As she took aim and pulled the trigger, Naoto had felled another lowly Shadow on the way to Adachi. She took stock of her current total as the encounter ended, finding that she had at least a few dozen more shots to go before she would run out. Her Persona was a big help since she could use almighty magic and thus not use any bullets, but it also took a toll on her as much as it would with Yukiko and her fire magic and so on. In fact, she felt more tired by using magic than anyone in the group, but with how simply destructive it was, she was perfectly fine with it. She was aware of her limits and made certain that she wouldn’t use it so much that it would interfere with her aiming.
The group continued onward and kept on swiping aside any Shadows who would stand in their path. Chie and Kanji were like walking battering rams and would only slow down just so they didn’t overextend and leave themselves open to any tricks. Yukiko and Teddie were capable of blasting away Shadows with fire and ice and were also in charge of making sure everyone was healthy while fighting. Yosuke was there to attack while the others kept the enemy busy and made them regret leaving their backs open to him. Rise cheered everyone on and pointed out weaknesses for the others to exploit the moment they were available. And then there was Yu.
As much as she could read the others in the Investigation Team, Naoto could not do the same for Yu. The man was simply all over the place and could do what the others were supposed on all on his own and then some. Sometimes, he would be in charge of healing so Yukiko and Teddie could rain down magic. Others, he would give Chie and Kanji a much-needed boost so their first strikes would be the last. And just a few times, he was able to move almost as fast as Yosuke and somehow be more focused than he was with how accurately he attacked. Still, as much as it gnawed at her that she probably wouldn’t ever figure out his deal, she was happy that someone like him was leading the IT.
“Let’s call it here, everyone.” He spoke calmly, yet sternly, and put his sword away as he rummaged through his belongings for a Goho-M. The others breathed a sigh of relief as they knew they had reached the end of Adachi’s trail. Beyond the gate, they all knew they would be stuck there until either he was defeated and subdued or they would die trying. Naoto was the most winded as her magic overtook her more than the recovery items could fix and she was certainly grateful that they could take a break. Being on her last box of bullets for the day, half of them already spent, was also something she would have addressed had Yu not made them withdraw.
Naoto was not what one would call an expert on hand-to-hand combat. She took some self-defense classes when she was younger at the behest of her grandfather and she was adequate at it. Had she focused more on that, she would have become a force to be reckoned with. But watching Chie’s swift roundhouse kicks that could shatter bone and Kanji’s raw haymakers that easily bowled over even the biggest Shadows made her understand how out of her league she was in that regard. Of course, she knew that their Personae were actively influencing their very beings; it was the only reason she could explain how she could take a blow that would most likely kill her outside of the TV world. And while she could give a good kick to knock someone over, it would only be after three shots prior to stun them and it still paled in comparison to Chie’s launching enemies into goodness knows where or Kanji smashing them into dust.
She was fine with it and took comfort in her skills with her firearm. It was a long, difficult process to get her just the chance to see one, much less hold one, but her grandfather had strong connections and knew the right people to collect favors from. Much like being able to fend for herself with her hands, she quickly adapted to her new revolver that she would be carrying with her from now until the end of her career. It was meant to be the last resort in normal circumstances, only to be used if she would die should she stay her hand. Needless to say, the surreal feeling of expending several dozen bullets per trip into the TV world was something she still wasn’t able to get over.
She would come to find that firing a gun was as easy for her as riding a bike and it was another feeling among several that she didn’t feel all that comfortable with. A gun only has one purpose and that is to destroy whatever is in front of it. Even though she accepted that there could be a day where she would need it in an affair that wasn’t about saving the world from an ennui-poisoned murderer, she wanted that day to be as far away from her as possible. At least should that day come, she hoped that putting down Shadows would be good for steeling herself once it arrives.
She knew how to care for her gun and treated it as if it was an extension of her own being, spending at least some time before bed to make sure it was cleaned and functional. Years of having it drilled into her head that being prepared was everything meant that she never missed a night even if she hadn’t ever thought about it for the whole day. It was a simple process for her, as a lot of things were, and it kept her busy since she excelled at her schoolwork enough to have time for it. Sometimes, she wished that it wasn’t necessary to have it in her line of work, but if that were the case, she felt that the world would be a lot better than it really was.
Another lunch on the roof with Yu brought some comfort to Naoto if only because she felt that he really understood her. The delicious homemade meal was a plus, too.
“Naoto, there’s something I’m curious about,” said Yu as he took another bite of his lunch. “How exactly did you get a gun license anyway?” He looked at her with curiosity and his tone was respectful rather than rude. “I mean, if it’s something that you can’t say, then that’s fine, too. I shouldn’t even question you considering I’ve got a sword and that certainly isn’t safe for a teenager to have, either.”
“Well, I suppose I could tell you since I trust you won’t mention it to the others. Right, Yu?” Naoto set her lunch aside as she finished up and smiled a little toward him. If there’s one thing she knew Yu was for certain, it was honest. As a detective, she valued it more than almost anything else.
“There are still some things I haven’t mentioned to anyone. Your secret is safe with me, Naoto.” Yu smiled in return and shifted in his spot to look more attentively at her, like he wanted her to go on and say it. She chuckled softly and looked ahead of her, happy to spend some time with her good friend.
“You see, it began with my grandfather…” She told him everything about her revolver and how she felt about it. About how difficult it was to get it, but how easy it was to use and how that bothered her. About how some days she wished she never would have gotten it and how she’s slowly coming to terms that she might have to use it someday in the distant future. He sat there, nodding as she spoke and asked questions whenever he got the chance. When all was said and done, he patted her back.
“I get where you’re coming from, Naoto. That’s a big burden.”
“Yes, it is. It’s a complicated part of my life, but I’ve learned to deal with it these days, especially now that I’m using it for a good reason with you all.” She looked at her watch and stood up. “Yu, we’ve got a few minutes before class begins. We need to clean up.”
“Right.” He stood up with her and the two picked up their boxes after getting rid of their trash before heading back to class. She wondered to herself if she would be able to tell the others like she told Yu and came to the conclusion that it’ll have to wait until Adachi is out of the way and under arrest. She wanted this final showdown to be the first and only time she ever needed to point her revolver at another person.