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Raise Your Voice Against Liars

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“And here I thought this day couldn’t get any weirder…” Yuuki muttered, staring at Xuppu, Wayzz, Pollen, Trixx, and Mullo. “Is there anything else I should know that defies common sense?”

Morgana shook his head. “No, I think that's it.” 

Yuuki stared at Morgana for a second before looking at Akira. “Right, forgot about the cat. Somehow, at least that makes sense. Wait, why are you a cat in the real world?”

The not-cat in question shrugged. “I don’t know. I was like this when I came out of the Metaverse.”

“I think every time you guys explained a new part of this stuff that I’m either losing IQ through how much crazy stuff I'm hearing or I’m gaining IQ due to the fact that I finally got an explanation on how you do things. Travelling to another reality was not my first guess… though it does make sense that it’s nothing natural.”

“What was your first guess?”

“That Akira was a demon from the Underworld coming to punish the wicked himself.”

Ann began to laugh, slightly unnerved at the thought. Ryuji stared at Akira. “Dude, that would be awesome!”

“That it would… does Arsene count as a demon?” Akira pondered.

I most certainly do not!

“Anyway, enough talking about hypothetical demons,” Makoto said, stopping the conversation from derailing, “Can we trust you with this secret?”

Yuuki gestured to Ryuji, Ann and Akira. “I mean, I’ve known these three were the Phantom Thieves from almost the start. Adding more secrets to the pile is no sweat!” 

“In that case, welcome to the team, Mishima-kun!” Haru clapped her hands together, pleased.

Yuuki rubbed the back of his head humbly. “Just Yuuki is fine.”

“Now that you’re on the team, it's time for initiation!” Futaba said with a smirk. “Time for you to put on a tutu and dance to Baby Shark.”

“... please tell me she is joking,” said Yuuki, a bit afraid.

“Don’t worry, that's just how Futaba works,” Yusuke said, before being hit in the back of the head with a pillow, courtesy of Futaba. 

“Seriously, though, we are just gonna give ya nickname.” Ryuji said. “Phantom Thieves can’t exactly go around calling their real names, right?”

“Oh, so that’s why you called yourselves that!” Yuuki said. “Any thoughts?”

“How about… ‘Wolf’? Because of the mask?” Ann suggested. 

“Sounds cool, but I don't think it fits.” Yuuki rubbed the back of his head once more.

“How about Fang?” Makoto asked.

“Sounds like the nickname of an antagonist in a cheap kids’ TV show… or at least someone trying to sound tough.”

“Thanks for not sayin’ thug, at least…” Ryuji muttered.

“Well, since you run the Phan-Site and all…” Shiho pointed out, “How about Admin?”

“Too much on the nose. Isn’t anonymity the point?” Yuuki countered.

“How about you explain your abilities to us now, and we’ll figure something out from there?” Akira suggested.

“Hmm?” Yuuki hummed in thought, “Well, I think I'm different from the rest of you… not that I think I’m above you or anything! From what Fenrisúlfr has told me, the best way I could describe myself is sort of a fusion between Futaba and the rest of you guys.”

“You mean like some kind of… offensive navigator?” Ryuji said out loud.

“Honestly, that’s better than what I had,” Yuuki laughed, “I can charge up energy against those… Shadows, I think you called them. The longer I go without using Fenrisúlfr, the stronger they should be!”

“You’ll be something of our ace in the hole,” Yusuke remarked.

“What did you just say?” Yuuki then said, staring at Yusuke.

Yusuke raised an eyebrow in response. “Is something wrong? I think that was the correct term… did I say that wrong?”

“... that's my codename,” Yuuki said, much to the confusion of the team. “That’s my codename: Ace. I’ll be the ace in the hole of the Phantom Thieves.”

“Phrasing!” Futaba said, snickering.

“Futaba’s innuendo aside, I like that name.” Haru smiled.

“Every time I look at you in the Metaverse, I’m going to think about that dirty joke…” Makoto mumbled, “In any matter, congratulations, Mishima-kun.”

“It seems to fit you perfectly.” Yusuke said, using his fingers to picture a frame.

“And it also fits with the theme we have with the rest of the team back in Paris!” Ann realized, “King, Queen, Joker, Jack… and an Ace completes the set of non-numerical cards!”

“Who are we missing? Spades? Hearts?...Numbers?” Ryuji asked.

“At any rate, welcome to the team, Ace!” Morgana nodded proudly, “Our ranks keep growing… it’s getting hard to keep up with, even for me!” 

“Even with the increase in size, it’s getting less and less spacious…” Ann said. “Makoto, Futaba, can’t you use your Personas outside of battle?”

“I don’t wanna risk running out of energy or getting lost,” Makoto apologized, “If things are a bit risky, I can definitely do that, though.”

“And I… don’t have a valid reason other than being lazy,” Futaba’s shoulders hunched up.

“I could do that if you want me to,” Yuuki said, “Since I might not use Fenrisúlfr a lot of times, I could ride with you guys on the side. It would also help me scan for any surprise attacks like last time.”

“It's worth a shot,” Akira nodded, “But the minute you get tired, you’re getting your ass back on the bus, got it?”

“Y-Yes, sir!”

“Haha! Akira just went Dad Mode!” Futaba cackled. “You sounded like Sojiro back there?”

“Do I need to go what you would probably call ‘Mom Mode’?” 

“N-no thanks, Makoto!”

“...Would that mean I'm also the team dad?” Ryuji pondered.

“You’re a father-in-law at best,” Ann snarked.

“Who would be my child then?” Ryuji pondered, “Xuppu…?”

“Leave me out of this one, boss-man!”

Okay, let's stop before we get too loud,” Makoto calmed everyone down.

“Well done, Mako-chan!” Haru lauded, earning a blush from Makoto.

“Anyway, you mentioned the guys from Paris,” Yuuki started a new topic. “How are they after the confrontation with Alya? Have things gotten better?”

“Regrettably, not yet,” Akira sighed, “We’re still treading dangerous waters with the law. While it’s not as severe in Paris, the others are still on high alert.”

“Father’s death was a heavy blow for all of us…” Haru mused, “I can’t imagine what happened with Mlle. Cesaire helped the situation…”

“Yeah, I hope Luka and the others are helping Marinette,” Ann said.

“I bet the guy’s runnin’ around like a headless chicken until Marinette starts smiling again,” Ryuji grinned.

“Like you’re one to talk,” Akira said, nuzzling a bit with the blond, making him blush.

“And… Nino, was it?” Yuuki asked. “How is he handling this? Weren’t they in a relationship?”

“Actually, Marinette mentioned something happened in our groupchat,” Makoto reported, “She said she’d update us once they arrive on Akira’s computer.”

A sudden ping alerted all of them to the Nyoom room on Akira’s computer, now encrypted and protected with Futaba’s help. “Well, speak of the Devil and he shall appear,” Futaba said, “Take a seat, newbie.”


Earlier that day, during lunchtime for the Parisians…

“Hey, Nino, are you okay?” Adrien asked his best friend sitting next to him.

“Hmm?” Nino seemed distracted for a moment, before responding, “O-oh! I'm fine, dude. Just something on my mind.”

“Care to share?” Adrien asked, “We’re friends, and I’m gonna be there for you.”

“I want to, but...” Nino seemed hesitant, “It’s sorta private… sorry dude. Just need to sort some stuff out.”

“Well, I’ll be here when or if you need me,” Adrien promised, raising his fist.

“Thanks bro.” Nino reciprocated the fist-bump.

Marinette looked at the interaction, before taking her phone out and opening her chat with Nino. The Parisian Phantom Thief chat might not be necessary.

Marinette: You okay, Nino?

Nino: Yeah… just had a small thought… one that sorta wrecked me… 

Marinette: Wanna talk about it? We can go to my place after school.

Nino: I dunno.

Marinette: I’ll throw in pastries~

… 

Nino: Ugh, deal! Damn you and your family’s baking, Dupain-Cheng!

Marinette lowly giggled. She knew she could get to Nino with his stomach. What was the phrase? The key to a boy’s heart is through their stomach… well, that phrase only worked out so well here, actually. She was fine with Luka, thank you very much.

“So, what’s on your mind?” Marinette asked. She had a plate full of pastries for both her, Nino and the remaining kwamis still with her.

“Well, it's about Alya,” Nino admitted, “I just think I realized something about us.”

“What is it?”

“You know how I used to be really proud of our differences?” Nino asked.

“Yeah…” Marinette recalled, “You and Alya canceled each other’s problems out… that was the idea, anyways.”

“That's just it,” Nino groaned, “we didn’t.”

“Huh? What do you mean?”

“Me and Alya may have loved one another, but we barely tried to work through any issues we had. I never stopped her when she was doing something wrong, because I’m not as good at resolving conflicts as I thought I was… or that I needed to be. You saw what happened when I tried taking a break with her involving Lila - it totally got out of control!”

“I was there,” Marinette answered. “So, do you think you and Alya weren’t meant for one another? ”

“Maybe we were, maybe we weren’t… I don’t think it was going to work out forever, though…” Nino answered, “I mean, we barely knew one another when we got together. And that was by complete accident, considering I had a major crush on you back in the day.”

“That was one of the weirdest days I think I’ve had,” Marinette laughed, “not even counting the fact I jumped into a T-Rex’s mouth!”

“Tell me about it,” Nino said. “I just think you and Alya’s talking about being with Adrien and fate and whatnot rubbed off on me, making me think I could have a perfect, fairytale romance. I feel stupid now for hoping that…”

“Nino, you’re not stupid.”

“Eh?”

“You’re allowed to dream and want things to work out, unrealistic as they may be. I mean, look at me! About a year ago, I was still head over heels for Adrien, thinking we were ‘meant to be’ and whatnot. Now I realize how awful that relationship might have been, considering I put him on a pedestal. I swear, I thought he was the best thing on the planet since sliced bread.”
Ignoring the sort-of-bread pun, Nino said, “I was there, Marinette. Thank god Luka was there…” Nino said, “Does that mean I should look for someone like Luka?”

Thinking back to the day of ice-skating that had led to Visagiste, Marinette pointed out, “Well, first of all, don’t think me and Luka have it perfect either. We sometimes argue, but we make out… er, make up afterwards. That’s what it means to make a relationship work.”

“Smooth, dudette,” Nino chuckled.

Marinette pouted before continuing. “But what I'm saying is, while you can dream all you want, sadly, there is no such thing as a relationship without its issues. But working through those issues makes the relationship even better. If Alya wasn’t willing to listen the first time, I doubt she was the one for you… despite the fact that there’s not really such a thing as people meant for each other.”

“I guess you’re right,” Nino said, “Thanks, dudette. I owe you one.”

Marinette waved him off. “What are favors between friends? Just have my back next time we fight an akuma or when we go to the Palace.”

“Already the plan, Marinette,” Nino smiled at her, “but sure thing! I’ll protect all of you!”

Well done, my other half.

Nino felt something in his chest. “Shaka Zulu?” he mumbled.

Marinette lit up, having a good idea of what was about to happen?

Like your old self, that name has been discarded. I now shall be addressed as Shango.


Everyone had been very happy to hear Nino’s Persona had transformed into something stronger. Many were bummed that they’d have to wait until they found a major target to see what Shango looked like.

A few days passed, the team keeping quiet on both sides of the planet. Marinette kept her eye on the Parisian Phan-Site, noting that things were getting a little tense and unfavorable for them. In Japan, though, it was much worse. Yuuki tried a different question on Japan’s Phan-Site, having no luck. The citizens in Japan went from criticizing the Phantom Thieves to spouting rather hateful things at the Phan-Site now.

Requests seemed to have come to a halt for the most part, the site now filled with trolls who kept saying that someone needed to be ‘offed’. Marinette did not envy Yuuki’s current position as administrator, feeling bad for the new teammate who was trying so hard to help. There did seem to be some who trusted them, or at least, that was what Yuuki had said in the groupchat once. Those comments were sadly always buried within minutes and usually ended up deleted by the ones who posted them.

The whole Parisian team was doing their best to keep an eye on not only their own site, but Paris as a whole. The whole city seemed tense now, mostly waiting for something to happen. As a result there had been a few akumas that were mostly mild. Marinette couldn’t help but be grateful for that small mercy. 

Hearing her phone ping had her glancing up from her desk with tired eyes - just because the akumas were mild didn’t mean the whole situation wasn’t stressful, and thus she was struggling to stay asleep.

Viper: Check the Phan-Site! The Parisian one!

Beat: What’s going on? It can’t be that bad.

Beat: HOLY SHIT!!!

Joker: Everything okay?

Gem: Yeah, that’s a really good target. Why didn’t we go for her sooner?

Wary, yet curious at the same time, Marinette cautiously opened the Phan-Site, her eyes widening at the simple message.

Anonymous: Audrey Bourgeois is weeks from going too far. Please, stop her!

What? Marinette blinked a bit, rubbing her eyes as if she wasn’t able to believe what she was seeing. Sure, she knew Audrey was rotten - anyone who Chloe Bourgeois considered a role model could hardly be a moral ideal - but what could the Style Queen possibly do now?

Marinette had promised not to ignore her instincts, and said instincts were saying to look into this. It sorta reminded her of when Kagami had anonymously posted a request to change her mother’s heart… that said, Marinette highly doubted Chloe was behind this post.

Chance: I have a feeling we’ve hit our golden goose. Oracle, Ace, can you look into the poster?

Ace: That’s sorta beyond me. It’s anonymous!

Oracle: I’ll hack into it! If it’s anything useful, I’ll tell you guys. If it’s not, you got my word I won’t use the information for anything.

… 

Oracle: Fox here. Oracle is currently having a moment about the original poster.

Red: That was fast.

Panther: Well, don’t hold us in suspense! What do we got?

Fox: I may know several French phrases in pronunciation, but my skill with the Latin alphabet needs work. Give me a moment to copy down the letters.

Fox: A

Fox: N

Fox: D

King: Wait… you don’t think…?!

Fox: R

Fox: E… with an acute symbol above it. I’m guessing you know who that is?