming.

"I will ascertain beauty...it is mine for the taking!' he yelled quietly as his mind slowly entered into the black void form the night before.

He awoke back to the dark area, except more lights filled the abyss, and the buildings began to achieve a more dark yet beautiful style of color. Shining golden lights were seen from above the buildings and large bold words were seen on top of the center building that read "SHIRO'S MALL". Daisuke smiled fierce fully, admiring the site in front of him.

"I'm glad we accepted this contract my other self." the same silhouette from before now approached Daisuke, still giving the usual sinister grin. His yellow eyes piercing through him with evil intent, but Daisuke welcomed it. "This is marvelous! This is what my heart truly desire!" Daisuke noticed a tall gold statue of him in the middle of the mall's plaza before entering its transparent doors. "I like the statue too.."

"It deems worthy of someone as beautiful as yourself Shiro." the silhouette smirked. "But we still haven't fully accomplished our contract."

"What's the last step?" Daisuke asked with confidence.

"You give your heart to me and this shall be yours for the taking. This feeling of confidence, beauty, and style will be implemented onto the one place you crave such things."

"Oh...you mean..."

"Yes. The one place that started all of this." the silhouette then took a few steps back to admire the shining Palace Mall. "The place where you will experience true beauty!" gust of wind now blew around the two, staggering Daisuke a little. Then the silhouette gave the third-year male model his hand. "So do you agree to the terms?" it asked, now revealing his true form. Daisuke was shocked at first seeing his own face with such bright yellow eyes and devilish smirk but he smiled back, grabbing his Shadow's hand. "I shall accept your terms." Daisuke said as they both laughed maniacally underneath the Metaverse's artificial night sky.

His heart slowly being contaminated by the desires he once loathed.

 


 

Preview!

Hey hey hey! Souta Marika here!

And Hatake Satoshi!

Say Mari, why are we back at Ginza again?

You're really asking that? It's because of Iris' mom! Mrs. Sakamoto decided to have a small little

preview for the main event nineteen days from now! So as a gesture, Iris invited all of us to join! That and Touya's parents meeting with Hiyori's mom for some reason.

Oh that....forgot about that...also did you see the way Daisuke has been acting lately? He seems a bit more strange and "confident" if you ask me. Maybe if we put his name on the MetaNav-ow! What the hell!

I don't want to talk about that place right now! Can't we worry about that until after the preview or something?

But Daisuke could be in great dang-

Next time on Persona:Next Generations! Panther's Preview! Daisuke's Desires Found!

Mari-chan! Don't cut me like that!

Don't miss out!

 

Chapter Text

Touya looked himself in the mirror like he usually does before heading out to enjoy the upbringings of the day. This time he wore his newly bought casual clothes for the gang's meet up at Ginza once again. Touya spotted a soft light pullover hoodie that had black horizontal stripes going at the bottom, blending in with his black jeans. He wore his dark blue blazer on top of his hoodie to go with, and tried wearing his newly bought fedora hat to go along with it.

Though it didn't last a full second as he tossed it back on his bed. "Guess it works well in the Metaverse." he chuckled as he opened his bedroom door...only to meet his parents, waiting somewhat tired by the stairs. The two adults weren't even fully dressed as Ren still had his sleeping attire, his greenish pants rolled a little and a morning robe, covering his body, leaving his middle-aged tone body uncovered. Touya's mother was a different story as she had her entire body clad with her usual Buchimaru sleeping robe, its small panda head icon going about through the white robe. "Morning Touya." Ren yawned horrendously as he looked like he had bags under his eyes. The same went with his mother under her red eyes. "What the hell happened to you two?"

"Language mister." Makoto snapped at her son. Normally Touya was excused for some cursing, but it appears due to her fatigue, she became extra "Niijima" as Ren would like to put it. Ren chuckled, and patted his wife's back. "Don't mind us Touya." he yawned in the middle. "But we may have pulled an all nighter on our work." he laughed.

"Why?" Touya raised an eyebrow to such a behavior.

"We didn't want it to interfere with what we planned today as we have the day off." Makoto gave her son a weak smile before closing her eyes, almost falling to the ground until Ren caught her. She dozed off as her breathing was leveled. "Again, Touya, don't mind us. Give us a couple of minutes to recharge." and with that the two adults headed to their bedroom.

"Well it looks like I'm cooking for them today." Touya sighed but was happy that he gets to cook like before. Touya headed downstairs, cracking his knuckles and getting ready to start his day.

 


 

After thirty minutes of cooking breakfast for his parents, he hollered at them to head downstairs. "Thank you Touya dear." Makoto was handed a cup of coffee from her son, sipping it a little to wake herself up. Ren too. "Man I'm glad I taught you how to make coffee like how Sojiro taught me." Ren put his mug down, sitting down on his train to enjoy his son's cooking. Touya laughed. "Makes you sound a bit old."

"Seiji..." Makoto began to sniffle a little, and Touya had to calm his mother down. "You'll never learn when to stop making that joke in front of your mother huh?" Ren asked his son.

"Force of habit Dad. Got the jokes from you after all." Touya smiled and then checked the time on his phone. It was almost time for him to leave and head to the station. "Guess I better head to the station." Touya told them as he finished eating and heading to the bathroom to brush his teeth. Makoto stopped him for a moment and thanked her son again for the lovely meal, to which Touya replied with a nice hug to his mother.

"Oh! Be sure to pick up Touko-chan too. Wouldn't want my future daughter-in-law to be walking alone!" she teased her son, smiling to see Touya stop and become statue-like at the comment. He blushed madly now, picturing the idea...no if he went that far his mind would explode! He had to remain calm. "Ri-ri-right Mom!" he replied back, not looking at Makoto and heading straight to the bathroom.  

Ren looked at his wife with a surprised look. "Never thought you had it in you." he chuckled.

"Hey, after being with you for twenty-three years, it starts to rub off. Besides we both know that they're meant for each other." her red eyes had a joking look towards her husband, sipping her coffee and then taking a good bite at her son's cooking.

"Tanaka and Erika say the same thing too." Ren took another sip of his coffee as well.

 


 

Touya and Touko walked towards Shibuya Station and for the first time, they were the last one to arrive as the others were waiting patiently for the two. Well except for Marika as she was antsy, and was being stopped by Kazuya ever so often. "We can't be late to this event! We just can't!" she kept yelling. Kazuya was avoiding her punches and kicks, his usual calm face though by the hint of his purplish-brown eyes there was a sense of agitation. Satoshi and Iris were enjoying the site, laughing at Marika throwing a fit and Iris coming to the rescue and calming the red haired girl a bit.

Of course there was Hiyori and Shun in the background, not a care in the world, chatting about something that seemed rather important as they looked like they were arguing and Hiyori's cat ears from her headband stood out in hesitation. " Sometimes you make me think that you're an actual cat like Morgana Hiyori." Touya thought as he whistled the gang to head to his direction.

"We're all set?" he asked the others. They all nodded.

"Nice clothes you two! Were these the ones from Panther's?" Iris asked Touya and Touko who looked at each other. Aside from his getup, Touko's clothes resembled her to the fullest. She wore a light blue shirt that had nice small white flowers going around it. To go along with the lovely shirt was a small brown handbag for her camera and nice brown pants that reached to bit to her knee area and had lovely brown boots to match. She had a nice soft blue button less sweater as well. Touko blushed a little and Touya blushed back. Marika just sighed.

"Can you two just stop flirting and can we please head to the preview!" she yelled, flailing her arms back and forth. The others nodded.

"So everyone is wearing what they all bought it seems." Kazuya noticed as he was fixing his dark grey leather jacket from his greenish-grey lined shirt. Shun was feeling his long sleeve v-neck as well as his light grey blazer. "It does suit us." he said, mostly hinting towards Hiyori as she was playing with her cat hoodie, feeling the fabric and care they made for it. "Told ya Shun!' she said in her cheerful manner. Marika was happy that her friends had a nice time finding what they wanted to wear when outside of school. She even gave a glance at Kazuya who looked back in annoyance. " I win." Marika thought as she yelled to the others that the train arrived.

 


 

Ginza was packed to the brim unlike the day before.

Hundreds of people were lining up the streets, packing like sardines around the streets. Traffic was non-stop as cars were rarely even scratching an inch of the road to get to their destinations. There were even a few foreigners too, some speaking in English thanks to Iris telling them as well as other languages. "I thought this preview your mom is doing was more private." Satoshi told his girlfriend as she gave a questioning look to her beau.

"I guess it wasn't? This is my mom we’re talking about. I’m sure she wanted it to be as grand as possible." she said innocently as they continued brushing past the crowds. Touya made sure he had Touko close to him but he also knew it came with a price. As the two were pushing against the current, they were blushing mad at each other now back when they needed to head home two days ago. Though this time they kept their eyes on each other, and for reason they stopped blushing.

Finally after the whole crowd surfing, the gang made it to the Panther's building. Coincidentally, Ann Takamaki was by the front as well as Ryuji Sakamoto, who was besides his wife, leaning on the wall. The woman was wearing her business attire: a simple white blouse and blue jeans with a nice leather belt around her hip area and some open heels.

Ryuji was wearing something that according to Ren and Makoto, would never have seen him wear as he wore a simple light blue blazer with a simple white shirt and blue casual pants with some nice brown shoes. He even wore a nice dark brown fedora hat to go with the shoes.

The gang headed to their direction to greet the two former Phantom Thieves. "Mom! Dad!" Iris called out to the two as they looked up to see their precious daughter running towards them. "Iris! Sorry to have to leave the house without letting you know this morning." Ann hugged her teenage daughter. Ryuji joined in too. "Same here Iris. Your mom needed some additional help and muscle for the runway." his brown eyes then looked past his daughter and saw Satoshi. He pierced through the green-eyed boy, making him shudder a little.

"Hey Coach." he said as he was sweating a bit. Touya laughed a little before greeting his track team coach.

"Nice to see all of you guys!" Ann said to everyone as she was fixing her hair into a nice ponytail. "I'm happy that you stopped by and get to see our lovely models hit the runway." she smiled at the gang.

"Of course Mrs. Takamaki! I just had to come and see the amazing designs you have in store for Panther's!" Marika's red eyes glowed brightly, making Kazuya coughed to get her back to reality.

"There's also another reason why we're here." Touya stepped in now as he looked at the two. Ryuji and Ann nodded. "Phantom Thieves business I would assume?" Ryuji asked to which they all nodded. Ryuji looked back at his wife, who for some reason wasn't paying any attention as she was ordering people around to prepare.

"We'll try to answer your questions. That is when we get the okay from your parents." he chuckled back at Touya. Then he invited the gang inside, and step Satoshi aside as he grabbed the sleeves of Satoshi's light sweater. "Don't try anything funny with my daughter today, you hear?" he said violently. Satoshi nodded slowly.

 


 

Even Panther's was tightly packed with people but it was easier to maneuver compared to outside. The gang wormed their way, following the fashion designer, occasionally stopping as paparazzi took pictures and girls wanted autographs. Kazuya eyed Marika once he saw the fan girls. "Sorry about all of this you guys." Ann chuckled as they finally reached the end, where the runway was fully built and the models were taking a nice breather.

Upon the sight of the runway, the gang were amazed that such a thing was constructed in a matter of days. As nice bright lights filled the sides of the floor, and some on top by where the models' dressing rooms were, it was an outrageous site to see. The stage was high by three feet as black fabric covered the extensions. "Whoa!' they all yelled. Ann looked back at the gang. "It's nice right? Hope it wasn't too much of a spectacle! Though the main event will be much bigger than this one."

"Bigger?!" they all yelled to which grabbed the attention of some of the workers. Ann had to shush them a bit. "Yeah but that's another secret to keep!" she told them seriously but still retained the cheerful tone. She then clapped her hands. "Now that you're here, why don't you go find some nice seats for the main show! Plus if you want to continue shopping, there's the back door." she pointed to her right as a nice red door was seen. "That way you don't have to hustle through the crowds."

"Thank you Mrs. Sakamoto." Touko thanked the fashion designer for the group. Ann nodded back and returned to the other employees in charge of the runway, leaving the gang to do their bidding. They all gathered around by their seats, each of them taking off a certain article of clothing to reserve them in case someone else tries to steal them. "By the way, have you guys seen Daisuke?" Shun asked the gang. They all shook their heads but once they did, they saw Mayu and Daisuke heading their direction. It appeared that the long brown haired girl was yelling at her boyfriend, and Daisuke was nodding his head back and forth. "Wonder why they're arguing." Kazuya said upon the sight.

"Maybe because of how Daisuke has been acting lately." Iris told the others. "It looks Daisuke hasn't been able to sleep for days and yet he wants to be apart of the fashion show coming soon."

"Touya-kun, are you sure Daisuke could be someone who has a Palace?" Touko asked her friend who was lost in thought. Touya nodded and assumed that had to be it. "We'll know once we say his name on the MetaNav and investigate a bit further." he replied back as he stretched his arms.

"Well in the meantime we should all enjoy the short time we have before the preview." he told them. Marika smiled and grabbed the girls. "We'll be right back!" she ran off towards the back door. Kazuya sighed of relief, then looked at the guys. "Let's help out the employees."

"Just don't pair me with Coach if you please." Satoshi said with a nervous chuckle. Shun munched on some Jagariko, his eyes impassive. "Do I really need to help out?" he asked the Okumura. "Yes." he replied back, and the guys headed towards the stage, eyeing on Daisuke as the silvery haired boy was heading to his dresser, a wide grin on his pale face.

 


 

Ren and Makoto entered the cafe that was Leblanc. The old cafe welcomed them as if they were still Shujin Academy students twenty-three years ago. As the old light grey walls surrounded them along with the shelves that aligned themselves with the booths, Ren and Makoto took in a whiff of the brewing coffee that Sojiro was making. Sojiro was upstairs, and as he headed down, he met the two adults.

"Ah! It's been a while seeing you two here." Sojiro welcomed the two adults as Ren shook his former caretaker’s hand during his year here. "It has Sojiro. Sorry to make you wait such a long time too." he chuckled, fixing his blazer a little. Makoto waved back at Sojiro.

"No worries. After all you two have the most important jobs, being a Diet Member and the Police Commissioner." he ushered them to their usual booth, the one that was in the middle.

As the two adults sat down, they felt a rush of nostalgia as they looked around, primarily the stairs that led to the attic turned room when Ren lived here during his time in Tokyo. "So what brings you two here?" Sojiro asked as he placed two plates of curry. "Futaba asked us to come here." Makoto replied back before tying her hair. Sojiro let out an "ah" as he was brushing his slick gray and black hair back, exposing his somewhat wrinkling face. This even gave the opportunity for Ren to joke. "Surprised you still have some black hair left old man." he joked as he took a bite from the famous curry.

"Like you're one to talk Ren. It looks to me from this angle, I can see a couple of gray hair on your head as well." Ren stopped for a moment and asked Makoto to quickly inspect the Diet Member's head. Makoto told him he was fine. "Man you're still too easy." Sojiro headed back to the counter, rubbing some plates as they were recently washed. "Saw Touya and his 'girlfriend' the other day too. Did he tell you that?" the two adults nodded.

Then the usual door chime rang.

"Sorry for the wait you guys." Futaba's voice was heard as she walked inside the cafe with laptop on her hands. She wore her lab coat alongside her black sleeveless shirt and pants, with black sandals. She even had her usual Morgana style Bluetooth on her right ear.

"A client was asking for some lost passwords to a certain website." she said so subtly as she sat beside Makoto and placed her laptop to an angle for the two to see. "So regarding your question you had yesterday morning about our MetaNav apps, this is what I managed to find out." she pressed a key and on her screen showed some data about their apps from long ago. "As you can see, our apps are different compared to our children's." she pressed another key to show  a side by side picture of Hiyori's phone and MetaNav app and Futaba's.

"They have different color schemes." Makoto pointed out as she pointed at the two. Futaba nodded. "Ours isn't as red as theirs and if you open the app." she pressed another key to open one more tab, containing two screenshots of the MetaNav.

On one side, it had what the former Phantom Thieves recognized, the black and red colors, and the microphone that was in the middle with the options down below it. However, when Ren and Makoto saw the new updated version that Touya had, it didn't contain the simplicity they were used to, but instead had a menu screen that had the eye icon in the middle. To the right was the microphone icon accompanied with a search engine and a tab section to the upper left, containing different tabs with its purpose. "What the?" Ren was intrigued.

"It's completely updated. The tabs show their history, the time they spent on the Metaverse, and their own Personas." Futaba gave them a couple of picture she had stuffed in her lab coat to show them. Makoto picked up one and saw Hiyori's Persona, Somnus. The similarity Persona floating and its stats shown to the side. "It's like a game." Makoto said in disbelief. Futaba shook her head. "It is but it isn't. Another thing I managed to find out is that we can only access Meme...Neo-Mementos only."

"How do you know that?" the two asked to which Futaba responded with her fixing her glasses in position. "You remember that male model that Ann likes to talk about on occasion that goes to Shujin?"

"Daisuke Shiro, yeah. He's friends with our kids." Makoto replied back.

"He has a Palace." that got the two former Phantom Thieves out of their seats. "Let me finish damn it." the short orange haired girl stared them down, making them go back to their seats.

"Yeah shocker, I know. Hiyori and the gang knows there's a chance he has one but they're not sure. I on the other hand tested it out when she fell asleep and it did give me a hit, but it said that I can't enter it even if  I find all the three hits."

"Really?" Ren took out his phone from his dark blue casual pants. He entered the MetaNav and said Daisuke Shiro. The female navigator responded. "Daisuke Shiro is a hit, but you can't have access to the Palace once found." that got Ren thinking. The same with Makoto. "So the only place we can have access to is Neo-Mementos, but not the Palaces to come?" Futaba nodded.

"But even if we can enter Neo-Mementos, there's no doubt we will spend time checking it out. We're not teenagers anymore." Futaba closed her laptop now, and Sojiro gave her a nice plate of curry as well. "Thanks Sojiro."

" Igor...what is your endgame here? What are you preparing them for ?" Ren asked himself as he chatted with Futaba like it was old times, back in their Phantom Thieves glory days and just being wild and "normal" teenagers.

 


 

The girls arrived in the nick of time as the guys sat down on their reserved seats along with many others. Some news outlets stopped by, as cameras were placed around the stage to get enough angles for the preview today. "Man I'm so happy we got to shop around before the show starts!" Marika let out a yahoo as she promptly sat down on her chair next to Iris and Satoshi. Iris and Touko giggled, and Hiyori grumbled as she sat down next to Shun, who was surprisingly drinking some water.

"Stupid adults...think I'm some kind of cosplayer..." Hiyori gritted her teeth in annoyance and Shun decided to share his chips with the orange haired otaku along with Kazuya, who thanked the eccentric as well.

"Touya-kun, I um, got you this." Touko said shyly as she sat down next to the auburn fluffy haired boy. Touya received from Touko some nice simple braided bracelets, each with various colors.

One of them were black and white, another black and grey, and the last one made Touya smile. It was crimson and black, similar to the color scheme of the Phantom Thieves. "Thanks Touko." he said, unaware of the blush he had just formed. Touko smiled back and looked down in sheer shyness, her blush forming as well as red was coloring her cheeks. "I'm hope you like them." she replied back, looking to see if Touya wore them. He did as he wore them on his right wrist, shaking it a bit to see if they were loose but to see if they weren't too tight.

The gang were also acquainted with Mayu Shirogane, as she joined between Iris and Satoshi but in the back, happily tapping them. "Mayu-Senpai!" Marika hugged her Senpai tightly as Mayu received it gently. "Hey guys." she replied back.

"How's everything? Especially now that you're the Student Council President." Touko asked her cousin as she was relaxing a little, having a fan to fan her hair a little. She sighed. "It's a lot of hard work Touko that's for sure. To top that I even have Daisuke here to worry about too." she grumbled as her face gave a pouted look and her brown eyes,  gave off an annoyed look. "He's been bothering me with his fatigue or whatever it is that's haunting him." that got Touya and the boys interested in the conversation. Touya leaned more to the side to meet the Student President. "Anything else?" he asked.

"Well there's that stupid grin on his face that creeps me out from time to time. He also talks about wanting to 'perfect beauty'. As much as I love him and everything, something's not right with my Daisuke." she stopped fanning herself and looked at Touya and Touko as the two brunettes were now leaned too close for comfort without them realizing. "I didn't know you two dated!" she said with excitement as she clasped her hands together and wiggled a little in euphoria. Touya and Touko looked at each other and back at Mayu....until they noticed what she was talking about as the two quickly gulped and turned to face Mayu. "It's no-o-ot what it looks like!' the both yelled before some of the guests shushed them.

"Seems to me that Daisuke does have a Palace." Kazuya spoke with Shun and Hiyori who nodded in return. "Let's investigate further when the show starts." Shun replied back as he was fixing Hiyori's cat hoodie. Hiyori was happy that the eccentric boy was also massaging her neck vicariously while he was busy feeling the fabric of the black and white cat ears. "Nya..." Hiyori muttered under her breath.

"And now the moment you are all waiting for!" the announcer's voice was heard booming across the stage as a man appeared center-front of the flashing whitish blue stage. The spotlights also began to move as it also pointed towards the announcer's voice and his flashy white tuxedo. He was smiling wide and brushed his black hair back. "I am your host for today's preview of the Panther's Dynamic Flora de Carmen Fashion Show coming soon! Here we are to give you a small flavor of what to expect the fifth of May from our lovely models that have been working non stop, traveling all over the world-"

"Do you think this guy's gay?" Hiyori interrupted the gang's gaze on the man. Iris gave off a confused look. Touya and Satoshi chuckled a little before given a look by Marika as her red eyes taunted the two. "Okay..." the two replied back before hearing the announcer once more. "Now that I've given you a lovely introduction of the show today, let me present the floor to the fabulous, stunning, once a famous model and now the owner of this fine establishment, Ann Takamaki-Sakamoto!" cheers and claps were heard from around the man made stage as the fashion designer stepped foot carefully as she was walking on heels to receive the microphone.

She bowed to the gang quickly before continuing on.

"Hello hello! How is everyone? Hope everything is going well! Thank you so much for the support and to stop by for this small preview as of course this isn't the main show like the announcer said." she teased a little. "Now to say acknowledgements! So I want to say thank you to my family, my incredible and strong husband Ryuji Sakamoto as well as my wonderful daughter Iris who's all the way at the back with her friends!" she waved back to them to which they replied with a smile and a wave.

"Way to go for having your mom to put us on the spotlight..." Satoshi teased to her beau.

"Oh like you're not enjoying." she tease back with her elbow nudging Satoshi's rib cage. Mairka was too busy absorbing the moment as her eyes turned into stars and somewhat appeared to have drooled a little (according to Hiyori) as she was waving frantically. Some of the males looked back at the teenager too, admiring her looks as what all the males do as always.

"You're dragging too much attention." Kazuya told her as he brought her back to reality.

"One last acknowledgement as well. I want to acknowledgement a dear friend of mine who brought forth the idea of Panther's and that is my co-partner Suzui Shiho!" she welcomed her old friend as she was also getting up from her chair to come up with Ann.

She was wearing some heels too as she was gingerly walking up the stairs and pulled her black skirt down a little that matched her polka-dotted blouse. Her brown eyes gazed at the scenery in front of her and bowed as well. "I hope you all enjoy what we have in store for you today." she told the cheering crowd as the two bowed once more in unison and with the help of Ryuji, climbed down the stairs.

Then for an instance, blasting electronic music was heard as the loud and fast beating tempos rung through the ears of everyone who attended. Then the stage went dark for a second and silhouettes of females were seen scattered about from behind the stage. Some mist began to from as well around the stage, and slowly the female models walked a little, each one wearing a different style of dress. As each girl went towards the front, they did a pose before heading back. Some of them did some of the Featherman poses to which Hiyori pointed out one by one.

"Keep it down a little Hiyori-chan." Touko told her.

"Not going to lie, those girls are fine as...." Satoshi was given a quick glance at Iris and then shut his mouth instantly, but decided to tease Touya instead. "Bet you want Tou-" he was karate-chopped by Kazuya. "No more disturbances please." he sighed while also restraining Marika.

 


 

For about ten minutes into the dress category for the girls, the men began to emerge from where the girls previously were, and then the lights shone on them once the girls waved back to some of the guests. It even made the males from the gang's heart skip a beat. Then it was time of the males to unveil the latest suits and blazers the store had to offer. That was the cue for the gang to watch out for Daisuke, especially as they felt Mayu's presence hitting behind them with a concerned look.

Daisuke showed up first much to everyone's surprised, his silvery-blue eyes looking straight with the purest intent and glamour possible. He walked with confidence as he normally did as seen from the videos Iris sent them from the group chat. Daisuke was donning a nice white and grey suit, as the grey outlined the edges, collar, and location of the button.

Of course there was the panther mask that was the logo imprinted on the blazer's pocket. Daisuke's hair was also combed neatly to remove his messiness, primarily due to his fatigue, but there was also something sinister going about in his face as the same wide grin was briefly shown and his eyes smirked at the gang, almost mocking them as he posed for the crowd. " Save me." Touya blinked, trying to capture the moment that transpired but nice he did, it was now gone and Daisuke was heading backstage.

"Did you guys see that?" he asked everyone, even to Mayu who was the first to nod. "That's not Daisuke. That was someone else entirely." Mayu stood up a little from her seat, but was stopped by Touko who grabbed her hand as it was placed between Touko and Touya. "Wait until after please Mayu." Touko asked gently yet everyone else noticed that there was a sense of motherly intent in that sentence towards her older cousin. Mayu understood and fixed her skirt so she could sit properly. Then, Satoshi leaned in on Touya, whispering to him. 'You heard that too right?"

"That 'save me'?" Satoshi nodded. "We need to access that app like soon." was all he finished with afterwards as he turned back to the preview, as the girls now returned wearing beachwear. That was when the boys regretted the rest of the time in that show, noses bleeding slightly and often Satoshi's eyes glowing (sometimes Touya as he admitted to himself) when they posed.

It didn't last too long as the girls were now hitting them from all directions for a couple of minutes. "Hmph." Iris and Marika grunted, fumes going through their noses with frustration towards Satoshi and Kazuya, now twitching. Touya was happy Touko didn't do anything but was now feeling guilty. " Ianus...save me please."

The event ended after an hour and a half of presenting the latest outfits. Once the last remaining models left the stage and headed to the back, Ann took the center stage once more. “Thank you all once again for coming! Now to make things a bit more orderly, I recommend leaving the back way as well as the door that’s to my right.” she motioned to the right side, her arm stretching out to where another red door was located. “Hope you all have a fantastic day and be sure to stop by the main store!” Ann walked off once again.

“Time to check out Daisuke one last time.” Hiyori told the gang, leaving her chair where it was and stretching her back a little. The same went for the others as they saw their backs were stiff from the time they sat for the preview. Touya felt his back being messaged for a bit by Touko, who for some reason decided to for the sake of her friend. “Thanks Touko.” he said back as he swung his arm a bit.

“Man, why are these heels so annoying?” Ann approached the two carefully while holding Ryuji’s arm, laughing a little as her husband was taking care of her, something she was surprised when they were teenagers. Iris also helped her mom a little, laughing a little. “Mom...heels are so not your thing if you need Dad helping you out.”

“It’s just these are new heels Iris! I wanted to try them out for the preview.” she grumbled at her daughter but soon smiled as she hugged her. Touya and Satoshi coughed a little to get the two adults’ attention. “Thank you for the invite Mrs. Sakamoto.” Touko thanked Ann with a bow. “It was a nice show you managed to pull too! I’m super excited for the summer season now with those bikinis!” Marika shook Ann’s hands, moving them up and down with such energy the gang were scared the fashion designer’s hands were to fly off. “It’s no biggie! Glad you enjoyed it.” she turned to Touya now. “Now I assume it’s time for questions?”

Touya shook his head. “It’s fine Mrs. Sakamoto. We’ve seen enough now to know what we need to do.” Ann raised an eyebrow but nodded. “I see...if you’re going to say the key words, I recommend heading out the back by the right as mentioned earlier. Wouldn’t want the public see you guys disappear.”

“I doubt they’ll even see them leave or enter Ann.” Ryuji replied back, still holding onto his wife. Ann sighed and then began to slightly argue about the well being of the situation, and the gang laughed at the two. It was like they were young again. Kazuya nudged Touya now to leave, and the gang headed out to the outside world once more to confirm their theory. Touya clutched his phone that was in his right pocket.


 

It was now mid afternoon and the gang waited by the front of Panther’s like the morning when they first arrived. Touya sat down besides the red walls and looked at his phone, now opened to the MetaNav app. Kazuya and Marika were on the opposite side, Kazuya holding Marika tight so she wouldn’t have to go back and spend more money that she should. “No you’re not going!” he yelled. Shun was busy now finding a good snack and Hiyori was also rummaging through his bag, to which Satoshi and Iris sighed to the sight. “Shun...ever thought of a work out routine?” Satoshi asked his eccentric friend. “I have but painting with Father is rather a nuisance.” he propped a chocolate bar in his mouth.

“Ready Touya-kun?” Touko asked Touya, who was deep in thought as his dark-grey eyes stared at the app. That Save Me rang through his head as he was questioning how in the world he was able to listen to that plea once he saw Daisuke’s diabolical grin. He knew everyone else heard it, but then there was also Mayu. Her constant worries and anxiety of not only her duties as a Student Council President but also Daisuke’s partner was something important to the gang, especially Touko. This needed to be resolved quickly and now was the chance.

“Yeah I’m ready guys.” Touya looked back at them and stood up. He gathered everyone around him and instinctevely activated the microphone of the app. The female navigator appeared. “Where would you like to go?” she asked as it suggested Neo-Mementos for the gang. “Sorry MetaNav but Neo-Mementos won’t cut it.” Hiyori said to it. “Say it louder and we’ll be sent there.” Iris warned her friend.

“Sorry but not today.” Touya responded back, to which it went back to the usual voice recorder. Satoshi nudged him and leaned closer to see Touya utter the first words: Daisuke Shiro. “Daisuke Shiro is a hit. Please state the location.” it responded, making everyone on their feet with amazement. “Whoa this is cool.” Marika said, now released from Kazuya’s clutches. Iris agreed, but her brown eyes gave a concerned look. “Now that we know he has a palace...does that mean he’s a bad person?” that got everyone on their feet. Especially Touya as he went back to the moment with Igor in the Velvet Room. “He can’t be. There’s no doubt he needs a change of heart if he’s hiding some evil intent. Daisuke needs to be saved from his desires because it’s not him, right?” he looked back at the others, now with faces of optimism.

“Hell yeah that’s right.” Satoshi said as he smiled at everyone. Iris nodded and Touko casted her light-blue eyes on Touya as confirmation. “Now that we got his name down...it said to speak about the location.” Shun said as he reminded everyone of the recent discovery. “Thank you Shun for the update.” Hiyori smirked as her cat ears from her black headband twitched.  “That might be a bit hard to find…” Marika smirked when she heard Iris say the following sentence. She even snickered a little, making a scene for the gang to avery their attention and focus on her instead.

“I think I found the location. Upupu.” she said as she pointed on top of her, where the red cat mask was being displayed along with the bright red words that said Panther’s. “Nice thinking Marika.” Satoshi high fived her. Touya nodded. “I was thinking the same thing too Marika and it can’t hurt to try.”

“Alright dearest cousin! Shine light to the truth!” Hiyori yelled while doing a Featherman pose. Shun joined in as well alongside Satoshi. Iris looked at her boyfriend with such annoyance that made the other laugh a little. Touya chuckled and got the other to focus once again. “Here goes. Panther’s Main Building, Ginza.” Touya spoke again to the MetaNav voice recorder. It was pining for a little, recognizing Touya’s words and then it confirmed what they thought. “Panther’s Main Building in Ginza is a hit. Please state the distortion.” it said now, and the gang was now curious.

“Distortion?” Kazuya asked, arms still crossed but his purple-brown eyes looking at the Niijima with concern. Touya nodded and walked a little more towards the crowd, motioning the others to tag along. “Yeah Kazuya. As in what he thinks of the place.”

“So what could it be?”

“Maybe it’s something to do with fashion.” Touko suggested. Marika took note of that and began to think again like she did the last time, but unlike her previously discovery, she got nothing and puffed air out of her chest as she wasn’t of much help. “Damn it...I thought I had something.” she said as she was crying towards Kazuya, eyes wide-opened as he saw the girl wiping her tears with his jacket. “I’m not a tissue!” he yelled back, shoving her away from him. Marika sniffed.

“We should think about it later as we got the other two down.” Touya reassured Marika.

“Plus we need to talk to him too. Judging from Mayu’s description of him, it is something to be seen with our eyes.” Iris told the others now as they were crossing the street to head to the station. The others agreed with the Sakamoto and for the rest of the afternoon, they hung out by the railings of the station before heading back home. Touya decided to chat to Hiyori and Satoshi about the Monster Hunter game.

“The Holy Geeks are at it again.” Iris smiled when she saw the sight, and Touko, blushing per usual, began to admire Touya’s features. His athletic figure, his dashing dark grey eyes underneath the fluffy medium sized auburn hair, and his overall personality. “ Touya…” she held her hands close to her chest. Iris patted the back of her shy friend. “I’m sure it’ll happen.” she said to her as Touko nodded back.

As the eight of them saw the time for the train back to Shibuya was here, they entered down to the station to call it a day. Ryuji and Ann were by the background, looking at the Next Gen, worried looks on their faces. “They’re going to be like us Ryuj…” Ann said, her blue eyes dropping down. Ryuji confronted her by rubbing his wife’s shoulders. “I know Ann, I know. This was bound to happen.” he said in the end as he released her and straighten his fedora hat. “We can hope, be the same parents we’ve always been to her, and wait for Ren and Makoto’s next order.”

“Yeah.” she slapped her cheeks to get her optimism back, to which Ryuji smiled. “Better now?” he asked.

“Better. Also a Homburg hat looks good on you too besides this Trilby.” Ryuji sighed as he was now going to have to listen to Ann rambling on and on about the different types of hats he can wear and match with his wardrobe.

This was going to take a while.

Finally Shiho showed up with them and told them to head inside to finish putting the stage away and to plan for the upcoming Flora de Carman Fashion Show that was to come almost three weeks from now, and past by Daisuke, who was busy stretching his arms, not paying attention to Mayu whatsoever. “You have to tell me what’s wrong! I need you Daisuke, more than ever and if you’re acting like this I need to, no demand to know.” she scoffed at him, her long brown hair now tied to a ponytail, similar to Touko’s.

“I got it, I got it.” he said, brushing his girlfriend off and walking towards the exit. That got to Mayu now as she was mad, face red with fury and pouted back at her boyfriend. “Daisuke come back here! We’re not done talking! Daisuke! Daisuke!” she yelled at him but he left the building. “Daisuke…” Mayu started to tear up. “ Touko...guys...please do something.” she thought when she walked away as well, leaving the other side of the nice crimson colored walls and the nice selection of clothing.

Daisuke continued to have his sinister grin on his pallid face, his silvery blue eyes widening with pure distorted euphoria. “Beauty is something only I can create. I will make mine and only mine! I will express it to the entire world if I have to!” he yelled as he headed his way to his apartment.

 


 

Preview!

Hey hey hey! It’s Hiyori Sakura here!

And Kazuya Okumura.

Neh, neh, Kazuya, what do you think the Palace could be? I’m thinking that involves something really flamboyant. Like a casino!

I doubt that’s what it’ll be Hiyori...we’ll see, and if not Touya will use that intelligence of his to find out what it really is. We need to sit still in the meantime.

Ah I gotcha! I sure hope to use my sniper again...and I miss Somnus too!

I miss Ifrit as well, but I’m sure we’ll see them soon.

Alright then! Anyway, next time on Persona: Next Generations! Investigation Hysteria! 

Don’t miss out!

 

Chapter Text

The gang sat in their usual courtyard bench for lunch as the nice blossomed trees swayed with the gentle breeze, going about their way of life freely. Birds were chirping as well, some blue birds and even red ones latching onto the Shujin Academy courtyard trees as they were finding their food for the day.

Touya, Satoshi, and Kazuya thanked for their meals, saying their usual prayers before eating. They closed their eyes, but once they opened their eyes, they had a feeling of wanting to fight with one another as they all began to chow down as if they were lawnmowers, hurriedly eating during the entire lunch period. “What’s with them today?” Marika asked Iris who shrugged as she was drinking a nice bottle of ice tea. “Perhaps they just wanted an eating contest. You know like they do in many animes.” Hiyori propped a Onigiri in her mouth and savored the flavor as she placed a hand on her cheek, blushing lightly and eyes filled with delight. “I wonder who’s winning.” Shun said to himself as he ate calmly unlike the other three guys. “I’m going to win this time!” Satoshi said with a bunch of food in his mouth. “No I am!” Touya retorted back with irritated eyes.

Kazuya was busy indulging his own cooked meal, scoring the vegetables and its other cravings to the fullest. “You morons! I shall be the victor!” he said as he was now done with his meal and headed straight to the Cup Noodle he, as well as Touya and Satoshi had as part of their contest. “Crap!” the two said as they ate faster. Touko watched her crush intently, and mentally cheered him on for their little eating match. Marika and Iris looked back at the shy girl, nudging her and giving her looks of tease. “I wonder what you’re thinking Touko.” Marika had her hand by her mouth, letting out a small puff of air. “I bet you’re cheering him on.” Iris teased as her brown eyes gave a joking look towards Touko’s blue eyes. “Huh?!” Touko rejected as she shook her head.

“Damn it, he’s almost done with the Cup Noodles!” Satoshi yelled, now falling behind as Touya and Kazuya were close to finishing their soups. “I’ll beat you this time Kazuya!” Touya yelled, stuffing his mouth with noodles. “Not by a long shot Niijima!” Kazuya slurped and began to drink, leaving Satoshi utterly defeated and Touya more determined. Shun focused with a sense of curiosity while he was moving his arms around to avoid Hiyori from grabbing his snack of the day. “Let me have some!” Hiyori yelled.

Kazuya finished drinking the rest of his soup and breathed a bit, being satisfied that he won yet again. Touya sighed and Satoshi, now pale and head on the table with defeat, looked back at the Okumura who was grinning at them rather maliciously. “That’s ten wins, three loses, and a draw with you two.” he said as he rubbed his upper lip with his thumb, chuckling a little. “No fair Kazuya...Cup Noodles are like your favorite thing…” Satoshi said, huffing out a breath of loss. Touya nodded. “Feels like you rigged this to your favor Kazuya.” Touya replied back as he was drinking water.

“Hey, if it beats eating Cup Noodles, I’m down for it to be rigged. Besides...I cater to my cooking as well.” he looked back at the Niijima with a tone that made Touya smile nervously, poking his two index fingers. “Well...I cater to my cooking too you know...though not as good as you.” he said before looking back at Touko, who had her camera out.

“Oh what’s the camera for this time? Going to take a picture of the scenery?” Hiyori asked to which Touko nodded. “Well actually I took some photos of the three of them doing their little contest and I was thinking of taking one of us like last time.” she said with a bright smile on her face, though hidden with the camera.

Touya saw it and blushed a little, but smiled back as well. “Go for it Harima!” Marika held out her bottle of soda high in the air with enthusiasm. “Say cheese everyone!” Touko yelled as she clicked the camera to start the timer, and held up so she can be in the picture once more. The camera did its usual flick and the gang were excited to see the outcome. That and the various photos of their contest. “Did I really look like that?” Satoshi said  in disbelief as he saw the photo of his defeated pride, head down and his hand on the table. Iris nodded playfully, hugging her boyfriend. She even gave him a little kiss on the cheek.

“Man Touko, you take some really cool pictures!” Hiyori and Marika yelled as she held the camera high for a better angle to see the picture. “Well for the Photography Club, they requested we take a good picture of the school and its students. So I decided to do us.” she said shyly, putting away her  camera back into her Shujin school bag. Shun then spotted Daisuke now, as he was walking rather exuberantly for his own good.

Daisuke no longer looked tired but confident like yesterday, except he was more pale than before. He wore his uniform now in a messy state as well, his neck tie crooked a little, the white button down shirt going upwards untucked. “Beauty...is mine...it is mine.” he muttered to himself as he continued to walk. “This is getting really out of hand. We need to find that last keyword and enter that palace.” he said.

“Asap.” Kazuya said back as he was putting away his bento box. Until Satoshi stopped him, giving him a determined face as his green eyes shone intensely. “I won’t lose next time.” he said, to which Iris just groaned. “Darling, that’s like the fifteenth time you’ve said that.” she said as she grabbed him from where he sat and pulled him away from Kazuya. “But I will win! I will!” he was now being dragged away, the others laughing at the sight of the Sakamoto and the Hatake disappearing. “Satoshi sure is a handful. I pity Iris sometimes.” Marika shook her head.

“Like you’re one to talk Marika.” Kazuya retorted back to her and the two began to argue once more. Touya had a face of concern while Touko was busy looking around for her cousin. “ Mayu... ” she thought as she was worried for her cousin. School, the Student Council, and now Daisuke, Touko wished she could help her cousin out as much as possible. Hopefully they will figure out the Palace today. “Touko?” Touya interrupted now, his dark grey eyes looking at her blue eyes. He was now worried for her, and she was happy that he was. Touko nodded. “Yeah. Let’s get going to class.” she said as Touya nodded, saying goodbye to the others who stayed.

Hiyori took out her usual fang, and her cat ears twitched with excitement. “You think they would make a good Shojo couple Shun?” she asked her eccentric friend who nodded, now finishing his snack. “Without a doubt in my mind.” he replied back, now leaving to get to class as well, the bell ringing like crazy throughout the school.

 


 

Touya’s phone kept buzzing constantly throughout the rest of the afternoon classes. He moved his leg that had his phone to avoiding anyone else hearing it, and it got to the point where he couldn’t take it anymore. He saw the others pursue as well as Satoshi, Iris, and Touko looked down on their chairs to examine just what was notifying them for the past five minutes.

Marika and Kazuya were busy typing away, having an argument in the group chat about what the palace could be. Touya sighed and began to type that he’ll take care of it after school when he gets a chance to meet with Daisuke. Later on a few messages pinged, and it was Touko talking about how we should find Mayu first as she wasn’t nowhere to been during the day. That was odd, and seeing Touko looking slightly worried when he looked at her, he agreed to do the same. “ We will find this Palace! I swear!” he said determined now as he closed the app.

“And thus if you multiply this number by this this variable, you end up getting this end result…” he heard the math teacher talking in the background now as he decided to look out the window, avoiding eye contact. That was when he noticed Daisuke leaving, somewhat in a hurried manner, leaving the school with a worried look on his face. Touya examined him carefully, but when he suddenly locked eye contact with his through the window, the same grin appeared, and another voice, similar to the one he heard before now rung inside his head. “ You will not take my beauty away! My perfection will be shown to the world! It will be mine and I will spread it the world through any means necessary! My perfected beauty will be spent and adored to all!” the voice rang for a couple of seconds before it was now gone.

Touya huffed and puffed for a while, and noticed his face was sweating. He immediately went to check to the others, as his dark-grey eyes looked back at the other three, equally looking as stressful and exhausted as Touya. Then he got another message from the group, and he knew what they had to do.

Figure out Daisuke’s palace. Soon.

 


 

“Ann we need to fill up on the spring season dresses for the next catalog coming soon!” Shiho was carrying some paperwork while Ann was looking at the latest designs she had in store. For the most part she was feeling the leather to see if the style would work for some boots, and inspected the suits and blouses that were being sewed at the moment. “Oh no! Here let me help with this.” Ann went to one of the tailors who were struggling with the sewing and went in and sewed the rest as he was having a hard time. “Thank you Ann-Dono.” he calmly replied back.

“Ahem.” Shiho coughed at her old friend, now paying attention as her blue eyes casted upon Shiho’s dark-brown’s. “My bad Shiho. Need to make sure they’re ready for the fashion show.” she said sheepishly as they now walked towards Ann’s office. Shiho shook her head. “It’s nice Ann, and I appreciate it. A ton, trust me.” she reassured her with a smile. “But we also have a ton of other responsibilities to do to. Like this one.” she gave her the paperwork regarding which models to use for the spring catalog. Daisuke Shiro was on the top of the list. “We could use Daisuke if he’s available…oh now we can’t use Daisuke for this one. That date is important as it’s a school event.”

“What date?” Daisuke and Mayu were now walking by Ann, confused by the fact that the two third-year students were outside the school. “Daisuke? What are you doing here? And Mayu?” Ann looked at the Student Council President, who was somewhat appearing to be held hostage by the male model. Her brown eyes lost some color and that was something Shiho immediately picked up on as she was looking at the two with a motherly expression. “We were here because we got excused, that’s all.” Mayu chuckled a little. Daisuke grinned wide and bowed his head a little. “Exactly! Now I heard something about a school event?”

“Oh that. It’s for the Spring Catalog, but seeing how the date is on the school event you and the Student Council planned for the Sports Festival.”

“The event was moved up, you see Takamaki-San.” Daisuke hushed her employer and spun around a little in a sense of glamour. “Mayu, my wonderful girlfriend here pleaded with Principal Kawakami to move it up so me, her dashing, beautiful, and most darling boyfriend would be able to attend.” Daisuke continued to grin, and his silvery-blue eyes glimmered. Ann tried to open her mouth, but now it was Shiho’s turn to speak. “Sorry Daisuke, but we’ll have someone else do it. You also shouldn’t drag Mayu to do your bidding next time. For her sake.” she looked back at Mayu, whose eyes shone with a sense of hope when she heard Suzui Shiho speak. Shiho knew from experience and she wasn’t willing to have another student crumble into pieces. “And if you really care for Mayu, then you wouldn’t bring her here at all.” Shiho finished, looking at the male model with a sense of formality.

Daisuke scoffed at the two adult women. “Fine then! I see how it is…” he looked back at Mayu, now wincing a little as he moved his arm to fix his Shujin Blazer. Now Ann picked up on that, and gritted her teeth, though subtly as she waved her favorite model goodbye. “Futaba was right,” Ann told Shiho who only nodded as she was briefly told about the working of the Metaverse through Ryuji and Ann when they were in college together. Plus if Ann didn’t mention the Panther suit and nickname, the fashion line wouldn’t even exist. “Iris and the gang will handle it. We know this isn’t him and this needs to be taken care of now. Mayu could be in big trouble too.” Shiho added as the two adults walked away towards their office, now being bombarded by a few tailors about which fabric to use.

Daisuke, however stared down at Mayu, who was shaking with trepidation as she looked up at her beau with intense cowardry. “Daisuke...please….stop this…” she said softly when Daisuke grabbed her arm fiercely. “I won’t stop until perfect beauty is spread, you hear me?” she shook her, now closing her eyes to avoid contact with her boyfriend. “This isn’t you…” she repeated to herself as he let go, letting his take the lead now as he grunted, walking faster than before. Mayu kept looking back at Daisuke, taking her phone out of her Shujin school bag. She dialed Touko’s phone number, but went against it and began to record her voice. “Touko…and if Touya is there with you, I need your help…” she began her recording as she sat by a bench nearby, arms shaking and her brown eyes widening with fear.

 


 

“Man I’m spent!” Satoshi sat down on a nearby bench, close to the vending machines. He was fanning himself a little, eyes shut and his arm brushing off the sweat that was dripping from his forehead. “Couldn’t agree more.” Touya tossed a can of soda to Satoshi and opened his, sighing of relief as he heard the crack and the fizziness of the soda. “You two put on some deodorant?” Iris waved her arm back and forth as she was by the table with Touko and Hiyori, who were busy chatting amongst them, giggling here and there. “Yes Iris, we did. Though your dad put some extra works on us…”Satoshi shuddered as he remembered the vigorous work out routine he and Touya were given now that they’re taking the Phantom Thieves’ mantle. “I see…though an extra rub or a spray of perfume would be nice you know.” Iris looked back at the other two girls and joined in on the conversation.

Kazuya appeared dragging Marika as usual and Shun, now for the first time had his hands empty walked towards the others. Only Hiyori saw the dread that was within Shun’s dark-blue eyes as they were wide open with a sense of despair. He arms were shaking too. “I need to buy more chips…” He said quietly, only enough for Hiyori to hear and calm her friend down. “What’s with Shun?” Touko asked Iris who shrugged. “Let me go! I swear I will break that arm of yours if you don’t!” Marika was struggling to free herself as Kazuya was busy resisting the red haired girl’s usual antics. “Not until we leave the gates you’re not going to be freed by my grasp Mari. Especially after what happened back there at the Drama Club.” he said while being punched by Marika’s fists. “She was trying to sew the dress and I only wanted to add a little glamour! What’s so bad about that!” and the two argued once more. Touya merely sighed as he laid his dark-grey eyes on them and then turned his attention to the others as he coughed.

“Now that everyone is here and ready to go, I need to tell you all something.” he started as their eyes gazed on his. Touko spoke afterwards, asking about the sudden headache they all experienced. “That voice sure was creepy.” Satoshi said as he drank a little of his grape soda. Hiyori nodded. “He keeps talking about perfecting beauty this and spreading beauty that.” Hiyori said as he was busy playing with her cat ears. “Not only that but the voice we all heard yesterday and today seem to correlate as well.” Iris said.

“That save me and then now he’s threatening us.” Shun replied back, now back to his normal self. Marika stopped punching Kazuya now, still lumped on his shoulder and had a concerned look on her face. “He also said something interesting as well besides that threat.” Marika got everyone’s attention now. “What was it?” Touya asked.

“He said something about having a beauty that will not only be spread but spent .” Marika accentuated the word as it was one of her favorite words in the dictionary. She blushed a little too because of it. “Spent?” Touya asked himself now as he began to go over the threats that Daisuke have been imposing over the last three days. There was first his demeanor as the once soft and gentle silvery hair boy no longer possess that personality. It was now plagued with a desire to be elegant and marvelous, almost to the point where it’s slowly killing him. That was something that worried Mayu and the gang. Next there were the voice that only Touya and the gang could hear, possibly thanks to their exposure to the Metaverse. After all they can talk to Morgana.

However there were the little hints as to what the Palace could be. Spreading beauty...spent...perfect….provide it to the public...these words had to correlate to something, but what was that something? Touya pulled out his phone again, making everyone jump with surprise as it was an unexpected move. “What are you going to do Touya-kun?” Touko asked him as he was busy heading to the MetaNav app. “We’re going to figure out the Palace.” Touya replied back to her, eyes focusing on the screen in front of him. “Now?” Kazuya asked, looking around to see if any students were approaching. “Don’t worry Kazuya. Even if we find the last word, we won’t get sent there unless we’re in the specific location.” Iris calmed her friend down. “Now Touya, if you please.” she ushered him like a queen as she waved him off to proceed with what he was going to do. Looks like Catalina is forcing her way today.

Touya booted up the app and went for the microphone icon on the top, pressing it like he did the last time. “Would you like to resume searching from yesterday?” the female navigator voice shouted to the gang. “Yes please.” Touya responded to and the navigator brought them back to their original search: Daisuke Shiro, Panther’s Main Building, and three question marks at the end for the distortion. “Alright so what do we have so far? Ideas?” Satoshi asked the gang to which Marika responded first. “Runway! It totally has to be a runway.” she said, now being released from Kazuya’s shoulder and swinging her legs as she sat on top of the table. “Sorry but Runway is not available. Please state the distortion.” the navigator replied back.

“Sauna?” Touko asked to the navigator this time. The others were confused for a moment. “Well saunas are used to cleanse your skin and to make you look pretty.” Touko chuckled as she brushed her hands on her skirt. “That is incorrect.” the navigator spoke again, leaving a grunt here and there from the group. “Perhaps a casino? That sows the elegance of someone and he wants it to be spent.” Shun reasoned but the navigator also declined it. “It was originally a Palace and cannot be replicated.” it also stated, leaving the gang with curiosity except Touya as he knew about it. “ Aunt Sae, wonder how that casino looked like.” Touya thought as he shook his head in agitation. “What about a club?” Hiyori suggested this time but yet another failure. “Damn it! We’re not going to save him if we don’t find that last keyword!” Satoshi scratched that back of his spiky black hair with annoyance. Touya felt his friend’s feeling and began to think for a moment to all the clues they had managed to find. “ He keeps saying something about spreading his beauty and perfecting it...and his distortion is thanks to the Panther’s in Ginza, a shopping center...wait a minute!”

“I think I found the Palace.” Touya said with confidence as he opened his eyes and looked at everyone, intrigued with what the Niijima has to say. He coughed for a moment and then proceeded. “It’s a mall.” he said and thus the navigator responded with a confirmation. “You have located all three keywords: Daisuke Shiro, Panther’s Main Building, and Mall. Would you like to begin navigation?” it asked and the gang were in shocked. Satoshi grabbed Touya’s phone and trembling in both anxiety and amazement, looking at the screen wide-eyed. “Way to go Touya!” he shouted as he gave it back. Iris nodded and so did Touko, and Marika felt stunned and stupid for not realizing what it was in the first place. Kazuya comforted her and then asked the Niijima. “How did you figure it out?” he asked.

“Daisuke believes he wants to spread his beauty, but he never specified what exactly. Meaning it could be anything and thus what better place to see all different kinds of clothes, watches, accessories, etc?” he opened the floor for everyone, who following the same train of thought with the auburn haired boy. “And a mall or shopping center provides these things!” they all jumped in, eyes glowing with the realization and hugged Touya. Hiyori especially, doing her usual bear hug. “So now that we have all of them...should we head there now?” touko asked the gang. “I’m not so sure about today Touko.” Touya stood up and brushed his checkered pants. “Plus I’m tired as hell along with Satoshi…” he chuckled nervously, leaving the others with a blank face towards the Niijima. “Well we should all scatter for the day then.” Marika jumped out of the table and began to walk back towards where she previously was with Kazuya.

Only for Kazuya to grab her back and lump her on his shoulder. ‘You piece of-” she was cut short as Kazuya waved the others goodbye. “See ya Kazuya…” Iris giggled and nudged Satoshi to leave as well. ‘Why of course my dear Princess! Let us set sail!” Satoshi grabbed Iris by the hips and literally spun her, and grabbed her like one of those Salsa dance poses. This made Touya and Touko blush madly, crimson on their cheeks as they looked at the two and then at each other, quickly averting eye contact once they did. “ You two….it’s like you do it on purpose!’ the light brown haired and auburn haired boy and girl thought as they saw Satoshi and Iris leave.

Hiyori and Shun snickered behind the Niijima and the Harima as they were creeping their way to leave as well. “Hey wanna hit the arcade?” she asked the Kitagawa who nodded. “I’m in. Then we hit the convenience store.” his stomach growled when he went to think about getting more snacks. Hiyori sighed but complied, now the orange haired cat girl and the eccentric Shojo Manga artist leaving without a trace.

Touya shook off the crimson cheeks, having Touko follow suit afterwards. “Satoshi and Iris sure are a handful.” Touya said nervously, walking towards the entrance gates. Touko nodded. “Ready to head home?’

“You bet. Though I hope these legs can still take a walk.”

“We will be sitting most of the time on the subway.” Touko smiled wide, closing her eyes for a moment and her school shirt swayed when she placed her hands behind her back, stretching them a bit. Touya really felt like this was the right time to confess as she was waiting for something to happen between the two. In fact, she noticed she pouted, her cheeks flushing. “What is it Touko?” he asked her, blushing a little again. “Huh?” her eyes blinked with confusion as she looked straight at Touya’s dark grey eyes. “You look like you want to say something.” Touya responded.

“Oh. Well I had something in mind but...well..how should I put it…” she twiddled her fingers now as her arms were front and center. Then her phone buzzed for a moment in her Shujin school bag, and ruffled through it to get it. Touko picked it  up and saw that it was a message from Mayu. In fact, it was a voice message. “ Touko...and if Touya is there with you, I need your help. Daisuke isn’t himself and I’m scared now.” Touya gritted his teeth when he heard the Student Council President sniffle and speak with such fear in her soft tone of voice. The message continued. “ So as a heads up, I spoke with Principal Kawakami today to meet with you tomorrow during lunch. DON’T tell the others yet because I’m scared and I don’t want things to escalate further now. So please...keep this message between the two of you and we’ll see each other tomorrow. Take care, and save Daisuke. Please…” the voice message ended, leaving the two teenagers stunned.

“We need to take care of this.” Touya said without hesitation, his body now firm and ready for some action. Touko nodded in agreement and the two quickly left to head home and catch the latest train towards Shibuya. As they headed there, Touya’s mind was now focused on Mayu, and how Daisuke’s distortions and desires were not only hurting him, but the people around him. Especially the one person he knows Daisuke cares about as the two were always inseparable ever since they dated the first year in high school. “ Daisuke...we will save you! I promise!” Touya made a fist with such resolve, Touko saw it and looked down a little, seeing her crush become agitated. “ Mayu...I promise we will protect you and help Daisuke.” Touko thought as she leaned in closer to Touya without thinking, grabbing onto the clutched arm with tiredness.

 


 

Preview!

Hey it’s Niijima Touya here!

And Principal Sadayo Kawakami as well!

Principal?! What are you doing here?!

That’s what I want to know too….I have way too many paperwork to fill out such as the recommendation letters for the third years, the sports festival three days from now, and the usual teacher applications...what a drag…

I see...somehow I feel your burden...wait! Don’t we meet with you as well?! All of us with Mayu to talk about Daisuke?

Yeah there’s that too and that’s worrying me more than it’s worrying Mayu. I promised to look after you students and I hope you can save his heart like the Phantom Thieves did long ago!

We will! Wait...HOW DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THAT?

Oops! That was my administration fatigue talk getting to me!

That can’t it Principal Kawakami! You said something about the Phant-

Next time on Persona:Next Generations! Pleas from the President! First Mission Start!

Wait! Answer the question Principal-

See you next time!

Chapter Text

School felt rather hectic now as Touya and the gang were walking towards their backup lunch location. Seeing how the day began to rained, the droplets hitting freely onto the windows of Shujin Academy, the gang headed towards a spare room that was roughly within the first year building. In fact, it was close to the little food shop inside the school so in case anyone needed to buy their food (primarily Shun with his load of snacks), it was an easier way to access. Shun stopped the gang to go buy his usual stock of potato chips, having Hiyori and for once Marika join in, grabbing their wallets from their bags. “I heard they had this little yogurt special.” Marika siad, licking her lips with her tongue and her red eyes sparkling with the thought of having that yogurt all to herself. Hiyori nodded and grabbed onto Shun, telling him repeatedly to buy the special Pringles offer. “They have the American ones Shuuunnn! We need to get some! Hurry!” she was shaking his left arm while he was giving her an annoyed look. “If you can kindly let go, I would be up on your proposal.” he said as a huge red agitated sign was seen on his face and his eyes glared up, gritting his teeth at the girl.

Touya was busy watching from afar, having his bento in his hands and waiting by the door to their secret lunch location. Kazuya was standing next to him, sighing here and there as he was making sure Marika shouldn’t stray and end up talking to someone about fashion. “Kazuya I can take care of it this time you know.” Touya punched his friend softly on his chest. “I know and so can Satoshi and Shun. Hell even Iris.” he took a small breather as he brushed his long brown hair back a little and scratched his arms. “But this is more of my thing unfortunately. Don’t want to carry the burden any further to all of you.” his purple-brownish eyes looked back at the Niijima and smiled briefly before returning his gaze back a glimmering Marika and a Shun who was busy avoiding all of Hiyori’s cat combos.

“Nya!” she kept saying while Shun moved his head around. “Wait until we head inside the Hideout.” he squinted at her as they entered. “Now we can head inside as well.” Kazuya nudged Touya and the auburn haired boy entered, though was preparing himself for when the time arose to meet with Principal Kawakami.

“Not going to lie, it’s been a while since we sat here in the Hideout.” Touko said as she sat down next to Touya, placing her bag between the two. Her blue eyes tensed up a little as well as her arms and legs, something Touya was also feeling. Satoshi was the first to pick this up, and taped his hand on the table to get their attention. “Hey everything okay with you two?” he asked, his spiky black hair moving a little as Iris was busy playing around with it. Marika interjected as well, placing her spoon in her mouth and savoring the taste of the yogurt before speaking. “Yeah you two look really stressed out ever since we uncovered Daisuke’s Palace.” she blinked at them. “Well it’s just that we’re all going to be facing his Palace soon...I can’t help but feel this sense of tense.” he said as he looked at the others. Touko nodded, opening her bento box. “Plus we’re worry about Mayu too. She is in desperate need of our help.”

“Which is why I need you in the Student Council room.” an adult woman’s voice srang the gang as they jumped to their surprise, looking back towards the entrance. There standing in front of them was none other than Principal Kawakami. Her brown suit blazer, the horizontal stripes of white and yellow going on the somewhat fifty year old woman. Then there was her jean skirt, trodding down towards her knees. Her white heels, exposing the once sharp and young skin, now old. The gang looked up at the Shujin Principal as she grabbed her reddish pink glasses from her semi-wrinkling face, wiping them cautiously before putting them back on and then brushed her soft short fluffy dark brown hair. “Principal...what are you doing here?” Kazuya asked in shock as he let go of his usual arm crossing, blinking to see if what he was seeing was real. Satoshi almost dropped his soda and Iris stopped opening her bento as they looked up. “Didn’t your friend Mayu tell you?” Kawakami looked back at them, mostly at Touya and Touko with a sense of questioning. Marika raised her hand afterwards. “We’re not in trouble...right?” she asked her with sincerity.

Kawakami scoffed. “No you’re not in trouble, but I do need you lot to come with me as this is something important.” she said to them in a tone that got everyone off guard. Except for Touya as he felt that their own principal must’ve known of the working of the Phantom Thieves. Something he needed to talk to his parents yet again about. Touya stood up now and began to speak to the group, calming them down. “The truth is...Touko and I knew of this yesterday.” he said nervously, chuckling at them while scratching the back of his hand. “What?!’ everyone yelled, almost flipping out entirely at the fact that their friend kept something from them. “Sorry guys but it was Mayu’s request.” Touko said in defense of the Niijima as she also stood up as well. “She sent a voice message to us and told us to not tell you anything until Principal Kawakami met with us.”

“Like right now.” Shun said, moving his large bang to the side, revealing his right eye briefly before the large bang covered it right back up. The Niijima and Harima nodded. Marika, now finished with her yogurt and tossed it back to the trash bin in one carefully accurate shot. That  got Hiyori impressed as well as Satoshi. “Whoa!” they said to which Marika snickered. “Perks to being in the Soccer Club.” she said before she was interrupted by Kawakami. “Can we please head on towards the Student Council Room you eight? Before I start to threaten you with grades.” her brown eyes gave a devilish glare at the gang, making them comply to their principal’s wishes, now leaving their little hideout and heading upstairs to the third year students’ floor.

 


 

The gang entered the Student Council Room to see Mayu Shirogane sitting by the window, looking at the raindrops fall towards the windows and the countells umbrellas that were seen walking below. Kawakami coughed to get Mayu’s attention, which she turned around to see the gang. Touko was the first to see her, and was shocked to see her cousin in such a horrid state. Her hair was messy at the bottom, and her face looked somewhat pale with slight tear drops here and there drying on her cheeks and some on her school uniform and skirt. “Mayu…” Touko ran towards her, giving her a big hug. “Touko-chan, I’m glad you showed up.” she received the warm hug, embracing Touko heavily. Finally they released each other's grasp, and Mayu looked at the others, inviting them to see around the table. Touko sat next to Mayu, grabbing her cousin’s hand gently to soothe. Touya and the gang worried for Mayu’s state and proceeded to take a seat as well.

Kawakami meanwhile stood up and was behind Mayu in a motherly like position, making sure she was keeping an eye on everyone of her students. Satoshi leaned forward from his chair and spoke now after there was a moment of silence in the room. “Mayu, Principal...is this all about Daisuke?” he said rhetorically as he clutched his knuckles. Mayu nodded. “For the past few days, Daisuke hasn’t been acting like he used to be. The kind, smart, charming, and just gentle.” Mayu shuddered and Touko soothed her some more. “I’ve been trying to figure out why, to understand why he started acting this way. This disgusting way to perfect beauty and to obtain it like it’s some prize. I hate it and I keep confronting him about it, but he just yells. Used to anyway.” she said softly, opening the floor for the gang.

“What do you mean used to?” Iris said to her friends as she wrapped her arms around Satoshi’s.

“He...Daisuke…” she stopped as she started to tremble furiously now, and that was Kawakami’s cue to start speaking now to her students. “There has been a rumor going about that regards to abuse.” Kawakami said with a tone of nostalgic disgust in her tone as her lips were smacked together, forming a gritty and agitated look. Everyone was on the edge of their seats now. Kazuya stood up from his without hesitation. The same with Touya as he knocked back his chair and clutched his knuckles. “Abuse…?” Touya said as his dark-grey eyes widened with disbelief. Mayu slowly nodded, confirming the truth. “It’s only him hurting my arms without knowing, but it still leaves me vulnerable and scared.” Mayu continued, taking a breather as she was sounding like she was beginning to cry. “This isn’t Daisuke you guys. This isn’t him and we all know it. Principal here knows that too.” she looked at Kawakami, now without her glasses as she looked at everyone with seriousness.

“That is the reason you are all here. We need you to save Daisuke because Mayu believes you can do it. So please.” Kawakami began to shake as well. “So please help out not just a student, a friend, but a person who has potential to have a brighter future.” Kawakami ended her plea to the Next Gen as they were stunned by the situation they were in. They all knew what had to be done, and that yesterday wasn’t a moment of fun and games when they found the Palace. No this was something else, something that needed to be taken care of right away. Touya released his knuckles and breathe for a moment, getting in all the information that was thrown at them.

“Don’t worry Mayu, Principal Kawakami.” Touya muttered at first, before he repeated it again for everyone to hear. He looked at Mayu and smiled at her, radiating the tensed room as his eyes also shone a glimmer of hope for the Student Council President. “We will make sure Daisuke returns back to the way he was. You can count on us.” he grabbed Mayu’s other hand. “We will save his heart!” he ended off and the gang agreed as they stood up, heading towards Mayu as well with smiles on their faces.

“You guys…” Mayu began to cry again, and hugged Touya tight. Touya’s eyes widened and he was a bit nervous but reciprocated, hugging Mayu back. “Thank you Touya...thank you everyone.” she was crying on Touya’s uniform shirt and Touya calmed her down. “It’s a promise Mayu.” Touya said as they let go. However, once they did and when Touya say Mayu’s face, a strong headache ran through him. He didn’t feel it at first and didn’t demonstrate the pain that was coursing through him towards everyone but he felt a purple light shining on him much like the Velvet Room’s. In fact, he felt like he was inside it yet as he now heard Annabelle’s gentle and maid like voice.

I am thou, thou art I. Thou has created a bond that will guide you through the course of your journey. A bond that will transcend the heavens and the earth. That it break free from its chains. I present to you the birth of the Temperance Arcana. May the wings of freedom and order guide you and may you obtain the truth of this bond.” Annabelle’s voice rang through Touya’s mind for a second before it quickly faded away, along with the purple light.

That feeling quickly evaporated, Touya blinking and looking back at Mayu before he looked at everyone else. “ Are you the Temperance Arcana? What does that mean?” Touya shook his head before he went back to what he was previously saying. “Touya-kun?” Touko spoke to him as she saw him look a little confused but he shook it off. Then the bell rang for the afternoon classes to start, and the gang slowly waved back at Mayu and Kawakami, who were now smiling hopefully. Mayu especially.

Once the Next Gen left the room, Kawakami subtly yawned. “Man I need to get some sleep...and you do too.” Kawakami went towards the drawers and saw the packet that contained early release forms. “Mayu, I’m always grateful for your work, and I hope you get some rest for a few days.” she was writing a note for Mayu who was looking at the Principal with confusion. “Principal, thank you.” she said as she stood up and received the note from the short brown haired older woman. Kawakami smiled. “Don’t worry about it. Now go home and get well rested.” said patted Mayu on the back now as she was getting ready to leave.

Mayu left now, closing the door behind her, leaving the former teacher now Principal alone in the Student Council Room. She still retained her smile and looked back at the now clear skies. The blue spreading its wings against the gray clouds that were plaguing the day. “ Ren...Makoto...everyone...you raised such amazing children. I couldn’t be more happy to see them every day like I did with you lot. Especially Touya. He has that charm and charisma of you two, Ren, Makoto.” she thought as she looked at her watch and began to fix the room before it was ready to be used again after school. She shut the lights and headed back to her office.

 


 

The gang separated themselves now as they headed towards their respected floors. “See ya later Hiyori.” Iris said as she waved the cat eared headband orange haired girl. “Of course! Get ready for our first dungeon!” she yelled back gleefully as she skipped back towards her first year floor, her light green eyes looking around innocently. She was even humming a little tune to go along with her skipping, as she humming the theme to an old RPG game.

She didn’t notice where she was going as once she walked down the last flight of stairs to head to her classroom, she bumped in with someone else, having the two of them fall to the ground. “Ow…” Hiyori rubbed her back as she fell back first onto the ground. “What were you’re going-!” Her light green eyes then looked back at the offender, ready to attack whoever it was. Until she met with a nice pair of yellow-orange eyes.

The boy was around her age for sure as he was wearing the first year pin on his blue-gray sweater vest. He had the Shujin tie on neatly around his neck, though he didn’t button the first button compared to Touya when her cousin left two buttons. He wore the Shujin Academy checkered pants and had some gray shoes to go with. Then there was his face, an innocent looking face that contained those nice yellow-orange eyes. He had long and spiky brown hair, some of it blocking his forehead and his sideburns almost hitting his cheeks. He blinked at Hiyori, and offered her hand. “Sorry.” he said.

“It’s fine…” Hiyori felt a soft pink around her cheeks. “ Huh? What is this feeling?” she shook it off, but then had her heart thumping a little harder. “Oh! You’re Hiyori Sakura!” the boy helped her up now. Hiyori brushed her skirt and her cat headband twitched to the sound of her name. “You know me?” she said nervously, still blushing a little. The boy nodded. “Yeah! You’re like a pro-gamer for the Gaming Club!” he said before with fists forming in his hands and stars shining around his face. Hiyori blushed harder now, and rubbed her head madly now to reject the boy’s statement. “It’s nothing! It’s just when you have a mom like mine...things can go a bit hectic.” she said while being reminded of the one time she lost 0-50 in a game of Smash Bros with Futaba.

The boy was amazed as his mouth had an O shape. “That’s awesome! As expected of a Sakura.” he said before he coughed to introduce myself. “My name is Juno Yuuta. First year at 1-C.” he held out his hand for Hiyori to shake. Hiyori shook it nicely and then retained her blush. “It was nice meeting you…” Hiyori looked at the time and then gasped. They were late. “Well gotta go! See you later Hiyori!’ Juno yelled as he left her alone in the student hallways. Hiyori blinked, and shook her blush away as she walked back towards her classroom. “ I’m not telling anyone about this…’ Hiyori said as she opened the door to her classroom.

 


 

“Everyone ready?” Touya called out to the gang as he was waving them to head towards the center of the Ginza station. “Hell yeah we are.” Satoshi said while swinging his arm as a stretch exercise as he was walking with Kazuya and Iris towards Touya. Touko, Hiyori followed suit as well, and afterwards came a surprising twist that left the other six in shock. Kazuya was not holding Marika this time around and Marika was fine walking on her two legs for once as she was chatting with Shun normally. “What happened with you Mari?” Touya asked the redhead girl who blinked in confusion before realizing what the Niijima was asking.

“Oh me? Didn’t feel like shopping today. Especially after seeing Mayu that fragile during lunch.” Marika replied back as she was handed a lemon tea from Iris. That got Kazuya as he couldn’t believe it. His light brown-purple eyes widened with shock. “It’s about time you took people into consideration Marika besides your own shopping.” Kazuya smirked. Marika felt stung by Kazuya’s remark, kicking him like she did back during Neo-Mementos as she jumped and drop kicked him to the max. “Take that back KAZ!” Marika shook the now dazed Kazuya Okumura, pale. Touya and Satoshi were pale as well, remembering the same move. “ Kazuya! You were brave!” they thought, only making Kazuya go back to life, yelling at the two. “I’m still alive you idiots!” he growled before composing himself.

“Ahem.” Shun interrupted the other three to get them back to reality. “We have a promise to keep.” he reminded them as he looked at them with seriousness. Touya nodded. Mayu needs them now more than ever and it wasn’t time for joking around. Though Kazuya did deserve what was thrown at him. “Right. Thank you Shun.” Touya gathered everyone around. “Guys, here’s the plan. We access the MetaNav and we observe what a Palace is.” he assured them.

“So no fighting?” Hiyori said with annoyance. She wanted to use her sniper rifle like last time and summon Somnus. Touya patted her head. “Sorry Hiyori, but it’ll have to be when it’s an absolute emergency.”

“Plus this is our first time without really asking more towards our parents. So we need to be extra careful.” Iris replied to Hiyori as well before her brown eyes looked at Touya with determination. “Now let’s get that app functioning.”

“Hold up!” Marika shot out her voice for moment. ‘What is it?” Touko asked her friend, as she was feeling antsy to get her question out of her metal system. “How come we’re accessing it here? Why not directly to the main building?” Marika posed a good question. Touya had to think about it for a moment but Satoshi managed to find the answer before him. “Mari, if we do it at the direct location, it could probably screw us over if there’s enemies right in front of us. So this is more a precaution.” Satoshi winked at the Souta for confirmation as she nodded. “ Thank you Satoshi.” Touya smiled, booting up the MetaNav.

As Touya was busy setting the app up, Hiyori whispered something to Shun. “Did you found out about that other Persona, Shun?” she asked him to which he replied with a blatant no. “Mother and Father have been busy these days. Mother is grading essays and Father is working on another painting for an exhibit. Sorry Hiyori.” he replied back as Hiyori nodded in defeat. “You need to find the chance to soon Shun. I asked Mom about it and she has no clue as to what occurred. Even Mona.” and the two reverted their attention back to the Niijima.

“Daisuke Shiro, Panther’s Main Building, and Mall.” Touya shouted the words in exact order towards the microphone icon presented on the MetaNav. The female navigator voice then answered back. “Are you ready to begin infiltration?” it asked the gang who all nodded back to Touya. “Yes we are. Begin infiltration.” he answered back confidently. The app registered Touya’s voice, pinging like it did the last time, and gave a big red check mark. “Beginning Palace Infiltration.” the voice answered back.

Once the navigator answered, the world began to freeze like it did back when they entered Neo-Mementos a few days ago. This time the gang was phased by the sudden time stop and the change in color as the sky was now turning a purple color instead of a afternoon blue now that the rain was gone. Bright yellow spotlights were seen as well from afar and the gang felt a bit dizzy as their heads rang a little before finally it stopped and the gang began to feel the same blue flames enveloping around them like before. “Is everyone alright?” Touya asked once the ringing was over. Everyone gave a thumbs up. “We got our aesthetics back too.” Satoshi replied as he was felzing the semi-torn cape and fixing the little knight face that was on his head. Touya did the same with his wool scarf and fedora hat. “So we’re in the Metaverse...but where’s the Palace?” Marika asked the gang.

“Guys...look at where Panther’s was supposed to be.” Touko motioned everyone to meet with her a she was by where they would cross. As they were walking, they saw people walking back and forth towards where Touko was looking. “People? Shouldn’t it be just us?” Kazuya asked the Niijima but Hiyori answered back with a “Nya”. “Mom explained that since this is a cognitive world, the person who created this world can have people if he wishes.” Hiyori was hugging her sniper rifle, causing the gang to worry. “Don’t shoot us.” Shun said to her.

Now they reached Touko’s destination and they were in awe at the sight in front of them.

Standing in front of them was no longer Panther’s indeed but a whole new set of building, each of them stacking on top of each other. They even had a different color scheme as the main building had a tint of white and turquoise, as well as having the words printed in bright gold that rad “SHIRO’S MALL” in bold. What was between the buildings and the crowds of people as they were sitting by benches and bear small little shops, stood a big bronze statue of what appeared to be Daisuke as he was holding what appeared to be a rose in both his mouth and right hand, holding it up high. “So this is what he thinks…”Shun said in disbelief, and the others nodded. “Time for a change of heart huh?” Satoshi said with a pumped fist, his other arm eager to wield his sword. “Remember, this is investigation only. No fighting until we know how this place works.” Kazuya grabbed Satoshi’s arm. Satoshi sighed. “You’re right.”

“Ready to lead us Touya-kun?” Touya looked back at Touko, smiling underneath her little tiara and gun holsters. Touya blushed at the sight and he grabbed his fedora hat to try and hide it but rejected it as he admired how Touko looked. “Yeah I am.” he said with a tone of leadership he had no idea he had inside him. Again this must be thanks to Ianus. “Guys, let’s get ready to Save a Heart!” and thus the gang ran with anxiety and excited towards the newly found Palace, without knowing that the real Daisuke felt a sharp ping in his head as he was walking back to his apartment that same day. “ Guys...thank you...and hurry!” Daisuke thought as he was busy fighting against his fully absorbed distorted desire.

 


 

Preview!

Yo! Hatake Satoshi here!

And Iris Sakamoto!

Darling! My sweet Princess! I can’t believe we’re inside Daisuke’s heart like what the Phantom Thieves did long ago! This is getting me pumped! Artorias let’s go!

Satoshi, be sure to use Artorias when necessary please. We are only scouting and this is all new.

True, but we also have no choice once we met with Daisuke himself, or rather his Shadow. Oh! We also saw Touya do some crazy moves too! And getting another Persona...

That was a scary encounter but it was good thing we got our powers beforehand. Otherwise we could’ve lost that easily.

Indeed my love! Next time on Persona:Next Generations! Shadow Daisuke Shows!

See you next time!

Chapter Text

The gang split up as they examined the small shops around the center statue plaza before entering the main building. Touya, Touko, Satoshi, and Iris decided to hit the left side while the other four headed to the right (while Kazuya was busy dragging Marika around as her fashion senses were tingling to an all time max). Touya was amazed for the most part as to how such a large red building could end up becoming this monolith of a Palace. Image the ones his parents had to face. “This is incredible.” Iris said under her breath as she was walking, examining to see if there were enemies around them. “To think this is the heart of someone...gives me chills.” Satoshi shuddered a little to illustrate his point, something the other sighed as a raindrop ran down to the side of their heads. “For the most part, there’s no enemies so we can relax.” Touya said to them and decided to head onwards back to the statue, where the others were waiting patiently.

Hiyori, being Hiyori, was looking at the cognitive koi that was swimming around the statue, something the gang noticed as they were approaching the Palace. “Cognitive stuff is so cool.” Hiyori said as she finished looking at them, having her cat ears twitch and her fang sticking out. “You’re not Morgana Hiyori.” Kazuya said, now releasing Marika from her distorted desire. “Ok I deserve this one Kaz.” Marika said with one eye open, rubbing her back while chuckling. Kazuya looked back at her impassive, but nodded. “Oh you guys are back.” Shun saw the other four return, sitting next to them as well. “Anything?” Kazuya asked them.

“Well for the most part, this place is indeed a Palace. The cognitive people here don’t seem to care about us nor are interested.” Touya said as he was swirling his fedora hat with one finger, blowing at it for extra spins. “They also seem to pass by us as well, which is creepy as hell but cool, and they’re all gossiping about how beautiful and glamorous Daisuke is.” Satoshi put the quotations in beautiful and glamorous. Iris and Touko swung their legs a little along with Hiyori and they looked back at the main building, the place they haven’t entered yet. “Still, this is pretty cool.” Iris spoke now, stretching her arms. “To think this is my mom’s building and it turns out to be this Mall, it’s kinda adventurous.”

“We need to enter that building though. Sure outside with these nice bazzars is fun, but we gotta find what’s wrong with Daisuke too. For Mayu.” Touko reminded them as they were standing up, getting ready to walk towards the main doors. Touya decided to let Kazuya lead them for a moment as he wanted to examine the Palace building one last time before entering. Then once he got one final mental image, he heard Annabelle’s voice in the distance, along with the two purple-blue doors that Touya would often see when entering the Velvet Room. “Wild Card.” Annabelle’s maid like voice yelled at Touya as he approached her. “Annabelle?’What are you doing here?” Touya asked her as he looked to see where the other….they were gone? “I will explain if you enter the Velvet Room.” Annabelle fixed her glasses and opened the doors for the two to enter.

 


 

Touya felt uncomfortable seeing how he was wearing his Shujin uniform and his aethesthics as he met with the Velvet Attendant and Igor. “Um..so um..” Touya tried to find the words to speak as he was busy looking at the place he wasn’t summoned to the last few days. “Welcome back Son of the Trickster.” Igor’s wide voice echoed, inviting Touya to sit down in the usual guest couch. Touya bowed in respect and sat down, waiting for what Igor and Annabelle had to say to him this time. Annabelle spoke now, opening the folders she had in her hands, and taking out a Tarot Card.

Temperance.

“Wild Card, thank you for obtaining the power that is the Temperance Arcana. We hope that bonds depends throughout your journey.” Annabelle said as she was closing the folders and putting them back in place. Igor nodded. “Indeed for that is one of many traits to the Wild Card.” Igor smiled back at Touya, now confused by intrigued by the long nosed man’s words. “One of many? There’s more to being the Wild Card?” Touya went back to Ren’s statement about how the Wild Card can hold more than one Persona. Is that it?

Annabelle nodded. “Indeed my Wild Card. We are here to present you one of them.” Annabelle now proceeded to grab another Tarot Card out of the folders and took out the Fool’s Arcana. “I shall bestow upon you the ability that is Sixth Sense.” Annabelle began to chant, using the same tone as Touya heard when she was in his head when he promised Mayu. Then a blue light began to emerge from the card, and quickly went and hit Touya in the chest. It didn’t hurt him but he felt a tingle throughout his body. The light then faded and Touya looked up at the two. “What was that? Sixth Sense?” Touya raised his usual questioning eyebrow, his dark-grey eyes confused.

Igor smirked. ‘Sixth Sense will play an important role from here on out, and will be the first step towards fighting the impending chaos.”

“So not only I can summon more Personas like Dad told me, but I have upgrades?” Touya said in awe as he was trying his best to not jump form excitement form the guest chair he was sitting on. Then his mind went back to Sixth Sense as Igor never told him the specifics...by now Touya should’ve known as he didn’t pressure it. Yet he did have one question that he forgot to ask when he entered. “Igor, Annabelle, I can have access to the Velvet Room outside my dreams now?’ the two of them nodded. “The Velvet Room can be accessed before entering the main sections of the Palace, Neo-Mementos.” Annabelle replied back.

“Yes, and in the real world, we will always be located in a secluded area so be sure to watch out for those doors.” Igor pointed at the two back doors.

“Now this concludes your appointment for the time being. If you ever need help, you can always come to us.”

“Go forth Son of the Trickster! Save your friend’s heart from such desires of beauty and grace!” Igor’s voice boomed through the Velvet Room’s walls. Touya nodded, fixing his fedora hat and giving the two a thumbs up. ‘You know it Igor, Annabelle.” and thus, Touya walked back to the back doors, opening them and returning back to the Palace entrance.

 


 

“Hey Touya! You awake? Yohoo.” Satoshi waved his hand in front of Touya. Touya blinked for a moment and looked at the gang, now waiting patiently for their friend. “You were walking just fine for a second and suddenly you just stopped and shut your eyes.” Marika said as she was feeling twitchy with her foot, rapidly tapping it to no end. Touya looked at them confused, but realized what really happened as he shook it off, walking towards the others. “ The Velvet Room can only been see through my eyes in the end…” Touya shuddered but ushered the rest to enter the mall.

“Let’s see what this Palace is all about.” Touya opened the doors as if one normally would when entering a mall. Touya let the others in first, and then entered, keeping the gang in close range in case anything were to happen. Good news, nothing happened once they entered the insides of Shiro’s Mall.

Around them were countless of shops, going up and down as two large floors were seen in front of them.  More cognitive people were seen hustling through the massive crowds, talking amongst themselves and holding bags that appeared to hold only one symbol: a symbol of a thorny blue rose and cursive words that spelled out “Daisuke”. “Looks like he wasn’t kidding about spreading his beauty.” Iris said as she grabbed a small pamphlet of the entire mall Palace. Inside the pamphlet showed pictures of all the buildings and what they have to offer. The one they’re currently inside was the main plaza area, where shops and the food court was available. “Hold on there’s something else here.” Shun pointed to the next page, where it said “Special News” on the side.  Iris flipped through it and read that there was a special Runway Event that is being held. “This event will show you exclusive designs made by yours truly, Daisuke Shiro, the flamboyant rose of his mall. The location is at the center building.”

“Looks like we’re in the right spot.” Kazuya replied back.

Hiyori kept a smirk on her face as she yanked the pamphlet from Iris’ hands. “Now for some navigation!” Hiyori said with a cheerful Nya at the end as she put her goggles on to analyze the contents. “Whoa there is a lot of stuff here.” Hiyori said as she was scanning through the buildings on each page, evident by the glowing on her yellow goggles. Touya tapped his foot in patience as his cousin was busy, until she stopped and threw the pamphlet out, causing everyone to be in a panic. “What the hell Hiyori!’ Marika yelled at the orange haired girl, who simply smirked back. “Check your phones everybody if you so please.” Hiyori said with tone of subservience as she presented her phone, now stuck on the Metaverse App. Touya grabbed his phone from his pocket and noticed that there was now a map in front of them. In the middle of the application was a red outline of the Palace and all its contents, almost like a dungeon map and compass from a Zelda game. Touya should go back to that franchise. “I see..you analyzed the pamphlet and gave us the map for it.” Shun said in awe as she puffed his large dark blue bang. Hiyori nodded, her cat ears twitching with glee. “Yupp! Now onwards to that Runway!’ Hiyori marched passed the gang, sniper rifle behind her and a pumped fist. Touya sighed and ushered the others to follow suit.

“This is pretty cool.” Satoshi said as he was examining the cognitive people around them as they ran, with their aesthetics surrounding them. Though why they didn’t have their weapons on them was strange, but Touya believed that in the presence of danger, they would be summoned. His theory at the moment of course. As he continued to run, he saw that Kazuya was dragging Marika around, while she was restraining herself, thrashing about against the strong Okumura. “Marika will never learn now, huh?’” Touya closed his eyes in annoyance. Touko ran close to him, and saw how he felt slightly rigid as he ran, and looked down on herself for a moment. “Touya..” she blushed lightly now.

 


 

After passing by the large fountain and its sprinkles of water in the center area of the main building, they reached where they concluded it to be the special runway event. What made it obvious was the lavish designs going around the two large crimson doors, opening and closing as people were passing by. What the Next Gen managed to focu on was the cognitions’ clothing, as they were embellished with exuberant designs. Some women were wearing laced gloves and dresses, some of it being cut on the knee area. Their hairstyles were out of the place as well as some felt puffed up and hair sprayed to the max. “What is this, 1920’s America?” satoshi joked as they passed by the women, now heading towards the men as they treaded carefully on the red carpet towards the two large doors. “Who are these people?” some of the cognition said in disgust, taking some nice photo shoots from the mall goers as they passed by.

“They look ridiculous. Did Daisuke really let them inside the event to begin with? Ugh.” now the man went against the Next Gen, fixing the collar of their unique suit blazers as some had blue with red horizontal stripes going through and polka dots in some of them. “Wow. Daisuke is a prick indeed.” Marika said coldly as she was ready to fight them. Touya grabbed her arm and told her not to cause any commotion and that they’re just an idea to the corruption rooted inside Daisuke’s heart. Marika glared back at them.

They made it to the doors, and noticed two large security guards. What was different from them and the cognition were that they wore the security guard uniforms, but had a mask on their heavy black tinted bodies that was bluish. No pupils were seen in the eye sockets except red dots. “Get ready to fight if anything happens.” Touya warned the others as they approached carefully to the large doors. The security guards noticed them and stepped closer to them with ease. “Membership Card?” they asked them to which they were confused. “Membership?” Kazuya asked to the guards. “No card no entry.” they let in a few extras cognitive elites into the doors. “Where can we find one?” Touko asked the guards.

“They have to be given by me darling.” an ominous voice was heard. Touya recognized who it was as he turned to face a rather flamboyant character. His white button down shirt collar was shot up and three buttons were unbuttoned, showing his chest. What covered most of the shirt was a crimson vest that had floral designs going about on. His bottom wear were nothing but black pants with dress boots and he held a rose on both his right hand and mouth, his right hand extending upward in a fancy motion. Then there was his face, as his silvery-white hair was combed neatly, exposing his forehead and his yellow eyes staring back at them with evil intent.

“Daisuke?’ Iris asked in disbelief, her brown eyes widening at the sight of Shadow Daisuke.

“That is correct.” he smiled now, removing the rose and tossing it the crowd of girls that were behind them, runnings towards where he aimed the rose. “It is I, the magnificent, extraordinary, and lustrous Daisuke Shiro. One of the best models of the world and owner of this mall.” he looked back at them, scoffing at their aesthetics. “For starters, your outfits lack taste to the human eye. That fedora hat is unique I will say.” he winked at Touya, who shuddered.

“Daisuke...this isn’t you.” Touko said, clutching her fists tight. Shadow Daisuke didn’t hear Touko’s words as he stepped closer now, extending his hand toward his ear in a mocking tone. “I’m sorry dearie, but what was that?’ he said, eyes staring at Touko. Touko continued to clutch her knuckles, making them red but Touya and Shun stopped her. Touya smiled back and looked back at Shadow Daisuke. “What you’re doing to the real world Daisuke Shiro is frightening. You’re basically killing him with this desire of beauty.’ Touya tried his best to have the words sink into Shadow Daisuke. He shook his head and scoffed.

“Killing him? Where did you get that from foolish peasant. I’m merely giving him what he wants!” he jumped back and extended his arms. Lights shone on him like spotlights and he continued to speak. “He craves beauty and I shall give him just that! He shall perfect it and obtain it much like this mall that wa made with tears and blood of his! This isn’t killing him! It’s making him anew!’ he laughed now towards the gang, now in fighting positions. Shadow Daisuke covered his mouth now with the right handed rose. “I see...you don’t want to accept my beauty then like all these peasants going about this mall of mine.” he walked back towards the large doors, and turned back to the gang. He looked at the guards and snapped his fingers. “Kill them for not accepting the beauty this mall has to offer.” he left now as he entered towards the runway.

Kill them? Touya steadied himself now, having his body stay close to Touko as much as possible. Satoshi was now next to him, gulping with fear but his green eyes serious. “This is the part where we fight right?’ he nudged Touya who nodded. “Yeah...get ready guys!” they stared down at the guards, now shaking frantically and moving like liquid. The guards then evaporated and two Jack Frosts and three Pixie were seen. “They look new.” Hiyori said as she was now holding her sniper rifle, ready to aim. The others had their weapons on them as well as blue flames engulfed their hands. Touya looked at the Jack Frost and flipped his black kukri knife backwards and stood in a fighting stance. “Come and get some.” he threatened the shadows as they ran towards them.

 


 

The first Jack Frost hit off with a Bufu as he released a breath of cold air towards the gang. The gang dodged with ease and Touya let Kazuya know to split the gang into two groups of four to tackle the situations easily. Touko then charged at one of the Pixies and shot at its wings, making it fall to the ground. “Looking cool Touko!” Hiyori sniped at another one that showed up for reinforcements. “Kazuya! Fire at the weird white guys with Ifrit!” Satoshi blocked the attack of one of them and pushed them back, creating an opening for Kazuya. “Here goes! Ifrit!” Kazuya summoned the Goat-Werewolf Persona, its’ crimson and black furry body emerging with a loud howl. “Master! It’s been a while!” he yelled as he summoned a barrage of fire from its mouth, hitting directly at the Jack Frosts in sight. Touya smirked and slashed at one before falling back. “Hiyori!” he yelled back at his cousin. “Shoot at my kukri!” He let the kukri knife loose at his side, slanting it a little.

Hiyori didn’t understand what the Niijima wanted but aimed at the black kukri knife and shot. Touya noticed how slow the bullet was being and felt his eyes be able to see the entire area without moving. He then moved to the side and reflected the bullet to one of the Pixies, causing it to fall down with the others. “Whoa Touya!” Satoshi yelled as he summoned Artorias to lash lightning at them. Touya blinked and began to look at the area now with Sixth Sense as everything was going fast by the second yet he was able to see clearly and with ease, dodging attacks from the horde of Jack Frosts. “ So this is my upgrade...alright!”

Kazuya finished off the other Jack Frost with Agi and now fell on the floor alongside the Pixies. “Everyone! Let’s finish this!” Hiyori yelled as they all jumped and pulled an All-Out Attack, each of them hitting without aim and going full force, until everyone stepped back instead of Kazuya who flexed his muscles and pounded his fist with his hand. “The end.” he said as black blood was seen throughout the shadows, causing them to disappear into a sharp black mist

All except for one Jack Frost as he laid down in defeat, puffing and huffing away at his blue cap and looking at the gang sheepishly. “Don’t attack! I concede hoohoo!” he pleaded with the gang, to which Touya approached the shadow with calm. “Don’t worry buddy, we’re going to hurt you anymore than what we did to your friends.” he said as he knelt down towards the white figure, now crying as he sniffed. “For realsies?” he asked the Niijima to which he smiled innocently. Something the gang weren’t quite fond of considering they were fought a horde of them a few seconds ago. “Come one guys he’s pleading with us not to fight anymore! Plus I kinda like him too.” Touya patted the Jack Frost’s head. “You’re really nice mister!” the Jack Frost said as he hugged Touya tightly. “There there.” Touya chuckled nervously, having to pull the Jack Frost away.

Then the Jack Frost had a revelation as he face piqued interest. “I remember who I am now! I don’t belong here at all!” he looked at Touya’s phone and dark grey eyes. “Why don’t I join you mister?” The Jack Frost stood up and brushed the dirt that was on his legs. “Um..sure?” Touya said as he looked at the gang. Jack Frost smiled wide and jumped with glee. “Alright! My name is Jack Frost! It’s a pleasure to meet you heehoo!” he let out his hand for Touya to shake gently.

Jack Frost then suddenly began to disappear and float away, turning into a blue orb and making its way to Touya’s phone as it zoomed through the ambience and went inside the phone. The gang blinked with curiosity. “Check your phone Touya-kun.” Touko asked her friend as he nodded back. Touya checked his phone and saw that in the Persona menu, underneath Ianus’ stats laid Jack Frost and his stats. “Jack Frost...Fool Arcana…” Touya finished reading as he put the phone away into his pocket. “ So this is what Dad meant by getting new Personas! I need to check out Jack Frost when I get the chance.” he thought to himself as he looked to the others before looking around to see that more guards are approaching.

“Touya it looks like we gotta go.” Satoshi was about to put his sword away but blue flames made them disappeared. Now was not the time to fight. “This way gang!” Hiyori motioned them to the left side of the building. They all nodded and ran with all their might, pushing the guards away and heading towards their exit, now heading back to the outside bazaars and Daisuke statue. They continued running until they made back to the station square.

The Next Gen tried to regain some air before Touya grabbed his phone once more and accessed the MetaNav to leave the area. “Ready to head back to the real world?” it asked everyone who all gave a thumbs up to the Niijima. “Yes we are ready to head home.” he answered back. “Thank you for your hard work today! Now returning to Ginza Station, Tokyo, Japan.” and the headaches returned in the gang’s heads as the purple skies was now returning to a soft gray as rain droplets began to hit at them as they now returned to the real world.

 


 

“Freaking rain…” Satoshi and Touya groaned as they stood up to dry themselves on the train. Kazuya closed his eyes and nodded slowly as he hair was all drenched up. Shun for the most part was worried about his snacks as he examined them inside his bag thoroughly while Hiyori watched with a keen eye and a tooth sticking out. “Ahem.” Iris looked at Hiyori with a sharp tone to stop annoying Shun as he was busy on his snack quest.

Touko propped herself closer to Touya without thinking as she grabbed the other handle to pull herself up and have her light blue eyes face Touya’s dark grey. “Touya-kun...you look a bit spaced out.” she noted that Touya was deep in his thoughts as he briefly avoiding eye contact and looked at the window for a moment. “Sorry Touko, but I was thinking about Daisuke and everything we saw.” he said softly but enough to gather everyone’s attention as they inched closer to the fluffy auburn haired boy. “Yeah that Daisuke we saw, his Shadow, it was insane for sure.” Hiyori said, her cat ears drooping a little. Marika nodded. “We saw something that needs to be stopped as soon as possible or else it’ll be like you said Touya.”

“Killing him officially.” Iris said in a depressed tone of voice. “Imagine Mayu-Senpai and how she would feel if that would happen.”

“It won’t.” Touya said to everyone as he looked back with determination. He formed fists and stood straight with a sense of pride and leadership. Kinda like his father back in the day. “We still have time to resolve this, and we’re going to do it right. Like the Phantom Thieves did back then. What our parents did back then. All we need to do is continue exploring and find a way to save him before it’s too late.”

“That’s a follow up question now.” Kazuya interjected. “When exactly is too late in our case? It could be tomorrow, or the next day, or three days from now.”

“I think I give you all the deadline.” Iris said as she raised her hand to get the gang’s attention. She brushed her blonde hair to the side and her brown eyes looked at her phone screen, now having the calendar app shown. “Mom always puts things in the family calendar that’s shared among us. So I was looking and I found this.” she showed everyone the white and red of the calendar app and they all saw that on May 5th there was to be the infamous Flora de Carmen’s Fashion Show. One that Daisuke for sure doesn’t want to miss out on. “That’s the deadline to save his heart?” Satoshi said, eye blinking rapidly to show confusion. Iris nodded.

“Meaning we have almost two and half weeks to get this done.” Touya looked at his phone, yelling at him the time that was 7:45 PM, on April 19th, 204X. Two weeks to save Daisuke’s heart and destroy the malice that was inside of him, breaking the poor third year Shujin student apart. Touya went back to Shadow Daisuke and how he was the opposite of what truly was Daisuke Shiro before all of this occurred. How that rose on his mouth, and the somewhat Renaissance style clothing he was wearing was what he was feeling and expressing outwardly.

There was also the new ally Touya had met that was Jack Frost. How the puffy white Persona with its blue and yellow cap was now a part of Touya and Touya was a part of him. Kinda reminded him of Pokemon for sure. The rest of his friends didn’t pressure too much on the subject as he could tell they were tired but it was to come up soon in text later tonight.

The Metaverse truly is a scary place was all Touya concluded as he put his phone away and sighed of relief as they were now on their way home to end the tiresome day that was today. Plus his back was aching now and he sat down quickly, worrying the others as it was a quick and sudden move.


 

Preview!

Hey it’s Amamiya Ren here!

And Amitsu Kojima.

Kojima-san! How long has it been? Heard you have some announcement to tell me.

Indeed I do Amamiya! It’s not as exuberant as I want it to be but it’s something that’ll keep my work at ease for the moment.

I see, well I hope to see what you have to offer.

Yes, yes! Also isn’t there something that regards to your family life as well?

Oh! Yeah...some third year that is a friend of my son is having some difficulties and he’s doing his best to help him. That and he’s worrying some friends of mine as well with his special antics, leaving a note or something.

I hope your son does his best to save his soul then if he’s in this much trouble!

I hope so too! Next time on Persona:Next Generations! Unexpected Assistants!

See you soon!!

 

Chapter Text

Touya woke up with a sore back for some reason as he stood up from his bed, planting his feet on the ground. Rubbing his back a little, he finished climbing his bed and headed to the shower before he was interrupted by his mother coming in. “Hey Mom.” Touya greeted Makoto, who as always was ready to go as she had her black detective coat on and her hair tied to a bun. “You look like you’re in some pain Touya dear.” Makoto said worried as she pursed her lips and saw her son move around slow. “Eh it’s fine Mom. Just need to get my body back to the makings of the Metaverse after like three days. I’ll be alright.”

“Ah so that’s the pain. I was worried it was about the Track Team. Otherwise I was going to have to chat with Coach.” her eyes had a fiery gaze and a pumped fist when she said it, making Touya gulp in fear. “Don’t worry! Coach is giving us enough training and he isn’t pressuring us to the max!” he shook off her mother’s short fuse as she sighed of relief. “Good. Just wanted to make sure.” she looked at Touya for a moment and noticed how he felt different. He was still the same as his physique didn’t change that much from the course of the Metaverse. Though he was growing a bit more muscle than before.

No her son, Niijima Touya had that same glow like when she first met Ren and found out about the Wild Card abilities. How he was able to adapt to any situation and overcome his boundaries to the fullest. That was what Makoto Niijima was seeing in her son now, and all she could do was simply smile with joy but with worry. “Be sure to be careful when you obtain more Personas in the future Touya.” Makoto said as she began to leave the room, now with a confused Touya as he wondered how she figured out that he had unlocked the Wild Card ability. “Oh and the Hot and Colds packs are in the counter next to the fridge if you need them.”

“Thanks Mom! I’ll be down in a second!” Touya yelled back as he looked himself in the mirror and sighed before heading for a quick shower to start the day. “ I never told her nor Dad last night when I entered the house…”

 


 

Touya sat down now and noticed that Ren’s seat was empty. “Dad left early today?” Makoto nodded as she grabbed her cup of coffee that Ren made before leaving. He even left a small note saying to have Touya try some before they left for the day. “Here you go.” Makoto gave a small cup to Touya as he was soothing his back with the Hot and Cold patch that was firmly placed beneath his Shujin button down.  “So um Mom, how did you find out about me getting another Persona?” he asked her before taking a whiff of coffee. Makoto sipped her coffee before speaking, her lips curled to form her sentence. “When I met your father, Touya, I noticed he had this glow surrounding him that wasn’t presented around the others when we were Phantom Thieves. It’s a glow that for some reason I managed to see and possibly the reason I fell in love with him.”

“Glow huh?” Touya looked at his hands. The skin tone seemed normal to him. “I don’t feel it Mom.”

“You don’t have to, but it is there.” she read something on her phone now, picking it up and having the Buchimaru phone case looking at Touya with its Panda eyes. Makoto sighed as she put her phone down. “What’s wrong?” Touya asked his mother. “It’s nothing sweetie. Now hurry up and finish that breakfast of yours. Wouldn’t want Touko-chan waiting now do we?” Touya blushed red immediately and rejected his mother’s statement before finishing his meal and heading to the bathroom to brush his teeth. That made Makoto giggle at how silly her sons can become at times.

Once Touya left the bathroom, he kissed his mother goodbye on the cheek and headed out to start his day. Hopefully he should take a breather despite already having access to Daisuke’s Palace. He had a feeling the others’ weren’t feeling so great either after being thrown back into the Metaverse without putting much training beforehand. That and he needed to use the Velvet Room to test out Jack Frost and his new abilities. If Annabelle and Igor decide to make the Velvet Room into a sparring arena.

Makoto looked at her son leave the house now and went back to her phone as she read the messages Futaba sent her regarding the Commissioner's Quest as she was available to meet. “Futaba I owe you one and I swear I will treat you to lunch during break.” she said as she got up, grabbed her purse and headed out the door as well.

 


 

 

Daichi threw the rest of the folders on the guest table, sweating furiously as they were heavy and loaded to the brim inside the boxes. Ren also sweated a little, having removed his blazer and rolled up his sleeves to help his assistant out. “Sensei,” Daichi closed his eyes in exhaustion. “How much of this has been passed or is going to be passed?” his brown eyes stared at Ren who began to open them in a fast pace. “To be honest Daichi, the party just decided to give out some labor for us today. We’ll have to see and possibly defend what we want pass today at the House of Representatives.” Ren finished checking ten folders in matter of seconds, something Daichi was impressed as he opened two at the moment, examining its contents. “Whoa! What’s this one?” Daichi showed Ren a confidential folder that made Ren sweat with fear and shock if Daichi were to open that.

Ren quickly grabbed it from Diachi’s hands and slipped it on his bag underneath his desk chair. “Don’t worry about this one Daichi.” he chuckled as he was shaking a little. “ Phew...that was a close one...and how the hell did it get in there with the other more important files!” Ren opened the folder and examined a small picture of Mak...no that’s all there was to say of it as he quickly closed it and moved on with the rest of the task.

The two adults continued their journey through the mountains of folders. For the most part, Ren managed to get three full boxes done as quickly as he could, having a pen in his mouth and flipping through the pages of each folder. “Okay why do we want this one passed?’ he asked himself and he tossed it to the side, not signing it to approve. Daichi was hammering through the folders as well, quickly multitasking as he was writing down comments here and there and asking Ren if this was okay to be sent. He shook his head in some and nodded through most of them. That made Daichi sigh with relief.

After two hours,and with an additional half hour to spare before heading to the House of Representative, they heard a knock on the door. Daichi was busy fanning himself from all the hard work he did with Ren, equally fanning his face as it was somewhat red and sweaty. He even sniffed his armpits. “Who is it?” he asked without moving form his desk, unrolling his sleeves and getting ready to put his dark blue suit jacket on. “May I intrude for a brief moment?” Amitsu’s voice was heard on the other side. Diachi looked back at Ren who gestured the assistant to open the door for the arcane man, as he entered flamboyantly. He raised his right hand up and performed a bow towards Ren, having his head downwards, long black hair trickling to the sides of his face before going back up.

“Kojima-san. How do you do?” Ren stood from his chair, keeping a steady posture as he walked towards the counter, grabbing two cups. “Want something to drink?” he asked Amitsu who shook his head. “Thank you for the gesture Amamiya, but I’m only here to speak of you news.” he walked a bit in front towards Ren’s desk, tilting his head a little as his black eyes gazed upon the window behind Ren. “You have quite the lovely view compared to my own office space. The trees and the city life is more captivating here.”

“It gets boring after a while, especially during the summer time when there’s the usual heat waves and all the jazz.” Ren said as he grabbed a glass of water for himself and Daichi, who thanked the Diet Member. “Also, what is this news you speak of?” Ren took a small sip. Amitsu smiled before returning a look to Ren, eyes narrowed and gesturing as he walked back by the guest chairs. “Well I wouldn’t call it news per say. More of a thank you.”

“Thank you? What for exactly?” Ren questioned the man as he went back to his desk, fixing up some of the folders that were on top of them. Amitsu stayed where he was, head tilted and his collar slightly popped up. He smiled slyly for a moment before he looked back at the door. “Yukine, Sadako, you can kindly walk in now.” Amitsu snapped his fingers, and two young adults, a man and woman arrived by the door steps. They looked around Daichi’s age, which was the one thing Daichi and Ren noticed first hand.

The young man appeared to have medium black hair, with some orange highlights  tipping off in the end of his hair. His green eyes examined the room and he was fixing his blue button down shirt, untucked at the bottom. He had a dark brown belt with a silver lining running through the middle, and deep black pants and dress shoes. He was blowing off the large strand that was falling down on his right side. “Hello there Amamiya-san. My name is Yukine Ichiya.” he bowed like Amitsu did the day they met, his tone of voice impassive like Shun sometimes.

Then there was the young woman, with her long brown hair, almost purple, running down through her back. Her purple eyes were behind a set of round black glasses, her slender fingers putting them in place. Ren saw that she had her nails painted pink. She was wearing dark brown business pants and a white blouse, rolled down to her elbows, and brown heels that surprisingly she was handling them with ease. “My name is Sadako Masuda. Pleasure to meet you Amamiya-san.” she said in a soothing and yet professional voice.

“Likewise to the two of you.” Ren nodded his head in acknowledgement and looked at Amitsu, brushing off something that was on his striped suit jacket. “May I ask who are these people?” Ren asked to the arcane man who smiled in return, similar to Ren’s Joker Smirk. “Certainly. For the past few days, I have been indulged with work like no other. Loads of paperwork, and signings, and folders, you know the gist of things.” he motioned around the room, still filled with folders. “So I decided to find people capable of handling such onerous tasks. Like your assistant here.” Daichi smiled nervously when he was presented, rubbing the back of his head. “So you found these two to help out Kojima-san.” Daichi spoke now as he went up to Yukine and Sadako, having his hand out. “My name is Daichi Kuro. It’s also nice to meet you two.”

“Kuro...are you perhaps related to Ikeda Kuro?” Sadako’s eyes blinked as she shook Daichi’s hand rapidly, stars shining around her.  Daichi nodded and then shook Yukine’s afterwards. “Yeah he’s my older brother.” Daichi said with pride as his mind went to the infamous Defense Attorney that was second in command with Sae Niijima at their law firm. “How do you know about him?” he then asked the two. “We’ve heard some files on him and how he contributes to the Diet Building.” Yukine replied. Daichi let out an “ah” before he was interrupted by Ren as he coughed. “I like how I influenced you Kojima-san. Truly I am beholden.” Ren looked at his watch and noticed it was time to go. “But it also appears that we have some duties to take care of.” Ren put on his suit jacket and his red gloves and began to head out the door. Amitsu nodded as he knew it was also his cue to leave with Ren. “That is quite true Amamiya. Now then, Yukine, Sadako, I advise you take care of the office while us two head back.” the two assistants of Amitsu nodded.

Ren and Amitsu left the office, and later Yukine and Sadako did as well. “We’ll talk later Daichi-senpai.” Sadako said with a flirtatious tone as she winked at him before the two left, leaving Daisuke in the wind as he waved back sheepishly at all four of them. “That girl reminds me of Takemi-san’s assistant…” Daichi blushed when he mind went to the sight of Takemi’s assistant, Hisako Suzuki. More on her on another time however as he quickly snapped back to reality and prepared for round two of folders.

 


 

Touya for the most part endured the pain all through the morning classes until he sat down on one of the chairs inside the Hideout. Seeing how the rain was somehow running its way in the city streets and all of Tokyo, the gang were both bummed and excited to kick back and relax in the same area once again. Satoshi and Iris appeared now, along with Shun, Kazuya, and Marika, as they all took a side carefully. As each of them were sitting down, Touya noticed how everyone was rubbing their backs and other parts of their body as well: Satoshi was rubbing his right arm, Iris and Marika with their legs, Shun with his shoulders. The only one that Touya didn’t see was Kazuya, as he tried his best not to show how sore his knuckles were as he wasn’t crossing his arms normally this time around. “Man the Metaverse killed us yesterday!” Marika yelled as she finished soothing her leg muscles and drank a little of a protein shake. “We may have kicked major ass but my legs can’t take another step...and I have volleyball tryouts soon too!” Marika was now grumbling. Kazuya sighed.

“My arm feels like it’s going to fall off. Should’ve practice more sword swinging before we entered.” Satoshi joked as he grabbed his lunch from his bag. Iris nodded. “With all that effort in fighting, it definitely took a toll on us.” Iris gasped with relaxation as Satoshi was massaging her shoulders for a bit, her eyes closing and her body feeling a little loose. “Thank you Satoshi.” she smiled as he gave her a thumbs up and a cheeky smile. Shun blinked and looked at Kazuya who shook his head. “Sorry bro.” Kazuya replied to the snack-lover as he indulged himself with some snacks, crying rivers. “Where’s Touko and Hiyori?” Touya asked the others.

“We’re here cousin!” Hiyori’s voice rang as she was carrying her lunch with a tooth of glee sticking out to her side, walking side to side with a nervous Touko as she was putting away her camera. “You guys don’t look like you’re in much pain.” Kazuya said as Touko sat next to Touya and Hiyori with Shun, wondering why he was crying and eating his snacks at the same time. “It’s nothing.” Mairka whispered to the first year. Hiyori nodded and saw that Shun’s Shujin bag was open, thus she peeked to see a load of snacks just waiting to be pillaged by her cat like demeanor. “Nya.” Hiyori’s cat ears peaked with interest.

“Kazuya, it’s probably because they didn’t have to move as much as we did. They have long range weapons after all.” Touya sipped a little bit of his lemonade, before looking at Touko suffering with her fingers as she grabbed her water bottle, having her index finger loose and not holding onto the bottle. This made the Niijima chuckle. “This sucks...I really wanted to go explore more of that Palace too.” Satoshi groaned. Iris nodded her head. “We don’t have much time too. May 5th can be here in a snap of a finger.”

“To think you guys are the ones that are taking the Phantom Thieves’ mantle!” a condescending voice intruded. The gang looked up to see that no one was there...only to find Morgana likcing his paws on the floor below them. “Morgana!” Hiyori ran to the black cat and picked him up like she normally does at home. Morgana thanked his caretaker and and jumped to the middle of the table. Satoshi and the others besides Touya, Touko, and Hiyori blinked with confusion and almost screamed as they heard Morgana speak for the first time. “You weren’t kidding when you said he speaks…” Marika’s red eyes widened with terror and Iris patted her back for comfort. “Holy crap this is amazing!” Satoshi petted Morgana and smiled wide. Morgana purred before he pushed Satoshi’s hand away. “Yes I can speak to you guys now that you’re disposed of the Metaverse. Pretty cool, no?” he asked the table.

“I guess so.” Kazuya said, unfolding his arms. “Still to suddenly speak to a cat now and not before is pretty crazy.”

“It’s all because of what I said you guys! A change in cognition!” Hiyori held out a finger and jumped with excitement. “I see..also how did you get here without alerting the staff?” Iris asked Morgana who was now focused at the Sakamoto and jumped on her lap, curling into a ball. “I was Ren’s cat and was inside his bag when he was a student here. The staff know me at this point to just let me in. Even the Student Council President saw me and didn’t do anything.” Morgana relaxed himself on Iris’ laps and was happy. “Ah! This feeling is like Lady Ann’s! I should’ve done this more often!” Morgana said to himself before he was given a threatening look from Satoshi, as his green eyes stared down on him with seriousness. “Hey cat...say that again I dare you.” he scared Morgana as he shrieked and headed back to the table, panting. Iris smacked Satoshi in the head. “Rude.” Iris reprimanded her beau.

“Going back to the subject matter :Morgana you were saying something?” Shun brushed his large bang, now feeling calmer than before as he saw the black cat sitting down. “Oh that! Yeah you guys are pretty weak if you’re all this sore and hurting!” that staggered the gang a little thanks to his arrogant tone and brutal honesty. “Back in our day as the Phantom Thieves, soreness was nothing as we continued onwards towards the Palaces and Mementos.” he grunted. ‘You guys on the other hand...you need some help.” he meowed.

“What kind of help are you willing to provide Morgana?” Touko asked the black cat as she pet behind his ears, causing him to purr loudly. “I will make sure you guys get your bodies trained for the Metaverse of course!” he pushed Touko’s hands as a sign for her to stop. “Morgana we have been training for the Metaverse. Touya and I are being pushed by Iris’ dad, Kazuya heads to the gym, Marika for sure has a freaking volleyball court in her house.” Marika giggled shyly as Satoshi stated the grandness of the red haired girl’s house. Morgana shook his head and sighed. “That’s not enough for the Metaverse as it’s also a cognitive world dummy. The easiest way to train is to just think you won’t get sore and to train your body mentally as well.”

“Mentally? How so?’ Touya asked this time.

“I don’t know exactly. Like play video games, or read books, and things like that. That’s what we did as the Phantom Thieves.”

“So basically become the same teenagers we are is what you’re saying.” Kazuya replied back.

“Except we apply what we saw or read and actually do it.” Hiyori noted as she grabbed Morgana now and brushed her hand on his fur. “It’s like Morgana said. The Metaverse is a cognitive world, so we just need to change the way we think.” Hiyori raised her index finger to accentuate her point, to which the gang agreed. Touya kept the mental training in mind as he was eager to use the Velvet Room later today if he can find the doors lying about. His best bet would be the front of his house.

Morgana then continued on with what the workings of a Palace is as a reminder to the gang before they enter again. They all took note, took turns petting and playing around with the black cat before he furiously scratched them as he was becoming too uncomfortable with all the petting and the touching of his fur. ‘I’m a not a cat you know!’ he reprimanded them before he left, the school bell chiming away and telling everyone that lunch was over.

The Next Gen then put the room back to how it was before exiting, closing the brown door behind them and walking through the wooden floors of Shujin Academy. Students brushed past them as they were hurrying their way to class, some heading up and other walking to and fro. Some students were slightly wet thanks to the rain the day presented itself, which was a relief for Touya and Satoshi as they didn’t have to worry about practice today. Iris giggled looking at a glowed up Satoshi Hatake, and gave him a kiss on the cheek before grabbing him and taking away to class, with Touko running after them to wait up. “Let’s go before Iris indulges…” Kazuya told Touya and Marika as they ran after them as well, leaving Shun and Hiyori still on the first floor. ‘Why are you still here?’ Hiyori asked before her light-green eyes shined as Shun gave her a snack. “That’s why. Now if you excuse me.” Shun headed his way up.

“Shun you’re the best!’ Hiyori said, jumping all around, cat ears going up and down due to her excitement. She continued waking before she saw Juno heading her direction, his sweater vest and his rather cute and innocent face approaching her. Hiyori’s heart skipped a beat and later she felt a burning sensation on her cheeks. “ Get rid of this feeling Hiyori Sakura! You just met him! You don’t know what he’s actually like! And you’re not Touko where she gushes all over the place when she’s with Touya!’ she shook the feeling off and grabbed her Shujin bag tightly, walking in a robotic state, not looking at Juno Yuuta, carrying a bunch of paperwork underneath his armpit.

Juno noticed Hiyori and waved at her, and that completely destroyed Hiyori as she stopped close to her classroom door and looked back, deep red on her face and fumes going on and about. “Hiyori you okay?” he asked her to which she replied with a slow nod and quickly opened the door and headed to her seat, breathing loudly and planting her face on the desk. “What the hell was that?’ she muttered to herself, eyes dizzy and a ghost appearing now above her.

 


 

Makoto and Futaba drank a little before engaging in their lunch break. The two of them decided to meet for the day at a nearby Cafe Noir by the Police Station. There, Futaba swayed her short orange hair and grabbed her glasses from the bridge of her nose to wipe them off a little before putting back on. “I wish the Metaverse let us gain the supersight we had Makoto. Miss those days.” Futaba sighed as she propped her laptop next to her, checking files of certain security measures presented for an IT company in America. “Google should definitely amp up their measures.” she stated before closing it and putting it away in her big purse. Makoto took a bite of some curry, her red eyes moving about everywhere as it was now custom for the Niijima woman to examine her surroundings in case something were to happen. After some minutes of examining, she looked to Futaba. “Thank for meeting me Futaba.”

‘It’s no problem Makoto. You needed something from me and I’m happy to help as much as I can.” Futaba took a bite of her curry as well. “So, what’s the help you need Queen?’

“I need to see if you can access the old Shido files regarding the Metaverse.” Futaba raised an eyebrow in confusion. “There is this theory I have for the moment that the Commissioner's Quest and that is the violent and strange accidents occurring late at night, roughly around midnight may have something to do with the Metaverse.” Makoto said in a worried tone.

“How so?” Futaba asked now, grabbing her laptop again, her purple eyes looking at Makoto with a concerned look. Makoto stopped her for a second. “Futaba, the attacks are reported as some creatures lurking at night and attacking people in their sleep. Pictures of wounds and injuries that nothing in this world can even make.” her red eyes were serious now, and released her hand from Futaba’s hand. Futaba nodded now, understanding the situation. “You think that shadows can show up in the real world like how they did with Yaldy back then?” Futaba referred to the final fight between the Phantom Thieves and Yaldabaoth, the god of control that almost merged the real world with the Metaverse. Makoto nodded. “I could be wrong, but at the same time-”

“It’s too big of a coincidence that the Metaverse is back and our kids are entering a Palace now. Don’t worry Makoto I’ll see what I can do.” Futaba smiled now for comprehending the situation. Makoto thanked her friend. “Thank you for understanding Futaba.” Makoto smiled and continued eating. Futaba meanwhile continued smiling as she noticed a glint in Makoto’s eyes, almost as if there was something on her red eyes. She snickered. “You know Makoto...never thought you wore contact lenses.” that was all Futaba had to say through the rest of the lunch break between the two women. Makoto eyes widened and admitted defeat.

 


 

Everyone separated and headed their own ways for the rest of the day. The afternoon continued to rain on them, though not as much as before. Gray puffy clouds flowing around the skylight that was Shibuya, causing such evocations of negativity throughout the city. The usual people were coming and going out of the station square, now with umbrellas on top of their monotonous heads. Touya bid farewell to first Kazuya and Marika, as Kazuya felt despite the aching knuckles he could go for a few more reps in the gym before heading home and focus on schoolwork. He also made Marika to tag along so she could train her legs, though their interaction wasn’t pleasant as the Souta kicked him in his rib area while Kazuya grabbed her leg and brought her to his shoulder, now being scratched to oblivion on his face. “Kazuya you’re a trooper!!”

Then it was the usual two pairings, Hiyori and Shun deciding to head to the diner as per what Shun requested (he wanted to head to the convenience store to stick up on snacks), and Hiyori was quite hungry and somewhat flustered when she said goodbye, pink on her cheeks. “ Wonder why she’s all worked up.” Touya thought as they disappeared within the crowd.

With Satoshi and Iris, it was the common tease, dancing away with their usual sparks and stars glistening around them, their eyes gushing and their cheeks blushing madly with cuteness. “Darling! What’s the schedule for the day?” Satoshi gushed to Iris who was giggling madly. “Gee Satoshi-kun, what could we do? There’s so much that….oh I know! Let’s head to Inokashira and go on a swan boat!”

“Yes, yes! We shall do just that!’ Satoshi wrapped his arms around Iris and kissed her cheek, then the two of them both looked at Touya and Touko with a devilish grin and malicious eyes as they smirked. Touya’s eye twitched, and Touko’s body began to fume, her face slowly turning red and almost at the point of passing out, as steam was going around her apparently.  “ You two! Just leave already!” the Niijima and Harima thought to themselves as the black haired and the blonde left the scene, snickering and high fiving each other. “So worth it.” they both said to each other.

Touya composed himself and felt his knuckles clenched a little as he formed a fist to his left side. His other hand was nicely placed inside the pocket of the black and red striped school pants and sighed in the end. Those two can drain the poor boy’s energy. Touko breathed in and out steadily to regain her normal temperature as she was feeling hot thanks to the intake of blushing going around her face. She did feel slight dizziness, and that was evident as she closed her eyes forcefully. “Touko, want to find a place to sit and relax?” Touya asked her, offering her his hand. The light brunette nodded and grabbed his hand without thinking. “A place with some air conditioning would be nice. I’m feeling slightly hot.” she giggled.

“Lots of places have air conditioning Touko, so any specifics? We could go for the diner and meet with Hiyori and Shun or maybe head straight home if you’re up for it.” Touya felt his cheeks feeling a little pink and rubbed his finger on his upper lip, chuckling a little due to nervousness. “ Damn it Niijima! You’re always around her and you’re never this nervous! Why now? Could it be because we’re not in the Metaverse and we’re not focusing on Daisuke today? Could that be it?’ Touya looked back at Touko and saw how she was fanning herself, and noticed some pink in her cheeks as well.

Now that he was thinking about it, there was one place they haven’t gone in a while, and the logo of a nice hat on top of the nice black and brown words CAFE NOIR, was seen from the corner of their eyes. “ Cafe Noir! We haven’t been there in a year!” Touya felt triumphant, but upon examining the logo once more, he began to look back at Panther’s red cat like mask for its logo and looked at the purple hat with the white feather that was Cafe Noir.

Metaverse wear no doubt that Kazuya’s mom wore back during the Phantom Thieves.” Touya nudged Touko now. “Why don’t we try and see if Noir is open? We haven’t been there in such a long time you know.” Touko blinked and looked at the cafe, then back at Touya, now all nervous and almost sweaty like. ‘I mean if you want to of course. We could order the usual like back then, there’s some really good wifi so we could do some school work, and it’s a nice spot for some phot-” Touko hugged him instantly, smiling to him and nodded back in agreement. “Sure Touya-kun. I would love to stop by.’ she smiled brightly, something Touya wasn’t sure the shy girl that was Touko Harima could pull off. Almost like seeing another person entirely as he felt a sense of Heloise, her Persona coursing through her body. That glow that Makoto, his mother mentioned earlier seemed to have presented itself to Touya as he now understood what she meant.

Touya nodded back. ‘It’s a date then.” he suddenly said with confidence...before realization in a matter of three seconds what he said as he saw Touko process the sentence and going back to that state of crimson blushing. Touya felt it in his body too. “I meant to say it’s a deal! Yeah that’s it! Totally what I was going for there, hehehe!” he was scratching the back of his auburn fluffy hair frantically, his eye adverting from Touko and whistled. Touko nodded back and forth madly too, body the same way and her light blue eyes in a daze. “Ye-ah th-a-t’s totally what you meant Tou-y-a-K-un!” she was sputtering now and the two looked away from each other and walked towards the cafe, without realizing that they were still holding each other’s hands.

 


 

Amitsu sat in his large desk chair and planted his feet on his crimson desk, feet pointing upwards and his arms relaxed on his chest, fingers crossing each other. His long and messy black hair was blocking his eyesight purposely as he was somehow taking a small nap, his chest heaving steadily. He was even snoring a little, consuming the quietness of his office and giving out with a large rolling of his throat.

His two assistants, Yukine and Sadako greeted themselves with their employer and were confused by how such a prominent figure such as the arcane and charismatic Amitsu Kojima was sleeping away at 5:30 in the afternoon. Yukine coughed loudly to wake Amitsu up. Amitsu’s eyes opened wide and he groaned like the old man he was, scratching his scruffy beard. “Who dares disturb my slumber? I was relaxing as there was not much to do for the afternoon.” he dusted himself and stretched his back, cracking it a little. “Amitsu-san, we have some paperwork for you to fill out as per request of the party.” Sadako wiped her glasses while Yukine handed the folders. Amitsu opened them up and rolled his black eyes before tossing them to the side, having the two assistants look at him with concerned. “You’re not…?” Amitsu shook his head and smirked at the two before getting up from his chair.

“Not all as these bills are quite too ‘conformist’ if you please. I may be new to their little party and seeing how we may be of the minority, but if we wish to get that majority and possibly win the Prime Ministry, we must go about laws and paperwork that can benefit the people. Such as those comprised of Amamiya-san’s and his party’s rulings.” he looked out the window of his office, examining the city life instead of the calm and natural scenery he saw back in Ren’s office.

Yukine sat down on one of the guest chairs and placed his hands behind his back, yawning as a response to what the mysterious man had said. “You know old man, I’m curious as to why you picked us to help you with this endeavor of yours. Your little scheme of things with Amamiya-san and the such. Almost as if you want to compete with the Amamiya-San.” Yukine subtly referred to Amitsu’s age, that of old. Amitsu laughed and looked back at the two assistants with a sense of intimidation, pride, and mockery.

Yes, primarily mockery as his black eyes laid down on the two young assistants, scoffing at them. “Both of you know full well why I picked you. You had the grades, the talents, the necessary things needed to grab my very attention to employ you. Wits, glamour,” he looked at Sadako who blushed. “And of course leadership, something not so many people can grasp upon.” Amitsu smiled. “In fact, you could say that all of this is what my maxim is in life: perhaps all of this was brought upon by fate. ” he accentuated the final word to which the two assistants smiled.

Amitsu turned back around to his desk, grabbing the folders and examining them once more. “I will consider them as I sign carefully, but make no mistake that us three will do our own set of actions to get the audience’s attention to the script of ours.” He gazed back at the cityscape, and a lightbulb hit at him. “Have you heard of the Flora de Carmen’s Fashion Show?” he laid the question on the floor for the two to pick up and answer. Sadako nodded. “If I remember from that brief moment with Amamiya Ren, there was something that said about an event as that. May 5th correct?”

“What are you proposing Amitsu-San?” Yukine asked Amitsu who smirked at them with spun around, flamboyant as usual, arms spread apart and eyes emitting a light of grandeur. “It is simple you two! If we wish to gain the support of the public for our party, and perhaps for all politicians, we must be a part of society! Be one with it!”

“And how is the fashion show going to help?” the two looked at him with concerned faces.

“We provide additional funding and the such for whoever’s in charge. If I recall from what I saw on his desk, the person is known as Ann Takamaki. We give her a call and say we’re willing to make a guest appearance.” Amitsu continued smirking at them and sat down, now his ostentatiousness gone, arms planted on the desk. “After all, who doesn’t want a little bit of beauty and fashion in their lives?” he checked the time and groaned as he had to stand up once more and leave the room. “It appears duty calls my dear assistants. Take care while I’m gone!” Amitsu bowed at the two of them as he closed the door behind him. “ Yes...and thus the plan begins.” Amitus laughed as he was walking along the hallways of the Diet Building, people going around and the such in their own little bubble of order, while he was ready to pierce through them with ease.

 


 

Preview!

Yo! Niijima Touya here!

And Kitagawa Shun.

Shun, ready to head back to the Palace?

Indeed I am Touya. My blade and Niten Doraku is itching for some combat and exploration.

Right...well there’s ton of that once we enter that mall. Shadow Daisuke won’t be too please to see us return after all.

Yet he will regret messing us and you got to expand that roster of yours too against them.

Please don’t mention them...they were really a pain to fight…

Exactly. Next time on Persona: Next Generations! Cain and Abel Showdown!

See you soon!

Chapter Text

Everyone stood by the statue that held Shadow Daisuke and his thorny rose that was on his right hand. The cognitive people surrounded them, talking about the latest trends and the fact that the elitist were here to see Shadow Daisuke’s special event that the Next Gen were forced out of due to not having a membership card. The Next Gen returned after spending a day to get use to the Metaverse’s conditions, having aching backs and the such after a long time reappearing into the strange world. “Unless we can find one laying around throughout this behemoth of a mall, we can’t head there and confront Daisuke.” Satoshi sighed as she rested his back on the bottom of the statue’s pedestal, brushing his hand on his spiky black hair.

“Not just that but the main doors are guarded by security.” Kazuya noted the two tall and burly Shadows that blocked the entrances they used the last time they entered Daisuke’s mall. There, they stood with distorted dignity and held batons in case some threat, being the Next Gen, were to approach them. Their heart like masks mocked the Next Gen as they shook their head in disgust. Now it appeared they had to find a new way to enter the mall. “We could go through the sides, or maybe through another building if we go through the bazaars.” Touko suggested as they began to walk around to find a new entrance point for the exploration. Touya took note of that as they walked, avoiding any confrontation like last time. Minus the fights with the Jack Frosts and the Pixies. That was annoying.

The Next Gen thankfully found a side entrance as they zig-zagged through the cognitive people, as a large sign to enter was shoved at them in bright blue letters with yet another interesting design of a statue: a ten foot statue stood before them that resembled two thorns of a rose intertwining elegantly. Touya might have even heard Shun speak about how his father would treasure such a masterpiece. “Let’s move on guys. Sightseeing later.” Touya got their attention back. “Wonder why he likes roses so much.” Marika inquired as she took a step to examine it closer. “Careful. Could be a trap and we would be back to square one.” Shun stopped Marika for a moment. Marika nodded. “Well it’s get going Leader.” Kazuya pat the back of Touya, which widened his eyes as he heard leader coming out of the Okumura’s mouth. “Le-leader?” Touya looked back at Kazuya who smirked back at him. “What? Or do you want me to be it?”

“No it’s fine if I’m leader, but..” Touya didn’t quite understand why he was the one who was the leader of the group. If anything, it should be Kazuya himself as he is reliable and can handle hits like no other. Plus Ifrit looked cool for like their logo if they wanted one. Touya threw the comment in the back of his head for the moment as he called the others to reenter the Palace Mall as they ran towards the glass doors to seek what awaited this time around. Touya’s fist clenched tightly as he ran in front of the others, who all smiled brightly at the sight of their new leader. Harima Touko especially as she ran next to him, keeping up with his speed.

 


 

Ann swayed her legs back and forth in her office chair as she was busy on the phone. She was playing around with her favorite blue ballpoint pen, moving it around her fingers and doing the old tricks she used to do back in her teenage years. Her soft pink lips were curled as she was listening to what the person on the receiving end was talking to her. “So you’re telling me Ren gave you this number?” her voice spoke now after a time of listening to what the the other person, Sadako Masuda, was saying. “Yes Takamaki-san! We heard from Ren about your upcoming Flora de Carmen Fashion Show and we, well, Amitsu-san would like to provide additional funding for your project.” Sadako’s lavish and sly smile was painted on the phone call as she was waiting for Ann to answer.

“I see. Well for starters, since this is a phone number from a Diet Member first off, I have a few additional questions on my own.” Ann pressured Sadako as she was now standing, giving her legs a small stretch as she was now busy grabbing something from one of her shelves, being a family photo of Ryuji, Ann herself, and little Iris all by the small kiddie park near their house. She smiled at the photo and put it back. “Sure Takamaki-san. What are your inquiries?”

“This funding, where exactly is the money coming from?”

“Amitsu has his own private bank from when he was working in finance at his own firm, so the money is safely and legally assured Takamaki-san.”

“Next question: what exactly is your endgame here. If I remember correctly, now that you mentioned Amitsu Kojima, aren’t your from the opposing party? The one against Ren’s?” Ann hit the homerun here as she felt Sadako slightly sweating on the other end, but soon found her composure, still retaining that smile for Ann despite not being able to see it on the phone. “Yes that is correct that we are from the opposing parties and that we are pitting against each other, but Amitsu’s main purpose isn’t political agenda. He wishes to show to society that politicians care for the interests of the people.”

“Thus my fashion show is a way to start that? How interesting.” Ann pondered at the thought for a moment as she saw Shiho coming to the left in a panic manner, her legs frantically walking towards Ann’s office door. This must be urgent. “I’ll call you back about this funding...umm...Mitsuru?”

“Sadako Takamaki-san. Sadako Masuda.”

“Right, that. So sorry to be this disruptive.”


"No worries. We need to tend to our businesses.”

“Thank you for understanding.” Ann said her goodbyes and hung up, placing her cellphone on the side of her slick work laptop and lamp, where some certain clothing designs were set in placed to inspect and approve later. Shiho opened the door, panting a bit erratically and was holding a note of paper on her right hand, all crumpled up. Ann was a bit confused as to why she saw her friend in such a state, let alone her hair wasn’t tied this around. “I saw you running here like crazy Shiho! What’s the matter?”

“This is what’s the matter.” Shiho held up the note of paper, to which Ann replied with her mouth agaped, and her body shaking a little. “No way...this is bad.” Ann said as she grabbed the paper, and reading what appeared to have been a threat made by none other than her grand model, Daisuke Shiro.

 


 

Touya and the others for the most part walked on the first and second floor in groups of four. Up on the second floor of the west wing portion of the massive Palace Mall, Touya, Iris, Satoshi, and Touko ran through the cognitive people, passing by the same shops over and over again as they all had the same rose icon on the top of each store entrance. Similar fragrances splattered on the four of them as they ran, and avoided shadow confrontation. At least direct confrontation as whenever Touya sneaked up on one, jumping on the head of the Shadow, leaving it on shock and ripping the mask, the Shadow faded away and no one was left to fight. “Dad...I owe you one for telling me.” Touya chuckled as she wiped his hands against each other and nodded at the others to continue.

“Hiyori, got anything on your end?” Satoshi spoke to Hiyori through an small earpiece they wore, courtesy of both the cognition and the fact that Hiyori was their navigator. “Nothing on our end yet. For the most part it’s just Shadows and an...electronic store?” Kazuya coughed to get Hiyori’s attention back from afar. “Thank you Kaz. Anyway, Satoshi, tell Leader that our meeting point is by the food court. I found a nice little spot for us to rest before we head on.”

“Roger roger.” Satoshi replied back, running next to Touya, who sighed and looked rigid in his gait. Again, his self doubt was hitting him like a hurricane as he was being called Leader once more. Why am I Leader? Touya thought as he continued running, motioning to Satoshi that he got the memo since the earpiece was connected to everyone. “Food court, here we go.” Touya took a left as he checked the MetaNav for reassurance despite the various directories in the area. That and the various large screens by where the first floor could see as they look up, showing various images of Daisuke posing as flamboyant as possible with a bottle of perfume for men. Touya noticed in the corner of his eye that the girls were blushing at the image, making Satoshi groan and Touya go in introspect about what made they blush. “ Does Touko like those type of guys?”  Touya thought as they took a sharp right turn, feisting their eyes at the food court.

 


 

Much like the rest of the Palace, the food court was just as massive. Flowing with food stands that craves one’s senses, each with their individual tone of color. Some stands had a tint of azure, with some lovely clouds paintings on its walls. Others had your typical mall looking restaurants, where the logo was in placed on top and the cognitive employees were serving. Touya found Hiyori and the other three resting by what appeared to be an ice cream shop, as a logo of the stand was that of an ice cream cone in bright khaki and ice blue. Reminded Satoshi and Touya of Kingdom Hearts.

“Alright everyone is all here!” Marika yelled in excitement as she was swaying her legs.

“So what’s the meeting here about?” Satoshi asked, grabbing a stool for Iris to sit before he was stopped by Kazuya. “The meeting is not here Satoshi.” Kazuya smirked as he pointed to the back, where the bathrooms were. Satoshi raised an eyebrow along with Touya who tapped his foot and tilted his head, his fluffy auburn hair flowing down a little. “You’ll see once we head inside the bathroom!” Hiyori nyaed at them as she jumped from her stool seat and began walking towards the bathrooms. Touya looked at the others and Shun just shrugged. “Hiyori be Hiyori Touya. You know how these things work.” Touya sighed and nodded at the Kitagawa statement, who was having his ninja mask and scarf fixed by Marika and Iris.

As they began to walk towards the bathroom, Touya began to look at the food court once more. Some Shadows appeared no problem, some of them looking like female employees as they walked around the booths and the tables asking people if they enjoyed their services. “We should get to where we’re heading right now Hiyori. Or else those guys might spot us.” Touya said to his cousin who was too busy smirking. “Oh they won’t be a problem dear cousin! Just take this left and-ah here we are!” Hiyori jumped in front of everyone, stopping Touya from his tracks and having his elbows bumped Touko, who was behind him, and everyone else, now falling on their rear. Touya and Kazuya felt something soft in the landing as they were rubbing their backs...only to be slapped across the face from Marika, courtesy for Touko as she was too busy blushing and near the point of fainting. “We’re so sorry…” Kazuya and Touya rubbed their left cheeks.

“Hiyori, why are we in the bathrooms?” Iris asked once she got everyone to settle down with her commanding and motherly tone, helping Satoshi get back to his feet and everyone else. Hiyori continued to smirk and then presented them with a door that was behind her. It was slick with nice pink handles and a lovely crimson tone, with the usual floral patterns that was scattered throughout the Palace Mall. “What’s that?” Touya asked his cousin, now back to his normal self after the slap. “This, my dear friends, is what I dubbed the Safe Room! Now let’s get going inside before we cause some more commotion!” Hiyori tossed everyone inside, pushing and shoving the guys first before letting the girls enter with peace and quiet. “Now I see why Touya likes you…” Hiyori blinked when she looked at Touko’s chest area, quietly muttering to herself that statement. Touko’s blue eyes blinked with curiosity before she looked at Hiyori’s eyes and their direction...realizing where she was looking, she covered with her arms and shook her head. “Hi-hi-Hiyori!!!” Touko pushed Hiyori inside the Safe Room without thinking.

 


 

“Whoa! This is so cool!” Marika and Satoshi looked around the Safe Room, examining the couches and the nice table that was centered nicely with comfortable chairs. Kazuya grabbed one of the chairs and crossed her arms, playing with his brass knuckles as he summoned them through the blue flames, tossing them in the air and grabbing them with his index finger. Touya took a seat in front of him and decided to do the same with his kukri knife, summoning it and swinging it. “Hey...this isn’t a place where you can throw things.” Iris’ brown eyes twitched the others apologized once again. “Geez, you’re supposed to be our leader Touya.” Marika flaunted as she was resting her legs on the couch. Touya sighed, and planted his hands on the table. “Why am I leader again? Was there a vote or something on the group chat that I missed late at night?” Touya asked the group now as they looked at the Niijima. They all looked at each other and smiled. “Why not? You’ve proved to us since we all met that you’re capable of being one. Plus you can summon more than one Persona.” Touko brushed her Shujin skirt and looked at the Niijima smiling her radiant smile.

“Yeah dude, we gotta talk about how you can use more of those guys!” Satoshi said in an exciting tone as he grabbed Touya’s shoulder and began to mess with his small fedora hat. Touya messed around with Satoshi back as he grabbed the cape, pushing him down on one of the chairs. “Enough of you guys fooling around!” Iris smacked the two in the back of the head.

“Hiyori, how did you find this place?” Kazuya averted everyone’s foolishness for a moment and all began to look at the first year, who was calming standing up and swaying her arms back and forth. “When we split up to examine the Palace, I sensed a small reading that was similar to here. As we continued walking, I noticed the reading to be stronger and poof! Here we are.” Hiyori fixed her cat headband and her goggles and continued to speak. “This place has a low cognition reading, so no Shadow nor Daisuke would know this place even existed.”

“Hence the term Safe Room. I like the idea Hiyori.” Shun smiled underneath his green ninja mask, swinging his kunais around, which Iris coughed to make sure Shun puts his weapons away. Touya meanwhile was thinking about the Safe Room and the Palace once more. He was grateful that Hiyori presented them a place to rest, and perhaps going by his logic, the other bathrooms in the entire Palace would be Safe Rooms as well. They would need them in case anything goes wrong. There was also the fact that Touya didn’t feel any progress about finding some way to get the Membership Card to confront Daisuke and save his heart. That needed to be solved right away. In fact that got Touya thinking…

“Hiyori, did you manage to find a sort of security room for this Palace? Like what a real mall would have?” Touya threw the question out in the open. Hiyori began to think and nodded. “There should be one by where the Electronic Store I found. That could be a start.” Hiyori’s green eyes sparkled at the sound of her mouth saying electronics. “If we can find the security room, then it can be easier to find that membership card to enter the special event.” Touya reminded everyone of the membership card they needed to find. “So the security room could provide us to where the members are.” Satoshi continued the thought and smiled. “Now we’re making some progress!”

“We should still be weary of the Shadows. They can pop up at any second.” Iris warned. Touko nodded. “It’ll be alright guys.” Touya shot out of his seat and raised a pumped fist. “So long we stick to what we’ve been doing, we can save Daisuke’s heart by tonight.” Touya’s dark grey eyes glowed brightly, something Touko only picked up on as she was busy being mesmerized by her crush’s deportment, as he raised a triumphant fist and one eager to resolve the situation at hand. Everyone raised a fist and then began to walk out the Safe Room in a normal pace, each of them walking with a confident stride. Touya stayed behind as he was prompted by Touko who grabbed his blazer sleeve. “Touko?” Touya asked the Harima, who was blushing a little as always. “And you say you’re not the leader.” Touko smiled as she hugged Touya’s arm before going about her usual manner and left the room quickly.

 


 

Heading their way back to the Electronic Store was easy as there were no sight of Shadows to be seen. The gang suspected that thanks for their time in the Safe Room, they were as if they were never in the Palace to begin with. Something they can use to their advantage in the near future. Touya ran ahead of Hiyori, making sure he was guiding everyone to the right place, looking around the huge Palace Mall and what it had to offer. “This way Hiyo?” Touya asked his cousin who nodded as they were standing by a corner, eyeing on a Shadow who was looking for the Next Gen. “Hey Touya, he looks different for some reason.” Iris nudged the Niijima who looked at the Shadow once more. It had a rather golden tint this time around, almost money like as it was wearing a business suit instead of the usual guard outfit. Touya’s hands twitched under his black and white gloves and his Sixth Sense was acting up for some reason.

“Wait here for a moment.” Touya ran quietly to the Shadow, tapping the back of it. The golden Shadow looked back and saw nothing behind him, and that was when Touya jumped at it and ripped the mask off like he had done with the others when they split up. Once he ripped the mask, he flipped backwards to land on his feet, his hand with the Shadow’s mask holding it. The golden Shadow then disappeared, leaving the others to head towards Touya. “No confrontation was needed.” Shun was in awe when he was Touya still holding the mask. “Yeah. If you sneak up on them, there’s no point of fighting. “ Touko replied. “Touya look at the app!” Marika yelled as she shot out her phone and showed the MetaNav to everyone. “10,000 yen...YEN?!” Touya yelled out in shock as he looked at his phone and everyone else as well. The same number was seen on everyone’s screens. “So if you attack those golden Shadows when they’re not looking…”

“WE GET FREE CASH BABY!” Satoshi cried tears of joy as he was dancing around the gang. Iris giggled and Kazuya grabbed his shirt collar to stop dancing. “We should really keep an eye out for more Shadows if there’s some free cash lying around.” Hiyori pointed out. “It should also say something about his view of your mom’s workplace Iris.” Touko said as she was holding the mask Touya was somehow still holding before it disappeared as well. “What do you mean?”

“Maybe he just thinks your mom is only doing it for the money and isn’t respecting the laws of ‘beauty’. That’s how I see it.” Satoshi said now serious as he was close by to Iris, grabbing her hand without thinking. “For now let’s get going to that security room. Are we close Hiyori?” Hiyori nodded. “Just a right and then another left and we should be there.” Hiyori placed her goggles in her eyes to examine the surroundings. “Also we should get going now. Some Shadows are heading our way.”

“Alright. Guys?” the others nodded and began to run towards the store, none of them noticing Shadow Daisuke in the distance as he was reading a Newspaper help high to conceal his face. “They really think they can get my membership card that easily? Hmph, I’ll just have to teach them when they enter the security room.” Shadow Daisuke brushed his hand through his white hair and began to be overwhelmed with the cognitive girls that stared at him so lavishly. “Now, now ladies.” he smiled devilishly ashe kissed the hands of each girl. “I have someone special I have to take care of as well. Till then!” he gave each of them a rose before he headed towards the security room as well.

 


 

“Ann your daughter’s friends need to take of this in that other world soon before what we read happens.” Shiho drank a little of water on a glass cup as she rested on the guest couch that the two had in their office. Ann planted her head on her hand and shook her head as her light-blue eyes read the note once more. “I, Daisuke Shiro, will accept true beauty. Beauty that will show that Ann Takamaki-Sakamoto that her ways of beauty is flawed and for money. If she doesn’t see that her ways are flawed, then I will have to show them through drastic measures what beauty really means. Or else I will longer cease to exist.” Ann gritted her teeth. “We for sure can’t report this Shiho. That’s the problem with this.” Ann took a picture of the note and then crumpled it and toss it in the trash can. “Otherwise more problems will ensue.”

“So we have to rely on that other world and a change of heart?” Shiho asked. Ann nodded. Shiho closed her eyes and tried to smile now, changing the subject for a moment. “It’s funny how I know of it thanks to you and Ryuji. Hadn’t I known, well, this would be kinda awkward in a sense.” Ann chuckled a little, and sat next to her friend, grabbing her by the shoulders and smiling. “You’re still confused about it anyway Shiho! Though you did went on and on about what your Persona would be like.”

“I still think about what my Persona would have been.” Shiho took another sip and looked at the design plans Ann had lying about in her office desk. “Those are the plans for them right?” Shiho asked as she stood up and examined them. Ann blushed a little as she got up and went back to her desk. “Not now Shiho! These are still prototypes for them!” Ann said flustered as Shiho picked up a design of what appeared to look like a fashion suit with a sort of coat with gold buttons on the collars, and a small tail coat where it edged to the left side in a diagonal direction. “These reminds me of the ones you guys wore when you gave that calling card to Shido. In that TV screen in Shibuya.” She put them back. Ann sighed. “It’s a surprise for Iris and the others. She told me about her aesthetics and that got me thinking.”

“Design them some cool outfits for when they entered that Metaverse world like what you guys did. I like the idea.” Shiho looked at another one that appeared to have been for Touko as it spoke about how the tiara would be replaced for a cool looking ribbon for her to tie her hair. “Why don’t we work on them now? Shouldn’t take us long. Yusuke can help out too.” Shiho smiled as she grabbed four of the designs and headed out the door. “And also Ann?”

“Yeah?”

“They’ll handle it right?” Ann for a moment was confused but nodded once she figured out what her business partner was saying. “Absolutely Shiho. Much like we did back in the day.” Shiho smiled and left the room now, heading to the designer room to carry out the plans of the Next Gen’s official Metaverse attire.

 


 

The Next Gen reached the Electronic Store. Bustling with tons of cognitive people entering the large and vast shop, filled with laptops and phones that had the gang turn their heads when they saw it through the glass walls it had. Kazuya looked around for any Shadows and gave the clear signal for everyone as they looked around the store. “So Hiyori, the security room is around here?” Hiyori checked the map in both her phone and goggles, picking up readings as she planted her body by the glass walls. “If I’m correct Kaz, the room should be right around...here!” Hiyori removed her goggles and showed them a vent that was in front of them. It was hard to reach from where they were as the vent was high above them. “How do we head there?” Satoshi asked in defeat as he was looking for another way to access the vent.

Touya looked around as well and saw Touko who was pondering about what to do as well. Touya smiled and headed towards Touko, poking her shoulder. “Touya-kun?” she asked innocently. “Can you shot the vent so it can open?” Touya asked the Harima. “Yeah I can, but that won’t help as there’s way to climb there.” Touko retorted back. Touya shook his head. “I think I have a small plan.” Touya chuckled as he took out his phone. “Jack Frost!” Touya summoned the small white Persona as he flopped down on the ground, face first on the ground. “Hee-ho! Who summons me when I was asleep?” Jack Frost said frustrated before he looked at Touya who waved.

“Oh it was you Touya! My bad!” Jack Frost composed himself and gave a small hug to Touya. “It’s nice seeing you too pal. Listen, when Touko here shoots at that vent, can you create a small staircase for us to climb? One that’s not too cold?” Touya pointed at Touko for Jack Frost to recognize. Jack Frost blushed at the sight of Touko and immediately nodded in agreement. “Anything for Touya! And his lovely girlfriend too!” Touya and Touko’s eyes widened and pleaded with the Persona that wasn’t the case. Hiyori nudged Satoshi for a moment and whispered in his ear. “Doesn’t this remind you more of Digimon?” Satoshi nodded.

Jack Frost rubbed his hands in preparation as he was looking at Touko and then at the vent. “Once staircase coming up!” Jack Frost began to huff and puff his breath, some ice creating though his minty breath. Touko then began to aim at the corners of where the screws of the vent were, shooting them off in matter of seconds. Once the vent popped off, Jack Frost finished breathing and let out his frosty breath. “Bufu!” Jack Frost yelled as he created the staircase for the Next Gen to climb. “There you go Touya! It won’t hold for long though so you eight gotta go now!” Touya high fived Jack Frost for his accomplishment and looked at the others. “Kazuya, if you like, you can accommodate us with Ifrit.” Touya joked.

Kazuya grunted and smirked. “When the time’s right Leader.” Kazuya joked back as he jumped on the staircase and entered the vault, everyone else following suit, while Touya, his dark grey eyes widened once again at the thought of being called Leader. “Might as well live up to it now.” Touya said to himself as he jumped on the staircase and entering the vent. Once he did, his Sixth Sense warned him as he quickly dodged, moving to the side when he felt a knife being thrown at him, cutting his cheek a little. “Where was that?” he looked around and saw no one, except for a figure wearing a Renaissance style vest.  “ Daisuke knows we’re heading here. Need to let the others know once we’re at the security room. ” Touya rubbed his cheek with his blazer and continued towards his destination.

 


 

Touya accidentally fell on top of Satoshi and Shun as he jumped out of the vent. “Sorry you guys. Didn’t see you there.” Touya fixed his scarf and fedora hat as he helped the two get to their feet. “It’s whatever at this point. Dude what happened to your cheek?” Satoshi noticed the small scratch Touya had, now slightly visible as he wiped the blood away. “Daisuke.” he said bluntly. “Damn that sucked.” Satoshi replied back.

“Could’ve been worse.” Touya chuckled back, and looked at the security room they were in. They were in a small narrow passageway with pumps going above them and cages of sorts to block electricity flowing. Definitely not beautiful compared to the interior of the Palace Mall. They all stood in the middle of the hallway and Touya saw Marika and Iris looking out from the corners and Hiyori examining the room with her goggles. “Lots of Shadows here. We need to tread carefully.” Hiyori said as she pointed her sniper towards one and quickly shot it to make it disappear. “Let’s split up once more. Us guys will head this way.” Shun suggested as he ran towards the right side with Kazuya and Satoshi who sneaked behind the Shadows.

“We’ll take left then. Be careful you guys.” Iris said as the guys left. “No worries! Oh there’s another Money Shadow!” Satoshi nudged Touya to rip its mask once more. Iris shook her head. “My boyfriend is such a child sometimes.” she said while smiling. Iris looked at the other girls, eager to hurry up the infiltration and head to the security room to check out where the members stayed in the Mall. Touko and Marika headed to the left first, evading the Shadows as they ran through the dark corners. “Hiyori-chan, how close are we to the room?” Iris asked as she motioned the other three to slide through a narrow passage. “Not far. I let the guys know that in two minutes we should be there.” Hiyori replied back, her goggles still on her face as she was examining the readings. “Take a left here Iris.”

The guys were busy hiding in the shadow as well. Occasionally Shun sneaked attacked a Shadow and Kazuya threw Satoshi to land a strike at one stealthy as well. Meanwhile Touya was channeling his Sixth Sense as he sensed a couple more Shadows arriving. “Make a left here.” Touya said to the guys as they walked behind him like spies on a recon mission. Touya was looking around and noticed the girls now in front of them as they took the left.

Once the two groups reunited, they arrived at two metal doors that read security in bold black letters with a yellow line going behind it. Kinda like the Do Not Cross lines in crime scenes. Touya for one would know. “So we’re here, but we should be very careful. There’s a Shadow there that has a unique reading.” Hiyori told the group as they quietly opened the door.

“Halt you intruders!” a Shadow yelled at them from behind, catching them by surprise as they stood still. “Crap. Looks like your reading was wrong this time Hiyori.” Kazuya summoned his brass knuckles. Everyone the same with their weapons. The Shadow was bit different this time, as a red glow was surrounding its black body, and the mask was one that had eyes that what the others had. “Did you really think Daisuke would let you in here without us knowing?” it said to the group, now ready to fight.

“Listen buddy, we’re not playing his charades this time around! If you have a fight to pick with us, then so be it!” Touya held his kukri knife backwards, now in a fighting stance. The burly Shadow laughed. “Do you really think you can tackle against us? Oh boy, you’re in for a treat!” the Shadow began to rumble now, and disappeared, revealing two women floating. They had the opposite color scheme of each other: one was wearing all red and the other was wearing all blue. They had long fingerless gloves on their rather pinkish skins, and sharp edge boots. They had fangs on their mouth and the most intense purple eyes known to mankind. Their hair flowed downwards, each one with the same color as their dress. “We are Cain and Abel! Prepare yourselves for some double trouble!” they both yelled, sticking their arms out with a finger pointing at them.

Then they saw Touya, and blushed madly now at the gaze of the Niijima, and then went behind their backs and whispered to each other. “Say Cain,” the red haired, Abel, meowed to her sister. “That one with the fedora hat is kinda cute. We should keep him when we’re done.” Cain nodded her head frantically. “We should Sis! And that strong one too with the Brass Knuckles.”

“We can hear you!” Kazuya yelled to get their attention. Abel puffed. “I see, so you’re that type.” she snapped her fingers and summoned a ball of fire in her hands. “Cain, show them your water abilities.” Abel said seriously. Cain agreed and snapped her fingers too, creating a ball of water. “You really don’t want to mess with us! Daisuke sent his personal guards, us, to stop you! Now get ready to rumble!” the two yelled as they released their magic them. Touya jumped away from the attack, and the others moved to the side. “Ianus!” Touya yelled as the Yakuza Persona was summoned. “What threat beckons this time Partner?” he asked calmly as he was next to Touya. “That Ianus!” Touya pointed at the Twins, who were giggling now. “I see. Then let us indulge them!’ Ianus summoned a ray of Kouha with his left angelic arm towards the twins.

Cain and Abel moved to the side, avoiding the attack, and giggled at Touya. “Too slow!” they yelled. “You sure about that?” Satoshi and Iris were now in front of the two. “Catalina! Artorias!” the two yelled as the Queen and Knight Personas summoned behind them. Artorias was ready to slash at Cain as he summoned a thunderbolt at her, hitting her hard, knocking her back a few inches. Catalina, her arms still crossed out her chest area, snapped her fingers to release a barrage of Bufu at Abel, who was hard to hit as she was running around to avoid the ice shards. “Damn it! You guys are no fun!” Abel then lashed out at Iris, punching her with all her might, pushing her away. “Iris!” Satoshi slashed at Abel, but was also pushed back by Cain as she summoned another Aqua at the swordsman. Fortunately Satoshi dodged and used another Zio at Cain, hitting her once more.

“Cain! Use your footing!” Abel yelled at her sister, who apologized. Touko and Shun headed their direction this time as they went for the two’s sides, Touko unleashing Heloise to use Frei and shooting at the two. Shun meanwhile threw his large shuriken to create wind for Niten Doraku to utilize as he slashed through Abel’s fire.

“Alright! That should do it!” Hiyori yelled as she sniped at the two, using Somnus to Triple Down to the ground. “One Triple Down move at your service my Shining Star!” Somnus grabbed his revolvers and shot at the twins, now causing them to hit the ground, staggering them a bit. “This isn't a fair fight with your guns!” Abel yelled as her eyes were now fiery and she began to throw barrages of Agi. Touya meanwhile was still in the air and landed behind the two, slashing at them with the kukri knife while they were busy attacking the others. “Didn’t see that huh?” Touya smirked as the two twins were now on the ground, panting loudly and exhausted. “Cain... huff ...this guys are tough as hell.” Abel said. Cain huffed back, smirking. “But they don’t know our little secret!” Cain and Abel giggled and then grabbed Touya unexpectedly by his arm, throwing him at the other guys. “What the!’ Touya couldn’t finish speaking as he felt a sort of aroma going through his skin. Almost giving him a lustful and perverted feeling in his mind as his eyes went blank.  

The guys were knocked back thanks to Touya’s inertia, and caused them to fall, and somewhat feeling the same way. “Touya-kun!” Touko ran towards the guys, whose eyes were nothing but hearts now and they were in some transition. “Touko...is that you? Head’s a little dizzy…” Touya’s mouth was drooling and the others were the same state. Cain and Abel chuckled. “It’s a shame the guys can’t fight now. Wonder what they’re thinking, right Cain?”

“Yes Sis. Probably perverted and lewd thoughts.” Cain sneered at the girls now, looking ready to fight once more. “What did you do to them?” Iris snapped at the twins. Abel licked the side of her lips. “Let’s just say we have a very unique ability that allows us cause men to have certain thoughts.”

“We call it Soft Touch, an ability that can only be activated through skin contact.” Cain smacked her tongue on her blue lips as well. “And now that four guys are out of the way, now it’s time for a kitty fight!” the two prepared themselves against Iris, Touko, Hiyori, and Marika, eager to throwdown once more. Touko looked back at Touya, still in his dizzy spell and gritted her teeth. “ Touya-kun...now it’s not the time to act so shy! Get it together Harima Touko!” Touko aimed her guns at the twins, her blue eyes determined to fight for Niijima Touya, and the other guys as Cain and Abel were reading for round two.

 


 

Preview!

Harima Touko here!

Iris Sakamoto as well!

Cain and Abel are stronger than we thought they would be. They’re not the generic Shadows we’ve fought! They’re really strong!

It’s up to us gals to fight for the guys too as they’re in that current state. Though what fantasies would the be thinking…

Iris! I don’t want to know anything as to what they’re thinking of us!

Not even what Touya is thinking? Hmm?

Stop pressuring the subject! Next time on Persona: Next Generation! Girl Fight Supreme!

You sure you don’t want to know what Touya must be thinking of you Touko?

No! Don’t miss out!

Chapter Text

Mayu walked through the streets of Shibuya, walking towards the Central Street Diner to continue her plans for the Student Council. She wasn’t wearing the Shujin school uniform as she was excused to take it easy this week before she went back the following week. That didn’t mean her duties for her fellow students wasn’t going to take a break, as she carried some paperwork for her to sign as she was the president. She fixed her yellow shirt as she was busy moving around the dense crowds, holding tight to her purse. “I know I should be at home Kawakami-Sensei, but I need to at least get the ball rolling.” Mayu defended herself as she reached the diner. She brushed her dark brown pants and made sure to see if her purse wasn’t open. “Good. Otherwise there would be a small problem.” Mayu smiled, though a but broken as she began to shake and tear up a little, thinking about Daisuke, her beau, once again.

In fact, she saw through her brown eyes her beau himself, Daisuke strolling around the streets in a more calm manner this time around. His silvery-blue eyes lacked a bit of color though, and he was busy listening to some music as his headphones were on his ears, casually walking. Mayu noticed that he wasn’t as bad with his desire to perfect beauty. She wanted to approach him and see how he was doing since she hasn't seen him since Monday, but stopped herself. “Touya and the others are taking care of this. I believe in them. How they are handling this, I don’t know, but Kawakami-Sensei told me to don’t worry.” Mayu smiled once again and entered the diner. “Daisuke, I hope to see you become yourself once again.” she said determined.

 


 

Touko threw one of her guns as a boomerang at Cain while Iris was busy alongside Catalina to fight against Abel, summoning Bufu once more and using her twin lance as a propeller for the ice to create a snowstorm for Abel to barely avoid as she was caught in the middle of it. “You rotten punk!” Abel released as fiery fist to break the ice and charge at Iris. Iris fortunately timed her jump but was still knocked back a bit. Catalina released her arms from her crossing and grabbed Iris for a safety landing. “Thank you Catalina.”

“Anything for your Highness.” Catalina looked back at Iris who was bleeding a little by her arms. “Your Highness, rest a little and let Touko and Heloise handle this.” the Queen Persona looked back at Marika, who was making sure to protect Hiyori in case the Twin Shadows come near the red head and oranged haired girl. “Switch with Marika. Let her have her turn to fight.” Iris nodded and took a step back, tagging Marika to join the fight. “Don’t worry I’ll protect Hiyori for the time being.” Iris smiled and took a fighting stance once more.

“You guys are real pain in the asses!” Cain and Abel yelled as Touko was busy having a two on one against the Water and Fire Sisters. Touko shot one and dodged to the right as Cain was ready to throw another round of water at the light brunette. “Heloise!” Touko summoned as she flipped back to summon her Persona, the nun returning her spotlight once more. “At your humble service Sweetheart!” Heloise summoned her ray of nuclear energy at the two twins, something they were impressed by its intensity, knocking the two back. “So all this time you were fooling us with those pistols huh!” Abel retorted back, panting loudly, and removing some of the black blood that was on her lip. Cain did the same too. “Not bad little girl.” Cain smiled weakly but still shone a sign of confidence.

Marika jumped in to join the scene, ready to kick some action. “Sorry I wasn’t able to do anything.” Marika teased at Touko. “It’s fine Marika. I don’t have to go beyond my power.” Touko looked at Heloise who nodded, smiling at her summoner. “I will be of assistance when needed.” Heloise responded back. “If you can figure out a way to heal the guys Heloise with a status heal ability, that’s all I need.” Touko smiled back, something Marika blinked a couple of times because it was something she could not believe would even appear on the Harima’s mouth. “ She’s like a totally different person here…” Marika thought before Abel threw herself at Marika for another turn. Marika easily dodged as she jumped and pulled a front flip, kicking Abel’s head in the process, bringing her down on the floor.

“I’m just getting started too you know!” Marika yelled triumphant. Abel grabbed Marika’s foot and tossed her towards Cain, now ready to strike a hit at Marika. Marika smiled. “Go for it!” Abel smirked at Marika’s response and tossed her, leaving her flying. “Ophelia!” the Shakespearean Persona was summoned, looking at her summoner. “Can you strike a hit of Psio for me?” Marika said as her leg bracers were ready to drop kick Cain’s face. Cain’s face was shocking as her blue eyes widened and tried to block the upcoming counter, but was too late as Ophelia’s Psio and Marika’s drop kick nailed her, breaking the wall behind Cain.

Hiyori and Iris blinked at the sight.

“I think this one is officially down!” Marika yelled at Hiyori, making sure Hiyori would look through her goggles and analyze her once more. “She’s still able to fight Marika!” Hiyori yelled as she sniped at Abel and sent out Somnus to deal another gun ability. “Shooting Star you ask too much of my help!” he joked, making Hiyori sigh as she shooed her Persona. Somus then went straight for the targets, shooting at Abel one last time before heading toward Cain, now barely moving. “Abel, sorry.” Cain chuckled as she was out cold after being Triple Down once more by Somnus, who swung his revolvers and blew the air out before returning back to Hiyori. “Hiyori, a little help with this one now?” Touko yelled as she was shooting and flipping around Abel as she was busy trying to land a fire punch once more. “You little runt!” Abel was furious now and grabbed Touko’s leg, and created fire on it. Touko winced as her leg was burning and kicked her as fast as she could to be released, and went back to the other three girls. “Touko!” Iris noticed the burn on her right leg but Touko retained her smile. “It’s fine. Heloise can patch us up afterwards.” she replied, looking at her Persona as she was busy healing the guys.

Heloise was summoning the green energy like she does when she was summoning Dia, but it wasn’t Dia as Touko looked at her phone and found she had a new skill: Energy Drop. “ As long as you can heal Touya-kun first Heloise.”

“Without a doubt Sweetheart.” Heloise communed back as she was now almost done with her spell. Touya then began to wake up now, his eyes going back to its original color, and his drooling ceased. “Where am I?” he asked quietly to himself before he looked at Heloise eyecrown. “Heloise?”

“Good morning Ianus’ summoner.” she said so plainly. Touya nodded and got back up and saw the other guys , still in their status ailment. “Those guys were affected by me, weren’t they.” Heloise nodded once more before her pale fingers pointed at the two weak twins. “Thank you.” Touya got back on his feet and summoned his kukri knife once more and jumped back on the scene. “He’s back!’ Cain and Abel’s eyes turned to heart before they quickly reversed it back to fighting. “Want another Soft Touch?” they smirked.

“No thank you, I’m good.” Touya summoned Jack Frost quietly, something Iris picked up on as she looked at Catalina. “Ready to throw them out of the park?” Iris said to Catalina. The Persona was ready as she began to snap her fingers to summon Bufu once more. Jack Frost took note of that as well and began to huff as well. “Abel! Get ready for a combo you can’t resist!” Touya and Iris yelled as the two ice spells merged into and aimed directly at Abel. “Oh come on!” Abel tried to summon her fire but was now weak and took the ice attack, staggering her. Hiyori yelled at the gang now. “Time to finish this!” Touya and the other three girls jumped at Abel and Cain, lashing out at them with what remaining strength they had left before they all jumped back and Touko stood in front now, spinning around like a ballerina and the pointed her guns downwards, crossing her arms like an X. “Time’s up!” she yelled as black blood gushed out of the two twins, finally finishing the fight.

 


 

The twins didn’t disappear after the All Out Attack, and Touya alongside Touko approached them. “Daisuke shouldn’t have sent us so early.” Abel joked at her sister, Cain who was resting besides her, holding her stomach area tightly. “Yeah...that idiot is intent with beauty that he just decided to use his best preemptively.” Cain closed her eyes. Touya sighed as he examined the two Shadows, smacking the top of their heads with karate chops hard. “You guys were a pain you know? Especially that Soft Touch of yours. That was the biggest pain.” Touya looked at the other guys, now being brought back thanks to Heloise and Ophelia. For one thing, Kazuya didn’t want to say anything about what he thought and Shun and Satoshi covered their faces in mere guilt as Iris was hugging them like a mother tending her children.

“Whatever, you won this round, so go ahead and head to the security room.” Abel puffed her red hair and rubbed her head, a large bump now being shown. Cain was crying, sniffing loudly and her eyes watery. “Hiyori can you and the other head to the security and get the info for the Membership cards?” Iris asked the First Year who gave a thumbs up and ran to the security room. Touya and Touko decided to head towards the room as well before Abel yelled at Touya. “You’re really going to leave us here! Hello!” Touya gritted his teeth and his left eye twitched, but sighed and looked back. “What? What do you two want?”

“Let us join your little roster over there!” Cain and Abel pointed at Touya’s phone, still held in his hand and had the Persona menu on. Touya looked at his phone and then back at Cain and Abel, now with cat like eyes and their arms positioned to beg for the Niijima to let them join. Touya thought about for a moment and then sighed once more. “Fine you can join the team.” Touya covered his eyes with his fedora hat. Cain and Abel got their strength back and jumped around Touya, hugging him, no, squeezing him , as he couldn’t breathe. Touko shook and tried to stop the twins from killing Touya as the twins apologized and then spoke once more, with such vigor and formality. “I am thou! Thou art I! We are Cain and Abel and we are reporting for duty!” and much like Ianus and Jack Frost, the Twin Personas transformed into a blue cocoon and went inside Touya’s phone. Touya checked his phone. “Cain...Magician Arcana...Abel….Priestess Arcana…” Touya and Touko read. “Hey lovebirds!” Satoshi yelled at the two, who now blushed madly as usual when they heard the word lovebirds, and Marika was in a state of shock but relieved as she saw the usual Harima Touko, now being shy and nervous.

“Alright! I got the location for the Members! It’s in the opposite direction from where we are so we should get a revisit of the map.” Hiyori tapped her gloves to create the computer screens once more and transferred the new and updated map to the gang. “Now that the map is updated, we can now get on with what we were going for.” Satoshi said in triumphant as they walked back to the vent they used to enter the back of the Palace Mall. “Those chicks were hard to fight...imagine what other foe like them we’re going to face.” Shun said as he was swinging his arm to relax it. “Yeah..you guys got your butts kicked by a bunch of girls too!” Marika giggled and laughed at Kazuya especially. “Hmph...you really want to play that game huh Mari? Well I guess I’ll have to talk about the thoughts those twins gave to us boys.” Kazuya’s brown-purple eyes gazed down at Marika who was now on edge of anger as she was now arguing with the Okumura once again. Everyone sighed. Iris looked at Touko and nudged Touko, giving her usual teasing smile. “Wonder what Touya was thinking when he was in that state of mind.” Iris covered her mouth with her hand, causing Touko to go crimson and shaking her head furiously. “Iris! Not now!” she yelled at Iris, running after her.

“There they are!” the voices of Shadows were head and the gang now stopped on their tracks. “We caused too much of a commotion now thanks to that fight.” Satoshi said as everyone nodded. Touya motioned them to split up like last time and run quickly to the ventilation. “We gotta leave the Palace now too.” Touya added as they all ran in opposite directions, getting ready to head back to the Safe Room and call it quits for the day.

 


 

“Thank you for your understanding.” Ann said finally as she hung up once again with Sadako on the phone. After the whole Daisuke fiasco, Ann called the female assistant of Amitsu Kojima, declining his offer to help out. Ann realized how persistent the assistant was until they came to the agreement that the fashion show should be untouched by political hands as much as Amitsu’s message was clear to her. “Politics...why did Renren have to go into those things?” Ann sighed as she continued her work on the computer, her green-blue eyes gazing at the screen for some fashion designs to be debuted for the fashion show. “Some of these are too good, but we need a limited number for our models.” Ann closed her laptop and looked at the Metaverse outfit plans she had for the Next Gen. Shiho got four out of the eight, and Ann saw that she had her daughter’s, Kazuya’s, Marika’s, and Shun’s.

“Let’s see here…” Ann examined her daughter’s first. The upper wear consisted of a black and blue like female knight armor to compliment Satoshi’s as she was told both Personas of theirs were of royalty. It also reminded Ann of the ones from RWBY as she saw she gave a small hoodie for Iris to wear and the finger-less gloves she would be replaced by the ones Ann designed here: long black gloves that still retained the plaid on the end of the gloves, and the blue was tinted with the black. “Man this is going to cost me a fortune…” Ann chuckled as she grabbed the plans and decided to head to Shiho to start designing them.

As she left the office, she noticed Daisuke walking towards the modeling rooms. “Daisuke…” Ann saw his gait and noticed it was calmer as usual. His silvery-blue eyes were normal and he didn’t retain the creepy smile he had. He felt like his usual self. “ Iris and the gang are taking care of them...so far he’s going back to normal which is good.” then Ann went back to the note. Could it be that he was now going through a state of depression? Was it her fault? No Ann shook the thought in her head and headed towards where Shiho was calmly and with her professional stride

“Ann! You brought the other design plans!’ Shiho said with a cheer as Ann placed them all by the massive designer table, filled with pins and straps and fabrics. “Yupp! Get ready for one all nighter to start the exterior of each of them Shiho.” Ann said with a straightforward and amicable tone. Shiho nodded and began to get the measuring tapes...before Shiho asked where the measurements were. “They’re all in each design plan. Iris secretly got me them thanks to her ability to write swiftly and neat.” Ann grabbed Touya’s outfit plan and began to inspect it...before her eyes looked at a familiar figure.

Yusuke stood as he normally would back in the day. Still slim as before yet he looked like he had gained a few extra pounds over the years of adulthood. Maybe Hifumi taught him to cook finally. His hair no longer retained the bang he once had and was a bit longer than usual, having been spread apart on each side like the one from the Yakuza games. Ann forgot the name but Yusuke looked the part indeed as he was starting to grow a stubble on his face. “Yusuke!” Ann waved at the man who waved back, fixing his dark grey blazer and pants.

“Long time no see Ann.” Yusuke sat down for a moment. “Shiho called me to see you needed some artistic experience.” Ann nodded. “We need you to give us a sense of these outfits for the kids when they enter the Metaverse and we could use a sense of color.” Ann gave one plan to Yusuke who grunted softyl and gave it back to the former Thief. “I see. I shall assist you then. After all, Shun’s could definitely use some pointers.” he smiled and scratched his stubble. “Forgot to shave again didn’t you Yusuke?” Shiho said in a joking manner. “I was too busy at the art exhibit recently that I forgot to even turn on the shaver. Hifumi wants me to keep it but I would rather not.” Ann and Shiho laughed and the three went on with their professional work as they went on to pull a first of many all nighters to bring about the official attire for the new Phantom Thieves of Hearts.

At least that’s what they were called for the time being.

 


 

The Next Gen panted and hid below the ceilings of the Ginza train station. Touya drank a full bottle of water and Satoshi was sitting by one of the railings, examining the rain once again. “When is it going to stop raining?” Satoshi groaned as he grabbed a tossed up soda can form Kazuya, opening it up to savor the fizz. “Hopefully tomorrow afternoon it’s the last day of rain.” Hiyori said as she began to play on her mobile gaming system, Touya looking at Hiyori’s RPG character for her mobile Monster Hunter. “Watch out over there.” Touya pointed as he looked. “For the most part we did a number today in that Palace.” Marika said as she was rubbing her legs. “And I got to dropkick someone besides Kaz for once!” she smiled at the thought of when she kicked full force at Cain,and for some reason Touya felt a pang of pain because of it. “ Calm down Cain! You’re hurting me more than it hurt you!” he thought as he shot the bottle at a trash can.

“Speaking of those twins...they’re now a part of your little Pokemon Persona team Touya?” Satoshi said. “Yeah they are. I looked at their skills and Abel proves to be the strongest of the two. Cain is more of magical backup.” Touya showed Abel’s stats. “Fury Slash...Agi..Magi and Fire Punch.” they all read. “What a hothead.” Hiyori joked as she put away her device and stretched her arms. “Anyway we’ll see Cain’s tomorrow because I am soooo tired my dudes.” she stood up and began to head down to the station, the other pursuing her down to head back home to Shibuya. Touko noticed the mark on Touya’s cheek and looked down as that didn’t heal when she used Dia on him after the fight. The good thing was that it was faint and barely visible and would heal within two days.

As they pushed beneath the crowds to head inside the train, Touya noticed Mayu was catching up with them to get to the train as well. Touya shouted and waved at Mayu who smiled back at him and ran pushing the current and finally reaching the Next Gen. “Mayu!” Touko hugged her cousin who reciprocated and looked to see her healthy and happy again. “Hey guys. Miss me at school?” she teased as they all took their seats. “It’s not fun without your presence over there that’s for sure.” Marika said as she took a seat next to the Student Council President. Mayu retained her smile, now pure and bright once more. “Don’t worry. My impromptu break is over by next Monday. Kawakami-Sensei wanted to make sure I was okay for the time being.” she said softly. Touya nodded. “Any word from Daisuke?” Mayu asked them to which they shook their heads. “I see. Well I saw him earlier before it rained and he looks calm now.” that got everyone to look at each other. “He still seems a bit off but at least he’s not smiling that creepy smile.”

“Anything else?” Iris asked her senpai. Mayu shook her head. “Just that for now. I don’t know how you guys are handling this, but thank you. Truly.”

“Like we said when we all met in the Council Room, we will make sure to save his heart.” Touya smiled at Mayu now, and the other nodded in agreement. Mayu’s brown eyes glowed and looked at Touko who was besides Touya, grabbing his arm. “ Oh just date him already Touko-nee. You deserve him as much as he deserves you. ” Mayu then began to chat about the current plans for the year as they rode through the rain to head home.

 


 

Once everyone parted ways and ran as fast as they could to head back home, Touya covered Touko with his umbrella. As the two headed home, Touya was surprised to see how different Shibuya is on a strong rainy night. The lights of the buildings and large screen by Station Square glowed nicely, complimenting the neon with the blackish-clouds. It was a lovely sight and he knew that behind him, Touko was busy taking some nice pictures with her camera. “Make sure the camera doesn’t get wet.” Touya said.

“Don’t worry Touya-kun. My mom and dad made sure this one was waterproof.” Touko took one more shot before she put the camera away in her bag. “I’m glad we didn’t spend much more time in there. I’m very tired.”

“I can see it. You fought Cain and Abel the most.”

“They were really annoying Touya-kun.” Touko said in both a shy and flustered tone. Touay chuckled a little and nodded. “Yeah they really are. They can still be useful for when we re enter. I was thinking tomorrow if we all can.”

“If not we could do full on after school Saturday and Sunday all day. You have your mom’s birthday coming this Friday.” Touko reminded Touya of Makoto’s birthday coming in two days and sighed. “True. I don’t know what to give to Mom this year.”

“Maybe some peace and quiet since we’re now filling in their shoes.” Touko giggled as Touya considered the thought. Touya and Touko continued chatting until they reached Touko’s house, this time the front door so Touko didn’t get wet. “See you tomorrow Touya-kun.” Touko waved goodbye as Touya did also, heading back home. As the Niijima brushed his cheek mark and then his fluffy auburn hair before putting his hand on his left pocket, jingling the small chain he had as he did, he looked at the front of his house gate once he reached the second block of the neighborhood. That was when he noticed the same Velvet Room doors and Annabelle by the front, her folders on her right side and her glasses being wiped.

Touya put his umbrella on top of her to which Annabelle smiled. “Thank you Wild Card, but you don’t need to. This is all in your head after all.” Touya nodded and looked at the doors once more. “Where else are you and Igor going to pop up?” Touya asked as he looked at the black front door and the windows. His parents were home that was one thing as he checked the time, now being 8:00PM. “I have a feeling Igor wants to speak with me?” he asked to which Annabelle nodded. “It’ll only be five minutes Wild Card.” she smiled and opened the doors for Touya to enter inside the Velvet Room.

 


 

“Ah! Welcome back Son of the Trickster!” Igor’s wise and old voice was heard once again as Touya sat down in the usual couch, this time Velvet like the room itself. “We were busy remodeling while you were gone.” Annabelle said as she stood next to her Master, his arms crossed as always in his large desk. “Remodeling? That’s a thing here?” Touya’s eyebrow was raised. Igor nodded. “Yes indeed. We need some convenience too at times.” Igor smiled and let out a soft “ah” for a moment. “It also appears that you have become stronger than the last time we spoke. Have you gain more Personas recently?” Touya nodded. “Three of them.” Touya responded. “Shall we see them?” Annabelle asked as she approached Touya.

The Niijima grabbed his phone and surely in a matter of seconds, all of his Personas were summoned, each standing around him. He felt Jack Frost give him the usual small hug. “My, my! You have such unique Personas! The power is overwhelming even for someone starting out!” Igor said in such surprised as he raised a hand in amazement. “Strong? He couldn’t beat us Igor-san!” Cain and Abel snickered before their heads were smacked by Touya’s fists once more. “Shut up you two.” he threatened them to which they nodded slowly and with tears. “They also have quite the perks and quirks.” Annabelle said in shocked expression. “This is something Sis didn’t mention to me Master.”

“Annabelle, those were different times between you and Lavena. Now the Personas are more self-individualized despite being a part of the person.” Igor said as he closed his eyes and continued onwards with Touya, who was now fighting with Cain and Abel as their hands were pushing against each other. “Don’t make me activate Soft Touch again!” Abel said before Igor coughed loudly to get their attention. Touya composed himself and decided to grab Jack Frost and place him on his laps like a child as he looked at Igor. “Sorry.” he chuckled nervously.

“Anyway...this meeting here to inform you more about your abilities with Personas.” Annabelle went on. “And one of the abilities is fusing them to make stronger ones.” that got Touya’s attention as he blinked and began to process the idea. Fusion? As in like Dragonball? Was that it it? “Allow me to explain Son of the Trickster: Two personas can merge together and form a stronger one through a contract between the user and the Personas, thus forming into a stronger entity.” Igor smiled and looked at Cain and Abel. “Perhaps you should try it with these two.”

Cain and Abel shook their heads furiously. “He is not ready to meet her Igor-san. He’s sooo not ready to meet her.” Cain nodded in agreement. Touya huffed and looked back at Ianus who was standing behind and smirking his usual smirk. “This is all your fault Ianus.” Touya mouthed at the Yakuza Persona. “In reality it is our fault Partner.” he remarked and he crossed his arms. “Wild Card, you may not want to fuse now, but we wanted to inform you on the concept. As you go along to stop the impending chaos, you and your friends must grow stronger.” Igor nodded solemnly at his assistant’s comment. “Indeed. For the most part you are certainly doing well with your friend Daisuke Shiro. Perhaps once you obtain what you truly need to save his heart, then the rest shall be easy.”

“For now, be prepared for what’s to come. Your first Palace may be an experience to use for future ones.” Annabelle then opened her folders and then closed them before the clock on the Velvet Room office chimed once again, making Touya leave and have his Personas head back to his phone to enter the real world.

 


 

Touya reached his front door and entered into his humble abode. He was feeling a bit tired now thanks to accessing the Metaverse, fighting, being in a state of pure dizziness, and entering the Velvet Room once again. Plus Cain and Abel were already beginning to be a big pain, though he reasoned with himself that it was for the greater good. He was also interested to see who the third sister was if he fusioned them. “Good to be back home.” he said with a tired yet happy tone as he opened the door.

He took off his shoes and then placed his umbrella by the rack to dry it off and headed towards the dining room, only to find himself alone as no one was sitting on the dining table. “Mom! Dad! Where are you guys? In the office again?” there was a bit of silence for a moment and then Touya sighed. They were probably sleeping or something as Touya saw that Makoto’s work purse was on the table and Ren’s folders were by his seat, so they were here that’s for sure...wait there was a third bag, and Touya knew who it was as he smiled with delight and ran towards the office as fast as he could. “No way...no freaking way…” Touya ran now by the door of the office, now opening.

The Niijima saw his mother and father smiling and drinking some water with a third person as his auburn straight hair was all in his usual gel up state though it was longer than usual. His dark grey eyes that were behind his square black glasses were examining the room and mostly Makoto, who was crying and laughing with the third person. He was also wearing his usual attire, a simple white button down and blue pants, and he was certainly a bit more fit unlike the last time he was at home. Touya’s smile widened and ran towards the scene, causing such a commotion that Ren, Makoto, and the third person looked up and smiled. “Touya! Welcome back!” Ren said as he gave him a seat. Makoto nodded, smiling. “And guess who decided to visit us?” the third person waved back at Touya and smiled his brotherly smile. “Long time no speak Touya.” Niijima Seiji spoke to his younger brother Touya who continued to smile wide as he ran towards his older brother like when they were kids.

 


 

Preview!

Niijima Touya here!

Hatake Satoshi as well!

Seiji decided to visit us as a surprise for Mom’s birthday on Friday! He has Mom crying tears of joy too and it’s going to be a blast to hang out with him too like old times.

Your brother’s back? That awesome! I missed Seiji man...remember when we played Smash Bros together? That was the best.

Though we also have a problem Satoshi, and that’s the fact that we’ll have two days off from the Palace. We need to resolve that as much as possible!

With ease. Us new Phantom Thieves of Hearts will take care of it in the weekend!

Well I was thinking we call ourselves something new…

Next time on Persona: Next Generations! Brotherly Reunion!

Don’t miss out!

Chapter Text

“Seiji!” Touya ran towards his brother, who was still positioned nicely on the guest chair, his silky auburn hair stretching out through the side and up the back like Ren’s current hairstyle. Seiji plucked his glasses up on his head and smiled at his brother radiantly, something Touya hasn’t seen in the course of two months. Seiji was about to speak until Touya punched him on the cheek as hard as he could, almost knocking his brother out. Ren and Makoto got up from their seats and looked at the two Niijima Brothers, Touya now frantically moving Seiji back and forth in an angered state. “What the hell man! You leave for almost three months and then you just magically appear?! What kind of a big brother are you Seiji!” Touya gritted his teeth and his eyes were white with rage, twitching furiously at Seiji. Seiji grabbed Touya’s wrist and then looked back at his younger brother angrily as well, his dark grey eyes looking more like Makoto’s Death Stare.

“This is how you’re going to say hello to your big brother now huh?” Seiji headbutted Touya and thus the two went toe to toe against each other, engaged in their brotherly rage that seemed normal for the two adults as Ren and Makoto just looked down in defeat yet relieved to see their sons back at it again. At least that was what Ren thought as once he looked up, he scooched a few seats back from Makoto as her red eyes began to glare up and her entire demeanor changed entirely, cracking her knuckles. Her red eyes then glowed the iconic Death Stare, and Ren sweated like crazy as he saw Makoto getting ready for a smack down with her sons. “Knock it off you two!” Makoto smacked the back of her sons’ heads, and the two fell on the chair, their spirits waving on their mouths pleading with their mother. Ren had his eyes wide open. “ Mako can be scary…”

After getting Seiji and Touya back to reality, Makoto sat back down now calmed and collected, her legs crossing each other and her red eyes back to her motherly gaze. Touya and Seiji shuddered as they saw their mother. “Sorry Mom.” they both apologized. Makoto let out a breath of air and looked back them. “It’s fine. My fault too my dear children.” Makoto smiled at the phrase “dear children” as she was happy that her household was now full with everyone in it. Ren saw the smile of his wife and proceeded to calm things down further. “Ahem, so Seiji,” Ren directed his voice to Seiji who was now resting his right arm on the arm of the black guest chair, slanting a little as his glasses were hitting his left eye. Touya smirked, slanting the opposite direction. “ Abel! Leave my body alone for the night!” Touya thought as he regained his regular composed postured. Yeah Dad” Seiji picked his glasses back up.

“How’s college treating you? Not too hard on your first month? Medical trials and prep starting?”

“College is alright. Was at a dorm room until I got bored of it and got my own small apartment. Classes are a breeze at the moment that’s for sure.” Seiji rubbed his thumb on his upper lip as he smiled pridefully. Ren and Makoto chuckled. “Say, Seiji: planning on helping Takemi-San?” Touya punched Seiji lightly, to which his response was a loss of color in his body and his eyes widening in fear. “No...I don’t want to go back….” Seiji said as he looked at his hands in horror. Touya smiled under his breath. “You know I was kidding Seiji, right?” Touya cheered his older brother up. “Speaking of the Family Doctor, Touya you and Hiyori are visiting her tomorrow after school.” Ren said with an inflection that only Touya and Makoto understood. Metaverse related.

Makoto then looked at the clock behind Ren’s back, and looked at her two sons. “It looks like it’s getting late my two son!” Makoto, now grabbed her sons and hugged them tightly, rubbing her head and giving them plenty of kisses on their cheeks before she let them go, now all red from Makoto’s lipstick. “Mom...why do you have to do these types of things?” Touya rubbed his cheek. Seiji did the same too. “Because I’m your mother no matter how old you and I get, I will always do what Moms are known to do. Now get your butts over to your rooms and get some rest. Especially you Seiji as you just got back.” Touya and Seiji waved their mother goodbye as they left Ren’s office, both holding each other’s back like how they used to back when they were little kids.

Ren sighed and prompted Makoto to sit back down, her demeanor now somewhat loose and lazy as she lumped on Ren and puffed her chest loudly. “Haven’t wasted this much energy since that time Seiji and Touya were fighting about which Spider-Man was clearly better.” Makoto’s eyes were a little dizzy and Ren touched her forehead. “Queen, you’re in desperate need of some rest as well. Let me take you back to our room.”

“But I still have some documents and police reports to finish filing and sign…”Ren kissed her forehead, still smooth despite being forty-one years of age. Forty-two on Friday. Ren picked her up and had her on his shoulder, much like he used to do back when they were young in their old apartment. Makoto didn’t even bother to fight as she dozed off when Ren left his office and headed upstairs to their bedroom. “ Touya got another Persona it seems.” Ren felt the presence of Touya’s powers coursing through him as he walked past his room, seeing Touya and Seiji catching up after such a long time of not seeing each other’s faces.

 


 

“No way Seij, you guys did that on the first day?” Seiji nodded as he got back from the kitchen, tossing a small Kit-Kat from the counter as Seiji opened a can of Soda he had hidden in the fridge when he arrived. “Yupp. We were all bored and we decided to spend an all-nighter playing Tekken and Smash.” Seiji drank the soda and let out an excited “ah” as he finished, placing the can on Touya’s work desk. Seiji examined the room and saw how neat it was over the past couple of years. Besides Touya’s bed on the right, on the window were Touya’s figurines from various animes and games were placed neatly. Seiji tsked and sat on Touya’s bed, throwing the stress ball Touya had at him. Touya caught it instantly thanks to Sixth Sense and Seiji was amazed.

“Been working a lot with Mom from time to time.” Touya quickly lied though he was also telling the truth. He was filling in her shoes alongside the others. “I’m impressed by how much Mom has put an effort with you and the likes. Gets that self-doubt you always had in you out the window.” Seiji said as Touya threw it back to him, catching it like a baseball. Touya smiled and sat down next to his older brother. Seiji then began to speak. “How are things with Touko as well? You guys a thing?” Touya blushed and shook his head. Seiji smacked his head with a chop. “OW! What was that for!” Touya rubbed his head as it was now bumpy and Seiji laughed. “It was for nothing. Was tempted.”

“You want to start round two don’t you Seij?”

“Not tonight. Tired as hell my little brother.” He removed his glasses, placing them next to the desk and then patted Touya’s head. “We live a good life my little brother.” Touya looked up at his brother and saw Seiji, now without his lenses, smiling a smile that Touya knew would anyone feel at ease and happy regardless. It was the smile begot from their father, one that told them they were fine and everything will be alright. Like All Might’s smile except it lasted more of an impact whenever Touya, Seiji, and Ren pulled that smile. Touya felt that feeling and smiled back. “Hell yeah we do Seiji. The best.” and the two punched each other lightly as a sign of brotherly love, all while Ren and Makoto were watching from afar, Makoto crying tears of joy and Ren holding her for comfort. It was a sight to treasure forever in everyone’s minds.

 


 

The afternoon arrived for everyone at Shujin Academy and the gang decided to head to have their separate ways. Touya walked with Hiyori this time through the streets of Yogen-Jaya as per Ren’s request via text. “Remember to visit Takemi.” Touya read out loud in a monotone as his life was drained before his very eyes and Hiyori tried fanning him to bring him back to Earth. Takemi was someone he for sure didn’t plan on meeting on a nice sunny day such as today and as he walked past Leblanc, he saw Sojiro on the side of the wall appearing to bask under the sun as well. “Ooh Boy, today is finally a nice day to relax after all that damn rain.” Sojiro said as he was fixing his white and pink fedora. He noticed Touya and Hiyori and waved at them. They waved back. “Seems like Gramps is taking his sweet time.” Touya said to Hiyori was now busy in her portable console. “Of course you would.” Touya sighed as they took a left to reach Takemi’s Clinic. Touya shuddered as he looked at the door that was between Takemi, the family doctor, and the two teenagers. “ Why Dad? Why do I have to do this?” Touya took the thought of his head and joked that if he died there, Takemi could bring him up. Though he felt the aura of Death surrounding the place and Touya gulped.

If he remembered correctly, Tae Takemi was the reason Seiji wanted to be a doctor, but not like her. “No! Not the trials!” Seiji would mutter when he was having a nightmare and would wake up all pale and sleep-deprived. Touya felt that was ironic that Takemi was his inspiration yet he was scared of her. Ren was indifferent and he laughed at Seiji and told him he had done it in the past and you’ll get used to it. “You too Touya.” Ren told him before he left the room today, and here he was. “Here goes nothing. Hiyori, let’s go.” he nudged Hiyori and the two entered the clinic.

The two entered and saw that as usual there was nobody waiting by the blue seat to their right. He smelled something that was possibly chemicals and headed to the front desk to see if Takemi was there, or if Hisako, her new assistant was there reading something. Sure enough Touya saw Hisako by the front desk, flipping a page of some new book she was into recently. Her purple eyes examined it intently and didn’t look up at all as she was twirling around her long black hair with her index finger. She wasn’t wearing her lab coat either and her shoulders were bare as she was wearing a nice red short dress, much like what Takemi wears when she was working. “Hisako?” Touya caught her attention and Hisako looked up in awe and put her book away. “Ah, Touya and Hiyo-nee! How are you guys?” she was excited to see the two.

“We’re good Hisako. Everything is all healthy in our ends. How are things with you?”

“Just as good Touya, thank you for asking. Now what can I do for you?”

“Is Takemi-san here today?” Touya asked. Hisako shook her head. “She left a while ago to examine a patient that was in the hospital recently. Had collapsed suddenly.” Hisako said with her eyes casted down before she propped them back up, all cheerful. “But if I recall, she did have something for you guys before she left. Her secret medicines and prescriptions.” she left the chair and went to the counter to get the medicines. Touya waited and tapped his fingers a little and looked at Hiyori, still in her console. “Hiyori, can you stop training for the Metaverse for a bit?” he asked her to which she stopped.

“It’s soooo boring here Cousin, and I just want to get to the Palace already.” she said with a agitated tone and her cat tooth stuck out. She was even making claw marks and Touya grabbed her head and settled her down. “Wait until Saturday Hiyo and you’ll snipe all you like.” Touya had his eyes closed and his eyebrow twitched in frustration and Hiyori was now a bit scared.

Hisako returned after five minutes and then Touya walked up to the counter and grabbed them. “Here you go Hisako.” Touya paid for the medicines and Hisako put the money away. As Touya and Hiyori were beginning to leave, Hisako called them for a moment. “Touya!” Touya stopped, but Hiyori kept walking, the first year heading straight home. “What is it Hisako?” he asked her. Hisako wanted to speak for a moment and decided not to.”Nevermind Touya, just have a good day.” Hisako smiled at him and Touya nodded in respect. As soon as he opened the door, his head began to hurt and Annabelle spoke in his head like when he spoke to Mayu, the purple light shining on him.

“I am thou, thou art I. Thou has created a bond that will guide you through the course of your journey. A bond that will transcend the heavens and the earth. That it break free from its chains. I present to you the birth of the Death Arcana. May the wings of freedom and order guide you and may you obtain the truth of this bond.” Annabelle’s voice rang through Touya’s mind for a second before it quickly faded away, along with the purple light. Touya shook his head and felt his ears ring a little before he looked at Hisako, now back with her book and reading. “ You’re another Arcana? Why?” Touya relaxed himself and then left the clinic.

 


 

The next day arrived and Touya and the gang were in their usual spot now that the sun was out and drying the rain form before. They all sat down and relaxed under the sun. “Man when are we going back to the Palace? I’m craving some combat.” Satoshi groaned as he was fanning himself. Hiyori nodded and pointed at Satoshi. “I agree with you. I’m in the mood to pull that trigger again.” the sound of Shun’s potato chips alarmed her and Shun smacked her to stop. “Not today. These are special ones.” he said with a glare.

“Hiyori, you do remember that today is my mom’s birthday right? We can’t go to the Palace even if we want to.” and Touya softly smacked her head. “And that was for yesterday.” he muttered at her. Hiyori hissed and grabbed her gaming device to go back in her RPG world of hiding. “Hiyori really wants to go explore that Palace if she’s being all feline.” Kazuya smirked as he ate some of his food. Marika was besides Touko and drinking some tea, sipping it loudly. “Please stop that.” Iris told Marika to which she complied.

Touya meanwhile decided to take a step back and go back to yesterday when he met with Hisako at Takemi’s Clinic. “ The Death Arcana, huh? So now there’s two Arcanas excluding the gang’s. Igor, what do you want me to do?”  Touko waved her hand in front of him and Touya went back to reality. “Sorry. Lost in thought.” he said to her before his eyes met Daisuke walking past them. Everyone noticed him too as their eyes focused on his gait, as he was walking normally now compared to that erratic beat he had before. His eyes did look a bit depressed, and he appeared to be lost in thought. His hair was neater now and he passed by a few Third-Years. “Daisuke is more docile.” Kazuya spoke. Touya nodded. “We need to nudge him a little more for him to be himself again. For the most part we need to sit still.” the bell for the afternoon classes rung now and everyone groaned. Lunch fell short this time around.

Everyone grabbed their school bag and headed their separate ways. Hiyori went with Touya and Touko once more as the two of them were chatting about what to buy for Makoto. “I can help you if you need me to Touya-kun.” Touko asked sheepishly, blushing a little. Touya blinked in curiosity. “Sure Touko, it’s fine. Could use the help this year.” Touya looked at Hiyori, who was a bit busy as she wasn’t paying attention to where she was going, heading straight towards Juno Yuuta. Touya tried to stop his cousin, but it was too late. “Ow!” Hiyori rubbed her back again, her handheld falling on the seam of her school skirt. Juno was down as well,  his books all over the floor like last time. Touya and Touko stood there in confusion and went to help the two out. “You okay Hiyo?” Touko asked as she pulled her up, brushing her clothes. “I’m fine! My fau-” she stopped to look at Juno, who was being helped by Touya as he grabbed his hand to pull him up. “Whoa! You’re kinda strong!” Juno said as he was now standing, chatting with Touya as he was passing him his books. “Thanks…” Touya looked at Hiyori, who was almost stuttering and turning red. Touya was in shock, and looked at the last book he was holding to give to Juno.

The book was white with a picture of handcuff and what appeared to be a Sherlock Holmes’ hat on top of the blue-gray table. Its title was called “The Basics of Being a Detective”. Touya smiled at the sight of a book he always saw in the living room whenever Seiji or himself were bored. He even remembered that their own mother had that book during college. The same with Ren. “I read that book before...um…”

“Juno! Yuta Juno!” Juno replied back as he was given the book back. “And you have? I just started reading it a few days ago.” Touya nodded. “You just started? Oh you’re in a for a treat then.” Touya smiled and patted Juno’s back, also noticing the first year pin on his sweater vest. “You’re also a first year? Like Hiyori.” Touya turned to Hiyori, who was twitching her eyes at the sight of Juno while blushing. Touko was trying to calm her down. “Wait, you know Hiyori-chan too?” Juno asked.

“Yeah I’m her cousin.”

“Cousin...wait are you Niijima-Senpai?!” Juno asked in a shock manner as his mouth was wide open with revelation. Touya chuckled. “Yeah I am. Didn’t know I was famous around these parts.” Touya said jokingly. Juno nodded his head. “Your mom is the reason why I want to be an aspiring detective! How she was like this cool and badass detective at the age of twenty-three and was called the Detective Queen!” Touya chuckled as he was now bearing to hear about his mother and her accomplishments. This was going to take a while. “Touko...can you grab Touya?” Hiyori said as she rolled her blazers up a little and walked towards Juno, grabbing him by the collar. “Bye Touya….see you tonight.” she said silently as she was dragging Juno and throwing him to his classroom.

“Hope to talk to you again Niijima-Senpai!” he yelled. Touya waved back. “Same here!” and Touya walked towards Touko, who was tilting her head a little to see that Hiyori kicked Juno into the room before she huffed and was all crimson faced before almost fainting on the ground. “ Is that what I do sometimes?” Touko asked herself before a small squeak was heard from her mouth as Touya patted her shoulder and told her to leave. That was until he got the same message from Annabelle like the one the previous day as well as the same blue light:

“I am thou, thou art I. Thou has created a bond that will guide you through the course of your journey. A bond that will transcend the heavens and the earth. That it break free from its chains. I present to you the birth of the Moon Arcana. May the wings of freedom and order guide you and may you obtain the truth of this bond.” Annabelle spoke now before she faded away and Touya was back to see Touko blinking and making sure Touya was okay. “I’m fine Touko. Let’s head back to class.” he said as they climbed the stairs to the second floor. “You sure? This is the second time today in a span of a few minutes. Is it the Metaverse?”

“Kinda. Hard to explain but I’m fine so no need to worry. I do need to worry about Mom’s gift.”

“Hopefully we’ll find something good.” Touko smiled at Touya and he smiled back as they entered the classroom and sat down to start the afternoon classes. Touya was even glad that it was European History as he saw Satoshi fist pumping in the corner of his eyes. “ Now about that Arcana….Moon? Now I definitely need to ask Annabelle and Igor.” was all he thought as he gathered his books and took notes.

 


 

“Hey Dad,” Touya called Ren on the phone as he was cruising around the Underground Mall with Touko after school. The usual hordes of girls were there trying on the same old jewelry and bags as the two Shujin students passed by some booths. Gamers were by the gaming store on the opposite end with their handhelds to their hands and mashing buttons as it was their life, their eyes honed in on the screen. Touya was surprised that he didn’t see Hiyori in the mix as they kept walking. “Yes Touya?” Ren answered.

“What should I get for Mom this year? I have nothing planned.” Touya said in defeat as he was examining a few bracelets while Touko was by the bag section of one booth, looking at a small blue purse. “Hmm Touya what about this for you mom?” Touya shook his head. “I see...you’re in the same glue as I am. Right now I’m at Ginza-” Touya heard some snickering behind his father. It almost sounded like Hiyori too. “Wait. Dad you said you’re in Ginza?”

“Yes son I am.” more snickering was heard.

“Don’t tell me Hiyori is there with you.” Touya responded ominously. Ren denied it. “Hiyori isn’t here with me Touya! Your old man is by himself looking at some nice clothing for your mother to bring as a gift.” more laughter was heard. Touya was getting frustrated, but decided to let it go once he hung up his father. Touko looked at Touya as his own aura was on of sheer defeat, his body white and kneeling on the floor. “Touya-kun?” Touko brought him back to life. “Let’s keep looking at some more stuff Touko.” Touya said as he composed himself. Touko nodded.

The two of them continued another round walking around the booths, especially by the bracelet section after Touya reassured himself that there could be something here that he didn’t give it a third look at. They split up by the booth, and examined the various bracelets there were: some were metal, other leather bound, and so on. Touya, after holding a jeweled bracelet sighed and put it back. “There’s nothing here for Mom…” he said as he was about to leave before Touko nudged him. “Hmm?” Touko motioned him to her. “Take a look at this one.” Touko held out a leather bracelet, its leather brown mixed with black and intertwined like Makoto’s headband. Touya shrugged about the bracelet until Touko showed him the middle section of it, as a metal plate was seen on it. Stainless steel no doubt, but that wasn’t what made Touya want to but it as a gift for his mother. What made him tick was none other than was read on the plate itself, in full cursive. Queen.

“Your mom is usually called Queen at home and was her Phantom Thief name right? So I found this.” Touko handed Touya the bracelet. Touya looked at it and marveled at the sight. Then he shook his head. “It’s a good gift, really good, but I’m sure she was given this by my dad at some point.” Touya rationed. Touko shook her head and for once in her life, smacked Touya in the head. “Ow!” he said as he rubbed his forehead.

“I’m sure your mother would appreciate the gift Touya-kun! Maybe he so happened to have lost it or was too worned out. She would definitely appreciate it.” Touya nodded slowly and went to the clerk to pay, Touko smiling that she saw Touya do the right thing. “ Heloise...what was that just now?” she thought as she was back to her nervous self once they walked back to the station and headed home. Touya, holding the bag that held the gift he bought for his mother, blinked and began to rethink his decision. Hope it turned out for the better.

 


 

After Touya dropped Touko off and headed home, he saw Annabelle by the front gate again. “Is this going to be a all time thing now?” he asked the Velvet Room assistant as she was busy looking at the neighborhood. She nodded before she pulled out two Tarot Cards. “I see you forged two bonds in the span of two days. Master and I are proud of you.” Annabelle showed him the Death and Moon Arcana, both of them floating within the palm of her hand. They were circling each other as they rotated themselves. “Yeah that voice of yours really hurts when you force your way into my head. Need to expect that more now.”

“Indeed. Nevertheless we are proud of your strength as a Wild Card.” Annabelle saw Seiji out the door. “It seems your brother is calling you.” she said as she walked inside the Velvet Room’s doors. “See you in the Palace soon Wild Card.” she waved goodbye. Touya waved back. “Who are you waving at?” Seiji’s voice caught Touya back to reality as he looked at his brother, rubbing his glasses on his shirt and calling his brother inside. “Coming.” Touya said a bit annoyed, climbing the steps to then head inside the house.

Ren, along with Hiyori, Futaba, and Sojir were busy handling the decorations for Makoto’s birthday. Seiji propped the cake in the center of the dining table, while Hiyori and Futaba handled the plates and the food. Sojiro was chilling with Ren by the living room with cups of coffee in their hands, sipping it lightly as it was warm. “Oooh boy! This coffee doesn’t get any worse as the year goes by.” Sojiro brushed his beard as he was acknowledging Ren’s coffee like the good old days. “Same goes to you Sojiro. Never gets old. You on the-” Sojiro smirked. “You want to go for round two, don’t you? When was the last time you shaved Ren? I see some gray around your face.” Ren gasped and headed to the bathroom to examine his face and see if what Sojiro said was true. Futaba and Sojiro laughed.

Touya meanwhile blinked and noticed there was someone missing around the house. Aunt Sae. “Seij, Aunt is coming tonight for Mom’s birthday? I texted her during the day but nothing.” Touya placed his gift on the counter before he walked upstairs to his room. “I called her a while ago Touya. Said she’ll be here soon.” Seiji sat down on the couch and munched on some chips. Reminded Touya of Shun. “Ah well that’s good to know.” Touya robbed a chip from Seiji and Hiyori snickered as she took one as well, the older Niijima brother annoyed. “Get your own chips.” he said sterfully as he grabbed them by their collars and his eyes glowed dangerously. Touya and Hiyori chuckled nervously.

After about an hour, Makoto arrived as the door opened and she was in for a treat as everyone was by the table, blowing birthday whistles and yelling Happy Birthday to the Niijima. Makoto’s eyes teared up as she saw her entire family in front of her. Ren had the camera and Touya and Seiji hugged their mother. “You guys...thank you for this.” Makoto said, a little tired as she dropped her coat on her seat and sat down, untying her work bun and admiring the food that was in front of her. As well as the gifts too. “You guys did so much work today. I couldn’t have been more grateful.” she said as she grabbed a cup of water and took a sip. Hiyori then smirked, something Touya caught. “Wait until you see the gifts we bought you this year!” Ren snickered too. Touya tilted his head and then looked back at Hiyori before he realized that his own father and cousin bought the one thing he remembered back when they were shopping in Ginza. “Don’t tell me you bought that….” Touya was shaking a little and everyone was concerned. “So Seiji?” Sojiro digressed the shaking Touya as he was now muttering words and shaking Hiyori back and forth before Makoto karate chopped the two of them to stop. Seiji looked up to see Sojiro’s eyes and took a sip of soda. “Yeah Gramps?” he said.

“When are you heading back to University?”

“Tomorrow morning.” Makoto’s eyes began to tear and she sniffed loudly. “Can’t you stay just a little longer?” her eyes were watery and Seiji waved his hands back and forth to calm his mother down. “I want to but they only gave us three days Mom!” he said with a chuckle. Makoto still had her eyes watery but she nodded slowly. Then the doorbell rang and a familiar voice was heard outside. “Makoto? Can you open please? My hands are a bit heavy.” Sae Niijima’s voice was heard and Touya, Hiyori, and Seiji’s ears were perked now as they twitched a little and ran towards the door to open for their Aunt.

“I’m opening first damn it!” Seiji yelled at Touya and Hiyori who were holding down his legs, struggling to move. “We’re opening it first!” Touya and Hiyori yelled back as they shoved Seiji down and ran towards the door before Futaba and Makoto grabbed their children and coughed loudly, their eyes piercing through them. “Hey….where are you manners?” they both said coldly as Hiyori and Touay shrieked, losing their colors. Ren then opened the door finally and invited Sae in. “Thank you Ren.” Sae said as she walked inside, leaving her heels in the front and walking to greet Sojiro and then to her sister before she saw Futaba and Makoto scolding at Hiyori and Touya. “I see it’s the same fiasco when I show up, huh?” she asked everyone who nodded in agreement.

Sae Niijima looked like herself after over twenty years of working with the profession of law. Her skin was still as smooth as ever, though a bit wrinkled in some parts due to her old age, almost fifty. Her hair was shorter too, and her large bang was a bit thinner too. Her red eyes still retained the authority look, but not so much nowadays as she looked at Touya and Seiji with a kind face. The ironic part was that she didn’t want Makoto to have children in the past. Sae was busy holding a large box, and was somewhat moving around too as there was a rustling inside. “What do you have in there, Sae?” Ren asked as she dropped it gently. “Wait until we hand out the gifts.” she said as she winked at Touya and Hiyori who were confused. They might have heard some barking too if they were not mistaken.

 


 

The gift giving was now in session as everyone gathered around Makoto to hand out their gifts. Ren and Hiyori went first to present the Buchimaru hoodies Hiyori mentioned during their shopping. “Hiyori! Thank you for this!” Makoto put on the hoodie and tossed her family one too. Ren wore his delightfully while the Niijima brothers sighed and put theirs on with guilt. “I hate you Hiyori....” Touya whispered to her as she was too busy smiling. “I’ll admit, the fabric is kinda nice too.” Ren said as he was flexing the hoodie, having everyone chuckle. Next came Sojiro and Futaba who presented her with a new laptop, a set of ponytails for her long hair, and more coffee bags. “We thought something simple would suffice this year. Plus this laptop is really good.” Hiyori nodded in agreement. Makoto thanked the two Sakuras and then it was Seiji’s turn before he joked saying that he was the present. That didn’t go too well on his end as he was being crushed by Makoto, hugging her oldest son tight. “Mom….can’t breathe…” he was tapping his mother’s shoulder before she stopped and apologized to his son.

Then it was finally Touya’s turn to hand out his gift. He was shaking a little as he was presenting it to his mother, and then decided to man up. His mother is already dealing with the fact that Touya is treading on the Metaverse now, so even if this wasn’t a good present, any present given by her son is worth it in her eyes. Touya then gave the bag to Makoto, who opened it and gasped as she held out the bracelet. Ren’s eyes widened as he was reminded about the same gift he got her back when they were in college. “Touya...this is…” she couldn’t believe her eyes as she looked at the engraving that said Queen. It was like Touya knew exactly that she had lost this way back, and looked at her son, who smiled nervously and gave him a big hug. “Mom?” he said in confusion. “Thank you Touya dear.” she said, muffled as she was tearing up once more. Touya hugged his mom back and then saw Makoto place the bracelet in her right wrist. “Thank you guys for all the gifts.” Sae then coughed before she brought the large box back, now moving frantically than ever. “This one was a tough decision to make my little sister.” Sae said as she was wrestling with the box now, and placed it nicely on the ground. Then barking was heard and everyone was now on the edge of their seats. “Aunt Sae...you did not….” Seiji blinked while Touya gulped. Brace for impact.

Sae opened the box and presented to everyone what appeared to be a fluffy gray shiba. Its fur was ruffled nicely and his blue eyes examined his new caretakers as he ruffed softly and ran striaght towards Touya, jumping onto him and lickig his face. “Okay that’s enough little guy!’ Touya grabbed the dog and placed them on his laps. Hiyori petted him. “Now I wish Mona was here.” Hiyori said as she felt the smoothness of the fur. Ren and Makoto looked at Sae as if she was crazy. “Since when were you into pets?” Makoto and Ren asked as she was nodding her head and having both her legs and arms crossed. “You guys like him? I named him Kiryu after the one you two played back in the day. What was it again?” Hiyori and Touya corrected their aunt by saying Yakuza and Sae snapped her fingers. “That’s the one!” Sae said with such innocence that got everyone laughing.

Makoto grabbed the dog now and got her face licked as he was wagging his tail back and forth. “I see Sis. Welcome to the family then Kiryu!” Kiryu ruffed and everyone began to circle around Makoto as the final moments of her birthday with a cute and furry dog in her lap. Hiyori then nudged Touya as they were busy with the pet. “Metaverse tomorrow and Sunday all day?” she whispered to which Touya nodded. “Yeah, but let’s focus on the dog for tonight before we head back to Daisuke. We still have time.” Touay gulped as he felt guilty saying it while he was enjoying his mother’s birthday. The past two days couldn’t expedite the process of Daisuke’s Palace, and here they are with a dog. Touya wondered how his parents managed the time back when they were Phantom Thieves, but he was yawning now as the day was coming to an end. Daisuke would have to wait until tomorrow after school for now.

 


 

Preview!

Souta Marika here!

Kitagawa Shun as well.

Shun stop eating so much snacks! It’s not healthy!

Sorry Marika, it’s a habit. Anyway...ready to enter the Palace once more after two days of break?

You bet your ass I’m excited to kick some butt like last time! Now that we have the location of the Members, we can get a key and head back to the fashion show’s entrance! This is going to be awesome!

We also get to decide our name. We can’t be called the Phantom Thieves too. Ruins the creativity of what we do.

You have a point there Shun. Next time on Persona: Next Generations! Saviors of Hearts Forged!

See you all next time!

 

Chapter Text

Once more they entered the Palace Mall that Saturday after school.

The gang now eager to head to the Member’s locations went through the saem route they entered from day one as the Shadows were bust guarding their second entry point. “Hiyori, you did a good job to hide our coordinates.” Iris said as they ran inside to greet the center of the Mall, still as dashing as ever with that fountain and the special runway event by the farthest point of the first building. Hiyori smirked as they ran, now taking a straight right from the center building to the third section of the Palace Mall. Wonder what awaited them as they ran through the same cognitive people and avoiding Shadow confrontation. Touya made sure Hiyori take the lead as she had the location of the Member’s room on lockdown. “Hey there’s another one of those Gold Shadows!” Satoshi yelled as they ran downstairs this time through the escalators, now in  another general hub area. They saw the Gold Shadows walking around, and to avoid them from seeing them, they used the large walking statues of female models that were around the hub.

When Touya saw a regular Shadow leave, he ran to latch onto the Gold Shadow to retrieve his now awarded Yen. “Same amount as last time…” Satoshi said with a tear in his eye as Iris pat her beau and Kazuya shook his head. Marika then pointed at the gang that they were by a Safe Room for them to relax for the moment and collect what they gather. “Plus all this running from the center building to here is killing me. Could use the couch that’s inside.” she teased everyone as they nodded and headed to the bathroom. This time in a timely fashioned manner, as the gang lead the girls inside before they entered. “Thank you gentlemen.” Iris and Marika complimented as they headed inside.

“Alright, so how close are we to the Member’s?” Satoshi asked while Shun was busy admiring is large shuriken as he summoned it on the back of the room. Marika told him to put away as he nodded. “We should be at least ten minutes away Metaverse time.” everyone raised an eyebrow when Hiyori mentioned Metaverse time. What did that mean?

Hiyori sighed as she grabbed her phone and showed everyone yet another tab that the Metaverse app had. She tapped on a tab that said Time in large red print letters and pressed it, showing them a timer of how long they spent in the Metaverse. It also gave them a ratio of how much time they were wasting in the real world. Everyone saw that the Metaverse time was approximately at an hour, while the real world time below it read it as merely ten minutes. “So the time is faster here…” Touko was in awe as Hiyori put the phone back. “Corect! Mom showed me it when I was running to get to school with Mari and I forgot to show you guys. My bad.” she chuckled as she fixed her cat headband. “This makes sense too when we leave and become tired as hell.” Satoshi said as he relaxing his arms and slanted himself a bit on the chair. Hiyori nodded and raised her index finger. “So it means the more we explore in let’s say three hours here, it’s really thirty minutes back home.” Touya said as he thought out loud before he removed his hand form his chin and looked at everyone. “Well rested now?” they replied with a “Yes” and Touya opened the Safe Room to continue their journey to the Member’s room.

Time to get the card-before Hiyori dragged him back inside. “We can’t just show up in the room and expect them to give a card. There could be guards and Daisuke too.” she chastised her cousin as she was smacking his head on the side as a reprimanding. Touya was confused and stopped Hiyori before he spoke. “So what do we do then Hiyo” Shun asked as Hiyori gathered everyone once more.

Hiyori smiled as nudged Touya. “Send out your newest troops. They could help us out.”

“I’ll summon Cain. She’s more soft spoken than Abel.” Touya felt a ping of pain from Abel once he said that. “ I swear I will fuse you with Ianus or Jack if you quit with these acts of yours.” He communed with Abel who simply gave him a middle finger in his head. That got him to tick while everyone was confused.

Touya then summoned Cain, who was sniffing a little as tears were in her eyes and a small bump on her head. “What happened Cain?” Touko asked while Cain hugged Touko and then pointed at Touya. “Abel! Why would you do that!” was all she said as Touya sighed and got everyone situated so they can figure out a plan.

Once the Water Sister Persona was calmed down, she looked at the map with curiosity. “If I remember, there should be a back entrance like the one you entered to meet us. It’s not far and is in one of the clothing store’s vents.” she pointed to a small store that was five minutes away from the Safe Room. “Once you enter here, there should be a small room filled with unused Membership Cards. Abel or I can help you with the registration.” Hiyori tsked as she summoned her holograms with the snap of her fingers. “I think I can take care of it Cain.” she said rather jealous as Cain simply nodded and looked at Touya before she hugged him now. “Summon Abel when you can please...she’s in fiery mood. Literally.” she whispered once her blue hair touched Touya’s, and her body was pressed more against his. It made Touya flustered and dizzy as he nodded and sent Cain back to his phone. “I forgot she had Soft Touch….” Touya huffed and puffed while Touko was stammering and equally as flustered before Iris and Marika patted her back in shame.

 


 

They reached the clothing store and as expected for a Palace that was a mall, many of the cognitive people were piling up the rather “small” store. Once they reached the front of it, they noticed just how large the doors were as they went through the cognitions with ease. “Let’s split up into two groups like last time.” Iris whispered as they agreed, breaking off as four went to the left and the rest to the right. “Alright, where’s the vent…” Touya looked around as they passed a few shirts and fragrances from the store. He even inspected at a mannequin of Daisuke’s head. “Of course you would have the audacity to do that…” Touya sighed as he moved past it and then looked at Iris and Touko, who were by the women’s section of the pants. “Did you find the vent?” he asked them.

“No...but we’ll keep looking.” they said as they continued walking leisurely. Satoshi on the other hand was being bombarded by a bunch of cognitive girls as they surrounded him and asked him a bunch of questions. “Ladies...ladies...I’ll answer your questions! Now regard to the first gi-” he was grabbed by Iris and chucked at the wall from faraway. “Iris! I’m sorrryyyy!” he yelled as his body hit the wall after being thrown five feet across. Touya’s eyes widened and Touko was busy looking around to see if any Shadows were alert. “Ow…” Satoshi said as he shook his head and then felt a breeze behind his back. He looked and saw the vent they needed to go to. “Iris! Thank you actually! I found the vent!” he yelled as Iris’ ears perked now and then motioned Touya and Touko to head his direction. “I’ll tell the others.” Touko said as she called them to tag along.

After they reached Satoshi’s destination, Iris looked at him and then hugged. “I know you didn’t mean any of that.” she said as she kissed him lightly. Satoshi chuckled nervously but nodded. “My bad..wasn’t expecting the cognition to actually be of interest to you.”

“Which leads to the question of why.” Touya said as he was propping the vent with Kazuya, exerting a little of their muscles to pry it open. The last time was easier as Jack Frost froze some of it when they climbed the icy stairs. Yet he didn’t need to summon his little friend now until much later. Needed to preserved the energy.

That was what he thought until Abel was somehow summoned without him knowing, relaxing her hands as she breathed a little of fire on them to dry her...nails? Touya was confused on the fact she was summoned as he approached her and gave her a smack on the head. “How the hell are you out here?” he asked irritated before Abel reciprocated with an undercut. “Because I’m so bored! You summoned Cain and not me? Really? That hurts my feelings.” she said with a fiery tongue and a cheeky tone of voice. Touko’s eye was beginning to twitch and was ready to summon his twin pistols before Shun told her to leave it be. Touya then gave Abel another smack and then yelled at her some more to go back to the phone and wait for her time to shine. Abel huffed and then rubbed the big bump on her head while Touya planted a hand on his face. “Let’s head inside the vent and get those membership cards.” he let everyone inside first before he looked to see if Daisuke was around.

Sure enough he was as he was walking with a certain familiar face. Her complexion seemed exactly like that of Mayu’s though her brown eyes were yellow like Shadow Daisuke’s and her long hair seems more shortened. She was clinging onto him despite having her arms a bit bruised up, and Daisuke rubbed her head as they walked. Touya gritted his teeth and went inside to see what awaited them this time. “Please don’t be another freaking Cain and Abel…” he prayed.

 


 

“Makoto?! What are you doing here at a time like this?” Ann saw Makoto enter her office as she was busy fanning herself with a fan she took out of her work purse. “I have a small break for now and Taeko is in charge. Plus I was called around the area because someone ‘needed to see the commissioner or else they won’t leave the area’. People can be a pain sometimes.” Makoto finished fanning and looked around Ann’s office. “Like what you did with the place. Reminds me of mine.” she smiled. Ann reciprocated and then cleared her throat. “It’s nice of you to stop by Makoto. Want anything before you go?”

“Yes I do actually. Heard from Yusuke and Shiho when I walked in about the outfits.” Ann let out a “aha” as she stood up and went to the folder titled  “Top Secret” and showed Makoto the folder. “We spent three all nighters on the designs so far and the alterations in some of them are crazy.” Ann grumbled as she crossed her arms and looked at Makoto’s expression change when she saw Touya and Touko’s designs. Touya’s coat blazer would reach at a certain point of his lower arms, with the cuffs as large as Ren’s back in the day. He would also don a shirt with a suit vest attached to it that was black to go with his charcoal v-neck shirt. She noticed the chain that would be on Touya’s left arm would be gone but the red bandana would remain.

Makoto then looked at Touko’s and saw how it truly resembled the shy girl. Having a theme of a nun and yet with what Touya had, she had a small short sleeve hoodie that would drag on like a coat for her and act as a skirt with leggings and boots to go with. The small hoodie had a nice tint of white with light blue and hues of black to go with her leggings and boots. It even reminded Makoto of Johnna and Anat. “These must’ve taken a long time to make.” she said as she handed it back to Ann. Ann blew out some steam and almost yelled at Makoto. “It’s so much work! Why didn’t they get theirs like how we got ours in the Metaverse! This is costing me almost two million yen and I’m surprised I have that amount with what’s going on for the fashion show.” she was breathing slowly as she let out her frustration at her friend, who was looked at her with a sense of understanding. “At least the payoff will be good.” Makoto went back to Touko’s design in her head. The fact that it looked priestly and yet with a sense of style led Makoto to smile. “ Touko-chan. I do wish for you to be with my son in the future.” she thought as she stood up and waved Ann goodbye.

Ann meanwhile as Makoto left the room, looked at Iris’ outfit design the most before she went back to her stressful rage, throwing at it to the next person who walked into the room that was none other than Shiho. “Ann! Calm down!” Shiho yelled as she was relaxing the Takamaki, her adult head covered on her arms as she sat on her office chair. “I just want to get these done…” she said muffled. Shiho laughed. “Me too Ann. Me too.”

 


 

Touya and the gang were now by the Membership card back entrance.

After walking around for roughly an additional ten minutes to avoid the Shadows there, there were moments where Touya had to fight some. Then he noticed yet another type of Shadow: it was sort of blue velvet like and smaller than the other ones.

It was wearing a sort of suit like the Gold Shadows, yet his mask looked rather blue and gold, and had two V shapes sticking out like edges. Touya examined the Shadow once more before he realized what it could’ve been. “Velvet Room...so a Persona is what I should get if I remove the mask.” Touya said to himself before he told everyone to wait. He then crept his way through the walls and the ventilation pipes to then latch onto the Shadow and remove its mask.

The Shadow’s mask was removed, then turned into a blue orb in Touya’s hand. The body disappeared and Touya laid there looking at the orb before it floated to the phone in his pocket. Touya then checked his phone, tapping on the bar to see the icons, to which he saw a new one with the shape of a book below the Persona icon. It read Compendium on it. Touya tapped it, intrigued by how it had showed up in his phone now. There he looked at a list of would be Personas and the ones that he had obtained thus far and looked at the latest one being a Pixie. He examined the small blue flying elf and then read the description of it. “Whoa...so this is like a Pokedex then!” Satoshi said as he went to check his phone but saw that the icon wasn’t there. So did the others. “But how come that Persona’s not on your team?” Touko asked Touya to which he shrugged. “Guess I can use special Personas? I have no idea Touko.” he said genuinely. He needed to ask the master himself that was Igor.

“This is still pretty cool...no fair Touya!” Marika yelled at him as she was punching his back furiously. Kazuya stopped her as he lifted her and placed her on his shoulder. “Mari...could you please be civil?” Marika blew some steam and grunted. Everyone else laughed as they continued walking.

They reached the back entrance of the Member’s Room as they took a peek by one of the walls they were hiding behind from the Shadows. Touya was the first to peek, along with Hiyori and the somewhat summoned Abel as Touya felt her fiery body beginning to touch his. He was becoming dizzy...before he summoned Jack Frost in a instant to avoid being Soft Touched again. “Damn it Abel…” he muttered as he tapped the back of two Shadows, disappeared once they turned around to meet both of Kazuya’s brass knuckles, knocking them on the ground and evaporated. “Thanks Kazuya.” Touya fist pumped Kazuya as they continued forward. Hiyori then opened the door slowly, her usual cat ears intrigued and her cat tooth sticking out. “Ohoho! Wonder what’s inside door number one?” she nyaed before everyone yelled at her to open it already.

Before long, they opened the storage room that had thousands of Membership Cards lying about. Some were stacked with boxes filled to the brim of them, others just scattered on the floor. Everyone was excited as they didn’t need to worry about getting a card. Each could get  their own and everything would be alright. “Let’s each get a card and get it registered with Hiyori.” Touko said to which everyone nodded in agreement. “If you want, Hiyo, I can summon Cain again.” Touya felt a ping again. “ Abel...I swear…” he comuned as Abel once again gave him the middle finger and stuck her tongue out at him. Touya swore he would thrash her around in the Velvet Room when they were done with this.

Hiyori nodded and Touya summoned Cain, and thus he walked around to get his card to register. As he grabbed one, he saw how transparent they can be as he moved it in the light of the room. It shone a rainbow color too.

Now that everyone grabbed a card from the horde that surrounded them, each took a short turn to register a fake name for them. Touya decided to go for Sora and Satoshi Riku which Hiyori thought was a stupid way to pay homage to Kingdom Hearts, while Iris decided call her’s Erika. “Well Mom met this voice actress and she was going to call me by that name.” Iris tried to defend her name choice. Everyone just shook their heads. Once they all took turns form Hiyori and Cain, Touya hollered at everyone to head to the back entrance once more. “Now let’s go through here and then head straight to the runaway!”

“No so fast you wandering idiots.” Shadow Daisuke’s voice held above Touya’s. Touya turned his head to see Shadow Daisuke, as flamboyant as ever with two guards right beside him. The Niijima also noticed Daisuke’s eyes were dimming, meaning they were close to saving his heart. “Daisuke! Enough of this!” Touya yelled to see if maybe this time he could stop the shadow form causing more chao inside the heart of the real world Daisuke. Shadow Daisuke scoffed, and presented his arms to everyone as he raised them, in order to then throw a knife back at Touya. Touya saw the predictability of the move and swiftly sifter his body to the right. “It won’t work like last time.” Touya said as he summoned his kukri knife. The others did with their weapons, all standing behind Touaya. Shadow Daisuke’s eyes twitched and he snapped his fingers. “Make sure to really kill them this time. Not like those pathetic twins I sent them.”

“Who the hell are you calling PATHETIC!” Abel was summoned now, besides Touya to the right with her eyes filled with fire and her fists ready to throw down. “I swear I will burn down that stupid grin on your face.” Abel gritted her teeth and then turned to Touya who nodded. That got Shadow Daisuke as he too gritted his teeth but calmed himself down. “It doesn’t matter in the end. My plan to perfect beauty is almost complete! The runway will be a spectacle soon!” his yellow eyes then stared at everyone. “Unfortunately you won’t be there to see it.” he left the room now. “Again my guards! Kill them!” he yelled and just when the last word was uttered, the guards transformed into Personas once more as an Obariyon and more Pixies were seen in the fray.

“Better get that short guy for your roster.” Satoshi whispered as he was relaxing his arm to swing. Touya sighed. “If I can then yes.” he replied as he took his usual stance to fight. “But for now, let’s fight!” Touya ran towards the Obariyon now with Abel, eager to swing the first blow as she pushed Touya...rather kicked him aside as she landed the Fire Punch on the Obariyon. Obariyon dodged and proceeded to attack before Touya regain his balance and then drop kick the Obariyon and Abel to the ground. “Teamwork Abel! Learn how to do that!” he yelled in agitation. Touko sighed as she shoot at the Pixies with ease, sending them to the ground so Kazuya and Mariak cna deal the final blow. “Nice.” Kazuya and Marika complimented each other.

“Guys! More are coming!” Hiyori sniped now what were a horde of Jack Frost, and Satoshi was busy defending her as he summoned Artorias as a shield. “Shun! To the left!” Satoshi yelled as she slashed through more summoned Obariyons. Shun nodded and unsheathed his katana, summoning Niten Doraku as well to create a swift whirlwind with his blades. The whirlwind pushed off a number of the Pixies and Obiriyons, but the Jack Frosts persisted as they used Bufus to freeze their legs and stay in place. Touya then looked back at Abel, who was now eager for more. Touya chastised her. “You’re a part of me Abel! I essentially hurt myself with the drop kick. You’re not a Shadow anymore so be more still.”

“Gee I’m sorry I’m an impatient Persona. I just want some action!” Abel set out a breath of Agi at the Jack Frosts’ feets, causing them to fall down and Kazuya to summon Ifrit to deal the finishing move. Ifrit howled as he created a barrage of fire balls towards the Jack Frosts, causing them to melt and disappear.

Touko then helped Iris by lunging her in the air, Iris to then use her twin lance to cut off the wings of the Pixies. The wings were cut off and that the right time for Touko and Hiyori to shoot them as the bullets pierced through them and made them disappear too. “Is that all of them?” Touko huffed her question. She was getting tired. Touya nodded, but then more came, making them go back to fighting mode. “Abel...is there a backup exit we can take?” Touya asked his Persona who shook her head. “Sorry but we’re cornered at the moment.”

Abel was scratching her leg. It was cut as black blood was seen dripping down. Touya also felt the pain wince in the same direction. “Abel...take a break.” he said to her calmly now, which confused Abel.

“No! My leg is fine!”

“Yeah but I’m not fine!” Touya yelled as he kicked a few more Shadows, now being regular Shadows, down. “You’re hurting me if you keep going!” Touya felt his head go dizzy as he was trying his best to fight.

Touko saw and sent out Heloise to use Media on the gang to heal, which made Touya feel better as he then switched Personas as soon as Abel was ready to go for round two, summoning Jack Frost. “Jack! Bufu them so we can get out!” Touya looked at Iris who nodded ot do the same. Then he looked at the others. “Kazuya, have Ifrit stay so the ice doesn’t get to you guys.” Kazuya gave a thumbs up and looked at Ifrit who blew some fire from his nose. “Anything for Master’s friends.” Ifrit then stood aside and had his arms out, making everyone goi behind him. “It’s kinda cozy.” Marika said out loud as she spectated Touya and Iris pulling off the same combo as before. This time it would be an escape plan.

Jack Frost and Catalina then summoned Mabufu, as their barrages of ice formed into a big blizzards, sending the Shadows flying and Touya and Iris to lose their balance as they were sent flying as well. Touko and Satoshi caught their arms once they flew back. “Thank you.” they complimented, then looking back at a tired Jack Frost, and a worried Catalina as she carried Jack Frost back once the fight was truly over. “I’m...very tired...hee..hoo.” Jack Frost’s chest was heaving effortlessly to breath. Touya received Jack Frost and understood his pain as he too was tired. “It’s okay little buddy. Relax for now.” Touya summoned him back on his phone and called on Touko to heal everyone once more. “We should leave now and deal with him later.” Kazuya informed everyone as they headed to the back entrance of the Member’s Room so they can shortcut and head back to the real world.

 


 

They returned back to the real world now, each of them slanting on the railings of the Shibuya Station’s entryway. Touya held his head up in exhaustion while he was busy rubbing his hands. “Man that was some escape we had there.” he said to which everyone nodded slowly. Satoshi gulped down a bottle of soda alongwith Marika. “Imagine the other Palaces if we continue to do this.” he said with a “ah” at the end.

“Imagine Daisuke when we confront him.” Marika retorted as she stood up,brushing her skirt and then looking at the clock on her phone. “We left when exactly Hiyori?”

“We left as soon as school ended, and it took us ten minutes to get to Ginza so it we’re talking about-” Touko cut Hiyori short when she answered that they left at 4:10 in the afternoon. “So that means we were there in real time for three hours.” Iris showed everyone that it was 7:30.

“We have to take into account the fact that time moves fast in the Metaverse. Meaning we were there for possibly an entire day.” that shocked everyone. To be in another world for almost a day while getting back to the real world was merely three ours baffled Touya. Though it did give him the reason as to why they easily get tired once they do leave. It’s essentially like jet lag as he placed it in his mind.

For a few more minutes they chatted and then later came to a revelation that no one thought about as they talked about Daisuke. Hiyori showed them the map, at least of what they know of as of now. She pointed to the place they needed to go, be it tomorrow or the next day, but there was no sign of a treasure as Morgana and his parents have told them when they first talked about the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. It was strange and Touya tried to look around the map a couple of times before he finally came to the conclusion. “So we’re not stealing a treasure like our parents…”

“But instead we’re saving the person from its Shadow.” Shun put so so bluntly as he had his arms crossed like Kazuya, and his other eye that was usually being covered by his large bang was shown. Everyone nodded. “So we’re not Phantom Thieves...but what exactly?” Iris asked to which Hiyori and Satoshi’s green eyes lit up with such compassion and intensity that they skyrocketed and almost blurted out what they needed to say. “We’re more like Saviors of Hearts!” they yelled cheerfully as they high fived each other and gave a teasing wink at everyone. Touya chuckled nervously as he backed away from the two. “Saviors of Hearts, huh?” Touko said as she was thinking about before she giggled. “I like the name.” she looked at Touya who blushed his usual blush when they locked eyes.

“It does have a nice ring to it.” Touya scratched his cheek. Satoshi nodded feverishly. “Of course it does! It makes sense too.” Satoshi then patted Touya’s back and laughed. “Unless the Leader has a better name, then I’m down.” Touya guished at the word Leader once more before he refuted as to why he is the leader. Everyone laughed at the awkward Niijima Touya as he was stuttering a little before he regained his composure. “Anyway...Saviors of Hearts is perfectly fine!” he concluded with a smirk.

“Also, how are you holding up?’ Kazuya asked him afterwards. Touya blinked his eyes in confusion before he realized what he meant. Abel and Touya’s fatigue during the battle with the horde of Shadows. Touya began to think for a moment about that encounter and how Abel’s reckless behavior not only hurt her but hurt Touya as well during the fight. He knew that Personas are the embodiment of the person, hence Ianus being an embodiment of Touya himself. Yet these Personas were also individualized and have their own unique quirks and abilities that Touya hadn’t had the chance to touch upon. Abel was one of them but she won’t sit still to even take a glimpse. “I think I need to learn more about them with my dad. He had the same ability as me.” he told everyone before he finished the thought and reassured them that he’s alright. “ Abel...you almost killed me today. Ianus, Jack Frost, and Cain tired me out, but you actually cause me pain. Learn to restrain yourself.” Touya comuned with his Persona a she looked at her stats on the MetaNav App before they headed out and separated their ways for the night.

 


 

Preview!

Okumura Kazuya here.

And Niijima Touya!

It’s going to be a wild ride next time. More fighting, Shadow Daisuke and his distorted beauty, and much more.

You make it sound so boring in a sense Kazuya...but you’re right either way. And Daisuke was tough to finally break and fight too. And we had to use the girls to do it too…

No...not that plan...Marika still holds it above my head to this day..

Same here...this was actually the first time I saw Touko mad at me…

Anyway let’s leave that behind Touya. Next time on Persona: Next Generations! Shadow Held Hostage!

Don’t miss it!

See you next time!

Chapter Text

Daisuke was busy getting dressed for his usual photo shoots that Sunday early morning. He was in busy fixing the black tie and the suit vest he was going to wear for the calendar shoot before he was doubting himself. He began to sigh endlessly, even to the point where he looked at his mirror in his room. There he was, his silvery hair all perked up and fancied, his Renaissance styled vest with the flamboyant white button down underneath it and the dark pants and boots. He continued to look at his other self in that mirror and shook his head rapidly to make it go away. “You had your shot...now you’re killing me inside.” he said as he was grabbing he headed out of his apartment. Shadow Daisuke stood there in the mirror and smirked. “Are you sure? Is it because you gave up to commiting to a cause? It’s a shame you would give up now.” Daisuke felt a tug in his heart. He groaned for a bit and then staggered, falling to the floor. “No..because I let a monster like you in.” he said softly as he left.

He went towards his mailbox in case any early mail arrived from him. Considering he is a well known male model, there would be an abundance of mail. Sure enough he was indeed correct as once he opened the mailbox, loads of letters and cards flew out like a stampede. He even fell to the floor. “Ow…” he rubbed his back, and suddenly a small card fell on his laps. Daisuke looked at it and examined the card and its features. “What is this?” he asked himself as he saw the logo.

The logo had a black fedora hat above a sort of heart shape icon that was a crimson red. The heart was slanted sideways and fire was bursting out of it, similar to the one from the Phantom Thieves of Hearts that he read on textbooks. The background was a nice shade of red with hints of what appeared to be a deep pink though he couldn’t tell as he was busy reading the bottom of the logo. “We’re here to Save Your Heart...:” he turned the back as going back to what he learned about the Phantom Thieves, this was surely a calling card for him. But for what?

He read the back now. “Daisuke Shiro, abuser of Beauty: Your passion and lust for perfecting Beauty shall come to an end. For you abused its privilege, its ideals, and its methods, to the point of abusing others to get in your way. We cannot accept it anymore. For we, the Saviors of Hearts shall put an end to your hunger quest for Beauty and bring back the man you were before. From, The Saviors of Hearts.” he finished reading and stood up now. “Saviors of Hearts...save me?” he questioned before his mind began to hurt and he was now back with Shadow Daisuke, now in a state of anger and hatred. “Them brats! How dare they disrupt my quest for perfecting beauty! I shall show them what it means to get in my way.” Shadow Daisuke left now, leaving Daisuke back to his state of flooded fan mail. There was one on the floor from Mayu too.

 


 

The Saviors of Hearts were by the Ginza Station Square now, waiting for Shun to arrive. Touya was twirling his phone on his fingers, something his father taught him when he was a kid and Satoshi was as usual flirtatious with Iris. Kazuya had his arms crossed and Marika was eager to head to the shops before she was stopped by Kazuya himself. Hiyori’s cat ears were piqued with enthusiasm as she was unable to calm down. “When are we entering? We sent the card right?” she kept asking. Touko had to calm her down. “When Shun arrives, we’ll know.”

“How long does the effect of the calling card last?” Kazuya asked Touya to which he shrugged. “I’m guessing according to what my dad told me, we have the entire day today.” Touya replied before his phone pinged, receiving a text form Shun. “Shun’s here now! And he said that Daisuke got the calling card too.” he told everyone. Hiyori was beyond excited. “Alright! Our first mission is almost over!” she was jumping up and down. Iris and Touko continued to further calm her down. “Do we wait for him or we head straight to the Palace?” Satoshi asked.

“He told us to enter now. He should be coming in a minute.” Touya replied once more before he activated the MetaNav. “Alright guys: who knows what await us. This is our first time as the newly founded Saviors of Hearts. Who knows what could happen now that we sent in the calling card.” Touya spoke more of a formal leadership tone now, something that amazed everyone as their heads tilted in confusion. Satoshi smirked. “Alright then Leader!” Touya got back to his regular tone of voice now to digress being called Leader until Kazuya and Marika coughed to get the ball rolling. Touya then accessed the Metaverse. “Time to Save A Heart!” he yelled as they entered back into the Palace Mall.

 


 

Once they arrived into the Palace Mall, they noticed all the doors were filled with Guards. Touya split the gang into two once more so that they can get an easier advantage  going on both the middle and right side, the two places they used to enter the Palace in the first place. Touya made sure to keep his distance while avoiding the Shadows as they crept their way inside now from the bazaar to the central building of the mall. “How’s everyone on the right side?” he asked.

“We’re good!” Marika yelled back on the phone.

“Alright, let’s head inside now.” Touko mentioned. Satoshi raised a fist and was excited. “Our first mission is almost over! Yahoo!” Iris shushed him. “It’s not over until it’s over.” she reassured her beau to which he chuckled and nodded in apology. Touya then ripped a few masks from the guards, as well as another Velvet Shadow, gaining the Persona Obariyon in his Compendium tab. Once that was over, he swung open the door to head towards the Runway now.

He saw Kazuya and the others in the distance now, jumping form the second floor to the fist now by the central building’s fountain. The cognitive people saw this and began to take out their cognitive photos and record the events that were transpiring. “We got quite the fan base.” Satoshi smirked as they continued running towards the Runway event. More Shadows appeared now in front of them, eager to summon their Persona arsenal. That was until Hiyori and Touko shot at their heads to snap their masks into two. “Nice!” Hiyori high fived Touko. Touya smiled and urged everyone to grab the membership cards and head inside for the finale.

The Saviors of Hearts skipped the line as they brushed past the cognitive flamboyees and threw the membership cards at the guards face now, giving them an indication that they now had access to the place where the treasure belonged to. Daisuke’s heart.

“Alright we made it!” Marika jumped up and down numerous times before she was stopped by the gang. “We need to confront Shadow Daisuke.” Touya said. “And this is a new area entirely so we need to be on the lookout as well.” everyone nodded. They walked carefully now as they began to explore the last remaining portion of the Palace Mall.

 


 

The Runway Event segment was just as large as the Palace itself. Guards were seen at every corner now that they sent the Calling Card that morning. They took turns walking around the hallways of the event, their feet tainting the crimson rugs. More cognitive people were walking around as well, the same looking people with their eccentric outfits. The good thing Touya and the gang fit as their casual clothing merged with their aesthetics. It was a little uncomfortable however and Touya wondered when will they get their out Metaverse outfits like the ones their parents had. That was something to ask the cat later.

“Guards went to the right Touya.” Kazuya spotted two Shadows chatting and their batons in their arms heading to make a turn on the right of the large hallway. Touya thanked the Okumura and sprinted to the next hallway, their bodies close to the dressing rooms. Mairka was tempted to take a peek but Satoshi and Shun  made sure they stop her at any cost. “We don't want to alert the guards more so than we already did.” Shun reminded her as she sighed. “I want to see the dresses some of them have…” she said as she sniffed a few tears. Kazuya’s eye twitched. “Later I’ll take you to Ginza.” he said regretfully as Marika was back in full swing. “That’s a promise you must keep Kaz.” Marika warned him as he waved it off as a sign of “fine”.

They ventured further until they found what appeared to be two large dark brown doors with oval shaped glass in the center. Raving lights of all kinds were seen behind it from the windows, and a booming voice was heard. It was the announcer’s. “Welcome everyone! Hope you all are ready to enjoy this amazing experience that is this year’s Special Runway event!” cheers were heard everywhere as they reverberated through the walls. Touya looked at everyone as he carefully opened the door...before he used Sixth Sense to see three Shadows approached them. The Shadows looked rather feminine this time around, having the stereotypical hourglass figure and their mask slimer to meet their red dots for eyes. The gang prepared themselves but they weren’t planning on attacking. Instead they looked at the girls and yelled at them. “You four! We need you back in the dressing room for the fashion show! It’s starting soon!” one of them yelled while the other two Shadows nodded. Touya let out a “huh” along with everyone else as they gave them a questioning look. That was until Touya got an idea as he whispered to the girls. “Go with them.” he said.

“Huh?!” Touko said flustered. “Why?”

“It could give us an easier advantage to get Daisuke out of his little trance. Shows him that we broke through his defenses.” Marika wasn’t too sure of the idea as she was being ticked off and was close to kick Touya to oblivion until Iris shook her head. “We’ll do it Touya don’t you worry.” she smiled before she looked at Satoshi and gave him a teasing wink. Satoshi’s eyes turned into hearts and later glowed brightly as he ran and hugged Iris. “Darling! You’ll look stunning on the runway!” he said with tears. Iris patted his head and giggled before she returned her devilish tease to both Touya and Touko. She let out some air, and the two of them blushed madly as they knew what she meant. “Huh...HUH?!” Touya and Touko both yelled as they shook their heads, counted to ten with their fingers and then smiled nervously. “ Iris!” they heard their Personas laugh at their faces. “ Shut up!” they communed back.

After the exchange back and forth, the girls agreed and were taken by the Shadows to their “dressing rooms”. Touya then nodded to the guys to then head inside the runway.

 


 

Touya and the guys stayed behind the shadows as they silently walked their way around the large runway. Cognitive people were piling their seats one by one besides the large platform and the guys were busy staying as far as they can. They noticed Shadow Daisuke by the second floor, binoculars with the stick in his hand as he was watching the gang dare step foot into the place. Guards were with him of course, and Touya noticed two Velvet Shadows to his right. Wonder what Personas awaited their mask removal.

For the most part, the platform was raised roughly four feet high above the ground, the lights illuminating a the T-shaped platform. The orbs didn’t rotate thankfully as the guys were by the dark and pushing some of the cognitive people as they took their own seats. “I’ll be back guys.” Touya hinted to the Velvet Shadows from earlier. The others nodded.

“Wonder what the gals will wear? I bet bikinis are going to be a thing. It has to be.” Satoshi’s mouth was beginning to drool. “At ease Satoshi.” Kazuya smirked back as he crossed his arms and saw Shun with a bag of chips in his hands. Kazuya, confused, asked him. “Oh this? Somehow the Vending Machines here work like in the real world. Good stuff too.” he munched on some more before he passed it around. Kazuya and Satoshi accepted the kind offer and munched silently while Touya came back wiping his hands. “Two guards down...and three Personas in the Compendium.” he said with a smile as he opened the Compendium tab and saw Bugs, Jack O’Lantern, and Nekomata registered. Touya then noticed the gang eating some chips and ate some as well.

After a few minutes, a mist appeared in the center of the stage, and the announcer was shown, his booming voice ready to take some action. Equally as flamboyant as Shadow Daisuke, his hair slicked straight up in a spiky manner, glowing with the purest of whites. He had glasses on his face, and he couldn’t stop smiling as he was presenting the special event. “Ladies and Gentleman!” the crowd roared. Shadow Daisuke was pleased as he laid in his special boxed area, wavering the pleasure all to himself. Touya clutched his knuckles when he saw. Satoshi then poked Touya. “So what’s the plan exactly with the gals?” he asked.

“They’ll throw Daisuke off guard simply by showing up. I doubt he knows we’re here and given the Shadows from before, it looked like we may have killed off the Cognitive versions of us.” he said pondering the assumption. Here’s hoping he was correct. The announcer continued on, getting the crowd riled up and eager to see the passion that Daisuke Shiro had thrown in this Palace Mall. A rather disgusting sight to see as it was nothing but tainted and corrupt beauty. “Alright! First on the event is none other the elegant dresses! Then, the ladies here will have a  very special Bikini Showdown!” the guys heard the cognitive men roar with enthusiasm. And faces drooled too.

“Yes!” Satoshi yelled with might as he jumped from his seat before Kazuya punched him back down. Touya’s eyes widen and Shun was still as impassive as ever as he stood there looking around. “ Touko...in...a..swimsuit?!” Touya couldn’t believe his luck. Sure there was that one time during their first year where they went to the beach, but he barely remembered that day as he was busy looking away. Now was his chance to admire the feat!

The cognitive female models appeared little by little, and it was the girls’ turn...well everyone but Hiyori as she somehow appeared back with the guys. “Nope...not going that crap.” she said as she was swinging her body back and forth and then stuttered something else about size.

First up was Iris as her hair was tied to a ponytail, her headband gone from her head. A large black ribbon was holding the ponytail and she was busy flaunting a stunning black dress with long leggins and heels. She did a pose that was rather seductive for her age, causing Satoshi to whistle and yelled out Iris numerous times. Kazuya punched his to oblivion.

Next came Marika, her short red hair and long strand to the right still intact and was doning a deep velvet dress with a jacket to go along with it. She had closed heels and she was having the time of her life as she, like Iris, posed. “Bet you’re enjoying this one Ka-gah!” Kazuya swung Satoshi to the wall. Though Kazuya did had a little pink in his cheeks. Hiyori poked Satoshi to check if he was alive. She gave a thumbs up.

Touko wasn’t seen, and that worried Touya as he was trying to look for her. Then he got notified by Hiyori that she’s fine. “She wasn’t feeling it.” Hiyori said plainly when Touya huffed some air as he shook his head. Then he looked back at Daisuke as he was gritting his teeth, yet stayed there watching in silence for the next event.

The announcer than announced the Bikini Showdown, where all the female models would wear a special swimsuit that entailed their “desires” and their “passions”. His words, not Touya’s as he was busy looking at Daisuke before the curtain drew and the models appeared now, one after the other. The guys then noticed the girls, as their eyes widened.

Some say that Marika’s chest size was larger than most girls, but the gang knew she hid it well with the uniform and with her casual clothes. However with a slim white swimsuit, her assets were used to her advantage. She was even enjoying it as she posed along with Iris, whose chest size was the second largest, wearing a green swimsuit. Satoshi and Kazuya’s nose began to bleed. Touya sighed as he saw the two before he saw Touko, behind Iris and Marika, and his dark grey eyes betrayed him as he gulped. Touko was there blushing madly as she held her right arm with her left, hiding her chest size as she was walking nervously. She wore a blue swimsuit and had her eyes looking down in embarrassment.

Then she saw Touya, and the two locked eyes as Touya was beginning to blush mad as well. The crowd roared louder than last time and Daisuke clapped sarcastically as his yellow eyes stared down the gang now. “Well played.” he mouthed the words as he snapped his fingers and then rose up, and boomed his voice. “The event is now unfortunately over everyone! Please leave to your right as we have uninvited guests!” he bellowed as the crowd gasped and the guards pushed them to the exits. The Saviors of Hearts stayed where they were as they were ready to fight now, weapons summoned and their phones out as well. The girls joined them as well, their swimsuits now gone and their regular clothes and aesthetics back. “Nice job you guys.” Shun congratulated the girls, which they giggled before shooting a look at Satoshi and Kazuya. “Oh come on…” Satoshi said as he was defending himself from Iris who pressed her body close to his to give a mean look. Marika on the other hand was busy arguing with Kazuya and yelled at him to wipe his nose. Touko looked away form Touya as she was still retaining her blush. “ Iris…” she thought to herself before they heard clapping from afar.

Shadow Daisuke then appeared, walking and clapping with guards to his sides. “Bravo for ruining the passion and the beauty in this runway.” he tsked as he looked at the platform. “But I’m afraid your games are over! Give it up already for you will never save your precious friend from me!” he took out a rose from his sleeve and placed it in his mouth as he spread his arms upwards. “For the rose bud is the most magnificent thing in the flower, the thorns are what brings it might.” he said as she pointed to Touya with such passion, locking eyes. “And such thorns will pierce right through you. Guards!” he snapped his head as indication for the guards to summon their Personas. Touko and Hiyori shot down like last time and Satoshi jumped as far as he could to sing his sword through one. “Sorry Daisuke...but we’re not letting you get away this time.” he said coldly as the Shadow as he gritted his teeth.

“Why you…” he went to strike Satoshi before Kazuya punched Shadow Daisuke, knicling him back a few feet. Satoshi thanked him. Touya stepped foot now, his kukri knife backwards and he was fixing his small fedora hat and the feathers. “How many times do we have to say it!? You’re hurting the real world version of yourself if you pursue this lust for beauty! This corruption! You could get himself killed!” He  balled his left hand in rage. “Mayu is waiting for you….Mayu is waiting for you Daisuke!” he yelled to see if that convinced the Shadow to give up and to return to his former self.

“Shut up….shut up….SHUT UP!” Shadow Daisuke roared with such anger and hatred as she pulled himself back up. His yellow eyes were glowing brightly, and he was panting loudly, exasperated. “YOU WON’T DARE DESTROY MY FUTURE. YOU WON’T DARE TO DEFY THE NATURE OF BEAUTY.” his right arm was beginning to formulate thorns as they wrapped around his right arm. HIs left leg did the same thing. “You wondered as you traversed through this mall about the various images of a rose. Why a rose? You asked and I shall answer.” he pulled out his thorn knifes, their jagged edges ready to puncture flesh. “A rose is something that shows true beauty, something I and the one from the real world admire. It gives such a nice fragrance, an erratic touch and sensation, a feel for love.” he took a step. “But a rose also shows death...the petals of the Grim Reaper.” he took another step. “And I shall bring said death upon you all.” he looked at them now, his face fierce. “Get ready guys!” Hiyori snapped his fingers to create her panels as she drew in her goggles, analyzing the enemy. “He’s begging for a fight.” she said as the others nodded.

Shadow Daisuke scoffed as he composed himself. “Are you eager to face the thorns? To dance with the petals tainted with your blood? Then come...show me what you bastards are capable of!” he charged at them rapidly, his thorns extending like whips to lash at them. The gang split up as they dodged to the side, four on the left and three to the right as Hiyori summoned Somnus to block some of the whiplash. “Shooting Star...are I just your shield?” he was struggling with the thorns as he was pushing it with his pistols. Hiyori sniped one to go away, and apologized to Somnus. “I need to stall time so I can analyze him and his patterns.” she said before he jumped to get a better angle. “Everyone! Use your Personas wisely for this fight! He’s very strong!” she swiftly rolled to the right in midair as another thorn began to lash out at her. Touya nodded as he ran towards Daisuke for close combat as he slashed at some of the connected thorns on his leg. He groaned and went for a strike, Touya blocking it. “Abel! Your turn!” he summoned Abel who fists were balled up with flames as she landed a punch to Shadow Daisuke’s face, launching his back in the air. “Kazuya!” Touya yelled as he took a step back, grabbing Abel’s collar as she was prepare to throw another hit at the Shadow. “Let me go!” she yelled at her summoner while Touya sighed and bashed her head, summoning Ianus afterwards. “She can’t keep still.” Touya sighed as Ianus nodded.

Shadow Daisuke was sent flying, and picked himself as he saw a Kazuya and Ifrit heading towards him, eager to swing the next blow. “Petals! Protect!” Shadow Daisuke created a shield with rose petals to parry Kazuya and the Hellfire Persona, pushing them back down to the floor. “So he can create weapons with his petals...and fire isn’t that effective to him.” Hiyori said in defeat as she sniped at him while Somnus evened the playing field, speeding his way towards the Shadow before he was caught by one of the thorns, stopping him in his tracks. “Shoot!” he said as he tired to let go, but couldn’t before Shadow Daisuke summoned a barrage of explosive petals to the Persona. “Catalina!” Iris summoned  Catalina, having the Persona to snap her fingers to create a large Ice Shard of Bufu, lunging it to Shadow Daisuke. It staggered him and Hiyori cheered. “Alright Iris!” Iris smiled back, and tightened her grip on her twin lance as Shadow Daisuke picked himself up once more. “You’re eager to persist….” he whispered as he coughed black blood to the side and chuckled. “But you forgot that this is my domain!” he snapped his fingers and hordes of rose petals lashed out Iris, scratching her body and her face as there were too many. She shrieked in pain. “Iris!” Satoshi swung his sword, and with the help of Shun and Niten Doraku, blew the petals away. Satoshi then healed Iris, who was huffing and puffing. “Thank you Satoshi.” she said slowly as Satoshi carried her away to the back.

Shadow Daisuke groaned in pain as he was shot in the back now by Touko as she was bouncing her way around the runway to get an angle. “Heloise!” she yelled as Heloise was summoned, ready to lash out her ray of nuclear energy before Touko showed her Touya and Marika who were behind with the others, and making sure they were okay. “Remember what Ophelia did with Marika?” Heloise knew where her summoner was going with as she nodded and headed down, grabbing Touya and Marika by the back and lifted them up. “Sweetheart asked to do the same thing Marika did with Cain and Abel.” Marika smirked. “And I’ll send Ophelia to Psio!” she cracked her knuckles, scaring Touya before agreed. Heloise then swung them using a little of her nuclear energy to send them flying, their bodies propelling to Daisuke now. “You think lunging yourselves would work!’ he was creating another shield before Marika took the initiative to swing back her right leg and hit as hard as she could. She knew where to look as well thanks to her glasses as she located the pressure point and kicked in that area, causing Daisuke to stagger once more before Ophelia used Psio to push him back, finally Touya ending the fight with a slash form his kukri knife and Ianus using Cross Slash as aura of white and black were seen from the attack, finally causing Daisuke to fall down and end the fight.

“How…?” he said softly and with exhaustion as he was on the ground now as he was trying to pick himself up once more, but feel right back down on his knees. “Shadow Daisuke...return yourself back to the real Daisuke Shiro.” Touya huffed. “End this rampage...this conquest of beauty before it gets worse.” Touya raised his hand to help him. Shadow Daisuke looked up and as soon as he was going to grab Touya’s hand, drew him to him and stab a thorn at Touya’s arm. Touya winced as she slashed the thorn and then removed it, stopping the blood from coming out with his hand. Touko quickly healed him as the wound was gone, but not the sensation of pain as Touya continued to wince when he touched it. “I won’t let that fool...that other me...from not losing sight of perfect beauty. All of this...my mall...the residents...the members...I won’t it perish...I WON’T LET IT PERISH!” the ground began to rumble now, causing such reverberation to the runway now. The platform was now crushed as the ceiling was falling apart, showing the Metaverse skies and the moon’s light shining down on them. They had to move around to avoid it.

Shadow Daisuke then coughed up blood, the liquid then landing on his feet and then forming into thorns once more, latching them on his feet. More thorns were seen latching around his body as well, and a rose replaced his left eyes as it was glowing a crimson red and the buds were moving. It reminded Touya of Drakengard where Zero had a flower for an eye. Shadow Daisuke then began to appear taller, and large rose petals were seen behind him now in a circular formation as he groaned in pain. The gang stood there in horror yet prepared themselves for what was to come. “Hiyori what’s going on?” they asked the Sakura as she was analyzing him once more. “He’s evolving! He’s getting stronger by the second!”

“Could this be...his true form?” Satoshi asked worried as they looked up to see True Shadow Daisuke, his various thorns behind him and ready to lash out once more. He was laughing maniacally now. “You want another round?! Well I’ll give it to you! I will show you the meaning behind true beauty! I’ll show everyone!” he continued to laugh as rose petals were beginning to hurl at the Saviors of Hearts. They dodged but some of them got scratched in the process. “Jack Frost!” Touya summoned to have Iris create a blizzard storm once more but was stabbed once more as he yelled in pain. “Touya!” everyone yelled and Touko was ready to lunged at him to heal but another thorn whip was ready to pierce through her. Before long Heloise was summoned and shielded Touko, having the thorn pierce through the Persona’s leg. Touko gasped in pain due to it as they rolled on the ground.

“Crap...this is bad.” Kazuya said as he looked at True Shadow Daisuke and protected his face. “Mari.” Marika shoved Kazuya. “I know...the combo we learned right?” she gave a teasing wink. Kazuya gritted his teeth in annoyance but nodded. He then looked at Satoshi and Iris. “Make sure Hiyori is kept safe and the other two catch a break. It’s going to be me and Mari to stall time before Touya can find a way to end the fight.” Satoshi gave a thumbs up and ran with Hiyori to a safer location, dodging the upcoming thorns.

Touya then looked back at Daisuke with eyes half closed. “Cain.” he summoned the Water Sister as she healed Touya once more. “Be careful Touya-nee!” she said worried as she stood by his side. Touya shook his head. “I’m fine. Make sure Touko is though.” he motioned to Touko as Cain nodded and then hugged Touya for safety. Touya appreciated it as he smiled and then stood up, now looking back at True Shadow Daisuke, laughing and slowly killing the real Daisuke Shiro. Touya didn’t want that in his mind as he needed to find a way to save Daisuke from this monster before things get worse.

 


 

Preview!

Niijima Touya here!

Boy are thing getting crazy now with Shadow Daisuke! He is not only stronger but his move are on a different level!

We need to figure out something quick before his rampage slowly kills Daisuke in the real world!

The gang is making their moves and slowly fighting their way, and hopefully with Cain and Abel, there can be a strategy but for now the battle is just getting started!

Next time on Persona: Next Generations! The Petals Have Fallen!

See you next time!

Chapter Text

When Touya initially summoned can, he didn’t have much of a plan to start with as he was exhausted from switching Personas back and forth. That and the newly evolved version of Shadow Daisuke, who was madly eager to begin to sprout his “perfect” beauty towards the Saviors of Hearts. As Touya summoned the Water Sister Persona, he had at least one thought in his mind: have Touko healed up and as back up for now. Touya knew that needed to be the case as he had no idea how much longer they were going to endure the scuffle. “Damn it…” he muttered as he was taking a knee before another thorn was ready to pierce through his body once more. The Niijima thankfully managed to dodge it, though slightly as it cut his cheek like the knife from last time. Better a cheek than the leg once more.

Once he moved to the side to avoid the hit, he nodded to Cain to start treating the others, and then looked back to see Marika and Kazuya stretching their arms and legs. Touya smiled. “Looks like you guys go something up your sleeves, huh?” he said as he watched the two stretched themselves up. “Remember what we trained for, Mari,” Kazuya smirked. Marika smirked back at him as she stretched her legs, grunting a little and her red eyes glowing brightly with a passionate flame. “This is going to be fun Kaz.” she saw Shadow Daisuke throw some more shard at the two of them. Marika shouted to watch out and the gang spread apart as the flying barrage of petals flew at them at the center. Shadow Daisuke laughed maniacally as he saw them in a skirmish. “Ophelia!” Marika shouted with anger, yet with ease as she summoned the Shakespearean Persona. “Psio!” she yelled to clear the distance as she sped her way through the next attack, Kazuya behind her with the same amount of speed. “Ifrit! Create a fire barrier for everyone!” he yelled as frit was back into the battle. Ifrit howled and flipped backward before lightning a fire into Kazuya’s hand. “You’ll need Master!” Ifrit communed as he created a fire barrier down below.

Touya continued to look at the guys and regrouped the others to huddle close to the barrier. “What do we do?” Iris asked while Satoshi was holding her hurt arm.

“They’ll need the help they can get,” Satoshi replied back as he was wincing a little as well. Touya nodded but tried to figure something out. Quickly too. He pressed his hand on his chin like how his father does when he was in desperate of a quick thought. He closed his eyes. Shadow Daisuke came into the picture as the intense battle rewinded in his head. “Iris shot ice at him...did damage but not by a lot. Fire won’t work unless Kazuya ca exploit something.” Touya shot a look back at Kazuya, who was dodging the whips of Shadow Daisuke, who was repeatedly muttering “DIE!” over and over again at them. He noticed Marika was busy having Ophelia as support while her pressure point glasses stuck to her face, locating a spot to kick. “Damn it! He doesn’t have one!” Touya heard her shout as she dodged another set of thorn whips. Touya then looked back at the others and continued his train of thought. “There has to be something! Think Niijima! What can possibly…” Touya’s eyes widened in realization. Touko blinked when she saw Touya stop for a moment before yelling to move out the way as more attacks were starting to form from Shadow Daisuke. “Artorias!” Satoshi yelled weakly as the Knight Persona was summoned to the block the horde of petals that were ready to blast at them once more. “Satoshi!” Touya yelled as he snapped back t reality, using his kukri to hold him in place as the intense blockade created a whirlwind. “What Touya?” Satoshi gritted his teeth as he too was pinning himself on the ground.

“The petals are the trick we need!” Touya yelled as loud as he could to get everyone’s attention. Kazuya and Marika looked back as they jumped back to the others. “What do you mean by that Touya?” Kazuya asked as he huffed, Ifrit circling back to his summoner. Touya exhaled some air out a little before he began to explain. “The petals...they’re not just some sharp objects that have been thrown at us.” he huffed. “They’re also a type of explosive.” Touya reminded everyone back during the beginning of the fight that Daisuke used the petals to create a sense of explosion towards the gang before switching them to be used as knives. “They’re the reason he’s slightly immune to fire. But if we can use it against him-”

“Then we have the advantage here!” Satoshi and Hiyori yelled with enthusiasm. Touya nodded. “Now that we have that idea out, what do you propose?” Shun asked back before they looked back at Shadow Daisuke, his thorns wrapping more around his body now. The flower that replaced his eye was looking at them with intensity and was ready to charge at the Saviors of Hearts once more. Touya prepared himself, kukri knife held backward and his dark grey eyes smirking back. “Daisuke...hold on for us a little longer!” he yelled before he summoned Abel back into the battle, her fiery body stretching to strike another hit.

 


 

Mayu was on her way to her house as she was strolling through the streets of Shibuya once more. She began to whistle after hearing a beat in the train station, rummaging through her purse to get her usual brown notebook. It was precious to her, considering she was the Student Council President in Shujin and contained classified information for all the planned events she made for the school year. No one knew about the contents of the journal except for of course her beau, Daisuke Shiro, whom she hasn’t spoken to in a while ever since his lust for beauty had started. Mayu sighed at the thought and headed towards the diner to get a place to sit down and work her mind for the school planning. “Alright just need to take the usual-akkk!” she bumped headfirst into someone, his chest hitting her hard. She squinted thanks to the small exertion of the pain and looked up to scold the person before she saw it was Daisuke himself. Her eyes widened at the sight of her former beau. “Dai..” she didn’t speak. Daisuke blinked at her and tried to speak also before he looked away and moved his hand quickly to help her up. Mayu winced thinking he was going to pounce at her before he spoke. “I won’t harm you Mayu,” he said softly, making Mayu look up once more at him. “Daisuke…” she grabbed his hand and stood up now...only to then proceed to smack the back of his head with her purse. “Ow!” he said as he rubbed the big bump on his head. “What was that for?”

“What was that for? Where do I even begin! You scarred me Dai! You mentally scarred me with your beauty crap!” Mayu yelled back, her hands clutched to her side and her brown eyes glaring at Daisuke’s silvery white eyes. Mayu knew she wasn’t mad at him, she couldn’t have as she was praying for him since the Saviors of Hearts began their first mission to save him from his distortion. Mayu knew that he was starting to act normal now, and hitting him hard was the deciding factor to determine he was back. As Mayu saw him rubbing his head, she couldn’t help but smile wide and tear up as she approached him and hugged him tightly. Daisuke had his mouth open in confusion and hugged her back, noticing the shaking of her body. “Mayu? You okay there?” Mayu nodded, brushing her face in Daisuke’s light gray henley. “Yes Dai, I am. I’m just glad you’re acting normal now. No more beauty this and beauty that.” her eyes locked at Daisuke once more. “You’re back.” she smiled and squeaked.

Daisuke Shiro stood there in awe and also smiled wide and teared up. “I guess I am back,” he replied back before they let go of each other. Daisuke continued to look at Mayu and then at the diner. He knew what she was going to do. “Checking the journal?” Mayu nodded as she pulled it out to show. “Yupp. Wanna see what I was thinking of doing so far?”

“You know my answer is going to be yes.”

“I know, but it’s still fun to ask.” Daisuke laughed a little at the comment and patted Mayu’s head. Then he looked up to see Shadow Daisuke in front of him, his true form starting back at him. “I sense Touya and the gang fighting you. I sense your anguish of beauty, but I’m strong enough to control it now. Touya, win!” Daisuke glared at his shadow who gritted his teeth and walked away. “Even you don’t want my beauty?! The one you craved so much? Pathetic. Maybe this will show you.” Daisuke felt a pang in his body as he stopped for a moment. The good thing it lasted a good second before he walked back with Mayu into the Central Street Diner to rekindle their relationship after days of trauma and beauty seeking.

Meanwhile, Daisuke felt Touya and the rest of the Saviors of Hearts bouncing around the now ruined runway to unleash their final set of combos towards the ravaging flower that was Shadow Daisuke.

 


 

Touya moved around the runway and thanks to Abel, clear some way for him to traverse towards Shadow Daisuke’s body. Kukri in hand, he had the plan playing in his head once again as he moved to the side to dodge, his fedora hat surprisingly still on his head. The plan was simple in his head, yet was hard to enact as it involved timing. He would use Abel along with Kazuya to create a distraction as the thorns. Hiyori played as a decoy as well, using her fast reflexes and Somnus to shoot them down one by one for them to avoid hitting Iris and Marika, who was now running to the center to create a fused magical blast at him when they get the signal to do so, which was the petals aiming at them when Shadow Daisuke would use them once more. That was where Touko, Satoshi, and Shun would come into play. Shun would use Niten Doraku and his large shuriken to create a powerful wind blast to deviate the petals’ path and Satoshi would spark the petals with Zio, leaving Touko and Heloise to finish the job with Mafrei. Touya had the plan in his mind in instant replay and he had to take the gamble. “Kazuya! On your left!” he shouted as he blocked an incoming thorn with his kukri before Abel burned it with her fiery fists. Kazuya thanked his leader and continued to move around, distracting Shadow Daisuke as his impatience was brewing.

“WHY WON’T YOU DIE!” he yelled as he was now throwing a fit, more of the thorns circling through his body and his flower eye ready to throw an energy blast at them. “Hiyori!” Kazuya and Touya shouted as they jumped as high as they could to dodge. Hiyori gave a thumbs up and shot rapidly at the eye to avoid the beam from showing up. It pained Shadow Daisuke as black blood was now flooding his eye, damaging his flower. “Why you….WHY YOU!!!” Shadow Daisuke roared now and that was then the plan started now. “The petals are arriving now!” Satoshi saw as the petals were now forming into the usual barrage. Bingo. Touya and Kazuya nodded and smirked. “Ifrit! Abel! You know what to do!” they yelled as Abel smirked wildly now and Ifrit howled. “Roger!” they yelled back as they headed straight towards Daisuke’s body to strike him before returning to their summoners. Hiyori saw them retreat and jumped back with Somnus. Iris and Marika saw this as their cue and then lunged at Daisuke, ready to aim at his body. “Catalina!” Catalina was summoned and created a large Bufu, leaving Marika stunned and summoned Ophelia to help. “Psio!” Ophelia was summoned and her psychic powers merged with the ice, creating once giant shockwave to hit at Shadow Daisuke. “What?” he yelled as he was in awe of the combo, and that was when Touya smirked. “You thought you won!” he yelled back as he now landed on the ground. “But guess what? We’re not done yet!” and he made way for Shun to throw his shuriken and Niten Doraku to unleash a wind to carry the petals back towards Shadow Daisuke.

The wind was strong as the gang had to hold onto something and then Satoshi and Touko appeared, weapons and Personas in hand. “Artorias! Heloise!” they yelled as the Knight Persona was now summoning Zio, hitting the petals and charging them up slowly. “Once they’re charged up, the petals should create and bigger explosion once Frei is activated on them. Touko...You got this!” Touya yelled out loud as Touko smiled, her ponytail flying behind her and her twin guns in front of her, ready to shoot. “Ready Heloise?” Heloise nodded. “Ready when you are Sweetheart.” Heloise smiled back, and Touko yelled to the top of her lungs.

“Mafrei!” Heloise snapped her fingers now, similar to Catalina and the nuclear blast was on their way towards the petals, having each one exploding loudly by the second as they faced Shadow Daisuke. “Impossible! Impossible!” the blast reached him now and staggered him brutally as a huge hole was now created in the center of his chest. “How could this…” he couldn’t speak as his eyes were now white with defeat, but before long the blast showed a flying figure, knife in his hand and his fedora hat stuck to his head. He smiled, and his fist was ready to land the final blow to Shadow Daisuke. “This is what happens when you mess with us, Shadow Daisuke!” and Touya punched him with the kukri knife with all his sheer strength to bring the Shadow down, once and for all, the two falling down onto the ground, Shadow Daisuke now unconscious.

Touya was thankfully caught by none other than his Persona Abel, who was smiling wide at the achievement. “We did it! We did it!” she yelled as everyone gathered around Touya. Touko was the first to assure the Niijima, who was in a daze thanks to Soft-Touch. Touko smacked Abel with the butt of her gun to release Touya. “Thanks…” he said as he was regaining consciousness. Touko smiled before she blushed hard and looked away, stuttering a little.

“My beautiful empire….ruined…” the Saviors of Hearts heard Shadow Daisuke, now back to his normal self, still a hole in his chest and spewing black blood. “All I wanted was to create a world where beauty would be a blessing, not a curse. Where no one was jealous of each other….why is that so hard to comprehend?” he asked them. Marika shook her head. “Beauty is what’s inside Daisuke. It’s not the Gucci shoes or the Armani sunglasses. It’s the essence of the heart that makes a person beautiful.” everyone was stunned to hear Marika of all people to utter such words. What happened to her so suddenly?

Marika continued. “Don’t you see Daisuke? This place you created, it’s not true beauty. It’s all the same crap over and over again. The same people, the same colors, and tone. It’s not true beauty. True beauty is when there’s a variety of things! Where everyone is different yet share a sense of pleasure!” she looked at Kazuya and blushed lightly. “You showed me that.” she saw Ophelia nod to her thought.

“I see...I’ve been a fool all this time...reaching a destination that I believed was just…” he tried to stand up, more of the black blood flowing downwards. He then looked at everyone and smiled. “I shall go back to my former self...the real world, Daisuke Shiro. I will repent for his mistakes...no, my mistakes, and I will forge a bond with him that is everlasting such as yours with them.” he pointed at the Personas, each of them behind their summoner. Touya nodded and approached him, giving him his hand to shake. “That’s right. No more trying to attain that distorted beauty.” and the two shook hands. “Thank you…” Shadow Daisuke said before he began to glow light blue, disappearing within it, and finally, an orb was seen placed neatly on Touya’s hand before it burst and went to everyone’s phones and MetaNav. “Daisuke Shiro’s Heart has been restored. Thank you for your cooperation.” the navigator said robotically. Everyone sighed once the voice was gone and began to cheer for the first ever victory from a Palace. “We did it!!” Satoshi and Hiyori cried as they held onto each other's arms, having Shun and Iris chuckle a little a the sight. Kazuya crossed his arms and smirked, while Marika was tugging his jacket sleeve in exhilaration. Touya took off his fedora hat and propped himself down, Touko etched to his right side. She grabbed his arm without thinking as usual to help and blushed at the sight of him closing his eyes and relaxing. “So glad it’s over…” he was beginning to doze off before a sudden rumbling began to occur. The ground shook and everyone was on high alert. “What’s going on?” Iris asked.

“Oh no...oh nononononono.” Hiyori scanned the area with her goggles before she removed them. “It’s bad. We need to leave like now before the entire Palace takes us down with it.” everyone gulped. “Run!!!” Satoshi yelled as they began to head back towards the entrance, running as fast as they can back outside. They saw the cognitive people disappearing thanks to the state of the Palace Mall, and the lurking Shadows as well. Touya looked back to see the rubble coming in hot pursuit for them and he almost shrieked like a girl before he ran faster, holding Touko’s hand in the process. “MetaNav! Take us back home like NOW!” he yelled at his phone before Ianus was randomly summoned to protect the Saviors of Hearts from the rubble in front of them. This was like an Uncharted game where the ancient city was beginning to crumble and fall due to Nathan Drake running the foundation. The gang needed to hurry and escape quickly. “There’s the exit! Marika yelled as she pointed back at the fountain, still intact with the Daisuke statue and the flowing water. Everyone took out their phones now and ran with such speed they didn’t think was even possible. “Take us home! Take us home! Take us back hooooooommmmmmeeeee!!!!!” they all yelled as the MetNav agreed and compiled, the bright skyline now turning into the blue mid-afternoon skies, and the crumbling Palace now back to its original state that was the main Panther’s building in Ginza, the people crowding the streets as usual on that Sunday afternoon.

 


 

The gang huddled close to the Ginza train station as they were exhausted from the Palace, now gone from their phones. “Palace Mall complete. Thank you for your service.” the MetaNav said to them as they were plastered on the walls and railings, chugging massive amounts of water and snacks, courtesy of Shun. “Yahoo! That hit the spot.” Satoshi grinned as he savored the usual fizzy drink. Touya cheered to that as he drank his lemon tea, or rather chugged it down with intense thirst he had to buy another one from the vending machine. “That was some run...my legs feel wobbly.” Marika huffed as she was being held by Iris and Touko for support. Hiyori nodded as she was on the ground with Touya and Satoshi. “But we did it. We completed our first Palace,” she reassured everyone. They had done it. With five days left to spare as well. Now the Saviors of Hearts had to wait for the result, which was May 5th, the day of the Fashion Show. Fingers were crossed, and Touya had his chest-thumping loudly due to the thought. “Yeah we did it, everyone, like Hiyori said.” the Niijima got up now and stretched his body. “For now it’s the waiting game.”

“We should be prepared for what’s to come. Whether good or bad.” Kazuya added.

“That too.”

“Still this is insane...we did what our parents did over two decades ago. Palace and everything. Wonder what the others are in the future...and Neo-Mementos too.” Iris added on the public’s distortion, the place where they were given their powers and Personas. Touya nodded to that.

“Also…” Iris smirked and told everyone to come closer. “My mom texted me just now. She has a surprise for us.” everyone’s eyes blinked with curiosity. “What is it?” Marika asked. Iris shook her head. “It’s a secret. We’ll have to wait until she tells us.” Iris looked at the crimson red building that was Panther’s, smiling and in the corner of her brown eyes, noticing her mother in the window, waving at them to notice. Iris grabbed everyone’s attention and directed to Ann, who waved back at her, smiling and relieved. “So, we done for the day?” Hiyori broke the attention and everyone laughed as they hugged the Sakura and nodded to head back to Shibuya.

As they headed back inside the confoundment of the station underground, a black haired girl with golden tips at the bottom of her black hair. It was tied in a fashion similar to Anko from Naruto as multiple pins were having her long hair pinned behind her. Her purple eyes glistened at them, especially Shun and blushed a little as she saw him be the last to leave. She gulped a little and tugged her dark purple blouse to fix it before she left the scene, looking at where Ann was before she put her sunglasses back in place with her eyes.

 


 

Ann sat back down and looked at the photo that was sent by her daughter earlier that day. It was none other than their first calling card, sent and delivered to Daisuke Shiro, whom they had to wait and see if his heart was saved or not. She hoped it was saved at last from that desire of beauty. Ann shed a small tear of happiness at the thought. “You guys really are the next generation of Persona users…” Ann said under her breath as she put the phone away and swung her chair back to greet the door, where Shiho was there with some paperwork, designs made by the various fashion designers under her employment. “Did they do it?” Shiho asked her friend, whom she nodded slowly and stood up. “Hell yeah, they did Shiho.” Ann smiled and tied her loose blonde hair into a ponytail. Then she walked closer to Shiho and saw that the paperwork wasn’t from the fashion designers, but the Saviors of Hearts’ official attire. Ann was confused and Shiho laughed a little. “Come with me, Ann.” Shiho walked to the left, having Ann follow her. What was she up to? Ann walked a little faster, and they turned the corner to meet the fashion design room, where all the completed designs were waiting to be worn and made out for the public. It was then that Ann’s blue eyes were shocked to see the outfits, now completed in front of her. “When…?” she asked quietly before going into a thrill.

“Yusuke helped me last night before you left. Spent that night polishing them up.” Shiho put the paperwork away and walked towards Touya’s, and examined the fabric. “I think we can give them to them in two days time too. The choice is-”

“Wait until the Fashion Show Shiho. I feel that it’ll be more rewarding when we see Daisuke back to his normal self again.” Ann said as she approached her friend. Shiho nodded and the two laughed and giggled like teenagers once more in the brightly lit room. Then Ann went back to the calling card. “Saviors of Hearts...I like the name everyone. Thank you for filling in our shoes. For saving Daisuke. Now your true journey through the Metaverse awaits.” some petals seemed to have fallen in her mind from a long distance when she thought those words that day.

As the Saviors of Hearts completed their first Palace of many that await them.

And the girl who examined them from afar, for her journey with the Saviors of Hearts was about to begin as well.

 


 

Preview!

 

Harima Touko!

And Niijima Makoto!

Niijima-san?! What are you doing here?! Umm...um!!

Relax Touko-chan! I want to spread some news too you know? I heard from Touya that you guys fought really hard in the Palace! Especially you with your Persona.

Thank you Niijima-san...I hope we did our job right.

I sure hope so too my future daughter-in-law! For now, just have fun and be your average teenagers! I think Touya is doing that...helping out Hisako and hang out with that Juno fella too. Perhaps it’s due to them being...nevermind my mind is being off track!... Touko-chan?

Future...daughter….in..law?!

Uh-oh. Next time on Persona: Next Generations! Death Dances On the Moon!

Niijima….

Don’t pass out on me now Touko-chan!!

See you next time...

Chapter Text

“Son of the Trickster! Welcome back!” Igor’s voice sounded through the Velvet Room office. Touya stood up straight in his usual guest couch, his Persona roster summoned and examining the contents of the room. “Whoa, Igor-san! Since when did you have Sis’ manuscripts?” Cain’s blue eyes glittered as she puffed the dust from the old book and took a quick peek. Abel was behind her examining as well, letting out a whoa every now and then. Annabelle smiled at the sight and looked at Touya, who appeared to be dozing off. Annabelle gently placed her hand on his cheek and woke him. “Sorry...long day after the whole Daisuke thing. Glad you contacted me through sleep.” Touya sheepishly replied after standing up and stretching his body. “Speaking of which: Igor, something’s come up again?” Igor nodded as a response, his large grin still painted on his face and his bulging eyes staring deeply into Touya’s soul. “Yes, Son of the Trickster! First, we would like to congratulate you on saving your friend’s heart. There is no doubt in my mind that the unfortunate outcome will occur.”

“Still be weary for if something were to happen,” Annabelle added, fixing her glasses and removing a page from her massive folders. She then gave the documents to Touya, his dark grey eyes examining its contents. The majority of the documents were about Touya and his duties as the Wild Card. He saw the number of Shadows he fought, Yen he earned, and the Personas he collected during his time in the Palace. Touya was in awe when he examined them one by one before giving it back to Annabelle with a soft smile. “Thanks for the report.” he teased before he yawned. “Hee-hoo! Ianus look!” Jack Frost tugged one of Ianus’ suspenders. Ianus examined where Jack Frost was looking as he bent down, seeing nothing. That was when Jack Frost took his chance to jump on the bent back of the Yakuza Persona, his arms stretched out and enjoying the little carriage. “Wheee!” Jack Frost chuckled, and Touya shed a tear of joy when he saw the small Persona having fun with Ianus. Cain and Abel saw as well from where they were and held hands admiring the cuteness of the scene.

Then Igor cleared his throat once more to grab everyone’s attention. “Son of the Trickster! I almost forgot!” his yell reverberated through the calm atmosphere. Touya shot a look along with his roster at the old man, his head tilted a little. “What did you forget Igor?” Touya asked now.

“The additional bonds you’ve forged as of now. The Temperance, Death, and Moon. I believe it should be right for their bonds to be strengthened like the rest of your dear friends.”

“What Master means here is to spend time with those outside the Saviors of Hearts. The additional Arcanas.” Touya had a lightbulb in his head as he understood. “So basically talk to them? But I know Hisako and Mayu for a long time! Juno I understand since he’s new, but with the other two? What more is there for me to strengthen my bond?”

“Hooo-hooo! Son of the Trickster! You shall soon realize that there are more behind the scenes than what you truly know about them.” Igor’s final words scared Touya a little as he was concerned about the hidden truth those he’s met before have hidden. What could change in their lives? Touya was now eager to find out as he nodded to Igor’s words of advice and yawned once more. “Touya-nee, you’re really tired!” Cain said nervously as Touya waved it off to his Persona. “I’ll be fine...I hope it doesn’t impede my day that’s coming up.”

“Speaking of that day,” Annabelle checked the old chiming bell clock that was at the end of the office. It was now beginning to chime, meaning the usual appointment had ended. “Alright.” Touya stood up and headed towards the door. “See you all when I can.” all of his Personas nodded, while Igor continued to smile, waving at his entrusted Wild Card goodbye before the morning sun greeted him, shining down on his face and the alarm ringing as per usual.

 


 

Still yawning as the day had just started for the Niijima, his eyes darted slowly around the hallways. Touko was beside him, concerned for his well being and Satoshi ensured her that he was alright. “He fought the most yesterday and used a lot of his Personas.” Satoshi whispered as they walked towards the stairs to reach the second year’s classrooms. Touya was blinking consistently and yawning loudly now, attracting everyone around him. Especially the girls. “Niijima-kun? Are you okay?” asked a Class 2-C student as she was approaching him as aid. Iris stared down at her and coughed, pointing at Touko who was blushing. The student backed down. Another student, a male one, asked now, and Touya waved him off. “I’m fine...busy yesterday.” he chuckled before he opened the Class 2-A door...before someone opened before him and crossed paths with him. “Gah!” Touya fell down on the floor now, groaning as his head hit the forehead of what appeared to be another girl’s. He rubbed it and saw Satoshi help him get up. “Man today is going to be fun, huh Touya?” Satoshi teased.

“Yeah I guess.” Touya continued to rub his head and then met the purple eyes of the girl. The girl was also being held up and rubbed her head, her hair tied like Anko from Naruto, with the golden tips spiking upwards behind her, the rest of her black straight hair surrounding her head. She had two small bangs separating to the sides, having her forehead revealed in the center. One of the students was seeing any injuries. “Nakamura-chan! You okay?” the student asked the girl. Nakamura nodded. “It’s fine!” she looked at Touya. “Touya!” she gasped.

“Sorry about that Hikaru.” Touya composed himself as he greeted yet another old friend. He was also waiting for Annabelle to speak in his mind too. Nothing showed up.

Hikaru Nakamura was the daughter of the most amazing journalist known to mankind, second to Ohya, Nakamura Fumio. Covered wars, international affairs, and mentor to many inspiring journalists and reporters, Hikaru had a father that was caring and filled with wisdom. Always there to help a hand in need. Touya would remember Makoto and Ren talking highly of the old man when Seiji and he were little kids. “Where were you going, Hikaru?” Iris asked.

“I was going to go down and head to the journalism room,” she stated before she walked past them and headed her way. “See you in a few!” she yelled as she made her way to the room, with a few minutes to spare before the school bell rang to start class.

For the most part, the morning classes were very quick, and Touya managed to doze off here and there. He was caught by the usual Ushimaru-Sensei and still dodged the chalk in his sleep, courtesy of Sixth Sense as it activated and alerted the Niijima. “Damn you…” Ushimaru quietly cursed as he continued on with the lecture before the school lunch bell rang now. “Everyone! Remember your homework that’s due two days from now!” he grunted as they all left and yelled “yes sir” as they left the room.

Hikaru stretched a little and turned to Iris and Touko. “Why don’t you sit with us?” the two asked her. Hikaru shrugged. “You know you’re always welcome Hika-chan.” Satoshi teased as he smiled. Hikaru smiled back but shook her head lightly. “It’s just I have a lot of work to do in the journalism club. You know how Akio and Mei can be sometimes.” she sighed before she grabbed her bento. Hikaru then took a peek at Touya and saw that he fell asleep in his set. “Touko, there’s your cue.” Hikaru winked, leaving Touko in a state of flushed embarrassment as she blushed and stuttered as loud as she could, waking Touya up from his “slumber”, while in reality, he was learning how to use Sixth Sense in a more efficient way.

 


 

Touya was back to full strength now that afternoon. Swinging his arm a little and moving around swiftly, everyone was excited to see their leader back to normal. Tired Touya was not a good sight to see at times. “So now that the Palace is gone...what do we do now?” Marika asked as they walked towards the front gate of the school. Touya shrugged. “Neo-Mementos would work, but I don’t know if the doors are unlocked now.”

“Let’s check it out now.” Hiyori suggested.

“No. We should wait until Daisuke is sorted out so we can continue with what we need to do.” Kazuya replied, to which everyone agreed. The Palace was done with, they knew that much as they had to run a marathon to leave the crumbling Palace Mall, and the deadline didn’t arrive yet to see if Daisuke’s heart was saved. The waiting game was being played now, which made everyone groan and anxious to see the results of what they accomplished. Only a few more days until then.

It was then that a volleyball was shot out in between the Saviors of Hearts. It cut through the middle of Shun and Iris and bounced a few times on the floor after losing the acceleration it once had. Shun’s dark blue eyes were shocked and Iris felt the wind still that the volleyball created. Touya turned around to see if they were alright, and Juno Yuuta was seen in the corner of his eye, running to grab the fleeing volleyball. “Sorry!” he yelled, and upon hearing the first year’s voice, Hiyori’s cat ear ticked and she looked back in such a flustered state that everyone couldn’t tell if she was mad or blushing. Touko knew what the answer was.

Juno showed up wearing the typical Shujin Academy volleyball training uniform: the red shorts with the stripes to the sides, the black knee pads, and a simple black shirt with the Shujin Academy logo on the right side of his chest. The number 10 was seen in the middle. “Ah, Juno!” Touya grabbed the ball and gave it back to Juno, who thanked him as he bowed in respect. “Niijima-Senpai, thank you!” he said as he composed himself back. “Akuma-Senpai was busy spiking my sets that he forgot to turn down his power knob.” he chuckled as he spun the volleyball with his index finger as if it was a basketball. Touya digressed the situation, and Marika’s eyes sparkled. “Ahh! Akuma is practicing now? I wanna see!” Marika was all over the place now as she moved from place to place, eager to see Akuma’s spikes. Kazuya gritted his teeth and grabbed her blazer’s collar to stop her. “Hey, compose yourself Mari.” he scolded her. Juno laughed. “Marika Souta, right? Coach speaks highly of you.” Marika’s eyes twinkled even brighter and turned to face Juno with such a luster Touya w felt he was blind now. “Too bright…” he shielded his eyes. Kazuya coughed to get her back to reality.

“Hey! Yuuta!” voices were heard from afar now. It was coming from several volleyball club members. “Coming!” Juno was about to leave, and that was when Touya’s mind got to him. “ Wait a minute...Igor! You’re such a clever bastard!” Touya thought back to Igor’s advice on bonding with other Arcanas, and seeing this moment transpired before his very eyes, he knew that the work of the Velvet Room owner had to do with it. Now it was time to seize the moment. “Juno! Mind if I stop by and play a few sets?” Touya asked suddenly that left everyone with questioning looks. “Touya-kun?” Touko tugged his blazer.

“Ah, sorry guys. Was just curious.” Juno then shook his head at the comment. “Niijima-Senpai! You’re welcome to help us out! We’re short on people today anyway, so if we could get another person, boy or girl, that would be great for us!” Marika then coughed abruptly. “Yes, you can.” Kazuya rolled his eyes at the Souta girl as she hugged Kazuya. “Thank you Kaz!’ she cooed as she walked towards Touya. “We’ll see you guys tomorrow, alright?” everyone else nodded and parted ways for the rest of the day.

“By the way, Mari...who’s the Coach he’s talking about?”

“Oh you’re going to see for yourself!” she teased the Niijima as they entered the gym and were greeted by the extraordinary volleyball court.

 


 

When Touya and Marika showed up at the volleyball court that afternoon, they saw the boys setting their spikes and launching their bodies up in the air, arms flailing behind them and swinging with such throttle and momentum that Touya had to smile at the sight. Marika gushed harder than the Niijima, as she jumped up and down as if she was a cheerleader when none other than Izuku Akuma arrived to spike his set from another second-year setter. “Akuma-Senpai!” the boy yelled as the ball was tossed to set a spike to Akuma. Akuma nodded, his dark green eyes looking at the net, his black and brown hair tied neatly behind him in a small ponytail and ran towards the net. Akuma then swung his right arm so fiercely that once it touched the ball, Touya felt a wind gushing through his dark-brown hair. “ Amazing!” he thought as he stood there watching the third year ask for another set before a whistle was blown from across the court. “I think you had enough sets for today Kuma.” a female voice was heard. Mrika nudged Touya. “This is who I’m talking about,” she whispered.

The female voice then showed her body, being similar to Shiho in terms of face and structure, which left Touya blinking a few times to see if it was indeed Shiho, while in reality, it wasn’t as her hair was a solid dark brown like Touya’s, and her eyes had the strongest wave of light brown he could’ve seen in his life. She then had her hands to her side and took the whistle out of her mouth, and had her hair loose before she found a ponytail to fix it exactly like Shiho as well. “Coach!” Marika yelled as she ran towards the woman. The woman smiled wide. “Souta! What brings you here? You know practice doesn’t start until this Thursday!”

“I know, but one of the boy volleyball players asked if we can help out with practice today! Heard you were short on people.” Marika then presented Touya, who waved back nervously. “Niijima-Touya.” he greeted.

“Niijima? Oh you’re Makoto Niijima’s son then! I heard a lot about you from my cousin Shiho.” she then cleared her throat. “My name is Suzui Akane. Head coach for the Volleyball teams.” she led out her hand. “Nice to meet you Niijima.”

“Likewise.” he shook her hand. “ Igor...Annabelle...now’s your cue if she’s another Arcana.” Touya looked around for a response and none arrived from the Velvet Room attendants. Annabelle might be getting a bit irritated by him as he felt a pang of pain in his head for a short second. “So since you two are here...mind if you teach some of the newbies some sets and tosses Souta?” Marka nodded frantically as her eyes glimmered. “With certainty!” she ran towards the ball cart and grabbed a few balls, yelling at the first years to get to her side for some practice tosses. Then Akane looked at Touya and smirked rather Ann-like as she patted his shoulder and asked to do the same with Juno. “He may be our best setter in the team, but when it comes to tossing and spiking the ball, well…” she showed Juno trying to toss and failed miserably as she presented a video to Touya. Touya blinked and then looked at Juno, who was still his go-lucky self as he was continuing to set the ball to other players. “If you can help him with that, it would be appreciative.” Akane smiled back and Touya reassured her that he can help her out. Good thing he learned a little volleyball from Seiji as he was the head spiker during his time in Shujin Academy. “ Seiji...I’ll do you proud!” Touya clenched his hand tight to make a fist and headed towards Juno.

For the next half hour, Touya and Juno were tossing to each other with no positive result. Whenever Touya tossed the ball, whether as a set or as a receive, Juno ended up setting the ball as if Touya were to spike it. Touya sighed whenever the result ended that way, and he just decided to have some of his fellow second years to help him receive the ball as they spiked them towards Juno repeatedly. Akumu eventually joined, and Marika did too after she swept the floor with her training. Touya shuddered as, given their time in the Metaverse, their bodies were physically a bit stronger than usual. He saw from the corner of his eyes that they were tired out and sweating bullets. “Marika is no joke…” they all said with a gloomy tone.

Marika meanwhile was happy she was able to get a round of volleyball today as she walked towards Touya and continued to give off her radiance as she walked away happily in front of Juno and Touya, who was now heading home after the whole volleyball practice session. “Niijima-Senpai! You did a great favor today helping out.” Juno said as he had his hands out behind his head crossed. He was whistling a tune as well, which Touya caught to be none other than Dearly Beloved from Kingdom Hearts. “Whoa! You play those games too?” Juno asked him in surprised when Touya answered that it was mostly because of Hiyori that he did.

Touya was more of a Final Fantasy type of guy is he was being honest. “Never thought you did Juno.” Touya replied back as they were now to the station to head to Shibuya. Juno shrugged. “I think it’s mostly because I’m a Disney fan. Nothing wrong with Destinyland and their fun and loving crew, but Disney always stuck with me somehow.” he chuckled and plucked his spiky brown hair. “Some call me Xehanort Sora too as a nickname.” he laughed after they stopped by one of the entrances for the trains. “Here’s my stop Niijima-Senpai. He pointed. Touya and Marika nodded. “Man! Yuuta-kun! Thank you for the invitation!” Marika hugged Juno tight, and Juna simply patted her back. “It’s no problem! Besides...it gave me a lot of courage to continue playing Volleyball. Trains the mind and body for any unexpected movements. Something an aspiring detective would want to have.” Juno then waved goodbye as he walked away from the two members of the Saviors of Hearts. “Now let’s head home.” Marika stretched her legs, then looked at Touya who was lost in thought. “ Mind and body for unexpected movements...could it be useful for the Metaverse?” Touya wondered before Marika tapped his shoulder for them to head home for the night.

 


 

“Training?” Ren and Makoto raised an eyebrow. Touya nodded back as he stood there proposing the idea that night. Touya had an idea that since his parents were former Metaverse users, that meant their bodies were stronger like his as well. It felt right too to learn more than the simple Aikido Makoto taught him and the flips and acrobats he managed to improvise in the Metaverse during both Plato’s fight and the entirety of the Palace Mall. He was still worried about that outcome, but May 5th was heading closer by the second. Ren drank a little of his night coffee and then stood up from the couch, thinking about what to say to his kid about training. Makoto was sitting down and also thought about the idea. “Touya...we love you and everything, but you should focus on your studies more so than ever.” Makoto didn’t give him a stern look nor tone, but Touya understood his mother. Metaverse, clubs, and school were now crammed together in his teenage schedule, and he, along with everyone else, was surprised a little that they were still ahead of the game in schoolwork. Touya shook his head. “Mom, I’m sure you guys had some sort of training when you were the Phantom Thieves. Now that the Metaverse is back and I’m the Wild Card, I need to step up my game a little. There’s also the Commissioner’s Quest.” Makoto shuddered a little and her eyes went a little pale. “Too much paperwork…” Makoto went into a trance in which Ren had to get her back from. “Sorry about that.” Makoto apologized and then looked back at Touya. “I guess you have a point Touya dear,” Touya was excited now, but was stopped as Makoto raised her index finger. “But it won’t become a daily thing. We could help you and everything, but school and the real world comes first.” Touya nodded to his mother’s statement. “Of course Mom!” he yelled in excitement. Ren smiled. “So Touya,” he clasped his hands together. “Where are we to train for tonight?”

“I was thinking the usual place.”

“The backyard?”

“Yeah. Where else Dad?”

“Fair point.” Ren looked at Makoto, smirking now. “Now let’s get changed.”

 


 

The three stretched a little before they began their training session. Touya pinned his hair back using his mother’s hair clips and stretched his arms and legs more times than his parents. If he was being honest, he felt like a shounen protagonist who was eager to showcase his current moveset and abilities to his mentos, being his parents. He also hoped they would teach him a few techniques as well. Touya saw his father and mother now, fully ready to start the training as they were waiting for him to finish. Then Ren spoke. “Man this brings me back memories.” Ren said as he was looking up at the stars. “Especially that one time during the summer where it was non stop Mementos.” Makoto nodded. “You kept going and wanted to show off your Persona roster at the time. What were they again? White Rider...Jack Frost...Arsene of course, and who else…”

“It doesn’t matter,” Ren replied back as he saw Touya blinking in curiosity when he heard the Personas Arsene and White Rider. Hope he can get those in the Palaces to come. Ren then got everyone together as he motioned Touya to head his direction and then spoke once more. “Alright. So here’s how this is going to go. Your mother here will test your fighting skills while I will test your evading. It will be a one on one, and can at times be two on one if we decide to. I’m going to start first.” Ren took five steps back from the backyard and looked back at Touya, his adult body, still fit for a forty-year-old man, staring back at him. He then held his fighting stance, his left hand in front of him, and his right arm behind him. Touya saw his hand was clutching a stick. “Here are the rules Touya: this is going to last for ten minutes. The goal is to not be touched by this stick during that time. Easy right?”

“Too easy.” Touya smirked back at Ren, positioning his fighting stance as well, both hands in front of him and his legs widened enough to have a balance. He had one hand clenched, which normally his kukri knife would go, the black knife sliding downwards as he held it backward like Ventus from Kingdom Hearts. Ren noticed it and smiled. “Knife as a weapon?”

“Yeah. Seems like I got that from you Dad.”

“Seems so. Mako?” Makoto grabbed the stopwatch and then counted to three before she yelled start and started the watch’s timer. Ren then smirked, and the two began their fight. Ren stood there for a moment as Touya was waiting for his father to move. Then Ren took his first step, and in matter of seconds was gone. Touya was confused and looked around the backyard before he saw that Ren was now on Touya’s right side, the stick forward as he thrust the stick to his son’s lower rib area as a tap. Touya then felt Sixth Sense activated as his eyes glowed for a second and moved out of the way as fast as possible, his hand grabbing Ren’s scarred wrists and pushing it back before he moved his body to the side. “ He’s fast!”I Touya then jumped back and huffed and puffed, his breath already gone. However, Ren kept heading his son’s way, swinging the stick to tap his son while Touya’s Sixth Sense ached his eyes and mind. Left, right, front, lean back, push to the left, right, jump, all those commands sped through Touya’s mind as Ren continued to lash out at his son. “ What the hell is he? He’s way too fast!” Touya pushed Ren’s hands back and did a backflip to dodge the swing as Ren swapped hands with the stick. Touya exhaled and inhaled more breath as it was being lost by the second. Is this what the leader of the Phantom Thieves did back in the day? If it was, then there was no doubt that they’ve must’ve been stronger than ever before compared to now. “Not bad Touya.” Ren huffed as he was taking a small break, his hands on his knees, still holding the stick. “What’s the time now?” he looked at Makoto. “Five more minutes,” Makoto said as she was looking at the stopwatch. “Want to continue Dad? You seem tired.”

Ren shook his head. “It’s been a long time using my body for this. Need to rest for a while! ” Ren jumped, and when he landed on the ground, he placed one hand to propel forward and had the stick in his mouth now as he grabbed Touya’s shirt collar before he grabbed the stick and held it with his left. “ Crap!” Touya tried to move as fast as he could before the stick touched him on the upper arm. “Time!” Makoto stopped the clock. “Five minutes and ten seconds was the end time.” Makoto gave the watch to Ren as she cracked her knuckles and then smiled at her son. “Ready dear for my test?” Touya felt a pang of fear and shuddered as he looked at his mother, her hair tied to her usual police bun while having the strand that rested by her neck area. “Hold a second Mako, give him some rest.” Ren assured her as he was catching his breath and let go of his son and the stick before finding the lawn chair and sitting down on it quickly. “Phew! You did a number moving around Touya! Swift and with no effort too.” he then looked away as he looked up at the stars. “I also saw a glow of red in your eyes as well.” Touya’s attention was caught. “You noticed Sixth Sense?”

“Ah so that’s what it’s called. Is it like what I think it is?” Touya nodded. “It’s like Spider Sense where my reflexes are dialed to like a hundred. Though it only happens when something unexpected happens like Spider Sense.” Touya brushed his shirt off and looked at Makoto, now giving her the signal to start the fighting test. His spine shivered and he gulped as the last time he fought his mother, his back ached for days while his mother apologizes tremendously. Seems like this time she’s not holding back considering his exposure to the Metaverse. “Alright Touya dear!” Makoto shouted now as she prepared her stance. “Here are my rules: if I so happen to land one punch on you or the same to me, then the fight is over. Simple right?”

“I’m not answering that one.” Touya said shyly as he too was ready to fight now.

“Whenever you start the timer Ren dear.” Makoto didn’t look at her husband as he nodded and started the watch. “And..GO!” Touya decided to pull back as he saw his mother swing her first punch, heading towards her son with such speed that once again Sixth Sense was activated. “ Not this time!” Touya grabbed Makoto’s wrist like he did with Ren and instead of pushing back, he went downwards, swinging himself to dodge and then move to where her back was, ready to throw his first punch. A light one obviously as he didn’t want to hurt his mother. Makoto then smiled and turned around and grabbed Touya’s fist with her hand and pulled him forward with such strength Touya felt his body loose. “ The hell? She never did this before?”

“Ahhh!” Touya tried to swing his arm, but soon lost as Makoto’s left fist touched Touya’s chest, and the fight was over. “And stop!” Ren stopped the watch and then showed it to the two. “Touya you lasted a full minute fighting your mother.” Ren showed the big digital number one. “It’s because I’m tired from fighting you. I’m sure with the Personas and everything, I can beat you two in an instant.”

“Except in order to be stronger there, you need to be stronger here.” Ren then thought for a moment and then had an aha. “Tell your friends to start working out more. And eat more from now on.” Touya was confused. Ren shook his head. “If the Metaverse is a cognitive world, you not only need to train your mind but your body. The more your body is trained, the faster and better you and your Personas will become. Trust me.” Ren placed his hand on Touya. “Especially if you’re the Wild Card.” Touya’s eyes widened. Wild Card...something he and Ren, his father had in common besides their eyes and face. Touya realized what he said was right and looked at his parents, once Persona users, and then at his hands.

He went back to the fight between Cain and Abel, how Abel almost caused him severe pain with her bleeding leg, and the Daisuke fight where he was tired beyond belief. “It all makes sense now. “ Touya clutched his hands and smiled. “Thank you Mom, Dad. We can stop for tonight, and when you can, I’m eager to train again.” Makoto and Ren smiled. “Sure thing Touya dear.” Makoto let out a sigh and then hugged Touya. “I’m going to admit, this was fun to do.” Makoto said, letting of Touya. Ren then yawned and looked at the time. “It’s getting late, at least for Touya here. Take a nice shower and head to your school work if you left some undone.” Touya nodded and he waved goodnight to his parents as he strolled back inside the house, confident and smiling brightly. Ren and Makoto saw the way he moved, and couldn’t believe their own eyes. “ Did our son...walk tall?” the two blinked and before they knew it, Touya was out of their sights.

 


 

The next after-school afternoon, Touya walked through the streets of Yongen Jaya with Satoshi and Kazuya. They left Hiyori at her house, and said a simple hello to Aunt Futaba before he continued walking towards Takemi’s Clinic. The reason for his visit was mostly because Ren forwarded a message from Takemi to Touya about needing some help that requires muscle power and “strong candidates”. Touya knew what that meant, but didn’t want to discourage Kazuya and Satoshi. The only one he did discourage was Shun and for good reason as Shun wouldn’t do anything regardless. “Why am I feeling like I’m going to die here?” Satoshi said as Touya opened the door. “Oh please that’s if you’re lucky.” Touya joked back.

They entered inside and as usual, they saw Hisako by the counter, this time reading a magazine. It had Daisuke on the cover, and the three of them gulped as they went back to the Palace Mall. Hisako’s eyes then looked at them and invited them in. “You’re here for the help, right?” Touya nodded.

“What kind of help is it?” Kazuya asked Hisako. Before Hisako could speak, another voice entered the door now, and the three looked to their right. Takemi didn’t look much older as she continued to look like her younger self twenty years ago. She was a doctor after all. The only difference in her clothing compared to the pictures Touya saw of her when he was a kid was that she now wore black pants with her short blue skirt. Her hair was slightly shorter, but still the same style. “Ah Hamster, you brought your friends.” Kazuya and Satoshi looked at Touya and Touya chuckled. “She’s been calling me that ever since I was a kid. Mostly because of my long hair back in the day.” Touya blushed in embarrassment. Satoshi laughed and Kazuya smirked. “Not a bad nickname…” the two said before they were smacked by Takemi’s clipboard. “And you two have any better ideas? By the looks of it, you two could be rats.” Satoshi and Kazuya looked down in shame, uttering sorry to both Touya and Takemi, who had a rather disdainful and yet sadistic look on her face. She then walked towards Touya. “How’s Seiji?” she asked him.

“He’s back at University.”

“That bastard. Scared to see me, was he?” Touya didn’t answer that one as Takemi sighed and walked back to the door. “Head inside all of you.” was all she said to them. Kazuya and Satoshi looked at Touya, who shrugged.

The three entered the clinic room where according to Ren was where he was constantly experimented on to find some good research and make strong and effective medicine for the real world and Metaverse. “Take a seat all of you.” Takemi showed them the large bed, and the three did so without hesitation. “So...Takemi-San,” Satoshi looked around and shuddered. “We’re not going to die right?”

“If you can help out with what I’m about to give you, then no you won’t.” Satoshi let out a sigh of relief. Kazuya then proceeded. “We heard it was something that required muscle power?” Takemi nodded. “That is correct...Okumura?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“If I’m being honest, you’re the perfect candidate I need for this job today. No offense you two.”

“None taken.” Touya and Satoshi brushed it off. Kazuya was concerned now as he sweated lightly. Takemi grinned devilishly. “So here’s the job you three: Hisako has brought loads of boxes out in the back, and she requires you three to help her unload them from the car and bring them to this very spot.” she tapped her foot on the floor for indication. “After that’s done, I’m going to test out the medicine here on you guys, and then put them on the shelves in the front desk. Got all that?”

“Yes ma’am.” the three replied at once and headed their way back to where Hisako was, who now was busy reading a Harry Potter book. Turned out to be the fifth one too judging by the blue hint on the book’s spine. “Ready?” Hisako asked them and they all simply nodded and did what they were told, all while dreading the test that was to arrive later when they finished.

As they headed out the back and to the large black car, the three Saviors of Hearts’ eyes widened by how massive the boxes were. “ Who helped you?!” they all thought as Hisako tried to carry one, struggling a little before Satoshi came to her aid. Kazuya and Touya then opened the side doors and grabbed the other boxes there, two at a time, and walked back inside after hauling for roughly twenty minutes. “And we are done!” Satoshi blew some of his black hair as it was blocking his green eyes. Touya and Kazuya dropped the last set of boxes and sat down on the bed, sweating a little. “We had to do one trip…” Takemi and Hisako entered the room. “Thank you guys so much.” Hisako bowed. Takemi smiled. “You guys seemed capable, which makes my research all the easier.” she saw the three lose their color. “I’m merely teasing. You guys are good to go and continue on with what you like to do at your age.” Takemi waved them off. Satoshi and Kazuya sighed with relief and the three left as quickly as possible before Takemi decided to change her mind. “ Igor...Annabelle...did my job now.” Touya communed as they walked back to Shibuya station. “So I have a feeling you’re heading straight to Protein Lovers’?” Satoshi asked Kazuya who nodded, his arms crossed as usual. “I need to pay them back again for all the broken punching bags too.”

“How hard can you hit?” Touya stopped Satoshi from wanting the answer.

“I think it’s mostly because of the fact we have increased stats in our bodies from the Metaverse.” Kazuya said bluntly as he made a fist and punched swiftly, and Touya and Satoshi barely got a glimpse of his arm as it swung. It looked like it was disappearing and reappearing every second. “I hope the situation with Daisuke is over with. During lunch, Iris and I saw Mayu and he together as if nothing happened.”

“Then that means he’s back to normal in a sense.”

“Still...May 5th is when we see the end result.” Satoshi ended the conversation once they entered the subway and onwards to Shibuya to end their afternoon.

 


 

Touya saw Annabelle when he reached his house looking at the outside of his house. “I really enjoy the black roof with the light grey walls.”

“Glad you like the monochrome designs,” Touya said as he saw the Velvet Room door slightly open. He was now confused and Annabelle filled him in while still looking at the house. “I expected you wanted to enter the Velvet Room.” Touya shook his head and declined the offer. “You sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

“Wild Card,” Annabelle looked at him now, her golden eyes locking onto his. “I saw you fight your parents last night. I was up on the roof and was watching you test out your skills.” she had a finger close to her mouth and then fixed her glasses. “You are doing well as the Wild Card, Niijima Touya.” that shocked Touya as that was the first time he heard the Velvet Room attendant say his full name. It felt sweet and nice as she said it with her maid like tone of voice, and he couldn’t help but stare at Annabelle. She continued speaking. “Once May 5th is over, and your first saved heart has spoken out the truth, then we will allow you to enter our recent addition to the Velvet Room.”

“Which is?” he asked now as he was wondering what she was talking about. Annabelle simply smiled and walked towards the door. “You’ll see once the events of May 5th manifest themselves.” she waved goodbye, leaving Touya alone now as he blinked and stood there amazed. His eyebrows twitched and his dark grey eyes widened in shock. “Okay then…” he said as he composed himself finally and then looked back inside the house. “May 5th...it’s getting closer now that’s for sure. I hope we saved Daisuke’s heart.” Touya gritted his teeth a little as he opened the door and then entered inside to finish his day, now heading soon to the month of May.

 


 

Preview!

Niijima Touya here!

And Hiyori Sakura!

Hiyori! The day is finally here, and boy am I anxious. Ginza is crammed as usual, but seeing now that the fashion show arrived, it’s crazier than ever.

Not just that cousin, but some weird politician showed up as well with two assistants. Wonder what that was all about too. Seemed to know Uncle Ren too.

Yeah, and that has me thinking more so than what Daisuke said at the end of the fashion show! And what a speech he gave as well.

Next time on Persona: Next Generations: Flora de Carmen Arrives!

Don’t miss out!

 

Chapter Text

“Crowded as usual,” Satoshi sighed as he walked with Touya and the others to Panther’s that hectic afternoon. A rather hectic and extraordinary day as the fashion show that everyone was craving had shown up at last: Panther’s Flora de Carmen Fashion Show was now being hosted at the main building that Iris’ mother, Ann Takamaki worked at. People by the second were crowding the building for the two floors that were impressively large and eager for their apparel to be sold away and worn. Marika was jumping up and down in sheer thrill as she was looking at the celebrities that were passing by the red carpet that laid in the back of the store now, filled with panels and carpets and flashing cameras here and there. “Whoa!” everyone yelled in excitement as they walked around the area. They separated themselves in twos as they explored the carpet, taking pictures with one another, and of course, meeting some celebrities. If they let them go near them of course, as Touya saw Satoshi waving at a female actress from America before the security guards scoffed at him and threw him out in a jiffy.

“Totally giving me the Palace vibes…” Iris bandaged her beau a little while everyone nodded in agreement. The fashion show was giving them the Palace Mall feel from a week ago, and now more than ever was their verdict. Was Daisuke saved or was it over for them? Touya kept the thought in his head as they gathered around each other once more and find a place to situated themselves before the runway event of the fashion show began. “Touya-kun,” Touko nudged Touya for a moment as they walked to the seating area. “What is it?” Touya asked.

“I was thinking maybe we could-” Touko was trying to finish her sentence before a foreign actor suddenly pushed Touya away and greeted. “Marvelous! Stunning! Simply perfection!” he kept saying as he took hold of Touko’s hands and looked at her blue eyes. Touya twitched a little before he clenched his fist tight and then grabbed Touko away from him. “Let’s meet with the others!” he yelled as he ran with Touko, leaving the actor in a state of confusion as he stood there with a “huh?”. Touko was keeping her eyes on Touya and blushed madly now to the point where she forgot what she wanted to ask him. “ Damn it…” she cursed to herself despite her hating the idea of cursing.

The two of them arrived now at the seating area, where the others waited for them restlessly as well. Iris was apologizing to some guests here and there and then sighed before she sat down and began to look gloomy. Satoshi then ran to her side and placed her on his shoulder. “Thank you.” she said before she looked at the ground. “Don’t look so gloomy Iris.” Satoshi soothed her a little while the others nodded. “Especially for the event like this one.” Shun said as he took mental notes of the crowd for his Shojo Manga sketches he was to create once the whole thing was over. “I can imagine the budgeting this had to go through.”

“It was a lot of money I’ll tell you that.” Iris commented on how Ann almost passed out when she received the final bill two days ago. “My dad had to take her to the bedroom and leave her there while she muttered about how large the cost was.” Iris then saw her mother coming with Shiho and felt a lot better now as she saw them walk towards them. “Mrs. Sakamoto.” Touya said as he was the second to spot Ann and greeted her and Shiho. Ann had her hair loose all the way as Touya saw, similar to how Iris had it. She was wearing a suit blazer with a crimson-colored blouse along with tight skinny jeans that reached to her ankles and regular black heels while Shiho was wearing a dress this time around that was striped horizontal at the bottom and a simple light blue at the top with sleeves. The two of them had the Panther’s logo as a hair clip to their left side. “Phew...glad this is going to be over soon.” Ann huffed a large breath of air and then smiled at everyone. “Heard about your success with your first Palace. Can’t wait to see the result.”

“Us too.” everyone replied back. Hiyori then looked around and noticed a few more people coming in, and as always, her cat eyes alerted the crew as her light green eyes caught a glimpse of Mayu and Daisuke walking and pushing through the waving crowds. Hiyori nudged everyone so their eyes saw what the Sakura was seeing. “Daisuke…” Touya muttered as he saw the third year male model kiss Mayu goodbye and then headed inside to get ready for his debut. “It seems that they finally got along.” Kazuya smiled and Marika cried tears that overflowed to the ground. “I’m so happy the two are back together again.” she sniffled loudly as her red eyes couldn’t hold the emotion in any longer. “This also means that he changed a little ever since the Palace.” Satoshi said as he finished relaxing Iris and then smirked as he let out his usual “Yahoo!”. Everyone giggled at the sight. “The show is about to start soon.” Shiho reminded everyone. Ann took note of that and told the gang to sit by the front seat for a few special guests were there waiting for them. “Really?! Who?!” Marika yelled as she quickly ran to the front row, everyone having to catch up behind her and yelling her to wait for them.

 


 

As it turned out, the special guests that Ann mentioned were none other than their own parents. Ren and Makoto waved Touya and Touko, along with Touko’s parents, Erika and Tanaka Harima. Sitting next to them was Mayu as she smiling vibrantly and ushering them to their empty seats. “ We’re sitting next to each other?!” the two blushed and gulped at the same time once they walked and sat down. Yet a small question arose for the two of them: they had sat next to each other before, but why were they reacting as such? Perhaps the reason must’ve been because the grinning Joker and his Queen was beside their son while the Harima girl was beside her equally teasing family.

“Man the last time we sat together like this was middle school graduation!” Tanaka laughed a little with Ren as his brown eyes looked at him with nostalgia. His tone was very gentle like as expected for the man who had to run a photography business (and of course raising a soft and gentle daughter), he then looked at his wife, Erika with his manly brown eyes. “Right, Erika?” Erika nodded once her blue eyes, the same ones Touko inherited, nodded in agreement. She then turned her head to Makoto and continued smiling. “I’m surprised you can make it Commissioner Niijima.” she teased as she had her hand by her mouth and her other hand waving her off.

Makoto smiled back and return the favor. “I made sure I would be a part of the security here today for Ann and her little event. Plus I wouldn’t want to miss seeing our future bride and groom see what could be their potential suit and dress for their wedding.” Touya and Touko stammered loudly by Makoto’s comment as the two shared a giggle and Ren continued speaking. “Aside from that, they also have something else they would like to see.” Touya stopped blushing and looked at his father, who felt confident in his son. That was evident with his smile as the one that wasn’t his iconic Joker smirk was no visible. Instead, it was his fatherly one, the one that confronted his family always, yet also felt a sense of guilt in it that Touya never got the chance to ask him when he could.

As the two households continued to chat, Satoshi sat with his mother, Marika was with Kazuya and Haru, Hiyori with Futaba, and Shun with Yusuke and Hifumi. Iris had to be behind the scenes this time around to help her mother and Ryuji in case she was to fall off stage with her heels. After a few minutes of chatting and exchanging looks here and there, the show officially began. The lights were cut off one by one, and slowly the lights of the elevating runway were beginning to draw life as the hues of red, pink, purple, and deep black were spotted around the edges and sides. Then a screen appeared as well at the top of the runway, and the logo of Panther’s was seen evidently, the fiery red panther mask glowing and flaring up behind a crimson background, and smoke covered the entrance of the models. Ann appeared in it, smiling gracefully and walking center stage to greet everyone who had joined. “Thank you all very much for coming to the hyped and well received Flora de Carmen Fashion Show!” applause was heard reverberating through the walls of the area and whistles blew heavily. Touya felt slightly uncomfortable as he witnessed the sight, being reminded of Shadow Daisuke and his runway event. Both looked eerily similar as he was dissecting the thought in his mind, and he wasn’t brought back to reality had Touko not sneezed so kindly and innocently.

“Sorry Touya-kun.” she sniffed a little, grabbing her handkerchief in her bag. "It’s fine.” he replied back and then whispered to her. “Doesn’t this give you-” she nodded yes as if she knew what the Niijima was going to say. He didn’t finish his sentence and nodded to her as he continued to look at the runaway in front of him. He looked towards Ren and Makoto, who was busy looking at someone else in the crowd. No, three people as Touya saw them going to sit down roughly in the opposite direction of Ren, his vertically striped suit matching with his fedora hat that had a purple feather to the side. His long black hair flowed and his black eyes gazed at what appeared to be his assistants, as the one with the purple hair pushed her glasses’ frames to the bridge of her nose and sat down next to her friend, who slouched. Touya wanted to ask his parents seeing how fixated they were, but he brushed it off as Ann continued speaking, and like last time, presented everyone Shiho, that she was beyond excited to showcase the designs she hopes to release soon in the summertime, and what not. “Now, let the Flora de Carmen Fashion Show begin!” Ann and Shiho yelled as everyone clapped and the lights all pointed towards the center stage entrances. Touya got a ping of messages:

The girls are up first right?”- Satoshi

“Really Sato? Perv.” -Marika

“No! I mean because ladies first you know.”-Satoshi

“You wish I was a model like the Palace, don’t you Satoshi?” -Iris

“Poor Satoshi...getting flustered.” -Hiyori

“I...not!”- Satoshi

“Look the girls are showing up now.”-Touko

Touya looked up from his phone the same time as Touko and saw the girls walking on the runway. They were presenting what appeared to be the summer jackets, as small bomber jackets of fiery reds and dashing blues were seen in some of the female models. They wore ripped jeans with some stylish sneakers and shoe wear. Once they left the runway after doing their poses, the group chat was pinged once more. “Poor Satoshi,” Touko whispered. “He’s getting some heat while Iris is teasing him violently.” she shuddered as she knew how far the Sakamoto girl can go with her teases. Touya agreed as he nodded slowly, and the female models left the stage, and the male models appeared with their apparel for the summer. Touya’s eyes examined for Daisuke, and sure enough, he was walking confidently as he was striding as he wore a shirt sleeve light blue with a few lightning bolts to the sleeves and bottom like the Flash’s belt. Daisuke’s hair was his usual mess of silvery white and he was smiling innocently, not like how it was before where a glimpse of Shadow Daisuke was visible. No, this was indeed the Daisuke Shiro they knew and the one that Mayu loved, as she was clapping hard when he was walking, tears in her brown eyes. Touko was a bit embarrassed by her cousin as she was trying to get her to behave a little, resulting in a minor discussion that left Touya laughing a little in the end. Ren and Makoto saw this by the corner of their eyes.

Another hour occurred where the girls were wearing the bikinis for the summer issues (Touya swore he heard Satoshi flew out of his chair before Kazuya brought him back down to reality), and the males with simple tank tops and swimming trunks that were really well designed. Once the swimwear was gone, there was an intermission for about twenty minutes. This was the perfect opportunity to get everyone together and speak with Mayu.

“Thank you guys so much” she thanked them generously as she hugged each and every one of them. “You guys have no idea how much of a help you guys were.”
“Mayu, we told you before and we’re telling you now, you know we are always here to help.” Satoshi reassured her despite Iris wrapping some bandages in his head and cheeks. Mayu giggled as she nodded. “You’re right Satoshi. I’m really happy to have my Daisuke back.” she saw Daisuke walking towards them and she ran to greet them. “Ugh! Mayu!” Daisuke grunted as he hugged her back and then looked at the gang, primarily Touya. “Thank you guys for coming. Takamaki-san sure is welcoming.” he then patted Touya’s shoulder. “Thank you for freeing me.” he said in a low voice as Touya’s eyes widened. “What do you mean?” he said in a disguised voice as he pushed Daisuke’s hand gently from his shoulder. Daisuke then gave him a raised eyebrow, but then Touya pointed to Mayu, seeing that she had no idea about how Daisuke was saved, to begin with. Daisuke nodded and then grabbed everyone’s attention as he remembered something. “Guys! After the dresses and suits are over, I have an announcement to make afterward.” everyone was concerned by what he meant, and this time Mayu knew what he was referring to. “You’ll see everyone.” Mayu simply teased as usual.

The intermission was over, and the suits and dresses were now being shown. The spotlights changed to a fancy hue of brown and red as the female models flaunted the fanciest and most exuberant dresses known to man. Whistles were subtly blown, and Touya heard Ren tease Makoto about having a dress such as the black and red one that had a nice black jacket coat and red gloves. The buttons were yellow on the jacket, and Touya understood the tease. “ Joker.” he thought as he smiled and continued watching the last remaining minutes of the show.

Daisuke now reappeared wearing a sleek and slim dark grey suit, now in front of everyone and continued to smile innocently. The rest of the male models, of course, had their serious faces on and took their chances posing the suits that were to be shipped and on stock for the summer occasions. Then, once the last male model left the stage, Shiho and Ann returned center stage, receiving an explosion of applauding. Everyone cheered loudly in their seats, cameras flashed, and the foreigners were in tears by the spectacle of the Fashion Show. Shiho and Ann bowed, holding hands together, and then addressed everyone quickly. “Thank you guys so much for participating! We hope you stick around for the shopping and to the ones with the VIP tickets, head upstairs to the fourth floor for a small tour!”

“As for our closing, we wish everyone stays for a few more minutes as we have one last surprise.” Shiho yelled to everyone as they all stood where they were, sitting back down. Touya then looked at Ann who nodded, as well as Ryuji in the back as he gave a thumbs up and then pushed slightly Daisuke to head up to the stage once again. Then Touya felt the vibration of his phone and he braced himself for what’s to come. They knew he was saved from the desires of beauty, evident by his demeanor now, but he needed to see the confirmation. Here goes.

“Here we have one of our most famous models, Daisuke Shiro.” Ann started off as she saw the camera of the news that was live streaming the event point towards their direction. Ann continued, pushing her loose blonde hair back. “He has a few words to say to everyone, as well as towards a group of individuals who have helped him the past few days.” Touya felt the others sit still in their seats.

“Thank you Suzui-san, Takamaki-san,” Daisuke excused them as they left the stage and then looked towards the camera, now wearing a simple black henley and some dark jeans with gray shoes. He composed himself and cleared his throat. “Good afternoon to all. I am grateful that you all have attended the Flora de Carmen Fashion Show, and have experienced the love and dedication Panther’s have for beauty and clothing as a whole. As well as the various models that are employed to their services. I am very humbled to be a part of all this, truly I am. However,” he looked down with a sense of regret and his teeth were clenched tight. His hands were to his sides and he was shaking. “However, the past few days I was feeling distant from that dedication. Lost in a world that I believed was true beauty. Something Panther’s was never able to obtain. And thus, I’ve caused myself a burden, created a monster inside me that I was trying hard to conceal in the real world. My heart ached painfully for letting that monster exist inside of me.” he took a breath and then looked back at everyone, tears in his eyes.

“Yet a miracle happened.” he took out a calling card, the same calling card the Saviors of Hearts sent him, and everyone gasped. “Phantom Thieves of Hearts?! Are they back? What’s going on?” murmurs were heard all around the area now to their disbelief. Daisuke let them chatter for a bit longer before he told them that it wasn’t them. “No, they were someone else. They never stole my heart’s burdens. They saved me from them. These aren’t the Phantom Thieves, but the Saviors of Hearts!” he yelled now as more murmurs were heard throughout the room. “Saviors of Hearts? Who? Ridiculous!” they were all thinking Daisuke was crazy now, but Daisuke continued on. “Yes, the Saviors of Hearts were the ones who saved me from the distortion of true beauty. Saved me from that monster, and because of them I realized something.” he stepped down on the stage now, each step being in rhythm with his speech. “I realized that I don’t need this life anymore, and that true beauty was standing in front of me.” he was now looking at Mayu and smiled wide, which she nodded in response. He then turned back to the camera. “This is my last time on the runway for I will retire my duties as a male model.” gasps were now heard once more. “That’s right,” he replied confidently. “It tainted me so, and I would let it taint me any further. Thus, I will relieve my duties and work harder in school and provide aid to the Student Council President.” he bowed in respect. “That is all I have to say.” he finished.

Touya had his mouth agape as he couldn’t believe what had happened. Daisuke confessed...like how the Phantom Thieves’ targets would...Touya had to absorb everything he laid his eyes on. Daisuke, the stage, the crowd, and the camera. What would the people think outside of this as they were watching this event? Live?

Makoto brought him back to reality as she stood up and then told Touya to do the same. “It’ll take some time to get used to.” Makoto said as they walked, Touko behind him with her family, who were now confused and intrigued by the Saviors of Hearts. Meanwhile, the former Phantom Thieves were smiling subtly, as if to acknowledge their next of kin who would take on the Metaverse now, walking away from the sight, and heading back to Ginza once more. To the outside world. “ Daisuke…” Touya looked back and saw him smiling and waving back to him as he mouthed the words “thank you” once more, with Mayu holding his right arm to conceal her teary face.

 


 

Touya stayed with everyone else as his parents left to continue working. He heard his mother being relieved that she didn’t need to detain anyone for trespassing and the such, but that she needed to head back to the station and review her officer's paperwork. Ren was nowhere to be seen, however, as Touya asked Makoto and she replied that it was urgent it seemed. ‘Be sure to head back to the house before dark. I get that there’s no school for the next two days, but do keep your sleep regularly scheduled.” she warned her son.

“I know Mom. Don’t worry.” he waved her off to her car and once she entered and drove off, everyone was by the station. Satoshi was celebrating wildly as he jumped up and down with Hiyori and Marika to his sides yelling that they succeeded. Iris was laughing with Touko, and Kazuya was trying to keep them quiet. Shun stood by the railing with his usual bag of chips, munching. Touya approached them now and then sighed with relief. “It’s over...now we can rest a little.” he said with dead eyes as they were white in color. His ghost appeared a little by his mouth and Iris snapped her fingers to bring him back. “Tired now.” he said as he sat down. “I think the relief that Daisuke was back to normal is made it so Leader.” Satoshi winked and then sat down next to Touya and yawned. “And now people are walking around talking about the Saviors of Hearts.”

“Much like how it was when the Phantom Thieves were in their prime.” Kazuya added, flexing his muscles in his leather jacket. Hiyori nodded frantically, her cat ears shooting upwards. “Mom was amazed by the whole thing when Daisuke was speaking. Said it reminded her of the good old days.”

“However, we are missing something important.” Shun jumped into the conversation, hands still in the chip bag. “We did finish our first Palace correct, but there is Neo-Mementos to worry about now.”

“That’s right. The nine other doors to the rest of that cityscape.” Iris said as she was fixing her hairband. “Maybe one of them are open now.”

“Maybe.” Touya said as he was thinking about it. They could check it out right now as it was the usual time they would explore the Metaverse. Yet given their current energy levels, he threw the idea out as he was yawning like crazy with the rest of them. “It’s four in the afternoon and I’m dead tired.” Satoshi said as he stood up, helped Iris up and then headed down. “We should all go home for the day.” everyone agreed. Iris then received a text from her mom and read it to everyone. “Special surprise? Tell everyone to meet at the Shibuya station tomorrow at noon. Bring Morgana too.” Iris looked at Hiyori who had her head tilted to the side. ‘Wonder what the surprise could be.” Marika said enthusiastically as her eyes shone. “Could it be clothing?” Kazuya sighed.

“It’s a surprise for a reason Mari.” Touko shyly replied back as she was calming the redhead down, heading towards the train now.

“Where’s Shun?” Touya asked suddenly as he looked around the crowded subway station. The Kitagawa was nowhere to be seen...until he heard a bump to his left followed by the Vending Machine’s machinery clicking loudly as something was bought. “There he is.” Kazuya pushed through the crowds to see Shun and Hikaru on the floor. “Hika-chan?” Satoshi said as he helped her up once he made eye contact with her. Hikaru chuckled nervously and thanked Satoshi. “Sorry guys...guess it’s becoming a habit to bump into one of you and falling.” she brushed the dirt from her purple long sleeve shirt and glanced at Shun before she looked down quickly to avoid eye contact. “It seems so. What’s up?” Marika said as she grabbed one of her arms. “Not much really. Usual journalism stuff, and since Dad couldn’t make it to the event today, I had to fill in his spot with the reporters.” she gushed a little as she was scratching her cheek.

“Ah! I was wondering why there were so many camera crews.” Touya said in awe as he was welcoming his friend.

“Yeah, and now that it’s done-”

“You’re heading home,” Iris said as she smiled at her friend. “Why don’t you join us and we’ll walk home together?”

“Thank you guys, but I need to catch a different train to Akihabara for Akio and Mei. They’re meeting me there for something. Sorry.” she bowed in respect before she ran off to the other side of the station. “Next time okay?” she yelled back. The Saviors of Hearts all looked at their old friend and then wondered about her and her current status in life. She was a huge part of their group back in middle school, and after their first year in Shujin, she seemed distant. Touya hoped everything was alright with her. They all walked to the train to Shibuya through the crowded streets thinking about their dear friend, Nakamura Hikaru.

 


 

Touya and Touko were now walking back home after the whole Flora de Carmen frenzy was over in their lives. Touya had his arms to his pockets while Touko had hers on her camera. “Another Photography club lesson. Want pictures of the neighborhoods.” she said as the camera clicked. Touya acknowledged it and continued walking side by side, looking ahead to make sure Touko wouldn’t bump into something. Sure enough, she did as she bumped into a pole, her camera out of her hands. Thankfully Touya grabbed it in a second before it fell to the ground and Touko as well with the other. Touko had her eyes closed and looked up to see Touya holding her, their eyes meeting. “You okay?” he asked, and Touko tried to respond before she began to fluster and blush madly. She nodded though, which was the good part, but she got Touya in the same trance as well as he blushed madly. He got her back to her feet and the two didn’t lay eyes until they reached Touko’s house.

“See you tomorrow?” she asked nicely as she was still looking away.

“Yeah, definitely.” Touya smiled. “I mean we have that surprise from Iris’ mom.”

“I wonder what that could be about. She did say bring Morgana.” Touko tried to think for a moment but shook her head and sighed. “We’ll have to wait and see I guess.” she then saw her parents outside the door and were looking at the two of them. That got the two flustered once more. “Have a good night Touya-kun!” she yelled, or rather, stammered as her cheeks were crimson. Touya nodded back and forth. “You too Touko!” he ran away quickly while waving at the Harimas.

As he was running, he was trying his best to remove his blush and his thoughts on the matter. Especially the comment his mother made with Erika earlier that day. “ Touko in a wedding dress?! Me as her groom?!” Touya couldn’t stop thinking about the subject matter until he found himself by the Velvet Room door with Annabelle waiting patiently by the wall of Touya’s entrance. “The Priestess seems to be someone very special.” Annabelle commented as she was checking her nails and fixing the folders that were by her knees. Touya could only sigh in the end as he didn’t want to bother fighting his Velvet Room assistant. “Leave me alone for the rest of the day please.” Touya muttered.

“Sorry, but Master has urgent news to tell you.”

“Is it about that special surprise you were telling me about?” Annabelle nodded. “Yes, but he also wishes to congratulate you further on the outcome that had transpired today,” and with that, Touya walked with Annabelle into the Velvet Room, where his Personas greeted him with one giant group hug.

 


 

Deep within Neo-Mementos stood valiant tall neon purple statues. Each one depicted a loyal and beautiful woman with her hands to the skies, praying to the heavens above from mercy with a sense of grace. That was in one hand, while the other held a knife, sleek and bound to her side and hand like a prayer book. The knife was well crafted, and whoever created the statues did a number as they stood still to provide spacing for what was in the middle. In the middle was a large queen’s throne, filled with the biggest cushions known to mankind, if not Persona-kind for who was sitting there was nothing than a human. Her silhouette showed, revealing to be a pale white woman with long white hair. Her eyes were snake-like and her dress was exuberant, almost Middle Eastern. She laid there comfortably, her chest area pressing lightly on the couch cushions on her throne. “Lilim...are you there sweetie?” she asked in a soothing snake like tone of voice. Her tongue even looked like the ones seen from snakes.

“I’m here Mother,” a second voice appeared, belonging to another female figure in the throne room. She wore something similar to her mother, her clothing being nothing more than a texture of a white that covered her bare skin. She was fixing her large devil wings and her black air while fixing her large leather boots and skimpy white skirt. “You should find another outfit. That one is alright, but you should deserve a little more taste .” she accentuated the last word as she stood flawlessly from her throne and stretched her pallid arms wide. Large purple nails were seen as her hands were open.

“But Mother! I’m trying to find something to wear besides those stupid white clothes I was given.” Lilim stammered as she stomped a foot loudly. The mother didn’t seem to look very kind as she gave a look to Lilim, but realizing that this pattern was repeating itself, sighed and waved her off. “You’ll find something to wear soon. Just keep looking.” Lilim grunted and turned away from her mother, trodding off violently while the mother looked at the statued next to her on the left side and smiled wide. “Beauty, huh? Shame Adam never appreciated me….and left me with that forsaken daughter. I love her and everything, but the public needs me to look after the aspect of beauty...and that sense of lust for it. That greed for it, that distorted desire and overflow it to the public.” she then got up from her seat, and walked from the steps that preceded, and flaunted her dress once more before her daughter, Lilim, arrived with another set of attire. “Mother, you think it’s time to open the entrance? For the Saviors of Hearts?”

“Oh yes Lilim dear. Yes indeed.” she smiled wide and then walked with her daughter to the back of the throne room, where a large opening and a hallway was seen. The mother looked back and grinned once more at the throne room.

“Saviors of Hearts...your next task awaits you.”




To Be Continued On Persona: Next Generations…

Season Two Coming Soon!

Chapter Text

Previously on Persona: Next Generations

 

Niijima Touya and the gang had successfully saved Daisuke Shiro from his other self, the shadow that created a Palace inside his heart much like the ones from the Phantom Thieves of Hearts’ era. Now that the Palace had crumbled and after fighting against a rogue Shadow Daisuke, resulting in the formation of the Saviors of Hearts, a group that will take the Phantom Thieves’ place and saves those from their Shadows. After hearing the confession of Daisuke’s now saved heart, their next task awaits them deep within Neo-Mementos, the cognition of the entire world, and what their next set of foes might be…

 


 

Touya calmly ate some cereal that morning, now relieved that Daisuke’s heart was now saved and no longer retained a Palace. How he confessed in front of everyone and said he was quitting becoming a model (though later on Mayu asked him about how he’s going to get the money to continue living in his apartment. No response came except a shocked stutter), and how he was going to help Mayu with the Student Council back in Shujin Academy, where Touya along with everyone else was taking a two day break from as the teachers needed to plan some things for the next two months. That and what the exams will be about in two weeks time.

He focused on the cereal as he swirled it around and then gulped it in one go in front of his parents. “Somehow I’m still not full…” Touya went to go grab a fourth scooping of cereal before Makoto’s hand stopped him. “I think you’re good to go,” Makoto said a bit worried before Ren laughed at the two of them. “Queen, let our Prince eat a bit more. Who knows if he’s going to be in the Metaverse today.” Ren sipped a bit of his coffee before he let out an “ah”, filled with nothing more than delight. Touya looked at his mother, who sighed and let him wolf down another bowl of cereal before their heads turned to the TV that was by the living room.

“And now some updates about the Saviors of Hearts….according to Nakamura News, the Saviors of Heart were…” and on and on the news reporter talked about the Saviors of Hearts and what they could bring to the table this time. Touya listened in a little about what they were saying about the group, and it resulted in rather mixed feelings.

“Saviors? They’re criminals! Like the Phantom Thieves twenty years ago!” an old man grunted as he was interviewed.

“Saviors of Hearts? Are they like Vigilantes or something?” a pair of teenage girls, Shujin Academy no doubt as one of them Touya knew for she would try and find some way to talk to Touya. He wasn’t fond of her at all that was one thing. She even hated Touko too for some reason.

“They’re nothing but wannabes who believe to be in the good side of the law. Let them get arrested by the police.” Makoto smirked at that interviewer for she knew full well she wasn’t going to commit such an act. Touya knew better as he too smirked and crossed his arms like his mother, both of them causing such a condescending atmosphere before Ren interrupted it with a cough. “Sorry.” they both replied back with nervous chuckles, while Kiryu, who now woke up from his sleep, held his tongue out as he stood there patiently next to Touya. Touya messed around with his fur.

One interview after the other was heard on the TV screen that morning before Ren decided to turn it off, at least before the news reporter spoke now. “And now, more on the latest news on the recent outbreaks that are said to be related to the Commissioner’s Quest.”

“Here we go again.” Makoto sighed angrily as she had to hear yet another complaint. Touya felt bad for his mother and the fact that these weird shadow creatures showed up late at night to harm civilians. Touya, as well as his parents, knew that it had to be Metaverse related, but as to what extent? In any case, the reporter spoke about how there was an incident last night that harmed a couple at 3:00 in the morning. “Tokyo Police Force’s Commissioner Makoto Niijima says she has the situation under control and is looking the hardest she could about them. For now, many speculate that they are related to the psychotic breakdowns two decades ago.” Ren turned off the TV and now met with a fuming Makoto Niijima, who was twitching her eyebrow and her red eyes glared at the now black screen. “I’m fine if you wanted to ask you two.” Touya was in shock that Makoto knew he was a bit worried. He sighed and then looked at the time. “Looks like I gotta meet with the gang.” Touya stood up and relaxed his body.

“So do we.” Ren nudged Makoto and the three of them stood up to get ready for the day. “Ren, am I picking him up or are you picking him up from the airport later today?” Touya stopped walking as he heard the two adults chatter. “He asked me and Ryuji to stop by and pick him up. Said he wanted to have the Trio reunite.” Ren pulled his suit jacket on and yawned a little. “Knowing him, he’s going to make me sleepy when he talks about his podcast that’s for sure.”

“Oh, you mean his radio show? I listen to it sometimes. He’s actually pretty good at it. Kiryu we’re going to work sweetie.” Makoto waved Kiryu off a little who seemed very eager to head outside. Ren laughed at Kiryu and pat his head when he knelt down at the gray Shiba.

“So I’ve heard, and Kiryu I’ll take you out later for a walk once I get home, okay buddy? Come on now Mako, let’s get going. See you later Touya!” Ren and Makoto ran out of the room before their son, who stood there in such awkwardness that he just shook it off and ran out the door as well. “Kiryu...let me talk you out for a walk before I head out.” Kiryu woofed with such delight he jumped at Touya.

 


 

After walking Kiryu around his neighborhood and then dropping off the dog, Touya was now waiting for Iris with the rest of the Saviors of Hearts. Satoshi sighed as he paced back and forth, waiting for his girlfriend with such a gloomy face, as black markings of sorrow were seen across his forehead. “We were supposed to walk together…” he said gloomy, now with mushrooms popping out of his head. Hiyori giggled at the sight, trying to pick them off of him. “Shun, did you bring the Ultimate Weapon?” Hiyori asked Shun as she saw him pass by. Shun brushed his bang to cover his right eye and looked at Hiyori with his usually impassive face, shrugging while sipping on a straw. “Nya!” Hiyori cat scratched him before Morgana popped out of her bag, scaring everyone when he yelled at the two to stop fighting. “Well gee Mona, I’m so sorry.” Hiyori sarcastically remarked at the black cat, who shook his black fur and stretched his feline body before heading towards Touko, who grabbed him and went to her shoulder. “Whoa... the shoulders feel like Lady Ann’s!” he purred before Touya twitched, and like Satoshi, looked at the cat with such dangerous eyes. “Hey...what did you say?” he said as his face twitched at the cat, making him worry. “How long are Takamaki-san and Iris taking? I’m getting all jittery because of that surprise she told us about!” Marika flailed her arms around and pouted loudly before one of her swings hit Kazuya in the back of his head. “Mari…” he merely gave her a cold stare before she gulped and apologized before yelling at him to move his head next time. “Man these two just love bickering…” Touya said as he put his hand on his face in utter defeat.

“Oh hey Satoshi, Iris is he-” Touko didn’t finish her sentence as Satoshi ran to greet Iris as she was crossing the street, holding a large bag along with Ann, who was holding one as well. “Ara ara! Looks like Satoshi was getting desperate.” Ann cooed to her daughter before she greeted everyone else. “Iris! I wanted to walk to the station with you!” Satoshi cried on her shoulder as he hugged Iris, who smiled and patted his back. “Satoshi, I’m here, you can let go now,” she said as Satoshi nodded, wiped his tears, and then looked at the bag. “Need help?” he asked right away as if nothing happened, and the rest of them looked at him weirdly. “Oh, this? Thank you, Satoshi.” Satoshi grabbed the bag and felt some metal cases underneath. Satoshi told everyone to feel the bottom. “What’s inside Takamaki-san?” Kazuya asked.

“You’ll see, you’ll see! Now Hiyori!” she looked straight at Hiyori, who shrieked because the movement was so robotic. “Y-yes?” Hiyori asked, nervous.

“Did you bring Morgana?” she asked innocently. Hiyori nodded and Morgana appeared from below, now leaving Touko’s shoulder and meowing to announce his presence. “Perfect! So we just need the crowd to stop looking at us...bingo! Now Touya!” Touya felt a shiver when Ann now looked at him. “Yeah?” he asked similar to Hiyori.

“Access the Metanav for me please?”

“Sure.” Touya grabbed his phone and clicked on the Metanav. The archaic eye glowed and showed the dark red screen and its contents. Touya then went to the tabs sections and clicked on Navigation. “You want us to go to Neo-Mementos, right?” Touya asked despite knowing what the answer was. Ann nodded. “Okay...get ready to go back guys. And Takamaki-san,” he patted her shoulder. “Get ready to hold that bag tight.” he said as he pressed the “BEGIN NAVIGATION” button, the world swirling around them, freezing time and space. Then, like they first accessed Neo-Mementos, a giant dark circle opened up below them, swallowing them down to greet the red and black surface and the large cityscape that was blocked by nine large doors. Touya heard everyone scream, echoing through as they fell down.

 


 

For the Saviors of Hearts, it had been a long time since they entered the public’s cognition of the real world. Touya was the first one to stand up after everyone fell down to the floor of the main lobby of Neo-Mementos. Touya spotted and smiled nostalgically at the floating Pandora Boxes that stood there open and circulating around them and the main lobby. “You guys okay?” Touya asked everyone as he helped Ann up as she, like the Saviors of Hearts when they first arrived, fell down harshly. “You should’ve told me that I needed to stick the landing!” Ann brushed the dirt off and looked around Neo-Mementos. No doubt she felt a shiver down her spine and her eyes freaked out as she looked at the glowing ground, the red like vein lights flowing throughout the blackness. The vast cityscape around them looming over them like frightening trees in an abysmal forest in those enchanted wizard films. “Whoa...this place changed a lot…” Ann’s voice quivered a little before Marika shrieked out of nowhere. “Get away Monster Cat!” she kicked Morgana, now in his Metaverse form, far away from everyone. “That’s Morgana, Mari!” Hiyori summoned Somnus to grab him from the air.

Once the situation died down, and Somnus brought back Morgana to the ground, Ann began to explain how he changed. “So that explains the mascot looking creature back in Shido’s calling card that one time in History class…” Satoshi and Touya said in amazement.

“I’m not a mascot! I’m a Phantom Thief!” Morgana growled back at them before Ann sighed and then calmed the cat down. “Now that we’re here,” Ann took a look to examine the place once more, then smiled. She proceeded to grab the large bags that Satoshi and she were carrying around in the real world and dropped them on the floor. Metal bangs reverberated through the area. “Um...Sakamoto-san…” Touya went to tap on the bag and felt a solid metal rectangle with a handle. “What’s inside the bags?” he asked.

“I thought you would never ask!” Ann clapped her hands together and smiled vividly. “Go ahead and open the bags and grab your surprise! It should have your initials too to make it easier. And your Arcanas.” she winked at all of them, who reacted with confusion before they nodded and grabbed each one a metal briefcase. The briefcase was light, which was good, and had the Panther’s logo attached to it in the middle. Then, above the logo, were their initials engraved as well as their Arcana. Touya grabbed his and began to open it, and to his and everyone’s surprise, stood a pair of clothing, shoes, and other accessories that Touya surmised were for the Metaverse. “Whoa!” they all replied with enthusiasm that meant to Ann that she had done her work properly. “ Phew...no need for accommodations…” Ann thought as she approached them. “What do you think about your Metaverse costumes?” she had her hand to her hip.

‘They look great...though where are we supposed to try them on?” Satoshi asked sincerely as he looked around. The buildings were only beyond the gateways, and seeing that they were closed, there weren’t much of personal space to change into clothes. That was when Morgana glittered as he strode beside them and laughed his usual mischievous laugh. “That is where I come in! Allow me to introduce you to the-”

“Monamobile!” Ann cut him off as she grabbed his yellow scarf and tossed him in the air with such force, though this time Mona seemed to enjoy it as he pulled a spin and within a second, smoke appeared, and he was gone. What now laid itself in the middle of the air was a large black and yellow bus that was about to come in contact with the Saviors of Hearts. Their eyes with dread, they moved out of the way as fast as they could as the bus now positioned itself properly from where they previously stood. “Mona! Are you trying to kill us? And how are you a bus?” Hiyori whined as she examined Morgana in his bus from, who was still smirking underneath those blue eyes that were headlights. “This is because of the cognition! Still happy and yet surprised people still want cats to turn into buses…” Mona said a bit gloomy before he shook it off. “Anyway, this is where you’ll be changing into your Metaverse gear,” Ann told everyone in the end before she believed she heard wailing from behind her and moved far away from where she stood, laughing nervously. “ She really hates this place…” everyone thought to themselves.

“So who’s going first?” Shun asked as he looked at everyone.

“Good question…” Touya replied back.

“I believe it is fair for the girls to be first,” Satoshi said as he pointed his index finger in the air.

“You guys just want to take a peek, don’t you?” Marika said angrily.

Satoshi waved it off with the help of Kazuya, with small nose bleeds that they immediately wiped. “No, not at all! It’s because ladies first you know! Right, guys?” Touya gave them a thumbs up and Shun sneezed out of nowhere. “See?” Satoshi waited for a response before all the girls looked at them with hints of disgust and Iris blowing off a kiss. Satoshi fainted afterward. “Come back to us Sato!” the guys yelled to bring him back to life. Satoshi responded as he held his hand up high, waiting for someone to grab his hand. “Guys...I won’t…” he said slowly and without energy.

“Satoshi!” they all yelled back before Ann smacked each and every one of the guys before she let out a “hmph!” and walked towards Mona in his bus form and stood there arms crossed as the girls were trying on their outfits. “Boys…” she muttered as the guys were now on the floor with Satoshi, each with a hand-marked on their cheeks and dizziness sprouting in their bodies.

 


 

As the girls were busy trying to put on their outfits, and the guys waiting a few feet away from the girls, one thing became a fact as the events were happening: too many outbursts were heard from the ladies. “They’re that big?!” the guys heard Hiyori yell in surprise as Marika’s voice whimpered while trying to fit something into his body. Then came more remarks. “Touko, no way that it’s like that…” Touya tried to imagine what that what was as he gulping madly, waiting his turn to try his costume on. “ Don’t think about it...don’t think about it…” Touya continued the thought in his head as he shook his head and removing the blush in his cheeks. Satoshi and Kazuya, on the other hand, were covering their noses. At least one of them was as Iris spoke now. “Marika, I can’t unzip it, can you help me?” there was silence before a shriek was heard from Iris. That was enough for Satoshi as he fainted once more, letting the blood flow down from his nose. “Forgive me Artorias for I have sinned…” he whispered in defeat.

Touya then began to think about Morgana as he snapped himself back to normal. Can the cat even see what’s going on inside? No...if he did, then Ann would’ve beaten his eyes to a pulp or something, which she didn’t do. Maybe Morgana was just a gentleman to Ann only? He needed to ask later when the chance was available.

Remarks after remarks without many contexts later, the girls finally arrived to the scene to showcase their Metaverse outfits. Touya and the gang woke up from the sight, as well as Ann and Morgana and were wowed by their looks. Touya especially as he laid his eyes first on Touko.

Touko reminded Touya of Kairi and Aqua from Kingdom Hearts as the light brunette wore a sort of dark blue-gray type of sleeveless hoodie that reached towards her thigh area. White linings were seen as it went downward, and her tiara was no longer there, as well as her red ribbons, for the tiara was used as the ribbon for her ponytail. Then her chest area bore a nice white shirt that had a blue leather strap running to her side with a blue circle in the middle of a diagonal design. She wore a small skimpy blue-gray checkered with white skirt, her legs now bare except for her lower leg region, where high silvery boots were seen. They were wing-shaped at the sides by the ankles. She retained her knife and ammo pouch by her left leg, and lastly, her gloves had additional padding by her arms as they extended a little bit, and Touya saw that similar concept at Iris, who Satoshi was very fond and happy to see.

Iris continued with her Persona’s concept of royalty. Her blue and black plaid gloves extended a bit towards her elbow, having a little ring in the middle than before. Her small golden crown was still intact, and her chest area was given a small chest plate with black behind it, covering her body. More of the blue plaid was seen throughout her sleeveless jacket, which gave Satoshi the impression of Prompto from Final Fantasy XV, as the plaid ended below her black jacket, as well as the top. Her leg area was nothing more than black leggings with some dark blue boots by her knee area like Touko, and her lance holster was gone. “What do you think Satoshi?” Iris asked as she twirled around. Satoshi smiled and gave her a thumbs up.

Marika was next, and she was rowdy looking for a Metaverse costume. Her laced beanie and pressure point glasses were intact in her red short hair,  she wore a small short sleeve hoodie that was a dark purple like her gloves, and she wore a simple v-neck t-shirt to go along with it. She wore some tight dark brown leggings and her shoes were merely converses that reached to her ankles. She moved her body around to test the flexibility as she kicked a couple of times and then flipped like Spider-Man before she gave a huge approval to Ann. “I really like it!” Marika yelled with delight as Ann clapped her hands with joy. “Now it’s Hiyori...ah there she is!” Hiyori walked confidently as she jumped out of the bus and smirked.

Hiyori continued on with her cat-like motif, her cat headband was still intact, and her goggles were nicely placed in her neck area by her yellow scarf. She wore a skin tight long sleeve that was all black with yellow by the ends of it to compliment her yellow gloves, as well as dark brown pants with boots to match. She gave a Featherman pose and continued to smirk. “This is awesome! Thanks, Takamaki-san!” Hiyori yelled as Ann was again flattered. “Not at all!” she replied back, now all peachy.

“Touya-kun?” Touya stopped to take a look at Touko, who was fixing her outfit a little, her blue eyes looking at him. Touya looked up and down, and suddenly his mind went back to the video of Shido’s calling card. “ Mom…” Touya realized as the color scheme was identical to Queen, Makoto’s Phantom Thief outfit. Was it because they share the same Arcana? Must be since Ann made sure it looked similar to some degree with the hues. If that wasn’t enough...wait, Touya then thought about his parents. Fool married his Priestess...Touya blushed hard and stammered as he also discovered the hidden message Ann was trying to portray to the Niijima. While that was happening, Marika poked at Kazuya for his approval, which he gave a simple thumbs up. Satoshi was gushing all over the place when he examined Iris’, and Shun just gave a soda to Hiyori. “Nya!” Hiyori clutched it and drank with all her enjoyment.

Ann now took a glance at the guys, who nodded and grabbed their suitcases to begin trying out their Metaverse outfits. “Be right back dear Princess!” Satoshi cooed as he waved goodbye to Iris, who giggled. Ann then turned to her daughter and mouthed “He’s a keeper!”. As the guys walked, Satoshi stopped and felt a heart squeeze. “ I’ve been praised!” he thought before Kazuya grabbed him and chuck him inside, waking Morgana up. “Careful!” Mona yelled.

Touya propped his briefcase and began to remove his aesthetics. “ Wonder what mine is going to be like...maybe like Dad’s? Who knows.” Touya opened it and examined it contents. He noticed a nice black jacket coat, and he took it out as he was removing his small fedora hat carefully. Then, he took out the shoes, pants, and everything. “Wow, Iris’ mom went all out!” Touya heard Satoshi yelled as he took out his jacket and shirt, removing his Shujin blazer and ripped cloak. “Really loving the vibes it’s bringing.”

“I agree,” Shun said as he was trying out his shoewear. “Custom made for our fitting.”

“Iris must’ve given her our measurements,” Kazuya said as he was removing his bulletproof vest and flexed his muscles. He heard the girls wow form the corner of his ears. “Huh? They can see us?” Satoshi looked around as he was also bare-chested. Kazuya smacked him.

“I definitely did hear a wow from the girls,” Shun said to Touya who nodded. “ Was Touko a part of it?” Touya imagined Touko looking at him right now...he brushed the feeling off as quickly as he could as he put on the shirt and jacket. He didn’t want to think that Touko was a fangirl! No way in hell would she be wowed by his looks...thought Touya fought with the thought now as the guys continued putting on their Metaverse gear.

 


 

The girls were just as impressed as the guys were when they showed off their Metaverse outfits. Marika’s eyes glittered and Touko’s mouth was agape as the guys walked just as confidently and stylishly at the girls. “Look what you see ladies?” Satoshi cooed as he flashed his jacket and flexed his gloves around and legs. He had a dark blue jacket with yellow lining at the shoulder sides, going throughout his jacket. His knight helmet piece was gone from his head and now placed firmly on his right side of his arm, where it flexed nicely with the fabric. His gloves were a little changed too as the gauntlets were slimmer and more fitted to the jacket, which like the cloak had, some white and black fur around the collar area. There was also a dark blue shirt with a chest plate like Iris. He donned black pants with boots to match. “This is pretty impressive,” Satoshi told Ann as he moved around and summoned his sword to swing it around. “Very flexible!”

Next came Shun, as he was adjusting his long sleeve ninja outfit. There were lacing around his chest, interlaced with a soft gray undershirt beneath it. It was halfway covered by his ninja mask. He adjusted his black and green belt around his dark gray pants and gray boots, as well as his gloves. The boots reached a little higher from his ankles, and like Satoshi, he summoned his Katana and Niten Doraku. “It reminds me of my pupils long ago.” Niten gave him a metallic thumbs up at his summoner. “And what about Kazuya and Touya?” Marika asked, and Kazuya coughed to introduce himself and his outfit. “Touya is still busy changing into his. Abel randomly popped out of nowhere and tried to mess with him.” Touko blushed hard when she heard Kazuya and she wanted to ask what happened. “She just showed up and Touya just smacked her head as usual. No big deal.” Kazuya then moved around to adjust his outfit now.

For the most part, it was a dark red button down that was tucked in beneath his bulletproof vest. He smacked his gloves and brass knuckles a little bit to test its flexibility, and he had them rolled up to the elbow area. He had his headband a bit shorter than it was before, and the belt shone brightly with his initials, having black pants and red shoes below. He smirked as he liked the material. “Heat resistant,” he said out loud as Ann nodded frantically. “Perfect for your Persona and abilities! Ah, look who’s finally here!” Ann got everyone’s attention now to Touya, who was getting out of the Monabus, and scratched the back of his head.

The Leader of the Saviors of Hearts approached them now a bit nervous, still scratching the back of his head. His fedora hat was still intact on his fluffy dark brown hair, moving up and down as he was busy messing with the back of it. His body was clad with a black jacket, with the bottom diagonal jagged to his left side. The arms weren’t rolled up like Kazuya’s, as cuffs with white buttons were seen a little bit away from his elbow area, though still giving some skin between the gloves and his jacket. He wore mostly black, as a black v-neck shirt was seen below the whiteness of his scarf, and a somewhat light black suit vest as well. His chains were longer seen in his left arm, though his red bandana stayed where it was, and like Ianus, his Persona, suspenders were seen to his sides, with hues of gray and black plaid beneath the solid black. The same plaid design was seen on his upper collar region like Sora from Kingdom Hearts. There was his belt that the silver buckle was seen in the middle a little as well as his chain he wore with his Shujin pants. He wore black boots with white linings at the bottom and sides, and the darkest pants he could possibly wear. “What do you guys think?” he asked everyone.

“You look like a freaking Yakuza mobster. Same with Kazuya here.” Satoshi said with a glint in his eyes. Touya chuckled as he moved around. He punched and kicked to feel the fabric and he then summoned his kukri knife to swing it in his usual manner. “You outdid yourself Sakamoto-san,” Touya said as he smiled and his knife disappeared in front of him.

“Shiho, Yusuke, and I did our hardest to make sure you all have something special and fitting for your Personas. Lots of sleepless nights that’s for sure.” She looked at Iris who had an “oh” face as she learned why Ann was barely home.

“One question,” Shun raised his hand like he was in school.

“Yes, Shunji?” Ann used his full name as she looked at him, waiting for his question. Touya thought he was in school all of a sudden before Shun spoke and broke his spell. “What do we do with your clothes?” That got everyone as they looked at the cases that now held their regular casual clothing. The Saviors of Hearts chuckled nervously before their phones beeped and their Personas were all summoned behind them, clearing their throats in an orderly fashion. Meanwhile, Ann looked at them and was in awe before she tried to summon Carmen but to no avail. “We shall be of aid for that,” Ianus smirked before as he patted Touya’s back, his glass mask casting downward at him. “How?” Touya asked back.

“With a snap of a finger of course,” Ophelia answered, grabbing Marika’s briefcase.

“What Ophelia means is that we’ll just grab your containers and go back to the phone with them.” Artorias sighed as he, along with the other Personas grabbed the respective briefcases of their summoners.

“And don’t worry my fellow comrades! For your clothes won’t disappear forever! They’ll just come back when you leave!” Somnus said cheerfully while Hiyori was busy playing with his revolvers.

“I see. Thank you then.” Kazuya said as he looked at Ifrit, who grinned nicely despite his dog-like snout.

“How can your Personas talk?” Ann disrupted them as he looked around and then tried to summon Carmen once more, her Persona during her times as a Phantom Thief. “Oh man...I wanted to see Carmen after a long time...need to speak with Futaba later,” she muttered before she sighed and looked at the Saviors and their Persona, each dissolving into blue flames and going back to the summoner’s phone. “Everyone done now?” Morgana asked yawning, waking up after the whole costume change inside the cat’s bus form. They all nodded at him and he meowed, turning back into his Metaverse form, still yawning as his paw was by his mouth. “Man you guys took too much time.” he yawned again after the end of the sentence then shook himself like an actual cat would do and examined Neo-Mementos. “Mementos changed extremely. This cognition of the real world feels too real . “ He looked at the statue of the two angels ascending to the heavens, their hands outstretched upwards and glowing red orb that was where it was situated when the Saviors defeated Plato. “What’s this?” Morgana asked.

“We don’t know Mona. When we fought the boss of this place, he transformed into this red orb and we put it there.” Hiyori replied back. Everyone nodded.

“I see...and there is a text.” Morgana read it and then looked at the gang for another response. “We don’t know about that either. It just popped up when we put the orb.” Touya spoke now, walking towards Morgana before he stopped as rumbling was heard to his left. He looked up, mind perplexed and eyes and ears alert, he saw that one of the doors was being opened. It was shifting itself downwards, rumbling and crumbling after each second. A large entryway was seen, illuminated in purple lines than red, flowing like veins like the main lobby. “A door just opened…” Satoshi said before they all heard a voice on their phones. It was the Metanav’s. “The passage to Tiferet has been accessed.” the robotic voice quickly said before it went away. “Tiferet?” everyone asked each other.

“Whatever it is...be careful,” Ann replied back before she accessed the Metaverse to go home. “I’m counting on you guys! Be safe! Mona let’s go!” she ushered Morgana to come before she pressed the button to head back to the real world, and when she did, swirls of red and black were seen in front of her, slowly projecting the real world and the usual crowds. “Stay safe!” she yelled before she walked inside it, the swirl like portal now morphing itself back into its original atmosphere. Though when she entered, she looked back at Touya and Touko, who were side by side in the circle they created before entering the gateway. Her eyes widened as she saw a glimpse of Joker and Queen, Ren, and Makoto in them. She blinked and then rubbed her eyes as she left the place. “ Did I really just?” was all she thought.

Touya looked at the entryway and then at the statue. Daat...Tiferet...what could those words mean? What language are they derived from? Touya needed to know more and he spotted Annabelle to his right now, looking at him and bowing in respect as she was holding the usual folder and waiting by the Velvet Room double doors. Would Annabelle know what is going on in Neo-Mementos? It seems like she does, yet Touya knew better. They were very vague about these set of details, wanting their Wild Card to solve them as he goes inside the Metaverse. If anything, it seemed more logical for the concept of the cognitive world was too much to bear and with everything that happened with Daisuke’s Palace, he decided quickly it was time for a break for wanting answers. Besides, he wanted to test out his new costume badly. “Ready to enter uncharted territories?” he asked them as he walked in front now, fixing his gloves like his father and his fedora hat form his dark brown fluffy hair. There was a small glint of pride in his dark-grey eyes too, something only Touko saw as she blushed and smiled to herself.

“Yes Leader!” everyone yelled back excited as they ran with him, side by side, into the vast purple and black veined gateway to Tiferet. Touya hid his eyes in embarrassment when he heard Leader as they ran.

 


 

Ren and Ryuji were watching their clocks tick by every second as they waited by the airport grounds. Ren massaged his wrist, as usual, to comfort the pain that the scars brought to him from time to time. It was a habit of his for several years now, and once he finished rubbing them, he saw Ryuji sigh and scratch his black and blonde hair like the good old days. “How long is he taking? We have things to do…” Ryuji said as he looked at his watch the fiftieth time and then decided to leave the post, fixing his gray blazer. Ren chuckled and then looked around at the crowds to wait for their dear friend to return from America. Plus it was a nice relaxation from his mess of Diet paperwork he had to sweep through with the help of Daichi before he left for the airport.

He saw Ryuji return with a pastry in his hand and yawning before he tossed one to Ren, who grabbed it in a split second. “Oh? Apple Pie Danish? That’s a thing?” Ren blinked as he opened it up to feel the delicious warmth inside. Ryuji nodded as he munched his. “Ann is going to kill me if I didn’t bring her something, so I also bought for her. And for Makoto too.” he gave another bag to Ren who thanked his friend. The two took a bite out of their pastries and continued looking out for their visitor. “How long did he say he was going to take?” Ryuji asked.

“Supposedly, about twenty minutes.”

“It’s been an hour.”

“You know how airports can be. You had to pick up Ann several times from here because of her shows.”

“You got me there. Speaking of Ann,” Ryuji showed Ren a text that Ann sent to her husband. Ren perused through it and then nodded in return to confirm the message’s truth. “So Mementos indeed changed. Interesting.”

“Yeah. She called and told me all about how it’s an entire city. And about how amazing the costumes were for everyone.”

“I see. I have a feeling Touya’s got some inspiration from mine.” Ren smirked.

“You mean the Saviors of Hearts, right?” a familiar voice was heard that shocked the two adults as they looked to see where it came from. Then, standing before them, was none other than Yuuki Mishima, as he was strolling with a messenger bag and his luggage, now neatly placed on his right leg. “It’s been the word on the street as soon as I stepped out of the plane .” he chuckled as he twirled his small goatee and scratched his sideburns, almost having stubbles to be a beard. “Took you long enough.” Ryuji said as he went to shake hands with Mishima and pull him in for a hug. The same went with Ren and Misham fixed his loose button down and his hair, neatly combed to the side. “Well now it’s not my fault a lot of fans wanted to ask for pictures and autographs.” he said pridefully as his face glittered with joy before Ren and Ryuji laughed. “Hey it’s the truth!” Mishima yelled back before they all burst out laughing as if they were young teenagers again, back in Shujin Academy. After their short unprofessional bursts of laughter, they walked out of the airport and headed towards Ren’s parked car. “So you assumed the Saviors had to do with our kids already? Sharp as always Mishima.” Ren said as he was helping Ryuji put the luggage back in the car. Mishima nodded, opening the car door. “Yeah, though a lot like Nakamura News don’t know much about the connection unlike the ones that were close to you guys, so they should be okay in the time being. Also, Eiko says hello.” Ren raised an eyebrow.

“I saw her in Washington D.C. earlier this week in the Smithsonian Museum. Apparently, she was teaching a group of American tourists before she spotted me and said hello.” Mishima recalled the events of when he was checking out the grandiose museum and spotted the historian, resulting in large conversations. “She said something about going to Europe again for some lost treasure too,” Mishima added. Ren chuckled back nervously. “She better not cause another ancient city to crumble down.” he teased as he went to the driver’s seat. Ryuji then began to speak. “Tell us what you know about the Saviors of Hearts Mishma.”

“Well they’re pretty much you guys but they save hearts this time. It seems to me that they’re going to be doing just that instead of changing villains’ heart. Kinda cool if you ask me.”

“Tell us about it.” Ren started the car and drove out of the parking lot and headed out.

“Yeah for sure. I need to ask Ohya if she has anything more to say besides Nakamura. I like him a lot but recently he’s been distant, going all over the place to cover news stories that really shouldn't be covered by him. Whatever that means.” Mishima shook his head and then yawned. “Anyway, my point is that the Saviors of Hearts will make just as big an impact on society as what the Phantom Thieves did back then. You guys kicked ass after all.” as Mishima was saying all of this, he had no idea that the Saviors of Hearts were busy traversing through the district of Tiferet, fighting Shadows that came their way. He would never imagine Touya and the gang, now officially in their outfits, summoning their Personas to fight back, each of them with a determined smile on their faces. As Touya slashed through a Shadow through the middle of its black misty body, with Ianus releasing a blast of Kouha and Eiga back to back before he moved back and yelled at everyone to get ready for more enemies as he stayed in his fighting position, having on him the strongest smile he could muster.

 


 

Preview

 

Niijima Touya here!

And Ianus at your humblest of service.

The district seems to be a long one compared to the one we faced before! Never thought that there would be a dungeon style of puzzles everywhere! It’s like a Zelda game! That mirror puzzle was the annoying one by far. I don’t want to think too much about that trap and the statues.

Be cautious Partner, for there is a strong power amongst us in all of this. I sense their power, and it’s unique.

Don’t worry Ianus for we got this covered. Though the feeling is mutual.

Precisely.

Next time on Persona: Next Generations! Tiferet!

Don’t miss out our dear servants.

Chapter Text

“That should be the last of them now.” Hiyori huffed her chest heavily, letting out all that exhaustion and tiredness out with it. She planted herself now on Somnus’ chest, still being summoned as he was bust examining the vast outreach that the new location Neo-Mementos provided for our Saviors of Hearts. The large bleak and shadowy city was beyond their imagination, reaching towards infinite as they were resting on the dark buildings’ walls, reaching upwards like towers. “Let’s hope more don’t show up. I’m dead tired now.” Satoshi held himself up with his sword as he too was breathing heavily. Touya and the others agreed.”Oh you guys are a bunch of wimps! You walked through a small portion of this place and you’re all tired! Didn’t you navigate through an entire Palace!” Abel said with disbelief as she blew her fiery red hair strand that was blocking her view. Touya smacked the back of her head and sighed. “Abel,” Touya said in an irritated manner. “We weren’t ambushed by hordes of Shadows like now. Things are completely different here.” Touya kicked a rock that was in his view. It bounced a little on the sidewalk before it disappeared into the black mist that Shadows do when defeated. “This place is giving me the creeps now. And the purple isn’t helping either,” Marika shuddered as she was rubbing her hands on her upper arms to warm herself up. “It’s a ghost town.”

“And the MetaNav seemed to have called this place Tiferet for some reason as well,” Shun relaxed his muscles and fixed his ninja mask. “We should explore a little while we can.” everyone nodded in agreement as they continued walking. Abel was excited to see their movement after recovering her usual blow from Touya and walked nicely with her summoner, canine tooth sticking out like Hiyori does whenever she begged Shun or someone else for something. Touya’s eyebrow twitched furiously as she was beginning to hum away. Touko was blushing furiously at the scene and almost fainted when Abel pushed her body close to Touya in her usual seductive like manner. “Your free time is over,” Touya said harshly as he summoned her back to her phone, whining and crying. Iris had to check on her friend, who was busy with the dizzy spell of the day.

The town was as dark as ever as they walked around, seeing that no Shadow was in sight. After the whole scaffold a moment earlier, the Saviors of Hearts wondered if the Shadows felt fear in them, which resulted in the isolation they were dreadfully feeling as they crossed the streets. Now they wished that the Shadows would reappear and face their Personas once more. One of the many things too about the Shadows that Touya saw as they fought them was their designs. The ones they fought before during their first time in Neo-Mementos, the Shadows were all gooey and basically blobs with white masks on them that hurled their attacks on them. The ones in Daisuke’s Palace resembled close to real people, though burly and with a mask as well that looked like eyes, but the ones that they faced in Neo-Mementos now were more like actual people. They resembled the looks and designs of real people, all dark looking and with weaponry beyond their wildest dreams and abilities that they didn’t know what hit the Saviors. It was like they were facing Daemons from Final Fantasy XV as well as the Twilight Realms foes in Twilight Princess. Quite frightening enemies. “Any sign of a Safe Room in one of these buildings Hiyo?” Touko caught up to Hiyori, goggles fixed on her face, scanning everything. “After we cross the main street in just a few, there should be a Safe Room to our right. It should take us about two more minutes.” Hiyori removed her goggles and yawned. A brush of wind blew through her hair, causing her to shudder and jump up onto Touko’s arms, hugging her tight and moving her head back and forth onto Touko’s chest. “We should really get to that Safe Room,” Touya said nervously as they continued onwards.

Touya continued to examine everything and then looked at his gloves, pondering at the situation they were in at the moment. Was this truly the cognition of the real world? This sense of despair and isolation? Where Shadows lurk within the deep black walls of the vast cityscape? Touya needed to understand Neo-Mementos, and what it was before, during his parent’s era as Persona users. “Main street is this way,” Kazuya yelled at the gang as he waved them here, pointing to a large sign that read MAIN STREET in some ancient script. “Let’s go then,” Satoshi said as he urged everyone to run towards their next destination.

 


 

They reached the main street of the Tiferet section of Neo-Mementos. The Saviors of Hearts were in awe and yet filled with terror as they saw numerous Shadows walking around them, crossing the streets of what appeared to look like Shibuya Square. These hordes of Shadows didn’t pay attention to them as they weren’t Shadows at all. They were Cognitive beings, as voices were heard in each of them, filling the void and the loneliness they previously faced. “Beauty is a thing I must achieve! Look at all these trends nowadays! Oh, look Sis! This is the new top I was telling you about! Isn’t it so gorgeous?” voices were piling on top of each other as they walked through their misty bodies.

“What is all of this?” Touya asked as he was making the right turn that Hiyori told them they needed to do to get to the Safe Room. “They all seem to talk about beauty. Listen to this.” Touko nudged Touya to her direction. Touya leaned close to her head and heard whispers now. “I want to be the hottest person in the whole wide world. Only I can be that beautiful! No one can be more beautiful than me!” a voice of a teenage girl was heard through the two brunettes. Touya couldn’t believe what he was hearing as he moved away and then breathed in and out. Then, a few seconds later, he had an idea that needed to be expressed to the others. “Do you think that Daisuke originated from here?” he asked them quickly as they saw his eyes express a look of curiosity. The others pondered for a moment, and Hiyori tried to give the best answer she could muster. “Maybe. This is the world’s Palace, so it would make the most sense if someone went too far off the beaten path to have his Palace.”

“That does seem to make sense,” Kazuya replied back.

“I could always ask Mom when I can after all.” Hiyori’s ears shot up as she smirked, putting her goggles back on her face. “Safe room detected! Turn right in three...two..and...one!” Hiyori sprinted in front of everyone now to present them the Safe Room they were trying to locate in the Tiferet District. It had the distorted glow they were used to seeing in Daisuke’s Palace, as the two black doors felt transparent, revealing a lounge room.

The Saviors would be intrigued by what it would look like once they headed inside. “Let’s make sure we all don’t trample each other like the first Safe Room,” Satoshi said as he was opening the doors to welcome the others inside, each of them nodding and thanking Satoshi for being a gentleman. “Hmm...it’s definitely not fair…” Hiyori looked at Touko’s cleavage as she did the first time before Marika karate chopped her head, dragging her inside the Safe Room while Touko covered her face in embarrassment once more. “Touko?” Touya asked but was pushed and knocked back in the process.

 


 

After relaxing in the Safe Room and trying to get their fears from the district out, they headed back outside, only to see the misty bodies disappearing. “Hm? They didn’t do that when we first came here.” Iris said as she looked at both sides for any Shadows.

“That’s because the show is about to start after all.” a seductive like voice was heard through the streets as they walked towards the center. Touya already took out his kukri knife and tried to detect the voice through Sixth Sense. However, nothing popped up and the voice continued talking. “You guys may have fought one of the stray hounds of this district of ours, but fear not! For we will provide you the challenges you’ll need to complete Tiferet!” the voice giggled, and that was the cue for Cain to appear behind Touya, her face a little mad yet regretful as she was holding her hands together. The voice then saw Cain and snickered. “So you did end up saving those stupid buffoons.” the voice was mad now and suddenly a figure of a young teenager appeared. Her body features were similar to Cain and Abel, and she had two canine teeth sticking out on both sides of her pallid mouth. She was wearing all black: pants with high heel boots, gloves that covered about three of her fingers in one hand, and a black vest that barely covered her chest area, as it was bare in the middle, her pallid skin showing off. She had something that the twins didn’t have, and those were the large black wings that spread evenly behind her back and a small black tail that had a spade-like end at the end of it, behind her black pants and belt. She held her hand up to her hand and giggled some more before Satoshi broke it off. “Who are you?” he yelled at her as he gritted his teeth in annoyance. The figure looked down at them and then saw Cain. “Why don’t you introduce them to me dear Half-Sister?” she ended the sentence off with a smack of her lips and Cain gulped. “Her name is Lilim,” Cain said as she looked back at her half-sister enviously.

“Hahaha! Correct! And I am one of the rulers of this district. Remember Plato?” the Saviors nodded, still alert for the outcome that may occur. Touya knew that it was going to result in them fighting more Shadows, so he held onto his knife tight. The others summoned their weapons as well when they saw him. “So you’re the one in charge of this place then.” Touya yelled back at her, his fedora hat blocking one of his dark-grey eyes. Lilim grinned. “Precisely. However, I don’t have the time to continue our chatter nor the patience to fight. Mother is waiting for me, and for you to fail miserably. In the meantime, have fun!” she kissed them goodbye before she flew away from the scene, leaving the Saviors of Hearts on high alert.

Sure enough, the chatter was over as hordes of Shadows reappeared around them. Touya looked back at everyone, and they were ready to disperse. “Let’s go!” Touya yelled, slashing at one of the Shadows in front of him. “Cain!” he yelled at Cain, who knew what she needed to do. “Whirlpool!” Cain released a spinning barraged of water at the Shadows, knocking them down instantly. Cain smiled and dodged one of the Shadows’ attacks before Marika spin-kicked it to the air, having Heloise finish the job with Frei. “High-five!” Marika and Touko high fived each other before they split up and continued fighting.

“Artorias, ready?” Satoshi smirked as he held his sword with both hands while Artorias was behind him, hands on the grip of Excalibur. Both charged at the enemies and created a lightning rod effect, Satoshi using his blade as the basis. Artorias summoned Mazio straight towards Satoshi to spread the lightning effect on everyone, excluding his fellow teammates. “Perfect.” Satoshi sighed as he was gasping a little. Artorias noted more were coming, and Ifrit and Niten Doraku came to the scene to finish the battle off before Touya and Iris would use their Ice Barrage Combo. The Shadows were all stabbed by the chest areas as spikes of Bufu from both the small Jack Frost and Catalina around the area. As the ice died down, so did the battle. “There’s that,” Iris said as she was being held by Catalina, exhausted before Touko and Satoshi healed the gang.

“Well we still have the Safe Room, so we could always take a break now if everyone is up for it.” Hiyori detected something else as her goggles glowed red from the front. “The buildings! Look!” she pointed upwards for the others to notice, and sure enough, they were as concerned as Hiyori. “The buildings...are shifting,” Shun said in awe.

The buildings began to move sideways, the top opening up and revealing a large pole with a mirror in front of it. They appeared to look like radio towers as purple lights glowed through the apparent windows of each of the buildings. That very same purple light was glowing from the mirror, and an image appeared on all them, though different in its shape and size. “Looks like it’s some kind of puzzle,” Iris said as she then looked forward, now noticing that the middle of the street changed as well. What now stood in the middle was an insignia of sorts, making out a woman sitting on a throne with a large snake looking back at it. Touya and the others walked towards the figure and saw that the paths they previously took were now blocked, and a large door was in the middle of the large building that Lilim stood at the top of. They all examined the door, waking carefully towards it and then looked at the towers, and finally the insignia at the center, finally understand what the puzzle needed them to do. Get the mirrors facing towards the center, and voila, the door opens. Simple as that, Touya hoped. “Let’s split up into groups of two,” Touya told everyone as they all nodded back and split. Touko stood by Touya. “What are we going to do?” she asked sincerely.

“Hiyori and Marika are staying here to check out the insignia, so let’s head to the first tower over there.” he pointed to their right, and they began walking. That was until Touya heard Annabelle’s voice reaching towards him and he looked back, seeing the Velvet Room doors and its attendant lying to the side of one. Her golden hair was loose this time and she was rubbing her glasses using her clothes before putting them back in place. Touya approached her. “In need of service?” she asked humbly before Touya waved it off.

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

“I’m here to assist you. And what assistance I shall bring for my Master has decided to gift you a new ability.” she snapped her fingers and the Fool Arcana card was seen floating in her palm. “This power is unique and would be quite useful for this very puzzle and combat. She gave the floating card to Touya and it burst, strands of energy going through his body. He couldn’t help but feel a bit ticklish before the strands were gone and he felt normal. “This power my Master has given you is dubbed Soul Warp. If you throw your weapon towards the direction you want to go, your body will become strands of energy and teleport you to that location.”

“So it’s like Noctis’ Warp Drive,” Touya said in awe as he was flexing his muscles. He wanted to try the technique now more than ever. Annabelle nodded in agreement, then bowing her head in respect to Touya. “I’m glad you understand its usage. Though be careful with this ability, for using too much of it will weaken you,” she said while waddling her finger around her hair. Touya understood and parted ways with Annabelle, and went back to the reality he was currently in as Touko nudged him. “You okay?” she asked him shyly.

“Yeah, now watch this.” Touya summoned his kukri knife and then looked at the tower in front of him. It was tall, he knew that as he felt like an ant when he approached it. He saw that there were stairs, and the others were climbing them, spiraling upwards. Touya looked at his knife and then back at the tower before he threw it as far as he could. Once it reached the level of height Touya wanted to gain, he felt his body propel forward, leaving a blue misty version of his own body behind as he was now up in the air. “Whoa!” Satoshi saw Touya perform the act. “What are you, Noctis all of a sudden?” he yelled before Touya smiled back...before he realized that he needed to find ground for his feet. He was dangling on the wall of the tower now, holding tight onto his knife, for it was stabbed on the blackness of the building’s walls. He was chuckling nervously now, looking at how high he really was, clutching his fedora hat.

I’m an idiot…” he said before he released the knife and summoned Ianus to drop him back down to safety. “Be careful with that power Partner.” Ianus scolded softly as he dropped Touya off. “Will do,” he replied back and then apologized to Touko, seeing that she had her hands close to her heart and was worried for his well being. Touya didn’t think about that for a second as he was now having to calm her down before they continued onto the tower. The stairs seemed to be on endless terms with them as they continued climbing, every so often deciding to skip of a few steps to enjoy themselves despite the looming darkness the vast buildings provided. Touya leaped on the last set, heaving and letting his arms loose before deciding to make a small front flip before he landed on the top of the building.

Touko blushed as she was watching Touya enjoying himself and she kept a hand close to her chest, cheeks flushed. Alas, they met with the glistening glass rod that stood out on the skyscraper. The dark metallic stick standing upwards, appearing to look like a radio tower as it had the triangular design one normally would. The light source was nowhere to be seen as the two tired looking for it, yet realized that not everything needed to be logical in the Metaverse. Things simply were. “Okay,” Touya rubbed his hands together in preparation. He fixed his fedora hat and looked around the mirror tower for a handle of sorts to move the mirror and the light towards the bottom. As the Niijima guessed, he saw two protruding handles on side of the tower. Touya grabbed the handle and saw that he was unable to move it around. It stuck to itself like superglue, and Touya felt that very same glue would stick to him as he was struggling to push or pull. “No use.” Touya sighed as he was now exhausted. Guess brute strength isn’t the solution, he thought as he then looked to Touko, who was approaching the second handle. “Maybe if we both pull the handle together,” Touko grabbed the handle with one hand and the other for Touya to hold and pick him up. “We can move the tower and head to the image.”

“Worth a try Touko,” Touya said as he grabbed the handle again, and noticed that was now moving smoothly. “So an extra hand was all you needed.” Touya smiled as the two were now positioning the image down to the ground, with Hiyori and Marika as aid. “Move more to the left!” Hiyori yelled back as Somnus was motioning them with his revolvers like those who help land the airplane to where it was supposed to land. Touya moved it to the left one last time, and the handle stopped moving. Then, the light began to fade out and the image was burning below, blue flames creating the still image that the mirror was created with the light. Hiyori and Marika moved to the side quickly as they sidestepped and then gave a thumbs up to the two. “Now,” Touya heard Hiyori’s voice reappear from the little earpiece they would magically wear when they were far away (Touya and the others never assumed much besides a small blue flame emitting there when they depart) to have the others do the same. Touya saw to his left that Shun and Iris were finishing up the position, and Touko to her right seeing a tired Satoshi and a crossed armed Kazuya as the two pant a little. Touya and Touko chuckled. “So the stairs or want to tag along with the little teleportation?” Touya asked Touko. Touko blushed and imaged Touya holding her by the hip area like those from a romantic film, and almost freaked out, pushing Touya and running as fast as she could downstairs. Touya blinked with curiosity before he thought too the same thing, and then Soul Warped down, the energy now pink thanks to the current state of emotion he was feeling. Once he met with the others on the main central street, they all examined the picture that they created. “Who could this be?” Marika asked out in the open.

“Cain or Abel should answer that question.” Kazuya motioned to Touya’s phone.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea now,” Touya replied as he shook his head and pointed at the door. “For now, let’s head inside and see what awaits us.”

“Got it!” everyone said eagerly as they all ran towards the door.

 


 

More city buildings were scattered and the vivid abysmal purple lighting continued flowing throughout the districts. Another large building stood in the middle similar to the one they previously had left and stood around to look for more clues. The larger building was their focal point it seemed as the rest appeared to be all blurred out of their vision, and all of the Saviors of Hearts were feeling a bit dizzy. Transfixed and felt their legs wobbled and almost in a state of flying. “Wha...is going...on?” Touya asked around but no response. Everyone seemed to have been in a similar state, yet Touya squinted his eyes to see Iris and Satoshi yelling at them to look out. Touya tried to make out what they were really saying as the noise had been canceled in his ears. A soothing tone replaced it and he couldn’t help but fall asleep as he fell to the floor…

“Touya!”

Touya jolted as he woke up, feeling a pang of pain as he was getting himself up from his daze. “Where am I?” he asked mostly to himself as he was rubbing his head from the intense hallucination he and the others had felt. Once his rubbing and the throbbing of his head has ceased, he looked up at the others to see him rather anxious. Touko especially as she was the one who woke him up. “Thank goodness,” she said in an undertone and Touya saw Kazuya and Shun to his left. “It looks like we got ourselves trapped.” Shun sighed as he sat down and planted his head down. Touya raised an eyebrow and got himself back on his feet as he flipped forwards. “What do you mean trapped? Where’s Iris and Satoshi?”

“Over here!”

Touya looked at his right...more like his bottom right as he realized he, along with the others were floating on a dark orb of sorts in the center of the street. Touya looked rather frantic but tried to remain calm as he was looking back at his two friends, who so happened to be outside of the force field. “How come you guys are out?” Marika asked impatiently as she was trying to kick her way out before Hiyori shook her head. “No use. We’re trapped for sure,” she said in defeat as she snapped her fingers to reveal the reason why. “We were ‘drugged’ for a lack for a better term as we continued running through the street.”

“How?” Touko asked.

“You see those flower petals scattered across?” Hiyori pointed downwards and sure enough, the gang noticed that tiny white and pink flowers were seen all over the street grounds. “Those flowers contained some sort of cognitive function that made us hallucinate and have that soothing tone as if we were Odysseus and those Sirens.” Hiyori sighed again and then snapped his fingers to close the floating holograms. Touya was a bit perplexed by what had occurred. Drugged? Even in the Metaverse? Impossible. Yet that soothing tone in his voice as he was walking, that calm and gentle voice that was so magnificent felt so real. It reminded him of Makoto when she used to sing to him lullabies so he could fall asleep, and that voice was so similar to her’s. Perhaps it was to suit the need of the hearer? He asked the question to everyone, and they all answered his question: Kazuya heard Haru’s voice, Shun heard Hifumi’s, and the list went on. “ Maternal figures...it seems to be an important thing in this district. Possibly it’s to symbolize eternal beauty? Like those old matriarchs?” Touya continued to think about the links between the voices and the Neo-Mementos district. Before long, he then began to ask another interesting question. ‘How come you two are the only ones that got out?” he asked Iris and Satoshi. They looked at each as a response, indicating that neither of them knew the answer. “We walked with you guys, but no voices showed up in our heads of our moms,” Satoshi said before he looked back at the large building with a shocked expression. Touya asked him what was wrong and Satoshi pointed towards the center, where two large stones, one of a man to the right, and another of a woman to his left. “They were never there before.” Marika realized as she stopped kicking for the fiftieth time.

Only those who have partnered with their significant other can pass this test to free those of the unfortunate.” two heavenly voices called out through the Saviors’ minds. They felt intertwined, like an ancient song, and Touya wanted to listen to the voices once more before Satoshi yelled at the statues. “What is the test then?” he summoned his sword, and behind him, Iris had her lance ready as well.

“Wait! They said something about unfortunate! What do you mean by that huh?” Marika growled like a dog as she was being resisted by Kazuya, who sighed. “Isn’t it obvious Mari? It means that only those who are in a relationship are the one who needs to free us from this hellhole.” Kazuya put it so bluntly that Touya merely nodded...before truly understanding the task that was being at hand. If Touko and he had dated before entering….would they enter this test as well? Touya felt a rush of blood heading towards his cheeks. Touko was the same and hid her face as she too understood what that meant, cowering behind Marika. Iris giggled at the sight, while Satoshi muttered “sadist” under his breath before they put their weapons away. “The test is a very simple one dearest servants of love and beauty,” the voices returned as their eyes lit up now with hues of purple, giving a possessive vibe to the stone statues. It creeped the Saviors out, but then the voices returned once more. “The two that have an everlasting bond...step forward and present yourselves, for we statues cannot move without your presence. Possess our beings and brings us back to the pedestals that we belong.” The two statues suddenly spring to life as their feet tapped the floor and the central street was beginning to shift. Then, two pedestals were beginning to form at the sides, each with a distinct color that matched the vibrant eye color of the statues. “There is a time limit to this test,” the statues forebode now. “Failure to summon us to our place of belonging will result in your peers’ misfortune.” the statues snapped their stoned fingers, and in seconds, Touya felt an immense pang of pain coursing through his body. Everyone else was feeling it down as they were sent to the ground, unable to move. “That was only a small portion of the misfortune. Failure can result in death. You have ten minutes.”

“Ten?!” Iris and Satoshi yelped as they looked back at Touya and the others. Touya saw them and gave them a weak thumbs up that they’ll be fine. “Think Twilight Princess,” Touya yelled at Satoshi, who had his eyes open in realization that he smirked. “Now that makes this test easier.” Satoshi rubbed his upper lip with his thumb and then walked with Iris forward, possessing the statues. Iris saw that she was possessing the male statue and Satoshi the female despite being on opposite sides. “The pedestals for each one is the same thing as well Satosh,” Iris pointed out as she took the first step. The male statue took a step as well, leaping from his position and then landing on a spot of the gridded central street. Satoshi took his step, and the female figure did the same movement. “Do you think you could help out from over there?” Iris yelled back.

“Leave it to me!” Hiyori yelled, snapping her fingers, but felt the pang of pain. Shun grabbed her by the shoulders as she shivered now from the aftermath. “ Guidance from those entrapped cannot be given.” the voices returned.

“You okay?” Touya asked his cousin, who nodded.

Satoshi and Iris then looked back at the statues and then proceeded to use trial and error as they walked around the statues. Touya looked at them and saw that they were close to finishing the puzzle before he saw that Shadows were beginning to emerge from all fronts. “Great..just as we were about to finish.” Touya tried to summon one of his Persona but reminded himself of the advice the voices told them. He put his phone back in his pocket.

Fortunately, Satoshi saw that enemies were approaching and summoned Artorias to sweep them out. “Call out Catalina Iris!” Satoshi yelled as Artorias summoned behind him and slashed through them with ease. Iris nodded and Cataline was summoned as well, sending a ray of ice towards the Shadows on her side. As the two Personas were busy fighting, Iris and Satoshi had their weapons out in case and needed a few more steps...before realizing that the more they fought, the timer was running out of time at a faster pace. “We gotta jump at the last step!” Satoshi yelled back as he jumped on his part, the statues leaping from and heading towards the pedestal on its end. Iris did the same thing and the statues were now in place. The Shadows then dispersed, and Artorias and Catalina were back with their summoners. “Thank you.” the two said as they bowed in respect.

The test has been passed...now you may proceed.” the voices rang through their heads now, and sooner than later, Touya and the others felt the dark force field gone. Their bodies were floating and within seconds, fell to the ground in one scrambled heap. “Ow!” Marika kicked Kazuya’s face by accident as he was seen flying as usual. Hiyori had to walk like a cat, agile to get out of the entanglement, along with Shun who seemed unphased. Touya was feeling something soft as he was trying to pick himself up, squishing it as it was very cushiony. “Huh?” he said before a shriek from Touko was heard and he knew what state of predicament he was in. Marika grabbed him and sent him flying like Kazuya. “Pervert!” she yelled before letting out a “Hmph”. Touko’s eyes were in a dizzy state, and Iris giggled once more before she grabbed the two defeated boys and waking them up to continue. “Sorry, Touko…” Touya said nervously as he was blushing hard now. Why did it always have to be him?

Everyone gathered around the center once more and waved back at the statues as they saw the rumbling of the doors, giving them the second entrance they needed to get to. What they noticed this time was that there were torches of purple flames from the sides of the walls as they were near the doors now. “Read what’s above,” Hiyori mentioned as she pointed up. Touya read the phrase “Beauty has many facets” out loud to everyone. “Do you think it’s the District’s boss?” Satoshi asked with crossed arms behind the back of his head.

“Could be.” Touya agreed as they summoned their weapons and proceeded with caution. As they continued walking, the soothing voices were occurring into their heads as they walked, but no hallucinations for the soothing voice was one of the same-it was gentle but very snakelike as it hissed to them through the corridors. “ Whoever you are...be prepared to face us!” Touya thought to himself as he smirked, leading the group towards their final stop of the District of Tiferet.

 


 

Preview!

Harima Touko here!

And Heloise, your humblest servant.

As we ventured further into the corridor, Lilim returns! She is eager to fight and prove her worth it seems, and it’s not just her we’re going to fight as well.

Another foe enters the ring after Lilim, and she is the reason behind the voices and the snakelike manners behind the District of Tiferet. She seems tough, and her entrance was no exception Sweetheart. Ianus can sense her power, and it is truly strong.

Touya-kun can handle it! As long as we help him during the fight, there is no way we can lose!

I like that attitude, my dear.

Thank you, Heloise...um! Next Time on Persona: Next Generations! Lilith!

Don’t miss out!

See you next time!

Chapter Text

The Saviors of Hearts were baffled by what they saw.

Sitting before them was none other than a large golden throne, the purple flames scattered across the entire room as a whole. The throne stood in the center of what Touya called the arena, as it had a peculiar feeling that the Saviors were now ready to fight the District Boss. Touya stepped in front of everyone, looking around and sensing the area. He saw that two stone statues similar to the ones that had the test to enter here were by the sides of the rather luxurious golden throne, and snakes were etched onto the arms of the throne. They seemed to hiss at Touya, he couldn’t tell.

“This place is kinda cool,” Satoshi said in awe as he was looking around.

“Got any idea about those statues?” Touya asked Hiyori as he saw she was scanning the area already, without the Leader asking her to. Hiyori pursed her lips, waiting for an answer to arrive in her head. “They don’t seem to be active,” she removed her goggled from her eyes. “And no sign of the District Boss either.”

“So this could be another test then,” Marika shuddered.

“Unlikely, but we should move around and check this place out.” and with that, the Saviors departed, four on each side of the vast atmospheric throne room. Touya continued to gaze at the sight of the statues while simultaneously looking around for any signs of danger. Yet his Sixth Sense kicked in at the precise moment when he could’ve sworn one of the statues moved, throwing its axe at him before he could do anything to fully prevent it. “Watch out!” Touya yelled at everyone as they now witness the moving statues. “So they do move!” Satoshi yelled as he summoned his sword, but was pushed back by Kazuya as the second statue threw his spear at him. It pierced Kazuya’s arm a little, cutting his right arm.

“Kaz!” Marika went to his aid before he stopped her.

“I’m fine,” he brushed himself off.

“You won’t be when I’m through with all of you,” Lilim’s voice reappeared now, her female figure now sitting on the throne with another woman. The woman appeared much older than Lilim, her snake-like eyes staring down at Touya and the gang lustfully. Her Middle Eastern attire didn’t cover much of her hip area, as her leg was explicitly shown from all the gold chain and black silk threads. Her long white hair was eerily similar to Aunt Sae, and notably only to Touya and Satoshi before they had to wipe their noses, her breast size was a tad large. “Perverts,” Marika karate chopped the two.

“Who are you?” Iris asked.

“Me? Why do you wish to know?” the woman was suddenly gone and was now touching Iris’s body, admiring every detail Iris had in store for her. Iris had to stop her, and the woman then approached Marika now. “Firm, aren't they?” she asked her before she was flustered and try to kick her to oblivion. The woman then scoffed and looked at Touko before she went back to the throne, smiling mostly to herself. “You seem to be too pure for me,” she merely murmured and then looked back at everyone, her snake-eyes now glowing a deep red. “My name is Lilith, the proud and lustful owner of the District of Tiferet! A beauty to those who see it, and someone who truly brought the beauty of mankind. Not that stupid woman Eve,” she had a bitter tone when she mentioned Eve, and Abel appeared behind Touya now. “How dare you speak of Mother that way you wretched little shit!” Abel was about to launch a frenzy of Agi before Touya stopped her.

“Then I’m sure you know why we are here then,” Touya replied calmly, his dark-gray eyes looking back at Lilith. Lilith chuckled and covered her mouth with her hand as she laughed, and then waved them off. “Of course I know why you are here humans,” she stopped laughing, and suddenly the room dimmed a little as the purple flames were burning out one by one around them. Her eyes were now glowing a frosty-blue. “You want to beat me like how you beat Plato. Simple as that.” she snapped her fingers, and the statues were brought back to life now, their eyes glowing yellow and a shadowy presence floating around them. “Of course I won’t be that easy to beat. Lilim dear, would you care to do the honors?” she addressed Lilim in a sweet manner and her devilish grin appeared on her pallid face. “Of course mother!” Lilim then flew upwards with her small devil wings. “Now let’s dance!” and a large Eiha beam was thrown a the Saviors. “Watch out!” Hiyori yelled as she took a step back, Somnus coming to her aid. “Lilim is all curse abilities, but they’re strong ones!” Hiyori sniped one of the incoming axes of the statues as they moved forward, their arms more animated than ever. Satoshi saw that the one with the spear was approaching Hiyori on the other side, and stopped it from attacking her. “Artorias, buddy, can you give me a boost!” he grunted as Artorias summoned besides him and pushed the statue back before hitting with a Zio. “Ianus!” Touya yelled as he saw Lilim fly towards him, ready to hit him with a curse attack. Touya smirked and decided to Soul-Warp, his body now teleporting behind Lilim. “What?” Lilim tried to hit him but Ianus was now ready to hit her back with a Kouha, the holy lights coming from his angelic hand, blasting it at her. Touya and Ianus high fived each other.

The second statue began to move towards Touko and Shun, getting aggravated that it wasn’t hitting the two speedsters. Touko shot multiple shots from her pistols at the sides of the statue and Shun landed a direct hit from its hit with his katana. “Niten Doraku!” the Mechanical Ninja Persona was summoned. “Now for some a swift conclusion!” Niten Doraku combined two of his swords to form a fan. “Whirlwind!” he spun them to create a large wind barrier to throw at the statue, scratching it as a result. “Let me have a turn!” Marika high fived Shun to move out of the way, her body propelling forward with her steel leg bracers once she pulled a whirlwind kick, provided with Ophelia's Mapsio. Marika kicked the energy beams at every corner of the battlefield to hit all three of the opponents before her left leg hit the face of the statue, sending it flying towards Lilith’s throne.

“Pathetic maneuver,” Lilith yawned as she sat there before she placed her hand out to stop the statue, sending it right back to Marika. Iris came to the scene as she summoned Catalina to freeze the statue, leaving Kazuya to burn it up as Ifrit howled proudly to release his flames. “Inferno!” Ifrit yelled as he spat a large flaming portion of fire at the freezing statue to finally destroy it once and for all. Kazuya smirked and high fived Iris. Lilith’s eyes widened with interest.

Lilim regained her posture now as she was back to fight, and then pouted her mouth at Touya, pointing at him with accusation. “No fair! You’re too strong!” she whimpered. Touya stopped in his tracks to see his own opponent crying before he was struck with the butt of the spear from the second statue. Before long he was then kicked in the stomach by Lilim and kissed on the cheek, causing an explosion to send him flying. “Partner!” Ianus flew to his summoner’s aid before he was now tossed around by Lilim. She grabbed his tailcoat and flew him around to then throw at everyone else. “Watch out!” the Saviors yelled before Artorias and Somnus helped get him back up.

Touko went to grab Touya as he was unconscious, healing him when she got the chance. Touya opened his eyes and then spun forward to release a kick towards Lilim’s black-haired head, causing her to fall down, hitting the ground with sheer force. Touya moved and then brushed his cheek as a burn mark was shown. “Not bad,” Touya smirked, fixing his fedora hat and his cuffs. “What do you call that move? Burning Lips?” Touya blocked the spear with his kukri knife before he stabbed the middle section of the statue. “Ianus, swap with Cain!” Ianus nodded and went back to Touya’s phone, now Cain coming into the fray. “Aques!” Cain sprouted a large array of water towards the statue before Satoshi realized what Touya wanted him to do. “Stand back dude,” Satoshi smiled as he ran towards the statue to pierce his sword through it and yelled at Artorias to summon Zio once more, electrifying the statue to nothing more than dust. Touya grabbed Satoshi’s sword and threw it back at him, fist-pumping each other for a worthy victory.

“I see,” Lilith continued to be amused as she sat there, eyeing the Saviors of Hearts. “Your power has increased quite a bit.” she sighed and then stood up from her throne. “Guess it is now my time to play around,” a snake-like tongue was seen as she licked her vibrant purple lips and her snake-eyes now glowed green. Touya began to wonder about the eyes changing color, as he took note of it as he was reading himself along with the others. He would need to figure it out as fast as he could. Lilim was already proven to be tough and the two statues had to be a part of their little battle. Touya was already feeling a little tired.

Lilith walked slowly to the Saviors of Hearts, her hands reached outwards besides her, the black silks stretching through her pallid skin. Purple lightning was emerging within the palms of her hands, and the gang held their weapons tight. “Let’s see how capable you lot really are,” she smiled as she rushed towards them. Touya moved to the side, using his kukri knife to block Lilith's initial attack without realizing that she was two steps above him. She pushed Touya back immediately, and Touya’s Sixth Sense kicked in a heartbeat as he had to move to the side. However, he was too late and Lilith grabbed his leg and tossed him back to the ground. Touya was sure he felt bones crack but luckily they didn’t. He was bleeding a little in his leg and the burning sensation ran through him as if it was some sort of poison. “Touya! You’re poisoned!” Hiyori gasped before she had to move to the side and was then hit with one of Lilith’s lightning attacks. “Hiyori!” the others ran to both of their aid, but Lilith pushed them all to the ground when she released a barrage of lightning strikes. “Huhuhu,” Lilith laughed as she was back in her throne, admiring her feat. “I thought you were stronger than that,” she licked the black blood that was on her lips, realizing that she had been cut by Touya’s kukri. “And that’s nothing. To the dear leader of this group, you have been poisoned thanks to a little thing called Snake’s Bite. The poison will slowly eat at your abilities like the rotten apple my poor husband had to eat thanks to Eve. Oh how much I truly hate her presence.” Lilith teleported towards Touya now, surprising him. “Another thing I forgot to add about Snake’s Bite,” she kissed Touya’s cheek, which ironically enough felt quite warm. “Whoever I touch, I get a glimpse of his or her’s abilities. Thank you for that teleporting ability,” she whispered in his ear, and Touya tried his best now to get wrapped up in her illusions of beauty. He looked back at her, and suddenly the poison reached to his eyes as he was seeing a mixture between Lilith, Aunt Sae, and his mother, looking down at him with such a care in the world. He shook his head and then it was gone.

“Don’t let Lilith take you into her lust Touya!” Cain quickly appeared and tried to figure out a way to heal her summoner. “Snake’s Bite...I read this back in one of Sis;’ notes in the Velvet Room...this could work!” Cain began to use Patra, her blue hands glowing green and touching Touya’s back as he was lying on the floor. As she was in the process f healing him, Lilim began to dive towards her, but one of her wings was shot thanks to Somnus, who was holding Hiyori. “Cain, heal this one too!” Somnus gave Cain Hiyori. Cain nodded.

“We’re not done yet,” Kazuya spoke as he was getting up along with the rest. Marika held Iris up with Satoshi, and Shun balanced himself with his Katana. Touko was being helped with Heloise, and she looked back at Lilith with determination in her eyes. “We’re not done yet.” she spat blood and then asked Heloise to heal everyone using Media. The Saviors were radiated with a soft green light and splatters of rainbows around them, and they felt their bodies regain a little bit of strength. Touya felt a little stronger too and stood up with the rest of them. “ Snake’s Bite...Cain is using Patra to cure it. She’s nothing like Plato, that’s for sure. Unless…” Touya looked at Lilim, who was yelping in pain as one of her wings had a hole in the middle, black blood oozing out of it. He smiled wide. Lilith then smiled and saw how they were eager to get back into fighting, and she teleported back towards Touya to further utilize Snake’s Bite before Touko dove in and grabbed Lilith’s arm, and shot at her leg to stagger her. Lilith yelled in fury and moved back to see the Priestess aiming her twin pistol at her. “So you figured it out huh?” Lilith said as she was busy rubbing her leg. “Why I didn’t touch you when we first met.” Touko nodded.

Everyone was confused, except for Touya as he knew the answer to that question, but was too busy to yell it out as he told Cain to heal Hiyori. “At first I was skeptical,” Touko spoke. “But then I realized something as we were all fighting. Lilith is not only the embodiment of beauty in this district, but you’re filled with poison to the core. That explains your snake-like manners. That also explains why you didn’t want to touch me either,” Touya pointed at the singe on Lilith’s arm now, and everyone was even more confused. “It’s because of Touko’s Arcana dummies!” Hiyori’s voice sprang to life as she jumped out of Somnus’s hands. “I’ll explain later,” Hiyori said as everyone was back on board to fight Lilith. “Mother, you don’t do this by yourself,” Lilim grunted as she was bandaging her wound. “Let me hel-”

“You are useless at the moment dear,” Lilith snapped and Lilim yelped with fear.

“Hey, that’s not nice you know!” Iris snapped back at Lilith who scoffed at her.

“It doesn’t matter,” Lilith merely replied, finishing rubbing her wound and getting ready to fight. “We chatted for far too long now. My patient is waning.” she prepared herself and then unleashed a flash of purple flames this time around. “Now we fight for real!” she yelled.

“Incoming!” Touya yelled as she Soul-Warped with Touko to dodge Lilith’s dash attack, which caused the wall behind them from where they entered to crumble to pieces, now blocking the pathway they once entered. Touya and Touko safely dropped themselves near Marika and Satoshi, where front and center with Artorias and Ophelia. “You okay?” Satoshi asked the two and they nodded. Then they let go of each other and blushed crimson as usual before they shook their heads. “Of course that would happen,” Iris teased, and everyone charged towards Lilith now.

 




“Too many reports to sign and fill up…” Makoto said with a weak sigh from her womanly mouth. She had her glasses on, and she was too busy filling her own reports to take care of as the Commissioner’s Quest was still on her heels, trampling her every move wherever she went. She signed about a dozen papers in one go, swift and accurately signing her initials at the bottom of each document, and stopped to catch a quick break before an officer approached her door. “Come in<’ she said with a little motherly jingle, not knowing that she was in work and not at her house. The officer then walked forwards and then Makoto looked back at and then sighed with relief. “Thank the heavens you’re here Narumi,” Makoto said with a smile.

Narumi Walker looked like she could be a supermodel (Ann tried to recruit her for Panther’s at one point without the knowledge that she was a detective). Her soft short blonde hair trinkled downward smoothly, and with a lovely scent of lavender as she stroked it. The hair was thanks to her American father, who also happened to give her last name too. Her pinkish-purple eyes however were thanks to her mother, who unfortunately is no longer with them in that world. She was too young to even remember her anyway. Narumi removed her black coat and rolled her white button-down sleeves, already knowing what she needed to do. Yet when she spoke with her supervisor, it was rather filled with annoyance. “Niijima-San, you need to manage your time,” she sighed as she was signing a set of paperwork as well. “You’re becoming too much like your husband.”

“Well when one has a teenager, work, and a quest to complete, work can get herself piled up.” Makoto quickly cooed before she put her glasses back on and continued perusing through the paperwork. “Narumi, these are for you.” She pointed towards a stack of pink paper. “I filled all of them, but they also need the signature of their second-in command,” Makoto perfectly stacked a set and placed them in a folder to put it aside.

“Got it,” Narumi continued with her signing. “By-the-way,” she added as they continued working for about a half hour. “How was the Flora de Carmen?”

“It was good. Security was packed and we did get a few oddballs on campus,” she rubbed her eyes a little. “But for the most part, it was fun to watch, and nice to see that someone had a change of heart.” she finished signing another stack.

“I see,” Narumi looked down on her paperwork. “That was something interesting to see Niijima-san. Daisuke Shiro saying he was to quit being a model because of the Saviors of Hearts. Kinda like the Phantom Thieves are back,”

“I wouldn’t say that’s the case.”

“How so?” Narumi’s eyes were concerning.

“These guys have a different path ahead of them unlike the Phantom Thieves. They changed the hearts of criminals, but Daisuke was an innocent teenager that needed healing from the depths of his heart,” Makoto quickly laughed as she saw Narumi raise an eyebrow. “I know, I sound like my husband too when you start to think about it. What I’m saying is that these are different people in a new era.” Makoto smiled happily as she saw she was half-way down with her paperwork before the shift was beginning to end. She could head home earlier now.

“Different era huh? Though they are vigilantes like the Thieves,” Narumi tightened her grip on the paper. “They need to get their side of the scales of justice. Just you wait.”

“You sound like my sister during the Thieves’ Era,” Makoto scoffed before she stood up and stretched her arms. “But just you wait until they change your mind Narumi. Then you’ll understand.” Makoto grabbed her glasses and put them in their container before she headed out the door of her office. “Want a little bit of coffee?” she asked Narumi before she nodded and walked with her to the break room.





 

“Damn!” Kazuya moved to the side as Lilith came for another lunging attack. Purple lightning flew through the ground the skies, causing the Saviors to lose their balance in both sides of the spectrum. Touya kept moving back and forth, dodging when Sixth Sense told him to and Soul-Warping to get the others to safety. Though thanks to the Snake’s Bite that Lilith inflicted at him, he wasn’t fully healed and had to converse as much energy as he could as he bounced around the place. He saw the others pulling a combo at Lilith using Touko as the centerpiece, hitting Lilith dead center in her stomach region, knocking her back with Heloise’s Frei. “You think you’re the trump card are you, huh?” Lilith said jealousy as she was on the ground. “You think you’re special,” Lilith then stood up, though staggered from all the fighting. “But you have no idea what this majestic being has in store for all of you!” she prepared for another lunge attack, but before long, she was blinded as Ianus and Heloise combined their powers to create a flash bomb. Now that Lilith was blinded, the others pursuited. Kazuya and Marika kicked at Lilith, causing her to swing backwards in the air. Shun then rushed forward with his Shuriken, riding it with the winds caused by Niten Doraku, slashing her abdomen with his katana. “Satoshi, Iris! Your time to shine!” Touya and Touko yelled as they move back to reveal Satoshi and Iris release a combo no one thought possible.

Artorias and Catalina nodded in each other as they prepared their lightning and ice abilities. Catalina struck first, unveiling her usual blizzard storm and Artorias stabbed the ground with his mighty Excalibur, lightning strikes similar to Lilith’s coursing through the stage. “Impossible!” Lilith yelled as she was wrapped around the terrible forces of nature. “Is it?” Touya’s voice rang through as he was warping around as fast as he could to block Lilith from doing the same. “Though it’s really a shame you didn’t kiss anyone else but me. Their abilities would’ve been more terrifying.” Touya smirked as he silently summoned Abel, her fiery presence now ready to strike. “But unfortunately you didn’t, and now it’s our turn to give you some poison! Abel!” Touya moved away from the barrier, and kicked the heels of Abel to send her flying towards Lilith. “Hey there Step-hag!” Abel punched her with such strength that it staggered her for a long period of time. “Now everyone! All Out Attack!” Touya warp-striked first, followed by Kazuya and Marika’s kicks and punches, then Shun and Touko’s speedy shots and slashes, to finally Satoshi and Iris as they slashed every part of Lilith’s body. Then everyone jumped back, and Satoshi performed a neat little tango dance with Iris before finishing the fight with an “And then there were none!” as Satoshi dipped Iris low for the finale.




 

Preview!

Niijima Touya here!

And Souta Marika!

Finally we beat Lilith and learn some interesting things about Neo-Mementos from her. Seems likes this place won’t be an easy place to beat in the future!

What’s more is that you got yet another Persona in your roster. Do they just naturally show up to you Touya? Huh? Answer me!

Alright, alright Mari! Calm down. And no I have no clue as to why this happens!! Even if I did, I can’t tell you…

Sure you can’t- oh! There’s also that statue too in the lobby area! New words popped up as well!!

Next time on Persona: Next Generations !! Number Two Down!!

Don’t miss out!!

 

Chapter Text

Satoshi finished dancing with Iris as the other Saviors returned to their location, looking back to see a defeated Lilith and Lilim. Lilith knelt on one knee, her arms grabbing her stomach region as black blood was oozing out from her abdomen. She coughed some of it as well and stared back at the gang in an impressive manner. “Truly remarkable,” she uttered before a wave of black blood spat out on the floor. “Never thought I would be bested by such talent and beauty. Each of you possesses something I never thought would have it in you,” she saw Touko being behind a weakened Touya and she smiled subtly before she heard a groan from her left side. It was Lilim, who was trying her hardest to reach her beaten mother, tending to her aid as fast as possible. “Mother,” she said too in a weakened state. “Let me help you,” she reached for her mother’s hand, but Lilith smacked it away from her. “Leave your mother be Lilim. She doesn’t need the help anymore,” she stood up, and Touya ran to help her out despite previously beating her. He grabbed her arm and held her by his shoulder area, which Lilith saw was something strange. “You don’t have to help me you know Wild Card,” she scoffed, but Touya shook his head. “Sorry Lilith, but that’s not in my vocabulary,” he replied.

“I can clearly see that,” she coughed more blood. “Which is why I want you to do this one favor for me.” she let go and pointed to Lilim, who was crying her eyes out at the sight of her mother. “Protect Lilim, Wild Card. Let her join your group as you continue to travel through the depths of this place and the Palaces to come,” she said in a whisper so low that Touya saw she was about to lose her grip on life. Touya nodded. Lilith continued to smile and then began to glow purple. “My time has come,” she said now, letting go of Touya. “Mother!” Lilim picked herself up but fell back once more. “Don’t go please!”

“Lilim dear, always stay beautiful. I know you will be with good people. The Wild Card here has entrusted himself to protect you and be a part of his journey. I will return one day,” she then spoke towards the Saviors who stood there with raised eyebrows. “When I shall return, you shall see me as someone different when the circumstances present itself. For now, I shall bid thee farewell and thank you for freeing the lust that was the District of Tiferet,” and Lilith’s body was turning into a small purple orb, similar to when the Saviors fought Plato during their first time in Neo-Mementos. The purple orb then floated for a few seconds before it landed on the black and purple-veined ground, leaving a little bit of air in between. Lilim then wept before Touya healed her using Cain, asking for her hand. “It’s fine Lilim,” he said with a smile while tipping his damaged fedora hat. “You’re in good hands.”

“You…” Lilim punched Touya in the stomach, causing him to grunt loudly and then uppercutted him with such force that Abel switched with Cain and bashed Lilim with a fiery kick to the head. “Don’t ever do that again!” she yelled with gritted shark teeth and irritated eyes that left the others laughing. At least once they brought Touya back to life. Once he was brought back, Touya bashed Lilim’s head like he did when he met Cain and Abel. “It’s like it’s in your Persona genetics or something, geez,” Touya said while rubbing his head, as a bump was clearly shown at the back. Satoshi and Hiyori grinned, which Iris looked at them with a motherly look.

“So do we have a deal Lilim?” Touya asked once more, lending his hand to Lilim.

“Because Mother insisted, I shall aid you,” she said with a bitter tone, her arms crossing her black leather jacket. She stared at Touya’s eyes now and then reached for his hand. “I am thou, thou art I. I am Lilim of the Devil’s Arcana, and I shall do thy best for your bidding,” she shook hands with Touya and began to glow blue, turning into a blue orb that went straight to Touya’s phone in his right pocket. He sighed with relief as he saw her in her roster when he took it out, but he noticed something interesting when he did. ‘Devil’s Arcana?” he blinked before he put his phone away.

“Another Persona on the team, huh pal?” Satoshi patted Touya’s back and then continued grinning with his teasing look. “Funny how they’re all girls too. The only dudes are Jack Frost and Ianus,” Satoshi wiped a quick nosebleed. “Saw that,” Marika noted before she went to grab the purple orb this time around, holding it lightly in her hands. “We beat the district, but how do we get out of here? The door we left is blo-oh look how convenient,” Marika saw that a back entrance had been opened, and the other Saviors united alongside her to exit. “Now it’s time to head back to the lobby everyone.” Kazuya led the gang as Touya looked back at the throne room one last time. The flames were extinguishing themselves one by one as each of the Saviors was leaving, and once Touya left, the last purple flame had burned out. “ Devil’s Arcana, now what the hell could you be and who could have it?” Touya placed his hand on his chin, something his parents often did when lost in deep thought.

 


 

When they arrived back into the lobby area, they noticed that the once so bright hues of red has dimmed a little. Touya and the gang huddled close around each other while Marika headed her way to the center with the orb, carefully cradled in her arms. The red veins popped out in their eyes thanks to the dimness, and overall, Touya wondered if it had something to do with the real world. Before they left the District of Tiferet, the lobby area was bright with the intense velvet red and dark black, and it was around afternoon time that they entered Neo-Mementos. Now, Neo-Mementos was softly enveloped in a gentle redness and darkness, and Touya felt a breeze coming through him by his scarf. He tugged it closer to his neck as he shivered a little.

Marika carefully placed the orb next to the shiny red one, seeing it roll into the hole to its left before a cracking sound was heard once again and the orb shined even brighter than before. “What now?” Shun had asked through a yawn, and the sound of gears winding had reoccurred once more as it was the first time they placed the red orb of Daat. The Cherubim angels shifted a little and now aligned itself to the purple orb, where the two words the Saviors of Hearts were clueless about. Then a moment later, the Cherubim angels’ trumpets glowed and engravings were now burning onto the bottom of the pedestal, where the previous words laid. Two new words were now burned onto the statue, and Touya squinted his eyes to see what they were. “The path where man...that’s all it gave us,” Touya sighed as he finished reading, not even bothering to look back to see just how equally flustered and confused the others were. He heard a loud thud of someone’s head being smacked as he continued sighing.

The Metaverse Navigator’s female robotic voice then echoed through the Saviors’ phones. “Congratulations on beating the District of Tiferet,” it boomed. Everyone nodded and placed their phones back into their pockets and sat down near one of the booths that the lobby provided. Touya sat down first, crossing his legs and going back into the thought process he had earlier on. The Devil’s Arcana was something that was going insane in his mind, and he would very much like to know more about Arcanas now more so than ever before. He never met the user of the Devil’s Arcana yet he had Lilim who was a representative. Perhaps was this more of Igor’s fate? Touya surmised that it had to be and decided not to continue pressuring the subject when his dark grey eyes landed on the others, who now sat around their leader. “I think I realize what our goal is here,” Satoshi suddenly spoke out loud to grasp everyone’s attention.

“What is it?” Marika asked, swinging her legs back and forth.

“Remember how when we fought that Plato dude and we got the red orb?”

“Yeah. What about it?” it was now Kazuya’s turn to ask.

“Well we got the red orb and then placed it on the pedestal and then we got out of here. About a day later, Daisuke and his Palace showed up, which lead to this.” Satoshi drew a mental map of small figures of the Saviors of Hearts fighting Plato, grabbing the red orb with large VICTORY signs all around the small figures, along with them beating Shadow Daisuke and now Lilith. Touya shooed them away when the thought was finished.

“So what you’re saying Satoshi,” Touya began as he fiddled with the red feather on his fedora hat. “Is that now we have to beat another Palace to access the next District of Neo-Mementos,”

“And rinse and repeat,” Satoshi finished.

“If we’re going by that logic then,” Iris spoke. “Then that means we do have to deal with about eight future Palaces.”

“That’s correct,” Hiyori pointed at Iris as part of her agreement before she yawned and placed her head on Shun’s shoulder. “From now on everyone, we need to be more careful around the people we meet. They could end up having a Palace.”

“Yet one question arises from this: how would we know who would have a Palace?” Kazuya suggested, which led to murmurs.

“And also what exactly are these Districts about as well,” Touko further suggested.

“For now, we did our part guys,” Touya brought them back into the present. He knew that these what-ifs were to be explained soon knowing Igor and Annabelle once he returns into the Velvet Room, with or without his permission to do so. Plus, his eyes were getting a bit droopy so he needed the rest as much as he can. “Let’s head back home.”

“Roger,” everyone yelled back in enthusiasm as Touya grabbed his phone and headed to the large exit button that was glowing its bright red at him along with the map of where they were. Sometimes Touya thought he was in some video game when he saw this, but he again wasn’t ready to continue exploring tangential thoughts. “Leaving Neo-Mementos?” the MetaNav Navigator asked.

“Yes we are,” Touya affirmed and pressed the button, now swirling back into place with the rhythm of the real world. The stars were just aligning themselves and the moon looked so strong underneath the sheets of metal and neon screens of Shibuya Station Square.

 


 

When they entered the realm of the real world, they were happy to be wearing their regular clothes instead of their Metaverse costumes. The gang sighed with relief and the nightlife of Shibuya had begun for them, now that it struck 8:00 PM on the large TV screen by the subway station. Of course, the usual local news showed up alongside it, as a female news reporter had begun her interview with some female pop star that Marika and the girls recognized as they sat by the benches to see it while the guys yawned and asked if they were tired. “We’ll leave after this interview is over,” Iris said without hesitation before Satoshi twitched a little. He shook his head and went to the underground station to grab a quick drink and snack. “I shall aid on that quest,” Hiyori’s cat ears perked and she launched out of the bench and patted Satoshi’s back. “BRB,” she winked at Touya.

“Wait for me,” Shun said impassively as usual as he ran after them.

“Now it’s just us Kazuya,” Touya chuckled as he crossed his arms and planted his body sideways on one of the bars that led them to the subway down below. People passed by them every few seconds. Kazuya drew a little bit of breath and then clenched and unclenched his fists. “Lilith was tough,” he said when he finished clenching his fists for the fifth time. “We might need to train a little more for the future.”

“Maybe have a few of us tag along on a weekend for Protein Lovers or something Kaz,” Touya covered his mouth when he started to yawn. “That way we could come up with a few hand to hand combat strategies.”

“That could be a good idea. Besides you and Marika, I could use someone else to spar around.”

“Why not ask Iris or Satoshi? They seemed more of the type to need it. Satoshi with his one hand sword techniques, a grab would be a good idea.” Kazuya yawned as well as he was covering his mouth. Soon afterward, Satoshi returned with some food to give to everyone before they split up and headed their ways back home. Touya and Touko waved farewell first as crossed the streets, and Satoshi and Iris were already downstairs. “Ready to leave, Shun?” Kazuya asked the Kitagawa as he was busy playing with a small black cat with Hiyori, who seemed much more eager as she made him pose. “Nya!” Hiyori said with the cat before it bit her and moved away. “Here’s a band-aid,” Marika offered as Hiyori nodded while rubbing the blood away. “Shun,” Kazuya brought his attention back on him. “Ready to head home?” he asked. Shun nodded and stood back up as he too waved goodbye to the girls, who were on their way to head back home as well. Kazuya walked ahead of Shun, arms still crossed while Shun munched on his regular snacks, whistling a soft tune his mother showed him when he was little. He continued the tune for few minutes before Kazuya told him to stop, yet it wasn’t because of Kazuya’s annoyance of it. He saw Hikaru walking past them with her bag to her side and her hair slightly down than what she normally would have during school. Shun tilted his head in awe before Hikaru disappeared into the crowds of Shibuya like the rest of the ordinary folk in the large city. He blinked before Kazuya interrupted once again. “I get that you’re tired too, but you can’t stop all the time you Airhead.” Kazuya lightly punched him with a smirk before Shun nodded and the two made their merry way.

Meanwhile, Touya was busy fighting his usual fluster about Touko as he was counting his fingers in anxiety. Not long did he realize he smacked himself on a large metal pole and fell down, his face now red and lined with the shape of the pole. He shook it off after and noticed Annabelle giggling a little. “Did you forget to use Sixth Sense dear Wild Card?” she asked in a soft yet condescending voice this time around that made Touya tick a little. “Oh stop it,” he said as he went to see the large Velvet Room doors. “Can I hop in and train like last time?” he asked rapidly. Annabelle nodded as she bowed her head and the doors barged open for the Niijima. He cracked his knuckles and then walked straight in, his body now gone from the world yet again. Something that needed to get taking used to since he normally visited the place in his head as he would lay there with arms crossed on the wall of his house, where the gate was to enter. Except he knew the big difference as he was now entering a large blue-velvet training room, his Personas gladly waiting for his arrival and sparing time.

 


 

Left. Right. Aerial dodge to the side, then strike. Punch. Block. Left. Right.

The grunts and sweat poured down Touya as he was busy training once more that night, not stopping as both the leader of the Saviors of Hearts and as the Wild Card. He sat down for a minute before he stretched his arms once more and then brought himself up with the help of Abel, who started to fight him once he arrived at the scene. He didn’t have his regular clothes on as he left but with his Metaverse one as he was fixing his fedora hat that was slanting a bit to his right. He thanked her and then looked at the rest of his roster. “Who’s next?” he offered out loud.

Jack Frost raised his hand so high as he made his way to the center. He rubbed his icy cold hands and then chanted his usual “Hee-Ho!” at Touya before Touya smiled back and high fived him. “Alright, Jack Frost! Let see what you got.” Touya smirked as he jumped back into position. “You got it Master!” he jumped high in the air and then prepared his breath. “Bufula!” he yelled as the icy breath was now bigger than that, now coming towards Touya. Touya continued his smile and moved to the right as he saw a clear opening at Jack Frost’s side. “ Bingo,” he Soul-Warped now, using his hat this time as he tossed it to Jack Frost’s upper left side of his head. Jack Frost saw this and began to tilt his body to hit Touya but was too late as Touya now appeared before him and was ready for a swing.

“My turn!” Jack Frost bent down and Touya realized that Lilim was now tagged in, her fists turning a bit darker as beams of Eiha were wrapping around it. “This is payback for earlier! Devil’s Grip!” she grabbed his right arm that was ready to swing and released the Eiha beams, knocking Touya back. Touya hit the floor, and then saw Abel and Ianus heading his way and he summoned his kukri knife to block Abel’s punch and did a side flip to kick Ianus’ face at the same time before he pushed them away with his strength.

“Man, you’re getting really hefty today Ianus!” Touya yelled back at him after everything had calmed down. Ianus’ glassy face emanated a deep crimson red than its usual heavenly silver. “Because you keep losing your guard Partner! This is the second time you lost your guard: first with Daisuke and now with Lilith and Lilim,” Lilim smiled, showing her two white fangs as she was called. Jack Frost sat on her laps and wiggled his fingers. “What? So you’re just going to pummel me today?” Touya said in annoyance as everyone nodded an affirmative yes. That made things better for Touya as he stood there in shock but then went back into a fighting position. “Fine,” he muttered in defeat. “I won’t let my guard down this time, especially with Sixth Sense,” he smirked as he prepared for another round. “Now, is it another free-for-all or one-by-one?” he asked them. Abel, of course, stood forward, her fangs popping out as she fixed her fiery red-orange skirt and hair. “You know I’m always game,” she responded.

“Anyone else? At least until I’m satisfied.”

“How about we take a break for tonight Master,” Cain answered softly as she was healing everyone’s injuries. “Then we could continue when you need it.”

“School is coming back tomorrow Partner, so you should head back to sleep,” Ianus replied.

“Don’t worry for Igor won’t bother you tonight,” Abel said with a thumbs up.

“Indeed my Master won’t for I shall speak for him,” Annabelle stood up from her seat, and then looked through her files to grab a sheet of paper. “He says congratulations on beating the District of Tiferet, for now, he feels that the world is slowly coming into its senses. He is happy that you are using the training room, but he also wants you to remember about your duties as the Wild Card. He expects you’ll see soon.”

“And the next Palace?” Touya wanted to know who could the next Palace be as he was panting a bit loudly in front of Annabelle. Cain gave him some water. “Master says that the next Palace will be shown soon as well. For now, do kindly stick to your duties.” she winked before she put the paper away and the clock chimed once more, reverberating through the room. Touya sighed as he had to leave and then headed towards the large blue doors as he said goodbye to his Personas, heading back into the real world and then out towards the front door, ready to leave behind the events of today, and get ready to go back to school the following day.

 


 

Preview!

Harima Touko here!

And the one and only Mayu Shirogane! Hufufufu!

Mayu?! What are you doing here?!

What do you think I’m doing here Touko-nee? Presenting thy sweet Touya to you?

….

Anyway! I have a job for you and Touya actually! It’s really exciting too!

Ooh, what is it?

Oh, you’ll see, and I think Touya will enjoy too since he’s a people person.

What is it Mayu? Tell me please! Please!

Next time on Persona: Next Generations! Service, Service, Service!

Wait, Mayu!

See you next time sweeties!

Chapter Text

School had returned for the Saviors of Hearts after their long voyage to the Metaverse and the clearance of Daisuke’s Palace Mall. Early morning was the usual: Touya was devastatingly tried and many moved out of their way to avoid the confrontation fo the Niijima zombie. Ushimaru-sensei threw his glorious chalk stick at him for not paying attention, and Munehisa-sensei trying to wake him up to read the latest English literature piece they were assigned to handle that day before learning the lunch bell ring across the school grounds. “Don’t forget as well! We have a school trip tomorrow! Best prepare and have fun!” he waved them all off before he left the center of the classroom with his horde of books.

“Alright! School trip tomorrow baby!” Satoshi yelled with joy as he bounced out of his desk when lunch came around that day for the Saviors. Iris giggled, and Hikaru shook her head at the sight while Touya was busy dozing off in class once again. He seriously needed to remind himself of the repercussion of the Metaverse, for how is he going to function for the rest of the day? He sure hopes to find the answer soon.

“I hope it’s a good one,” Touko said as she was busy grabbing her bento box, stretching her tender legs as she was reaching for her bag. Hikaru agreed with her, and Iris was thinking of something else. “Do you think it could be like some sort of museum?” that got Satoshi as his heart leaped out of his chest and he flew upwards with euphoria. “MUSEUM! Oh please let it be a museum! Please, please, please…” and off he ranted with the numerous pleases before the others showed up and beat him to a pulp to stop shouting. “Sorry,” he said with muffled lips as Kazuya and Marika clasped their hands to dust them off. “Coming to sit with us for lunch?” Hiyori asked as she was sticking her hands out like cat paws before Shun sighed and then sneezed out of nowhere.

“I would love to Hiyo,” Hikaru looked with everyone with an apologetic look. “I need to take care of something back in the journalism room,” she excused herself as she left the room. “Man, we gotta get her to stop by for one lunch and catch up,” Marika sighed with annoyance before she got everyone back on their feet to head to the usual spot to eat, as the sun was shining brightly by the benches. Touya yawned and walked slowly, Touko accompanying him as she slowed down a bit too. “Everything okay, Touya-kun?” she whispered. Touya responded with a loud yawn that he had to cover with his mouth. “I’m fine,” he said as the yawn stopped, his eyes a bit droopy and he smiled a little weakly. “Just slept late last night and the Metaverse fatigue got to me.” he stretched his arms and shook his head. “Give me a few minutes,” he added as he saw the look on Touko’s face. He blushed a little.

“Why heelloooooo there Touko-nee and Touya!” a familiar voice had erupted as the Saviors had taken turns to face the stairs. They all looked back to witness the glamour and glory that was none other than their Student Council President Mayu Shirogane as she stood there with hands between her hips with might. She had donned a cynical and very familiar smirk as well. Touya felt some sweat coming from the back of his head as his eyes widened with fear. “ I know this smirk! What the hell did you plan Mayu!?” he gulped loudly. This was not good.

Touko seemed to be unfazed by this and sighed loudly, something that now everyone had grasp their attention too. “Mayu...what did you do?” she asked while looking down from her cousin, and everyone saw that she was shaking a bit. Mayu giggled, and then took a step forward. “You’ll see Touko-nee! I just need you and Touya to come with me to the Student Council Room now. The principal is waiting there,”

“Um..what?!” Touya and Touko looked at each other and then away before an outburst of blush overwhelmed them. “Oh stop it you two! Just come with me already!” she grabbed their Shujin blazer collars and began to drag them upwards to the third floor. “Nice seeing you all!” Mayu winked and took her tongue out at the others and spring with the Fool and the Priestess. “Wait! Mayu! Mayu!” Touya squirmed around as his voice drowned out when reaching the third floor of Shujin Academy.

Everyone blinked a few times to process the event that had occurred in front of them. “The weather is nice today,” Marika said as everyone vigorously nodded their heads and like robots, shifted their bodies to head downstairs, all while trying to avoid eye contact with the other students.

 


 

“What was all of that for?!” Touya and Touko yelled as they were rubbing their backs. Mayu simply smiled before she was bonked on the head by Kawakami, who was a bit agitated by her third-year student’s actions. “I said bring them nicely ,” she said, and later had addressed her other two students as if nothing else happened. “Glad to see you two today,” she clapped her hands and sat down by the windowsill, admiring the azure sky that befell on them. Touya wondered about the others but realized he didn’t need to as he shook the thought right out and sat down to greet his principal. Yet he was stuttering as he did for he was curious, with a spice of anxiety, as to what the living daylights he had done. The same with Touko as she looked down and tried to speak, sputtering as well.

“Relax you two, you’re not in trouble!” Kawakami gave a firm look at Mayu who was laughing nervously before she turned the tone down and regain her composure. “Sorry guys, but I wanted to talk to you guys about something really special that’s going to happen this afternoon.” she took out a couple of flyers and passed two to Touya and Touko. The flyer appeared to have a cartoon design of kids running towards them with school bags and funny gestures with large comic bubbles that read “WANT TO HELP OUT? JOIN TODAY FOR OUR BAG GIVEAWAY!” in bright blue letters. “What’s all this about?” Touya placed the flyer gently on the brown long table.

“This is a community service event that’s happening all week! It took me some hard work to be able to land a spot as soo many schools such as Kosei High,” her eyes twitched at the end of the sentence while crushing her flyer. In recent years, Kosei High became the rival of Shujin Academy, battling against each other as the two fought in every sporting event, community service event, and the likes. Touya wondered when this started and was glad that Shun went to Shujin. “And thus, we managed to land an opportunity today after school! Though we were only given two slots per year,” she grumbled. “And Principal and I came to the conclusion of asking you two.”

“Of course we could always ask someone else if you’re not eager to do this. I understand that this is too sudden.” Kawakami fixed her glasses. “The choice is always yours.”

Touya thanked his principal as he was thinking about the event for a quick second. Of course, he knew that this wasn’t a coincidence as he recalled the note Annabelle read about from Igor. “ Rember your duties as the Wild Card,” Touya envisioned a snarky Annabelle and Igor snickering as they were sitting there by the Velvet Room desk smacked in the middle of the office space. Touya shook his head vigorously to get rid of the mockery. Touko was a bit nervous by this. “We’ll do it,” he said finally as his dark brown fluffy hair blocked his eyes. “What time?”

“Right after school, so around 4:30-ish,” Mayu said with excitement, hugging the two of them. “So glad I got you guys to handle this after all! Don’t worry as Daisu and I will be there along with one first year who was just as happy to do this,” little yellow stars glittered around the Shirogane as she was dancing around the council room before Kawakami interrupted her once again. “Speaking of Daisuke,” Touko looked around to see that the white-haired former male model was nowhere to be seen. “Where is he?”

“What do you mean?” Mayu had a blank cat-like face as she blinked a couple of time, a distinct red flag that Daisuke was in some kind of troubled state thanks to the Student Council President.

“He’s not here. Didn’t he say he was going to help you with the whole Student Council thing?” Touya asked as he too looked around.

Mayu chuckled. “Oh yeah! He’s in the copy machine room getting some stuff done.” Mayu explained that Daisuke was hoarded with paperwork in the office. “He seemed a bit down when he was given the work,” Mayu said in confusion. Touya and Touko gasped. “ Because you basically drowned him in it!” the two stood there in shock before they saw that there were fifteen minutes left of lunch. They better hurry and eat their lunch quickly.

Touya thanked Mayu and Kawakami as he stood up with Touko and left the room. Mayu after closing the door sighed with relief and threw herself down on the couch that was by the window, her body flopping on the cushions. “Thank goodness,” she blew a whiff of air. Kawakami looked at her student and understood the feeling. “You didn’t just ask those two because you felt like it didn’t you Mayu?” Kawakami smirked.

“Of course not! You see how those two act around each other Principal!” Mayu grumbled.

“I pay attention to every student in this school first off,” Kawakami retorted playfully. “And those two are something else. Reminds me of Touya’s parents.”




 

Touya and Touko were amazed by the amounts of children and students that were helping that afternoon. Touya looked around in astonishment as he saw many Kosei High, some from other parts of the country such as St. Hermelin High and Seven Witches Academy, two high schools that Touya wondered about those schools because of their names. There was even Yasogami High too. “Mayu...you never told us that this was for all of Japan!” Touya yelled at Mayu who had arrived and she was too busy giggling nervously. “Did I forget? Silly me,” she laughed it off, and Daisuke was, as usual, being her donkey of sorts, carrying all the essentials they needed for the event. “Help me,” he was tilting a little and Touko came to his aid. “Where are we situated?” Touko asked as she gave some of the things to carry to Touya. Mayu pointed towards an empty table that had the school logo on it. “Follow me!’ Mayu ordered as the other three were walking behind her. “Oh isn’t that Juno?” Touko noticed the first year as he was walking towards the table also, arms behind the back of his spiky orange-brown hair. He was whistling a tune before he saw Touya coming his way. “Niijima-Senpai! Harima-Senpai!” Juno ran towards them with twinkling eyes. “Never thought you signed up for this too!”

“Same goes with you Juno,” Touya placed the baggage on the table before laying out the school bags. “Here,” Touya tossed a few school bags to Juno.

“We’re only here for about an hour,” Mayu checked the clock on her phone. “So let’s do well in delivering these bags to the children in need!” everyone shouted with a strong “yes Ma’am!’ as they saluted her. Mayu giggled and sat down on one of the foldable chairs.

For the next hour, the Shujin table was being presented with various children from elementary schools in Tokyo. Compared to the other tables, they were doing a good job aside from Kosei High of course, who was doing equally well. “Curse you Takashi Uemo!” Mayu gritted before Daisuke had to hold her beau down in case she was to have a throw down with Kosei’s Student Council President. Touya was busy looking away at the scene before a young elementary school boy was in front of him.

“Hello,” Touya waved at him, but no response was given back from the boy. He kept his hands in the pockets of his brown cargo shorts, and his dark-green eyes looked away at Touya. The boy had a sort of cap on, a nice blue sports cap that had the word “Game ON!” scribbled on the patches of white that was in the front, covering the remains of his darkish yellow hair. He kept looking the other way before Touko saw the boy as well. “What is your name?” she asked nicely.

“Kyota,” he muttered as he was still looking away, seeing the other children and their parents. Touya noticed he was gritting his teeth. “Well Kyota, today’s your lucky day!” Touya clapped his hands as he was getting the bag for the kid, who ripped it away from Touya’s hands rudely. “ Hey...watch yourself,” Touya said to himself as he was still retaining his smile. The kid looked at the bag and then saw Touya’s name tag. “You’re Niijima huh….” he said in a low bitter tone. “As in Commissioner Niijima.” Touya nodded and Kyota then proceeded to headbutt Touya’s forehead before he left without saying a word. “The hell was that for!” he yelled back at the boy, but then began to hear Annabelle’s voice when he calmed down, the scenery turning the usual velvet blue, serenaded by the Attendant’s voice.

I am thou, thou art I. Thou has created a bond that will guide you through the course of your journey. A bond that will transcend the heavens and the earth. That it breaks free from its chains. I present to you the birth of the Hermit Arcana. May the wings of freedom and order guide you and may you obtain the truth of this bond.” Annabelle’s voice rang through Touya’s head, and before long, the place was back to normal.  “What was that just now…” Touya whispered to himself and saw Touko was busy tending to his forehead. He blushed, but let her take care for the remainder of the time they had on the event.




 

As the two were walking back home in Shibuya Square, Touya kept thinking about Kyota. He was wondering about what made the boy get so angry at him for simply being his mother’s son? Could Mom have done something to the poor kid’s family? Surely that wouldn’t be the case as he knew Makoto was a brave and kind woman, always fighting for the weak. But perhaps this was an exception? Touya had to ask when he could. In the meantime, he had another Arcana to find more about. The Hermit.

“You look spaced out,” Touko broke his chain fo thought as he was brought back to reality.

“Sorry, was busy thinking about that kid,” Touya replied back, hand placed back on his chin.

“Kyota you mean? He sure seemed to hate you for some reason,” Touko took a picture of a bird that was situated nicely on one of the benches near the small park of the station square. Touya saw how focused she was and after a few seconds, she took the picture. He saw Touko smile happily at the result and the two continued walking. “Say Touko,” Touya spoke once more. “I never got a chance to ask you yesterday as we were all tired from fighting Lilith, but how come you were able to-”

“Burn her? Well, Hiyori said that I had a special ability because of my Arcana.”

“I remember that, but what is it?” Touya was intrigued to hear that his peers were able to obtain special abilities as he himself can. Touko took a moment to remember the name, and after forgetting it, she took her phone out and showed Touya her stats and abilities from the MetaNav. “Heavenly Kiss,” Touya read in amazement, along with the description, but before he could, Touko put her phone away to explain it herself. “I don’t remember how I got it, but it looks like I’m immune to any types of status ailments and if I touch an enemy that has Curse abilities,”

“It hurts them. That’s awesome Touko!” Touya grabbed her hands and smiled wide. Touko blinked and looked at Touya’s eyes, revealing his excitement. Of course, they both realized how close they were to each other and looked away with gushes of pink in their cheeks. “Hey, isn’ that Shun and Kazuya?” Touya pointed out, calming himself down now. Touko noticed too. “It looks like they’re walking towards Central Street.” Touko surmised.

“Maybe. Metaverse training?” they both thought out loud before a definite yes was responded.

“Hopefully Shun gains a few pounds in muscles,” Touya joked as they continued walking towards their neighborhood. Touko laughed and hid away in her camera as she was admiring the way Touya was talking now, seeing just how much he has changed ever since they awakened their Personas. If only she could confess her love to him soon...




 

Touya waved goodbye to Touko as she was entering her house now. For a change of pace in the story, it is now time for the Harima to take the spotlight, as she opened the door to greet herself to her parents, who were happy to see their daughter. “Touko!” her mother Erika called out as she hugged Touko tight. “How was your day?” she asked.

“It was good Mom. Tired from this community service Mayu dragged me in,” Touko smiled and giggled. Then, Tanaka arrived, with a mug of tea in his hand and smiled just as brightly as his daughter and wife. “I heard from Mayu! Happy to see that you had fun!”

“Especially with Makoto’s son of all people,” Erika teased, causing Touko to blush a little when she saw her mother wink back at her father, who laughed. “I’m sure he has the same feelings as you do Touko! Remember that we’re rooting for you!” he drank a little of his tea and then went to the living room couch. “I assume you must be tired too,” Erika said. Touko nodded and then excused herself to her bedroom, pink flowing in her cheeks as she was getting rid of the comments her parents made about Touya.

She now reached her bedroom, the nice pink covers of her bed waiting for her arrival. She dropped her Shujin bag and camera on her desk that was close to the bed and flopped on the bed, her face on her pillow as she was yelling. “ Why can’t I confess to him?!” she thought to herself as she sniffled a bit, letting some of her tears dry in her cheeks. She then removed her red ribbon, letting her light brown hair loose, the curly bottom touching her shoulder and back. She gently placed the ribbon on the small lamp shelf that was by her pillow and plushies. She then took out her phone from her Shujin bag and pressed on the MetaNav, clicking on the Persona tab. “Heloise,” she spoke towards the floating Nun Persona and her stats. “I wish I could speak with you or something...I want to be stronger, braver,” she clenched her hands. “If only you could help me with that here in the real world.” she put her phone close to her chest, her heart racing. She continued to shed a few more tears without realizing that someone was watching her from her window, her yellow eyes looking at the Priestess, and her tied up hair to one of her shoulders. She smiled as she heard the words, and stood up from where she was sitting, the large tree that was behind Touko’s house. “That can be arranged my Priestess,” Annabelle flipped through her folders and disappeared through the night as she saw Touya was walking towards his house.

 


 

“Welcome back dear Son of the Trickster!” Igor’s voice boomed with delight as he welcomed Touya back onto the black office couches. Touya nodded and sat back down on one of them, and noticed his Personas weren’t among him and the Velvet Room attendants. “It is because of the Training Room that we incorporated for you that they’re settling there with ease,” Igor explained as he showed him his roster, waiting for Touya’s arrival in the lounge to start fighting. “Unfortunately you cannot enter the room of course if you visit the Velvet Room since all of this is between the realm of dreams and reality, “ Annabelle further added as she flipped through the folders and then stopped. “Dear Wild Card,” she spoke now as she approached Touya. “It seems you have heard my calling of the Hermit Arcana,” she smiled as she presented the Hermit Arcana’s card, floating in the palm of her pallid hand. “He seems to possess a great burden, but what that burden is for you to find out,” Igor solemnly spoke as he bowed his head down before picking his tone back up. “But nothing that you can’t handle, I presume.”

“You have my word Igor,” Touya gave him a thumbs up.

“Perfect!” Igor was delighted. Annabelle was too.

“There is also something we wish to present you, Wild Card,” Annabelle continued.

“What is it?” Touya blinked with curiosity.

“My Attendant here has a very special gift to award you and your friends,” Igor vaguely replied back with his usual wide grin on his face. “Something you will soon realize when you awake from the real world.”

“I hope it helps to bring more confidence onto your endeavors,” Annabelle finished as she kissed Touya on the cheek, causing Touya to glow bright red. “It appears the time spent here is almost over,” Igor said as he looked at the clock, now ready to chime and summon Touya back into the real world. “For now, keep your eyes peeled for the next Palace,” Touya nodded once more before the clock chimed and the doors behind him opened, revealing nothing more than the light of the real world, sucking him back inside.

Once Touya was gone, Annabelle smiled and fixed her glasses before Igor looked at her as if he was a father scolding her daughter. “I understand that was unprofessional of me,” Annabelle apologized as she bowed in guilt. “Though that boy is a wonder.”

“Indeed he is,” Igor crossed her arms and closed his bulging eyes. “He will soon realize his full potential in the future.” Igor stayed there for a while and Annabelle sat down on one of the couches, continuously looking at the Compendium, the large book that her sister Lavenza had once owned during her time as the Velvet Room Assistant. “I sense another Persona awaiting for the Wild Card to reach out to him,” Annabelle said to Igor before she closed the book and walked back towards the desk to sit down on, waiting for Touya’s next arrival at the Velvet Room.

 


 

When Touya awoke that morning of the school trip, he didn’t hear his alarm clock ringing to bring him to the real world, for it was the voice of someone he would only meet in the Metaverse. The continuous amounts of yelling “Partner! Wake up!” rang through Touya’s head as he was in a daze, still in his bed as the covers were half pulled, his eyes twitching in anger at the sound of Ianus’ voice. Ianus spoke once more on the phone before Touya got up and yelled back at him in irrtation. “WILL YOU QUIT IT!” Touya huffed loudly when he yelled back, and Makoto went upstairs to witness his angered state. “What;s going on?” she asked before Touya presented Ianus to his mother. Makoto’s red eyes were widened in shocked and Touya sighed. “ So this is what you meant by gift Annabelle….this is a nightmare!” Touya yelled internally as he was getting up and snoozed Ianus to get his day started.




 

Preview!

Amamiya Ren here!

And Prime Minister Yoshida Toranosuke.

Yoshida-san, thank you for having the Diet Building open for the school trip. Touya and the others are going to be happy to learn a bit more about our legislative and executive branch.

I’m sure they’ll be happy. And meet me no less about their current endeavors as the Saviors of Hearts.

Wait, how do you know about that?

Hahaha, that’s something confidential you see. In the meantime, make sure they have a wonderful time. And look out for Amitsu too.

He is someone interesting Yoshida-san…

Indeed. Now what do the youngsters say...oh! Next time on Persona: Next Generations! Diet Visit!

See you all next time!

Chapter Text

It turned out that the field trip location was none other than the humblest and grand Diet Building, staring blankly at the Saviors of Hearts when they unloaded the buses and walked their way towards the gates. Touya knew it wasn’t a surprise that his father had somehow pitched in the idea of having it as a possible contender as he did saw Ren scurrying to his office at home with his phone on his ear all excited like. It would also make sense as to why he left earlier, not having to witness the utter shrieks and faints Makoto nearly had when Ianus was presented to her in the real world.

The reaction was the same with the other children of the former Phantom Thieves of Hearts, with the exception of Satoshi, Touko, and Marika as they made sure their Personas wouldn’t be heard. Iris recalled Ann and Ryuji freaking out in excitement, Haru actually introducing herself to Ifrit and even called it a cute dog, Yusuke and Hifumi delighted to see Niten Doraku (along with Hifumi explaining his myth, and his robotic head nodding in agreement). The only one that seemed out of place was Futaba as she was eerily curious as to why such a thing happened so suddenly. “Her eyes were like starlit,” Touya read Hiyori’s message when he took his phone out, waiting for entry on the political structure. “She was constantly asking questions to both herself and Mona about this phenomenon,”

“It really is strange that they randomly showed up,” Shun inquired as he was busy emptying his Shujin inner side pockets with small snacks to eat.

“But it’s pretty cool- oh Satoshi please stop acting this way, my beau!” Iris shook Satoshi as he was in such a grumpy state, his green eyes squinted with annoyance and his mouth grumbling and muttering words such as “damn it” and “museum”, his back turned away from the other Saviors. Touya laughed it off and patted Satoshi's back, making sure his Magician Arcana of a friend would make sure he would be having fun in the rather ironic boring place. “Who knows what could await us here?” Touya smoothly replied as Munehisa-Sensei rallied them up to enter the large black gates. “This way!” he shouted.

“Better hurry,” Kazuya nodded to everyone to start walking.

“Have fun Hiyo at the TV Station,” Touko texted as she had her phone out, letting the Sakura know that she was not forgotten today. Touya ended up dragging Satoshi and saw his phone buzz, Ianus eager to speak to him some more, his digital face icon presented to him on the left along with a text to stop ignoring him. “ Ianus...please let me be,” Touya sighed as he entered the domain that belonged to his father and many more in the political sphere of Japan. Though funny enough that he never even entered the building, being his first time today along with the other students at Shujin Academy.

 


 

The interior of the palatial building blew the Saviors of Hearts’ mind as they met themselves with the grandiose hallway, believing themselves that they have entered a French cathedral. The walls were unnerving to the eyes, curving slightly at the top with strong white beams as support, accompanied with balanced and fair edges for the second floor. The red carpet was exuberantly laid out beneath their feet, and statues of soldiers long ago stood with might besides them. Parliament men and women walked to and fro from the valiant democratic halls, holding their manila folders and talking as they went. Some made sure to look spiffy, while others were curiously asking as to why a bunch of high schoolers was inside the massive building. Yet, if anything, Touya may have seemingly entered a Palace. In fact, wasn’t this also the main location for Shido’s Palace as well? He’d ask his father more on the subject. “Can our Personas have like a mute button or something?” Marika whispered angrily at Touya. “Ophelia is asking me for photos of the real world.”

“I don’t know Mari,” Touya shrugged as he continued to gaze at the breathtaking view.

“Shun, you’re seriously chatting with Niten Doraku right now?” Iris asked as she saw Shun busy mashing his finger on the screen, Niten’s digital icon also shown. Everyone else looked at Shun’s phone and saw how different the messaging was in the MetaNav than in the regular every day one. It encompassed the very same colors as the icon itself. “Yeah Shun, bad idea to text him in the middle of an open space,” Satoshi had calmed his annoyance now as he placed his arm on Shun’s shoulder. “Wouldn’t want a government official to see what we’ve been up to.”

“Noted,” Shun said a quick goodbye to Niten before he put his phone away.

“Now where is that tour guide…” a Class 2-C teacher behind the Saviors asked as he was walking around the place like his own house. “Kaoru, isn’t he supposed to be here?”

“He should...let me ask my dear old friend,” Munehisa-Sensei took his phone out, and Touya briefly saw a picture of his wife and little daughter, along with himself and Iwai in the back before he called what was none other than Ren. “You’ll be here in a few minutes then? Perfect! We’ll see you soon.” he hung up and let the other teachers know about the situation. “Not hard to believe your dad pull this stunt off,” Kazuya smiled as he looked around.

“He was the leader of the Phantom Thieves,” Touya smirked back as they found a small place for themselves to stand as they waited. The Saviors saw that other students were doing the same motion as well, and other just didn’t care about there at all. And there was Hikaru, who was by herself for some reason, next to a couple of other students that were busy gossiping about the latest idol in town and Daisuke. Sayaka Haruno was among them, and Touya shuddered when her gaze glared at Touya. Reminded him of Lilith. “ I wouldn't be surprised if you ended up as an Arcana,” he honestly admitted without realizing that Touko was staring back at her. “Should we call Hikaru to join us?” Iris asked the gang.

“With the last couple of tries, let’s leave her alone,” Satoshi replied honestly.

“Agreed.” everyone settled with that.

“This just got into my head just now,” Marika spoke.

“What is it?” they all asked back.

“Is there like some sort of realm besides the Metaverse that our Personas are harboring now that they’re in the real world?” that was a valid question indeed. For now, Touya had to figure out what method Annabelle placed upon their other selves that allowed them to be one with the real world. Perhaps through the Velvet Room, connecting that realm with the real world instead of the Metaverse? It seemed like the likely theory at the moment, and better yet, he could ask Annabelle too since it had nothing to do with Palaces and Neo-Mementos. That and thank her that only Ianus is the only Persona that can access the real world.

“This does remind me of Digimon,” Satoshi joked as he crossed his arms to imitate Kazuya, for he too was crossing them.

“Oh definitely,” Iris cooed back as she kissed Satoshi willingly, making him gush and go full fledge teaser and teased Iris back before Kazuya sighed, and pointed at the others that Ren and Daichi were busy talking with some strange politician, his striped suit prominently sticking out with pride.

 


 

“Aw, what wonderful thing that is youth,” Amitsu’s voice rang through Ren and Daichi’s ears as they stopped to see the eccentric man walk alone, his assistants out of sight this time around. HIs unkempt black hair stood out as he was passing the two by to have a small chat, his hands slightly stretched out his sides as if he was to present something grand. His beady dark eyes looked at Ren favorably. “To think that the infamous Amamiya Ren has managed to pull such a plot like this one is fascinating,” he grinned wide.

“Nice to see you too, Amitsu,” Ren laughed as he shook hands with him, despite well aware of the capabilities and possible dangers this man could bring, especially since he was from the opposite spectrum of the political sphere. Ren finished shaking hands, and “noticed” the emptiness Amitsu Kojima had around him. “Where are…”

“Yukine and Sadako are busy working some things in my office,” Amitsu replied with his usual hand gestures. “They won’t be back until a long while,” Amitsu saw the pack of students and continued smiling. “It really is a wonder to see that these will be the future leaders of our free world,” he chuckled mostly to himself before he continued further with his dramatic monologue. “How they will shine brightly with order and balance, and make sure that it maintains that way for more generations to come. Truly a sight so pure and blissful to witness with my senile old eyes.”

“It is remarkable,” Ren replied, fixing his red gloves and his dark gray suit jacket. “Especially the Saviors of Hearts. I’m sure they’re within that age group.”

“They are something intriguing in our day and age. Saviors of Hearts….a name that encompasses the old that were the Phantom Thieves, yet also bringing to the table something entirely new,” Amitsu laughed, patting his leg in a humorous way. He then checked the time and let out a soft gasp. “It appears I must go,” he said suddenly.

“About time,” Daichi muttered before Ren poked his side.

“I hope to continue the conversation about the Saviors,” Ren held out his hand to shake goodbye. Amitsu nodded with delight and shook it vigorously. “I hope to see their future endeavors,” he said in calm and mocking tone before he let go of Ren’s hands and bid him farewell.

“Sorry Ren-Senpai, but he creeps me the hell out,” Daichi blew some of his hair away from his eyes. Ren laughed. “Just be happy that you didn’t meet Diet Member Mitsuki. Now that was weird I tell you,” Ren told a brief story of the old woman, and how she randomly invited Makoto and him to her house to talk about cats and the such. How he viewed the woman differently from then on whenever he walks past the woman. He still greets her and makes conversation. “She even gave me some American presents a few years back,” he finished off as they continued walking towards Touya and the others.

“Amamiya Ren,” a booming yet calm voice echoed through the room and Ren looked back to be amazed that Yoshida Toranosuke was standing right in front of him. Yoshida looked not much older, but not much younger either for the somewhat sixty-year-old Prime Minister of Japan. After being elected for the second time consecutively, he made sure to stay as healthy as possible, though the gray in his hair kept outgrowing the black he once had in his prime. Of course, there was his usual polka-dotted red and white tie, slightly unbuttoned at the top, and no sash was seen in his dark suit. He fixed his white gloves and smiled genially at Ren. A smile that never changed, even when Ren was a teenager back in the day. “May I have a word with you?” he asked nicely.

“Yoshida-San!” Ren shook hands with Yoshida, smiling brightly back at him. “I thought you were still in America resolving some issues with President Gracia?”

“I was until we realized that there were no issues, and in reality, he offered to ask about our policies and what we could do to better society. I tell you, if I was an American, I would’ve voted for him in a heartbeat.” he wiped his forehead.

“He sure is some beacon of hope for his country, better than the ones we’ve seen in the later years.”

“Oh those were troublesome to deal with,” Yoshida chuckled and noticed Daichi blank-faced and curious as to why the Prime Minister was talking so casually to Ren. Yoshida chuckled and offered his hand to Daichi and he shook it with such respect that Daichi may have shed a tear. “It’s a pleasure to meet you Prime Minister,” he said with a clear hic as more tears were showing on his cheeks now. “The pleasure is all mine!” Yoshida saw the students like Amitsu did and back at Ren. “Your idea I would assume?”

“You know it.”

“Good,” Yoshida leaned back and whispered to Ren. “I also wish to speak with the Saviors of Hearts,” he smiled back and Ren couldn’t help but stay there in awe as he saw that even Yoshida managed to figure out who the Saviors of Hearts were. “Dai, you might have to do the tour without me. It looks like Yoshida and I have some old business to attend to.”

“Alright Senpai, I’ll make sure they have a good tour!” Daichi waved at the two me goodbye and walked quickly to the hordes of Shujin students. Ren and Yoshida saw him disappear in the midst of them and they walked towards Yoshida’s office, sending a quick text to his son about the upcoming meeting he and the other Saviors will have with the top figure of their government. Ren swore that he heard Touya yelled when he was walking away.

 


 

“We get to go to the freakin Prime Minister’s office?!” Marika and Satoshi yelled silently as they were walking with the students in one of the various public offices in the Diet Building. Daichi was trying his best to educate the class, along with help from the Class 2-C’s teacher who happened to know about government, of the various ways Japan is run politically. For the most part, Touya never bothered to hear about it as he knew how often his parents would speak of it at home, so he gingerly made sure to sleep every once in a while and zone out. The others made sure he wasn’t caught. “And now for our lunch break! Let me take you back to the front so you could all leave and head to one of the stores we have nearby,” Daichi let the students leave, and ushered in a heavy sigh of relief when he saw that they all left. “Man I wish Senpai was here…” Daichi left the room, ignoring the Saviors of Hearts, who sought their opportunity to head to the Prime Minister’s office.

And for the most part, it was a horrendous voyage.

The Saviors of Hearts asked every single man and women that was dressed professionally as to where the office was located, and many of them wondered if they were going to cause some trouble. “My father is Diet Member Amamiya Ren, and he told us that Prime Minister Toranosuke invited us to meet with some students.”

“I’m sorry, but I cannot let a couple of students barge into the office as if it’s their own parent. And yes, I’m aware of that Amamiya fellow.” the woman that paid attention to them snickered, and Touya was about ready to lash back before Ren came to the rescue. “Hmm, it seems I forgot to tell you all about the location we were all going to meet.” Ren looked at the woman and bowed slightly in respect. “I’ll be taking these students to Yoshida-San,” he simply said as the woman scoffed and walked away.

“Thanks, Dad,” Touya thanked him.,

“No worries. Now let’s get going.”

“Oh, I can’t wait!” Satoshi yelled with glee, fist-bumping the air as they walked. “Getting to meet the Prime Minister not just as Shujin students, but as the Saviors of Hearts is freaking amazing!”

“How did he know about us?” Kazuya asked as he walked to reach Ren and Touya’s gait. Ren looked back at him before responding and then noticed the small details in the Okumura boy. “ You’re starting to look like him,” he thought to himself before Kazuya asked the question again. “I guess he connected the dots in some way,” Ren replied as they walked upstairs and to the left now, climbing the massive staircases. “He knows me and my endeavors as the leader of the Phantom Thieves, then-”

“Surely he knows who the leader of the Saviors of Hearts is,” Touko said as Satoshi patted Touya’s back and smiled wide for him. Touko blushed and hid her face while Iris and Marika sighed and giggled at the sight. “Also, how’s Fumio’s daughter doing?” Ren asked Touya quickly. That was a hurl of a question thrown at Touya.

“She’s alright. Though she seems way more distant than before,” Touya crossed his arms and tilted his head in deep thought. Why did Ren ask him about Hikaru all of a sudden? Was there something that was going on with her and Nakamura Fumio? The answers to these questions would arrive sooner than later as once they arrived at the doorsteps of the Prime Minister’s office, opening it to see the two most revered figures having a nice tea and chatting away.

 


 

Nakamura Fumio as stated before was a man of wisdom, and when one enters the same room as her, then the atmosphere changes drastically. Add the Prime Minister, and the Saviors felt tremendous pressure upon themselves as they walked inside the office. They couldn’t even speak as they stayed there stuttering. Ren walked away from the teenagers and took a seat next to Fumio and shook his burly old hand. “Fumio randomly walked in when you left Ren,” Yoshida spoke as he sat there by his desk, the brown glistening thanks to the sun standing behind him. “He just wanted a small chat.”

“And I must give my gratitude old friend,” Fumio massaged his gray mustache and smoothen is short gray hair, the iconic Nakamura’s golden hair tip as it stood up a little. He smiled, his eyes closing when he saw the Saviors. “Ah, you all must be Hikaru’s friend, no? I apologize that she’s been a bit isolated lately.” he took a sip of his cup and then looked at the time. “I’m afraid I must leave. A plane is waiting for my arrival.”

“Heading back to America?” Ren and Yoshida teased to the old man. He nodded and stood up, his body becoming such a colossal figure. He was truly taller than your average Japanese man, standing roughly at about six feet, and he fixed his silver-gray suit piece. He brushed his mustache once again and then walked away from Yoshida and Ren, bowing for letting him enter his domain before he asked kindly for the Saviors to step aside. “Have a safe trip,” they all told Fumio, and he thanked them.

Touya continued to stare at Fumio, and for a solid second, he felt a strange shock in his head, nearly collapsing on the floor. His head was ringing madly, and as he looked at Fumio again, he saw a blurry figure of someone else. Something else, and he could’ve sworn he saw Fumio’s purple eyes turn yellowish, turning his head to mock Touya as the blackness of the room was surrounding before the others grabbed him out of it. “Hey, dude you’re alright?” Satoshi asked as he was helping him up, and Touya looked around. He made a scene no doubt, but what was that just now? It was then he saw he had his phone in his hand, and the MetaNav was open. He put his phone away and then apologized to Yoshida and Ren. “No worries,” Yoshida replied as he told them to walk closer to his desk. “Now,” he spoke. “I surmised that you seven, bright and intelligent, are the Saviors of Hearts that have made their debut with Daisuke Shiro. I saw the broadcast when I was away in America, and I never felt so young as I was back when this man was still a teenager reforming criminals.” he chuckled at Ren who smirked and then crossed his arms. “And it seems that their legacy has passed.”

“Yoshida-San wants to make sure you guys are to be protected from the government,” Ren saw that everyone was confused. “Since you’re all considered vigilantes, Yoshida made sure I helped him enact laws and promote the positive side of the Saviors.”

“And believe me, your father is very strong when it comes to these tasks,” Yoshida added.

“So basically you’re here to tell us that we don’t have to worry about the federal government coming at us?” Satoshi asked. Ren and Yoshida nodded respectfully. “Of course that doesn’t mean that other folks in the Diet Building are willing to support our efforts. Doesn’t mean we can’t give it our all.” Ren looked back at them with the same dark gray eyes that Touya inherited, and Touya began to notice the glint that they contained, something that Touya wasn’t sure he had. It was a glint of pride, charisma, and hope.

Yoshida continued to congratulate the Saviors for their first job and told Ren to message Daichi about their sudden disappearance and to bring them back safely to the entrance lobby. “I wish to see your next calling call!” Yoshida yelled as they left the room, the presence of prestige now gone. As they walked back to the entrance, Touya was once again in a deep train of thought. The static shock he had received, the ringing in his head, and the image of Fumio with those yellow eyes...and the sudden access to the MetaNav couldn’t have been a mere coincidence. There was something else going on now, he knew it, and he needed to tell the others. Sure enough, they brought the conversation to him.

“What happened Touya-Kun?” Touko asked him nervously, her face showing concern for him as usual.

“You almost fainted,” Marika said as she had her arms crossed behind her red short hair, eyes blinking rapidly in curiosity.”

“Take out the MetaNav everyone,” Touya replied back, taking the chance to see if he was right. “Because I may have a clear idea as to who our next Palace could be.”

 


 

When Touya explained the sudden glimpse of what could possibly be Shadow Nakamura, everyone was in a severe state of shock. “The Nakamura could be our next target?” Iris said while holding Satoshi close to him as he was beginning to thrash about in excitement about their next mission. Kazuya bopped his head to shut up. Touya nodded and then looked at the MetaNav, the microphone icon waiting to be pressed and see if Nakamura Fumio had a Palace. He then looked around to see if anyone was going to hear them, and seeing no one, he pressed the icon. “Nakamura Fumio,” he said. A ping was heard and they were all concerned.

“So he does have a Palace,” Shun spoke for everyone, munching on a quick snack to alleviate the tension of the situation. Everyone gulped and nodded at once.

“But then, could that be that Hikaru knows something about this?” Touko asked, now bringing the subject to Hikaru, not knowing that she was behind them by one of the walls, hearing everything. Her mind was racing and she couldn’t understand anything that they were saying, and she held a hand close to her chest. “Yeah, Hikaru might be in danger if we don’t handle this seriously,” Touya responded.

“For now, let’s investigate further and maybe ask Hikaru about her dad. She has been saying that he’s been leaving almost constantly.”

“Or ask her older siblings. Maybe Kosaki would know about something,” Kazuya reminded the others of Hikaru’s older sister, a member of the Nakamura News Network. Touya took that into consideration and made sure to tell Hiyori as well. And continue training with Ianus. “Saviors, ready for Palace two?”

“Hell yeah!” they all cheered as they left the scene now, leaving behind a very crestfallen Hikaru, her eyes tearing up and covering her mouth. “So they really are…” Hikaru couldn’t believe it and stood there crying before she wiped the tears when the teachers were rallying the students to head back to the entrance for the Diet Building school trip was over, and so begins the start of the Saviors’ second mission.




 

Preview!

 

Shirogane Mayu here!

And Shiro Daisuke as well!

Dai my dear, ready to handle more paperwork today?

I always handle the paperwork! Though I could use some helping hands...can I ask for Touya and his friends? They don’t seem to be busy.

Sure, who not? The more help we get, the more we can get done!

Perfect!

Yep! Oh...it the twins again.

Really?! Damn it, come back here Mei! Akio! Stop taking pictures!

Next time on Persona: Next Generations! Up, Up, And Away!”

Don’t miss out! Hey, come back here!

Chapter Text

The glorious mid-afternoon had arrived, and lunchtime was upon the Saviors of Hearts. School had not been too kind to them recently as the exams were slowly approaching, May 25th until the 28th as their deadlines. Not only were they already cramming their studies, but they had also now gotten their second opportunity to save another person’s heart from a Palace, being Nakamura Fumio. Nevertheless, they were eager to relax for the time being. At least the others, whereas Touya was busy struggling to win the usual arm wrestle with Kazuya, their side of the table empty while the others watched in excitement. “Is that all you got?” Kazuya was close to pushing Touya’s arm to the table. Touya smirked and pushed it back to the middle. “Not even close Kaz,” he smirked and they continued to stay at the middle for a few minutes before they agreed at a stalemate, and drank loads of water from their water bottles. “Hey, Shun, wakey,” Hiyori poked at Shun, who had suddenly fallen asleep with a bag of chips in his mouth. He laid there for quite sometime before Niten Doraku yelled at his summoner. “Huh?!” Shun looked around and everyone laughed a little.

“So this is what you humans do,” Ifrit said in awe, Kazuya’s phone buzzing a bit to express his fiery passion upon the subject. The other phones of the Saviors buzzed in agreement on the table. “Still weird that our phones talks to us now,” Marika sighed as she slurped a little of her food, while Ophelia and Catalina mocked her of her “behavior”.

“Who are you, my mom?” Marika fought back, staring at the two Personas before Iris and Touko brought their attention to the events of yesterday. “This is going to be one jam-packed Palace,” Touko said as she showed them the calendar. “I spoke with Kosaki yesterday when we left home to ask and she told me that Fumio-San has been flying nonstop to various places,”

“So he’s a busy person, what makes that a part of the Palace?” Satoshi muttered.

“Perhaps it does my loyal Servant,” Artorias retorted. “Proceed with your thoughts,”

“Thank you,” Touya spoke now, and then suggested that they meet at the Diner when they can after school. “Sounds like a plan,” everyone agreed and saw that Hikaru was walking towards their direction. The Saviors quickly muted their phones and put them in their pockets and bags. Wouldn’t want their friend to know that they’re after her father.

“Hey guys,” Hikaru smiled at them. “Mind if I sit?”

“Huh? Oh, um, sure,” they all scooted a little to give Hikaru some space. This was a bit odd as the last couple of times, Hikaru rejected their offer to sit with them. Now felt out of place, and Touya could’ve sworn he felt Ianus in his phone, telling him to be wary of the situation. “What made you change your mind so suddenly?” Shun asked, making Hikaru blush a little.

“I decided it was wrong of me to avoid you guys,” Hikaru simply said as she took out her bento box, and slowly grabbed her utensils. “I’m sorry for all that trouble,”

“Don’t worry about it,” Kazuya replied.

“If you’re back sitting with us, then that means the band is officially back together again! Yahoo!” Hiyori jumped with glee. The others continued laughing and spent the rest of the lunch period catching up on news from their old friend. As it turns out, Hikaru was busy making sure Akio and Mei were up to date with their news articles, which was why she was hammering in the journalism room for the past few days. “These two have lots of dedication, but they’re very…”

“Devilish?” Touya responded.

“You could say that. They just love to mess around for no reason,” Hikaru took a bite from her food and swallowed. “But they have done so much work that I brush it off sometimes,” she drank some water. “Honestly, I don’t know what I would do without them.”

“Honestly,” the others replied and continued talking amongst themselves while two of their seniors were busy walking up and down the stairs of Shujin Academy with loads of paperwork for their school efforts.

 


 

“Mayu, I could use some help,” Daisuke’s face was barely seen as various school flyers covered it. Mayu whistled away as they walked their way towards the Student Council Room, where the other Student Body were waiting for their leisurely arrival. Mayu too was carrying loads of paperwork but didn’t seem displeased about it as she continued humming her tune. They made a left.

“Daisuke sweetie, do you see me complain?” she asked in a subtle harsh tone. Daisuke sighed a low “No” and Mayu smiled sweetly back at him. “Good,” she said and finally, they arrived at the Student Council Room. Mayu kicked the door, scaring the folk inside and dropped the papers on the sleek dark brown table, huffing a breath of air. Daisuke did the same thing and sat down next to a second year, who offered him a drink to which he gently declined. “Mayu, what are all these papers even for?” Daisuke gasped a little.

“They’re for the sports festival that’s coming in the summer. You know the one that was supposed to be during the beginning of the year, but a little someone had to delay it,” she stared back at Daisuke, stinging him with her brown eyes before he apologized for his antics. “So I assume these are all for the donations?” Mayu nodded in agreement and gave a couple of flyers to the other students to inspect. “For now we have to hand these out to our usual donors such as Touya’s parents, Coach Sakamoto, Mrs. Okumura,” Mayu shuddered a little along with everyone else. Haru these days was as elegant as ever, but her sadistic side had been showing a lot more in the later years. The funny part about it is that she has no idea she even has that side of her.

The Student Body continued working hard, as usual, making sure to have a list ready for Kawakami by the end of the day. Mayu made sure the flyers had everything set up, Daisuke would put them in envelopes and the other students would have them compiled in a small blue plastic bin. The students were at for the entire lunch period, and when the bell rang, they all sighed with relief. “We still got more to be done, but we could scrap those off tomorrow,” Mayu told everyone as they were leaving the room, waving their goodbyes to their Student Council President. Mayu then shut the door, looked at her clock on her phone, and plopped on the couch next to Daisuke, her head placed on his slim broad shoulder. “I’m so tired,” Mayu nuzzled her face, Daisuke feeling a little uncomfortable as he pushed her away in a teasing manner. “Same here. Underestimated your work here,” he chuckled before he saw a flash of a camera beaming their way. Daisuke looked at the window and noticed the most devilish of grins across two first years. “Give me a second,” Daisuke excused himself and opened the door, his body now facing towards the Koyama twins.

Akio and Mei Koyama were average height for Japanese students, being a tad shorter than Touya. The twins had similar features: freckles in their faces that were barely noticeable unless you looked directly at their teasing dark red eyes. In terms of their hair, that was the only separation between the two of them. Akio donned a slick hairstyle, the thickness of his black hair blocking half of his forehead, and Mei had her curly hair unkempt, sometimes her bang covering her eyes. As they stared down the third year, Akio pressed the button on his camera and snickered.

“Oh man, what should call this picture? Ex-model looking unsavory after stopping two freshmen?” he showed the picture to Mei, who was busy scribbling it all down in her notepad before she nodded vigorously. “Or maybe secret love with the student council president?” Mei suggested and Akio snapped his fingers at her in agreement. “I like that one!” and on and on they chatted in front of Daisuke, to the point where he grabbed the two of their Shujin blazer collars and marched them back to their classroom. “Now don't pry in other people’s  businesses!” Daisuke kicked them back into class, causing a scene around him before he waved it off and walked back to the council room, only to find himself with a sleeping Mayu, all tucked in under the blanket of the couch.

 




Touya and the others walked through the busy streets of Shibuya that after school to get to the lovely Central Street Diner. Touya had his arms crossed his arms behind his back, walking next to Hiyori and Satoshi, who were busy playing a mobile game against each other with their Personas rooting for each other on dual screen. “I will not let you win this time Satoshi!” Hiyori yelled as she mashed her fingers on the button, sending out special attacks to the behest of Somnus, who tooted his summoner’s movements. “No way I’m handing you that win!” Satoshi yelled back, Artorias deliberately telling him to move his soldiers in a different direction.

“We’re here,” Touko told everyone as she opened the door for them to enter and to quickly grabbed the usual booth to settle down. Satoshi won the battle and chanted a bit before Iris calmed him down. “Now that we’re all here,” Kazuya pointed out to everyone. “There’s the Palace we need to take care of,”

“Shun and I managed to get a list of the potential candidates for the Palace,” Hiyori took a sheet of paper and placed it in the middle of the table. A few words were already crossed out it seemed and others had question marks next to them. Touya inspected the paper. “Ready to put these words into use?” he asked everyone.

For the entirety of their time in the diner, the Saviors of Hearts were busy speaking to the MetaNav each word they had on the list. They each took turns, and after speaking to the microphone for the fourteenth time, they gave up and let the phone continue displaying the MetaNav. “Not a single word of the Palace,” Satoshi groaned, his head down on the table with defeat. Iris places her hand in his back to support her falling face and groaned as well, and everyone else felt like their lips were dry. “It’s getting late too,” Touya saw on the clock next to the counter. “We’ll have to pick this up tomorrow when we can.”

“Definitely,” everyone began to stand up and grab their belongings now in one fell swoop. They each paid for their food and tipped the employees as they waved goodbye, separating their ways as usual. “Man, I thought we could’ve gotten at least the location,” Touya yawned and Touko nodded, her head a bit droopy this time around. Touya asked is she’s alright, and her usual blush has arrived. “I’m fine!” She yelled back at him before she hid her face with her hands.

“We’re sure to get a location soon Partner,” Ianus reassured Touya as the two walked down the neighborhoods of Shibuya. Touya walked a little slower so Touko could catch up as she too was busy speaking with Heloise. “Are you sure Heloise?” Touko asked back, hearing that Heloise agreed with Ianus. “Certainly Sweetheart. We all need a little relaxation of the mind so we could detect the location of the Palace,” Heloise swiftly replied, smiling at Touko to comfort her.

Touya bid farewell to Touko as they separated each other, leaving Touko at the gate of her house. Touya walked with his phone in his hand and sighed. “What’s the matter, Partner?” Ianus saw that Touya was getting a bit frustrated now as fume blew out of his mouth. His face was a tad bit reddish. “I’m just frustrated Ianus,” Touya sighed once more.

“I see...why not convert that frustration into energy for training?”

“Can’t train tonight Ianus, I already told you. Gotta study for those exams soon, especially with the Palace coming its way full on,” Touya stopped and shuddered when he had a sudden image of him failing his exams for the first time in his life and seeing Makoto, his dear mother, become painfully shocked at the revelation. “M-y s-o-n….” he envisioned her stuttering those words and passing out on the floor and Ren having to bring her back to life. He shook the thought away. “ Mom can be scary…” he concluded and continued walking, now having to cross a block to reach his house, without noticing that a certain someone was following him around for awhile, taking in very detail with he purple eyes Her Anko-style bun twitched as the golden tip of her black long hair felt a leave fall down on her. She looked up to see the tree swaying a little, noticing a gust of wind approaching. Hikaru then heard Touya yell back at Ianus for not wanting to train for the third time in a row, and she quickly took note of him before she left, making an apologetic thrashing noise that made Touya stop in his tracks and activate Sixth Sense to sense the danger that would ensue. After a while, he deactivated it, his eyes regained his dark gray color once more. “ Why do I have a feeling that I was being followed?” he thought before he got a message from Ianus about what happened. He answered saying it was nothing, but his Persona persisted. “Remember to keep your guard up, even here Partner,” Ianus warned. Touya brushed it off as he nodded to keep him from ranting before he got into the subject of Hikaru and the sudden appearance with the Saviors. 

 


 

Preview!

 

Makoto Niijima here!

And Touya!

You know Touya dear, that question you asked me earlier this morning about Fumio was interesting...does he have a Palace?

That’s what we think, and so far the MetaNav did say yes to his name, so now it’s just a matter of time. Especially since Exams are coming.

Best of luck on both endeavors then sweetie, and make sure you stay out of trouble with those Koyama twins. Heard they’re a bit reckless these days.

I will Mom, don’t worry! Now time to find those keywords…

Next time on Persona: Next Generations! Journalism!

Ianus, could you not?! See you next time!

Don’t miss out!

Chapter Text

Touya ate calmy that morning before school. Ianus was placed vertically, watching his summoner eat his breakfast before Makoto placed down more food on the table, taking a quick glance at Ianus and shuddered a little. The TV was on, blasting the usual local news about the Commissioner's Quest, politics, and a pop-up of Ren had appeared before commercials had run its course. Makoto sighed and turned off the TV. “Still can’t take this seriously,” Makoto tied her hair as she sat down in her usual chair, her hairpin in her mouth. Touya laughed. “You get used to it Mom. Surprised you can’t do the same with your Persona...what was her name again?”

“Johanna, Touya,” Makoto smiled, but Touya raised an eyebrow.

“Wait, as in your motorcycle?”

Makoto nodded and sipped her coffee. “Well my Persona was a bike,” she said so simply, while Touya was even more confused than before, thus asked her numerous questions about Johanna. Makoto answered some of them politely, and then after a while, turned her head towards Ianus, who was waiting to ask his question. “Can you tell us more about Nakamura Fumio, Partner’s mother?” he asked politely and sincerely. Makoto herself then raised the eyebrow and in turn, asked Touya why his Persona asked such a question. “Fumio has a Palace,” Touya replied, sipping his cup of water and then let out a big “ah!”. “We found out about it during the Diet Building trip.”

“How exactly?” she asked, her red eyes glaring back at him with concern. Ianus spoke now.

“Partner received a sort of shock when Nakamura Fumio brushed past him when we went to the Prime Minister’s office. He saw a glimpse of his Shadow.”

“A blurry vision of him Ianus,” Touya corrected and saw Makoto analyzing every word before she nodded in confirmation. Though there was something she was quite stuck on and further investigated the issue. “Ianus here said that you got a glimpse when he brushed past you, but when that happened to us back in the day, it was because we had delivered a calling card.” Makoto removed her hand from her chin, the usual Niijima-Amamiya thought process glance and then looked at her son and Persona. “This is something entirely different,” she then noticed she was going off topic, and proceed to head back to Fumio and his Palace. “I’ll see if I can find something about him that made him create this Palace, but remember Touya-”

“Make sure to have your studies prioritized since exams are coming up before heading inside the Palace and initiate Mission Two. I know Mom, I’m not Seiji.” Touya reminded Makoto. Makoto smiled, and then grabbed her things and headed to the bathroom to brush her teeth. Touya did the same and headed his way before Ianus asked about teeth brushing. “You’ll see,” Touya merely stated before placing his phone down and brushed away his problems and to bear with the new ones that awaited him in school.

After he brushed his teeth, he then stretched his body and headed his way out the door with his mother. “Oh I forgot to say something about Ianus,” Makoto stopped Touya in his tracks, his body halfway outside form the black gate. “What about him?” he blinked.

“He reminds me a lot about Johanna and your dad’s Persona, Arsene.” Makoto then started the car and said goodbye to her son before they officially parted ways for the day. Touya made sure to hug his mother before leaving.

 


 

The morning was as dull as usual. Munehisa started homeroom this time, followed by a lecture on Shakespeare and his sonnet writing. Iris enjoyed that class, while Touya and Satoshi were both dying of boredom before Munehisa showed them a screenplay of a fight scene in Hamlet, invigorating their desires to study the English subject. “This is nothing like the fights I’ve dealt back in the day,” Artorias muttered under Satoshi’s desk. “Oh shut it for a bit pal,” Satoshi whispered back before the screenplay was over and Munehisa said his goodbyes in the class, now arriving Satoshi’s favorite teacher, Takeshi Nomura. He was a new teacher like Iwai’s son and Touya knew much about Takeshi because he used to be Aunt Eiko’s assistant back in her glory days of treasure hunting. Oh, what insane stories Touya knew about the middle-aged man that was in front of them at the very moment. Satoshi was beaming euphorically as he stood there at the teacher’s desk.

Takeshi Nomura was a lengthy man, roughly about Ren’s height, if not shorter by a few centimeters. He had short and silky brown and black hair, with small spiky edges to his sides and back. He had glasses on that were circular, and his green eyes scanned the room with such delight as he smiled broadly at the Shujin students. He was wearing a simple light blue button down with no tie, the upper buttons opened up a little to show his bare skin. Black pants have trodden down with dress shoes of the same kind and he began his lesson today. “Alright, folks! Today we’re learning all about the Middle Ages in Europe and how it affected Feudal Japan in the later centuries!” he clapped his hands and grabbed his laptop to set up his powerpoint. The other students looked at each other and sighed as they were to have a boring time in the class, while the four Saviors were gear for this one. Touya looked back and saw Hikaru, who was also ready for the lesson, her ballpoint pen ready to scribble down the notes. He also began to wonder why Hikaru followed him home yesterday, activating his Sixth Sense for her sudden appearance. “ Does she know?” Touya thought before the class began its way.

Takeshi’s lecture felt short despite its usual hour of it. He spoke eloquently about the topic he presented today, and Touya saw as he was writing down, that it could be important information. He even put a star under Niten Doraku’s name, something he smiled at. The class bell rang and lunch had arrived, having the students relax before Takeshi told them about their assignment. “Just make a small list with an explanation about other civilizations that were affected by the Middle Ages! And for extra credit, start searching about the ancient civilization Avalon! We’re covering that for the exams!” he yelled as he let the students leave the room.

The students groaned in unison.

Satoshi and Touya noticed that Hikaru departed ways abruptly, her bags flying in the air before she caught it and headed her way to the journalism room. “She might as well live there,” Satoshi grunted before realizing that Iris and Touko had left as well. “Now where did these two went?” Satoshi blinked before Touya dragged him and headed towards Class 2-B to get the others. “Iris and Touko went to the third building to get something for Mayu,” Touya explained as they walked. “They won’t be gone for long.”

 


 

“Touko, is this for Hikaru?” Iris pointed at the luxurious camera Touko was carrying gingerly as they walked towards the third year’s floor. Touko nodded and fixed the aperture and setting on the black and gray object before answering. “She asked if I could give you a good photo of Mayu and Daisuke since Akio and Mei couldn’t do a proper job,” Touko giggled and fixed her camera one last time before finally reaching the council room. Mayu was busy sleeping by the window, and Daisuke was busy typing away on his laptop before he noticed the two girls. “Come on in, guys,” Daisuke looked around quickly to see if Akio and Mei were in sight. Seeing that the first years weren’t amongst his peers, he closed the door and sighed with relief.

“I’m glad you came and not those two,” Daisuke grinned nervously before waking up Mayu, resulting in him being punched heavenly in the stomach, causing him to fall down. “I got it, Mom, I’ll buy the milk next time it runs out…” she muttered and Touko giggled. “Sorry Mayu, but Aunt Ayako isn’t going to bother you with the grocery shopping today,” Touko got her cousin back on her feet.

“If you don’t mind,” Iris spoke now, fixing her headband. “That we take a good picture of you guys for the Shujin News?”

“Sure thing!” Mayu already felt energetic and smiled before squeezing Daisuke to take the picture. Daisuke patted her back to stop her, and he graciously released a whiff of fresh air. Mayu apologized before she turned towards the camera and smiled with Daisuke. “Tell us when to stop,” Mayu said as Touko nodded, facing the camera towards the two and took the picture. The snap reverberated through the room and Mayu felt a bit blind as she blinked a couple of times. Daisuke didn’t seem to mind given he was a model. “Thank you, Mayu,” Touko showed them a preview. “Can you send it to me?” Mayu admired the picture and Touko replied with a nod. Iris examined the time. “The others are waiting for us Touko,” Iris tugged Touko for them to leave the room. “Don’t forget the picture Touko-nee!” Mayu waved them as they left the room.

“Mayu sure looks nice in the picture!” Iris exclaimed, looking at the picture with as much excitement that Mayu brought. Touko continued smiling as they walked back towards the first floor to meet the other Saviors, but as soon as they reached the first year’s floor did things get a little hectic.

“You think you got the better camera skills Harima-senpai, huh?” Mei’s voice condescended through the room. Touko and Iris looked back to see the Koyama twins snickering broadly at their senpais, their bodies protruding a little to match to show their presence. Iris sighed and so did Touko. “Akio, Mei, could you stop your antics for the day?” Iris shook her head as she continued walking with Touko. Akio continued his devilish grin. “No ma’am! That is not in our vocabulary, so I’m afraid we can’t stop.”

“Plus we got some juicy stories to tell. Like how Sayaka is making a few moves on Touya-senpai!” Mei winked and Touko twitched her left eye as she stopped in her tracks. She tried her best not to destroy her camera and not let loose her anger and hatred for the Haruno girl, and Iris stepped aside in case Touko would unleash it. She calmed herself and relaxed her muscles and turned around to face the twins before Hikaru stepped in for her. “You two! Stop right there!” she grabbed their Shujin blazer collars. “I’ve been looking for you two since this morning!” she looked at Touko and Iris and apologized quickly. “Sorry, Touko and Iris for them being annoying. My fault,” she smiled, but when she did, Touko noticed something subtle in her smile. There laid a smile of acknowledgment and slight anger in her, but before Touko could analyze it further, Hikaru left the room, walking towards the second year’s floor.

“Did you see that-” Iris stopped her and simply nodded in agreement. “We have to find that Palace and figure out what’s going on behind the scenes,” Iris replied back, and the two continued onwards to the usual place to finish their lunch.

 


 

Afternoon classes weren’t that much of a difference that the ones in the morning, and once the last set of classes and their assigned assignments to yell had occurred, Touya eagerly waited by his desk. He had a few minutes to spare before Coach Sakamoto would start practice, and given that he used that for Metaverse training, he was certainly happy he wasn’t officially placed on the team. There would be no fairness if he and Satoshi burst through the fields with every win. Ryuji surely would’ve wanted a fair field.

His belongings still laid there on the desk, now being the only one in the classroom given the others left to their clubs for the afternoon, Touya decided to figure out the location of the Palace. “What the hell could it be Ianus?” he asked as he placed his phone to the side and scribbled down a few words. He then imputed them in the MetaNav while dual screening Ianus. “Not sure Partner,” Ianus pondered for a moment. “Perhaps in this small lot of time we could figure it out.”

“Let’s hope so,” Touya began to say a few locations and possible Palaces as he wrote them down, going through each one before scratching them out and then proceeding with the next one. After five minutes of this repeated process did things get annoyed, and he was ruffling his fluffy hair to the extreme before he called it quits and put his things away. That was until he saw a ping in his messages. “Looks like the Triple N decided to stockpile their news articles as usual…” Touya stopped and then realized how dumb he had been. Where was the one place that really mattered to Nakamura Fumio? His own news channel. Primarily the one that was here in Shibuya.

“Partner?” Ianus brought him to his sense, but Touya ignored him and then proceeded to say Nakamura News Network, Shibuya, Tokyo in the MetaNav to then receive a loud ping on his phone, followed by the usual MetaNav’s robotic voice. “Nakamura News Network is a hit. Please provide the distortion,” it had answered and Touya was beyond excited. He jumped out of his chair and raised his arms in triumph before he looked around and then grabbed his bag and phone to leave the room. “Ianus, think you could spread the word to the other Personas?”

“Noted,” Ianus gave him a thumbs up.

Touya smiled back and left the room, but as he did, he stumbled upon the Koyama Twins as he sprinted towards the staircase, his body bumping towards Mei’s and her bouncy assets. The three of them fell down and Touya rubbed his back in pain. “My bad,” he said as he helped them up, or at least tried to as the twins refused, pulling themselves up by themselves. “Okay then,” Touya said as he apologized in advance to his first-year kouhais. “Yeah, you better Niijima! Or else we could use this as a nice little article on the paper on how you’re a womanizer,” Akio snickered and laid out his devilish grin at Touya who pushed his big ego out of the way. It felt very patronizing for the first year too. Mei gushed as she had her arms by her chest area and then looked away at Touya, who was now confused as to what he did to the poor girl. Ianus shook his head in the meantime.

“Let’s get going dear sister,” Akio then said afterward, his ego deflating a little as he walked away with his sister to leave the poor Niijima in his utterly confused state. Mei looked back at Touya and then snickered back at him before pulling out her tongue to tease him. “ Why do you remind me so much of Lili -ugh!” Touya felt his head burst open as Annabelle’s voice rang through it, as usual, to present the latest Arcana at his disposal.

I am thou, thou art I. Thou has created a bond that will guide you through the course of your journey. A bond that will transcend the heavens and the earth. That it breaks free from its chains. I present to you the birth of the Devil Arcana. May the wings of freedom and order guide you and may you obtain the truth of this bond.” Annabelle’s voice faded and Touya remained there, only this time to sigh and muttered in defeat for this newly discovered Arcana. “ What next Annabelle? Sayaka?” Touya shook the thought of that creep in an instant as he headed his way down to meet with Satoshi and start his training.

 


 

“That completely went under our noses,” Marika replied when Touya told them about the location for the second Palace. The Saviors were patiently waiting for their train to take them home after a long day from school, and to greet their precious one day of freedom. Hiyori was busy playing another round against Satoshi, and Kazuya was busy looking at the bystanders as they came and went. Iris and Touko paid attention to Touya while also looking at eh various picture Touko took for Photography Club. “Ooh! Send me that one! Mom would love this as a wallpaper!” Iris pointed a picture of a blue butterfly that stood on a nice leaf, waiting for Touko to take the picture of it.

“So Nakamura News...what do you think the distortion could be?” Kazuya asked.

“I still don’t know. I was hoping we could get an idea at the dinner tomorrow early morning or afternoon if possible,” Touya replied, his back against the wall. He looked at the MetaNav and then sighed. “There’s also this other thing I never got a chance to tell you guys,” Touya put his phone away.

“What is it?” Shun asked as he nibbled on some Jagariko, his usual impassive look presented towards Touya. Hiyori laughed in the background while Satoshi was nervous. Artorias and Somnus egged them on towards victory before Marika and Iris stopped their fight and turned them towards Touya. “But I was going to win this time!” Hiyori groaned, her cat ears twitching with anger. “Listen to Touya first,” Iris simply scolded and everyone’s ears were open.  

“It’s about Hikaru,” Touya started. “She followed me home for some reason yesterday.”

“How did you know it was her?” Satoshi asked, green eyes interested in what Touya had to say next.

“I used Sixth Sense and noticed her body behind me. She left afterward, but then suddenly had this idea running through my head. What if she knows about the Metaverse? Or about us being the Saviors? Maybe she’s been distant from us because this has been going on for a while, and trust me, we all know that while was a full year,” the others agreed to the statement. Nakamura Hikaru had been distant to their after years of being their friends. Touko then proceeded to talk. “It makes sense when you think about it,” Touko replied, clutching her camera tight. “Kosaki texted me this morning about how there’s nothing wrong other than Fumio leaving to go do some seminar here or spreading his wisdom there. He barely has time with Hikaru, and I feel that…”

“She’s being neglected.” everyone said in unison. Touko nodded, and then wiped a few tears from her eyes. Touya then made a fist as he shuddered a little in anger, but not towards the old man. He now understood why Hikaru suddenly reappeared yesterday, and it was an act of help. Like how Mayu needed their help, Hikaru too needed theirs and he couldn’t have felt a burning passion to find the Palace than there at that very moment. Yet, he still wondered why Hikaru followed him yesterday...for that seemed to contradict her loneliness.

The train arrived now, and the Saviors happily climbed on board to head home from such a long and busy school day. Touya sat down first thing while saving the others some spots before he fell into a deep sleep, his head falling to the side that was Touko’s shoulder. Touko blushed of course, but let him be as she knew this was the one thing that would never make her nervous at all.

 


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